Created by Bill Finger and Sheldon Moldoff way back in 1959, Bat-Mite has given the Dark Knight Detective his share of headaches over the years. An imp from the Fifth Dimension who believes himself to be Batman‘s biggest fan, Bat-Mite is usually more trouble than helpful when he shows up.
The first issue of the new six-issue mini-series sees Bat-Mite banished from the Fifth Dimension to Earth where it’s unclear, other than the power of flight, just how much of his near infinite abilities the character still possesses especially when he’s so easily captured by the villainous Doctor Trauma whose plans the imp ruined while taking the Batmobile for a spin (over a cliff).
I’ve always had a soft spot for Bat-Mite who I remember fondly co-starring on The New Adventures of Batman when I was younger (a show that hasn’t aged as well as I’d like). I have no problem with the character getting his own mini-series but this toned down version without his abilities feels like a shadow of his former self. For fans.
Spiraling out of the events of Convergence and Future’s End, the new Batman Beyond ongoing series stars Tim Drake trapped in a future where Gotham is the only known city standing after Brother Eye‘s attacks. Picking up the mantle of Batman following the death of Terry McGinnis, Tim Drake begins protecting this new future Gotham which is similar to that of the television show but different in several important ways beyond just the identity of the man behind the cowl.
The truncating of the Bat-Family’s chronology in the New 52 reboot left a glut of former and current Robins all roughly the same age and not enough room for each to operate. Mercifully released from that regrettable Teen Titans title, I would have preferred Drake to have spun off his own book in the present but this at least affords him the opportunity to prove himself in new ways. Drake plus the Batman Beyond Universe, with a more dystopian feel, is an odd mix, but writer Dan Jurgens (at least initially) sells me on the concept while artist Bernard Chang shows he has what it takes for the series’ unique visual look. I’ll be curious to see where things go from here. Worth a look.
The latest issue of Marvel’s main Star Wars offers some surprises along with the first big “Fuck You” to the previously existing Expanded Universe continuity.
In the main storyline a blinded Luke, searching for Obi-Wan‘s journal on Tatooine, faces off against Boba Fett whose been sent by Darth Vader to bring back the pilot responsible for the destruction of the Death Star (whose name the Dark Lord of the Sith finally learns at least bringing an end to that “mystery”). Offering plenty of action while foreshadowing the Jedi that Luke will become, Skywalker survives mainly through dumb luck and trust in the Force.
The issue’s B-story has wide consequences as Han and Leia run into Han Solo’s ex-wife while running from an Imperial patrol in the Outer Rim. Just what exactly Sana Solo‘s role will be going forward is unclear but her introduction begins a likely wide divergence between the decades of Star Wars comics and novels of the past 25 years. Worth a look.
Realizing the girls need all the help they can get to stop the mutated DeeDee from wreaking havoc across the multiverse, Professor Utonium and Dexter enlist the help of an unlikely ally: Mojo Jojo! That is right. The villain of the Powerpuff Girls is now their partner. He who is Mojo Jojo will help his hated rivals locate the girl that is named DeeDee. Mojo Jojo will save the day! Well… not really.
Of course Mojo inevitably betrays Bubbles, Blossom, and Buttecup to steal the power to move between dimensions for himself and remake it in his own image, but, in a nice twist, the day isn’t saved by the Powerpuff Girls but by DeeDee who uses her unique skill set to foil the monkey’s evil plans.
Much like the Powerpuff Girls title that preceded it, Powerpuff Girls: Super Smash-Up! has proved to be an awful lot of fun (even if not all of the back-up stories were as strong as I’d like). I’m sad to see it come to an end. Worth a look.
Convergence: Shazam! #2 concludes the Marvel Family’s arc in DC’s big crossover by pitting Captain Marvel against the Victorian Age Batman from Batman: Gotham by Gaslight. In comic tradition the two heroes battle before teaming up against Mr. Mind who has gathered Batman’s enemies together to make a new Monster Society of Evil led by his steam-punk-powered Mr. Atom.
Convergence: Shazam! #2 may not have the Big Red Cheese factor of the previous issue, or enough of the supporting Marvel Family characters for my tastes, but Gaslight Batman is more interesting that I expected (in an odd variation of the Batman vs. Superman fight from The Dark Knight Returns) and the twist of having the heroes work together really helps save the issue from prolonging the battle more than necessary.
With Convergence over I’m hoping this isn’t the last we see of the Marvel Family’s alternative Earth (which is far more interesting than most of the New 52). Worth a look.
The adventures of three Turtles and a robot begin here as the IDW series continues toward its end in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #50. Along with seeing Donatello get use to his new existence inside Metalhead we also get several other storylines all of which will likely converge as the series wraps up in just a few months.
The apparent death of the Shredder means it’s time for Karai to take control of the Foot Clan. Casey has another run in with his father. The series continues to tease the growing relationship of Raphael and Alopex (a character I desperately want to see show up as both a toy and in the current animated series). And last but not least April discovers a scroll foreshadowing a new threat to the city in the final issues by introducing the idea of immortal warriors who have returned once again to bring death and destruction.
For a single issue Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #46 tackles quite a lot, and I’m not sure how all of these threads will get woven together and fully addressed in only four issues, but I’ll stick around to find out. Worth a look.
There are two battles happening simultaneously in Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Ten #15. The first involves Buffy and the Scoobies battling the ancient demon Archaeus whose bloodline runs through Spike, and the second involves the battle within Buffy’s boyfriend’s brain as Archaeus’ pull brings out the bloodthirsty nature of William the Bloody and sicks it on Buffy and her friends.
Mind-controlled for half the story, Spike plays a big role in the issue that allows the vampire with a soul to prove his worth and fight off his darker nature. Xander also shows up for some quick thinking in the middle of the battle and later to put a rest to the awkwardness with Dawn which the pair have struggled with since the beginning of the season.
The issue ends with the team regrouping after a marginal victory without hope of defeating the demon alone and teasing the first big crossover event since Angel‘s wacky Twilight adventure. A Buffy, Angel, and Spike team-up? Okay, that sounds like some serious fun. Worth a look.
[Dark Horse, $3.50]
Finally my rabbit ronin withdrawal is at an end. Usagi Yojimbo has returned! After three years of the series on hiatus writer/artist Stan Sakai returns to bring us the further adventures of Usagi Yojimbo with with first issue of a new three-issue arc “The Thief and the Kunoichi” which will reunite Usagi with a few familiar faces.
Usagi Yojimbo #145 begins with not one but two different thieves robbing merchant Inoyue’s heavily-guarded compound. The realization that neither is alone in the dead of night creates friction between the two thieves which eventually leads to guards and a nearby wandering ronin getting caught up in the night’s festivities.
Revealing Kitsune to be the less bloodthirsty of the the two thieves, the comic ends with the unmasking of Chizu as the other with Usagi likely being forced to step-in between the two women for the apparently worthless scroll that led to the night’s events unraveling. It’s good to see Usagi back in action, and entangled in another of Kitsune’s messes, once more. Best of the Week.
[Dark Horse, $3.50]
In the first half of a two-issue storyline Astro City writer Kurt Busiek and artist Brent Anderson put their own spin on DC’s Gorilla City with the introduction of a talking ape from a hidden city filled with intelligent talking apes who arrives in Astro City with plans on becoming a drummer but quickly learns why that may be problematic and that he may have more potential as a hero.
As a fan of the Silver and Modern age Flash comics I’ve always loved Gorilla City and it’s fun to see Busiek and Anderson come up with their own version of bizarre world set not in the jungles of Africa but in an impossible jungle climate hidden away in the middle of the Antarctic.
As is true with almost all of the comic’s best storylines, Astro City #23 leaves the reader wanting more of the central character’s story and Sticks’ adventures in his new home. Thankfully we will be getting at least one more issue with the simian hero/drummer, but from what we’re given here I’m hoping that won’t be all we see from the character for the foreseeable future. Worth a look.
In another single-issue adventure, and one of the goofier adventures of Jack in his current IDW comic series, Samurai Jack is hired by the Canine Archaeologists who need the samurai’s help with the haunted tomb of the world’s first talking dog.
It’s fun to see the comic bring back Sir Drifus Alexander, Sir Angus Mcduffy, and Sir Colin Bartholomew Montgomery Rothchild III and pair the intrepid archaeologists with our hero for a adventure involving an unearthed tomb and a ghost who, like all dogs, just needed a bit of love and attention to stop acting out and driving all of his descendants crazy.
Christine Larsen steps in to do the art for the latest issue that’s more comedy than action (although Jack does have to defend himself against his old friends when they become feral and possessed by the ghost). Larsen offers some fun reaction shots of our hero to the bizarre situation he finds himself dragged into while Jim Zub continues to have fun adding to the legend of Samurai Jack. Worth a look.