The Wrath storyline wraps up here with the villain’s convoluted grand scheme to kill cops forcing them to buy defense armament from Caldwell’s firm defense which he will now activates to slowly kill them (so slowly it will in fact give Batman time to save everyone). As genius plans go, this one needs a little work.
After unceremoniously abandoning the cliffhanger of Alfred in the super-villain’s clutches, we get an air battle between Wrath and Batman followed later by a heavily-armored fist fight between the pair in the wreckage of the 13 Precinct where the Dark Knight leaves the bad guy at the mercy of James Gordon and a whole bunch of ticked off members of the GCPD.
The entire arc has felt largely uninspired, so I guess it’s no big surprise that the conclusion is a letdown as well. One interesting note: the main story ends on Officer Wallace’s “oh, shucky-darns Batman, you’re awesome” apology that I certainly don’t mind except that such unbridled naivete feels completely out of place in the gritty 90s realism of the New 52. Pass.
The latest Bat-Family Forever Evil tie-in issue gives us a look at the leader the League of Assassins whose presence in the New 52 has been only (strongly) suggested up until this point. Although the .1 issue doesn’t deal with the man’s origins from the language used it appears Mike Barr‘s Birth of the Demon remains largely intact.
Instead, Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Assassins #1 examines the man’s rise to power and the creation of the League of Assassins, his battles with Batman, and his goal to reform the world in his own image in the form of the myth retold as Ra’s al Ghul is sought out by a messenger of the Secret Society of Super-Villains hoping to bend The Demon’s Head to their will.
Writer James Tynion IV and Jeremy Haun deliver a solid retelling of the various aspects behind the character even if he’s decidedly lacking in the kind of crazed evil malice that has defined Ra’s al Ghul since his creation. It’s far from a great Ra’s al Ghul story, but for those needing a primer on the character it’s sufficient. Worth a look.
I’ve been very selective in my choices for the villain .1 issues DC has put out as part of their Forever Evil tie-in. Some have been okay, while others have been mass printed travesties (kind of like the New 52 in general). I was hopeful for The Flash #23.2 as timing actually matched up well for co-writers Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato to offer up the origins of the New 52’s version of the Reverse-Flash. As my pal Aaron likes to say, some presents are best left unwrapped.
There’s really no kind way to state how awful this comic truly is. I can’t lay the blame at artist Scott Hepburn who does a fair, if somewhat uninspired, job standing in for Manapul. I can, however, blame the two writers who spend an entire issue focusing on what only can be described as a whiny bitch of a character.
This comic, and Danny West‘s constant complaining, are brutally uninteresting. He whines about his childhood. He whines about his father. He whines about the accident that gave him super-powers. He whines, in case you haven’t gotten the point, incessantly.
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The basic premise of these Forever Evil .1 tie-in issues is to show fans what the bigger name villians get up to when the heroes of the DCU disappear. This is problematic for the obvious reason that you’re buying a comic to see the hero’s adventures and with The Flash #23.1 it’s also an issue as the New 52 version of Grodd is fare less interesting than the original.
What made Grodd originally interesting (and ridiculous) was the character’s great intellect shoved into a gorilla’s body. Here we’re left with a brutal warrior without the cunning or charm of the original.
On the eve of a peaceful Gorilla City officially becoming a neighbor of Central City (so much for the invisible African home) a Speed-Force-infused Grodd shows up to take control of his former warriors leading to bloodshed. Yeah, it’s Planet of the Apes.
It’s not a bad issue and its competently told, but without the Flash, regular co-writer and artist Francis Manapaul, or a willingness to embrace the absurdity of the hero’s Rogues it does feel a bit flat. Hit-and-Miss.
As part of Forever Evil (DC’s new event that I’m not now, or planning on ever, reading) villains take over various titles in the coming weeks as the DC heroes have all gone missing. Here Detective Comics turns over Gotham to Poison Ivy who wastes little time in transforming the entire city from a concrete jungle into a far more natural one.
Given the absence of Batman (or any other member of the Bat-Family to stop her) it doesn’t take long before the eco-terrorist turned super-villain has recreated the entire city in her image. Writer Derek Fridolfs and artist Jason Fabok also take the opportunity to flush out Ivy’s New 52 origins a little more fully (which include unnecessarily tying her research to Wayne Enterprises and a backstory involving her abusive father).
Detective Comics #23.1 isn’t a great issue by any means, but I was able to easily follow the story without being forced to seek out Forever Evil. I could have done without the usual New 52 tweaks to Pamela Isley’s origins but the core of the character seems largely intact. Worth a look.