New 52

Detective Comics #24

by Alan Rapp on October 10, 2013

in Comics

Detective Comics #24The 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.

[DC, $3.99]

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Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Assassins #1

by Alan Rapp on September 22, 2013

in Comics

Ra's al Ghul and the League of Assassins #1The 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.

[DC, $2.99]

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Reverse-Flash #1

by Alan Rapp on September 18, 2013

in Comics

Reverse-Flash #1I’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.

[click to continue…]

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Grodd #1

by Alan Rapp on September 11, 2013

in Comics

Grodd #1The 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.

[DC, $2.99]

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Poison Ivy #1

by Alan Rapp on September 11, 2013

in Comics

Poison Ivy #1As 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.

[DC, $2.99]

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The Flash #23

by Alan Rapp on September 2, 2013

in Comics

The Flash #23As the Flash battles the New 52′s version of the Reverse-Flash, Iris West will make a startling discovery about the man behind the killings of those tied to the Speed Force and her connection to him. I have mixed feelings about our new Reverse-Flash, however, the reveal that the killer is Daniel West leaves Professor Zoom (and kick-ass yellow costume) safe from the New 52 reboot, at least for now.

After teasing us for months ago an altercation between the two speedsters, The Flash #23 with several panels of the action and the unfortunate fallout from Iris’ discovery. There is also a nice B-story centered around Barry missing dinner with Patty’s parents and the cost of living the super-hero life as even the Fastest Man Alive can’t be everywhere at once.

The reveal of Daniel West was unexpected, and we’ll have to wait until at least next month to discover his story. I’m also wondering if this isn’t the first step to introduce another member of the West family. Worth a look.

[DC, $2.99]

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Supergirl #23

by Alan Rapp on August 28, 2013

in Comics

Supergirl #23It isn’t every month you get the death of a title character in her own book. Fighting Kryptonite poisoning, Cyborg Superman, and an entire legion of replicated heroes and villains created from her own memories (Superman, Superboy, Wonder Woman, Power Girl, Silver Banshee, Reign, Tycho, H’el, Appex) Supergirl battles valiantly until the end.

With the disillusion of Supergirl’s physical form, used to purge the Kryptonite from her system and to create a new body for Cyborg Superman, we learn the identity of our villain (who sure isn’t Hank Henshaw). The comic also gives us the arrival of the creature who created him as Brainiac arrives on I’noxia.

With the number of villains thrown at Kara the issue is filled with action but still packs an emotional punch with Kara facing both the mistakes of her past and her own mortality. Don’t weep for our heroine quite yet as I’d be very surprised if Kara isn’t back among the living and trashing Brianiac’s ship before the end of the next issue. Worth a look.

[DC, $2.99]

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Batman and Nightwing #23

by Alan Rapp on August 27, 2013

in Comics

Batman and Nightwing #23Bruce Wayne‘s obsession about his son’s death continues in this issue as Alfred reaches out to Nightwing when Batman becomes lost in a virtual recreation of events trying desperately to change the outcome and save his son’s life. Although the structure of the story feels a little off, the emotion works well especially once Nightwing, and later Alfred, join in.

With Nightwing’s help Batman is able to “save” Damian, but it’s the advice Dick gives Bruce back in the real world that seems to finally start the healing process. And the comic’s final few pages dealing with Alfred resetting the simulation shows us, and Batman, just how much grief the butler has been carrying around for allowing Damian out of the Batcave on that fateful night.

Although the final former side-kick issue is done, the comic will continue the Batman and… with villains such as Two-Face and Killer Croc leading into Batman and Carrie Kelly #25 which may, or may not, begin a new direction for the title. Worth a look.

[DC, $2.99]

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Worlds’ Finest #15

by Alan Rapp on August 20, 2013

in Comics

Worlds' Finest #15When the Huntress is abducted by Desaad and his minions, Power Girl jumps through the Boom Tube to rescue her friend. Despite not being a big fan of Desaad, I really enjoyed this issue as it allowed writer Paul Levitz and yet another new artist Emanuela Lupacchino (who has a knack for drawing our heroines, particularly Power Girl) to showcase a determined Kara’s impressive power set without worrying about collateral damage.

Other than a few panels of Desaad torturing Huntress (thankfully nothing too graphic), and her escape and reunion withe Kara, most of the comic features Power Girl ripping through the secret base of the stranded Apokolips‘ scientist. The comic ends on bit a twist as Kara and Helena make it home, but not before Desaad’s final move to screw with Power Girl’s powers.

Over the years Power Girl’s origins and powers have been tweaked several times. I’m assuming this latest move is to try and separate her a little from the New 52 Supergirl, but I’m hoping we aren’t going to see any huge lasting changes to the character. Worth a look.

[DC, $2.99]

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Detective Comics #23

by Alan Rapp on August 13, 2013

in Comics

Detective Comics #23After being able to do no more than fight Wrath to a standstill, Bruce Wayne changes tactics by meeting with E.D. Caldwell while allowing Alfred to do some snooping around the man’s weapon factories to prove that he is indeed the man behind the mask of the city’s new deadly vigilante.

The latest issue of Detective Comics has its share of awkward moments, such as Wayne and Caldwell having a business meeting while having a martial arts sparring session at the same time. Although Alfred’s poking around confirms Batman’s suspicions, it puts the butler’s life in danger and doesn’t really explain the wealthy man’s end game (or how killing a bunch of police officers and starting a war helps facilitate that goal).

After giving up Red Hood and the Outlaws last month Detective and Batman and Robin are the only Bat-titles I’m still readying (having given up on the others months ago), but this Wrath storyline is certainly stretching my endurance to the limit. And, sigh, yes we get more of the awful Man-Bat back-up story this month as well. Pass.

[DC, $3.99]

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