Things are going pretty well for Barry Allen. He’s in a committed relationship with a woman who knows his secret, the Flash is back in the good graces of Central City, and he’s working to get his old job as a police scientist back. However, there are still issues for the Scarlet Speedster to solve including helping repair the damage of the the ape attack, looking into who might be framing the Trickster for murder, and watching out for a pair of would-be super-heroes enhanced by their time trapped in the Speed Force.
Brian Buccellato takes over the sole writing duties for this issue and Marcio Takara steps in to do the artwork for a missing Francis Manapul giving the comic a sleeker look. The art is good, but the layered panels that flow into each other, which the comic is known for, don’t quite have the same zip.
Even with Manapul’s abscence the comic works pretty well, although I’m less sure of the storyline that unfolds concerning the Outlander Nation or Barry Allen inexplicably suddenly loosing his powers (I’m also less than pleased I have to read the next issue of Dial H to apparently find out the cause). Worth a look.
As Batman, Alfred, Nightwing, and Red Robin lay Damian Wayne to rest Grant Morrison’s craptastic Leviathan storyline continues. Talia, her overgrown clone of a son, and the Leviathan troops are in control of Wayne Enterprises and issue demands for Batman to be banned from Gotham City and all of Batman Incorporated’s operations around the world to cease immediately.
Sure I could sit here and rip apart Grant Morrission’s “plot,” such as how Leviathan could ever make good on their threats, or the near-impossibility of removing all likenesses of Batman from a city in eight hours. Or I could simply point out the writer’s usual brand of mumbo-jumbo that the writer uses in place of actual plot.
Or I might mention how ridiculous the events covered in this storyline appear when (aside from Damian’s death) are completely being ignored in EVERY OTHER BATBOOK. You’d think Gotham under siege of a terrorist organization run by Batman’s former lover might be something that would effect other Batman-related comics.
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After last month’s cliffhanger, Jason Todd struggles through a dream state after putting on the Red Hood mash which the the Joker lined with acid as his final joke on the Bat-Family.
It’s an odd issue with Alfred and Bruce Wayne at Jason’s bedside, whose conscious of them but trapped in a nightmare concerning his past mistakes, the Joker, and Ducra the former head of the All Caste who comes with a message concerning Jason’s failure to move on from the horrors of his past and a warning about what may happen to those he loves if he continues on his current path.
We’re told there will be no lasting physical damage from the Joker’s trap and it seems Todd’s mental state isn’t impaired either, so the entire episode feels a little pointless unless the goal is to use this experience to transform the Red Hood from anti-hero to hero and bring Jason back into the Bat-Family. One further note, Red Hood and the Outlaws #18 also brings Jason and Bruce a little closer (possibly foreshadowing his return as Robin?). For fans.
With the “Throne of Atlantis” storyline complete the Justice League puts together a recruiting drive aboard the Watchtower to expand their ranks. Although the group invites a dozen or so heroes including Old DCU JLA standouts Black Canary, Vixen, Firestorm, and Zatanna, along with Nightwing, Black Lightning, Blue Devil, Element Woman and others, only three make the final cut (and not really the ones I’d have chosen).
The gathering is interrupted by Platinum, the new android by Dr. Magnus (who in the Old DCU created the Metal Men) who runs amok and begins tossing heroes around the space station. Despite the main Leaguers being present, it’s two relative newcomers in Firestorm and a female Atom (who certainly isn’t Ray Palmer or Ryan Choi) who save the day.
The back-up story continues Billy Batson acting like a spineless prick and his continued unwillingness to be a hero despite the power granted to him and Black Adam‘s rampage and gathering of the Seven Deadly Enemies of Man to his side to unleash his evil on the wizard and his new champion. Hit-and-Miss.
There’s certainly some improvement here over the atrociously bad first issue. As Green Arrow fights for his life in the medical bay the rest of the team comes together to fight the mysterious threat of the Secret Society of Super-Villains even though, as Steve Trevor points out to Amanda Waller, the team has never worked together, has almost no intel on the threat, and will probably get their asses kicked.
Aside from Waller’s irrational expectations, the second issue of the new Justice League of America has a few other problems as well. The opening shot of the Scarecrow‘s recruitment runs far too long while at the same time being unnecessarily obscure. It’s also unclear why, despite his injuries, why Green Arrow isn’t offered a spot on this team (after risking his life for them).
Issue #2 does have some fun moments, my favorite being the sequence involving Vibe and Hawkman meeting for the first time. Although it’s pretty forced, I also liked the idea of setting up a relationship between Trevor and Catwoman. Hit-and-Miss.
I really hope writer Scott Snyder is pulling a fast one on fans because I honestly dread what the Bat-titles may be like if the foreshadowing in Batman #18 holds true. Rather than give us Batman‘s perspective following the loss of his son Damian (even in Batman’s own title we don’t get Batman’s take on the situation?), Snyder gives us an entire issue from the perspective of street rat Harper Row, who, in the spirit of Carrie Kelly, takes to the streets in a costume of her own making to help Batman (whether he wants her help or not). At least it’s not a Robin costume… yet.
As in every single issue where Harper appears, there’s far too much of the character and her brother (whose defining characteristic still seems to be that he’s gay), and not nearly enough Batman. Although barely under control, Batman is running himself ragged and has begun to make small mistakes which cause the young woman to jump into the fray and confront the Dark Knight. The scene of Batman breaking the girl’s nose to teach her a lesson doesn’t play out all the well for either of them (or fans).
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While I wasn’t looking DC Comics launched their only thinly-veiled rip-off of Marvel Comics’ Guardians of the Galaxy as part of the New 52. Now I love the Guardians (both original and newer versions), so the concept of a rag-tag DC version of space explorers told by the extremely talented Keith Giffen doesn’t sound like that bad of an idea to me (even if the comic really isn’t all that interesting or well-told). At worst it would just be another New 52 mistake I could blissfully ignore. And then this happened.
Threshold #3 introduces the beloved character of Captain Carrot, created by Roy Thomas and Scott Shaw in 1982, to a new generation of readers. Normally something like that would get standing applause from me. However, given the character gets his own 90′s Image Comics Exteme makeover (which seems to now be a prerequisite for any and all classic DC characters) I’m far less pleased.
I love Captain Carrot. I’m also extremely fond of Rocket Raccoon. You know what I’m so pleased with? Captain Carrot redesigned as a more extreme version of Rocket Raccoon.
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Following the events of Batman Incorporated #8, writer Peter J. Tomasi and artist Patrick Gleason offer us this silent issue of the Dark Knight quietly dealing with the death of his son Damian. Even without a single word spoken (or even showing up in an old fashioned thought balloon) Batman and Robin #18 is the first of the “Requiem” crossovers to focus on the fallout of Robin’s death (and not just stick it in as a B-story).
Although Gleason offers several strong splash pages, some of the smaller individual panels of Batman out and about in Gotham aren’t quite as strong. This is certainly a comic that would have been better off to showcase more than one artist to carry so much of the weight of the storytelling.
On one hand, the issue puts Damian’s loss at the forefront and showcases the toll it’s taking on Batman. On the other hand it’s still a bit of a cheat as the hard but necessary conversations after such an event have still yet to take place. However, the set-up certainly makes the only words we do see, Damian’s final message to his father, certainly have a greater impact. Worth a look.
Although the cover suggests this issue to be centered around the fallout of the death of Damian, Detective Comics #18 is far more concerned with continuing to tell the Emperor Penguin storyline. Damian’s absence, although felt, is only really addressed in a handful of panels.
The continuation of the Emperor Penguin storyline gives us Ogilvy in complete control of the Penguin‘s former empire as well as a new partnership between the Emperor Penguin and Zsasz who has his own score to settle with Cobblepot. The issue also includes a backup story focused on filling us in on the New 52 origin of Zsasz and how his partnership with Ogilvy came about.
Although the comic touches on Damian’s death I expected far more. Batman kicks some ass and finally takes down Cobblepot. Zsasz’s new origin story aside (which is ridiculously simple even for a comic book) the Emperor Penguin storyline works well enough here and by the end delivers a new weapon to Ogilvy to help cement his power base – the Man-Bat formula. Worth a look.
Although the storyline has overstayed its welcome by at least one issue (and maybe two), “Gorilla Warfare” comes to a satisfactory end here as the Flash battles Grodd inside the Speed Force, Iris and the other victims trapped inside finally make it home, the Rogues‘ heroic stand comes to an end, and Barry Allen officially returns to the land of the living (using a similar ruse to bring back Clark Kent after the Death of Superman storyline).
Co-writer/artist Francis Manapul gives us plenty of action for the finale and manages to wrap up quite a few lingering threads in the process. He also foreshadows what’s coming next for the fastest man alive which includes more trouble with Dr. Elias and the first appearance since Flashpoint of the Reverse-Flash (who sadly, like nearly every other DC character, has gotten a thoroughly awful makeover).
The Flash #17 is a good conclusion to an arc that I enjoyed much of but am happy to see end. I’m interested to see what version of the Reverse Flash we’ll be getting, but I can’t be anything other than disappointed by another unnecessary redesign of a classically cool costume. Worth a look.