Tuesday, November 30, 2010



Okay, so my store underordered a couple of books from last week, so I didn’t pick them up until now. They are:

SUPERIOR #2—Pretty underwhelmed by this. The backmatter shows that Yu’s original pencil work is much more impressive than the final product. The writing isn’t horrific, but pretty by-the-numbers, Millar giving us his version of the ol’ time-honored new powers testing sequence, most recently popularized by Claire Bennett but done to most impressive effect with Buffy and Xander by Brad Meltzer a few months back. Millar’s take on it is that kids pretty much say “Fuck!” a lot. I don’t know, I guess they do. And I realize the guy won a contest or made a donation or something, but the name Simon Pooni is just too unfortunate to overcome. This one’s a bit of a drop from the first issue, I’m sorry to say. Can probably hang with it if there are only two more issues. We’ll see.

OSBORN #1—This was excellent, really really good, which was fortunate, because I very much wanted to be blown away by my first dose of work by Miz Fraction herself, the supersonic Kelly Sue DeConnick. It certainly isn’t like we’re friends or they even know who I am, but just from the fact that I’ve been picking up all of his work since the first CASANOVA run and their internet presence on Whitechapel and such, you know, I’ve been virtually aware of the family for a little while now and kind of in her corner already, leaving me hoping it wouldn’t suck the way you do when your friend hands you a printout of a short story and wants you to go home and read it and come back with an honest opinion. But all this trepidation was needless, this could not have been better, a very engaging read, lovely art by Emma Rios, and, really, I could not give a shit about Norman Osborn at this point, was so done with him, but a good story is a good story, and it’s just getting started, looks like. Oh, and Warren Ellis gives PHONOGRAM’s Jamie McKelvie some pictures to draw starring one of Norman’s new friends, a stellar back-up. This one’s worth the $4 in every way, folks. It honestly feels too good to be a Marvel book starring Norman Osborn, I can’t parse how I derived so much enjoyment out of it. Let’s just thank the creators and come back next month.


All right, the week at hand! I got to help out at my original friendly neighborhood comic book shop this past Wednesday and had a fine time doing it. Star Comics, a synonym for love. I aorta you, Robert Mora!

But you are not here for Beatles allusions or transparent/confusing declarations of heterosexual affection, you want to know about the comics! I can tell you, I read them!

FANTASTIC FOUR #585—Hickman and Epting continue to rule my world. You can cut through the dread with a knife as Reed takes off to Nu-World with Galactus and the Silver Surfer, Johnny and Ben tell the kids a bedtime story dating back probably to the original Lee/Kirby run, and Sue attempts to broker an underwater peace treaty at a summit that goes very, very bad in the best possible way. And somebody dies next month! I’ve just completely 180’d on them promoting it thusly, probably said so last month, every scene, act, and decision is so dense with all this dread and gravity in a way that will be totally dispelled on the reread once we know who’s going to get the axe. Right now, the smart money’s Ben, but maybe the fact that he’s so obvious means it can’t be him. Really tweaking out to have next issue in my hands. Gah, kind of tweaking out on FF in general, am just now halfway through the Byrne run, picked up my last missing issues of the Simonson run this weekend, have Waid/’ringo waiting in the wings after that, and have just become obsessed with the original Lee/Kirby run. All of which to say, Never go away, Jonathan Hickman, get far enough ahead so that there will be many scripts yet to draw after you die.

UNCANNY X-MEN #530—Greg Land came back! Why, Marvel, why? I thought we understood each other. That splash of Storm cut and pasted over that flat skyscraper background could not have looked any more, mm, undead? When Photo-Reference Putrifies. Too, way to immediately dispel the momentum of that great Wolverine splash by following it up with three pages of ads, the opposite facing page a great Hitch cover reminding us that Wolverine is “the best there is” at the exact moment we’re supposed to be stunned that he’s laid low. Complete misfire. The writing is still solid, Warren and Alison’s reaction is perfectly in-character and will hopefully lead to some shenanigans. And dropping in a quintet with the power set of the original group is interesting enough. Man, I just wish somebody else was drawing this. Probably just refer back to this review for the rest of the arc. I want to sing a different tune, but these are the only notes I know.

NEW MUTANTS #19—Mm, I don’t have much to say about this one. Not as strong of a finish as I’d hoped for, but certainly solid work, all around. A conclusion with a cliffhanger that will bring us right back next month. Fair play, Zeb Wells.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #612—This one left me a little cold, and I don’t know why. Brubaker’s still in charge of the long game and Guice continues to kill it, having found an ideal collaborator in Elizabeth “call me Bettie” Breitweiser. I’m a huge fan of her work (her husband’s, too) and their panels sing. Or snow, I guess, this time out. Nothing really wrong with this one, it just didn’t level me. Love the TRON variant.

SECRET AVENGERS #7—Huh. Ant-Man screws up, Prince of Orphans and Valkyrie talk about how awesome Steve Rogers is, and then we meet America’s first super-soldier. Deodato’s still turning in maybe the pages of his career, but I’m not sure that’s enough to take this one off trade-wait death-watch after this arc. The Bru was a little flat for me this week, I’m sorry to say.

ACTION COMICS #895—Has a greater Lex Luthor story ever been written? Morrison did a hell of a job in ALL-STAR SUPERMAN #5, Azzarello & Bermejo did something pretty interesting in that MAN OF STEEL mini a few years back, but I’m hard-pressed to think of any other classics that actually star the bald nemesis. I’m sure there are some Silver Age gems that I haven’t read, but surely this story can stand right next to the best of them. I had strong doubts that Cornell was going to find any way to raise the stakes after last month’s romp with Death and Gaiman, but I’m delighted that he managed to do so, providing a compelling and believable portrait of Vandal Savage through the years, really the most realistic portrayal that I can recall seeing (with Shiner/Wayne’s TIME MASTERS mini from the late 80s maybe coming closest), ending with a heartstopping Oshit moment that is a fine place to conclude the first half of this story. The Spencer/Silva Olson backup remains entertaining.

BATMAN & ROBIN #17—I’m no McDaniel fan and would give Grant Morrison my left hand if he needed it to work magic, so it was with no small amount of trepidation that I picked this one up. But Cornell is killing it so well on ACTION, and did so to possibly even great effect back on CAPTAIN BRITAIN & MI:13, it would have been foolish not to give it a shot. So glad I did, this is much much better than I expected. Cornell nails the Dick/Damian dynamic better than I figured anybody this side of Gaiman might and McDaniel dials back his cartoony stylization enough just to the point that it works for this book in a zany Adam West kind of way. Both of these points best epitomized at the bottom of page 10, that look Dick shoots Damian when they hear it’s not her body just really almost trumps any bit of interaction that’s taken place in this book in the past sixteen issues, and that is psychotic. And a great reveal at the end. Really wish Cornell could just stay on with this one. With McDaniel, even. Can’t believe how much I dug the first non-Morrison issue of this title. Fine, fine work, all.

BATWOMAN #0—Though coming in a bit slight at only 16 pages, there’s not a single ad to be found amongst them, owing entirely to the fact that the Williams/Reeder artwork is jammed together with such symphonic precision, the pages, the narrative itself, cannot be rent asunder by mere commerce. It’s kind of a weird way to open. I was so immersed, I didn’t even catch it on the first read, but the title character does not utter one word of dialogue the entire issue. Our POV is the recently returned Master Wayne, playing catchup and ascertaining exactly how this new player affects his city/global franchise/holy war. It’s the first piece of writing I’ve read from Mr. Williams and I’ve never heard of W. Haden Blackman, but whatever they’re doing is working. Even the Moore word/phrase transitions between scenes don’t feel forced, just make you nod, which is harder to do than you’d think. At the end of the day, this is really just a teaser, a taste, it lets you know that along with extending Williams’s masterfully laid out seven-issue run with the character, we can all rejoice at the addition of Amy Reeder and her little Ewok friend to the proceedings and how seamlessly the two styles blend, with the narrative coiling and flexing to not only accommodate but bring them together into something greater than the sum of their parts.

BEST OF WEEK: DETECTIVE COMICS #871—You can make an argument for Hickman, as usual, and the other two Batman books were, as noted above, excellent, but this one’s just a little bit better than the rest. I was expecting great things from these guys on this title, not-spoiling-myself-by-reading-the-preview-expecting-great-things, but these boys really outdid themselves. I never read NIGHTWING, so this is probably an ignorant thing to say, but I’ve never read a better story starring Dick Grayson (oh, okay, and I’m not counting Wolfman/Perez in there because it was a team book, but you get my drift). The line about the Anti-Monitor and the pixie boots is a classic. The Dick/Gordon interaction was well-handled. Just when I was saying to myself, “Okay, Gordon’s got to know who he’s talking to here,” the old man slips in that “but as police yourself…” line to take us out of the scene. Very, very deft piece of writing, there. (Or, shit. Was Dick Grayson like a cop in Bludhaven? Do I need to go back and read NIGHTWING? Wasn’t Tomasi’s run at the end pretty great?)

Dick’s first appearance as Batman in these pages is suitably breathtaking and iconic. But, oh, Gordon’s line about Dick still being there, this is gold, people! All my hopes were not in vain. The Bat-Taser, tying it up at the end with the narration about his father, this one hits on all cylinders.

With Morrison catching one hell of a third wind five years down the line and these three teams knocking the lights out on their respective titles, it’s hard to remember a time when the Batman franchise has been in better hands. It is a good day to thrill to the adventures of the people who keep Gotham City safe at night.

Monday, November 22, 2010


AVENGERS #7—Mm, maybe I just have an anti-Red Hulk bias, or, really, a pro-time travel bias, but between the two, coming off the first arc, this one fell a little bit flat for me. Also, the Hood? When I bailed out on the last volume of NA, it was all about Dr. Strange, Brother Voodoo, and the Hood. Here we are a year and a half later and . . . yeah? Hell, maybe this means Kang will show up next over in NA, which would be charming. But this issue, this issue, I don’t know, maybe eight pages of Parker Robbins getting a single Infinity Gem just isn’t justified? And it kind of bugged me the way he pulled it over on Reed Richards. Seems like dude would have failsafe protocols written even for Infinity Gems. Powered by his own Infinity Gem. The one that embodies power. Infinity Gem. All right, we’re done. A bit of a dip for this title this month. Maybe Bendis will make me love Red Hulk next time out. I can’t wait, that would be a trick on the level of retro-justifying CIVIL WAR with that CONFESSION one-shot.

X-FACTOR #211—Well, good, we couldn’t hang out with all these Asgardians for so many months and not have the big guy put in an appearance to help shut them down. I like the way the eye-talian fella (or lady? I guess Emanuela doesn’t seem that ambiguous) drew Longshot. More solid monthly fun from PAD. I long for the return of his zany recaps.

MORNING GLORIES #4—These covers really are glorious. Maybe I mentioned this last month, but particularly after four more weekly doses, this one’s really starting to bleed into TOWER PREP for me, and suffer for it. Where is the smoldering Dubba-Bee (WB) charisma of Ian Archer? Especially when the teachers talk about Headmaster. I mean, come on. They’re going to have to show the guy in this one soon just so I can maybe try not to think about the actor running Tower Prep every time someone utters the title/name. It doesn’t matter, though, of course this book’s got me on its side for another year+ just for the page of Hunter being glad he saw how L O S T ended before being about to drown. Too, I liked the way this book was put together, the paper stock, the feel of the cover. It wasn’t quite as, I don’t know, professional? as books from the Big Two, but I got some weird visceral charge from feeling the weight of the thing in my hands. Monthly singles, baby!

LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #7—Loved how Mon-El dealt with Earth-Man (is it two words? I kind of think it’s got that Spidey hyphen. Let’s just say it does for the moment). Was the back-up story better than the lead? Cinar continues to deliver quality work, but I really enjoyed this Portela’s pages as well. And those colors, perfect for Naltor. And I’ve always been a huge Braniac 5 fan. It will be interesting to see what’s up with this Professor Li. Oh, new DETECTIVE pages! I want to look. But will not. Guess it will be out soon. So all you Morrison haters can have your linear non-subtextual Batman procedural. Unbelievers!

BRIGHTEST DAY #14—And welcome to the Geoff Johns hat trick. That guy certainly knows how to stay busy. Not so insane that he bailed out on ADVENTURE. Weeeell, Bruce Wayne finally came back, and he’s back and he’s back. Of course, we’ve got to fold him into this one, too, though it’s pretty much a feint on the level of Cornell’s fun with Luthor and Death last month over in ACTION. Reis destroys that opening double-page splash of Deadman. Having someone say “You’re dead, man,” while taking a shot at him, though, that’s unforgivable from guys with as much experience as Johns and Tomasi. I mean, one of them should have realized and battled the other one into submission not to let that one through. With the flashing back, I thought old Boston Brand might actually be toast. This one was an interesting diversion to open up the second half of our program. Does that last page mean that Bruce is showing up over in GENERATION LOST next week? His dance card is full.

GREEN LANTERN #59—Why is Johns’s SCREAM award on the other two covers but not this one? Do they believe that GL fans do not fit into the Spike demographic? Au contraire, marketing department! May I present Ryan Reynolds & Blake Lively? The redemption of Black Hand is an interesting move, the contrast between him and Hal. The funniest part of this issue is how Barry uses Superman & Batman as bogeymen, which I think anyone would totally do, given this any number of other situations. Even better because, yeah, Bruce is so sooooo busy this week, he’s totally on the way to talk to you, Hal, but just had to finish up with Boston Brand and the White Lantern ring, then check in with Booster Gold or someone about Max Lord, then reboot it in the cave with the sidekicks before grabbing Selina Kyle where it counts and hauling her off to Japan. And Clark, he’ll be here just as soon as he finishes walking.

But, I don’t know, Flash as Parallax, this book is starting to feel like a continuity ouroborous, just eating itself, its own back issues, until there’s nothing left. Mahnke is still a pleasure, of course.

FLASH #6—Meanwhile, in his own book, Johns & Manipul bring the first arc to a perfectly satisfying close. I was a huge fan of this from day one, and it never let me down. Paradoxes that didn’t unravel the story. Solid character beats between Barry and Iris. And a Reverse-Flash task force trying to erase crime from history! What’s not to love? I was so on board, I didn’t even mind that the last two pages turned into a commercial for next summer’s Big Event. It might actually be great. It was fun to see the Morrison Batman on a couple of screens in the 25th century, but I’m not sure what kind of a paradox it is for Luthor and Death to be talking. Maybe a Vertigo/DC thing? Karen Berger knows.

BEST OF WEEK: BATMAN: THE RETURN; BATMAN INCORPORATED #1—It seems foolish to split these up, as they feed right into each other. That opening sequence pretty much chewed me up and spat me out, I honestly didn’t know what was going on until the old bastard bat flew off for the safe cave, and then I recognized the stately manor and was really all of a sudden fighting back tears. “And in this cave, there was a wealthy young man.” Brrr. What a way to open up the new era. And the script tells us that this was the same bat that got Bruce back in Miller’s DARK KNIGHT? You say apophenia, I say genius! Sometimes, everything does fit perfectly together. Finch annihilates that two-page spread of the Batcave with the sidekicks, what an incredible piece. I’m just, I can’t even be objective or really even critical about this, feel like it’s being written for me, Bruce and Damian coasting down in their Bat jet-suits, their opening lines to each other, just pitch-perfect characterization. I’m a little unclear, though, on the last page, was Bruce sitting in the cave listening to a feed of what happened? Or Leviathan’s transmission? Don’t quite understand that last jump cut. It will doubtlessly all make more sense in two years. Morrison sure uses a lot of second person in his scripts.

And what of the first issue of the new Morrison franchise, Todd? Did you give it a chance? You had to, it has Batman in the title. Opening up this new take on Brave & the Bold-style storytelling with a Catwoman team-up was an unexpected move. It never occurred to me until now that I think Morrison has completely ignored her for the past five years of his run. But now, just the minute Bruce is back in circulation, it is game on, indeed. I like how she sits around his penthouse in her underwear drinking champagne out of the bottle while he presses the bench. That sounds about right. And of course she reads Japanese. Paquette’s lines are so so clean, it’s great that Morrison opens this one up with another new villain, and my favorite part is the questions at the end echoing the old TV show cliffhangers. With the new issues of DETECTIVE and BATWOMAN still not even on the rack, it feels like one of the best times to be a Batman fan. It’s just going to take a little adjustment, scaling down from all this gorging on Morrison, four issues in three weeks, now we’re back down to one monthly title. Alas. Alack. Onward!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


NEW AVENGERS #6—Jericho Drumm eats it as the first arc of this new one comes to a close. From that opening two-page spread with all the George Perez reaction shots, Immonen/Von Grawbadger/Martin display a seemingly effortless technical mastery of layout, composition, and detail that make each and every page one that you can almost take a bath in. Which is a good thing, because I could care less about a few of the folks on this roster (not to mention guest stars, Damon Hellstorm, I’m looking at you). A satisfying enough climax to the first arc with repurcussions for the Sorceror Supreme status quo that will undoubtedly play out in some crazy way as time goes by. And Bendis continues to kill it with the oral history.

AVENGERS PRIME #4—But not nearly as much as he burns it down with this mini. A lot of people are going to write this one off as non-essential and give the $4 singles a pass, and I see where they’re coming from, but this is a hell of a read with solid character beats between the Big Three and art that can go toe to toe with the best on the stands. Davis and Farmer really are top drawer. Definitely give this trade a shot if you’re sitting this one out and are any kind of Avengers fan.

THOR #617—Huh. This isn’t atomizing me like I was expecting the lovechild of CASANOVA and Simonson THOR to. The art is glorious, but the story beats are coming a bit slowly for my taste. I’m not sure that we’ve been given enough motivation for Thor to bring Loki back. Don’t think a simple “I miss my brother,” is good enough. He’s the God of Lies! Who brought about the destruction of Asgard! Maybe I could buy it after like 12 issues worth of a heavy heart building up to it, but just dropping it from the first month on, it’s not feeling right. That said, the idea of bringing him back as a tricksy little boy is an inspired shift in the dynamic. After JMS’s gender jump, it makes one think nobody’s got anything left to say with the classic iteration of the character. That first shot of him coming back, just a hell of a page. I’m enjoying this, but was expecting to be getting flattened a little bit more on a monthly basis, especially for the extra buck. Let’s see what happens in four weeks.

AMERICAN VAMPIRE #8—Ha. Vampires as the secret silent investors of Las Vegas makes so much sense, it’s a shock that no one’s thought of it sooner. This one moves the action along just fine, more of what we’ve come to expect from this book, tightly written scenes, no wasted dialogue, and gorgeous work from Rafael Albuquerque, who certainly deserves to wind up with an Eisner nomination for his work this year on this series. Not too much happens until Snyder blows the doors open with the penultimate scene. I don’t feel too bad about dropping the $4 on these singles, but it sure is swell of them to drop the price starting next year.

THE UNWRITTEN #19—This one continues to entertain as we head into the Moby Dick portion of our program. That single page about the boy who touched the page and got wet ink and story mixed into his blood is really worth the price of admission alone. The art looks a bit rushed here, and not even the fill-in pages. Is the monthly grind getting to be too much for Gross? I’d be happy to see this book take a month off for purposes of quality control, we all know Gross has got the chops, as evidenced in the first year’s worth of stories. Carey certainly hits the acceleration at the end! Tom and Lizzie hook up out of nowhere? Saxon’s a vampire? It’s not exactly deft foreshadowing to have him order a bloody steak like the page before dropping the no reflection trick, you really need a few more pages, or preferably a month or two of space, in my opinion. But that’s all right, it’s all in good fun. This book leads the way as one of the better offerings from Vertigo, an imprint that continually puts out some of the best comic books on the rack, month after month.


BEST OF WEEK: THE RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE #6—Scheduling hijinx aside, this is a mind-blowing end to Bruce’s eclipse tumble through time. Full-on Morrison, this one gave me that FLEX MENTALLO/INVISIBLES feeling that I was on quality pharmaceuticals. And Lee Garbett turns in some good-looking pages. Which, I guess makes sense, dude’s had more lead time than anybody else to get these pages done but still needed help. Nice bit of symmetry there, he was the guy who drew those last Morrison issues of BATMAN after R.I.P., so he’s here to close out the second act as well. Even knowing exactly how it’s going to end up (Bruce suits up to help Dick & Damian save Gotham), the ride is more than worth it, featuring dust-ups with Superman’s time squad, the current iteration of the Justice League (which, got to be honest, folks, I am not feeling), and a conversation with the one sidekick who never lost faith in Bruce Wayne’s apparently infinite capacity for survival and adaptation. All of that with Year One callbacks, to boot. Best of all, completely out of nowhere, we get the shot of caveman Bruce killing the giant bat in #1! I almost fell off the couch, think I said that was the only way that #1 could have been more perfect. Actually, best of all has to be the revelation that Hurt/The Black Glove/Thomas Wayne is actually where Darkseid fell after Batman shot him in FINAL CRISIS #6. Think about it, that shot taken at the end of Morrison’s first act sends the New God tumbling back to 1765 where he infects one of Wayne’s ancestors and leads him to eventually become the principal antagonist for both the first and second acts of Morrison’s run. And the Joker killed him? Brain-melting. It’s even crazier with the scheduling thing, reading this as the very last issue, even after BATMAN & ROBIN #16, makes the revelation that much more mind-bending. So, was that bat-thing at the top of #16 actually Darkseid incarnating on this plane? My head hurts. Maybe the two Morrison books next week can help me with that. It is a fine time to be reading Batman. Unbelievers shall fall before the Omega Sanction!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER #38—All right, fair play with the cover and last issue’s foreshadowing, not that they still won’t really do it, but after all the Angel spoilage, I was definitely riled and falling into their machinations. This was . . . a really strange issue. I think the oddness of the beats falls into this not actually being written as a comic unto itself but pretty much falling into all the gravity and heaviness of what would be happening in, say, and how can I not, minutes 34-51 of a L O S T season finale. There’s really no reason to bring up the show still other than I have a problem plus that was just what popped up to me (and, hey, they did the whole crashing plane thing last issue or the one before), but how satisfying would it be to watch a season finale from that series, or any other, just those minutes of it? I mean, there’s development. Every conversation counts. Dawn lived. That was a good thing. But this one just didn’t crush me. You know. which is fine. On one level, it almost feels wrong to grade the singles of this entire arc on any level except in totality. It is, after all, a Whedon season finale. But then again, this is the way it’s coming out, and FIREFLY never got one, and I am spiteful about the whole thing.

THE BOYS #48—How flattening is this book?!?!? This very installment? The first page and the last page pull the trick of both encapsulating the tone of all that has come before to perfection while simultaneously propelling the narrative on to heretofore unimagined heights. Especially the dexterity of that last page. My God, man. All this, while somehow the piss gets taken out of Butcher. Suddenly. All the pictures have.

GENERATION HOPE #1—This was pretty great. It’s nothing more than a new New Mutants set-up, basically, with go-to mutant messiah Hope doing her thing shepherding the kids that Fraction’s been doling out in the last few installments of UNCANNY, but what really got me, and it took a bounceback reflection, was the writing. Of course, I’m already so hard in Keiron Gillen’s corner, he’s got to really really Do Wrong for me to get derailed, and so at first I was disturbed and even annoyed by the tenor of the writing, the first-person, those characters, their voices. But then, going back over it, it became obvious that yes, this is exactly how these kids write/think/YEARONEmonologue, and it might grate a bit, but that’s a function of the filter we’re getting the words through, this teenage angst thing. I think. I don’t know. I’m going to watch Soundgarden play something live on Conan’s new show as soon as I’m done, so maybe that counts for something in here, somewhere. Rituaaalll!

DV8 #8—Ah, yes. Wood/Isaacs slam it home, conquer as well as we all knew they really would all along. I failed to do the rapidfire sprint 7-issue prep, so certainly some nuances got by me, but this one dropped all the hammers on me that I’ve been waiting for. Plus, especially now, just a splash of a shiftship carrier doing its business, that’s really all I need, even if every character beat on every other page isn’t right where it’s supposed to be. I’m really glad Wood got to blast this one out, here, at the very end of the storm.

HOUSE OF MYSTERY #31—Another great issue, but honestly, is there really anything to talk about besides the story-within-a story? FIG KEELE, TEEN DETECTIVE. Yah, still so Veronica Mars, but this accomplishment lets us know that this is what the world needs, there’s a vacuum that we must, by God, do all that we can to fill. A long time ago.

BRIGHTEST DAY #13—You can’t say that Finch is phoning in these covers. Yipe. The only thing crazier than maybe folding Wayne into this (which, yeah, I hit the order just right that the subsequent house ads didn’t spoil that last splash for me, real dick move again, DC) is Stringer Bell on the inside back cover. I was so sure that Omar got him. That motherfucker never misses, not even counting his Muslim wingman.

ADVENTURE COMICS #520—All right, now this one has blasted past my chronology awareness. Did Garth actually once die, in the fabled 60s or 50s or some such? It seemed for a minute like Levitz was just getting craaaaazy, but then the footnote was validating it. Unless they’re just being tricksy. I don’t know. Again, always, one of the finest representations of one of the company’s heretofore fully unrealized properties. And Lemire’s ATOM feature again spikes up to be my favorite pages ever featuring Ray Palmer. Not that there was so much competition, but still.

SUPERBOY #1—What a fantastic debut. While I failed to connect with SWEET TOOTH, I have been a fan of Lemire’s work on his ATOM back-up feature, and he cranks it up even more here. I care about Connor Kent about as little as someone who bought his first year’s worth of appearances way back during the Reign of the Supermen could, and I was real impressed with every beat of this. And the art is gorgeous. Never heard of Pier Gallo, really crisp lines, everything perfect. And Jamie Grant! I don’t know why it never occurred to me that he should be doing more work now that ALL-STAR SUPERMAN is done, but it is a delight to see him here. Beautiful tones. This is a first class effort from top to bottom. And only $2.99, to boot! Highly recommended.


BEST OF WEEK: BATMAN AND ROBIN #16—Domination. Morrison drops the hammer on the climax of the second act of his Batman mega-arc. It’s just a shame that this had to come out before THE RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE #6. Kind of a garbage scheduling move, particularly since that issue should be coming out next week. They just churning this out so that we can get on with the Cornell arc? Really doing fans a disservice, seems like. Unless it’s on purpose and this is the way Morrison intended, for some reason. I guess we’ll find out soon enough. Grousing aside, it really doesn’t matter, because everything about this is a delight. That first panel of Dick, Bruce and Damian really says it all, down to Damian’s trademark *tt*. I thought we were going to be in trouble with three guys tag teaming on the art duties, particularly not having heard of one of them, but this is about as seamless as such an undertaking could be. Cameron Stewart trumps the fantastic small panel fight choreography he crushed on #7-9 with a double-page spread totaling 31 panels that really just has to be seen to be believed. Such a talent. And Frazier Irving is wisely held over to illustrate the darkest scenes of the book, most of which feature the Joker. Quite an insane way for Hurt to finally go down, never saw it coming.

I’m okay with the final scene that’s got everyone so freaked out. Yes, it takes a pretty serious suspension of disbelief that people won’t put two and two together with two former Robins standing there behind him (but I can’t figure out who that’s supposed to be standing in between them. It looks like an Asian girl with a ponytail? Not supposed to be Tim Drake, is it?), but given what we’ve already accepted about this world, these stories, the cloaking power of a pair of glasses, it’s really just business as usual. Not counting the Batman global franchise part, of course.

Really pumped for what comes next. Wish I wouldn’t have heard about there being a Batman, Inc. ahead of time, but I guess I need to stay away from CBR and Comic-Con coverage if I want to preserve that bubble. Most of all, looking forward to the Bruce/Dick/Damian dynamic. It’s going to be a ride.