Wow, so, I wrote this last month and then just forgot to post it. I guess just getting the words out was reward enough. But, I cannot deprive my Wednesday Night Faithful! So, out of sequence, but just as true as it was six weeks ago, we present without further ado:
THE LOST EPISODE OF WEDNESDAY NIGHT MASS!
BEST OF WEEK: ROBIN RISES: OMEGA #1 — Pity Peter J. Tomasi. He has a story so big that it cannot be contained within the pages of his regular monthly that has been delivering the most consistent destruction since The New 52 began almost three years ago. So, he needs a 38-page special with art by none other than Andy Kubert, Jonathan Glapion, and Brad Anderson to kick the momentum into overdrive. Of course, Kubert’s participation gives anything involving poor deceased Damian Wayne as much validation as it’s going to get this side of Morrison himself returning to script the adventure, and Tomasi has more than earned his stripes. The seven-page recap was a pleasure to read, though I knew every beat, a seamless integration of the continuity beginning with the O’Neil/Adams run and threading all the way through the work that both Morrison and the regular BATMAN AND ROBIN team did in the back end of the former’s seven-year run. The remainder of this issue is a continuation of the battle begun of late in the latter title, picking up directly from last month’s #32, with Ra’s al-Ghul joining forces with Batman & Frankenstein against the hordes of Apokolips. The camaraderie between Batman & Frankenstein is brought into excellent relief through the simple device of having them toss Frank’s sword back and forth during the melee. The new Justice League showing up as cavalry provided just the escalation that the issue needed with Tomasi showing deft character work pertaining to the villains who have recently joined the team. And there’s a great set-up with Captain Marvel that pays off aces on the page turn. And of course, Luthor’s also got to get punched out as a lagniappe. Tomasi keeps shredding throughout, and the art team really does some heavy lifting during an exhilarating extended fight scene that manages to thrill while of course setting up the inevitable To Be Continued . . . Really fine work throughout.
BATMAN ETERNAL #15 — This one takes kind of an expected dip after last week’s mid-season finale (I can’t help thinking of these weeklies in serial live-action drama terms, what with the crowded ensembles). It is always a pleasure to see Nguyen/Fridolfs dropping in on art. I care a lot more about the Tim/Harper dynamic than I do Jim Corrigan and the new Batwing guy, that’s not exactly the most dynamic duo. It was cool to have Barbara and Jason run into Kate, there. Looking for things to build up more momentum next week.
FUTURE’S END #11 — Oh man, Georges Jeanty. I didn’t recognize him from his style alone, but when I read his name at the end, it definitely made sense why the art hadn’t been hitting for me for the first time in this series. He’s improved a lot since the early days of BUFFY SEASON 8, but I don’t think I’ll ever stop holding that series against him. The guy in the Superman mask is starting to annoy me. Nobody anywhere should say, “‘Fess up,” I don’t think, and certainly not someone wearing that insignia. This is the first issue of this title that let some of the air out. An unfortunate week for both weeklies to diminish in quality! We do hope they’ll be back next week with adventures that are a bit more scintillating to the soul.
TEEN TITANS #1 — As much shit rained down on this cover when it was solicited a few months back, I remained really interested to see what Teen Titans book would look like with Kenneth Rocafort on interiors. Because he’s a monster. And the pages are beautiful. Will Pfeifer’s story holds together well enough. It’s not spectacular, but it gets the job done. Every member of the team gets their moment this first time out. Though Bunker just about assaulting the anti-gay guy scans as pretty forced and probably much more aggressive than would be ideal here in the very first installment. I’m cool with all of the character designs like Cassie’s lasso that looks like some strange love child of barbed wire and McFarlane webbing, but I hate the Raven redesign. Which maybe just shows my age. My favorite thing about this group of kids is the continuity they used to share that has now been completely reset. I’ll probably pick up another issue or two for the art and see if the character dynamics can hook me a little bit better than they did this time out.
FABLES #142 — Well, everything is seeming pretty dire as we start ramping up into the home-stretch. The fact that Snow seems so unwilling to go to war does not seem like a good sign since we still have many many pages for some sort of motivation to evolve for her in that regard. There really wasn’t anything spectacular about this issue, just more of the rock-solid storytelling we’ve come to expect or even become dependent upon from Willingham/Buckingham/Leialoha/Loughridge. Don’t ever go nowhere, guys, okay?
ORIGINAL SIN #6 — So Midas & Oubliette did it, right? That doesn’t seem to be such a mysterious deal. Aaron does let us know that Fury just started getting old right before this series started, so, nice of him to clear that up for us folks who might be more concerned about continuity than we perhaps should be. I dig Gamora’s reaction to everybody throughout. Deodato & Martin once again deliver A-game material that makes this feel like a Big Event that might actually still matter twelve months from now when the next one is going on. And I dig how everyone was freaking out that that was Cable on the cover of #7 when we can clearly see that it isn’t.
UNCANNY X-MEN #23 — I was expecting a little bit more from this, but I’m not sure why? I guess all of the gravitas that that title is slinging combined by the fact that I have very positive associations with Kris Anka on art, but this is one of the first issues from either of these Bendis titles that I didn’t feel like was slinging fire. Certainly not terrible by any stretch, but the fellow has set himself a pretty high bar, even in terms of singles. Maybe I just don’t care about this new mutant.
SILVER SURFER #004 — Now that we made it through what was essentially the three-issue pilot episode, I was interested to see what would happen with the established Surfer/Companion dynamic up and running, but of course Dawn Greenwood does not want to soar the spaceways even for a minute longer than she has to, so it’s back to Cape Cod for some of Dad’s seafood bisque. Though, of course, this being July, there are some certain Guardians of the Galaxy waiting to check out anyone entering even the distant proximity of earthspace. Man, I remember a few years ago when Iron Man was suddenly everywhere and we were all laughing about how he was the new ubiquitous character i.e. Wolverine/Punisher in the early nineties, but what a world we live in when the damn Guardians are being shoehorned into every conceivable title. At any rate, this title still ticks right along, Slott keeps everything humming and of course the Allreds never fail to bring their own unique form of justice. Four issues in and still good fun!
THE WICKED + THE DIVINE #2 — Straight talk. Of course, the art is magnificent, McKelvie & Wilson can do no wrong. We all know that. And judging this series strictly on its own merits, I might be more forgiving. But unfortunately, this poor thing has to live up to not only following up the gorgeousness of YOUNG AVENGERS but in all truth should function as at least methadone to the surging heroin rush that is the promise of PHONOGRAM Volume 3, and Mr. Gillen’s script is thus far hitting me as much too precious and impressed with itself and not actually going out and earning sort of slavish wristcutting devotion from the reader that dear Kieron has made no bones about yearning for. One could argue that this will read better in trade, but if there’s anyone who is creating for the single, it’s this bunch. This is by no means a bad comic, it just doesn’t up the ante from the first issue. Because if you’re going to show up on the last page with the decapitated head of a pop star, it’s not enough to just talk about her for five pages leading up to that, we ideally should have seen her on-panel and really actually fallen in love with her, if we’re shooting for ideal. Let’s either crank this one a bit higher or wrap it up and get on with the story of Immaterial Emily and her mirror self. Please, darlings.