ACTION COMICS #34 — Lois! Did you end your recap article with “enemies” instead of the possessive “enemy’s?” 404 Error indeed, Ms. Lane, they’re going to make you give back your Pulitzer. Scott Kolins might not have been the call to double up on interiors with Kuder here, their styles are pretty distinct from one another. Diana’s two-beat greeting to Lois & Clark is an instant classic. This is an entertaining enough issue, but I’m not picking up all of the other titles that this has been crossing over into for the past couple of months, so I’m starting to feel disconnected to the plot, and it’s hard to invest in whatever happens to be the new situation each month out. Hoping that this flagship title starts being an entity unto itself pretty soon now.
DETECTIVE COMICS #34 — Once again, terrific art. I like how Manapul is rocking pretty much double-page panel spreads all the way through so that the only ads that can interrupt this production have to be two-pagers as well. I first noticed that trick with J.H. Williams III over on BATWOMAN (R.I.P.) a couple years back, not sure if it originated with him or what. So, slamming art as usual. And the plot wraps up just fine. But they buggered it up for me with just a couple of bits of dialogue that drive me insane. Bruce tells Alfred that he “literally” had the killer wrapped up in Chinatown, and while sure, that’s arguably being used correctly because that is usually a figurative expression, so soooo many people fuck up “literally” now that I just don’t want to hear it come out from behind that cowl ever. They get a pass on that one, but then a few pages later, at some big climactic moment when our hero soars in from above and decks the bad guy, he says, “I got this.” And that is some bullshit godawful twenty-first century slang that should never ever be uttered in this book. Even by some dopey asshole fresh out of Arkham who we’re supposed to hate. Find another way to make us hate him. I didn’t think it could get more awful than a few months ago when Brian Wood had Conan say, “I got you,” but this does the trick. Batman is certainly one of, if not the most, resilient elastic character in fiction today. He can do hard boiled detective noir, supervillains by the numbers, lead the Justice League against the hordes of Apokolips, have a perilous ninja adventure on the slopes of Tibet, crush on Wonder Woman, open up the science fiction closet and boom tube to a secret stash on Pluto, hearken back to the zeitgeist of years gone by even in brand-new stories as seen recently in the animated THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD and the terrific new BATMAN ’66 title, or all that other shit Morrison put him through in THE RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE. You can do just about anything with him. You can’t have him say, “I got this.” Or at least, really really shouldn’t.
BATMAN ETERNAL #18 — This is more like it. Andy Clarke subs in to continue with the strong visuals, but I’m much more in to a Batman/Bard team-up opposite the Barbara/Jason/Kate team-up any week of the month versus what we had going on last issue. That’s just common sense, right? Glad and hopeful that last week’s misfire will remain in the singular.
FUTURE’S END #14 — This one, too, is slamming! They’re really picking up the pace, here. Barda and her sidekick pull off the unlikely trick of whooping up on Slade & Elsie Dee in Montreal, and then Terry gets in with the crew of Terrifitech Break-in Irregulars (probably not a name that’s going to catch on, no). Fifty Sue has never been more endearing than when telling Grifter that she needs a battle cry. And then a very interesting vision of the future for Lois that doesn’t even involve a chalkboard. WTF, Azzarello/Giffen/Lemire/Jurgens?
GRAYSON #2 — A strong second issue. With status quo established, Dick & Helena go to work and wind up recruiting a superspeed bionic cannibal who must consume to keep moving. Like you do. This is a really tight well-constructed issue, does everything it’s supposed to, wonderful dynamic of tension between our two leads, and we’re not sure who’s got the upper hand on whom. Janin/Ortego/Castro deliver some really gorgeous pages. Very encouraging.
TINY TITANS: RETURN TO THE TREEHOUSE #3 — I have no problem with a Shazam! issue. Though, it was a little bit confusing when Robin was mystified about the bunny. Not to get all continuity-heavy, but I did think the fellas said that they were definitely building this series on the backs of the original TINY TITANS series as well as SUPERMAN FAMILY ADVENTURES, even. At any rate, there’s an extended trip to meet Shazam’s wizard at The Rock of Eternity, so of course Terra has to come along, and now that I think about it, old Beast Boy might not have even gotten hit in the head this time out. She’s slipping!
KICK-ASS 3 #8 — I don’t want to say much about this series finale because I don’t want to ruin it for anyone, but if you are a fan who has come this far, I think you will love it. The creators all show up and keep doing everything that made this book what it has always been. I was actually really concerned about the final fates of the main characters, and then Millar, the temerity of goddamn Mark Millar to actually have a character walking around straight up shilling for the other Millarworld titles, all but saying, “Hey kids, if you liked this wild ride, buy these other titles today!” and then right on the heels of that, like, the very next page, the creative team pulls off that same thing Millar did with the kid in JUPITER’S LEGACY #4 where there’s suddenly a note-perfect Absolutely Iconic Superman Moment that of course doesn’t involve explicitly involve Kal-El from Krypton at all but perfectly embodies and encapsulates the wonder and awe that we all felt when we believed in our first superhero. Just a hell of a piece of work. Honestly, if they hadn’t have announced all along that this was the last volume, I probably would have bailed out halfway through this volume, but I figured I’d stick it out a few more issues. And I’m really glad that I did. Kudos to all involved. The cast shots at the end are immortal and can only be improved be blasting the end of “Hot For Teacher” while reading them. “Oh, my Goooooooood!”
ROCKET RACOON #2 — The quotes on Page One were almost too much to take. Rustin Cohle Racoon, indeed! Interesting that Rocket is back in another prison here, recalling the extended sequence in the movie. The book really improves when Groot shows up to help balance the dynamic. Skottie Young continues to do nothing but top-notch work here.
MOON KNIGHT #006 — And so it comes to an end, too short and certainly not very sweet, but a hell of a ride, to be certain. Ellis makes the interesting call here to spend the first two-thirds of the book building up this issue’s antagonist, a street police who takes it into his head to become the next incarnation of Black Spectre. Of course that goes about as well as you’d expect. Once again, Ellis gives us minimalist brush-strokes of characterization leaving plenty of room for Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire to go absolutely apeshit amok throughout the issue. A description of this issue doesn’t sound like anything we haven’t seen before. Disgruntled cop goes rogue, interviews hero’s old acquaintances, assumes villainous identity, tries to blow up hero in the street. But it’s all in the execution. This was the most fun I’ve ever had with this character, every installment conceived of as a dose of hyperviolent three-minute brutal trashy pop, reclining down its streets and alleys before lashing out at all the bad men in the night and sometimes even the lunacy of the concept of urban vigilantes.
NEW AVENGERS #028 — Man. That look on their faces on the second page pretty much says it all. This is a pitch-perfect immediate aftermath. Namor’s “So I am owed your thanks,” could not be more in character. And the escalation of conflict between T’Challa and him is a very natural progression from all that has come before. I love Namor throwing the “mercy from me” line back in his face. And then that slow ending, paced out so well, the broken fellowship departing one by one. And then, just when it can’t get any worse . . .
BEST OF WEEK: CAPTAIN VICTORY AND THE GALACTIC RANGERS #1 — Just Kirby as hell. Any rational fan of Kirby who isn’t quite an acolyte might have assumed that Casey & Scioli both got the seething crackle out of their system over the course of the insane thing that was GØDLAND, but as the latest IDW and now this title indicate, they were apparently barely getting started. Casey’s former Zodiac collaborator does the majority of the heavy lifting on this issue with many many frenetic insane panels comprising an opening scene that is one of the most thrilling in medias res spaceship combat action sequences that I have ever sat through. Jim Rugg shows up for a really beautiful little three-page flashback and Ulises Farinas is also on hand for almost two pages as well that are a step up from the final chunk of his own previous collaboration with Casey, AGENTS OF C.H.A.N.G.E.. I tell you what, between this book, the aforementioned Scioli murdering it monthly on G.I. JOE VS TRANSFORMERS, Simonson delivering a master class in RAGNAROK, and Larsen bumping up against SAVAGE DRAGON #200, The King’s spirit might never have surged forth so strongly and true from such a multitude of sources. Imagination fuel that we are all so lucky to be able to drink down.
MIRACLEMAN #9 — Okay, I’m a horrible person, I’ve only got up until #8 of the original series and was duly going to read these along as they were coming out so that I would be ready to jump back in, but that hasn’t happened, so I bought this but still have to do the big old reread. Soon!