Comic Fodder

DC Comic Reviews: Week March 21, 2007

Each week Comics Fodder will bring you reviews of a few titles from DC Comics. Not all titles will receive a mention. Should readers feel a certain title has been overlooked from DC Comics, DC's Vertigo or Wildstorm imprints, drop us a line and we'll take a quick peek.



I apologize for this being up late this week. I was out of town. But since both of you reading this are understanding people, Mom and Dad, I know you'll forgive me.





52 Week 46

The potential threat of a cadre of an island full of warped geniuses comes to fruition. One almost wonders why Luthor didn't pull together such a threat for The Society leading up to Infinite Crisis.

This issue is a bit like the inverted reflection of the issue of 52 from a few weeks back in which Steel triumphantly took down Luthor, as Black Adam's somewhat-righteous fury led him to fall directly into the hands of The Mads on Oolong Island. Not a terrifically huge amount of narrative here, aside from reminding readers why players such as TO Morrow were once considered a JLA-level threat, and what a nut that Veronica Cale really is.

The additional days included the long-delayed arrest of Lex Luthor, clearing up a bit of Super-Continuity and putting Natasha Irons back in her Steel-approved armor. And, of course, always good to see that Clark isn't willing to stand on the sidelines just because he's temporarily without powers. The pages including the core of the classic JSA in Bialya were a great set-up for our current JSA series, already in progress.

Six more issues.



The Brave and the Bold 2

If only Mark Waid had been the force to return Kara Zor-El to the DCU, how different things might have been.

After the recent abortive attempt by Marvel to re-launch Marvel Team-Up, I was a bit skeptical of the any sort of semi-continuity team-up book. Marvel Team-Up seemed infinitely more interested in heroes generally mistrusting one another and taking jabs at one another than advancing the paper-thin plot. It may be a bit of an inevitability that Tem-Up books exist to highlight the differences between characters, but in two issues Waid has managed to advance the narrative with the DCU characters remaining in character as they deal with the issue at hand. It doesn't hurt that Waid has chosen to use two of DC's veterans as his starting point, and reminded readers that even superheroes can act with a certain level of collegiality when there's a task at hand.

This issue pairs Hal Jordan with Supergirl, and, pretty clearly, Waid (and possibly editor Joey Cavalieri) are going to take the opportunity to muck around a bit with the current take on Supergirl. Yes, Waid embraces the idea of the rambling teenage girl and takes it to it's logical extreme for six text-filled panels before Hal gets a word in edge-wise. But he also looks at the sex-kitten aspect with a bit of honesty vis-a-vis Hal's rejection that's refreshing, but I, too, may be counted among the folks who wish that he had nipped that one in the bud on page 2.

The story takes our heroes to Space Las Vegas where Hal tracks The Book of Destiny, currently in the hands of an individual trying to use it for financial gain. (After all, if you can read ahead and know which horse comes in first...). Waid puts in a lot of nice details about the workings of the planet, as well as the holder of The Book's realization that Destiny may not be written in stone.

Perez's work in this issue is, simply, nuts. While he may not have the eye-popping action of Kirby, Perez is able to fill every panel with detail and motion. This issue should be assigned reading for waana-be comic artists looking to see how to handle crowds and fantastic landscapes. I'm a fan. And his Supergirl is toned down in comparison with how others handle the design.

If you aren't picking up this series, it's certainly not to late to jump on board.



The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive 10

This cover has nothing to do with the contents of the comic. So, yes, i am guessing there was a re-write.

Guggenheim decides to channel a bit of Spider-Man/ Superman into his Flash. Bart Allen can be a dud stuck in traffic, but The Flash takes out criminals with a wink and a joke. That's okay, and in a lot of ways, I dig it. But two issues into the new creative team, and I'm wondering how long DC plans to make this last. One page in, and already two detectives probably have enough evidence to deduce that Bart Allen is our titular hero (add in any background checks vis-a-vis Bart's last place of residence, cross-reference with Flash appearances in LA...). Then try to figure out how a kid who hadn't graduated high school is entering the academy...

I also sort of wonder if Guggenheim understood what Geoff Johns was doing with the powers of the Reverse Flash in the last volume. Here we have a time-hopping speedster, whereas Zolomon's powers in the last volume were to control his own throttle on the time line, not to literally move in superspeed, but to move too fast through the 1:1 time frame.

With the recent NYComicCon mishap of Didio letting the cat out of the cat out of the bag regarding an appearance by Barry Allen, I have suspicions of where all this is headed. Add in Iris Allen from a few thousand years in the future, and what have you got?

The Flash went from an embarassment under the last writers to a slightly-below average DC title, hovering right about where Firestorm was on a typical week. Probably not worthh picking up this series if you aren't currently reading.



JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA 4

The first arc of this series ties up neatly, and manages to get all of the players on the board. Folks skimming the comic, or who brushed off the last run on JSA are going to see a lot of mumbo-jumbo about heroic legacy and a lot of fighting, but Johns works well when using the DCU as his pallette, and this is a book for legacy readers as much as heroes.

Unlike his current work in Teen Titans, Johns manages to work a lot of character into the action, with the Jeph Loeb-style captions jumping from character to character and through dialogue which seems to go somewhere. It probably helps that the storyline (and villainous plot) are not only simple, but help Johns make his point about where he wants for the new Justice Society title to go. It's a legacy book, and not just an Infinity Inc. direct descendant legacy, but the heroic legacy of a DCU where "it's not about the blood that's passed down. It's about the symbols. Someone else will pick up the mask and the name."

Throughout this action-heavy issue Johns manages to keep his players in character, juggle a lot of action and lead into the JLA/JSA cross-over in the next issues of both series. And, of course, Power Girl finally receives an opportunity to utilize her talents to do what she does best, as both the powerhouse of the JSA and now providing leadership to all of the generations represented. A bit of a meta-nod to Power Girl's publishing history, but perhaps in light of the events of Infinite Crisis, something a bit more directly tied in to DC's new past in which almost everything is in continuity, one way or another.



BIRDS OF PREY 104

Man, after weeks of biting my nails in fear that Gail was starting to lose her touch... back on track.

I never seriously disliked the issue-99 change over to the current line-up. I'm still not crazy about the Spy Smasher stuff, but now that we're in and running, I can see the blackmail angle Gail was working in, as well as demonstrating that it's more fun to buck the system directly than to do it in complete secret.

It would be good to see the new team experiencing some downtime in order for those of us not familiar with the current Judomaster (or, really, any Judomaster) to gain some familiarity with the characters without resorting to "I'm the best there is at what I do..." type captioning. There are bits of brilliance hinting at what Gail could do as the team rests between missions on the jet (especially as the rest of the team adjusts to the likes of Big Barda), and it's 90% of the way there. Just a bit more with Misfit and Judomaster would be welcome, as well as figuring out how Gypsy and Manhunter fit into this squad.

This issue brought in Gail's creation of The Secret Six, and perhaps demonstrated to other writers how these players work in the DCU. Readers of Villains United and the Secret Six mini-series will see Gail seamlessly dovetailing the two series, leading right into some really good stuff as things go a bit James Bond.

A few nitpicks:

-Artist Nicola Scott is very talented, but a lot of Kirby fans (and Marshall Rogers fans) are going to be disappointed by Scott's rather delicate looking Barda with the bare chest (which makes no sense). Referencing Kirby's work might do Scott a bit of good.
-Whomever lettered Ragdoll's speech ballons needs spell check
-I'm not sure Hawkgirl needs one more place for exposure, not to mention how this is going to work with JLA, etc...

I'll be curious to see how the return of Ice works into things. I assume this was an editorial bone thrown to Gail, even in the wake of the recent JSA Classified storyline which, I believe, featured the re-animated corpse of Ice. And, not to mention, her very dead self appearing in the Giffen/Dematteis I Can't Believe It's Not the Justice League series.

Superboy still smashing walls?

Simone adds in a nice flourish early on in the issue when Barbara realizes Dinah may have left her team, but went running when the JLA came calling. This sort of continuity might never have been mentioned two years ago, but with decent writing, it merely adds anotehr layer to the action of BOP. Well done.




ION 12 (of 12)

This series was... not good.

It seems almost pointless reviewing this final issue as the series draws to a close with literally a dozen unanswered questions, hinting at a new Kyle Rayner series which probably won't materialize.

Oh, I'll just say it... This 12 issue series was a waste of time and money. I feel as if I've been had.

This series literally had no beginning, middle nor ending. Perhaps I'm missing some post-modern twist of comic story-telling, but I think this series just stunk.

Whatever neat Universe-hopping stuff the series hinted at, there was nowhere close to twelve issues of payoff. The villain's plot makes no sense, is never fully realized, nor really explained. Hell, i still don't know who 90's-post-Kirby guy really was or how he fit into any previous Kyle Rayner work. And, worse, I don't care. Why was Donna suddenly there?

It was really dumb to kill Kyle's mom. It was pointless, sort of clunky, and made it very clear that either Marz or Rayner is incredibly dangerous to women. And speaking of trouble with women...

Shocker: Eddie Berganza was the editor behind this incoherent mess.

I don't think the Ion concept is a complete waste, if he's Guardian of the Earth 1 Universe, which I suspect. Marz just drove this series right into the ground.

I cannot begin to fathom what DC, Berganza or Marz weere thinking. Or why, why, why I didn't abandon this series with issue 4, well before I began my reviews here.

Just thinking about the last year of Ion is making me grouchy. I've already wasted too many keystrokes on this series. I want my $36 back. Small bills are fine, DC.



DETECTIVE COMICS 830

For some reason I enjoyed the heck out of these two issues. It really brought me back to the Batman I liked in the Alan Grant/ Norm Breyfogle era. A believable threat for Batman, somewhere above gun-toting street thug, but not exactly Sinestro. Seeing Batman and Robin acting tactically to take down an opponent.

It wasn't, narratively, as complex as what Dini's weaving when he's not in a bye-week, but Moore has certainly earned himself a possible place at the Batman table for fill-ins and whatnot.




I actually thought this week went pretty darn well for DC. This isn't every comic I read from DC, nor even every comic I bought, but they are comics that I got to before I got busy.

So talk back at me. What did you like? Hate? Is Marz a genius and I missed something?
Come on, I can take it.