Comic Fodder

DC Comic Reviews: Week August 1, 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 the late reviews. Work and life got in the way once again. I don't think my readers (either of you) are clicking enough ads to let me do this full time. Click more ads. I need a gold mansion.

I kid. Nobody is paying me for this.

That whooshing sound you just heard was a deep sigh from Austin, Texas.

Anyway, let's not ponder that too much.

It's a DC-tastic week, and I see no reason not to leap in with both feet.

NOTE: Quick Reviews this week as iTunes decided to shut down the window I was working in, which erased all my work. I know I'm using IE, but... c'mon. That's just spiteful.

On to the pain.



JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA 8
Written by Geoff Johns; Art by Fernando Pasarin; Cover by Alex Ross; Variant cover by Dale Eaglesham and Ruy Jose

The newly refurbished Justice Society of America has been going full til since issue 1 of the new volume. Wisely, Johns takes a page from his own work on the Flash and takes a break between the action to tell a more intimate story, giving Jesse Chambers (aka: Liberty Belle/ Jesse Quick) the same treatment that he was able to give the Flash's rogues. However, Johns uses the issue to flesh out one of his heroes, giving Jesse some room to breathe and give readers an opportunity to learna bit more about her before the series inevitably picks up again at a sprinter's pace.

Johns does his usual excellent job of using a single issue within a series to give Liberty Belle a depth of character she rarely receives as a support-player and legacy footnote. Well done.




SUPERGIRL 20
Written by Tony Bedard; Art by Renato Guedes and José Wilson Magalhães; Cover by Bernard Chang

The first issue of this comic I won't be embarassed to leave out for fear of having to explain it to friends and family who ask "This is Supergirl? Yikes."

Not a great issue, and a shame its a tie-in to the nonsensical Amazons Attack!, but such a step in the right direction that it feels like a bold new era. Hopefully Bedard and Guedes will be able to continue on in this direction, paving the way for those who will follow.



ALL-NEW ATOM 14
Written by Gail Simone; Art by Mike Norton and Trevor Scott; Cover by Ladrönn

This series is rapidly moving to the bottom of my pile of "must reads" on Wednesday evenings. I'm gettinga round to it on Sundays. It certainly helps that this issue ties in with the ill-defined search for Ray Palmer, as per getting our new Atom more closely knit with the DCU, and its interesting to see existing characters interacting with the Atoms off-kilter world, but...

The book continues to be a bit cute for its own good, the mysteries of Ivy Town are now beginning to feel a bit burdensome as Simone insists were into this idea and still interested. Unfortunately, it seems like it will be issue 20 or so before the idea goes anywhere.

I'm also not clear on how seeing an army of illusory dead villains and a handful of dead heroes, who seem to have been little more than a dream of some sort, advances the plot for this series or for Countdown. It wasn't random enough to be interesting, and mostly seemed to just play on readers' nostalgia for now-passed characters. Simone's joke regarding Ted and Bruce Wayne's parents being the only ones with a permanent place in death was a joke that maybe cuts a little close to the surface for DC.

While not the mess that was the "Jia" storyline, there's still not much to point readers toward the book aside from a few gags here and there.



BLACK CANARY 3 (of 4)
Written by Tony Bedard; Art and Cover by Paulo Siqueira and Amilton Santos

"Will they or won't they?" moves to "They probably shouldn't, and both get counselling" as Black Canary reacts to Ollie's help by beating the snot out of him. With Sin kidnapped, our cool headed leader of the JLA goes bonkers and slaps around her boyfriend.

Folks... Yes, there's a lot at stake here for our Black Canary, but, surely had the gender been on the other foot, all of comicdom would be in an uproar and call for Ollie's head on a stick with the scenes. And, had Dinah been portrayed as so quickly forgiving Ollie after a smackdown, those pages would be lined up next to women in refrigerators as one of the great blunders in DC's ample history of misogynistic missteps.

Once again, I know you don't come to Comic Fodder seeking romantic advice, but...

If your girlfriend reacts to stress by beating you up, there's a name for that kind of relationship.

Also, it seems unlikely Ollie just let a little girl die. Bedard seemingly really phoned this one in. Given an opportunity to more fully develop Black Canary in her own spin-off, and we get a color-by-numbers kidnapping tale. With ninjas.

For $3.00, it would be nice if they would even try. Nice pencils, though.




ACTION COMICS 853

I'm not sure if this is a great issue, or even a good issue, but it is a fun issue of Action Comics. Readers looking for dark, brooding Superman aren't going to find it in this Jimmy Olsen-centric issue.

For folks looking for an extension of the weird but oddly satisfying Jimmy Olsen plotline in Countdown and for folks playing the game of "which of Jimmy's transformations will pop up next?", the throwback to the long-running Jimmy Olsen title works well. Readers unfamiliar with Jimmy's history can read with befuddled amusement. Overall, there certainly seems to be purpose to recaliming Jimmy's past, hrough his transformations, through the name "Mr. Action" from those later incarnations of Superman's Pal, and through a focus on Jimmy at all. Add in throwbacks like thought bubbles and Jimmy in peril summoning Superman, and Busiek's desire to update the past is a well researched tribute to an age where Superman was a far greater force in the market.

The last page, of course, brought a smile to this reader's face.


That's it. I'm too bummed about iTunes shutting down my web interface. And its too late tonight and this week to do much more. Sorry about the late reviews.

Feel free to openly criticize.

Come on, I can take it.



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Ryan is your resident reviewer of DC Comics. He keeps his comics and himself in Austin, Texas. He likes Superman.
ryan@filmfodder.com