Comic Fodder

DC Comic Reviews: Week August 15, 2007 - Part 1

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.




ALL-NEW BOOSTER GOLD 1
Written by Geoff Johns and Jeff Katz; Art and Cover by Dan Jurgens and Norm Rapmund

As far as "continuity porn" goes, you'll be hard pressed to find a concept or series as embedded in a priori knowledge of the DCU more than the debut issue of Booster Gold. That said, if readers have been following the DCU since Countdown to Infinite Crisis straight through 52, added in with some 80's-era Justice League stories, Booster Gold is going to be enjoyable read.

More or less picking up where 52 left off, Booster is now living with his ancestor, Daniel Carter (aka: Supernova) and trying to re-establish his superhero credentials in the eyes of the public and JLA when Rip Hunter provides Booster with an entirely different proposition. Booster is to become a sort of interdimensional time cop, assisting Rip in keeping the time-ways clear of anomalies left over from the conclusion of 52, but... the fame seeking Booster must perform the tasks anonymously, or, at minimum, work towards leaving an historical legacy which suggests Booster is an incompetent jerk so that no time travellers from the past or future will ever suspect he is responsible for policing the timeline.

It's a high-concept idea, and asks a certain leap of faith from the readership to get onboard, but after 52 weeks of Booster and Skeets, the pair fit with Johns' sensibilities so well that the single issue feels like a completely logical extension of what made Booster's storyline in 52 a good read.

The issue is a lot of talking heads, particularly time-travelling scientist Rip Hunter laying his case for the reluctant Booster Gold, but with Jurgen's steady, timeless comic work (well, one foot in the past, one in the present), the situation is illustrated around the Time Bubble, suggesting Rip's clear notion of how turbulent the time stream really is, and how important it is to keep it steady.

There's nothing in the way of a super-villain (yet), but a vague notion of a threat is bandied about, and, more than anything, Johns is laying the groundwork for the foreseeable future in a way too few books manage to swing with their first issue. This may be the same Booster we've come to love, but he's on a new mission, and that set of new parameters is worthy of an impressive first issue such as this. The threats are varied enough, and Booster has enough tragedy encompassing his life that no event really has to throw him into action. Instead, ina great bit of characterization, Booster's innate heroism shines through just enough to guilt him into dropping his gloryhound ways and deserved nomination to the JLA in favor of assisting the larger mission alongside Rip Hunter.

The series shows a lot of promise, and, like Johns' other work, will be crucial to the next few years of DCU comics.



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

DC chickens out and removes Black Canary's adopted daughter, Sin, from the DCU playing board as quickly as Gail Simone had introduced her. Sin will be quickly forgotten, only to return as a sexy assassin at some indeterminate future date a decade or so down the road, but, for now, she's been sidelined and been given a "happily ever after" in order to make way for the greater forces at work in the DCU to play out.

Really, giving BC a reason to evict Sin without appearing to be the worst foster parent in the DCU seems to be the core purpose for this limited series to exist. The reader is denied much of anything in the way of learning more about Black Canary, Green Arrow or their soon to be shared fate.

We do see one of the most poorly choreographed storylines in recent memory as somehow Merlyn is able to make multiple loops with a cable around Black Canary's neck which would pretty much require her to just stand there for ten seconds or while he pulled off the manuever, without mussing a single hair. (No, really... I have no idea how this was sold to the editors or the artist.)

Similarly, the explanation for Sin's survival and the masquerade surrounding her survival is... a bit murky. The whole thing just doesn't work. But, then, neither did the series.



FLASH 231
Written by Mark Waid; Art by Daniel Acuña; Covers by Doug Braithwaite and Acuña

Mark Waid makes a welcome return to The Flash with this issue and the return of Wally and family to the regular Flash series. This review is not the time nor place to ponder the imponderables of what DC might have been thinking with the removal of Wally and Co. and the substitution of an overly aged Bart Allen in the place of Wally.

Waid attempts to have his cake and eat it, too, by throwing the reader headlong into the ongoing lives of the West family, simultaneously dropping interesting bits of exposition regarding the past year for the Wests. However, given what we know from Infinite Crisis, the explanation for the missing year is oddly disjointed and nowhere near as cosmic as it could have been, with the Wests retiring on an alien planet rather than being lost to the Speed Force for a year.

Waid's option to select the explanation of alien planet is the sort of oddly mundane solution that should be exciting, but within the massive scope of the DCU, sounds more like a cheap narrative trick and avoiding the challenge of explaining the year in the Speed Force (which, no doubt, writers such as Johns or Morrison would have tackled with gusto). Further, the alien lab set-up and Linda's "almost a doctor" abilities when she'd really just begun med school in the previous issues of the series, feels a bit like a cheat.

However, the two West children and the potential presented with the new dynamic is something largely new to the DCU. Wally's son's powers seem a bit grotesque, and his daughter's powers a bit safe, but may be an attempt to reflect the manifestation of the Speed Force through a child's eyes, in Waid's opinion. Moreover, the path paved by The Incredibles gives this reader hope for a multi-tiered book that can outpace (ahem) even Johns' superlative run and Waid's own run on the Flash.



JLA: CLASSIFIED 41
Written by Peter Milligan; Art by Carlos D'Anda; Cover by Sami Basri

Kid Amazo concludes, and is largely a dissatisfying read. Supposedly our Kid Amazo could take on the personality of the JLA, as well as the powers, and, supposedly, discovered that the JLA were secretly petty and jealous. In order to defeat characters like John Stewart and Superman, the characters were supposedly faced with psychological taunting as well as physical attacks. Unfortunately, Milligan's idea outsrips his ability to actually implement the technique as Green Lantern is somehow laid to waste with words (really? A Green lantern?) and Superman just keels over at a few nasty words.

Milligan simply can't make the final face off convincing, and relies on the standard operating procedure for writers who don't know how to get the JLA out of the corner into which they've been written: Batman explains why the villain self-destructs because Batman is so gosh-darn smart and somehow, subtly turns the tables on the villain. In this case, the JLA all behave woefully out of character and that somehow leads to a blue screen for Kid Amazo.

Add in the icky Oedipal stuff and...

This was money poorly spent.



SUPERMAN/ BATMAN 39
Written by Alan Burnett; Art and Cover by Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs

I would like for a calendar year to pass in which someone does not go to the well with mind-controlling Superman and/ or having him attack Batman.

This series started off a bit murky and has taken an abrupt turn into ho-hum land. This reader was hoping for so much more from Alan Burnett. Even with Darkseid and the New Gods in the mix, this series is going nowhere fast, and, ins ome ways, feels like adequately penciled fan-fiction more than a $3.00 comic.

Mind controlling Superman. Again.

Man.



Amazons Attack 5 (of 6)
Written by Will Pfeifer; Art and cover by Pete Woods

This storyline is so sloppily plotted and inanely scripted, I'm at a loss anymore.

Note to Will Pfeiffer: Superman has @#$%ing heat vision and can move insanely fast. Grace is sorta bullet proof. A knife to the throat? Come on.

Not to mention... if Grace isn't actually Bana or Amazon... why did we just spend an issue of this series worrying about a C-Lister who was previously mostly not involved?

Also... why did Batman just leave the horrible, evil witch Circe just laying there on the pavement? Someone? Anyone?

Make it end.



We'll be back tomorrow with more reviews of other DC Comics. Man of those were a good read. So join us tomorrow.


So... did you love Amazons Attack? Was the ending of JLA: Classified just amazing? How was I wrong? How could I be straightened out?

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