Comic Fodder

Erik's DC Comic reviews 2.06.08

Nightwing #141
By Peter Tomasi and Rags Morales

I have a confession to make. Though Dick Grayson( Robin/ Nightwing) is one of my favorite characters in all of comics, I have never been able to support his ongoing series. Jumping into “Nightwing” post Infinite Crisis was a huge mistake. I never thought the concept of two Nightwings running around could be pulled off so poorly. What started off as an intriguing storyline quickly hit rock bottom once Jason Todd turned into a monster…that’s right, Batman’s recently resurrected second ward transforms into a monster then disappeared, turning up later completely fine. I gave the series another go when Marv Wolfman, the man responsible for aging Dick and maturing him into the badass he is today, took over the reigns. However, interest waned when Wolfman failed to tell captivating plots and prove to me why Dick Grayson deserves his own book.

Enter Peter Tomasi and a third stab at an unofficial relaunch for Dick Grayson.

Basically, Tomasi should have been writing this book since the “One Year Later” jump. In two issues he has been able to reestablish Dick Grayson as a figurehead of the DCU, giving the character some purpose. Instead of fighting D-list villains and whining, Tomasi’s Nightwing is confident, resourceful, respected, and fearless.

While this issue accomplishes little in plot progression, it makes up for with fantastic fan service. We get Nightwing and Superman discussing attack plans, the JSofA helping Dick build his new HQ, a long awaited reunion between Dick and Wally West, providing some touching closure to Bart Allen’s untimely death, and a cameo by Bruce Wayne, who shows his respect for Nightwing’s choice implementation of safe-house layouts. .

Overall a creative team has come along that is firing on all cylinders and has me excited to pick up Nightwing each month. I look forward to seeing where this plot goes and how it positions Dick Grayson into the bigger picture of the DCU heading towards Final Crisis.

Justice Society of America #12
By Geoff Johns and Dale Eaglesham

Since I started writing DC reviews I have read a lot of Geoff Johns’ material. It’s also no secret I love each and every one of them. Johns’ greatest strength is his ability to take past continuity, the source of DC’s richness, shed the excess fluff, leaving the essence of the characters while moving their lives forward. With that said, I have nothing left to say about Geoff Johns in this review, because the truth is I could rant about his genius for pages.

Instead I want to discuss Dale Eaglesham. Since the relaunch of JSofA, Eaglesham has produced some of the best art I have ever seen. While he doesn’t hit the photorealistic mark of an Alex Ross, or produce mind blowing layouts like J.H. Williams III, Dale Eaglesham instead nails drama. The man is the best in the business at selling character reactions and his work on JSofA is proof of that. I hear constant complaints about the length of the JSofA’s roster, as its getting to big to handle any real character development. However, I counter that by saying you get your character development in every single panel. If you see Citizen Steel in three panels of a whole issue, you know his emotional core based solely on his facial expressions and body language.

So while these last few issues have been light on action, Eaglesham’s exquisite mastery of human postures and body language sell the drama of dialogue. With a script like the one present in JSofA #12, a lot of artists wouldn’t have the chops to pull off the emotion presented. However, Eaglesham nails it, and though Geoff Johns’ is writing this series, its Dale Eaglesham’s art that keeps me looking at issues far after I read them.

“Thy Kingdom Come” continues on and this is but another excellent issue in a flawless relaunch.

Countdown to Final Crisis#12

By Paul Dini, Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti, Jesus Saiz, and Tom Derenick

Cruising around various comic book websites I have been noticing, over the past two weeks, that Countdown has been slowly getting better reviews. I find this quite shocking as the series has been taking a major hit from both readers and critics. However, because of the praise the last few issues have been given, I decided to pick up issue 12 and see what all the fuss is about.

Since this is my first issues since #45 (the series counts…down) I didn’t really know how the various storylines got to the point they are at. Luckily the issue flows pretty nicely and it seems that all roads now lead to Apokolips, a place I am quite fond of being a DC junky. This is fantastic news for the series as all the various plot threads seem to be tying together to give a blowout of a finale. And though I haven’t followed the series for thirty some odd issues, I found the issue easy to jump on board with as dialogue is informative enough to fill in the holes of why characters are where they are.

However, I still find most of the plot threads just as boring as before. Holly Robinson (Catwoman for one hot minute), Mary Marvel, and Harley Quinn’s adventures in a Paradise Island warrior training facility still bores me to tears. Jimmy Olsen’s quest of self discovery also turned me off after 5 issues and continues to do so due to a lack of movement. The only plots that hooked me from the beginning were the search for Ray Palmer by the New Challengers (Kyle, Jason, and Donna)) and Pied Piper and Trickster’s escape from Salvation Run (another whole mini series tying into the upcoming Final Crisis). While these stories continue to be interesting, I still don’t see them warranting the purchases of Countdown four times a month for three dollars a pop. That is just too much money to spend on two plots that move at a snail’s pace because room is needed to advance far less interesting stories.

Overall I found this issue of Countdown enjoyable but in hindsight not worth the purchase. It was good to revisit the series and look at some pretty art by Jesus Saiz, but it just reassured me why I dropped the title to begin with. I hope everything comes around for a slam bang finish leading into Grant Morrison’s epic, Final Crisis, but I know whatever happens won’t be worth the $153 needed to invest into this tale.