Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly DC Comics Review – Part One

DC reviews coming at ya! Part One will always be the regular monthly series. Part Two, if needed, will cover various specials and limited series, and any monthly series that I do not normally collect, but decided to pick up that week. And now, the verdict:

The All New Atom 24

by Rick Remender and Pat Olliffe

Remender has not been on this title for that long, and considering next issue is the final issue in the series, it’s hard to know how much is his stuff, and how much is just him trying to finish off the story beats from previous writers while winding down the series. I suspect it’s more of the latter, because this issue features a somewhat stilted and hard-to-follow time travel tale introducing Lady Chronos.

We find out that Chronos was actually the one behind Ryan Choi getting a size-changing belt, not Ray Palmer. We still do not get to know why he has performed this elaborate ruse. There is a guest appearance by Booster Gold that only makes sense if you also collect his title, and even then, the details are sparse. We get one more issue to wrap up Chronos’ plan, Lady Chronos’ comment about spreading the plague, and everything else. With our luck, it will all just be a minor plot element for Final Crisis.

Detective Comics 845

by Paul Dini and Dustin Nguyen

Dini does just what I’ve been hoping for, he inserts a little actual sleuthing into the series titled “Detective.” It’s not a lot, but one of the cool aspects of Batman is not that he always magically seems to know everybody else’s secrets, but that he can do a little Sherlock Holmes explanation to let us know how he knows what he knows. The Riddler guest stars in this little mystery, and it’s a nice one-issue story that is very enjoyable, although it did have a fairly pointless cameo by Catwoman that mostly served to remind me that the last issue of Salvation Run is still not out.

Green Lantern 31

by Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis

Part three of “Secret Origin” continues here, as we take a delightful romp back in time to when Jordan first received his ring. There are some nice little touches here, such as the lantern emblem being missing from Hal’s uniform until he graduates boot camp. For those who might wonder why we are bothering to take four entire issues to go back and revisit Hal’s origin yet again, it’s because Johns is laying the foundation for what is to come by fleshing out more of what happened years ago. Johns takes this opportunity to showcase more members of the Corps and show us each one’s respective character.

Revising an origin is always tricky, because you have to add something meaningful without adding in too big a contradiction, and it becomes harder to do every time, because others before you have tried it, so you have to consider the successful bits that have been added by those writers who came before you. Johns succeeds, while managing to add emphasis that reinforces everything he has done with this character over the last few years: questioning the yellow impurity, moving up and mentioning more Abin Sur’s using a ship and heeding the prophecies, all of which will feed into the new color corps that are forming to oppose the Green Lantern Corps. This trip to the past sets a good stage for the upcoming storyline, and it’s exciting to see the pieces falling into place.

Oh, and you can also tell that Ivan Reis is having fun doing a smash-up job on the art duties. I highly recommend this title.

Justice Society of America 16

by Geoff Johns, Alex Ross, and Fernando Pasarin

Alex Ross has brought over his Superman character from the highly-acclaimed Kingdom Come series, and now Magog and Gog himself. This issue features the introduction of Gog, and he may not be the threat Superman thought he was. To their credit, the Society members do not rush into a senseless fight immediately, but give it some time to feel out this new force. Gog is a holdover from the Third World, meaning he predates the Fourth World powers like Darkseid, Mister Miracle, and company. Immediately, this raises the possibility of playing a part in the Final Crisis. DC is working harder that ever to intertwine the aspects of all the DC characters into one grand story, and so far, they are doing an excellent job.

Gog heals someone and asks who’s next, which raises an interesting philosophical question. It reminds me of Star Trek V. Bear with me, there’s a point to this digression. Star Trek V should have been a better movie, but William Shatner’s ego had buried a lot of bridges by the time he got to play with the Trek creation, and a lot of good stuff got left on the cutting room floor out of sabotage. But there was one good part where Spock’s brother “heals” Spcok and McCoy, but Kirk refuses, because he needs his pain. His pain is part of what makes him what he is.

So if someone like Gog comes along and heals the guy next to you, that’s all well and good for that guy. But when Gog offers out his hand and offers to magically fix YOU …what do you do? Come on, you know all those flaws you have! Is it only worth being human if you get to improve yourself? Is it cheating to take a shortcut when someone else offers it to you? Is the idea of someone else taking over and promising to make everything better actually a strange version of a threat? You’ve got a good comic when it can raise questions like this. Pasarin’s stage direction in the art lends itself to bring these questions up, and he still manages to depict all of the sprawling members of the Society in the issue. Great job!

Manhunter 31

by Marc Andreyko and Michael Gaydos

Manhunter’s back! And wonder of wonders, they continued the original numbering rather than starting over with a new #1!!!! Comic store owners across the nation salute DC today. We pick up mostly where we left off, and Kate has managed to get herself sucked right into the thick of DC continuity. Here we get re-introduced to Iron Monroe, the World War II Substitute for Superman when DC editorial made the decision after Crisis on Infinite Earths that the major DC heroes weren’t around for the war.

Manhunter was always a solid read, but not in the top tier. It will be interesting to see what happens as Andreyko takes a second shot at the character. The title was always worth a read to me, and it is here as well, but it’s hard to see how it could get into my list of favorites.

Nightwing 145

by Peter J. Tomasi and Rags Morales

Talia is up to no good, and Ra’s Al Ghul breaks out of Arkham. Never a dull moment, is there? Considering Batman just put Al Ghul there, they have him recover and break out a lot earlier than I thought he would, and it kind of cheapens the ending of Grant Morrison’s Al Ghul story over in Batman. Tomasi hasn’t quite grasped Nightwing’s character yet, and Dick Grayson is still a little blank, by which I mean anybody could be in that costume right now. Morales is doing well with the material he is given, but he is capable of doing more; he just has to be given something more with which to work! Hopefully Tomasi will get a better handle on things as he continues.

Compared with many previous writers of this series, Tomasi is actually doing a fairly competent job, but Dick Grayson is one of my favorite characters, and I wish DC would devote more attention and effort to giving him the vehicle he deserves to really shine. Right now, the series feels like a placeholder for something better to come along.

Tpull is Travis Pullen. He started reading comics at 5 years old, and he can't seem to stop.