Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly DC Comics Review – Part Two

Gotham Underground 9

by Frank Tieri and J. Calafiore

The final issue of this mini-series has one good scene between Penguin and the Riddler, but after that, it reads like an average issue of any Bat-comic. One of the bigger obstacles is that Batman blackmails Penguin into being a Bat-rat, with the implication that Bats will leave Penguin to die if he doesn’t agree. Penguin should have called him on his bluff. Everyone knows Batman doesn’t let people die. It’s a major flaw in the portrayal of his character, and some quick editing by oh, ANYONE at DC could have had the scene re-written and still achieve the same goal, but without turning Batman into the Punisher.

There is also poor resolution to the series, as the gang situation is not really resolved. We actually end on a conversation between Batman and Gordon with Batman reassuring him that the Bat will take care of things. All while a fight goes on right under the Bat-signal, in front of the police station?!? Ah well, at least there’s a funny story beat with Gordon and Robin. Overall grade for the entire limited series? A solid ‘C.’ Tieri rarely does better.

Salvation Run 7

by Matthew Sturges and Sean Chen

Another final issue for a limited series, and this one came out a little late, if I’m not mistaken. I have been a long-time big fan of Sean Chen since I first saw his work over at Marvel, and his work here is a big letdown. All the villain faces are drawn with cookie-cutter sameness, but given his past work, I am inclined to spread some of the blame to his inkers.

The story is a basic all-out war theme, but you can hardly care about most of the D-list villains, and whether they make it out alive. All of the majors do, to no surprise. Nothing comes from Vandal Savages intrigues, so most of that over the series was a waste of pages designed specifically as a plot device, and it doesn’t work very well. We do have a ton of unnecessary deaths, as apparently Heatmonger, Thunder, Lightning, Plasmus, Neutron, and Warp join Monsieur Mallah and the Brain on the trash heap of villain history. Like they couldn’t have just taken out one or two, they had to have all six go at once? Thunder and Lightning weren’t even villains, really, they were neat creations of Marv Wolfman and George Perez, and consensus is the were killed to eliminate confusion between Black Lightning’s new “been around for years” children, Thunder over in Outsiders, and Lightning in JSA. Warp and Houngan had potential still, and so did Neutron. With our luck, they will have new people somehow assume their identities in a year or two. I know! Judd Winnick will have the son of Neutron have a duplicate accident and create the same type of suit for him!

This whole series was a good idea that failed in the attempt. Granted, writers switched in the middle of the series, but the whole thing has a rushed sense to it, as if it were a cheap add-on to the fabric of a better story that took place in several DC titles. This is supposed to be one of the lead-ins to Final Crisis, and I can only hope that does not indicate what state of affairs the plot is in for Final Crisis. I have to grade this a ‘D,’ and pray that I never see Sean Chen’s name on art this bad again. Wasted Potential in both story and art.

Trinity 2

by Kurt Busiek, Mark Bagley, Fabian Nicieza, Scott McDaniel and Andy Owens

DC does a nice job with a limited series finally! We have the second week in a weekly series, and it came out on time, so we have to count our blessings and be thankful, because lateness has become a real problem these days. Bagley is growing as an artist, and he seems better than ever before to me. Busiek manages the pacing well, switching between Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman like an expert. The conversation between Superman and Wonder Woman seems more like one they would have had twenty years ago, but I quibble.

The second story from issue 1 is folded into the main story here, as Morgaine Le Fey and Enigma observe our heroes. Busiek makes a minor mistake, as he omits letting us know who Morgaine is. He introduced her last issue, but nobody says her name her, which can confuse a new reader. Not a problem if you’re writing things in trade format, but for independent issues, identifying all characters is a must every time.

The second part of the story features John Stewart, and while again part two is not as good as part one, I was prepared to expect a transition to a different aspect of the story. Trinity looks to do a good job featuring all of the DC universe with this pattern, not just the Big Three. We have already had decent supporting cast appearances, and it’s only issue 2! This series is already leaps and bounds above Coutndown.

Wonder Woman 21

by Gail Simone and Aaron Lopresti

I don’t always collect Wonder Woman, but I wanted to see what Gail Simone could do with the character. I’m disappointed. Most of that comes from the butchering of Nemesis. The powers-that-be have allowed writers to take a serious, older spy of the highest order worthy of Batman’s admiration, and devolve him into a relative youngster who serves as almost nothing more than a love interest (!) for Wonder Woman. Later, his espionage skills are ignored as he barges into an apartment like a member of S.W.A.T. Way to mishandle a spy.

Simone, in the meantime, has been too influenced by pop culture, as the recent Beowulf movie no doubt caused her to feature that particular legend in the comics. Mention of Beowulf in Thor at any time and I would not be surprised. To have Beowulf never appear in Wonder Woman before, but he pops up after a major motion picture about him, and we’re talking derivative. Lopresti’s art saves this somewhat, but then there’s a really stupid caption: “I forget what it’s like to have to dodge.” Isn’t this Ms. Bullets and Bracelets herself? Wonder Woman has spent her entire life in combat deflecting and dodging things. Simone throws all that out the window and pretends Diana has Superman’s invulnerability, and does nothing but blunder Hulk-like into every battle, unafraid of being harmed. No real person who goes into battle does this if they are anything less than Superman-class.

The rest of the story also does not sit well with me, as Diana has started praying to a different “God.” Talk about fickle. I’ve got an idea, let’s take one of the most defining traits of Diana’s history, her relationship with the Greek deities, and just throw her faith out the window. That will give the readers a sense of what she’s all about! Talk about success in identifying her for a new generation! So much for the idea that a woman writer would do any better with this character. If this keeps up, DC will never be able to justify Wonder Woman as belonging to the Big Three.


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