Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly DC Comics Review

The bad news is I didn’t get some of this week’s comics due to damages in shipping. The good news I can squeeze all my reviews into one post!

Birds of Prey 119

by Tony Bedard and Nicola Scott

Has it really been 119 issues? Tony Bedard is as good a choice as any to keep this title going, and he opens up with a tongue-in-cheek lame villain, serving to establish the fact that super-heroes are not welcome in the precise new place the birds have come to roost. He also manages to show us a piece of character from each of the women, touching upon the possibility that Misfit and Black Alice might be related. My favorite treatment is of Lady Blackhawk; Bedard portrays her as a person from out of time, which is what she is. Back in the day, a lot of women had terrible things happen to them, and there was no choice; either you moved on or you completely broke down. Instead of crying in her soup, Lady Blackhawk picks up and moves on, which is precisely what you need to be able to do in her line of work.

The story breaks down when Babs has Manhunter spying on Black Canary. Like the Oracle can’t manage to do some more stealthy, electronic surveillance? Plus, Manhunter has somehow changed from a newer hero, uncertain of herself, into an arrogant newbie who shrugs her shoulders and decides to tackle the person she replaced on the team. The motivation is really weak, so hopefully there will be less of this nonsense in the future.

The Brave and the Bold 14

by Mark Waid and Scott Kolins

The story of Megistus is over, and we are entering something new. This issue is problematic for me because I like the art of Scott Kolins, but it doesn’t seem to mesh well with DC characters, whereas when he drew the Avengers, they looked awesome. Mark Waid goes off the road a little bit with his description of Green Arrow as an old man. Ollie spent an entire year learning how to be on e of the best martial artists in the world. Plus, you have to have incredible upper body strength to pull a compound bow the way he does. The idea that Ollie is a creaking old man that can hardly pull off a forward roll is slightly ridiculous.

The issue ends on a cliffhanger (and literally on a cliff!). It’s a trick, of course, but I want to tune in next issue when we see how Waid wraps this up, and manages at the same time to transition the story to the two next heroes, as he so ably manages to do every issue.

Flash 241

by Tom Peyer and Freddie Williams III

The Flash used to be what I call a reliable title, right up to the end of the first series, resulting in Barry Allen reuniting with Iris in the future. Wally West grew into a great legacy hero, and Barry had a noble, heroic death in Crisis on Infinite earths. In the meantime, Geoff Johns took great pains to have Impulse grow up over in he Teen Titans.

So what does DC do? It looks like they ran out of ideas, killed Bart for no good reason, had him die a senseless death at the hands of the Rogues, who in recent years have taken a much more laid-back approach to the whole “kill the hero” thing, to inexplicably all turn into rabid killers simultaneously. Then they bring West back with two grown kids, and make his series feel like a placeholder. The art is not good enough, but I’m approaching a wait-and-see effort for the writing. I am still hoping against all hope that they let Barry remain where he is, and do not dilute the one remaining meaningful death left in the entire DC universe. The whole reason the original Crisis resonates is for its shock at killing one of their more prominent heroes. Since they have brought back everyone else, the only shocking (and good) thing they can do with Barry is leave him where he is.

Anyone else want to pray with me?

Justice League of America 22

by Dwayne McDuffie and Ed Benes

Ah, the cover is so cool, and the story is so… so-so. Benes does a great job with what he’s been given, but McDuffie needs to go as soon as possible. In a discussion with Red tornado, Kathy makes a joke about porn. Anyone who knows the character of Kathy Sutton should not have that kind of thing come out of her mouth; since when did DC forget that kids still occasionally read this comic? Responsible editors should be monitoring this sort of thing. It’s the JLA, not the Authority, here. The joke was out of place and out of character.

There is a great scene between Red Arrow and Hawkgirl, but then we finally have Vixen confess that her powers have changed, and she has been leeching from her teammates. Black Canary decides to take this honesty and reward it with expulsion. Let’s see now, Batman knew her secret, Superman already knew, Wonder Woman knows, as does Hal Jordan and Red Arrow… when half the team is on the secret already, don’t you think a seasoned veteran like Black Canary might cut her some slack? It just doesn’t ring true. At least she offers to help Vixen figure things out, afterward. With a different writer, Benes could probably have a lot more action to do. As it is, a lot of this issue was people sitting around talking. You know, just like last issue? When do we get to see them do something besides act as a prop for the rest of the crossovers DC want us to buy?

Superman/Batman 49

by Michael Green and Mike Johnson

The end of Superman’s kryptonite search-and-destroy story falls apart very quickly. Lana is the person in charge of Lexcorp now, the company behind the manufacture of so many kryptonite-based weapons. The idiocy begins when Lana dismisses kryptonite-laced warheads launched against Superman inside city limits as a hold-over from when Lex was around. Superman lets it drop way too easily. Seriously, if one of your best friends launched a lethal weapon at you, would you expect the response to be, “Oh that. Forget about that.”

Next, it turns out that Lana has been around long enough and gotten proficient enough to hide 1,000 caches of kryptonite. You remember when this story started, and Batman had a schematic showing all the kryptonite deposits on the entire planet? Well, Lexcorp was able to hide all one thousand(!) caches from Batman’s scanners. After all these years, how did Lex have the foresight to not only accumulate that much, but also pay all the storage fees and property fees on the warehouses, let alone think of blocking scanners that had not been developed yet. Never mind logic, let’s just assume Lana can do anything and everything she wants to at the press of a button.

That’s the next part that’s horrible. Lana has everything keyed right to her personal computer in her office. Even the president keeps his nuclear briefcase more secure! Superman is enough of an idiot that he forgets he has super speed, and could stop her from pressing the button any time he wants. Don’t worry, Hiro already mass-produced the way to fix planet-wide kryptonite dust, and did it without asking or mentioning it to everyone. All in a day’s work! Lana is being manipulated, but Clark and Batman, the world’s greatest detective, chalk it up to Lana’s flimsy “I have a thousand families to feed” excuse as to why she would be willing to suddenly kill Superman. Pitifully weak.

DC has a lot better to do if they are going to give us reasonable stories. It would help if they didn’t keep violating the parameters of the universe and the powers they have set up themselves. It’s only a good story if you’re eight years old. Even then, the eight-year old would be bugging his older brother incessantly, asking him why didn’t Superman use his super speed to stop Lana.

Trinity 3

by Kurt Busiek, Mark Bagley, Fabian Nicieza, and Mike Norton

I think Kurt Busiek is slipping a little bit. Black Canary actually spends a lot of time barking out obvious orders, and she has to ask Flash twice (!) for a simple damage assessment. Wally would have had the BDA completed and reported back to her before she finished her first sentence. Was Flash daydreaming? And why was he not arriving under his own power, but letting Firestorm “strain” to carry the whole group? He could have arrived much faster and had a report ready, instead of waiting for Canary to nag him about it. It is all too artificial, to help establish that Black Canary is the team leader, and it is unnecessary.

The rest of the story is good but too fast, and the main plot still gets cut off to show us a second mini-plot. I can’t wait for the mini-plot to tie in fully with the big three so we can have one full issue of goodness. At least it comes out once a week, so we don’t have to read half a comic, and then wait for a month for the second half.

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

Marv Wolfman always believed that any story containing The Flash should really end before it starts, and the villain should always be caught and serving time by the end of the first panel....

He says it better, however, the point is, unless you give The Flash something else to think about/be distracted by, you don't really have much of a story because of his super speed....

-- Posted by: Mike Shields at June 22, 2008 1:11 AM

That's definitely a valid point. There have been numerous writers who have managed to do just that in the past, so hopefully they remind the next writer about that aspect.

-- Posted by: tpull at June 22, 2008 1:41 AM