Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly DC Comics Review – Part One

Detective Comics 847

by Paul Dini and Dustin Nguyen

Paul Dini gives us a spotlight on Hush, his past and his present. Suffice it to say, the guy has serious issues. I’m not sure Hush needed this, but we do seem to be getting a clearer picture of his delusions. The most interesting scene is between Catwoman and Zatanna, though. Dini is solid as always, but it does crowd the current scene, what with all these villains around who know Batman’s secret ID. Between Black Glove, al Ghul and Hush, why doesn’t he just unmask at this point? Why this is an R.I.P. crossover is beyond me, other than Nightwing mentioning the Black Glove once, but it does not fit in with the meta-story, you’ll see why as we discuss the other two Bat-titles this week.

Manhunter 33

by Marc Andreyko and Michael Gaydos

Manhunter is growing on me. Sure, it’s still one of the first ones I read when I get it, which in my order means it’s not one of the best, but it is slowly improving. Andreyko successfully paces between Manhunter, her family, and Dylan, making for a number of good scenes. With the revelation of Manhunter’s relatives, she was thrust much deeper into DC continuity than I ever thought she would be, but it seems to have worked, and adds some interesting drama to her story.

The development with the kid is telegraphed expertly, so you wouldn’t necessarily figure it out unless you were paying close attention; people who are used to comics probably will not be surprised per se, but it was pleasant nonetheless. Plus, next week we get a guest appearance by the Suicide Squad. Count me in!

Nightwing 147

by Peter J. Tomasi and Rags Morales

This is arguably one of the best issues of Nightwing in recent memory. The “Nightwing-symbol” looks awesome, and Don Kramer is at the top of his game on art. Tomasi even has Two-face keeping his doubles theme with the movies playing on the theatre marquee board. Some things are a little off, such as the recent choice in this comic and some others (i.e., Batgirl) to make Dick act like the impetuous hothead when, for most of his life, he has been the calm, cool and collected crime-fighter who always keeps his sense of humor.

They try another attempt at an impressive aerial picture combined with a lot of action, like in a recent issue against a flying opponent. Last time it didn’t make sense, but this one comes off much better.

One tidbit that is dropped is that Batman did not tell Dick that he was leaving Gotham City under the protection of Two-Face when the two of them plus Tim made their year-long sabbatical in 52. Perhaps Dick’s history with Two-Face? Another sign of Bruce playing things close to the vest? Or an alarming lack of trust in one of the people closest to Batman in the world, and a possible sign of his mental breakdown? Still waiting to see how this ties into Batman R..I.P., other than the fact that it’s coming out at the same time.

Robin 176

by Fabian Nicieza and Joe Bennett

At last, someone does something right for the reader! Although Detective and Nightwing were good, there are no editorial hints to help the reader track where to go in the Batman R.I.P. storyline. Here at the end, we are told to pick up Batman #679 next, which is very helpful to people like me who don’t want to dig through back issues to find the page listing all the crossovers, just to check and see if they gave us a chronological comic timeline or not.

The introductory scene transition can actually be a little confusing, so it helps to know that the first page is a flashback, and as soon as you turn the page, you’re in the present in another place. Another cool flashback introduces a mask with a voice command autodestruct, which was just highlighted over in Trinity, which Nicieza also has a hand in writing, so it’s neat to see those type of Easter eggs.

Nicieza is really impressing me with his run, too, and it didn’t take long. The idea that Robin has developed his own contacts on Gotham P.D. is an excellent idea, long overdue. The fun banter between Tim and Dick is also great, reflecting more of Dick’s humor than the recent “angry man” routine he’s been doing in the other comics lately. Nicieza also does a better job of catching us up to speed than Grant Morrison does. Tim’s insights examine all of the recent events in all of the Bat-titles and add up to make a pattern; he just can’t crack the entire puzzle yet.

We also learn here that Batman knew he was going to be taken out of the picture, and that he talked to somebody 49 hours previously, which makes Detective Comics weird, because both Rrobin and Nightwing got a chance to work with Bats in that issue, making for a slight disconnect. DC editors could really help remove some of these by giving us a good idea of what point in time each part of the story takes place, but why bother thinking of your reader now? It’s not like they’ve been doing us any favors recently.

Is it a coincidence that the only editorial help also comes from the one magazine with a newly-arrived writer to the title, who links together other issues and events, and has a better handle of the nature of the characters than most other contemporary writers in the Batman universe? Or is this the mark of a true comics professional who has learned his craft? I know there are some people who do not like Nicieza’s stuff, so their viewpoint might be interesting, to see the other side of the comic fan subjective opinion on what makes for a good comic.

Add this in to the recent developments, and all of the Bat-titles are better reads lately, partly due to efforts like in this one to connect things better.

Supergirl 32

by Kelly Puckett and Ron Randall

I try to glance at Supergirl when I have a chance, I really do, but the story is never write good enough to convince me to buy it. I took a chance on this one, and I actually liked it, so I’m a tad surprised, in a good way. I’ll try not to spoil it, but if you want to take a chance on a Supergirl comic, this is the one issue to try.

There is an interesting battle involving time travel, with a good result. At this point in time (pardon the pun), it’s hard to do a novel time travel concept in comic-land, but Puckett pulls it off. The art is cinema style, and appropriate for what the story is trying to convey, so kudos to Ron Randall and the rest of the creative team.

One potential problem with the story is that we have absolutely no idea how much later Supergirl arrives at her last location; we know some time has passed since where we started, and it could be as much as 30 years! For Supergirl to return to play with the rest of the DC universe, though, it needs to be much less. This is the one foggy point in the story, and it might take picking up next issue to see where and when she is. Hands down, though, the best story involving Supergirl I’ve read in a long time. _____________________________________________________________________
Tpull is Travis Pullen. He started reading comics at 5 years old, and he can't seem to stop.