Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly DC Comics Review – Part Two

Final Crisis: Revelations 3

by Greg Rucka and Philip Tan

Darkseid’s plan is a bit further along in this title than any of the others, and we see two groups of evil: one a bunch of zombies controlled by the anti-life equation, and another group that seems to be under their own recognizance, which went out to find Cain. Why are some affected, but others aren’t? To avoid confusion, once in the church, follow the coloring of the word balloons, because there is a mistake with the balloon pointing to Spectre that says, “God abandons no one.” Spectre and Mercy look like they are saying each other’s sentences, but the coloring matching orange to what Mercy says and green to what Spectre says is always correct.

The story won’t necessarily make sense to a regular Christian, although Rucka does a good job with his exposition on mercy and forgiveness, free will and life, bringing religious concepts into the comic appropriate to the characters and the concept that they are instruments of God. I am just as confused as the characters are as to why, if Cain and all of the anti-life elements get full rein, Spectre and Mercy seem to be having problems with their powers.

All in all, the creative team has done a great job on this, including all of the art, coloring and lettering, except for that aforementioned small word balloon mistake. Cain is already having a showdown with Spectre, and we still have two full issues to go! Still the best tie-in FC event in my opinion.


Secret Six 2

by Gail Simone and Nicola Scott

Catman acts as a distraction to Batman while the rest of the team goes after their goal at Alcatraz. Rag Doll continues to steal the show with his decidedly different viewpoint on the world. This was a much better issue than the first one, but still decidedly below the top ranks, for many reasons.

One is the coloring. Although the first page is breath-taking, the colorist uses the exact same colors and hues every time we catch a glimpse of the city lights, allowing no alteration for different angles, no change in gradient. It’s a little sloppy, especially for people used to looking at Alex Ross type of stuff, which pays attention to different angles, and how the light and reflections change as you move around. Not that I want to constantly compare people to Alex Ross, but the best veterans in the comic industry used to take that sort of thing into account. The colorist should too, so we aren’t presented with the same glaring brightness on each panel.

The characterization is slightly off in places as well; unless something new has happened to Mammoth, he is not supposed to be quite that dense. I’m sure Simone could have chosen her words a little better, to convey that he is a little bit of a dummy, without making us think he has had a frontal lobotomy. Catman’s statement at the end when he announces that someday, he will kill Batman or vice versa, is supposed to have the sense of destiny behind it, but it falls flat. Nicola Scott’s art is nice to look at, but it does not convey the full sense of danger and savagery that is needed. There is not enough history between these two characters, and not enough explanatory build-up to make us believe anything will ever come of it. Eh, maybe Catman’s still got a screw loose.

The other small critique I have is that the group’s name does not match what it does. It seems to be nothing more than assassins or super-powered muscle for hire, and not much of anything secretive about them. The history of the Secret Six is rooted in espionage; the disconnection hurts the very premise of the series. Just how can you can you be the “Secret” Six when everyone already knows who you are? That very disconnect may serve to limit how long this series can last.


Trinity 19

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

Rita and Jose are on the run in the new universe, and Rita, more so than even Firestorm, knows what the world should be like. The introduction gives us a very nice treatment of Alfred, out of the normal service role he normally fills, but still of service, nonetheless. Would that other writers would remember more of Alfred’s talents other than field medicine and dusting the trophy case.

The backup story is just as long, and focuses this time on someone remembering imprints of Wonder Woman, and what she meant to the baric of the original reality. By coincidence, Mammoth appears here and has something slightly more reminiscent of his actual mental state than over in Secret Six.

The pacing is fairly good for a weekly series. You get the feeling the team is taking their time to set the stage, not only in exploring the realities of this revised universe, but to scope out the differences without the presence of the trinity, while showing the gaps in the reconstruction with the viewpoints of other characters. This has been a hallmark strength of Busiek dating back to his first writing assignments, letting us peek into the superhuman world from the vantage point of someone once-removed. Rather than some splashy panels or a two-page spread that narrates what a world without the big three would be like, we receive an in-depth look at someone’s slice of life, and are related a very personal impression of impact, even if it is a little foggy to them right now.

The backup stories mold so well into the main story, in a much better fashion than in Tangent: Superman’s Reign. Whether it’s that title, Secret Six, DC: Decisions, or whatever, there are always lessons in the Trinity title that astute writers can take away to help improve a lot of DC’s other titles. With just the right amount of mystery and explanation, Final Crisis could use a few pointers from this too.


Wonder Woman 25

by Gail Simone and Bernard Chang

The conclusion of an attack by the Queen of Fables happens. That’s about it. The symbiosis of children’s tales matched up with the film technique of Hollywood could have had so much potential. Instead it is mentioned once and nothing more concerning the connection is covered. Worse, the art is sickly, with a ton of yellow backgrounds with no variation. Everyone’s mouth seems slightly too large for their respective head.

While Simone’s efforts have been better than anyone else’s in the past couple years Wonder Woman still needs some definition to her character in her own title. Busiek has made an admirable attempt in Trinity, but nothing of that has been reflected in the main title here. Part of the frustrating limitations on Wonder Woman is her lack of understanding when others think of her. Superman and Batman have such an immediate presence, such an archetypal resonance that is still missing. This title is the perfect place to explore and establish such a thing. These little adventures that take up two or three issues at a time are an okay diversion, but the main character needs deeper work.
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Tpull is Travis Pullen. He started reading comics at 5 years old, and he can't seem to stop.

The pacing is fairly good for a weekly series. You get the feeling the team is taking their time to set the stage, not only in exploring the realities of this revised universe, but to scope out the differences without the presence of the trinity, while showing the gaps in the reconstruction with the viewpoints of other characters. This has been a hallmark strength of Busiek dating back to his first writing assignments, letting us peek into the superhuman world from the vantage point of someone once-removed.

-- Posted by: Steve at October 12, 2008 2:24 AM

That looks like a quote from the Trinity review, Steve. Did you have additional comments on it, or just a little "quoting for truth?"

-TP

-- Posted by: tpull at October 12, 2008 11:10 PM