Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly DC Comics Review – Part One

Checkmate 31

by Bruce Jones and Manuel Garcia

Thankfully, we have reached the end of this series. It would have been less painful to end it sooner; the last storyline reads like a poor back-up story that should have gone in Jones’ other title, The War That Time Forgot. Garica’s pencils are nice to look at, and he makes the most of the plot he is given. Part of the problem is that the entire cast of Checkmate has been shoved aside to showcase the Global Guardians. Maybe they deserve their own series, but I wanted to see more of the original crew.

What happens in 2009? Do these guys get a new series, or will they only show up in the background of the DC universe? Time will tell. We can only hope that a good writer sees their potential, and the concept does not fall into limbo for too long.

Justice League of America 26

by Dwayne McDuffie and Ed Benes

This is one of the better issues of JLA I have read in recent memory. Granted, the Brown Bomber is a little too silly (I suspect the stereotype can only be used because McDuffie himself is black, because anybody else trying it would be called out as racist in a second), and Benes has an obvious habit of drawing Vixen to make sure he can showcase her buttocks, and McDuffie is dropping characters like Xombi from Milestone into the alternate Green Lantern slot to foreshadow an upcoming crossover with characters nobody has been demanding to bring back… wait, did I say this issue was better?

Actually, yeah, it is. The alternate versions of the JLA are nice variations, and the obscure racial joke character aside, it is a fun read. Anansi is true to her(?) word, in that by losing to Vixen Anansi wins. The whole thing is a test to put Vixen through her paces so she will be able to confront a future villain. The entire story wraps up nice and tidy with this issue, except for this new villain who can see the restructuring of reality, and I think they could have spread it out over one more issue, focusing on the dreamworld that Vixen found herself in, but I’ll take too short of a good story over dragging out a story for too long.

I find myself hoping for DC to bring back the letters page, if only to find out what other people are thinking of this title. I tend to like the art, but the story is taking its own sweet time to improve. If they can get the Milestone stuff out of the way quickly, maybe we can get back to stories that focus on the actual JLA, rather than having the team used as a backdrop to plug other DC concepts.

Legion of Super-Heroes 47

by Jim Shooter and Rick Leonardi

Jim Shooter has put on his thinking cap, as we get a nice intellectual explanation of how Chameleon’s powers work. Brainiac 5 gets a little insight as to how he can get a better handle on his situation with Nura, and Shooter tries to move along a number of sub-plots. Leonardi might be the wrong artist for this title; in some panels where other Legionnaires are part of the background, they are too much so, not participating in the story enough to flesh them out. When Levitz was writing the title, even if a couple of heroes were doing nothing more than playing a game, there would still be some interaction that involved them, or at least conversation between them.

That said, this issue was light years better than the previous few, most likely because the new whiz kid liaison was nowhere to be seen. Projectra has some decidedly un-heroic plans, and Lightning Lad can’t take his eyes off the new intruder planet, both of which have good potential. Now if only we can convince DC to let us vote for the Legion leader again like we used to be able to do…

Superman 681

by James Robinson and Renato Guedes

The New Krypton storyline kicks into gear here, including a scene with various heroes expressing their concern to Superman about a hundred thousand super-powered Kryptonians wandering loose on the planet. Aside from Wonder Woman making some weird awkward slip about Kendra, referring to her as a Thanagarian at first, it reads well. The problem is that Robinson keeps putting weird stuff in the conversation, having these heroes say things we normally don’t witness them saying. Guedes does great on the art, and Alex Ross continues to do the covers, so that part doesn’t need much improvement.

We also finally get a decent Krypto scene. For the record, I love Krytpo. If I could have a super-dog, I’d jump at the chance. What was ridiculous was the thought bubble trying to show us a “doggy thought” that ruined any tension or drama in the scenes. Here, Robinson gives us a simple picture that is worth a thousand words, and makes it one of the most touching scenes in a year’s worth of Superman comics. Now if only Robinson can keep this up, and learn to let more of the picture tell the story, as his words tend to make a mess of things.

The villain appearance at the end could be from a couple of different sources, most likely related to the military guy who wants to kill all Kryptonians. The introduction of Kandor’s population has introduced a great complication into DC’s universe, ripe with possibilities. I am eager to see what comes next. And I have to give Robinson some credit, he portrays the president’s sense of humor perfectly regarding Supergirl. Check this out, fans, I believe you will enjoy it.

Superman/Batman 53

by Michael Green, Mike Johnson, and Rags Morales

The whole theme of the comic is Freaky Friday, with Bats and Supes trading places to patrol their respective friend’s city, and we get to find out exactly what each one thinks of the arrangement. It’s humorous without being silly, and the act that Bruce Wayne puts on later is classic buffoon. When this series first came out, I was wary, but the current creative team is bringing back a ‘World’s Finest’ feel to it. Now the duo have traded powers too, and in an original way; it doesn’t have the hokey, simplistic feel that comes from the older Golden Age stories involving switcheroos. Plus, Rags Morales on the art! I think the inking could be better, but it’s nice to see DC put one of their heavy hitters on the title to help give it some serious traction.

Teen Titans 64

by Sean McKeever and Fernando Dagnino

They tricked me! Eddy Barrows does the cover, and I open it up to think that he has gotten better at the art, but I finally realize it’s a different artist on the inside! I can’t complain, I like Dagnino’s style, if he would just put a little effort into giving us some decent backgrounds. The plot is simple enough, with the team fighting, then welcoming Bombshell, while Cassie figures out who killed Marvin with a little help from Zeus.

I understand there is still a lot of grief over bringing Marvin and Wendy into the main DC continuity only to kill off Marvin, but the fact is, nobody else was using the characters. They could have used a little more time in the spotlight, but as far as the setup goes, it was effective. Lycus may be a formidable challenge for Cassie and the team. The ‘drafting’ of Bombshell makes this issue feel like a pacing issue; by that I mean they are positioning things for the next major conflict. They used to do this a lot in the past, but they were either more subtle about it, or the payoff was a lot closer, like in the same issue or the next issue. Here, we know Bombshells’ issues will take a backseat to Lycus and his plans. For a more subtle pacing, check out Wolfman and Perez’s treatment of Terra in the new Teen Titans; the trade paperback is called Judas Contract.

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