Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly DC Comics Review – Part Two

Does it mean anything when half of the mini-series are better than the regular monthly comic series?

Ambush Bug: Year None 4

by Keith Giffen and Robert Fleming

Sadly, the magic has burned out of my fanboy love for the return of Ambush Bug. We start off with trying to make fun of Dan Didio, combined with quotes from the Dark Knight. Then we get diverted to the filthy sock and others, so there’s not even much of the bug himself in the issue. It just feels like too many attempts at gags that have fallen short, and two more issues for a mini-series that should have stuck to four. I don’t think I can bring myself to buy the last two.

Batgirl 5

by Adam Beechen and Jim Calafiore

Calafiore gives us some nice visuals this issue as Batgirl continues her vengeance trip against Cain. Since the series is about Batgirl, of course she gets the drop on Nightwing when he tries to stop her, and she out-maneuvers Batman to gun him down too, showing that a writer can have basically anything he wants to have happen in a comic happen the way he wants it to. It feels artificial, and as prominent a foe as Batman can be, most readers will tend to think that there should have been some sabotage or something more to stop Batman, if they would put a little more thought into it. I mean, this is a guy that calculated defeats for every member of the Justice League on the off chance they were controlled by an enemy, so it should take slightly more effort for Batgirl to set him back.

The rest of the issue makes a little sense, but not totally. Marque also wants Cain dead, but has few qualms about anybody else in her path getting hurt. If Batgirl had just taken her aside and said that they would do it together, that might make a tidbit more sense. As it is, I can still accept the logic behind Cassandra taking Marque out of play, and then moving on to intercept Cain. Next issue ends the mini-series, but I already feel as if they have not done enough to justify a regular monthly series for this character.

JSA Kingdom Come Special: Magog 1

by Peter Tomasi and Fernando Pasarin

Alex Ross does only the cover for this next JSA special. The insides have the team following Gog; the half of the JSA that agreed with his methods, that is. Not only is Pasarin good on the art, but the colors and inking are excellent too, making a great team all around. Magog himself runs off to help his old military outfit, and an effort is made to flesh out the background of this character. There are surprisingly few military super-heroes who are not caricatures, or whose military background only serves as a plot device or to supply credentials. Here, the military angle is focused on a lot more than usual.

A backup story by Geoff Johns catches us up to speed on Starman, how he got his neat costume, and Scot Kolins does some excellent art that gives us Starman’s entire history in two pages (take that, Flash writers!), and two pages of flashbacks to show us the preparations for his current mission. This backup story continues along with the rest of the saga in the next Special, The Kingdom #1. It’s like getting more JSA stories every month, and it’s great!

Rann/Thanagar Holy War 7

by Jim Starlin and Ron Lim

Captain Comet’s teleportation powers are almost the only ace in the hole that this team has, as other conventional methods cannot penetrate all the barriers that Synnar has set up. Starfire tries the old “enemy of my enemy is my friend” bit with Lady Styx, but the Lady ain’t buying it. Luckily, she doesn’t get her hands on Starfire. Even better, she still plans to go up against Synnar, there’s just not much in the way of an alliance between her and our heroes; it’s a slight twist on the normal “good guys team up with bad guys to take down a bigger threat” idea, and it reads well.

Adam Strange and Comet discover the source of Synnar’s power supply, and it is BIG. It strains the reader’s ability to believe, but I’m going along with it for the sake of the story. He’s basically using trillions of people as his car battery, it’s just hard to think of how they managed to corral that many people. Then it’s time for the main attack, and all of the players join in. Next issue concludes the mini-series, and I am looking forward to it, in a good way.

Tangent: Superman’s Reign 9

by Dan Jurgens and Carlos Magno

backup story by Ron Marz and Andie Tong

Call me crazy, but Dan Jurgens is improving as a writer. What might have fallen flat as a read for me has been surprisingly able to hold my interest, and part of the reason is that Jurgens is increasingly able to do not just suitable portrayals of some of my favorite characters, but to understand and convey some of their best qualities. It reminds me a little of the Trinity series, and so does the alternate universe part, but with a slight difference. In Tangent, the regular heroes with whom we are familiar fight alongside the “alternate” heroes.

Carlos Magno gives credible rendering in the art the whole way through, as Batman and company go in search of the alternate Superman’s personal kryptonite, Lola Dent, and said Superman continues to try to take over New Earth, where all of our regular heroes live. A short five page backup story continues giving background on the alternate heroes, but with some foreshadowing finally that suggests more may be going on than merely a history feed. What is guy hiding, and how will it play into the main story? They took long enough to introduce this element, now I hope it will pay off.

Trinity 25

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

The colorless, uniformed Justice Society International invades the headquarters of the League, and some of the members are pleasant surprises. The story moves fast, as the two villains stop fighting and agree to find their third partner to complete their attempt to gain ultimate power. Rita Covas is turning out to be a focal point in the chaos, and the transformed heroes of this universe are attempting to get their act together and solve things without the presence of the big three.

The backup story has Alfred bringing together some of the supporting cast, I guess you would call it, of the big three. The changes to the universe are still gestating, not fully formed, so it is not too hard to jog them all into awareness, or at least a sensation of how things should properly be. Next issue marks the halfway point of the series! Will they be able to maintain the momentum of a weekly series without forcing it to drag out? We shall see!
Tpull is Travis Pullen. He started reading comics at 5 years old, and he can't seem to stop.

Actually I am not surprised at all that Batgirl could take down Batman and Nightwing. She has always been written this way, and I hate defending Beechen, but she has always been considered to be as good as if not better fighter then Batman.

And no she doesn't need her own series, but she needs to be acknowledged in the main bat titles as being a member of the bat family. Cause right now they almost never mention her.

-- Posted by: Steve at November 23, 2008 2:20 AM

I agree, Steve. Besides Batman and the Outsiders, she is getting short thrift out of five or six potential Bat-places she could be showing up. She's a perfect character to showcase in eight-page backup stories, even.


-- Posted by: tpull at November 23, 2008 3:31 PM