Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly DC Comics Review

Only four DC titles this week, so no need for a part 2.

Batman 682

by Grant Morrison and Lee Garbett

Pretty cool cover that manages to remind me of the 60’s television show, with an unusual treatment of color. It took me a second look to catch Bat-Mite in the background. This issue takes place entirely in Bruce Wayne’s mind, as Final Crisis finally is reflected in the title. Batman has been captured by Darkseid’s forces, and they plan to build an army of soldiers using traits stolen from his psyche. Supposedly, in the mental struggle, Batman will give up all of his “secrets” to the Lump, who is disguised as Alfred in Bruce’s mindscape. The final panel showing us the captive body of Batman is slightly disconnected from how they describe Bruce “almost” detecting Lump’s presence; the physical agony of the restrained Batman makes it appear that this is not delicate probing, but sheer mental torture, and he should most definitely know something is wrong.

Those slight disconnects happen in the mindscape as well, with Morrison taking us back to the night Bruce settled on the idea of Batman; the recreation attempt has some details wrong, which Bruce notices. The art is pretty good, and the whimsy of Alfred pondering other animals Bruce could have chosen as his muse is funny, but beautifully drawn. Morrison fast-forwards through Batman’s career, using a Miss Madison as a foil for all the women Bruce has ignored during his crusade.

The highlight of the comic is the description of Robin’s entry into Batman’s life, and this issue is better than all of the dreck that we’ve been going through in this title for six months or longer. We also have a “reinvention” explanation of the Joker that fits very well. It’s almost as if Morrison has been saving up his good stuff for now.

The issue goes sideways when Morrison insists on giving Doctor Hurt almost as much importance and screen time as the Joker. All the other villains that Batman has faced get short thrift so Morrison can obsess on his new villain somehow being significant enough to mark a place at the front of the line. It is artificial, and since his effort has fallen short for all of R.I.P., it falls flat on the reader. Morrison jumps the shark by having the telepathic parasite, Lump, actually say Hurt’s name out loud in the real world, to drive home how “important” Hurt is supposed to be to Batman’s world, when most readers understand he will quickly become a minor footnote, shoved aside for the rest of Batman’s rogue gallery, and only brought out by some other writer who can’t come up with his own new villain or plot, and wants to recycle off of Morrison’s reputation.

There are a couple of things that interfere with this being a great issue. One is the condensed errors of Bruce’s memories. For example, Dick’s transformation from Robin to Nightwing was a classic story, legendary in its rare ability to show a stagnant comic character growing and showing dimension in comics. It is given a one-panel treatment, glossing over all of the meaning and substance. The second thing is the insertion of Doctor Hurt. Morrison tried so hard over the past few years to ret-con his own version of Ra’s al Ghul, but he is forced to display his own lack in this very issue which is meant to reinforce Hurt’s importance. The Joker is the first and best foil for Batman, and Morrison shows this with the multiple appearances of Joker, easily overshadowing Hurt by necessity. This serves only to highlight how much of a pale shadow Morrison’s new bad guy is. The real problem is that you could have thrown in Two-Face or even Bane at this point, and prove the same point, which also only goes to show that Hurt should be much farther down the list than the writer wants.

These problems aside, the issue is much improved from where we were, and I am looking forward to the title finally synching up with Final Crisis, if only to help us move on from the mess and have DC try to focus on the next chapter of Batman’s life.


Justice Society of America 21

by Geoff Johns, Alex Ross, and Dale Eaglesham

I may have missed it, but beyond the last names on the cover, I did not see a listing of credits for the creative team inside the comic. Eaglesham has the art chores this time, and I can never decide if I like him better than Pasarin or not. Gog turns on people fast, since nobody was really all that eager to bow to a God right at this particular moment. Sand has discovered that Gog is merging with the planet, and if Gog leaves, he will rip the planet apart, once the process is complete.

The end result is not the beneficent God from the Bible, whose Son sacrificed Himself, leaving people with the free will to follow Him or not; this Gog has declared you WILL follow him, or else. Citizen Steel has his won defining moment when he chooses a side, and even David, the new Magog, refuses to follow Gog’s plan. For a god, Gog tends to get a lot of things wrong. His own hand-picked servant won’t back him; he was over-confident that Steel would follow him; and in a fit of anger, he takes back his gift from Damage, even though it looks like Damage was going to do whatever Gog asked.

Johns is pulling off a tough feat, giving time to two dozen characters. Some of the newer ones, like Judomaster and the new Wildcat could use more screen time, but hopefully they’ll get around to that. Alan Scott chooses to outfit himself in armor reminiscent of Kingdom Come, and Jay Garrick gets a little treatment from Gog that also reminds us of the Flash from that mini-series. Does Magog survive? What will happen to the KC Superman? It’s questions like these that make you look forward to the next issue.


Terror Titans 3

by Sean McKeever and Joe Bennett

The main event is the confrontation between Dreadbolt and his dad, Bolt. The rounds of combat continue, with Star-Spangled Kid coming out a winner again. Not bad, for someone we haven’t seen before. It’s still a little hard to see someone else besides Sylvester Pemberton in the suit, and it feels wrong. Not that someone else can’t wear the suit, but the reader should have been given more insight into who this guy is; we get a one-page origin for the female Persuader at the beginning, but they can’t show us this guy’s past?

Back to Dreadbolt. He takes a pounding from his dad, then basically begs his dad. Bolt comes back and grabs his hand, and Dreadbolt releases an energy discharge. Did it slice him in half? On the next page, Bolt has somehow been teleported or fused into a brick chimney. I consulted with a couple of other people to make sure I wasn’t losing my mind, but it was very unclear how this was accomplished. This is precisely the sort of thing that an editor would point out as being poor storytelling, and would demand to be redone.

Next, Clock King makes him the leader of the Terror Titans. Now, I’ve heard of a gang initiate having to kill someone to get his membership in the group, but they don’t make him the leader off of his first kill. This series is falling down fast.

For the end part, Ravager has agreed to face the previous champion of the arena, and I am trying to figure out what fanatic it is going to be. After hyping it up, the shocking opponent is… Static?!? A forgotten has-been from the Milestone line? How lame is it to suggest people would be quaking in their boots when facing someone whose name is what you get when your TV is on the fritz? Stupid DC crossovers! Just what this mini-series did not need, to be used as promotional material for characters almost nobody cared about the first time around. Sigh. At least the art was okay…


Trinity 27

by Kurt Busiek, Mark Bagley, Fabian Nicieza, Scott McDaniel and Andy Owens

The heroes are beginning to assemble in part one, while Konvikt arrives to join the other two New Trinity, Morgaine and Enigma. Rita has gained enough understanding of her place in the universe to bring out the faces of the big three, noting their status as symbols of the underlying strength of the universe as it should be. This series is a nice place to see some minor DC characters that are colorful, but not featured in today’s modern DC comics.

The second portion shows the four super-powered goons of Morgaine breaking out of prison. TVM breaks out first, then picks up Primat and Swashbuckler, but they actually go to the Tattooed Man and help him rearrange his tattoos into the ritual bindings that give him the power of Sun-Chained-in-Ink. No sooner are all of these guys reunited than Morgaine contacts them and orders them to raise an army from the villains in prison. Another good issue, with it feeling like they have so much happening, and you finish it fast; sort of makes me want to wait and hold onto an issue for a week, and read a couple of them at a time.

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

I was going to leave this alone, but... Miss Madison in the Batman comic was Julie Madison, engaged to Bruce Wayne in the earliest Batman stories. I wasn't sure if you meant Madison was appearing as a metaphor for all the women in Bruce's life, or if Morrison made her up for this particular issue.

I enjoyed seeing Lump again. I don't know if I've seen him since the original Kirby run of Mr. Miracle.

-- Posted by: Ryan at December 8, 2008 4:55 PM

Wow!!! Really a nice post. Thanks a lot friend. Any way, www.uploaded.tv offers you a golden opportunity to make money online by uploading videos, pictures and musics. Just go through and easy sign up, uploaded.tv

-- Posted by: Palash Mondal at December 8, 2008 8:42 PM

Hey, Ryan. I meant she was held up as a metaphor for every woman. Although now that I've had time to think about it, I suppose it's possible he focused on only her, but I think it reads better if she is treated as a metaphor, given the scope of his recollections.

-TP

-- Posted by: tpull at December 8, 2008 9:55 PM

Johns continues to rock the Gog storyline and link it up with Kingdom Come. JSA is consistently my favourite book in the DC universe.

-- Posted by: Simon MacDonald at December 8, 2008 10:03 PM

It seems more powerful as a metaphor. It just happens to work either way, I think.

-- Posted by: Ryan at December 9, 2008 1:00 AM