Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly DC Comics Review – Part Two

Batgirl 6

by Adam Beechen and Jim Calafiore

The Batgirl mini-series comes to a close, and for those trying to keep track, this entire series takes place before the events in Batman R.I.P. The fight scenes are not bad, but the meat is the verbal interaction between Cain and Cassandra. It plays out pretty well, and we get to see both viewpoints of Batgirl’s upbringing, although the nonverbal part, with Batgirl only recently (relatively speaking) learning to speak out loud is not covered much.

There’s a little more that could have been covered with Cain, but that window is open to another writer at another time. The idea of all of those years Cain spent raising and training his assassin, only to have her go against him, has to be eating away at Cain, but we see only a glimpse of that. The art style of Calafiore does not convey emotion all that well, not to the level that you might want to see for this type of confrontation.

The ending is pretty good, with Batman offering to adopt Cassandra, and a little of what would be foreshadowing (if this issue had come out a month or two ago), with Batman saying he will always have family… as long as he’s around. There’s a little shadow gravestone with R.I.P. on it, which ties a somewhat decent mini-series into one of DC’s bigger disappointments of the year.

Batman and the Outsiders 14

by Frank Tieri and Ryan Benjamin

Okay, now that the Batgirl series is finished, all of that flows into this title, and we finally get to learn that one of the reasons Nightwing has been on Batgirl’s case for so long is his anger at Bruce offering to adopt Cassandra so quickly. Really, with Bruce going adoption-crazy with two or three Robins along the way, you might think Dick would have gotten mad at someone else instead of one of the youngest but deadliest girls on the planet. Suddenly, their differences make a lot more sense. Chalk it up to poor publishing order of comics; they used to be able to coordinate things like this a lot better in-between titles in the old days. A good editor is probably worth their weight in gold to us fans at this point.

Interspersed with the Bat-drama is the introduction of an armored foe, but the only reference given to us is a monkish type calling him “my angel of death.” The art is better for these sections, but the visuals are sparse, and words are almost nonexistent, meaning it’s a poor debut for what may be a lame character, we’ll have to see what happens in the future.

The next issue will be a special, and Tomasi is taking over, so maybe the series will FINALLY get some useful direction. There are no outsiders right now, just Batgirl. The writing was lousy this time around, with Nightwing physically fighting to stop Batgirl from assembling her team, and then two minutes later, he asks if he can lead it?!? Even the characters on the Heroes TV show don’t change their motivations that fast! Hopefully this is the last well see of Tieri’s “writing.”

Tangent: Superman’s Reign 10

by Dan Jurgens and Carlos Magno

backup story by Ron Marz and Andie Tong

Batman’s secret weapon to use against the Tangetn Superman is Supes’ ex-wife, Lola Dent. Jurgen’s layouts are very good, and the reader will get a lot more visually from this issue than from the latest in either Batgirl or Batman and the Outsiders. All of the various heroes make their way to New Earth, but Tangent Supes has gathered his own army, entirely consisting of villains. Talk about someone who really thinks the ends justify the means! This version of Superman really doesn’t have much left in the way of redeeming qualities, as he is revealing himself to be someone who wants everything his way, and everyone else better go along or die.

The backup feature has good pencils by Tong, as we get the lowdown on Tangent Spectre, but Guy reveals himself finally, and it’s Clayface! Two issues to stop the crazy Tangent Superman, but what will this mean for the Tangent universe? And will we see any more of them after this?

Trinity 29

by Kurt Busiek, Mark Bagley, Fabian Nicieza, Tom Derenick and Wayne Faucher

More kudos for the interlocking covers: as time goes on, I was afraid we would get nothing but one picture each of Supes, Bats, and Wondie, but they are mixing things up with villains and supporting characters for some good variety, single-handedly making good use of their cover space. Other titles would do well to take some lessons in cover creativity.

Dick Grayson and company continue their quest to find the missing trinity, and powers and memories are slowly returning the longer this version of the universe remains “unfinished.” Meanwhile, Rita’s health seems to be taking a dive, her fate intertwined with that of the universe itself. The backup feature is almost seamless as it links into the main story, showing us a focus on Hawkman and how their battles are related to the forces trying to kidnap Rita. The creative team does a good job of describing a bleak picture as conditions generally get worse.

Good momentum for this series, but noticeably lacking an appearance by the major villains. The good thing about this is with a weekly publishing schedule, it’s easy to make up for that in only a week!
Tpull is Travis Pullen. He started reading comics at 5 years old, and he can't seem to stop.