Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly DC Comics Review – Part One

Action Comics 874

by James Robinson and Pablo Raimondi

Superman is issued an invitation to New Krypton, but Allura will only give it to him if he forswears Earth forever. Considering Lois probably wouldn’t fit in well on the new planet, it’s not like Supes will really consider leaving her. Robinson fits in the various threads among General Lane, Luthor, and Jimmy Olsen, but it will take a little longer for all of the pieces to come together. Flamebird and Nightwing also get a couple panels, along with a very big plug, but just to follow them in next month’s issue. I have no idea why the editor felt it was necessary to include that. If this issue was good enough, people will be picking up next month’s issue anyway, won’t they?

The art is lacking, and the cover is by someone else. Raimondi makes Superman look just like anyone else; there’s no part of his rendering that sets him apart from the rest of the people, so he looks like a guy in a suit. There’s a trick to drawing Superman well, and it involves taking particular care to convey his presence. Even among his fellow Kryptonians, there is something special about Kal-el and this artist can’t seem to convey that idea. Plus the plethora of pink backgrounds with nothing else in them makes me want to puke pink.

The ending is dramatic, with the Phantom Zone disappearing, and Mon-el asking to be taken out. Good issue overall, but the art is not to my liking. The backup story is penciled by Renato Guedes, but it doesn’t do much for me. I have figured out that Scar is obsessing about Earth’s heroes, even ones like the Guardian that she will have absolutely no reason to encounter. The entire Origins & Omens thing strikes me as a waste of time. None of these little stories gives us a motivation for Scar to be glimpsing into the future of most of these heroes. Is she bored? Trying to fill the pages in her little black book?

Batman 686

by Neal Gaiman and Andy Kubert

I agonized over the two covers, but put the Alex Ross one aside, opting for the more story-relevant and just-as-impressive Kubert cover. I have mixed feelings about this issue, but the art is top-notch, so I have to say that visually, I really enjoyed this issue more than I have any other recent Batman comic. Kubert takes us on a tour through the different styles of Batman, mimicking some of the artistry of some of the famous people who have defined Batman, while still adding his own touches to make it as modern as possible.

There are a ton of references all around, from Joe Chill being the bartender, to the sidekick Jason Todd metaphor who is forever in the alley, and never truly a part of the proceedings. I also love Two-Face’s car! The Aparo Bridge on panel one of page one is a reference to the late, great Jim Aparo, followed by “finger” on the typewriter to celebrate Bill Finger, with the movie “The Bat Whispers” on the marquee.

Although I would have preferred a special, like an annual or a one-shot, we have to take this story in a month at a time with a two-part tale. The only reservation that I have is this: Batman #291-294 featured a famous “I killed the Batman” storyline, in which four villains stepped forth to claim credit for the death of the caped crusader, one each issue. So far this is remarkably similar in tone. Except for that one nagging reference that makes this feel like a partial copy, I want to say it was good. But that story was imprinted upon me as a child, and the duplication has touched a nerve, marring what others may see as a masterpiece if they are not familiar with the classic Batman story arc. Perhaps the second part of the tale will sufficiently distinguish itself.

Booster Gold 17

by Dan Jurgens and Norm Rapmund

We’re getting a definite “Back to the Future III” kind of feel to this, as Booster has traveled in time to see himself. It’s still all wrapped up in the knife he’s trying to find, but this time he plays a role in making sure Barry Allen is in the right place to become the Flash. Although this was a good idea the first couple of times, I actually hope that the series does not devolve into a “Which character’s history will Booster be instrumental in preserving this week?” kind of thing. Before too much longer, we’re going to see Booster putting little Kal-el in his rocket.

Jurgens is doing double duty as both writer and artist, and it works great with Rapmund on the inks. Meanwhile Booster goes and breaks the rules, and who knows what ramifications this could have. They are definitely holding my interest, and this is a title that makes me wonder what will happen the next time I pick it up. The Omens & Origins backup gives the history of Booster, and then a quick peek into the next year of storylines, which is all that feature is meant to do. I wish they hadn’t hyped it up to suggest it might mean something more. As it is, you can skip trying to collect all of them, unless you’re dying for a small sneak peek at what characters will be in the next few issues of each title.

Green Lantern Corps 33

by Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason

Mongul takes over the planet Daxam, but Tomasi really crashes and burns on the first page with his dialogue. First he says he wanted some “fire in your bellies,” which was recently made famous when Fred Thompson ran for president, and then he puts out the “fear and loathing” phrase associated with Hunter Thompson. Then he rips off a quote from a rolling Stones song. What in the world is up with his dialogue?!?

Gleason actually makes the most that he can, even when it’s just two characters talking. What may make fans scratch their heads is in wondering if Natu and Kyle would have gotten together if the Sapphire member had not said anything. The kiss feels like a mistake, because kissing is an Earth custom, not one for Natu’s people, but she acts just like a regular Earth girl all of a sudden, and kisses Kyle back masterfully.

As bad as some of the dialogue is, and as often as a writer might tend to forget that not all Earth customs automatically translate among aliens, there is some gold in this comic. The exchange between Saarek and the Star Sapphire was awesome, and the idea for a mural of Lantern history is fantabulous. The way the other Lanterns lineup to help was very entertaining. We end with Imecsub (Buscemi backwards) getting crushed like the wicked witch, which is a little cliché, but at least the Origins & Omens story fits in better with the Corps, as we might expect. This was the best one of O & O to read.

Nightwing 153

by Peter J. Tomasi and Rags Morales

Okay, of all the people Dick could ask to help him move, you’ve got the Titans, of which he is the leader. You’ve got the Teen Titans, who are great for doing grunt work. He has a ton of connections with the JLA. Instead the JSA utilizes their super powers as U-haul workers?!? Tomasi is not firing on all cylinders this month. The scene with Robin cussing twice in a row over a flashlight is just plain stupid.

The rest of the issue feels and reads great, with a retrospective on the absence of Batman, and plenty of nostalgia floating around to help this feel like a proper ending of sorts. I know quite a few people who have expressed dismay that the series was ending just as it had finally found its legs, but with DC’s plans for the Battle for the Cowl next, this is a good break from which to re-launch some Bat-titles. I feel like I should thank Tomasi and Kramer for doing some great work to bring this title to a close.

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