Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly DC Comics Review – Part Two

It’s a week for final issues, as three of the four titles reviewed have reached their end, at least for now.

Birds of Prey 127

by Tony Bedard and Claude St. Aubin

The art wasn’t a knock-out for this final hurrah, as the simply cartoon lines make me think I’m reading one of the “for kids” line of comics. The entire cast of Birds is here to play around with the Calculator/Killg%re gestalt. The story takes a little ride down the unbelievability (copyright!) express, as Oracle self-destructs her headquarters. That is something villains do. Barbara’s HQ is smack dab in the middle of a big commercial district. Who knows how many people might have died, or at least developed problems from all of the dust that could not possibly have been contained? The whimsical insurance policy joke belies the intense economic damage too. There is no hero that should ever be this careless.

The villain group is surprisingly easy to track down and eliminate; they have gone from an unknown, below-the-radar, slippery organization to just another group of thugs that get a thumping, and Barbara deserts everybody at the end, leaving only a note. This is not a very good ending, folks. It’s pure mediocrity, but they had to accommodate the upcoming Battle for the Cowl series, so there may have been limits on how to end things. Still, I think they could have done better than this.

Robin 183

by Fabian Nicieza and Freddie Williams II

Here’s a slightly better final issue. Freddie Willims gives us a nice cover, and some effort into the interior more than usual. I had to laugh at the sign on the floor of the Batcave: “watch your step.” Do they really get that many visitors down there? Did they get a visit by OSHA when I wasn’t looking?

There is a quick wrap-up of several items, and Nicieza makes a valiant attempt to address both of Tim’s female relationships, a visit from Jason Todd after his Robin-aided prison escape, and some leftover fallout involving Bruce’s last wishes. The fight with Shiva is drawn poorly, as they don’t even let us see the blow that breaks Robin’s ribs, and the kick in the previous page is aimed at his groin anyway!

Overall a nice issue, and of course we will see more of Tim Drake in the coming months. The only question is, how soon will DC try to relaunch this title?

Tangent: Superman’s Reign 12

by Dan Jurgens and Jamal Igle

It’s the end of the road for Tangent Superman! Batman’s strategy succeeds in distracting the bad guys, and the villains have realized they were being played, so they’re lending a helping hand to the heroes as well. Then ending entrapment treats the parallel world group like the Crime Syndicate, putting them in a hard-to-access prison, although there is one notable casualty. Man, DC just can’t let any Batman survive, can they? Tangent Batman appears to bite the dust.

The series lost some of its appeal the more tangent Superman lost his mind. We started with a man who finally went the extra step and used his powers to “fix” his world. When he wanted to do the same thing to New Earth, he met resistance. Instead of packing his things and going home, he decided if he can’t have the planet, the entire planet needs to be destroyed. And that would have saved everyone… how, exactly?

So the turn at the end leaves me slightly disappointed, because it devolved into the old cliché of “you’re so powerful you’ve lost your marbles,” combined with “if I can’t have it, no one can!” There could have been more complexity if he didn’t go all kill-crazy on everybody. For a good story, the villain needs to have a motivation that, even if you don’t agree with it, you can at least understand it. Here everything just turned into a megalomaniacal killer, and that drained some of my interest out of it.

But all in all, a better series than I would have thought to give it credit for when it was announced. If they price the trade cheap enough, consider it a good read.

Trinity 37

by Kurt Busiek, Mark Bagley, Fabian Nicieza, Mike Norton and Walden Wong

The big three have imprisoned all of their closest connections and are debating what to do with them when Supergirl breaks free, and everyone tries to help them remember things the way they are really supposed to be. The trinity group fights to defend what they currently know as their reality, but the power of truth cannot be denied. They seem to acknowledge that Lois and Alfred and company may have a point. They are about to deliver their verdict.

Ooh, turn the page, will we get the big three back this issue? No! They vanish in a blue-white flash! Still no official return of the main cast. These guys are such a tease… Ah well, it was well done, and I had to laugh.

The backup story shows that the heroes are losing, and we are about to reach a tipping point. J’onn J’onzz shows up, revealing to the Justice Society what his cover identity was, and everyone heads out for a holding action, aware that their main chance for victory lay in someone else. Is this how instrumental the big three are? In a cosmic battle, their absence means the good guys can’t pull it off? Or is this a unique situation, with reality warped specifically because those three were removed from the playing field, and their presence is required for success only in this instance? I have no definite answers, only some good questions, but the cool thing is that when I ask the questions, I’m not frustrated about it, but having fun, and that’s the sign of a good series.
Tpull is Travis Pullen. He started reading comics at 5 years old, and he can't seem to stop.

Wow. Just read that Birds of Prey issue last night. If this is what the series has been like since I left with Simone's departure, I can't be glad enough that I've avoided the series.

It does seem to be time for the Batbooks to pull it back in and refocus. I had hopes for post-Infinite Crisis bat-titles, but Robin has sort of gone off the rails, teetering toward the "brooding" Batman stuff from pre-Infinite Crisis. Its just not been a fun read in a while.

-- Posted by: Ryan at February 23, 2009 12:49 PM

Well BoP wasn't bad during Beddard's stewartship but he is not of Gail's calibre so comparatively it was not as good. I enjoyed it enuff to continue reading but this closing issue wasn't very good. As Travis noted, it's shoehorned into the Battle of the Cowl and it feels that way.

As for Robin, I don't like this Bruce-ified version of Tim. I still want Jason Todd shot in the head about 4 dozen times, and the confrontation with Lady Shiva was just odd. Like BoP it felt forced. Oh well, that's 3 more dollars I'll have in my pocket next month.

-- Posted by: David at February 24, 2009 10:58 AM