Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly DC Comics Review

Azrael: Death’s Dark Knight 1

by Fabian Nicieza and Frazer Irving

Nostalgia strikes again, as DC brings back new people to assume the roles of characters like Azrael and Vigilante. For whatever reason, these characters were not good enough to sustain a series for their own for long, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. The Order is trying to find a new champion, but their first try doesn’t work out so well. Their next draft pick is form an older Batman story, when they were trying to create substitute Batmen from the police force.

Michael Lane is the only survivor of the police Batmen debacle, but no sooner is he asked to take up the suit of sorrows, than the entire group is attacked. His no-nonsense swing into action was cool, and the art style creates a sense of mystery, but the new Azrael also gets a sword in his belly at the end of the first issue. Will we have to start from scratch with issue #2, or will this turn out to be just a flesh wound? (Insert favorite Monty Python routine here)

This little drama is taking place under the umbrella story of “Battle for the Cowl.” Considering Mr. Lane just picked up the Azrael identity, are we supposed to believe he is a serious candidate to shuck it aside and try for the Batman identity instead? It doesn’t really fit, except as a side-story of Gotham finding another potential savior-hero while the Batman-struggle decides the main event.

It was a good first issue, it makes me want to check out at least one more and see how it goes.


Outsiders 16

by Peter Tomasi and Lee Garbett

The new beginning is already too rocky for me. Metamorpho wastes a lot of time trying to describe each member of the team as a certain aspect of Batman. This was Batgirl’s idea, remember? She was going to assemble a new team, composed of members who each had something that was a major trait in Batman. That idea for the Outsiders was instantly dropped for this alleged new direction in which Bruce planned for a mission to tackle a conspiracy. Instead of concentrating on this conspiracy, we are mindlessly sent back down the old Batgirl idea instead?!? It’s just a mess.

The rest of the issue involves people who have made a deal for long life getting the end part of the deal called in on them. Strangely enough, every single person called willingly agrees to keep the compact and show up for the end of their respective lives. We don’t even get to see someone hesitate, and think of running away. They all show up as promised and climb into some digger machines, all to help an ancient group of people find meteor remnants to help the smaller group stay immortal forever. Katanna gets kidnapped basically by accident, as she is simply standing in front of a meteor fragment that one of the drillers wants, and he grabs her and the fragment at the same time.

Is this the big conspiracy that Bruce was worried about? If the Outsiders can wrap things up this fast, they won’t need to stay together any more. If it isn’t, then what is this random stuff they are getting involved in? It’s a little confusing, and definitely off-putting. The art is passable, but not much in the way of detail. Definitely a poor restart for this long-troubled team concept.


Supergirl 39

by Sterling Gates and Jamal Igle

Superwoman is a good little soldier, recovering Reactron, but still showing that she is not a hero. Gates moves the story along fairly well, showing us Kara’s relationship with Lana Lang, the investigation of Agent Liberty’s death, and continued mother issues with Allura. Allura sounds a little harsh, and Supergirl certainly responds in kind.

There isn’t too much to analyze in this issue, except that Superwoman may be a real Kryptonian, it’s just that she has some protective gear to aid her against the weakness all Kryptonians have. Next issue, we are supposed to find out her true identity. I’ll be there.


Trinity

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

The cover alone made me stop and think what a new comic series might be like if it wasn’t Wonder Woman, but an alien hero that looked almost exactly like the cover. The trinity restores the rest of the world, upsetting Cheetah, but making the Joker a happy camper, probably because he thinks it means he will get to go back to his gamesmanship with Batman. All I know is, if a raving lunatic kept goading me to do something, I might hesitate to think things over again. In a quick decision, Superman manages to reignite Luthor’s hatred (as if Lex needed another reason to hate Superman).

The backup brings the story back around to Krona and John Stewart’s troubled merge with the Void Hound. The big three have transformed everyone else back to normal, but those three have stayed in the ‘altered’ state. Will they revert to normal before the showdown with Krona? It’s all good stuff right here.


Vigilante 4

by Marv Wolfman and Rick Leonardi

Vigilante always seemed to be a slightly watered-down version of the Punisher, and I never cared too much for the Punisher anyway, so when I scanned the first issue of this title, it didn’t grab me. Adrian Chase’s character was much better. Still, the Deathtrap storyline has a tie-in here, so I figured I should give it a chance.

Marv Wolfman gets to write some of his Titans again, and he fills the first few pages with a ton of exposition. It’s necessary, and he does a good job of bringing a new reader like me up to speed on what Vigilante’s situation is, and what’s currently occupying the thoughts of the Titans. Leonardi’s art is okay, but I seem to recall him doing better work in other places. Sometimes it’s the limitation of the comic or the character, but Leonardi’s stuff looks a little rougher than usual.

Vigilante’s mental process seems preoccupied with the thought that people can kill him easily, and at least three times we get treated to thoughts that someone can or is in the process of killing him. This is either some redundant writing, or some insight into how this guy looks at the world. I’m hoping it’s the latter, because it would make it the first interesting thing that actually caught my attention.

We already saw in Titans where Jericho was holed up, so it won’t surprise most people to red that Jericho was hiding in Cyborg, but has let Vigilante flush him out. There is too much covered in this comic, and we don’t get enough development of Vigilante himself. I cannot bring myself to care too much about him here, so I probably will not pick up his title again.

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