Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly DC Comics Review – Part 1

Justice Society of America 25

by Geoff Johns, Alex Ross, and Jerry Ordway

The rules are fast and loose for magic these days, but it seems that you can still say someone’s name and get some of their magic if the first person is willing. Billy Batson says Mary Marvel’s name at her behest, and he not only gains a portion of her power, but stylin’ new threads and an evil attitude, to boot. Even Adam finally realizes that Isis has been changed by her experience, and this new person who has come back to life is not the lady he fell in love with.

There is a bit of a mystery here, as Billy’s father is the one who guides Flash to revitalize Shazam, and Adam seems to still have a beef with Mr. Batson, so there’s more to that story. The bigger problem is that the cure for everything seems almost as bad as the initial disease. Shazam is on a rampage now that he’s back, and both Adam and Isis are turned into statues. Shazam keeps the rest of his magic, so Billy and Mary may be stuck as normal people for a while, and just before he disappears, Shazam mentions he’s got a mad-on against Freddy too! This is a big change from the wizened, calm personage Shazam has displayed for most of his history.

Ordway continues to display versatility in his art, and he can handle almost any number of characters packed into a page, which is always fun to see. The Shazam stuff has been melded into the JSA’s business almost from the start, but it’s threatening to take too much attention off of the rest of the team. I’m tempted to ask for Shazam to get his own mini-series or something, just because I want to see more from the rest of the cast.

But you know you have a good book when your biggest complaint is that you want more of everything.

Superman/Batman 57

by by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Mike Johnson and Whilce Portacio

The writing duo from Marvel’s cosmic stories, Abnett and Lanning, have come over to DC with a couple story ideas, but something has gone really wrong with the art. Rushed and with child-like details, it has nothing of the flair that Portacio used to display. The proportions are horrible, and I’m having bad flashbacks to the Liefeld days. The art is inconsistent form one page to the next as well.

The story is a good enough concept, and the narrative works pretty well, with a shrunken Superman experiencing time differently, to the point where he will lose his solar charge and eventually die, forcing Batman to shrink down after him. The art just isn’t up to par, which is a shame. This title has potential, but there needs to be a better match-up with story and art. The history of this title for a long time has been that one of the two would be good, so for issue after issue, you would have lousy art with a good story, or a poor story, but with good at. If DC can get their act together on this magazine, it could do a lot better.

Teen Titans 69

by Sean McKeever, Allan Goldman and Yildiray Cinar

The continuum has finally caught up, with all of the Final Crisis and Terror Titan mini-series out of the way. This title has been so overtaken by the meta-events in the DC universe, they haven’t had much time to breathe. No sooner did things settle down than they had to spend time dealing with the editorial edict that all of the Bat-Family had to abandon the rest of DC to go stay in Gotham. We end up with an entire issue devoted to team formation, with a tiny bit of screen time for a bunch of characters that we may never see again. I did like the shout-out Sapphire gave to the Power Company, and Goldman tries as hard as he can to give us different angles and viewpoints for an all-talkee issue.

There is one weird thing: a picture in the hallway for the New Teen Titans shows Garfield in the middle of changing to a tiger. How did they capture both his human form and his tiger form in a still photo? Maybe if it was a holographic display or something hi-tech, we could buy it, but as a framed picture, it denies believability. After this small breather, they jump into another crossover, for Deathtrap.

The title still feels like it’s holding its breath, waiting for something real to happen. The roster has changed so much, we now have a group of strangers for the most part. McKeever will have his hands full, because the area where he needs to improve is in showing how the characters interact with each other, while still moving the action forward. Wolfman and Perez had a great rhythm for it, but McKeever has not developed a solid flow for any of his team configuration to date. In short, he has to work harder to make us care about these characters.

Teen Titans Annual 2009 #1

by Sean McKeever and Fernando Dagnino

Nothing like the big room of an annual to give us some good developments! For too many years, annuals were stand-alone events, used to give unknown artists a chance to strut their stuff, or as a playhouse for some theme-of-the-year. Most of the better annuals work if they have a closer relationship to what actually happens in the main series. Dagnino has enjoyable art the entire way, and McKeever is already doing better here in showing us the particular quirks of each character. Bombshell’s temptation to use her powers in a workout, and denying herself even when nobody is watching, testifies to her inner character more than any teammate’s statement could.

Kid Eternity provides us with a surprise appearance from Marvin, and I can only salivate at the prospect of seeing if the Kid will have any effect when the Black Lanterns show up. The possibilities are great for his powers to prove to be of utmost use. The ensuing calamity comes from Jericho hiding in Cyborg, and if Jericho is really trying to reach out and ask for help, he’s not very good at it. Here he acts like any other kill-crazed villain, and tries to get rid of the Teens with gusto. A good prelude, but for Deathtrap to become a classic story, it will have to kick things up a notch for the rest of the main crossover.

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

In the "Power of Shazam!" series this story arc holds as previous continuity, Shazam was hardly calm. Wizened, yes, but not calm. He was quite a bit temperamental, argued with Billy from time to time, and would take Billy's powers away when he felt he didn't deserve them (this happens in "Power of Shazam! #1, as a matter of fact).

The old Fawcett version of the wizard, of course, hardly ever said anything remotely cross or mean. But Ordway's Shazam has always been a little testy.

-- Posted by: K.B. at April 25, 2009 11:39 PM