Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly DC Comics Review – Part Two

The Flash: Rebirth 1

by Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver

Lightning can definitely strike twice, but the second time, you have to really work at it. This is the second time around for Barry Allen, and most of us have mixed feelings about it. For anyone who has been around comics long enough, one of the “best” deaths, one of the most shocking and unexpected deaths, was that of Barry Allen. This has been a plan in the making for quite some time, and Johns pulls out all the stops precisely to make certain a returned Flash doesn’t stop for anything.

Van Sciver gives us a ton of details as the creative team shows us an entire world of reaction to the news that the Flash is back. Johns drops in quite a few nods to older Flash stories, even some that we now think of as corny, like the Abra Kadabra puppet-Flash panel, for example. Bart is at his classic best, hanging his own ‘welcome back’ signs, and all the relevant corners of the DCU are brought up in rapid succession.

There is a ton of stuff going on for each and every page. Johns gives us a mysterious adversary, a childhood trauma for Barry, and rather than the laid-back Barry Allen, we have a resurrected Barry who can’t quite wrap his head around the fact that he’s back. I could go on, but I won’t. I’ll just say the obvious: best read of the week.

Strange Adventures 2

by Jim Starlin and Manuel Garcia

You can’t keep the bad guys down any more than the good guys. Both Synnar and Lady Styx have found a way to survive, and the need for many of these characters to be Synnar’s Aberrant Six is taking a long time to come too fruition. Synnar is inside the Weird right now, and I’m guessing that the “occurrence” he refers to is Final Crisis, and the effect of removing Hawkman from the poll of the Six. Either that, or this new dilemma of disappearing stars is the problem. It’s hard to tell, because they haven’t been very clear.

This is one of the long-term problems with Jim Starlin, you really do end up feeling like he’s making it up as he goes along, and it does not make for the most fluid story. Garcia does well for the art, and the colors and inking are great, but then Al Milgrom is on the inks, and he is always good. The backup Bizarro story is all Starlin, but the entire affair is starting to feel repetitious. We need to have this mini-series be the last of both Synnar and Lady Styx, because it’s all getting slightly boring.

Trinity 43

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

The villains are all fighting amongst each other until Morgaine makes Despero an offer, leaving Kanjar Ro on the short end of the stick yet again. Can the trinity version of the Crime Syndicate stand in for our three beloved heroes? It’s an interesting idea. Meanwhile, the four powered lackeys make a run for the hills, perhaps showing why they were villain henchmen to begin with; maybe they can escape, but true heroes would do more than just run away. Much like us normal slobs, all they can do is get themselves to a semblance of safety. Maybe they’ll become bolder later, but right now, they are not the heroes the universe needs.

The second part of the story has the friends and family confronting the trinity again, and all three of them agree that being human was… a mistake? Not enough? We don’t have enough information to judge just yet, but the big three are staying as they are because they believe it’s needed to set everything else right. At the same time, they commit what could be a big cosmic no-no by “restoring” Tomorrow Woman to this universe. Heck, if Bendis can drag Hawkeye back in a flash, why not let this happen with Tomorrow Woman? Still, I wonder if there will be consequences for this down the line…

Is it possible for everybody to be getting better on art as they go along? Derenick and Foucher make a great attempt to give good expressions for every character, including a really good menacing look from Batman that makes you think he’s angry with himself. Bagley is also working hard to give most people individual looks, although the Crime Syndicate all have that too-similar Bagley style to them. I think if he did little things like remove the smile from Wonder Woman’s face during the big battle splash page, it might remove some of the Saturday-morning carton feel. I know it’s his style, but I can’t help but feel that Bagley has some hidden depths to his art, and he could get really gritty if he applied himself.

All in all, top quality work by the entire team.
Tpull is Travis Pullen. He started reading comics at 5 years old, and he can't seem to stop.