Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly DC Comics Review � Part Two

Batman in Barcelona: Dragon�s Knight 1

by Mark Waid and Diego Olmos

It�s a one-shot with Bruce Wayne, and DC may be taking a page from Marvel these days. When Steve Rogers was killed, Marvel introduced a new series of one-shots that focused on Steve as Captain America during WW-II days. Now that Bruce is gone from the main DCU, we get this one-shot. Will we get a constant stream of these?

It�s a good enough story to make it worth buying. The art is not the best, but it�s very good in places, and it flows well, making for a good pace. Waid brings in a good point that gets lost occasionally, that Bruce Wayne sometimes encounters intelligent, capable women, and his constant fa�ade as a playboy can be disappointing to a woman who wants a man to do something with his life. Waid�s dialogue is as good as ever, and we end up with a Killer Croc story transplanted to another country. Croc is almost a sideshow compared to the rest of the story. Jim Lee does a cool cover. If they can gives us more one-shots as good as this, bring �em on!


Final Crisis Aftermath: Ink 1

by Eric Wallace and Fabrizio Fiorentino

The best so far of the FC Aftermath titles, we start with the Tattooed Man taking out some bank robbers. He does it in a ruthless way, much as Magog did in the recent issue of the Brave and the Bold, but with no Booster Gold present to object to his methods. The woman covered in blood who has manners enough to say �thank you� for the rescue is priceless. The art is a nice change from all the glossy, stylized capes that I�ve been reading lately, and makes for good variety.

Mark has home problems, mostly with his son trying to get an initiation into a street gang, and we have the stereotypical cop who doesn�t trust the former crook. Already with its first issue, this title makes more sense and has more compelling drama than the Run, Escape, or Dance titles.


Gotham Gazette: Batman Alive? 1

by Fabian Nicieza and various

The end-cap to the Battle for the Cowl storyline, Harvey gets to the bottom of the conspiracy involving the new Azrael, proving that Bullock has a good brain in his head. The second story has Leslie Thompkins opening her clinic in Gotham again, with the former Cavalier acting as her bodyguard. Then, the Spoiler gets a moment with Tim Drake, but instead of playing the heavy, he simply explains that he doesn�t think this life of fighting crime is for her. He also drops the hint that he is leaving town for a while.

The best story re-introduces us to Vicki Vale, and the pieces of the puzzle finally click for her. We close on her in her undies, pinning up clues on her wall to put together the identities of the costumed crime-fighters in town. This one has the best potential to cause problems in the future. Reasonable art all around by a big cast, and an okay read.


The Last Days of Animal Man 1

by Gerry Conway and Chris Batista

I wanted to wait and get the trade, but I just couldn�t stop myself. The cover is cool, with skeletal animals surrounding a skeletal Buddy. Gerry Conway is in top form, with good, concise narrative panels to quickly explain everything you need to know in as uncomplicated a way as possible. Batista�s pencils are clear, and the effect showing his connection with the animals is cool.

Bloodrage is the villain that is causing Buddy problems, but the real issue is that his powers are cutting out in an unpredictable way. Always at the worst moment, of course. Far from being boring, this first issue caught my interest and is holding it, showcasing Buddy much better than his recent appearances in the various Starlin mini-series that animal Man has been appearing in recently.


Madame Xanadu 11

by Matt Wagner and Michael Kaluta

As much as I enjoyed Hadley�s art, if there�s any way to convince long-time comic readers to try out this title, it�s the fact that Michael Kaluta just jumped on board. The second page has a gruesome corpse that impresses. The panel cuts on the next page are still good, avoiding some of the traps of talking heads. Xanadu becomes involved in a murder mystery, and the burning smell takes her to a flashback: 1493, the Inquisition. They quickly point out the incongruity of a religion of peace, and how it can often be perverted towards violence and cruelty.

Just when I think we�re done with the flashback, we jump to it again, making me think it will end up having a relation to the current-day mystery. Fitting in with the mature themes department of a Vertigo title, they show us some steamy footage at the end of Xanadu having a fling with her fellow female witch. Within the context of eternity and witches and what we know of Xanadu�s origins, is seems to fit just fine, but it�s hard to recommend a title like this to Christian readers, as the sudden appearance of lesbian love can be quite off-putting to people who don�t want to see that sort of thing in their comics. Just a heads-up, people, if you�re going to be offended by that type of thing, best to avoid picking this title up. (Knowing some of my friends, I just convinced them to finally check out the title�)


Trinity 52

by Kurt Busiek, Mark Bagley, Fabian Nicieza, Mike Norton, Tom derenick, and Scott McDaniel

It�s the final issue! DC has put together another successful weekly comic series, and the final issue comes with a fold-out three-page cover, but still for only $2.99! I am digging DC right now! The other heroes show up to warn off the Crime Syndicate, and we spend most of this issue seeing the final places of the cast. The Void Hound has merged with Stephanie, and she has to fight its urges towards violence, as Enigma tries to start fighting crime in a good way, not the way the Syndicate has terrorized the planet for years.

Morgaine is confined by magic, and stored with Jason Blood, Despero is headed for the prison on Oa, and in a funny piece, Kanjar Ro optimistically plans to profit from all of these events somehow. Konvikt takes the place of the man he killed, with ominous hints on conflict for when we might see him again in the future, and Gangbuster and Rita get a nice little kiss as they plan to stay together. The Dreambound get a free pass for their involvement and head out together, and Tomorrow Woman does turn up alive� but as a human, and not a robot?!? Weird. I can�t wait to find a way to explain how that worked.

The big three are back as they belong, and head out to handle a new crisis, showing that the story is never really over for these guys. Krona ends up imprisoned, his power turned to the sue of recreating the world that had formerly been his �egg.� It should be a while before someone breaks him out of there.

The comparisons are hard, because 52 was the first, and done well, and a little more complicated than this tale. Countdown was such a mess, the fact that Trinity was so straight-forward, relatively speaking was a relief. The timeliness and constant quality was also welcome, even if it did mean a few pages weren�t as stellar as they might have been on a regular monthly book. The sales of Trinity dropped off for the last month, but that may be due to things like the new Flash series, and Detective Comics taking the top sales spot for the first time ever!

Still, the concept was cool, and the execution was consistent, with some good spots and a few choice panels that presented some great art, plus stellar covers the whole time. Granted, parts of it seemed to drag in a couple places, but the end result was a nice romp that was just plain fun. I hope the compilation of this into a big trade format and other special formats gets some good attention. The best thing coming out of this is quite possibly the four Dreambound characters, and the return of Tomorrow Woman.


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

Hi TP, I'm glad you are back I missed you buddy. Now that we have dispensed with the niceties, I must say I take some slight exception with some of the things you mentioned in your Madame Xanadu review. I would hardly call the last two panels of the book "steamy footage", as there is no nudity and no graphic sexual acts. Would'nt the Christian readers,who are put off by the "lesbian love" shown in the book be equally or more put off by the intolerance and savagery of the Inquisition? How about the lechery of Torquemada? Just wondering.

-- Posted by: earl jones at June 1, 2009 11:40 PM

Hey, Earl. Actually, the violence in comics is often treated like the violence in movies: easy to skip over as maybe something not desirable, but not overly objectionable. There is a much bigger taboo related to sex in Christian circles. For those educated in the history of organized religion, the atrocities of the Inquisition are well known, and any thought of coverage of that time, well, most people would expect to see scenes of savagery to accurately depict some of the horrors that were perpetrated upon people, as those in authority abused the power behind religion and perverted it to their aims, much as Hitler perverted the original holy symbol into the now-despised swastika.

But the two ladies who start licking each other? You might be surprised how much that can upset people who weren't expecting to see it...

-- Posted by: tpull at June 2, 2009 3:08 AM

Well, TP, it is a Vertigo comic and clearly labeled for mature readers, one would think this rather tame scene would'nt shock the readers too much. The violence of the Inquistion may be well known to the readers, but I'm not sure some people want to see it depicted in a comic book.

-- Posted by: earl jones at June 2, 2009 11:27 PM

Yup, different people have different sensibilities. I worded mine the particular way I did because I'm a fan of the book, but it has not quite included that kind of content before, but I always try to suppose that there's at least one new reader out there that may not know what the Vertigo imprint implies.

-TP

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