Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly DC Comics Review � Part 1

Batman and Robin 1

by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely

There are some good television shows that manage to transition from one good star to another, allowing the series to continue with growth and change. The successful transitions signal that a series can have a second chance to continue. It actually feels a little exciting, and it�s really cool to see the phrase �Batman and Robin� on the cover of a #1 comic. There is a combination of the freshness and the homage to what has gone before in poses, in coloring choices, and in references to the past, but without being weighted down by the past.

Dick Grayson is in the Bat-suit, and Bruce�s son Damian is in the sidekick seat, although he clearly thinks he can do it all on his own. His upbringing and attitude actually make me wonder why he bothers to play nice with the others, but perhaps he is trying to respect the wishes of his father. Quitely brings a sense of the cinematic to the comic, much as Morrison�s style demands, but there are also some very good choices for panel layout and variation in presentation that pull the reader in.

The gripes are small. Pyg reminds me too much of Black Mask already, and the first issue really should have had more of an ending as opposed to a cliffhanger. The final four pages could have been sandwiched in somewhere else to provide a cleaner finish for their debut appearance. The sneak peaks look half good, half bad. The Red Hood variant is slightly retro, and having the Black Glove come back inside the first year is already making me feel tiresome, but I warned a long time ago that Morrison would be trying to make this guy into a �classic Batman villain.� Looks like he�s got a timetable for making it happen, but I�d prefer to leave him in the bottom of the drink. With a Morrison/Quitely team, it should be good stuff, but I wish the sneak peeks had been more original and fresh, with new content for the new dynamic duo. I�ll give them a B+. It should be the #1 selling comic for the month.

Secret Six 10

by Gail Simone and Nicola Scott

Last issue was so good, and this one is sliding back. Not all the way, but the slippage is there. Perhaps it�s just me, but there is a solid plan to present bloody carnage and hints of nudity and/or sexual content with each issue, and the forcing of these issues is showing. The Bane/Scandal relationship still feels out of place, and I can�t figure out why Deadshot would still be flirting with a woman who tried to kill him. The �test� by the new villains to hire the team made no sense.

The art suffers from perspective as the seat behind Rag Doll gets blown apart on a plane, but on the very next page, you can�t see any fire or internal damage to the plane. If this was a movie, the film class would be laughing and pointing their fingers at the bad editing, as if this was Con Air, but even worse. These hardened villains all take a lot of time to explain that they are pinned down and can�t possibly drop the ramp, only to have one of the new women drop the ramp, and then everyone proceeds to tear apart their attacking enemy. Talk about a waste of panel space! If it had been done differently, it might have been funny.

Just like all the bad action movies in the �80s, the bad guys are all at a distance and have guns, but seem to have forgotten how they work. Plus, they can�t hit worth beans either. Even Simone as the writer has to have one of the bad guys tell his buddy next to him, who has a rocket launcher, to �Fire, damn you!� Of course, rocket-launcher man is too slow, and doesn�t even get a shot off. Why? Because it�s not in the script, silly! It�s just pitiful, folks, really.

At the end, Scandal declares their new employers are slavers, as if this is some big surprise, when the creepy nonsensical one ranted on and on to Deadshot and company about the glory of owning another human. (Gee, I wonder what he could possibly be talking about?) After all of the betrayals and cut-throat antics these six have done, we�re supposed to believe some of them have morals to care about other people in chains? These are villains, right?

This is still an odd, mis-matched group, and we have yet to have a reason why any of them would continue to hang around each other. The hint of their new employer using the name Mockingbird may signal that we will finally start to talk about this. It would be nice to hear their reason for being, before the series gets canceled on us.

Superman: World of New Krypton 4

by James Robinson, Greg Rucka, and Pete Woods

Three Green Lanterns have come to Krypton on a fact-finding mission: Hal, John Stewart, and Sodam Yot. It makes for a great combination, as Superman gets to mention Mon-el to Sodam, and we learn about Zod building an entire space fleet armed to the teeth. Pete Woods has some good art here, as usual, but I really think it could improve if he had someone besides himself doing the inking. The blockiness (is too a word!) of some of the faces he draws is too evident that he�s in love with the original simple lines of his sketches, and does not add enough definition with the inks later.

A prisoner is on the run, and Zod orders his death, but Superman and his second-in-command take the guy alive. In a nice coincidence for the story, he also happens to be on the Oans� most wanted list too, and Hal seems ready to be a hot-head, but John Stewart helps to have cooler heads prevail. For Superman�s act of saving a murdered from instant execution, though, he�s arrested for treason. It�s a good cliffhanger, and I sense Rucka�s hand in the proceedings.

A very entertaining read.

Warlord 3

by Mike Grell and Chad Hardin

Even the panel borders change for this issue, but it�s hard to tell if there�s a thematic pattern to it, or if they�re just playing around; it doesn�t quite match up 100% with all of the flashbacks, but I think they were trying to represent the flashbacks in that fashion. Tinder has acted like the noble hero the Warlord once was. Today, the Warlord is a cynical old man almost, who has let life tell him what can and cannot be accomplished. The prospect that Tinder went to his grave to prove him wrong gets him angry� at himself.

The switch in narration and text pattern to Alysha is good, and reminds me of attempts to tell a story that many people do not take. Whether it�s because this is a slightly different genre, and the people writing the adventures of the capes feel it won�t work, or something else, I don�t know. But it fits here. The storytelling is not the most exciting I have ever seen, but it is polished, and conveys the events well, with the pictures helping to express the story to help minimize the words needed.

This is a nice little adventure comic, blending in elements of magic and science, fantasy and modernity. It�s a little different from anything else out on the stands right now, and gives me a little something different from both the capes and the independent titles that are all immersed in the gritty present or visionary future.

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


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