Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly DC Comics Review � Part 1

The Brave And The Bold 24

by Matt Wayne and Howard Porter

Not much to say on this issue, because there�s nothing new in it. Static acts like a cynical teenager, insulting Black Lightning. Then, a villain shows up (from the Milestone universe somehow, and they still haven�t explained how that works), and they team up to take him down. Not too hard, considering most of what he does is shouting his own name out loud. The two heroes make up at the end and get all chummy. It reads like an after-school special. The art is decent, but like most attempts to incorporate the Milestone characters, this one falls flat, introducing ill-defined characters that we aren�t given a reason to care about (and he�s not even as impressive as Marvel�s Holocaust villain). Thankfully, we�ll move on to something new next issue.

Oh, and the whole reason Holocaust was on a rampage was because he didn�t get his riverboat casino back when Luthor was president. How long ago was that? Is Milestone supposed to have been retroactively folded into the DCU for all those years? And why was Holocaust so slow to take action on his grudge? Luthor�s been out of office forever. It�s hard to believe this is the best plot they could come up with.

Outsiders 19

by Peter Tomasi, Fernando Pasarin and Jeremy Haun

Okay, this is quite possibly the worst issue of Outsiders in history. I mean ever! The art is good, but the plot and stage direction have gone horribly wrong. Let�s start with the cover. You can almost see Alfred thinking, �Please go away. Maybe if I close my eyes an open them again, he�ll go away.� The theme for the last few issues has been to place two of the �new� team on the cover, but the slightly-weathered logo makes no sense, does not look cool, and I can�t help but think that Owlman is about to do something embarrassing to Alfred.

Inside, by the third panel the awkward wording already has the reader pausing to make sure it can be understood correctly. The bad guys get two more pieces of meteorite, all to power up their �attractor.� For its first phase. The woman declares they have waited lifetimes to turn this thing on, and when she does� it goes to find more meteorites. So you needed meteorites, to power a device� to help you go find more meteorites? Supposedly this will end up granting them permanent immortality. Cut to next scene!

Deathstroke is holding Alfred hostage, but instead of a face-off, all six Outsiders bum-rush Slade without regard for Alfred�s safety. That�s right, who cares if the butler dies, right? The next two panels, Alfred disappears! That�s right, all six Outsiders present manage to get hold of part of Slade, but Alfred is magically out of the picture, reappearing four panels later, somehow over by the two corpses from last issue. When the dust settles� Deathstroke holds Alfred hostage. Again. And somehow, THIS time, they decide it�s too risky to try anything?!?!?!?!!?


Wait, it gets worse.

Geo-Force turns into a blood-crazed loon, forgetting all about the safety of the nearby civilians. Next, he orders Metamorpho to get the body, and Black Lightning orders the others to intercept some explosives. Hello! Element-changing man right there who can expand his body and transform it into any explosive-resistant form he wants, leaving the others free to handle Slade. Did the whole team lose their collective I.Q. points? Jeff and Brion have a slightly nonsensical argument after Slade gets away. But back to the battle.

Remember in Identity Crisis when Deathstroke faced down the Justice League? Took out Flash, Green Lantern, Zatanna, etc., in seconds? And on the first fight scene splash page, he�s simply shooting a gun at six super-heroes who are rushing straight at him. Did Slade also take his stupid pills this morning? He displays none of the planning, foresight, or reflexes that make him cool, he�s just a goon with a gun. Is this what his �Faces of Evil� makeover was supposed to do, turn him into a slightly less competent version of the Punisher? DC, you spent a whole issue trying to give this guy a reboot and tell us he was supposed to be a major threat to the heroes. And then all you have him do is shoot a gun and threaten the butler. I�m starting to think DC needs to pay ME to read this comic�

Okay, now for the rest of the comic; just as bad, and arguably worse. Vandal Savage claims the rock is he, and he is the rock, so he is magically sensing exactly where it is, and making a beeline straight for it. Two pages later, the bad guys launch a rocket, helping to show where the end location for Vandal is, and he thinks, �A roadmap is always appreciated in weather like this,� meaning snow. Hello? He was already heading straight towards their base!!

Finally, the bad guys have managed to triangulate the Outsiders� satellite in space, and their rocket launch is meant to take it down. Not by a missile strike, but to get an assault team up to the satellite. They somehow know that the Outsiders are Batman�s foot soldiers, even though they just got together as that a couple days ago. Good intel, lady! Okay, so they know the Outsiders� base is up there, but when the assault team arrives later, the lead guy declares that since the satellite is bat-shaped, it might mean they�ll �be facing capes.� Didn�t they already know that when they launched?

Pathetic. Considering how great Tomasi has been on the Green Lantern Corps, it�s hard to believe he wrote this. Maybe he�s exhausted from the GL Corps, and he whips these out in fifteen minutes just before the deadline? I�m not sure if I can bring myself to buy the next issue.

Supergirl 42

by Sterling Gates and Jamal Igle

The opening page is great, both artistically with the image of Superwoman in the sky, and the narration linking General Lane to Sgt. Rock. The story is a quick read, with Supergirl confessing what happened to Lois, and Lois starting her own investigation to confirm that Lucy was Superwoman. The room actually feels tense, as Lois asks Kara to leave.

Elsewhere, Lane�s team of villains frees Reactron, but Supergirl has to report in to her mother. Gates gives us some insight into her thought process at the end, as she resolves not to be controlled by her mother, and to get more proactive about the bigger issues that go beyond her mom�s own vision. It�s a tidbit of character growth that is common in people that age to start feeling, and it�s a good delivery through mental narration, as opposed to that after-school special way of saying it out loud in painfully blunt terms to someone else (see Brave and the Bold above).

Superman/Batman 61

by Michael Green, Mike Johnson and Francis Manapul

The mash-up continues, with some good creations mixing two villains and two heroes into amalgamations to confound the Super-Bat duo. The problems begin when Batman utters this line: �Superman, you need to see this. It�s the piece of bone I broke off of Doomstroke.� Doomstroke is supposed to be the combination of Deathstroke and Doomsday, but the name Doomstroke sounds like something Darkseid does alone in his closet, and the end result is a perverted sentence that makes me short-circuit my keyboard with drool.

Batman quickly figures out they are trapped in a dream, but it doesn�t stop a rumble with the villains. The fight is clever and fun, which is better than half of the orchestrated fights we see in comics these days. The real villain is Doctor Destiny, who trips another dream to fool the duo anew. Bruce can�t be fooled twice, though, and his marriage to Zatanna is obviously another layer in the trap. Zatanna works her magic and breaks the trap, but she now has a dream of being Bruce�s wife, which stirs up her feelings, which has been hinted at before recently. The fact that she once brain-wiped Batman make sit all the more interesting a topic to explore for their romantic potential, and in the hands of the correct writer, it could be explosive.

Best DC issue so far this week. I should also point out that Francis Manapul appears to have done his own inking, and it actually looks better than anything else I can remember him doing.

The only problem with this series is that they will not recognize the events in the rest of the DCU, which is fine for reading this series only, but it does make for a sharp break with current continuity anywhere else. At some point, it might be handy to have an editorial note point out when all of these adventures take place. Otherwise, maybe they should think about putting Dick Grayson into the title�?

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


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