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Tpull's Weekly DC Comics Review – Part 1

Action Comics 880

by Greg Rucka, James Robinson, and Julian Lopez

Picking up straight out of Superman: World of New Krypton, Ral-dar flees to Earth after trying to assassinate Zod, with Superman and Supergirl hot on his heels. Mon-el joins the fun to rescue some endangered innocents, and Lopez makes excellent use of the panels to set up the situation while giving us exciting imagery.

Chris and Thara are still looking for the Boonie and Clyde Kryptonians, and have to stay away from Superman and company to avoid being tainted with the alien label, since as far as the reporters know, these are just two new super-heroes on the scene, not more Kryptonians. We quickly find out Ral-dar is in league with General Lane. Combined with Atlas, I’m impressed with Lane’s ability to find common cause with the different forces. Add in the villains that cleverly disguise themselves and then kidnap Chris and Thara, and you have a powerful force at your disposal.

The same writing team but with Cafu as artist continues the backup tale with Captain Atom, but it’s a confusing mess. Cap mysteriously remembers his name, codename, and that he is in the Air Force, all at once, even though there is no outside stimuli. He’s still in a medieval setting, still having little flashbacks, and is now in the sites of a modern gun scope at the end, but there is no real movement in the story for me, and the art is mostly tricks by the talented colorist. There’s just no story yet, and I’m surprised that these two writers chose to do things this way.

Adventure Comics 1

by Geoff Johns and Francis Manapul

After having been brought back in the Legion of Three Worlds mini-series, Superboy finds a good home in Smallville, in this restart of a legendary title, Adventure Comics. I’m not sure what Manapul was doing with the Legion when they had their own series, but it’s almost like he’s a different artist now. The color choices greatly complement the switches in scenery and time. Johns gives us a story that really feels like it takes place in the countryside, and we have a definite feeling of pleasant open air and wide spaces.

Conner has another side to his heritage, tied to Lex Luthor, and Superman greets him at Luthor’s old house. Conner can’t help but want to save things, improve things, and this bleeds over even for Luthor as he asks Superman what Luthor might have been like if he had loving parent like the Kents. I’m not satisfied with Superman’s answer, which is basically to dismiss Luthor as evil incarnate. In an intriguing ending, Conner writes in his journal that he has lied to Superman. Interesting…

Clayton Henry is on art for Johns’ second feature about the Legion, with a focus on Starman, who is slowly losing his mind still. The cool part is that there is a greater plan revealed to be at work, as Tellus links up with Starman for a rendezvous. Half of the story is used to re-tell the history of the Legion and give a nice two-page spread of the team (with the name panels switched for Shadow Lass and Night Girl, sure to drive every fanboy crazy-mad over such a silly error), with a page of teases at the end for things to come in the second feature. It all looks great, and I can only hope it does not end up being confined to a measly eight pages for too long.

Batman 689

by Judd Winick and Mark Bagley

Winick has improved the writing by leaps and bounds this issue, and Mark Bagley’s style showing a smiling Batman reminds me of some classic stories form the ‘60s. There’s a nostalgic feel that is fitting with the lighter tone that Dick Grayson sets. The number two gets mentioned a few too many times, as we have an extended scene with Two-Face, followed by Alfred stressing the word ‘twice’ in the next conversation Alfred has with Bat-Dick, and more references later.

Dick is smart enough to see that someone is leading him around by the nose to collar all of these criminals recently, but it doesn’t help him later, as he is still ambushed. It’s almost overkill to see the trap: an apartment complex on fire, and as soon as the fire is put out, large rocks are smashed into it! The pieces have been assembled, and we are familiar with all of the players, so expect some fireworks to go off soon as various villains vie for victory over the new Batman.

R.E.B.E.L.S. 7

by Tony Bedard and Andy Clarke

Tony Bedard has a cool imagination. The first couple pages actually make you feel bad for a space monster, and impress you with the power of Vril Dox’s force field that cuts off Starro’s forces from most of our universe. He also gives us a quick look around the rest of the galactic locations of the DCU, showing the problems with trying to forge an alliance with anybody. It makes me feel sympathetic for all the diplomats that have to work at the United Nations.

Clarke’s art is nice throughout, but the style of the heroes makes for some bland scenery. Having three of Dox’s team have white uniforms, while two of them look a little rocky and two of them look blue makes for too much similarity on one page. Dox tries to reason with the Gil’Dishpan next, but to no avail. They are soon overrun by Starro’s forces, and their teleportation abilities would quickly give them a way around Dox’s shield. So the Dominator blows up the planet. Hmm, maybe he’ll get an invite to the team! Good stuff, definitely holding my interest.

Red Robin 3

by Chris Yost and Ramon Bachs

Ra’s Al Ghul ha deduced that Tim is trying to find Bruce Wayne, and offers his services. Unfortunately, Al Ghul’s latest crop of assassins are just as big a hindrance as a help. The series still feels choppy, as Yost gives us a flashback with Wonder Girl, another murder of a member of the League of Assassins, and another digression calling Lucius Fox’s daughter out of a meeting. Yup, that’s all that happens for an entire page, someone gets called away from a meeting. And that’s all we get to see.

Red Robin fights off the Wild Huntsman, when the orignal was dead, so who knows who this new guy is. Bachs’ pencils are a little ill-defined for me, reminding me of the cartoon effect I see in commercials on TV. The best part is actually the final page, where the beat-up assassins show up to meet Tim at his next stop on his world-wide tour, and call him “boss.”

The title still needs a more focused destination. I can see Yost wants to build things up and introduce a lot, but the way he’s going about it is not gripping. When Tim Drake first appeared, he held the promise of the future. The future starts now, but the story and the art are not quite up to the task of giving him a great start. We don’t want “okay” for Tim, we want “great.” This isn’t good enough yet.

Titans 16

by Christopher Yost and Angel Unzueta

A sexy pose grabs your attention on the first page (watch where Starfire puts her hands!), and Yost has a much better time with characterization here than in Red Robin. Starfire is seeing a therapist to get some things out in the open, and it allows the reader to see the dichotomies in her life, and to understand how visceral her reaction should be to coming across some of Darkseid’s justifier helmets. These helmets render the person who wears one a slave, a condition that Starfire has been under before. She didn’t like it.

The helmets make her lose her head, something similar to what we have seen in the past. In the old days, though, she didn’t think too much about tempering her force because she was a warrior. Here, she just gets swept up in her emotions, even though she has learned in her time on Earth to hold back when necessary in battle. Part of the source of her current difficulty is actually an invitation to join the JLA. With many of the Titans having grown and moved on, where should her loyalties lie? With all of the time she has been possessed or lost control of herself in one way or another, what direction does she have?

It’s a nice issue focusing on one member of the team, and Unzueta does great, showing us myriad different settings, and there are excellent color choices to set the mood. The end of the story does not necessarily show us her conclusion, but it’s a fun element, considering she actually is a future member of the Justice Titans in the Last Days of Animal Man mini-series. One of the best issues in this newest Titans series.

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

PZ3E5u I think this is a real great article.Much thanks again. Keep writing.

-- Posted by: buy google plus at March 23, 2012 10:57 PM

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