Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly DC Comics Review – Part 2

Blackest Night: Titans 1

by J.T. Krul and Ed Benes

The gruesome cover reveals what we’re in for in this Blackest Night tie-in. Ravager is shown doing the one-night stand thing, perhaps as a fallout of what happened to Eddie over in Teen Titans. Benes can’t seem to get away from drawing the Titans, but that’s not a complaint. The first few pages are used to set up the references to fill in new readers or remind the long-time readers of the not-so-recently departed. The ensuing action is fun, and the crib that appears before Donna is horror-movie creepy.

The opening sequences let us know that even more characters may be coming back from the grave. The focus on Don Hall actually made me wonder if the rings could somehow “wear him down,” but it’s neat that the power of the rings has limits. Dove’s power has always been neat, so it’s cool to see Hawk and Dove getting some screen time, and Terra’s return was brilliant.

Chalk up another winner for Blackest Night.

The Flash: Rebirth 4

by Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver

Professor Zoom is wreaking havoc, and he reveals that he has created a Negative Speed Force. Johnny Quick is already a victim. It seems weird that this Negative version should already be so powerful. Van Sciver tries hard to do different effects and distinguish the various speedsters, but I actually wonder if he’s trying a little too hard. Still, the art is great.

Johns turns things upside down with the revelation that Barry actually creates the Speed Force when he runs. We are given another character return in Max Mercury (even if I would have preferred Johnny Quick). Johns handles the lengthy history well within a confined space and a good choice of a few concise words, all while keeping the story on track.

The Last Days of Animal Man 4

by Gerry Conway and Chris Batista

I find myself more interested in the story of how the JLA and the Titans merged to form the Justice Titans than the current storyline. The art seems sloppier this issue, and they waste a lot of space, such as the two-page spread showing Buddy’s shock as he realizes what a jackass he has just become. Then we’re into a repeat as Bloodrage starts a fight and Buddy’s power flicker in and out again.

Wait, it gets worse. With all the padding that Bloodrage has, all that metal, and Buddy gets out of his predicament by kicking the guy in his groin?!? If I was a bad guy, that’s the first place I’d try to protect with some padding, you know? It looks silly. The story has fallen apart at this point, and it really needs to make a course-correction in the last two issues, or even as a trade it won’t be worth much.

Madame Xanadu 14

by Matt Wagner and Michael Kaluta

The issue builds slowly, taking its time as we watch Xnadu work on unfolding the modern mystery in her current time of 1940. It leads her to an encounter with the Sandman, as we then fade back to 1493. Kaluta’s pencils are dark and mysterious when needed, and light and soft as called for, displaying the nice range of his abilities.

Marisol is a little weak in her attempt to get Xanadu’s cooperation, considering the threats that have been tossed her way. The harsh violence of the Inquisition intersects the story finally, as Xanadu uncovers the secret spying betrayal of the three modern men: they were Jewish men caught in the practice, converted to spies for the Inquisition. The issue ends before we get to see the outcome of Xanadu’s original encounter with the Inquisition, but the creative team makes very clear how dangerous men can be when given authority.

In this case, Wagner and Kaluta do well with a few pictures to show how men used violence and fear, and an illegitimate use of authority to impose their will violently on other people, in a bastardization of true religious principles. Modern times have shown us plenty of other examples when religion gets too much authority by use of force, adding another layer to the good idea of keeping the authority of government separate from religion, for the mutual protection of both. It’s a good lesson, who’d have thought you’d find it in this comic book? Considering Jefferson originally described the ‘separation’ as a protection of religion from politics, there is also this flip side to consider, when looking at the abuses of the Inquisition: maybe the religious need to be just as careful when trying to spread the word and not go over the line if they get a little worldly authority in their hands.

Wonder Woman 35

by Gail Simone and Aaron Lopresti

The Black Canary has turned into a happy go-lucky spazz on Red Bull, sounding more like Yukio from the X-Men comics that Dinah. The rest of the story is straightforward, with the two fighting in the underground arena for a chance to break Sarge Steel free from Dr. Psycho’s influence. Pele, the daughter of the recently-killed Milohai appears (hey, maybe he can become a Black Lantern!), and she’s a little mad that Diana’s association with he father got him killed.

Diana can somehow wield Zeus’ lightning, in an as-yet unexplained way tat irritates me, because she turned her back on Zeus. Diana quickly bows to Pele, offering her services, in such a fast pace as to make me dizzy. For a character that desperately needs better definition, she certainly is being wishy-washy, pledging her devotion every other issue.

We end with Nemesis returning Diana’s spear to her, and I have no idea why she looks so shocked and alarmed. She admitted that she was basically just planning to breed with the guy, and didn’t really love him, meaning she was misleading him earlier. Granted, a regular guy might go along with it just for some Amazon booty, but why is Diana surprised at his reaction? Yet another thing that makes no sense, and another reason why this title needs another creative team.

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