Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly DC Comics Review – Part 2

Blackest Night: Batman 2

by Peter Tomasi and Ardian Syaf

The revived villains go on a rampage, causing problems for Gordon and daughter Barbara, but Deadman helps them out of a jam. It’s good to see that character being sued well again. Although I had to do a double-take at his possession of her body allowing them to carry Commissioner Gordon out the window. Great art on everything!

Tim shows up to reunite with Dick and Damian, just in time for Tim’s and Dick’s parents to show up and cause problems. There is one major problem with all of this: when Bruce doesn’t show up revived as a Black Lantern, won’t Dick look like an idiot for not believing in Tim? What about the corpse that Superman carried from Final Crisis? It should get a ring too! Then we might find out who it was, though, and I don’t think they will fill in those gaps here. It’s the one thing that could have made this series much more interesting, and they either didn’t want to address it here, or they didn’t think of it. It’s part of why this is the weakest Blackest Night tie-in so far.

Secret Six 13

by Gail Simone and Nicola Scott

No Blackest Night tie-in here, but at least we get some witty repertoire from Rag Doll. Nicola Scott does well on art, but it’s not enough to carry the whole issue. There are at least eight armed professionals who are confronted by Scandal, and she scares all of them. The repetition in this particular comic of having guys with guns being unable to successfully shoot a melee attacker at point-blank range is incredibly frustrating. You just can’t believe it. Scandal gets hit by one bullet in the arm, but it seems to have no effect on her, so it’s essentially worthless to even show it happening.

In the same vein, it is incredible to believe that a villain named ‘Deadshot’ would be so poor at actually hitting anything. Catman switches sides yet again, and nobody can ever figure out who is going to do what for whatever reason, because Simone has not bothered to give any character a solid motivation for any part of this series. Deadshot claims he wants to get his reputation back, as if something like that ever mattered to the man. It’s not like he’s a pre-mutated Killer Moth or anything, when did Deadshot have to worry about his rep?!?

This series desperately needs a different writer, quickly. Simone’s initial stuff was awesome, but if this is the best we can get, she needs to take a break and recharge her batteries. I wish there was a nicer way to say that.

The Shield 1

by Eric Trautmann and Marco Rudy

I was totally going to skip all of these lame comics based on poor caricatures that never fared well in any of their incarnations. However, Trautmann impressed me with his JSA vs. Kobra, so I picked it up. After leafing through a few pages, I bought it and took it home. The setup has a military feel, and the Middle Eastern setting, where everyone seems to have a fatalistic viewpoint, fits that region. Marco Rudy’s art is better than I thought it would be, since I expected some not-so-great artists to get bagged with these fourth-tier characters.

In short, we have a patriotic character on a rescue mission in hostile territory, and I have to find out what happens next issue, since Magog just showed up!

The bonus feature with Inferno, I could care less about, nothing in it grabbed me in any way at all.

Superman: World of New Krypton 7

by James Robinson, Greg Rucka, and Pete Woods

A big council discussion starts off the issue, with Superman asking some very reasonable questions: with their population so small, can the Kryptonians afford to go to war with anyone? Zod brings the discussion up short, insisting on coming out of the hospital to make Kal-el the military leader with a promotion to general!

No sooner than that, Kal-el calls Tyr over, and takes him step by step through the event that led to this, showing that Kal knows Tyr was a plant. The scene is awesome, with Try confessing he has to do what he’s told as Labor Guild, and Kal still too mad to accept that. It’s great in that you feel bad for both of the guys, and it’s also wonderful to see Superman reasoning some stuff out without Batman around. Supes is pretty smart all by himself, and it doesn’t get shown often enough.

We end on a crisis, with a new moon planned for New Krypton, but the escort party is attacked by Thanagarians! The moon is out of control and headed for New Krytpon. A gripping story with excellent plot, only slightly hindered by the fact that Woods should have someone else do the inking.

the Unwritten 5

by Mike Carey and Peter Gross

Tommy Taylor takes an absence as we delve into the literary past, showcasing Rudyard Kipling. This is really fun, to see an alternate history in comic form instead of novel form like Harry Turtledove’s work. The conspiracy that causes Tommy problems is shown working behind the scenes in the past, giving Kipling support at first, but causing him problems when Kipling decides he doesn’t want to be their puppet any more.

Mike Carey has great fun with the actual historical biographies of these great writers, but weaves the conspiracy in and around them, to make them the source of the difficulties. Only the fabled Samuel Clemens had the fortitude to refuse the conspirators’ offer. Peter Gross gives an old-time feel to the art, in a way that reminds me of Rick Geary. Carey gives us a reason for Kipling’s early work, and then explains his shift to other subject matter in a way that fits brilliantly with his fictional grafting. Tommy Taylor’s father comes across a disturbing book from Kipling that perhaps first clued the father in about the important struggle, a struggle in which Tommy is the current focal point.

Warlord 6

by Mike Grell and Chad Hardin

Jennifer’s sorcery enables the supporting characters to survive last issue’s avalanche, and Tinder has been successful enough to rally the commoners. There is a good conversation about freedom that is a bitter pill at first for Warlord, but he is man enough to admit when he has lost his way. It gets a little hokey as he quotes Thomas Jefferson, but we get it.

A pitched battle with decent enough art has Ned running away to the portal to the rest of the world. You know, the one that had a cave-in on the other side? Whoopsie! Kate turns out to get her hands on a rune-engraved skull, and you just know that’s going to bite somebody in the behind soon. The good adventure continues, always with beautiful covers by Mike Grell.

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