Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly DC Comics Review – Part 1

Batman and Robin 5

by Grant Morrison and Phillip Tan

The mystery is solved, with Jason Todd being confirmed as the person behind the Red Hood. He’s still singing the same old tune, and it’s a little more in character than the mess they created when he was featured in the Countdown series. Damian continues to be overconfident, and yet he’s not dead yet. In a world with someone like Jason Todd, who might be a little eager to prove how short the life of a Robin can be, Damian is impressively stupid to still be so over-confident at this point.

The scene transitions and the different angles of view are excellent, and Phillip Tan was a great choice for an artist on this title. The editing continues to be sub-par. Every two or three weeks I have to point out that a period goes inside quotation marks, and I’ve lost track of whether DC or Marvel mangles it the most. Perhaps it’s a reflection of Morrison being a Scottish writer, with different rules for grammar across the pond, but for the I-forget-how-many-times, please can the proofreaders get this one little thing correct for the English language?

Robin gets his butt beat a second time in a row against Red Hood and Scarlet, but the Red Hood gets shot later by an assassin enforcer related to a drug cartel. I’m not sure exactly where we’re going yet, but it’s good art, and the story makes sense. It’s growing on me.

I would like to see Dick Grayson treated as more of the brain that he is. The lack of initiative and ability to get in front of things, plus his awkward attempt to claim he doesn’t know anything about running a business, is a little weird. The whole point of Grayson is that he is capable of stepping up, but Morrison is failing to show it in that respect. In that vein, he is failing to show proper respect for the character.

Justice League: Cry for Justice 4

by James Robinson and Mauro Cascioli

It’s time for the Let’s Stand Around and Talk League. So much for justice. This group spends a ton of time talking and not really figuring a whole lot out. Jay Garrick is making the rounds to a number of superhumans, while Bill and Mikaal scrag a couple villains in their attempt at interrogation.

The other group is just as bad, as we have a miniature debate over torture, with a very short and senseless fight between Ollie, Hal and Ray. They take to fighting too quickly, in an artificial way designed to induce tension which reveals the writer to be trying too hard, and maybe the series should have been one issue shorter. It’s not like they are managing to move the story forward any with the pages they have been given.

The glacial pace does allow Cascioli to excel at drawing faces and such. The relative lack of action make his static images feel less out of place, and fun to devour. I’m not sure, but I think they goofed on Freddy, because he says “Shazam” out loud, but does not change form. This may be because Freddy was granted his powers directly from the deities, and the newly-revived Shazam himself from JSA #25 mentioned that Freddy gets his powers from somewhere other than him, but if so, we have not been introduced to the new magic word that can power his transformations, to my knowledge. This is a key piece to this particular hero that they should have cleared up for the reader if they are going to have him in front of us this way. Sloppy.

The final two pages are static again, with a spread of the JLA. Hawkman is included, and that’s a big mistake. The recent reunion of Atom and Hawkman in Blackest Night was simply amazing, and it was supposed to be their first contact after a while. To have both characters here in a pre-Blackest Night sequence is just plain wrong, and makes it one of those things I’m going to pretend did not happen. The presence of half of these characters makes no sense, and shows editorial doesn’t care about any continuity with the rest of the DC universe right now, they are just letting the creative team do whatever they want for visual spectacle, but as impressive as the art is, it’s not enough.

And the coloring! Why does Firestorm always look like a white dude in this series?!? Why does the non-relevant Red Tornado think t o stand in front of everyone, when he should be in the background, in keeping with his personality? We’ve gone full circle, back to the first issue, so my guess for the exciting next chapter is that Hal is going to stand around and argue with the rest of the (supposedly defunct) JLA team. Again.

Please shoot me now.

The bonus writings are a sporadic love-fest by Robinson, as he tries to express pride in choosing Mikaal’s sexuality, and then tries to say “no big deal… move on, no gawking.” Well, the fact is that Mikaal has been such a minor character in DC, almost nonexistent, that nobody did care. It’s not a big deal anymore, not after Northstar and Batwoman, every other character Judd Winnick has introduced, etc. Gay characters have been littered throughout comic books for years now, and nobody talks much about it. Except comic writers. Who think it shouldn’t be a big deal, but keep writing about it as if it is. Hey, if Rawhide Kid nearly marries a woman and later they try to say he’s gay as a ret-con, then we might protest. But Mikaal?!? Nobody blinked, dude, it really wasn’t important. Your attempt to wink and imply it’s important and then assume the politically correct position and say it shouldn’t be treated as a big deal is embarrassing. Get over yourself and have the people in this book actually do something, please.

Or, you can just have them fight amongst themselves and stand around for another issue. It’ll be greeeeeat…

Superman: World of New Krypton 8

by James Robinson, Greg Rucka, Pete Woods and Ron Randall

Here’s a fun comic. This could be a stand-alone story almost, with Kal-el halting a battle between Kryptonians and Thanagarian by saving the Thanagarian flagship. The commanding officer Vetalla Dae returns the favor and helps Superman out with his little problem of one of Jupiter’s moons heading straight for New Krypton. New Krypton gets itself a new moon, and the beginnings of intergalactic diplomacy start with the Thanagarians, only to be interrupted by Jemm, of Saturn!

Jemm sided with Rann against Thanagar in their war, and he might have a beef with the nearby moon being absconded with by Superman and company. The art is interesting, with few lines that make for a good visual due to the space nature of the plot. Notice too that Ron Randall has been brought in to help out on the art chores, which is cool.

This is turning out to be a neat mini-series with a lot of twists, and nice exposure to the wide expanse of the DC universe. It’s already doing a better job than Jim Starlin’s varied ‘Strange’ titles for the past few years. More on that tomorrow.

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