Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly DC Comics Review – Part 1

Wow, it’s almost as if the Blackest Night took a week off. (I didn’t get Doom Patrol)

The Great Ten 1

by Tony Bedard and Scott McDaniel

Characters created by Grant Morrison during 52 are getting their own series, explored by Tony Bedard. The good news is that Bedard has had a good record for most things he has written, and his run on R.E.B.E.L.S. is great, although it doesn’t have the best sales. While I applaud his willingness to explore areas a little off the beaten path of the main DCU, unless he hits the ball out of the park, this will also fare poorly in sales. Although I like the premise, I think they have made a mistake in choosing the artist.

Marvel made a similar mistake with the Immortal Weapons, and in the old days made a similar mistake with the mini-series for the Imperial Guard. Instead of giving the art duties to someone who could flesh out the characters and give them each a solid definition, the other half of the creative team is Scott McDaniel. While McDaniel’s style has its own merits, there is a definite looseness of a cartoony quality that implies you should treat the subject as a cartoon, and not with due seriousness. That can work well when emphasizing the acrobatic circus whimsy of someone like Dick Grayson, but to introduce a new series like this?

Much of this first issue is character introduction and showing us the history of Accomplished Perfect Physician and his tension with the other members of the team. It reads fairly well, although some of the dialogue still has a distinctly Western flavor, mixed in with other attempts to represent Chinese speech. The cover artist is a better style, and they put out this comic with the understanding that using such a style might prove attractive and have experimenters pick it up, but to have that go away and go to such a different style is counter-productive. I’ll hang out for a few issues, but there are times when the artist has the wrong style for a particular job, and this is one of those occasions.

Secret Six 15

by John Ostrander and J. Calafiore

Oh, wonderful day! Ostrander gets his mitts on Deadshot again. There is always a risk with a guest writer. You want them to write an excellent story, but you’re hoping they don’t show you up too much. The fact that this issue was my favorite of the entire series only serves to highlight how inadequate Simone has done with this title. What does it mean when a focus on one person for the entire issue of a title meant to showcase six people specifically works better? Add to that the fact that the character chosen harkens back to a better, more successful time of a better series, Suicide Squad?

The Suicide Squad had an identifiable theme, it was the comic version of the Dirty Dozen: you take some crooks, send them on an impossible mission, and if you survive, you get out of jail. Compare that theme with the philosophy behind Secret Six. What philosophy, you say? Exactly. Secret Six has no idea behind it. There is no secret to the group, and no reason why there should always be six of them. There is absolutely no reason for the characters to stay together. But let’s leave all of that unpleasantness behind and get back to this excellent issue.

Richard Craemer is back to act as councilor at Deadshot’s request, and we learn that Deadshot doesn’t want to commit suicide as much as he might have wanted to in the old days. Instead, he feels an urge to kill everyone around him, all the time. The one drawback is that he actually hasn’t killed as many people as he had the opportunity to kill, so maybe he’s a little more in control of himself than he admits.

Ostrander takes us on a trip down Deadshot memory lane, and brings back his sordid family, his start at being a villain, and his encounter with Batman. Craemer puts the clues together and explains that Deadshot was always the bad brother, but his good brother died, and Batman is associated with his dead, good brother. Floyd is still tying to find a way to punish himself, because he knows he’s gone bad, and he projects himself onto everyone around him. If he puts himself in their place, then each person is no longer a victim, but someone who deserves to be killed.

It’s a good story delving into the mind of a complicated person, and it’s a refreshing change of pace to see that kind of exploration of the motivations behind somebody’s actions that has been missing from this title the entire time. Calafiore’s art attempts to be as gritty as the mood calls for, but he falls short. It’s almost there, but he does his own inking, and it is much too light for the needed atmosphere. Yet another case of not being exactly the right person for the type of job needed, although he does a good job overall.

This might be the best place to quit the series: now, while you have actually read a good issue!

Superman: World of New Krypton 9

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

Jemm comes in with guns blazing, so to speak, and Kal-el calms him down. Superman’s reputation and experience with different people seems to be the only source of order and reason around, as most of the Kryptonians, for all their newfound strength, are still afraid and lashing out. Jemm makes a solid point about how the Earth-people have been a pain in the past, but even they haven’t rearranged the orbits of planets!

The line-work is still a little light in places as we follow the rest of the story. It consists of a bunch of little pieces, all of it filled with good characterization, and a cliff-hanger involving Adam Strange. Man, it really seems like every time they turn around, there’s a new potential threat. No wonder the Kryptonians are paranoid. The view we are getting of relations among races in the DCU is not very pleasant, but it does make for interesting stories.

Warlord 8

by Mike Grell

Mike Grell takes over to conclude his story about the Forgotten. The changes in perspective involving Travis Morgan are awkward, and may pull the reader out of the flow of the story. One second he is fighting primitives, the next he is walking with Shakira. The views end up converging until the Warlord is fighting enemies in both places, and one of the forgotten deities reveals herself, and claims to have been at his side even during his youth.

The issue tends to slow down a little as we are exposed to yet another flashback to his origin and first series, but Grell’s artwork is compelling enough that I can forgive him. I do hope that this is the last time for a while that he spend so much time doing a recap. Morgan wakes up as Shakira takes him away. Was this all just a dream? Or are the efforts of the Warlord guided by a god-like creature that is using him to assert control over Skartaris? It is almost left up to the reader to interpret the end, but it will be interesting to see if this theme is revisited later in the series.

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