Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly DC Comics Review – Part 2

Okay, this is the last review for the day, which makes 17 titles typed up in less than a day. Not bad for someone with no assistants or minions! (Now y'all know what to get me for Christmas...)

Action Comics 884

by Greg Rucka, Eric Trautmann, and Pere Pèrez

Rapidly-aging Chris is at the hands of a sleeper Kryptonian scientist, who is actually slowing down his actions to make it look like he’s human. There is nothing more dangerous than a villain who is trying to fit in! Perez has some interesting noses on her characters that draw your attention, many of them very good. It’s rare to see so much attention given to a nose, and it adds to the overall depiction.

The story is fairly straight-forward, with General Lane appearing to Lois and shooting her laptop, although it’s strange to see him cock the weapon while keeping his finger on the trigger. Most people who know how to handle guns will do one or the other, but not both at the same time. He even pulls the weapon from his holster with his finger on the trigger! The laptop actually looks not too bad, with the bullet holes not breaking it up that much, but Lois has a backup. Perry can’t let her run the story, and Lois quickly reads in between the lines and quits, so she can go publish it somewhere else.

The Kryptonian scientist saves Chris and (magically) reverts him back. Not to his proper younger age, but the teenager version that we have seen lately. Yeah, I’m sick of the aging-characters-until-they’re young-teenagers shtick too, but that’s what we have to work with here. The bad guy also managed to get a donated DNA sample from Flamebird, which was one of his real goals.

For the second feature, Mon-el teams up with Captain Atom, everyone now in the regular world. They head to the JLA satellite, spending a lot of pages doing flashbacks to establish where and when Starfire met Captain Atom, all for no big effect. The rest of the current JLA post-Cry For Justice roster appears to want to arrest Captain Amnesia-Atom, and no, I still can’t bring up any interest in this second feature at all. Cafu’s art is a little better this time, at least.

Overall, there is enough drift in this title that it needs Superman back.

Red Robin 7

by Chris Yost and Ramon Bachs

We open yet again on a flashback that shows the gathering of a group of assassins whose goal is to take down the League of Assassins. It is merely the continuance of a poorly-shaped backstory, delivered in a poor manner by Tim Drake’s narration, all after-the-fact, and none of it very interesting. It could have been told in a different format other than the way Yost chose and come out much better.

Tam is in the middle of the massacre, an insignificant digression from any other part of the story, but one of the bad guys still sees her trying to run away. It’s not like they even know who she is, but Red Robin gets there just in cliché time to rescue her from two of the attackers. In the middle of all of this, we flash back AGAIN!?! Yost shows us the past recruitment of yet another assassin, right in the middle of the big fight. This is total amateur hour, as the new recruit gets four panels, and no introduction, other than looking like a pale imitation of Chesire. Here’s a hint for the writer: if your page of art offers no meaningful identification or character development, it’s a waste of time. How many scenes do we need in six months of a bunch of corpses and a different bored assassin lounging around complaining about being bored? I’m bored just repeating it all in my reviews! Arrgh!

Boring backgrounds in too many places gives the eyeball nothing much to look at for any of this. The artist concentrates on people to the exclusion of all else, rendering it boring visually as well, as the people are average depictions, nothing really pops out. I can only hope that this lame story will really, genuinely conclude next issue. I could stand for the entire series to go away, now that I think about it. What a waste of a great DC character.

Secret Six 16

by Gail Simone and Peter Nguyen

Oh, for Ostrander to come back permanently! Nguyen has some nice art for us this issue, and he handles the dark tone better than Nicola Scott, in my opinion. Deadshot and Catman set up a killer to be killed in turn by a victim’s father, but there is no reason for how they came across this case. The father of the victim hired them to deliver the killer, so the father could take his revenge. They are immediately found by Black Alice, who wants to sign up.

Deadshot immediately summons the whole team, even Scandal, who was just kicked out by Bane. Inconsistent and reads poorly. They all end up at the strip club where Scandal’s girlfriend works, just for the heck of it. Nice to read a scene where Black Alice is holding up their car, Deadshot sends out an emergency call for help, and then on the next page Alice is inside the car and Deadshot is calmly driving her to a strip club. Nobody expected this comic to make any sense anymore anyway, did they?

Alice’s big motivation to join is that her father is sick and she needs money. Of all the lame reasons for a magician! Out of all of the power at Alice’s disposal, all of the magical creatures she can tap into, we are supposed to believe she can’t get some cash?!? That has to be the worst rationale in months for any character.

We end with Catman remarking that Alice saw their earlier descriptions telling how to torture a man to death, and she still wants to join the group. Like that’s a big deal these days. How many news stories have we seen in real life in the past few years that show teenagers beating people to death, taking guns into schools on a shooting spree, etc. The teenagers of this generation do tons of stuff that I would never have dreamed of doing at their age, and none of it shocks them. American society has exposed them to every adult subject at an earlier age, desensitizing them. The writer attempts to portray this girl as cold and cruel, but it fails to shock or impress, as I’ve seen real-life videos recently that are just as cold. The fact that she is young means nothing. Plus, we’ve seen her and her attitude before.

I loved the cover, though.

The Shield 4

by Eric Trautmann and Marco Rudy

The third page has a word balloon error that irritates me, as the Shield asks, "Why Brazil?” The General responds that “That’s where people are dying, son.” But the word balloon keeps it as part of the Shield’s statement. These rookie mistakes are really getting me down on the simple joy of reading. I used to be able to read an entire Conan novel and only spot one spelling error in 300+ pages. Now I get these irritating errors every other comic. If it gets any worse, I’m going have to drop creative teams that are not good at simple things like this.

Shield is on the edge permanently because of its $3.99 price and the ever-lackluster second feature. This issue features Nazi robots with a cool delivery mechanism, and some nice artwork. I wish Wayne Faucher’s inks were a little tighter. The cover is cool, introducing the Great Ten, but they only appear on the final page. I’m not sure how beneficial the crossover appeal will be, but I suppose it’s worth a shot to have little-known characters cross over into each others’ titles and try to develop some interest. It can’t be any worth than the years of miserable “product placement” we’ve had to endure in the JLA comic.

Still hanging onto this comic, but the art is not the greatest to make me really look forward to it every month, and the story is not yet finding a hook that really entices me. I think it will need to improve slightly for me to consider making it a permanent part of my monthly collection. Still better than five of the eight Marvel comics this week.

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