Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly DC Comics Review – Part 1

Batman 694

by Tony Daniel and Sandu Florea

The writing still needs improvement. When Grayson goes to pummel the Penguin, he is caught from behind by a goon. He thinks he can’t break her grip, so he has to “play dirty.” By which he means throwing his head back and hitting her in the nose. How is this playing dirty? It’s that kind of nonsense that spoils any flow to the story. I know I wasn’t going to harp on punctuation errors anymore, but one here just a few pages in, combined with the lousy story, makes me consider dropping this title.

The art is good, but there is so much time spent trying to put all the players into place, nothing ever gets accomplished. Most of the activity is different factions of villains running around. We cap it off with news that the kid who was shot last issue died, and the final page is abruptly apart from the flow of the comic. What would have been an awesome pin-up bonus page has been shoe-horned into the story. I can only hope things pick up next issue. Lots of flash, little substance.

Batman Confidential 39

by Royal McGraw and Marcos Marz

‘Confidential’ is a horrible name for a Batman series. Divorced from regular continuity, every time I picked it up to skim through a copy, it could not grab me. It didn’t really matter that there were some good artists and good writers doing stories, sometimes at the same time. It just wasn’t good enough. The covers always look cool, though, so when I picked up the latest issue, it finally grabbed me.

I saw it was a concluding story, so I grabbed 36-39 off the rack, and it was really good. It’s hard to describe any of it without spoiling the story itself, but there are a ton of people joking on the internet that there are a dozen Batman titles on the stand, but none of them actually have Batman in them. For those that need a Bruce Wayne fix, this is your best bet.

The art by Marcos Marz is very solid. It is not perfect, as many panels have little in the way of background detail, but to be honest, the story flowed so well I didn’t notice that at first. There are some neat bits here with Bruce showing respect for a living legend, a bit of a mystery that unfolds, and if the title was this good all the time, I would be getting it.

This type of series is a hit-or-miss type of thing, much like Brave and the Bold often is, but these four issues were a hit for me.

Batman: Streets of Gotham 7

by Paul Dini and Dustin Nguyen

The snow effect Nguyen tries to use in the beginning is horrible, and the flow of the story is nebulous. The art actually helps to murky the waters rather than provide clear understanding.

Damian has a moment that causes him to throw up, and Grayson passes up on this “teachable moment.” The crime scene is now contaminated, but nobody stops to think about that. Humpty was trying to put together some children who were already dead. I think the fans will be equally split by Damian’s reaction. I mean, really, the kid who grew up around minions of al Ghul hasn’t seen just as bad or worse? Dini’s transparent attempt to show that Damian has a soft side is very blatant, but some people might like it. For me, it spoils too much of his character at this point in time.

The rest is bad story and art that does not do its best to convey meaning. The backup tale with Manhunter is better. What does it mean that I’m only buying this title for a few pages of Manhunter?

The Brave And The Bold 30

by J. M. Straczynski and Jesus Saiz

Straczynski has put his thinking cap on for these characters, and this match-up gives us Kent Nelson, who sends a portion of his self into the future, hidden in Hal Jordan’s power ring. At a moment when Hal is in danger, out comes the soul-stuff of Dr. Fate, at a point when Nelson is already dead. What ensues is a conversation with these two characters embodying opposing traits: fate and will.

Hal points out that if Fate agrees to use up his energy to save the Green Lantern, he may be causing the very thing which lost Kent his energy and vitality, ending in his death. Fate chooses to perform the sacrifice instead, despite cocky Hal insisting he can find his own way to safety. Jesus Saiz gives us some nice crisp artwork, with pleasant, story-suiting backgrounds that lend themselves to the introspective nature of Dr. Fate. Although many might find the ending narration to be on the sappy side, it worked in this situation, and many will consider this Straczynski’s best issue of B&B to date.

Green Lantern Corps 43

by Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason

The cover says it all: Guy gets a red ring, but gets to keep his green ring. Guy loses it when Kyle dies, and Gleason gets to cut loose with the art just as Guy cuts loose, cutting bloody smears against all opponents, using his combined red and green power to sever the connection to the numerous black rings suddenly trying to get on Kyle’s finger! The story has flaws, since I can’t remember it introducing Soranik Natu to us for the entire issue. Plus, she acts like a human teenager, saying things like “omigod.” Has Tomasi completely forgotten he’s dealing with aliens? While some of the dialogue is preposterous, the rest of the comic is good.

As Soranik tries to restore Kyle’s life, one of the Zamorans arrives to merge their hearts, sort of. This helps to bring him back, but remember that Kyle’s true love was Jenny, not Soranik, so will this provide some interesting dramatic tension later? It will if Tomasi’s smart. The final two-page spread is killer, showing us that Mogo has arrived to help out. It reads like a space sci-fi movie, and has all the intensity of people trying not to panic in the middle of a firefight.

Everyone had to know that Kyle would not be dead at the end of the previous issue, right? I hope there are not too many complaints about that, as the story works out relatively well. He might die later, though, you never know what they have planned…

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