Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly DC Comics Review – Part 1

Action Comics 885

by Greg Rucka, Sterling Gates, and Pere Pèrez

Mon-el and Guardian bring in Nightwing and Flamebird, while Jax-ur sits back and stays undercover, content with the data he has gleaned from his encounter with them. Car-vex shows herself to be a sleeper inside the science police, and she tips off General Lane, who sends his new Squad K in to take custody of the Kryptonians. After much discussion, Guardian sides with the good guys, but Car-vex sets off a bomb. Pèrez does well on art, crafting direction that helps the story flow pretty fast, and still depict a realistic conversation to allow Nightwing and Flamebird the chance to convince Guardian they’re on the side of right.

The second feature is just painful. James Robinson writes a disgustingly-hurried cliché of Captain Atom fighting with the JLA for four whole pages, just so hothead Hal can be the one with the suddenly cool temper. Then they recap Cap Atom’s history to remind us he piloted a suicide mission to stop a kryptonite meteor. Now he’s back and alive, and they bring in Shadowpact to help get him back to Mirabai’s kingdom. Ten bucks says the JLA chooses to let him go off with Shadowpact, and don’t offer to help in any other way. This was all a cheap stunt to have Robinson showcase his JLA characters over in another story he’s writing, but nothing is accomplished, and the recap is not all that entertaining. The fight is senseless drivel. The art is second rate.

Adventure Comics 6

by Geoff Johns and Francis Manapul

Lex Luthor arrives to put a gun to his niece’s head, and gets Superboy to go on a trip through time with Kyrypto to get a fern… which Luthor uses to make himself some tea. Okay, now he’s just showing off. Superboy runs off on other wild goose chases to hunt down the ingredients that allow Luthor to heal his sister’s legs, and then he injects her with something else and restores her to her handicapped state. Somehow he thinks that the promise to permanently heal her will make Superboy want to kill Superman, per Luthor’s wishes. It’s a little too Rube-Goldberg for me, and Brainiac has to come down and pull Luthor out.

We end on a cool note, as Superboy throws his diary into a fire, commiserating with his fellow Teen Titans. He has made his decision which path to follow, ending his uncertainty about the blend of good and evil genetic codes that combined to give him life. We also get a hint that Luthor has combined his genes with some form of Brainiac’s tech to create a new grotesque form of life to order around. No Legion in this issue, just a long Superboy tale. It puts on a nice finishing touch to this plotline, and makes for a nice finish, highlighted by Manapul’s fun art style.

Batman 695

by Tony Daniel and Sandu Florea

Kitrina Falcone gets intercepted by Catwoman, and they appear to team up to use some maps to get at Black Mask in his lair. The most interesting scene is Grayson’s conversation with Doctor Arkham, and using him as a resource to analyze the new Black Mask’s possible strengths and weaknesses. Batman ends up fighting the new Reaper, who escapes. We also get teased with the hint of the Riddler, possibly having some of his memories come back, while Kitrina ducks out on Catwoman.

Tony Daniel’s art is very serviceable, although I must admit that I’m tired of this “red skies” approach for the title. The colorist can ditch that red any time now… The story goes a little bit down the path of stupid in an abrupt way. Grayson heads for an amusement park, and spots people running into a fun house. He knows they expect him to follow… so he just steps right in?!?! Considering he hasn’t done any advanced reconnaissance, this is a really stupid idea, and it allows the bad guys to knock him out. I just can’t see Grayson being that big of a bonehead to make such an idiotic, possibly fatal move. Daniel really needs to put more thought into how to treat the character with justice and still make the story work.

Booster Gold 28

by Dan Jurgens and Norm Rapmund

It feels like a new chapter is starting, and Jurgens manages to remind us about Booster’s public image and his secret mission, while bringing in the classic Royal Flush Gang at the same time. We also get a peek at his sister Michelle, just as she realizes where she is in time: the point just before Coast City was destroyed.

Rip sends Booster back to a related point in time, just before events started that would turn Henshaw into a cyborg version of Superman. Booster has to make sure that actually happens, so he interferes with a woman who gets pulled out in an identical way that Booster gets teleported through time. It’s a fun read, with the normal impressive art by the Jurgens/Rapmund team.

The second feature reveals why Jaime’s armor has been acting up lately. Mike Norton does the art, while Matthew Sturges takes us back to the pyramid where the first Blue Beetle found the scarab. Jaime plugs into an interface, and basically downloads the original Reach programming, converting the armor back to its original function, which was to pave the way for an alien invasion. It’s interesting, at least, making it the best second feature I’ve read this week.

The Shield 5

by Eric Trautmann and Marco Rudy

Rudy puts a good deal of effort into his art, and tries to do something with the panel transitions, but it comes across as a weak impersonation of Williams’ work over in Detective. I would be tempted to trade Rudy and put him to work over in the Great Ten mini-series, as his art renders them in a more imposing light than we’ve seen most other places. The Shield gets free from the Ten and goes after the Nazi rocket, cutting free a guy who turns out to be the Jaguar, another Red Circle hero.

Trautmann’s writing has me hooked. He tends to talk to military topics like he knows what he’s talking about, including the Colin Powell version of fighting: you don’t want a fair fight, you want to smash them mercilessly and get it over with. The babble in the control room gives you an idea of what it might really look like if a government bureaucracy became involved in deploying a superhero, complete with redundant checks on the bad guy, over-monitoring, and unnecessary opinion-giving, until the guy in charge takes control of the situation.

Yet again, I try to read the second feature, but the art turns me off immediately with its needless emphasis on darkening every scene, and no interesting dialogue anywhere. Total waste of space and time.

the Unwritten 9

by Mike Carey and Peter Gross

Tom is accumulating a small entourage already, picking up Savoy as a tag-along, barely escaping the assassins. Lizzie gets a note to Tom via the cat with the wings, and then Tom uses the magical doorknob to get into the cell to see Lizzie. The governor’s children get into the mix, just in time to get crushed under some falling masonry, fallout from the battle with the bad guys. Everyone disappears through another magical door, and the literary Count Ambrosio steps into our universe via the governor of the prison.

Truth and fiction are overlapping faster than ever, but Tom still doesn’t have much of a clue. The next few issues should help to educate him quickly. If he wants to stay alive, anyway. Even though they still insist on putting ad blurbs on the cover, I’ll forgive them. I am still intrigued about what might happen next issue more than with any other title on the stands today.

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