Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly DC Comics Review – Part 1

The Brave And The Bold 34

by J. M. Straczynski and Jesus Saiz

Jesus Saiz has some impressive work, and he is rapidly moving up the charts for personal favorites, but he’s not quite there for inking his own work. Almost, but not quite. If he keeps up the improvement, though, he will quickly join the ranks of the few who can ink his own work and have it come out as good as, or better than, the contributions of another inker. As it is, the spectacle of the Earth being destroyed in the future is pretty cool.

The Legionnaires do not have the ability to dismantle a black hole, but with the entire history of super-heroes at their disposal, they quickly come up with someone from the past who can help them out. Enter Negative Man from the Doom Patrol, and another unlikely team-up for this title that works out pretty well. Along the way, Straczynski shows he’s been thinking about things as he explains a quantum space that is connected to the time bubble by a ‘fourth-dimensional portal” that houses the power and control systems for the basic-looking time bubble.

There are a couple of things that happen that seem minor, but the good news is the black hole is successfully destroyed, and the Earth is saved. What makes this issue slightly more interesting than usual is that there is a second part to the story next month that explains some of the things that went on, that relate to the Doom Patrol. Will they team up with the Legion still/again? Or will we move to a different team-up? Come on and admit it, you never thought you’d see the title “The Brave And The Bold” re-launched and lasting for three years and still going strong. The Straczynski/Saiz team-up itself is particularly strong.

Detective Comics 865

by David Hine and Jeremy Haun

The cover is cool, but the interior art is simple and plain. The colorist tries hard to make it seem like there’s some substance there. The story isn’t all that much better, as we spend a lot of time dissecting the mania of Jeremiah Arkham, and learning that his three special patients were always figments of his own imagination. It’s not a bad concept, really. Hine expands on it with a description of Hugo Strange and the Joker managing to mess with his head, and basically infecting him.

Batman gets a code from Arkham to “disarm” the bomb strapped to Conrad Leblanc, but the code sets off the bomb instead. Is Batman fooled? Meantime, he is fully aware of who Alyce Sinner is, but he doesn’t appear to have any leverage to prove anything. The story falls apart when Zsasz gets in a room with Arkham. Zsasz has been established as a rough-and-tumble killer, but somehow Arkham was able to get the better of him?!? The Black Mask character was never a good idea to begin with, and this new setup has ruined whatever groundwork Hine had built up with Arkham. Now instead of shades of grey, and uncertainty filled with tension, full of the prospect of disaster and horror lurking around every corner of the Asylum, threatening to spill over into Batman’s life at any moment, we have… another garden-variety lunatic in charge of the place. Talk about precisely the wrong turn. I loathe the idea of the Black Mask as much as I loathe the idea of the Black Glove. Uber-lame.

Cully Hamner’s art is so CGI-ish “I learn it from a book,” it’s disgusting. There are no attempts to do a decent background anywhere, and it’s not like he used a lot of energy on drawing the people, either! No inker when it desperately needs one… it’s pretty bad, folks. Vandal Savage wants one of the two women to voluntarily take the mark from his face, or he will kill both of them. In Greg Rucka’s worst plot ever, they decide one of them will actually do it, because it’s not like calling in any other super-heroes is worthwhile?!? It’s like they both took stupid pills at the same time.

They fight it out and Renee seems to win, as the mark fades from Savage’s face, and the Question refuses to remover her mask. The light sources are so horrible, you get confused if it’s night or day, and how quickly it changed from one to the other. Now one of them has a permanently burning face, and they left vandal Savage on the loose. Ugh. Worst Rucka story ever, and Hamner does not belong doing art for super-hero stories. Maybe something else.

Green Lantern 54

by Geoff Johns and Doug Mahnke

Okay, I mentioned this in the last Marvel review, but the new wife and I just decided this week to keep a stray kitten. On the third page of this new issue, they have a nice little Red Lantern kitty (Dex-Star). That’s it, I’m having my house swept for listening devices! Atrocitus looks awesome, and with four inkers and two colorists, you know they’re making a huge effort to make this comic a visual spectacle.

The White Lantern gives us some answers of a sort when Hal, Carol and Sinestro all grab it and use their powers at the same time. The white entity asks them to find all the other entities. Good luck with Ion, because a diminutive mystery-person just yanked Sodam Yat out of Daxam’s sun, let it turn red again (sorry to any Daxamites who might have been flying and felt their powers disappear eight minutes or so later, when the proper energy rays died out…), and kidnapped the Ion entity! It sits now side by side with the Parallax entity.

The only drawback is that too many of the pages are verbatim from the Brightest Day series, but I suppose they wanted to be clear about what everything means, and the continuity and chornology. The white entity teleports our trio of color-people to Atrocitus, and of course they fight. It’s a cool fight, with some humor for the cat, and Atrocitus chooses to make a red construct out of Mera, who held a red ring during Blackest Night. Lobo shows up to interrupt the action, complete with a dog in tow. Oh, forget if Lobo’s after more than Hal, I wanna see the dog and cat fight!

Green Lantern Corps 48

by Tony Bedard and Ardian Syaf

A neat cover starts off a new creative team. I’m not sure where this takes place in chronology, because Atrocitus is able to meet Guy Gardner and Ganthet at about the same time he’s fighting with Hal on Earth. A small matter for someone with a power ring to get back and forth quickly, though. It could just be an energy duplicate anyway. The opening sequence shows that something big is going on, and Ganthet’s plot finds an ally in both Atrocitus and Guy, but guy seems to think it will cost him the friendship of Hal Jordan? Consider me officially intrigued.

Ganthet resigns from both the Blue Corps and as a Guardian, and successfully argues with the other Guardians for the ability to act as a member of the Green Lantern Corps itself. The forging of his ring is neat and dramatic, and Ardian Syaf shows his improving ability. He’s very good, but without the most recognizable style. There are a number of modern artists who are reasonably skilled, but I would have a small problem identifying which artist did which panel in a line-up, you know? Still, he makes for a visually enjoyable comic, and Vincente Cifuentes has improved his own inking skills as well, as a bonus.

Bedard knows his history, and uses the entire Corps to maximum effect, managing to show us Gardner, Kyle, and John Stewart, while still unveiling a disturbing plot: the Alpha Lanterns are taking Corps members without asking, and adding to their ranks. Do the Guardians know about this? Is it at their direction? The specter of the failed Manhunters experiment rings loudly in our ears as we watch this group spin menacingly out of control. For both art and writing, a creditable succession from the masterful creative team of Tomasi and Gleason.

Long story short, no way am I dropping this title. It will manage to maintain high interest even without the Blackest Night increasing its visibility. Will Brightest Day also provide a sustained boost for this title?

Teen Titans 83

by Felicia Henderson and Josè Luìs

Wow. Just wow. Did you ever have such a poorly written thing in your hands that you just didn’t know where to start? I feel so sorry that the artist is stuck with this writer. He must like drawing planes and stuff, because we get a cool shot of the ship flying for a splash page fold-out. He gives up on most things later, giving us a lot of blank backgrounds that are very boring, as much as the colorist tries to shake things up and give you a little variety.

Worst of all is the writing. I think I have picked apart Henderson’s poor work before, and it does no good to take it point by point anymore. Teen Titans was ranked number 40 on the sales chart for December of last year. It has fallen to #79 as of April. That alone speaks volumes about how far the title has fallen. It’s one of those moments where you put down a book and seriously consider sending in your own script, because you can entertain yourself better than this.

The only saving grace is the new second feature, Coven of three. It has some classic demons plotting to escape to Earth. Rex Ogle writes and Ted Naifeh draws.Traci 13, Black Alice, and Zach Zatara all get decent introductions, with recaps that aren’t boring, and make you actually feel a little for them. Unlike the feeling you get reading the main feature, where you’re praying for Deathstroke to show up and kill all of them immediately.

Wonder Woman 44

by Gail Simone, Nicola Scott, and Travis Moore

It’s the swan song for Gail Simone and Nicola Scott. Diana battles her cousin while the supporting cast tries to fight off the invasion. Diana finally succeeds in calming Theana down, an act which immediately makes Theana’s mother Astarte decide to kill her own daughter. It really takes the whole “she who hesitates is lost” thing to another level, doesn’t it?

Wonder Woman defeats Atarte and becomes their captain, allowing her to depose Astarte and order the fleet to go pillage uninhabited worlds. Of course, this is a wonderful idea, because Diana will not be going along, so what could possibly go wrong with sending a bloodthirsty race to act like a vegetarian Galactus among the worlds of the DC universe without supervision? Ah well, the art is pretty good, at least.

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