Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly DC Comics Review – Part 2

Brightest Day 3

by Geoff Johns, Peter J. Tomasi, Ivan Reis, Patrick Gleason, Ardian Syaf, Scott Clark, and Joe Prado

Representations of the resurrected heroes leap out of Boston Brand’s ring, straight at the Anti-Monitor, who can see him, by the way. The ring seems content to keep Boston guessing what the rules are, so the fight is a little confusing. It ends with Boston disappearing and the Anti-Monitor remaining standing where he was in the first place. The ring did tell him that the heroes and villains that came back are NOT supposed to defeat the Anti-Monitor, but what is the big A-M doing? And who is supposed to stop him?

Elsewhere, Ronnie bails on everyone, not willing to admit that he remembers every part of it when he was a Black Lantern, killing Jason’s girlfriend. Aquaman’s powers are still summoning deceased sea life, and Mera promises to stand by his side, but why does she look so worried in the last panel? J’onzz discovers there was a first visitor to Earth before him, and the white lantern starts blinking just when some group in the Bermuda Triangle declares they are free. The threads all seem different, but feel connected somehow.

The series is developing a feel to it that is more reminiscent of 52 than anything else, but 52 had a smoother flow. Here the characters are so many, we only get to see a handful of them, while others like Osiris and Maxwell Lord might have the bulk of their development take place in other titles. Still, many of us remember the short-story format that the Martian Manhunter, Deadman, and Aquaman enjoyed back in the day, and if you treat each of these as an anthology of short stories, it feels better. Having such top-notch artistic talent on all of them helps quite a bit.

The real treat is seeing a blood-thirsty Hawkman closing in on Hath-Set, but still too late. There’s a purple energy portal comprised of the bones of every incarnation of Carter and Shiera, and guess who just went through the gate? The portal is spooky and beautiful and worth the two-page spread at the end. In a competition for making us care, Hawkman’s story wins right now, but I am reasonably intrigued in each of them so far, and patient enough to wait for the payoff.

One thing that makes this a little different from 52 is that the characters are considered to be a little “higher grade” than those from 52, and perhaps make it easier to focus all the attention DC wants us to on this title.

The Great Ten 8

by Tony Bedard and Scott McDaniel

The current action is almost a byproduct, as the real story centers around the origin of the Shaolin Robot, and boy is it a little different. Originally a clockwork mechanism built as a guardian to a tomb, it is unleashed by some archaeologists centuries later. The government disposes of a bunch of the more simplistic automatons, but take this one that had been worked on further by its creator, and they manage to upgrade it and bring the technology that keeps it running into the modern age. In keeping with the Chinese culture, it also appears to have insight into the world beyond simple circuits, but it expresses itself in Chinese symbols that remind you of the wise, sparse sayings of the teachers from martial arts movies.

The Robot manages to kill one of the ”deities,” and they also capture Mister Ma. Thundermind works his mental abilities and learns there is a factory producing robots out in the Gobi desert. Next issue wraps it all up! I’d be interested to see the Shaolin Robot meet Marvel’s M-11 from the Agents of Atlas…

Joker’s Asylum II: The Riddler One-Shot

by Peter Calloway and Andres Guinaldo

This was an impulse buy for me. The Joker is keeping the inmates up with a story about the Riddler, as the guy with a thing for riddles encounters a woman and tries to win her heart. He tries everything, but nothing works. Then, a Bat-villain shows up trying to enlist the Riddler in a scheme to kill the Bat. But there’s a trick: the Joker keeps changing the villain whom he says is talking to the Riddler!

For a regular story, the reader might feel cheated, but with the Joker as the narrator, it feels maddeningly proper and expected. The villain makes the woman “fall” for the Riddler, and as soon as it happens, the Riddler loses interest, but the riddle is gone, and that was really what he liked. But Gordon shows up to arrest the Riddler, and the Joker claims to have already told us who the visitor was. He ends the story there, with his fellow inmates all still awake, and now mad as hell that he is not telling them straight out who the villain was. Which suits the Joker just fine. Not too shabby!

Superman/Batman Annual 4

by Paul Levitz and Renato Guedes

Levitz gives us another story much like his other-Superboy in Adventure Comics this week: his Superman/Batman story concerns Batman Beyond. Some spillover of criminals from Metropolis takes Mcginnis there, where he infiltrates a group of Luthor’s thugs. This allows Luthor access to Superman’s fortress, so it’s all a planned trick by Luthor.

But for all of Luthor’s planning, the team of Batman and superman still triumph. After ages of problems, Superman actually sends Luthor to the Phantom Zone, where he has been sending a ton of crooks. He leaves the device to McGinnis, with instructions to let others out, but keep Luthor in there. Then, superman leaves Earth to explore other parts of the galaxy he has not seen before now. It’s a nice “What happened to the Man of Steel?” story for Batman Beyond, and some great work on art by Guedes.

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