Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly DC Comics Review

Batman 700

by Grant Morrison, Tony Daniel , Frank Quitely, Andy Kubert, and David Finch

Underwhelming. This is the 700th issue of Batman!!! We don’t get much in the way of classic artists, or a visit by any of the old hands that used to make Batman great. No, it’s all stuff by the most recent people involved. The four artists are great, of course, but Grant Morrison usurps all the writing in an attempt to do his usual thing with Batman: make something clever out of the Silver Age stories. Batman is back in the Maybe Machine, and some of his rogues gallery has come out to play.

After a quick tale of Bruce Wayne behind the mask, we skip ahead to the Grayson/Damian combo, with an impossibly-old corpse of Dr. Nichols, who possessed the Maybe Machine. The Joker’s notebook is the cheap Mcguffin that Morrison uses to help tie the plots together the next tale shows us Damian in the Batman costume, right at the point where a younger Nichols shows up via time travel to deposit his older, dying body in the past, to make all three stories make some sort of sense.

The pin-up gallery is fun, but there is no real sense of celebration for the character. I get that they have painted themselves into a corner with Bruce Wayne being gone, so maybe this is the only way they thought they could pay tribute to the idea of there always being a Batman, rather than another story direction, but it falls flat. We needed something grand for the anniversary issue, and a “grand” concept just doesn’t set the bar for DC’s biggest heroes, all of whom get anniversary issues soon. Negative points for DC’s neglect of older Batman creators who have contributed to the legend. It would have been a great tribute to give them some space.

Many fans are also grumbling about what they got for the price point, and how it feels like a bit of a let-down.


Booster Gold 33

by Keith Giffen and Chris Batista

The orphan rescued from time, Rani, is drawing on Rip’s time-chalkboard, and they finally spell out that warnings are generated about problems in the timestream show up as messages there. Giffen orchestrates a conversation between Cyborg and booster that establish that Max Lord has used his telepathy to wipe the world’s memory of his existence. Only a handful of former members of the JLI can remember his presence, and Booster gets it in his mind to go back in time and find proof of Max’s existence.

Rip tries to talk him out of it, but eventually relents. Then we get to segue to some classic memories, as Booster visits the JLI time-era. Booster gets his hands on a VHS recording tht shows Max standing next to the JLI when they received their international status, but it doesn’t come back through time. Rip explains that artifacts that are too embedded, or important to events, cannot be removed. It sounds like a cop-out actually, since entire people and other artifacts in the past have been removed. That part of the theory could use some work. That said, the art is okay, and the story is relatively solid.


Secret Six 22

by Gail Simone and J. Calafiore

Simone finally gives us some background on Catman, but only by showing us he had an inexcusably twisted father, with a warped kind of Darwinian theory that he used to justify beating on his wife. The dad decides that Thomas (Catman in his youth) has taken the mother’s side, so he kills the mom and frames his son?!? It’s pretty bad when you have villains who are so one-dimensional, you have trouble believing they can exist, due to lack of any other facet of personality. It blends right in with the feel-sorry-for-the-bad-guy-because-he-had-a-bad-childhood cliché, but there are no redeeming traits in this story to account for the cliché. It’s just cliché.

The other story has Alice melting down and finally confessing that she can’t use her powers correctly, and in attempting to help her father, she thinks she may have given him cancer. Deadshot makes stupid contradictory comments the entire way through, and Simone abuses him, utilizing him only to deliver lame punchlines. Alice decides to go home, and hopefully she leaves this group behind.

Catman takes revenge on the kidnappers, and returns to the old man who authorized it. Turns out this was a revenge plot against Chesire, but if Catman will let the child live in the safe, anonymous family in which the old man placed him, the kid will be safe. Catman bows to the logic, leaves the kid where he is, and calls Chesire to confirm the kid’s death. Then he throws the old man out the window. It’s a logical decision by Catman, and about the only thing that makes sense in this comic.

It’s getting bad enough that I may have to cancel this one soon.


Titans 24

by Eric Wallace, Fabrizio Fiorentino and Mike Mayhew

Deathstroke spies on his own people, as the villains take over this title. He reveala their target is Lex Luthor, and everyone is surprised when lightning jumps from Osiris’ chest to fry a security guard. The art is exciting and fun, but they do rely on colorist tricks to make it seem like there’s more to the background than there really is.

The trick is that Luthor hired Deathstroke to smoke out the real assassin, and on the villains’ attack, the assassin had to show an escape to the sewers, which was her way out after she planned to kill Luthor. It turns out to be Façade, and Deathstroke’s shot to her head has not killed her. Until this series gets some better direction, it looks like next issue will be captivated by the villains too, but considering they haven’t given us anything better, we might as well go along with the ride for now.


the Unwritten

by Mike Carey and Peter Gross

A new book is about to be released by Wilson Taylor, but it’s not really by him. Someone is trying to flush him out, by publishing one of the worst mash-ups of all the latest pop culture fads, rolled into one: a big, horrible bunch of clichés, sure to destroy his reputation and the franchise. Lizzie gets told she’s basically on her own, while Tom and Savoy are still trying to see if they can get to Tom’s dad.

Just as Lizzie is about to be picked up by the bad guys, Tom and Savoy arrive to save her, but Lizzie immediately pulls a gun on Tommy to take the magical doorknob! She uses it to get back to her own home, leaving Tom and Savoy behind with yet another puzzle to figure out. Tom is slowly figuring out that he is in the middle of some kind of war, and he’s just about ready to decide to win it. Now if only he can figure out what the heck is going on…


Warlord

by Mike Grell and Joe Prado

Scientists try to educate a general on the meaning of some signals, but he takes the stance that UFOs are for nuts. Given the world he lives in, and assuming he has seen Superman and Dr. Fate and others, I’m not sure why someone living in that type of world would discount the idea of aliens, or even the hollow earth theory.

Menawhile, Joshua has stepped into his father’s shoes, and enjoying his link with his new sister. Did that much time really pass, or does everybody grow up faster in Skartaris? Alysha helps save a hippogryph, and from her vantage point in the sky, she realizes some markings indicate preparations for an alien invasion. It’s interesting to see the sword and sorcery environment veer straight into alien adventures, like something straight out of Killraven. With the death of the original Warlord, everything is wide open, and I’m not sure what to expect from this book next.

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