DC This Week: ‘The Legend of Wonder Woman’ Soars

It’s rare when Ray and I rave about a book for multiple issues, and for the same reasons. When that happens, it usually means we’re reading something extraordinary. That’s the case with The Legend of Wonder Woman #3, our book of the week, and those superlatives apply to the series. The series is so good, and so what Wonder Woman has needed that I basically teared up reading that.

Sounds silly, right? But Wonder Woman means a lot to many people. There’s a reason everyone smiles at me when I wear my Wonder Woman shirts or hoodies or shoes: people love her. It’s about time she has received a story deserving of that love.

Overall, it was good week for DC issues, too, including one of my favorite issues of Batman & Robin Eternal for a long time, Constantine musing on how awful fairies are, Superman getting to be Superman again in Action Comics #50, and some good stuff from Gotham Academy, Starfire, and Batman/Superman. Plus, the crossover between Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles continues to work, even showing some character depth.

Yeah, there were a few that mucked it up for the rest. See the bottom of our list.

The Legend of Wonder Woman #3, story and pencils by Renae De Liz, inks, colors and letters by Ray Dillon

The Legend of Wonder Woman tournament
Legend of Wonder Woman: Zeus announces a tournament. image via DC Comcis

Ray: 9.5/10 (Book of the Week)

Corrina: If You’re a Wonder Woman Fan and You’re Not Reading This, What Is Wrong With You? 

Ray: Three issues in, we’re finally getting to the core of Wonder Woman’s origin after spending two issues on the little-seen era of her childhood and adolescence. The leisurely pace has been very welcome, as I think the character really needs this kind of exploration of her early years.

But now, things are really heating up as the evil Antiope schemes against Hippolyta and the arrival of Steve Trevor on the island has pitted the Amazons against each other, with many wanting to kill him. This could have easily been another example of “bloodthirsty Amazons”, but De Liz makes it make much more sense in context with the ongoing supernatural turmoils they’re facing. This, naturally, leads to the tournament that will select their champion and place Steve’s fate in their hands. It gives Diana a different motivation for entering the tournament than she usually does – protecting a friend, rather than simply seeking adventure and a chance to leave the island – but it works in context.

The tournament itself is done really well in its simplicity. Normally, it’s portrayed as a series of Survivor-like challenges, but here it’s boiled down to one intense brawl taking place in blinding mists, easily the best action segment so far in this series. I was pleased to see the tension between Diana and her mother over her decision was kept to a minimum. The strong mother-daughter bond at work here is one of the best parts of the series. And of course, as Diana heads out to deliver Steve Trevor back to man’s world, things go awry courtesy of interference from the Gods – and send her to the modern world along with him. This has been a fantastic interpretation of Diana’s early days on the island, maybe the best I’ve seen, and I can’t wait to see where the story goes next as she’s introduced to Man’s world for the first time.

Corrina: Fantastic, wonderful, awesome, perfect…I’ve run out of compliments for this story. The only problem I foresee is if future issues are merely very good instead of brilliant.

Here we have the Amazons, goddesses as three-dimensional characters, neither the murderous child slavers they’ve been turned into in the current Wonder Woman series or the Feminazis portrayed by some writers. They’re immortal beings who are in tune with their gods and wondering how they fit into the world, with differing views on how to face it. Princess Diana is the symbol of that struggle, instantly choosing compassion over fear and revenge, as some of the Amazons want to do. It’s why she’s their champion: because she’s the best of them, even though she’s mortal.

Diana and Hippolyta’s relationship hasn’t been so well drawn since Wonder Woman: The Circle by Gail SimoneAs the mother of grown children, Hippolyta’s words to Diana about her fears for her daughter, even though she’s eminently capable, hit home.

Image copyright DC Comics
Image copyright DC Comics

Batman and Robin Eternal #23, James Tynion IV and Scott Snyder, story, Genevieve Valentine, script, Christian Duce, artist

Ray: 9/10

Corrina: Best Characterization So Far In This Series

Ray: In many ways, this is the calm before the storm, a character-driven issues as our heroes collect themselves for the final battle against Mother, and several underused characters finally get a moment in the sun. Genvieve Valentine once again shows a great ear for dialogue, as well as a surprisingly light touch given her noirish Catwoman run. As Mother’s plan to activate thousands of child sleeper agents around the world is put into effect, Cullen desperately tries to get in touch with his sister as he and Steph discuss what their next move should be. That’s when Tim Drake shows up and pulls them back into the fight.

Dick Grayson has recruited Midnighter, although he has to be interrupted during a “sleepover”. There’s a lot of tech-based talk this issue, and that it’s only weak point, but it seems like we’re headed for a fantastic showdown next issue as Dick arrives at Mother’s lair. The real gold this issue, though, is in the character-driven scenes. My personal favorite was Stephanie Brown guarding Scarecrow’s cage as he tries to unnerve her by playing on the fact that she’s the most inexperienced member of the Bat-family. This is the Steph I love – not nearly as polished as the other heroes, with with the guts and guile to make up for it. Also a big fan of Midnighter and Cullen’s odd little bonding session – petition for this guy to be thrown into the mentor role more often wherever he lands next – and Jason Todd’s interrogation of Scarecrow using tactics that Batman would definitely not approve of. This series feels like it’s genuinely doing justice to all the members of the “Bat-kids”, and that’s something really fantastic to see.

Corrina: Psst…there’s three gay men in this story and they’re not talking about sex. Instead, Midnighter decides to mentor Cullen and provide some advice. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen that in a mainstream superhero comic. And yet, it is seamlessly integrated into this story.

While I enjoyed Ray’s favorite scene with Stephanie, I felt like Midnighter stole the issue, between his interaction with Cullen and his snarky flirting with Dick. But all the characters hit their hit notes this issue, from Dick to Cullen to Jason and Scarecrow. I know this series has only a few issues left and I’ve been critical sometimes of the premise and some of the issues that took us to this point but this issue was so good that I felt it was worth it.

Constantine: the Hellblazer #10, Ming Doyle and James Tynion IV, writers, Travel Foreman, penciller, Joseph Silver, inker.

Ray: 8.5/10

Corrina: Love the Fairies. Not Found of the Cliches.

Ray: This is certainly a busy issue, jumping all over the place as the fix Constantine finds himself in just gets deeper and deeper. When we open, he’s found himself in the realm of the faerie. In case you were expecting “Constantine Hates Fairyland”, not quite. These faeries are very much the traditional kind – capricious, powerful beings who toy with human life for their amusement. There’s some really creepy effects in these scenes, and I was amused by the “low-tech” way Constantine got out of the situation. He immediately goes to free Oliver, who has had a weird bonding session with the basilisk holding him hostage, and takes his boyfriend home – where he’s shocked to find that Oliver has two daughters from a previous marriage. That’s an interesting twist, and one Constantine does not take well at all.

While his immediate instinct to break up with Oliver before he and his girls can get hurt is oddly noble, I was amused to see Oliver shoot it down and basically dismantle all his arguments before Constantine could get out the door. Constantine does leave, but I’m rooting for this pair by the end of the series. So why not a higher score? Two reasons. Big fan of Neron as the villain, and while the Donald Trump comparisons were amusing, him actually quoting “Make Hell Great Again” is a bit too on-the-nose and lazy. Also, Blythe worming her way into babysitting Oliver’s kids and endangering them? Poor guy can’t get a break. Still, this is easily the best run on this character we’re gotten since he joined the DCU again. Hoping this creative team continues into Rebirth.

Corrina: I don’t believe Constantine was being noble, I believe he was being realistic. As we’ve seen, people around him end up dead or demonized or soulless or some other awful fate. I know Oliver is a good guy, but jeez, he’s only been dating Constantine a short time and he doesn’t have the power to oppose the foes that Constantine faces. I don’t buy that this man would run off to help Constantine. They don’t have that kind of relationship yet. Plus, it’s cliche to put his daughters in danger right away.

Cover copyright DC Comics
Cover copyright DC Comics

All that sounds like I hated the issue and I didn’t. I loved the journey into fairyland, and it’s horrors and its weirdness, especially in how the bold colors of the sequence are mixed with some horrific actions. That’s a nice artistic metaphor for fairies: pretty on the outside, covering awfulness on the inside. I love that Constantine tricked one of them so easily.

Still love the Donald Trump comparison, too.

Superman: Action Comics #50, story by Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder, words, Pak, layouts, Kuder, pencils, Kuder, David Messina, Javi Fernandez, Bruno Redondo and Vicente Cifuentes. Inks: Kuker, Gaetano Carlucci, Juan Albarran, Fernandez, and Cifuentes.

Ray: 8.5/10

Corrina: Hey! I like This Superman Guy! Where’s He Been?

Ray: We’re almost at the end of the road for this big “depowered Superman” storyline, and this issue has a lot of the big moments everyone’s been waiting for. Since the beginning, Pak has really been the one writer in the rotating creative teams that has gotten the character and his supporting cast down pat, and unfortunately this is the farewell for him and Aaron Kuder on this book, before Rebirth. Will they have any future work for DC? I hope so. This issue is a full-length forty-page story that is almost entirely action as a Kryptonite-powered Superman fights a last, desperate battle against Vandal Savage and his superpowered children. Kuder’s art is fantastic, providing us with some truly grotesque villains and monsters throughout, and the story does a great job of both giving us an insight into Superman and into the friends who back him up. Can I say how glad I am to see it explicitly stated that Clark understands why Lois did what she did, that he doesn’t blame her, and that he knows it doesn’t change who he is? Been waiting for half a year for that.

Lois gets some great scenes this issue, but so do characters like Lee Lambert and even Clark’s constant foil Lex Luthor (who gets some great moments in another comic this week as well). Vandal Savage and his children remain the weak links, essentially a stock tyrant with grandiose plans, but he serves his purpose – to push Superman to his limit, and put him in the circumstances needed for the fortress to recognize him and restore him to Superman. I kind of wish this creative team had been the one to bring the whole story to a close – there’s still two chapters to go – but I’m glad they got to go out on a high.

Looking back on this series as a whole, it’s been defined by two creative teams. It opened with an eighteen-issue run by Grant Morrison with backups by Scholly Fish, and while it certainly wasn’t up to the level of All-Star Superman, it was a fascinating, dense run that added some great new villains to the rogues gallery, brought back the golden-age Superman in tone, and expanded the mythology of characters like Mr. Mxyzptlk. It wasn’t perfect, but it was original as all get out. From there, things sort of went off the rails. A run by Andy Diggle was aborted before it began, with Diggle stepping off and artist Tony Daniel taking over on writing for an arc. Then there were a number of crossovers and fill-ins, with Superman writer Scott Lobdell taking over for a time. It wasn’t until Pak and Kuder jumped on board that this title got back on track. Pak got Superman from moment one and brought a big, sci-fi adventure vibe to it, even keeping the book interesting during this current plotline. The next team on this book will have a high bar as it returns to original numbering.

Corrina: Superman is back. And, by that, I mean that the hero is back too, not just his powers. All I can say after enduring issue after issue of this excruciating story is: it’s about time. It’s a joyous moment to see Clark not only realize he’s powered up back to normal but also to realize that he is the hero people believe him to be. That’s our Big Blue Boy Scout that I love, not this angsty loner who’s been in the previous issue.

I want to have been a fly on the wall when Greg Pak received this story idea from DC Editorial. Or maybe he came up with it himself? I’m not sure. But it’s gone on too long for me to totally forgive it, thought this issue goes a long way to that, and not just because my favorite, Lois Lane, finally gets her due. You know that moment when Captain America makes the speech in Captain America: The Winter Soldier? That felt like this kind of moment for Superman in this comic.

As for the first fifty issues of the series, well, first I need to whine that I’m still annoyed Action Comics lost its original numbering. I want to see stuff like “issue #700” on the top of Action Comics, not issue #50. Morrison original run was interesting if a bit disjointed at times, but it was always imaginative. There wasn’t one memorable story arc since then, (Really, Doomed crossover? Really?) but Pak and the rest of the creative team on this last run has had some good moments.

Please let DC fix Superman in the upcoming “not a reboot” thing.

Starfire #10, Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti, writers, Elsa Charretier, art

Ray: 6/10

Corrina: Starfire: Warrior.

Ray: This is a weird issue that is sort of lacking most of the fun that I come to expect from this book. When we last left off, Starfire, Atlee, and Stella’s arrival in Strata was derailed by the arrival of an evil warrior who intends to take over the kingdom and kill anyone who opposes him. He unleashes an army of monsters on the city, and Starfire and Atlee spend most of the issue battling them. With the giant beasts regenerating from her energy blasts, Starfire eventually unleashes some sort of nova blast that destroys them, but with the side effect of putting her in a coma. The Strata doctors say she’ll be in a coma for 32 years, but she winds up waking up just in time for the victory celebration.

The main story is fairly dry and lacks most of this title’s usual humor, but things are lighter on the surface, as Sol finds that babysitting Silkie comes with some strange complications. It’s a weird subplot, but it has more of the vibe that this series usually does.

Corrina: I thought the main story had some funny moments, from the facial expressions to Stella’s concern about nudity to Starfire’s continued indifference to it. But I liked this issue because it showcased Starfire’s warrior side. We’ve gotten used to her being so benevolent that we forget that she’s also one of the most dangerous fighters on the planet. That’s always been the duality of her character and I’m glad to see it back.

I’m not sure what to think of Silkie pulling the cupid trick on Sol and friend but I liked that their reactions to it were appropriate. (It’s not cool to be made to just be in lust with someone.) I suspect Sol is not going to be Starfire’s boyfriend much longer.

Gotham Academy #16, creators: Brenden Fletcher, James Tynion IV, Christian Wildgoose, Adam Archer, Sandra Hope, Ken Niimura,

Ray: 8.5/10

Corrina: Lumberjanes and Gotham Academy Will Crossover! Yay! (I know, that’s not part of this story but I couldn’t resist being happy about that.)

Ray: Easily the best of the Yearbook issues yet, I think this issue benefited from having a tighter focus, with only two stories plus the framing segments and a specific focus on one character, Maps Mizoguchi. And let’s face it, Maps is the best, isn’t she? The issue opens with Robin breaking into Gotham Academy and snooping in Maps’ things, which leads to a flashback tale by James Tynion IV and Christian Wildgoose, in which Maps and Colton put into effect an elaborate plan of hers to finally meet and team up with Batman. My favorite part of the story is her drawings of what this meeting is going to be, and while this Batman is certainly more gentle than a lot of the other versions, I sort of like that. Tynion’s writing is always great.

After Damian is chased off by Pomeline, we get the second and longer story, a cartoony tale by Ken Niimura. This one also focuses on Maps, as she finds herself bored being stuck at the school on Sunday and pulls Olive and the rest of her friends into an elaborate adventure. The reveal of the source of this “mystery”, and Olive’s reaction, are great. I loved the plot-heavy earlier arcs of this title and I’m looking forward to seeing the book get back to it, but at the same time, this issue was by far the best at capturing the regular vibe of the series in a selection of vignettes. Both of the guest creative teams this month are top-notch and should be read by any fans of the series.

Corrina: The second story was also my favorite because it focused on the friendship between Maps and Olive and that’s been my favorite part of this series. I know I should pay attention to the other students at the Academy but these are the only two that I enjoy seeing at the center of the story. Bonus: they’re kids acting like kids, and they kinda reminded me of Trixie Belden and her Bob-White Club. (Look that up, kids. 🙂

Batman/Superman #30, writer, Tom Taylor, pencils, Robson Rocha, inks, Jay Leisten

Ray: 8/10

Corrina: Identity Swap FTW!

Ray: This is for all practical purposes the series finale, as after this issue the last two issues are part of the Super-League crossover. Taylor and Rocha have given us a fairly compelling space adventure that lets both Superman and Batman show off their skills. When we last left off, Superman followed the trail of a supposed living Kryptonian to find him being held as a slave in an engine, using his solar cells to power the villains’ machine. Meanwhile, the villain – who orchestrated his own daughter’s death to lure Superman – has set Lobo on Batman.

The only weak spot of the issue is Lobo, who spends most of the issue boasting about killing Batman while wandering around with half his face burned off. However, the issue as a whole is a great updating of the classic Superman/Batman dynamic. Pulling the old switcheroo to fool the villains? Check. Superman showing off his compassion and preventing unnecessary fights? Check. Batman thinking five steps ahead? Check. The aged Kryptonian – actually a Daxamite – finds out that his captors needed him to lure a new “recruit” because his cells were burning out, causing him to switch sides. This leads to a really powerful scene at the end as Superman and Batman help the dying man fulfill one last wish. We’ve seen stories like this before, but the excecution is top-notch all around.

Corrina: Hey, I like it when Lobo is useless and has half his face burned off. If this character never showed up again, I would be so happy. I’m glad to see Batman get the best of him.

As Ray said, this is an old-school team-up in space but it’s so well done that even though I figured out Batman and Supes swapped places, I wasn’t annoyed. Instead, it made me smile. I also loved showcasing Superman’s compassion for the aged Daxamite and that last scene with him and our heroes was lovely. Yep, agreed with Ray. Top-Notch.

Green Lantern Corps: Edge of Oblivion #3, writer, Tom Taylor, artist, Ethan Van Sciver

Ray: 6.5/10

Corrina: Art is Awesome.

Ray: Van Sciver is out after three issues of this miniseries, and it’s disappointing to see him go. Very few artists draw the world of the Green Lantern Corps better than he does. Things go from bad to worse for the Lanterns this issue, as they’re split down the middle in the aftermath of Arisia and Bd’g’s apparent deaths. Kilowog and Guy are punching each other left and right, and Mogo has frosty relations with the other living planet in this universe. Tom Taylor does display a deft hand with characterization in a few scenes – the opening segment giving us an insight into Iolande’s childhood is really nice.

But overall, the story suffers from being a lot of action and chaos without a central plot that is really gripping. The Lanterns are still stuck in the past, and most of this issue is spent discussed the predicament they find themselves in. About two-thirds through the issue, the Lanterns decide to take the fight to their enemy Marniel, and after burrowing through the planet to confront her, she reveals she can summon ghosts and is also worthy of stealing and wielding their rings. She’s certainly a creepy villain with cool powers, but we know little to nothing about her so far. Van Sciver’s visuals are spectacular, but this story feels more like a placeholder than anything.

Corrina: The villain doesn’t have enough lead time to be interesting, I’m not investing in the universe collapsing story because I’m pretty sure DC isn’t killing off John Stewart and a bunch of recognizable Lanters, but, damn, Van Sciver’s art would almost have me recommending the story anyway. The scene with the drilling into the planet; the scene as the other Lanterns leave to search for an escape; that scene when all the ghosts came to our villain at the end—they’re all lovingly rendered.

But since Van Sciver is leaving the book, I expect I’ll enjoy the end of this series much less than I would have otherwise.

Earth 2 Society #10, Dan Abnett, writer, Jorge Jimenez, artist New Suicide Squad #18, writer, Tim Seeley,

Ray: 4/10

Corrina: Joyless

Corrina: Things were looking up for a while in this series with the new creative team, but it didn’t take long for things to get ridiculously grim and gritty once more. Batman’s investigation into a shady businessman selling a poisonous generator to the population is derailed when he’s confronted by Hourman, the villain’s personal bodyguard. One more hero randomly turned evil in this verse. Then there’s Val-Zod walking away from being Superman because the people are opposed to “Wonders”, including Martha Kent condemning superheroes on TV. Meanwhile, Hawkgirl’s investigation into the Amazons uncovers a terrible secret – and leads to her being captured by Fury. When this universe started, it felt new, fresh, and exciting, with bold new takes on classic heroes. Now it feels like the Ultimate Universe in fast forward. I’m hoping for a complete and total revamp of these characters in Rebirth, because this just isn’t working.

Corrina: Remember when we were excited that Helena/Huntress and Karen/Power Girl had come back to their regular Earth? Alas, that never lived up to the anticipation and neither has this series. It’s been a total bummer to see a new take on Earth-2, with some great new heroes like Aquawoman and even Red Tornado Lois Lane, become darker and more depressing as we go on. I’d hoped the talented Abnett could rescue it but instead, we’re sort of stuck in more deception and more hatred. Martha Kent, I don’t know you.

I expect that all these characters will disappear soon. That’s a shame because it’s potential wasted.

New Suicide Squad #18, writer, Tim Seeley, art and color Juan Ferreyra

Ray: 7/10

Corrina: Bad Guys Betrayed? No Way!

Ray: Well, we all knew that the Suicide Squad wasn’t actually dead, right? Last issue’s massacre of the whole team was certainly dramatic, but the clearest fake-out I’ve ever seen. Sure enough, the issue opens with the team relaxing in Europe and sharing the tale of how they got out. It involves a lunch lady at Belle Reve with a crush on Deadshot, and the assistance of humanitarian group Horus International, the leaders of which are accompanying the Squad as they make their escape. As Amanda Waller – who seems to believe the team is dead, but you never know with her – plans to make replacements with the help of the British liaison, the team heads to a mysterious former prison in the Alps, which is certainly not the site of anything bad that happened.

And naturally, things go very much downhill from there, as their humanitarian patron turns out to be an insane murderer who kills his patron and unleashes an army of mercenaries on the Squad in a demented tournament of carnage. It’s all a bit cliched and over-the-top, but the real star here is Juan Ferreyra’s art. In lesser hands, this would have been a standard action comic, but he manages to give the later scenes the same sense of creepy foreboding he did in the lamented Gotham After Midnight. As we know, this book is getting a top-tier new creative team in Rebirth, but this story isn’t a bad way to go out at all.

Corrina: When Ferreyra’s art is combined with Seeley’s narration for Harley Quinn’s story of how they escaped from prison and Waller’s control, this is an interesting story. When it focused on the team being betrayed–yet again–so they can be put in another prison for reasons we don’t yet understand, well, that’s when the story lost me.

At least we get an explanation of why Waller has been tolerating the annoying British liaison. Something is definitely going on with that.

Red Hood/Arsenal #10, Scott Lobdell, writer, Dexter Soy, artist

Ray: 5/10

Corrina: Not More Joker’s Daughter! :Hides:

Ray: Man, this title keeps on surviving in various forms, doesn’t it? Red Hood and the Outlaws lasted 40 issues or so, this title has been staying above the red line, and the original title is getting a relaunch come Rebirth. I’m sort of puzzled by this, but it clearly has its audience. This issue is far from the worst of the lot, it’s just sort of generic in its main plot, which has Jason and Roy going undercover on a Navy ship to uncover a HIVE plot that involves turning soldiers into sleeper agents.

Roy and Jason are hilariously bad as undercover agents, which is either a writing flaw or the best thing about the book. Or both. The villain is generic and sort of comes out of nowhere. I was more interested in the ongoing plotline of Joker’s Daughter trying to reform, and this issue focuses on her undergoing therapy. I liked that the issue basically doubled down on her essentially being a poser villain who likes to freak people out but is lying about all her horrible deeds – except that the final page seems to back away from that and try to make her a serious threat again. I really don’t know what to make of this book right now.

Corrina: To give the issue it’s due: Roy and Jason are fun as they banter about how to stop the bomb. Heck, I like their dialogue the entire issue. The story almost got me with the Joker’s Daughter, perhaps a kid messed up by Gotham who can somehow forge a new life, though why Jason believes exposing her to yet more violence is the answer, I have no idea. Or why they’d even bring her on missions while she might kill them at any moment, even if one psychologist says she might be okay. The reveal at the end that she’s still her murderous self just made me sigh.

Telos #6

Ray: 1/10

Ray: I mean, we’ve been harsh on this series from the start. It was a misguided attempt to turn a fairly generic event villain into a series lead, and mainly seemed to take him through a tour of elements from other cancelled series like Threshold. But this final issue is absolutely terrible. Most of it is spent fighting a version of Parallax that doesn’t even really seem in step with the Parallax from Green Lantern or Convergence. This character spends his time ranting about killing the other Hal Jordan, and he and Telos fight over the energy that powers Telos’ ability to travel in time. Then, Hal steals Telos’ power and disappears leaving Telos stranded…and that’s it. We fade to black. This feels like a mid-arc cliffhanger, not the end of a series. Which makes me wonder, was that what happened? Was this series just ended mid-way rather than actually concluded like most cancelled series are, if with a rush? Because if so, wow. I doubt we’re ever seeing Telos again, and I doubt there’ll be any big rush from the fans demanding a resolution.

Corrina: The story of how and why this series was green lit by DC has to be far more interesting than the story that’s on the page, as I suspect this story is not the one originally pitched. In any case, this issue was left out of my review packet. Oops. I’m bummed. Not.

Batman & The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #4, script, James Tyion IV, art and cover, Freddie Williams II

Ray: 8.5/10

Corrina: Definitely Something Fun For Turtles Fans

Ray: The most consistently entertaining inter-company crossover we’ve had in some time, this issue is in some ways a breather issue as Shredder and his new ally Ra’s Al Ghul plot to bring over Mutagen from Shredder’s dimension – but wind up picking up a stowaway in the form of Casey Jones. With no fear as always, he clubs the villains and makes an escape. Meanwhile, facing a ticking clock as their mutagen de-activates, the Turtles and Splinter are hunkered down in the Batcave, trying to find a solution. Michaelangelo is driving Alfred nuts and Leo and Donatello are having fun fanboying over Batman, but Raphael is consumed with anger and lashes out at Batman in a dramatic scene.

That leads Batman to track him down and take him to Crime Alley so he can share with him why he does what he does. It sort of makes sense that it’s the angriest Turtle who would wind up bonding with Batman, and it’s good to see Raphael – usually the turtle who gets the least attention – in the spotlight. As for the cliffhanger – mutant Arkham inmates? That can’t be good – we’re definitely heading for a strong conclusion here. You can tell that the writer loves both properties, and that’s when a crossover really works.

Corrina: Don’t throw tomatoes but I always thought the Turtles were kind of interchangeable. That they have distinct personalities in this series is a surprise for me but, hey, that’s a good thing because it makes the story better. I’m enjoying it but I suspect I would be enjoying it a lot more if I were a Turtle fan because it’s not essential for Batman fans. (Just fun.)

I would guess Casey Jones’ appearance produced a “hells yes!” from Turtles fans reading this story. It is a great entrance.

Ray Goldfield is a writer/editor for Grayhaven Comics, as well as the author of two novels currently in editing. He’s a comic fan for over 20 years, particularly of DC and Superman, Batman, and the Teen Titans in particular. Now that Cassandra Cain is coming back, he will not rest until DC greenlights a Young Justice: Season Three comic.

Disclaimer: GeekMom received these comics for review purposes.

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Writer, Mom, Geek and Superhero. though usually not all four on the same day. Author of the award-winning Phoenix Institute Superhero series and the steampunk novel, The Curse of the Brimstone Contract.