This week sees the last issue of the instant classic, The Omega Men, as well as the most oddball, weird and delightful fun group of character in the Secret Six. We’re also going to miss the casts of We Are Robin and Batgirl. The latter series isn’t going away but the new creative team is taking us away from the Batgirl of Burnside.
Some books are ending but their main characters are sticking around and that’s the case with Superman: Lois & Clark and Grayson. It’s good news that Cyborg will get a new lease on life. The other finales before Rebirth weren’t particularly memorable. Hopefully, the new incarnations of the Flash and Teen Titans, especially, will be more enjoyable.
As for Scooby-Do Apocalypse? It’s not fun, it’s not familiar, and it’s not what we hoped for at all. See the review at the bottom of the post.
The Omega Men #12 – Tom King, Writer; Barnaby Bagenda, Artist; Romulo Farajdo Jr., Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Corrina: Instant Classic
Ray: For all of the complaints about the way the DC You roll-out was handled and the number of good books we lost due to low sales, I think DC deserves credit for realizing they had something special here and bringing this title to its proper conclusion.
At its core, this has been a tight, gripping war thriller in space with far more complexity and moral ambiguity than most titles about Green Lanterns get. At the same time, if you were expecting a neat and heroic ending to this book…well, that’s just not the kind of book this was. The bulk of the issue is devoted to the Omega Men finally capturing and cornering the Viceroy and getting justice for his atrocities. And like at the end of every war, the victors have to decide what to do with the defeated. This is a great segment, contrasting Kyle’s humanism with Scrapps’ justified rage, Tigorr’s casual acceptance of violence, and Kalista’s practical brutality. Much like with Kyle, it lets us hope there’ll be a peaceful resolution only to harshly bring us back to reality.
In an oddly meta finale, Kyle gets to take the soapbox and say his piece, as well as show us what became of the rest of the Omega Men. Few answers are what we wanted. Much like Sheriff of Babylon, this is a book about war from a man who’s seen it. Despite worries, it leaves Kyle in a good position to be used in the future while not establishing anything concretely. It didn’t sell at all in this format, but I have a feeling this will be a classic for years to come.
Corrina: The first issue of the series intrigued me but I think it was about issue #4 when I realized how complex this story world had become and how on top of their game the creators of this story had to be to make it work. They had this plotted down perfectly, with never a wasted element, and always with actions that led to their inevitable conclusions. Bagenda’s excellent art, with panel constructions especially in absolutely nailing Kyle’s desperation and heroism in this issue, drove home the emotions of everyone involved. Aliens looked and acted alien. Gore was realistic and never gratuitous.
Bagenda and King have crafted a tale that should be talked about in the same vein as The Watchmen or Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing or Grant Morrison’s Animal Man.
When I talked to DC at New York Comic Con last fall the idea of “ISIS in Space” was mentioned and that stuck in my head. This is a book about the actions of overloads that force those under them to resort to extreme measures, and those extreme measures not only warp them but their worlds for years to come. The ending here is throwing off the tyranny and the mass murderers that killed the population of an entire planet out of greed.
But it’s not really an ending, is it, as the damage caused by their harm, and the warping of good people under it, continues for years to come. I read it definitely as a commentary on the Middle East and tyranny and Western intervention and the limits of it. Apparently, the new Captain America series is going to explore the roots of fascism.
I cannot imagine any story doing that better than this one.
Secret Six #14 – Gail Simone, Writer; Tom Derenick, Penciller; Jason Wright, Rex Lokus, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Corrina: ::Sniff:: I Will Miss This Book
Ray: Although this title has had a lot more incarnations than some of the others on this list, it seems time has caught up to Gail Simone’s oddball supervillain family, and with Gail saying she wants to focus more on creator-owned work, there may not be another revival in the offing. Well, I couldn’t think of a better closing act than the entire bunch of weirdos attacking Lady Shiva’s base to get Strix back. A giant Black Alice attacking the building makes a fantastic visual, although Strix using her unwanted speech tablet to tell off Shiva was one of the funniest moments in the entire series.
Almost everyone in the title gets a great moment this issue, although it’s Catman who steals the show – especially the off-handed way he escapes death. Of course, cats have nine lives! There is a betrayal this issue, and in retrospect it sort of makes sense. And in the process, Gail actually makes me feel bad for a character I never thought I would. It’s bizarre, hilarious, and oddly touching all around, ending with a great flash-forward segment that shows where all the characters are now. Giving this strange vaguely-evil family a happily-ever-after in the suburbs is the kind of thing that only Gail could pull off. I don’t know if we’re going to get any more of these characters, but I’m just glad we got this title for as long as we did.
Corrina: The weirdest and most off-color misfits in the DC Universe close out their book in appropriate style and Ray hits it right on the nose, as the story features everything from Strix telling off Shiva to a giant Black Alice to Catman getting skewered but simply shrugging it off. It’s also a nice nod to the last Secret Six incarnation, with Scandal and Knockout joining in the fun.
My least favorite character in the series was the one who betrayed the group–though I admit that my dislike of the character may have something to do with my aversion to ventriloquist’s dummies–and it made sense because this is not a group that should be without members who fall by the wayside.
Sue and Ralph playing mother hen to the remaining group, including poor Strix, Catman, and a Black Alice who may or may not be still possessed by the demon? It’s not your usual happy ending but, for this group, it is.
We Are Robin #12 – Lee Bermejo, Writer; Jorge Corona, Artist; Trish Mulvihill, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: Please Don’t Let DC Forget This Premise and These Characters.
Ray: This is one of three fan-favorite titles that are ending this week and not continuing into Rebirth due to low sales, unfortunately. The title never quite caught on despite combining an iconic character’s imagery with a diverse and likable cast of young heroes. The big Jokerz plotline wrapped up last issue, so what we have here is a well-written, if slightly predictable, done-in-one story in which the Robins attempt to save a friend who is about to make some very bad life choices.
Cisco, one of the background Robins, has a father whose family-owned construction business keeps getting outbid by a big corporation and the family’s finances are in trouble. That big company’s name? Wayne Enterprises. Looking to make some money, Cisco goes to a local gang leader and gets roped into a plan to pull a heist on Wayne Tower. As the Robins organize to stop the heist in progress, things go very wrong. The heist turns out to be a trap by Bruce, always thinking ahead. The gangleader turns out to be much more ruthless than Cisco is comfortable with, to the point where he’s willing to kill Alfred to prevent witnesses. The issue doesn’t quite answer all the questions, but it leaves the Robins in a good place for future appearances, and Duke in particular is continuing into Batman and All-Star Batman. I’m hoping the rest of the Robins get to live again somewhere too.
Corrina: The satellite Batman titles have added a ton of great mythology and characters to Gotham in the past two years, with the cast of Gotham Academy, Gotham by Midnight, and We Are Robin. Ray calls this one a fan favorite but I’m not sure how we can call it that when low sales led to its cancellation. It’s certainly been one of my favorite titles. If it had a flaw, it’s that it tried to fit in too many characters in each story. (For instance, I barely remembered Cisco.)
The strength, though, is seeing how teens in Gotham handle a chaotic world around them. Usually, it’s all doom and gloom but the Robins have each other and this issue seems to promise that they always will. I’m glad Duke Thomas is sticking around in the Batman Universe and here’s hoping his Robin friends will show up now and again.
Grayson #20 – Jackson Lanzing, Colin Kelly, Writers; Roge Antonio, Artist; Jeromy Cox, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: Good Ending
Ray: I’ve expressed my disappointment that Seeley and King weren’t able to finish up their run on Grayson because it was a fairly dense and involved story that deserved better than to be finished out by a fill-in team. Fortunately, Lanzing and Kelly, who were on Batman and Robin Eternal, do a strong job of sticking the landing. This issue, despite taking place on a dreamscape against a body-swapping villain, is actually a fairly intimate issue. I don’t care all that much about the villain, Otto Netz, but his MO of taking over bodies and overwriting their previous lives, makes for a compelling story as he starts the issue in control of Helena Bertinelli, forcing Dick to make the risky call of letting him in so he can pull off a last-ditch attempt to put him back where he belongs.
This is the final issue of Grayson, although there is an annual coming, but this issue’s main job is to put the genie back in the bottle. We’ve seen some clever ways of doing the secret identity shuffle, some not-so-clever, and some disastrous. This one, using Spyral’s tech to essentially erase the memory of Dick from the world except for a select few people, works well. It nicely sets Dick back as Nightwing without erasing the run and sends both Dick and Helena off on their own separate missions. This book could often be a bit too twisty and convoluted, but it was ultimately a satisfying read that had a great handle on Dick Grayson.
Corrina: Having Dick fight Spyral inside his brain while saving Helena made for an excellent character study of why Dick Grayson, in whatever role, is a hero. I could wish that Helena had fought back better herself but that’s just a niggle. What bothered me more was the random killing of a woman so Tiger could be shown as clearly evil from here on out. That shorthand bothered me, a great deal.
When this series started, I was skeptical of the idea. Seeley and King, with a huge assist from Mikal Janin, made it work for the most part, though, at times, it was an odd fit, especially since adding in yet another super-secret spy agency in the DCU was already one too many for me. But I’ll remember the series best for the Midnighter crossovers, the great art, and the solid characterization.
Cyborg #11 – Marv Wolfman, Writer; Felipe Watanabe, Daniel HDR, Julio Ferreira, Artists; Oclair Albert, Inker; Adriano Lucas, Colorist
Ray – 7/10
Corrina: Glad This is Getting a Relaunch
Ray: Cyborg’s wrapped up its main storyline and still has a few issues to go before its Rebirth relaunch, so you know what that means – done-in-one stories. That may actually work to the advantage of Marv Wolfman here, though, as he’s able to do a fairly entertaining one-off tale that places the focus on exactly how Cyborg’s powers work and how he can affect the entire world without ever leaving the room. He’s going through some extensive maintenance and tests at STAR Labs, leaving him bored out of his mind (and making some amusing jokes about downloading movies in his brain), while Sarah is off at a conference. However, on the way home her plane gets hacked and starts veering off course, leading Cyborg to project his consciousness into the plane’s technology and try to find the culprit. There’s a very heavy-handed subplot involving a Muslim couple that is suspected to be involved, with lines right out of an after-school special, but overall the general tech-chasing plot is fast-paced with some cool effects. This would have been better with more consistent artwork, but it’s one of the better issues the title’s had since its first. I do think the book will need more than this to survive long-term, so let’s hope the new writer has some big ideas.
Corrina: This series started way too fast for me, with a world-threatening event and alternate universe versions of people we barely knew in the first place but it settled down nicely with Cyborg’s new status quo and the examination of how much of him is machine and how much of him is human. The characterization also became more solid somewhere around issue #5, especially in the banter between Vic and his father.
I agree the Muslim subplot of this issue was heavy-handed but I give the story and art serious props for taking a neat new concept on how Vic interacts with the web and how he can infiltrate any machine. (Makes me want to write a fanfic with Cyborg meeting the Machine from Person of Interest.)
Batgirl #52 – Brenden Fletcher, Writer; Eleonora Carlini, Minkyu Jung, Artists; Serge LaPointe, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Corrina: Nice Goodbye, If a Little Rushed
Ray: It’s the finale of Fletcher’s popular – if controversial – Batgirl run, although co-creators Cameron Stewart and Babs Tarr are no longer with the book. This issue serves a number of purposes, one of which is to wrap up the Gladius storyline, which has been simmering since the last Annual. Gladius is a fairly generic villain whose plot isn’t particularly clear, but they’re ultimately a minor part of the book and they lead to some cool fight scenes. Actually, the ones who steal the issue are some guest stars who react to Gladius – Maps and Olive from Gotham Academy.
When the Academy is taken hostage by Gladius to draw Batgirl out, the two girls step up and delay the villain through a combination of Maps’ guile and Olive’s ill-defined but very dangerous powers. This segment really makes me want Gotham Academy Vol. 2 to get here now. The battle against a six-armed Gladius provides some cool action, but really I couldn’t wait to get to what this issue is really about – Barbara saying goodbye to the big, diverse cast of characters Fletcher and Stewart built in this run. This plays out in a wonderful two-page spread that combines Barbara’s last conversation with each of these players with the key scenes from their time together. It’s the end of an era, but it feels like a hopeful note with lots of room to return. Fletcher’s Batgirl may not have been for everyone, but that’s mainly because it wasn’t the Batgirl we really knew. As its own thing, though, it was a blast.
Corrina: The strength of this run has been the art and the audacity of a new take on Barbara Gordon. The art has been adorable, the revamp of the Batgirl costume has made it a favorite with cosplayers and it’s so much more functional on the page. I thought sometimes the characterization took a back seat to plotting, especially with the villains, but it’s always been a enjoyable read and, wow, could DC use some fun reads.
I love that finally Batgirl crossed over with Gotham Academy. Maps is the break-out character for me, though it seemed to me that Olive was supposed to be. They’re both good but Maps is truly something special and if Gotham Academy is canceled down the road, Maps needs to stay in a Batman comic. (Hey, how about a Super-Sons Damian/Jon Kent crossover with Gotham Academy?)
The supporting characters have also come a long way in this run, no more so than Black Canary, and it was great to see Babs say farewell to them all, which was as if the creator was also saying farewell to the audience. This has been a charming run. Fingers crossed that the next team adds its own originality to the Batgirl mythos.
Superman: Lois and Clark #8 – Dan Jurgens, Writer; Lee Weeks, Penciller; Scott Hanna, Inker; Jeromy Cox, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Corrina: Not a Farewell But Excellent Super-Family Story
Ray: Calling this book an ending is a little odd, because it is – but only of chapter one. This story continues in two weeks as Jurgens takes Superman and his wife and son back to Metropolis to step into the life they had on the old world. But on its own, this serves as a great closing chapter that launches the family into the next stage of their adventure.
There is a big action segment here, as Superman faces off against the alien warrior queen in search of the other half of the mystic stone Superman found, with Hank Henshaw and a meddling government agent caught in the middle. While the villain’s motivation is pretty simple, the additional characters add some nice wrinkles. I like that the series deals with just how difficult keeping a secret identity in the modern world would be.
The heart of the issue, though, is the scenes back home with Superman’s family, first as Lois tries to get her son to understand why they kept this secret from him, and later as Clark shows Jon what his legacy is and what he could become. Trust me, there is just no way that you won’t grin widely at the last page. It’s been almost twenty-five years since Jurgens killed off Superman, and it’s ironic because he just brought him back. Parallel-Earth Superman’s title is ending – but Superman’s story is just beginning.
Corrina: I’d forgotten Jurgens killed off Superman back in the day, though that was definitely an editorial decision and, of course, the Death of Superman stories revitalized the entire Superman line for a long time. Jurgens again shows how good he is with human emotions concerning supernatural things, such as a little boy’s attempt to understand alternative universes, secret identities, and even death. The good part: Jon comes off as the child he is. Even better, while he’s upset and confused, he doesn’t come off as a snot, and that’s a mistake too many writers make with children.
Hank Henshaw will appear again, I believe, and this one managed to critique a mystique around himself in his short appearances. While I loved this title, I couldn’t imagine why DC gave it the green light but, now, with the other Superman dead, it makes perfect sense.
Teen Titans #20 – Tony Bedard, Writer; Ian Churchill, Penciller; Norm Rapmund, Inker; Tony Avina, Colorist
Ray – 7/10
Corrina: Poor Titans. Never Catch a Break.
Ray: Greg Pak being off Teen Titans after only three issues is a disappointment, since his Wonder Girl-centric story showed some promise. However, the first issue of Tony Bedard’s closing arc before the team gets completely overhauled is actually halfway enjoyable as well. The opening tries a little too hard to be hip, but the idea of a meme making fun of Supervillains for their endless losses is pretty funny. Lex Luthor, of course, has too much confidence – but Monsieur Mallah is VERY offended on behalf of The Brain, and goes on a roaring rampage of revenge. Meanwhile, Tim Drake has organized a training session with the rest of the Titans, and it soon becomes clear that he’s playing for keeps – taking them all out in highly intense and sometimes painful ways, to point out their weak points. It’s clear that Tim has a lot of unresolved issues from things that happened in Gotham.
I’m also amused by Batman calling out the terrible state of the Teen Titans in canon. Mallah’s plot, which involves hacking the brains of various Teen Titans and using them against each other, is a bit too on the nose given the opening of the issue, but it’s readable with no one acting glaringly out-of-character. Bedard’s always been a workhorse of a writer who rarely does bad work, and he might have done some good work with these characters if he had a longer run. It’s way too late for that, though, given what’s come before.
Corrina: Bedard is the guy DC calls to fix up old series when they end. I read his work with CrossGen before that company went out of business and it was excellent, so I wish DC would give him a miniseries of his own, at some point. (I say this even that I didn’t like his Black Canary miniseries back in the day but that’s because I didn’t like an editorial mandated plot point.)
This is funny though Tim Drake being a jerk is, well, nothing new. Poor Tim has been off since the new 52 as different writers tried to find a way to make his personality unique among the Robins. That the rest of the Titans around him were sorta new characterizations didn’t help this series either. I do miss the days of Gar having history with Mallah and the Brain, though. But, then, I miss when this series was basically DC’s flagship. (I could rant here about this need of comic companie to go backwards and instead of using the promise of going forward provided by The New Teen Titans of Wolfman/Perez and Infinity Inc. but that’s a long, long digression.)
In any case, this ending is handled as well as it could be, considering the circumstances.
The Flash #52 – Van Jensen, Writer; Jesus Merino, Artist; Guy Major, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: Not Memorable
Ray: This issue, pitting all the heroes and some of the villains of Central City against the twisted mind of The Riddler, is a by-the-numbers but very enjoyable conclusion to a run that had a lot of rough points. When we last left off, Flash had surrendered to Riddler to protect the civilians of Central City, and Riddler plans to kill him with a guillotine on live TV while his mentor Darrel Frye is forced to watch. This segment is a bit melodramatic, but it’s over quickly once Wally uses his new super-speed to get the drones’ attention, making Riddler think that Flash is still out there and Barry is a fake. That allows Barry to get away, and he recruits the best-run team in Central City to help him – the Rogues.
This issue ties up a lot of loose ends, including putting the Rogues back together and getting Golden Glider out of her coma. The best scenes in the issue are the ones involving the Rogues, as Jensen has always had a decent handle on these criminals with a sense of honor. The banter and bickering between them and Flash makes this a fun read. Riddler…still a bit too much of the sadistic madman from Zero Year, but he at least has a sense of humor here. Wally seems to be coming into his own as a hero before a bigger role in Williamson’s run and his star turn in Teen Titans, as well. Overall, not a groundbreaking issue by any means, but a fun conclusion and one of the best of this run. Also a big fan of Merino’s clean, old-school art.
Corrina: By-the-numbers is a good way to put this issue. The run needed to end, Flash needed to beat the Riddler, and it all went down fine. There just wasn’t anything particularly interesting to me in this comic or even this whole arc of Flash as hunted person, not even when Reverse Flash was the villain. The whole “the city hates the Flash” didn’t work, and bringing in Riddler, usually a Batman villain, for a reprise of a plot I found over-the-top in a Batman story, only added to my concerns about the story.
Yes, it’s nice to have the Rogues back, I guess?
Deathstroke #18 – James Bonny, Writer; Paolo Pantalena, Artist; Arif Prianto, Colorist
Ray – 5/10
Ray: The “Legion of Dumb” joke from Teen Titans popped into my mind here, because it’s the best way I can think of to describe the Rogues’ Gallery Slade has assembled over the course of this run. Some poisonous tentacled snake dude, a super-soldier with a random wild-west obsession, and now some random woman who can turn into mist and is organizing the attacks on Deathstroke for some reason. None of them are any more than stock villains. The general concept of the issue, with Slade and his children taking refuge with Ra’s Al Ghul, has some vague promise, but unfortunately, it’s bogged down by the arrival of the villains and doesn’t leave any time to explore the complex relationships Slade has with Rose and Jericho. Another attack by Lawman on Rose’s mind leaves her catatonic and near death, allowing Ra’s to take the opportunity to get Slade in his debt. This issue isn’t offensively bad or anything, it’s just bland and predictable. I’m ready for Chris Priest to show up and show us that these characters can be more than 90s anti-hero caricatures.
Corrina: For the life of me, I have no idea why the love of this Slade Wilson seems to permeate through the DC offices. I liked the original Slade, I liked Slade on Arrow, but this Slade is basically a new character, and a far more generic one but the series also seems to want me to like him based on past experiences too. I have reader/character confusion syndrome, which occurs when a character has been changed too many times but the stuff around him stays the same.
Not the creative team’s fault.
Next up is Christopher Priest. Okay? I’d rather see Priest on a flagship title than this C-list one but maybe he’ll come up with something original.
Suicide Squad Most Wanted: Deadshot/Katana #5 – Brian Buccellato, Mike Barr, Writers; Viktor Bogdanovic, Diogenes Neves, Artists; Richard Friend, Ruy Jose, Inkers; Michael Spicer, Carrie Strachan, Colorists
Ray – 4/10
Corrina: Not Great.
Ray: Neither of the two stories this issue left much of an impression on me. The Deadshot story is essentially a massive cliche storm. The new Deadshot is on a rampage, killing criminals left and right with little regard for collateral damage. Floyd, meanwhile, has broken out of ARGUS in a rather impressive segment that is really the only standout in this issue, with a mission of his own – to rescue his daughter and get here back. There’s some cute father-daughter stuff in the issue, but this is the first time we’ve seen his daughter in the New 52 and we know nothing about her besides that she likes Koalas. She’s a plot device, and, sure enough, she soon gets kidnapped by our new evil Deadshot. Predictable.
Katana, meanwhile, finds herself in an extended escape segment from Kobra base, fighting a lot of generic goons. The most interesting thing about the issue is that it seemingly introduces the New 52 version of Halo, the youngest and brightest member of the Outsiders – only for her to promptly be brainwashed into insanity, which just sums up so many things about the New 52, really.
Corrina: This is only memorable for putting Halo back on the board in the new DC world. It’s clear that the appeal of getting the band back together (The Outsiders) is what likely brought him back to do a story for DC. Katana, Halo, Prince Brion…I’m surprised we didn’t see Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning, who I miss terribly.
But for all that, making Halo insane is a bit much, though the character was always a bit off, mentally.
I’ve no opinion on Deadshot except to say it’s just not holding my attention at all.
Justice League 3001 #12 – Keith Giffen, JM DeMatteis, Writers; Colleen Doran, Timothy Green II, Artists; Hi-Fi, Colorist
Ray – 3/10
Corrina: Never Worked.
Ray: I laughed exactly once in this issue, and that was the last page when Larfleeze announced that he did not guest-star in canceled comics. Good choice, buddy. This issue, which very much feels like a rushed conclusion to the series, flashes back between the history of the “Wonder Twins” as they embark on their cloning project to bring back the JLA, and the present day when they are now Flash and Eclipso battling each other. Very little is resolved in this series, and Lady Styx remains at large. She does manage to teleport the new Flash and Batgirl from this book to the present day, where they can appear again if anyone wants them to. Given that Flash is going to have a Speedster boom in its opening story and there are roughly 782 Bat-kids right now, I don’t see that happening. The bulk of the story was a bunch of unlikable characters fighting unmemorable villains, so not much to recommend here.
Corrina: This is one of those series that made me wonder what the plan was to begin with because it stumbled and stumbled over and over again with each arc, though a single issue here and there held promise. Was there too much editorial interference? Did Giffen and DeMatteis just have an off-day? Or perhaps it was the concept, with the miserable, angry characters fighting each other more than they fought any villains. I have no idea.
Scooby Apocalypse #1 – Keith Giffen, JM DeMatteis, Writers; Howard Porter, Artist; Hi-Fi, Colorist
Ray – 2/10
Ray: When the new Hanna-Barbera line was announced, this was easily the book that aroused the most skepticism. Future Quest showed up and kicked the line off with a bang last week, leading some people to wonder if we had judged the whole effort too quickly. Well, after reading this first issue, the answer is a resounding “Nah”. The idea of a grim-and-gritty Scooby Doo reboot is silly enough, but that’s the least of this book’s problems. The problem is that it’s not Scooby Doo at all. At the core of Scooby Doo is a group of four teenage friends and their gluttonous dog solving mysteries. That concept can be adapted to multiple genres.
This isn’t that. It’s a completely unrelated property with new characters who happen to have the same names as the Scooby Doo characters. Velma is now a smug, arrogant government scientist who is overseeing a project with the potential to cause the end of the world via brain-eating nanites.
Daphne and Fred are a low-rent mystery show host and her long-suffering cameraman, bickering all the way. Shaggy is the hipster version of Chris Pratt’s character from Jurassic World, a tamer of genetically enhanced Cyber-dogs who has a bond with the runt of the group, Scooby – who he saves from being torn apart by the rest of the robo-hounds. If there’s one thing that works, it’s that we still believe Shaggy and Scooby’s bond. Their banter has shades of what Scooby Doo should be, but it’s only vague flashes. These characters, by and large, do not like each other. They do not seem like friends. They’re only working together because one of them accidentally unleashed some sort of monster apocalypse. (I’m still not sure how that happened, but it’s the least of this comic’s worries) This feels like a bad parody of what a grim-and-gritty Scooby Doo would be. But not a good parody.
Corrina: I expected over-the-top silly fun with the Scooby Gang in their biggest mess ever. Instead, I received a serious SF-oriented story where the gang is separate, where their personalities so far have little or no resemblance to what they were before, and, well, it’s not fun. It’s not even close to fun.
So, totally not what I expected, nothing like the joy of Future Quest, and…I don’t know if I dislike this because of its serious tone or because the gang is unrecognizable. But I’m not enthused. I believe they lost me with the heavy non-Velma-sounding dialogue opening.
Adventures of Supergirl #2 – Sterling Gates, Writer; Jon Boy Meyers, Pop Mhan, Artists; John Rauch, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Corrina: Decent Superman and That’s an Improvement All in Itself
Corrina: Gates’ spin-off of the TV series continues to impress, as it takes a classic DC rogue and gives him a modern spin that makes life very complicated for our heroine. That villain is Vril Dox, best known as the head of LEGION in the 90s. It all starts when Winn is arrested by an armed government squad for multiple crimes, including an unspecified major terror attack that he’s framed for (complete with a reference to the PAD Supergirl series).
Supergirl, sensing that something is very wrong, rescues him and winds up getting pulled into an elaborate hacker underground that Winn is part of. The reveal of Vril Dox as a black-hat hacker using secret identities and misinformation is a great move, and the way it’s tied in with the real-world scourge of doxxing is excellent. The book introduces a new supporting character that could be a lot of fun and does a good job with the cast overall. It feels like this book has the potential to nicely expand the world of the TV show before it transitions to the CW.
Corrina: At first, I thought Vril Dox was somewhat of a random opponent for Supergirl and made a weird fit into the television Supergirl’s story world. Then I remember that Supergirl and Braniac 5 (Vril’s descendant) are a long time couple when Supergirl travels to the future to have adventures with the Legion of Super-Heroes. (It made sense in comics then.)
So the appearance of Vril perhaps means two things. One, Gates knows his Supergirl history and, two, we might see the Legion of Super-Heroes at some point or even the present-day space-faring L.E.G.I.O.N. I don’t remember what their membership roster is at the moment but, hey, I can hope for Captain Comet, right?
DC Comics Bombshells #13 – Marguerite Bennett, Writer; Mirka Andolfo, Pasquale Qualano, Artists; Wendy Broome, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Corrina: BATGIRLS!! LOIS!!
Ray: It’s another done-in-one issue set back in Gotham City for Bombshells, and the previous one focusing on the Batgirls was one of my favorite single issues of 2015. I don’t think this issue quite reached those highs, but it’s still a blast. With Harvey Dent as the new Mayor of Gotham, the Batgirls have found themselves as public enemy number one, with Dent taking a harsh stance against vigilantes and virtually all other “undesirable” groups. This is the weak link of the issue, as the political allegories are a bit heavy-handed (and for God’s sake, stop making Nazi analogies, people), but things pick up in a big way once the Batgirls pick up a new ally while on a case – a teenage cub reporter by the name of Lois Lane, who just escaped near-death with her typical casual attitude.
Bennett does a subtle race-bend on Lois here, making her half-Cuban, and it works nicely. I must say, I love scrappy teen detective Lois and really need to get around to those young adult novels. The ending reveals the source of Dent’s sudden about-face into a villain, but the focus is more on the friendship between the Batgirls and their new partner, and the book delivers on those terms. This issue was a much-needed breath of fresh air and fun after the depressing last issue.
Corrina: Um, well, I admit my fangirl squee guaranteed I’d like this issue, especially as Lois was in great form, even as a teenager. I’m glad to see several different incarnations of Lois across the DC line that focus on Lois’ love affair with journalism. (As Tina Fey once said.)
The Batgirls were fun as ever though have six of them featured heavily in the issue makes for a crowded, though appealling cast. I get not wanting to leave any out but when there’s so many, it’s hard to keep them. After last issues, big death, this was a great change of page. Yes, Ray, you really do need to buy Gwenda Bond’s Lois Lane books!
Batman ’66 Meets the Man From UNCLE #6 – Jeff Parker, Writer; Pasquale Qualano, David Hahn, Artists; Karl Kesel, Inker; Mad Pencil, Colorist
Ray – 7.5/10
It’s the conclusion of the first major crossover for Batman ’66, although it seems like things like this will become a fairly regular event. I do think this series had a bit of fat on it, as both the build-up to the reveal of THRUSH as Hugo Strange and the brainwashing segments went on a little too long. However, this final issue ends with a very entertaining chase segment as Batman effectively turns the villains against their new Spy overlords. There’s lots of double-crosses along the way as usual, and it all ends with a nice callback to the giant squid that appeared last issue. Not groundbreaking, but a fun old-school tribute to these two fan-favorite shows. Bring on The Avengers (no, not those Avengers) in the next miniseries.