This week, Supergirl flies back into comics with a book, Adventures of Supergirl, based on her television show and if you’re a fan of the show, you should buy it. If you’re a fan of Supergirl, you should buy it.
Meanwhile, Constantine comes up with an idea that will free him from the bonds of a deal with the literal devil (though we have to wait until issue #13 to see that work out), James Tynion IV shows why he’s the new Detective Comics writer in a strong single issue story, and Lois Lane shows up in duplicate in Action Comics #52. (Sadly, so does the boring and ridiculous Superman/Wonder Woman relationship but I guess we can’t have everything.)
Also, reviews that include wishes for the new Joker’s Daughter to be tossed into comic book limbo, fun with Batman & the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Harley Quinn and her odd gang of Harleys are in rough shape, and Starfire says goodbye to her friends in the Florida Keys.
Adventures of Supergirl #1 – Sterling Gates, Writer; Bengal, Artist,
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: Yay For New Comic! But…
Ray: A new Supergirl solo comic! It’s been almost a year since the Girl of Steel had her own title, with it ending just before Convergence, so this is well overdue. A tie-in to the TV show, it’s more of a teaser before Kara’s official new Rebirth title launches in August, but it’s still very welcome – especially as it’s written by fan-favorite Supergirl writer Sterling Gates, who guided the character through New Krypton before Flashpoint hit. Gates has always had a very good handle on Kara, nicely balancing her life on Earth with more hard sci-fi elements than we usually see in Super-comics, and exploring the dichotomy of someone raised on another planet who came to Earth. Kara is an alien, much more so than Superman ever was.
I’ve been of two minds about the Supergirl television series, loving anything involving Kara and her family, the DEO, or Martian Manhunter, while being less fond of the CatCo staff. Fortunately, this issue is almost entirely focused on the former, exploring Kara’s relationship with her sister and the secrets they may be keeping from each other. The villain here is Rampage. Originally a nerdy scientist who was transformed by one of her experiments into a giant yellow monster, here she’s an alien criminal from Fort Rozz, sentenced there along with her sister for Patricide. Her sister was killed in a DEO mission led by Alex, and she’s been out for revenge against the Danvers clan ever since. One thing I like about Rampage is that, unlike many Hulk-like villains, she’s just as dangerous in both her human and monster forms, often setting things up before she hulks out. Kara is written well, the story sets up some interesting questions, and the slightly cartoony art of Bengal is very well suited to the story. A strong start, and it’s good to have a Supergirl comic to pick up again in any continuity! Although this begs the question – why isn’t Sterling Gates being offered in-continuity gigs for Rebirth here? Add him to Bryan Q. Miller and Jeff Parker as guys who have been killing it on the digital-first books and need a bigger spotlight.
Corrina: While it’s good to be excited about the new Supergirl comic and it certainly won’t matter to viewers of the show who now have a comic to happily read, it’s sort of inaccurate to call this a new Supergirl comic, as it’s a tie-in to the show and doesn’t integrate Supergirl into the regular DC Universe at large. I’ll be much happier to see a Supergirl with similar characterization to her television counterpart as a major player in the DC Universe. It’s been far too long since she was and she hasn’t had a creative team that really got the character in at least five years. I still shudder at Superman “showing off/introducing” his cousin (naked but wrapped in his cloak) to Batman some times back. Now, that was an unfortunate visual image, as was making her yet another angry teenage girl. I like Teenage Megasonic Warhead but Supergirl is not her.
Okay, the comic! The comic is fun with all the recognizable people from the show save for the curious absence of Cat Grant and any real segments in the office. I liked the idea that Rampage’s rage was fueled by grief and that her long imprisonment made her life much worse and much harder for her to reform than she might have, given her unhealthy attachment to her murderous sister. All the sympathy somehow seemed wasted at the end, which was also sad.
But Supergirl’s compassion shows through, as does her more impulsive attitude, and her love for her sister. An excellent start and, yes, Gates, Bryan Q. Miller, Jeff Parker, and several other writers would be excellent choices for a regular DC series.
Action Comics #52 – Peter Tomasi, Writer; Dale Eaglesham, Scot Eaton, Pencillers; Dale Eaglesham, Wayne Faucher, Inkers; Tomeu Morey, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: Two Lois Lanes! Love That.
Ray: We’re now entering the last act of “The Final Days of Superman”, and the one player who arguably means the most to the story besides New 52 Superman finally enters the picture – classic Superman. As we know, he’s going to be the only Superman come Rebirth, so the passing of the torch that’s coming will be very important to how the transition is affected by the fans. The issue opens a little weakly, with too much focus on the charisma-free Superman/Wonder Woman relationship, but things pick up when Superman suddenly pitches out of the sky, indicating that he’s getting worse. This leads to some really nice scenes between Superman and Batman, indicating just how deep the trust goes between them despite their differing styles.
Meanwhile, the odd energy Superman has pulled Lois into accompanying him (he’s not threatening her, but he’s clearly unstable and Lois is trying to keep him calm), while classic Clark and his son are making dinner at home in California when a knock comes at the door. We’re expecting one Superman – but we get a much less friendly one, as the energy Superman has dragged Lois along to confront his “impostor”. Naturally, the second he feels threatened, classic Superman takes on this energy being to protect his son, and the battle explodes just as the Trinity arrives on the scene. A battle between three Supermen – one trying to protect his family, one trying to ensure his legacy, and one a twisted reflection – is a great hook for the last few chapters, although I will say that I immediately cared more about classic Superman and what he had at stake than I did about New 52 Superman’s dying mission. DC is making the right call here.
Corrina: While I hate the whole “omigod, I love Wonder Woman so much, you guys,” part of this issue (stop trying to make fetch happen, DC), I loved the inclusion of the Superman, Lois and Jon from the other universe. It was especially interesting seeing the regular Lois interact with Jon, and that the other Superman realized immediately that this was not his wife.
But my favorite part of the issue was how the regular Lois listened and interviewed the dangerous energy Superman, hoping to find out any and all information that would help keep him in check, even at the risk of her own life. This is Lois Lane: this is the reporter who knows how to get people talking (even dangerous villains) and whose mind is usually at least three steps ahead of anyone else. She also immediately switches gears to make sure Jon is safe, even though he’s just met the boy. I love this Lois.
Batman #52 – James Tynion IV, Writer; Riley Rossmo, Penciller; Riley Rossmo, Brian Level, Inkers; Ivan Plascencia, Jordan Boyd, Colorist
Ray – 9/10 (Book of the Week)
Corrina: Lovely One-Issue Story
Ray: Much like the brilliant previous issue, this done-in-one by Tynion IV and Rossmo is a character-driven spotlight issue designed to tie up the themes of the Snyder/Capullo run. Tynion is going to be our new Detective Comics writer, so this is a good chance for him to show us what drives his version of Batman, and from this issue, I can say he has a very good handle on him. The story takes us back to a little-seen period of Batman’s life – the months after his parents’ murders when a traumatized young boy tried to make sense of what was left behind. As Alfred and Leslie Thompkins try to snap him out of his near-catatonic state, Leslie suggests that he start keeping a journal of what he needs to move on from losing his parents, and the journal becomes an obsession, a way for him to keep pushing himself, that he takes through his travels and into his career as Batman. When Alfred tries to add to it with his own suggestion, to help Bruce, Bruce doesn’t take it well.
In the present day, a new villain, a master thief named Crypsis with phasing powers, breaks into a bank and winds up in possession of a safety deposit box of Bruce’s – something that Bruce will do anything to keep secret. While the eventual reveals are somewhat predictable, Tynion has a great focus on the relationship between Bruce and Alfred, which is arguably the heart of Batman. This is a Batman who is driven equally by trauma and hope, a combo that bodes really well for a Batman who will be leading a team of young vigilantes in Detective. It’s not Snyder/Capullo, but this issue is well worth picking up as a capstone to this iconic run.
Corrina: This single issue promises great things from Tynion’s run. Present are all the aspects of the modern grimdark Batman and, at first, I thought the story was going down that road, into the rabbit hole of the traumatized mind of young Bruce Wayne who still relives his parents’ murder over and over again.
But, no. This is a Bruce Wayne who, if he hasn’t achieved closure, has certainly achieved some peace of mind in his life’s work. He’s not forever focused on “Dead Parents!” and focused more on being the person that his parents would be proud to know. And, I believe that includes Alfred as his substitute father as well. (That’s not in the text but I like to believe that’s Bruce’s message to Alfred at the end.)
Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #6 – James Tynion IV, Writer; Freddie Williams III, Artist; Jeremy Colwell, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: Well Done!
Ray: The best inter-company crossover in recent memory, this story comes to a close with a slam-bang finale that never slows down and delivers exactly what you’d want out of a Batman/TMNT crossover. When we last left off, the inmates of Arkham had been mutated into animal hybrids, and Batman found himself cornered by the likes of Elephant Bane, Cobra Joker, Polar Bear Mr. Freeze, and…Penguin Penguin. Outnumbered and outmuscled by his enemies, he looks doomed – until the Turtles turn their back on Casey Jones and the portal and show up to turn the tide of battle. The majority of the issue is one big epic fight scene in Arkham, and once the villains are defeated, Splinter and Batman (in a robo-suit that made me think Gordon was guest-starring as Batman!) take the fight directly to Shredder, while Damian gets one up on Ra’s Al Ghul and sends his grandfather running. It’s no surprise when Casey shows up (with April and an enhanced portal) to save the day and take Splinter and the Turtles back home, and it ends a bit abruptly, but it gets one thing very right – both of these properties, the Turtles and Batman, are inherently about found family, and the last pages of the series drive that home very nicely. I’m more than ready to see a sequel to this story – maybe next time Batman winds up on the Turtles’ world?
Corrina: All that TMNT fans need to know about the quality of this crossover story is contained in my son’s actions when he found issue #6 waiting for him after school:
“The final issue is here! Awesome.” :;grabs it, disappears curl up with issue::
“Mom, that was a fantastic Turtle story!”
Don’t argue with the kid.
Catwoman #52 – Frank Tieri, Writer; Inaki Miranda, Pop Mhan, Giuseppe Cafaro, Artists; Eva De La Cruz, Beth Sotelo, John Starr, Colorists
Ray – 4/10
Corrina: Not Badly Written But I Hated It
Ray: This issue probably suffered more than any other from the abrupt end at #52, as this issue feels really rushed and reveals a lot in a short time – not for the better of the story. The issue opens after the reveal that Catwoman’s ex-boyfriend David – presumed dead in a botched robbery of Black Mask’s father years ago – is now the White Mask, head of the Sionis crime family. She breaks in to confront him and reveals her identity, leading to a flashback of what happened after they were captured by Richard Sionis. He dragooned them into stealing a highly guarded mask for him, and Selina managed to talk her way into a paycheck in addition to staying alive. Naturally, the guy is an idiot con-man, and when they get back after stealing it, he tries to extort more money and gets shot for his efforts. In the present day, as Selina tries to interrogate David, Black Mask corners both of them, offers to spill all of David’s secrets, and Selina agrees. Black Mask reveals that David has been in with his father the whole time, faked his death to join the crime family, and Black Mask wants him dead so he can take over the family. Selina decides she’s fine with this, walks away and leaves David to be killed, and jumps into her car with a pithy quip, and that’s how the series ends. Rather cold-blooded, even for an anti-hero like Catwoman, and definitely an odd ending to a series that deserved better after the fantastic Valentine run.
Corrina: To be fair to the creative team, this is not a horrible issue. It’s a well-written issue with some good art. I hated it anyway. Perhaps because it read as a pale imitation of Darwyn Cooke’s classic Catwoman: Selina’s Big Score or that it’s more like a generic half-baked noir tale in which tragedy is turned on its head and then the femme fatale walks away, more jaded and selfish than before. The problem with this plot is that it requires Selina to be innocent and innocently in love at the beginning and that’s something this Selina in this DC Universe never was. Even in Cooke’s story, Selina always kept her heart to herself. That’s what makes her so interesting, guessing about what matters to her and what doesn’t matter. There is no descent into cynicism with Selina. She’s always dwelled there. Her stories are more interesting when readers see little glimpses of her heart. Cooke, Brubaker, and Genevieve Valentine understood that. This tale? Doesn’t.
Swamp Thing #5 – Len Wein, Writer; Kelley Jones, Artist; Michelle Madsen, Colorist
Ray – 7/10
Corrina: The Characters Are Good, Story Not As Strong
Ray: This story is divided into two segments, one much better than the other. The first is set in Houma, Louisiana, where Matt Cable – the new Swamp Thing – has taken over and begun expanding his vines and reach all over the world. He’s issued an ultimatum to the world, demanding its surrender before he destroys it. I liked Darcy Fox conning her way into making a statement and then telling him to go to hell – Fox family members seem to be pretty strong in the DCU! – but Cable is frankly a terrible villain. Over-the-top evil, with no real discernible motivation besides being mad with power, and his dialogue is oddly rude and coarse at times. Compared to Jason Woodrue or Lady Weeds, he falls completely flat. Fortunately, Alec Holland’s part of the story is much stronger. Having been sucked into the ground by Cable at the end of last issue, he is saved by the Parliament of Trees, who send him on a mission to regain his powers, encountering Phantom Stranger, Deadman, and the Spectre along the way. It’s a strong reunion of many of the old Justice League Dark characters, and Jones’ creepy art is perfectly suited to this family of characters. I wish there was a strong antagonist, but we’re set up for an excellent final battle next issue, no doubt.
Corrina: The weakness of these last few issues has been Matt Cable and his plot to use being the Swamp Thing to take over the world, basically. It’s a motivation we’ve seen time and again and Cable brings nothing new to the plotline. He’s angry and mad and full of power and please wake me up when he’s defeated.
The strength is the characters. For the first time, Alec Holland is someone I can root for. In his conversations with the Parliament of Trees, he feels less like the generic tortured soul who wants release and more like a hero. I like how fast he went from “want to be human” to “oops, bad idea,” especially as it was inevitable he’d become the Swamp Thing again.
Also pleased that Darcy Fox isn’t dead and is likely to survive. She could be a great long-term addition to the Swamp Thing mythos. As for Phantom Stranger, his popping in and out at will never gets old for me. He’s best when he’s a mystery.
Harley Quinn and the Gang of Harleys #2 – Jimmy Palmiotti, Frank Tieri, Writers; Mauricet, Artist; Hi-Fi, Colorist
Ray – 5/10
Corrina: Not Working For me.
Ray: I was a little easier on the first issue of this book than Corrina was, but with the second issue, I’m starting to see the problems here. Harley Quinn has always had a perfect balance of lighthearted comedy, criminal violence, and actual plots. This book, maybe due to the influence of crime-writer Tieri, has a villain that is very much playing for keeps and less humor all around. When we last left off, Harley’s exercise in training her team led to her being kidnapped for real, by a masked villain named “Harley Sin” with a grudge against her. The last-page reveal was funny, but this issue the joke sort of wears off as we learn more about the villain. She’s essentially an S&M themed version of Joker’s Daughter, much more violent and much less funny than Quinn herself. She’s willing to take her grudge against Harley so far that she plans to assassinate all of Harley’s “Gang”, and has hired a bunch of fairly generic villains to do so. The few funny scenes in the issue come from the gang’s misadventures as they attempt to keep their friends and family safe. Overall, this is a likable cast and there’s nothing wrong with fleshing out the gang more, but the comic is missing the charm of the main series, and Harley Sin feels more like a generic 90’s “extreme” villain than a serious threat. This may be one Harley spin-off too far.
Corrina: I’d not have thought that Amanda Conner’s absence as writer from this title would be felt so keenly but I’ve no other explanation for how this story devolved so fast. For instance, instead of a fun, knowing wink at T&A, much of this comic is just simply T & A, especially Harley Sin. Especially when we zoom in on a crotch shot for her. Guess what? She bikini waxes in a serious way. Good to know even if I could have lived my life happily without being aware of that fact. And if I’m focusing on a crotch shot and thinking about the weird possibilities of Sin’s public grooming in a serious (not funny) way, that’s not good, and that attitude is everything I didn’t enjoy about this comic.
I feel as if the Gang of Harleys have outlived their usefulness as story fodder.
Legends of Tomorrow #3 – Gerry Conway, Aaron Lopresti; Keith Giffen, Len Wein, Writers; Eduardo Pansica, Aaron Lopresti, Bilquis Evely, Yildra Cinar, Pencillers; Rob Hunter, Jonathan Glapion, Trevor Scott, Inkers; Andrew Dalhouse, Chris Sotomayor, Ivan Plascencia, Dean White, Colorists
Firestorm – 7.5/10
Corrina: Good Characterization, Great Art, Confusing Flashbacks
Metamorpho – 8/10
Corrina: Enjoying It But Weakest Chapter So far
Sugar and Spike – 2/10
Corrina: I Have No Idea What They’re Going For Here.
Metal Men – 7/10
Corrina: Solid Tale.
Ray: As this odd compilation miniseries continues, it feels like some of the stories are hitting their groove (and one takes a major level up this issue). And then there’s the fourth. We kick off with Firestorm, which is pretty much a non-stop action comic this issue. With Martin Stein and Ronnie Raymond back together as Firestorm (and Jason Rusch not appearing in this issue), the two old partners have to figure out how to work together again. As they battle the militaristic Major Force, we learn some interesting things about how their powers work and exactly what Prof. Stein’s ties to Multiplex are. The story’s a bit thin, but it’s consistently exciting.
Corrina: It is a thin story, as essentially, it’s a flashback-filled battle that cycles the same fight several times. I love that Ronnie and Martin talk inside Ronnie’s mind, and that Martin learns a lesson, though that seems a bit rushed, but the punch-fest could have been over in perhaps four panels, rather than taking up the entire story.
Ray: Metamorpho is the series that’s improved the most since it started. The recap of Metamorpho’s origin and the villains from Stagg Industries didn’t do much for me, but now that Rex and Sapphire have made their way to another dimension through the crystal that gave Rex his powers, things are picking up a lot. This feels more like a high fantasy comic than a superhero one, and the mysterious fantasy world they find themselves in is populated by some unique creatures and interesting characters. Aaron Lopresti’s art is well-suited to the story, and it’s overall a fun old-school story.
Corrina: I’ve been saying this about this story: after the initial chapter, the quality took a huge leap. I like how Sapphire is slowly warming to Rex instead of being brainless arm candy, as in every other Metamorpho story. The other-dimensional stuff as the source of Rex’s changed form makes sense but I could have done completely without the prophecy. However, I love the idea of the sentient orbs.
Ray: Then we come to Sugar and Spike. I don’t even know what this comic is. This issue centers around Wonder Woman hiring the PI duo to track down a shady shapeshifter who claims to be married to her. The plot doesn’t really make much sense and takes several bizarre twists throughout, but the bigger problem is the odd, vaguely abusive dynamic the two partners seem to have, with Sugar regularly assaulting Spike. I’m not really sure what they were thinking when they greenlit this book, but it stands out like a sore thumb here.
Corrina: Why Wonder Woman cares about a supposed wedding that didn’t happen (she must have these stories thrown around constantly in the tabloids) or why she thinks Sugar & Spike could solve the problem, I have no idea, and that Sugar is bitter through the whole story over it not being her birthday is dumb. Basically, neither the plot or the characters make much sense at all.
Ray: Metal Men closes out the volume, and I don’t really have strong feelings about this story one way or another. Most of the story is a showdown with a possessed Red Tornado, and the way they neutralize him is pretty clever. However, neither the mysterious hacker driving the plot or the military make for compelling villains, and it feels like we’ve seen all this plot pretty often before. I like the concept of the Metal Men, but most of their stories feel rather repetitive. I do like Yildray Cinar’s art, and the return of the Doom Patrol is interesting, but overall it doesn’t stand out.
Corrina: Agreed again about not having strong feelings about this story, save for the art, where the artists do the heavy lifting on some epic theme park destruction, not to mention handling the metamorphosis of all the various Metal Men. But, once again, the military are after our heroes because, reasons. Being a military member hunting meta-humans/threats in the DC Universe must be the worst job ever at this point. No wonder why Cameron Chase was so crank the last time we met her.
Gotham Academy #18 – Brenden Fletcher, Steve Orlando, Natasha Alterici, Faith Erin Hicks, Writers; Adam Archer, Moritat, Minkyu Jung, Natasha Alterici, Faith Erin Hicks, Artists; Sandra Hope, Inker; Serge LaPointe, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Corrina: Light but Fun.
Ray: The final issue of Gotham Academy: Yearbook brings this volume of the series to a close, setting up a reboot as (sort of) part of Rebirth, and this is the busiest chapter yet, with four short stories (some only two pages) spliced in with the main story. As Maps and Olive are chasing after Damian Wayne, who stole Maps’ scrapbook, we catch up on some of the memorable off-panel moments from the past year of school. Fletcher and Moritat tell us how Professor Milo went from shady teacher to villain in Batman Eternal, and what his actual endgame was. Orlando and Jung, in my favorite segment of the issue, share the story of Maps outwitting a shop teacher with a supervillain-esque obsession with casting things in silver. Natasha Alterici teams Pomeline and Maps in a talent show magic act that almost goes terribly wrong – while letting us in a little bit on Pom’s family life as well. The final story, by Faith Erin Hicks, gives us some brother-sister bonding as Kyle gives Maps her first driving lesson – in a golf cart. It’s light on plot, but sweet and funny. The reveal about exactly what Damian was at Gotham Academy for is cute if a bit slight. This whole arc has essentially been a breather after the rather intense Calamity story. It was fun for what it was, and gave some very talented indie creators a chance to show off, but I’m excited for the new book to bring us back to the main plot.
Corrina: I understand the reasons for doing a “Yearbook”-style setup to end this debut series but, as fun as the stories have been the last couple of issues, they’re so light that they almost float away. That’s true of the last issue as well which is basically chasing Damian across campus so readers can get a sense of exactly what’s on campus at the Academy. Fun stuff happens and it a fascinating peak behind the scenes, but it’s not memorable.
I did love the driving lesson and the Yearbook stories have certainly showcased how weird, strange and wonderful the Academy and the students can be. Hoping to get back to meaty plots when this series returns.
Constantine: The Hellblazer #12 – James Tynion IV, Ming Doyle, Writers; Eryk Donovan, Artist; Kelly Fitzpatrick, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: Great, Underrated Series.
Ray: A lot of the DC You books that are wrapping up are ending at slightly irregular numbers. Hellblazer is relaunching a few months into Rebirth, so this book is going to thirteen, which is a good thing, because I don’t know if Tynion and Doyle would be able to wrap up everything in only one issue. With two issues left, this is the one where everything sort of goes to hell for John. He returns to New York, now under Neron’s control, to attempt to get Oliver’s kids back from Blythe. However, when he arrives at Club Midnight, essentially everyone he’s screwed over in this run is waiting for him with a plan. Papa Midnite, Neron, and Blythe understand demonic law just as well as him, and they force him into a binding vow not to interfere with Neron’s rule. When he meets with Oliver, the latter tells him off and accuses him of destroying everything he touches (which, to be fair, is what John told Oliver at every opportunity). At rock bottom, John plays the only card he has – reuniting Zatanna, Deadman, and Swamp Thing, none of whom are particularly fond of him either, in a last-ditch plan to take New York back and rescue Oliver’s kids from Hell. It’s a bit of a slower issue without the great visuals of the last few, but it’s a nice set-up for what’s sure to be a great final issue.
Corrina: It’s funny, I was hoping that the plot would end this issue but, Ray’s right, there’s too much to be done first to destroy the demon to end it here and this basically gives good screen time to Oliver and the other magical players, as well as Neron. Plus, it’s fitting for the series for the last issue to be number 13, the jinxed number. The creators have always walked a line in this series between John’s trying to be a hero and his essentially selfish nature, and it’s great to see John put aside selfishness for once to be a hero. I also liked how every decision John has made in this series came back to literally haunt him.
This should be a killer finale.
Starfire #12 – Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, Writers; Elsa Charretier, Artists; Hi-Fi, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: Wonderful Ending.
Ray: Now that all the main plotlines are resolved, this issue is entirely about Starfire enjoying her last few days in Key West and tying up her business before heading off on her new adventure. The last arc was an oddball mix of sci-fi action and surprisingly emotional scenes, and the meat of this issue is the fallout for the latter. One detail I like is that this book actually addresses the fact that when heroes go off on adventures to other dimensions and the like and disappear at length…things actually happen back home, and these things have consequences. People get fired from their jobs, there are family emergencies, etc. However, none of these developments are handled in a downer fashion. Upon having to leave her job at the aquarium, Kory decides she can’t get any more fired – and steals a dolphin to reunite her with her mate in the sea. The issue does a great job of tying up Kory’s relationships with her friends, including Stella, Sol, and Atlee, and resolving a romantic triangle without any bad feelings. Still not sure about Silkie essentially mind-wiping people into kissing, but if he simply magnifies feelings that are already there, that’s better. I had quibbles with the tone of this series at times, but it ended on a nice note.
Corrina: I had a great time with this series, for the most part, and not only does it leave readers with a book to enjoy and a fine ending, it also restores Starfire to her essential personality, which is somewhat naive, fierce, fun and a little bit out of place among Earthlings. Fans of the television shows will recognize this Starfire and she’s not too far off from her original Teen Titans appearances either. Given how she started the new 52, as a semi-brainless piece of eye candy for Arsenal and Jason Todd, this is a terrific rehab for the character.
Not to mention the supporting cast, especially Stella, which is a great addition to the DC You. This series was the exact opposite of a waste.
DC Comics Bombshells #12 – Marguerite Bennett, Writer; Laura Braga, Mirka Andolfo, Artists; Wendy Broome, Colorist
Ray – 6/10
Corrina: A Little Befuddled Here.
Ray: I’ve been a big fan of this series since the beginning, finding it a welcome antidote to a lot of the grim-and-gritty storytelling that pervaded the DCU in the New 52 era. A diverse – in both background and personality – team of women fighting against the greatest evil the world has ever seen while never losing sight of what makes them heroes. The first chapter of the Battle of Britain was fantastic, bringing the entire cast together for the first time and delivering some epic action. This issue, unfortunately, squanders a lot of the good will for both this storyline and the book as a whole with a major storytelling decision. There’s a lot of big action this month, both in the beginning, with Mera fighting a Kraken and losing her powers in the process, and in act two when the evil Brother Night harnesses the power of the Tenebrae to turn himself into a giant shadow titan and begin ripping the city apart. I will say, he looks great, and he creates a major threat in classic movie monster fashion. Then things take a major downturn, as due to some ill-defined rules of magic, someone has to sacrifice their life to destroy the monster. Kara is ready to give up her life, but Kortni – the youngest member of the cast, and the most hopeful and innocent – decides to sacrifice herself instead, and everyone just…lets her? Why exactly was this burden left to the two teenage girls in the cast when they’re surrounded by trained warriors? Why did everyone sit around and watch as she flew on her not-that-powerful staff? Why did Bombshells decide that what this title needed was more of the younger generation sacrificing themselves so that the adults could angst? This kind of storytelling was what drove me away from Teen Titans, and it’s depressing to see it work its way in here – especially as Stargirl has been used so intermittently in the New 52. The character deserves better.
Corrina: Occasionally, because it’s first published in digital installments, this series can read rough, with rocky transitions between chapters. That hasn’t bothered me much because the problem has been small and the overall stories has been excellent, but it’s evident here because I couldn’t always follow the action among the various main characters and their individual fights.
Thus, I wasn’t sure why the other heroes couldn’t provide help to Kortni, and especially why Kara just lets her sister go. That is out of character and also, all the other Bombshells are right there–why can’t they team up together? They have Wonder Woman, Big Barda and Supergirl. That should be plent to defeat any kind of menace, even a Titan.
More than anything, I’m left confused by this issue.
Green Lantern Corps: Edge of Oblivion #5 – Tom Taylor, Writer; Scptt McDaniel, Lyouts; Adrian Syaf, Cliff Richards, Pencillers; Jonathan Glapion, Mark Irwin, Inkers; Blond, Colorist
Ray – 6/10
Corrina: Guy Showcase.
Ray: Is Guy Gardner having a terribly abusive childhood new? I don’t remember it being nearly this bad as the opening segment depicts, but regardless, the flash to Guy’s childhood is the only revelatory thing this issue. As for the rest? It’s Green Lanterns flying around blasting aliens. Pretty much what this and the previous mini were all along. Once Guy is freed from Ausras and Dismas’ control, he’s sent to recruit his fellow lanterns and help to break the control of the villains’. It’s a fast-paced issue, and it took a while for me to pick up on exactly what the plan was when it came to recruiting a Lantern who could turn the tide of the battle. It’s Mogo, and once the living planet shows up, things get distinctly more exciting. There are some great visuals in this comic, but there’s no real story backing them up besides the ticking clock and intimidating villains looking to feed on the dying universe. The one moment of the issue that actually interested me? The reveal of Ausras’ and Dismas’ true forms – giant space anglerfish. That in and of itself knocks the comic up a point.
Corrina: The last time we saw Guy’s family, they were cops, yes, and a bit rough and tumble but basically good people. Not sure how that fits with the flashbacks in this issue, but I put that aside because it was fun to watch Guy lead the rest of the Green Lanterns into battle with a plan, no less, for a change. Still, the story is churning water until we get to the ending and the Lanterns escaping from the collapsing universe. I’m guessing that’s been caused by the Ausras and Dismas, not any natural phenomenon. Maybe by killing the, uh, fish, the Lanterns can save the people left alive.
Red Hood/Arsenal #12 – Scott Lobdell, Writer; Joe Bennett, Penciller; Belardino Brabo, Inker; Jose Villarrubia, Colorist
Ray – 2/10
Corrina: What? Is? This?
Ray: This series continues to limp towards the end of its current incarnation, with Roy being tortured by his mutated former mercenary buddies, and Joker’s Daughter sporting a new bullet wound courtesy of Red Hood. I did chuckle slightly at the fake poll for whether Arsenal should live or die, but it sort of sums up the cynical tone of the series as a whole. After the van carrying Joker’s Daughter blows up, she escapes and kills everyone inside, revealing herself to be the mastermind behind Roy’s kidnapping. The reveal that, ha ha, she’s been evil all along and is exactly the psycho serial killer she’s been claiming to be is probably the most boring reveal possible, throwing out all the ambiguity about her as an unreliable narrator that was created in past issues and by Bennett in the one-shot. Overall, it’s just a senseless, ugly comic with nothing going for it. I can only imagine just how unpleasant it’s going to be when Jason doesn’t have Roy to play off anymore. It’s not like Bizarro or Artemis the Amazon are known for their banter.
Corrina: You know, it was bad enough that the Joker’s Daughter had to be in this book and bad enough that Jason shot an unarmed teenage girl but this is worse. It’s like doubling down on the awfulness. For a person who’s been shot and gravely wounded, Joker’s Daughter is more lively than she has any right to be. I know, in comics, people recover from serious wounds fast but this is absolutely ridiculous.
Ah, I see, Arsenal’s old gang is run by Joker’s Daughter as well? Okay, that might be interesting if the former mercenary buddies were interesting too. But they’re not. Neither is this story.
Earth 2: Society #12 – Dan Abnett, Writer; Iban Coello, Artist; David Calderon, Colorist
Ray – 4/10
Corrina: Decent Issue.
Ray: The biggest problem with Earth 2, right now, is that the plot seems to work in circles. Much like with the old Ultimate Universe, there’s always a disaster around the corner that requires some sort of sacrifice. However, as soon as that sacrifice is made, it’s only weeks before the world goes to hell again. This issue, the truth has come out that the world is barren, and two massive nations are getting ready to go to war over the scraps. After failing to broker a peace deal, Alan Scott goes on walkabout to figure out what to do, and meets with Val-Zod, who has become a nomad since retiring. He gives Alan some counsel, and Alan winds up using his ring to power the earth, giving his power up in the process and becoming human again. Green Lantern’s been up, down, and all around power-wise for so long that it doesn’t really hold much of an impact. Then comes the reveal that Ultra-Humanite was pulling the strings all along, which seems out of nowhere – although I don’t mind more classic supervillains showing up here.
Corrina: Yep, the plot has been “colonize new planet, it all falls apart” for several issues and nothing has even gotten resolved until this one. Example: are the Amazons evil or not or a danger to Hawkgirl or not? Some issues the answer is yes, sometimes no, and even in this issue, I’m still not sure what they’re supposed to be. I throw up my hands on that plot.
Alan’s sacrifice was well-done and maybe it’s a signal we’re getting away from the whole planetary war problem and going back to crimefighting? I hope so.