DC This Week – Rebounds and Giant Squids Aplenty

Reading Time: 20 minutes
Future Quest #2 cover, image via DC Comics
Future Quest #2 cover, image via DC Comics

This week in DC, the eagerly awaited Future Quest #2 did not disappoint, and the Flintstones makes the second entry in DC Comics revamp of the Hanna-Barbera properties to be more interesting than it has any right to be. Scroll to the bottom for those reviews, plus bonus reviews of the Batman ’66 team-up with Steed and Mrs. Peel.

Among the superheroes, Batman continues Tom King’s winning streak, while Bryan Hitch makes Justice League shine, Green Arrow continues its streak of making us happy and frustrated, and Corrina has a newfound love of Jessica Cruz, one of the two new Green Lanterns.

Justice League: Rebirth #1 – Bryan Hitch, Writer/Penciller, Daniel Henriques, Scott Hanna, Inkers; Alex Sinclair, Colorist

Ray – 8/10

Corrina: Solid.

Ray: This is an odd book, coming after the Hitch Justice League of America arc that never finished and is currently not on the schedule. Fortunately, this story segues smoothly into the next chapter and doesn’t really leave any unanswered questions as it picks up. Hitch is on writing and art this issue, although that’s just for the Rebirth special and he’ll be replaced on art with #1. The main focus is how the Justice League does business in the wake of losing Superman – and then how they deal with potentially having a new Superman join them.

It’s big-scale action from start to finish, as a mysterious giant cephalopod descends on Manhattan like something out of Independence Day and deploys millions of brain-sucking parasites that latch onto people’s heads and take control of them. It’s a great, creepy visual, but it serves nicely as a way to bring the JL back together. Like all the Rebirth issues, there’s a bit too much exposition here, as the various members explain how they feel about the loss of Superman, how they feel about being asked to join the League (Simon and Jessica), or their worries about stepping back into the limelight (Superman).

The scenes with Superman and his family are strong, and I liked how every League member’s powers were used creatively in fighting off the monster. My first thought about the creature was something Starro-related, but once it started communicating apocalyptic threat and referring to itself as one of “The Reapers”, I started thinking in another direction. Another horrific giant squid that destroyed Manhattan in another property in the 80s. Is this the Watchmen‘s first salvo in the DCU? If so, expect this issue to be a collector’s edition. Either way, it’s an entertaining launch point for the Rebirth Justice League. Hitch showed a good handle on the characters on his short previous run, and now that he’ll have help on art, this has a lot of potential.

Justice-League-Rebirth-1-
Lois and Clark, JLA #1, image via DC Comics

Corrina: I thought Wonder Woman was a bit too warrior-like and not compassionate enough, and I had a few other niggles but mostly, this story is an old-fashioned JL story against a cosmic threat, with the added complication of replacing Superman. I enjoyed Hitch’s Superman a great deal, and his Lois. Unlike the other famous artist writing Superman with a book out this week, Hitch has writing talent to go with his art.

To answers Ray’s last musings, the squid-like creature reminded me of the sentient Island that Time Forgot that was used in Darwyn Cooke’s The New Frontier. That also caused some mass delusions, too, even madness. It’s not a bad callback to make in this new era of the Justice League, if that’s what it is.

Overall, this is a fine story and would work for a new reader but I’m bummed that so far there’s no resolution to Hitch’s ongoing story, as I thought that one had more originality and more fun to it than the much-hyped Darkseid War. The one consolation is Hitch’s beautiful art and I’ll miss it after this issue.

Batman #2 – Tom King, Writer; David Finch, Penciller; Matt Banning, Danny Miki, Inkers; Jordie Bellaire, Colorist

Ray – 9/10

Batman: Stylish and Fun.

Ray: After the first issue’s spectacular full-issue action segment, this issue was naturally going to be a bit of a downturn. Fortunately, King wastes no time establishing his new status quo and setting up a number of fascinating subplots. Last issue’s dramatic introduction of Gotham and Gotham Girl has led to an uneasy partnership between Batman and the new heroes, as he attempts to train them in effective crimefighting despite their massive power advantage over him.

The opening segment has the three of them teaming up to fight Solomon Grundy. Gotham, interestingly, seems friendly and eager to learn, as opposed to the standoffish new “Superman” types who seem to show up in Superman’s stories on occasion. Gotham Girl doesn’t really get much to do this issue, so I don’t really have a great feel for her personality. Surprisingly, the part of this issue that comes off the strongest is Bruce out of costume. Alfred is perfectly sarcastic and his interactions with the new Wayne Manor crew of Bruce and Duke is really entertaining.

In general, King has a lighter touch with Batman and his world than any writer has in a while. That’s not to say some thing’s aren’t dark, though. A mysterious suicide in Gordon’s office hints at the upcoming Monster Men crossover, and the reveal of Hugo Strange as the Big Bad, altering people’s minds and forcing them to commit crimes, has a lot of promise. With a bi-weekly schedule, this title can afford a little breathing room, so the slower issue didn’t bother me. All the foundations are in place for an excellent run.

Corrina: King does have a lighter touch, though he was left with a Gotham in a much better place than some writers have received it. What I enjoyed most about this issue is that it veered away from cliches. Gotham and Gotham Girl are wide-eyed, almost innocent and in awe of Batman instead of trying to take over for him, instead of hostile and arrogant. Batman, for his part, is grateful for them to having saved his life. He doesn’t trust them, of course, but he’s willing to help them. (Though I hope he’s also digging into their background.)

Gordon on the rooftop and Alfred in the Batcave were the highlights of this issue, with each of them perfectly in character, especially Gordon being absolutely unimpressed with the two new superheroes on the block. I’m wondering what their origin is. I fear it’s related to Hugo Strange and his experiments and his connection to Amanda Waller but I was having fun inside my head wondering if this might be two time-lost members of the Legion of SuperHeroes.

Superman #2 – Peter Tomasi, Writer; Patrick Gleason, Penciller; Mick Gray, Inker; John Kalisz, Colorist

Ray – 8/10

Corrina: Vast Improvement Over Issue #1

Ray: A significant rebound from the bizarre first issue which introduced accidental cat barbecues into the world of Superman, this issue goes a long way to assuaging my concerns with the directions of the book – while still worrying me a bit on its characterization of Superman.

Superman’s strange intimidating appearance to Jon at the end of the last issue is explained to just be him taking his son out crime-fighting with him at night, to help his son manage his powers. The rescue a crew of a fishing boat, battle a mysterious giant squid (a motif this week?) and have a well-written heart-to-heart about what happened with the cat. It’s all swept under the rug a little bit, but at least it’s not going to be some dark, depressing sequel hanging over the book for months at a time. We also see more of the neighbor girl who saw Jonathan use his powers, and it seems like she wasn’t scared off. She and Jonathan are becoming quick friends – until Jonathan takes a tumble from a tree and knocks himself out. This raises the question of exactly what’s going on with Jon’s powers – they’re strong enough to singe his dad with heat vision, but he doesn’t seem to have invulnerability yet.

This also leads to an uncomfortable scene where Clark intimidates the girl’s kindly grandfather to keep him from taking Jonathan to the hospital. I’m still not 100% on Tomasi’s Superman – he seems a bit more harsh and menacing than the one we saw in Lois and Clark. As Superman prepares to take his son to the Fortress to examine him, we see someone’s already there – the Eradicator, one of my favorite 90’s DC villains. Definitely feeling more optimistic about this book after this week.

Corrina: No one was harder on “Let’s have Jon kill the family pet” story than I was and, yes, this issue was much, much better. Superman and Lois clearly have no playbook on how to teach Jon to use his powers, especially since they’re so unpredictable but they know they have to do something. It was a very parent-thing for Superman to take a hit from Jon’s heat vision and pretend it was nothing so as not to scare his son. Obviously, Lois and Clark weren’t oblivious to what happened to the kitty and talked about how to handle it privately before dealing with Jon. Nicely done.

It’s also good to see that Superman wasn’t menacing his son, as it seemed. However, I still have a problem with Clark’s temper, which seems to appear and disappear at odd times. Still, it’s a great overall comeback from a bad first impression.

Emiko, caught in a bad situation, Green Arrow #2, image via DC Comics
Emiko, caught in a bad situation, Green Arrow #2, image via DC Comics

Green Arrow #2 – Ben Percy, Writer; Otto Schmidt, Artist

Ray – 7.5/10

Corrina: I Want to Love This. I’m Trying. It’s Not Working.

Ray: I was put off this title pretty fiercely by last issue’s cliffhanger, revealing Emiko to be a mole still in thrall to her mother as she viciously betrayed Ollie with an arrow to her back. Solicits have already revealed this to be a bit of a feint, as it seems her loyalties will be divided. Okay. Don’t burn me again on Emiko, DC, I like this character way too much!

That being said, her betrayal sets into motion some rather interesting stuff this issue. We open with Emiko and Shado dumping Ollie’s body off in the river, with Shado sounding very much like a cult member as she introduces Emiko to the Burned, servants of their new group, the Ninth Circle. I was very pleased to see what came next – the return of John Diggle, now working as private security in the Mideast after breaking from Ollie.

As he and Dinah find out that Ollie is presumed dead, both dedicate themselves to finding the truth about his disappearance and both come up against members of the Burned in their battles. Ollie is found by Henry Fyff, barely alive, and nursed back to health by Fyff’s grandmother, but the unpleasant surprises are just beginning. He’s been declared legally dead, his company’s been taken over by the ruthless Cyrus Broderick, and his home has been destroyed and marked for demolition. Even Henry breaks with him once he finds out that he’s been accused of multiple crimes. With nothing to fall back on, Ollie goes back to basics as the Green Arrow and sets out as a lone warrior to clear his name. This feels very reminiscent of Grell’s run right now, but it has a long way to go to live up to that. Still, a big step up from last issue.

Corrina: Obviously, this book aims to bring Oliver Queen back to the days of Mike Grell’s run, with him not a millionaire and working outside the system, with the help of Black Canary and several others. It also owes something plot-wise to the Arrow television show. I should like all this. And yet…something about the story isn’t connecting with me.

Perhaps it’s that I’ve seen the “Ollie loses his fortune” story several times before or perhaps it’s because not enough foundation was done to make me care about the relationship between this Ollie and Dinah. I found the most compelling storyline this issue to be about Emiko and her efforts to act as a double-agent with Shado. She’s the one in the most trouble right now and the one I’m most worried about as a reader. I wish I were that concerned for Ollie.

Green Lanterns #2 – Sam Humphries, Writer; Robson Rocha, Penciller; Jay Leisten, Inker; Blond, Colorist

Ray – 6/10

Corrina: Hey! I Like a Green Lantern Book!

Ray: It sees pretty clear that this run is retreading a lot of ground we already saw in the Geoff Johns run. The big bad, Atrocitus, has been behind several major Lantern plots in recent years and all his characterization from the Red Lanterns title seems to have been stripped away. Here he mainly seems to sit around on Ysmault and yell about Red Dawn and Hell Towers. What his actual plot is is still a mystery, but the first step seems to be to incite this Hate plague on Earth. Said plague has currently infected thousands of people around the world, including Jessica’s sister, and incited a riot inside a Big Box store.

When it comes to the heroes, it’s a tale of two characters once again. Simon Baz, despite Johns’ best intentions when creating him, just doesn’t work. It’s like he’s a refugee from a 90’s buddy cop movie who likes to show how badass he is every few minutes. Using his ring to create a monster truck is pretty cool, but at this point he’s just a caricature of action movie tropes. Jessica is much more subtle and interesting, and thankfully she’s the focus of this issue. As she struggles to find a way to free her sister from the influence of the rage plague, we flash back to her training and get some rather amusing flashbacks, as well as seeing how her relationship with her sister defines and drives her. I feel like she could be a pretty compelling lead GL, but neither the partnership she’s been forced into nor the plot she’s dealing with really work.

Simon and Jessica, not quite a team yet. Image via DC Comics
Simon and Jessica, not quite a team yet. Image via DC Comics

Corrina: I suppose it had to happen: I found a Green Lantern comic that I want to keep reading. It’s mainly because of Jessica, who has become unexpectedly one of my favorite new characters. She’s someone who never saw herself as heroic but when even stepping outside is a heroic act, fighting bad guys becomes even more so. What made this issue shine for me was her training sessions as she tries to sort out how to make the ring work. Too many times, the ring and how to use it is hand-waved. Jessica’s use of the ring doesn’t come that easily and to see her struggle with it only made me like her more. I also loved the bond with her sister and her single-minded focus on saving her. Understandable, given the circumstances.

I’m less fond of Simon Baz but he’s a good foil for Jessica. As for Atroocitus, I could do without him entirely but I guess we can’t avoid Lantern foes in a Lantern comic.

Aquaman #2 – Dan Abnett, Writer; Scot Eaton, Penciller; Wayne Faucher, Inker; Gabe Eltaeb, Colorist

Ray – 6/10

Corrina: Not Sure Where This Is Going

Ray: After the destruction of Spindrift station at the hands of Black Manta last issue, the hero and villain face off in the latest showdown in their never-ending war of attrition – and wind up pretty much repeating their dynamic from the Johns run. We know the story – Black Manta had killed Aquaman’s father, and in his rage, Aquaman retaliated against Manta’s boat and accidentally killed Manta’s father, a semi-innocent man. Manta has been out for revenge ever since. Now his obsession has led to the destruction of the bridge between the land and sea. With Mera injured and everyone fleeing the station, it comes down to Arthur and Manta once again. The fight is brutal and dramatic in places, but they sort of go in circles.

I get that a young hero’s greatest mistake can be what drives them as a hero, like Peter Parker, but Aquaman cavalierly saying that choking the life out of Manta’s father was what made him the man he is today seems…odd. The dramatic finish of Aquaman having Manta at his mercy, refusing to kill him, and then offering Manta the same opportunity felt hollow just because status quo made it clear how this would turn out. I was hoping for Manta to be gone from the title after this so Abnett could explore more original concepts, but instead the prison transport is shot down and he’s recruited by a new eyepatch-wearing villainess. There’s interesting issues to explore here, but this arc hasn’t let them breathe.

Corrina: I loved the idea of Dark Water and the menace within from before Rebirth and now we’re back to Manta wanting revenge and blowing up Spindrift station after several issues of build-up. So far, I’m not keen on these plot developments. I’d hoped to see an exploration of the new concepts,  not blowing it up to go back to one of Aquaman’s most overused foes. (Manta’s appearance did make me wonder what ever happened to Kaldur, the black Aqualad…?)

So, in essence, what Ray said. I wanted new concepts, not old ones. The characterization remains strong and that’s what makes the book interesting but I’d hoped for more.

Additional Reviews:

Batman ’66 Meets Steed and Mrs. Peel #1 – Ian Edginton, Writer; Matthew Dow Smith, Artist; Jordie Bellaire, Colorist

Ray – 6.5/10

Corrina: Love Mrs. Peel

Ray: The latest co-production/crossover for DC Comics, this issue teams Batman ’66 with the famous 60’s superspies from the TV show The Avengers. It’s just a shame they couldn’t use that original title! Main Batman ’66 writer Jeff Parker is nowhere to be found on this series, unlike the recent Man from U.N.C.L.E. crossover, and it shows. Despite the wackiness inherent in the Batman ’66 concept, this is a very dry, British issue that feels oddly leisurely for a spy comic.

There’s a few good sight gags (Alfred being forced to dress up as Batman to keep up appearances while Bruce is in the middle of a crime scene), but the plot just isn’t as compelling as it was in the last crossover. Catwoman is the main villain of the first issue, launching a jewel heist with her new kitten-themed henchmen, but it soon becomes clear that she’s part of a much bigger conspiracy that pulls in Steed and Peel. Too much of the issue is devoted to introducing them and everyone standing around and discussing theories, although Robin’s slack-jawed awe of Mrs. Peel was amusing. I’m hoping that the comic picks up in future issues, but thus far all spin-offs that didn’t have Parker involved let me down. Fortunately, he’s in fine form on yet another DC crossover this week.

Corrina: Batman was almost a side-issue for me, as I was happy to see how well Mrs. Peel was introduced, finally coming into full focus after some butt-kicking of the villains. And her exchange with Catwoman was nicely done, too, as was Catwoman’s “look, I’m a villain but they’re trying to kill me, so give a girl a hand?” request.

In any case, I was amused, which I think was the point of the issue.

The Flintstones #1 – Mark Russell, Writer; Steve Pugh; Artist; Chris Chuckry, Colorist

Ray – 8/10

Corrina: Interesting!

Ray: Besides Future Quest, there were very low hopes for any of the other Hanna-Barbera reboots, with all of them being disregarded or wildly mocked. Well, surprise! From the writer of Prez (which I’m sure Corrina was happy to see), this reboot of Flintstones manages to take the core concept, keep it recognizable, and infuse it with some really interesting social commentary and shades of Mad Men. Coming in the shadows of the mysterious Bedrock Wars, a battle between various groups of cavemen that established the city we know today, Fred Flintstone is a veteran and hard-working member of the Slate construction team, constantly trying to work his way up to a managers’ position. The corrupt Slate, looking to bring in Neanderthal labor to cut costs, asks Fred to help recruit the newcomers to Bedrock. The concept of evolutionary differences being the differing factor in this society is interesting, as we learn that various subspecies of humans have different ways of life, concepts of society, and values.

The segments where Fred takes the Neanderthals around Bedrock are intriguing, especially a surprisingly grim segment taking place at the Veterans’ group. Things take a dark turn at a party at Slate’s manor, where Slate’s borderline sociopathy comes creeping out, leading to a tragic end for one of the Neanderthals. I was unfortunately less interested in Wilma’s subplot this issue, involving her trying to become an artist and a Bedrock art culture that was just TOO on the nose compared to us, but the last scene involving her and Fred and why her paintings mean so much to her hit surprisingly hard. I’m wondering where Pebbles, who appears on the cover as a teenager, is – will this comic be jumping around in time? Either way, color me intrigued. This actually adds something new to the core concept while staying recognizable as The Flintstones.

Corrina: The original point of the Flintstones cartoon was never a realistic look at prehistoric life, it was all about social satire and based on the live action Honeymooners. (Jackie Gleason as Fred never worked so well as in this issue.) That’s the direction this creative team has chosen to go into with this Flintstones revamp and it works, mostly, though I thought the tone varied a bit too much between satire, comedy and drama.

Best line? From one of the Neanderthals: “It seems like the whole point of civilization is to get someone else to do your killing for you.”

Future Quest #2's epic battle, image via DC Comics
Not Gloop!! Future Quest #2’s epic battle, image via DC Comics

Future Quest #2 – Jeff Parker, Writer; Evan Shaner, Ron Randall, Jonathan Case, Artists; Jordie Bellaire, Colorist

Ray – 8/10

Corrina: Excellent!

Ray: The first issue was one of my favorite single issues in recent months, but I’m not quite sure what went on behind the scenes here. This comic was several weeks late, and now we have not two but three artists finishing up the comic. Doc Shaner is around for the first thirteen pages, and they’re spectacular as we flash back to the epic space battle on Amzot, and see how Space Ghost and Tarra made their final stand against the alien forces.

Of course, as we know, the blinding flash of light isn’t the end, as they soon find themselves on Earth encountering the cast of Johnny Quest. And a monkey in a space suit. It’s that kind of book, and it works incredibly well. I do think the title has a bit of a villain problem, as most of them come off as generic goons without any real motivation, but they serve their purpose – which is as targets for the kids to outfox and for Race Bannon to punch square in the face. There’s a LOT of characters running around here, but Parker’s script is clean and explains everyone’s presence, and both Randall and Case do a good job of filling in for Shaner. The arrival of fan favorite villain Jezebel Jade at the end should definitely make old-school fans excited.

Corrina: I’m always up for Race Bannon punching people, so there’s that. Hah. However, this series continues to be good, even though Shaner’s art is missed in sections. As Ray said, the opening is spectacular and makes me wish this team could write and draw all the space battles in all the comics, but it is somewhat backtracking, as these events happened before the first issue. Perhaps it’s just that mid-battle sequences are harder to show. Beginnings are great, the team-up that results of everyone going through the portals should be great, but this is how they got there.

Aside: I don’t recognize all these characters. But that’s okay because they all work in the context of the story. Poor Jace! What will happen to him next?

Adventures of Supergirl #5 – Sterling Gates, Writer; Cat Staggs, Emma Vieceli, Artists; John Rauch, Sandra Molina, Colorists

Ray – 8.5/10

Corrina: High Quality

Ray: As the first volume comes close to its finale, we learn more about the mysterious big bad behind the various agents targeting Supergirl and her family. The story is divided into two segments with vastly different art this issue, and the first is the stronger of the two. In the opening chapter, Kara and Alex head to the Fortress to confront Kara’s mother – or at least, the hologram containing all her knowledge – about what she knows about Facet. There’s some really disturbing implications in the story they learn, including near-immortal crystal beings and the brutality that went on in Kryptonian prisons.

Facet doesn’t seem to have some tragic backstory, but rather seems to be someone who thrives on power and cruelty. What stuck with me the most about this issue, though, was the pain in Kara’s dialogue as she tries to converse with this thing mimicking her mother. The second segment includes some flashbacks as Kara attempts to put together a plan to take down Facet, but it’s the villain who gets the drop first, targeting the DEO and releasing an insane-with-rage Rampage to threaten Kara’s friends. Assuming a strong finish, this will stand on its own as one of the best Supergirl stories.

Corrina: Agreed on this being remembered as one of the best Supergirl stories told. It has all the elements: her lost heritage, her bond with the DEO and Alex especially; and a villain who seems indestructible. What makes it all work is that I feel for Kara–the story brings the reader into Kara’s grief for Krypton and her family, and her fear for her adopted family as well.

Batman Beyond #14 – Dan Jurgens, Writer; Bernard Chang, Artist; Marcelo Maiolo, Colorist

Ray – 7/10

Corrina: Can Tim Do Something Techy?

Ray: This is one of the titles that will be going on the longest past the launch of Rebirth, ending in September, but it feels like the story probably could have been condensed a little and wrapped up by now. Regardless, this is one of the stronger issues in the series, as the focus shifts to Matt McGinnis and exactly what he knew about his brother and when he found out. As Tim decides to let Matt into the Batcave for the first time and explain exactly what happened to his brother, the two people who knew Terry start to open up to each other a little more and become more likable as a result. It’s just a shame that it took almost the entire series.

Of course, as we all know, Terry isn’t gone. He’s brainwashed, wired into the old suit of Davis Dusk – and as we find out this issue, actually thinks he’s Davis. He’s helping out a kindly old lady who is actually Spellbinder urging him on to kill Batman. This is all very much cleanup/repair work for a status quo that didn’t work before we get the classic Batman Beyond back, but it also works, especially the stuff involving Matt.

Corrina: If Tim were a compelling lead, I wouldn’t be so happy to have Terry back. But Matt seems to be less of a cypher than Tim. Perhaps because we haven’t seen Tim do anything distinctive. He’s wearing the suit like Terry and he’s working with a handler, like Terry. Where is he living? How is he trying to adjust to this world? One of Tim Drake’s defining characteristics was trying to solve mysteries and use tech to do it. We see none of that in this title.

But, Chang’s art remains excellent, Matt is interesting on his own, and the explanation for Terry’s absence works. I look forward to the happy and inevitable reunion. And wonder what will happen to Tim.

Bloodlines #4 – JT Krul, Writer; Ken Marion, Penciller; Sean Parsons, Inker; Andrew Dalhouse, Sotocolor, Colorists

Ray – 3/10

Corrina: Oh. Right. Still Being Published.

Ray: It’s 2/3rds of the way in, and it seems like this plot is going to be a very standard zombie/plague thriller with generic characters. You’ve got the high school misfits, the popular girl hanging out with them, the dark/bad girl, the cocky ex-jock, the mysterious monster hunter. These are all stock tropes. And the villain they fight…shapeless monster blobs with giant parasite worms inside them. There’s just nothing to latch on to here as a compelling hook, even if the main character is essentially Freddy Freeman.

More than anything, though, I’m deeply puzzled by the pacing here. We’ve got two major villains who seem to be lurking in the background and playing absolutely no role. First there’s Anima, the evil little girl who massacred an entire birthday party. Now she’s killed her parents and is watching cartoons with her demon friend and…that’s it. Then there’s an evil infected preacher manipulating and possessing his flock. There’s only two issues left, and I’m not really sure when they’ll be coming into play if at all. I don’t think we should be holding our breath for a sequel.

Corrina: The pacing is all that puzzles you? Hah! Right now, I’m more puzzled by the artwork, especially the cheesecake shots. In fact, much of the art is done in a garish style that is definitely not for me. I guess it’s good that the plot is moving forward and the people infected want to help others but, jeez, that zombie multi-person creature was just gross and unpleasant. Like much of this comic.

Injustice: Gods Among Us Year Five #13 – Brian Buccellato, Writer; Mike S. Miller, Artist; J. Nanjan, Colorist

Ray – 6/10

Corrina: ::throws up hands:

Ray: In the aftermath of Alfred’s murder by Zsasz last issue, this issue is almost a bottle episode, in that the entire thing takes place almost completely in one alley. It’s also one of the better issues of the volume, although that’s not saying much. After losing the one constant in their life, Father and Son face off, with Damian determined to see Zsasz pay in blood and Bruce dedicated to his moral code. Once Superman shows up to apprehend Batman, things really go to hell as Batman gets Superman at his mercy and nearly kills him in a fit of rage. While it’s all a little melodramatic, there’s genuine pain behind the dialogue and a few of the lines do hit home. There’s also some interesting hints towards the plot of the game, as Flash switches sides and starts talking with Batman about how to undo the disaster that led the world to this point. We’re in the home stretch here, and while the series is well past its prime, I’m still hoping it’ll end strong.

Corrina: A little melodramatic? Ya think! There was so much speechifying this episode that I thought maybe I was reading a debate, not a superhero comic. But what bothered me most about the speeches about morality and Clark and Bruce’s fight is that this thing never ends. It’s the same argument, over and over, lather, rinse, repeat. Bored.

Superman: The Coming of the Supermen #6 – Neal Adams, Writer/Artist; Tony Avina, Colorist

Ray – 3/10

Corrina: Well. That’s Done.

Ray: Well, I was waiting for this comic to go completely insane. It wouldn’t be a Neal Adams comic without it. And in this final issue, here we go! Did you ever want to see Darkseid acting like a petulant child who had just been denied a candy? This is the comic for you! Did you want to see Luthor and Darkseid engage in a bizarre series of insults? How about seeing Superman treat a Boom Tube like Silly Putty? Its all here! The plot at least made sense up until this issue, but here it almost seems like they’re just throwing random plot points into a blender once they realized there was only one issue left. The mysterious winged being that was shadowing Superman since the first issue again shows up, basically makes Darkseid give up, hints that he’s actually El of the House of El, and then vanishes. Rafi goes off with Highfather, and Luthor ends the series by revealing that the New Gods are apparently all human, a reveal that will be followed up on…never? Just puzzling all around. At least we didn’t venture into Hollow Earth this time?

Corrina: I would say this comic had gone insane if I could figure out the story in it. Character seems to shift mood at will, and even events seems to do the same. It seems to be telling six different stories at once and I lost the thread of the main one. But, wait, there’s Lois and the kid Superman is protecting but the kid’s dog turns out to be the Highfather and the kid is his one and…what? I’m lost again. Then there’s the god of the House of El. But the Boom Tube sequence looked great, even if I didn’t understand it.

So lost. So very lost. But, hey, Adams can still draw.

Disclaimer: GeekDad/Geekmom received these comics as review items.

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