DC This Week – All Harley, All the Time!

Reading Time: 21 minutes
Superman & son take on the Eradicator in issue #4. Image via DC Comics
Superman & son take on the Eradicator in issue #4. Image via DC Comics

This week: Harley in her own book! Harley and her gang! Harley in the Suicide Squad!

Which is best? That depends on the version of Harley you like the best.

Also, Mera breaks Aquaman out of prison, Dick Grayson gets a new partner, the quality on Superman Rebirth continues to jump all over the place, and Batman curses an inevitable betrayal (Well, sorta.), Black Canary is set up to play a damsel in distress in Green Arrow (boo!), and Corrina and Ray are still topsy turvy on the new Green Lantern book with Ray unimpressed and Corrina loving a Green Lantern story for the first time in, well, ever.

MAJOR SPOILERS BELOW FOR ALL OF THIS WEEK’S DC BOOKS.

DC Rebirth Reviews:

Suicide Squad: Rebirth #1 – Rob Williams, Writer; Philip Tan, Penciller; Jonathan Glapion, Scott Hanna, Sandu Florea, Inkers; Alex Sinclair, Colorist

Ray – 8/10

Corrina: Suicide Squad for Beginners.

Ray: Maybe the DC franchise that is looking to take the largest level up with Rebirth (there’s a movie soon, you see), Suicide Squad is betting a lot on an A-list creative team that includes Jim Lee in some capacity and a team heavily influenced by the movie. Fans of Amanda Waller will likely be pleased to see her look is much more Viola Davis than Kerry Washington now, as she seems to be closer to her original incarnation in a scene where none other than Barack Obama calls her out on the carpet over the shady way the Squad has been run. Although the President wants to shut down the Squad entirely, Waller makes a compelling case for its continued existence, and so she’s given permission to keep it running – with a new handler.

That handler would be Rick Flag, here a disgraced former soldier who was disappeared for treason after disobeying illegal orders that eventually got his platoon killed. Flag has promise here, a disenchanted, bitter military man who gave his all to his country and had everything taken away from him in return. The Suicide Squad actually doesn’t play all that big a role in this issue, being deployed abroad in China to deal with a “metahuman bomb” that creates a city full of powered-up Chinese warriors. The team is trying to recover the scientist behind the bomb and his technology, as well as contain the threat. Needless to say, their methods for dealing with this problem are less than humane. Harley, Deadshot, and Boomerang are the only active members at this point before Waller and Flag fill out the team, and they each get strong moments that show how skilled and deadly they are. I’m looking forward to seeing more members of the team, but as a Rebirth issue, this is a solid start that did its job and got me excited to see what comes next.

Cover to Suicide Squad #1, image via DC Comics
Cover to Suicide Squad #1, image via DC Comics

Corrina: It’s inevitable with #1 issues that there will be setup and DC is clearly hoping new readers, intrigued by the movie, pick up this Rebirth issue. Nothing wrong with that, though I wondered at giving so much space to a conversation between Obama and Waller. This is the DC Universe where worldwide threats happen every day, so it’s not that hard to justify the Squad’s existence. I’m thrilled to see Waller look more like her original self but I hope she gains more depth in this title other than “cynical hard-ass.”

I’m not sure what to think of Flagg as the disgraced but honorable soldier but we’ll see how that plays out. The action segment, however, was the meaty part of the issue and it’s full of black humor. Not everyday that I snicker inwardly at a guy getting his hands cut off. (It makes sense in context, I swear.)

Verdict: good for new readers and old school fans will find something to enjoy.

Harley Quinn #1 – Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, Writers; Chad Hardin, Artist; Alex Sinclair, Colorist

Ray – 5/10

Corrina: Classic Harley

Ray: If there’s one title that really doesn’t need a fresh start for Rebirth, it’s Harley Quinn. The previous series just finished last week on a strong note, and it’s already one of DC’s most popular books. However, everyone gets a relaunch for Rebirth, and while Harley Quinn’s status quo remains intact, I don’t think the new run did many good things for the quality of the title. It’s a rather sharp downturn for my tastes. Harley’s always been a bit episodic even in the previous run, so that’s not saying that this new run is in trouble, but the storyline they’re launching with isn’t doing much for me at all. It starts well, with Harley and Ivy going for a spa day together. It’s alternately sweet, hilarious, bizarre, and surprisingly normal. Really, anything involving these two and their strange relationship is the best part of this book.

Then it’s back to Coney Island as Ivy goes off to her own adventures, and we get a recap of Harley’s extensive supporting cast – now including a de-powered genie whose story can only be found in a Loot Crate or a trade, which seems like a bad idea. The material in a story with limited access should remain self-contained. Red Tool, the Deadpool parody with no command of personal space, is wearing out his welcome, and the main plot – a zombie plague caused by people eating hot dogs tainted by the flesh of an alien impersonating a cow – not only is a blatant rip-off of the origin of the Skrull Kill Krew, but just isn’t very funny. Harley’s book is weakest when it’s about graphic violence rather than bizarre comedy, and this issue definitely falls more on the side of the former. I’m hoping this arc ends quickly and the cast is pared down a bit so this title can do what it does best.

Corrina: Spending a day with Harley and her black sense of humor and her warped sense of justice is something I’ve always found fun so that part of this new issue worked well for me. (Once again, I missed Conner when she was off the book and glad to have her back.) Harley and Ivy shippers will also be happy to see the pair together once again.

But…alien zombies that basically tweak a Marvel joke about Skrull cows? As two-page joke, it’d darkly funny. As the origin for an entire zombie attack on Harley and her friends, not so much. I was also none too thrilled to see the second-rate Deadpool, Red Tool, back, but Harley cutting off his hand did crack me up. Is it bad that I smiled at not one but two amputations in DC books this week? Probably.

Less weird zombie attacks, more Harley trying to help and not quite realizing how destructive that can be.

Batman #4 – Tom King, Writer; David Finch, Penciller; Sandra Hope, Matt Banning, Inkers; Jordie Bellaire, Colorist

Ray – 9/10

Corrina: It’s Not Like That Other Shoe Wasn’t Going to Drop

Ray: Given just how bleak every single one of Tom King’s other works (Sheriff of Babylon, Vision, Omega Men) has been, it’s not a surprise that this title is going in some seriously dark directions. King is always interested in exploring the depths to which humanity (or things that are sort of human) can sink when pushed in the right direction. When we last left off, Gotham and Gotham Girl had been brainwashed by Hugo Strange, sent off in a dangerous direction. That direction seems to have led to the murder of a group of soldiers, and the trauma of the experience has left Gotham Girl in a near-catatonic state. Back at the cave, Duke is torn between trying to calm her down and fulfilling his duties as Batman’s tech agent. (partially because there’s a pretty girl in the cave)

Her brother, meanwhile, has found things going from bad to worse. One soldier survived the massacre and decided to take revenge – against their parents, once he figured out their identity. Batman has been behind the curve the whole time, desperately trying to minimize the damage caused by these two going rogue. This leads to a confrontation between him and the figures behind the villains – Amanda Waller and Sam Lane, whose agents (Strange and Psycho Pirate) escaped and are plotting their own agenda related to the Monster Men. By the end of the issue, it’s very clear that while Gotham Girl still has some humanity left in her, Gotham is being turned into the monster everyone feared he is. Great action, and a twisted callback to All-Star Superman’s most iconic scene, are just some of what makes this issue one of the best comics of the week.

That's not going to end well. Batman #4, image via DC Comics.
That’s not going to end well. Batman #4, image via DC Comics.

Corrina: While I cannot deny the quality of this issue, stuff got dark awful fast, which is too bad because the approach in previous issues was refreshing. Everything I’ve seen King write has an original angle to it and…I guess I was expecting more than the inevitable “new good guys being a trick” and “the government was behind it all” from King. That’s how high King has raised the writing bar for me with his previous work.

And I am just so tired of “government agency creates evil while trying to do good.” This is why I stopped watching Torchwood. It just got old watching them fight menaces that they’d created themselves. (Poor pizza delivery guy!) So it’s not King’s fault a lot of SF/F writers have used this plot before but I will hold him accountable if there isn’t a new twist. (Sorry, Mr. King.)

That said, it’s a tense story overall and I worried about everyone involved, from the parents to the soldiers to Gotham Girl and Duke in the cave. The only people I didn’t care about where Sam Lane and Amanda Waller. Maybe it’s too much to hope that they’re under Hugo Strange’s control as well? But whatever happens, Finch’s art remains restrained and perfect and that’s very good.

Aside: I didn’t notice the sexual tension between Gotham Girl and Duke so much as seeing Duke care for someone and showing off that his open compassion set his apart from Batman. (It’s not that Batman doesn’t care but he doesn’t have time to stop and show it often.)

Nightwing #2 – Tim Seeley, Writer; Javier Fernandez, Artist; Chris Sotomayor, Colorist

Ray – 8.5/10

Corrina: Intriguing.

Ray: The other half of the Grayson writing team is putting up a good fight against Batman this week, as Dick Grayson is drawn deeper and deeper into the network of the Parliament of Owls, courtesy of his new “mentor”, Raptor. Seeley has done a lot of interesting, morally ambiguous characters in Grayson and his other titles, and Raptor is very much in that vein. He’s charismatic, deadly, and always seems to have a hidden agenda. Also, gotta say I love his drone plane, which is one of the coolest new pieces of hardware we’ve seen in comics in a long time. The mission this issue takes them into the base of Kobra, which is where the issue sort of lost me a tiny bit.

Kobra, ostensibly a mad scientist organization, is usually just generic evil goons. Here, they’re very much mad science – except that the creepiness is taken up to graphic body horror surprisingly quickly, and that one bizarre scene really doesn’t add much to the story. However, things turn very interesting when Nightwing and Raptor rescue the refugees being used for Kobra’s experiments – only for Raptor to plan to turn them over to the Parliament for their own purposes as slave labor. The moral quandaries Dick faces in this issue, especially once Raptor reveals his own agenda, are genuinely compelling. The ongoing plot involving Batgirl felt a little too Archie at points, especially the final scene, but the overall plot here is top-notch and feels like it’s just getting started.

Nightwing and his new buddy, Raptor, bond. Image via DC Comics
Nightwing and his new buddy, Raptor, bond. Image via DC Comics

Corrina: No, I didn’t want to like Raptor! You can’t make me. Urgh! I like Raptor! Stop that!

As you can see, I started reading this issue with some obvious biases and then…I started enjoying the issue anyway. Just what choices will Dick make to take down the whole Parliament? Does he have to choose between the lesser or two evils in saving people or not? That’s a terrific question for someone who views himself as always doing the moral or right thing.

The other questions is whether Raptor is playing a mind game with Dick or not. Loved Dick’s internal monologue about how to sort all this out. It took me many issues to get on board the Grayson series but I like this one a ton already.

Superman #4 – Peter Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, Writers; Patrick Gleason, Penciller; Mick Gray, Inker; John Kalisz, Colorist

Ray – 7.5/10

Corrina: Wild Swings in Quality For This Story.

Ray: The good news – no beloved pets have anything horrible happen to them this issue! Krypto is still MIA, but this issue indicates that he’s trapped inside the Eradicator, who is actually far more than he appears to be. After the battle resumes, it becomes clear that Eradicator is actually a repository for untold Kryptonian souls, trapped there in a state between life and death until he can find a new home for them. That may seem benevolent on the surface. It’s really not. Gleason is back on art this issue, and he’s really the big selling point of this issue. He really doubles down on making the Eradicator an inhuman monster, with some genuinely creepy visuals as his body unravels and we start to see the ghosts within him make their way out.

As someone who’s been reading Superman for over 25 years now, I was pleased to see the return of one of my favorite old-school Superman supporting characters – Bibbo Bibbowski. The dim but strong Metropolis bar owner is played much less for laughs in this issue, as he’s still in mourning over the death of his world’s Superman when the Ace of Club explodes into the battle between the new (old) Superman and Eradicator. Really, though, the driving appeal here is both the art, and seeing the Superman family fight side by side. The interaction between Clark, Jon, and Lois feels organic and genuine, and it’s great to see an older Superhero and a functional family in comics.

Corrina: Yay, Bibbo’s back! He’s one of those characters truly needed to flesh out Metropolis as more than just background noise.

As to the rest, it seems like this story is going to be the repository for the greatest hits of the pre-Flashpoint Superman, from Doomsday to Eradicator and it’s throwing too much at me for me to enjoy consistently. The Eradicator being a repository for Kryptonian souls is a great concept but it all happens against a backdrop of everyone being chased, not having a true idea of what’s going on, and Krypto getting absorbed. There’s one terrific moment when Jon and his Dad knock the Eradicator down with a combined punch and Lois gets to do something this issue other than comfort her husband or her son but I wish this story would settle and center itself.

Justice League #2 – Bryan Hitch, Writer; Tony S. Daniel, Artist; Sandu Florea, Inker; Tomeu Morey, Colorist

Ray – 6/10

Corrina: Great Visuals

Ray: This is still easily the most visual of any book that has launched in the first wave of Rebirth. Although Bryan Hitch is only on writing this time, with Tony Daniel on art, it’s still very much in the widescreen style that he pioneered on JLoA. Unfortunately, though, there’s very little plot advancement here and it mainly feels like the issue is a showpiece for art that, while much improved this issue, isn’t quite enough to make a compelling comic on its own. In the aftermath of a series of massive natural disasters, the League is mostly split up as they try to contain the chaos. Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz attempt to hold back a tidal wave, while Flash and Batman find themselves surrounded by an army of possessed humans controlled by the Kindred, not to mention a swarm of deadly bugs.

Aquaman finds himself under the water, saved from destruction by mysterious crystals. Cyborg’s only role this issue is to serve as tech support up on the Watchtower and lead the discussion of what needs to be done. Things pick up a little towards the end of the issue, as the possessed humans begin functioning as a hivemind, a mysterious creature rises out of the depths, and Batman seeks the help of the new Superman to burrow to the center of the Earth. But just coming off two year-long stories in the two Justice League books (one still unfinished), I would have liked a story with a faster pace to kick this off.

Corrina: If you’re only reading one DC book, this works for you because it contains a spotlight on all the high-profile DC characters and treats them well, even handling the new Green Lanterns much like they’re being handled in their new book.

The Kindred make a decent antagonist and the pages of the crowds attacking Flash and Aquaman saving Atlantis are great. Again, Hitch seems to be summoning an old-school vibe. But if you’ve reading all the other DC titles, then this may seem like yet another worldwide threat and blend in with the rest.

That’s too bad because it’s worth reading.

Green Arrow #4 – Ben Percy, Writer; Juan Ferreyra, Artist

Ray – 8/10

Corrina: I’m One Step from Giving Up On This Title.

Ray: Although I still have a few misgivings with the direction of this title, especially Emiko’s role in everything, there’s no denying this is turning into a very compelling high-octane thriller. The cast is assembling nicely, with John Diggle heading back to Seattle to investigate and avenge Ollie’s death – only to find him alive, and be sorely tempted to kill him himself. Seems Ollie and Diggle left on nasty terms, with Diggle blaming Ollie for the death of someone very close to him. Ollie’s genuine regret and admission of guilt is a different tack for him, and it shows just how seriously he takes this screw-up. Once they’re back as tentative allies, the two of them work together to strong-arm Henry Fyff into joining up again as their tech guy.

The action taking place at the Ninth Circle base is a bit over the top for my tastes – things like the “Baptism” seem to be Percy indulging his tastes for graphic horror, and Dinah winding up as the damsel in distress already is less than desirable. I’m assuming Emiko is playing a role here, so I don’t have a problem with her seeming sadism assuming that plays out. However, even though the villains aren’t fantastic, Juan Ferreyra’s art is the star here. If you’re going to do a horror comic, this is the guy you want doing it, and his depiction of the Ninth Circle’s base is genuinely intimidating, with villains straight out of classic horror. This arc seems to be hitting its stride, and I’m overall becoming more of a fan with each issue.

Corrina: “Less than desirable?,” Ray? I have had it up to here with Dinah Lance/Black Canary being a damsel in distress. Well, I had it up to here with that back in 1992, so it’s probably not Percy’s fault that my ire was so stoked by Dinah being taken down by one tranquilizer arrow. Given that I misjudged the situation with Emiko a couple of issues ago, I’m holding onto the hope that this is some sort of plan of Dinah’s and that Ollie isn’t going to come along and rescue her. We’ll see. If that’s the case, if I were buying these issues, I’d stop and go spend my money on something else.

So, once last chance for Percy’s storytelling her.

Now, back to Oliver. The fight with Diggle is well done and full of bro-bonding and all that. Or, as Annie Savoy said in Bull Durham, “a little macho male bonding is good, even if it is latent homosexuality being rechanneled, I’m all for rechanneling.”

Ferreyra’s art is outstanding, which may be part of why I’m so annoyed because Dinah’s capture is so well-drawn.

Green Lanterns #4 – Sam Humphries, Writer; Ed Benes, Robson Rocha, Tom Derenick, Pencillers; Rob Hunter, Mark Irwin, Vincent Ciufuentes, Jay Leisten, Tom Palmer, Mark Deering, Inkers; Blond, Colorist

Ray – 6/10

Corrina: Still Enjoying This One.

Ray: Before we get into the story here, what is up with the art teams on this book? Most Rebirth titles have been pretty solid art-wise. Even Finch has managed to do the whole arc uninterrupted so far. But this book has three pencillers and six inkers on only issue #4! It’s not glaring, as most of the artists are fairly similar in style. The plot is a slight step up from previous issues, as it’s more of a bottle episode that lets Simon and Jessica’s characters shine through. The two of them make their way to the Hell Tower (which is really just a pit in the middle of the earth, not exactly the dramatic finale we were expecting), but Simon’s ring is almost out of power and Jessica is possessed by the spreading rage plague.

With no power to escape, Simon is forced to try to keep Jessica at bay long enough to get through to her and attempt to purge her using his ring. I’m not sure how I feel about Simon essentially being able to break the rules of the ring through sheer will, but he comes off as more human and vulnerable this issue, and Jessica’s complexes are written well as they break through to each other and become genuine partners for the first time. Of course, then Atrocitus confronts them and announces that he’s going to make them fight to the death to determine who’s going to join them, which is pretty much par for the course for the cliche of a villain he’s become. There’s glimmers of promise in this issue, but not enough to overcome a weak plot.

Corrina: Maybe I’m just immune to the weak plot, given that everyone seems to be using the “worldwide threat via mind control” plot lately.

What is keeping me riveted to this title are the characters. I’ve loved Jessica since issue #1 and I would encourage anyone with anxiety or who suffers from panic attacks to read this book because Jessica is someone they can root for, someone who’s using her ring not just to fight evil but to fight her insidious illness, which can affect her faith in herself. I love that she’s allowed to be complicated and real and yet still manages to be sympathetic.

For the first time, I liked Simon too because he dropped his facade and showed who he really is and what he’s afraid of. It’s ironic that in order to help Jessica overcome her fear and rage, he had to admit his own. It’s a nice way to bond the two of them and, wow, I closed the book hoping that DC doesn’t later mess up these characters.

Oh, right, the big bad Red Lantern shows up at the end. He bores me. Hope they get rid of him and the whole big red rage hole in the Earth soon and figure out why that Guardian is camping out in Simon’s place.

Aquaman #4 – Dan Abnett, Writer; Philippe Briones, Artist; Gabe Eltaeb, Artist

Ray – 6/10

Corrina: Love This Art But Story, Not So Much.

Ray: Right now, five issues in, this comic feels like a glaring example of missed opportunities. What Dan Abnett set up at the end of the previous run and the beginning of this one was a promising new status quo that would incorporate Atlantis in a greater way with the rest of the DCU. What we got instead was a repeat of every “hated and feared” story in comic book history. When we last left off, Aquaman was trying to negotiate with the US government to reopen the embassy when he was suddenly arrested and blamed for an Atlantean terror attack on a US ship. This was actually the work of the Deluge, of course, but the government wasn’t listening. He went quietly, not wanting to inflame tensions more.

This left it up to Mera to negotiate for his release while Murk investigated the attack and found evidence of the Deluge’s involvement. Things go bad at the White House when the government tries to arrest Mera too, and she decides to go rogue and break Aquaman out against his orders, leading to a standoff between the Royal couple and the US Army. Meanwhile, Black Manta finds himself recruited into a mysterious criminal syndicate that claims to control the seas. There’s nothing really wrong with this issue, per se, but it’s all stuff we’ve seen before and a big let-down after Abnett’s first art.

Corrina: I guess I get why the setup of the outreach to the surface dwellers was necessary, to show Arthur’s commitment to creating a peaceful exchange of ideas but it seems to me that it was destroyed far too fast and Aquaman and Mera thrown into a diplomatic crisis as enemies of the United States too fast.

If the U.S. allowed Atlantis to set up an Embassy, that means Arthur and Mera have diplomatic immunity, right? The U.S. could expel them from the country but I don’t believe they can arrest them. Maybe that’s what is bugging me about this story: it’s trying so hard to set up a realistic situation and yet, it’s playing fast and loose with that realism.

And yet another mysterious and all-powerful cabal, this one concentrated on the oceans? Ugh.

But, wow, the action sequences look great.

Additional Reviews:

Batman Beyond #15 – Dan Jurgens, Writer; Bernard Chang, Artist; Marcelo Maiolo, Colorist

Ray – 7/10

Ray: After a fairly lengthy build-up, we’re finally at the big moment – as the truth of Terry McGinnis’ fate is finally revealed and the cast finds out that the former Batman is still among us. Convinced he’s David Dusk and needs the Rewire suit to live, Terry’s been brainwashed by Spellbinder to kill Batman. This leads him to orchestrate rolling blackouts around the city and ambush Commissioner Gordon’s convoy, kidnapping her. She holds her own, though, and manages to knock off his helmet. While the plot here is only decent and may have been building a little too long, the reactions of Terry’s former friends and family – especially Matt – make the issue much more compelling.

By the end of the issue, Tim and Terry are set against each other for a final showdown with Tim determined to save Terry – and Terry determined to kill the man he thinks is his enemy. Spellbinder, never a very compelling Batman Beyond foe, here has a fairly compelling plot and makes for a serious threat. We know Terry is coming back for the Rebirth series, so it’s not a question who’ll wear the cowl. The only question is, how will this title send off Tim and get Terry back into the suit? I’m intrigued to find out.

Corrina: The explanation for Terry being alive is a bit lame “When I came here, I created a new timeline where he survived,” but I’ll handwave that because it’s good for Terry to be back. Tim also flashes a sign of his previous personality as he has a plan and an ability to fight without the help of the suit. Spellbinder has been one-note all along–do we know why he uses Terry in the way he does beyond that it makes him happy to be a puppet master?

DC Comics Bombshells #16 – Marguerite Bennett, Writer; Mirka Andolfo, Laura Braga, Artists; J. Nanjan, Colorist

Ray – 9/10

Ray: Interestingly, as this story goes on it seems like the main team of superheroes from the Battle of London have been put on the back burner indefinitely following Kortni’s apparent death. Despite that, the outcome of that battle seems to have far-reaching consequences, as it’s colored the way Batwoman looks at the entire conflict.

The Berlin underground continues to be the main plot, as various heroes gather, including Harley, Ivy, Selina, Batwoman, Question, Zatanna, and Raven. This includes Huntress, the teenager who Batwoman rescued earlier in the story and now wants to join the battle. There’s a moment that rings a bit false in this scene, involving Batwoman’s reaction to how horrified Helena is by what she sees as a citizen of Germany. It feels like a modern day “check your privilege” moment that I can’t imagine any Jewish person saying to a non-Jew who wants to join the resistance in 1941. However, it clicks a lot more once we see a flashback to what happened to a young Jason Todd, here reinvented as a Basque freedom fighter (very reminiscent of Gavroche from Les Mis) who was adopted by Kate and Renee during the Spanish Civil War.

The second story, involving Mera’s backstory and her sister, is compelling as well, although it seems to drop a lot of sudden reveals out of nowhere. The fact that Arthur is a half-Atlantean with healing powers is an interesting twist, and Nereus’ death at the hands of his bride – Mera’s older sister – throws the plot for a loop. For a minute, it looks like Atlantis will be saved and Mera will be able to reclaim the throne, but it soon becomes clear that Mera’s sister is quite insane, calling herself the Siren Queen and attempting to claim the throne for herself. While the first story contains a much bigger emotional punch, this one brings the big comic book action. Get you a comic that can do both!

Harley Quinn and the Gang of Harleys #4 – Frank Tieri, Jimmy Palmiotti, Writers; Mauricet, Writer; Hi-Fi, Colorist

Ray – 7/10

Corrina: Helps That There is Less Harley Sinn

Ray: I haven’t been a big fan of this Harley mini, but oddly I think I liked it a bit more than the relaunch of the main Harley series this week. This issue, while still filled with a bit too much candy-colored sadism for my tastes, had some creative moments. I don’t care about Harley Sinn and her henchmen, and I’m hoping the entire gang makes it out of this mini alive (a cameo in the main issue sort of indicated they did), but Sinn has Harley trapped in a virtual reality torture chamber for most of the issue, and it provides some seriously creepy and amusing visuals while it’s going on, complete with rapid-fire costume changes for Harley.

Meanwhile, the Gang of Harleys is still pretending to be dead and is investigating Sinn’s base. This leads them to her father, a Donald Trump look-alike who has been covering for his daughter, and he gives them the location of Sinn’s secret base, an elaborate and ridiculous supervillain headquarters. The appearance of the Popeye-parody villain from Harley’s title last year should amuse some people. Overall, the story is just okay, but that’s a big step up from the last few issues, and this one has some of the main book’s wacky energy.

Corrina: The flaw in this book is the villain, who’s just an unfunny and worse version of Harley Quinn. But since this issue focuses on the Harley gang and Harley herself, it works much better. I’m guessing the Gang disbands after rescuing Harley to trim down the roster on the regular book but despite some issues I have with this miniseries, I will miss them.

Injustice: Gods Among Us Year Five #15 – Brian Buccellato, Writer; Xermanico, Artist; Rex Lokus, Colorist

Ray – 7/10

Ray: As this title heads to its final act – and Tom Taylor is now confirmed as coming back on board for the sequel, making this comic potentially a must-read again – things are getting a bit more interesting. Superman’s increasing paranoia and viciousness have begun to turn his allies against him one by one, as Batman tries a desperate final gambit to take down the regime. Hal Jordan attempts to find the truth behind Alfred’s murder and whether Sinestro authorized it. Superman flies to Khandaq to try to coerce Black Adam into pledging his loyalty to Superman, leading to a tense showdown between the two ruthless alpha males. Meanwhile, in the most interesting scene of the issue, Hawkman travels to deep space, seeking a treasure from Mongul, the last Kryptonite ring in existence. To get it, he has to last thirty seconds in combat with the mad alien tyrant. As the final gambit begins, this title is heating up and looks to be heading towards an exciting finale.

Batman ’66 Meets Steed and Mrs. Peel #2 – Ian Edgington, Writer; Matthew Dow Smith, Artist; Wendy Broome, Carrie Strachan, Colorists

Ray – 7/10

Ray: Batman is a character that nicely lends himself to crossovers, because he exists in multiple genres at the same time and can play the detective, the adventurer, the spy, and the superhero as situations call for it. The original Avengers was a property that was fun for its time, but the later attempts to revive it didn’t really catch on, and this mini is fun but kind of slight and mostly lacking the classic campy charm of Batman ’66. There’s a fairly straightforward case and a mystery female villain with only one real suspect. I do say “mostly lacking”, though, because there’s one ingenious scene that made me laugh out loud, and that’s when Robin helps Batman and their allied spies defeat a group of Cybermen using logic that he pick up from…Rock’em Sock’em Robots. I had to check, and they were introduced in 1964, so good going on the accurace, Ian Edginton. My main quibble is that aside from that, this is very much a straight spy story out of The Avengers without the Bat-craziness of the recent Man From UNCLE crossover, which blended the two worlds seamlessly.

Bloodlines #5 – JT Krul, Writer; Ken Marion, Penciller; Sean Parsons, Inker; Andrew Dalhouse, Sotocolor, Colorists

Ray – 2/10

Corrina: The Characters Have Some Nice Moments

Ray: This massively misguided series is nearing its conclusion, and although there’s only one issue to go, I continue to be puzzled by how it’s going to wrap up all the stories it’s trying to balance. Maybe it just won’t try? Until last issue, it seemed like the new take on Anima – the psychotic little girl who used her pet demon to kill an entire birthday party – was going to be the big bad, but now it’s the Preacher who was just introduced last issue and is using his psychic powers to force an army of followers to attack the heroes. Is it the parasite in his head or is he just evil? Why does he develop new powers every few minutes? Even our heroes really don’t know. Eventually, the heroes make their way to the nest of the parasites, a grotesque hive taken from equal parts Alien and the recent Memetic miniseries, where one of them turns possessed in a twist that would have more impact if any of these characters were more than vague sketches. Between the gratuitous gore, the ’90s art, and the fact that it’s a thinly disguised zombie story, there’s really nothing to recommend here.

Corrina: About the only good thing to say about this book is that I’m finally seeing some depth in the main characters we’ve been following for five issues. That’s not enough good to overcome the overall story or how dumb I find it, however. I still wonder why DC gave a greenlight to this series. Perhaps we’ve going to see them soon in the television Berlanti-verse and DC wanted a comic featuring them?

Disclaimer: GeekDad received these comics for review purposes. 

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