DC This Week Roundup – The Dark Side

Comic Books DC This Week
Red Hood: Outlaw #48 variant cover, via DC Comics.

Red Hood: Outlaw #48 – Scott Lobdell, Writer; Brett Booth, Penciller; Danny Miki, Inker; Arif Prianto, Colorist

Ray – 4/10

Ray: There are only a few issues left in Scott Lobdell’s run, but the main story is taking a break to tie in with Joker War in an issue that brings back frequent Lobdell collaborator Brett Booth. Jason’s back in Gotham, working solo, and the trap he lays for an army of Joker goons leads him back to one of his most defining locations – Ma Gunn’s school. This issue brings back some of the unfortunate elements of the New 52, including the fact that Bruce didn’t actually adopt any of his Robins. Instead, he’s apparently the person who “sponsored” Jason’s time at Ma Gunn’s, which means the world’s greatest detective somehow didn’t know she was a criminal. The return of the Joker’s daughter, as a hostage of Punchline, seems to mostly be an excuse to recreate one of Jason’s most iconic scenes with the roles reversed. This is a more kill-happy Jason than we’ve seen lately, which makes it feel like a throwback to the early days of the New 52 – and not in a good way.

Enter the Boy Detectives. Via DC Comics.

The Books of Magic #22 – David Barnett, Writer; Tom Fowler, Breakdowns; Craig Taillefer, Finishes; Marissa Louise, Colorist

Ray – 8.5/10

Ray: As the last arc of this title winds down, I’ve got to say David Barnett has actually done as good if not a better job on the title than Kat Howard. His Tim Hunter is compelling and the stakes are higher than ever. Last issue brought in the Dead Boy Detectives, apparently tracking Tim for his role in the death of Cold Flame soldiers. That leads to a dramatic courtroom showdown filled with absurdity as the identity of the prosecutor comes as a huge surprise. Equally interesting is the role of Tim’s former friend Ellie, his bully Tyler, and their mutual friend Fatima as they enter the dreaming to determine if they should stand against Tim or with him. The oldest of the Endless, Destiny, puts them to the test – but he’s not the only one with an interest in them and an unpleasant surprise awaits them at the end of the issue. It’s hard to see how Barnett can wrap this up with only one issue to go, but it’s one hell of a ride.

Constantine’s pub. Via DC Comics.

John Constantine: Hellblazer #9 – Simon Spurrier, Writer; Matias Bergara, Artist; Jordie Bellaire, Colorist

Ray – 8/10

Ray: This title is ending with #12, much to the disappointment of its creators and old-school Constantine fans. Unabashedly profane and extreme, it’s also the most distinctly British comic DC has put out in some time. This issue’s ripped-from-the-headlines storyline focuses on a character who’s obviously an allegory for the disgraced Prince Andrew – a lecherous Prince with a taste for barely-legal (maybe) girls. Looking for a way back into the Queen’s good graces, he buys dodgy racehorse sperm from a man claiming to be Constantine, which pulls the real Constantine into a bizarre plot involving a demonic unicorn. This is a very gruesome issue, ending with the birth of an unholy creature, but its real evils are definitely the rich royals so distanced from reality that they’ll violate the laws of nature just to get their old perks back. In that way, it’s a quintessential Constantine issue.

The great opening. Via DC Comics.

Plunge #6 – Joe Hill, Writer; Stuart Immonen, Artist; Dave Stewart, Colorist

Ray – 8/10

Ray: The Hill House line ends – for now – as it began, with a Joe Hill comic. Plunge delivered some of the best visuals of the entire line, courtesy of Stuart Immonen returning from retirement. This issue we finally get to see the thing lurking in the hatch of the Derleth and it’s a suitably horrifying visual that is likely to stay with viewers long after the series has concluded. The human leads are a little less memorable, with them all fitting neatly into the classic horror movie tropes and it being fairly easy to figure out who our survivors are going to be. This is a faster read than previous issues, with many chase scenes and splash pages, but it delivers in the classic horror action I was looking for. Will we get more books in this line? It’s yet to be seen, but most of the miniseries Joe Hill wrote or curated delivered some good scares and some compelling and relevant horror stories for the times.

Canyons of the Dwarrow. Via DC Comics.

The Last God #8 – Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Writer; Riccardo Federici, Artist; Arif Prianto, Allan Passalaqua, Sunny Gho, Colorists

Ray – 8.5/10

Ray: One of the most visually stunning books in DC’s stable, The Last God continues to unveil new realms and new horrors. This issue tracks the two teams of warriors in different timelines as they cross into the land of the Dwarrows, one of the more unique species they’ve encountered. Equal parts dangerous and useful, they preside over a kingdom that includes stone-like slave beings and they have a twisted idea of what a fair trade is. We see the squad led by Tyr compromise their morals – and we see that come back to haunt the heroes in the future. Each issue usually contains at least one massive monster battle, and this one doesn’t disappoint as they discover what’s become of one of their Dwarrow allies – in a massive showdown in a lava-filled canyon. Eight issues in, this feels like such an ambitious comic it’ll need several volumes to finish, but it’s delivering strong story in every installment.

To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.

GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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