Far Sector #11 – N.K. Jesimin, Writer; Jamal Campbell, Artist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: The penultimate issue of this series—maybe the final book from the Young Animal line—is right around the corner, but Jo Mullein’s story is just beginning. The flinty Earth Lantern turned guardian of a sci-fi city will be moving into the main Green Lantern book soon enough, but before that she’s got to supervise an election. In a story that’s all the more prescient given what’s going on in Georgia, the referendum on the topic of the emotion exploit is in full swing—but the government is determined to get the result they want, even if it means mass voter suppression and violence. But when a mystery villain is revealed and the threat escalates, we see the fraying lines of the City come completely undone, and Jo is forced into action with a quickly dying ring. The compelling ensemble cast and the brilliant art by Jamal Campbell makes this one of the most underrated books in DC’s stable right now.
Man-Bat #3 – Dave Wielgosz, Writer; Sumit Kumar, Artist; Romulo Fajardo Jr, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: This book has been a compelling look down the rabbit hole that is the mind of Kirk Langstrom, albeit definitely a darker one than we’ve seen in recent years. Captured at the end of the last issue, he opens this issue literally tied to Harley’s couch and enjoying an involuntary therapy session where we go through his possible good and bad endings to his mad quest. Escaping (with not much resistance from Dr. Quinn), he seeks out his sister and replays some twisted family dynamics that show where their relationship went wrong. Ultimately, Langstrom seems to view other people as problems to be solved rather than as individuals who can make their own decisions. Scarecrow is lurking in the background as the main villain, but the problem is that this story has to compete with Tynion’s—and his Scarecrow is just much scarier and more effective. It’s not groundbreaking, but it’s a solid monster adventure.
The Dreaming: Waking Hours #9 – G. Willow Wilson, Writer; Nick Robles, MK Perker, Artists; Matthew Lopes, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: As we head into the home stretch of G. Willow Wilson’s reinvention of the Dreaming, our core cast has found themselves in hostile territory—the realm of the Fae. While Ruin and Heather find themselves taken in by the pleasures of the kingdom and quickly lose track of what they’re supposed to be doing there, Jophiel has found himself on his own—and in the company of the former fae king Oberon. The visuals here are excellent as always, with MK Perker joining Robles for a few pages and delivering solid work that doesn’t shift the tone dramatically. While this is a fantasy epic, it also has a strong character focus—especially in the flashback to Heather’s early years and her link to the world of magic. This is now the last book standing from the Sandman Universe books, and it makes me wonder where the last act will take us and who it’s going to bring in from that larger story.
Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity #8 – Kami Garcia, Writer; Jason Badower, Mico Suayan. Artists; Annette Kwok, Colorist
Ray – 7/10
Ray: This Black Label series, much delayed from its release, comes to a close with a gritty issue that has about ten more pages from the standard but still feels rather rushed. Harley has been working as a freelance profiler, trying to track down the killer who took her wife from her. The narrative has been divided between her story and Joker’s honing of his sick craft, both in the present and the past. As Joker makes his final move against a populated concert—with absolutely horrific visuals when his deadly gas is unleashed—Harley and Gordon close in, building to a brutal climax as she finally gets her chance for revenge. The problem is, while this version of Harley is a good character, there are very few common threads between her and Harley. And this Joker is little more than a sad, sick man with a whole lot of messy fetishes. It’s a decent serial killer thriller, but I don’t know if it worked as a Harley Quinn story.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.