Thursday, November 19, 2015

Comic Shop Comics: November 18

Batman & Robin Eternal #7 (DC Comics) There's a single art team this issue, consisting of Alvaro Martinez and Raul Fernandez, which certainly helps make this particular issue look better than the last. Genevieve Valentine handles the script. In these 20 pages, we see three different teams of characters working the same case in two time periods.

In the past, the original Batman and Robin track Mother and company to Prague. In the present, Dick Grayson, Cassandra Cain and Harper Row are also in Prague, tracking the same operation, while Jason Todd and Tim Drake follow a different lead in Gamorra, which is a place in the DC Universe.

The details are nice. The mystery is intriguing, at least, and it was fun to see Cassandra's reaction to ballet which, if her ability to speak body language far better than spoken language remains the same, would make her maybe the world's most appreciative fan of dance. There's an interesting example of ship-bait in that scene, too.

I really wish I understood what the hell happened in #5, in which Tim and Dick had a falling out, because that seems to be a factor here, at least in terms of why they two teams aren't working together. The characters all seem to get that Dick did something to violate Tim's trust but, um, I still don't understand anything about that scene.

Also, Harper mentions that Orphan lost a foot in their previous encounter. Cassandra chopped off his hand, though.

Nice cover, though.

Batman '66 #29 (DC) Wait a minute! Ma Parker? Jeff Parker?

Huh. I always assumed Parker was hired to write Batman '66 because he is an excellent writer with a great sense of humor. I never suspected it was actually because his mom was a Batman '66 villain.

This issue has two sort of connected stories, in which Parker teams with two of the titles best artists. In the first chapter, Dean Haspiel draws "Parker Breaks Out," in which Ma Parker and her family escape jail to be together, freeing a trio of other Bat-villains in the process. In the second half, Jonathan Case draws "Catwoman Comes About," in which those Bat-villains–Killer Croc, Solomon Grundy and introducing Killer Moth '66*–kidnap Robin and Batgirl, and Catwoman offers to help Batman take them down.

It's great art all around–although unfortunately Haspiel and Case each chose to design Killer Moth in different ways–and pretty clever comics-writing. The back half is particularly satisfying, as it plays with the TV show's take on Batman and Catwoman's romantic relationship.

Doctor Fate #6 (DC) Another great cover by Sonny Liew. If you've read the first five issues, you've read this one too. At this point, I'm basically just giving DC $3 a month to thank them for giving Liew a monthly superhero comic.

Jughead #2 (Archie Comics) Well, here's a lame thing about variant covers: Sometimes you don't get to pick the one you like best, and end up with a lamer one. Like the one awaiting me in my pull-file was the Robert Hack one of the five variants, when I would have much rather gotten the Erica Henderson one.

Henderson and writer Chip Zdarsky's second issue is much like their first. The center piece is a long dream sequence which puts Jughead in a fantastical situation–recruited by a descendent of Archie's from the far future to help save Riv3rdal3 from a descendent of Reggie's, who attacks with dinosaurs and robots and vikings and stuff–which echoes the events in his waking life (here, bending rules without breaking them).

Meanwhile, the new principal and his new teachers continue to make life miserable for the students, and Jughead finds himself a target. Of course, he "finds himself" a target because he makes himself a target, but still.

I thought there were a few laugh-out-loud moments in this. I particularly liked the one reasonable robot–
–although the page immediately following the dream sequence was even better.

As with the previous issue, and issues of the new, rebooted Archie, this issue includes a a reprint of an eight-page classic Jughead story, with a one-page introduction to it by Zdarsky. I like these, as they make me feel like I'm getting my money's worth for my $3.99, and the prose bits prove that Zdarsky really is a really good writer. I mean, his introduction to old Jughead comics are really funny, and that's a little outside–or at least to the left–of his main goal here, which is writing really funny Jughead comics of his own, you know?

Lumberjanes #20 (Boom Studios) This appears to be the satisfying climax and resolution of the mer-people storyline, but it ends with a "To Be Continued." Do they meant the series itself..? In which case, duh, or do they mean the story arc, which sure seems to have reached a resolution?

I don't know. This issue was pretty great though. It strikes me as strange that Carolyn Nowak's covers for the arc feature mer-people who differs so dramatically in design from the ones that are actually in the story, drawn by Carolyn Nowak. I guess she did the covers far, far in advance of the story, maybe...?

*I think. I don't have time to check right now, but in the past I've spent some time trying to figure out if there was ever a version of Killer Moth or a character named "Mothman" on the TV show or not, because several sources that discuss the Mothman of Point Pleasant say his name was derived from a character on the Batman TV show, which was airing at the time of the flap of sightings. Please correct me if I'm wrong, though.

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