Thursday, February 11, 2016
Comic Shop Comics: February 10th
I'm certainly curious to see where Tynion takes the characters in the second half of the story, although the knowledge that it is already half over does weight a little heavily on me, as it doesn't seem like it's going to have enough room to come anywhere close to delivering what I most want from these sorts of crossovers: A sense of once-in-a-lifetime occasion coupled with a comic that successfully incorporates every possible angle of such a team-up a fan could possibly want.
As for this issue, Williams' art remains quite strong, and he continues to prove that even if he didn't seem like an ideal candidate for the project (he wouldn't have even been in my top 50 artists, if I got to pick), he can draw the hell out of all of these characters, and find a comfortable style to accommodate the very different franchises and their accompanying aesthetics. I'm not terribly fond of the various designs, but that's more a fault of the publishers and editors decision to make the story "in continuity" for both, meaning these are the IDW Turtles and the New 52 Batman (That last page was pretty confusingly laid-out, though).
Tynion's plotting is fine, and there were the already mentioned surprises, but I continue to be disappointed by the lack of actual action in a book full of ninjas and martial artists–the fighting is all very much of the typical superhero static posing with implied action–and the Turtles all sound a little too...cowabunga, for my tastes. Typically, the trend has been to make Michelangelo the receptacle of that aspect of the Turtles, and have the other three play straightmen to him, but here the ratio seems a little flipped, so that only Raphael seems serious, while the other three are all flippant, sarcastic and slang-slinging.
Tynion does give Raphael a pretty great line, when he's making the case to Leonardo that Batman is clearly insane, in which he mentions not only the obvious fact that Batman runs around at night dressed like a giant bat, but also that he drives a car that looks like himself.
That does kind of take the idea of "branding" to a whole 'nother, totally insane level, doesn't it...?
The latter is swept up in some weird, rather unexpected plot involving her missing, martial artist mother (not to sound like a broken record, but that might have been less of a head-cocking, eyebrow-raising revelation in the pre-Flashpoint DCU, wherein Black Canary's mother was the Golden Age Black Canary), her aunt (rather artlessly revealed here) and a very unexpected (but welcome) guest-appearance from another DC superheroine...one I don't think we've seen in a rather long time (She might have been in the short-lived, New 52 JLI though; I've honestly all but forgotten everything that occurred in that book).
Regular artist Annie Wu is MIA after th cover, but guest artist Sandy Jarrell does a fine job of filling in. Honestly, I didn't even miss Wu, and her art is generally my favorite part of this book every month.
I have a suspicion this book won't be around at the end of the summer, but, for what it's worth, this storyline seems more in keeping with what I would expect from a title starring Black Canary--more regular people fighting other regular people, less extra-dimensional alien invaders composed of living sound or whatever.
The next story, featuring two guest-artists, features a pretty sweet Scarecrow design and rendering by Eduardo Medeiros, which is currently my favorite Scarecrow design (I think Meeiros might be the first artist to get to draw The Scarecrow with a hat on since the New 52-book; he's been appearing much more frequently since, but always sans hat.)
The third, by Mingjue Helen Chen, is drawn in a very lovely style, but it's so close to the regular look of Gotham Academy that it doesn't stand out nearly as much as the others, and therefore isn't terribly interesting to look at. At least, not in this context.
Once more there is a section featuring a few classic Jughead strips, with another great intro from Zdarsky, making the $4 cover price seem acceptable, rather than a Marvel-style gouging. I'm actually kind of hoping Zdarsky manages to find a way to work Souphead into a future narrative...
Oh, and here's an early nomination for the Sensational Character Find of 2016: Crowny.
This substantial, 30-page chapter is so satisfyingly dense that it feels much longer than it actually is; unlike so many comics, this actually reads like a part of a graphic novel. By which I don't mean it's "written for the trade," simply that it is a big, epic, well-paced story that was apparently conceived and created as a whole, and is being broken into and published in chapters. More than a comic book series, this actually reads like a serialized graphic novel.
De Liz's script takes us through the remainder of Diana's girlhood into her young adulthood, with a well-placed montage in the middle, and while I confess the talk of immortality vs. mortality among the Amazons feels a little questionable to me, it seems part and parcel to what De Liz has planned for their society (which seems to have its own villains), and a conflict intended for Diana. That is, not only is the character facing a tension between what she wants from her life (adventure, the inevitable journey into "Man's World") versus what her mother wants for her (to stay safe on Themyscira, to rule as its queen someday), but she is also being positioned to have to choose between immortality and mortality.
There is a lot to like about this series, including the rather effortless way De Liz ties ancient Greek culture with Marston/Peter craziness (see: Kangas) and thornier aspects of the Wonder Woman story (oh, hey Troia). My favorite bits were the way in which De Liz reverse engineered a rationale for Wonder Woman choosing a lasso as a weapon, and the fact that when Steve Trevor eventually falls from the sky, as he must, it seemed as portentous and mythological as any of the elements of actual myths included.
As I said on Twitter the other day, while it's still early in the book's run, The Legend of Wonder Woman seems poised to be for the character what Batman: Year One is for Batman.