Thursday, October 13, 2016

Comic Shop Comics: October 12

All-Star Batman #3 (DC Comics) The cover for this issue features Batman fighting The KGBeast atop a flaming semi, which begs the question: What did Chris Sims use the other two issues the genie apparently offered him when he freed it from the lamp? Scott Snyder and John Romita Jr. have slowed down in terms of throwing redesigned Bat-villains at the reader as their action movie of a Two-Face arc begins to settle into answering the questions and providing pay-offs for what occurred in the previous issues–The Royal Flush Gang gets a brief, awesome appearance here though, with their gradual arrival being even better than their immediate dismissal. I was pretty damn surprised to see the reappearance of Harold Allnut, the mute, hunchbacked inventor that Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle introduced, and who kinda sorta lived in the fringes of Batman comics with a version of Ace the Bathound until he was dismissed in maybe the most confusing way possible in Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee's nonsensical "Hush" conclusion.

At this rate, I fully expect Pagan, The Human Flea and maybe even Metalhead to show up before this story ends.

High-fives go to letterer Steve Wands too, for the way he renders death metal: A series of musical notes occasionally interrupted by skull and crossbones icons. The Snyder/Romita lead story "My Own Worst Enemy" is still not only the best Batman comic of the moment, but also the most awesome (Nice to see The Penguin being a real, hands-on, umbrella weapon-wielding supervillain again, too!). I'm already starting to worry about a time when JRJR isn't working with Snyder on the title.

The back-up, starring codename-less not-Robin Duke Thomas and drawn by Declan Shalvey, is fine, but obviously its events can't compete with those of the lead story.

Gotham Academy: Second Semester #2 (DC) I like how this issue's story reflects that of a manga/anime trope, that of the club rivalry. Here it's a little on the subtle side, I suppose, as the members of the unofficial Detective Club realize something strange is up and one of their number falls prey to the rival Witch Club, but the club vs. club dynamic certainly seems appropriate in the one Batman-affiliated book from a creative team that has apparently most thoroughly absorbed manga.

Lumberjanes/Gotham Academy #5 (Boom Studios) So it took the penultimate issue, but I've finally gotten to the point where I had to keep reminding myself that the kids from Gotham Academy aren't regular characters in the Lumberjanes comics. I suppose that can be seen as a strength of writer Chynna Clugston Flores' writing here, given how well she's integrated the two casts from the two disparate comics, or a weakness, given the fact that this has become a Lumberjanes story more than a Lumberjanes/Gotham Academy story. But then, I'm not sure how you keep such a crossover from inevitably becoming a Lumberjanes comic, given that the 'janes are married to their setting in a way the GA kids aren't (That is, I can't imagine the 'janes ever leaving in order to visit Gotham City; that would seem to break one of the core rules of the Lumberjanes comics).

In this issue, the mystery is more-or-less solved and the trickery more-or-less exhausted, so our heroes must resort to violence. Which, of course, means lots and lots of awesome violence against characters that are mostly cloak (a subject near and dear to my heart). It's definitely the most action-packed issue of the series so far, and there are some inspired scary visuals, as the lodge itself comes to life to attack our heros.

Oh hey, remember Olive Silverlock is pyrokinetic? I keep forgetting that. Gotham Academy should really address that, instead of occasionally raising and then forgetting it for months.

SpongeBob Comics #61 (United Plankton Pictures) The lead story in this year's Halloween issue, in which a witch curses the Krabby Petty for Mister Krabs' stinginess and blesses Patrick for his kindness, is a little weak, at least in terms of a spooky content, but the other stories make up for it. These include a Graham Annable silent story in which SpongeBob chases a jellyfish into a haunted house of sorts (and there's a Texas Chainsaw Massacre homage, of all things) and an elaborate Jim Campbell-drawn, Bob Flynn-written and layout-ed poster of a comic that you'd kind of have to see to appreciate, but its size prevents me from sharing here. Just make sure you turn to the third-to-the-last and second-to-the-last page of this month's issue when you're in the shop. If your local shop pre-bags and boards all their books, just tear it open, take it out and get your grimy fingerprints all over it. It's okay. I give you my permission, for whatever that's worth (Not much!).

Suicide Squad #4 (DC) Twelve-pages of Jim Lee-drawn Squad vs. Zod fighting (the "Die, Graphic Designer!" panel was pretty funny), followed by an eight-page Gary Frank-drawn Harley Quinn story. Can you believe they saved the Harley solo-ish story until the fourth issue? In this, writer Rob Williams has Rick Flag test Harley by taking her with him and a bunch of soldiers on a mission, wherein everyone gets exposed to Joker gas, and Harley talks to a hallucinatory Joker.

Captain Boomerang remains dead. :(

Wonder Woman #8 (DC) Uh-oh.

So it seemed inevitable that DC's accelerated publishing schedule would eventually cause problems for some of the books–I know Green Lanterns shipped late once, and there have obviously been some deadline-pushing books that required extra artists to get them out on time–but this one seems kind of drastic.

Greg Rucka's Wonder Woman, which is basically two different books shipping under the same title and numbering system, gets a kinda sorta fill-in here that breaks the "Year One" story by Nicola Scott, current story by Liam Sharp, "Year One," current rhythm.

It's still by Rucka, and it is drawn by the excellent Bilquis Evely, but it belongs to neither narrative. It's a kinda sorta origin story of Barbara Minerva–not of how she became a The Cheetah, but how she channeled her childhood interest in mythology into discovering The Amazons–and given that Barbara is a character in both narratives, it fits with both.

In other words, this is maybe an ideal issue for the serially-published Wonder Woman, as it fits with both, but it's not clear where (if?) it gets collected. I've been assuming that DC will eventually publish Wonder Woman Vol. 1: Year One and Wonder Woman Vol. 2: The Lies, but, if that's the case, where will they stick this one? (Me? I wouldn't collect it at all; I think publishers should occasionally not collect comics so as to encourage serial consumption, but that's just me, armchair publisher).

I'm just speculating, of course. I honestly have no idea how DC plans to collect Wonder Woman, nor how they will proceed once these first two story arcs are completed. Will alternating, Nicola Scott-drawn issues continue to be set in the past?

Anyway, no Wonder Woman in this issue of Wonder Woman. But plenty of Bilquis Evely art, and that's just as good!

...

And hey, up there where I mentioned The Human Flea? I wasn't just joking. I love The Human Flea. I used to want him to be a recurring Robin villain, maybe of the Anarky sort, where he was a sometimes-enemy, sometimes-ally type of character. I'd make that guy a Teen Titan, or part of the new Teenage Crimefighters Club that's starring in Detective Comics (he makes more sense than Clayface!). Hooray for the Human Flea!

1 comment:

Evan Dawson-Baglien said...

According to Amazon.com's product descriptions, Wonder Woman Volume 1 will be "The Lies" and Volume 2 will be "Year One." Issue #8 will be in Volume 2.