Friday, September 22, 2017
Comic Shop Comics: September 20th
He finally makes a move to capture some of his many, many villains, taking out the majority of Team Riddler in one fell swoop, and the otherwise uneventful issue ends with The Joker, The Riddler and Batman all alone and in the same room.
As with most of the previous chapters of "The War of Jokes & Riddles," the issue is technically well-made, but the characterization is as off as any Batman story I've ever read without an "Elseworlds" logo stamped on the front.
As usual, the Tim Sale variant is so damn good it's a shame it's not the actual cover and, at this point, I'm long-past wishing I had just trade-waited Batman so I could get those Sale covers in the back of each volume:
To regular Nightwing writer Tim Seeley's credit, this issue was pretty easy to follow, with participating characters--the Teen Titans, The Suicide Squad, Green Arrow--all rather organically catching a reader up to what's brought them all together in Gotham City at this particular point. Essentially they are there to deal with the sorts of craziness that happens whenever there's this sort of world-threatening, cosmic order-altering crisis.
Apparently The Batman Who Laughs, the dark multiverse version of Batman who seems to be an amalgam of Batman and The Joker, recruits and empowers Mister Freeze, and so Nightwing, Robin, Killer Croc, Harley Quinn and Green Arrow battle their way through ice giants and wintery weather in order to beat Freeze to a cache of Nth metal weapons. This allows everyone to armor up and dress slightly differently; Nightwing's costume on the cover though is apparently a special cold-weather outfit he stopped at the Batcave to suit up in.
There are some plot points here that refer to the goings-on of Metal and previous Nightwing and Batman arcs, but for the most part it's just a bunch of characters wandering through a radically altered Gotham City, fighting and exchanging dialogue. So the muddling through works just fine.
Seeley is joined by guest penciler Paul Pelletier and inker Andrew Hennessy. Pelletier is and always has been a hell of a superhero artist, and this looks great, which no doubt goes a rather long way in helping make sense of it having skipped the first chapter. It is, after all, more difficult to get frustrated with a good-looking comic than it is a bad-looking comic.
Lottie tries to integrate Cool Girl into her circle of friends (or should that be "friends"...?), The Hater's Club, and they're off to a very, very rocky start. Meanwhile, the mysterious incident from the very first issue may not be in the past after all, as several other characters are circling around it. And, of course, there's another possible kinda sorta crime, or at least something that looks awfully crime-like, that Lottie may or may not be attached to. Fun stuff, for the seventh issue in a row now.
No, the reason Superman is on my current pull-list is I want to read Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason's Superman comics (with Gleason trading pencil duties off with Doug Mahnke and maybe an occasional fill-in artist).
This issue is the third in a row that is not by the "regular" creative team of Tomasi and Gleason, and the fourth out of the last six issues in which they did not participate.
It was solicited as the start of an (admittedly kinda dumb-sounding) arc involving Lex Luthor and Apokolips, which sounds like a follow-up to Geoff Johns' last Justice League arc, "The Darkseid War" (Interestingly, Wonder Woman is also picking up on that pre-Rebirth, year+-old story arc this month too). Instead, it is the first chapter of a multi-part storyline in which Lois Lane pursues an interview with Deathstroke (and has apparently been in the drawer a bit, as it doesn't exactly line up with what's been going on in the pages of Deathstroke for a while now).
It follows a two-part Keith Champagne-written Superman vs. Sinestro storyline drawn by Mahnke and at least three other pencil artists (a storyline that was originally solicited to be by Tomasi, Gleason and Champagne, but didn't show up in shops that way), and that followed a two-parter by the regular writers and a guest artist (that weird American history story that was...well, weird), and before that was another fill-in issue by another creative team entirely.
I guess I'm going to drop Superman; I can always catch up in trade later.