Thursday, March 08, 2018

Comic Shop Comics: March 7th

Batman #42 (DC Comics) I'm not sure how this necessarily rates as a Batman story, but it's a pretty good Justice League story. Batman and Catwoman continue their campaign to retake planet Earth, which Poison Ivy has completely taken over via plants, leaving only Batman, Catwoman and like maybe one dude in Gotham City who was immune for a reason Batman here figures out un-brainwashed. Ivy sends the big guns after the Batman/Catwoman team here, including having Superman chaperone their outting and The Justice League and all The Flashes to take them down at one point.

Artist Mikel Janin is still working with Tom King. So far, his run has been hit or miss but mostly hit; so far, this arc definitely seems to be one of those hits.

Bombshells United #13 (DC) The last two arcs of this series, featuring Wonder Woman and the team of Batwoman and Montoya respectively, have kept the series relatively far away from its inspirational origin: World War II era pin-up girl art. With this new arc, we finally meet the Bombshells-iverse's Black Canary, a songstress to at least bears the visuals of that original inspiration. Not only has she her almost-ever-present fishnet stockings, you can even see a hint of the lace of her bra beneath her unbuttoned blouse (both on Sandy Kelly's cover, as well as in Sandy Jarrell's interior art.

For this arc, writer Marguerite Bennett sends two of Gotham City's Batgirls to Hawaii, seeking the source of a bizarre phenomenon. Apparently some dark force has co-opted music playing over pirate radio, turning those who here it into smiling but murderous zombies. Once there, they meet Bumblebee, the Canary herself and, in an unexpected twist, the Frankie Charles-lead Suicide Squad. Who want to arrest Canary for murder. The murder of Oliver Queen!

As always, the art is very nice, the script is perhaps a bit over-textured for my tastes and it's nice to see characters here that don't appear often enough throughout the DC Universe line--or, when they do, aren't drawn as nicely or as written as well as they are here.

Justice League #40 (DC) Following a rather public argument involving the two Justice Leagues--the primary League of this title, and the "of America" League of Steve Orlando's Justice League of America--The Fan arranges for them all to be teleported onto the satellite watchtower, which is in the process of falling out of space, killing them all. Or, at least, killing most of the Leaguers who aren't A-Listers (as several characters point out, it is mostly the of America and the weaker Leaguers who will be done in. Superman, wonder Woman, The Ray and The Atom would all be fine; Cyborg and Vixen should be okay too, and maybe they can save some of the others, but not all.

Credit to Christopher Priest for actually selling this dilemma. Being trapped on a satellite plummeting from the sky really shouldn't be that big of a threat two the combined might of two Justice Leagues. First, he removed the two Lanterns--who also would have rendered the conflict in the last issue moot--and then explains why it is that Superman can't just push the satellite back into space, for example.

I wasn't entirely convinced. I still think Superman could have saved them all himself applying his powers slightly more creatively, and The Ray should be able to do almost anything the Lanterns could do with his ability to construct hard light, but, for the most part the threat to the characters' lives is convincing enough, if you want to be convinced, and it was fun trying to pick the situation apart, and figure out alternative ways the heroes could have applied their powers to save them all. What Cyborg comes up with is a plan that involves a whole bunch of them, and should save all of them. That's the cliffhanger ending, so I suppose we'll find out for sure next issue (Also, couldn't The Atom shrink everyone down to sub-atomic size, put them insider Superman, have Superman fly down to Earth at super-speed, and then everyone can re-enlarge before enough time elapsed that they would explode? Or couldn't Superman and The Ray ferry them down from the satellite to Earth one or two people at a time?)

Anyway, another pretty good issue in the singular, although I'm not sure how the run is holding together as an overall arc.

I was a bit confused by the presence of The Atom, as I had no idea which Atom it was. The last of the JLoA I read was about halfway through that arc where they met a combination of Danny Rand and Tarzan, but it was Ryan Choi who was The Atom, and he was wearing that dumb suit from the CW shows. Here The Atom is wearing what looks an awful lot like Ray Palmer's original costume, but with some of the paneling that is all the rage these days. He's never called anything other than "The Atom" though.

Oh, and Cyborg gets a pretty radical redesign via The Fan. I actually kinda like it quite a bit. I'm not crazy about the left arm, but I like this look much more than all of his post-Flashpoint variations, or that of the movie. I think I'd prefer his C-cymbol and his robot eye be the same colore though.

Nightwing #40 (DC) I am 99% sure that giant squid don't work like that, but artist Bernard Chang sure drew the hell out of that scene, highlighting its extreme surreality.

Dick is still fighting The Judge, as he's been doing since writer Sam Humphries run the book began a half-dozen issues ago. I am eager for the story to end at this point.

Super Sons Vol. 2: Planet of The Capes (DC) Wow, has no one ever used that title before? It's one that seems so obvious once you hear it that you assume someone must have used it somewhere before, but then, the fact that it's used here certainly implies that no one else ever has. The bulk of this five-issue trade is devoted to that four-part story arc. Robin and Superboy are on patrol together with a 10 p.m. curfew, until the former gets called away by his super-team the Teen Titans on a more urgent mission. While Robin refuses to let Superboy join them--as a ten-year-old, he technically doesn't qualify as a teen*--they are forced to turn to him for help when they encounter a threat that bests them all...but Robin more than the others. Ultimately, our title heroes find themselves on another planet in another dimension, where they are the rather unlikely inspiration that lead to an important conversion.

As with the first volume, writer Peter Tomasi's take on the characters, their interactions with one another and their interactions with their families is the truly inspired, really winning element of the writing, while the plots involving the genre-conflicts are a lot less so (Here, Tomasi has a rather convoluted way of getting to use some minor super-villains that may or may not comport with whatever is going on with DC's Multiverse this month). The artwork by Jorge Jimenez and, to a lesser extent, Carmine Di Giandomenico, who helps fills in during part of thetitle story, and Jose Luis and Scott Hanna, who draw the fifth issue, is mostly very good. Jimenez has a very energetic style that is equal parts superheroic posing and posturing and melodramatic character acting leaning hard towards cartoonish that suits the book's tone pretty perfectly (although the variant covers by Dustin Nguyen that run in the back of the book as a gallery--particularly that one with the duck--makes me wonder what a Nguyen-drawn issue might look like).

The fifth issue of the collection, the one drawn by Luis and Hanna, has the dads of the Super Sons again interfering, building them their own superhero headquarters and giving it to them on one condition for Damian: He will have to start attending a real school. And it's going to be the same school as Jon. That sounds pretty awesome, actually.

*Er, does Starfire?

1 comment:

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

"Planet of The Capes" was the title of a story in JIMMY OLSEN #117. I'm wondering why Super-Sons still has the Rebirth branding.