Friday, May 15, 2015

Comic Shop Comics: May 13

Convergence #6 (DC Comics) As DC’s two-month, eight-part weekly series reaches its climax, writers Jeff King and Scott Lobdell finally pull back the focus a bit, showing us what’s going on in the “real” DC Universe of “Earth-0”/The New 52, as well as bringing in various characters from the various tie-in miniseries.

As far as the former goes, it appears that Telos (the planet) is trying to enter the universe of Earth-0, and various parties are watching. The Justice League consults with Martian Manhunter’s team, Superman, Supergirl and The Red Lanterns look on, and apparently DC has its own fucking Watcher now…? (“Is the big guy with you?” mustachioed Red Lantern Guy Gardner asks Superman, who responds “He tends to show up when there’s trouble. And watch.” Bleah.)

I was a little surprised to see Nix Uotan, simply called “Monitor,” appear at all, but not as surprised as I was to realize how alien the “true” DC Universe has become to me. It’s only a five-page sequence, but there were a handful of characters I couldn’t recognize, and even those I did know, I didn’t know what their places or roles in the DCU at the moment might be

I found that I knew a lot more about all the other heroes from the past, rebooted timelines than I knew about their New 52 counterparts, despite how long it’s been since I’ve read about them.

Back on the surface of Telos, the Earth-2 heroes begin to rally heroes from the cities, eventually forming an army of good guys, while Deimos does the same, rallying an army of villains from the same cities.

Presumably they’ll start fighting next issue. I’m pretty sure there were some mistakes made in the drawing of the villains splash page, as it included among its numbers Kingdom Come Superman, Wonder Woman, Jade and Green Arrow. It’s been a while since I’ve re-read Kingdom Come, but I’m fairly certain none of the above would be on the same team as Kingdome Come Captain Marvel (evil Mr. Mind still in his ear, I assume), and even if Kingdom Come’s Justice Leaguers Superman, Wonder Woman and Jade would throw in with Deimos, Kingdom Come Captain Marvel and the various villains (The Extremists, The Crime Syndicate, the Flashpoint maniacs), there’s no reason for Kingdom Come Green Arrow, who fought against that Justice League, to be there.

The artwork is, naturally, all over the place, given how many people are drawing the book. Ed Benes (not a fan) and Eduardo Pansica handle the pencils, while three inkers join Benes in finishing the art.

There were some fun moments in the issue, like the two Flashes running into one another in a neat allusion to the original Earth-1/Earth-2 crossover, and the book is finally starting to feel like a big crossover event series, rather than just a continuation of Earth 2: World’s End.

Convergence: Green Arrow #2 (DC) I enjoyed writer Christy Marx and artists Rags Morales and Claude St-Aubin’s first issue of this series, although I suppose there was little risk that I wouldn’t. I really like the Connor Hawke character and the pre-New 52 Oliver Queen character, I’m familiar with and have some affection for their opponents (The Black Canaries of Kingdom Come), and Rags Morales has long been one of my favorite comic book artists.

I’m not sure if the writers got to pick who they would have their stars fighting against or not, but, if not, Marx lucked out in that this match-up of characters from continuities doesn’t seem completely random, and gives her an opportunity to explore the characters and have fun with their clash.

Kingdom Come’s Canaries are former Black Canary Dinah Lance, and her daughter with Oliver Queen, current Black Canary Olivia Queen (one of the many, many great character designs in Kingdome Come; I like that as many fussy elements as that character has, she’s still somewhat simple and sleek; it still kinda boggles my mind that DC had Jim Lee redesgin their universe for The New 52-boot instead of Alex Ross).

The first three pages are devoted to replaying the climax of the last issue, only from the Canaries’ perspective, and then the characters meet, squabble and, ultimately, realize they’re supposed to be fighting one another, with Telos getting involved to force them to do so.

The way this match plays out seems different than many of the others—the four combatants are teleported to a third, completely unpopulated city—but then, the rules of Convergence seem pretty fluid, from title to title.

I liked this one quite a bit, even if the ending is naturally rather open-ended, it’s probably as complete a story as can be told, under the circumstances.

Convergence Superman: Man of Steel #2 (DC) Louise Simonson, June Brigman and Roy Richardson complete their story of Steel, his niece and his nephew taking on Gen 13, with Parasite screwing things up a bit.

Gen 13 was pretty out of character last issue, and here they seem to be becoming themselves a bit; none of them really seem to have any semblance of a personality yet, but at least Fairchild begins to realize that maybe just killing folks because a mysterious voice in the sky tells them to isn’t really the best way to go about things.

Steel, who was on his death bed at the end of last issue, gets better in the way so thoroughly telegraphed last issue, and develops some superpowers and the ability to take the fight to Telos…or, rather, Deimos at this point (A mis-colored Steel does appear in a crowd scene in a crowd scene in Convergence #6, but not alongside his nice, nephew and Gen 13).

I like the new, slightly weird design Steel gets after his upgrade; it reminded me of something Tom Scioli might draw, for some reason.

It was nice to see John Henry Irons in a form I recognize again, just as it was nice to see Brigman art, but this isn’t all that great a tie-in, really. Were there a third issue, I probably wouldn’t buy it, but then, DC was smart about making these things two-issue minis; there’s just no time to decide to drop one of them, as they end the month after they begin.

Injection #1 (Image Comics) Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire, the team that made you love Moon Knight, re-team for an original Image series, which seems to be very Warren Ellis-y sci-fi horror. I liked it, and reviewed it here.

Mythic #1 (Image) John McCrea! I just read his Convergence: Plastic Man and The Freedom Fighters, and am currently looking forward to his reunion with Garth Ennis on DC’s Section 8, and look, here he is again! This one’s interesting; I love the premise, but am less sure on how much I’ll dig the execution in the future. There are some really sharp lay-outs in this book, which I reviewed in the same column I discussed Injection in.

Saga #28 (Image) The first three panels of this book are fantastic, and maybe my favorite first three panels in any comic ever. Um, that I can remember at the moment that I’m typing these sentences, anyway.

I was pretty intrigued by a character among the terrorist group that’s taken Alana, Hazel and Marko’s mom hostage. She’s a black warrior woman, with rather punk rockhair and a pink, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-style bandana mask on, and thus seems like a character created out of elements of various things Sophie Campbell draws the most.

The last page, with its particular font and font-size, is also pretty spectacular. Saga: The comic book that’s so damn good reviewing it is pointless.

SpongeBob Comics #44 (United Plankton Pictures) Attention fans of mid-90s Batman comics! This issue contains contributions from both Chuck Dixon and Graham Nolan! Not on the same story, though. Dixon scripts probably the strongest story, a 10-pager with an honest-to-goodness emotional gut-punch of an ending, about Squidward gleefully accompanying SpongeBob to an amusement park in the hopes of seeing his annoying co-worker’s expectations shattered, while Nolan draws a four-page story featuring Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy.


Jer said...

So wait - are you saying that DC's Watcher is Nix Uotan? Or is there another guy? (I'm waiting for these until they get collected, or possibly if I find the individual issues for a buck a pop at Half Price Books)

If so - well that makes sense. The original Monitor is pretty much Wolfman riffing off of the Watcher. Right down to the name ("Monitor" is a supremely stupid name if you don't realize that it's a synonym for "Watcher" at which point it becomes just moderately stupid. "Anti-Monitor" remains the dumbest name for a godlike super-villain ever conceived in comics though, regardless of its origin.) If I thought that King was riffing off of Morrison's meta-commentary about Nix Uotan I'd find it even funnier. I'll have to remember to think about that when I finally read Convergence.

I find it unsurprising that you know more about the previous iterations than the current ones, though. The previous iterations have decades worth of history - there's something TO know about them. The current crop has been around for 3 years. With the way stories are written these days that means that each title has had about 6 stories in it. Even with (not really) 52 titles, that's not a whole lot of stories in comparison to the decade+ each previous incarnation of the characters had.

Evan said...

He's not referring to Nix, he's referring to this big stone giant creature that recently showed up in the Superman comics. I think the H'El on Earth crossover was its first major appearance.

Caleb said...


Regarding this new Watcher analogue and Nix Uoatan--what Evan said. There's a big stone thing that looks like a gigantic statue of some sort, which Superman describes as if it were a Watcher.