Tags: checkmate

Last Week in Comics

Maybe I’m just in a better mood than I have been in awhile? Maybe I’ve refined my comic purchases to only the best and brightest? Either way, this was an enjoyable week in comics all-told. Let’s get to the reviewin’ while I have a hot minute.




Countdown #1

What is left to say about Countdown that hasn’t already been said about the War in Iraq?

‘Nuff said.

*

Birds of Prey #117

An open letter to Sean McKeever: Please stay on this title.

I know it’s too late, but that’s my vote.

You made your choice to back Teen Titans, and I can only hope you’re right. So far, I have enjoyed your run on BoP significantly more than your Titans work. Plus you said you had long term plans for BoP in public, whereas I’ve heard no such plans for Titans.

If dropping one means the other will improve than I find it hard to deny you—I was just in a similar position and it hurts either way—but I’m sad to say I’m only an issue away from dropping Titans and Bedard did not impress me in his last outing on BoP.

This however was laugh-out-loud awesome:


“All of Barb’s emotional abuse finally pays off!”

The framing here is really inspired while acting as the requisite rock’n’roll moment. Truly this is a great pay-off in so many ways. If you insist on staying on Titans, can you have a few of these sooner than later?


“Then I’ma join a totalitarian version of the
Teen Titans and help Luthor rule the world!”


I’m just saying.

(sigh).

Checkmate #25

Wow.

Amazingly awestacular series finale! That’s right, the last issue ever.

Shame this underappreciated series dedicated to delivering kidney-punching rawesome (raw+awesome) has to come to an end at all. But there it is; as endings go, this one was pretty great.

Do yourself a favor and do not spoil this issue for yourself. It is perhaps the most shocking ending I have ever read. Yeah, ever. That’s what I said.

It’s a little slice of comics genius and I’m sad it’s all over.

Forever and ever.

(sigh).
Fucking Bruce Jones.

Death of the New Gods #8

AKA:

Even Superman is sad Checkmate is over.

This issue was pretty much awful.

I blame that on being robbed of the dignity of its ending and pushing that duty to the completely lackluster Countdown. Leaving too many pages to fill sans payoff: It’s an entire issue of Kirby-babble, over-the-top (to the point of incomprehensible) action and Superman getting knocked unconscious… a LOT.


“So this is what it feels like to be Hal Jordan.”

Seriously guys, I would mind less that you’re naming yourselves executors of DC-Kirby’s Last Will and Testament if you at least gave him a true memorial.

Instead it’s like I have to leave the memorial to go to a wake thrown by some High-School Kids who never met the man.

(sigh).

Justice League of America #20

Finally, an issue of JLA that rivaled an issue of JLU.

Wow, if only McDuffie was allowed to just write the JLA. We’d get more cool issues like this.

Too bad McDuffie will be drug into more crossover nonsense, like, immediately.

(sigh).

Well, we’ll always have Rosedale Arch:


“He then suggested Bart.”
“Jesus.”


Mighty Avengers #12

Best moment herein?

Nick Fury’s meeting with Maria Hill. I’m really hoping that gets called back. Maria really deserves a rock’n’roll moment.


“One of these days someone is gonna find your off button, Stark.
And when they do, I’m turning your pacemaker into my coffee machine.


Marty’s Pick of the Week
Wolverine: First Class

Wait a second… did Marty actually buy a book with Wolverine in it?

That advertised it had Wolverine in it?!

Where Wolverine featured in the title?

And it was the best book he read this week?!

Actually, it was the best two books I read this week—I caught up with issue one and two at the same time. I actually feel bad for the poor chumps who buy this book thinking it’s about Wolverine.

To dust off my best Claremontian pun: It’s all a matter of Pryde, people.


“You sure? I could be possessed by your demon-possessed ninja master,
cut my hair and you could chase me around Japan?”


It’s unbe-frickin-lievably adorable and really takes me back. Remember when I was saying there was a time when Wolverine was almost a believable character? Yeah, it takes me back to then.

And it’s great.


“B-but, we have cake… and hats.”

(SIGH!)



*Alright, I got one thing to say: It’s worth mentioning that of the team with hubris enough to assign themselves as Monitor monitors: Donna is the only one of them who has a case to be there. That arguably has been her job this whole time. Am I seriously the only one who knows who Donna Troy is?

That’s my comics story and I’m sticking to it.

This Week In Comics

Countdown #6

Why should I care? Seriously? Give me one reason --as-written-- that this issue means one whit to me? You’ve picked some 11th Hour nonsensical shift in narration and scope, then you’ve destroyed the world and beyond that the universe, and…. You’ve done that already.

Lots of times in the last year or three, in fact. It really does get old, you know. The uniqueness has worn off. The shine is off the universal-genocide apple. If you hadn’t propped up the multiverse –rich and pregnant with storytelling possibility- just to knock it over; or started every team book of this generation with a murder, I might -might- give half a crap.

I’ve made a lot of public overtures about being on board here DC. DiDio? You hearing me? Please don’t make me regret it. You’ve said it’s going somewhere. Good, let’s get to that.

Batman and the Outsiders #5


”Hey, welcome back guys! … guys? Ahem, guys?”

Huzzah, it’s about time you two showed up. Although I’m a little glad this was spoiled for me. The actual reveal was a little disappointing. Maybe Dixon took for granted we’d figure it out by now and didn’t bother with the auspice of mystery? I dunno, maybe it would read better if I didn’t know what was coming? It just seemed to end with a whiffling: “Merry Christmas from the Dibny’s”.


Do they have to possess a man and woman respectively? That’s niche.

This series really is a lot of fun. I was worried about Dixon on a pure team book, but it’s fun and more or less in his wheelhouse. I certainly recommend it over JLA.


I don’t even have anything smartass to say, it’s nice to have her back on our side.

It does beg the question what’s going to happen once Robinson’s Justice League hits the scene, though, doesn’t it? There’s always room for more, but it’s a curious choice nonetheless to have multiple proactive, below the radar, off the rez teams running around.

It’s clear from the comments at Newsarama, a lot of people are confusing proactive with preemptive, however.

Birds of Prey #116

I’m confused. Gail came back for this? Is she just finishing McKeever’s story so he can go and concentrate on the book he’s kind of sucking on?

I mean, crap, the issue was fine. Great even. Good to have her back and all that, but like, is this the story McKeever had in mind? Is Gail “fixing” it. Just to be clear I didn’t think it was broke. I thought McKeever was doing a fine job --at least on this book, but a few scenes seemed to switch focus mid-stream in this issue and it leaves questions.

It’s all a little bit bittersweet is all I’m saying. Let’s just hope the refocus does McKeever some good.

Meanwhile, it’s great to have you back Gail.


”Mama said knock you out! And by Mama, I mean, Gail.”

Brave and the Bold #11

Yeah, still awesome. It’s like watching Mark Waid get to second base with the DCU.

For all of the whacky goings-on in this series, there is a plan. MF’er lives in the sun! That’s awesome, and gave me a good case of the “oh shits” when it reminded me that’s where Wonder Woman threw the very object she wanted to keep away from dude. That’s where everybody throws everything they want to keep away from villains. Very clever, Waid. Very clever. The hand is yours.

Plus, this:


Let us bow our heads and remember the simple joy behind Earth 3.

Who do you get if you’re going to lose Jorge Perez on art? Jerry Ordway? Yeah, shit, might as well. I approve.

Catwoman #77

It’s just weird is all. Like, it’s almost a waste of issues, but I’m guessing Pfeifer is more cleverer than that. At this rate his next issue should line up toward the end of Salvation Run and thusly he’s spent all the time allotted for Catwoman to be off-world, while not interfering with the overarching plot.

I—I think I’m in love.

Plus it gave Will a fun opportunity to have Selina beat hell out of the Justice League and probably involves her getting her cat-burglaring, supervillainy groove back. That’s not something you can just fly to Jamaica and bang Taye Diggs for. That’s something you dream up an alternate universe, drop Hal Jordan and steal his ring for.


”Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar; and sometimes a kicked-ass is just a kicked-ass. Freud said that.”

Blue Beetle, huh? See you there, Will.

Checkmate #24

Action packed, and all sorts of cool on multiple levels. Maybe a little too rushed… maybe overpacked? This won’t be the last time you hear this complaint from me this week.

This story would’ve made a great line-wide crossover, I think, instead of crammed into these scant few pages. Or at least spread over a few books, y’know? I know that's not a popular opinion, but if you're going to threaten the entire world it only seems right that everyone gets a share. Lots of cool stuff is going wrong, every hero on Earth is under Checkmate’s direction, and one metric ass-load of Kali Yuga is busting loose.

I gotta’ enjoy it while it lasts b/c Bruce fucking Jones is coming to take over the book soon, and that will be the first issue I don’t buy. As far as I’m concerned this series ends the minute Rucka puts down his pen.

Bruce Jones? What possible evidence do you have that he won't ruin this like he ruins everything else he's ever touched? He's, like, #4 on my top ten list of people who should never find work again. Seriously.

Death of the New Gods #7

I could’ve totally skipped all of Countdown and just read this. Man that burns my nuts.


”Die for Disco Darkseid.”

Justice League of America #19

I guess this was good? I don’t know. Better than some issues, worse than others.

This is the other book I think had too much going on:

Salvation Run! J’onn’s a spy! Superman didn’t know! And he’s sad about it! Waller! Time to go to space! Flag is on the team! Kendra thinks she has an opinion on Roy’s relationship with his daughter’s mother! Travel through space! Prison planet! J’onn! Villains! Cheshire! This way! Energy hands! Flag reports something weird! Kendra needs to shut her damn mouth! Kanjar Ro! Nth Metal! Roy! Day saved! Superman is over it! Where are the villains? Dum dum dummmm!

…and scene.

I know there’s some to-do about needing less decompression in comics these days, but I would’ve let this have two issues. I really would’ve.

Kanjar Ro? And now, Queen Bee? Are we rolling out the old JL733t for a reason? A good reason? Weird. And where’s McDuffie?

If I’m being honest, I need to stop reading this book. You might should too. You’re missing a whole lot of nothing much. Robinson will be along soon to roll and smoke this book.

Marty’s Pick of the Week
Robin #172

Alphabetically last but significantly not least.

Man, it’s really good to have Dixon back. Sometimes a favorite creator’s return just isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. Waid on the Flash comes to mind (not bad but not great); or Wolfman on Nightwing (fell into old ruts too quickly). But Dixon is already hitting balls out of the park. Nightwing could use this kind of shot in the arm (instead of the other kind… in the ass).

For instance, yeah Tim uses a handglider in the course of this issue. He uses it once, in addition to traditional swinglines, while pointing out how difficult and impractical it is to use in a city. And if you note, he specifically uses it to go from high altitudes to a single-story district that would be impossible to swing around the old fashioned way. That’s actually smart.

I don’t want to weigh Chuck down too soon, but can we please get him over on Dick’s book sooner than later? Please? He needs you. More than Tim did, although probably less than Stephanie did... oh, right, speak of which:


”Is it safe yet, Mr. Dixon?”

I may not be so keen on the individuals who comprise the Girl Wonder crowd, but I still support the overarching cause. So obviously this last page made me smile. I admit to a bit of hesitation, though. Afterall, Ted Kord is back but we don’t think that’s going to come up roses now do we? Does this portend greater doom, or are we willing to accept this as a backpedalling peace offering?

I mean, I am.

Good to have you back, sir. Any chance you can put in a good word for Ms. Grayson?




That’s my comics story and I’m sticking to it.


These Weeks in Comics

So I’m late. So sue me. I have a life…. Okay, no I don’t, but I sometimes am obligated to other stuff, and no one reads my blog anyway.

Let’s get down to it.




Countdown #24-23

So, now that we’ve established a few BS worlds more or less based on one-shot Elseworlds, let’s start knocking them down like tenpins? This has got to be one of the weirdest plays DC has made in awhile. I’m sure it’s all going to wring out in the wash, but seriously, if you only have 52 worlds why would you start blowing them up?

I love you DC. I really do. But if you’re just wasting our time creating and recreating your world just to recreate it again, then I have to ask you to really take a look at yourselves when this is all over and make sure this is who you want to be. Do you really want to be Grant Morrison’s DCU, or whatever? That’s fine if you do, but you got nearly 20 years (about 10 good ones) out of the last Crisis. Start thinking in broader strokes please.

I even hear there’re plans for another weekly series after Countdown. Man, I really don’t recommend it. I’m sure there’s enough of us A-holes out here still buying Countdown b/c we’re in too deep, but I promise you, we’re not likely to make that mistake again. I’m not saying it’s doomed to failure, only that it had better be good.

Black Canary/Green Arrow #2

The overarching complaints about Winnick are clearer to me now. I still think he’s an alright cat, but some of his work is better than others. But, man, some parts of this issue –namely Mia—are a mess. Hey, everyone Mia was a whore who has AIDS!! Is it out of our system now? Beyond that, I never got the impression Mia was much of a whore. She turned some tricks, did some stuff she regrets, nobody ever paid her to walk on other girls for instance.

I’ll go on to bitch about Paradise Island later. For now, suffice to say that the timing of this series is in some serious question. It would behoove DC to try to map this all out for themselves, if not us. It might honestly be a surprise how little sense this makes.

Who are these Amazons? The new self-help crew, or the ones who currently can’t remember who they are and are spread throughout the world living normal lives? What the crap could they possibly want with Oliver Queen for that matter? Bah! Despite what’s wrong with it, there were quite a number of good parts.

Batman and the Outsiders #1

This was good. Really good, actually. Pick of the Week Good probably. A nice reminder how great Dixon is when he’s not handling every book with a non-powered vigilante on the cover at once (even then, he’s passable). There was some good tough guy stuff, some good paramilitary stuff, and Batman schooling Thunder about why she’s not a superhero, which is long overdue.

All in all, I’m actually looking forward to this series more now that Dixon is attached. Since I haven’t spent a lot of time talking about Dixon on this blog (afterall, what’s he been doing lately? Rush City? Who cares?), you might not know how remarkable that is. But it is.

Booster Gold #3

Wait, so the badguys are finally revealed to be people that you’d be hard pressed to give a crap about even if you are a huge Booster and/or Rip Hunter fan? Weird narrative decisions aside, this was another great issue. It didn’t set the bar any higher, but it didn’t let it droop any lower either. It was a nice walk on part for Barry and didn’t bend the brain too hard to allow for his appearance. Even if it did feature his notoriously ridiculous origin.

The setup for next issue is quite interesting, especially the sentiment that Barbara’s crippling was an anomaly. Especially since Moore has previously stated he felt it was a mistake after-the-fact. Still, Barb is considerably more interesting as Oracle and I can’t imagine DC changing that after all this time on a whim. But who knows anymore?

What really bothered me, was the line: “First you must save the woman he loved!” Re: Ted and Barb. Listen, I know this is comics and it’s all about the melodrama, but Ted had a crush on Barb, Barb liked him back – End Of List. I suppose, “The Girl He Really Liked A Lot and Would Have Kept Seeing If That Jerk In Short Pants Hadn’t Always Been Around” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. Can’t wait to read it though.

Suicide Squad #3

I regretted buying this issue, right up until I finished it. After that, I actually feel pretty good about it. It’s finally about what I thought it was going to be about. The Modern Squad. I know Ostrander always had the story in mind for how Flagg would have survived, I don’t know that I really needed to read it. Oh well, he felt he needed to say it.

Plus, Skartaris!

Also it was nice to hear someone refer to Amanda Waller in the positive. Not just that, but rely on and have faith in her better nature. That was a nice touch.

Titans East #1

In this issue, Everybody Dies!

Or, so it appears. No big loss, except maybe Hawk and Dove, but they’ve died a couple of times now, and even had their respective Lord of Order/Chaos killed so they shouldn’t even have powers. It’s an exciting time.

In other news: So, Teen Titans has shuffled around their membership to be just the kids without any old Titans; members and now there’s moves to bring the old New Teen Titans back together to form just the “Titans”? So, you mean like when Young Justice and the first Titans series were out before they were cancelled and replaced with the Tragedy Titans and the Too-Cool for the DCU Outsiders?

Would it help if I said “I told you so.”?

Wonder Girl #3

Meh, getting better. At least in the end Cassie gets over Conner, even if she’s still a sociopathic brat. Albeit there’s no promise that’ll stick.

Still, Torres is doing okay, and providing an interesting angle on the New Gods storyline. It’s just a shame nobody can keep their Greeks straight.

Seriously, sometimes the Gods are referred to as being around, other times they all left. Sometimes sometimes Paradise Island is populated, sometimes it’s not. Sometimes by the new Amazons, more canonically (presumably?) with just Mad Queen Polly and her four houseguests. The Gods are around, but they’re not, but they’re New Gods, but not all of them, but—but—

Holy sweet Zeus shit! Stop it! Everyone take five. Come back and reconvene on just what the fuck you think you’re doing with the Amazons, et alia. Talk among yourselves. Make sure you ALL know what the fuck you think you’re doing with the Amazons.

Please.

And you wonder why Wonder Woman has trouble catching on…?

Wonder Woman #1 -- I mean #14

Or, you did, and then you brought on Gail Simone and all will better real soon.

So much good in one little issue. An overt statement about how and why she’s not Superman or Batman, but deserving to be beside both. A few Golden Age nods, like defeating the problem through diplomacy and a dare. Apes and soon, Nazis! Seriously the only thing missing was Diana being bound, gagged and riding a missile.

If you didn’t pick this up, then perhaps you are enfeebled of brain, or a shut-in or something. Try ordering online, and let me make your decisions for you. There you go.

Avengers: The Initiative

Man this series is good. Really good. Slightly odd that the better portion of this issue is dedicated to Spider Man… again. However, it is prescient and it comes around to be very much about the Initiative, while serving a vital function in Spidey’s world.

Well played.

If a trade is scheduled, wait for that and jump on board. If one isn’t, then get on now while the getting on is good.

Welcome to Tranquility #12

Last issue? Shit, really? This is almost as bad as New Mutants #100 “of a 100 issue limited series”.

Okay, it’s not that bad… or that tragic.

It gets a reasonable ending. I’m not dissatisfied, just surprised. It wraps up fairly quickly but that lends a good energy to the story. It’s chaotic without being out of control. Which is what you want from your big apocalyptic showdown.

If you didn’t buy it in issues, I would hope it gets a collection or two. Buy them instead, at least you know it has an ending.

Birds or Prey #112

Is McKeever taking this book over or not? I like Bedard, but he’s doing it less and less for me on this book. If McKeever isn’t coming on, I might just take a break for awhile. Maybe Bedard should too.

None of the issues have been bad, but they’re generally subpar, and I wonder if Tony isn’t a little overworked at the moment.

The Brave and The Bold #8

This series is consistently just awesome. This is a better Flash and family story then the Flash’s own series has been churning out. Mark Waid needs to take a page from Mark Waid here and write more like… Mark Waid. Hrm. That’s weird.

We’ll talk about the Flash in a little bit. The fact is, this was delicious, even though I was fairly certain I wasn’t going to enjoy it that much. Mark Waid’s bar bet with the DCU continues to delight and entertain, and his superheroic segueing storylines are just too skillful to ignore.

If this isn’t the best book in the DCU, it’s not behind by much. Be reading this book or the one missing out is you.

Catwoman #73

Man, even though I said I probably wasn’t going to read this anymore it’s still Pfeiffer and it still has those beautiful covers. So I went into it willingly... mostly. I’m glad I did. It’s still a good comic, even if I don’t agree with the hows and whys of writing Helena out. But considering she was aging at a rate that would have the West family nodding in sympathy we can expect the shock-gasp-Helena’s-back-as-another-Catwoman story to come sometime next year abouts… with Sin in tow… shit, now I want to write that story. Powergirl’s illegitimate Wunderkind can be the badguy, it’ll be great.

Hey, so long as Pfeiffer is writing it, I don’t like my chances to bow out gracefully from reading Catwoman. You shouldn’t either.

Checkmate #20

Shit, I was really thinking the Wall was taking everybody down too. So much so, that I almost don’t approve of the switchback ending. I’m sure it’s just my sour grapes, but the reveal came out of nowhere.

Still, Rucka is writing the crossover book to beat, man. If DC is committed to putting out another weekly book I can only suggest getting Rucka and Waid to do it. Yeah, I know they were already involved in 52. Aaaaaaand? 52 was great, doubly so in retrospect. So let’s be smart about this.

Seriously, Checkmate is picking up and distributing all these little story threads in a way that should make the rest of the DCU jealous. Particularly any part that involves Amazons. ‘Nuff said.

Flash #234

The central story about the Flash and Co. was shaping up and growing on me (made better in Brave and Bold, but what are you going to do?), but then we’re right back to fighting Vagina-monsters next month? Hopefully that manages to have anything to do with anything.

While we’re on the subject, WTF is Flash-World all about? Does someone out there know more about the Flash enough to tell me that any variation of Emu Planet is canonical?

Angel #1

Meh. Buffy Season 8 is better. I’ll stick out the first arc or so just to make sure, but I did not care for the opening issue.

Wesley’s presence/existence was annoying; Gunn’s fate was annoying; I’ve never been into Connor, so he was annoying; and the overall “Hey remember that awesome ending on the show? Well it actually turned out really awful” was annoying.

I applaud the decision in part, b/c there would be no point in writing a comic about how awesome everything is, but then I would rather have just left the series where it was. Or told a different story entirely. Oh well, the Dragon part was cute. Oh, and what happened to Fred/Demon in Fred’s Clothes? If she’s not going to be in this series, could you just tell me now so I can stop reading sooner rather than later?

Depending on how slavishly devoted to Joss Whedon you are (I rate about an 8) is whether you’ll just have to have this or not. For the rest of you, I’ll let you know in an issue or 4 if it’s up to snuff.

Although as a sidenote, it’s just as ridiculous that Angel is being published by a different publisher than Buffy as it was that they were on different networks. Seriously, Whedon, you don’t have any pull here? Buy your properties back, and put them back under one roof.

Marty’s Pick of the Week
Halo 3

Wait, that’s a goddamn video game. This is a comics blog. Foul! Foul! Pfie on you, Martin Henley! A pox on your household.

Yeah, well, deal with it fanboy. I just got an Xbox 360 over the holiday (thanks to the best friends in the universe) and I finally got to “Finish the Fight” as it were. Now my secret is out that I am not an early adopter by any stretch, and have been too poor to even be a middle or late adopter.

Let me just say that the Halo franchise is the single best shooter out there. Oh sure you can fight any battle from WWII from any of 700 angles, and there are plenty of other alien-battling engines out there --but Halo was the first and best shooter to throw a layer of real story on top of its clip-popping, shell-spending, grenade-throwing action. Yeah, Halflife happened first, but was also a puzzler and a problem solving game with shooting as its secondary feature. I love Halflife too, but Halo was straight action all the time, with a touch of class.

Finally 3 came out and put a period on the end of the run-on sentence that was Halo 2. A sophomoric effort with a dubious B story and no ending. But! Three is so good it makes 2 better. The story is tight and makes absolute sense in the world they’ve created. There’s a symmetry between the first and third game which puts Lucas to shame. Even the parts that I had only begun to begrudgingly accept by the end of Halo 2 paid off here. I got teary at parts. In a first-person shooter!

It might break the form, but I don’t care. Halo is a great series, and 3 made it greater.

Now let’s get ready for Halo 4! I wouldn’t mind if they called it something else, what with the namesakes having been taken care of and all. FYI, if you were unhappy with the ending, be patient and sit through the credits. See if that doesn’t make you feel better. I was happy either way, but I admit I was happier after the credits. Like Final Fantasy X2.




Well, that’s my comics – and videogame story—and I’m sticking to it. Don’t be such a stranger.


Last Week In Comics

First, sorry this is late. It was supposed to be last night, but my home email has this thing where it likes to block my work address, so if I email myself a rough draft with all my witty witticisms and cleverness, well then it just doesn’t feel right to rewrite it. Plus there’s that really-real writing job I’m almost done with, taking up my time.




I don’t know if it’s b/c I’m sick, overworked, have a lot going on in my family, or I’m simply having my boy-period, but this week in comics put me on the verge of tears a few times over.

Let’s take a look:




Countdown #28

Was there something wrong with the old Forager that we needed a new female Forager? One who flies? Whatever, I’m easy, but did something happen to old Forager that I’m not privy to?

Is it homage or hubris that makes DC think it’s time to try to rewrite Kirby’s Fourth World and then slap an ending on it? I’m sure they believe it’s the prior but only time will tell if it’s the latter.

Birds of Prey #111

This was cute. A little over the top, and it wasn’t the best representation of The Calculator, but it was passable. I’m anxiously waiting for McKeever to come on board so we can get back into a real arc or something. All of this is just wasting our time (not in a bad way, but--).

Brave and the Bold #7

Awesome. Just, awesome.

Mo’ Challengers of the Unknown = Mo’ Betterer.

Catwoman #72

Yup, this was one of the tear jerkers this week. Does it require having kids of your own to cry at this issue? I’ve heard, no, but I’m just wondering.

I came into this story knowing I was going to hate it, and it was going to be a total cop-out. Piled on with Black Canary giving up her daughter for the greater good (read: lazy writing) it was just going to be too much for me to bear in a short period of time. At least it would provide a clean break for the title, I thought.

In reality: wow, Pfeiffer takes it to the edge of that story and then made it something else. Something altogether better and less of a comic book. It’s still a cop out, even Pfeiffer isn’t so good to dodge that bullet for DC. But what he did: forcing Selina to remember and to make up her own mind about whether to stay on the side of the angels was spot on.

Unless Pfeiffer continues to write this, I find it likely I will quit on Catwoman for the time being. It seems like Will was just tidying up his run and letting the next body come on and regress Selina back to the skanky badguy she used to be (or the morally gray Outsider that I wasn’t too keen on either). Isn’t it okay if just one character changes every once in awhile? Or is that only good for Green Arrow?

Applause to you Will Pfeiffer, it’s been a hell of a run, and you made me all weepy.

Checkmate #19

Last issue won my Pick of the Week by presenting a story where everyone was gearing up to go to war with Amanda Waller. This month? Waller strikes back (I think that’s even the name of the issue). It’s delicious. I love how clear it is that Waller is the badguy here. She’s an utterly ruthless and inhumane individual that generates little to no sympathy.

But I’m totally rooting for her! You go, Wall. Take ‘em down, Mr. Terrific, Sascha, Fire, all of ‘em. You can do it.

Plus it was nice to see Scandal again, albeit briefly, and more of the Great Ten, equally as brief.

Be reading this book.

Justice League of America #14

I think this issue was the most apparent so far that McDuffie is really a JLU kind of guy. I’m mostly fine with that, but there are a few moments that don’t quite feel like the DCU-proper. I don’t know, something about his Lex Luthor saying “Too much information” or the way his Superman reacts to things.

It’s not bad, just noticeable. In fact, it’s quite good. If you’re a fan of lots of superheroes versus lots of supervillains, than this is pretty much the exact comic you should be reading right now.

Superman chumping Parasite made me cheer. Watching the villains still find a way to pile on and kick Superman’s teeth in also made me cheer.

Captain America #31

Are you not reading this yet? What’s wrong with you? It continues to just be gritty good fun. If you want to see Tony Stark but not as an incompetent douchebag the way he’s been most other places, than this is the book for you.

Also, Bucky kicks ass.

Mighty Avengers #5

It’s worth noting that I am loving the book about the pro-registration (read: badguy) Avengers way more than I am the anti-reg (read: good guy) Avengers by, like, heads and shoulders. Ares is suddenly kind-of awesome, and I really didn’t anticipate ever having a reason to say that.

Ever.

Marty’s Pick of the Week
Death of the New Gods #1

I am become Starlin, Destroyer of Worlds.

This could’ve very easily not been worth a shit. After this strong an opening, however, it’s now entirely Starlin’s ball to drop.

Let's get the minor bads out of the way:

I have some mild complaints about the art. I like Starlin’s art in a lot of places. His elongated, almost boneless style brings something special to some projects and characters (like the Weird). However, would it have killed DC to go all out and ape the crap out of Kirby for this? Seriously, a lot of artists who are capable of working in various styles and draw at that high level have a Kirby impression they’ve developed. Were all of them busy? You have the hubris to believe that this generation has what it takes to end one of DC’s hidden Odysseys, but you don’t have the presence of thought to try and bookend the whole deal in the distinct style of its creator? That’s points against.

Something that’s only slightly disappointing to me: not a lot of effort is being put into making this series accessible. The narration does take time to refresh some of the concepts and faces, but all in all, if you don’t know who most of these players are, then you’re definitely going to miss a LOT of subtle awesomeness going on. It’s not completely inaccessible, but it’s not all that welcoming to a n00b either.

Otherwise, it’s a little bit great all over. True to the name, New Gods died. Three of them just in the first issue (and that’s not counting the several that bit it before this). Starlin has clearly brushed off his Fourth World lore, from Kirby to Byrne to stranger things.

Now, let’s talk about the spoilers (which in my writey hole I’ve completely missed how little of a spoiler these will be by now): I was reeling from Black Racer’s death (or Sergeant Willie Walker’s at least). I figured they’d leave old Willie around long enough to be a red herring for a few issues. He’s the first suspect that comes to mind when you ask “Who’s killing New Gods?” Who else but Death itself, right? Wrong.

Granted, we knew that was wrong, didn’t we? We knew that it was Infinity Man even before they showed Serifan leaving Sergeant Walker’s hospital room. Serifan, if you don’t already know, is the youngest of a group of space hippies called the Forever People who stays in his Batlash Halloween costume year-round. The same space hippies who touch their magic box, say a magic word, and magically replace themselves with Darkseid’s brother, the Infinity Man.

Speak of space hippies, wasn’t that Beautiful Dreamer, the moll of the group, in suspicious proximity to yet another of these mysterious murders? This has no business calling itself a mystery anymore.

That’s not the real shocker though. No, the real shocker is Mrs. Scott Free, Big Barda, left dead on the cold linoleum of her kitchen floor while her husband was just in the other room. Barda was on my list for people who might walk away from this series (even though, reportedly there will only be one survivor). As shocked and heartbroken as I am, I have to compliment Starlin. That’s a smart story move. It instantly moves the chips all-in. Now you honestly have no idea what might happen next.

There is apparently a resultant “Barda-Gate” or some other misused hotel reference from the so-called feminist branch of the comics blogosphere which is as retarded as it is misinformed (at least in this instance). At best --best they are fans or Barda’s later work, or Barda as a concept they’ve never actually read, but seen her in the background of something and heard she was hardcore. I think anyone who’s known Barda for more than five minutes, letalone five years, has a significantly better perspective.

She was hardcore and she does deserve a better death, a warrior’s death. That’s what makes it shocking and tragic. That’s what ups the ante. That’s what makes you say “ZOMG, if Barda just went down like a bitch, what chance do Kanto XIII or Sturmer have?!” Knockout went out like a mewling kitten to assert the same point. Lightray, space queer extraordinaire, died broken at the bottom of a crater! There is no fighting, there is no running, there is only the Infinity Man and death.

The other half of the outrage --other than the basic precept that something bad happened to a girl in a comic somewhere is that she died in the kitchen. “Oh noes, the gender-typing ignominy!” Read more comics. Barda was always a very domestic wife and Scott was always a very domestic husband (based on Kirby and his own wife). They were among the fleeting few truly happy married couples in comics (fewer now). Barda was capable of being hard enough to head-butt a Sherman tank and be home in time to take the cookies out of the oven. If you’re incapable of seeing Barda as a benediction of how awesome the suburban hausfrau is, then you’re just going to have to grow up and realize strength comes in many different shapes. Really though, that’s beyond the point, Barda died in the kitchen b/c she was going to the kitchen when she died. For reasons well established in the issue and the scene.

Back on point, if you still haven’t picked it up, but are familiar with and surficially enjoy Kirby’s Fourth World, then I recommend this series. It shall be a good little death (oh, but not in, like, a Shakespearean way).

If you’re not overly familiar but like big world-ending nonsense, then you could do a lot worse than this little series here.

If you’re reading other DC stuff and wondering who these people are that keep showing up and then dying, usually around Jimmy Olsen, then this is the series that will fill in the gap for you.

If you haven’t recognized a single word I’ve said in this whole last post or at least this review, then it’s probably not for you.


This Week in Comics

What will be Marty’s Pick of The Week in this fine week of comics?

Plenty of good stuff came out, it’s really hard to pick just one.

Countdown #32

Will it be Countdown? Not frickin’ likely.

Yeah, so I didn’t stop buying Countdown… yet. I kind of hoped this would be the Bachelorette Party proper, so I had to take a look. At the very least there was more Dinah than in the JLA Special. And more of what I would have liked the JLA Special to be, insomuch as it was the girls behaving badly and spreading cheer at a male revue. Underage drinking was narrowly averted, it was a good time. It could’ve only been better if Huntress and Babs were charging passer-by money to lick Lifesaver’s™ off Dinah’s beer-stained shirt with “Suck For a Buck” emblazoned on it. That might be another blog post though….

It was also pretty cute that Fiddler loved crashing Canary’s B-Party… and the Entertainment.

In the rest of the issue: Black Mary finally meets Eclipso, Cadmus comes and gets Jimmy. You know, stuff moving ahead by inches as usual.

I honestly don’t know if I’ll make good on my threat to stop buying or not. It’s more out of habit than actual enjoyment. I know that should tell me something, but what the crap am I going to do with 20 issues of an incomplete series? Often as not it’s not bad… but that’s not a reason to buy a comic.

Green Arrow and Black Canary Wedding Special #1

Marty’s Pick of the Week has gotta be the Wedding Special, right?

The Wedding Special was pretty good. Lots of weird stuff. Some of it off the charts good, and some of it was only okay. But, no, it’s not the Pick of the Week.

I gotta’ tell you , I didn’t see the ending coming! I guess we know why Connor is on the cover of Green Arrow/Black Canary #1 now don’t we? If you don’t it’s because you didn’t read the Special. If you didn’t read the Special that means you’re not cool.

Sorry. It just does.

Birds of Prey #110

Will it be Birds of Prey? We all know Marty is a big nerd for BoP, and Tony Bedard tends to rank high with him.

It’s not. This issue was just okay. There was more than one laugh, and plenty of cute gags. Unfortunately it was clearly filler. If it’s going to be filler, you might as well tie it into Countdown or something.

I don’t know if McKeever is slated to take over next month or not, but I’m looking forward to him coming on. No offense to Tony, I loved last issue. But when you know someone is living on borrowed time (filling in) it’s harder to take them seriously.

Next issue, Oracle versus Calculator. Shouldn't that be an ongoing plot anyway?

Cat Woman #71

Cat Woman? It’s gotta be Cat Woman! Marty gets all girly about Cat Woman.

It’s not… but that’s true. Cat Woman was excellent, almost certainly my runner up. It’s probably the most fall-out you’re going to see from Amazon’s Attack --except maybe the Wonder Girl limited, but we all know I wasn’t overwhelmed by that.

All the Batman/Cat Woman interaction? Seriously, Pfeiffer can’t stop writing Batman obsessing over baby Helena. It's adorable every time. Great interactions, and this:



Will wrote this issue just for me. An issue dedicated to just how much trouble Helena has been in ever since she was born. Why, I’ve been talking about that for months!

Thanks, Will. I'll sleep with it under my pillow.


JLA/Hitman #1

Is it JLA/Hitman? It totally has to be! Come on. It’s funny, irreverent, and references all three of the Hitman stories Marty knows of.

No, though, don’t let that fool you. It’s pretty great.

If you liked the Morrison JLA then you get more of Flash poking Kyle, Batman being a jag-off, that kind of thing. If you don’t like the Morrison JLA (or the JLA at all), then come watch Garth Ennis make fun of them to their faces and tag their lieu! If you liked Hitman… well, then you already bought this, didn’t you?

It manages to be sweet at the end when Tommy is the only one who thinks to be worried about Superman.

I missed Hitman entirely. I’ve heard that’s my loss. Don’t be like me. Don’t miss Hitman while he’s here again, albeit briefly.

Captain America #30

Captain America? Marty likes Captain America.

I do, and this issue was as good as the last 30. Better than a few of them, matter of fact. It was good to see someone kick the Red Skull’s daughter in the face. Not Pick of the Week good, but good nonetheless.

More neat twists and turns as ‘Safety Words’ becomes the theme of this month’s episode.

“Sputnik”, indeed.

Checkmate #18

No, Marty’s Pick of the Week is Checkmate #18.

And just b/c I don’t think Checkmate gets enough play. Seriously, this series is great. It’s got a whole superspy, cat and mouse, tough-guy talk vibe that’s always sexy. A story dedicated to everybody versus Amanda Waller is good on paper and good in practice. After Final Crisis I want to write a pitch for a Mega-Crossover Event that features that very premise.

Plus this series is all over the place with the characters Greg Rucka chooses to use. It makes me wonder, does Rucka just hang out at the DC office and listen in on people’s storylines? I’m not accusing him of anything, I just want some attention paid to how Greg has done more for continuity in the DCU this past year than anyone. Checkmate is the ultimate crossover book.

It picked up Scandal Savage right on cue; made good with Oracle over the whole Spysmasher thing; continues all this weirdness with the new SuicideSquad; J’onn J’onnz just showed up –which he seems to be doing a lot of lately, he’s like Tony Bedard over there— which is overdue considering we were told J’onn was all up in Checkmate’s ass throughout 52; speak of 52, the August General in Iron is hanging around generating interest; Mr. Terrific; Sascha Bordeaux; Fire; Count Vertigo; Judo Master’s son; I mean, the list goes on and on.

You deserve to be reading it. It deserves to be read.

That’s my comics story and I’m sticking to it.




Tomorrow night is new Avatar.

Can I get an “EEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!”




This Week In Comics: Now In Stunning Sens-o-Round

This week in comics shows what an interconnected universe can do when it’s clicking.

Countdown #41

This issue touched on every mainstay story. It’s interesting to see how Countdown is finally taking shape, and reflecting bits and pieces of the current DCU like it’s supposed to.

Trickster and Piper: The more this story continues (the Rogues killing Bart) the more gravitas it gives the whole thing. These guys make a cute couple and its equal parts amusing and desperate. As I said a week or two ago, the Rogues aren’t really the murderin’ type. Among other things, this week highlights that.

Jimmy Olsen: Continues to be cute. Not much really happened here, but it inched the story forward and put it back down. While I think these pages could’ve been better spent, I didn’t feel they were wasted. It had a good chuckle.

Mary Marvel: Another story that inched forward. It flashed Eclipso at the bottom of the page, which presumes the actual "Seduction of the Innocent" part of the story is going to kick off. My alternating trend of hating this story and liking it continues. This week, I liked it.

Challengers of the Unknown: I’d like to think this is going to be my favorite bit in Countdown. I already love Donna; I like the new Atom, Ryan; and Jason Todd is made more tolerable by the company he keeps. More specifically, I don’t like Jason (yet?), but I like not liking him next to Donna. I can't explain it any better than that.

Plus he makes a funny.


An Oldie but Goodie

We’ll see if I sing a different tune when Kyle Rayner shows up.

Holly Robinson: So… does Amazons Attack matter now or something? Please? Maybe? Again, the real problem with Countdown, is the timing. The internment camps storyline in AA is already further along than this. This could’ve been shown earlier in the series by trimming out some dead-weight pages in previous weeks. Regardless, Holly and Harley just might rival Trickster and Piper as the cutest couple in Countdown.

Karate Kid: So, wait, last we saw Karate Kid, Batman was telling him to go F himself. I naturally presumed that was after KK got stuck in the present. But then in this issue he’s getting stuck in the present and picks up Starsky to his Hutch, Triplicate Girl. I'm so confused sometimes.

Weird timing aside, that’s pretty cool and I’m interested in where it’s going. Maybe an internal timeline would help. Like, as they introduce each character/story per issue they could give the old “*this happens before JLA #10” I think that would be just enough to shut me up. It's unrealistic to be 100% with the amount of moving parts Countdown tries to fit in, but it bugs my need for perfection. It's unfair of me to ask them to do better, when it's already pretty amazing what they're trying to do.


Una here used to be the Silver Age Triplicate Girl. Then she lost one of her... sister selves and became Duo Damsel. Then she lost another of her sister selves, hence Una. Apparently somebody also stole her neck. Talk about a bad year.

Marty’s Pick of the Week
All Flash #1

Wow.

Bart’s Funeral in Countdown was nice but didn’t really feel right. Trickster and Piper beating feet and lamenting their crime is a fine touch, but they’re more worried about themselves then the fact that they murdered a kid. This issue got it in one.

I got mistier every page. From Batman being the bearer of bad news; to the Rogues collectively freaking out about what they’ve done (and not just Trickster and Piper); then turning on Inertia; through Wally jacking up Inertia with tears streaming behind him; and finally the confirmation/mystery that the Suicide Squad is on the hunt for the murderers, was all perfect. It made me feel Bart’s death more than watching him die. If that makes enough sense.

Waid drives it home on every page: Bart is dead, and people care.



It just keeps breaking my heart. Wally’s pain is palpable.


I love this panel. Batman’s social awkwardness as he crosses that narrow line between business and personal that he hates so bad.

Wally catches up with Inertia and runs him around the world a few times. Then Inertia realizes/reveals that the reason Bart’s powers didn’t go back to Bart is b/c they all went to Wally. He takes a minute to rub that in Wally’s face. Then it gets ugly.


Oh no you di’n’t. Dude, Wally, what’re you gonna do, man? You can’t let him get away with that.



Um, Holy Fuck.

I love when the hero decides he can’t kill the villain b/c that would be crossing the line. So instead he does something infinitely worse, like, torturing the sonuvabitch for ALL time. Jesus Christ, Wally, just end the half-a-clone little bastard. Give me a gun and a ticket to Keystone City, I’ll do it. Nobody would blame me. It’s an act of goddamned mercy.

I’m never sure how this is supposed to read better –or more heroic-- than just cracking the little dude’s neck.

Moving on, this really gave me a case of the “Rad!”s:



So the guys who chained Piper and Trickster together are the Suicide Squad? Nice. That begs the question of what the Squad wants with the Rogues? Recruitment? The last page of Checkmate might have a clue:



Leave it to Amanda Waller to immediately exploit a Villain’s situation by offering him protection in exchange for dirty work. Very dirty work.

We also get a little preview of things to come with a splashpage or two from Acuna (Matata).



Here we see Wally’s kids, Upper-Body Lad and Kid Flash-ette. They apparently will be fighting giant ultradimensional vaginas or something.

That last panel is kind of cool. Is that the batsuit shooting out of the Flash ring? WTF is that about? Can’t wait to find out.

I’d recommend picking up the new Flash series, b/c (fanboy)Waid is awesome(/fanboy).

Birds of Prey #108

Next in line of awesome, is this little diddy. They might as well call this issue: “Watch Spysmasher Get Everything That’s Coming to Her”. This woman was designed to be hated. She doesn’t even get a good moralization in. You have absolutely no pity for her whatsoever.

“Spysmasher, please report to the Principal’s office for your ass beating. Spysmasher, the Principal’s office, for ass beating.”


You know Babs is going to war when she puts on the Bat T-Shirt


How about a bat-punch to your uterus, sister?

I love this comic. And I love any opportunity to watch someone dismiss Babs for being in a wheelchair. Just so she can say, “Yeah, but I’m Batgirl in a wheelchair. Represent.”

Spysmasher limps away vowing revenge and the like. Which just turns into the most page-flippingest rock’n’roll moment of the week.



Awesome. (flip)


Power Girl showed up?! Shiva showed up?!!

Awesome! (flip)



Awesomest! I love you Dinah.

And to show she’s got class, Dinah even walks Katherine to her chopper. That’s nice. Unfortunately, Ms. Lance is one for long goodbyes.



Wow, that’s pretty hardcore for the acting leader of the Justice League. Surely she’s exaggerating.



Good thinking.

I love this comic. Did I mention that already?

Plus it led right into Checkmate #14. Over the last arc the Birds of Prey fought the Secret Six and rescued Tora, the erstwhile and until-recently dead, Ice. In the same week as she’s dropped off in Birds of Prey...

Checkmate #14



Nice. That just feels good. I love whatever amount of internal coordination went into making this happen. Rucka doesn’t just make a page for this either. It’s a whole C Story.



I hope Ice sticks around Checkmate. It could use a little brightening up. She could go on field missions and be appalled. She does take the string of bad news awfully well.



Awww, thank you, Rucka. Just, thank you for bothering to mention it at all.

The rest of the issue was good too.

Cat Woman #69

Maybe if Cat Woman crosses over with Amazons Attack people will like it more! This is the best thing Amazons Attack did this week, even though Issue #4 came out at the same time. Man, Amazons Attack could really have some juice. It’s staggered release and lack of support in ancillary titles is really hurting it. Pfeiffer to the rescue… sort of. It’s at least interesting and well written.

Plus, it’s filled with such win as this:



Again with the social awkwardness.

”Selina, the adorability of your daughter is uneniable. I find myself oddly driven to nibble her widdle toesies as we speak. But we don’t have time for that right now.”

Selina, however, is sure Bats is there for another purpose entirely. A little something about having the stones to kill his last partner’s killer.


Rump-Thump, Rump-Thump, the Telltale Heart tolls.

Luckily, Bruce remains oblivious or is otherwise chosing to look the other way on that issue. No, he’s here to get her to go undercover into an Amazon splinter faction called the Bana. He doesn’t want to talk about it here, so he drives her and Helena back to the cave.



That’s an excellent question. God that man really is prepared for anything.

It was cute all over and setup some action. Next issue should start with kicking ass and end with taking names. Totally worth the money every month.

My last word on Cat Woman pertains to how awesome Alfred is. He’s one of the reasons I’m glad time never moves forward in comics.



What would the DCU do without you old bean?

Marty’s Other Pick of The Week: Electric Boogaloo
Shazam and the Monster Society #4

God this was adorable. Jeff Smith better be making another one and soon. And forever after that. The art is adorable, the characterization is adorable, just everything about it needs its cheeks pinched.

Plus it has an essential factor to retelling the Captain Marvel myth: Billy Batson is a heroic little kid.



His ubiquitous good nature survived some ignoble insects from ignoble fates and he lives to reap the reward. This was just so random and perfect. I checked back and sure enough, Billy makes a point to save a cockroach and some ants in previous issues. Nice one, Smith.


Caught on tape: Dick Cheney tosses a little girl to her doom.

Okay, that’s not Dick Cheney, it’s Thaddeus Bodog Sivana. Say it with me: Boooooooooodog. He’s as evil as ever, and now he’s an Attorney General. Don’t worry, his uppance will come.



PWNED!

Does this page not just get better and better? And wookit Mary. Wookit her. I’m sorry, she’s adorable as hell.



There’s no way this is allowed to be the last issue of this.

---

I did read some more stuff, including a third pick of the week that deserves some word count. But I'm screwing around with this more tried and true blog-review format and it took me awhile to teach myself.

Soon enough I'll bring you a wonderful gift: Batman vs. the entire Legion of Superheroes in The Brave and The Bold #5. Who do you think will win?

For now, that's my comics story, and I'm sticking to it.

---

This Week in Comics

I haven’t been able to breathe for about a week. I left work early the other day to try and recover, but I stopped off and picked up my comics for the week.

Staying home sick and reading comics, it just doesn’t get any better than that. So, an early review this week, which may heighten my spoiler potential, especially in the face of some big things happening.

Countdown #45 (7)

This issue opens with a bang. Forerunner is about to ass-hand Jason Todd, when Donna Troy punches her so hard she skips across water three times. That was pretty awesome.

Unfortunately, the rest of the fight doesn’t make Donna look nearly as cool. She does okay but I hated this. To prove Forerunner is scary wicked, the Monitors take her victory for granted but she’s interrupted at the last minute. I contend Donna was down, but not out, thank you very much. Then Forerunner gets all emo on us. This is a lot to assert about a new character in one issue. Also, Monarch shows up. Man, finally, stuff is happening.

Jimmy Olsen: Jimmy is becoming a reporter? Good for him. He also gives a primer on the New Gods which is probably a good idea.

Holly: Good to see Holly wasting some pages. This scene did nothing for the issue, nothing for Holly’s story, and nothing for the series at large.

Karate Kid: This is a nice scene, but you’re about six weeks too late. The Lightning Saga is over. Karate Kid’s story is further along there, than it is here. I’ll continue to allow that comic-time is weird anyway, but c’mon, this is downright distracting, you could’ve done this scene two weeks ago and it would’ve been fine.

So too is the fact that very little ado is being raised about Amazons attacking the Nation’s capital! It’s been out for two months and it’s getting zero play. Yes, this issue bothers to mention it, but it has no bearing on the story, whatsoever. Maybe this event just wasn’t worth doing if nobody’s going to notice or care.

*Errata: I’ve been using the name Fiddler interchangeably with Piper. Piper is the one I mean. Fiddler is dead. Sorry Hartley, I can’t keep all of you musically themed Rogues straight (pun intended). If it’s any consolation, I’m always getting William Zard and Abra Kadabra twisted too.

The Brave and the Bold #4

This series reads like Mark Waid losing a bar bet with DC Comics. The story is out of its mind. It jaunts around more than 52 and is almost as convoluted.

But is it awesome? Oh yeah, it’s awesome.

While technically a prolonged arc, any of these issues would be fun to read on their own. Mark Waid picks up characterization effortlessly. Every character feels true to form, even if that form is Lobo. Speak of which, is it just me, or should Mark Waid be writing Supergirl all the time? She’s got the too cool space brat thing going on, but is just heroic enough to not disgrace her uniform. She’s young and inexperienced, but not a complete A-hole. High marks, Waid.

And, hey, Destiny! (scroll down, it’s all there). I wonder if Waid had to ask Gaiman’s permission (so the story goes)? Although, technically, Destiny is the only member of the Endless Gaiman didn’t create. Loophole maybe? Either way, it makes me a little happy. I miss the days when Vertigo was just DC-dark. Y’know, when we had a specialty line for adults, instead of a specialty line for kids.

I recommend The Brave and The Bold way more than I thought possible. Next month? Batman and the Legion of Superheroes! Why, the hell, not?

Catwoman #68

There were a few wince out loud moments herein. Most notably when Selina tasers the guy who’s holding her baby. Hey, genius, you’re tasering your baby too, y’know? Helena is suddenly a toddler. She’s talking. Sure, not by much, but better than your average one year old, and she can’t be more than six months. Oh well, those were the slightest flaws in an otherwise pristine gem of ass-kicking goodness.

There’s a scene with a crashing cop car that is simply cat-tastic. Selina continues to outdo herself to get the drop on the two Russian metahumans. Not the least of which is bullwhipping Sickle in the friggin’ eye!

It’s cute that she thinks to call Bruce when she’s in trouble. It’s weird that when Alfred informs her that Master Bruce is not in attendance, she hangs up. Hey, Selina, you’ve got the most sympathetic ear in the DCU on the phone. Repeat after me: “Alfred, I’m in trouble. Get help.”

Alfred can call Master Tim, or Miss Oracle, or someone who might could give you a hand. Hey, I know you had your heart set on Bruce. So do we all. I’m still waiting for him to show up and take me to Prom like so much Davy Jones. But take what you can get.

I guess Holly is making a sacrifice at the end, which presumably leads her to Countdown.

Catwoman continues to be easily recommended. She will apparently be let back into the Bat Club next issue. Enjoy it while the ‘No Girls Allowed’ sign is out being cleaned, Selina.

Checkmate #15: Checkout #5

Lots of chaos and tough-guy fun.

I don’t really feel as if this arc has concluded, but the solicit for next month seems to be moving on to business as usual? At the very least Outsiders will be following up on what’s going down. If this is the end, it’s a weird place to leave off, but arguably okay with the above-referenced continuation. Still, a nice arc that solved some of the Outsiders problems moving forward.

We’ll see what Batman can do for the Outsiders. I don’t know if that’s a good move or not. I’ll let you know.

Flash #13 *SPOILERS*

See, this is just overreacting. Yeah, I hated what they did to Bart. But I didn’t want this (pay attention to the commentary at the top, b/c it settles some head-scratching I was doing).

Still, I’m a fan of a good death scene, and this one was okay. It’s written desperately enough, and Bart gets to look heroic doing it. FYI, Bart does all of that heroing without powers.

For all the fun and desperation in this book, it breaks its own mood with some badly timed lags. The Rogues just stand around for enough pages for Bart to catch up with his Grandmother, hatch a plan, knock her unconscious, and start running. Then they stand around some more as Bart pummels Inertia, but don’t go into murderous rage until later. These are the Rogues, I don’t really associate them with murderous rage. Especially not after Abra Kadabra makes such a point that this kid is not the Flash they’re looking for.

Anyway, it wasn’t any worse than the rest of the series, and some moments were quite good. It hardly matters if I would recommend it or not. It’s over. I just hope Bart isn’t. (see review of the JLA for more interesting developments on this front).

Green Arrow #75

Missed this last week, got it this week. It’s not as bad as I expected. I just hate watching Dinah be worthless in a fight. To be fair, Ollie pretty much bones her chances of being effective more than once which is all part of his brilliant plan or something. His brilliant plan which gets him beat, mind you. Maybe next time he should late his girlfriend handle the big boy fights.

Anyway, there’s a big showdown, and that’s fun. There’s a total Deus Ex Machina resolution to the fight, and that’s fun. Ollie gets some resolution from his comic, and that’s fun. All in all, t’wasn’t bad.

Ollie pops the question. We’ll see how that turns out in the upcoming Black Canary miniseries. Another one it barely matters if I recommend, b/c it’s similarly over.

Justice League of America #10

Wow! I didn’t see that coming! I did see it coming, but not how it turned out. SPOILER. I’m happy with it, but I imagine several people are going to feel like Bruce does.

And he’s already on the team! Doesn’t he have to just-so-happen to be fighting Amazo to be invited? Not to mention, couldn’t you let the smoke clear?

“*pant**pant* I’m buh—I’m back. *pant* Oh thank God, we’re safe.”
“Welcome back, pal! Can the Justice League count on you?”
“*pant**pant*Jesus, Hal, can I—can I catch my breath first? *pant* You guys are total dicks.

The ending is appropriately cryptic. I have a feeling this is only the beginning. Stay tuned Barry fans. I’m looking forward to how this develops, one way or another. For that reason, I suppose I’m still recommending JLA, and I hear McDuffie is stepping up to the writer’s plate. McDuffie good.

Robin #163

Awwwwwwwww. Awwwwwwww. Awwww.

That pretty much sums it up. There’s some fight scenes too. Recommended.

Captain America #27

Mmmmm. Still good.

The bit with Natasha is slightly annoying. Don’t keep pulling a Cable with Bucky. The more people who know Bucky, or knew about the Winter Soldier makes it harder and harder to believe. His involvement with Black Widow is fine, and sneaks between the cracks enough, but let’s not make this a habit.

Regardless, Bucky is looking to take a chunk out of Tony Stark’s ass, and I support that action. You’ll want to act fast, Buck, or the Hulk won’t leave you any.

X-Men Endangered Species: One-Shot

What the hell, I figured, it says “One-Shot” right on the cover. The writing was particularly good. There was a scene with Bishop, and I didn’t hate it. Seriously, that’s a big step. It has a series of little scenes jaunting around the various X title regulars as they attend the funeral of a mutant they didn’t even know. It’s sweet, but sometimes bitter, and it works.

However, this is no one-shot. It’s the start of another damn event! This wasn’t some done-in-one little character piece, it’s a whole thing. Dude, World War Hulk is just now coming out, and another Annihilation event is kicking off, and now this! What’s wrong with you people? I’m trying not to read WWH or any of this shit. At least DC’s events are interconnected. It’s not a series of dysfunctional crossovers vying for position and running over one another like so many Keystone Cops.

You know what, though? If this reverses the whole “No More Mutants” debacle, then I’ll throw my three dollars down. But I’m not going out of my way.

I’d recommend this issue. I don’t know that I’d suggest getting roped into any of the hundred and one Marvel events, though.

Madame Mirage #1

Yeah, okay. It has a whole sexy hi-tech noir superhero thing going for it. Paul Dini is just doing whatever he wants over here, and shit, it’s got my attention. What’s not to love?

I find it reminiscent of Fallen Angel, insomuch as it’s an off-the-grid project of love by a talented creator. I’ll give it the old college try, but if I know myself, I’ll stop buying before too long.

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I also picked up a handful of JLU issues at random. You know what? They’re pretty great. Lots of fun, done-in-one goodness. Definitely light reading, maybe too light, but it sure is a nice change of pace compared to the constant inter-referential crossover land the Big 2 have become. They seem to be taking the Johnny DC line seriously at least, which is a good sign. Maybe they aren’t leaving the kids behind afterall. Weird that they don’t have a Superman book at Johnny DC. Or an Amethyst: Princess of the Gemworld book. I mean, c’mon. That’s essential reading right there.

That's my comic story, and I'm sticking to it.