Tags: jason todd

En Memoriam

Happy Memorial Day!!


A time to remember all those who died fighting the good fight.

Who have given their lives both nobly…



and ignobly to serve the innocent.



Who have willingly sacrificed themselves to the cause of good.



Who stood up to battle tyranny, be they foreign…



or domestic.



Who walked through the valley of death without fear.



Who made themselves the thin red line between their loved ones and harm.



Who were too young…



and too proud to know the full extent of their actions.



Who faced their fates whether too fast to question.



Or too lingering to imagine.



Knowing someday they will again be with the ones they love.



In the place no shadows fall.

En Memoriam



This Week In Comics, Yeah, That's Right. This Week.

Countdown #14

So is Countdown just about the Challengers now? Seriously, this is three weeks in a row with barely a panty shot from Mary Marvel; Jimmy Olsen feeling up the All-New Forager; or Karate Kid dying in slow motion while some hard to follow crap happens in Blüdhaven.

Whatever. Donna gets to look like a Rock Star (finally) and Jason Todd gets to be… Red Robin… for some reason… unrelated to Kingdom Come.

Hey, a quick word about the Robin name. It’s what Dick’s parent called him. He was their little Robin, flittering above the flying trapeze, greatest of ease, yadda yadda yadda. It’s his name. I appreciate that he lets other people use it, and that’s very nice of him, but if anyone was to become Red Robin it really should be Dick. Jason could be Nightwing or some similarly stupid attempt to polish the turd that is the animated corpse of Jason Todd trying to shoehorn his way back into the sometimes redundant (or so they sometimes say) DCU. He was better off just calling himself the Red Hood and being his own man. Now he’s still doomed to come off like Dick Grayson II, which is really why people hated him in the first place.

Oh well, it was still cute to hear a Batman call him “chum”.

Blue Beetle #23

A few more of those signature head-scratching moments in this issue but once again it doesn’t really matter. Because it's awesome. All sorts of neat stuff happened in this issue which might be ramping up to end this whole Reach storyline.

Which brings me to the recent events in Booster Gold instead. It amuses me that we (as bloggers) all seem to be portending doom for Ted Kord’s resurrection. Everyone I’ve communicated with seems to think its really nice and all, but that it’s all going to end in tears.

I don’t disagree. I thought Ted was going to end up being the shadowy Supernova trying to undo Michael resurrecting him, so I’m definitely in the “ends in tears” camp. However, I submit to you: Jaime is now roughly at the same point in his series that Ted was when he was cancelled. Jaime’s state at the end of the issue wasn’t promising.

Oh sure, it’s supposed to be a cliffhanger, I get that --I have read comics before. I’m just noting that Jaime’s dialogue in Booster Gold versus Jaime’s fate might not be so far afield. One could be making way for the other…. Nah, it’ll all end in tears, you’re totally right.

Ultimately, I kind of hope it does end in tears. Ted was made better by his death. Everyone now misremembers Ted as being way more awesome than he ever actually was and his death was a good one. Let’s let him be in his retired bliss.

At the very least, I’d rather see Ted reborn from a company reboot or simply existing on Earth Charlton.

Still, I’ll enjoy it while it lasts, which might be longer than we think.

Legion of Superheroes #38

Two issues into Shooter’s run and I’m into it. I liked Waid’s run. I liked Bedard’s run. However, I imagine (and hope) that more people are happy with the straight-up Space Action Teenagers that got hot beef injected into this series. I’m happiest that it doesn’t deny what’s come from the run so far, but mostly just puts it into some four-color action.

Plus, some of the best Lightning Lad you’re ever going to get. From him being the only one dim enough to raise his hand, to his not having the sense to play diplomat, to his heartbreaking panel at the end of the issue. Great stuff all around.



Teen Titans #55

Wow, Teenagers being mostly teenaged. I dunno why, but I far prefer the angst and the way it’s being presented now, then I did when it was Johns or even Beechen. There’s just something about it that rings a little truer. Although I mostly don’t buy that Jaime is that friendly with Ravager. Other than that, I feel like McKeever is really working. And finally someone other than me has called bullshit on Kara and Cass’s friendship.

Not bad. I’ll keep reading for a bit longer. I could still use just a little less angst, and a lot more of these kids actually being friends or something.

There’s a lot of talk (a speech even) about what it means to be a Titan but they’re mostly dicks to each other. Which is different than being Dick to each other which is what it really means to be a Titan.

Young Avengers Present: Partriot

Huey from The Boondocks as Captain America v 2.0? I don’t see why not.

But seriously, I really liked this in a one-shot. It introduces Patriot, who he is, and what makes him special. All while giving Brubaker a chance to pad his ongoing plot. Not the greatest thing I read this week, but pretty alright.

It’s not essential for Captain America fans or folks following that storyline. You don’t get much except Bucky busting some heads at AIM and looking for the Red Skull. Not to say you shouldn't still pick it up just 'cause. Young Avengers fans, people wondering who Patriot is, or people who enjoyed Truth: Red, White and Black should definitely give this a pick up.

Marty’s Pick(s) of the Week
Wonder Woman #16

I’ve spent a lot of my time talking about the Wonder books and just what a mess the Wonder-world is at the moment. To the point that as I recently reread Heinberg’s run, I began to doubt whether this recent leg was anything other than more of the same. Then I read this issue and it reminded me that, no, Gail is, in fact, rocking this joint.

Sometimes a writer comes along and does something so elegant and simple to a character’s history, self, or world that it leaves you wondering why no one did that before now.

In this case it is the introduction of the Queen’s Guard, their particular obsession, and the sickness they tried to prevent from spreading. There’s just something deliciously Greek and tragic about the whole thing without being boring or maudlin.

Plus you get an army of super-intelligent apes fighting an army of super-powered Nazis and it just doesn’t get any better than that, does it?


Best use of the Lasso ever.

If there’s a book better than Wonder Woman (and I'm not saying there is), than it could only be….

Astonishing X-Men #24

Man, I’m loving this book more and more, and more than I should.

It’s going to be over soon too --or at least Joss’s run. Poop.

I don’t even know that I can gush about this series in a way that would possibly make sense to all of you. It involves everything I used to love about the X-titles, but watched get flushed down the miserable toilet of the 1990’s (if you think of Gambit or Bishop as X-Men, then we have nothing in common). It involves a love for Joss Whedon which is tempered by sense most of the time, but crumbles to jelly when he hits a certain pitch. It involves a fangirl crush on Kathryn Pryde that will never die. It involves a well-written story arc that just cut out on the best cliff-hanger since… two issues ago.

It involves stuff like this:



-It involves Scott Summers actually written in a way that would have you follow him into hell.
-It involves the Emma Frost I remember before all this “secondary mutation” BS.
-It involves Dr. Hank McCoy written as both smart and playful. Not just as if someone opened a science book and wrote whatever they put their finger on.
-It involves Wolverine (we all know how I feel about Wolverine) being written as just a thug. And he’s all the more endearing for it.
-It involves Piotr Rasputin with some actual character.
-It involves Lockheed as a sentient being who plays at a pet dragon b/c it brings him joy.
-It involves Kitty Pryde. Yeah, that’s all it takes. Oh, I’m sorry, and she’s written well.

It also involves new characters who are genuinely interesting amid these old favorites and characters I’ve always hated b/c no one wrote them this well. Both Armor and Agent Brand are very interesting in their own ways.

Plus an Illyana Rasputin reference, however small.

Not but a week ago, I had mentioned to the hza, I could use more of the X-Men “First Class” interacting as if they’ve known each other since before Mutants were cool. This issue delivered a nice scene about the trust between Hank and Scott.



Bless this series. Pick it up in trade, people. It’s X-Men that’re actually worth reading.






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


Last Week in Comics

This was another phat week in comics. Great stuff is happening in more than a few titles with little to complain about in between. DC’s in a good stride right now (again) they just need to keep it up. It’s a shame they’re so pot-committed to Countdown, b/c it’s the only thing that tends to make them look foolish any given week.

Countdown #27

I bought it, I read it. It was okay, I guess. Very little is actually satisfactory about reading a single issue of this series. Like, the bit at the end with Jason and Donna is either: really stupid, horrific, or awesome depending on what comes of it.

I will be quite put out if Jason just shot Donna in the face, for instance. However, if Jason is pulling a whole “I don’t mind killing to get close to the badguy and it keeps y’alls’ hands clean, and we all know Donna can take it.” then that puts him in a good spot to use the psychotic routine that’s been his hat to wear for the past two years, but lets him wear it in a fashion becoming his behavior… well, in Countdown.

Time will tell. Like a week or so.

Black Mary still sucks; Jimmy Olsen is taking too long, and seems to have presented yet another false-start typical of this series (Hey, maybe something will happen NEXT issue!); Trickster and Piper are still cute, although the requisite gay joke per issue is running a little lean; the faux-Amazon story is poorly timed; and it all comes together to make a big mess in the middle of the DCU.

Shame. This book is worse than the sum of its parts.

Blue Beetle #20

While I like Albuquerque’s art enough for its sketchy franticism, I have a feeling that my recurring problem with Blue Beetle comes down to his inability to get a good narrative flow going with his art. On the other hand, Rogers needs to recognize that and throw in a few more bridges in his dialogue and narrative structure. There have been too many times in this series that I have to reread the same page a handful of times and as often as not I give up as soon as I have my best guess as to what’s supposed to be happening. At least once an issue. Three or four times in this last one, I’m sorry to say.


Okay, so Jaime’s in Chris’s mind; monster/scarab/anti-matter ring Chris shoots at Jaime; Jaime loses the armor, which probably puts him in a lot of danger; monster/scarab/anti-matter ring Chris… runs past… Jaime? And Jaime’s kind of cool about it?; then Jaime jumps through backgroundless space toward a golden, glowing Peacemaker helmet – which is impossible to recognize unless you know what you’re looking for. Sooo… but’wha?

Still, there’s very little wrong with this book that couldn’t be corrected with just a little bit of tightening. The Sinestro Corps tie-in was entirely Blue Beetle-centric and appropriate if you’ve been with the series for awhile. You’ve got to appreciate that in a tie-in.

Chris Smith (Peacemaker) being approached by a Sinestro ring was one of the big jaw-droppers this week and heartily appreciated. So too was the resolution.

Also, Blue Beetle still has the best supporting cast in comics.

Flash #223

Wow, Acuna leaves the book, and suddenly I’m feeling it a lot more. That strikes me as particularly odd, b/c I dig Acuna’s art. Perhaps he wasn’t the right tool for the job, or maybe Waid’s opening story just wasn’t that great.

Wally facing down the Justice League was kind of cool, albeit a little out of nowhere. Plus he totally schools Batman. Oddest of all? Batman said he was sorry! If that doesn’t tell you we’re in a whole new era, than nothing will.

Best issue of the new Waid run so far, hands down. Something I noticed, now that Acuna isn’t doing the art: the transdimensional, life-sucking vaginas look less… vaginal. Surely a mistake on the artist’s part.

Countdown Special: Flash #1

My store pulled this for me, and I bought it mostly sight unseen. I thumbed through it to make sure that I wasn’t just buying the last arc of Flash: The Fastest Man Alive and All Flash #1 reprinted or something.

I thought to myself: “Awesome, they got some Carmine Infantino-style art to tell some kind of throwback story!” Imagine my surprise when I got home and it is in-fact Carmine Infantino. This is just a reprint of some classic Rogues stuff including the first appearance of the Piper and the Trickster and the Rogues as the Rogues.

You know what? Bravo, DC. I support this wholeheartedly. Shit, they should consider doing issues like this for some of the other stuff they’re dragging out for Countdown and Final Crisis.

How about some classic OMAC (Buddy Blank) and Kamandi reprints so we can refresh –or indeed learn about—some of that stuff? How about a handful of classic Legion reprints, like the first resurrection of Lightning Lad, or some Karate Kid and Triplicate Girl stories? Or reprints of Superman’s Pal: Jimmy Olsen of the first time Cadmus put him under the knife for developing weird powers?

Yeah, a lot of this stuff is collected somewhere or other, I’m sure, but I’ve never known a comic company who didn’t want to sell me the same thing twice. At least it would be neatly packaged as to be relevant to the topic at hand.

Green Arrow: Year One #6

I’ve mostly not commented on Green Arrow: Year One. Just b/c it’s not entirely relevant. It is, however, pretty damn good. Seriously, Diggle and Jock (which sounds naughty as hell) did a bang-up job recreating Ollie’s origin. I’d like to see them take over the Black Canary/Green Arrow series (and I will ALWAYS type it that way, despite what the actual title is).

Green Lantern Corps #17

More great stuff from the Sinestro Corps war, which should come as no surprise.

A new Ion has been named, and I totally don’t mind. This Sodam Yat kid from Daxam is a far better Green Lantern than Kyle ever was already. Yeah, that’s probably just b/c I hate Kyle, but so what?

The kid’s alright, plus a Daxamite with a Green Lantern ring is a little bit terrifying and a lot egregious. A Daxamite with the power of Ion fighting Superboy Prime, is even more egregious and I totally can’t wait.

Robin #167

Wow, this issue was this close to being the Pick of the Week. A really nice issue that finally addresses the people Tim lost last year, and brings it around to the big one. His dad.

I will always contend that Tim was more interesting (and unique in the Bat-mythology) with a living father. Even still, I like Jack’s death, and I like this issue dealing with Jack’s death.

I was even warned that the end of this issue would make me cry, and I walked brazenly in. I figured, no way are the bat-books going to get me twice in as many weeks. I was sick when I read Catwoman, that’s cheating!

Nope. Damnit, if I didn’t choke up and get all misty. I think I could’ve made it if it was just Tim at Jack’s grave. I was ready for that. Bruce at Jack’s grave pushed me over the edge. Great stuff.

I don’t know that I’ve ever heard of the writer: Brandon Thomas, but he made me cry in one go, so my hat’s off to him and I hope we see more of him.

(After looking him up, he’s all sorts of cute about how bad he wanted to write Robin. Well, Brandon Thomas, on the off-chance you’re ego-Googling yourself and come across my blog: You did great. Truly, one of my favorite Robin issues in quite some time. Thanks.)



Teen Titans #52

This is just a little awesome all over. There’s plenty of high-angst still, but it’s not overdone and it’s tempered with equal parts high action. It’s just the right dose of each.

Plus Blue Beetle totally saves the JLA! Albeit a little odd that the JLA flies off saying they trust the Titans to handle Starro. Really? Have you been reading this series, Batman? B/c I’m totally not sure that’s a good idea. Didn’t you guys form the League to deal with threats like Starro?

Regardless, great stuff and a fantastic setup for the next issue.

Unrelated question:



Question: Is that Son of Son of Vulcan?

Thunderbolts #117

Yeah, this series is still pretty damn quality.

I like Doc Samson --pretty much thanks to Peter David—, so this issue was a special joy. Hell, Ellis is making Penance out to be the bass-ackward, little cutter bitch that he is, and its very gratifying. In fact, I think that one word sums up this series: Gratifying.

Ellis isn’t ignorant to the Story he’s telling at any time. Writers are a delusional bunch, and prone to misinterpreting their own work. But Ellis is in utter control of his story. So much so, that I want him to run the next Marvel crossover. Hell, I’d like him to go back and tell me Civil War all over again, b/c I think I might believe it this time.

Gen 13 #13

I’m on the fence. I very much have enjoyed the last several issues. However, this seems like a perfect place to jump off. I could really use to be reading (read: buying) less comics. Contrarily it’s probably a great time to jump on.

I’ll go ahead and recommend it.

We’ll see in 30 which way I jump.

Marty’s Pick of the Week
Tales of the Sinestro Corps: Superman Prime #1

Yeah. It’s gotta be this one. It’s just too good.

It’s nice to get an origin on the sociopathic little ingrate for all the whippersnappers who don’t know who Superboy Prime actually is.

Johns has turned something nice into something awful as a statement about turning nice things into awful things. It’s either totally sick or it’s total genius, I vacillate between the two, and refuse to call it both.

To set the tone, he’s totally Superdick Prime to and about Bart Allen.


Not for nothing –I liked Bart—but Superboy Prime’s got a case.

This is only the third page, by the way. Clark hasn’t been on Earth four minutes and he’s desecrating the grave of the kid who beat him up.

It’s apparently a touchy subject b/c despite the fact that the evil equivalent of the Green Lantern Corps has declared war on the Earth, one kid peeing on Bart’s grave gets some attention:


”All this for li’l ole’ me? You shouldn’t have.”

Man, the amount of times Johns brings an army you’d think I’d get tired of seeing a hoard of Superpeople. I don’t. It’s the kid in me, I grew up amid the Crisis on Infinite Earths: Mo’ Superpeople=Mo’ Better.

Although, I am a little tired of the “Pile-On” mentality of the DCU lately. Batman and Robin are rushing to this fight like they’ve got something to say. Get some people (including yourselves) to safety and give the Superpeople room to work.

Oh, did I say Robin?


Seriously! Tim! Run away!

When I was first reading this page, I thought Tim was going to bring Prime to his knees with a shrill whistle (playing off his Superhearing). I thought that was weird but pretty cool, a cute way for one of the very-breakable heroes to make a difference until a grown-up shows up.

That’s not what happened....


This wasn’t the first time I cheered while reading this comic, but it was the loudest.

That’s what happened.

There were several Rock’n’Roll moments like this throughout the issue on both sides. Not the least of which was Red Star bringing some noise to SBPrime’s house.

One moment, I didn’t think was possessed of any Rock’n’Roll at all, however, was Risk having his other arm ripped off. That’s just overkill and kind of stupid.

But like I said above, it’s nice for the kids to see where this poor deluded bastard is coming from. It makes Johns’ mouthpiece far more terrible and tragic if you appreciate that SBPrime is just some poor dumb schlub who discovered he had superpowers the same day his world died.

This broke my heart:


”So, I punched Pantha’s head off. What else could I do? Right? You see that, right?”

He is right. He’s right about lots of stuff, on some level. Which, of course, is how Geoff finds a way to comment on the fans of the DCU about the DCU from the DCU.

I do find it important to warn fanboys who believe Johns is on their side; that’s he’s telling it like it is; that he’s getting away with this right under DiDio’s nose: He’s not. He’s making fun of you. You can believe it’s all in good spirits or make your own peace with that as needed. I just feel it’s fair to warn you when he’s making fun of Meltzer (a good friend of his) or the state of the DCU (which he’s a big part of) it’s simply b/c he has a sense of humor about it. He doesn’t feel how you feel. But he does know how you feel and he made a petulant wretch of a character out of those feelings.

That said: when he’s clicking, he’s clicking and I’m loving this whole story. Plus I think entitled fandom can afford a few cheap shots. I do prefer Johns penned in a little. All writers benefit from a little editing and being able to focus. I think that’s what we’re seeing here, and it’s lovely.

Cheers, y’bastard.

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


Friday Night Fights: Sucka Punch Round 5



It’s another one of those weeks where this will be a no-frills entry. Just a fat punch to the dome. So, to make up for it, here’s one of my favorite sucker punches in recent memory.




The Main Event:

Forerunner

versus

Jason Todd

versus

Donna Troy





Now, I’m sure we’re all conflicted about this panel. I mean, shit, someone is about to wipe Jason Todd off the map… again. We’re human, it’s natural to have these feelings.

You know who doesn’t have those feelings -- and doesn't mind sneaking freaky chicks from other earths?

My main girl, Donna “Sucka Punch” Troy:


Honest Abe cries a granite tear everytime he sees two girls fighting.

That’s because she’s a dyed-in-wool hero. A sucka-punching, mean right hook throwing hero.

She hit that freaky space-broad so hard it took two pages to take it all in. More than that, she hit her so hard….


”Awww, I thought she would’ve been a five-skipper.”

She skips across the mother-effin’ Reflecting Pool...


R.I.P. Garden State

And then smashes through New Jersey’s grave!

That’s my girl!




Countdown #45 Written by Paul Dini w/ Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray
Art by J. Calafiore.

Bahlactus only knows how to count down from Ten. It’s all he’s ever needed to count you suckas out!


This Week in Comics

Countdown #36

Alright, I’ll admit it. Countdown is a mess. The rotating creative teams create more discontinuity than the snatches of story you’re getting. It’s only a week between each issue and I’m occasionally left scratching my head as to what’s going on in a particular storyline.

Mary Marvel: You know what really gets me? The characterization of Black Mary and Zatanna. Yes, we’re on another week where I’m not digging the Mary Marvel story. Here’s the thing, Mary’s schtick is that she’s an innocent. Yes that’s been played as more and less of a joke over the years, but she’s a nice girl. She doesn’t have to be “aw shucks”ing around all the time, but Mary is ostensibly a sweet girl who gets all A’s, participates in sports, volunteers her time reading to the elderly and doesn’t think that any of the above is odd.

I understand the point of this story is all about the disparity. Seduction of the Innocent; The Goodest Girl Gone Baddest; blah blah blah. Yeah, that’s lazy is what it is. Having characters do complete 180’s is just lazy. Robbie Robertson going from Speedball the Bouncing Queerbait to Penance the Disjected Emo is lazy. Oh it’ll work on some people, but most of us know that this is the most lethargic brand of character development. “Hey, you know character Z? What if they were character A instead!?” This type of storytelling has its place, and that place is called “natural progression”. If Speedball, Damage or Mary Marvel (to get back on topic) were gradually becoming their own opposite number, I could get behind that. But, no, Mary gets Black Adam’s powers and now she’s uber and crazy. (sigh).

Here’s the second thing I hate about this. That infers the powers themselves are Evil. Black Adam isn’t just an immature jerk with medieval morality and anger issues. No, his powers are themselves corrupting. Yeah, I know Eclipso takes responsibility for Mary’s brat-like behavior, but consider Eclipso only discovered Mary a few weeks ago, and she’s been a jerk for longer than that. It’s not all Jean-Loring’s-partner-in-crime’s fault. Parallax anyone? Mary Marvel has had unbelievable power all her formative-years. It’s hard to believe she’s suddenly this psycho. I think DC thinks they need to assert as loudly and clearly as possible that the Shazam gang are tops in the Magic circuit just so they don’t overlap Superman.

Granted, I hated Ralph’s story in 52 more than once; I all-but threw issues featuring the Booster Gold arc across the room in rage. I allow for the possibility that this might all turn out really cool. But you can only pull off the “Buy Comics We’re Making You Hate for the Supersweet Pay-Off” trick so many times. Caveat.

The Challengers: Meh, should be more interesting next week. I want to say that I’d read a whole series of this, but they kind-of have two of these: The All New Atom, which I recommend well above Countdown. And the upcoming Mini-Series which will be written by Ron “Of Course Donna Troy Would Like Kyle Rayner” Marz, so, I don’t recommend that already.

Jimmy Olsen: Nice, Supes, you brought your Nerd-friend, Jimmy in front of your Jock-friends, the JLA to get laughed at. That’s real cool.

Trickster and Piper: Piper is immune to Poison Ivy? Awesome. Trickster pulls a nice trick. Awesome. Posion Ivy is easily fooled and working with/for Slade for any reason at all? Sub-awesome.

Karate Kid and Una: On the other hand, watching Karate Kid kick the Alaskan King Crap out of any metahuman gets better and better every time I see it.

Countdown needs to find a way to get its act together. I hate to hate on any comic, and I’m finding at least one or two moments each week to justify the purchase, but seriously, I can believe I’m the only person buying this comic. B/c of the above-caveat.

Birds of Prey #109

Okay, I’m done with bitching about comics this week. Let’s get into Tony Bedard steering Birds of Prey. Even though Tony penned this week’s Countdown which I’ve already balked at, he is, like, my new favorite wordsmith at DC. Filling in Gail Simone’s shoes would (and will) be tough for anybody. I can only hope McKeever does the job as ably as Tony did this month. I daresay you couldn’t tell the difference at all. I think that goes a long way to impress how iconic Gail’s representation has been for these characters and this book.

Babs being the Angel on Dinah’s shoulder was nice. Somebody had to say it and I’m glad everyone agrees it should be Barb. Also that DC made the right choice of Maid of Honour.

Wrapping up the Secret Six (presumably) was done very well for –again- someone stepping in for the creator. The way it tied into Countdown and the </i>Death of the New Gods</i> thingy was really great. Knockout’s last moments were both pathetic and heartbreaking.

Barda got to be the runaway star of this book. Her interest in Pokemon was classic:


I contend that comics do not get any better than this

Her worried phone call to Scott at the end was a nice exclamation point.

Great comic, albeit very crossover heavy. Not a single one of these stories started in this book or will end in this book. Not recommended unless you know what’s going on in any of them.

Blue Beetle #18

Man, I wish I knew what it was, but there is still something awkward about the timing in Blue Beetle. It has these narrative jumps that throw me off. It’s a lovely comic that everyone should be reading, but sometimes I feel like I’m missing a panel, or I turned one page too many.

That said, man this comic is too good. Really fun stuff. It was nice of the Teen Titans to stop by, but I absolutely adore that Jaime’s book and characters came first. I think that’s important. Plus it paves an in-road for Beetle to spend some time in Teen Titans, and that’s cool.

Some examples of why and how this comic is so great below:


I love Paco.

Ask a lot of artists to draw a hot blonde girl and they will draw this chick. Now ask them to draw two, and he’ll quickly ask “Er, can she have curly hair… or, like, sunglasses and a scar or something?” This is why.



This whole exchange deserves a medal.


It’s all true too.

All books should have a supporting cast like this. No Marvel-angst in this title. It’s cool to know a superhero.


Did I mention I love Paco?

Seriously, I give mad props to this supporting cast.

In an unrelated note:



I made this point during WWIII and I’m making it now. Ravager and even Robin have no business rushing Lobo (or Black Adam or anyone else who could fight Superman). Here’s why…


They’re standing under an igniting rocket engine, btw

This is his first move, btw. Grab one of the fragile ones and watch everybody stop. I understand these are superheroes, even the purely mortal ones, but seriously, you should be last in line or field marshaling and waiting for an opening.

Marty’s Pick of the Week
Astonishing X-Men #22

This series takes so long to come out I often forget about it. But it’s worth the wait every time. This is why Joss should have directed the X-Men; why he should direct Wonder Woman; and why he should be writing more comics.

It is so easy to hate Cyclops. He is a cipher most foul. Joss not only makes me care, he makes me care a lot like Faith No More.


This is my favorite Cyclops panel of all time.

Scott makes a decision that he knows will kill him, and he does it because it’s the right decision. He does it without the simpering and self-doubt that we get so much of in Marvel. He blackens the eye of evil using his corpse as a weapon in a way that only he and Captain America could pull off.


Don’t you love that first panel? Scott marches to the gallows b/c he’s the casualty of least consequence to the teams overall strength! That’s hardcore Summers! Let no one tell this man he ain’t got balls.

I’m sure he won’t be dead or something, but for just now --this very moment-- I would like to appreciate this as the great death scene it is.




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


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.

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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.

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