DC Comics Bullet Points 10/03/12

So here are my DC Comics mini-reviews that I call Bullet Points. These reviews will mention the highs and lows, favourite moments, and contain general discussion about each issue. Only DC Comics that I have purchased will be reviewed. If the issue is one of my Top 3 Favourites it will not be listed here but in my more in-depth reviews later in the week. Also I should mention that there be SPOILERS in these reviews. You are warned!

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Action Comics #13

It’s Halloween on Krypton and the overall issue retains that Halloween theme throughout. Narration boxes are employed through the comic almost as if we’re being told a ghost story around the campfire. And what part of Superman mythos screams ghost like Phantom Zoners? In the story, Xa-Du is revealed to be the first inmate of the Phantom Zone for his illegal experiments on living death. Never heard of him but after some research I found out that he was a character from Pre-Crisis DC that was imprisoned in the Phantom Zone because he killed dozens of patients while performing forbidden cryogenics experiments upon them.

We jump forward in time to Superman in the Fortress and somehow Xa-Du switches places with him using a special suit. Superman is now in the Phantom Zone. I simply loved all the shout-outs from the Phantom Zoners. Here’s the roll-call: Ursa (Zod’s lover), Jax-Ur (blew up a Kryptonian moon), Vak-Ox (a mad geneticist), Ak-Var (says he is wrongly accused, Pre-Crisis became Flamebird), Ras-Krom (2 issue villain Pre-Crisis), Non (Zod’s henchman),  and General Zod (though he is the only one that doesn’t say his name out loud. He just utters “kneel” and “kneel before”). Superman can’t see any of his fellow Zoners until he manages to get a pair of those familiar goggles the Phantom Zoners always wear in the comics. So that is what they are for!

Superman meets the Phantom Stranger and is reunited with Krypto but this ain’t your father’s Krypto, he is almost like a wolf. Superman somehow drags Xa-Du back, takes over the suit by sheer will alone, and frees himself and Krypto as well. The issue ends with Xa-Du being approached to be a member of the Superman Revenge Squad. Let me think: stay in the Phantom Zone forever or join up? Yeah I think we know what his answer is.

The back-up is a touching affair that reveals Krypto was with Superman every step of the way. It shows highlights of Superman’s life with his trusty dog, unbeknownst to him, standing by his side through all his hardships and trials. Krypto just loves him so much.

Overall some great moments, nice easter eggs, and some out there concepts that you expect from Grant Morrison.

RATING: ★★★★★★★★☆☆

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Animal Man #13

And so Rotworld kicks off! First up is Rotworld Hawkman attacking a helpless Buddy Baker. Why is he helpless you ask? Why because there are no animals left to connect with. He’s saved by the strange trio of Steel (who downloaded his mind into a new robot body), Beast Boy (not green but red in order to better tie in with the concept of THE RED), and Black Orchid from Justice League Dark.

They immediately decide to take him back to the Red when they learn who he really is. It’s soon revealed that Animal Man has been gone for a little less than a year (time sure flies) and during that period all the superheroes/supervillains have been corrupted by the Rot save for a select few. They arrive at the Red whose Totems have transformed themselves into a city to create refuge for the survivors. Shepherd is here (still calls Buddy: Butter Baker) and Constantine managed to survive unscathed to deliver the news that Animal Man’s family have long since been consumed. He has failed.

Throughout the issue we flashback to the Baker family who are searching for Cliff. They eventually find him all creepy and such and his Mom tries to break the Rot’s hold over him. Unfortunately he only regains his composure momentarily before he coughs up some Rot and infects his Mom to end the issue.

The one thing I’ve enjoyed about Animal Man from the start was the family dynamic. It appears, for the time being, that the series will be lacking that what with Buddy separated in the future and the rest of his family slowly being consumed in the past. It’s a shame that the series is going to lose that but I’m also intrigued just how Rotworld is going to be reversed/averted in the end.

 RATING: ★★★★★★★½☆☆

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Detective Comics #13

The first issue of John Layman and Jason Fabok’s run opens very cleverly. It shows Bruce Wayne donating to the orthodontic association so he doesn’t feel so bad in the next panel when he punches a guy’s teeth in. Then he pays the student loan debt of half a dozen recent grads of orthopedic surgery  because they’ll have plenty of work to do after the next panel where he breaks some criminal’s bones. And as he says there is “probably more to come”.

This night Alfred is reminding Batman not to be late to the opening of the new children’s wing of the community centre that is to be named after Bruce’s mother, Martha Wayne. Meanwhile an assassin has a clear shot and asks if he should “take it?” but the response is “don’t be ridiculous, Batman’s bulletproof”. Also the real target is…Bruce Wayne? See the Penguin has hired a group of assassin’s called the Ghost Dragons to kill him, cripple him, or whatever so long as he is nowhere near the community centre. The main problem? Batman stopping the hit so they arrange to stage numerous robberies across Gotham to keep him busy.

Batman soon develops a theory that all the crimes he’s encountering are connected and sends Nightwing to prevent a crime before it even happens to see if his theory is correct while he stops another one. Meanwhile, Penguin threatens the guy in charge of the community centre  to name the new wing after his mother. The reason behind this is Penguin wants to start leaving a bigger mark on Gotham, no longer being content with simply being feared, and this is only the start.

Batman, having figured out that he is being intentionally kept busy, has Nightwing take care of the rest of the diversions and heads towards the community centre where he takes out a nearby assassin and discovers that the real target is Bruce Wayne. Bruce enters the centre just in time to hear the announcement of the Esther Cobblepot Wing (at least Penguin did make a donation to get it named that). Penguin tells his number two, Ogilvy, to call off the hit but he tells the Penguin that it is impossible because the Ghost Dragons do not admit failure and won’t stop until the job is complete. The main story ends with an assassin lunging at Bruce Wayne.

The back-up takes place before the main story and concerns Ogilvy and another criminal name Martin pulling a heist. Ogilvy stops Martin from killing a guard because as he says “Kill the guard we move up on Batman’s list. Attract his attention. And then he’s on us like a pitbull. Leave the guard, we’re just another B&E for the incompetent G.C.P.D.. Maybe Batman will be able to look into it if he has time—but he never will, because of all the other stuff that goes on every night in Gotham. If you want to survive in Gotham, you’re going to need to be smart. In our line of work, it’s not a question of if you’ll meet Batman. It’s a question of when—and how hard.”

Inside Ogilvy steals the codes for the remote alarm triggers that came into play during the main story to distract Batman but is dismayed to learn that Martin didn’t blow the safe like he was supposed to. Martin thought why do a botched robbery to cover the stolen codes when he could pull off a real one? He goes into a long monologue about all the research and planning it took to break into the seemingly impenetrable safe. Ogilvy responds with “I told you. Smart is what keeps you alive in Gotham. Too smart though..that’s what’ll get you killed. Because somebody who’s too smart will have ideas of their own. Somebody too smart is going to ultimately prove to be a threat.” And then he shoots Martin dead to end the issue.

John Layman’s debut on Detective Comics was felt almost immediately. The dialogue, characterization, and story blows what Tony Daniels was doing recently on Detective out of the water. It just barely missed my Top 3 Covers of the Week (4th Place) and also just missed the cut for my Top 3 Overall Comics of the Week (4th Place). All in all a great debut with both the main and the back-up stories being enjoyable. Keep the momentum up!

RATING: ★★★★★★★★★☆

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Earth 2 #5

The issue opens with Sandman (Wesley Dodds) saving the US President, but the bigger news it that…he’s Canadian. The Atom takes out Grundy quick (or so he thinks) and begins the classic heroes fighting each other before teaming-up that is a staple of comics. Great to see the Flash step up and actually take the Atom off his feet. The Atom is then consumed by Grundy (you really thought he was dead?) and is then subsequently saved by Flash and Hawkgirl.Meanwhile the World Council appoints Terry Sloan as an advisor to new character Amir Khan. What are they thinking?

Back to the action, Green Lantern decides the only way to stop Grundy is to commune with the Grey but he needs the others to protect his body during the process. The Grey tempts him with his dead lover Sam as Terry Sloan reveals to Amir that they have decided to launch a nuclear strike to take out Grundy. Things look dire as the issue ends with Green lantern being embraced by Sam while the others are trying their best to hold out.

Robinson has succeeded in making me care for each one of the new Earth 2 heroes he introduces but I’m not a fan of making Grundy basically a rip-off of the Rot from Animal Man/Swamp Thing. Nonetheless, I’m digging the potential this series is showing and once the team is fully established hopefully we can move onto something a little more original.

RATING: ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆

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Green Arrow #13

Oh Green Arrow, how far you’ve fallen. The first question I have when I open up the book is why are there so many inkers for one issue? Four? Really? So onto the story where we’re still in China and Green Arrow is battling the bad guys. He chops off their ponytails as humiliation to make up for the indignity of having his tie chopped last issue. Yeah, that happened.

Then some demon corpses are resurrected from the grave and we are told the dead can’t be killed. Suzie Ming come sto save the day. She’s sort of a cross between Katanna and Karai from TMNT. It’s uttered again that the demon corpses can’t be killed and then a little while later…that they can’t kill what’s dead. Okay, we get it. How many times do you have to repeat it?

They go to a graveyard full of evil stone warriors which of course come alive but Suzie Ming’s sword is luckily enchanted to fight death. Turns out that the stone warriors were buried to protect the passage to hell and by burying the demon corpses in them that will stop them. They then proceed to knock over the statues like dominoes (groan) to accomplish this goal. Green Arrow gives the bad guy the tech he wanted to avoid an international incident and to get his company back but it’s alright because everytime the bad guy activates it Suzie Ming can track him. Issue ends with Hawkman and some Thanagarians. Hawkman Wanted. Could care less.

I keep hoping and praying that this series will get better but the only thing that is consistent with Ann Nocenti’s Green Arrow is that it is consistently bad. Even the art of Freddie E. Williams Jr. couldn’t save this issue. I’m on the verge of dropping this from my pull list but I keep thinking that when the rumored changes happen in January that this book will be one of them and get a new writer.

 RATING: ★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

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Green Lantern #13

Well it is time for another Green Lantern issue starring Baz. Early on the Green Lantern Ring plays a message for him from Hal Jordan/Sinestro and I mean that literally. It is an amalgamation of Hal and Sinestro talking with the only thing they can agree on basically being don’t trust the Guardians and avoid them at all costs. We learn more about Baz’s backstory and that he used to participate in street racing until he caused his brother-in-law to become brain-dead.

We’re also introduced to his sister Sira who is suffering at work because of Baz being a suspected terrorist. The scene where she enter her work and everyone just gives her uncomfortable looks/stares and then she is told to go home makes me actual feel more for her then Baz. Baz’s bad life choices are affecting everyone in his family not just him. He asks Sira to use her resources at work to find out who owned the van that he stole from issue #0 to try to prove his innocence. She agrees to help and while waiting for her Baz is attacked by the Justice League to end the issue.

So, a Green Lantern issue by Geoff Johns that gets below a 8.5 rating? Is that even possible. Well for the last two Baz-centric issues it is. My favourite part about Green Lantern after the DCnU was the interaction between Hal and Sinestro and now that is temporarily gone. Also this was billed as the start of the Rise of the Third Army crossover? Well they are rising very slowly as they appear in only one page of the comic. Regardless, Geoff Johns does have some nice character moments throughout that avoid it from being a total train wreck and who knows…maybe Baz will eventually grow on me?

RATING: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆

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Worlds’ Finest #5

World’s Finest has struggled out of the blocks in my opinion. The first arc fighting a generic monster was bland. The comic is at its’ best during the flashback scenes of when they first arrived on Earth Prime. This issue unfortunately spends most of the time with the two characters apart telling some pretty inconsequential stories.

It seems that every issue now has Power Girl’s costume being shredded. This time it only took the first two pages. At least they acknowledge it in the issue. Power Girl’s section involves her visiting Cern, getting attacked by a possible Apokolips robot, and of course…having her clothes shredded again. Huntress’ section involves her participating in a “Take Back the Night” event but she has to take out a shooter while in attendance. Simply love the panel of Huntress kicking the shooter with a close-up of her face shouting in the background.

In conclusion, the Huntress section by Wes Craig was better in the art department and had more interesting panel placement than the Power Girl section by Jerry Ordway. Overall a pretty uneventful issue. Hopefully the new arc with Damian Wayne adds some spice.

RATING: ★★★★½☆☆☆☆

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And that is all she wrote. Agree/Disagree with my reviews? Comment below!

2 thoughts on “DC Comics Bullet Points 10/03/12

  1. About Animal Man # 13: As you wrote, Steel makes a guest star appearance. He’s related to Superman, but Lemire loves to put a character in a world which is unusual for him/her. He put Poison Ivy in Superboy, for example. I love it as well, because, each time a writer does something like this, you never know how things will go. For example, if you put the Riddler in a Batman comic, you know that Bruce, with his detective skills, will solve his riddles in a minute… but what about if you make the Riddler interact with a less lucid and patient superhero, like Grifter?
    I’m a big fan of John Henry Irons, so I’m very glad he didn’t fall into oblivion after the closure of his awesome solo series. A character like Steel written by a writer like Lemire… wonderful!
    About Green Arrow # 13: The New 52 version of Green Arrow destroyed the character. His distinguishing mark was his maturity: now he’s just a young hero like (almost) everyone else, from Spider Man to Superboy. I understand they had to link the comic book to the upcoming tv series, but they could have done that in a far smarter way: for example, they could have created a comic series narrating his early days as Green Arrow, as Marvel did with “X – Men: First Class.”
    Another thing that made Green Arrow great was his group of very interesting and well defined supporting characters: this implies that removing ALL OF THEM from the series is another huge mistake DC made. Batman would be great even without Alfred, Robin, Commissioner Gordon and so on: Green Arrow needs “a little help from his friends” to be great.
    When you reboot a character, you can change everything but his spirit: DC didn’t follow this simple but essential rule, so they haven’t been faithful both to their tradition and to their public.
    I loved miss Nocenti’s run on Daredevil, so I was very excited when I heard she was going to write Green Arrow. I thought “She’s one of the very few writers who can fix up this mess.” I bought the 1st issue she wrote, and I think she did an incredibly bad job. The story is: 3 femmes fatales meet Oliver Queen and invite him at their home. Even the silliest superhero could easily understand it was a trap, but not Green Arrow: he shrugs his shoulders and flies with them. Guess what? Oliver ends up in chains! And the so-called cliffhanger is: will our hero get rid of the 3 femmes fatales? When I finished it, I thought that any high school student could have written a better story. Of course I won’t buy Green Arrow any more: it’s too painful to see how deep Oliver and miss Nocenti sank.
    A lot of readers must have thought the same thing, since Green Arrow’s sales are sinking very deep as well.
    It looks like it’s not a great period for writers, since some others I used to love got worse as well. I’ll give you 2 examples:
    1) Loeb’s works I read (all his Batman stuff + Daredevil: Yellow) were all fantastic, but recently I read 3 blog reviews stating he’s gone awful.
    Daredevil has always been Marvel’s Batman in a lot of ways (psychological deepness of the character, costume design, dark atmosphere, and so on): maybe Loeb is born to write about characters like Daredevil and Batman, and, when he tried to do something different, he failed. Or maybe he simply lost his magic touch, as miss Nocenti did.
    2) Milligan and Ennis put a lot of black humour in their earlier works, and this is what made them superstars. At some point, Ennis decided to change his style, to make it completely sharp and cynical, but, being a talented writer, he went on writing very well. Milligan, on the contrary, has become the shadow of his former self, since he stopped writing in a satiric, provoking and nonconformist way.
    DC didn’t help him, because they gave him 2 series (Red Lanterns and Stormwatch) that don’t have an ironic style at all. If you hire Michael Jordan, you must put him in a basketball team, not in a baseball one.
    I hope Loeb, Nocenti and Milligan will reach the peeks of their earlier works again.

    • Concerning Green Arrow:
      1. I 100% agree with you about the lack of supporting cast. I especially miss Mia Dearden and hopefully Connor Hawke will resurface (maybe in Earth 2?). Why get rid of these interesting characters to replace them with some generic ones.
      2. The villains he’s been fighting are bland. Bring me some classic Green Arrrow rogues!
      3. That run with the 3 femmes fatales gave me a headache. There was one issue in particular that ended on one plot point and then the next one picked up at a completely different point. I thought at first “Did I miss an issue or something?” but no it was just the jumbled story telling.
      4. I think DC is going to have to acknowledge the problem with this book soon what with the increased presence Arrow will bring to it. Can’t have people say “I enjoy the show, how about I try the comic” and open up this poor excuse. If she stays on this past January, I’m dropping it.

      Also, Long Halloween and Dark Victory will always be two of my all-time favourite Batman stories. Now everytime I see Loeb on a title at Marvel I avoid it like the plague. What has happened?

      Thanks for the opinions. Always happy to hear from you!

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