So here are my reviews that I call Bullet Points. These reviews will mention the highs and lows, favourite moments, and contain general discussion about each issue. The first part will be strictly DC and only comics that I have purchased will be reviewed. Also I should mention that there be SPOILERS in these reviews. You are warned!
Before Watchmen: The Minutemen #4
Will Darwyn Cooke craft another masterful issue or will it sully Alan Moore’s much heralded classic? Who am I kidding? It’s Darwyn Cook. Do you expect anything less than brilliance? Read on:
Cover: Great cover but don’t take my word for it. Check out The House of Flying Scapels’ review of it at http://houseofflyingscalpels.com/2012/10/18/cover-of-the-week-1710-minutemen-3-darwyn-cooke/
– The opening sequence on the first page consisting of four panels. We move from the round movie reel, to the round circle burning with a Swastika, to the round manhole cover, and finish with the round sun. Nice transitions.
– This issue is unlike the others. Instead of being predominantly told through Hollis’ eyes it’s broken into four segments: Hollis, Sally Jupiter, Comedian, and Silhouette. Sort of an anthology idea.
– Everyone is searching all over for Silhouette’s killer and after all their hard work Metropolis and Hooded Justice find Sally causally smoking a cigarette after killing the killer. Sally, Silhouette’s biggest detractor, being the one to avenge her was great.
– Comedian’s story actually made me feel for a guy I always considered a jerk.
– Hollis breaking into Silhouette’s house and feeling someone was watching him but left not knowing Hooded Justice was there all along. What does it mean?
– Silhouette’s back story was a heartbreaking and beautifully done. Really moving indeed.
– The art was fantastic but what did you expect?
– Only real negative is the Curse of the Crimson Corsair backup. Could really care less for these.
Spoilsport: The issue is broken up into separate stories as the Watchmen react to the death of Silhouette. Sally Jupiter confesses to Silhouette’s tombstone that she single-handedly beat the rest of the Watchmen in locating Silhouette’s killer and killed him herself just before quitting the team. Sally is met in the graveyard by the Comedian who relates his time in the Guadal Canal revealing how he became the man he is. Meanwhile, Hollis beaks into Silhouette’s house to find her files on an unfinished case they were working on and discovers cassette tapes on everyone. Byron and him listen to the tape marked Silhouette and learn about her heartbreaking past. They are left in shock after hearing what she went through: Nazis taking over her orphanage and then subsequently taking and killing her little sister. The issue ends with Hooded Justice having nightmares about the circus.
Hollis Mason: People have an amazing ability to cope with the madness of life
Hollis Mason: I suppose Byron is the best friend I ever had. You go to hell and back with someone and it binds you forever. The problem is, Byron never really came back.
Sally Jupiter (To Silhouette’s Tombstone): I didn’t like you because you were a better person than me. I want you to know how sorry I am for that.
Sally Jupiter: She was the best of us and we helped destroy her. You two should be doubly ashamed. You call yourselves men? Clean up this mess. It’s all you’re good for. And, oh yeah–I quit.
When Before Watchmen was first announced I knew I was down for two series: Minutemen and Silk Spectre. I knew that regardless of the story, the art would be simply fantastic with Cooke and Amanda Conner at the helm. I actually thought I’d enjoy Silk Spectre more but the Minutemen’s story has been superior in every way. Cooke has done a fabulous job with these characters, fleshing them out and making you feel for each one. Would you expect anything less from the man who brought you the New Frontier? I actually feel bad this series isn’t longer than six issues becaus eit is that good. At least there are still two left to enjoy…and enjoy them I shall.
Birds of Prey #13
As the Birds of Prey recover from the events of Issue #12 and haven been given insight into the team’s origins with #0, where do we go from here? Will the series fly high or will it take a nosedive into obscurity? Year 2, here we come:
Cover: Really nice cover with Katana standing her ground against an overwhelming number of ninjas. Really lovely poses for all the characters but especially Katana whose determination leaps off the page.
– The constant countdown to the detonation of a bomb really gives a sense of urgency and foreboding.
– Katana thinks the Dagger Clan wanted her sword to negotiate but she thought wrong. It was easier to transport an antiquity across international borders rather than a human and they knew she would follow.
– Katana used to be a member of the Dagger Clan. Her backstory is slowly trickling in bits and pieces and keeping me intrigued.
– They found Katana because Starling placed a tracker on her. Got to love her.
– Black Canary’s cry doesn’t affect the Dagger Clan boss. Why is that?
– The moment Canary unleashed her cry she felt a buzzing in her blood, something she hadn’t felt in years, something that should be impossible to feel. What is this about?
– Why is the captured ninja smiling at the end? Is it about the bomb?
– Did I miss something between #12 and #13. What happened to Poison Ivy? Where’s the resolution?
– Batgirl doesn’t really contribute very much.
– Generic ninjas.
Spoilsport: Katana is attacked by a bunch of ninjas called the Dagger Clan who manage to steal her sword/husband. She seeks the help of the rest of the Birds but they advise against going after them because they are all still recovering from Poison Ivy’s toxin. Meanwhile a new character called the Condor manages to surprise the Dagger Clan and steal the sword for himself. Not knowing this, Katana goes by herself to negotiate with the Dagger Clan but they refuse and capture her. The Birds come to the rescue and manage to save Katana and kidnap one of the ninjas before fleeing. Starling “persuades” the ninja to talk and finds out that Condor has the sword to end the issue.
Starling (To Katana): If you’re about to tell me you were mugged, I’m seriously moving out of Gotham.
Starling (After Making Her Entrance): Konichiwa, bitches.
Starling: Look at these jerks. Bringing knives to a gun fight.
Starling: Katana, you’re never going to believe this, but…some dude in a bird suit has your husband. And by “husband”, I mean “sword”.
This issue had some real great lines from Starling and some real good art. She has become my standout character on the book which says something because when Birds of Prey #1 was first announced I thought “Why are they wasting a roster space on this newbie?” I’m proud to say I was wrong. The only thing stopping this issue from getting a higher rating is the poor handling of the Poison Ivy resolution. What happened? It is almost like we missed an entire issue and it is quite annoying. Condor’s debut was “meh” but otherwise I’m enjoying the direction this new arc is taking the book. Just don’t leave its’ conclusion unresolved. You listening DC?
Blue Beetle #13
Goodbye Earth, hello space. Will the change in scenery give this series the jolt it so desperately needs or will it cause it to float aimlessly on? Regardless, this series is ending soon but I’m sure DC would prefer it to go out on a high. Find out:
Cover: An alright cover but I’m not a fan of spoiling a plot point on the cover though if you’re not a Blue Beetle fan you could care less that “Skywitness is returning”. Overall it spoils it for the fans and doesn’t convince the non-fans to try it out.
– The series has actually improved by going into space.
– The interaction between Jamie and the Scarab is the highlight of this book.
– A Khaji-Kai and Blue Beetle team-up? Sounds good to me.
– Next Issue: Scarabworld: where the scarabs were born. Colour me intrigued.
– How did Skywitness come back to life? Why would the Reach bury him with the honored? What did he actually do for them?
– Issue #0 proved that it could have been just a back-up in other issues as the whole plot was wrapped up in three panels.
– Skywitness doens’t come over as powerful enough and doesn’t make me think Jamie and Khaji-Kai will have any trouble with him.
– Though it has gotten better by going into space, I’ll miss the rest of Jamie’s supporting cast.
Spoilsport: Jamie is stranded in space. He is stranded so far in fact that the journey back will exceed his lifespan. He is attacked by other Blue Beetles but he manages to flee to the neighbouring Reachworld where he encounters Khaji-Kai. Khaji-Kai offers to fly Jamie home if he helps him destroy the planet the scarabs come from. Meanwhile, Skywitness (the individual from Issue #0 that had Khaji-Da before Jamie) comes back to life in Reachworld’s repository of the honored dead with the sole aim of killing Jamie and claiming Khaji-Da for himself once again. The issue ends with Jamie and Khaji-Kai (with Skywitness in hot pursuit) heading for Scarabworld.
Scarab: Pheromones. communication here is mostly nonverbal.
Blue Beetle: No wonder Reachworld smells like gas station bathroom.
Blue Beetle: But, y’know, this is about to turn into a bad joke…
Blue Beetle: A chicano gets deported to another planet, and what’s the first thing he does when he gets there…?
Scarab: Steal a vehicle?
Blue Beetle: See? You do get it.
Blue Beetle’s previous volume was heads and tails above this series. The dialogue and the supporting cast of the previous volume were wonderfully done but this new version of Blue Beetle has really left a sour taste in my mouth. Space might be the remedy but it really is too little too late for this series.
Ann Nocenti has already degraded Green Arrow into a confusing and jumpy mess. Will she do the same for Catwoman or will the writer redeem herself in my eyes? Answer below:
Cover: Another die-cut Joker cover. Simply love these.
– Catwoman meets a potential client in a chess club. Behind her is a frame with little tiny jesters with green hats, white faces, and purple costumes. Catwoman feels like she is being watched and she’s right.
– Selina’s plan is creative for moving the chess piece.
– Real beautiful art and sequences by Rafa Sandoval including the explosion of Lola’s apartment, the chase sequence, and the end page with her holding the child.
– The use of purple, green, and white throughout the issue was a real nice touch. It showed up everywhere and I didn’t realize it until going through the second time. Very clever indeed.
– The beginning was real confusing at times. The chase scene gets real trippy with the rooftop becoming a chessboard, a tiny toy growing in size and projecting a huge signal in the sky, and Selina grabbing her own shadow in her hands like it is clothing. What is this all about?
– Anyone find it strange that Selina is dressed in full costume with a hoody at the chess club? Does she really think that is conspicuous?
– No one else notices these guys playing chess with these giant pieces throughout the city? Batman? Nightwing? Anyone? What are the rules anyways?
Spoilsport: Catwoman is being taunted by a mysterious shadowy individual (Joker?) with toys that belonged to her former fence/friend Lola. She puts that mystery on the back-burner when she accepts a job from Trip Winter to steal a giant Black Queen chess piece to take out a White Queen chess piece which will cause the sacrifice of the White Pawn in the process. It’s basically a chess game where all of Gotham is the board. She succeeds in her mission but finds out that there are people inside these chess pieces just before the White Queen explodes. She saves the person in the White Pawn and the issue ends with them huddled together with the words Checkmate splattered on the wall behind them.
Catwoman: But the world is divided between those that love cute and those that hate cute. A gulf so wide, how do we cross it?
Catwoman: Never trust a warm bed, a happy life. Better to tear down the house yourself before someone beats you to it.
Goon: I mean what’s the point of living an extra ten years if you have to live them without the companionship of sausage?
So the art was perfect but the story was a tad confusing at points. Still it was a much better effort than Green Arrow and depending where we head from here it could go in a very interesting direction. The Joker is coming so at least there’s that and for everyone complaining there wasn’t enough Joker the issue was labelled as a prologue so what were you really expecting? Ann’s road to redemption starts very slowly but at least there is progress.
And that is Part 1 complete. So how did everyone like the new version of Bullet Points? Agree/Disagree with my reviews? Comment below!