“Never Thought I’d See Two Houses Chasing After One Another”: Bullet Points Part 1 – DC Comic Reviews 10/24/12

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!

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 Batman: The Dark Knight #13

Issue #0’s problem, besides being a straight-up rehashing of a story we all know, was it broke up the excellent Scarecrow arc that was breathing new life in a series that has always been a bottom dweller in the writing department. With the arc back on track will it wash our fears away or will it make us leave the room screaming in frustration? Read on:

Cover: A nice powerful image of Batman breaking free of his restraints as the cover states “Prisoner No More!”

Pros:

– Scarecrow’s little girl that he is holding prisoner drew him a picture and promised he won’t be alone
if he lets her go. Awwww….
– The place that Scarecrow’s dad locks him in as a child is utterly horrible. No wonder he turned out the way he did.
– Love the scene where Batman escapes and then gets killed by Scarecrow’s scythe. It’s then revealed that it was all an illusion caused by Scarecrow’s new gas that is so powerful that Scarecrow needs to wear a gas mask because even he isn’t immune to it. Cool image of him wearing said gas mask follows.
– Flashback to Scarecrow’s Dad having a heart attack and dying while he is still locked in that awful basement. He is left for god knows how long before the police finally rescue him. His new origin is great and really makes you feel for him.
– Overall a nice creepy vibe throughout the whole book.

Cons:

– Not too much happens storywise
– Fear segments weren’t original enough.

Spoilsport: Scarecrow has Batman tied to a table as his prisoner. Scarecrow’s new toxin makes Batman analyze himself and his life choices including a glimpse at the life he could have had if he hadn’t embraced the darkness all those years ago. We learn more of Scarecrow’s backstory like how his father locked him in a horrible room and ran tests on him to better understand fear. Batman breaks free to end the issue.

Favourite Lines:

“Scarecrow” (In Batman’s Head): You put your head down and went. Accepted the loss as a part of you, of your future. Buried yourself under the weight of assumed responsibility. But was that really necessary? Was it inevitable?

“Scarecrow” (In Batman’s Head): You chose the dark. You ran to it. And you run to it still. You make sure the day never gets too bright. So you stop just shy of the mark. Always girlfriends. Never a wife.

“Scarecrow” (In Batman’s Head): What is it you are afraid of? It’s human contact, isn’t it? Being the Batman–it’s not heroic. It’s a crutch. That armor you wear–it’s to protect your thin skin. Your tender heart.

Scarecrow: You don’t face your fears. Not at all. You think it’s me? Or the Joker? Naah. We’re what you love. What you fear, what you really fear is the light. You bring darkness, Batman. You conjure it. Me? I just hold up the mirror.

I have to give a round of applause to Gregg Hurwitz. I was on the verge of dropping this title before he came on having been routinely disappointed by it because you can have all the killer art in the world but without a good story it is meaningless. I stuck on because of one thing: Gregg Hurwitz wrote Penguin – Pride & Prejudice. That mini-series was an excellent case study into the psyche of Mr. Cobblepot and I was hoping he would bring that to this title. He has done just that for the character of the Scarecrow but sadly it is still a step down from Pride & Prejudice. Regardless, this book is getting better so I’ll stick around a little while longer.

RATING: ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆

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Justice League Dark #13

Reading is cool, didn’t you know? How cool is it? Everyone is fighting over a bunch of books…but they aren’t just some ordinary books. These are the Books of Magic. Will this issue read like a dream or will it make us close the book on this series forever? Year 2, here we come:

Cover: The cover makes the situation look bleak for our heroes with an unknown individual crushing the House of Mystery in his hands. Grabs your attention for sure.

Pros:

– Black Orchid is a shape changer and she can manipulate vegetation as well? She has powers from both the Red and the Green. Suddenly a character that I could care less for has me interested.
– Yep, Nick Necro from Issue #0 is the big bad. Didn’t see that coming. That’s sarcasm if you couldn’t tell.
– Necro can possess Deadman. He can employ more powerful backwards magic than Zatanna. He can shape change like Black Orchid. He can do anything the JLD can do. Evil magical version of Rogue from the X-Men? Regardless he is a legitimate threat that won’t go down easily.
– Zatanna’s goodbye kiss on Constantine! So she does care.
– Never thought I’d see two houses chasing after one another. It doesn’t end well for the House of Mystery as it is destroyed due to a crash. The end of the House of Mystery?

Cons:

– Only negative is that Black Boris and Blackbriar Thorn are taken down too quickly and too easily in my opinion

Spoilsport: Constantine and Black Orchid defeat Black Boris. Deadman and Zatanna beat Blackbriar Thorn. The House of Secrets appears and out steps Nick Necro who reveals that he is behind it all while Madame Xanadu saves Timothy Hunter from Faust who is supposed to kidnap him. Necro beats up all four members of the JLD and is going to kill them but Zatanna agrees to go with him if he spares their lives. The House of Secrets takes off and the JLD follow in the House of Mystery. Doctor Mist takes out the House of Mystery and destroys it to end the issue.

Favourite Lines:

Madame Xanadu: I am more than a “fortune teller”, Felix Faust…I have walked this Earth for centuries and seen evil that would make you cower!

Nick Necro: What do you know of Hell? I’m going to get the books and I’m going to show you and Constantine what Hell really is!

Constantine: You can talk about knowledge and power all you want, but at the end of the day you’re just another bloke who got his heart broken by a pretty girl.

Nick Necro (To Constantine): And worst of all…you stole my coat!

Nick Necro: This is a switch, isn’t it, Zee? Now it’s you and I watching Constantine die. Trust me when I tell you that his death won’t go unnoticed. There are legions in Hell just waiting to get their claws into him. And when he gets there and looks through the tears of blood, seeing you by my side, the Books of Magic in my hands, he’ll know…he’ll finally know…I’ve won.

Now this is a villain worthy of all these heroes to face. I simply don’t know how they can possibly overcome this foe and that has me giddy with anticipation. I’ve never been a fan of magic based characters (except for Zatanna) and the only reason I tried the series out initially was because of her and Deadman. I’m glad I did and will most likely try out the Constantine solo series that was just recently announced. The best part of this book: we don’t have to wait a full month for the next chapter. That’s right, it is coming out in one short week. Anyway you look at it that is fabulous news.

RATING: ★★★★★★★★☆☆

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National Comics: Madame X #1

The final issue of the current volume of National Comics is released. So far the previous three have been wonderful reimaginings but the main question is will this one keep the trend alive or do I foresee a bleak future for this line? Find out:

Cover: A captivating cover with the Voodoo Queen burning in the fire set ablaze over giant tarot cards. Madame X looks on above as a looming presence as if the vision is appearing before her eyes.

Pros:

– From the first page the comic grabs you with the beautiful scene of Madame X and the tarot cards floating around her.
– Trevor Hairsine impresses me with his ability to accurately reflect the characters’ emotions, something other artists struggle with.
– Nice touch of having the flashback in black and white expect for the blood. It makes the blood stand out more while also making it more chilling.
– Love the scene where Madame X bluffs the Voodoo Queen with a bad future if she doesn’t reveal where her voodoo camp is.
– Madame X’s tarot cards are knocked from her grasp and then line-up to director her to the “zombie” as if by magic.

Cons:

– How does this line-up with Madame Xanadu in Justice League Dark? Another Earth? This is the first National Comic that has this problem.
– A cliffhanger that will never be resolved?

Spoilsport: Councilman Meachum is murdered in his home apparently by a “zombie”. Madame x (Nima) was a
former television psychic that works for a law firm now with her partner Salinger. They represent the Voodoo Queen who is the number one suspect for the murder of Meachum because of the public animosity between them. Nima and Salinger learn the “zombie” was merely a man dressed to look the part in order to get more exposure
for the Voodoo Queen, that the Voodoo Queen and Meachum were working together for mutual benefits while also sleeping together, and that Meachum was also sleeping with another villager that he got pregnant. They then discover that Meachum’s wife found out about the affair and murdered him. The issue ends with a vision of Salinger killing Nima.

Favourite Lines:

Salinger: See, this is the thing I don’t understand about you, Nima. If you can really predict the future, then a) how come you don’t spend all day at the track betting wild. and b), more pertinent to now…how come you’re currently wearing half your morning latte? Guess you didn’t see that 300-lb Samoan delivery man coming?

Nima: I’m running towards a zombie. But zombies don’t run…everybody knows that.

Voodoo Queen: I will not. I cannot. A mortal such as yourself could never find the glorious citadel. It is protected by…
Salinger: Siegfried and Roy’s big-ass tigers!!!!
Nima: Give me and Ms. Goucuff a second, yeah?
Salinger: David Blaine must be really annoying to be around.

Well the odds of four out of four stellar issues of National Comics was a long shot. It’s too bad the first volume had to end on this note and it was also a poor decision to waste an issue on Madame Xanadu when she is prominently featured in two other titles. I thought the point of these were to introduce characters into the DCnU that we haven’t seen yet. The story wasn’t anything special, just your typical case-of-the-week thing you get on TV. The best part of this book and the reason it got as high a score as it did was because of Hairsine’s art. This guy deserves a regular gig. You listening DC?

RATING: ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆

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And that is Part 1 complete. Agree/Disagree with my reviews? Comment below!

7 thoughts on ““Never Thought I’d See Two Houses Chasing After One Another”: Bullet Points Part 1 – DC Comic Reviews 10/24/12

  1. Lemire will write Constantine. Here’s the news:

    http://comicreviewblog.com/2013/01/15/news/

    I’m pretty sure that this implies his departure from Animal Man. I don’t see him regularly writing 4 series for a long time, and, since A – Man is the series DC gave him first, it would be pretty logical if it were be the first one he leaves.
    Honestly, I hope the title he will leave will be Justice League Dark, because Green Arrow has been one of my favorite characters since I was a child, A – Man is an instant classic, while Justice League Dark… well, basically that title has every single thing I don’t like in comics: I like realistic comics, while that one is strongly linked with the supernatural; I like comics focused on a single character, and that one is a team based series.
    The only detail that makes me hope Lemire won’t leave Buddy is the fact that he will CO-write Constantine: maybe, if all he’s got to do for that series is plopping down a generic plot, and the other guy does all the rest, then there will be no need to break the successful relationship between Lemire and A – Man. What do you predict?

    • “What do you predict?”
      I predict it’s going to be pretty similar to what Geoff Johns is going to do for Vibe in his co-writer capacity. Lemire will do the overall plot, big story points to touch on, and moments that will synch up with the larger series he works on. The other half of his pairing will fill in the gaps/dialogue. I don’t know how much influence Lemire will have overall but having their names on their respective series (Vibe and Constantine) is an obvious ploy to grab those readers on the fence. In other words, I don’t see Lemire leaving any of his books anytime soon. 🙂

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