So here are my reviews that I call Bullet Points. These reviews will mention the highs and lows, favourite moments, and the best quotes contained within each issue. The first part will be strictly DC and focus on Batman & Robin #14, Green Lantern Corps #14, Suicide Squad #14, and Superboy #14. Also I should mention that there be SPOILERS in these reviews. You are warned!
It’s Batman and Robin versus “zombies” Round 2, a story that didn’t impress me with the first part that was for sure. Will the conclusion of this arc blow our brains or will we shamble off in disgust? Read on:
Cover: A chilling cover that uses perspective brilliantly. Batman is holding up a pair of bloody joker teeth rattling in his hand as blood spatters right in front of his mouth giving the illusion it is an extension of him. Ominous indeed.
– The opening page where we shift back and forth between normal people eating at a restaurant ravenously and “zombies” acting out violently succeeds in upping the tension and the drama.
– Damian’s escape plan involves loading up the citizens into an elevator and Damian cutting the cord to accelerate their escape. He shoots out a portable inflatable air cushion to break their fall. Ingenious.
– Damian saves the citizens and one guy asks how can he ever thank him and Damian retorts that he can thank him by shutting up and keep moving.
– Damian gives the people he is saving orders and one guy is like if you say so kid and Damian states that his name is not kid, it’s Robin.
– The “zombies” are approaching and Damian makes his stand saying these people are under his protection, if they want them they’ll have to go through him. Batman makes his entrance and adds on “through us” and Damian breaks out in a smile. Batman replies that there’s nothing to be smiling about and instructs him to get to work. He is not happy with his son.
– I love the one panel where Batman and Robin are fighting the “zombies”. The background is black, the silhouettes are in red, and on top in big yellow letters are the various sound effects “wham, bam, skak, frak, snap, krak, pop, klok”.
– The joker teeth with the camera inside is creepy.
– Batman is mad at Damian for turning off his com-link, but more than that he asks him when is he going to learn that Batman knows more than him? Bruce is not sure if this is going to work out and is terrified that Damian doesn’t care about anyone but himself. Damian says he does and produces what he was searching for in the sewers in the previous issue: a pearl from Bruce’s mother’s necklace. Batman hugs Damian, his son, in a very touching scene to end the issue.
– The “Death of the Family” tie-in seems forced and not in line with rest of the event.
– The second artist on this issue (Tomas Giorello) pales in comparison and the transition between the two was jarring.
Robin: A precise blend of function and form with simple analog engineering–it was a secret transport for the President when he paid visits to Gotham back in the 1930s.
Citizen: …How do you know that?
Robin: I read.
Joker: So many strings. I never know which one to pull. Ha ha ha ha ha ha haaaa ha. The krill are swimming faster. Whale’s coming, Geppetto. Coming for you and Pinocchio.
Batman: What do you think this glass case is for, hmm?
Robin: To honor him.
Batman: No. it’s here for me–in a spot that I can’t ignore–to remind me never again…
Batman: …Damian…I’m proud of you.
This series has begun to lose its focus and this latest two-part “zombie” arc was sadly a disappointment. If it wasn’t for that wonderful scene at the end between father and son this issue would have gotten an even lower score. This series needs to quickly find its footing or run the risk of becoming just another Batman title. Focus on Damian and Bruce more and you’ll have a winner or even better yet, make this series a solo Damian title like I’ve been saying all this time. But please…no more “zombies”. I beg of you.
The Third Army has revealed their presence to Guy Gardner and look to assimilate everyone’s favourite wiseass while elsewhere the Guardians continue to lead their own Corps to destruction. Will this issue shine bright or will it be seen as rather dim? Here we go:
Cover: One of my Covers of the Week. For more information check out: https://thegothamrogue.wordpress.com/2012/11/18/covers-of-the-week-111412/
– A gory scene greets us in the beginning as Guy loses his fellow Corpsmen to the Third Army as they brutally tear them apart. You can feel Guy’s regret permeate off the page.
– When Guy’s family is teleported to the Watchtower they are greeted by the Flash who is like “guess you’re staying for dinner” and he hopes they like Thai food. A touch of humor in what is otherwise a bleak issue.
– Finally Salaak wisens up but is it too late?
– The whole sequence where Fatality locks onto a chuck of Mogo is beautifully drawn and staged well obscuring her face. We don’t know her identity until the full-page reveal of her before John Stewart who is floored to see her.
– Those Guardians opening up the Citadel roof to humiliate Guy in front of the entire Corps is devious indeed.
– Salaak and Kilowog’s expressions of sadness as they are powerless to stop what is going on is poignant.
– The last page where Guy is humped over his motorcycle invokes the reader to share the emotional pain he is in.
– Some of the dialogue mostly serves as information dumps and recap causing an overall slowdown.
– Why was Guy still in his Green Lantern attire after losing his ring and being sent back to Earth? Doesn’t the ring create the suit? No ring should equal no suit.
Ganthet: No, don’t you see? We have killed Gardner without killing him. Gardner’s even more valuable to undermining the Corps now than he was before.
A Green Lantern: Lantern Kilowog’s requested a few minutes, Salaak.
Salaak: Tell him if I actually had a few minutes I’d gladly share them, but as it stands, he’ll have to wait until–
(Kilowog barges in)
Kilowog: Now, Salaak.
Salaak: Patience is a virtue.
Kilowog: It’s also a waste of my time.
Salaak: And Gardner…
Guy Gardner: Yeah?
Salaak: Be prepared.
Guy Gardner: For what?
Salaak: For the worst.
Ganthet: Rather than be expunged from the Corps as Jordan was, we believe you should resign of your own volition. A final gesture that will remind the Corps…that no one is more important than the ideas we serve.
Guy Gardner: Guy Gardner, proud Lantern of Sector 2814, hereby resigns from the Green Lantern Corps
The Third Army storyline that has had the bulk of its influence felt on this title continues on in this issue. These last few issues that have come out have really warmed me up to the character of Mr. Gardner and with that ending it looks like that won’t end anytime soon. It was nice to see Salaak and Kilowog get a little page time and the reunion of Stewart and Fatality should provide for some entertainment but all in all this series has become a starring vehicle for Guy. As we move into the next phase of this storyarc, I can’t wait to see how Guy gets out of his current predicament a testament to the writer as not too long ago I could barely care what happened to him at all.
Joker and Harley back together again. The inevitable has occurred just as the team mourns the loss of Deadshot. With the “happy” reunion underway, will it leave us with a joyous feeling or will we wish they had never crossed paths again? Find out:
Cover: Another of those die-cut covers by Capullo, this time covering up Harley Quinn as her pigtail pokes through.
– Waller is cold saying that Deadshot took the easy way out by killing himself in order to kill Regulus. So very cold.
– Joker and Harley are reunited. He says she’s got something on her face and tells her he’ll get it off. He proceeds to punch her straight in the kisser and proclaims he got it, what he thought was a small amount of hubris. Then he puts a razor blade in her mouth. Happy reunion I think not.
– Joker knew Harley tried to get his face back and failed because of the smell of cotton candy and cheap cologne on it when he recovered it personally.
– Joker threatens to violate the dead corpse of Deadshot and this pushes Harley to the edge, causing her to draw a gun on her precious Mister J. Wow, she really cared for Deadshot. She agrees to her part in “Death of the Family” so that Joker won’t do anything to Floyd.
– Dr. Visyak is working on experiments involving Resurrection Man’s hand they cut off in a previous issue. Could this signal the return of Deadshot? Pretty, pretty, please!
– Other interesting developments with other teammates: Iceberg has regrown an all new arm made of ice, Yo-Yo confronts King Shark and tells him he knows the truth of what he’s doing and why he’s here, El Diablo embraces his dark nature and welcomes Lucifer and his hellfire into his life, and Black Spider delivers an ominous message to Waller.
– The last page is shocking as Joker hangs Harley by a chain around her neck to end the issue.
– The way the Joker is drawn seems off and not consistent with the rest of his appearances. His face almost has a bandage-like appearance to it.
– Deadshot’s death is lost in the shuffle and loses some of its emotional weight.
Harley Quinn: Sometimes bad people do good things…but there’s a price to pay for that. And Floyd paid it.
Joker: See, I missed you so much Harley…I followed you. Kept tabs, if you will. Watched you and your little misfit toys find one another. Sort of like a family. And I was gone. Unannounced. Work called. So you needed something to call your own. But then you got naughty with a guy who wears hai karate for men! And someone has to pay for that.
Amanda Waller: Iceberg. Or do you prefer–Professor Charles Murray?
Iceberg: I have no preference.
Amanda Waller: Wrong answer.
Iceberg: Excuse me?
Amanda Waller: A word of advice–have an opinion about everything and anything. It gives you a sense of control versus a sense of weakness.
Well I have to say I’m disappointed. Harley and Joker reuniting should be epic and this issue fell flat. In fact the scenes involving the other Squad members was more interesting and you could tell this was a wasted tie-in. Joker and Harley’s relationship was delivered to perfection in the main Batman series and here it was missing that something special. The teases from the rest of the Suicide Squad contained within resulted in piquing my interest and I guess that’s a good thing considering this is their series after all. Hopefully the second part to this storyline will deliver a more entertaining confrontation between Mister J and his Clown Princess of Crime.
H’El comes to Superboy in the first issue of the crossover taking place over the Superman family of titles, besides Action Comics that is. Will the kick-off lead to a super start or will it be an utter Hell to read? Discover below:
Cover: A real nice cover featuring H’El attacking Superboy. You can feel the pain he is in as he is doubling over backwards as the rest of the Titans look on, concern clearly displayed on their faces. It accomplishes its goal in getting across what a threat this villain truly is.
– I really like R.B. Silva’s panel orientation and art. Very interesting and different.
– Also like the relationship/friendship between Bunker and Superboy. They have great chemistry together.
– I love Bunker’s Titans symbol calling his teammates made up of psionic bricks forming a giant T.
– Superboy proclaims that he’s going to hold nothing back now because he’s had enough of H’El, that he’ll finally be able to cut loose…and then H’El takes him out effortlessly saying he’s just embarrassing himself now.
– I love the double-page spread that is a different view of the scene on the cover. The Titans can’t believe what they’re seeing as Superboy’s flesh and tendons are being twisted in front of their eyes.
– Wonder Girl says they won’t desert Kon and Bunker asks her if she knows that Kon is actually an insulting word? She knows and states that she is willing to risk her life for him but that doesn’t mean she likes him. Kid Flash says that that’s harsh but fair.
– The reliance on other series is painful demonstrated within the first few pages. The cliffhanger from last issue is resolved in another series and it’s become a common practice with this series. It’s actually getting quite annoying that you have to read so many other series to enjoy this one (Legion Lost and Ravagers in this issue’s case).
– Superboy is still coming off too whiny.
Superboy: He built a killing machine–and that’s all I’ll ever be!
Jocelyn Lure: No! You can shape your own destiny! Become so much more!
Superboy: Says the lady who keeps trying to manipulate me. Leave me alone! I’m tired of being everyone’s puppet.
Bunker: Hola, Superboy–nyum nyum–grab a fry?
Superboy: If you could telekinetically break down the nutritional content of the food you’re cramming into your mouth, it’s unlikely you would–
Bunker: Please, there is so little in the world I have to believe in–leave me my Mega Mac with cheese.
Kid Flash: Look, Wonder Girl, I know that he helped you get your armor back, but I’m still not comfortable with Bunker’s idea of Superboy moving in.
Wonder Girl: That would mean so much more, Kid Flash–if I cared what you think about anything.
Kid Flash: Ouch. Why so mean?
Oh look, Superboy is engaging in another crossover. This series is nothing more than a “see the next chapter in another comic” kind of book and it’s getting ridiculous. For once I’d actually like to see them develop Superboy and expand his world, delving into a multi-part storyline that is solely contained in his own series. Is that too much to ask? For the time being it looks like my wish won’t be coming true but I hold out hope that after “H’El On Earth” is over that will finally happen. Otherwise I’ll say farewell to this “series” if you can call it that. Endless tie-ins is more like it.
And that is Part 1 complete. Agree/Disagree with my reviews? Comment below!