It’s time for Part 1 of the Comics Rundown. Here I’ll be doing mini-reviews of certain series while also highlighting my favourite lines and awarding each issue a score out of ten. In this first part I’ll be focusing on Birds of Prey #14, Blue Beetle #14, Catwoman #14, Green Lantern: New Guardians #14, and Justice League #14. Also I should mention that there be SPOILERS in these reviews. You are warned!
Condor’s second appearance on Birds of Prey was more impressive than his first as he manages to almost take out the entire Birds of Prey singlehandedly. He had some great lines, a spot that is usually reserved for Starling, but I’m still not completely sold on his eventual addition to the team. Black Canary being unable to control her powers and Starling calling Amanda Waller for help are some interesting developing plotlines that are continued in this issue but the major plot point of this arc concerning the bomb that is set to be detonated is still not addressed besides a countdown at the beginning and at the end. I guess it’s not that important to mention? Otherwise, the cover art is fantastic and barely missed my Top 3 for the week and the art inside is well done as well including a double page spread in particular where the Dagger Clan attacks the Birds. Condor knocking out Black Canary at the end of the issue after she saved his life was surprising nonetheless and I look forward to the next installment.
Condor: For such a dangerous secret society, just a weapon seems too small a theft. But if it’s a freakin’ matching shield, I’m gonna be annoyed.
Black Canary: I told you to cover your ears. My canary cry can be pretty intense.
Condor: Are you actually speaking or just moving your lips right now?
Black Canary: Do. You. Really. Want. Us. To. Kick. Your. Ass. Again?
Condor: Nice. Pick on the temporarily death guy.
Condor: She and I had the same thought…if you’re going to die, take as many of your enemies as you can with you.
Jamie and Khaji-Kai’s attack on Scarabworld was a lot shorter than I thought it would be. Who knew it was so easy to destroy a whole planet of lethal killers? A little too easy if you ask me. Regardless, I liked the dynamic between Jamie and Khaji-Kai and was a little disappointed that the character was seemingly killed off just as their time together was getting started. I still can’t see Sky Witness as too much of a threat though I did like the inclusion of the fact that Jamie’s armour can’t harm him as it doesn’t recognize Sky Witness as an enemy due to their time previously bonded together. This series is racing towards its conclusion and it seems that it may be racing a little too fast to that conclusion in my opinion before he debuts in the pages of Threshold. Only two issues remain…
Blue Beetle: My name is Jaime Reyes. I’m 15 years old and right now I should be in third-period Spanish class where somehow I’m only making a B-minus.
Blue Beetle: Bugsuit, this guy may have rescued me from Reach central, but I’m starting to feel like I hitched a ride with a serial killer.
Scarab: Part ways with him. This “mission” = suicide.
Blue Beetle: But he promised me a ride home if I help him!
Scarab: He could promise anything if he has no intention of surviving.
Blue Beetle: Who is this guy?! And why’s he talk like you’re his ex-girlfriend?
Blue Beetle: Well, he sure seems to know you.
Sky Witness: Hear me, boy–I am Sky Witness of the Maya, and I will shuck you like an ear of maize!
Blue Beetle: Still not ringing any bells?
Khaji-Kai: The entire complex is powered by a central reactor.
Blue Beetle: But that’ll be guarded too, right?
Khaji-Kai: And so what if it is? Must you whimper about every challenge we face? There it is. Now will you help sabotage it? Or would you rather go cry to the Hivemasters?
Blue Beetle: Okay, now he’s just being a jerk.
I was optimistic when Ann Nocenti came on-board this series and her first issue was good, albeit at times confusing. With the second issue, while still better than her run on Green Arrow, I can confirm that my hopefulness is fading. At times this series serves no other purpose than to merely show Catwoman in various states of undress and this issue is a shining example. We have her clothes shredded, her undress, put on a new suit, take that suit off, go in the shower, and then suit back up again. So far this has been the weakest of the “Death of the Family” tie-ins despite some great lines and some poignant statements from the Joker. The whole purpose of this issue was to explain why Catwoman doesn’t have a larger part to play in the crossover and in that regards it succeeds. The art was great but that can only get this series so far and as I look to the next arc, I’m worried that this series may not last too much longer on my pull list.
Joker: Have you noticed, cat-thing, how black tends to triumph? Is it a commitment thing? White…well, white doesn’t like to get dirty. It tends to resign.
Catwoman: What do you want?
Joker: I want what’s good for you–stop being a pathetic Batman groupie. Perhaps you need a new skin? See things from a different perspective? Do you like skin? Let me tell you something, girl to girl.
Catwoman: What? I got lipstick on my teeth?
Joker: Your costume…it squeaks when you walk. Squeaks like a mouse.
Joker: Where’s you saviour? What, no big Batman to the rescue? I’ve seen him save you. You fall, he catches you. Yawn. Poor Cinderella, waiting for a fat pumpkin that never comes and a glass slipper way too small to fit your big feet. Poor Sleeping Beauty always dead till kissed awake. You fall again, he catches you again. Ho-hum.
Catwoman: Where are you Batman? This whole Joker game is about you, isn’t it? Are you in trouble? Do I need to save you for a change? I need you…
Joker: I’ve discovered five ways to skin a cat: kidnapping, centrifugal force, strip poker, now–piranhas!
Catwoman: Just what is it that you want me to do to Batman?
Joker: Do to him? Well…you could marry him. But of course, he’d start lying around too much, eating pizza, watching TV, all that snuggling at night. He’d become a soft blob.
Joker: Dogs are loyal. Dogs stick by you. They slobber so much they’re practically stuck to you. Cats are elegant–but unreliable. Now, bats! They’re fun…
Kyle learns not only how to harness the colour Indigo but the colour Yellow as well in this latest issue. I can’t help but feel we’re moving too fast through the various training segments and this is the type of storyline that would have benefited from more issues. Unfortunately, the upcoming crossover dictates that he must fly through these challenges to the detriment of the readers and I can’t help but feel this is coming too easily for him. I have to admit I did enjoy the Kyle/Arkillo segment of the issue and am happy that he will be joining Kyle and Carol in the subsequent issues. Orange is up next, and you know what that means….Larfleeze!
Indigo-1: You labor under the misconception that compassion is “good.” A true Indigo embraces both positive and negative emotions. One cannot have good without evil. One cannot have rage without love. All are part of the same continuum.
Indigo-1: Love is the most unpredictable and dangerous of emotions.
Kyle Rayner: Maybe so, but Carol’s not like that, okay?
Indigo-1: Everyone is like that.
Kyle Rayner: So now I’m supposed to be scarred of love?
Indigo-1: Sometimes fear is a healthy reaction.
Kyle Rayner: Whatever. I’m a Green Lantern. Overcoming fear is what we do.
Arkillo: Ring: tell me, how have I fallen to such a…pathetic state…?
Arkillo’s Ring: Insufficient data.
Arkillo: “Insufficient”. That is what you have reduced me to. The only remaining Yellow Lantern in the universe…saddled with a defective power ring…betrayed and abandoned by the man who gave me power…a man I once worshipped!
Carol Ferris: Anyhow, we need to get to Larfleeze and finish your training.
Kyle Rayner: Okay, boss. But I gotta ask: why Hal? What did someone like you ever see in him? I mean, you could have pretty much anyone you want, and Hal is kind of a jerk…
It’s the second and final part of our storyline introducing Cheetah to the New 52 and Tony S. Daniels once again knocks it out of the park on the art side of things. Storywise, it was hit and miss as I enjoyed learning more about the villainess’ backstory but the whole part of turning Superman into a cheetah/man hybrid was unnecessary and dealt with pretty quickly. I loved how this two-parter positioned Cheetah as a legitimate threat for the Justice League including her ability to be fast enough to slash Flash while he moves at top speed. I also loved how Diana beat Cheetah by flipping her into the water where Aquaman awaited her. The shot of him holding her prisoner as a whole pack of piranhas swarmed around them was amazing and the only thing that beat it was the revelation that Cheetah planned all along to be captured and imprisoned at Belle Reve as part of her mysterious boss’ master plan. The issue ends with the much talked about kiss between Wonder Woman and Superman but what really caught my attention was Batman observing the whole thing go down via a monitor. As for the Shazam backup, it mostly focused on Black Adam but it was still a quality read. I want this as an ongoing pronto!
Cheetah: You know I’m an animal that’s been bad. That’s why you put me in a cage. But I like it here. It’s where I belong with the world the way it is.
Wonder Woman: One day you’ll feel differently. And I’ll still be here for you.
Cheetah: Face the truth, Diana! Not everyone can be “saved”!
Batman: The tribe was right, Diana. The Cheetah isn’t the one who corrupted Barbara Minerva. Barbara is the one that corrupted the Cheetah.
Wonder Woman: If I can’t trust my own instincts, I can’t trust anyone.
Superman: You have an entire team of people you can trust. You can trust me.
Wonder Woman: I don’t know that much about you, Superman.
Superman: Let’s change that.
Superman: Sometimes good is that it appears to be—good.
Wonder Woman: I thought so, but sometimes that feels too simple now.
Superman: Sometimes it’s still that simple. As simple as Smallville
Black Adam: Why are those people gathering?
Sivana: They’re protesting…they’re angry.
Black Adam: Why are they angry?
Sivana: The man they work for has stolen their livelihood.
Black Adam: Then the world has not changed as much as you believe, Sivana. Pharaohs still live off slaves.
And that is Part 1 complete. Agree/Disagree with my reviews? Comment below!