It’s time for Part 2 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 second part I’ll be focusing on Nightwing #14, Supergirl #14, Avengers #34, Dark Avengers #183, Mind the Gap #6, and The Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom #4. Also I should mention that there be SPOILERS in these reviews. You are warned!
It’s the second and final part of this latest arc introducing Lady Shiva to the New 52 and, despite her horrible new character design, it was an enjoyable affair. The highlight of the issue was the epic showdown between Lady Shiva and Nightwing but the two ending reveals were both shocking as well. Penguin being Lady Shiva’s employer was unexpected but the Joker approaching Raya not only set up the “Death of the Family” tie-in next issue but also made my mind spin with possibilities. Something tragic seems to be building up for Dick here as his pipedream of bringing the circus to Gotham has the potential to blow-up in his face with the Clown Prince of Crime in the picture now. Overall, the issue was great and Lady Shiva getting away hinted at an intriguing future for this series. Hopefully when she comes back she brings a new costume with her.
Nightwing: I spent most of the night hunting Lady Shiva, the world’s deadliest assassin—following up every homicide that fit her M.O. A local drug kingpin with a slit throat seemed a likely target—but my investigation led to the Tiger Claws. Or, as I prefer to think of them, the Clueless Kittens.
Lady Shiva: No longer are you a robin. But still you fly in the shadow of the bat. If he once fell before me—how can you even hope to survive?
Lady Shiva: Any brute can kill. The skills needed to employ a club or gun are easily obtained. I am a true master of the lethal arts!
Lady Shiva: Mine is an ancient and honorable profession.
Nightwing: Does it come with a retirement plan? Or isn’t that even an issue for someone on the assassin track?
Lady Shiva: Do you mock out of ignorance—or fear?
Nightwing: Most women enjoy my chatter. But, they’re not, y’know, psychopathic.
At long last it finally happened! Up until this point, the biggest roadblock this character faced in branching out and having a larger supporting cast was her inability to speak and understand English. If nothing more comes from the “H’El On Earth” crossover at least this event of granting her the ability to comprehend our language occurred as it was really stretching thin how many credible individuals she could interact with that had a clue what she was saying. The only positive that came from her previous inability to comprehend English was the inclusion of Siobhan who has been a real highlight on this series and always leaves me wanting to see more of her. As for the rest of the issue: H’El’s mission to resurrect Krypton is intriguing as was Supergirl refusing to let him kill the clone (Superboy). Is she actually showing some growth here? Finally, having her confirm that Superman is in fact her cousin was long overdue and that ending where she walked in on him in his civilian guise as he was engaging in conversation with Lois was a great cliffhanger that looks to be carried over into the next part of the crossover. Progress at last!
Siobhan: Never mind my silly brother! He’ll be back soon enough! In the meantime, tell me more about your new undersea dream house! When do I get to see it?
Supergirl: To admit that this could be my baby cousin, fully grown, would mean that it was all true. Krypton, Argo…my parents… I should stay close to Kal. He’s the only family I have left. And yet every time I see him…I’m reminded of how much I’ve lost.
H’el: I need your help.
Supergirl: For what?
H’el: To go home. To go back to Krypton before its destruction and save it.
Supergirl: …Go back…? You’re insane.
H’el: Insane? No, Kara…this is insanity. This is life on Earth.
H’el: I watched you from afar as you used that power to save the creatures of this planet. But do creatures such as these deserve to be saved?
This final storyarc paled in comparison to how Bendis was ending his run over in New Avengers. It was an arc that lasted way too long and felt more like filler than a grand finale. It served its purpose of bringing Janet back into the Marvel Universe but I would have liked to see a different way to not only bring her back but also give this series the proper finale it deserved. I do have to admit that I enjoyed seeing the various artists that had worked with Bendis previously on this franchise each take a turn at drawing a scene in the end as the Avengers fought the villain. Speaking of the villain, Lord Gouzar was largely forgettable and I’d be surprised if we ever saw him again. The ending as Tony mentioned to Captain America that they would have to “get bigger” with the membership of the Avengers was a nice way to pass it off to Hickman who looks to do just that. I eagerly await his debut on this series and hope that it’s better than these last four issues of the previous regime.
Iron Man: Um, help.
Suit A.I.: Rebooting
Iron Man: I hate you.
Lord Gouzar: When I find where you came from, I’m going to burn it to ashes.
Suit A.I.: Rebooting.
Iron Man: I’m going to reboot you into a Segway.
Lord Gouzar: Speak, pink one! If I let you go, my army of mercenaries will assassinate you! That shield of yours doesn’t work from all sides!
Daisy Johnson: Have you even been to the Microverse?
Maria Hill: You mean the teeny tiny universe that I just found out about today? No.
Janet van Dyne: Scarlet Witch?! Vision?! Dude! Uh, does everybody see the red-colored Hulk?
Wolverine: Yeah, don’t worry about that.
Captain America: Avengers assemble!
The Thing: Come on! I wanted to say it!
Captain America: Are you worried about Simon?
Iron Man: I’m worried about you, if you don’t get some sleep.
Captain America: I slept for 70 years–
Iron Man: Yeah, you’ve used that line before.
Captain America: Leave me alone. I am a senior citizen.
Captain America: No matter what the Avengers do, half of America blames us and half the world hates us. No matter what we do, it feels like we’re not doing enough.
Jeff Parker did his best to wrap-up his many loose ends before catapulting this book into its next phase. Unfortunately, this next phase will not be including the Thunderbolts so I will not be picking up this series anymore as I could care less about the Dark Avengers team. There were some great moments featured throughout including Luke Cage’s reaction to Man-Thing being able to talk, Satana kissing Cage but telling him it’s alright because they are in a different plane of existence so his wife shouldn’t get peeved, and the Thunderbolts tossing Troll back through their escape portal because she has done nothing wrong and shouldn’t have to live her life on the run. I would have liked to have seen a greater focus on the Thunderbolts as I have no clue when or where will see the classic or new lineup again but I understand the necessary timeshare with the Dark Avengers since this book will now be solely theirs. Farewell Thunderbolts. Until we meet again…
Moonstone: Abe. Melissa.
Songbird: Oh man, Sofen’s using our names. Something must really be going south. What is it, you want your record cleared for all this?
Man-Thing: I can take us anywhere, Luke Cage. It’s good to see you again, old son.
Luke Cage: Uh. You didn’t use to say anything, green.
Satana: Isn’t it wonderful? He has realized his potential and been reborn with a full mind!
Man-Thing: Aw, shucks. I couldn’t have done it without my ‘Bolts.
Luke Cage: He sounds like this guy who used to hang out in my neighborhood record store.
Satana: Everyone hears him differently.
Luke Cage: Troll isn’t chatting up now too, is she?
Troll: Troll knows table manners.
Satana: Screw the Avengers. This was the best team right here.
Centurius: I just can’t believe I didn’t get killed.
The next phase of this series kicked off here with a great opening as Katie and Elle’s lives blended into one another as Elle tried to inhabit Katie’s body. After succeeding, Elle desperately tried to maintain her own identity and made contact with her best friend whom she was actually able to convince into believing her outlandish story. Finally Elle has an ally in the real world and this should really help out in the subsequent issues. The mystery deepened as the alliance between Dr. Hammond and Elle’s mother was revealed and their talk about moving onto the next phase, referencing an individual known as the “Chief”, and the appearance of a mysterious case only added the next layer to an already complex puzzle.
Katie: Hi! I’m Katie Lawrence, age 10, in Miss Elcan’s fourth grade class. I just learned the fifty states and capitals, fractions—which kinda sucked, I got a B—and read Harriet the spy.
Elle: I’m…no, my name is Elle. I don’t remember much, but I know I’m definitely not 10, can probably only name 15 states, maybe a capital or two? I suck big time at math, and the last book I read was…was…I can’t remember what the last “anything I did” was.
Katie: It’s an old book, but still think I would have made a good spy like Harriet.
Elle: I always feel like I’m spying, usually on my own life, like a stranger.
Antoinette: You’re going to have to give me some time to process what happened here.
Jo: While you just sit here and wait for Buddha or Jesus or the Goddess to smack you in the head and tell you there’s some unexplainable $#@% out there?!
Dr. Geller: Huh.
Katie’s Dad: “Huh?” That’s your medical assessment? You people told us our daughter was gone. Katie would never wake up. And after the decision we had to make, to pull the plug. Say good-bye…then my little girl wakes up and all you can say is: Huh?!”
And with that, this mini-series is over. Throughout the entire affair the art was fantastic but the story didn’t quite catch my attention as the inclusion of dinosaurs didn’t really mesh with the Rocketeer universe as a whole. Despite the plot, the characters were well written and the relationship between Betty and Cliff was handled well. The ending that Earl was secretly working for a mystery villain certainly caught me off guard but I really wonder if this will ever be addressed in the future. Overall, this series was not as great as the previous two volumes of Rocketeer Adventures and I can only hope that they right the ship on this franchise going forward.
Betty: You had me going crazy.
Earl: Lady, you had yourself going crazy.
Cliff: So repeat after me—“Sally’s not an enemy spy.”
Betty: Oh, tell it to the chaplain.
Cliff: You’re just mad because you think I think you’ve been stupid.
Betty: Can’t follow what you’re saying. Too stupid.
Betty: That’s big of you. But I’m sore at myself, not you.
Betty: Because I got jealous and weak and I let you have the upper hand. That never happened before.
???: I suppose we owe the Rocketeer a debt for cleaning up our mess—but I can’t help remembering that, if not for his involvement, there would have been no mess.
And that is Part 2 complete. Agree/Disagree with my reviews? Comment below!