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 Arrow #1, Batman: The Dark Knight #14, Batman Beyond Unlimited #10, and Teen Titans #14. Also I should mention that there be SPOILERS in these reviews. You are warned!
And here is the first issue of a brand new series that promises to fill-in the blanks for the TV show, a show that I’m a huge fan of. The first part failed in this promise right off the bat as it was simply a rehash of a scene from the show. The second part was…just there, not adding anything really but not awful either. The final part was the real standout as it gave us some background history on China White as it revealed her origin with the aid of some impressive art from Jorge Jimenez. This part is the sole reason I gave this first issue as high a ranking as I did. Going forward, this series needs to be more like the third part and less like the first two as the show’s name can only carry it so far.
Oliver Queen: But all those years on the island, plotting my return…I didn’t realize how hard it would be.
Oliver Queen: You wanted me to save the city. To right your wrongs. I will. I swear. But to do it, I can’t be the Oliver everyone wants me to be.
China White: The taste of defeat…is bitter. It does not sit well with me.
China White’s Mentor: The fearless do not let their enemies live, much less escape. Look at you. He’s reduced you to what you were. Back to being that pitiful, scared little girl.
China White’s Mentor: I saw it that night with my own eyes. The fear that would turn a chock of your hair white. But I also saw something else. Something…deeper. Potential.
China White’s Mentor: The last time you felt fear, I turned you into a warrior. Now you feel it again. And this time…I will forge you into something greater.
There are some downright brutal scenes in this comic including Batman sending, out of desperation, his grappling hook straight through Scarecrow’s jaw causing the villain to hang from the ceiling. There’s some nice art including a full page splash with the most psychotic and deranged shot of Scarecrow I’ve seen in a while if ever and the last page is terrifying as you’ve got a citizen clawing at his face, Santa biting the flesh off of someone’s arm, all in all its all hell breaking loose on the streets of Gotham due to Scarecrow’s new more potent fear gas. Unfortunately, this issue isn’t as cerebral as the past ones in this arc which is a real shame and makes this the weakest of the new writer’s run so far. I hope this isn’t a sign of things to come.
Scarecrow: You’re all mad. Such a delicate little bat. Did our fear games upset you?
Batman: You want something to fear, Scarecrow…? Fear me!
Bruce Wayne: …Damian…noticed…I was gone…
Damian Wayne: Of course. I’ve been out looking for you every night. Alfred was tearing out…what’s left of his hair. In his non-tearing-out-hair kind of way. What? Are you all right? Say something.
Bruce Wayne: …glad you’re here, Damian.
Scarecrow: Last year, I happened upon a jeweler with formidophobia. Fear of scarecrows.
Etrigan’s rhyming speech pattern is great to hear again and his chemistry with Superman is a joy to watch in the Justice League Beyond arc’s wrap-up. It was haunting when Superman hears the familiar “beep, beep, beep” of Jimmy Olsen’s watch to find out he died saving Amanda Waller. In a poignant scene, he fixes the watch and installs a Kryptonian crystal battery so it can run forever. Overall, this story went on a little long but it ended with a satisfying conclusion and I can’t wait to see where this storyline goes as it looks like the Justice League’s ranks are going to grow. Over in Batman Beyond’s portion, the Joker King is shaping up to be a great addition to Terry’s rogues gallery. There’s not much in the way of progression but I like the dynamic between Nightwing and Terry and the cliffhanger with a defenseless Bruce ready to stand up to the Joker King who’s launched a surprise attack on the hospital is shaping this storyline for an interesting next issue. Finally, Superman Beyond’s section was the weakest of the bunch and makes me wonder if this comic should just focus on the Batman Beyond and Justice League portions and let them breathe a little more by eliminating this section entirely.
Etrigan: A flying snake, it is absurd…but so are all these human birds. Your bath is cold, a fizzled flame, so now I win, you lose this game.
Superman: I’ll get you close enough for you to attack it with a full blast of hellfire.
Etrigan: Do not tell me what to do, or I can turn and burn you, too.
Barda: Scott! I thought I’d never see you again.
Mister Miracle: You know me…easy come, easy go. Not so easy coming back.
Etrigan: A love so sweet as human embrace, is lost on me, may I smash their face?
Terry McGinnis: You figure all this out listening in on Apokolips?
Bruce Wayne: I’m a detective, remember?
Terry McGinnis: I can’t believe you changed me into a demon.
Bruce Wayne: We’ve all got demons inside of us, Terry. Yours just took a little coaxing to bring out.
The Joker King: The old clown understood life was chaos, and he embraced that, but too often he used it as a means to an end…to gain money, or notoriety, or power, or revenge on Batman, or whatever…I don’t think he ever fully understood the bigger joke. No matter what you do or don’t do in life…none of it matters. Live your life, you die. Be successful, leave a legendary legacy, the sun burns out in a million years, the legacy dies. Find some way to shoot your legacy out of the solar system, in a billion years the universe collapses. There’s no such thing as immortality. No point to agendas. No reason to exist. So all you can do is lay back and let the chaos that is life wash over you, and know you’re utterly meaningless. I mean, you have to laugh at the joke…’cause it’s been played on you.
Nightwing: I’ll give you the access codes. Don’t steal anything.
Catwoman: From you? Never.
Batman Beyond: I thought I was in charge of this team-up…
Bruce Wayne: If I’m going out, I get to take one of you with me.
Clark Kent: Well, sure. We should take care of ourselves. But there’s nothing wrong with getting some support—asking for help when you need it.
Once again, Ale Garza’s art is the highlight of the issue. I can’t say the same in the writing department as it was sorely lacking in quality compared to the previous one that delved into Wonder Girl’s past. The Kurt Lance subplot with Kiran was an interesting development but the plot to get Wonder Girl’s armor back failed in delivering any suspense as we’ve already seen in other series that she succeeds. Then came the end where we were bombarded with “See Birds of Prey”, “See Batman”, and “See Superboy”. I’m all for continuity and connectivity but this was a little overkill. Next up on the horizon is a “Death of the Family” tie-in as the Titans roster has been reduced to just four. Can’t go wrong with Joker…right?
Red Robin: Conspiracists think Trigon was the foundation for the trinity lore in so many belief systems. Babylon has Nimrod, Semiramas, and Tammuz; Egypt had Osiris, Isis, and Horus. Israeli pagan Gnostics called it Kether, Hokhmah, and Binah; Plato, the unknown father, Nous/Logos, and the World Soul. The Council of Nicea adopted it for their branches of the Catholic Church with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
Wonder Girl: Nerdist. So what are the other two parts of Trigon’s trinity?
Red Robin: Trigon was all three unto himself.
Wonder Girl: Oh!
Wonder Girl: Um…god bless you?
Superboy: No, I mean—stop talking.
Wonder Girl: That would be “Shhhhh.”
Wonder Girl: Wrong context.
Bunker: So, what do you want to do?
Kid Flash: I want to play Call of Duty for three days straight, eat thirty-two Hot Pockets, then take Kiran to dinner and then to breakfast.
Kid Flash: Which part?
Bunker: All of it, but seriously—Hot Pockets…? You like Kiran.
Kid Flash: Duh. Bored.
Wonder Girl: Now I never have to fight it…alone. We’re in this together. Because I’ll always love you…and it’s for that love…–that I’ll endure this curse…for the both of us.
Bunker: Finally, the Teen Titans are home!
Kiran: No more tacky hotel soap bars.
Kid Flash: No more adult channel charges…
Kid Flash: Nothing.
Bunker: I can’t wait to change my outfit—five times!
Superboy: We all seem to have monsters inside us, fighting to get out, Cassie. The fact that you can keep yours at bay gives me…hope.
Bunker: I used to dream of cooking meals like that in a kitchen like this—I mean, “Be Our Guest” was playing in my head at the time, but still…
And that is Part 1 complete. Agree/Disagree with my reviews? Comment below!