It’s time for the third and final part 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 Earth 2 #15.1: Desaad, Justice League #23.1: Darkseid, Justice League of America #7.1: Deadshot, and Justice League Dark #23.1: The Creeper. Also I should mention that there be SPOILERS in these reviews. You are warned!
Earth 2 #15.1: Desaad
This issue may have Earth 2 in the title but is actually the continuation of a story currently going on in Worlds’ Finest, a series that I dropped quite a while ago. A quick glance at the cover and we can tell right away that this is not your traditional Desaad. I have to admit that I actually prefer his New 52 look better than his old one, something I can rarely say about other character’s New 52 designs. But we are not here to discuss looks or designs but the actual story held within its pages. The story centres around Desaad going around and sucking the pain from others, feeding off of it, and getting more powerful in the process. He also uses a form of mind control to get what he wants including a certain quantum tunneler that we know Power Girl has absconded with. We learn that Desaad’s whole motivation in life is to be reunited with his master, Darkseid, and he will do anything to achieve this goal. Not much else happens in this issue aside from him bossing around his minions and being unable to corrupt a certain artist that is cleverly made to look like Jack Kirby, unaffected by Desaad’s powers because he gets lost in his own mind as he creates his art. It was a fun nod but the rest of this issue was pretty pointless and I can think of another Earth 2 villain or two that would have been better served to have a Villains Month offering.
Desaad: So this is how Lucifer felt. One moment, the Earth is in our grasp, its mewling survivors to be given to me. Then, the fall.
Desaad: Such a primitive world…their lives speed by so quickly, like the insects they are…but they accomplish so little.
Desaad: Mortals are clay, to be shaped by the gods for our own purposes. Forged into the instruments we can use for purposes beyond their petty dreams. You thought you were masters of your world. Temptation, persuasion, corruption…the music of my existence.
Justice League #23.1: Darkseid
Until this issue hit, I had to admit that Darkseid’s origins were something foreign to me. Anytime I see him, whether it be in the pages of a comic or an animated representation, he is just there, he is Darkseid, and he is one supremely badass character. So when I heard that this issue was going to explore his history, I decided to look up his original one to see how it all compares. What a shock I was in for… Darkseid, originally named Uxas, turns out to be a farmer on a world that is ruled by these gigantic gods who think the people are peons and beneath their notice besides their own personal amusement. Some of these people beneath the gods’ notice is Avia (Darkseid’s sister) and Izaya (her husband), more of them to follow. Anyways, Uxas is sick of it all and makes the trek to the gods’ stronghold where he whispers into their ears, sowing discourse among them. A huge battle between the gods erupts which leads to Avia being caught in the crossfire and severely injured. After the first god falls in battle, Darkseid personally finishes him off, absorbing his power, and then proceeds to kill more and more of them, gaining more and more powerful until his transformation from farmer Uxas to the almighty Darkseid is complete. With the last god dying before his eyes, Izaya begs of him to save his wife but that is beyond the god’s abilities though he does bestow upon Izaya his powers causing him to transform into Highfather. Highfather tries to reason with Darkseid that he could use this power to save everyone who lost their lives during the war of the gods but Darkseid will have none of that and destroys the planet instead. He builds Apokolips and rules with an iron fist until one day Kaiyo, a mischievous individual dares to laugh in Darkseid’s presence. Fearing for his life, Kaiyo flees to an alternate world with Darkseid in hot pursuit. Upon arrival, Darkseid meets an alternate version of Superman and kills him, happy that he has met a real challenge for once. Kaiyo continues to flee from dimension to dimension, Darkseid pursuing him with the aid of Boom Tubes and destroying each subsequent world until he finally lands on Earth Prime where he is defeated by the newly formed Justice League (as seen in that series’ opening arc). In the end he catches up to Kaiyo and reveals that he was letting Kaiyo escape, eager to see which new world he would lead him to conquer next. The last page is truly ominous as we bear witness to a Frankenstein-looking creature dressed like Superman, the creature’s back to us. Overall, the issue took a radical departure from Darkseid’s original origin (go HERE to see for yourself) and it wasn’t for the better. However, if you go in unaware of what his pre-New 52 history was and judging it on its own merits, then it was a serviceable Villains Month entry.
Darkseid: If the gods actually heard your pitiful prayers, they’d have crushed you just for fun. And I wouldn’t blame them.
Kaiyo: Apokolips. Where laughter has been bred out of the species. Where every soul silently marches in step. Where everyone feeds the machine. But even here…nature occasionally produces a sport. My name is Kaiyo. The chaos bringer. And I’m bored.
Kaiyo: I know this time he’s finally going to kill me. But instead…like the old gods he hated so fiercely so long ago…he…laughs… I’ll run and run and run…but as cunning as I am…I can’t escape the wrath of a mad god. And neither will anyone in creation.
Justice League of America #7.1: Deadshot
This is yet another oddly titled issue, an issue that is essentially a Suicide Squad one in everything but name. Highlighting Deadshot, who is my favourite character from that series, left me excited to explore his origins as here was another character I was unaware of how he got set on the path of deadly assassin for hire. We flashback to Floyd as a kid, things looking up for his poor family. His father just got a job, his mother is ecstatic, his sister is peering in on the conversation, and Floyd is reading a book. Each one of them is oblivious to what is occurring in the next apartment over, their neighbors having just ripped off some very bad people. Suddenly, some of these very bad people catch up to them and unleash a barrage of bullets, bullets that go through the walls and accidentally kill every member of Floyd’s family but him thanks to him absorbing the bullet heading his way with his thick book. All in all, the crooks had shot sixty bullets to kill two men (a tad excessive) and left all the money that Floyd’s neighbors stole to better send a message. Floyd finds a gun next-door and trains himself in its use, growing older, and eventually tracking down the men who killed his family. He kills them both with only a single bullet and the man they worked for is so impressed by this feat that he actually pays Floyd for killing them. Thus starts his assassin-for-hire lifestyle, a lifestyle that sees him adopt three hard rules: never waste bullets, never waste money, and never kill someone who he isn’t paid to kill. He honors those lives he takes by writing them down in his ledger next to the amount he was paid for the hit, ensuring that no one is left forgotten like his family was. We jump to the present day, Deadshot haven jumped out of a drone, building up momentum as he plummets to his target below, an individual in a seemingly impervious battle suit. With his momentum built-up, he fires his gun, knowing it will only make a tiny enough hole to the user but not kill him. Thusly he fires another shot, while still falling mind you, and sends a bullet right into the same hole, killing the man inside, the man who had hired those two thugs to kill his neighbors so long ago, completing his vengeance (while still getting paid for the hit), in what was a truly epic scene to see unfold. Seeing a younger familial relation watching his family member killed before his eyes, Deadshot kills him as well, not wishing another Floyd Lawton running around the world. The issue ends with Amanda Waller calling Deadshot to help her with the Belle Reve escapees, paying him an exorbitant amount of money in the process, and leading to next month’s Suicide Squad Forever Evil tie-in issue. Like Darkseid, I researched Deadshot’s old origins to compare to his new. The major difference has to do about why he never misses: in the old one its was because he was trying to kill his abusive father who was harming his brother only to accidentally kill his brother instead. This new overall origin paints Deadshot as a sympathetic figure which fits in nicely with how is portrayed in the New 52 and in particular was a fascinating look behind the curtain of what makes this man tick.
Deadshot: Sometimes I wonder what would have happened. I imagine a different story. An alternate reality. An “Earth Two.” A fantasy world. A fiction where me and my sister fight crime. Or live in a mansion, or even avenge our parents’ deaths as costumed heroes. Instead of what really happened. A series of random events. With no purpose. No grand meaning…
Deadshot: What makes me never miss? What guides my bullet? Hate. Anger. Despair. I always wonder why. So many bullets. So much money floating around. Careless. Wasted. I wasn’t going to do that. I would never waste anything. I couldn’t afford to. I would never waste money. And I would never waste a bullet. And I would never kill for free ever again. But no death would go unnoticed either. No life would end without meaning. Each dollar I am paid isn’t just money. It’s a monument. A gravestone to mark a life. No more unmarked graves. That is why I don’t waste anything. Why I don’t miss. A bullet isn’t something to be fired indiscriminately. A bullet should be a living thing. It has a mission.
Deadshot: Life has given me a unique perspective. Some of us are guns. Some of us are targets. And some of us are bullets. Waiting to be fired.
Justice League Dark #23.1: The Creeper
And here is our final review of Villains Month Week #1, a review for a comic that is really an issue of Katana. In fact Ann Nocenti is the writer of this one making it one of the rare Villains Month issues that retained its ongoing writer. She’s joined by Dan Didio and sets out to explore the New 52 version of the Creeper. I’m not a follower of the Katana series so I’m going in relatively blind save for the recaps done by wwayne, a constant presence of this blog. The issue starts long ago with a samurai wielding Katana’s. He uses the sword to kill an Oni demon that was possessing a young boy named Jakku which sends the Oni’s spirit into it. The samurai is eventually killed by his own sword, trapping him with everyone he sent into, in particular the Oni who is now calling himself the Creeper and running the show, torturing everyone in there. Many years later, the Creeper escapes after Killer Croc breaks Katana’s sword in half and seeks a suitable body to possess, landing in the recently deceased TV reporter, Jack Ryder. He proceeds to cause awful events to occur either by his own hand or my mesmerizing others into becoming his own personal agents of chaos. These events are then reported by his alter ego, Jack Ryder, who is always suspiciously there in the right place at the right time before anyone else. The issue ends with the Creeper having fun by killing a bunch of people at a bar in a giant twister, Jack waking up in the aftermath, oblivious to what has just occurred, but ready to get this latest scoop. The issue was alright, much better than anything Nocenti did on Green Arrow, but it wasn’t without its problems: a weird narrative shift in the comic, everyone just accepting that they saw Ryder die and then accepting that he is back with no qualms, and the Oni’s reasoning of calling himself the Creeper (as in there was none). I won’t be adding Katana anytime soon to my pull-list but perhaps this character will pop-up in another DC title, maybe even the one that gave this issue its name?
Ancient Samurai: Chaos is maddening. Most of all when it is arbitrary.
Ancient Samurai: Like Lucifer toying with the damned, there was no rest for the Creeper. He wasn’t happy until we were all as insane as he was.
The Creeper: I remember family. Family was my first taste of hell. Family is the first prison. Oh, how I hate order. How I hate families.
And that is the third and final part complete. Agree/Disagree with my reviews? Comment below!