Here we go, folks!
Battle for the Cowl #3
And in conclusion, I can say little about this book that I couldn't say before issue 1 ever even came out: what few reveals there are were as painfully obvious as the nose on your face, DC basically jacked us around for 12 extra bucks, and unless your artist's name is Alan Davis, you probably shouldn't let him write and draw a book at the same time.
Basically, this reads like a DC event as crafted with the worst of the "bad-Image" days. Pretty art which highlights action well and gives good poses, but does little in the way of actual storytelling, and dialogue, which doesn't do much better. Daniel will give us a page and a half of Tim giving us a stilted monologue as he tells himself out loud how he survived last issue's cliffhanger, but then jump-cut between "subplot roulette" so fast that all we get are semi-resolutions which are little more than lead-ins to what's coming down the pike, with no real thought as to how the subplots actually got there. Why is Two-Face leaving? What is the childhood trauma that made Jason so crazy (trust me, this has typical Winick after-school special soapbox "oooo, sexually abusing children is WRONG" written all over it...*groan*)? Why does Alfred all of a sudden trust Damian? Where was ANY mention of Red Robin, who's supposed to be spinning out of this? Etc., etc. It's just a heap of mish-mash wrapped in pretty Image art. Characters come and go, doing little or nothing, all to set up the two-man battle for the cowl between Dick and Jason; and it's a nice battle as far as action-y stuff goes, right up to the clichéd ending. But it's not enough to salvage this mess. I like the outcome of Dick stepping up, I like his characterization in this issue, but beyond that, everything about this mini was pretty much fail. I didn't like it.
Captain America #50
Those of you who are regular Blue Plate diners will know of my disdain for Buck-Cap, and my opinion that this book has steadily dipped in quality over the last year or two since Steve died. You may also be pleased to know that this issue will change my tune a bit. Bru and Luke Ross turn in a very solid done-in-one here, where Buck-Cap spends his birthday taking on a group of the Watchdogs (much love for the Gru-era reference) in the present while remembering other significant birthdays of the past. The Watchdogs' final word echoes my sentiments regarding the new Cap, but Bucky's response was fitting, and I enjoyed it. The scene with the Invaders was my favorite of the past birthdays, as the Bucky/Toro friendship gets a fun moment.
We also get treated to a back-up Cap origin sequence written and drawn by Marcos Martin, which is just gorgeous, and a two-page funny bit by Fred Hembeck "interviewing" the Acrobat, who once posed as Cap back in the 60s. Funny stuff.
The art was fantastic throughout, and while the story is fairly disposable, it was very well written and enjoyable as well. I liked it.
Oh boy, here we go. Loeb may have finally out-stupid'ed the Watcher punch here, and I wasn't sure that was possible. I'll just warn you now: Rulk surfs the space ways. It's worse than it sounds.
Anywho, more of the same from Loeb & McGuinness. Rulk kills everybody, Offender and Defender alike, drops more hints to his identity, takes on Galactus (who thankfully he doesn't beat up), then faces the Elders. The Elders revive/replace in time all the dead, Rulk kills the Grandmaster, Hulk decks Rulk (again), and the Collector gives Hulk what he wants, only not really, teaching Hulk that he must accept death as part of life or some such schmaltzy crap. Rulk then leaves Hulk crying over Jarella, taking that as a better victory than if he'd actually killed him.
What can I say? If you like this book so far, you'll find bits in here to like too. The art is till tremendous, the action's still big and loud and dumb, and the book still reads like a 3-minute Michael Bay movie. But truthfully, even for me, who's liked this title so far in an "I can't believe I'm reading this, hopefully nobody I know sees me buying it" kind of way, the act is wearing thin again. This was probably my least favorite issue of the title, so if you already hated it, prepare to find new reasons to hate it even more. I was meh'ed away.