Hello chaps! With the whole comics world reeling after the announcement that Ben Affleck is the new Batman, why not take a look at my review of the inspiration behind this choice… Batman ’66 #2!
Haha, no, but seriously, there’s a review of that in there, as well as exciting new issues from the likes of Indestructible Hulk, Superman Unchained, X-Men, Animal Man and more! Plus, the big events of the summer continue in the pages of Avengers and Justice League Dark, so let’s get our crossover on!
As usual, click the links to head to the forum discussions, which seem to mainly be about which of Bendis’ or Brubaker’s runs on Daredevil is the darkest. Here at the Outhouse, we are not afraid to get off topic!
Superior Spider-Man #16– The Hobgoblin storyline comes to an end here, but as is usual when it comes to Dan Slott’s Spider-Man, it’s not really over, and really, this is all just a prelude to the upcoming clash between Spidey and the Green Goblin.
The way this story actually wraps up was surprisingly simple, last issue ended with Spider-Man ‘outing’ Phil Urich as the Hobgoblin, and whilst there is initially some denial from Phil, he does eventually admit it, and Spider-Man brings him in with fairly little fuss. I suppose this efficiency shouldn’t really come as a surprise, we are seeing the ‘superior’ Spider-Man after all, and this issue once again really showed how different this Spidey is to the original version. He’s thinking outside the box, and it’s effective. Of course, there are ethical complications to what Spidey did, and Joe Robertson may have a point when he says that outing Phil only made things worse.
What’s more interesting is what comes after Phil is captured. It looks like SpOck is planning to execute him, but it’s only a timely phone-call from Captain America, reminding him he’s on Avengers-probation that stops Spider-Man from once again killing his enemy. I like this running plotline of the Avengers being suspicious of Spider-Man, and it’s worth noting that Spider-Man wasn’t in Infinity #1, I’m guessing he’s going to be kicked out fairly sharpish.
In the end, Phil Urich is rescued from prison by none other than Menace, who, to be honest, I had actually forgotten about, but it makes sense that she would be involved in whatever it is ‘The Goblin King’ has going on. Phil is accepted into Gobby’s fold, and takes a new name, Goblin Knight, which is pretty cool I suppose. Once again, the identity of the Green Goblin is left ambiguous, if it’s not Norman Osborn, then who the hell is it?
I’m really digging this book right now, especially because there’s so much going on, so many subplots and little ideas crammed into each issue. Added into the mix here was The Wraith and Carlie Cooper trying to find out the truth about Spidey, and that took a very interesting turn here, they interrogate one of the Spider-Henchmen and find out that he’s clean, he’s not ex-Hydra or anything like that, which surprised me. I love the fact that Carlie is going to ‘follow the money’, could SpOck be undone not by the Green Goblin or the Avengers, but by his banking? I would find that hilarious.
What else? Hmmm… Humberto Ramos’ artwork was excellent as usual, I’m very interested in seeing what’s next for Norah Winters, and I loved seeing mention of The Loners again, that was a fun mini-series. That’s the good kind of continuity nod, stuff like that, and when Slott points out the ridiculous number of Daily Bugle staffers who are villains, that was fun. Basically, this was another great issue of a great series, and next issue, Spider-Man 2099 is getting involved, I am hyped.
Indestructible Hulk #12– The Hulk’s jaunt through time continues to be a hell of a lot of fun. I find that often, time-travel stories can get way too complicated and into their own mechanics, but here, whilst Waid isn’t just being dumb about it, he’s making sure that in amongst the minutiae of ‘time radiation’ and ‘chronarchists’ we still get to see the Hulk punch some Dinosaurs in the Old West, which is, you know, pretty damn great. Time being ‘broken’ thanks to Age Of Ultron, basically means that Waid can do whatever he wants and break the established rules of time-travel, so really, anything goes, and that’s a relief.
So yeah, this issue has Hulk team up with 3 of Marvel’s classic Western heroes, The Two-Gun Kid, Kid Colt and The Rawhide Kid, to fight an evil time-travelr and his dinosaur minions. If you don’t like the sound of that, you shouldn’t be reading comics. I’m a big fan of those cheesy old 1950s Western comics, and it’s always great to see these characters show up again, and Waid wrote them really well I feel, yes, they are silly, and yes, the word ‘Kid’ was over-used, but they are crack-shots, and they are fun. The villain, ‘Tok Baltusar’ was pretty good too, although from the initial silhoutte we saw, I thought it was Apocalypse, so his real identity was a bit of a disappointment, but his crazy-ass plan to turn silver into ‘time-rocks’ or something made up for it. This whole storyline is just Waid going for it with weird ideas for time-travel, and it all works for me.
I also really enjoy the new dynamic between Hulk and Banner, who is trapped inside a ROB robot, and who’s main job is to keep Hulk angry and insult him. It must be a lot of fun for Banner to be able to call his alter-ego stupid to his face. In the end, Hulk and the Cowboys save the day, but Hulk is zapped back into the time-stream, where he comes face to face with King Arthur and the original Black Knight!
Oh yes, Waid has done Marvel Westerns, now he’s doing Marvel Medieval, this story is awesome. I liked this book before, but these last 2 issues have really made me love this series, maybe I’m just a child who likes to see Hulk punch Dinosaurs and meet King Arthur, but this is a silly story being told in style, and Waid is taking it seriously, so the goofiness is not all that’s going on, it’s just a bonus!
Matteo Scalera once again impressed me with his pencils, he draws a mean Dinosaur, and his style makes all of the weird, incongruous elements of this story fit together.
Nova #7– This was an OK issue of Nova, nothing special really, but I feel like this title is doing a really good job of being an all-ages title that you could give to a teenage kid who has no idea about the Marvel Universe, and Sam Alexander could be their guide. Given that I’m not a newcomer, it does feel a little samey, but it’s done with a good sense of humour and there are fresh moments in here too.
Sam has headed to New York to try and really be a superhero, but of course, he runs into problems, like the Police and then Spider-Man. I really enjoyed Sam’s interactions with Spidey here, especially because it was a Spider-Man of the Superior variety, and he acted like such a hilarious dick. Teaming up with Spider-Man is kind of a rite of passage for new superheroes, so it was fun to see Zeb Wells subvert that and have Spider-Man refuse to help him. I also loved the cameo from Iron Man, as Spidey showed to Nova that NYC already has too many superheroes and they don’t really need another one, which is not only a fun bit of meta-commentary, but true.
So Sam heads to somewhere without 500 superheroes, Los Angeles, only to once again screw up, as he interrupts a Movie-shoot, and comes face to face with a Director who looks a lot like Joss Whedon. This was more meta stuff, and it also worked for me, especially ‘Joss’ line about how maybe he could use Sam in a future movie, could that be Avengers 2? Heh.
Basically, this issue showed how it’s actually quite difficult to be a superhero, as everything Sam tries to do backfires in some way, and he ends up doing what his mother suggested in the first place, fixing the Skate Park he destroyed. I like that this book is not just slotting the character right into traditional superhero stories, that it’s trying to do something different, and my suspicion is that Nova is far more suited to outer-space adventures than stopping robberies in New York. Luckily (or unluckily), Infinity is just around the corner and Sam will probably end up in all kinds of cosmic mess, I’m excited to see what that’s like.
One other interesting element of this series is the role of the New Warriors, as both Justice and Speedball show up in this issue, discussing whether or not to reform the band. It was a lot of fun seeing those two again, and I’m excited to see where they are going with this, it’s obviously going to be sad when they find out that this new Nova isn’t Richard Rider, but are we going to be getting a new New Warriors?
This is still a fun book, Wells’ take on Sam is great, he does seem like a naïve kid, and Paco Medina’s art is perfect, this just felt like a placeholder, let’s hope the Infinity tie-ins get things moving faster.
Daredevil #30– Out of all of Marvel’s vast array of characters, Daredevil is probably the most ‘street-level’ of them all. Even someone like The Punisher gets turned into a Frankenstein or becomes ‘Space Punisher’ every once in a while, but apart from the 5 minutes he became an Avenger, Matt Murdock stays pretty far away from the more cosmic side of the Marvel Universe. But not anymore! Mark Waid has slowly moved Daredevil more and more into the bright, superhero world, and this issue really takes things to the extreme as Daredevil comes face to face with the goddamn Silver Surfer. Even though these two characters exist in the same universe, they’ve never met before, and occupy completely different spheres, so it was a hell of a lot of fun to see them interact, and Waid, the master of looking at continuity and characters in new ways that he is, finds a way to really make it work.
The actual plot of Ru’Ach the evil alien is fairly unimportant here, what’s important is getting to see Daredevil fly around on the Surfer’s board, which is just a sheer fanboyish delight. I also loved how Waid and Samnee explored how Surfer saw the world, so much of this book has been about showing how Daredevil views things differently, and here, we got that for another character, which was very cool. It was also great how Surfer, even with ‘The Power Cosmic’ couldn’t see Ru’Ach, but Daredevil could.
Speaking of Samnee, it was fantastic to have him back on art duties here, he’s so damn good, he really deserves that Eisner, and more besides. He meshes perfectly with the tone that Waid uses here, and every panel looks great. He also draws an awesome Silver Surfer. If he ever leaves Daredevil (god forbid, but it will happen eventually), I’d love to see him do a Surfer book, he’s great at the street-level stuff here, but imagine Samnee cutting loose in space? Wow.
I never thought I’d see a team-up between Daredevil and Silver Surfer, but I have now, and I’m glad I did, it’s crazy that these two characters can interact, but that’s what’s so great about the Marvel Universe (and the DC one too I suppose), you’ve got all kinds of genres and settings all in one, you can do anything, and with upcoming issues set to feature the a load of Marvel’s horror characters, it looks like Waid and Samnee are really doing that.
There’s also some continuing subplot stuff here, with Kirsten McDuffie replacing Foggy, which should be interesting, but the main thing at play with this issue is seeing two completely different worlds collide, and two masterful creators making it work.
Avengers #18– This issue confirmed it, if you picked up Infinity #1 last week, you need to start getting Avengers and New Avengers too, these aren’t just meaningless tie-ins, big things happen here!
This issue follows the Avengers out into space as they attempt to stop The Builders by teaming up with… the entire Galaxy. This issue focuses initially on a meeting of the Galactic Council, the same council that has been appearing in Guardians Of The Galaxy. You’ve got the Kree, the Spartax, the Shi’Ar, the Badoon, and now, even the Skrulls. Basically, any important alien race is here, preparing for war, and our heroes are just a small part of it. It’s pretty interesting that the Avengers are not a big part of this war, because, on a cosmic scale, we are fairly unimportant. Other planets have thousands, millions of soldiers present, but Earth only has 18. It’s certainly humbling, and it really gets across the scale of the threat Hickman has set up here.
In many ways, this issue reminded me of the likes of Annihilation and the other cosmic events. A lot of the major players from those stories by Giffen and DnA are present here, and this feels like the next step in that story, only now, it’s not a small event off to the side, it’s the main Marvel crossover for 2013, which is pretty great. Marvel said they wanted to make Marvel Cosmic into a bigger deal, and they’ve done so, first with the new Nova and Guardians titles, and now with secretly turning the Avengers into Marvel Cosmic. It’s awesome to see, and I certainly hope that people who read Infinity will go back and read those other series, because they were just as good as this event.
This issue features the first big battle, and it’s pretty crazy, especially as it’s not the kind of fight you tend to see in superhero stories, this is an interstellar dogfight, with space-ships, and the scale of it is very impressive. Leinil Yu’s art really adds to the epic feel of this story, as even though the fight only lasts a few pages, it feels huge. It was also great to see Yu draw some Skrulls again, he proved the master of drawing the green guys in Secret Invasion, and he’s back at it again, only this time… Super-Skrull is involved.
The ending of this issue was pretty shocking, as The Builders reveal that their fleet was a distraction, only a small part, and start really laying waste, some of the Avengers escape thanks to Manifold, but the likes of Captain Marvel and Hawkeye are left stranded. It’s looking bleak, and throughout this issue, I had Thanos in the back of my head, the Avengers are out there trying to save the world from one threat, but there’s a bigger one back home.
This is such a good crossover already, after only 2 issues, I’m loving it, Hickman is at the top of his game here, and he’s even doing proper characterisation! Cannonball and Sunspot are still hilarious, Spider-Woman’s history with Skrulls is mentioned, as were Captain Marvel’s piloting skills. Now that the Avengers are getting proactive, their personalities are coming to the fore, it’s just a shame it could all end in tears.
X-Men #4– After being really disappointed by the last issue, this one was a big improvement and brought me back into the fold. I still think the concept of an all-female team of X-Men is a little strange, but these are all great characters, and Wood writes them really well. I think my issues with #3 were more to do with the Arkea character than anything else.
This issue is split into two separate stories. The first involves Jubilee and baby Shogo hanging around with Wolverine in California as she reminisces about her past, and wonders if she’s made the right choice in bringing a baby into the mad world of the X-Men. These were fantastic scenes, I know some people don’t like Wolverine’s platonic relationships with teenage girls, but I think they are great, and being a 90s kid, it was Wolverine and Jubilee for me, so I got a twinge of nostalgia seeing them together again. This issue also served as a nice recap and reintroduction of the Jubilee character, who has been gone from the X-Books for far too long. We even got confirmation that she’s still a vampire, which was weird, but necessary I suppose. I loved this whole story, it showed Wolverine at his best, and made Jubilee important again, really good character work from Wood.
The other story involved the rest of Storm’s team trying to save an aeroplane from crashing. It was a fairly simple plan, and it was actually reminiscent of what Bane did at the start of Dark Knight Rises. What was interesting here was the character stuff, like Rachel Grey arguing with Storm about Storm’s willingness to kill Arkea, and seeing how Psylocke is stretching her powers, here, she uses a psychic crossbow, which is pretty great. I also enjoyed Rogue’s attitude in this issue, unlike a lot of others, I have no real problem with how Remender is writing her in Uncanny Avengers, but it was good to see her having fun here, she’s been so emo in that book, and she’s pretty emo already.
David Lopez’s artwork was solid here, he’s not as good as Coipel, but few people are, and he drew everything very well, and since this issue was very talky, his facial expressions were very important, and very good, Psylocke’s eye-roll in particular.
This was a nice, cool-down issue in between the opening arc and ‘Battle For The Atom’ and it turned me around on this book, Wood does have a handle on these characters and I’m excited to see where he goes.
Cable And X-Force #13– Damn you Hopeless and Bunn! All I wanted was a one-issue story with Doctor Nemesis and Forge bickering with each other whilst saving the world, and what do I get? 2 pages of that glory until the rest of X-Force swoop in and do it for them! I swear vengeance! If you thought the Avengers Arena haters were bad, if you thought the irrational Annabelle Riggs fans were bad… You haven’t seen nothing yet! I WILL DESTROY YOU! Ahem, sorry, got a little bit out of control there.
Apart from the disappointment over the lack of Forge/Nemesis buddy-cop fun, this was another strong issue of Cable And X-Force, and one which once more provided some very interesting answers.
We get a more detailed explanation as to how and why ‘Future Hope’ (don’t call her Old Hope, that’s mean) and Blaquesmith started giving Cable his premonitions. The ‘how’ is that they used a Deathlok, and the ‘why’ is because, in the original timeline, Cable retired after AvX, and the world went to shit without him, so Hope needed to change things. The ‘real’ Hope of course admonishes her future self for this, saying that it hasn’t worked, and she may end up just killing their dad. I wonder if Age Of Ultron and the ‘time-quake’ is to blame for the complications here, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was.
Speaking of Cable, he appears here in a psychic sequence, where he finally explains the truth behind his actions to his Uncle Havok. A lot of stuff in X-Men comics these days could probably be sorted out if the characters just sat down and had a conversation, so it was good to see that happening, but it may be too late, because the rest of X-Force are at the doors to the Avengers Mansion to rescue Cable.
It looks like we are going to get yet another round in the fight between these two teams, and I am excited. Now that Hopeless has revealed what’s been going on behind the curtain, this book has moved onto the next stage, and it’s getting bigger and better.
The only real problem with this issue is the artwork, Salvador Larrocca only draws the first half, and the rest is by Gerardo Sandoval, who has a completely different style, very cartoony and angular. I don’t mind fill-ins, but I prefer more consistency.
Superman Unchained #3– Scott Snyder and Jim Lee’s take on Superman continues to develop nicely, as this third issue contains a healthy dose of action, along with some interesting plot developments and take on Superman’s morality that I’m sure will provoke some discussion.
Superman is deep underground, and faced with the US Government’s ‘other Superman’, who we learn is called Wraith, which is a pretty clichéd name, but I did like the reasoning for it here. Wraith is an acronym for ‘William Rudolph’s Ace In The Hole’, Rudolph being the Army general who first utilised him back in 1938. In this issue, we find out a lot more about Wraith’s back-story, and also about the branch of government both he and General Lane are working for, ‘The Machine’, who are some kind of shadowy operation that has secretly policed the world for the last century or so. It’s pretty fascinating to see this secret side of the DC Universe, and to see what other real world events Wraith got involved with. Wraith looks like being an interesting character, he’s not really a villain, because he’s been working for the US Government to save the world, and he clearly likes and respects Superman. But that last page, where he says he’s going to have to kill him is very telling, he’s not a free agent like Superman, he follows orders. And if the fight he and Supes have in this issue, he’s a credible threat.
That fight was very well-done, Jim Lee’s art really shone here, I’m not the biggest fan of his stuff, but nobody does big, superhero action like he does, you feel every punch, and of course, there’s lots of rubble.
The part of this issue that will probably cause the most interest is when General Lane takes Superman to task and calls him a coward and a murderer. Lane says that because Superman isn’t proactive and doesn’t get involved in invading other countries and taking out evil dictators and things like that, he’s culpable for all of those deaths. That by keeping things simple and just stopping disasters as they come along, he’s not really helping the world like Wraith and The Machine are. This is an interesting take on the character, and one that makes sense coming from a soldier, but I don’t really buy it, not least because I feel superhero comics are best staying away from solving real world issues, to have Superman just fly in and save the DCU Sudan is disrespectful to the real Sudan. It’s interesting, and I’d be interested to hear what everyone else thinks, especially in the wake of Man Of Steel.
Snyder also keeps us up to date with his various subplots, including a gloriously insane escape from Lex Luthor, and the threat of ‘The Ascension’ and Lois Lane’s plane crashing. I really enjoyed these scenes with Lois, as she managed to mostly save the day herself, not with Superman’s help. But what’s the deal with that weird dude who rescued her from the lake? There’s a lot going on in this story and it’s going to be interesting to see how Snyder ties The Ascension, Wraith and now this dude into one another.
It’s just so refreshing to have a good Superman book on the shelves, those few months in between the end of Morrison’s run and this book’s launch were bleak times man. Throw in an epilogue that sets up Jimmy Olsen for an important role, and I’m a happy bunny.
Wonder Woman #23– Brian Azzarello’s run on Wonder Woman has been a slow burn, each issue is good, but it’s all building towards something bigger, and in this issue, we reached a crescendo point, as the battle between Wonder Woman and the First Born really kicked into gear and shit got fucked up and this title made some serious changes.
This issue was basically just one big fight between Diana’s motley group, and the First Born’s army of Jackal Men, and it was great, as everyone got a chance to shine, Orion and First Born had an awesome fight, War summoned an army of ghost soldiers, Hera got to demonstrate some actual character growth, and most importantly of all, Wonder Woman cut loose and took the fight to someone in a really hardcore manner. Has it been established before that Wonder Woman taking off her gauntlets means she gets more powerful? It rings a bell, but maybe it’s new.
Cliff Chiang draws this entire epic fight, and man, it looks amazing, he’s been so consistently great on this title since the beginning, but this action-heavy piece may be the best yet, because he’s being asked to do more. In the end, just as the First Born is about to kill War and take his Godhood, Wonder Woman stabs both of them, killing War and leaving the First Born gravely wounded. This means that… Wonder Woman is the new God Of War, which is, wow, a pretty crazy development. Azzarello has not been shy about shaking up this character, first he completely changed her origin, and now this. I can’t wait to see what becoming an actual God will do to Diana, and how this will change the story going forwards.
In many ways, this feels like the ending of the first act of Azzarello’s story. Central characters like Lennox and War are now dead, and it looks like Apollo is stepping up his game and has something planned for First Born. Next month’s break for Villain’s month really does make this an ending, but I can’t wait for the new beginning. This is one of the best issues so far of one of DC’s best titles, and I never thought I’d be saying that about a Wonder Woman book. The God Of War is dead, long live the God Of War!
Animal Man #23– Another excellent issue of Animal Man, this book really has been on a hot-streak since Rotworld ended.
This issue continued the twin plotlines of Animal Man Vs the Splinterfolk and Maxine’s hunt for Cliff inside The Red, but brilliantly combined them in the end for one hell of a cliffhanger (and that’s not just because Cliff’s soul is hanging on the edge). It doesn’t look like Animal Man has a Villain’s Month issue, so it’s going to be a long two months wait to see what the heck is going to happen next.
We open once again with some fun satire of the media, Lemire really is using Buddy Baker’s life as a celebrity to good effect, as the public seem to believe that the battle with the Splinterfolk may just have been a viral stunt for Buddy’s Oscar campaign, which is pretty clever, and depressingly realistic. Lemire’s version of Twitter is very close to how dickish real people can be. Thankfully, Maxine’s journey into The Red is a bit more fun, as she and Shepherd team up with some awesome Animal Pirates to go sail into the Red Sea to try and rescue her brother’s soul. It sounds ridiculous, and it is, but she’s a 4 year-old kid, and these characters were imagined by her, so it makes sense. But come on, you have to love a Pirate Giraffe.
The x-factor in this story is Brother Blood, who, unbeknownst to Animal Man is just about to drink his blood and gain access to The Red, he does so, and immediately, everything goes to shit. Buddy starts freaking out, and so does Maxine, and Brother Blood enters the Red and starts killing cute Animal creatures. I loved the speed of the ending here, and the twist that one of the three Totem dudes was conspiring against the others was brilliant. Brother Blood was always one of the least interesting Teen Titans villains to me, but with this issue, Jeff Lemire has made me like him a lot, and has made him a true threat to Animal Man.
Steve Pugh and Francis Portela’s artwork was once again excellent, they really do fit perfectly on a book that straddles two worlds. I will say though, I am extremely excited for Rafael Albuquerque to jump on board, he’s going to make up for the 2 month wait.
Justice League Dark #23– Things are starting to become much clearer to me when it comes to the overall story of ‘Trinity War’. At first, it was confusing, you had the threat of the Secret Society on one hand, and Pandora and her box on the other, and it was unclear how and if they were related, but I think the ending to this issue has the answer. The box is a doorway to somewhere, and I think that doorway is to Earth 3, the world of the Crime Society Of Amerika, and next issue, The Outsider is going to open the box, and out will come Ultraman and Owlman and all the rest of those guys and Forever Evil will begin. You can bet your life on it.
Most of this issue was focussed on Pandora’s Box, and it possessing people and making them totally eeeeeeevil. Wonder Woman starts out with it, but Shazam soon comes in and grabs it, and something weird happens, it not only turns his costume black (is this how Black Adam comes back?) but it sends out some weird shockwaves that attack all of the other magical heroes in the DCU. I found it interesting that this shockwave managed to reach across into Earth 2 and Doctor Fate. Not only does this show how powerful this box is, but it reinforces my belief that Earth 3 is inside it.
The way the box managed to make all of the various heroes go crazy for it was a bit clichéd, but it was effective, and I liked seeing Zatanna really demonstrate her powers and kick a little ass, it was also great how John Constantine was able to pick it up and not be corrupted, because he’s already corrupt, I loved that.
I find it interesting that Lemire and Johns have kept a lot of the characters in the various Justice Leagues away from Pandora and the Outsider, the likes of Superman, Green Arrow, Cyborg and more are trapped under the rubble of ARGUS and dealing with the slightly more mundane problem of Amanda Waller’s treacherous nature. So even though I think I’ve got the mystery figured out, that strange dual nature of this story is still present. Perhaps it’s just that there are way too many characters in the Justice Leagues, and not all of them can be central.
Once again, Mikel Janin’s artwork was very good, these two issues are the first time I’ve seen his art, and I think he’s destined for great things, I’m very interested in seeing what he does next, perhaps a stint on a Superman book?
This crossover has been surprisingly good so far, and if Johns can tie everything together at the end, then all the better. It’s great to see someone like Jeff Lemire rise to do doing most of the heavy lifting on a big crossover like this, he and Jonathan Hickman are living the dream!
Green Lantern: New Guardians #23– Man, the Blue Lanterns have it rough don’t they? First Odym gets destroyed by those Blue Beetle dudes, and now their new planet gets nuked by Relic. They, not the Red Lanterns, are ironically the Redshirts of the Green Lantern universe, which is kind of sad, especially because this issue killed off that awesome Elephant guy.
This issue opens with the Blue Lantern pokemon, Andara, fleeing from it’s Lantern, and then Relic showing up to take down the Blues. The fight between our heroes and Relic was pretty interesting, because it was so one-sided, Relic was so much more powerful than even White Lantern Kyle. I’m finding Relic to be an interesting villain, especially as the little snippets about him come out into the open, the fact that he’s doing this for a ‘love for everything’ is intriguing, and the conversation between him and one of the Guardians inside his brain was tantalising as well. It looks like he’s a survivor from the Universe that existed before this one (OMG! He’s Wally West!), one that was destroyed by people who wielded the emotional light, and he wants revenge. I know we’re all hating on Villain’s Month, but I’m actually kind of excited for his issue and to find out what his deal really is.
This issue ends in a pretty shocking way, Kyle, Carol and Saint Walker escape to Oa, but Relic basically destroys the rest of the Blue Lanterns, and the last page is a surprisingly graphic depiction of their skeletons. It was hardcore, and very well-drawn by Brad Walker. I’m really enjoying Walker’s artwork on this book, he’s very underrated I think, I particularly enjoyed his issues of Superman with Kurt Busiek, and here, he’s reaching new heights. I mean, he’s not experimenting like an Aja or JH Williams, but this is some of the best looking old-school superhero art out there. There’s a reason he pinch-hit on Morrison’s Action Comics.
Justin Jordan’s writing is also solid, but I kind of feel he’s suffering from jumping right into crossover mode, I don’t think we’ve gotten a true sense of his style and personality, but still, this is an enjoyable book, and things are definitely happening in it. This is no ancillary title, if you’re following Hal’s book, you need to check out the Alley Rat’s book too.
Batman ’66 #2– After only 2 issues, Batman ’66 has become one of the highlights of my comics reading month. This book is just so much fun, and it’s a hilarious, loving tribute to the great TV show. I love the grim and gritty Batman we get in the modern DCU as much as the next guy, but this take is just as valid.
This second issue features 2 stories. The first features Batman and Robin going up against both The Penguin and Mister Freeze, who have the brilliantly over-the-top scheme of creating an Iceberg in the middle of Gotham City’s harbour, declaring it a sovereign nation, and charging ships extortion to get into the city. It’s a plan that’s so crazy it just might work… and it does, until Batman and Robin get involved. I think the key to making this series work is that Jeff Parker is not treating everything as a joke, yes, the villains here are campy and silly, and their plan is ridiculous, but Batman and Robin take it seriously, and we see that they really are competent crime-fighters. It was especially cool to see Robin take centre-stage here, he can do more than say ‘Holy BLANK Batman!’.
That said, this story was still funny, and Ty Templeton’s artwork was excellent, he’s got a great old-school style, and it really fits the unique tone of this series.
Regular artist Jonathan Case returns for the second story, which has Batman taking on Lorelei Circe, AKA The Siren, who is a villain who only ever appeared in the Batman TV show, and not in the comics, so it was good to see her show up here. This was another fun story, especially when we went inside Batman’s hallucinations, and Chief O’Hara appeared as a literal Leprechaun! Also notable was that Bruce Wayne’s date to this concert was Kathy Kane, the original Batwoman, are we set to see a Batwoman ’66? I think it would be cool to see Parker introduce campy, 60s versions of other Batman characters, I’d particularly like to see Bane ’66 or Azrael ’66, that would insane. But I suppose for now it’s enough for him to revisit the classics.
I know this book isn’t for everyone, but I’m loving it, these are well-plotted Batman stories, just with the humour dials turned slightly higher. The art is fantastic, and, in a DC landscape where everything is so dark and violent, it’s great to have a bit of Bat-fun. Really, this series is a testament to how great a character Bats is, that this title can come out at the same time as Snyder’s take, or Tomasi’s, is amazing. If you’ve stayed away from this title because you think the TV show was stupid, think again, it’s not stupid, it’s just different.
Not stupid, just different, that basically describes this column! My favourite book this week was the amazing Wonder Woman #23 which was an amazing way to end the first act of this story. If they ever actually do a Wonder Woman movie, they really should base it on Azzarello’s run, even if they do get accused of ripping off Percy Jackson!
Next week is a pretty mega-sized one, with highlights that include Lazarus, FF, Batman/Superman, three books with the word ‘Uncanny’ in the title, more Infinity, more Trinity War and the penultimate issue of Gambit. Join me!
Follow me on Twitter @NiamSuggitt and visit my blog niamsuggitt.tumblr.com, there’s loads of SummerSlam stuff on there this week if you like sweaty men punching each other in real life, and not just on paper.