Holy shit, I read more books this week then I had planned. I was so excited for the finale of Flashpoint and the opening chapter of the new DC Universe I tried to get caught up on all my DC reading. I scoured every corner of the house for DC comics I hadn’t read and went through almost all of them. I almost succeeded, I just have a couple of the retroactive issues, two issues of Action Comics, one issue of Green Lantern and one JLA issue left that I’ll get to eventually. I did get around to reading all the Flashpoint tie-ins I follow. Since it’s such a big week I’ll only post the quick shot reviews today, tomorrow will be the rest consisting of (in no particular order): Flashpoint 5, Flashpoint. The Outsider 2 & 3, Batman. Gates of Gotham 5 and Flashpoint. Batman. Knight of Vengeance 2 & 3.
Quick shots for week 35:
Panel from Red Robin #25, published by DC comics. Red Robin no more?
7. Red Robin #25 (DC comics) 8
This issue actually took me some time to read, which is good. It had interesting, action packed (while maybe a bit over the top) twists and turns (for instance Tim Drake, aka Red Robin, seemingly gets stabbed trough the heart by Cassandra Kane, aka the Black Bat. But later it gets revealed it was all a trick with a foldable katana, and a pack of blood). And after that the story continues for a while, depicting the break up with Tam Fox and Tim’s brand own Batcave. Plus, we get a set-up for some sweet revenge on Captain Boomerang in the next issue.
8. Red Robin #26 (DC comics) 8
Okay so he didn’t have the stones to kill his father’s murderer, Captain Boomerang. Nothing unexpected there, but since it was the last issue before the relaunch I had that feeling that anything could happen. Sadly it didn’t, but we still got an entertaining story, though. Tim sets Boomerang up, so that his own choices will be his demise. But then he can’t go through with it, he wants to pull the trigger himself, but then he can’t go through with THAT either! The only minor irk about this one, was the dialogue of Dick-Batman, who felt a little too silver age Bruce-Batman for me. Bruce himself was spot on though… A good last issue.
9. Power Girl #25 (DC comics) 7.9
First issue I read of this series, and it seems that all the raves about this book were deserved. Fun, quirky writing, telling an interesting story about a Muslim metahuman who gets wrongly detained at Guantanamo and escapes to visit his dying father. Power Girl literally fights up a storm, there are fun dialogues, smart, sharp references to real world politics and vibrant dynamic art. I will definitely be on the lookout for any Power Girl trades, and if they decide to give her a new series with the right creative team I will be very tempted to start picking it up.
10. Red Robin #24 (DC comics) 7.8
Okay, I missed some issues since I last read this title and am pretty much lost now. Tim is involved in a murder tournament and he’s trying to protect someone. This gets him caught and he ends up prisoner of a hot chick who wants to mate with him before killing him… Good art, hot cliffhanger!
11. Flashpoint. Wonder Woman and the Furies #3 (DC comics) 7.7
It’s a good thing, to see the events of other tie-ins play out in this one (most notably the Atlantean-Amazonean war, which is also covered in Emperor Aquaman, and the deployment of the nuke on New Thymiscria from the Hall Jordan series). That creates the feeling of a much stronger shared universe, instead of this just being a couple of money grab books. Art is pretty good, I especially liked the sharp inks by Jose Aviles. This fills in a couple of holes that were left out of the culmination of the war in Emperor Aquaman, though overall it tells more or less the same story.
12. Justice League #1 (DC comics) 7.7
I’m glad they dropped America from their name, seems fair. Now this was… …interesting. I liked the colors, which were really strong. I liked the opening sequence and the last splash of the new Superman (his new suit looks kinda regal and official, like he’s the emissary of Krypton), the rest of the art? Mehh… I initially didn’t like the cocky, reckless Hall Jordan, but as a caricature I understand that he makes interactions in a team interesting. I WAS excited though, to learn that Darkseid appears to be the first big villain. Overall, this feels more like a Brave and the Bold adventure, and not really like the first issue of the flagship team book of the new DC.
13. Batman. The Dark Knight #2 (DC comics) 7.5
What can I say? I’m a sucker for David Finch art. Good art, okay story, not digging the subplots about the monster preying on the homeless though… Uhm… …is Bats driving another Batmobile in this series then in other books?
14. Batman. The Dark Knight #3 (DC comics) 7.5
I like that Juno was stealing the Batmobile. Other than that, this was just an okay issue. Great art once more. Read very fast though. Oh, and did I mention Etrigen the Demon? He’s in here too and he doesn’t speak in rhyme for once, which makes him just a bit more bearable than normal.
15. Flashpoint. Citizen Cold #3 (DC comics) 7.4
Hmmm, this series didn’t feel very satisfying. Other than that it explains why we won’t see Citizen Cold show up in the Flashpoint finale it, just like Deadman and the Flying Greysons, this feels utterly pointless. Sorry for possible spoilers, but Cold goes back to finish the rogues after Iris West takes him in and figures out his real identity as well as his secret. Then he meets with her once more and wants to leave America with her, but is stopped by the Pied Piper, who told Iris that Cold killed Wally West. They fight, Cold gets killed, that’s it. I seriously doubt the potential of this series becoming an interesting collected edition. Still, the art was a little better than the previous issue.
16. Flashpoint Citizen Cold #2 (DC comics) 7.2
The art quality varied a little here and there, as did the story. I like the concept of Cold as a hero, picking off everyone who may uncover his secret, but I feel Scott Kolins (both the writer and artist, although he is mostly known as an artist) has some more growth in him as a writer or storyteller. Especially in the action scenes where Cold is fighting the rest of the Rogues, I felt the action was very unclear.
17. Batman. The Dark Knight #4 (DC comics) 7.2
The dialogues in this felt jarring and unnatural. Art was spot-on, especially the last splash-page reveal, where we see hordes of demons getting ready to attack batman, who can’t see them. This one went by to fast too. I’m starting to think that David Finch should just stick with pencils and turn away from the keyboard. I really believe in creative growth, but I think that’s a venture better undertaken in more independent or lower tier books.
19. Flashpoint. Project Superman #3 (DC comics) 6.7
Another one that actually ties into the main story, Kal El has grown some balls and it seems like he’ll join the fight in Flashpoint #5. The story of this series was okay, the art was pretty good, except for the design of villain Subject zero, which tainted the pages he appears on with the manga-esque.
18. Flashpoint. Hall Jordan #2 (DC comics) 6.3
I always thought it silly that the reader could see Wonder Woman’s invisible plains, but if even Hall Jordan can see them from his jet fighter, then how about renaming them slightly transparent planes? Oh, but wait, two pages later he can’t see them, huh? This felt like a really fast issue, art was okay, nice layouts, but otherwise nothing special. The writing was very cliché and stiff. Basically Hall fights a kind of Amazonian Dragon monster that is attacking Ferris Industry. After that, he tells Carol everything is going to be okay and that he’s gonna pilot the atomic bomb during the invasion of New Thymiscria. Yeah, that’s EXACTLY what I would say…
20. Wonder Woman #614 (DC comics) 6.2
I wanted to check how they wrapped this train wreck up. I started on the J. Michael Strazinski issues, which I liked well enough, and stopped reading when editorial reared its ugly head and got Phil Hester involved with the writing (nothing against Hester, I just can’t stand it when stories are so obviously jumbled around). This issue, has not so great art. The first half of the story is action packed and kind of erases the weird world Diana had been living in the last 14 issues. The second half was a reunion on good old Thymiscria and involved some heavy-handed meta commentary about changes on the Horizon and Wonder Woman meeting such changes head-on.
21. Flashpoint. Hall Jordan #3 (DC comics) 6.2
Carol to Hall: ‘ …have you thought of the repercussions—the thousands of deaths that will lie on your conscience? No father would wish that upon his son.’ That is SO weird to say, when you are not his father and you weren’t talking about anything even remotely related to his father… Well, the last page looked heart breakingly beautiful but the dialogues in this issue were very forced again. This had a great two page spread of jet fighters attacking New Themyscira, but I don’t recommend picking this up unless you really want everything out of Flashpoint or everything related to Green Lantern.
22. Static Shock special #1 (DC comics) 5.9
I had forgotten that this was DC’s Dwayne McDuffie memorial issues, that withstanding: What were they thinking? I have never read Static Shock before, so maybe I’m missing all kinds of things here. But to me this did not read like a good comic. Notwithstanding the art, this remained somewhat enjoyable, but the last page ups the heavy-handed writing infinitely: ’I will never let evil go standing. Taking it out wherever I find it. I am the legacy.’ The two page McDuffie tribute with John Paul Leone art, totally made up for the 21 pages prior.
23. Batman. The Dark Knight #5 (DC comics) 5.7
Such a shame. I had really wanted this title to be a success. But it seems that the editorial ruckus at DC, combined with David Finch still finding his feet as a writer, have worked against this book. This feels like the conclusion of a story that was intended to be stretched over more issues. Both art (not by Finch) and writing took a bad dip. Critical things were left out of the story, like how Batman and Etrigen defeated demon mistress Blaze, how Etrigen got his rhyme back, or how Batman hooked up with the car thief from earlier in the series.