Hello, hello, howdy folks and welcome back for the first time in weeks! Life got ahead of me and these were put on hold. This week was absolutely fantastic for DC, we had nothing but wins all week. From Starfire’s costume announcement, to the amazing comic content, to the resurrection of the Super Sons title, DC really dropped some delicious news. Now, onto the comic talk.
My comic pull list gave me some glorious gifts. DC and my LCS really got some dollars from me, the variant covers were absolute fire. Red Hood #51 variant with that crowbar content was sent right off to CBCS. If you were able to get that free issue with the Future State announcements, hang onto it and don’t let anything happen to it!
ACTION COMICS #1027
#1026 gave us a false sense of security. While Kara, Conner, Jon, and Brainiac-5 worked to bring down and contain Parasite, Clark and Lois were facing much larger problems.
Lois has been struggling to expose the lies behind some of the Daily Planet’s operators, but before she can help Clark get his article out, the FBI comes down hard on her. To make matters worse, as the problem Parasite is taken care of, the FBI slams a pair of cuffs on Lois. She is under arrest and her family is forced to watch…
All except Clark. While the other Supers (plus one Brainiac) were busy holding their own, he ran off to fight Red Cloud. No doubt the murder of his friend weighing heavily on his mind…But how will this turn out?
SPOILERS AHEAD FOR ACTION COMICS #1027
Lois has been apprehended by the FBI on accusations that she is not from this Earth, Marisol Leone has disappeared, Clark’s battling Red Cloud, and the rest of the Super Fam has just taken out Parasite… Now it’s time to help Clark. The narrative toggles between Lois’s Q&A with the FBI and the Superfam’s fight against Red Cloud, and as could be expected for Bendis, he keeps us engaged even when the stories flip.
At the beginning, things aren’t look so well for Clark. Red Cloud has taken him out but Kara swoops in to save the day. Things wrap up rather quickly, as soon as Leone disappears, Red Cloud fades to black and Robinson Goode returns. Clark kindly offers Leone the choice between residing in the Phantom Zone, or living out her days locked up back on Earth. Yeah, I’d have chosen Earth, too.
From there, the Superfam reconvenes in the sky above Metropolis. The threat of Red Cloud may be gone (for now), but yet another looms in the distance: S.T.A.R. Labs. And for a moment, both Bendis and Romita remind us of the truly awesome power Superman holds.
Thankfully, that was a bit of a dream sequence. Jon calls his father back from his daydream, and they let S.T.A.R. Labs alone. Sure, Clark could just tear down the building, but he has never been one to do something so horribly destructive. Instead, Clark puts his faith in the ability of government authorities to take down S.T.A.R. Labs once Lois’s tell all article drops.
With the crisis averted, Brainiac-5 decides his time in the past is up. He politely thanks the Superfam, shares a secret with Kara, and then takes his leave. As soon as Brainiac’s gone, sensitive ears pick up on one word: Smallville. At Lois’s call, the others come running… But there’s no trouble, only surprise.
For any of y’all out there who have read Matt Fraction’s laugh out loud hilarity that is Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen, you (like me) may have been anxiously waiting for this little juicy development to drop. Perry is going to eat his shoes because Jimmy Olsen just became everybody’s boss.
The creative team from last issue continues here… and we’ve still got Bendis writing, Romita Jr. on pencils, Klaus Janson inking, and Brad Anderson delivering on great colors.
Romita’s artwork is always a joy (for me) to see. When it comes to comics, his style and technique undeniably make him an outlier, and you always know when he’s worked on an issue. To reiterate what I said before: Romita’s got it down when it comes to contour lines. He really knows how to use linework to create movement even when there may not be any. Romita’s also hardly ever guilty of same face syndrome. The characters he draws are all unique and easily distinguishable from one another. When a ton of this week’s roster had black hair, blue eyes, and was wicked built, it was nice to se that Romita made each character distinguishable from the other. Sure, Clark, Conner, and Jon share the same genes, but they shouldn’t look the same (as is the fate with much of the Batfam, yeah I’ll say it).
Speaking of keeping characters distinct, there is also a whole lot of red and blue going on in this issue. Between the Supers and Red Cloud, one might expect everyone to blend together, but that is not the case. Anderson gives us a treat with his color combinations. Even when the Superfam is wrapped up in the Red Cloud, it’s pretty easy to tell one from the other.
Throughout the House of Kent arc, I’ve really found a lot to enjoy when it comes to the art. I’ve got some friends complaining about Romita, but they can all go whine somewhere else. Personally, I hope to see this creative team again when Action Comics #1028 drops next month. At the very least, I’d like to see Romita on pencils, and definitely Janson on inks because he does create work bringing Romita’s pencils to life.
NECESSARY OR NAH?
The House of Kent storyline has been pretty action packed. This issue wrapped up this multi-part story, while setting the stage for something new. If you had not been reading this from the last few issues, what’s going on isn’t going to make sense.
House of Kent: Overall I’d say this was a good story. Bendis is one of my favorite writers, and he handles stories with multiple characters and plot points better than most. If you had not picked up these issues and were considering it, I would definitely recommend. Still, other background knowledge is somewhat necessary to enjoy this 6 issue event to it’s fullest.
If there is one thing you won’t want to miss, it’s Action Comics #1028. Can’t wait to see Clark’s reaction to his new boss.
BATMAN BEYOND #49
Terry’s been through some tough times, but I guess that’s just what happens when you take over for Bruce. Last week, we all experienced (quite rapidly) the death of Matt McGinnis and the tumultuous upset of Terry’s world as he was stolen by Booster Gold and tossed into the not so distant past.
And for what? A mission to save Bruce Wayne from the past from a new villain clad in white. Our heroes have all been caught in a wild firestorm, but the Batman of before doesn’t seen too keen on Batman Beyond. What’s Terry to do. I’m hoping for a team up, but Booster’s not likely to let Terry meddle with the past too much… He already saved his father, after all.
SPOILERS AHEAD FOR BATMAN BEYOND #49
The fires from last issue continue to burn bright at the beginning of #49. Booster and Terry are working together, but Booster’s quickly found himself in trouble… He’s pretty much always in trouble so what else is new. Terry has a moment with his father, and Jurgens dedicates a two page spread to Terry’s fond memories with his father. Then it’s back to business.
Blanque takes down the Batman of the past, but before he can read Bruce’s mind, Terry and Booster swoop in to save him. Sort of. Really they just take charge of the fight. Terry, fueled by the rage and upset over losing Matt, take down Blanque. He returns to have one last word with his father, who is still a child in 2020, if you forgot, before meeting back up with Booster.
Soon, we’re back to the future and Terry celebrates a win. While Terry and Matt grab some grub, Bruce lingers behind in his chair… And a shadowy figure approaches. It’s none other than Booster Gold, but something is different this time. He’s older, and looking a bit rundown.
Turns out, Bruce needed to plant the seed for what’s… to come? For what’s happening? Or already happened? Either way, he needed Terry’s father to see the costume of Batman Beyond. Bruce being Bruce couldn’t have just told Terry this. In natural Bruce fashion, he chose to talk to Matt and set up a plot to trick Terry into going with Booster Gold to the year 2020. Bruce knew that Terry would encounter his father (as a child), tell him to keep this Batsuit a secret, and then fly off to save the day. “Killing” Matt in front of Terry sure was one hell of a way to do this, but upon his return Terry felt victorious and had a smile on his face so whatever trauma he definitely suffered has either been buried or relieved from his mind.
While this creative team currently running Batman Beyond has done a great job, there isn’t much that I find really pops with each issue. Everything looks good, but there is some uniqueness missing, some stylistic element. Some of my favorite moments the last few issues have actually revolved around the color job, the colorist has done a fantastic job coloring these issues. Furthermore, the inks give some terrific depth to these characters. Case in point!
NECESSARY OR NAH?
When it comes to Batman Beyond, I’m not the one to ask. Any issue with Terry is a must have for me. If you picked up last week’s issue, you’ll definitely find #49 necessary. Jurgens wraps up last issue’s fight rather quickly, all while bringing Terry back to the future to a safe, alive, happy Matt McGinnis. Also, if you’re a Booster Gold fan, this is an issue to have if only just for Michael.
We also had some moments with great banter thanks to Skeets.
Next week will be the last issue of this run. I’ll be sad to see Batman Beyond go, but excited to see when a hardcover will be announced for this series. Jurgens’ work on this has been incredibly enjoyable, and I also believe this has had some of the better art out of all the Rebirth runs, so having it all collected in a beautiful omnibus would be fantastic.
Super/Bat #14 gave us a little bit of everyone. While Batwoman and Steel were on their way to rescue Batman and Superman, we were given the lay of the land for where these two ended up.
Batman’s batcomputer developed a mind of it’s own and really put those two through the ringer. After duking it out (okay, Batman let a Joker bot run loose because why not?) the pair made their way to each other and were able to catch up.
Still, the batcomputer was not satisfied with the information gathered… What best way to really learn about the hero/villain relationship than to do a little work on your own? An so, we have ourselves yet another Super/Bat fusion monster!
SPOILERS AHEAD FOR BATMAN/SUPERMAN #14
While Superman sped off towards Earth to fight the Super/Bat computer generated robot… Batman, Batwoman, and Steel were left to think of a plan to defeat the hoard of robots hot on their tail. The heavy lifting was left to Batwoman, and Bruce got to work with Steel on a way to take down the haywire computer program.
Meanwhile, down on Earth, Superman was trying the same technique we had seen in Superman #26 and #27 in his fight with Synmar. Instead of going right for the fight, Clark stopped and attempted to reason with the computer program. It was built to help take down villains, so why should it become one? Super/Bat was not in the mood to be reasoned with and went in for the kill, forcing Clark to fight back.
Batman and Superman have both decided that reasoning with this program is the way to go. When Batwoman comments that he program is like a child, Bruce (who is well know for his fabulous parenting skills), has decided he must talk to it. On both ends, Batman and Superman are able to ask the right questions, forcing the program to shut itself down.
Crisis averted, everyone reconvenes in the Batcave, where Batman has decided to store the program he and Superman built… On a more primitive computer. With this villain out of the way, everyone leaves Bruce in the dust.
Love that everyone gives and excuse and then we have Kate over here totally peacing out. No excuse necessary, she is just all set, thanks.
Alrighty folks, it isn’t often I dislike both cover options. In fact, I’m often purchasing the main and the variant cover for the comics I’ve got sitting on my pull list. Neither the main nor the variant did it for me with Batman/Superman #14. Now, that is not to say the art was not great, as always it does look good, but there was no strong evocation of feeling from me. I didn’t happily shout, “Oh! I would love that cover!” and place it on my pull in advance… And I definitely didn’t throw my hands in the air and say, “Damn it to Hell, I want both covers this month!” It just didn’t happen. For comparison, I’ll put them both together for us:
There is nothing inherently wrong with either of these. The main cover is eerie; you know something isn’t quite right. The right has a great action sequence. Still, neither of these are “loud.” In a way, each cover blends into itself. The main has too many of the same reds, browns, and blacks. The cover on the right, while it has some spectacular inks, does not have enough color pop to make the characters and their surroundings easily distinguishable from one another. The art itself is still gorgeous, but not what I personally look for in a cover.
As far as the writing goes, I loved this kid:
NECESSARY OR NAH?
Batman is in quite a few titles these days, and sometimes I really am sick of him… That said, I always find enjoyment with the Batman/Superman book. The last annual was a disappointment, but other than that, this run has been solid. The writing and stories have been fun to follow, with both Batman and Superman being written fairly true to character. There’s been humor as well as hard to swallow truths, and seeing these two interact will likely bring a smile to your face regardless of the topic.
It is no secret that these two balance out well, not only as Batman and Superman, but also while in their civilian identities. Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent are hearty foils. If you have enjoyed these two separately, you’ll likely enjoy the accompanying dichotomy witnessed when they are together.
DETECTIVE COMICS #1031
‘Tec has been heating up over the last few issues. Obviously Batman’s broke because Bruce Wayne is broke, but that doesn’t mean he can’t get around. Last issue Batman called an emergency meeting between Gotham’s beloved Bats and Birds, though they were soon chased off a rooftop…
Before all that, we were gifted a solemn look into the private life of Nakano, who is clearly still struggling with the night he lost his partner and his eye during Joker War. His obsession with masks though? Quite similar to The Mirror…
Damian Wayne is last on the list, as he appeared towards the end. Hanging from the beams in the GCDP, Dame’s has his sights set on his father’s would be assassin, but what to do?
SPOILERS AHEAD FOR ‘TEC #1031
Detective Comics has a few threads running through at the moment. The issue kicks off with a moment between The Mirror and Nakano (so let’s not talk about my giant thread on why Nakano could have been The Mirror). The Mirror points out their similarities, that they are both after the same goal, even going so far to say they will remove their mask once all is said and done. Nakano disagrees, he wants all masks off, right from the beginning. Even if they share the same goal, Nakano clearly disagrees with The Mirror’s methods. Good for him sticking to his ideals; this issue further rounds out Nakano’s strong commitment to his views and his desire to be honest with himself, his family, and the public.
From there, we pivot to Batman… Who is breaking up a fight between two youngsters with two very different views on vigilantes.
From here things only get worse and we see just how divided Gotham really is when it comes to the Bats and Birds. As The Mirror approaches with a group ready to fight off any masked crusaders, another has found itself ready to defend the heroes of Gotham. All hell breaks loose, and Batman, Batwoman, Nightwing, Red Hood, and both Batgirls find themselves jumping into the fold to keep the peace. Everyone’s having a rough go of it, and as it looks like the Mirror may escape, the story changes yet again…
And we meet back up with Damian. His feet can’t even touch the ground yet DC wants me to believe this kid is up to something nefarious? Nice try.
Damian’s located the helpful hand of a young Bruce Wayne’s would be assassin, the half sister of Thomas Elliot. For years she accepted bribes and swept evidence under the rug, but Damian’s about to bring that to light. He swiftly apprehends this criminal, leaving out all evidence necessary to convict her of past crimes… And then we change scenes once again.
Batman’s got some intel as to Damian’s whereabouts, and you’d think he might go and find his kid… But no, not quite. Barbara and Dick have more than enough good sense to tell the man to go find his son, yet Bruce decides there are more pressing matters at hand. Sure, let a 14 year old boy just run off and do whatever he wants, that will solve whatever deep traumas Damian is suffering from.
The book leaves off with the Batfam (minus Batman) in a rather tough spot. Nightwing’s been forced to feed Batman false info before he’s knocked out for good. Hush’s family may be out of the picture thanks to Damian, but he’s been able to capture most of the Bats and Birds successfully on his own. Also… Where are Tim and Steph? Are they still off doing Young Justice things? Furthermore… Anyone else getting creepy New52 Joker vibes?
No? No one else getting a little creeped out by this unfortunate situation?
Lee Bermejo has been on the variant covers lately, and he isn’t stopping anytime soon. Currently, Tec is a series where I am getting both the variant and main covers, as they just look so good. The amount of careful detail Bermejo puts into these (let’s be real, here, call them what they are) paintings, is incredible. There is so much to see. Whether the Batmobile is passing under a well lit section of Gotham or that’s the light from a rising sun, who is to say? Still, it illuminates the worn leather on Bruce’s gloves, the stubble growing after being out all night, and a wily smirk with a busted lip.
The guts of this issue are also fantastic.
Bilquis Evely (pencils, inks) and Mat Lopes (colors) make quite the creative team. The depth and character these two bring to Gotham and it’s people is something to marvel at. The limited color palette, with it’s delicate balance of warm and cool hues allows reader to become absorbed in the finer details laid out by the inks. Gotham’s given some delightful depth through the clutter we see in not only our character’s daily lives, but also in the congestion of the city and it’s suburbs. We’re invited in to see the dark corners of the alleys, as well as clear views from city rooftops, all without a missed detail.
The above panel is probably one of my favorites to date. While some silhouettes are missing, seeing our faves leap into action never gets old. I’d loved to have seen Tim, Steph, and Damian included here, but those characters are off doing other things. In previous panels and pages, we have seen these characters gather and work together, but something so simply as this really solidifies what Detective Comics is doing more recently, gathering everyone together for one big team up.
Can’t wait to see what these artist do in the coming issues!
NECESSARY OR NAH?
Depends on what you expect from a Detective Comic’s issue. For us Damian fans out there, hoping for any kind of crumbs with his character, this is a good story for you. For anyone who has been missing that classic detective feel we should be having with detective comics, this is also an issue for you. We’re really getting into it now: Gotham’s seemingly at war with the bats and birds, the mirror has reached out to the mayor, and Damian’s hot on a criminal’s case. These latest issues can’t be beat.
THE FLASH #766
Barry really has been having a tough go of it lately. Just when we thought he figured things out (getting his ring back from Trickster, discovering how Dr. Alchemy fixed it so he could not enter the Speed Force…), we see he is just struck down again.
Even if you move lightning quick you aren’t immune when that bright light wants to take you down.
Last issue it was revealed that the Philosopher’s Stone is the Philosophers’ Stone, as in many philosophers. Dr. Alchemy is no longer a singular entity thanks to his acquisition of the Philosophers’ Stone. And so, not only is Barry’s civilian identity at risk, but so are those of the loved ones around him. Just how will he solve this puzzle and escape this mess?
SPOILERS AHEAD FOR THE FLASH #766
Barry’s still having quite a rough go of things. He meets up with John at the Hall of Justice to get those nasty, invasive contacts removed from his eyes (see: somewhere around #763), and then he is off to the races. The Philosopher’s Stone has been causing him quite some problems, but Barry believes he has found the perfect solution…
Against everyone else’s better judgement, Barry goes full steam ahead and has created his own Stone. Iris is still convinced he’s trying to prove himself a better chemist than Dr. Alchemy, but Barry insists he’s just doing what he has to do in order to save the day and win this fight. With Flash’s civilian identity on the line, it is hard to argue with his line of reasoning. A takeover from his newly made Philosopher’s Stone seems worth the risk when he is protecting not only himself, but his loved ones as well.
Still, even with the stone the battle is not easy for Barry. Dr. Alchemy cycles through identities once more and is put down when Dr. Alchemy finds a rather creative way to keep Flash from fighting. But with those invasive contacts gone, Dr. Alchemy doesn’t know of the trick Flash has up his sleeve, and while it is painful to do so, Barry does what he has to in order to win…. He doesn’t kill Desmond, but he certainly puts him out of commission.
Even funnier, Barry decides this statue requires maximum security…
With this arc out of the way, it’s hard to say where Barry will go from here. The last issues teased the idea of Iris wanting a ring, but Barry’s actions have proved he has other matters on his mind. He’s a superhero after all, so that isn’t hard to imagine.
Flash #767 ties in with the Endless Winter story DC is dropping for December, and with Future State coming after that, it may be some time before we see Barry back in his home city.
What’s really been catching my eyes are The Flash variant covers. The last two issues I have very unfortunately missed out on picking up the InHyuk variants, but I hope to find them soon. This week’s cover was no exception, and the balance of colors on the cover is stunning to see. The guts of this issue are also rather fun. As expected with a Flash comic, there’s loads of red and yellow to see zooming across pages, but we do get a few panels with smaller details as well.
NECESSARY OR NAH?
If you’re just jumping in on Flash, I wouldn’t bother with this issue. We’ve been following multiple villains over the last several weeks, and it was revealed that Trickster’s… tricks… tied in to Dr. Alchemy’s plans for Barry. Next week may be a more exciting issue to pick up; we will have a new story to follow. However, if you’re not interested in the side stories or tie ins, Flash #767 may bear no relevance for you, as it is part of Endless Winter.
RED HOOD #51
Last month’s Red Hood was the end of an era. Lobdell’s writing is (finally) over and done with. Jason met up with old friends and tied up loose ends. He and Artemis split, he let go of Roy, Duela Dent is a thing of the past, Bizarro’s still ruling over that hellish pit (I guess), and so much more.
Jason’s been through a lot but he quite literally put all of that behind him in favor of returning to his roots. We’ve seen Jason show up in ‘Tec the last couple issues, but Red Hood #50 established he was heading back towards Gotham. Jason’s spent a while on his own, but it seems he’s got unfinished business requiring him to return to his roots. Should make for a good story and some needed character growth!
SPOILERS AHEAD FOR RED HOOD #51
The boy’s back in town and he seems to be slowly going through Gotham and enjoying his life. Don’t expect any rough and tumblr times in this issue of Red Hood, #51 is all about establishing a new scene for this character.
Jason’s got a new ride as he heads back to his old home. Everything is just as he left it when Bruce took him under his wing (cape?), and it will be interesting to see if and how Jason moves back into this space. He trips the security system and is greeted by an old friend. The pair catch up as they move through Gotham, and we are given quite the sight seeing adventure through the city.
Overall, Jason seems like he is having a pretty good day here, #51 truly feels like a fresh start for this character. He catches up with friends, lives a little, and enjoys a beer while watching over the city at night.
Still… There is something sinister going on, this is Gotham after all, what would you expect? (writer) is absolutely laying the groundwork for what’s to come in future issues. We see a few new baddies rise, and they definitely hate supers. Killer Croc has made a return, though it doesn’t seem for the best.
During Joker War, we see a definite change in Waylon’s character, there was some real growth there. He had a found family of his own, which he was protective of during that arc. Furthermore, he was willing to work with Bruce on a civil level. The characterization we see of his character here feels a bit more like some regression than growth, as he is depicted like some mob boss who’s only concern is his bottom line.
Just how will all these characters meet up with Jason? We will just have to wait and see! But this is right up Red Hood’s alley. Time to crush some drug and weapons shipments.
Jason, baby, did Lobdell’s wild run really age you that much?
Real talk, I actually enjoy it when an artist draws these characters looking a little older. While these characters don’t exactly have true and established ages, I’ve always felt Dick and Jason should really be older than the rest. Maybe mid 20’s, though Jason’s looking closer to 30 with this recent issue.
Red Hood #51 was all about the finer details, those little life moments. Not only did #51 bring in a diverse cast of characters, but the scenery told a story as Jason moved through Gotham.
#51 also gave me one of my favorite kinds of Red Hood covers: crowbar font and center. I’m sure many of you are sick and tired of seeing all the crowbar references… But I don’t grow tired of them. However, I do hope we see more of the SWORD that Jason has been toting around Gotham, in addition to the crowbar he’s been using.
NECESSARY OR NAH?
If you don’t care for an issue without a real “story,” then feel free to skip out on #51. Jason came home, met up with friends, but not much really happened. However, if you want to read about a guy going through the motions and enjoying a good day? I’d say pick this one up. I found Red Hood #51 to be a refreshing, enjoyable issue, definitely different from the norm.
I also just like seeing my faves have a good time.
This issue absolutely sets up the next set of bad guys we will ultimately see Jason take down, so even though it was a slower issue, it is well worth the read. Furthermore, our new writer establishes some new villains in Jason’s world while still giving this dude a good day. Let’s be real here, Jason earned that beer.
THAT’S A WRAP!
Alrighty folks, that’s it for this Talkative Tuesday. Life got the best of me and kept me busy the last couple of weeks, but it is safe to say I’ll be back to semi regular posting. I’ve got a few ideas for more of those essay style posts, as well as predictions for future stories.
Oh, and don’t tell… but I’ve fallen into the DareDevil pit. For all my yelling about how I’d never touch a Marvel title, you’d never know it with the DareDevil books I’ve acquired.