Saturday, December 14, 2013

Nightwing #26 Review

Written by:Kyle Higgins
Art by: Will Conrad and Cliff Richards
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: December 11, 2013

Running to Stand Still

Nightwing has a few problems to deal with.  A new drug has hit Chicago and everyone wants a taste, he can't get any privacy while sharing an apartment and he has to juggle his after hours work with a real job as a bartender.

Kyle Higgins has a pretty tough job.  Anyone reading up on the Forever Evil events knows what's happening to Dick Grayson (slight spoiler: It ain't good) so the Nightwing book is a bit hog tied.  This new arc takes place a little before Forever Evil and as for now, it's business as usual.

A new anti psychotic drug is being stolen from Chicago hospitals and Nightwing takes to the rooftops to find out who is responsible.  What he finds is a newly rebranded villain who may need the drug more than anyone else in the city.   Meanwhile, Dick and his roomie do not see eye-to-eye when it comes to the heating bill and he has started a new job.  I would normally like what Higgins is doing here.  Dick's daily struggles really make him more relatable.  It's just bad timing.  Again, most readers know what is on the horizon for our hero so it's hard to really care if Dick is mad he can't keep his window open in the dead of winter.  I know it's not really Higgin's fault, but everything in this book feels underwhelming.  Add to this a villain reveal that actually made me groan out load.  I won't spoil it, but it is a villain recently featured in another bat book which I loathed and was not well received in general.

The art is split between Will Conrad and Cliff Richards and while both do an ok job individually, the change between them is jarring and is too busy overall.

Bits and Pieces:

Nightwing #26 is the start of a new arc, but with the events of Forever Evil looming in the near future, it feels like it's treading water.  Everything feels underwhelming and the villain reveal is more infuriating than interesting.  New readers can easily jump in, but they would be better served starting at the beginning of the series, not this issue.


Talon Canceled in March 2014

Is that taps I hear in the distance? Or maybe Queen, because another one has bitten the dust.  Yep, this time it's a little more personal.  First Animal Man and Batman: The Dark Knight and now Talon has been canceled after March's issue #17.  I have said over and over that Talon was one of my favorite New 52 books (in fact, when I wrote my top 5 list it was number one).  Unfortunately,  it has not been good for a while.  Though not a blockbuster, there are still a bunch of books that Talon outsells, so I believe this cancellation is in part to do with the waning quality and the lack of ideas on how to make the series last.

Original writer, James Tynion, is ending his run on the series in December with Marguerite Bennett writing a one-shot in January and Tim Seeley wrapping up the series' final two issues.  What really upsets me is that Jorge Lucas is taking over art duties in January which I was hoping would solve one of the problems the book has been battling, inconsistent art.  His art on the Court of the Owls Villains Month issue was the best the series has seen since Guillem March left the book.

On a personal note, all the books I review are being cancelled.  If I am indeed the jinx, the next books canceled will be Stormwatch, Birds of Prey and All-Star Western.  Well, I do expect the first two to be cancelled very soon, but All-Star better survive.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Batman: The Dark Knight Ending in March

He's a Freakin' Pterodactyl No More

Joining Animal Man, Batman: The Dark Knight is ending it's run in March 2014 with issue #29.  Also, like Animal Man whose cancellation was announced by writer Jeff Lemire, writer Gregg Hurwitz took to his personal blog to announce the sad news.

"Batman is forever, but sadly not all of his titles are. Batman: The Dark Knight will be ending with Issue 29. When I first signed on to do a single arc with David Finch, I never imagined I’d stay this long. Because of my work in novels and screenplays, I’m rarely sure what sorts of deadlines I’ll be juggling at any time, so I usually commit to a single six-issue story at a time and write way out ahead of schedule. DC has been great and gracious about accommodating this, and because of their flexibility, I wound up writing on the title for two (really damn fun) years."

The rest can be read on his site here

I'll be the first to admit that I haven't been a huge fan of the Dark Knight book, but I have liked it a bit more recently.  Me and Eric here at Weird Science have discussed the book on various occasions and always wish this was a "fun" book with wacky villains placed just a bit outside of the New 52 continuity.  Unfortunately, it's been a pretty boring, average book with overdrawn arcs.  One bit of good news is that DC can decrease their order for brown and black inks because this book used an overabundance of both.

Worlds' Finest #18 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written By: Paul Levitz, Scott McDaniel
Art By: RB Silva, Joe Weems
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: December 11, 2013

*Insert Humorous, Or Relevant Tag Here*

Last issue Huntress was continuing the hunt for the Tattooed Woman arsonist, who wants to punish all the pretty people.  All that rage towards the beautiful, could be put to something constructive like getting money to afford plastic surgery.  Lousy uggos.  Anyway while that was going on Power Girl decided to go into space, to try and fix her powers by getting really close to the sun.  Unfortunately all this did was make her lose control of her powers, and come crashing down to earth, conveniently right by where Huntress was.  So hopefully Power Girl didn't blow up, and take New York with her.  Let's find out.

Explain It!:

So Kara's out of control.  So how do you calm down the powers of a super charged Kryptonian?  Why it's simply you merely dunk them in the East River.  It's really obvious when you think about it.  You think about it yet?  Well stop you'll only hurt yourself.  I know.  

So for the moment it appears that Power Girl's powers are under control, and hers to command again.  So it's time to take down that damned Tattooed Woman once and for all.  Power Girl flies off to go search eight million people, and Huntress uses the police database, and social media to find our villain.  Finally with the help of Google Street View, Helena tracks the baddie to a warehouse in Brooklyn, with similar markings as her tattoos, and hits pay dirt when the Tattooed Woman enters the building.  

Inside we find out that the Tattooed Woman or possibly her name is Tats which is awful, is apart of a cult that take their power from a strange stone god known as Xazdi.  But poor Huntress isn't ready to take on the stone god that suddenly comes to life, and shadows her right in the face.  Well Huntress is down for the count, luckily Power Girl is lazy, and decided to just follow Huntress instead of searching the city.  But uh oh, Power Girl's powers shit the bed again.  What's a Powerless Girl to do?  Well they pick up Huntress's crossbow, and fire a exploding arrow right in it's chest, that's what they do.  So the creature explodes, and possibly kills the Tattooed Woman, and her master, or they got away.  I have no idea, it all kind of gets swept under the rug.  In the end our two heroes have dinner, and exchange banter, in light of the people they possibly killed.  All in a days work.

Bits and Pieces:

There isn't much to this issue.  We've had a three issue arc about the new Tattooed Woman, and Power Girl's powers being all screwy, and nothing really happened.  It seems like the writers just through together a story arc to wait for the Batman.Superman crossover.  I really want to enjoy this title, but when we're given story after story that doesn't further the characters, or add anything new, well it's a hard sell.  The best thing about this issue is the cover, which is amazing, that's all you get.  Three issues and we really know nothing about a new villain, and it's over.  How can that be?


Animal Man Series Coming to an End in March

Yes,  the sad news was announced that Animal Man will end in March with issue #29.  What is unusual though was that it wasn't announced by DC, but by series writer Jeff Lemire on twitter.

"After finishing the script for #29, I felt I had completed the story I wanted to tell with the Baker family and thought it was a perfect ending for the series.   The best way for me to explore new things with the character would be to move him to a team setting and shake up his status quo. DC agreed, and the Animal Man series will end with my final issue in March."

I guess that DC just couldn't see Animal Man continuing without Lemire and I guess I'm with them.  I was late getting into Animal Man, but I gave Animal Man Annual #1 a perfect 10 (my first perfect score) and have enjoyed it since.  While it's a shame the book is ending, Buddy is going to be a big part of Justice League Canada so I can't wait to read it.

Constantine #9 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written By: Ray Fawkes
Art By: ACO, Beni Lobel
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: December 11, 2013

Blight Equals Might!

When last we saw that right bastard Constantine, he was being torn out of the House of Mystery with the rest of the make shift Justice League Dark members that John's assembled to take on the menace of Blight.  But what John doesn't know is that Blight has left the collective unconscious, and has taken physical form in the body of Phantom Stranger's pal Chris Esperanza, to take his revenge on Constantine.  Forever Evil: Blight continues here, so let's find out what's going down.

Explain It!:

So the new gang is all confused on what just happened to them.  They were all just hanging out talking about what DC Dark characters talk about when BLAMMO, they're all torn out of the happy home that is The House of Mystery, and find themselves in a park in NYC.  But their given the gift of clarity when the physical form of Blight comes flying in, with the rest of the deadly sins, who appear to be even more disgusting, and perverted than normal.

If that wasn't bad enough, Blight then turns himself into a giant black smoke dragon, and proceeds to wipe the floor with our mystical medley of magic makers.  Ah I love alliteration.  But the group eventually gets their act together and work as a team to bring Blight down.  Swamp Thing uses the Green to wrap plants around the dragon, forcing Blight to break through and come at Constantine using his physical form.  Constantine has a little something for that ass though, and magically zaps Blight down, and Nightmare Nurse conjures a binding spell to keep him down, while Pandora keeps the Deadly Sins at bay.  Just when it seems their going to work together Phantom Stranger doesn't want to see the host being Chris die, but Constantine wants to end this while he can.  Giving Blight enough to time to escape.

In the end, the bickering is their downfall.  Now that Blight is free, he quickly takes out the entire group, leaving Swamp Thing cut in half (which is the funniest moment of this book, just for Constantine's commentary.), and Constantine wondering where it all went wrong, and wanting to hear Zatanna tell him it's all going to be okay in the end.  But the last page we see is Blight about to pounce on top of Constantine, so I don't see anything being okay in the near future.  Check back here for Pandora #6, so we can find out what horrible things Blight has in store for Constantine.

Bits and Pieces:

Well it's about time this whole Blight thing finally took off.  We got a taste in the last issue of Phantom Stranger, but this just comes at you no hold barred.  With that being said, it feels like Blight is just something for the dark characters to do, while everyone else is dealing with the Crime Syndicate, and comes off more as an afterthought.  I know we're a few issues in, but as the series progresses, it just hammers the idea in that this event doesn't belong.  But take it for what it is, and enjoy your dose of badass magic induced mayhem.  


Katana #10 Review

Written by: Ann Nocenti
Art by: Alex Sanchez and Cliff Richards
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: December 11, 2013

Ending the Madness

Geoff Johns' final issues of Green Lantern and Aquaman.  John Layman leaving Detective Comics and Manipul and Bucculatto' run on the Flash coming to a close.  Can we add Ann Nocenti's final issue of Katana to this great list.  NO.  Not in your wildest dreams.  Those other books have that little something called quality while Katana has burnt toast trash talking and little girls making themselves into one big scar.  
If that doesn't make sense, don't worry, it'll all be over soon.  Because unfortunately, this is my final Katana review.  The dream has ended.

Ann Nocenti does what I assume is her best in wrapping things up in this final issue.  By that, I mean nothing gets wrapped up at all.  The two main threads in the book, Mona Shard and the Creeper, remain unresolved.  Katana even says it on the last page.  Alrighty then.

What we do get is a combination of bad dialogue, nonsensical art, missed jokes and ridiculous situations. Really, did we think the final issue would be so unlike the other nine?  There are also sudden reveals that were never set up and resolutions that come out of the blue.  In other words, this issue was terrible. Expected and terrible.

Bits and Pieces:

Katana #10 is a horrible end to a horrible book that never should have happened in the first place.  I must admit though, I will miss the unintentionally ridiculous dialogue and art that seemed to be drawn with no intention of matching the story.  It was a quirky horrible mess, but here at Weird Science, it was my quirky, horrible mess.  What am I talking about, thank God it's over!


Justice League of America #10 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written By: Matt Kindt
Art By: Tom Derenick, Eddy Barrows, Tom Nguyen, Allen Martinez
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: December 11, 2013

The Minds of Stargirl.

As we saw last issue, Martian Manhunter, and Stargirl escaped the prison that holds most of the various Justice League members.  But upon their escape Stargirl awoke in a cemetery surrounded by members of the Secret Society.  But where is Martian Manhunter?  Well let's find out.

Explain It!:

I hope you all love Stargirl, because that's all you'll pretty much be getting.  After the the prison escape Stargirl is surrounded by members of the Secret Society.  Members including Deathstroke, Copperhead, Blockbuster, Giganta, and Shadow Thief.  Now all these bad mofos are kicking the ever loving crap out of Courtney, but she's not really dealing with it in a conventional sense.  Instead of fighting back Courtney keeps getting lost inside her memories, where we find out a bit more about our teen hero.

We see after Courtney found the cosmic staff, and flight belt in her stepfather's office, that she immediately went off doing her hero thing.  But her secret didn't last long, after videos of her started appearing on the internet.  Her stepfather Pat Dugan confronted her about what she was doing with the gear, but surprisingly he deals with this situation well.  At first he doesn't want her using the power, because his old partner The Star Spangled Kid, died in the line of duty.  But when Courtney intends to keep being a hero, he simply wants to train her to do it right.  Depending on how you look at it, not the worst stepdad ever.  Horribly irresponsible maybe, but pretty cool guy.  But throughout all these flashbacks down memory lane, Martian Manhunter keeps making cameo appearances.

Periodically throughout the flashbacks, Stargirl comes back to reality where she's usually getting kicked in the face, by monstrous villains.  We find out that Martian Manhunter is trapped within Stargirl's mind, and he's begging her to keep control, and focus on the ass kicking at hand, or they both will die.  Eventually after a massive beating Stargirl stops hiding in her memories, and we find out that Stargirl has Martian Manhunters powers.  So obviously after she gets her head clear she uses these powers to curb stomp the hell out of the villains, and seeing that she is smart, she flies away before having to take on Deathstroke, because no matter how many powers you have you never want to take on Deathstroke.

In the end Stargirl wants to go home to L.A. to check on her parents, now that the world has gone to hell.  But Martian Manhunter wants to find a quiet place so that he can try and escape her mind.  So during a argument with herself, Stargirl and Martian Manhunter are separated from each other, and Stargirl plans on continuing her journey to find out if her parents are alright.  While Martian Manhunter finds out that the prison that everyone is being held in, is actually Firestorm.  I don't know if this is right or not, because up until now we've been led to believe it was in the Firestorm matrix of Deathstorm.  But I guess we'll find out in the next installment of JLA Forever Evil.  See you then.

Bits and Pieces:

It seems that Justice League of America is struggling to find its place in the Forever Evil Event.  It's not that this title is bad, it's just not interesting.  We've been given two characters that have had little circulation in the DCU, to follow around, and try to make sense of what's going on around them.  But what's going on around them is taking it's sweet time in giving us a dose of the badass, that the other titles in this event have already done.  Don't get me wrong, I love the artwork, and I love getting a New 52 origin for Stargirl, but having the feeling of a big epic event, it falls a bit short.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Green Lantern Corps #26 Review

Written by: Van Jensen and Robert Venditti
Art by: Bernard Chang
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: December 11, 2013

One Punch

I admit it, I like John Stewart.  He's not my favorite Lantern (that would be Kyle), but he comes in a close second.  Granted, he's not a ball of flaming excitement, but I like his stoic, calculating nature.  He's a marine and an architect for Christ's sake.  He may not be the life of the party during the Lantern Christmas gatherings (or maybe they celebrate that awful "Life Day"), but I would chose him to lead the Corps any day of the week and twice on Sundays.  As a book, Green Lantern Corps has been the victim of an identity crisis.  With all the crossovers and the Corps story line leaking into the main Green Lantern title, I was becoming worried that the Corps book was becoming redundant.  Thankfully, this issue has renewed my faith in the title.

So, what do we get with this issue?  For starters, we see John and Hal hash out some of their recent issues, including the whole Guy is a Red Lantern problem.  I have been very vocal in my growing hate of Hal in the GL books and I loved it when John gave him what he had coming.  Next we get a side story involving some of the new recruits heading to Jruk's home world to resolve a political issue.  Of course, it makes total sense that on Jruk's home world, political issues are solved in a gladiatorial arena known as the Blood Bowl.  Last but not least, we get to see John, with help from Mogo, rebuild the GL headquarters.  While the other story lines were more exciting or relevant to the major story, this part was my favorite.  We get to see John Stewart, architect, at work.  Throughout these story lines there is the brewing mystery of the shapeshifting villains that are trying to destroy the Corps.

Van Jensen and Robert Venditti are giving me what I want from Green Lantern Corps.  I like the new recruits and the whole process of rebuilding the Corps itself.  After all the recent crossovers, I'm glad we get to slow down things a bit and see where each book is individually.  John Stewart is the rock of the Corps and I'm glad he is the focus of the book again.

Bernard Chang's art is as good as expected.  He gets to run wild with the varied Lanterns and the scenes on Jruk's homeworld were real good.  Plus, he gets to draw the Blood Bowl and doesn't disappoint.

Bits and Pieces:

Green Lantern Corps #26 is a good return to what I want from the book.  There are various new and interesting recruits off on adventures, John Stewart showing why he belongs as the leader and Hal getting punched in the face.  We also get a mystery brewing that could take down the Corps, possibly from within. This feels like the start of better things to come.


Justice League #25 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written By: Geoff Johns
Art By: Doug Mahnke
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: December 11, 2013

Family Matters

So the DCU is in complete disarray.  But what would you expect from a event called Forever Evil?  So the big things to cue you in on.  Nightwing has been captured by the Crime Syndicate, and his secret identity was shown across the world.  Ultra Man just got done beating the hell out of Black Adam, and went to find Metallo to get a Kryptonite fix, and basically all hell has broken lose.  These are just the main plot points to get you through Justice League #25.  So let's go see how the big bads are doing.

Explain It!:

We're taken to the past of Earth 3, where we find ourselves in Crime Alley after a family has finished watching a Zorro film.  Sound familiar?  Well here's the twist.  See the Wayne family consists of Thomas Wayne, Martha Wayne, Thomas Wayne Jr., and Bruce Wayne, and these people are awful.  Thomas Wayne spends his money on lawyers that take care of his malpractice lawsuits, since he apparently just likes cutting people.  Martha is an obnoxious, awful wife, and mother, and I guess the boys have had enough of their nonsense.  Thomas Wayne Jr. pulls a gun on his parents.  He intends on taking them out before they can spend away Bruce, and his inheritance.  But Bruce has second thoughts about murdering his parents, the siblings struggle for the gun when three shots ring out into the night.  Only Thomas Jr. stands, as he looks back and sees Alfred holding the smoking gun.  Above him he sees a owl, whoing into the night, seeming to ask him "Who are you?"  At that moment Owlman is born.  Wow.

Now in our present day, and our present world, I'm calling shenanigans.  Owlman takes out a crime family meeting to discuss their future in a world controlled by the Crime Syndicate.  The shenanigans part is because we witness the origin of Plastic Man.  The no good hoodlum, Patrick "The Eel" O'Brian was at the meeting, and had a drum of chemicals fall on top of him, melting him down, as he screamed out.  But BUT!  Plastic Man has already been talked about in the DCU.  They even brought him up in JLI as a potential member, but deemed him too weird.  It's nice to see his origin and all but continuity man.

Moving on, as we know the Crime Syndicate has Nightwing, and are keeping him chained up.  But it seems that Owlman has plans for our hero.  Owlman's Dick Grayson was his sidekick in Earth 3, and was known as Talon, but sadly he died even before the end of Earth 3.  Owlman wants to rebuild his broken family and is willing to betray all of the Crime Syndicate to do it.  He wants his surrogate brother back, and even convinces Nightwing to go along with it.  It's either have Ultra Man rule the world, or Owlman, so it's a lesser of two evils thing.  In the end as Owlman talks to Nightwing about his betrayal, we see that Super Woman is listening in, and smiles.  But I wouldn't worry to much.  Owlman, and Super Woman are keeping the fact that Super Woman is pregnant with his baby a secret from Ultra Man, and the rest of the Syndicate, so I think she's down with whatever Owlman wants.  We'll continue this little story next in Forever Evil #4.

Bits and Pieces:

While it doesn't make a huge impact on the overall story, this Owlman centric book does a lot to further the character, and allow us to understand his motivations.  This event has really been action driven up until now, and it's nice to examine the characters a bit more, and I'd like to see more individual stories dealing with the rest of the Crime Syndicate.  This isn't the best of Forever Evil main titles, but it is certainly worth reading, and who doesn't love being transported to parallel worlds?  The bird is the word, and the bird is Owlman.  Go get the issue.


Batman #26 Review

Written by: Scott Snyder
Art by: Greg Capullo
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: December 11, 2013

Give us dirty laundry

Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo have struck gold with Zero Year.  Not counting the unnecessary tie-ins, each issue has been better than the last.  Those afraid of a full out reboot can rest assured, this is more like a special edition with all the great bits tweaked just a bit and new ones added that not only fit, but become some of your new favorites.  Batman #26 continues this by being less about Bruce becoming Batman, but more about the beginnings of Bruce and James Gordon's relationship.

The issue starts of with Bruce seemingly drugged by Lucius Fox last issue, fighting off Doctor Death. Things are not going well for the young Billionaire and without Lt. Gordon's intervention would most defiantly be dead.

As we've seen so far in Zero Year, Bruce doesn't really like Gordon...even after being saved from sure death.  The meat of this issue gives us a glimpse why.  You see, when Bruce was a young boy he played hooky to go see a movie (of course it's Zorro.  He has a real thing for Zorro) and Gordon  busted him. What happened during the ride home in the police car seemed to have helped change Bruce from a hopeful and happy boy into the jaded young man that would end up fighting crime as a vigilante.  The incident is left in a grey area which makes it all the more powerful, for now.  Also, keep in mind that when this is going on, Bruce has Gordon on the wrong end of his own revolver.  It is such a powerful image.

Oh yea, the issue ends with Bruce in his Batman "formal wear" being shot a hundred times by the Gotham City Police Force.  Yea, it's getting real folks.

Scott Snyder is so good at what he does it seems unfair.  In my opinion, this is the worst of the Zero Year issues so far and it's still great.  This issue feels like a bridge in the story, but it has such great moments.  Of course, the Bruce-Gordon bit is the highlight.  The past issues showed that Bruce hated Gordon, but now we see a bit of why.  The super storm is about to hit and with how the book ended, Bruce is not prepared for that let alone the Riddler's plan.  I can't wait to see how it unfolds.

Greg Capullo's art is great as usual.  Doctor Death looks so creepy and gruesome, but my favorite is a couple of panels that show a haggard Bruce in what appears to be a Middle Eastern Prison on the verge of death.  It looks stunning and heart breaking, telling more with a closeup than any words could.  Bravo.

Batman #26 continues the excellent Zero Year story.  Snyder and Capullo keep giving us little tweaks and nuances to make this origin story their own.  I keep saying it with each issue, but this is a book that needs to be read by everyone.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Phantom Stranger #14 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written By: J.M. DeMatteis
Art By: Fernando Blanco
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: December 4, 2013

Phantom Stranger Than Fiction.  Ah, See What I Did There?

When last we left the Stranger, the Question, and him had gotten into a bit of a tiff, and then the Stranger was transported to the Rock of Eternity.  There he was put side by side with The Question, and Pandora, and in front of him sat John Constantine, Nightmare Nurse, and Swamp Thing.  Constantine had brought the Trinity of Sin here to help him kill evil.  Let's see how that works out for him.

Explain It!:

The Trinity of Sin is chained to the floor at the Rock of Eternity, and they're a little peeved about it.  Constantine tells them that it's so they will stay and listen to his proposal, and it's no use trying to break free, because he's placed many magical seals on the chains.  Well the Trinity of Sin proceeds to break free.  Oh silly Constantine.  Swamp Thing tries to calm everybody down, but the Question invades his mind with questions of his own humanity, and that's all we get out of the big shrub.  Luckily Phantom Stranger decides to take control of the situation, and becomes all huge and scary yelling "That's enough!"  

Now that everybody is calmed down a bit, Constantine tries to tell them what's been going on.  But Phantom Stranger just enters his mind, because like everybody else knows you should never trust anything that comes out of Constantine's mouth.  So the Stranger finds out about the Crime Syndicate, and all the trouble they've caused, and about Constantine, Nightmare Nurse, and Swamp Thing's adventure into the mass consciousness to fight the evil of Blight.  Well once this is none The Question just evaporates out of there.  When are we going to get some bad ass Question action?  Damn I want to see whats going on with this character, and whenever it seems we're going to, he just poofs into question mark shaped smoke.  BAH!  Even though The Question high tailed it, it seems that Pandora, and the Phantom Stranger are down with the mission.  Yeah, kill evil! Woo!  

During all the drama with the DC Dark characters, the Rock of Eternity backdrop fades away revealing that they were really at the House of Mystery all along, and this was another con put on by John Constantine.  Elsewhere, Black Lightning, and Blue Devil are trying to clean up the streets of Los Angeles, but come upon monsters that take down Black Lightning, and take Blue Devil off to the unknown, and by unknown I mean I have no idea where they took him.  Moving on from that DC Presents intermission. 

In New York Dr. Thirteen, and Chris Esperanza look out onto the streets, and see the craziness that has become since the Crime Syndicate came, and blocked out the sun.  But Chris's (remember Chris?  He's that kid that the Phantom Stranger brought back to life, and now seems to have strange powers that no one understands.) mind is also troubled by the power that he has now, and questions what he's supposed to do now.  Later as he lays in his bed, a dark entity surrounds him, and we see that Blight has exited the collective unconscious and plans on using Chris as a host for his evil on the physical plane.  Chris is uniquely suited for Blight since he has come back from the other side.  Somehow this matters to evil, I don't think that Reagan from The Exorcist died, and came back to life in order for Pazuzu to possess her.  So now Chris is a physical Blight, and what he wants most is revenge on Constantine for coming to hurt him.  The issue ends with a dark energy attacking the House of Mystery, and our heroes being torn from it, and being thrown around like Dorthy's house in the Wizard of Oz.  Alright that is the end for now, but come back here next week where the story continues in Constantine.

Bits and Pieces:

The strong point of this issue is the use of Phantom Stranger side characters that will play a major role in the Forever Evil: Blight story arc.  Also it seems we will be getting other characters that haven't been seen in a long time.  While it might not be the best tie-in to Forever Evil it keeps you entertained, and holds your attention.  But with so much going on, it seems less to do with the Stranger, and more in creating a new JLD.  Which isn't a bad thing, but when you have a itch for the Stranger, you want a Stranger full issue to scratch it.


Green Lantern #26 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written By: Robert Venditti
Art By: Billy Tan
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: December 4, 2013

Love Is A Battlefield.

So there's a new status quo for the Green Lantern Corps. now.  Find anyone using the emotional spectrum, and stop them.  But it's okay if you're a Green Lantern, but anyone out there using their ring in a manner that isn't green, well that sir isn't tolerated.  Well except if you're the leader of the Green Lantern Corps's ex girlfriend, who'd they still like to get back together with, after she gets that whole "I'm into your younger friend" thing she's going through out of her system.  Yeah that's okay too.  But all you other poozers out there, you better not be getting emotional with the spectrum.  Okay.  So last issue we saw Hal Jordan, and Kilowog going after an escaped convict of Oa, who now has the abilities of a Star Sapphire.  A ring ding of a fight went on, but in the end Prixiam Nol-Anj (the Star Sapphire) used a power we've never seen before.  She used her love for her entire clan to tether them to her location.  So sadly our heroes are horribly outnumbered.  Let's see how they make out.

Explain It!:

Our Green heroes are surrounded by the Braid Clann, and it perplexes Hal Jordan how this Clann can love Nol-Anj even though she's a criminal.  But she's hot, and she protects them, so I can kinda see it.  A firefight breaks out, and the Lanterns are doing alright, but they find they cannot take on the whole Braid Clann, and the power of Nol-Anj at the same time.  So Hal being the the greatest Green Lantern of all time does what any fearless new leader would do.  He calls the entire Green Lantern Corps. to pull his ass out of the fire.  Seriously this title, and Corps. could just be interchangeable at this point.  

So the Corps. comes a running to save Hal, and Kilowog.  Now we have a little bit of bickering going on within the Corps. right now.  Since Relic showed everyone that using the emotional spectrum would eventually destroy the universe, some Lanterns don't want to use their rings anymore.  Which after all the death, and destruction that we witnessed in Lights Out, it kinda seems like the logical thing to do.  But some of the other Lanterns are giving these Spock like members a bunch of shit about it.  Even in a galaxy far far away, you can't get away from the bullying.  But back to the battle.  The Corps. shows up, and fights a good fight, but ultimately Mogo finishes the fight by getting close to the planets atmosphere, causing earthquakes.  Good way to get your point across Mogo.  

In the end negotiations are made to ensure that no more lives would be lost.  The Braid Clann would surrender, but Prixiam Nol-Anj would be able to leave freely.  Hal uses the leverage of Mogo, to ensure that Nol-Anj would also turn over her Star Sapphire ring.  But as the negotiations end, Nol-Anj lets Hal know that she knows that whenever a Green Lantern uses their ring, they are destroying the universe.  Information that would destroy the rep of the Corps. throughout the universe.  In the shadows of this planet, aliens look on and talk about starting their next phase of their plans.  

Bits and Pieces:

Sadly I'm not really digging the new direction Green Lantern has been going.  Also I can't get behind the attitude that Hal Jordan has formed since becoming the leader of the Corps.  Everything seems wrong to me, and I need an adult.  I can only hope that the future of policing the emotional spectrum becomes interesting and I can go on enjoying one of my favorite superheroes.  Till then, I'll be screaming at random people on the street about how it used to be.


Monday, December 9, 2013

Detective Comics #26 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written By: John Layman
Art By: Aaron Lopresti, Art Thibert
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: December 4, 2013

Batman Vs. Man-Bat Vs. Bats

We're done with Zero Year, and can get back on track with the normal story.  But the normal story is a little weird.  So we just got done the Wrath plot, and before that the Emperor Penguin arc.  But in the background of all these stories we've been dealing with Man-Bat, which comes to a head in this issue finally.  So last we saw in the back up to the Zero Year tie-in, there seems to be a colony of bats that can tear through people's flesh like piranha.  At the last crime scene Dr. Kirk Langstrom was in the crowd and turned into Man-Bat while screaming about stopping her, clearly referring to his lying Man-Bat serum addicted wife.  So there we are, let's see how this ever continuing story line concludes..

Explain It!:

Well we have a rash of deaths in Gotham City. Well we have more than the usual rash of deaths in Gotham City.  Batman investigates the skeletal corpses of the latest victims, and realizes that they were done by bats.  With this evidence, and the sighting of Kirk Langstrom, at one of the latest crime scenes, Batman is going after Man-Bat.  Which turns out to be a easy task, or at least easy for the reader.  Armed with a sonic cannon on the Batplane, Langstrom is quickly taken down.  Batman tussles with the monster for a bit, before finally compelling the human part of his mind, which allows Langstrom to take control and turn human again.  

The two work together to make a semi-antidote, because we learn that Langstrom and his wife have taken too much of the serum, and it has altered their DNA so they will always be able to transform at will.  But this semi-antidote will momentarily transform Francine, so Batman can get the upper hand.  I don't know Batman this sounds a little risky.  Better just seal up the cave she's roosting in, and call it a day.  Remember when Batman couldn't beat the KGBeast and he sealed him up in a maintenance room in the sewer?  Man that was badass, I miss the KGBeast.  Getting off track again.

So the two go to the cave that Francine is roosting in with her colony of altered flesh eating terror bats.  Batman injects Langstrom with a tranquilizer to keep him calm, and as to not Man-Bat out.  The two enter the cave, Batman's job is to take out the killer bats with his sonic gun, and Kirk's is to inject his wife with the Serum.  It seems to be going well until they find Francine who is now calling herself the Bat Queen, and knocks the serum out of Kirk's hand causing it to shatter.  This causes Kirk to Hulk out, and we find out what the real plan was.  Batman knew that the serum gun would never pierce the hide of the Bat Queen, so instead of injecting Langstrom with a tranquilizer, it was actually the serum, and Kirk was the perfect delivery system.  Again Kirk Hulk's out, and bites the Bat Queen.  Alright so the Bat Queen is human again, and unconscious, now all we have to deal with now is the Man-Bat.  Luckily Batman has a plan for that too.  Batman punches him upside the head until he turns human again.  Good plan.

So in the end Batman turns the Bat couple over to Arkham Asylum, and I guess destroyed all the killer bats, or sealed them up like the KGBeast, I don't really know, but it would seem strange for Batman to just leave them there.  But when he gets home, he's in for a hollering.  Apparently Selina Kyle (Catbird) is mad that Batman didn't ask for her help, since they're partners.  Well Man-Bat's over, welcome to Gothtopia.

Bits and Pieces:

Well this issue looked fantastic, the art really works for this book.  That being said, this seemed like a strange disjointed story.  Man-Bat's been in the background for almost a year now, and to have it all culminate in one issue seemed anti-climatic.  It could have simply been finished in two more back ups, giving us room for more of a main story.  Even though it seemed strange the issue was fun, just not as big as the previous stories have spoiled me with.  But go out and get it, and finish your Man-Bat addiction.  


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Earth 2 #18 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written By: Tom Taylor
Art By: Nicola Scott, Trevor Scott
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: December 4, 2013

Arkham Underground

When last we left our golden age modern heroes, Superman was killing everyone, and the new Batman was making his way down to the Arkham Command Center's sub basement.  Apparently the World Army has what they call The Black Basement, where they keep the worst of the worst in stasis pods.  Batman intends to let some of the prisoners out to fight against the newly terrifying Superman.  So let's hop the dimensional turnstile and see what's going down.

Explain It!:

So Arkham Command is in ruin.  But there is a lot of evacuating survivors still in there.  Not wanting any of the survivors to get crushed, or heat visioned by Superman, Flash decides he's going to be a distraction, and chucks a rock at Superman's head.  Not my idea of a good time.  Let the chase begin.  Remember all those races between Superman and The Flash in the normal universe, where they almost always ended in a tie?  Well we won't even get to a tie here because Flash isn't fast enough for Superman's Omega Beams.  That or the craziest damn heat vision I've ever seen.  How the hell does Superman have Omega Beams!?  So Flash is down.  But Superman isn't done with him yet.  Superman has never seen powers like Flash's, and thinks that they might be useful for Darkseid.  But to take Flash out of the game, he crushes his ankle.  Oh god.  At this point Superman's taken down pretty much everyone.  Green Lantern hasn't been seen in a couple of issues, Doctor Fate was seriously taken out last issue, and now Flash is down for the count.  Boy I sure hope Batman has a plan.  Speaking of let's go find out what he's up to.

Down in the Black Basement Batman is trying to smooth talk Major Sato out of pressing the detonator to the explosives in the room.  But like a fanboy in highschool he strikes out with the ladies.  So he takes the more Batman approach and knocks it out of her hand, and is about to say "I'm Batman", when Red Tornado shows up to even the odds.  But for some reason Batman appears to be stronger than a robot, and then takes a bullet to the head, and all is well.  Well gang, we have a mystery.  But back to the matter at hand, Batman opens up the first stasis tube, and we're shown; Aqua Woman.  Next we see that the occupant of the second tube is Jimmy Olsen.  Who apparently has the ability to breach any data using technology.  Jimmy uses Major Sato's cellphone to check on what's been going on since he was put on ice, and finds out that right then around the world, Parademons are invading earth through the fire pits.  So this rag tag team must get prepared for the new invasion.  But we have one stasis tube left.  Batman walks over to the Joker's tube, and Major Sato pleads with Batman not to let him out.  Batman takes her gun from her, and blasts away at the tube killing Joker.  Boosh.

Bits and Pieces:

I feel really redundant praising this title month after month, but it's all I can really do.  This title is fantastic, and I find the more I read, the more I care about this universe's characters more than the normal DCU.  Tom Taylor was given a book when all hell broke loose, and is doing a great job moving the story along, and making us care about the characters at the same time.  So bring on Earth 2 month where we get 52 titles revolving around this universe.  Not likely but it's a nice daydream after reading this issue.  So go on and get it already.


Batman/Superman #6 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written By: Greg Pak
Art By: Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: December 4, 2013

Game On!

So last month we pushed start on a whole new story arc for the Man of Steel, and the Dark Knight.  We saw the Toy Master Konami code his software into creating actual physical holograms of heroes, and villains to totally screw attack our two heroes.  But when we left the story we saw that Mongul was behind the whole plan, and we saw something to do with meteorites burning up in the earth's atmosphere, where particles rained down on the eastern sea board, possibly affecting Superman and Batman.  So where we left off, Batman was about to throw down with Mongul.  Let's see how he's doing.

Explain It!:

OH MY GOD!  BATMAN'S DEAD!  Do you know how I know he's dead?  Because he has a giant gaping hole in his chest that goes all the way through, that's how.  OH GOD NO!

Alright enough dramatics.  So apparently between last issue, and this one Batman didn't win the fight with Mongul.  But luckily Superman's here to save the day.  We get a brief bout of fisticuffs that leads to Mongul getting knocked miles away.  But throughout the fight Superman notices that he's having difficulty controlling his anger.  Oh possible plot point we'll explore later?  Let's get there.

The gamers that were testing out Toy Master's new game are still in the system, and trying out a new feature they discovered.  Enter Batman.  Well enter new and improved nano-tech undead Batman.  Yep the gamers brought him back from the dead, but without a heartbeat.  So I guess it's game on.  But we have a slight glitch in our hero.  He's conscious, but the gamers have control of his body.  But don't worry, after Jimmy Olsen (one of the game testers) get's hollered at by Superman, it looks like he have the techies on our side.

We wasted too much time.  Mongul's back, and we get a little exposition.  Turns out that the meteors that burned up in the atmosphere were deliberate.  Mongul used them to seed the earth with an aggression agent.  Now he plans on opening up the server, and let all the aggressive gamers in the the new superhero game.  A million minds controlling one Batman.  Probably not the best thing to happen to our heroes at that moment.  In the end we see what people really want, well at least what the people playing the game want.  Batman Vs. Superman.  This little scuffle will give Mongul all the time he needs to set up his master plan of controlling earth.  Dun Dun Duuuuun!

Bits and Pieces:

Let the popcorn begin.  Taking our heroes in this fun direction is something that has been needed for a long time.  Usually all we seem to get anymore is darkness, and misery.  Luckily Greg Pak has brought us out of our depression with this alien invasion, technology's evil plot.  Booth's artwork is impressive as usual, and the combination of this team just translates to a good time.  Can't wait to see how our heroes will get out of this one.  So check it out, and I'll see you next month.