So, no column last week, maybe you missed me?
Well I certainly needed a pick me up this week after suffering a devastating bereavement and by chance Super Sons came out this week and I’ll be honest, it was THE number one book this week.
Cave Carson was a close second but its all about the new dynamic duo I’m afraid, they were a dose of fun and adventure that came at just the right time. Green Arrow‘s Emerald Outlaw limped across the finish line, Batwoman stepped forward and the League stepped up with an intriguing plot with an anti superpower plot that with some stronger editing probably would have taken the top spot, still Damian and Jon rule the roost this week, deservedly so.
Here is my look into the DC universe…
BATWOMAN REBIRTH #1
Writers: Marguerite Bennett & James Tynion IV
Artist: Steve Epting
Cover: Steve Epting / Variant: Jae Lee & June Chung
Kate remembers her past and significant points in her life. The attack in Brussels where she lost her sister and mother, her time in the military and discharge, her partying and self exploration, her ‘lost year,’ a chance encounter with Batman, her career as Batwoman… it is all by the numbers until a meeting with Bruce after the arrival of Monster Venom and their plan to track it down on the black market.
That leads to a shocking new development and a new chapter for Kate.
As a first issue, to bring people up to speed, it does the job. Unfortunately that is all it really does and it isn’t till the final two pages that we get something that says “Here is that new twist to the story you were looking for.”
Was the payoff worth it? I’m not sure, the delving into her memories was a bit pedestrian. I’m glad Batwoman is back and on active duty but as Rebirth goes, this wasn’t what I’d hoped I’d get, I can’t shake the feeling I’ve seen this type of story before… Grayson comes to mind.
The interior art is a truly strange experience, at some points it takes your breath away with dynamic composition and angles and at others it falls flat, the change is definitely noticeable when there are scenes with Kate. Her scenes seem very flat whereas Batwoman has her pages reflecting the style set by the cover.
Batwoman as a series always excelled in the cover art department and this issue is no exception.
This is an absolutely fantastic cover, that continues the tradition started since her reintroduction.
CAVE CARSON HAS A CYBERNETIC EYE #5
Writers: Jon Rivera & Gerard Way
Artist: Michael Avon Oeming
Cover: Michael Avon Oeming & Nick Filardi/ Variant: Mitch Gerads
As the King tells the story of The Whisperer and how he once corrupted Muldroog, the Team gets intoxicated by a meal dubbed night pudding.
EBX it seems has been searching for the The Whisperer and unfortunately Ace, the Mighty Mole II captain and former friend of Cave is in league with them. Cave and his father in law realise that Borsten and EBX need Chloe to open The Whisperers prison unfortunately the night pudding has corrupted the team somewhat, Chloe has gone skinny dipping and Wild Dog is being tortured by his fractious memories.
With the team intoxicated, Borsten arrives with a horde of his mutant minions and captures the King. Chloe and Cave reunite along with Wild Dog and the Mighty Mole II crew who escaped their crazed leader. The new team have no time to bond, as along with the Muldroog survivors, they stare in horror as an army of fungus monsters approaches to destroy them all.
Things take a seriously messed up turn this issue!
A lot of double crossing and realisations, I just don’t want to spoil it in a review, you have to read it!
The forging of a new Team Cave is a welcome one and I can’t wait to see what happens next!
The scene where Cave tries to call Superman for help is both hilarious and poignant, he has been out of touch for so long, shutting himself off from the world, he is literally lost.
I think this is why I love the book so much, it is him finding himself once more after losing his way.
Is it possible that this book just keeps improving issue by issue? I feel like Oeming is on a mission to just keep outdoing his own visuals. I’m not complaining, because along with the story, the art keeps me coming back!
I love this cover! Wild Dog looks like he’s ready to kick some serious ass!
Bring on the weird underground mutants because he’s not messing around! The psychedelic colour scheme marries well with the story inside so its for the win!
BACK UP FEATURE:
Writer/Artist: Tom Scioli
The Wonder Twins are to be married. Their incestuous offspring would be the superbeing of prophecy but upon hearing the royal advisor suggest this Zann and Jayna plot to escape to Earth. The royal advisor laughs off the kings orders to stand down and reveals he has a secret army of Superman robots at his command.
On Earth, Joker, Harley Quinn, Solomon Grundy and Penguin are conquering the city streets. With Wonder Woman fallen, only Batman and Batgirl are left to stand up to the Clown Prince.
In deep space Brainiac discovers a ship with Superman’s emblem on it and once about his base he opens it to discover the unconscious body of Supergirl!
The story is now starting to make sense but it so bizarrely constructed and segmented with such sparse storytelling that all I feel towards it is a wish for it to hurry up, get to the point and become a cohesive Super Powers story. Right now I just feel bored.
I like what Scioli is trying to achieve with the art. I’ve looked up his style and his webcomics all evoke that ‘yesteryear’ comics feel and it really works. Artistically I’m growing far more appreciative of the visuals than I was before, if only the story matched up to it.
GREEN ARROW #17
Emerald Outlaw Part 6: Finale
Writer: Benjamin Percy
Artist: Otto Schmidt
Cover: Juan Ferreyra / Variant: Neal Adams & Alex Sinclair
With the Chief dead, Ollie renews his vow to defend the innocent.
Broderick meanwhile tries to blackmail the newly appointed Mayor Domini and deals out a terrible punishment when he catches the Mayor trying to plant a bug for Ollie on the Queen Industries server.
Key meanwhile gets a visit from Green Arrow and is gifted a flash drive detailing numerous crimes and revealing corruption in the city.
Later in Ranier Wilderness Merlyn attacks.
He was hired to discredit Ollie and now he is a wanted criminal; Malcolm can kill him and nobody would care.
Team Arrow assist, but in the end Ollie faces off against the Dark Archer, only to be betrayed by one of the core members.
Elsewhere, Key discovers an ancient secret about Star City and the Queen family that could shake it to the core.
This was overlong, lost it’s was a few times and though the ending was a bit of a shock, it certainly was not worth six issues to get to that point.
The return of Ollie’s sister, the death of the Chief and the burgeoning friendship with Victoria and that betrayal… there were certain elements that worked. The whole Vice Squad diversion was disappointing as we spent too much of a page count on them and not where it really counted. I am totally on board for what comes next solely on those last few pages but again overall this was a disappointing arc.
The artwork it seems in Green Arrow is at its absolute best when the action is frenetic. The fight with Merlyn illustrates this well. Schmidt is truly in his element when he’s drawing action. I say this but that last page had my jaw hit the floor.
Team Arrow about the face the music? Of course not but what a great cover showcasing each member and bringing forth an individual character trait in the art alone.
The speech bubble wasn’t needed, the message was already there in the attitude. A great cover.
JUSTICE LEAGUE #15
Timeless Part 1
Writer: Bryan Hitch
Artist: Fernando Pasarin
Inker: Matt Ryan
Cover: Fernando Pasarin, Matt Ryan & Brad Anderson
Variant: Yanick Paquette & Nathan Fairbairn
Superman meets up with Batman just as an energy field appears in the location Lois and Jon were. Batman asks his friend to trust him that they aren’t dead.
Flashing back to a League visit to the UN, a young woman interrupts their visit begging for them to protect her from an army of alien warriors. The girl hurls a temporal grenade at the invaders and explains to the Flash that these creatures are known as The Timeless. The mysterious girl explains she is trying to save the world and instructs a bewildered Flash to kit each Leaguer with a special watch.
The Timeless are a religious group that believes mortals aren’t meant to wield powers and will do anything to eradicate superheroes so that the natural order is restored. The girl reveals she is Molly, The Keeper, and the saviour for the meta community and time itself.
Elsewhere Batman introduces Clark to the staff of the Infinity Corporation who reveal time is rewriting itself.
Back to the UN building and somehow Vic goes from fighting the Timeless to arriving in the 31st century in the company of Brainiac 5. Jessica and Simon are transported to the 26th century into a confrontation with the ring wielding team the ‘Earth Corps’.
Flash is transported back to the day the Speed Force manifested. There are five bombs across time The Timeless have set to detonate and she begs the League to trust her to help repair time.
Batman and Superman along with the Infinity Corp team watch the world outside alter to reveal an armada of ships surrounding the Earth…
Have The Timeless won already?
An inventive and fun premise messed up by the jumps back and forth. The narrative is completely thrown as the dialogue boxes are not there to explain the direction.
I had to reread through a few times to get things on a more linear form but I shouldn’t have to. I am keen to see where this goes, the references to Flashpoint and Crisis alone make me want to read more. The concept of The Timeless is interesting, as is Molly, a DC counterpart for The Watcher perhaps.
Great visuals but as mentioned the fractured nature of the story made things happening difficult to decipher at times;Treating sequences as individual certainly helps and Flash in particular had some great layouts.
The cover wasn’t the best. It feels a bit like The Dungeon At The Heart Of Dawn or Michael Endes’ The Never Ending Story, and I get what they are trying to do but it just isn’t engaging.
ODYSSEY OF THE AMAZONS #2
Writer: Kevin Grevioux
Artist: Ryan Benjamin
Inkers: Don Ho, Richard Friend & Ryan Benjamin
Cover: Ryan Benjamin
Hessia and her team try to battle the Giants but are woefully inept due to their injuries but an intervention by Vikings turns the tide and they escape to recover and learn more about each others cultures.
The Amazons continue to bicker amongst themselves about whether to pursue their seven sisters as many of them seem to be dying in the quest but with steely reserve they decide to put their armour back on and search for the Jotuns.
The seven sisters are now six after one was killed during their imprisonment and the remaining women are met by the Jotun Queen who reveals she intends for Jotuns to impregnate these mighty immortal women to create a race of Master Jotuns mixing the races created by Odin and Zeus.
Elsewhere, the Vikings agree to support the Amazons despite bickering of their own about warrior men fighting alongside warrior women, however a hurdle in their quest arrives in the form of the Valkyries and they are not happy by this team up.
I’m finding the story is engaging and the exploration of both Greek and Norse mythologies along with their preconceptions of each other a thoroughly entertaining read but in the back of my mind I just can’t fathom why this story exists.
As I said it is very well crafted, but we know Wonder Woman happens, so despite the perils and trials they go through we know the ending. As the story is fleshed out more the characters are coming into their own and I will continue reading with curiosity as to how it will impact Diana, if at all.
The art continues to stay strong and as certain women come to the fore they too are fleshed out artwise.
The inkers different styles are noticeably different and their effect on the story also makes it feel uneven, there seemed to be much more care and attention paid to the intricacies of the pencils last issue.
The troll with the goofy expression ruined for me what I initially deemed an almost perfect cover. Hessia in the foreground looks awesome and doesn’t overpower the goings on in the background, unfortunately your eyes are still drawn to that troll.
SUPER SONS #1
When I Grow Up…:Part 1
Writer: Peter J Tomasi
Artist: Jorge Jimenez
Cover: Jorge Jimenez & Alejandro Sanchez
Variant: Dustin Nguyen
Jon struggles to maintain his powers when he witnesses bullies take on his new meek friend Alan, but Superboy is suspicious when the temporary bus driver intervenes twice to prevent him using his abilities.
Confronting him,he realises it is Damian in disguise, in fact, Robin has been using latex disguises to monitor Jon much to his annoyance.
Batman notices Robin slipping in his studies despite a more than capable intellect and forbids crime fighting until he catches up.
In Hamilton County, Lois & Clark reassure Jon that they are fully behind him, his decisions and bravery against bullies at school
As Jon goes to bed Robin appears and convinces him they need to investigate break ins at Lexcorp as both their fathers are busy.
Soon the pair are crossing rooftops and scaling the walls of the Lexcorp building but trouble comes in the form of Lex himself who confronts the boys in his super armour.
Lots of character exploration with Jon finding his feet at school and keeping his powers in check. It was nice to see, despite their bickering that Damian and Jon really do get on. There seems to be a much closer bond between Damian and Jon than between Bruce and Clark, though perhaps it is their constant and comical battle of wills that adds to their chemistry as a team up.
Everything is balanced from school to family time to the superheroics. Tomasi does a fantastic job of keeping the drama and action constant and it makes for a great read and to go up against Lex in their first official outing? Bring it!
Jorge Jimenez does an exceptional job. Everything, and I mean everything is bursting with character. Really enjoying the layouts, the cartoon feel is just perfect and adds to the great dialogue. It is hard to pick a particular page that is stand out but I guess that final page with Lex if my favourite, simply because it promises something I know will live up to the promise.
They kept the Superman/Batman logo! They have judgy parents hovering in the background looking noble and respectful! Then you have two wild children eager for action and adventure! If I were to nitpick its that the yellow seems to mute their impact, but overall this is a definite eyecatcher!