Cave Carson is the undeniable winner of ‘Best Book Of The Week’ but it was a fierce competition with Super Sons and Green Arrow.
Green Lanterns and Superwoman feature stories with shining moments that ultimately fall short. Despite each storyline burgeoning with the potential to tell groundbreaking stories about mental illness they seem to reluctantly skirt around the issue and then actively avoid dealing with it. Odyssey of The Amazons and Justice League are the most fatigue inducing reads, guilty of that old tag ‘Made For Trade’, but both with a noticeable lack of content to fulfill that promise.
If you disagree I’d like to hear why, perhaps you though Justice League was superb? Maybe you just don’t ‘get’ Cave Carson?
This is my look into the DC Universe this week!
ODYSSEY OF THE AMAZONS #4
Writer: Kevin Grievioux
Artists: Ryan Benjamin, Don Ho & Tony Washington
Cover: Ryan Benjamin, Matt Banning & Alex Sinclair
The Amazons are taken to Valhalla, heavenly home of warriors who have fallen in combat where they meet Odin himself.
Hessia, through the Norse queen learns where the Amazons came from and the secrets of their race and how they the warrior race spread across the globe. Valhalla holds many more secrets but Hessia refuses to give up on her mission and swears to find a way back to Earth to rescue her remaining sisters who are now captives of the Jotun Storm Giants. A war is coming and Hessia and her sisters are the only ones who can fight it.
I know it might just be me but I’ve given up.
Hessia and her teams search, the battles, the fate… it all leads to boredom.
You may think I’m being cruel but no matter how you dress it up this story is overlong and anything it had going for it was not enough for a six parter – it was a 3-4 parter at most. The padding is insufferable it is like watching an a soap opera. Unless this story has some kind of bigger pay off for the DCU and Themyscira and Wonder Woman I fail to see the point of the story because it is not painting the Amazon history in a positive light.
ISSUE RATING 3/5
SUPER SONS #3
When I Grow Up – Part 2: Sibling Rivalry
Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Artist: Jorge Jimenez
Cover: Jorge Jimenez & Alejandro Sanchez
Variant Cover: Dustin Nguyen
Jon and Damian are up against their own fathers but nothing is as it seems in this mystery as the World’s Finest turn out to be androids!
With Kid Amazo on the rampage Jon befriends the villains sister but even with her aid the two boys struggle to fight back. Kid Amazo creates androids of the boys making the threat even bigger. Reggie is determined to win the day and unless Damian and Jon pull together and help Sara this child of the Amazo Virus might just succeed.
The strength of this book is character. Jon and Damian make this a joy to read, their constant bickering yet obvious kinship make it a far from formulaic read.
I’m not sold on Kid Amazo yet mainly because he’s been alluded to a lot but not seen and the bait and switch with Clark and Bruce was just cruel!
I love the energy not just shining through the writing but the artwork too. The boys seem to come to life in these pages in a completely different way to elsewhere in the DCU.
ISSUE RATING 5/5
GREEN ARROW #21
The Rise of Star City: Part 1
Writer: Benjamin Percy
Artist: Juan Ferreyra
Cover: Juan Ferreyra
Variant Cover: Mike Grell & Lovern Kindzierski
Reminiscent of the first season of Arrow, The Ninth Circle are proving to be a deadly threat for Ollie and Team Arrow – perhaps even his biggest.
There is more to the Star in the city name… it is more like a deadly pentagram and its curse has begun to gain momentum. With several of the cities most powerful men and women as members and Ollie now an outlaw, the city is in now at the mercy of this dark organisation.
Throw in Lexair Flight 733 and the return to bullet train assassin Eddie Fyers and Oliver Queen’s discovery of a family connection to the Circle and Rebirth gives the emerald archer a threat even he might not be able to defeat.
Emerald Outlaw was an interesting read, the Return of Roy Harper was enjoyable but now we’re seeing all the little story and character threads that have been in play since Rebirth began coming together. Unlike many other books, Green Arrow and Supergirl have incorporated much of their television adaptations into their modern stories. This is understandable considering they can draw upon elements that were popular in the show and create a bridge between them without alienating the original fans.
I never knew the character before Justice League Unlimited aired so my connection to the book is the series and I like Percy blending the elements.
Juan Ferreyra’s art proves a winner too with some stunning layouts of the crash and the city burning down in the climax. We also have that breathtaking cover, only Batwoman‘s painted covers come close to its perfection.
ISSUE RATING 5/5
The Many Arms of Death Part 2: Running Up That Hill
Writers: Marguerite Bennett & James Tynion IV
Artist: Steve Epting
Cover: Steve Epting
Variant Cover: J.G Jones
Kate Kane has returned to Coryana to discover why Monster Venom has suddenly shown up there – a place tied to her originals, the place where her Batwoman identity was born. Coryana is not the paradise Kate remembers as her former closest friends, and confidants are now her deadliest enemies. If they fail to kill Kate they suffer her proposed fate instead and a villain known as The Knife is determined to put an end to Kate at all costs.
After a very weak start, Batwoman abandons much of those confusing (and equally dull) flashback sequences and focuses on expanding upon the story further rather than dwelling on the past.
Kate begins using her skill, her experience and her determination to give the quest meaning and for us the reader, a jumping on point to begin the journey.
It is a slow burner of a book I’ll tell you that much but if you have the patience it is worth the wait.
ISSUE RATING 4/5
Steel Resolve (Superman Reborn Aftermath Tie-In)
Writer: K Perkins
Artist: Stephen Segovia
Inker: Art Thibert
Cover: Billy Tan & HiFi
Variant Cover: Renato Guedes
When Lana unleashed her solar flare it was so powerful it seems to have left her completely powerless.
For Superman, this couldn’t have come at a worse time as he is trying to muster the forces of the Super Family to fight whatever threat Mr Oz represents.
For Lana, her life is again thrown into disarray.
She had only just gotten used to being Super, after being desperate to be free of the curse of her powers and now she is left with a desire to help but no means to do it.
Lana pushes Nat, Lois and John Henry away when they try to support her and it takes Clark opening up about the events of Reborn and his insights into Lana’s inner strength that helps Lana pull herself together.
A fight between the SCU’s newest recruit, Atomic Skull, and super villain Remnant forces Lana to face up to herself and her destiny.
A poorly timed tie in and though forging the Clark/Lana bond anew is necessary, Lois, who is now familiar with the fact she was also Superwoman is completely relegated from the story and even more bizarre, Lana has no superpowers now and the issue spends it’s entirety building up Lana to embracing her role as a hero.
Steel and Natasha are also left at the curb and a subplot with Atomic Skull is awarded more page time.
After such a turbulent introduction and all that character work it seems wholly bizarre that it is all dispatched with in favour of such a dull follow up. I can only hope that either the book gets back onto a familiar track or forges ahead offering something bold and new because this almost felt like it was a ‘ book wind down’ and if not for Clark’s comment that he needs all the Super Family ready for an upcoming battle I’d be inclined to believe my feelings.
ISSUE RATING 3/5
CAVE CARSON HAS A CYBERNETIC EYE #7
Have I Ever Told You The Story of When I Saved Superman?
Writers: Jon Rivera & Gerard Way
Art: Michael Avon Oeming
Cover: Michael Avon Oeming & Nick Filardi
Variant Cover: Robert Hack
Team Carson, the refugees, Wild Dog and a now cybernetic eyeless Cave have managed to temporarily evade EBX, Whisperer and his mutant army.
An odd time then that Cav begins to reminisce about his adventures of yesteryear with the Superman but the vision has more to do with the battle in the here and now than even Cave realises and when Doc Fijal revives him he discovers a week has passed and Whisperer has brought his threat to the surface world!
The writers and artist have teased Superman for a long while in the book and to see Cave actually fighting side by side with the Man of Steel is brilliant.
It isn’t a real team up, not in the traditional sense as even while it plays out it becomes clear it is a more polished idealist narrative but unlike Superwoman’s more ‘on the nose’ approach this story had a more subtle influence. A strangely timed, break in the story for such a lengthy flashback but then again, after last issue’s gruesome climax we needed a little respite.
ISSUE RATING 5/5
HARLEY QUINN #18
Red Meat Part 2: Reduction
Writers: Jimmy Palmiotti & Amanda Conner
Artists: John Timms, Joseph Michael Linsner, Alex Sinclair & Jeremiah Skipper
Cover: Amanda Conner & Alex Sinclair
Variant Cover: Frank Cho & Laura Martin
Mayor Deperto has been determined to lower the rate of homeless people putting a strain on the cities resources but when his assistant reveals she hired cannibals to remedy the situation, far from being horrified the Mayor is elated!
With Harley Quinn a threat to their plot, a gang of thugs has captured her and only Eggy and Red Tool can help.
With the plot a success the Mayor and his assistant offer to pay the cannibals and send them on their merry way, however, they have other ideas. Now Harley is their captive, the city is at their mercy and because of their involvement, the authorities are powerless to stop them.
Step in Red Tool and Eggy with a deadly rescue mission.
Harley’s book is always one for over the top story-telling and this is no exception. It is a book that requires you to embrace its style and accept its many elements without question. The rotating art team is one that makes it difficult to enjoy as it constantly changes however the writing remains strong and true to character so I’m enjoying this off the wall style.
ISSUE RATING 4/5
GREEN LANTERNS #21
Polarity Chapter 3: Flatline
Writer: Sam Humphries
Artist: Robson Rocha
Inkers: Daniel Henriques & Joe Prado
Cover: Lee Weeks & Dave McCaig
Variant Cover: Emanuela Lupacchino & Michael Atiyeh
Seth flatlines and both Jessica and Simon fight to try to get him to a hospital.
Emerson, consumed by his Dr Polaris identity is the only thing standing in their way.
Simon tells Emerson of his rings healing powers and offers to use his will to heal the dying man but it doesn’t work and in revenge Polaris uses his immense power to pull the JLA Watchtower plummeting to Earth. Distracted the two Green Lanterns allow Polaris to escape and using their power prevent its crash. The two heroes can barely catch their breath before John Stewart tells them they are being relieved of duty as Lanterns of Sector 2814 and a new destiny on Planet Mogo awaits them.
Taking a few steps back the storyline has been tip toeing around the story elements Humphries has introduced. It never really takes full advantage of Dr Polaris’ mental state and aside from setting up Emerson as a future foe. The Lanterns mishandle every aspect of going up against this foe and worse still their dispatch to Mogo meant there was no time to deal with the death they could have prevented, the foe they could have saved and their own character development.
ISSUE RATING 3/5
JUSTICE LEAGUE #19
Timeless Part 5
Writer: Bryan Hitch
Artist: Fernando Pasarin
Inker: Matt Ryan
Cover: Fernando Pasarin, Matt Ryan & Brad Anderson
Variant Cover: Yanick Paquette & Nathan Fairbairn
The Justice League reconvene in the present day as Molly reveals her plan to smite the Earth of all metahumans.
When Superman stands in her way and reveals to Batman and the others that they have been deceived Molly swears to kill Lois and Jon as her first act.
The team stands together as Tempus reveals Molly has used them to drain the Timeless’ power for her own use. The League stands together and protects Lois & Jon and with the help of the team at Infinity they are able to render Molly powerless. The threat however is not over as Molly tells them by defeating her they have started a chain reaction for something even worse to come into effect… something not even they can hope to stop.
Overlong… wait I’ve used that a few times in this column haven’t I?
Well this is just as padded as Odyssey Of The Amazons and fitting I suppose that it bookends the column.
Part two retold part one and though there were one or two scenes that progressed the over all story, Timeless dragged along unnecessarily and that ‘shocking climax’ from the solicit description only served to created even more of a wait. Let’s be honest had there been better on point storytelling both Tempus & Molly wouldn’t have been around for conjecture five issues later.
ISSUE RATING 3/5