There was an awful lot of padding this week. A disappointing amount or watering down issues that got in the way of some potentially fantastic storylines. I guess it was the fact that a lot of the issues this week opted to pad their stories out rather than develop them and they usually opt to deliver instead of cater to the ‘made for trade’ formula.
Batgirl was fantastic, Justice League brought back a fan favourite, Teen Titans hit a home run and Scooby even got in on the action this week so it wasn’t all disappointing, they definitely exceeded themselves.
The light at the end of the tunnel is that the pay offs for these big stories are still to come… so join me on my journey into the DC Universe this week!
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #17
Panic in The Microverse – Finale
Writer: Steve Orlando
Artists: Ivan Reis, Julio Ferreira & Oclair Albert
Aron Aut and Ray Palmer are at odds over the destruction of the microverse. Despite their immense power even the League cannot save the day this time. Not even Batman can think of a solution to save reality.
Ryan Choi uses some quick thinking to offer a solution to save Ignition Point but will he be in time?
Can even the power of two Atoms be enough to stop Aut? What consequences result from the heroes actions and why is Prometheus rearing his ugly head?
An enjoyable story arc comes to an end. Brilliantly written and beautifully illustrated, Orlando wrote a fitting in-continuity tribute to Ray Palmer while doing justice to all the characters. There is an introduction to a new costume and the reinforcement of Frost and Atom’s burgeoning relationship both of which were handled in a very organic way.
The book has finally hit its stride and with Prometheus about to appear it doesn’t look like it is going to slow down any time soon.
I hope we get to see Ray Palmer again, too.
HAL JORDAN AND THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS #31
Mind Games Conclusion: Metamorphose
Writer: Robert Vendetti
Artist: Patrick Zircher
Hector Hammond is the captive of a group of alien gremlins who want to use his mental powers to conquer the universe.
Superman and Green Lantern are the only ones who can help save the day, but Hal is manipulated into living out his ideal life.
Superman struggles to stay in control of his body as the aliens force him to act against his will while Hal is too enraptured to realise his perfect life is an illusion.Hammond decides suicide is his only way out. The heroes must overcome the mind control to save their longtime foe; if not they’ll be wanted for murder!
Though this is a fun team up and insightful in its look into Hal’s psyche it felt like an unnecessary expansion to the Sinestro/Superman showdown.
I don’t think Superman even needed to be here this issue.
The dream life of Hal was brilliant to see and very sad at the same time as deep down both reader and Hal himself know that it is something that can never be.
The Donald Trump alien was exceedingly funny, thank you Zircher for throwing that in!
SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP #31
The Ghost at The Heart of The Atom
Writer: Sholly Fisch
Artist: Dario Brizuela
The Atom saves Scooby and the gang from the villainous Bug Eyed Bandit.
Grateful for the rescue, the team agree to return the favour by joining the superhero on a ghost busting mission.
Deep inside the subatomic world within Ivytown is the strange kingdom ruled by the Wizard King. It turns out the Wizard King has been ruling with trickery and it is up to Mystery Inc to expose him.
Miniaturisation is new to the gang but with the guidance of Ray Palmer, they might just save the day!
Scooby-Doo and the gang are out of their comfort zone here. No ghosts, no monsters, this time they are along for the ride as The Atom takes on a con artist.
Fisch is always great at expanding the source material beyond its comfort zone without taking it too far.
It was nice that this issue linked to the Hawkman team-up a while back and that it look like it will continue next issue. This gives the story a more epic feel, something only the DVD movies are able to do. The art is solid, with my mind wandering to Mike Parobeck when I saw Ray in action. Brizuela’s art is just superb. Perhaps a splash page or two would have enhanced the book.
NIGHTWING: THE NEW ORDER #3
Writer: Kyle Higgins
Artist: Trevor McCarthy
Did Dick Grayson make a mistake betraying the superhero community? The remaining rebellion of metahumans seem to think so.
Dick has to eat more than his fare share of humble pie to earn their trust as his sons life hangs in the balance.
Still, John Stewart is not a forgiving soul and a reborn Nightwing might have to face quite a beating first.
This started out with a promising concept but we are halfway through the story and it feels like it has suddenly run out of steam.
It could be that this is the lull before the storm, but Jake is nowhere to be seen and there was an awful lot of backstory that didn’t need to be explained thrown in.
There was an upturn when the rebels attacked so I’m hoping that they rebuild the momentum.
The twist with Bruce Wayne puzzled me with Nightwing being who he is today, but Higgins will undoubtedly touch upon this.
If that was Kori in the last few pages, this means Dick may have to face a mother’s wrath… that would be cool to see play out.
WONDER WOMAN #33
Tales Past: Grail
Writer: James Robinson
Artists: Emanuela Lupachino & Ray McCarthy
While Diana and Jason have found one another, Grail thinks back to the fight with the Justice League and her father’s current fate.
A New God reborn, Darkseid needs power to grow, to age and return to his throne on Apokolips. Grail hunts down the old Gods of Earth to give their life energy to her father and with each that falls he becomes stronger.
Unbeknownst to these evil villains Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor are already on their trail.
Another issue focusing on backstory this week and it again it feels like a little padding.
It was brilliantly written, don’t misunderstand me on that. The problem was I want to see Diana and Jason and it is frustrating that I have to wait for the next issue to address them finally meeting.
Everything about this issue was great, faultless… except its existence. Harsh maybe, but I want the main course, not the side salad.
ACTION COMICS #990
The Oz Effect: Part 4
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Artists: Dan Jurgens & Viktor Bogdanovic
Superman has been kept busy across the globe unknowingly fighting against scenarios set up by ‘Jor El’
Realising he has little chance of manipulating his son, Jor turns his attention to Superboy.
Lois & Clark finally catch up with Jor and confront him, however, they are shocked to find Jon at his side.
Superman suspects foul play and demand to know Jor’s motives. Jon reveals he supports his grandfather and the plan to leave the Earth before it destroys itself, much to the horror of his parents.
The Kents are in emotional turmoil but Jor offers them one last chance to join him and leave their home behind.
Whatever they choose – they lose!
What is going on this week! Stop padding out the stories needlessly.
Everything that happens this issue feels like a retread of the last minus the social commentary.
Superman is my favourite superhero and I am thus far pretty disappointed with The Oz Effect. It feels like it is dragging and as a reader that is quite frustrating given how impressive the stories have been up until this point.
THE HELLBLAZER #15
The Inspiration Game Part 3: The War Against Reality
Writer: Tim Seeley
Artist: Jesus Merino
John investigates the murder and resorts to magic. The culprits, hiding in the supernatural realm, have other ideas besides capture. They cause John to live out his dreams and even an appearance from the ‘Yoga Pants Club’ isn’t enough to wake him.
When John meets his old flame Margie, he may have found a way to turn the table on the manipulative creatures.
If he wakes from the dream, what does the future hold for The Hellblazer?
This issue was a strange one. A u-turn from the murder mystery and one that seemingly has no consequence.
When you read Constantine, you expect it to be off the wall, bizarre, non conformist.
We got that here but the lead in led me to think there would be a payoff.
It was great until this point, but I found myself scratching my head at the ending, wondering what the point of it all was.
The art this issue was lit too brightly with a lighter than usual colour palette. The last two issues were notably darker so it was especially noticeable.
TEEN TITANS #13
The Return of Kid Flash: Part 1
Writer: Benjamin Percy
Artists: Khoi Pham & Trevor Scott
The Red Arrow, Emiko Queen might seem the perfect addition to the Teen Titans, but fist she must best Damian in combat to even be considered for a place on their roster.
Cue several action packed trials, but will Emi still want to be a Titan after meeting the most obnoxious boy on Earth?
Elsewhere, after the bizarreness of METAL, the remaining team mates decide to reach out to Wally to be their friend, and team member once more.
There is one catch, Damian has to apologise for being an ass. Could the Teen Titans be two members better off? What are the bets that Robin will back down?
A brilliant issue that, at its heart, is nothing to do with Emiko or Wally.
No. This issue was all about Damian and as you read it, you come to wonder how this kid leads a team or has any friends at all.
I think he’s a fun character but sometimes he’s written to being so arrogant that he borders on Jason Todd territory.
I can’t see how Jon Kent can stand to be around him and I certainly empathise with Wally and Emi. I hope Emi sticks around. She seems to be able to reach Damian’s softer side, more than any of the others on the team.
BLUE BEETLE #14
Road To Nowhere: Part 1
Writer: Christopher Sebela
Artist: Scott Kolins
The past few months have been tumultuous for Jaime, his family, friends and El Paso in general.
Deciding to find a way to relax, Brenda, Naomi, Jaime and Paco (with his Grandfather’s car) decide to go on a road trip.
When they reach Roswell, New Mexico, the scarab detects alien activity and when a strange ship tries to abduct the teenagers Blue Beetle has to spring into action.
Are the aliens friends or foe?
There was a great deal of set up this issue, moreso than plot.
As a ‘beginning’ for the series after the Posse & Arion story arc, it was wholly necessary.
If it were not the case this would have been a waste as the plot was only driven by four pages but I found myself engaged by the characters in a way I wasn’t before.
Brenda and Paco were practically planks of wood prior to this so it is good to see them fleshed out.
I look forward to Sebela’s new take on Blue Beetle, but I hope we get more action now the set up is done.
Summer of Lies: Part 3
Writer: Hope Larson
Artists: Chris Wildgoose, Jose Marzan Jr. & Andy Owens
Barbara comes to the realisation that Mad Hatter was not the mastermind she and Dick had suspected. When they discover Ainsley and her EMJ drug nanotech is part of the plot, Batgirl realises she may have helped them develop EMJ.
That was years ago, when Batgirl and Robin were still starting their career and now, years later the Red Queen has picked up where Ainsley left off. Nightwing and Batgirl discover Ainsley has died, so who is this new villainess? How does this new nemesis figure into their first mystery and what does she want?
Larson’s story is an unexpected pleasure. To be honest I love any stories where Barbara and Dick work together and to see this flashing backward and forwards in a cohesive mystery makes this exceedingly fun.
I think I would have preferred Ainsley to still be alive as she seemed to have more to offer than the now revealed Red Queen but I am keen to find out more about why the Queen is continuing the vendetta. Some great artwork here, though I think some heavier inking would have been beneficial, but as with the writing it was unexpectedly brilliant.