Be it a storybook reimagining, a recollective regret, or a running self narrative there is storytelling withing the frame of the storylines in this week’s books.
They tell a tale, within an account being told, further interpreted by the reader’s own experiences – and I’m not going any father down that Matryoshka rabbit hole.
Action Comics #995
Words – Dan Jurgens
Pictures – Brett Booth,
Norm Rapmund, Andrew Dalhouse
Just when you think you’ve averted a time singularity a killer robot tags along.
Such is the continued lack of luck for our favorite Booster Gold.
But they have reached Earth, so Supes is powered up again and can wail on the Zod-bot.
Unfortunately the ruckus invites the interest of the local (and of Booster’s original time) authorities who arrest Michael on the spot.
It’s “very special episode” material when Skeets explains to Superman that Booster’s entire suite of equipment was “borrowed” without permission.
Any chance he could be talked into a good ole’ jailbreak?
Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #18
Words – Julie Benson, Shawna Benson
Pictures – Marcio Takara, Jordan Boyd
A fun trip to Paris for Huntress, Black Canary and Batgirl?
You know this isn’t that simple a book.
Huntress needs their help to uncover the plot of Zin Bast, a black market arms dealer attending a Parisian clean energy conference.
He seems the regular type of rich, slimy, heavily body guarded dude (that hits on Canary waaay too hard) until during the demonstration of a self-sustaining power source it, it’s creator, Zin and all his crew disappear!
Now it’s up to our three dynamic ladies to save the day before Paris get wrecked with unstoppable wicked weathers.
The art and writing of this book is full of expression and action, it’s a fun quick read.
Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #36
Words – Robert Venditti
Pictures – Jack Herbert, José Ĺuiś, Herbert,
Mick Gray, Cam Smith, Jason Wright
The Guardians are brought to the brink of death as our four Lanterns (Hal, Kyle, Guy and John) fight the Controllers in a bid to free them.
It gives Ganthet a moment to think about what the Guardians have done, what history they’ve left and if they escape (spoiler: they do, with lots of green willpower ring punches. The book isn’t called Wacky Adventures of the Controllers) what they can personally do to make the universe a better place.
Believe me, his plan is a doozy, and I look forward to seeing if it’s followed up in the next issue.
Harley Quinn #34
Words – Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Conner
Pictures – John Timms, Chad Hardin, Alex Sinclair
I thought Harley needed a chance to take it easy, but she’ll need a vacation from this vacation!
First page, jail (o.k. a holding cell, but a far cry from Florida fun with beach mojitos).
A few hours earlier they had stopped by a truck stop motel, and the nearby bar – with some very suspicious local ladies. (bar fights can’t be helped on a buddy adventure comedy trip like this, right?)
We meet the people you never expected to bail them out, it’s Harley’s parents!
Then it gets sweet, full of kisses and love and old friends (if you saw the animated series you’ll remember I promise) and maybe just a touch of – meta?
A great issue for those who’ve rode with and admired this pale lady throughout her incarnations.
Justice League of America #22
Words – Steve Orlando
Pictures – Neil Edwards, Daniel Henriques, Hi-Fi
Easy advice for me to give is; If you’re part of a highly powerful meta-human group and some random stranger wants to solve your life threatening problems, please talk to your friends before saying yes.
But if Caitlin had done that we wouldn’t have a new arc.
Last night she was dream messaged that her powers would soon go so out of hand that EVERYONE will die, unless she lets a mystery woman (Tsarita) help.
So instant cure (yay) and Caitlin is no longer a threat (yay), but Tsarita pops out of Caitlin’s noggin and has world conquering on her mind.
What’s that old joke about the cure being worse than the disease?
Scooby Apocalypse #21
Words – Keith Giffen, J. M. DeMatteis, Ron Wagner
Pictures – Andy Owens, Hi-Fi
Back-Up Story, Secret Squirrel! in… Bikini Bloodbath
Words – Keith Giffen, J. M. DeMatteis
Pictures – Phil Jimenez, Hi-Fi
The gang’s next move after celebrating a most depressing holidays is to set up a fortified base of operations in a mall. I’d make the obvious Romero reference, but trust me the book’s self-aware enough to do it for me.
Unfortunately the mall is as popular a place now as it was before the monster-izing plague, so they break into city hall (monsters aren’t big on civics) to get the building’s blueprints.
If you guessed sewer entrance, you’ve read this type of adventure before. Shaggy stays above to not tell Daisy he’s crushing on her.
Fred and Daphne go below to bicker about their feelings and whether sewer homeless exist.
Maybe we’ll get to see the mall next month?
The back-up story moves that plot along by inches. Assassin bimbos are robots (so o.k. to kill?), and it brings up questions this story will not answer. Like, was the mole too dumb or oblivious to realize he hired three robots?
There’s action and arguing and Morocco agrees to work with the two to save the world only if Agent Honey Bea is in charge. It’s basic and passable, but getting it in five page segments every month stretches the pace well past fun.
Scooby-Doo Where Are You #89
Words – Rob M. Worley
Pictures – Scott Gross
Back-up Story, Good Ghost Haunting
Words – Brett Lewis
Pictures – Anthony Williams, Dan Davis, Paul Becton
This looks and feels like an episode from the 90’s.
Lighthearted, tight, and the twists are planted far into the beginning of the chapter. The art is very on-model with the occasional pop of photo art to fill a background detail. You’ll know immediately if you’ll enjoy this.
A pizza parlor Shaggy and Scooby are very familiar with just changed hands to the next generation, but a spooky ghost doesn’t appreciate the new “trendy” take the current owner is trying.
The back-up story’s title will become apparent as soon as you read the piece. Art is in a looser pencil style but is still true to the source.
A ghost is haunting the tech fair at the “Plymouth Institute of Technology”.
It’s a good thing the crew is there scoping out new equipment to help them against monsters, because the professor in charge of it was too embarrassed to ever ask for help.
Can they solve this case of a supernatural burglar in a haven of science?
Words – Steve Orlando, Jody Houser
Pictures – Robinson Rocha, Julio Ferreira,
Daniel Henriques, Michael Atiyeh
We learn Deceilia’s backstory. She was tried harshly as a child for a small bit of revenge-tantrum killing (it was after her parents got smooshed), the punishment was expulsion from the planet. Since then she’s had a problem with anyone who’s the powers-that-be.
So when Supergirl tries to save the ship of rich people, Deceilia’s confused. Deceilia only sees their status not the lives she put in danger.
With the boat floatable, the fight goes to the sky and Deceilia can share details (mid-fight) Supergirl didn’t know. She was ripped from her space capsule and tortured by humans into becoming their weapon.
She almost gives a name too, but a well aimed shot from a D.E.O. soldier stops that.
And a semiformal dance, Supergirl (as Kara) wants to go.
Words – K. Perkins
Pictures – Max Raynor, Jamie Mndoza, Scott Hanna, Hi-Fi
Lana made the deal with Midnight, everyone (including John Henry) who were trapped are now free.
That was the part that went as planned, but Lana and Midnight are now trapped in her body, unable to hurt each other with anything more than words.
Senses and abilities slowly return, but it’s now a joint experience.
For Midnight, a machine that’s never had the ability to experience anything like this before it’s overwhelming.
Through the eyes of someone new to everything Lana gets the chance to see herself.
By the end of the book, in a rather lovely way both are able to become free.
It’s the last issue, last stop, maybe last time we’ll see some of these characters but that doesn’t make it sad.
A book that can conclude it’s story at the stopping place that suits it?
We can all hope to be so lucky.
Wonder Woman #38
Words – James Robinson
Pictures – Emanuela Lupacchino,
Ray McCarthy, Romulo Fajardo Jr.
What of a story with only the author as it’s audience?
One that warps and twists with feelings of slights and abandonment from one that falls into the cracks of their own anger and despair.
Vanessa was an innocent bystander to a criminal/superhero fight and the thing that defined her (her dancing career) was taken from her when a fallen wall crushed her legs.
Wonder Woman befriended her (she’d also saved her life in that fight) and gave her motivation to work to regain the ability to walk (with nano machines, but it’s still a lot of physical therapy), even to explore other creative outlets (a picture book of the two of them having super hero adventures).
But Diana has many responsibilities, and after Vanessa’s only family dies she feels alone and abandoned. Seeing Wonder Woman on the news having saved a now happy family only fuels her disenchantment.
Vanessa retools the fairy tale, goes to visit the family she just watched on t.v., and shares with them her desperate feelings of how unfair it all is with sharp brutal strikes.
(Wonder Woman’s loser brother is also in this issue taking up space)