Titles that stand out this week go straight for your feels.
No one is safe from the cruel deft scalpel of words and pictures that slice below the well built crust of cynicism.
Feels save the day in Justice League, honest examination saves the team in Birds of Prey and in Supergirl, I the reader, was hit in the chest-space brutally with them, (why is there wet in my eye?)
Action Comics #999
Words – Dan Jurgens
Pictures – Will Conrad, Ivan Nunes, Rob Leigh
Starting right on the feels train, Superman’s family (Lois, Jon and Lois’s dad all non-dead, thank you Booster!) is together, but the matters that kept them apart for years are upfront and loud.
Lois investigates (she does her job well), her father clandestinely protects (he does his job well) but neither can bend when their jobs conflict.
It’s an old argument, but it’s the first time Jon’s seen it and can’t understand.
At the same time, Superman’s on a world-saving job.
It’s mostly physical so it does let him collect his thoughts about the last few story-arcs.
His father Jor-El did things that were in the long run wrong (placing dangerous people in the Phantom Zone), but for the right initial reasons.
Clark used the tools Jor-El left him, but now that he knows the harm of it – he wants to do better.
No big fights, just a quiet story this time about effort. Clark had put Hank Henshaw in there when no prison on Earth could hold him. He now pulls Hank out because there is no prospect for redemption in the Phantom Zone’s hopeless space.
And that’s not a bad warmup for facing Lois’s dad.
Next time: #1000!
Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #20
Words – Julie Benson, Shawna Benson
Pictures – Roge Antonio, Marcelo Maiolo, Saida Temofonte
This issue’s full of fallout from Babs not being upfront with her friends.
Gus Yale, their friend is dead because of it.
Dinah and Helena aren’t abandoning her but emotions are high and things are still tender.
All three strike out on their own to take care of pressing problems alone.
Babs does so the most physically, trying to find the Calculator one chokehold at a time.
Helena’s history intrudes with a court summons.
Dinah has the most low-key away time, but she’s been through cycles of drama more than the other two.
Corruption, a cemetery and Burnrate still out there (and unsure if she’s killed Oracle yet!)
Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #40
Words – Robert Venditti
Pictures – Rafa Sandoval, Jordi Tarragona, Tomeu Morey, Dave Sharpe
This is a connective issue. It further solidifies character motivations and sets us up for the arc’s conclusion.
The little blues (Guardians of the Universe) have pulled Stewart in front of them (again) to yell at him for The Corps flying off to save Hal while he was engaged in his last meeting with them! (Oh you guys almost convinced me you were going to be useful ya space Smurfs, almost)
Back on Jekuul there’s fighting, fighting, fighting.
A third quarter turnabout happens to increase the stakes (I’m not calling it pulled from nowhere, but I’d be curious to know if there is precedent), but the other side throws a Hail Mary setting up the next issue for a larger ending next issue.
I expect it’ll be big loud and colorful in thirty days.
Justice League of America #26
Words – Steve Orlando
Pictures – Miguel Mendonça, Dexter Vines, Wayne Faucher, Chris Sotomayor, Clayton Cowles
On our reality, the Justice League is still rebuilding (their building physically), Lobo leaves, and it might be best not to be an Atom.
We’ll continue on this story thread in the next issue.
But back on Angor, Batman uses his detective and persuasion skills in defense of that planet. Black Canary uses her heart to fight for the life of this other plane.
But the Adjudicator remains unmoved.
Havok sneers at them, but in this failure Batman changes his tact. He’ll use his heart to protect a world he’s never known.
An unretrievable sacrifice saves that reality. (and Black Canary promises not to say I told you so!)
Scooby Apocalypse #23
Words – Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis
Pictures – Ron Wagner, Andy Owens
Plans are what this issue’s about; we don’t have them quite yet but we’d sure like to.
Almost everyone is grabbing supplies during the department store monster fight downtimes.
Cliffy and Scoob are “safe” in an upper room, or as safe as you can be in a mutant infested future apocalypse (spoiler: not enough)
The gang dramas at each other, but we do get a nice bird’s eye view of all the fallen mall monster battlers in a 2-page spread. A good moment of horrible beauty in what I’m sure is transitory peace.
Words – Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis
Pictures – Scott Kolins, Hi-Fi, Travis Lanham
I haven’t been the heartiest supporter of the backup story in this book, but I think I get it now.
I’m suspecting Secret Squirrel is an artistic social experiment by Giffen and DeMatteis. A cross between games of exquisite corpse and telephone. When this story is done and it’s bound in a trade we’ll see how well the bits with a different artist each time fits together.
(Secret and Morocco look closer to their cartoon counterparts in this chapter)
Scooby-Doo! Where Are You?
Words – Derek Fridolfs
Pictures – Randy Elliott, Silvana Brys, Saida Temofonte
Two stories here, First the gang’s at a fundraiser for the Coolsville Guys and Gals Club. (So I guess “A Pup Named Scooby-Doo is cannon?)
One of the acts is a hypnotist and unlike many of the foes they’ve faced, he can actually perform magic! (debate me sure, but when “I can’t undo it because I didn’t hypnotize them” is used as a plot point – you’ve crossed over into magic spells)
He switches the brains of the gang (except Scooby). How can they defeat him if they’re tripping over someone else’s feet?
Second is a Sumo story in Japan. We hit all the eating jokes you’d expect with Shaggy and Scoob early on, but then it’s all angry Tengu shutting down the match. Who’s responsible, who has more to gain, where’d the trophy go?
All the answers (and feels) are in here (even in Scooby-Doo, this is a feels heavy week!).
Words – Steve Orlando, Vita Ayala
Pictures – Jamal Campbell, Carlos M. Mangual
A teen (Lee) describes to Ben their story of how Supergirl saved them, and then was their hero.
Lee was running away from everything that was too big for them when they got caught in the crossfire of a Cyborg Superman fight.
After being saved from heat vision death, Lee helps Supergirl out of the crater she just made and she follows up with Lee.
The quiet time she gives Lee helps them put words to feelings, until finally Lee can take the frightful step (first with Supergirl) of coming out as non-binary.
This is a damn sweet fully contained one off that will introduce the concept to people who were not aware of this state of being. I’ve read it twice and cried both times.
Pubescence is difficult, learning what your truth entails is difficult, hell even learning how to support each other is difficult.
This issue makes it’s case for love, listening and patience as where we start.
Words – James Robinson
Pictures – Jack Herbert, Gabe Eltaeb, Carlos M. Mangual
We continue our episode of Law & Order: Metropolis in the interrogation room. But not far into the story the camera flips and we finally see our interrogator – Steve Trevor?
Last issue’s surprise ending of octogenarian-ized superheroes is quickly undone by Jennifer Morgan (it’s okay, we knew it would happen) and after returning Wondy’s sight and some of Supe’s powers with ancient Atlantean tech she rushes them back into the battle against the gate-crashing fray. We finally get a magic holograph of the enemy wearing his best Vegas hoochie top.
Deimos never shows up on the battlefield and our heroes are eventually returned… but something that’s been bothering me about this storytelling style is addressed and leads to either the conclusion or the beginning of a new arc.
We’ll find out which next issue!
Wonder Woman #42
Words – James Robinson
Pictures – Jesus Merino, Romulo Fajardo Jr., Saida Temofonte
Oh Jason, you make it so hard to back you, dear.
Issue before last you were kidnapped. Now you appear with no memory of the time in between, dressed in a fancy new custom suit and a power upgrade.
Thoughts one through ten in your head are not “It’s quite suspicious, let’s look into this first”? Maybe there’s an ancient Greek proverb about not looking a golden sheep in the mouth.
So the siblings fly off to Germany where Grail’s been spotted, and on the way there Jason regales Wondy with the story of how he and Grail first met.
At the time he hadn’t known the whole fight and meetup had been a trap Grail had set-up and… Jason does not stop and relate his own story to their present situation.
Jason, it’s a good thing you’re pretty.
Words – Dan DiDio, Justin Jordan
Pictures – Kenneth Rocafort, Daniel Brown, Carlos M. Mangual
We return to the big gold clockwork devily thing (Tempus Fuginart, though we don’t know if that’s his name or position) lecturing our main character Derek.
In the first 4 pages it breaks two… we won’t call them rules just suggestions.
1. Do not mention a better movie in your movie (I may have adapted that)
2. Don’t turn your art 90° unless you’ve got a good reason for it (that the book is called Sideways you’ll argue, ha ha ha nope).
Derek made Tempus’ job harder, he comes with the everyone win solution of no Derek = no more space-time tears to clean up. But a severe leap off a tall building later Derek does get away.
Banged, bruised and with no good explanation for the family, good thing he got the best friend ally before issue 1.
And the big guy might have a point if not the right approach, the tears Derek makes seem to remain. Nothing too big I’m sure, but something seems to be slipping through the doors Derek’s leaving open.