Batgirl and General Zod?
No, not a team-up, but the Action Comics and Batgirl issues (guest starring Catwoman) were easily the cream of the crop this week followed closely by Scooby-Doo Team-Up (with guest star Jonah Hex.)
It wasn’t all perfection… Hellblazer, Hal Jordan and Blue Beetle missed the mark for me, but thankfully Wonder Woman, Looney Tunes and the Justice League Of America were there to smooth things over. I won’t spoil the reads but four iconic characters reappear this week and their (re)appearances might surprise you…
Here’s my glimpse into the DC Universe this week!
ACTION COMICS #984
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Artist: Patch Zircher
What could Zod possibly want in the Zone?
Why would he double cross his own Revenge Squad?
As a newly healed Superman and his team regroup in the Zone, Lois, Krypto, Supergirl, Kelex and a battle-suited Jon (assisted by a strange presence) fight General Zod.
As Eradicator succeeds in his secret mission everyone is in for a shock… the bloodthirsty General wasn’t seeking to amass an army, instead he desired nothing more than to be reunited with his wife and son. As they are all beamed out of the Zone, Superman allows the Zod family to escape, leaving everyone in the ruins of the Fortress to wonder what this reunion could mean for the future.
Ever since Superman was re-established in Rebirth, many questioned what had happened to Ursa and Lor Zod and now we discover the answers.
Revenge was a storyline that started with a completely different agenda and in many ways, deceptively. At journey’s end however, all the threads were addressed and Jurgens has given us exactly what we wanted. The entire story arc was brilliantly written and with Zod, Ursa and Lor being the polar opposites of the Kent family, it will be interesting to see their relationships as we move forward.
HAL JORDAN AND THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS #25
Writer: Robert Vendetti
Artist: Ethan Van Sciver
The balance of power is disrupted with Tomar Tu’s crime coming to light, while Kyle is discovered disfigured in his human form. This betrayal on both sides leaves the factions at odds and a final bomshell is delivered by Soranik, splitting loyalties forever.
The war begins and John Stewart is determined to bring the conflict to an end with a few tricks up his sleeve but even his plans lead to great losses.
The Yellows and Greens are separate once more but elsewhere in space a foe long thought dead returns to plot against all ring bearers.
It was a balance that couldn’t last but it was interesting to see this storyline play out.
I am still unsure where my loyalties lie as Hal, John and Kyle have all made questionable decisions as of late.
Flipping the impurity of the ring onto the Yellow lanterns was a surprise but otherwise it was a fairly pedestrian, by-the-numbers story, just like the issues before it.
The final pages were an expected inevitability but with Soranik in her current mindset I’m sure the Sinestro Corps will be in for a rough ride.
Writer: Simon Oliver
Artist: Davide Fabri
Marid has caught up with Jon, Mercury and the journal they all seek.
The ruthless Djinn wastes no time drawing battle lines revealing to Dante that he has the boy’s baby sister and will not hesitate to kill for the secrets of the journal.
John left with nothing to lose makes a deal, if Marid allows Mercury and the journal safe passage to Abby Arcane and Dante is unharmed, Marid will get the ultimate prize… the Hellblazer himself!
It couldn’t be that easy could it?
That was unexpected!
‘Smokeless Fire’ has been as uneven in the writing as it has been in the art chores. There were so many interludes with Mercury, Marid and those strange flashbacks that the story at it’s heart never got the chance to really get going.
The thrill of the chase was lost amongst the twists and then Oliver gives us an ending out of the blue that doesn’t really fit in with what we know about Marid or his master plan.
A disappointing storyline, that had such promise.
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #11
Writer: Steve Orlando
Artists: Neil Edwards & Sandu Florea
Caitlin Snow’s quest hits a roadblock but her journey is far from over in her search for a cure.
The Ray meanwhile, assisted by the rest of the team battle the Kingbutcher, for the fate of Vanity.
Do the Justice League Of America allow the wishes granted to remain fulfilled or defeat the Kingbutcher, crushing the lives of everyone around them?
The Ray pays the ultimate price but the Lords Of Order will not rest until someone pays for their crimes meaning a tumultuous future lies ahead for everyone on earth.
Ryan Choi meanwhile finally gets the news he’s been waiting for… Ray Palmer is alive!
I really should hate this title, it has no great villains, it has Batman on two teams at the same time and the JLA don’t seem to be anywhere near as iconic as the main team.
There is a certain ‘something’ there that Orlando has tapped into that makes it a survivor. This is the soap opera title of the DCU. The lives of the JLA are something that I care about. I am surprised how much I love this book, it has a way to go, but it has been an enjoyable journey thus far!
WONDER WOMAN #27
Writer: Shea Fontana
Artist: Mirka Andolfo
The bomb thankfully causes minimal damage, with Etta being the only casualty and Wonder Woman realising her presence was the cause for the attack.
Diana wastes no time getting Etta to medical attention, however the doctor isn’t all she seems.
The testing earlier that day had allowed the Doctor to calculate the correct dosage to drug Wonder Woman. The doctor is dying but stealing some of Diana ‘s DNA and grafting it with her own means she is instantly cured with some godlike side effects.
Wonder Woman fights back, warning the doctor of the danger she is in for stealing the gift of the gods, but the warning falls on deaf ears.
As Wonder Woman fights her double, the princess in unaware that a bounty has been placed on her head.
This two parter was a refreshing new direction. I really enjoyed Rucka & Scott & Sharp’s run, it was the stuff of legends, but having some short form stories are great fun too. The doctor’s double cross was very fast but something that can be overlooked in the interests of adventure.
Wonder Woman seems more like her Year One ‘innocent’ persona here, but I hope as Fontana grows more comfortable writing the Amazonian princess that she begins to get a little tougher.
LOONEY TUNES #238
Writers: Derek Fridolfs, Sholly Fisch, Jesse Leon McCann, Pablo Zamboni & Ruben Torreiro
Artists: Walter Carzon, Horacio, Ottolini, Saichann, Aranda & Mike DeCarlo
Four stories from the world of animation!
The first sees Wile E. Coyote purchase a universal remote from ACME that could help him outsmart that pesky Road Runner.
The second sees us visit Coyote’s ancestor in the prehistoric age and his attempts to eat a wooly mammoth, but where there’s a Coyote there is always a Road Runner!
Next, it’s time that the crazy characters seek to examine their neurosis as Porky, Coyote, Marvin The Martian and Bugs Bunny want some psychological help.
Finally, Coyote invests in a combat simulator to best battle his nemesis… what could go wrong?
The kids books are always the most difficult to review. They are always beautifully illustrated and brilliantly written. Sometimes I feel that these books are better than some of the more mainstream comics. They appeal to a mass audience (myself included) but I suppose I should spotlight my favourites to give you a bigger picture.
The ACME remote and the psychologist short stories were hilarious. Both very creative and working on both a parent and child level, delivering as many laughs as the cartoons themselves.
SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP #28
Writer: Sholly Fisch
Artist: Dario Brizuela
The Mystery Incorporated gang uncover a secret journal they never knew about, detailing the adventures of their ancestors and the great, great grandpa to Scooby!
It turns out that Frederic, Carrie, Thelma Lou, Gabby and Smiley-Doo were all pals in the old west and had journey into a town called Buzzard’s Belly.
In Buzzard’s Belly there is a monster terrorising the town but not only that, a fugitive names Bat Lash is also in hiding there.
With double the threat the old Mystery Inc are soon aided by the legendary gunslinger Jonah Hex.
Did they succeed to ride off into the sunset or will their fate remain a mystery Scooby and the gang will never solve?
I get done dishing out praise for one young audience book and then Fisch surprises me with a team-up I never thought would happen. Granted it isn’t quite a team-up in the literal sense but the creativity to bring it to life and the added bonus of Bat Lash made for one of the more entertaining issues in this series. I usually hate Wild West stories but this was very enjoyable.
BLUE BEETLE #11
Writers: Keith Giffen & J.M. DeMatteis
Artist: Scott Kolins
Jaime overcomes the Scarab and in doing so forges a symbiosis no other owner has ever had.
This unique bond forces Doctor Fate to rethink his decision to kill Jaime and he permits breathing space while taking Arion into supernatural custody.
This should be the end of the story, Blue Beetle is a hero on his own terms now and everything is right in the world… except for a certain Mistress La Dama, who seeks control of El Paso and releases the evil entity Ghostfire to do her bidding.
Jaime’s drama is far from over as Batman decides the Beetle’s erratic career needs his close personal attention.
Someone stop the ride, I want to get off.
I’ve had root canal that was more enjoyable than these past eleven issues. Like binge watching The Walking Dead, you keep hoping it will get better, but it never does despite the odd glimmer of hope. I can only hope now that Jaime is in full control of the Scarab that the story arcs will get shorter and begin to improve. With two comic book legends at the helm this should be one of the biggest and brightest of the DC line up. Kolins energetic art feels slightly constricted in the issues framework, I feel he needs more bold splash pages to really cut loose.
Writer: Hope Larson
Artist: Inaki Miranda
Batgirl rescues a young girl called Esme from a gang of bullies and quickly forges a friendship with her.
It turns out that the little girl is desperately searching for her beloved dog Rookie and who better than the world’s greatest girl detective to help her search?
Things take a turn for the bizarre when the two girls clash with Catwoman, but rather than uncover a crime they find Selina is also searching for a pet.
Isis has been kidnapped and they must join forces to find answers and all trails lead to the villainess, Velvet Tiger.
What could she want with two household pets and can Batgirl save the day?
Was this written as a homage to Adam West and Yvonne Craig?
This was an unexpected pleasure from start to finish, not as an issue of Batgirl but its homage to the 1966 Batman show. Isis and Rookie’s rescue was innovative as a tool to have the cat & the bat join forces but who would have thought the story would end like it did?
Who could have predicted the villainy of Velvet Tiger? Not me! I loved every second and the minions somersaulting around gave me pangs of nostalgia.
Hope Larson, thank you, intentional or not you wrote a fitting tribute.