The end of an era for the Gotham Academy, the beginning of a new one for The Machinist, the hunt for a legend, a myth comes to life, restaurateur ghosts, television and film seeping into reality and one hell of a party.
Think that’s a lot going on?
You’d be right! That’s a quick overview of the books but that doesn’t mean you should skim through yours this week! Some titles are racing through so you’ll need your wits about you to overlook the plot holes.
There are two books I wouldn’t be without this week but you’ll have to read the column to find out which!
This is my look into the DC Universe this week!
ACTION COMICS #985
Writer: Rob Williams
Artist: Guillem March
The Machinist is back! Attacks across the world lead Superman to people and animals controlled by microscopic ‘tech mite’ chips.
Superman immediately sees ties to Luthor but when the duo realise that Lexcorp tech has been stolen and reprogrammed they hunt Machinist down to end his terrorist attack. The villain is not caught off guard as his tech puts an old rivalry into play.
The Gene Luen Yang/John Romita Jr. run on Superman was pretty bad. A story arc best left forgotten, so imagine my surprise to see The Machinist (not named after an operator of a sewing machine – honest), coming back for a second run.
This time the crafty villain is using chips stolen from Lexcorp to cause havoc but for an unknown goal. It is good to see Luthor and Superman’s partnership is on fragile ground.
Lex has 75 years to make up for. The final scene plays up to that and it is great that in Rebirth they will be letting the ‘Supermen’ duke it out. The inking is a little overused in the linework but not so much in shading meaning a sketch-like appearance. The art is definitely stylized, I quite like the look. Williams does a good job utilising The Machinist as a credible threat after the social media misstep in his introduction.
I look forward to finding out why he’s back.
GOTHAM ACADEMY SECOND SEMESTER #12
Writers: Brendan Fletcher, Becky Cloonan & Karl Kerschl
Artists: Adam Archer & Sandra Hope
While Maps confronts Olive, the rest of the team are in a race against time. Olive is desperate not to hurt her friends but can no longer control her actions.
Maps tries reaching out to Olive and the gang begin an exorcism to purge the malevolent spirit causing havoc in Gotham. Friendships are tested and the city itself hangs in the balance in one final conflict.
Can the Academy alumni succeed or will Olive’s fate be sealed?
A beautiful book from start to finish, both visually and literally. I sincerely hope that this is not the last we’ll see of the gang as their relationships are what drive this book.
Batman of course makes a cameo but via flashbacks and that is a good thing as it doesn’t detract from Olive, Maps or the others.
Everything is neatly tied up in the story but though it is a rare happy ending in Gotham, things are left open for them all to return. This is perhaps the most creative in the ‘Gotham’-sphere so it definitely deserves your attention.
HAL JORDAN AND THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS #26
Writer: Robert Vendetti
Artist: Rafa Sandoval
The Mighty Metal Golems have awoken but their prophecy must not come to pass. As the Lanterns readjust after the Yellow Lanterns departure, Kyle and Hal are out in deep space investigating the destruction of an entire solar system and all life within it.
A Boom Tube opens to reveal Orion escaping from Omega Beams. The New God is hit square in the chest by the deadly energy and collapses in the arms of the Lanterns.
Heading the the nearest planet, Slyggia, Hal and Kyle seek medical attention for their wounded friend. The revived Orion reveals he is being hunted and being brought to a populated planet has put everyone at risk.
Hal and Kyle swear to fight whatever threat reveals itself with all the might of their rings, sadly against one of the Metal Golems they may be facing a threat they cannot hope to beat.
I’m not sure what to make of the issue.
After such a huge series of bombshells last issue, it is barely dealt with.
Kyle acts and seems like the whole ordeal didn’t occur… weird and disappointing. Moving right along we meet Metal Golems and Orion. Anyone old enough to remember the Millennium Giants might feel a shudder of fear over the arrival of these immensely powerful goliaths but lets see how it plays out.
Orion is an interesting character so having him and the New Gods added to the mix might make things a little interesting but so far it is too early to tell.l
Writer: Steve Orlando
Artists: Robson Rocha & Daniel Henriques
As a Cat Grant imposter shoots Kara with an energy pistol, the girl of steel finds her powers are being overloaded at random times. Meanwhile Emerald Empress joins forces with Solomon Grundy, Indigo, Magog and Selena to recreate the Fatal Five.
Unsure of her powers and having almost jeopardiscer secret identity, Supergirl visits The Blade to visit her father Zor El. Zor is no longer Brainiac’s acolyte, having had his cybernetics removed and a synthetic polymer grafted to replace its functions. Zor is still hurting from his daughters betrayal and refuses to acknowledge her.
Emerald Empress confronts Director Chase while Magog sends a super enhanced Solomon Grundy on a rampage.
Now a gigantic beast, Grundy attacks National City and only Supergirl can stop him!
Remember the episode of the Supergirl show ‘World’s Finest’ where Silver Banshee & Livewire join forces out of the blue? It was an awesome crossover with The Flash but it felt rushed? This is what this issue felt like. These was so much going on; the Cat Grant doppelganger, the over powering, the scene with the floor collapsing, the scene with Zor El and it was all so rushed through that it felt a bit flakey.
They were in such a hurry for the villain team-up that it just ‘happened’. Supergirl hasn’t even MET Selena, Solomon Grundy or Indigo yet, so why they’d team up against her feels odd. I do like the fan-service acknowledgements but they aren’t making sense just yet. One thing of note that the book does right is addressing the continuity clash of Hank Henshaw returning as Cyborg Superman.
To be clear, I like the ideas – all of them, but I would like to see them all fleshed out.
Writer: K. Perkins
Artist: Stephen Segovia
Lana has returned to Smallville seeking answers to her powers but as she does she meets a superpowered being named Red Sun. Red Sun is influencing Superwoman and they are causing terrible damage to the small town.
Flashbacks reveal the early days of Lana and Clark’s friendship and when they were pulled in different directions. Clark by Lex Luthor and Lana by Amos Aimes.
Lex, of course, grew to be a nemesis of Superman and then the battle armoured Metropolis Superman. Amos after being in a motorcycle accident with Lana witnessed Clark being hurt by Lana’s necklace. Seeing its power lead Amos to work in Lexcorp and conduct unauthorized experiments on Red Kryptonite, the result was his transformation into Red Sun.
Lex chased his old school friend back to Smallville and found he has control over Lana, mirroring their teenage years.
With Lex being beaten to a pulp by Amos and Lana and Smallville facing ruin, Supergirl races to the rescue.
Can she even the balance before Smallville and Superwoman are destroyed?
Someone has been watching Smallville. Amos Aimes is clearly an allegory of Whitney Fordman but the bad boy could easily have been Kenny Braverman (aka Conduit). Still there’s no harm, no foul in creating yet another Smallville classmate with a chip on his shoulder. I half expected Chloe Sullivan to appear in the flashback if Perkins was going the whole hog.
Like Supergirl, this issue rushes headfirst into a story without thinking. The flashback establishes the relationship between Amos and Lana, even throws in the old kryptonite necklace and while it established history it does little to address how or why Red Sun has come to Smallville after working for Lexcorp in Metropolis. If Amos is hunting for Lana and knows her secret identity somehow, fine, show me how. Throwing in Lex makes more sense in that case but so far it seems like I started reading the book with the first chapter omitted.
SCOOBY APOCALYPSE #16
Writers: Keith Giffen & J.M. DeMatteis
Artists: Ron Wagner & Andy Owens
Rivalry between Scrappy and Mystery Inc reaches fever pitch but their differences must be put aside before it’s too late.
The monsters have discovered they possess an ability that can help them with world domination and they merge into a Megamonster controlled by a tiny creature within it, called the Amalgamind. As Daisy, Cliff and Fred try to battle the Megamonster’s smaller ‘parts’ Scrappy and Scooby attack the huge beast themselves.
As Scooby is pushed away Scrappy fights his way inside the beast coming face to face with Amalgamind. A psychic explosion rips through everything in sight. Did Scooby and Scrappy make it out alive and without Amalgamind what of the monsters’ attack? Mystery Inc are in for a devastating future.
The first chapter I’ve really enjoyed in this ‘reimagining’ now that the team is all together against a single threat.
The breakdown of the plot says it all really, this is the big visual issue. Nothing much in the story department really happens except in those last few pages. Scrappy’s sacrifice is a noble one and I hope it isn’t in vain. This is still nowhere near as fun or interesting as the books based on the show itself but I like that it keeps trying to expand upon the legend. The scene where Scrappy asks Daphne and Velma to pass a message on to his owner was touching and Scooby has proven to have matured. I miss the days of unmasking a monster instead of running from real ones but now Amalgamind is gone as the driving force its a whole different ballgame.
SCOOBY DOO WHERE ARE YOU #84
Writers: Sholly Fisch, Jymn Magon & John Ruzum
Artist: Randy Elliot, Scott Jeralds, Jack Purcell & Fabio Laguna
Joust in Thyme a medieval theme restaurant is being haunted by an 800 year old spirit, The Stormy Knight!
Scooby and Shaggy must put their fears aside and don suits of armour to protect the diners, their friends and the the restaurant. It is a race to discover the knights identity before they fall under the knight’s blade.
Another restaurant, the Yummaguchi is under attack from a vengeful Samurai warrior.
The team visit Meiko, a friend of Daphne’s and discover her aunt is facing ruin, not only from the warrior but the burger bar next door. Meiko is kidnapped and the samurai is bringing Yummaguchi to its knees. Even Scooby and the gang might not be able to stop it before it’s too late.
The final tale is one from Velma herself as she teaches us and the Mystery Inc about the origins of Zombies and how different cultures have different tales to their strange beginnings. As they prepare for bed has the Mystery Inc base been infiltrated by a zombie?
Another issue another three stories to enjoy. Two culinary themed stories around the same premise and one with Velma showing her vast knowledge of the supernatural. It seems odd that two stories about restaurant hauntings should be in the same issue, but they were fun and showed you can be creative with the theme. I preferred the Stormy Knight if I had to pick, but I liked that Meiko was in genuine danger and gave the team an impetus to solve the mystery quickly.
The third story was more akin to a profile but the ending did give me a chuckle.
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #12
Writer: Steve Orlando
Artist: Ivan Reis
Ryan reaches out to the team about Professor Palmer’s signal and they agree to help him find his mentor. Following the events in The Ray’s city, Vixen, Black Canary & The Ray stay behind in case The Might Beyond The Mirror reappears. Batman, Lobo, Killer Frost & Ryan build a spacecraft of Ray Palmer’s design and head into the Microverse.
This universe is the microscopic fabric of reality. If it unravels, it will destroy everything that is and reality will cease to exist. The team crash land and track Ray Palmer’s signal but what they find is not what they’d ever expected.
I really enjoyed this issue, it was great to see the team delegate missions.
The character moments drove the story and the lack of a lame villain proved to make the issue one of the strongest for this title to date.
The art was striking and the revelation that the microverse is tied to the fabric of reality suddenly elevated the team to multiverse saviors… if they can find Professor Palmer first.
Speaking of Palmer, is that him? Has he ‘turned to the dark side’? Or was his bio belt stolen?
Orlando just got me cheering for the book. I think after so many issues of cementing the relationships of the team, I was ready for them to make their mark, this looks like their defining moment.
HARLEY QUINN #25
Writers: Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, Paul Dini
Artists: Chad Hardin, Bret Blevins & J. Bone
Harley is hosting the party of all parties. As Sy Borgman celebrates with a whole host of guest stars.
From her gang of Harleys, to Catwoman, to Poison Ivy even Power Girl stops by to help the celebrations along.
While they gather for the big bash, armed enemies surround the building and attack.
Harley is less than pleased and unleashes all kinds of fury against the party crashers.
It will all end in tears and plenty of bloody. Naturally.
Elsewhere the Joker & Harley story comes to a close ready for a spin off as the Joker uncovers Harley’s plot to create the ultimate hideout for the Clown Prince of Crime.
It’s a twenty fifth issue so why not have a party?
Cameos abound, this issue was a lot of fun, exploring many of the relationships that have laid dormant for whatever reason, though I guess Harley’s hectic lifestyle is more to blame than anything. I loved the Power Girl scene. I think their relationship is genuinely entertaining and that Power Girl is criminally underused in the DC Universe. The ambush was to be expected though I thought it would be more a Justice League operation to bring Harley and the various criminals in and not these soldiers.
The attack threw a spanner into the works at just the right moment – before it got too sugary! Harley Quinn is a unique title, sometimes it makes me smile, sometimes facepalm, but it is always a great read!