Weekly Comic Book Discussion 1/19/2006

Here we go again. Big pile of stuff for me this week, including a new Manhunter; Action Comics; X-Statix Presents : Dead Girl; and All-Star Superman - which was excellent.

I went to a comic shop for the first time in about a month, but only bought action figures:

The new DC Direct “Unmasked” Martian Manhunter – pretty much the same as the original Sam Greenwell MM sculpt, only it has a lighter green paint job and it comes with an interchangable Martian “Gumby” head. I used to have the old figure, but got greedy and listed it on eBay after seeing them sell between $30 and $50. Due to bad timing and worse luck, I had to relinquish it for my opening bid of $10. But $12.99 later, I have a newer, even nicer J’onn back in my display.

I also got the really nice Hellboy figure from Mezco (the comic version, not the movie version). I brought in a Dutch Transformers board game from 1986 to get store credit, so Hellboy only cost me $5.

I didn’t see the Dead Girl comic, but would have considered getting it if I had.

Infinite Crisis #4: Holy Mother of Fuck.
Okay. I expect this issue to be wildly unpopular. It’s extremely dense. There’s easily five issues worth of stuff in here, all of them packed with important and exciting events that possibly deserve more space. There’s revelations, events, deaths, and rebirths that can’t possibly sit well with everybody. And you practically need a master’s degree in DC continuity to appreciate it all. These are all valid criticisms.

But I don’t care. Because this is an awesome ride. The revelations make sense, the new heroes look cool, and the stuff with the Superboys… Man oh man. And of course, the Flash… I wonder how that will turn out. [spoiler] By sheer chance, I Byrned the Gotham Central where the new Spectre dies today. Good choice. And a hell of a misdirection. I’m mostly glad it wasn’t Jack Drake or Sue Dibney.

My favorite moment was Batman with Nightwing. Batman knows he’s fucked up, but he knows who he can turn to for help.[/spoiler]

The Flash #230: Maybe I’m just riding the high from Infinite Crisis, because while I’ve been quite harsh on this series, I liked the final chapter. I’m impatient to follow up on the events of Infinite Crisis. It kinda sucks that they’re cancelling the book just to bring it back. big numbers lend respectability, IMHO.

All-Star Superman #2: Lois suspects Superman of being a dick. This is a love letter to Silver Age Superman, and I’m really enjoying it.

Green Lantern #7: Speaking of classic Superman, it’s Black Mercy! Very cool.

Mister Miracle #3: I’m digging this. It’s street level, yet cosmic. But what the hell does this have to do with the Sheeda? And also, ouch.

Birds of Prey #90: It’s okay, but it seemed too neat. They wrapped things up *too *perfectly. I guess Gail didn’t want any loose ends before the jump. Still, it was nice seeing Batman show a more human side for once.

Legion of Superheroes #13: A good conclusion. And a letter column, which is always fun and informative.

Menocchio, I couldn’t agree more, on a number of points. All-Star Supes made me remember all the cool stuff in the Fortress, and even threw in a gratuitous reference to DC One Million, which I totally dug.

Mister Miracle - It’s not bad, but I still wanna know how it fits with the old version of the New Gods. Shilo’s treatment this ish is really gruesome.

Nightwing #116 - I think this comic, oddly, should be read in the middle of Infinite Crisis #4. After we see what the society does to Bludhaven, but before Dick’s chat with Bruce.

Birds of Prey #90 - Canary’s never been more badass, there’s never been a better Bat-moment, and the kiss… the kiss! And then I even got a chuckle out of Zinda’s reaction to Creote’s… proclivities.

JSA Classified #7 - A solid wrap-up to the caper arc.

Green Lantern #7 - Yes, it was nice to see the Black Mercy again. And nice that the hard-travelin’ heroes are teamed here.

Flash #230 - Good series wrap-up; glad they didn’t shoe-horn in a cheap cliffhanger to Infinite Crisis #4.

Infinite Crisis #4 - You said it best. Spoilers ensue.

[Spoiler] I knew those sneaky jerks had been getting out of the pocket dimension - nice to know that Superboy is of the pre-Crisis planet-pushing category. With the Psycho-Pirate’s role revealed with the Spectre, things begin to make a little sense. Excellent choice on the new host, but after the last issue of GC, I kinda suspected it. This issue makes me want to go back and re-read all the lead-up issues and such to see if there are hints ot Superboy’s presence.

Speaking of which - Wow. Superboy’s insanity here… and way to make him a tragic figure, too! The dialogue… “You’re ruining ME!” “I grow up to be Superma…” Nice that the fatalities come from the “lesser-known” Titans - I didn’t even recognize two of them. Hope Krypto’s okay. Hope Bart and Wally are okay, too - and that the Speed Force revelation doesn’t mean the end of the line for Jay. Great cameo by past speedsters, too. [/Spoiler]

Firestorm #21 - The return of Martin Stein. Read after Infinite Crisis #4.

Legion#13 - The Legion kicks ass, and Brainy is a devious Coluan bastard. All this, we knew.

I’m thinking this Mister Miracle is the One year later New Gods. How Darkseid et al got to this point may have something to do with Infinite Crisis, or perhaps 52. I have noticed that the New Gods have been suspiciously quiet during all of this.

As I slowly get sucked back into the comics world…(help me!)

Two for me this week.

All Star Superman: I thought issue one was one of the best things I’d seen in years. Certainly I didn’t hate it with my usual “Superheroes Suck!” thing going. And the character treatment is really good. I’m looking forward to more. Oh, and Lois is a mondo babe.

She Hulk #4: I’m really finding this title amusing and well-written. The artwork is good and idiosyncratic enough to interest me. And the story was particularly moving, actually. I’m coming into this late because I’m unaware of what’s going on in the recent past for the character but it’s been a good ride so far.

Oh, and my hardcover ‘V for Vendetta’ came in.

The fatalities were Pantha, Baby Wildebeeste, Risk, and Bushido. Which ones didn’t you recognize?

New Books for January 18, 2006:
[ul]
Back in the late seventies and early eighties, during the advent of the experimentation with creator owned characters, and the independent boom, a lot of us looked back at our old silver age issues of Superman and Batman, with a mild contempt. The stuff was fun, but we were getting older, and we wanted more adult fare. For once the comic book creators either felt the same and adjusted their stories accordingly (most of them were our contemporaries after all) and the suits, followed suit, and began chasing us, the young adults who wouldn’t leave our comic books behind. Indeed the books “grew up” with us. And now they are “getting old” with us, just when we’re at the point of not wanting to feel any older than we already are. We’ve gone full circle, and when I read and re-read Morrison’s recent work, his Seven Soldiers and his **All Star Superman #2 ** I get the sense he feels as we might. Stuff like Infinite Crisis, DC Countdown, Infinite Crisis and One Yawn Later, represent the limit of how far we can go in revisionist treatments of the characters. The pursuit of the trendy, or the darkness, the cynical and the true, has gone full circle, and us aging nerds, we’re ready for wonder again.

Well we’re getting it. Read All Star Superman #2 and breathe a happy sigh of relief. Others will go into the story elements that made this issue fun and refreshing. I’m venturing an opinion as to why aging nerds like myself are responding to this so strongly. We don’t need simplicity in our politics. (Just look at Iraq: that’s where simple-minded thinking gets you.) Let’s keep the simplicity in the comic books, where it belongs.

Contrary to the impression I got from earlier posts on **Batgirl #72 **, this is not the last issue of the title, and while (white spoiler text follows, use cursor to read) Cassandra Cain does indeed sustain a mortal injury, and yes, dies, she’s collected right away by the one woman with the means and motivation to bring her back to life for one last battle. This penultimate chapter is designed to do little more than build suspense. Nothing’s settled yet, and we are no closer to an answer to the identity of Cassandra’s mother (the same two suspects are still possibilities). Cass does NOT fall victim to anyone she chooses to take the hit reaffirming her innate nobility. The writer’s simply clearing the field. We’ve to wait a month before anything is settled. I’m betting on Gabrych will close Cassandra’s story with a variation on one of Frank Miller’s themes (much as Greyson’s Nightwing reminded us of “DD: Born Again”). Cassandra will end her run in her own title transcending some aspect of her violent past, something akin to the resurrection of spirit as well as body, hinted at when Elektra suddenly appeared wearing white, and made us all catch our breath, about 20 years ago. Far as I can tell, it looks like she’s getting cut out of the Bat-Universe in the months to come. If that is the case, this is the best way for her to go.

As ever, Simone’s Birds Of Prey #90 was filled with great characterization and colorful moments. That said, I have to voice some disappointment with how the Huntress’ War on the Mob, came to a close. I would have preferred the more controversial option, where the Birds decide to stand by and watch a mob war erupt, and mop up the survivors. Though I’d hate to have to sit through a variation on Batman: War Crimes, I’m confident Simone would have avoided the pitfalls and problems that plagued that storyline (which certainly suffered from being written by committee). But that’s just me. I may find All Star Superman refreshing, but I still thirst for the darkness. I just don’t want it drawn out to the extent Batman War Crimes or the editorially mandated “Long March” of crisis’ currently convulsing the DCU.

Speaking of long story arcs, as others have noted, **Legion Of Super-Heroes #13 **was a pretty decent close to Waid and Kitson’s first year plus on the title. I just wish I could put my finger on why I feel the story lost both momentum and cohesion about three or four issues back. Perhaps it’s because we’re all straining to keep up with so many long-running and often unsatisfactory plot threads these days. We’re just exhausted.

I have no idea how frequently the next few issues of Planetary will come out, but issue #24 clearly feels like one of those recaps that precedes an end run to the conclusion of Snow’s war with the Four. It’s all pretty interesting,… but I cannot help but feel it really wasn’t necessary. No new information was provided, and Planetary readers (and by now, re-readers) know where everyone stands. (We’ve debated every revelation and plot point on and off for years.) Let’s cut to the chase: let us see Snow bring down his vengeance on Dowling and Suskind, and liberate Ambrose from the Negative Zone. Lord knows, we’ve waited long enough!

Written and illustrated by the venerated comic book artist Joe Kubert, I didn’t expect too much from **Sgt Rock The Prophecy #1 **, beyond a decent revisiting of Kubert’s Easy Company, and that’s pretty much what we get here. A good solid start to a special mission story, including a quick battle with two panzers and a dark-toned meeting with embittered, angry and dangerous partisans, caught between the retreating German army and the advancing Russians. I’m not sure why, but I found this terribly appealing, something I wasn’t sure I would. I wish I could put my finger on why I like this so much, beyond the elder Kubert’s drawing style, which always appealed to me, but I haven’t figured it out quite yet.

I’m really enjoyed Rushikoff’s Testament #2, moreso for those chilling scenes in the near present, that resurrect the issues concerning the draft and military-sponsored academic research, which were flash points back during the Vietnam era, issues that could easily become issues today, than I necessarily am with the parallels drawn to the retelling of Old Testament stories that are intercut with those near-future scenes. Still, were it not for those comparisons, that lend the tale some resonance, I’m not sure the story would carry itself on it’s own. It’s def. an interesting approach however.

**Uncanny X-Men #468 ** was a better read than I expected. Sure it got a bit sentimental there, but I love the fact the story ended on such a foreboding note. If Claremont and Bachalo are continuing this storyline, I’ll follow the next arc. Can’t give it more praise than that.

**X-Statix Presents Dead Girl #1 **Dead Girl doesn’t play a big role in this installment of the story, which instead focuses on the near comic banter between Stephen Strange and his manservant, Wong, as they attempt to grapple with “restless spirits” which have found a way out, however temporarily from Hades –here seen more as the grey landscape of Greek Mythology than anything out of Western notions of Hell. So far the stories light tone looks like it will be fun.

[/ul]Havent’ gotten to **Infinite Crisis #4 ** or Angel Stomp Future #1 yet (though I must say Juan Jose Ryp’s Geoff-Darrow-like rendering style looks pretty appealing). Hopefully by end of the week.

I didn’t recognise Risk (thought it was Red Star) or Bushido. I was sad to see Pantha go, but OMFG, at least she went out for a good cause. O_O

I was reading this issue in the background while doing a wrap-up RP/infodump in the DC superhero RPG I’m running - set in Gotham - and it gave me a hell of a cliffhanger to end the session on.

The Society dopping Chemo on Bludhaven.

And the final panels are going to be interesting when I incorporate them. (I don’t know whether I regret setting the game in the now or not. >_>)

The best part is the plugs. Especially the OMAC’s shirt.

More on IC #4 casualties:

I guess Red Star might be dead also, depending on whether he was frozen solid or not, and whether his powers protected him.

Mr Miracle #3 - Not finished reading the issue, yet, but…Baron Bedlam? WTF? That was a choice I wasn’t expecting, in any way shape or form.

Infinite Crisis

Ok, I was totally surprised by the revelation as to who the next Spectre would be.

I feel kinda sorry for Superboy Earth-Prime actually. Granted, he had, what? one appearance outside the pages of Crisis on Infinite Earths, but still…it’s kinda sad to see a Superboy go nuts. Small quibble: if he’s of the “Pushing Planets” variety, he really should have done tons more damage. What’s even creepier is he’s a mass-murderer on a scale that makes Mongul look like a piker. At least some of those planets pretty much had to be inhabited…and even if not, the secondary damage (Thanagar for instance) is on his hands too. Yeah, we don’t have a lot to go on, but I’d have liked a bit more info as to why S-Prime went nuts.

A few other quibbles/questions:

  1. Why wasn’t Superboy on that tower? Ditto Alex. (Unless being on the tower kills people. But frankly, given that we KNOW Power-Girl survives…) They’re the only remaining reps from Earths 3 and Prime. Won’t that undermine whatever Alex is trying to do?
  2. What if Alex is right? The Post-Crisis universe does corrupt people (even in Alex’s heaven). Maybe that’s why S-Prime went nuts?
  3. Alex is wrong, ignoring cosmic types like Shazam, there’s at least one other mortal-type that not only remembers the multiverse, but actually survived in his pre-Crisis form: Dr. U’bx (a sort of squirrel shaped Dr. Doom-esque bad-guy who fought a Green Lantern named C’hp). I don’t expect anyone to care or remember this, but I felt like showing off. :wink:
  4. Could Alex’s plan be to bring back the multiverse knowing that with infininte worlds, there WILL be a perfect one among them?
  5. When all the Earth-Two characters disappeared at the end, a nice touch was that Stargirl and Dr. Midnight didn’t. Apparently just wearing the costume isn’t enough–neither’s actually genetically connected to an E-2 type. What’s even cooler is that Flamebird did disappear. Can this herald the return of the E-2 Batgirl? Probably not. :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m not sure there’s really much that needs to be added to what we know:

He’s a teenage boy, who saw his whole world destroyed, then sent to a ‘paradise’ which managed to drive the adult Superman to near insanity, and the only person nearly his own age is apparently a manipulative bastard who’s been using him. (And who is, to be charitable, himself driven insane by the crazy-ass circumstances of his life.) Telling him that all these people are bad. There’s no such thing as a good person in this universe. Even the people who seem good just haven’t blossomed into their true vileness, yet. That the only true heroes that existed were them and Superman-2. So, he tries to fix things (without realising that he’s hurting people in the process), and when people don’t appreciate his heroic efforts…call him stupid…try to protect the ‘impostor hero’, he lashes out, like the emotionally stunted adolescent brat he is.

Well, that’d be Risk, and Bushido.

Interestingly, as pointed out in the fully spoilerful review of Infinite Crisis #4 here:

http://www.comixtreme.com/forums/showthread.php?t=24103

Breach has disappeared from his spot on the tower between issues #3 and #4. Continuity gaffe, I’d presume…

I’d also like to point out that I loved that the current owner of the Scarab (Jamie?) recognized Booster Gold from his Toothpaste.

Re: Titans in Infinite Crisis:

I didn’t recognize Bushido either. And are we sure Risk is dead? Unlike the others, he just got his arm ripped off, as far as I can tell

Also, did anyone notice that

Ultra the Multi-Alien was in the outer-space crowd scene?

Oh! And we got clarification on Superman-2’s response to Batman about Dick not being a better person on Earth-2.

I don’t think you need to spoiler Ultra the Multi-Alien. :wink: I did spot him. Regarding the other point - No, not certain. But he’s one of the ones I didn’t recognize.

Man, based on #4’s

separation of Earth-One and Earth-Two

Hawkman’s going to be having a splitting headache, I think.

:smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

And since I’ve finished Mr Miracle:

I’ll add my voice to the ‘ouch’ pile.

It was fun how Klarion and Guardian got mixed in there.