It's Manic Monday!

52 Week Four
DC Comics
Writers: Johns, Morrison, Rucka, Waid
Artist: Giffen and Bennett

This week in 52, readers are treated to some great one-liners, a few more tidbits about the fallout from Infinite Crisis, and action aplenty. The pacing of each plot seems to feel more natural one month into this mega-story, and that helps the issue feel less rushed. There are at least two complete surprises in this chapter of the story, one for John Henry Irons and one for Montoya and Sage. While the Steel shocker is far more surreal, the Question’s situation was perfectly mined for drama and even a bit of humor. Renee and Vic may yet become DC’s Moonlighting duo. The art of this chapter stands tall against the previous ones as well as any mainstream comic recently pusblished. All the characters look great, even the maimed ones. The settings help tell the story through mis-en-scene, and the layout is never confusing which is absolutely vital for a book as jammed packed as this. There’s one flaw to every issue of this series, not every plot can get pages each issue; this week, the Black Adam and mad scientist storylines are ignored. If only there were five or six more pages per issue, too bad that crappy back-up feature is using them already.

Score: B

Secret Six #1
DC Comics
Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Brad Walker

This issue begins another tale of the Secret Six (now 5). They’re doing the mercenary with almost a speck of conscience thing. The Society is ignoring them for efficiency’s sake. But Dr. Psycho won’t go along with the party line, and assassination attempts are made on several members of the group. While that’s underway, Catman tries to recruit the aid of one of Batman’s maddest foes. It’s a fast-paced, well written ensemble story from the villains’ POV. It’s vintage Gail Simone. The art is a bit of a step down from the previous mini-series (Dale Eaglesham is a hard act to follow), looking inappropriately cartoony from time to time, and the colors drift in and out a bit from page to page. Still, it’s not substandard, simply not as stellar as the previous arc.

Score: B

Superman/Batman #26
DC Comics
Writer: Sam Loeb
Artists: Various
Memorial (n.) – 1. Something, such as a monument or holiday, intended to celebrate or honor the memory of a person or an event (from dictionary.com).

This issue of S/B serves as a memorial for both Superboy and Sam Loeb, son of comics scribe Jeph Loeb. Sam actually wrote the lead story. The multiple artists and scripters involved in this issue make it damn near impossible to review. The art team in the lead story deliberately changes every couple of pages. The back-up tale (about a childhood chum of Clark Kent’s dying of cancer) is too blatantly allegorical to criticize without being too personal. So while the lead tale fits well into continuity and is interesting (if a bit derivative of the last Superboy/Robin spotlight in this title) it’s not so much a comic as a tribute. Sometimes, even the jaded reviewer/editors of the cyber-world need to step back and keep our collective mouths shut.

Score: N/A