Birds of Prey # 95
Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Joe Prado
While not a regular reader of this title, I just HAD to read this issue. It deals with another creation of this writer that I am far more fond of, The Society, and guest stars my favorite DC villain of the late 90’s, Prometheus! Simone’s ability to write great villains is once again showcased. The confident syntax and upper-class vocabulary of everyone’s favorite anti-Batman suits the situation perfectly. The fight scenes are well thought out and brilliantly rendered by the art team, and the conclusion of the debacle is sure to shock many readers. This was a well-written issue, despite the fact that I didn’t really understand/empathize with Black Canary at all (dirty little secret, she’s the reason I don’t read this title to begin with) and thought her actions a bit loopy. So while a good third of the issue meant next to nothing, the rest was so much fun, I didn’t mind.
Exiles # 82
Writer: Tony Bedard
Artist: Jim Calafiore
The final chapter of World Tour ends with one of the weirdest resolutions I’ve ever read. The villain isn’t dead. The team members just sort of imprisoned him in a very unlikely place. And it ought to have long-term consequences for the team, but how it will ever play out is a total mystery. And while at least two members of the current squad have ties to alternate continuities, that story angle has been completely back-burnered. That’s a bit annoying considering the premise of the book is to alleviate threats to accidentally altered realities. By existing outside their reference frames, both Spidey 2099 and Longshot risk changing their timelines. Longshot is supposedly caught in a perpetual revolutionary time loop in the Mojoverse, and his exit from that paradox really could cause problems for both the 616 reality and Mojoverse. Since Miguel O’Hara was stolen prior to the conclusion of the Spidey 2099 title, that particular Marvel future is also put at risk. You’d think a team that exists to prevent and cure slip-ups of this kind would realize they were committing a couple. Combine that with yet more trashing of Counter Earth by Proteus, and this conclusion just feels sort of sketchy. The art was excellent, but the plot details and resolution didn’t justify a tale of this length.
52 Week Seven
Writers: Waid, Johns, Rucka Morrison
Artists: Giffen, Lashley, Draxhall
This issue of 52 has everything, including a kitchen sink on page twenty-five, panel four. The Booster Gold subplot moves forward in a giant leap. The Montoya subplot introduces a very controversial character while pushing the weapons mystery forward. Ralph Dibny finally vents some of the suppressed rage and anxiety he’s been toting around for two crossovers now. And the animals of the prison planet holding Starfire, Animal Man, and Adam Strange hostage make their first appearance. If every issue of this miniseries were as exciting as this, it’d be a lock for best series of the year. Still, the back-up feature is the ongoing worst waster of paper in comics, but it’s only four pages and nothing in this world is perfect.
The Flash #1
Writers: Bilson and Demeo
Artist: Ken Lashley
It’s OYL and Wally West is completely MIA. The Speedforce is gone. The Flash is Jay Garrick, himself a sexagenarian, and the first to bear the name. And apparently, the next in line for the title is Bart “Impulse/Kid Flash” Allen. Nuts. This is a premise that could work, if it were executed in exactly the right way. That’s not what readers got this issue. For starters, Bart’s physical age had jumped ahead four years, so he’s a twenty-something. That’s not precisely a reboot of the character, but unless the change is handled organically, it’ll feel like one. It changes all the places and things the civilian Bart can do after all. So now, Bart holds down a techie job, lives with a roomie, can drink, and ostensibly hook up with co-eds. How he got the job without any formal degree or experience is an interesting puzzle, especially considering he doesn’t have superpowers or the metahuman machine backing him up with fake records or the like. And then not-exactly-shocking ending shows that Bart does have access to his powers but has consciously blocked them for fear of ending up like his grandfather Barry Allen and possibly his cousin Wally West, who are dead and missing respectively.
This is a first issue, so it deserves a lot of leeway/latitude, but I don’t like the look of this. And it’s not just the Image-esque overly science fiction approach to the backgrounds, badly rendered uniforms, and misplaced dialogue balloons either!
JSA Classsified #13
Writer: Stuart Moore
Artist: Paul Gulacy
The end of this tale negates the whole thing. The villain of the piece doesn’t die as promised. That’s a cop out, but Vandal Savage is the kind of ne’er-do-well that should never be killed for effect anyhow. And readers get a lot of well drawn action for their dollar, including fight scenes, an air strike, and cannibalism. The only real downturn for the book is the characterization; Alan Scott doesn’t really strike me as the unreliable narrator type. Still, this is OYL and he’s under a lot of strain as one of the big wigs of Checkmate. So on the whole, this issue is treacherous, but enjoyable.