DC Reads & Reviews: May 9th Edition


Opinions on the Work of People Far More Talented Than I

Countdown #51

I was thinking about bailing on this series when it was first announced. I just wasn’t sure if I could handle another weekly series with all the creative ups and downs that went along with that. But, then 52 Week 51 and 52 Week 52 came out and they were strong so I figured what the hell!

Yeah…I think I kind of wish 52 didn’t finish strong after all.

This issue, despite being written by Paul Dini, whose work I almost uniformly enjoy, and drawn by Jesus Saiz who I came to love on Manhunter, was just bad. The blame, I am sad to report, appears to land at Dini’s feet because Saiz pulled his weight and then some. That man is always improving as an artist.

Sadly, I can’t spend my words talking about that and have this be an intellectually valid review.

The Multiverse has been back for a week and I already hate it thanks to this book. Why? Because it is like everything that Morrison said the Multiverse wasn’t going to be about, which happens to be, more or less, everything I was afraid it was about, appears here. Duela Dent, apparently, is from a parallel Earth. Yup, I’m pretty sure she was here before Infinite Crisis or 52, but there you go. Also, she knows that she’s from a parallel Earth and if she knows then, come on, there are bound to be others, right? So instead of a no-crossover Multiverse, we have a Multiverse who’s first act is a crossover. Sweet…

What’s worse is that, had I not read about it on the net, I wouldn’t have realized this is “New Earth” the Earth we are all used to reading. Between Joker’s Daughter, a character already established on this Earth, mentioning being from another, knowing Red Hood’s real identity and Jason Todd’s new softer attitude I was utterly convinced this was another Earth, Earth-12 let’s say. But it’s not and I am left confused and utterly disinterested.

Oh, and did I mention that the Monitors show up? God, I hate those guys! HATE THEM!

Besides Red Hood and Joker’s Daughter not quite acting in character, we have Heat Wave giving Trickster crap for being a good guy for a little while. Which would be fine except HEAT WAVE DID THE SAME EXACT THING AT THE SAME EXACT TIME FOR THE SAME EXACT REASONS! Normally, I care not about continuity violations, but if you want to utilize a particular aspect of continuity, in this case Johns’ Rogue War, then use it, dammit. Make sure you get it right.

Oh well, I thought the Mary stuff was fine at least.


JLA Classified #38

I’m not sure who Milligan is writing in this issue, but it sure is not the JLA.

Okay, in fairness, he seems to get Batman (which is good since he wrote that titular book for a bit) and Superman and, to a lesser extent, Green Lantern. But Flash, Wonder Woman, and Martian Manhunter? Not at all. If you told me that Milligan never even heard of these characters til he sat down to write this script, friend, I’d believe you 100%.

Which is a shame because it pulls me out of what could be an interesting story. Not so much whether or not Kid Amazo’s soul will triumph over his evil programming because, really, it’s going to end one of three ways and none of them will be a surprise. No, the more interesting thing here is how Kid Amazo having a soul seems to be effecting his dear ol’ Dad, Amazo the Senior.

Milligan lets it out in bits and pieces, but it is clear on a close read (and, at one point, so bleedingly obvious you’d have to be blind to miss it). While Halloran is living in his head ad nauseum, Amazo is silently, stoically changing. It is too early to tell if Milligan can pull this off, but that’s the real story here. Can fatherhood give the tin man a heart?

Sadly, like I said, this element is obscured by a Justice Society that walks, talks, and acts like wholly different people.


Mystery in Space #8

This book comes into the station, choking on fumes. I’m not sure what happened, but a mini that was heretofore surprisingly decent ends up utterly bland with its finale. There’s nothing bad here (except the attempt put both Lim and Starlin on art, a match no one would ever request), but for a climax, there’s nothing particularly exhilarating either. It’s the kind of final issue that makes you retroactively question the whole affair.


Outsiders #47

I don’t consistently read the Outsiders so perhaps this is just something I missed up until now, but when did Winick’s dialogue on this book get so…cutesy? I mean, I appreciate quippy dialogue as much as the next guy but most of what’s spoken here feels artificial and, well, like I said, cutesy.

After a few dialogue balloons, though, I was able to adjust my thinking and notice the story again. It’s not bad.

It is a bit filler-y as it takes us from the Outsiders would-be prison break to right where we knew things were going and takes an issue to do it. However, the premise of why Checkpoint wants them and what they plan to do with them is interesting enough and the little bit of back and forth between Nightwing and Sasha about Batman is a nice throwback. So, though it feels like filler, it goes down smooth enough.


Tales of the Unexpected #8

In a shock to no one, the main story ends with an incredible amount of ugliness. Eight issues later, the Allen Spectre has not really grown or changed at all (despite a flash of something last issue). Eight issues later, the sense of misanthropy is still relentless. Eight issues later, this book still leaves my stomach with a sick feeling it doesn’t earn. It uses knee jerk cynicism in place of any true examination of humanity and makes a show of evenhandedness that is quickly revealed to be utterly false and half hearted. We get it, everyone in this apartment building is guilty and they represent all of us. I get the feeling we’re supposed to think that’s deep, but its not. It reads like a freshman philosophy paper written by the shallowest kid in the class.

On the other hand, the back up is just excellent again. If you can use puns and still have me loving it, you are doing something right.

Lead: F
Back up: A