CAPSULE REVIEWS: DC Week 11 2008

Bit late on delivery this week, as DC plays between extreme highs and lows!

This week in DC: Black Canary is a ho’, Booster Gold destroys the future, noone remembers Jimmy Olsen, Superman redecorates, Nemesis joins a harem, Wonder Woman puts the moves on (did anyone suspect she had moves?), Terra throws rocks, and Vandal Savage decides to hit any villain with a uterus within planetary distance. Seriously, that’s a lot of nookie.

GREEN ARROW / BLACK CANARY #6

(Judd Winnick / Cliff Chiang)

Greatly uneven issue, starting off with the titular couple in disguise as an obese Russian Crime Boss (more Looney Tunes than Mission Impossible in its plausibility) and his whore (hey, all she had to do was fake an accent), as the search for the abducted comatose Connor Hawke goes on. They get found out (duh) and escape through a getaway van driven by Speedy – in full costume! At least she still has a role in the title, even if it comes hand in hand with a personality extraction. The second half of the issue picks up the pace with a tremendously well choreographed action sequence from mr Chiang; a spacecraft is tailing Mr & Mrs Arrow on their motorcycle (Arrowcycle?), so Canary shifts forward with a backflip to the driver’s seat (still on a moving bike) for Ollie to shoot their pursuers down. Pretty Eye Candy!

7.5/10

BOOSTER GOLD #7

(Geoff Johns & Jeff Katz / Dan Jurgens & Norm Rapmund)

‘Blue and Gold’ part 2. Having just rescued Blue Beetle from his death scene in Countdown to Infinite Crisis (the good old days where the countdown to the event was a single issue), Booster and his buddy return to the present to discover they’ve changed the flow of time (oops), making Max Lord and his OMACs chieftains of the world. No matter the big picture, it only takes a little note like revealing Green Arrow with Hawkman co-leading the Resistance to make this a heckuva cool What If. Fans of the old JLI series will rejoice at a couple of familiar faces (and claws) showing up, along with one of the most fondly remembered headquarters of that era. Meanwhile, Rip Hunter reactivates the Supernova identity, Booster gets one step closer to getting conceived and his daddy reveals his alliances with a shocker last page. Traditional DC action adventure for the modern reader.

8.5/10

SUPERMAN #674

(Kurt Busiek / Renato Guedes & Maghalaes)

‘Shadows Linger’ part 1. Busiek started his run off with some amazing stories and concepts for the Man of Steel, but it only took less than a year for the plots to deteriorate to conventional superheroic drivel. The Super-Family moves into a new swanky appartment, Mon-El makes a present-day appearance after his return to official continuity in last year’s annual, and Superman is attacked by Paragon (whatever you can do, he can do better). Guedes proves to be a stellar Superman artists, if only they would stop playing music chairs with him and let him get comfortable with a regular job on a Super-title.

5/10

WILDSTORM REVELATIONS #5

(Scott Beatty & Christos Gage / Wes Craig)

One more month around the Wildstorm Universe as the Wild Girls go up against whatever’s left of the Wildcats team: Grifter and Zealot. It’s a rooftop catfight, Coda-Style, with Backlash and his goons closing in armed to the teeth and the stage set for next issue’s Big Bang on Caisen Gamorra’s island. If you were ever any sort of Wildstorm fan you’re going to get a kick out of this title. It’s really got me hopeful for the imprint’s future.

8/10

COUNTDOWN TO THE FINAL CRISIS #7

(Paul Dini & Adam Beechen / Keith Giffen & Tom Derenick)

The extended Challengers team make it to JLA HQ with the dying Karate Kid only to discover they’ve all been erased from reality! Only, nothing else seems to be out of place? As time paradoxes go, this one is pretty boring. Tom Derenick keeps getting regular work here, in yet another sub-standard issue. I’ve seen him do quality work before for Marvel, I’m not sure if it’s just a matter of selling out for speed over quality and the DC paycheck here, but the art here is unacceptable for such a seasoned pro. Utter rubbish of an issue, move along.

2/10

TINY TITANS #2

(Art Baltazar & Franco)

DC does Mini Marvels, with more emphasis on cute than funny. The kid versions of the Teen Titans (all incarnations at once) are absolutely adorable, but a more Peanuts approach with better pacing and smarter gags would really help this book take off! This issue, various Titans double as cooking apparatus, Beast Boy tries to win over Terra’s affections by becoming more like her idol Superman, and the Titans square off against the Fearsome Five for control of the swings in the playground! Still, worth the price of admission just to see the tiny version of Terra use her special powers of picking up pebbles and throwing them at boys.

7/10

WONDER WOMAN #18

(Gail Simone / Bernard Chang)

‘Ex-Patriate’ part 1. Diana performs an ancient Greek Amazon Mating Ritual on the ailing Nemesis, before being ambushed and abducted/paraded to the alien homeworld of the Khund, a space race whose lives and culture are totally obsessed with warfare. Gail is seriously having fun here, and it comes through in the writing. She doesn’t take Diana too seriously (which is most writers’ usual fault, as they become too intimidated by the character and deify her to the point of non-relevance), but instead portrays her like a smart, self-deprecating and thoroughly heroic warrior woman trying to come to terms with her newfound link to humanity. I wasn’t familiar with the Khunds before their appearance here, but Gail’s stamp on them is obvious, making them both ridiculous and riveting at the same time, as she plays up the differences between their perception of concepts like beauty, honor and affection, and our own.

8/10

SALVATION RUN #5

(Matt Sturges / Joe Bennett & Belardino Brabo)

The DC villains have been stranded/exiles on an alien and inhospitable planet. Taking a page off LOST Season 4 (look at my swanky pop culture references!) they divide into camps and start attacking each other, with Luthor and Joker acting the parts of Jack and Locke, and Vandal Savage pulling a Sawyer and deciding to repopulate the planet with his seed. Catwoman/Kate is caught between it all, so does the smart thing and betrays the planet’s spy: Martian ‘Ben’ Manhunter who goes down in a blaze of glory. After a slow start this title is really picking pace, and a lot of the credit should go to Joe Bennett proving a vast improvement in the art department from departing Sean Chen.

7.5/10

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