CAPSULE REVIEWS: DC Week 16 2008

Chuck Dixon rules the day week, in a week of catfights, slapping matches, fast money, lesbian jokes and crying Greek islands!

Onwards:


TANGENT: SUPERMAN’S REIGN #2

(Dan Jurgens / Jamal Igle)

Solid folow-up to the debut issue, still managing to balance an interesting crossover story with the myriad ‘hey look what character X is like in this parallel world’! The Earth-9 Flash summarises the whole point rather eloquently:

I really need to grab those Tangent back-issues off eBay!

7/10

BATMAN & THE OUTSIDERS #6

(Chuck Dixon / Carlos Rodriguez)

Metamorpho’s trapped in a mysterious gigantic (yet secret) space sattelite and the Outsiders are mounting a rescue- by invading Mongolia on a borrowed jet and ‘borrowing’ one of their rocket ships. Things -of course- turn hairy and the rescuers will need rescuing of their own. The team make-up is really clicking for me, even with the latest addition of Prince Brion/GeoForce who has never made much sense to me before (a costume and colour scheme change would really help him though). And HEY: more lesbian jokes!!

7/10

BRAVE & THE BOLD #12

(Mark Waid / Jerry Ordway)

The Megistus storyline finally wraps up with a confrontation between the assembled protagonists of the past team-ups (the Challengers of the Unknown, Hal, Supergirl, Power Girl, Superman, Ultraman, Firestorm, Metamorpho etc and our Big Bad. For a guy who’s laid in the shadows for 11 issues, it sure made for a anticlimactic introduction and showdown.

Although Waid made numerous references to the name of the villain, we never saw him (building up anticipation that wasn’t sated), and never really learned anything about him or his origins to really care when we did see him. I see him as little more than a placebo used to vaguely link the various team-ups, mainly through artifacts showing up as prizes to be collected. These problems were always there, but we had George Perez on the art to distract from it. As talented as Ordway is, he just doesn’t have enough pull to make me overlook these any more. This was officially the last issue of B&B I buy.

5/10

COUNTDOWN TO FINAL CRISIS #2

(Paul Dini & Sean Mc Keever / Skot Kollins)

Huh. So after all this build-up the final battle for the defeat of Darkseid is won by… Orion? Orion, who hasn’t even appeared in this book before? Orion, who isn’t even given some cursory introduction? Boy, do our boys and girls look like chumps. At least Jimmy Olsen got to throw some punches. Heh. Maybe next issue will be a more rewarding finale. As for this one, just a long series of grand-standing and energy punches, with gradually escalating sound effects. Yawn. What a waste of everyone’s time and efforts

4/10

CATWOMAN #78

(Will Pfeiffer / David Lopez)

Oh dear, is she still on the alien prison planet? Dragging out one month too long (and hey it’s not concluding until next issue), Selina is still running around directionless in crossover hell, as her title ties into Salvation Run.

This issue: Catwoman versus Cheetah (get it? CATfight?), the cat lady who wears real cheetah fur on her costume! THAT is kinky! Pity how she actually gets beaten by a lousy gag cigar in the end. Really now…

5/10

DC/WILDSTORM DREAMWAR #1

(Keith Giffen / Lee Garbett & Trevor Scott)

Greece is crying!! You know Serifos is only about 1-2 hours from my home island, I always get a delight when someplace I know gets messed up in fiction. If I had ever been to NYC I’d be in a permanent high by now.

So, DC versus Wildstorm. Good times. Teams from various timelines in DC continuity are invading Earth Wildstorm and making a mess. The JLA are taking up page space in a cave in Rhodes Island; the Titans take on the Wildcats (hey, Spartan versus Cyborg!); the JSA elders are moving into the Tranquility super-hero retirement community; the Legion crash-lands into Russia and Stormwatch; and Superman sneaks into a teenage boy’s bedroom -wink wink-. Erm, ewww.

Promising, but mostly set-up. Garbett/Scott are donig a remarkable job of aping Frank Quitely, and mysteriously getting closer and closer as the issue progresses, especially on the male heroes:

6.5/10

SALVATION RUN #6

(Matthew Sturges / Sean Chen / Walden Wong)

Lex Luthor versus the Joker. It’s like the super-villain version of the Britney-Xtina bitchfight you always wanted to see (yeah I’ll leave the direct comparisons up to you). Despite the subpar art, this book has everything -almost- going for it. Still not feeling like the mega-event book it should be. DC marketing has failed these Final Crisis lead-in books. Remember the countdown to Infinite Crisis? Four books, clearly defined as tie-ins, promoted cohesively, tying in precisely and surely into the big event. Good old days. Anyway, supreme Arch-villain mud wrestling! Get your ticket before they sell out (har).

6.5/10

THE FLASH #239

(Tom Peyer / Freddie Williams III)

‘Fast Money’ part 2. tt’s fun to compare the Flash to Spider-man. Both teen heroes who have matured into able super-heroes, they’ve both married their sweethearts, had children, lost children, revealed their identities to the public, and made deals to de-reveal them as well. Although, their paths diverge in between the lines and in the fine details.
Wally makes a deal with Spectre (an agent of God), Spidey strikes a deal with the devil himself. Flash loses his kids to a villain, is devastated, but eventually gets them back. Spidey loses his unborn daughter to a villain but somehow forgets all about it. Then he forgets he even had a wife. All in service to making him a relatable young man with money trouble, everyday hustles and worries etc. Exactly what Waid set up and Peyer delves into here with the Flash. Only this time keeping both the wife and the kids in the equation. But I’ve digressed far enough.

Back to our guy. Flash has money issues, not vbeing able to support his family without a day job. He’s expressed those worries on TV, and a new Rogue by the name of Spin has manipulated the media circus (and the Flash himself) to turn the public sentiment violently against him. This issue he’s taken control over the elder (or ‘Honest’) Jay Garrick Flash from JSA to lash out at Wally. No money, no day job, public resentment, new intriguing villains, two hyper-active super-powered kids, and the super-hero community after him for choosing to raise them the way he does. Lots of hooks to rein the new reader in, and exploring new angles of the superheroic family. This is the sort of stuff that made Waid’;s Flash such an amazing hit back during his original run. Keep an eye out for this!

7.5/10

ROBIN #173

(Chuck Dixon / Chris Batista)

Our boy Robin sure is a sucker for a pretty girl in pink purple! Hot on the trail of the money-grabbing self-profiting vigilante Violet (stealing from the corrupt and giving only to poor herself — or is she really? I smell a twist), it’s time for his paths to finally cross the resurrected (?) Spoiler (his dead ex-girlfriend, or someone wearing her mask and purple hood). Dixon does a bang-up job of keeping the mystery enticing, sharing only small morcels of clues and hints. Next issue’s cover offers the classic ‘pulling the mask off’ motif, so we won’t likely be waiting for long. I for one would really appreciate seeing Stephanie Brown back amongst the lviing, and even sharing the mantle of Robin with Tim! You go Girl Wonder!



7/10

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