Another week of strange mixtures, with one hotly anticipated title and two that probably won’t get past “guilty pleasure” but still ended up on my pull list anyway because I’m a glutton for punishment sometimes. Let’s get to it…
Justice League #2
Hopefully the rest of the series won’t go 7 weeks between issues. I will say, this is more like what #1 should have been. Whereas the first issue felt like a prologue, here we start getting into the meat of the team’s formation, with the standard “Wacky misunderstanding that turns into a big fight” comic book cliche to provide action without an antagonist present yet. I still hate the new Superman outfit, and I’m starting to get confused about the chronology and continuity. This is supposed to be five years before the current DCU, with Superman in full armor, but Action Comics is ALSO five years before, and there he’s even younger and wearing jeans and t-shirt as a costume. Plus you have the added problem of Batman and Green Lantern not getting explicitly rebooted in their main titles, but suddenly having a different history in this title. Oh well, that’s for the eggheads in the lab to figure out, I guess. I liked the witty banter between Green Lantern and newly introduced Flash (“You just called me Barry, genius”) and the fact that Geoff Johns is writing Barry Allen like Wally West (“No one’s touched me. Like, ever.”) because Wally is a much more interesting character than Barry, whatever Dan Didio may think. I’m still not sold on Cyborg as anything more than a Teen Titan, but I love me some Jim Lee artwork and this was fun as hell, so I’m sticking with it. There’s a lot of hatred for this one floating around, though, and I can understand it in some ways. But stupid can be fun too, and that’s the way I’m looking at it. Damn you Geoff Johns and your interesting writing.
Well, the cover pretty much sums this one up. Superman arrives to check out the rampaging Supergirl, and they proceed to beat the crap out of each other for 23 pages. It seems that Kara is naturally confused and scared after being on Krypton only 3 days earlier and then waking up on Earth with superpowers. Then meeting a guy who appears to be her baby cousin all grown up. This one was a tad frustrating because everything could have been avoided by Supergirl stopping to talk to her cousin for more than 4 seconds at a time before launching another sound-effect laden attack on him. I dunno, there doesn’t feel like there’s any real twist on the character beyond another Kryptonian running around the DCU. I’m on the fence with this one and can’t recommend it until something actually HAPPENS to advance the story.
Dick Grayson continues to bore me in his new/old role as Nightwing. This is a perfectly competent book, but I don’t feel like there’s many interesting stories to tell about Nightwing as a solo act anymore. He’s dealing with a mysterious assassin here, and inherits a circus from the dying owner in between scoring on Bruce Wayne’s jet. Batman is so goddamn pimp that even his AIRCRAFT makes women take their panties off for his former sidekick. Anyway, the thread from the other Batman titles about Dick being tied to a murder gets picked up here, but I’d much rather read about it in the main Batbook. I think this is written for teenage girls who squeal for Dick Grayson and shriek when his beautiful body gets cut up by the bad guy at the end or something, because I don’t feel like the target audience for it. Take a pass.
Fan-friggin-tastic. This might be one of my favorite issues of the relaunch thus far. This book is so fun that I was giddy wanting to know how Bruce gets out of the predicament set up at the beginning of the issue. Best part? You can pick this one up and don’t need any backstory or “to be continued”. We need more like that. Anyway, Bruce Wayne is apparently hurtling to his doom from the tallest building in Gotham after getting stabbed by an assassin and thrown through a plate-glass window…and he’s giving history lessons on the way down! I want to go back and read it again. The Nightwing mystery is explained quickly and easily, and there’s an establishing shot at one point with the POV from inside a dead body. The best part? The second-to-last page, where Bruce gives his AWESOME monologue and ends with a badass line, and then you turn the page and there’s an even MORE awesome finale that you didn’t even expect. This is a high-level comic book, my friends, and I wish there more like it. A million billion stars.
Birds of Prey #2
This was an impulse pick for me, as I liked the first one well enough but didn’t feel like I was going to enjoy the characters enough to sustain the series. But I decided to give the second issue a try, and I think my initial instincts were mostly right. I had actually forgotten about this series, which is not surprising. This one picks up after the exploding reporter incident that closed the first one, with Black Canary and Starling evading airport security and tracking invisible assassins (what’s with all the assassins in the New 52 thus far?), leading to a meet and greet with new friend Katana. I dunno, I liked the true crime feel to the first issue, but this is veering into more familiar superhero comic territory and I’m not particularly fond of any of the main cast. I’m probably gonna be done after this issue.
Red Hood #2
Good god is this book terrible. And yet I can’t look away. It’s like some kind of gloriously awful trainwreck, with Scott Lobdell writing painfully precious Tarantino-esque cringe-worth dialogue. In fact the whole thing seems like some sort of twisted homage to Kill Bill as written by someone who hadn’t actually seen the movie. I mean, do we really need someone to say “You put the move in smove” in a product that people pay money to read? Honest to god, I had no earthly idea what was even going on in this book or how exactly it related to what happened at the end of #1. Plus now it’s 6 years after Infinite Crisis and they still haven’t decided exactly how or why Jason Todd actually came back from the dead, and even worse they have the character actually SAY as much in this comic! And yet, I’m sure I’ll keep reading until the inevitable cancellation of this bullshit because I like Jason Todd as a character and I’m perversely curious to see if this can reach Human Centipede levels of degradation and stupidity. Maybe Red Hood will have his mouth sewn to Arsenal’s ass next issue, who knows.
Blue Beetle #2
The fun continues from issue #1, with Jaime Reyes trying to figure out his new super-suit like The Greatest American Hero, while having conversations with it. So much fun, and the fresh start is helpful for those like myself who skipped the previous incarnation of the series. Plus there’s puking for comedy that’s actually funny! Just good, light-hearted fun that I heartily approve of.
Quick thoughts on other titles that I read but didn’t care enough about to write a paragraph on: Catwoman #2 was slightly less offensive than the first issue, featuring a woman getting tortured to death and a lot of Selina’s bra, but still nothing I’d care to read further about. Green Lantern Corps #2 continues to feel like you walked in on the middle of a movie, and it’s too late to ask the guy next to you who the bad guys are and what the big battle is all about. I’ll stick with JLI for my Guy Gardner fix, thanks.
The winner this week: BATMAN #2! Justice League was surprisingly good, too, though. A good week all around, I’d say.
Tags: Batman, Birds of Prey, Blue Beetle, Catwoman, DC, DC Universe, Green Lantern Corps, Justice League, Nightwing, Red Hood and the Outlaws, SmarK Rant, SmarK Rants, Supergirl, Superman