Digg’n Thru DC You: Week One – 14 More DC Comics Flavors Than Baskin-Robbins Icecream!!

Welcome to my newest column Digg’n Thru the DC You!

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DC Comics has kind of pulled the rug from under our feet. The DIVERGENCE FCBD one-shot was the induction into their streamlined universe. Common sense, deduction, and/or logic indicates that divergence is the opposite of convergence, right?!? I’ll confess that I was pleasantly surprised that the sneak peeks ingratiated themselves into the number two issues of all CONVERGENCE tie-ins. Yes, I vaguely recall reading online that there would be back-up stories. My point is this: I didn’t think they’d be referred to as DIVERGENCE. Lastly, week five of the eight-part event had the most ingeniously named campaign smack dab in the middle of each book: DC You!!! This is what to I’m alluding. A fresh coat of paint and a clearer vision with proper management will hopefully steer this colossal ship to the top of the charts!! With 14 more flavours than Baskin-Robbins, it is up to YOU to buy the most eclectic, out-there, non-traditional titles that several individuals have painfully put together to appease everyone’s palette. Lack of fan support leads to lack of sales which leads to cancellations. Thus, stop griping and start purchasing!!

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I almost forgot!! One component of this campaign that has heads spinning and mouths spewing expletives and/or surprise is the return of the half-page ads. HUH?!? The 70’s have made a comeback since this was put into place in that decade. This begs the questions: do two half-pages count as one, or are they separate?? I have added one extra number to the page count for the issues examined this week. I need a concrete answer! Luckily, this is only a one-month thing. *PHEW*

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ACTION COMICS {2nd Series} #41
“Hard Truth, pt. 1” (21 pages) by Greg Pak & Aaron Kuder, Tomeu Morey & Hi-Fi, Steve Wands

The sweet life is no longer applicable to Clark Kent/Kal-El. The outing of his secret ID has made him a hard-traveling hero to the extreme!! How far can one escape? Alaska!! Even in the most remote town in the most remote state, his picture is plastered on every paper. Recognition leads to confrontation. Duty calls when Jimmy summons his pal back to his adopted city. Clark’s former neighborhood is re-dubbed Kentville in honour of the super-savior. Metropolis PD are none too friendly towards Clark. Continuing the tradition of characters with the initials LL, someone never seen before makes her debut: Lee Lambert of Fire Brigade 202. She’s not his admirer either. A distress call from her crew has Clark spring into action. A Shadow (alien creature) is making big noise and even more damage. The authority behind the MPD instructs Sgt. Binghamton to burn the brand new borough :0

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Greg Pak puts his beloved hero through the wringer. It’s a cruel world out there, Clarkie, more so since you have experienced a major reduction in your other-worldly abilities. Aaron Kuder brings emotional scope to the main players of this tale. [8/10]

Introducing…Lee Lambert, Sgt. Binghamton, Dawn Command
Hard to follow: Kal’s ordeals actually begin to take place in SUPERMAN #41(not yet released). The Shadow creature’s story won’t be touched upon until next month’s SUPERMAN #42.

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BAT-MITE #1 (of 6)
“Transplant” by (21 pages) Dan Jurgens, Corin Howell & Andres Ponce, Mike Atiyah, Tom Napolitano

No one wants to put up with a guest that has worn out his welcome. Make that pest. The pest in question is none other than the mischievous ‘magical’ annoyance from the 5th dimension: the one who was inspired by the Dark Knight. Hint: he’s the eponym of this book. Bat-Mite is cast away by a tribunal of three hooded figures. Good riddance!! His exile on Earth has him starting on the wrong foot. He almost bungles a kidnapping by stepping on his idol’s toes. He is easily duped and taken captive by two new villainesses. They have a body-swapping operation going on. The dim-witted dolt finally catches on despite obvious exposition. C’mon, Mite!! Use those magical powers!

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Dan Jurgens is a master comedian!! Who’d have thunk that this is his true talent? There is at least one occasion where the pint-sized pixie channels Adam West and Perry White in another. Mr. Jurgens definitely piles on the laughs. Corin Howell’s version of the ‘hero’ is the North American version of a chibi, coincidentally found on many merch from DC. He also draws a menacing Caped Crusader and imposing Thanagarian. [9/10]

Neat ornament: The criminal orderlies have a Superman bobble-head(?) in their sedan.
Introducing…Dr. Trauma, Agnes
Holy exclamations!Great Caesar’s ghost on a pogo stick!”, “Shades of Spock’s Brain!”, “You diabolical debutantes of devilish deeds!
The other way around:Small package, big rewards.” PPUULEEZZHH!
Overdone: Knocked out by gas (twice!), trapdoor
Nice of you to drop by! Batman, Hawkman

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BATMAN BEYOND {3rd Series} #1
“Brave New Worlds, pt. 1” (21 pages) by Dan Jurgens, Bernard Chang, Marcelo Maiolo, Dave Sharpe

Consider this version 2.0. An unexpected legacy is created when Tim Drake became stranded 35 years in his future. Worse yet, Brother Eye was not beaten and his ‘borgs encroach the Earth. Very few humans remain. BB busts a break-in by the Jokerz intent on plucking a much-needed sophisticated piece of tech. No sweat. Tim needs guidance. He visits Matt McGinnis and Nora Boxer. New mission directive: search and rescue Terry’s friends, primarily Max Gibson. In search of the P.O.W. camp, Tim bumps into the World’s Greatest Super-Hero Ever, or at least the former shell. This leaves him perturbed. His suit short-circuits just as he arrives at the camp. Someone he never expected to see in a million years is the leader of the pack!!

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Dan Jurgens is definitely versatile!! He knows how to balance side-splitting comedy with nail-biting drama. He is a natural at chronicling a distinct sliver of the Bat-universe. Bernard Chang illustrates the futuristic Dark Knight as a bright figure unafraid to show his fears and flaws. [8/10]

Wet behind the pointy ears: Tim thinks the Jokerz are cosplayers inspired by the Clown Prince of Crime.
Oversight: Matt believes he should’ve inherited the suit.
Cinematic influence: Tell me that Bernard Chang didn’t intentionally acknowledge the final scene to Planet of the Apes (original movie). Go on! I dare ya!!
Familiar face: Barbara Gordon
Introducing…The Veil [cloaking tech against Eye]; The Lodge [dodgy cult (what cult isn’t?)]

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BIZARRO #1 (of 6)
“Bizarro America, pt. 6” (21 pages) by Heath Corson, Gustavo Duarte & Bill Sienkiewicz, Pete Patanzis, Tom Napolitano

The backwards bug has bitten me!! How am I going to get through this synopsis when my synapses have been rearranged?!? Hitting the open road without a map nor a plan is bound to be a recipe for adventure, arguments, and amusement. The most uneven bromance blossoms here: Bizarro and Jimmy Olsen!! An unplanned third wheel joins the bros. Shortly after they leave Metropolis, their first stop is Smallville, home of a certain mild-mannered reporter. All is not right in the farming community. A pushy car salesman with ties to the Bat-universe is imbued with alien power thus making him a legitimate threat. To complicate matters, Jimmy is smitten over the man’s daughter who has turned due to the auto dealer’s machinations. Speaking of…Jimmy has been entranced but in a decidedly different way.

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Once again, my expectations are surprisingly met. I chuckled, guffawed, and just plain burst. The English teacher in me wasn’t even fazed by the poor grammar or made-up words. Heath Corson really pours it on thick with the campiness. He deserves a Pulitzer for the hilarity. This is the version that should stick around: friendly, unfunny, and loveable. The creepy B-Zero is best left forgotten. Gustavo Duarte highlights the contrast brilliantly!! You’ll get a giant hammer hitting your head if you don’t see it? OK, fine. Bizarro is big and bulky; Jimmy is toothpick thin. Tut is (un)pleasantly plump; Regina is beautiful and kind; Colin is just plain cute. Gustavo transforms this book into a full-fledged cartoon. I envision the characters jumping the page. [9.5/10]

Baby, come back!’Zarro, please no come home.” AAHH, the towering oaf is missed. How could he nor Jimmy hear this transmission?
Familiar face: Clark Kent
Introducing…Colin the Chupacabra [in reality an alien named Ch*ck]
What the heck are you doing here?!? King Tut
Delusions of grandeur: Regis, Regina, Rex. Notice a pattern here?
Hoodwinked: The Egyptian deities invoked by Tut are actually extraterrestrials.
Puns are not exclusive to the Boy Wonder: Tut can’t help himself with his Ancient Egyptian obsession. “The Pharaoh of fair-o deals.” “What’s to Sphinx about?” “Get out of de-Nile and into this vintage hotrod.” “And asp about financing!
Small scale: Tut wants to be the number one salesman of Kansas. That’s it?? With his alien-imbued powers, no aspirations for world domination??
Special guest startist: Bill Sienkiewicz! You thought I was gonna mention a fictional person, right? Mr. Sienkiewicz’s name is legendary in the industry. He lets us in Bizzie’s subconscious. The albino really is a simpleton. I like the psychedelic feel.

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GREEN ARROW {5th Series} #41
“The Night Birds, pt. 1” (21 pages) by Benjamin Percy, Patrick Zircher, Gabe Eltaeb, Rob Leigh

The Emerald Archer’s arrows have veered into uncharted territory. Mysticism, magic, and mystery await!! Things are pretty much ho-hum after the “Broken” storyline. Ollie is the official guardian of his half-sister Emiko. Being CEO of Queen Industries is a total bore but like another billionaire playboy, one has to keep up appearances. No one conglomerate is immune to conspiracy. As a new lucrative deal is struck, Mr. Queen’s downfall is being plotted by someone behind the scenes. There’s a serial killer with a supernatural slant stalking the streets of Seattle. He’s specifically targeting African Americans. This is not Green Arrow’s expertise. Modern tech is more up his alley. He consults Henry who pulls video surveillance. Each incident has a time lapse along with a grainy image. When the psycho strikes, a bird-like shadow is the only thing visible. This is where the crazed crone comes in. She may have valuable insight. Itching for action, Ollie prevents a mugging. The woman he saved informs him that the Night Birds have taken her husband and many of her neighbours, unnoticed by all. GA is dumbfounded by this. The Aryan lunatic snatches the kingpin of Seattle. He begins to pour bleach on the man’s naturally dark skin. YIKES!

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Benjamin Percy is a neophyte at this gig. Welcome to DC! I bow down to this man for taking Oliver into a decidedly different direction. He blends the rural folktales with the urban landscape. Patrick Zircher’s sketches are evocative. These characters are three-dimensional in every sense of the word. They jump off the limited panel spaces. [8.5/10]

Introducing…The Wart Lady, Big Dog
Life imitating imposing on art: Oliver Queen has become Stephen Amell!
Tween Titan: Emiko is a trained assassin. Her classmates are pressing their luck. “Fine, but I can’t promise I won’t slit the throat of the next sophomore who sends me a crotch shot on Snapchat.” Damian Wayne, meet your future soulmate!!
No greater honour: The steak house is named Grell, after Mike Grell, longtime writer of GREEN ARROW’s first monthly series.
Inspiration: Notice the poster of Robin Hood starring Errol Flynn in Ollie’s apartment?
Discriminating tastes:It smells like egg roll farts.” – Oliver “Is that racist? I think that’s racist.” – Henry Fyff
Snazzy threads: The toned-down costume with the arrowhead symbol and hood. Street-wise but hero-inspired. The return of the domino mask clinches it.
Take a tour of Emerald City: Accurate areas of Seattle are mentioned: Shoreland, Tacoma, Queen Anne, Belltown, The Sound
Hidden pocket: Pennytown is the slums of Seattle.
Pale moonlight? The lunatic is an obvious composite of the Clown Prince of Crime.

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GREEN LANTERN {5th Series} #41
“At Odds” (23 pages) by Robert Venditti, Billy Tan, Mark Irwin, Alex Sinclair & Tony Aviña, Dave Sharpe

From distinguished veteran officer to renegade. Fall from grace is putting it mildly. Hal Jordan is lying low on the gaming planet Y’Gaal when he pulls the hero card and spares a rich alien from an untimely death. This is followed by rescuing said individual who is jailed for scamming the Big House. Hal’s reasons are his own and kept cryptic. Some eager beaver bounty hunter (yawn) tries to impede his mission. Hal head-butts the greedy goon, lets loose the wild game, and gets a move on. When his prisoner comes to, he tells all sorts of hard truths that Hal isn’t willing to hear. More importantly, he’s pegged Hal’s true nature and purpose. Exposed!! Arriving at Sector Zero, home of the Guardians of the Universe, Oa has been obliterated! The Greater Force for Good is gone!!

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Robert Venditti dared to shake up things. No kidding!! This is a gigantic slap in the face. I mean that in a good way. When the status quo becomes stagnant, a jumpstart is just the perfect remedy. Hal is truly on his own now and that doesn’t bother him in the least. Nevertheless, he can’t brush off his feelings for his former friends when there is no trace of them. Billy Tan draws a mean Hal Jordan. Literally!! This is a man who’s been so hardened by constant battles, uprisings, conspiracies, that the kid gloves are off. He has a gauntlet now. Billy gets much respect for throwing together the myriad of aliens, beasts, and criminals. [7.5/10]

Introducing…Virgo (Thin Blue Rich Boy), Trapper (the dumbass who got in Hal’s way), Darlene (Hal’s A.I. cruiser)
Flair for fashion: Hal may not sport a GL uniform anymore but he’s still rocking the green and white, along with the mask. New additions: trench coat and pouches (oh, God!)
Whisper: I wanna know what Trap told Hal that set him off!
Making nice:I’m a pilot. We aren’t the most detail-oriented bunch, but we show our aircraft respect.”
Shades of gray:I’d prefer you not strike someone who’s imprisoned. It’s unethical.” “Jordan knows the law, rich boy. That ain’t the same as obeying, though, is it?”

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JUSTICE LEAGUE #41
“God vs. Man” ‘Darkseid War, pt. 1’ (41 pages) by Geoff Johns, Jason Fabok, Brad Anderson, Rob Leigh

The wait is over!! The most hyped current storyline makes its way into your hands! Geoff Johns is the master of epics. Now that Jay Fabok is locked in, this is a modern classic akin to Lee-Ditko, Lee-Kirby and Lee-Romita Sr.

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Picking up immediately after DIVERGENCE FCBD, the hunt is on for Myrina Black. Being the mother of Grail, daughter of Darkseid means having a giant target on your back. Kanto comes across a woman by that name but ends up killing the wrong one. The next chapter brings to us the current incarnation of Mr. Miracle!! His backstory is narrated quickly. The ultimate escape artist made a life for himself on the hellish Apokolips. He seeks the Justice League to aid him in deposing the diabolical despot who has never forgotten his defeat at the hand of the heroes. Something world-changing looms.

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The League pull a CSI as they investigate the murder committed by Kanto less than an hour ago. This falls under their purview due to the unusual suspects. Superman confronts Lex Luthor about keeping Neutron. Lex can’t admit that the cancer-ridden villain is beyond saving. Supes challenges him to get to the bottom of it. Captain Cold relishes the interaction. Scot (Scott Free) is reunited with his adopted father. Darkseid not only stomps him [literally!], he also shatters Scot’s biggest illusion: he was never truly free. Every action he ever took was allowed by Darkseid. Scot remains a slave and his loved ones remain in danger. Scot manages to teleport. Grail makes the most gruesome entrance I’ve ever seen in comics – through the Flash’s mouth!! WWWHHOOOAAA!! No Leaguer is a match for her ferocity.

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Scot sorely needs medical attention and barely has his bearings when he has to contend with Kanto and Lashina. He’s a dead man guaranteed but his mission is of such vital importance that will not allow himself to be killed. Grail continues to unleash her fury against the League, especially her ‘sister’ Diana. Betrayal is shown on two fronts: Lex turns on Superman when he brings out his newest armour powered by Kryptonite. Lena in turn, shoots her brother in cold blood. She just did the Man of Steel the biggest favour. Grail takes out Green Lantern and uses Jessica Cruz’s power ring to bring forth the Anti-Monitor!!! It just got real, especially since Ultraman and Superwoman sense him. Lena is not the compassionate type. She is a disciple of Darkseid :0 Using Mother Box, he casts them off God-knows-where. Scot comes out unscathed once more. Yeah, right!! This time he’s facing the maw of a Griffin. Lucky for him, its handler is the one and only genuine Myrina Black!!! She asks him to join her in her private war against her one-time lover: the deadly Darkseid. [9.5/10]

(Re)introducing: Kanto, Lashina, Mr. Miracle, Darkseid, Grail, Anti-Monitor, Ultraman, Superwoman, Myrina Black – almost all of them rotten to the core!
Perspectives: Mr. Miracle and Wonder Woman narrate. Geoff Johns already stated that these two are the major pieces of this current arc.
Hell freezes over: Captain Cold has a crush on Diana!! He doesn’t stand a chance!
Fashion crime: Darkseid is offended by Scot’s more than colorful costume. According to him, it’s a poor acknowledgement of New Genesis and a pathetic symbol.

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LOBO {2nd Series} #7
“Whip” (21 pages) by Cullen Bunn, Cliff Richards, Michael Atiyah, Travis Lanham

The lithe lothario is enjoying a romp in the hay when he decides to move on his next big score. Trying to take him out in his line of work is so commonplace that he doesn’t bat an eyelash. However, he’s not one to give up the opportunity to hack, slash, slice, dice, decapitate, etc. The unnecessary but delightfully wicked bloodshed was a pre-cursor. Kadra, spokesperson for the Void Whisper wants to hire the murderous Main Man. He remains unimpressed and unconvinced until she throws him the bait: Lobo’s quest for who targeted his home planet and who hired him to protect Earth. Lobo ditches his double-date [literally] in the most callous way. Never mix business with pleasure. Lobo takes on his new role as The Whip. He targets a priest that has valuable intel. Before he can make any headway, the holy man is taken out by three competitors: a Daemonite, a Martian, and a Thanagarian. Could be the intro to a lame joke. Add Lobo to the mix and you get four on the floor!!

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Cullen Bunn has unabashedly admitted his love for the anti-hero. He really gets into the albino assassin’s headspace. I don’t follow the monthly but I really like the voice projected. Cliff Richards gorgeously renders the pro/antagonist as well as the secondary and tertiary personages. Lobo is not only a bad-ass, he’s extremely attractive to boot! [8/10]

Introducing…Kadra, The Void Whisper
Double the pleasure, double the fun: Notice the woman Lobo was bedding? She lost one of her heads over the skirt-chaser.
Another alias Lobo is now The Whip

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MIDNIGHTER {2nd Series} #1
“Midnighter” (21 pages) by Steve Orlando, ACO w/ Hugo Petrus, Romulo Fajardo Jr., Jared K. Fletcher

Gardener is ambushed by an invisible attacker. All that impressive alien tech at her disposal proves to be utterly useless. Lucas Trent is on a man-date. His newest conquest is impressed by his ‘other life’. The date is interrupted by crazed terrorists from Modora who have a major mad-on for the U.S. Honestly! Can’t a guy get a break?? They unleash a weapon that triggers everyone’s amygdala. Lucas suits up as his kick-ass alter ego and…no contest. After dropping by his fave watering hole, Lucas goes on a second date. Things are heating up! Then the build-up leads to one hot, heavy, homo make-out session. WHEW! Someone pass me a fan!! The morning after leads to some twisted stuff. Suffice to say, Midnighter can’t have a normal relationship. The eventual break-up is interrupted by Gardener’s distress call. Lucas is outraged that his ‘mother’ was viciously beaten. Aside from the obvious impending mission, she lets him know that she was not forthcoming with his true origins.

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Steve Orlando is not a name I can place. Regardless, he deserves heaps of praise for writing a gay man who-just-so-happens-to-be-a-super-hero’s exploits. Progress has been made and there’s no going back. ACO is even more intriguing. My internet searches have turned up diddly squat on him, if he is a ‘him’. He gets a gold medal for depicting that passionate, ‘scandalous’ scene. [8.5/10]

Introducing…Tony, the barkeep and Al’s Messe, his establishment.
Abundant alliteration: God Garden, Doubt Darts, Hermes Harness, Neuron Nuke
There’s an app for that: Super-Hero Dating. Someone invent that now!!
DC beats TMZ: Everyone on the planet hooked up to social media knows that Superman has been outed.
Opposites repel:Where’s Apollo? Your man coming out tonight?” “…No. Turns out light can escape a black hole.”
Tag! You’re it!! Lucas uses Smartmark on his boy toy Jason. He is now asset #337. This will allow him to contact Midnighter if ever he’s in danger.

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OMEGA MEN {3rd Series} #1
“” (21 pages) by Tom King, Barnaby Bagenda, Romulo Fajardo Jr., Pat Brosseau

A ballyhoo is raised in the Vega sector of space. The hunt is on for the elusive Omega Men. They are the antithesis of Alpha, supposedly the orderly aspect of that system. The televised killing of the White Lantern has many trigger-happy individuals looking for a huge haul. One by one, they come out of hiding: Broot, Doc, Primus, Scrapps, Tigorr. They have real precious cargo: Kyle Rayner!! He didn’t die after all. The sneak peek was a giveaway in that the image became blurred at the exact moment Tigorr supposedly delivered the killing blow. The group have spent enough time hiding on Ocyptu. As they embark, they lay waste to the building where they were holed up.

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Tom King has shifted his focus from espionage to sci-fi. This gentleman knows how to spin a captivating yarn given his former status as a CIA operative. For serious!! He adds the right amount of political intrigue. This genre is multi-universal. Barnaby Bagenda is a recent hire at DC. Dan Didio has praised his cut-above style. Elements of viciousness and determination canvas the characters. Plus, his multi-panel pages are unconventional in today’s circle of artists. [7.5/10]

Mantra or Propaganda?We will not hurt you. We are friends.” Their actions point to the contrary!!
Sing a song of splendor:Oh Lord, for thou shall return, return, return. / And oh, we shall burn, burn, burn. / For we are the low, the cursed, the beggar / And thou art the end, the curtain, the Omega.” Whose side is the Viceroy on?

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