Digg’n Thru DC You: Week Two – Quite The Hullabaloo!

Welcome to Digg’n Thru the DC You!

Digg'n Thru DC You banner

Week Two is causing quite the hullaballo! A dozen titles make the racks spin. Five are first-timers, three are original from the defunct 52, and the remaining four are growing legs. The ladies get recognition this week with three books focused on them, and one sharing space with a very special guest star. Comedy, crime, humour, horror, sci-fi, and straight-up super-heroics. Are you ready, readers? This is for YOU after all. Instead of presenting alphabetically, I’m going to examine in terms of the ones fresh off the printers, followed by longevity, and then the on-growing 😉

Novices

ALL-STAR SECTION EIGHT 1 review spoilers 1 ALL-STAR SECTION EIGHT 1 review spoilers 2

ALL-STAR SECTION EIGHT #1 (of 6)

“I Often Wonder What the Vinters Buy” (20 pages) by Garth Ennis, John McCrea, John Kalisz, Pat Brosseau

Haven’t you ever heard of the most fantabulous team to exist in the entire DCU? Who, you inquire? Why, none other than Bueno Excelente, Defenestrator, Dogwelder, Flemgem, Friendly Fire, Jean de Baton, Shakes, and Sixpack!! Their feats surpass those of the Trinity! The Big Three got diddly squat on these eight individuals. After an undetermined hiatus (and falling out multiple deaths), it’s time to strike up the band again. Sidney Speck, art critic and darling among the upper crust, regains his Sixpack identity after falling off the wagon. Someone really should’ve paid attention to a Coke filled with rye. Oh well. This is the push that Sid needed. At an unnamed bar, Sid goes through a list of losers with a pushy barkeep insisting on joining. His mind made up, the new roster is selected. Only one more slot to fill. Fortune smiles on him when Sid spots the Batmobile making a stop in front of an ATM. Batman himself needs to make a withdrawal. Sixpack pleads with the Dark Knight as they relive some classic moments. Things end on a sour note when Bats gets a parking ticket. He is taken aback and infuriated. He speeds off leaving Sixpack confuzzled.

ALL-STAR SECTION EIGHT 1 review spoilers 3 ALL-STAR SECTION EIGHT 1 review spoilers 4 ALL-STAR SECTION EIGHT 1 review spoilers 5

Need I spell it out? Take the first letter of the first three words from this eponymous title and what do you get? ROTFLMAO!!! Emphasis on the ‘A’.

Sound-off! Starro, Eclipso, Sinestro, Fuggo, Amazo. One of these doesn’t belong. Guess who?

Bottom of the barrel: Argus, Edge, Geist, Gunfire, Hook, Joe Public, Layla, Loose Cannon, Nightblade, Pax, Razorsmith, Shadowstryke, Slingshot, Terrorsmith. A long list of losers, specifically from the BLOODLINES mega-event from 22 years ago. Dis!

Whose line is it anyway?I Am Baytor!” sounds a lot like “I Am Groot!” No lawsuits, please!

Welcome: Baytor, The Grapplah!, Guts, Powertool

Welcome back: Bueno Excelente, Dogwelder

Shameful/Shameless Use of a Guest-Star to Increase Sales: Na-na-na-nah-nah, BATMAN!!

Garth Ennis fires off another cylinder of comedic outrageousness. Crimefighting is anything but serious in this world. Who needs powers when you have alcohol-fueled hallucinations as well as thirst for justice?? Mr. Ennis really takes a potshot at DC’s number one money-maker portraying him in the most unflattering light. John McCrea deserves multiple Eisners!!! It’s outstanding that he emulated the following: Neal Adams’ first work on Batman, Kelley Jones’ rendition of the broken Bat, and Jim Aparo’s mournful cover from Death in the Family. Not to be ignored, he produced a neat blurry effect for Speck’s descent into inebriation. [9/10 circles]

CONSTANTINE the HELLBLAZER 1 review spoilers 1 CONSTANTINE the HELLBLAZER 1 review spoilers 2

CONSTANTINE: the HELLBLAZER #1

“Going Down” (19 pages) by Ming Doyle & James Tynion IV, Riley Rossmo, Ivan Plascensia, Tom Napolitano

John, John, the leprechaun, paraded through the streets with nothing on. Well, the second part of that jingle is accurate. What a way to crack open a book. HAH. Crack. Get it?? I think it’s obvious to say that the Con in Constantine is in full force. After con-juring his way into some snazzy new threads, John needs a break from the pestering Gary Lester and all his other ghost groupies. John comes across a big bear and picks him up (or vice-versa) but that almost-had-a-moment is ruined by a demoness named Blythe.

CONSTANTINE the HELLBLAZER 1 review spoilers 3

She and Johnny Boy have a sordid past (in every sense of the word). After getting his rocks off, she tells him that she wants and needs her biz partner to take a hike. She can’t do it alone. If she banishes a demon, she’s sent back to Hell as well. Boo-hoo! Her establishment is appropriately named Inferno, after Dante’s epic poem. There are nine floors accurately named for each level of Hell just like the literary work. The basement is where it all goes down. It is closer to Satan’s domain, right? There’s no use trying to con a con. John is the ultimate at that. He pulls a Mxyzptlk situation when he purposely screws up a spell forcing Blythe to complete it. Once she utters the right words, down she goes. Infuriated, she cuts right through his core: his ‘trick’ is that he’s utterly alone but brushes it off and acts like scuzz. Topside, Gary finally gets an audience with John. The wandering spirit tells him that one of the ghosts is gone for good. Come again?!?

CONSTANTINE the HELLBLAZER 1 review spoilers 4

Open your eyes:The truth is right there in plain sight for anyone to see if they want to. But they don’t. They know better than that. That’s the trick.” – John Constantine

Read a book, for Chrissakes! 1st circle: Limbo; 2nd circle: lust; 3rd circle: gluttony; 4th circle: greed; 5th circle: anger; 6th circle: heresy; 7th circle: violence; 8th circle: blood; 9th circle: treachery.

yU.K., yU.K., yU.K.: Polter-gits

Pest control: Demon Deportation Agency

Synchro: Elements from the recently cancelled (sniff) TV show: Gary Lester; the use of Latin for spells; “Sod off!”; the unvarying attire of the trenchcoat, white shirt, and black tie.

What’s in a name? Blythe — not as free-spirited as she or anyone else might think!

The writing duo present a Hellblazer more in line with the current interpretation from the small screen. He has one-third charm mixed with two-thirds double-cross. Constantine is condemned many lifetimes over. His existence is a combination of Sartre’s “Hell is other people” as well as Pope John Paul II’s claim that Hell is right here on Earth. Riley Rossmo excels at the other-worldly creatures and John’s potential main man but the title character himself looks more bug-eyed than dashing. Either way, Mr. Rossmo should be properly recognized for the 10-panel widescreen format as Blythe and John descend every level of the nightclub. To my knowledge, this has never before done in comics! Tom Napolitano also gets a nod for inserting teeny skulls in lieu of expletives when Gary curses at John. He gets another mention since the font for Blythe is miniscule!! I almost needed a magnifying glass. [7/10 circles]

EARTH 2 SOCIETY 1 review spoilers 1 EARTH 2 SOCIETY 1 review spoilers 2

EARTH 2: SOCIETY #1

“Planetfall” (20 pages) by Daniel H. Wilson, Jorge Jimenez, John Rauch, Travis Lanham

The infant Earth 2 [take two] is anything but paradiso especially New Gotham. It seems like all Gothams are prone to being the lowest of the low. Dick Grayson, legitimately the inheritor of the Bat mantle is in hot pursuit of Terry Sloane, the planet’s most wanted man. Some snipers deter Dick. Johnny Sorrow comes across the fugitive. The dare-not-look-under-the-mask villain is about to show his true face when Batman arrives in the nick of time. Terry Sloane is sought for crimes against humanity. He sabotaged the twelve ships that survived Darkseid’s destruction. He’s the world’s greatest intellect and the most armed man but he’s scared silly. He produces a jetpack and flies away. Undeterred, Batman decides to hitch a ride. Foolish move. Dick is still an amateur at adventuring. Sloane slams him right into a skyscraper. Far from graceful landing.

EARTH 2 SOCIETY 1 review spoilers 3

There is a flashback as well. Dick lost his legs again after Telos left. He is completely paralyzed as the ships descend from orbit in raging blazes. It has yet to be explained how he regained his mobility. A plea to a higher power is answered as Green Lantern comes from out of the blue and spares all the vessels. Alan Scott is infinitely more powerful and more impersonal. Huntress grabs Mr. Terrific and Red Arrow at the inception of this natal Earth. Mr. T snatches Dick. Thus, it is most likely he that helps Dick walk again. Perhaps through the Bat-suit? Dick already mentioned metamaterials in his costume thanks to his Terrific armorer.

Welcome back: 12 ships survived Darkseid’s attacks – 12 new cities for the twin Earth with one law entity — Overwatch-One. OW-1 contains Sonia Sato, Sandman, and Terry Sloane. Endurance has Huntress, Power Girl, and Mr. Terrific among its occupants. Erebus houses Hawkgirl and Jimmy Olsen). Belgica transports Aquawoman. Aurora has Red Tornado at the helm.

Already the spotlight is on the new Batman?? Other heroes are just as important!! Sure, they’re all presented intermittently. Daniel H. Wilson has already done a half-year’s worth of stories with this cast from EARTH 2: WORLD’S END but he has to start all over again. I was super-psyched when the original series appeared and was engrossed in James Robinson’s world-building. Tom Taylor carried the torch until editorial edicts changed direction. This is no disrespect towards Mr. Wilson but this next chapter just didn’t grab me. Jorge Jimenez juggles a lot of characters. He delivers decently but his style remains inconsistent. At times, his work has a Francis Manapul vibe especially Sandra Sato and Dick Grayson’s faces on pages 10 and 12. Besides, I can’t say I’m love with the Bat costume because that would be lying. [5/10 circles]

RED HOOD ARSENAL 1 review spoilers 1 RED HOOD ARSENAL 1 review spoilers 2

RED HOOD/ARSENAL #1

“Desert First, Then Dinner!” (20 pages) by Scott Lobdell, Denis Medri, Tanya Horie, Dave Sharpe

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh. Abbott and Costello. Laurel and Hardy. Tom and Jerry. Whoa, whoa! Getting off track here. What do they all have to do with this book?? Well, they’re all the best of friends with brotherly bonds. Part adventure, part comedy. That’s how I describe this first issue!

Arsenal is riding solo. He badly misses his ex-GF and his BFF but won’t admit it. He observes an exchange between a captured CIA agent and a drug cartel. Trying to warn the woman in charge falls on deaf ears. Roy decides to step up and take charge but badly Roy botches the op. The agents can’t even take him seriously. Roy is forever associated to the Red Hood. The elderly Senator pulls a WTF with guns blazing! It’s none other than RH in holo-disguise!! The reunion is anything but sweet as the buddies bicker and boast. Jason calls Roy the three S’s: stupid, stubborn, sulky. Tara Battleworth thinks that Jaybird is Jason’s actual codename. The boys get the job done. Roy mentions taking the money. Battleworth doesn’t dispute that and presents them with her business card. She will hire them in the near future. One week later, Paris is burning…ish. The twosome better not destroy the Eiffel Tower!

RED HOOD ARSENAL 1 review spoilers 3

Message received, but ignored: #setup #turnaroundandgetout  [Real clever, Roy]

My name is…: “Also not known as Arrow-Boy.” Just like Rodney Dangerfield and Jabberjaw, Arsenal gets zero respect as a one-man show.

Factoid: Most secret files’ photos are B&W. I’ll take Tara’s word for it.

Scott Lobdell gets to play with his men a bit longer. He provides really good insight into the buddy dynamic. These two can operate individually but they inexplicably compliment each other despite the obvious differences. The buddy book is bound to have unintentional guffaws or absurd situations. Denis Medri has produced work for five of the six big companies. Sadly, the art leaves a lot to be desired. The faces are elongated and too cartoony. The bodies are more bulky than necessary. [5/10 circles]

 STARFIRE 1 review spoilers 1 STARFIRE 1 review spoilers 2

STARFIRE {2nd Series} #1

(20 pages) by Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti, Emanuela Lupacchino, Ray McCarthy, Hi-Fi, Tom Napolitano

The powerhouse wife & husband team strike gold (pretty much) a second time with the latest and greatest offering!! The former princess turned slave only to become an eventual super-heroine has chosen Earth as her home! She decides to place roots in Key West, Florida! Since this story is presented in short chapters, I’ll use bullet points for the information.

  • “Everything to Everyone” (4 pages)
    • Sheriff Gomez listens to Star’s origin and witnesses her power.
    • You’re like a big orange Supergirl.” – Sheriff Gomez
    • The lawwoman will help Kori find lodging. Moolah is a major necessity.
  • “Show Me Your Jewels” (2 pages)
    • Star’s gems are out of this world [natch!] pricely!! Two of them might be eggs!
    • Where to store all that mad cash??
    • Star makes Stella cry when her dearly departed grandma is mentioned.
  • “From Tears to Beers” (4 pages)
    • Star discovers golden ale. That’s my girl!!
    • A clear riff on Blue & Gold when two guys try to impress Kori and duke it out for her attention/affection.
    • I got three big ones to spend on one.” “I only count two.” – Starfire and ‘Mr. Gold’
    • Kori uses a starbolt to break up the buddy’s quarrel.
    • Next stop: clothes shopping!
  • “You Can Lead a Horse to Water, but…” (2 pages)
    • No pants for this beauty. Skirt it is. Great legs and gorgeous skin tone.
    • Tropical storm is fast approaching. Stella is worried.
    • Science lesson: tides
    • Tamaran has 12 colossal weather machines that are pretty much useless for Earth.
  • “Hurricane Toy” (2 pages)
    • Kori is smitten with Boone, her soon-to-be landlady’s grandson. She lunges at him and they smooch. “You’re…orange.” “You’re beautiful.” “You’re rather forward.
    • Fun fact: Kori can learn languages by kissing someone. “Really? Well, you already know English. So, what were you trying for?” “More English.” – Stella and Star
    • Welcome to Key West, Kori 😀
  • “Tropical Depression” (2 pages)
    • Stella’s young sib Sol is still grieving over his wife’s death and can’t move on.
    • His colleagues Raveena and Gabe try to pry him away from work, especially Rave.
  • “Wet, then Wild” (2 pages)
    • Shower scene. Down, boys! Down!!
    • Kori comes out nude much to Boone’s delight but propriety is a must.
    • Kori finds Tina’s parrot Burtie.
  • “Sneak Attack!” (2 pages)
    • Hurricane is on its way!!
    • Kori is astounded at Mother Nature’s fury as the hatch is blown open.

STARFIRE 1 review spoilers 3STARFIRE 1 review spoilers 4 STARFIRE 1 review spoilers 5

Called for a reason: Stella is Latin for “star”; Sol means “sun”. Kwinydink? Nope!!

What a wonderful mix of naïveté, drama, suspense, and silliness. Starfire is a much-needed ray of light in a formerly dark DCU. Ms. Conner and Mr. Palmiotti have another starfire surefire hit on their hands!! Star is strong and stunning but has unlimited lessons to learn about humanity. She’s fortunate to have decent people to guide her way. This is an honest-to-goodness sitcom! Make this a DCTV show!! Are you listening, Warner Bros.? Emanuela Lupacchino couldn’t be better suited to illustrate an inadvertent sex symbol that is warm fuzzies all around. [9/10 circles]

 

Old Timers

BATMAN 41 review spoilers 1 BATMAN 41 review spoilers 2

BATMAN {2nd Series} #41

“Superheavy, pt. 1” (22 pages) by Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Danny Miki, FCO Plascencia

BATMAN #41 pg. 19

For my extensive review on this game-changer, click here.   [8.6/9 Batmen or 95.5%]

CATWOMAN 41 review spoilers 1 CATWOMAN 41 review spoilers 2

CATWOMAN {3rd Series} #41

“Cæsar or Nothing, pt. 1” (20 pages) by Genevieve Valentine, David Messina, Lee Loughridge, Travis Lanham

Turf war is on the horizon. Any day now, the tension between the various families as well as Gotham’s criminals is going to release. One side plays the other, etc. etc. Shaky alliances are forged and loyalties are tested to save one’s own skin. The Queenpin of Crime is executing a power play. Others will pay the Calabreses for protection so she can put Black Mask out of business. No one knows that she stole Roman Sionis’ stash and replaced it with funny money. Penguin is nobody’s friend. He chums with Selina at the opera but then reports to Black Mask and critiques him for not taking her out. News of Batman’s demise travels to the underground and also hits the airwaves. Selina takes it really hard despite putting on a brave face in front of her two most trusted lieutenants. Mario Falcone comes to Selina’s family for asylum and clemency. It won’t be that easy. Selina leaves that to her cousin Antonia. Toni wants the Falcones to bring the body of the triggerman who tried to assassinate Selina. Eiko suits up as Catwoman. Her mission is to keep the Falcones at bay. Ward confronts Selina about holding back a major secret from her cousin. It seems that blood isn’t thicker than water. Selina also dons her Catwoman costume. She is dead-set at finding the genuine Batman and determining the sequence of events.

CATWOMAN 41 review spoilers 3 CATWOMAN 41 review spoilers 4 CATWOMAN 41 review spoilers 5

Shadow of the Bat: The police-sanctioned Batman (Jim Gordon) causes different reactions. Tammy Keyes spots the Bat-airship and is unsettled by it. Selina is also not a fan. Eiko is definitely wary of a police-sanctioned Batman. Selina confirms that it would bother the original as well.

Kindred spirit: Selina compares herself to Lucrezia Borgia. She tells her baby-boo “Letting people imagine us as enemies is sometimes good for business.

Gain some culture: The story ends with a quote from Johannes Lucas’ inability to spot sinister qualities within Lucrezia Borgia.

This should be called The Borgias meets The Godfather. The mob mentality is well-examined here. There will be the nevitable betrayals, bombs, and bloodshed. Genevieve Valentine definitely dared to be different by having Ms. Kyle (Calabrese) rule all the mobs and individuals of ill repute. That’s a giant step for the felonious feline!! She seems to be well-versed with the hardboiled nature of the underbelly of society. David Messina displays Selina in a wide range of feelings and emotions: aloof, confident, steely, tender, vulnerable. Penguin is deplorable and Black Mask is a walking horror show. [7/10 circles]

DETECTIVE COMICS 41 review spoilers 1 DETECTIVE COMICS 41 review spoilers 2

DETECTIVE COMICS {2nd Series} #41

“Reunion, pt. 1” (22 pages) by Francis Manapul & Brian Buccellato, Fernando Blanco, Brian Buccellato, Jared Fletcher

A tale of two cities or two tales of one city? The creative team continue to highlight Harvey Bullock and his closest colleagues at the GCPD. The flipside is showcasing Jim Gordon is his unexpected gig. There are also flashbacks for each main character. I’ll focus on Harvey first.

Harvey Bullock is getting it on hot and heavy with his ex-partner and current lover Nancy Yip. Their throw of passion is interrupted by Batman. [More on that momentarily.] Going back three weeks, Commissioner Maggie Sawyer wants Harv to lead the new task force that’ll work in conjunction with the mecha-Bat. Harv flatly refuses and opts for a demotion: being a beat cop once more. Harv mopes about the former status quo. Going back one week, some bikers enter a cop bar that Harv and Nancy happen to frequent. They’re not there for commiserating nor chit-chat. Bullock watches as fists begin to fly. Yip jumps in to break up the brawls. Harv is about to get his head bashed in when Renee Montoya takes out the bruiser. SURPRISE!! Renee wants Harv to join the BTF. She lures him in with one major bait: she knows who it’ll be. Harv also wants Yip reinstated. Can Renee work that magic? Renee will grant Harv’s request because she has a top notch ally – Jim Gordon. Harv is flabbergasted. Harv accepts the offer. He’ll robot-sit Jimbo but he wants to find the real deal and tells Montoya that she’ll be part of that mission. Fast forward to right now: the three are members of the BTF. Little does Harv know that his pookie-pie is still dirty and conspiring against him. She is instructed to kill all the good cops.

DETECTIVE COMICS 41 review spoilers 3 DETECTIVE COMICS 41 review spoilers 4

What about a certain someone who should get equal or top billing in this series? Don’t fret. He hasn’t been forgotten. Jim Gordon is trying to duke it out with a dodgy Day of the Dead chump. Learning the ropes is no easy task. Jim knows that had he not accepted, another cop would’ve easily been chosen. Jim won’t let anyone else take bullets for him. At the end of that thought, his amateurishness has him thrown against a wall due to a bomb placed on his shoulder. Two weeks prior, Maggie meets with Jim at a soon-to-be-open circus. Jim’s successor is dying to know if he has accepted the gig. He’s unsure. He wants to tell Harv but Maggie denies him that, even if he chooses not to take part in the endeavour. It’s a super-sensitive matter. Plus, Harvey is not to be entirely trusted due to his closeness to suspended officer Yip.

DETECTIVE COMICS 41 review spoilers 5

Things come full circle. The Death’s Head guy isn’t alone. One of his buds blasts Bats with an Uzi. Harvey looks genuinely worried and visibly upset.

Flub: The cover says “To Serve and Protect” but this new arc is titled “Reunion”.

Welcome back: Renee Montoya! My question is this: was she already featured in the New 52?

On the nose:A police-sanctioned vigilante may sound like an oxymoron…” You said it, Jimbo!! Highly ironic too given the situation you now are placed in!

Catch the drift? Le Cirque de Volant — French for “Flying Circus”. Technically, it should be written without the “de”. Does this signal a return for the Graysons??

I’m taken aback by the fact that Mssrs. Manapul and Buccellato are not involved in the art process. Correction: Brian covers the colours, so there’s that. Their scripting, plotting, and dialoguing are solid. They flush out the detective elements flawlessly. It’s in the name of the book after all. Harvey has come around as a ‘supporting character’. It’s safe to say he’s the one that carries the weight here [no pun intended] and that Gotham’s main protector rightly remains in the background. I dropped DETECTIVE once the tag team came on board (sorry, guys) but I’m intrigued by Nancy Yip’s corruptness. She was pegged as dirty by more savvy individuals and sure enough, WYSIWYG. Fernando Blanco’s strength is the facial expressions matching each of the protagonists (and antagonist). He must have been thrilled to be one of the few artists to take a crack at the nascent Bat-suit. It definitely shows. [8.5/10 circles]

Next Generation

BATMAN SUPERMAN 21 review spoilers 1 BATMAN SUPERMAN 21 review spoilers 2

BATMAN/SUPERMAN #21

“Truth Hurts” (20 pages) by Greg Pak, Adrian Syaf, Vicente Cifuentes, Ulises Arreola, Rob Leigh

Clark Kent is the most targeted man on the planet. With the word spread worldwide, he’s not safe anywhere. He’s engaged in fisticuffs with some tech-powered thugs but still has what it takes. He’s euphoric at experiencing the human sensations of pain, so much so that the knife in left leg is not just a simile. The Metropolis SWAT clear a path for him after he stares them down. Lex thinks Clark is scamming him about being an alien hiding in plain sight until Clark pounds his desk. The two take a trip to Gotham when Lex informs him that the tech came from there. A brief scuffle with Robo-Bat (one punch) ends just as quickly as it began. Clark makes his way to the Batcave to analyze the evidence. He is reunited with Alfred. Alfie bears him the bad news about Bruce’s demise. After a brief heart-to-heart, Clark remains unconvinced. He needs bona fide support. He calls a friend. None other than Lois Lane. Get out!! Their convo is strained. Her actions have ramifications for her and her associates. His silence shuts her out. Enough moping around! Clark returns to the Batcave. He helps himself to a Bat-bike and spray-paints it red and blue. Nice!! He fires off a two-rocket salute to Bruce. That gets Jim’s attention and an imminent re-match!!!

BATMAN SUPERMAN 21 review spoilers 3

Getting ahead: Sgt. Mizoguchi, who will be introduced in ACTION #42

Re-take: Lex’s disbelief that Clark Kent and Superman are one and the same is acknowledging John Byrne’s radical realization from SUPERMAN {2nd Series} #2.

Surreal: A girl is playing with Batman and Superman action figures. She unintentionally points out the change in the relationship between the World’s Finest by having them duke it out.

Welcome back: Alfie!! The dutiful, diligent and devout butler/father figure carries on the fight even without Master Bruce.

Sleight of hand: Pardon the pun but Greg Park is being purposely coy. Alfie’s right hand is obscured from view. We know it was severed. Has it been reattached? Not meant to be viewed in this book??

Two halves of a whole:His greatest gift to you was to be the shadow that let your light shine. That darkness was for him, not you” – Alfred

I’m not built to live like this. In darkness and suspicion. I belong in the sun.” – Clark

By my lover betrayed: Diana is in on the outing. How? Why?

I have not followed this series but I’m immensely impressed with Greg Pak’s handle on Clark Kent. I know that he also writes his adventures in ACTION COMICS. Mr. Pak has a clear understanding of Clark’s thoughts and poignantly expresses his voice. I drool over Adrian Syaf’s art. It’s so precise, refined, and near perfection. His collaborator Vicente Cifuentes adds to the appeal. [9/10 circles]

HARLEY QUINN 17 review spoilers 1 HARLEY QUINN 17 review spoilers 2

HARLEY QUINN {2nd Series} #17

“The Gang of Harleys!” (22 pages) by Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti, Chad Hardin, Alex Sinclair, John J. Hill

Harley pulls a Thor with that hammer toss. Real smooth. The Gang complete their first case. It was a sloppy, unnecessarily destructive operation. The victim pays Harl with a rooster. Harley blackmails the Mayor. She wants no arrests while she and her gang ‘fight crime’. She has enough dirt on him for him to begrudgingly oblige. Interlude: Capt. Horatio Strong is exposed to radioactive seaweed when he tries to untangle his fishing net. Harl’s date with Mason Macabre is ruined when the GCPD barge in. The Gang’s training is unorganized and confrontational. Coach tells Harl that Harlem Harley and Harvey Quinn have left to check out a fisherman’s disappearance. Hilarity ensues when Harvey is unsuccessful at his interrogation while Harlem is treated like gold. The two find their quarry: he’s a pumped-up Popeye!!

HARLEY QUINN 17 review spoilers 3 HARLEY QUINN 17 review spoilers 4 HARLEY QUINN 17 review spoilers 5

Cuckoo @_@: Harl ordered 140 parakeets simply to set them free.

Harley Quinn is a solo act, not an ensemble piece. I get that the Gang members are deliberate foils for the headliner and I realize that this is a temporary situation for this current arc but there are just too many players. Harl herself has to compete for screen time. Chad Hardin has been on this title from the get-go. He expertly highlights the absurdity with the star of the show and her cohorts. [7/10 circles]

NEW SUICIDE SQUAD 9 review spoilers 1 NEW SUICIDE SQUAD 9 review spoilers 2

NEW SUICIDE SQUAD #9

“Monsters” (20 pages) by Sean Ryan, Philippe Briones, Blond, Tom Napolitano

Black Manta, Captain Boomerang, and Deadshot are asked to infiltrate a sect of the League of Assassins simply calling themselves The League. They are very visible mass murderers and pilferers of U.S. villain tech. Harley Quinn, Parasite, and Reverse Flash are on standby to pull them out. The trio must educate themselves on this radical group to be fully convincing. They meet their contact Tomorrow Thief in Turkey. The set-up is enacted. Each of them are savagely beaten and endure quite a bit before they all utter the key phrase. DDAAMMNN!! Manta must have literal abs of steel to endure several hits from a baseball bat that ends up breaking. The League takes them to an undetermined location in the desert for their initiation. Three frozen individuals acting as heroes are revealed. They are given bats. Manta takes the first swing. The other two follow suit. Mission successful.

NEW SUICIDE SQUAD 9 review spoilers 3 NEW SUICIDE SQUAD 9 review spoilers 4

Saved from obscurity: I actually had to look up Tomorrow Thief. He is so ‘new’ that my encyclopedic mind couldn’t place him. He had one and only appearance in MR. TERRIFIC #6. Anyone recall that book? Well, now he’s made a second showing.

Much criticism against Sean Ryan and less than favorable reviews have hit the writer once he took over this title. Fan reactions have been lukewarm. He delivers a tight plot here. Focusing on only three individuals instead of the entire team builds the tension, not just among themselves but due to the extremely dangerous operation they have decided to undertake. Philippe Briones flexes his muscles here especially when he shows the trio mostly in the buff. Why is it that Deadshot is completely nude, à la Daniel Craig in Casino Royale? I’m not complaining!! The League members are an interesting mix of military ninja. [7.5/10 circles]

GOTHAM ACADEMY 7 review spoilers 1 GOTHAM ACADEMY 7 review spoilers 2

GOTHAM ACADEMY #7

“Curse of the Inishtree Quill” (20 pages) by Becky Cloonan & Brenden Fletcher, Mingjue Helen Chen, Steve Wands

I wrote wwwaaayyy too much about this issue. It’s an absolute delight that I couldn’t stop pumping it. Unfortunately (air quotes), I decided to curb my enthusiasm. I will simplify: the new boy in school has one of the girls head over heels. That’s pretty much what happens when the two end up hanging from a window ledge. [I’ll get back to that.] Maps Mizoguchi is lovestruck to the nth degree by the dashing, brooding Damian Wayne. Unbeknownst to her, the plume she uses to scribble her notes is a magical object!! Mayhem ensues and this has Damian blow his cover (and secret identity) to his newfound friend and possibly future crimefighting partner. Professor MacPherson’s knowledge of the quill, which coincidentally ties in to the Wayne family history, and her dog Ham are a major assist. The shenanigans have two negative results: (1) Mr. Scarlet magically appears and downplays the whole thing. There was no spell. (2) Damian is expelled by Headmaster Hammer. That gives the old goat much pleasure. After all that adventuring and Damian’s departure, Maps regains her composure. The overabundant joy and floating hearts are interrupted by Prof. Mac. She has news of Olive and it is probably isn’t good.

GOTHAM ACADEMY 7 review spoilers 3 GOTHAM ACADEMY 7 review spoilers 4 GOTHAM ACADEMY 7 review spoilers 5

Better half? Olive Silverlock, Maps’ roomie and BFFL, is curiously absent from this issue. Prof. Mac assures Maps that it’s a temporary thing and nothing to fret over. However, by issue’s end, the implication is maybe not.

My not-so-secret identity: Maps watches Damian train, pulls out his grappling gun, and is given a batarang by him. Even after she blurts “Damian…Are you Batman?” he dismisses that silly question. This girl doesn’t miss a trick. She can match the two columns.

The Scottish Connection: This alludes to the graphic novel by Alan Grant and Frank Quitely. I’m absolutely certain Becky Cloonan & Brenden Fletcher used this as a source of inspiration and to clevery add another layer to the Batman mythos.

Maps takes centre stage this issue. At the risk of labelling this a ‘filler’, I’ll aver that it’s a refreshing change of pace. She is the heart and spirit of this title. Her unbridled enthusiasm is the complete opposite of the dark world that is Gotham City. She believes in herself even when she is dismissed for her silliness. That confidence speaks volumes and creates waves. Damian guest-starring and not sticking around is a smart move. He has his upcoming on-going. It’d be hard for a globe-trotting Boy Wonder to also occupy space at the Academy. Damian’s actions and attitude reflect his unruliness and was a perfect way to send him off. His presence was a ruse since he already has the diary of Millie Jane Cobblepot. Karl Kerschl is presumably the artist slotted for the long haul. His style has been synonymous with this title. However, Mingjue Helen Chen brings the dramatis personæ to life. The colours and the inks are fresh and vibrant. It’s good to break away from the routine every so often. [9.8/10 circles]

Tags: , ,