Diggn’ Thru DC You Week 3: Spending Spree!! JLA Is Splendid! EM As Alive!! The Six Have Sex! Mockingbird Revealed!! Wonder Woman’s New Duds! Cast Your Vote!!

Before I get into this week’s column, I’d like to offer my condolences to those affected by the senseless tragedy in Charleston, South Carolina.

With that, welcome to Digg’n Thru the DC You!

Digg'n Thru DC You banner

Week Three is a spending spree! Twelve more titles come your way.

DC You - Are You Ready to Hashtag This DC You - Are You Ready for the New Awesome

Two of the twelve are newborns hoping to warm your hearts and fill up your headspace. One is an originator from the New 52. Four are given a fresh coat of paint. Three make their mark from more recent times. One book is outrageously popular and in such high demand that a co-star is added for equal billing. Lastly, one focuses on an untamed spirit ready to leave his own mark. Who run the world? Girls! Correction: Power Girl. Five females officially walk their own path. One book has the women outnumber the men four to two. Epic adventure, magic, politics, family dysfunction, salacious scandal, new origins, space travel, conspiracy. Sit tight, readers! YOU have the power!! This time around I’ll leave the ever-increasing number ones last. Relax, only four come before those.

Familiar Faces

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WONDER WOMAN {2nd Series} #41

“Balance” (20 pages) by Meredith Finch, David Finch, Jonathan Glapion & Johnny Desjardins, Brad Anderson, Rob Leigh

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Diana has finally made peace with herself. She impeded an Amazon uprising and will fulfill her regal duties. She accepts and carries out her role in the Justice League. She also acknowledges her status as the God of War. Everything’s coming up roses. Not!! Diana journeys to Olympus. Her purpose there is threefold. One, she visits Donna Troy who is undergoing rehabilitation. Diana sincerely hopes that Donna will move past her self-loathing and create a meaningful and purposeful life for herself. Two, she checks in on Zola and Zeke who are just fine and enjoying the most idyllic existence. Three, Hephæstus crafts her a brand new costume. WOOT WOOT!! It reflects Diana’s many facets.

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Back on Earth, Diana gets to premiere her cool threads when she comes across a bomber that specifically requested an audience with her. The young buck has her at a standstill and surprises her with knowledge of her Olympian title. He makes an easy retreat. He speaks to a voice in a toxic stew underground. This lad wants to be the next God of War. The voice tells him that he needs a weapon that can kill a deity. From the whirlpool, Pegasus springs out with golden arrows and bow!!

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Handle with care: Hera bemusingly brushes aside her own hissy fits and warns Diana of Donna who was artificially created – “If there’s one thing I know about clay, it’s that once it’s hardened…it only breaks under pressure.

Heavy words:The weakest steel comes from the purest iron.” – Hephæstus

Giveaway: In a recent interview, Meredith Finch spoiled the identity of Diana’s next nemesis. His name is Nikos Aegeus and he is from the pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths era reimagined for today. As for the boy, no clue.

Mark-up: the cover price increased by a buck but no extra pages. Gouging us, DC?

Critics have been unkind to the Finches since they’ve inherited the mantle. Objectively speaking, I think they’re doing a bang-up job. I’ve always admired David’s art for its sleekness and simplicity. Meredith has had the onerous task of forging something different. I’m really glad that she has not neglected Azzarello’s contributions but she clearly wants to add her own elements. Diana’s brand new armour may cause a bit of chatter or yawns but I embrace it. In the aforementioned interview, Mrs. Finch states that she wanted to completely discard the ‘bathing suit’ look. I agree wholeheartedly. Diana is sexy but she’s not a sex symbol. That’s simply not her thing. She is a warrior bred and born. Her outfit must encapsulate that. Mr. Finch never disappoints. The eyes always get me, no matter whose they are. The shadowy figure of the bomber made him a serious contender before showing that he’s just a late teen. Rob Leigh gets a pat on the back for drawing the scales in the title. Keep flapping your wings, Finches!! [8/10]

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JUSTICE LEAGUE of AMERICA {4th Series} #1

“Power and Glory, pt. 1” (48 pages) by Bryan Hitch, Daniel Henriques w/ Wade von Grawbadger & Andrew Currie, Alex Sinclair w/ Jeromy Cox, Chris Eliopoulos, Amedeo Turturro

For my extra extensive review of this double-sizer, click here.

Successors

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SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN #18

“Dark Truth” (22 pages) by Peter J. Tomasi; Doug Mahnke; Jamie Mendoza, Ray McCarthy, Jonathan Glapion & Marc Deering; Wil Quintana; Rob Leigh

The steel-clad bond between the Top Two remains unbroken. For now. Diana is devotional in her love for Clark. She watches over her (super)man’s peaceful slumber when a phone call from Smallville breaks the silence. Lana is in major trouble. The couple suits up and Diana whisks them away.

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Clark tells a bit of his backstory with Lana. Diana has some newfound admiration and is anxious to meet one of his closest friends. There are no signs of a struggle at her parents’ home. The only way to get answers is to seek the ‘three wise men’ at the local barbershop. One of them is missing and the other two inform the power couple that Smallvillians have been randomly disappearing. The elderly gentleman kindly ask Clark to leave since he’s a trouble magnet. Clark flies off the handle when one of them presents the Kent mailbox that was found after a storm. All evidence of Clark’s former life is erased – the home and the farm have been completely uprooted!! His grandparents’ home and farm have also been excavated. A shadowy figure is observing the duo. He wants to authorize an attack on Supes and Wondy. He’ll have to bide his time since he doesn’t have the password. Clark tears open a storm door that leads to a bomb shelter. His parents were unaware of this hideaway. Clark passed his time in there learning to hone his abilities. Lana learned of his secret having followed him and forcing him to cope with his uniqueness and just be himself. Clark makes one more horrifying realization. He leaps to his parents’ gravesites. All of the Kents’ family plots have been removed. He angrily addresses the unseen culprit, itching for a fight. Bullets are fired. The attackers are none other than the Suicide Squad!!!

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Out in the open: Secrets only belong in the shadows.” – Truer words have never been spoken, Diana!

Country-speak:The horses stay in the barn, understood?” Love that metaphorical code!

Peter J. Tomasi really sinks his teeth into this pairing. After his long stint on GREEN LANTERN CORPS and BATMAN & ROBIN, I can see how easily he handles interpersonal interactions. The chronology may be out of whack but I’m biting my fingernails anticipating the break-up between these two since the DIVERGENCE sneak peek shows Clark rebuffing Diana and Lois already told him his paramour had something to do with exposing him as well. I haven’t followed SUPERMAN nor ACTION COMICS but Clark’s life has been anything but pleasant these last few months. The biggest story of the planet isn’t enough. Pieces of his past are plucked away. His roots have become remnants. Someone really wants the Kryptonian to suffer like no other. The surprise appearance by the SSQ is going to make for a most entertaining read. Doug Mahnke develops a distraught, determined and dauntless Clark who deals with a wave of emotions. Diana is the patient observer and the pillar he needs. Having four inkers in this issue make me scratch my head. It is noticeable as the pages progress. The last two pages are the best as Harely is shown to be gleefully malicious, and Boomerang seems unimpressed. “Truth” has many sides. This is but one. [8.5/10]

 

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SINESTRO #12

“Daddy Issues” (20 pages) by Cullen Bunn, Brad Walker, Drew Hennessy, Jason Wright, Dave Sharpe

Soranik Natu is arguing with her father. She’s furious that he’s willing to sacrifice the inhabitants of New Korugar. Father doesn’t know best in this case but he won’t tolerate his daughter’s defiance. Sinestro gets a sit-rep from his underlings. He’s particularly annoyed by Lyssa Drak’s forecasts. Soranik has a conversation with Umaraal. She feels like the biggest patsy because her father bothered to form a bond with her. Umaraal rightly points out that Sinestro can never undo his wicked ways. Soranik witnesses his plans of merging Ranx with Warworld. This sends her into an outrage. The dysfunctional family dukes it out. Sinestro reveals his plans and shows his hand: if he can’t beat his daughter, she will join him. Welcome to the Sinestro Corps, Soranik Natu!!

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Ambidextrous: Soranik’s emerald ring is on her right hand but when she ‘converts’ to an amber one, it is on her left. Curious. The Latin word for left is “sinistro”.

GLC, where you be? Aside from next week’s LOST ARMY, what exactly happened to this venerable police force?? It doesn’t help that I stopped reading almost two years ago. Either way, Sinestro wants to spare Soranik from the upcoming Rapture that will befall them.

Delusional, as always:Now…the Corps is once more at a crossroads. A void will soon be created …and in the darkness of that void, my light can illuminate the way to peace and order.” – Sinestro

Fear-mongering: (a) Soranik realizes that fear has a hold of Sinestro, not the other way around. (b) Attacking without fear will make an opponent lose each and every time. That is Soranik’s flaw according to Daddy dearest.

Minions: Arkillo, Dez Trevius, Flayt, Lyssa Drak, Moose, Quasitrell, Tri-Eye

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Like father, like daughter! Albeit through forceful means. I’ve heard worthy praise of this book. I don’t follow nor read anti-heroes but Cullen Bunn gets a giant round of applause. Thaal Sinestro is a complex character. Even if he bends towards the ‘villain’ side, he has valid reasons for all that he says or does. His harsh actions towards Soranik is to protect her even if he doesn’t admit it and she is oblivious to it. Soranik was already revealed to be part of his Yellow Lanterns in the DIVERGENCE sneak peek but I know for sure that she’ll continue to play out the role begrudgingly and be a constant thorn in his side. Brad Walker’s art is akin to Doug Mahnke’s. His coarse lines give the characters their jagged edges.   [8/10]

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SECRET SIX {3rd Series} #3

“The Nine Levels of Suburbia” (20 pages) by Gail Simone, Dale Eaglesham, Jason Wright, Travis Lanham

Finally!! After three months of wagging our tails, this mildly crude, little lewd, and definitely shrewd messed-up team returns!! The story is presented as a framing sequence with nine short chapters which draw inspiration from Dante’s Inferno. That’s twice in one week. HHHMMM…

  • “Limbo like You Mean It” (3 pages)
    • Catman comes across a crooked cop so callous and cowardly that he pummels his pooch on the regular.
    • Despite not liking dogs, Catman won’t stand for animal cruelty.
    • The big bruiser throws his weight around stating he’s a cop, sergeant in fact. That doesn’t faze Catman. The next beating will be towards Mr. Officer.

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  • “The Lust that Lingers” (2 pages)
    • The scandal comes out!! Big Shot addresses the enormous elephant in the room.
    • Catman, Porcelain, Strix, and Ventriloquist (along with Ferdie) had weird sex on the living room couch. Gross!? Twisted?! Seal of approval!? Marks of honour??
    • The real issue is that the members need domestic training. They have to blend in the ‘burbs. Big Shot is overprotective of Alice who is still recuperating from the breakout at Mockingbird.
    • Stand down, comedian!Skin is in but pine is fine, amiritie? No? You people got no funny bone?” – Don’t quit your day job, Ferdie 😛 Yuck yuck yuck!

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  • “Gluttony Becomes You” (2 pages)
    • Black Alice makes nice with Mr. Wells. She reveals her real name due to his care and concern. He doesn’t want her to drink since it’s self-destructive.
    • The two open up and share old wounds. Damon will never stop loving his dearly departed wife. Lori mourns the loss of her parents and struggles to move on.

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  • “Greed is the Word” (1 page)
    • Porcelain has serious hunger pangs and inquires about culinary skills. After Catman chimes in, she embraces him and decides to go on an egg run.
    • Porcelain wants to take Ventriloquist with her but asks that her constant companion be left behind.
    • Ventriloquist emulates Cruella De Vil.
    • Porcelain delivers the best lines here: “I’m famished beyond the ken of man.”, to Catman: “Darling, you’re decorative and useful!”, before deciding to not have Ferdie tag along “ That’s a threesome, then.
  • “Anger is the Sea that Never Ebbs” (2 pages)
    • The second they’re on the streets, Ventriloquist initiates a pissing match with Porcelain. She wants Catman all to herself. Porcelain doesn’t mind.
    • The catcalls begin once they pass two lugheads. One of them recognizes the ladies from the neighbourhood block party. EEK!
    • Porcelain powers up and makes the boys’ bones brittle enough to put them in their place. Ventriloquist was a passive bystander but believes the bigger guy liked her.
    • Who’s the random guy that welcomes them to the ‘hood???
    • Porcelain is transgendered. Ventirloquist aptly states: “He’s mine, Porcelain. Or Kani. Or Kevin. Whatever you call yourself.
    • How low can you go? Ferdie gets a shout-out since Jared’s mom was making out with him. *snort*

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  • “The Trouble with Heresy” (1 page)
    • Ferdie speaks on his own :0   He finds TV to be Satan’s instrument.
    • The Devil’s work: Ferdie can speak and think for himself. HUH?!?

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  • “Violence Wears a Man like a Weapon” (5 pages)
    • Strix shows some real vulnerability. Tom tells her to set the table. The thing is Mary has had anything but a normal life. She’s far from trained in home ec.
    • Damon stresses laying low and making his domicile theirs. They must bide their time to get back at Mockingbird.
    • The inevitable showdown takes place.
    • Voices carry: Ferdie has a mind (and mouth) of his own. Kani is beside herself that he’s blabbing while Shauna is stuffing her face.
  • “Fraud in the Forecast” (3 pages)
    • Catman punches the Sarge square in the face. He crashes through his coffee table. He tries to sic his dog on the furious feline but to no avail.
    • The others arrive to lend a hand. Big Shot threatens to expose the dirty cops. Buzzcut Blond foams at the mouth and tells him it’s pointless since they’re Gotham’s finest. *gasp*
    • Catman appropriately tells them off. He takes the mutt. Ironic!!
    • Like master, like pet: Hennings named his dog Perp. He’s anything but.
    • Best dog trick ever: Catman tells the bulldog to “shoo”. ROTF!!

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  • “Treachery Among Friends” (1 page)
    • Tom is touched by his newfound friends being there for him.
    • Damon excuses himself. He looks lovingly at the portrait of his beloved. He then communicates with the Riddler. There’s a mole out of the hole and Mockingbird is identified!! Ralph Dibney (the original spelling of the last name) is alive and kicking???? WWWHHHAAATTT?
    • Trust is tenuous: It really always is the one closest to you that will sell you out, send you up the river, or stab you in the back.

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Eagle Eyed: Dale Eaglesham changed the cover to this issue. Whether that was his decision, Gail’s or editorial doesn’t matter. It is water cooler worthy 😉 Develop your X-Ray vision to see through that big black hole >_^

I’m hooked beyond hooked @_@ Gail Simone, you have earned at least another million fans. I know it’s only a matter of time before the Six fight off their captor. The dramatic irony is the ultimate!! The fact that they’re in Gotham makes it all the more unexpected. Sex sells, and how!! Dale Eaglesham has drawn the most scurrilous, shocking, and contumelious cover in modern comic book history!! I’m biased in saying that I’m stoked that he’s doing the strokes. I drool over Catman’s physique and the cut of his costume. Porcelain is extremely attractive and like her namesake, not one to be manhandled. Clowns, dolls, and puppets don’t freak me out but the creep factor is effective. Publish this title in weekly installments, PPLLEEAASSEE!! [9.8/10]

Fresh Faces

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BLACK CANARY {2nd Series} #1

“The Most Dangerous Band in America” (20 pages) by Brenden Fletcher, Annie Wu, Lee Loughridge, Steve Wands

Everybody, give it up for D.D. and her bombastic band Black Canary!! RRRRAAAHHH!!! Rock music has been given a new face with the blonde bombshell dishing out justice her way. The exploits of the group are presented in the tabloids. Reviews are less than positive. D.D.’s violent behaviour threatens to break up the band just as they’re getting their groove. Lord Byron has a pow-wow with Dinah. She wants to know what her deal is. Dinah briefly mentions a life of hard knocks and being saved by a sensei. Lord Byron wants to compliment Dinah’s voice with some rock star moves. There’s a teeny bit of tension in the group. Paloma resents Dinah always blowing up the speakers with her voice. D.D. is in awe of Ditto’s guitar strumming. The young girl may be mute but she is a phenom with the strings.

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Heathcliff asks D.D. a loaded question. He senses that she is distant with him. He notices that she’s not really into the gig. She won’t screw it up for the others and she’ll fulfill her contract. All she wants is enough dough to re-start her life. The three followers from the DIVERGENCE sneak peek follow the band on their tour. They are in the audience when Dinah spots them. Oh dear, yet another concert that has to end chaotically. The trio are ink-like aliens that have come for Ditto. Luckily, everyone noticed them not just Dinah. Ditto’s guitar skills truly are magical since she was able to make them visible to the entire audience and band. Dinah will take the young one under her wing. She doesn’t want to endanger the others but Byron insists they all stick together. To her reluctance, Dinah agrees and informs them that they will undergo hand-to-hand combat training followed by weapon handling. Peace out!

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a.k.a. D.D. stands for Dinah Drake. Duh!! A reporter speculates ‘Dangerous Diva’. Not too far off!

Fan for life:You had a for-real sensei? Like Karate Kid-style? Oh, I’ve got to hear about this.” – Byron

Lord knows: I don’t want to be insensitive or off the mark here but Byron appears to be female unless he is transgendered. It’s all good either way.

Uncaged bird: D.D. pretty much gives away her secret life. “What do you want from me? Do you think I’m in the Justice League? I only did like half a mission with those guys! Aliens are their problem!

Brenden Fletcher, one half of the BATGIRL revamp, goes solo and flushes out the platinum-tressed butt-kicker! He continues the magic by firmly placing Dinah in the spotlight [literally!] He wastes no time in setting up the status quo and introducing the supporting cast. Life on the road requires constant changes and it’s well represented. Dinah can’t ignore her heroic nature even though she’s grounding herself as much as possible to rebuild her previous existence. Mr. Fletcher is a feminist like me. The other bandmates do not come across as pushovers. I’m fascinated by the fact that a tween is among them. Isn’t that child endangerment? Aliens hunting a star-in-the-making is very far removed from the norm. Annie Wu is a welcome back addition to DC after breaking out with HAWKEYE at Marvel. She draws a confident and majestic Dinah with the black-feathered cape. Dinah has a star tattoo under her right eye? That almost escaped me. The layouts of the band members in the bus is attention to detail at its prime. Way too many good reads!! I gotta follow Dinah’s adventures in singing and punching. [9.4/10]

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DOCTOR FATE {2nd Series} #1

“Blood of the Pharaohs” (20 pages) by Paul Levitz, Sonny Liew, Lee Loughridge, Nick J. Napolitano

The raging storm and inundation are the opportunities Anubis seizes to overtake Earth. He is enraged that his moral opposite Bastet prepares to stand against him. Things pick up immediately where they left off in the DIVERGENCE sneak peek. Bast begs Khalid to grab the helmet of Fate but he believes it to be a hallucination. Bast’s powers are weakened due to lack of worshippers. A pharaoh is needed to help her. Khalid is not her best choice but he will have to do since he carries lineage. Khalid texts his girlfriend Shaya and asks her if she slipped him something funky. She responds in the negative. Khalid isn’t so clean-cut after all. His exchange with her is interrupted with a phone call from his mom. She’s worried about him not being home. Khalid’s father is transporting a fare to the airport but very little progress is made due to the non-stop rain. Khalid shows his heroic side when he rescues a girl that has fallen onto subway tracks. The altruistic act grants him the ability to stop the train dead in its tracks [natch!] sparing his own life. Khalid still refuses to believe his eyes. It is likely he was the only one to witness that feat. His kitty cat Puck is inhabited by Bastet. She insists that he is ready despite his reluctance. Modesty aside, Khalid finally grabs hold of the helmet and FFFWWWASSSHHH!! Dr. Fate is reborn!! Bastet drops dead but she will reincarnate. Khalid is overwhelmed by the power and the visions. He notices his voice is deeper and he feels older. He is fascinated with the ability to fly. His shock and awe barely lasts once he removes the helmet. Anubis, enraged at Bast’s actions, sends dogs after Khalid’s dad. The man runs into a tree to avoid hitting the canines. The passenger tells the bleeding Mohammad that he should have stayed put in his native Egypt.

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Introduction to Egyptology:

  • Anubis – god of the dead.
  • Amun – king of the gods and god of wind.
  • Atum – god of creation.
  • Bastet – goddess of protection.
  • Maat – goddess of truth and justice.
  • Ra – god of the sun.
  • Thoth – god of knowledge.
  • Tutankhamun – the most famous of pharaohs.

By any other name: The Mask of Thoth a.k.a. the Helmet of Nabu a.k.a. the Helmet of Fate.

Four-letter word: “Fate” is uttered six times. Not as much as I thought ;-P

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Paul Levitz is the ultimate scholar. He has produced the large volume of DC lore by Taschen. His encyclopedic knowledge of his long time employer is unparalleled. His take on all things Egypt is precise and easy to grasp. Mr. Levitz relishes in the making of another inheritor to the magical legacy. As I stated earlier, Khalid is no saint but that is irrelevant to the powers bestowed upon him. Sonny Liew came up from the indie scene but he’s no stranger to DC having previously illustrated for Minx and Vertigo. He’s also a pro with the pen, thus the co-credit of ‘storytellers’ with Mr. Levitz. Sonny’s pencils are apropos in depicting the weird and wacky world to which Khalid has been introduced. Khalid is a lanky, average-looking teenage boy who gets sucked up in the madness. I find his squiggly legs off-putting but Mr. Liew’s style works for what lies ahead. Once again, had I just glossed over this I would not have noticed the ankhs flying over Khalid when he holds on to the helmet. The split-image is evocative of the Peter Parker/Spider-Man shot originated by John Romita Sr. Magic is not really my cup of tea but this book has promise. [7/10]

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DOOMED #1

“Doomed, I Say!” (20 pages) by Scott Lobdell, Javier Fernandez, Ulises Arreola, Corey Breen

Adolescence is never easy. It’s even more trying and taxing when you wake up a monster. That’s no mere metaphor!! Reiser (last name unknown) will never have a normal life again. He wakes up in a subway graveyard unaware of what he went through and horrified at his ghastly appearance. Flashback time! Reiser divides his time visiting his loopy Aunt Belle, interviewing a fourth potential roommate, and gushing over his gig at S.T.A.R. Labs. Fill in the blanks and connect the dots.

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Point A: Reiser indulges his aunt’s eccentricities. Isabelle Sorentino was a major player back in the day having been a laywer and CEO but is on the cusp of Alzheimer’s. Pity. Point B: Reiser is psyched to work the graveyard shift at S.T.A.R. His new partner Jayne angrily indicates that they are grunts assigned to the menial tasks. While he is cleaning the top-secret room that is beyond spic and span, he removes the hood from the hazmat suit for a breather. The exposure to the air freaks him out. He promptly puts it back and assures Jayne nothing excited happened. Point C: Reiser runs after the rejected Clarice telling her that he was outvoted. She has a hot-geeky-girl-with-glasses thing going on. Fast forward! Points D and E: who should Reiser bump into after this shift than Clarice? She invites him back to a swanky penthouse that she just so happens to be occupying unlawfully. She picked him up for a reason. Reiser gets all hot and heavy knowing that she is showering and making herself more comfy. His hormones kick into overdrive and that’s what triggers the transformation!! Clarice doesn’t seem to be too bothered by it.

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Alien among us, part two? I’m not sure if this takes place before or during “Truth” but Clark Kent is spotted leaving Reiser’s building! It’s most definitely him. The ‘C. Kent’ label on the mailbox confirms it!

Can-do!Even Einstein started out somewhere!” – Reiser “What you lack in self-respect you make up for with enthusiasm. I’ll give you that much.” – Jayne

It’s daunting to launch a fresh book and present an original origin. [How’s that for redundancy?] Scott Lobdell puts his heart and soul into assembling all the parts of Reiser’s family, friendships, and extracurricular activities. Things pick up the pace since no time is to be wasted introducing his unwanted alter ego. More details will follow in the upcoming issues. Mr. Lobdell has a good grasp on the teen mindset. Javier Fernandez is an emerging artist. His pencils beautify the three young women. Clarice is definitely the temptress hiding behind the librarian look. I gotta ask: is Reiser completely in the buff in his Doomsday form?? The cover depicts otherwise. [6/10]

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HARLEY QUINN/POWER GIRL #1 (of 6)

“Extrastellar Exploitations” (22 pages) by Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray; Stéphane Roux; Paul Mounts; John J. Hill

Double your pleasure! Double your fun! Double D’s or is that triple?? *guffaw* Harley’s so nice that readers get to have her twice!! This mini is a continuation of the loopy lawbreaker’s misadventures with PG (not 13). Tripping through the universe is not going well since they take a massive detour from home and land on the moon Hodad in La Galaxia del Sombrero. Hilarity and nonsense ensue before the duo come across a colossal sentient space helmet that also acts as a ship. When it scans each of them, salvation is at hand since the craft recognizes Kara Zor-L as Kryptonian and as ‘the original’. The ship transports Harl and PeeGee to Lustox, overtaken by Oreth Odeox. Vartox, the furry-chested Burt Reynolds lookalike [Hey! I just got that!], is double O’s prisoner. The cosmotyrant wants to deprive all sentient beings of pleasure and living life to the fullest. Vartox’s ship is shot down by some reptilian officials. Harley takes offence to one of the Magistrate’s comments regarding her bestie so she blows his head off. Kara plows through the contingent. The 70’s must be back because a groovy group of hep cats gush at Power Girl’s reappearance. She will provide good stock to their barren loins. That exchange of information is interrupted when a squadron of saucers open fire. Back-to-back, Harley wishes she had the mini ray gun that Kara squashed.

Insignifcant worm: Mr. Mind can’t handle the train wreck inside Harley’s head. Plus, the fact that she puked on him makes him most miniscule.

Trans-genre: The Yoda-Gollum mash-up. Dare one combine two separate franchises?!?

Toe the line: Kara is chastised for her prostitute-like appearance. The best part is when the Magistrate points out that she is showing Karflippian Toe with no underwear to hide it. I almost fell off my chair reading this.

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Meta-muse-all: I am aware there is a multiverse. I know this because my timeline died and I’m the sole survivor. Also, this whole Earth-2 thing happened.” – Power Girl

The one-two-punch team of Conner & Palmiotti add another as Justin Gray enters the fray!! Justin is re-united with his partner Jimmy. Hope you survive the experience, Justin! Three voices for two characters. That’s madness! Having an additional writer makes for an extra-wordy read. Harl still delivers her allusions, puns, one-liners, and zingers. She is counter-balanced with the super-serious Kara. The anti-World’s Finest somehow mesh. I find that less dialogue and more action would have benefitted the story given its sci-fi trappings. Stéphane Roux is one of the privileged few allowed to provide his take on the queen of crazy. He must have had a blast drawing PG’s boob window. Good to know it’s not gone nor forgotten. Harley has a Ms. Marvel (from the 70’s) thing going on with the scarf that acts like a cape. The Yoda-Gollum mixture reminds me of Hugh Heffner. LOL! Best of luck to the unusual pair. [6/10]

MARTIAN MANHUNTER 1 review spoilers 1  MARTIAN MANHUNTER 1 review spoilers 2

MARTIAN MANHUNTER {2nd Series} #1

“Weapon!” (21 pages) by Rob Williams, Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira, Gabe Eltaeb, Tom Napolitano

Xenophobia is kicked up ten notches with this first issue. Earthers have every reason to be wary of other-worldly individuals. The startling revelation that J’onn J’onzz was ‘programmed’ to be a weapon against our aquamarine planet undoes his entire character and harkens back to the paranoia of the 1950’s. J’onn is a sleeper agent that has to carry out the protocol implemented by the White Martians. The Epiphany is upon us. Earth is to become the new Mars with the rise of a blazing inferno. J’onn sends out a telepathic broadcast to all humans. All hope is lost. He manages to rescue an errant airliner from crashing before he reawakens and scares a child with his alien appearance. Cyborg, Flash, and Superman also heard his message. With the world beginning to fall apart, they will have to call the other members of the League to deal with the several crises.

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The interlude introduces a young woman named Pearl. She is in the midst of perform a high-rise robbery (very high) in Dubai. She has a Robin Hood mentality. To her horror, she witnesses the assassination of the shiek by a White Martian. S/He spots her and scares Pearl by telling her that s/he knows the true nature of humanity. She is told to run although it is most likely futile. End interlude.

New character FBI Agent Daryl Wessel is called to investigate a most peculiar crime – the murder of a woman by her paralytic son. The agent is taken aback when the boy addresses him by his first name and mentions the Epiphany. An explosion occurs at that same moment. Daryl seems to be cognizant of this. The boy is in reality another White Martian. He implies to Daryl that all of humanity’s calamities were not caused by our fellow men, women, and children.

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The flashback shows J’onn is his elongated Martian form. Some kids from the neighborhood are curious to have a peek at ‘Mr. Biscuits’. One girl in particular isn’t afraid. She slips into his shelter with a big bag of cookies. He extends his hand demanding the treats. At this point she becomes a little scared. When he snatches the bag, she scolds him on his rudeness. To compensate, he does the coin-behind-the-ear magic trick. When asked about his alignment, Mr. Biscuits is unsure. The scene shifts to the present. That little girl has grown up to become Helen Demoff, extraterrestrial scientist at NASA. Helen is watching a news broadcast about various terrorist attacks when the correspondent shifts into yet another White Martian. J’onn barges in and asks her to put him out of his misery.

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The last page ends the long-ago encounter between the two. Helen is in awe with the trick and overjoyed at the coin. Mr. Biscuits claims that it’s just compensation for the food that he greedily consumes.

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Judging a book: I had no idea the original cover had been pulled. Last-minute changes can happen in any industry and there is no exception for comic books. It’s a shame because I loved the Vitruvian Man super-imposed with J’onn J’onzz. Perhaps it’ll be used at a later date. Simple in its delineation but über-cool.

Say it ain’t so!Look at you, with your fancy dress cape, playing at being one of their toys…You are a very poor excuse for a superhero. But you are such a fine weapon.” – White Martian

Love the way you lied: I was created as a weapon of mass destruction and sent here to fool and befriend humanity. I was made to conquer this planet ready for invasion…I am not a superhero. I am Martian.” – J’onn J’onzz

Paranoid, much? Agent Wessel mentions Operation Paperclip coffee. The actual use of Nazis in several American fields is true. The coffee part not at all.

J’onn J’onzz has always been a secondary character despite his longevity. He was always described as the heart of the JLA in olden times. I’ve enjoyed his uniqueness and always felt dismayed that he never lived up to his full potential. His abilities alone not only rival but surpass those of Superman. It was not meant to be since the higher-ups at DC did not want him to overshadow or overtake their number one guy. Rob Williams has grabbed my attention. My ears are perked and my eyes are peeled. The DIVERGENCE sneak peek was such a tantalizing teaser! This new spin on J’onn’s real purpose is innovative and realistic. The British writer was a mainstay at Marvel for a few years but now he has sunk his teeth into the Distinguished Competition.

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The imminent Martian invasion of Earth goes back to H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds. Over one hundred years ago, the prolific and prophetic author wondered about life beyond our orb. Eddy Barrows and Eber Ferreira are a bona fide dynamic duo. The many forms of the Martian Manhunter are a visual smorgasbord especially the giant dragon clutching the falling plane. That was never done before! I almost missed this but spotting J’onn’s silhouette on a cloud is deceptive since he looks like a super-saviour or more human than human. Kermit the Frog’s immortal words aptly apply to J’onn. He has such regret that he’d rather be eliminated than carry out his mission. [9.3/10]

PREZ 1 review spoilers 1 PREZ 1 review spoilers 2

PREZ #1 (of 12)

“Corndog in Chief” (20 pages) by Mark Russell, Ben Caldwell, Mark Morales, Jeremy Lawson, Travis Lanham

Social media is the wave of the future. No kidding!! A new POTUS has to be elected and none of the candidates are ideal. Beth Ross is your typical teen working her first part-time job at a fast-food joint. Her ineptness on the very first day goes viral. FHL. A race for president debate turns into a farce when a proposal is made to replace food stamps with taco drones. PPFFTT. Beth visits her father in the hospital. Sadly, the man is dying due to contracting a rare form of flu. The procedure needed to cure him is too costly especially with no insurance.

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Presidential candidate Tom Downey wants to get as many votes as possible. He visits the most followed teen in Ohio. Let’s just say this ‘kid’ has kinky tastes. Tom sacrifices his integrity to garner crucial votes. Beth is the next contestant on Double Dare Billionaire! She was next in line but is denied after the previous one blows off his right hand with a loaded gun. The race is underway. Beth is gaining major headway thanks to her ‘Corndog Girl’ vid. Posted without her permission, I might add.

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It comes as no surprise that a shadow cabinet is meeting to discuss the outcome of the election. The power players have their faces concealed by holographic avatars and emojis. This secret council doesn’t aspire to political heights. They are the puppet masters. They want law enforcement in their control and they want to fatten the national debt.

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YOP (the year of our president): 2036, twenty-one years from now. OOOHHH, scary!

Deep pockets: The Wayne Foundation financed one of the wings of the hospital where Beth’s dad is interned. This charitable organization should last another fourteen years. This almost slipped past me.

Poll-ease?! Elections are not cut and dry nor are they accurate. “Hard to say, truthfully. These things are more an art than a science.” – Tom Downey’s aide

Noble cause: Beth has launched a Sickstarter campaign for her dad. AAAHHH. 🙁

Shrouded: Anonymous, the hacker collective, gets a special mention!! Good to know they’re still up and running twenty-one years down the road.

And how!This country just gets stupider.” – Amber Waves’ co-host

Mark Russell delivers a scathing satire of our sorry state of society. The amount of websites that encourage one to post, share, spill the beans, is bloated and pervasive. Mr. Russell understands that social media is here to stay but too much of a good thing isn’t good at all. The internet intake should be in moderation. Mr. Russell shows the real shoved aside by the surreal; the inane coupled with the insane.

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I’m not one for politics but he clearly explains the process for a scenario where there is an absence of President. Beth is obviously named after the weaver of the American flag but she is an average American citizen struggling to make ends meet with the appealing ‘everyman’ qualities. Ben Caldwell is a master cartoonist. Literally!! His style suits this story just fine. He accentuates the ridiculous through all characters except Beth. She is untouched by moronic behaviours and actions. Sign of the times. This twelve-part maxi-series will feature the eventual ascension of Beth as POTUS. I’m sure it’ll also highlight her inevitable end of term, hopefully with grace. Stay tuned! [7/10]

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ROBIN, SON of BATMAN #1

“Year of Blood, pt. 1” (22 pages) by Patrick Gleason, Mick Gray, John Kalisz, Tom Napolitano

Damian Wayne ventures off on his own!! The question is whether this takes place before or after “Endgame”. Regardless, there’s no time for R&R with the Boy Wonder, scion of the Dark Night involved!! Three tales are told: one flashback, one involving the antagonist, and one in present tense.

In the degrading nation of Bialya, Damian rescues his ‘not Man-Bat’ Goliath from a dictator’s captivity. The douche-bag dic(tator) has his comeuppance when Goliath eats his multi-coloured-feathered bird and kicks his butt.

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Robin then uses the whistle which sends his pet into a frenzy. Goliath is a bit too wild, so much so that he flies too high resulting in the tiny terror becoming unconscious due to lack of oxygen. Damian is awakened by a hellish nightmare. At first, he’s annoyed that Goliath dropped him back at the island. He then decides to return to the crypt. Upon opening it, a sea of red and black washes over him. There’s a giant banner with his name printed in Arabic-like font. The Year of Blood is really about atonement. Damian wants to discard his wrongdoings as an Al-Ghul. He wants to honour Bruce’s teachings. He will have to endure 365 days of trials and “torture”. Goliath selects a small chest that Damian calls ‘The Guardian’. He’ll start with that.

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Damian is working out solo in the Batcave when he falls into a hole because he trips over Alfred the cat. I don’t quite get the scene although it’s a parallel to Bruce having discovered the cave at a young age. What leaves me a bit perplexed is that he spots the skeleton of a bat. I suppose that’s foreshadowing for meeting and befriending Goliath or his own downfall. When he comes back topside, Alfred the butler has prepared the most mouth-watering banana split sundae on the planet with an affectionate note. Damian’s downtime is disrupted by one of his servants telling him that Goliath has been unleashed. Traveling to Al Ghul Island (how creepy and cool is that?), the young master Wayne demands answers. He descends into an underground chamber named the Year of Blood. The servant Ravi dares not go there. Damian retrieves the whistle and hears a voice calling out to him. He is about to open a vault but hesitates.

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Damian’s dark dream has him standing over his mother’s grave. Dick rubs in the fact that he was a worthy bearer of the cape and cowl. Bruce appears and states his disappointment in Damian’s discretion regarding the Year of Blood. In this sequence, the Heretic impales Bruce, not Damian. Talia comes out of nowhere and tries to drag her son into the darkness. A demon (presumably Ra’s) is shown hanging his spawn from chains. Damian snaps out of it when he’s put into a flaming pool.

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The second story has a young woman retrieve the face-plate of Morgan Ducard a.k.a.NoBody. It has footage of his demise by Robin. Worse, it reveals Batman and Robin’s secret identities. This heartbroken lass is Morgan’s daughter!! When the police arrive, she cloaks and incapacitates them. Did she actually kill them? Some time later, she witnesses Damian’s decision to begin the ritual. She has infiltrated the island!

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Talia is resurrected. That in itself comes as no surprise. Ish. Like most who re-emerge from the Lazarus Pit, she is amnesiac (psychotic frenzy being the other outcome). Her own name is a mystery to her but not her assassin skills. Her memory jolts back and she is petrified upon seeing the Lu’un Darga that has also come out of the pit. She/He/It has the same symbol of her/his/its glove as the ‘Guardian’ chest. She screams out her son’s name before she’s pummelled into the rocky landscape.

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Proud papa:Father saved me. Showed me the light. How to seek justice for all, and not give into the demons that try and drag us under. He said he could simply put the darkness on a boat and watch it sail away because it was his boat. Well, this is mine, and I can’t do that.” – Damian

Covert op: www.bleedingcool.com speculated that NoBody’s daughter is none other than Cassandra Cain!! What are your suspicions?

Patrick Gleason has made it big! He may be a freshman at writing but he has produced an issue chock full of high-flying adventure [literally!], suspense, and intrigue!! This man has such an affinity for the current Robin. It’s evident in his stint with the former title having done all forty-three issues and three annuals. Damian is endearing. He is rough around the edges but deep down has a heart of gold and is still a ten-year-old boy despite his convoluted origin and messed-up family dynamics. Mick Gray and John Kalisz are inseparable. Crimson and midnight black are their colours of choice. The best depiction is Damian’s silhouette against the blood-soaked background as he hesitates to crack open the vault. Goliath is a gentle giant. He’s the perfect pet for one as unruly as Damian. The new NoBody is darker than her simple stealth outfit. The black-and-white scene is accurately used for the night terror. [9.6/10]

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