Spoiler: It's none of those!
I'm not sure exactly why most of this issue happens, but it sure is cool.
In the wake of Grayson, Batwoman is the new Bat-related international adventures book.
Saturday, June 8, 2013
Stack Rundown, 06/08/2013
Spoiler: It's none of those!
So, this issue was a big question mark for me, following Geoff Johns' run, and a fantastic finale to it. I'm happy to say that Robert Venditti didn't disappoint, and while this clearly isn't Geoff Johns anymore, that's alright. Venditti starts his story in the middle of the shit, everything's gone to hell, and the Corps' back is against the wall, which was a great way to pull in readers worried about this book post-Johns, like myself, as after the opening I just sort of went "hmm, okay, what's going on here?" And then we progress into Hal being given the Corps, Larfleeze attacks, new recruits, so on and so on, with a Johns style tease of "coming later this year!" sort of deal. So Venditti did his part well. Billy Tan's art was pretty alright too. I think his stuff looked better when you saw characters up close, because at mid to wide shot, sometimes his characters looked a bit chubby, and proportions were a bit off. Other than that, it was fine… Also, would Hal and Carol just fucking be together already? I mean really. It's been the same thing for the past near decade between them. "I love you but I can't be with you." Blah blah blah, for god's sake Carol, try saying something new for a change. This bothered me especially due to issue #20, but oh well…
The final issue of Andy Diggle (sort of) and Tony Daniel's issue, and, well, it was alright. Great art on Tony Daniel's part, who I think mentioned his next project will be announced at SDCC (or probably in solicits the week prior) and the story was serviceable. Back up was interesting enough, and I have to say I don't think I've ever enjoyed Philip Tan's art as much as I have with Jonathan Glapion inking it. Two things bugged me about this issue though. One, the back-up was only six pages, and we got two pages of "look at the covers of the other Superman titles!" Don't do that, that's just a waste of space. If you're going to be short, just don't put those pages there, maybe I won't notice and go back to count. Next, Scott Lobdell didn't do the back-up. Anyone notice how he randomly disappears from issues, or like every other issue on some books requires someone to come in an script? That strikes me as really weird.
This was the conclusion to Lemire and Sorrentino's first arc, which gave us some answers about who the new outsiders are, and safe to say, they're no longer a group of heroes Batman gets together… but what about the Outsiders members in Batman Inc? I don't fucking know, they'll probably never be mentioned again. Regardless, we find out Komodo's relationship to Ollie's family, and why Ollie was intentionally stranded on the island, in hopes he'd one day he'd be ready when Komodo came after him. This arc has really been great, and the art has been phenomenal, especially the drug trip scenes in this issue… My only concern is the other title this book's overall plot is hinging on… Katana. My dislike for Ann Nocenti's work in the New 52 is well documented, and I REALLY never want to have to deal with that book, ever, as long as she's the one writing it. I'd hate for this incredibly strong Green Arrow story to get bogged down by the very writer Jeff Lemire was brought into replace. I guess I'll wait and see.
You know what? This book is pretty alright. I don't really have much to say about it though. It's one of those, I like it, but I'm not really sure why. I will say thought that I enjoy Gail Simone's writing much more when she's dealing with a team dynamic, and has multiple characters to bounce off of all the time, because there's a distinct difference between this title, Birds of Prey and Secret Six, compared to Batgirl in terms of how much I generally enjoy Simone's writing. Freddie Williams' art is also top notch too, and it's been pretty fun to watch how his art has evolved over the years. Williams does action really well, and his characters really emote very well, which, still to this day, not ever comic artist has that strength. So yeah… fun book, definitely something different, it'll be interesting to see how this one does long term.
This was J.M. DeMatteis' first solo issue, and first with new artist Fernando Blanco, and I'll say it was probably the best of the series, in my opinion. Here we had the Stranger's quest through hell in an attempt to save the souls of his "family" that he stole from the man who is now known as Sin Eater. What I loved about DeMatteis' script on this issue was that it was really dense, it took a longer amount of time to read than normal books, but even then, it wasn't as if it was bloated in anyway. Definitely an issue that gives you your money's worth. Then we had Fernando Blanco's art, which I thought was pretty gorgeous, and a bit better than the final issues of I, Vampire he drew. Blanco's depiction of hell is creepy and gruesome, especially the pages where the Stranger finds his family. Overall, a great issue, and I'm looking forward to the counter point issue where he goes to heaven.
More layers! Add more concepts! More characters! And it all suuuuuuucks. Not because what's being constantly added to this series is bad, it's because Robinson only has three issue left. Damn. Regardless, Captain Steel was the main focus of this issue, and we learned his origin, being the son of the original Steel character, who perished during the Apokolips invasion, and now his son is the only thing that's left of his research. All of this is set to the backdrop of shit is about to go down between the World Army and Steppenwolf, so they're looking at the fire pits to make sure Steppenwolf can't use them… but to go along with the "Red" team teasers, like Red Tornado, Red Arrow, and so on, something known as the Red Lantern is in one of the pits, and apparently that's bad? All of this is really great, and I just really, really hope someone whose writing I'm actually interested in takes this one over.
Someone, please tell me why Jesus Saiz isn't on one of DC's top books at the moment? His last two issues he's produced for them (this, and Justice League #18) have been really good, from a visual standpoint… Seriously, October is going to come, and there are going to be some new books, he better be on one of them. ANYWAYS… I'm really liking where Charles Soule is going with this book. This new character gets introduced, and we get a history lesson with the Green and the pagans who worshipped it, but all the sudden, that Seeder guy comes back into the picture. I laughed a bit with how abruptly Alec just ditches Capucine, to go after Seeder, just literally in the middle of this new plot, and Alec basically "HOLD UP… I'm out!" I don't know, I just thought it was pretty funny in a dry sort of way. Anyways, next issue has a tree which produces whiskey? I'm siding with Seeder on that one.
It feels like there was a big gap between issues on this title? But I guess there wasn't, we had that five week month and this just came out right after… regardless, this finished up Hope's little story of sorts, which most likely will set up her fathers' incoming death. The Ancient ones are beginning to influence Hope, without the knowledge of The Darkness or Balakov, which when she allows them to enter her realm, that'll obviously be when the shit hits the fan, and the book ends. So, lots of set up this issue, with some great creepy Jeremy Haun art, who I guess due to Villains Month solicits, isn't a Top Cow exclusive anymore?
Boy, you want to learn how to open a comic in a way that is equally funny as it is hilarious? Have your main pro/antagonist use the severed heads of two priests as puppets, then make them kiss. That'll do it. But outside severed heads of priests kissing, we get a taste of what this book is going to be moving forward… a rehabilitated Madder Red helping out the cops catch serial killers, so it's still going to be "cured" Joker meets Hannibal Lecter, in a way. That's all fine, and it was entertaining enough in the first arc, but like I expressed the last time I wrote something on this series, I'm still not sure how long that can be kept up? If it's going to be continued arcs of "Madder Red helps find this new serial killer, and oh no, he may not be all that cured" I can see it getting stale, just sort of treading water. The entertaining shock value is there from time to time, but I'm concerned about how long this can keep my attention, unless something crazy happens. Aside from that, this was also Ryan Browne's first issue on the series, and he's definitely a suitable replacement for Riley Rossmo, and the colorists, Jean-Paul Csuka really keeps things consistent.
I think I mentioned this in my blurb about last issue, but I really enjoy how this series is expanding the characterization of specific characters each issue. The same thing happens in #3 with El Chupacabra, who in the first mini-series, caused quite a bit of problems due to his alcoholism, the biggest being the accidental death of Cast-Iron. So, in this issue, Chupacabra tires to make an amends with Cast-Iron's family in his native Serbia, only to find out that they're pretty shitty people, and part of a cartel who runs a mining operation. They trie to kill him, things get awkward, and yeah he eventually prevails in the end. It was fun to read this issue, simply because Chupacabra was such a sad piece of shit in the first mini, so seeing him triumphant and not falling back into the bottle or something was nice.
Oh look, a cover where two heroes are fighting and interiors where the exact opposite of that happens, you know that's starting to become a cliché… anyways. Solid issue. Despite the cover, it was cool to see young Cyclops and old Havok meet, and share a few moments. But, unfortunately, I feel like the pacing on this book is really starting to draw out… remind me again, what exactly have the O5 done in the span what normally would be a years worth of issues? I mean, it's still good, and the character interactions are interesting, but come on… Also, I really think Jean Grey just needs to get it together. She reacts to the M Day event, goes all crazy on Wanda, and as a reader, I know all that happened, it happened awhile ago, so I can't really sympathize and invest myself in Jean's reaction to it, because I don't need it to be described to me yet again. I don't know… hopefully Battle of the Atom really ramps this one up.
I think I'm out on this one. I think I've mentioned on each blurb I write about this book, I think it's fun, but I'm not quite sure why I'm reading it, as I don't really care about the characters… but then I keep reading it, regardless. This issue though, I just sort of came to the realization that I wasn't paying attention, my mind was wondering, etc, so I mean… why pay $3 every month for something I'm not going to pay attention to? Not a shot at the quality of the book, I'm just generally indifferent. Big fight in this one though… so that was fun.
NO DOMINO, THIS ISSUE WAS TERRIBLE… For REALZ… Okay, not for reals, but seriously… the lack of Domino did not go unnoticed. In reality, this was a fill in issue of sorts, as Dennis Hopeless was a bit sick or something? I don't know, forum gossip. Anyways, Frank Tieri stepped in for an issue about Hope, who is off on her own, trying to help her dad whether he likes it or not. Of course, this doesn't please the Uncanny Avengers, so the bulk of this issue is a conflict between Hope and them… and it doesn't go well for the Avengers, in fact, nothing really has gone well for this Mutant/Human team. It was a fun little issue, and it was enjoyable to watch Hope just sort of fuck with the Avengers, but seriously, let's get back to the Domino.