Not reviewed this week: Nightwing, Raven, and Trinity. Sorry, guys, we tried. DC is publishing too much quality stuff every week.
Aquaman #11 (Abnett/Briones): This one’s a little goofy. After last issue’s climax of Arthur being near death and Mera wondering if she’s going to be the antichrist…nah, everything’s fine. The Justice League comes to the hospital for hugs and Arthur still wants to marry Mera despite her misgivings (and could this be a “Rebirth” related plot that’s trying to keep couples apart…?). This issue would be pretty dull if it wasn’t for the continued advancement of the plot in which N.E.M.O. is trying to spark war between the U.S. and Atlantis, and that blows up in a big way. Rating: Three tuna out of five.
Batman #11 (King/Janin): I hope this isn’t a pattern with Tom King, where his stories start dull but get better up to the climax. “I Am Gotham” had that problem—it was difficult to get invested in the Gotham twins, but man, that conclusion. So here, Batman and his faux-Suicide Squad continue to infiltrate Santa Prisca, this issue focusing on how Catwoman has changed since Rebirth. King does a decent job of touching on Batman and Selina’s love-hate relationship, where they both love each other, but Batman’s more devoted to justice and Selina to…herself. Can you ever really trust Catwoman? If the stakes are high enough…no. Rating: Four whiskers out of five.
Cyborg #5 (Semper/Hanna/Jefferson): We haven’t made up our minds yet as to whether Cyborg is truly human or just a digital echo of who he once was. Semper continues to explore the idea that maybe Cyborg isn’t nonhuman, but just out of touch with his new home of Detroit. Just because you live somewhere doesn’t mean you’re part of it…yet. The first half of the issue is decent enough, but the tone of the story abruptly shifts when 1) Cyborg’s “dad” is pressured to turn an injured woman into a second Cyborg, and 2) the art style completely changes, and not for the better. This is half a decent issue and half a mediocre one; let’s avoid these mid-issue art shifts, DC. Rating: Two and a half bytes out of five.
Green Arrow #11 (Percy/Ferreyra): I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the prospect of an intercontinental underwater train is just ridiculous. Last issue was an improvement, but the climax of the runaway train story is a little boring and it’s hard to invest in the characters outside of Ollie and Dinah. (And why doesn’t Dinah share top billing on this book?) But it’s nice that unlike Mera and Arthur, their relationship isn’t on the rocks. Please, nobody put a target on Dinah’s back. Rating: Two and a half quivers out of five.
Green Lanterns #11 (Humphries/Rocha): The Phantom Ring is Syndrome from The Incredibles. There’s no way around that comparison: he’s a second stringer who now finds himself on par with the big boys and girls, and it’s gone to his head for the worse. This is an OK issue, but any complexity in Frank’s character has been lost since his introduction two issues ago. Now he’s just a moustache-twirly villain, so it’s become harder to take him seriously. Rating: Three rings out of five.
Justice League #9 (Hitch/Edwards/Henriques): Y’know, a pattern is starting to emerge in this book where the Justice League gets overtaken by an event that shakes the public’s trust in them. They overcome it, but there’s reputational damage and it’s going to have long-term ramifications. To that end, issues #8-9 aren’t terribly different from #6-7. Still, these issues are pretty and show the team coming together in a surprising way, even if Batman is annoyingly segregated from everyone else. One goofy point: the ending is ambiguous—it’s hard to tell if it’s a “to be continued…” or if what happens next is left to the reader’s imagination. Rating: Three leagues out of five.
Suicide Squad #6 (Williams/Lee/Williams): Alright, I admit it: this book is getting a little more tolerable six issues in. What was strictly a movie merchandising tie-in is starting to take on its own personality. As it turns out, keeping an unconscious General Zod in your prison complex is a very dumb idea, but for reasons beyond just “he’s going to kill you.” A wave of insanity makes everyone in Belle Reve go nuts, except, cleverly, for one character who now gets do so something other than be the story’s most useful prop. Also, this week’s backup focuses on Killer Croc, though it’s a very rote “bad guy actually has a heart of gold” tale that’s fairly predictable. Rating: Three and a half prisons out of five.
Superman #11 ((Tomasi/Gleason/Gray): The two-part introduction to the new “Super Sons” could be a lot of fun if it wasn’t so darned busy. Damian and Jon are put to the test by their dads to see if, like them, they can overcome their polar opposite natures to become a better team. Conceptually this is fun, and there’s a few touching and funny moments between two kids who are genuinely portrayed as kids. The downside is that Jon and Damian bounce from threat to threat so quickly, and Gleason’s art is so loose at times, that it’s really hard to appreciate what the heck they keep fighting and why. Plus, what throws things is that there’s supposed to be an age gap between Damian (13) and Jon (9) which really isn’t apparent from the art or writing. Rating: Three brawls out of five.
The winner: Eh, ok, it’s Batman, but I’m hoping Tom King isn’t trapped in a cycle of “the issues only get good as they progress.” Suicide Squad could have been close, but this book is carrying a lot of baggage and the split stories hurt it. The loser: Cyborg. I was giving this book great reviews only a few issues ago, but the split art really, really hurt things here.