All-Star Batman #6: (Snyder/Jock/Francavilla/Hollingsworth) Black Mirror was one of my favorite Batman stories during that shining period where Dick Grayson was Batman, and this story has no resemblance to that, or Snyder’s previous Mr. Freeze story. which is all for the better in the case of All-Star Batman’s second arc. Snyder adopts a different style along with the new art team. While there is prose alongside the art, it works as accentuation rather than as a way of covering up Jock’s gorgeous and blue-hued pencils. Francavilla is no slouch either as usual, continuing the spate of Lark-based backups into a different direction, which while not as grimly dark as those previous stories also work as a complement to the book’s direction. All-Star Batman asks for you to exercise a different set of muscles, and for the reader it does deliver.
5 out of 5 Puzzlers
Flash #14 (Williamson/Di Giandomenico/Plascencia) One of the better parts of this recent Flash run has been its willingness to tell stories using villains other than the Rogues for the most part. While the Rogues aren’t bad villains (they got popular for a reason after all), but they tend to excessively dominate the book since Johns’ run with Wally West. This time though, the book does play their absence and reformation into a pretty nicely wound plot. It also gives Di Giandomenico a chance to flip between the Rogues and Barry in a more classic setting, and contrast that with their more modern versions. Overall, it makes for a pretty interesting revision of the Rogues, to go along with the attempts to alter the Flash mythology, and worth a look at least.
4 out of 5 Rogue Reloads
Titans #7 (Abnett/Weeks/Kalisz) Titans has been a bit of an exercise in frustration, because the Wally plot is so tied into the larger Rebirth mega-plot, the forward movement has been stalling at best. But this issue does make up for it by at least throwing shadings of movement by having Wally meet his former teammate in the Justice League: pre-Flashpoint Superman (or Superdad if you will). The issue doesn’t go to answer questions, it does at least attempt to compare and contrast their respective situations, and more importantly give Lee Weeks a chance to draw a Superman/Flash race, (along with your prescribed Titans action). While Titans is still lurching for a purpose, this issue does at least attempt to provide one, whether that will last is unclear.
3 out of 5 Superman/Flash races.
New Super-Man #7 (Yang/Tan/Li/Guo) New Super-Man has been interesting to watch develop. It’s best described as a close cousin to the “Amazing Friends” era of Ultimate Spider-Man, and Gene Luan Yang has done a great job of quickly pulling together a lived in world for Kenan Kong, along with linking it with a previously established DC idea like the Great Ten. In doing so, it’s allowed Yang to split the difference between focusing on Kenan along with his fellow members of the Justice League, without stopping the plot so to speak. While Billy Tan takes over the pencils this month, it’s largely following the look set forth for this book. Which works pretty well when the plot splits into Kenan learning martial arts by getting hit on the head by I-Ching of all people and Bat-Man earning his place. Point being that New Super-Man is as bonkers as a comic book can be, and people ought to be paying more attention to such an important book.
4 out of 5 Sessions
Action Comics #971 (Jurgens/Segovia/Thibert/Prianto) The difference between Action Comics and Superman could not be bigger. While both are simultaneously tied to and stalled by the larger mystery of the previous Superman, the latter book has had no trouble in ditching that mystery to focus on the dad/son show going on there. While Jurgens is the person who originated Superboy, both of his longer arcs have grinded to a halt, which is a shame considering his recent Lois and Clark book was fantastic. While Segovia does do a great job of dealing with both Supermen fighting their way out of an alien world, that’s basically been every other issues. This is a book that can and should be doing better.
2 out of 5 Supermen
Detective Comics #948 (Tynion IV/Bennett/Oliver) Batwoman has been long overdue for a spotlight. While the previous series didn’t end so well, the last few arcs of Detective Comics have gone out of their way to build Batwoman back up as a character. This issue does a great job of reexamining Kate’s past in light of the team’s recent losses and with attention to the relationship she used to have with her father. While the issue is clearly setting up for Tynion and Bennett’s turn on the new Batwoman book, it does do a great job of broadening the Batman world beyond what the other books have been doing, especially with yet another weird bit of Gotham mythos Ben Oliver gets to put in with an entire part of Gotham built into a monster body. As far as weird additions to the Batman mythology goes, that alone is a reason to check out this book.
4 out of 5 Monster Towns