Superwoman #7 (Jimenez/Santorelli): Oh, man, is this a thick issue. Credit to the creative team for jamming so much into 20 pages and not having the art look terrible. On the other hand, so much happens in this story that it’s like listening to three different concerts at once and trying to keep the music straight in all of them. The main issue is Lana’s war against Lena, but there’s a plethora of side plots with Lex and his prisoners: Steel, Traci, Natasha, and the ghost of Lois, and this issue is very much not a jumping on point. Fortunately, a new arc should be starting soon, and hopefully the creators dial it back a bit soon. Rating: Three capes out of five.
Action Comics #973 (Jurgens/Zircher/Segovia): Read this after Superwoman #7, which continues off the events of that story. This book is moving towards resolving some of Superman’s other mysteries, namely, who’s this other Clark Kent in the book? Answers begin to present themselves, and they’re not comfortable, but they are intriguing. Also, Jurgens reintroduces a favorite character of his who’s…kind of being used in a different Rebirth title. This issue uses split artists, but Zircher and Segovia’s differences aren’t enough to hurt readability. Rating: Three capes out of five.
All Star Batman #7 (Snyder/Lotay/Francavilla): DC Comics keeps nudging Poison Ivy towards “good guy” without quite getting there. Initially she was a thief, than an eco-terrorist, and of late, she’s a well-intentioned eco-warrior and Harley Quinn’s gal-pal. Snyder’s latest issue of All Star Batman doesn’t quite serve as his grand thesis of Ivy the way his Batman stories were of the Joker…but it comes close, as he tries to get into Ivy’s head as Batman tries to recruit her to stop a new bio-weapon. Not bad, but not quite the great analysis of Ivy either to tie in what we’ve seen of her before. The backup dive into Duke Thomas’ head is even less interesting, even with the Francavilla art (and I hope he hasn’t been avoiding Afterlife with Archie just to work on this). Rating: Three vines out of five.
Detective Comics #950 (Tynion/Takara/Martinez/Barrows): A 50th issue always makes for an odd anniversary—publishers feel the need to do “something,” but always less than the epic called for by a 100th issue. So Detective #950 doesn’t do a lot other than being double-sized and serving as an introductory piece for readers who missed the first two arcs, walking through a day in the life of Cassandra Cain. It gets us into her head, but paradoxically, Tynion gets very heavy with the dialogue in analyzing a character who rarely speaks. It’d be curious if a silent issue would have been more effective in conveying how Cass ticks. A head-trippy backup with Azrael and Batwing discusses the interaction of theology and technology (Ghost in the Shell fans may love this), while a final backup with Bruce and Tim suggests that the excessive role of Batman in the DC Universe actually has a purpose. Overall, ‘Tec #950 isn’t amazing, but it is recommended as a good jumping-on point for Batman in general. Rating: Three and a half bats out of five.
Earth 2 Society #21 (Abnett/Cifuentes): Poor Earth-2, which has nicely cleaned itself up after it lost direction a few years ago. “The Final Fate of Earth-2” is wrapping itself up nicely with an open segue into what could be its next incarnation, and it’s going out with a decent slobberknocker between the Justice Society and a mind-controlled Green Lantern. The only problem here is accessibility—this book’s almost done and a newcomer is going to see a completely different DCU which doesn’t resemble the stuff in the “Rebirth” titles. Rating: Three power rings out of five.
Flash #16 (Williamson/Di Giandomenico): Despite being part three of an ongoing story, The Flash #16 serves as a decent jumping-on point with Barry’s narration nicely summarizing where the story stands. It’s also a decent Rogue’s tale, a fundamental this book really needed after the previous Speed Force-heavy arcs. Williamson’s bleak and yet fun take on the Rogues could be one for the ages. Rating: Three and a half bolts out of five.
Justice League of America Rebirth #1 (Orlando/Reis/Prado): Another Justice League title, although for legacy purposes, this might better be called Batman and the Outsiders. Batman’s aware of some ill-defined threat that’s coming, and he’s assembled a specific oddball team of “human” heroes to stop it. While the classic Justice League is “godlike,” Batman wants a specific team that’s more “grounded”…although the combination of Black Canary, Killer Frost, the Atom, Vixen, the Ray, and, uh…Lobo…seem to weigh against that. What Batman wants with these six isn’t much clearer than the hints dropped in Detective #950, just that something is coming and it’ll probably cost us $3.99 for several weeks this summer. This is an OK issue, though it’s basically a #0 issue and doesn’t give us much beyond character interactions. Good Reis/Prado art, though. Rating: Three Leagues out of Five.
Suicide Squad #11 (Williams/Romita Jr./Barrows): Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh. I don’t know what the comics industry’s fascination with John Romita Jr. is lately. He was a powerhouse of an artist, but in recent years, his work just looks too blocky and too far afield from the established style guide of what DC’s characters should look like. The main draw of this issue, sadly, isn’t much to speak of. The backup drawn by John Barrows is honestly the more substantive story, with the Squad reflecting on how going from villains to quasi-heroes is changing them for the better…which is worse. Rating: Two and a half brain-bombs out of five.
Supergirl #6 (Orlando/Ching): Our first arc wraps up, and it provides a decent sense of who the “Rebirthed” Supergirl is and how she relates to the opposing worlds of National City and Argo. A lot of what happens here mirrors the big climactic fight in Superwoman , but without the excessive number of plot threads which make it difficult to follow. The downside is Ching’s artwork, which is still a little too cartoony for this book, and a particular powerhouse moment comes off just a little too soft because of it. Rating: Three capes out of five.
Titans #8 (Abnett/Booth/Rapmund): Not really advancing the “Rebirth” plot thanks to the “Manhattan” misdirection, this issue of Titans instead reintroduces an old character. Specifically, it’s somebody who’s a mainstay in Super Hero Girls right now, so…yay corporate synergy. This is otherwise a muscle-stretching issue which has a lot of nothing happen beyond the expansion of a few Titan relationships and the setup of the next arc. Okay, but nothing special. Rating: Two and a half Titans out of five.
Stuff we didn’t get to this week: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey, Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps, Scooby Apocalypse, Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love, and New Super Man. Please do check those books out, and don’t hold it against them that they don’t appear here.
This Week’s Winner and Loser: Eh, it’s kind of a dry week where many of the books neither wowed nor let us down. Let’s say Detective Comics is the winner out of all the issues we read, and there’s no clear loser since nothing sucked that badly.