Review Brew: DC’s Skip Week Books
Ahhh, the “skip week.” That weird, once-a-quarter event where the biweekly schedule of comics publishers is skewed and they have to fill it with a bunch of books that aren’t part of the regular rotation. So this is mostly not a “Rebirth” roundup. We’ll get back to that next week. Let’s see what fell out of the grab bag.
Dark Knight III #8 (Miller/Kubert/Azzarello/Janson/Anderson): Oh, good heavens, they’re still publishing this thing. I could have sworn this was supposed to be an eight-issue series, but now it’s nine, and the delays between issues keep getting longer. If this series has been stretched to add an extra issue, it shows, because it feels like the story has been padded and there’s a lot of filler here where it’s just pages of the Amazons rearing for battle and not getting there. Now, when they do get there, it’s pretty, and highly reminiscent of Miller’s raw battle scenes in 300. It doesn’t let the issue stand on its own, though, and this thing just can’t be read outside of the larger series. Rating: Two and a half spears out of five.
Harley’s Little Black Book #6 (Conner/Palmiotti/Bisley/Mounts): OK, verrrrry clever, DC Comics. You produce an extra cash-grabbing Harley Quinn book and then you turn it into an artist showcase. Last time, we got Neal Adams reprising his Superman vs. Muhammad Ali, and now we get Simon Bisley doing Lobo again. That doesn’t make it a great comic, as it indulges in all the worst excesses of Lobo with lots of gratuitous violence and nudity as Harley and Lobo constantly try to one-up each other. This issue embraces everything wrong with Lobo. Maybe that’s the point…but it’s like trying too hard to make a bad joke worse. Rating: Two bastiches out of five.
Justice League America #3 (Orlando/Neves/Jose/Deering/Hi-Fi): JLA is trying to make itself distinct by being about a Justice League that doesn’t need to resort to violence. They do fight—a lot—in this issue, but there’s also a lot of punches pulled as they try to talk out problems rather than force them. Funny enough, Lord Havok does the same thing, though while the League aims for compromise and cooperation, Havok operates through coercion. It’s an interesting play, although Lobo’s presence in this book still doesn’t make any sense. Rating: Three Leagues Out of Five.
Kamandi Challenge #3 (Palmiotti/Conner/Mounts): Hey, we get a double-dose of Conner and Palmiotti this week, and even better, Conner is drawing. If these two know anything, it’s how to make comics sexy and weird. This issue of Kamandi Challenge does both as the story gets into…vore porn? Maybe it’s not that bad, but one of the open oddities is highly reminiscent of one of the funnier scenes in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy…but now with sex appeal. Anyway, the story progresses…although given the continuing “cliffhanger” function of the story, I wonder if there’s a larger plot at work, or if each issue is going to be completely random and yet repetitive. Rating: Three salad girls out of five.
That’s only four books. We missed this week’s Hanna Barbera/DC Crossover annuals, so you’re on your own for reading those. If we had to pick any of the above as a winner, I suppose Justice League America is it.