And we’re back. Sorry for the lack of “Rebirth” coverage, but life has been in the way. But at least in the aftermath of SDCC, we know that “Rebirth” isn’t dead and there’s a lot more Watchmen tie-in to come besides The Doomsday Clock. So, as always, let’s see where we’re at this week.
Action Comics #984 (Jurgens/Zircher/Hi-Fi): Wow, we’re 16 issues away from Action Comics #1000, which at the bi-weekly rate, is only 8 months off. Whatever happens there has to be a pretty big deal to ovecome this issue, which has everybody in the DCU who currently wears an “S,” including two surprise guests at the end, and a big hint as to Mr. Oz’s identity. This giant S-fight is pretty hokey in the way that only Dan Jurgens can accomplish, but it’s fun, so who the hell cares? Rating: Three capes out of five.
Batgirl #13 (Larson/Miranda/de la Cruz): This is a cute, child-friendly adventure where a little girl gets caught up in a mysterty of missing pets which ends up drawing both Batgirl and Catwoman into the story. Again, Hope Larson proves that she’s just as talented at the one-off issue as she is at larger arcs. The downside: Miranda’s art needs work, and there’s a number of spots where Babs’ proportions in particular are way off. Rating: Three bats out of five.
Batman Beyond #10 (Jurgens/Chang/Maiolo): From a larger DC Universe perspective, this arc of Batman Beyond is a little weird. Jurgens is doing his best to explore Terry as the Batman consistent with the Timmverse…but the Timmverse predates Damian Wayne and couldn’t take him into account. So Damian’s a major part of the present-day DCU and the logical heir to being the Batman, but Terry McGinnis’ existence kind of precludes that. This is a good and necessary story, but I can’t help but feel that Damian is getting at least a little cheapened here. Rating: Three and a half out of five bats.
Detective Comics #961 (Tynion/Martinez/Ferdnandez/Anderson): There’s some interesting stuff going on between Batman and Zatanna here, including an overt re-do of Zee’s controversial move from Identity Crisis. Unfortunately, that has nothing to do with the main story where Azrael’s being possessed by his own subversive programming. The means to defeat him lies in yet another throwback to prior continuity which you’ll either love or hate, and if that’s not enough, I’m pretty sure HARDAC from BTAS has a cameo here. Rating: Three bats out of five.
Flash #27 (Williamson/Porter/Pelletier/Hennessy/Hi-Fi): This is still a letdown. This issue of The Flash needed to be written like a grand, final fight between Barry and Thawne, even if we know–like Thawne does–that he’ll be back. But compared to the terrifying way Thawne was written in “The Button,” this is a cheap follow-up to that story’s events. Yeah, there’s some cute cameos during the time-travel sequence, but that’s it. Seriously, Thawne really does need to be retired until a better use for him can be found, because his “secret motive” revealed in this issue is just sad. Rating: Two and a half lightning bolts out of five.
Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #25 (Venditti/Van Sciver/Wright): Serialized superhero comics are cyclical, so it’s completely unsurprising that everything that was done in this arc would be undone by its end, with slight changes. The Greens and the Yellows are no longer buddies, and the uneasy truce has gone back into being a steady state of war. It’s sad, but it’s how these things go, and at least Hal Jordan gets into tough questions about duty versus desire, and restraint versus action. Rating: Four rings out of five.
Hellblazer #12 (Oliver/Fabri/Marzan/Strachan): I have no idea what happened in this story. This arc ran for too long and is, unfortunately, about a character that mainstream readers tend not to get a lot of exposure to. I shouldn’t have to dig this deeply into my brain to recall what the earlier parts of this arc were about. So, no offense to the authors–I’m sure you care greatly about your comic–but I just can’t endorse Hellblazer after a year. Rating: One smoke out of five.
Justice League America #11 (Orlando/Edwards/Florea/Hi-Fi): Man, I was mostly lost by this issue. I confessed earlier that I’ve missed a few weeks of DC, and I can feel the consequences in jumping into the middle of a short Justice League America arc where everybody’s fighting some guy with a crown and I’m not sure why. It’s got good Edwards are, but otherwise…well, it’s said that every issue is somebody’s first. This was not mine, but I appreciate the sentiment. At least a very specific thread from Rebirth is about to pay off. Rating: Two leagues out of five.
Suicide Squad #22 (Williams/Padilla/Lucas): So basically, the Squad is now playing at Kingdom Come with the notion that superhumans are destructively running rampant and ordinary humans need to set them against each other. Contrast that with the fact that the Squad is actually set against each other in this issue, what with Harley finally learning that Boomerang killed hack. These are interesting concepts, but the issue still manages to be all over the place, and Waller comes off as having been neutered. Meh, this book has ideas, but can do them better. Rating: Two and a half out of five squads.
Teen Titans #10 (Percy/Pham/Mhan/Hester/Scott/Charalampidis): Teen Titans has quite the balancing act with an ever-growing cast, including new backstory on both Black Manta and Aqualad’s mother. Somehow, it all manages to squeeze into 20 pages. One of the things that helps is that this issue finally gives some purpose to Starfire, who’s being pressured by Beast Boy to take a bigger role on the team. Raven still feels out of place, but the rest of this is, strangely, working. Rating: Three and a half titans out of five.
Not reviewed this week: All-Star Batman, Blue Beetle, Kamandi Challenge.
The Winner: Hal Jordan and the GLC, clearly. It’s a big epic fight with that always pleasurable Van Sciver art. Action is pretty good, but doesn’t have the same conciseness and epic scope that Green Lantern had.
The Loser: Hellblazer, which just isn’t connecting. Sorry, Johnny–try again.