Just some quickies this week. We’ve already reviewed Superman separately, and I haven’t had a chance to get to Deathstroke or New Gods. But let’s see what else is out there.
Batman #28 (King/Janin/Chung): I seriously need someone to calculate a Gotham City bodycount, because these stories where one or two supervillains kills an inordinate number of civilians is getting out of hand. Gotham has had its share of Zero Years, Endgames, and maybe Contagions and Cataclysms, and now King is revealing that there was this massive war between the Joker and Riddler and nobody has talked about it until now even though it was way early in Batman’s career. It’s getting a little hard to take this seriously no matter how much drama King is introducing here. Plus, a decade later, we know Gotham is still standing for the next crisis, so really, how high can the stakes get? Rating: Two and a half bats out of five.
Cyborg #15 (Semper Jr./Richards/Conrad/Nunes): Like my complaint about Justice League below, the issue with Cyborg is that there isn’t a lot of originality here. Alternate universes with evil robots? We’ve done this in Futures End and Age of Ultron. There’s an opportunity here to play with the Cyborg-Beast Boy buddy relationship, but it’s not really expanded on. Unfortunately, it’s hard right now to tell what makes Cyborg “special” in the DCU beyond him being pushed purely because he’s in the Justice League movie. Rating: Two and a half microchips out of five.
Green Arrow #28 (Percy/Ferreyra): Lex Luthor and Ollie Queen haven’t been matched up before, I don’t think, but this single issue does an amazing comparison-contrast between them which ultimately sums up that they’re both assholes…yet neither is as bad as they come off to be. (Well, maybe not Lex…but even Lex can be good if there’s power and profit to be had in it.) And meanwhile, Superman zips around, doing good, while the left-wing people’s champion and the capitalist power-monger just argue with each other. This is a decent issue on its own even as it’s tied into a longer story. Rating: Four shafts out of five.
Green Lanterns #28 (Humprhies/Pansica/Ferreira/Blond): This time travel story gives us a look at the universe’s first Green Lanterns, at a time when no formal corps served as a guiding ethos on their proper usage. Instruction falls to a time-lost Simon and Jessica, who…also don’t really know what they’re doing. There’s room for a bit of fun here, although we don’t get a chance to know these first Lanterns very well, and one is taken out pretty quickly when they make a fatal error. Rating: Three rings out of five.
Harley Quinn and Batman #1 (Templeton/Burchett/Smith/Abbott): Eh, this is OK. Between this and the “Joker Loves Harley” backups in the main Harley Quinn book, we’ve got classic Timmverse stuff going on here. It’s fine, but not phenomenal–just a goofball story about Harley trying to strike out on her own when the Joker keeps failing to notice her. If we’re doing this, it really needs to be marketed at kids, not adults who liked this when they were kids. Rating: Three mallets out of five.
Justice League #26 (Hitch/Pasarin/Albert/Anderson): Hmmmm. Hitch’s Justice League run has been a mix of hit-and-miss, and this issue–the opening of the “Children of the Justice League” arc–feels like a miss. One, there’s not a lot of originality here so far. Stories with time-travelers from a dark future are a dime-a-dozen, and this one in particular feels a lot like Next Avengers. Two, it’s hard to connect with these future Leaguers since they’re new spins on existing concepts. Where’s Jon Kent? Or Damian Wayne? Or new versions of Aquaman and Barry Allen’s kids? These kids may be new, but they’re not a case of first impression. Rating: Two and a half leagues out of five.
Nightwing #26 (Seely/Fernandez/Sotomayor): Eh, not a lot to this issue. Dick and his cast are recovering from personal tragedy, so he takes an opportunity to team up with Huntress and hunt down some bad guys. For Dick, crimefighting is therapeutic. Too bad what he and Helenda find is anything less than cathartic. Rating: Two and a half out of five batons.
Man, this was kind of a short week, at least as “main” DC books go. The winner is clearly Green Arrow, which I’m often hard on. This week got it right as an issue that’s both a “done-in-one” and part of a multipart saga. The loser is Batman, which, look, it’s not a horrible comic. It’s just that “cataclysmic Gotham” is becoming an overdone trope and it’d be nice to get back to some smaller-scale stories.