First and third weeks continue to do better at DC, when Batman, Superman, and a few other gems all line up. Here’s what we’ve got this round.
Batman #30 (King/Mann/Mann/Bellaire): If you’ve taken a college literary of philosophy course, you’ve probably read Camus’ Myth of Sisyphus and his theory that failure is triumph when it’s your purpose to fail. That sounds great in a college course, and terrible if you’re Kite Man, the perennial loser who’s doomed to be a joke in the Batman universe. That joke makes him the lynchpin for Batman to end the Joker’s war. “The War of Jokes and Riddles” has been hit-or-miss so far, but this character-driven issue has haunting art and a compelling story which makes it the chapter worth reading. Rating: Four and a half out of five bats.
Cyborg #16 (Semper/Jefferson/Faucher/Conrad/Nunes): Semper’s gone a little wild with digital concepts and a surprise revelation about the alternate reality Cyborg’s been running around in. Maybe it’s best not to think about this issue too hard, as it’s very mind-bending. On the other hand, is anyone really reading Cyborg? Despite the headiness of the concepts here, this book tends to sidestep the DCU and is struggling to get itself noticed. Maybe November’s Justice League film will help here—who knows. Rating: Three microchips out of five.
Green Arrow #30 (Percy/Schmidt): I wish Percy’s commentary about the American state of fear were a little more tied to the story. There’s an ongoing social commentary in this title which never quite wraps into the main plot, but instead just superficially illustrates that the book has its pulse on the news. Oh, well. We still get Ollie in space, hitching a ride with Hal (nodding to the original “Hard-Traveling Heroes,” but never quite imitating it). They’re looking for an evil satellite which runs Ninth Circle’s data, and while it’s a little obnoxious that Hal doesn’t, well, blow the whole thing up, at least we do get an impressive cliffhanger. Rating: Three quivers out of five.
Green Lanterns #30 (Humphries/Barbieri/Santorelli/Arreola): Argh. Green Lanterns has gone downhill this arc with art that doesn’t resemble the earlier issues of the series, and a plot that’s hard to care about. This entire arc introduced us to history’s earliest GLs, and there’s not enough time to care about them before they’re unceremoniously eliminated for the sake of building up a single character. Grrr. Rating: Two rings out of five.
Harley Quinn #27 (Tieri/Carlini/Hi-Fi): It’s a fill-in issue that acknowledges it’s a fill-in issue by Tieri and makes an open joke about it at the end. So, there’s something about the Penguin exercising eminent domain over Coney Island, and, I don’t know, she schemes to get it back, by force and by ruse. And there’s giant, muscular penguins. This is readable, but not great, and the joke that it’s a self-acknowledged filler issue doesn’t help sell it. So, skip if you can wait for Conner and Palmiotti to get back in two weeks. Rating: Three mallets out of five.
Justice League #28 (Hitch/Pasarin/Batch/Anderson): The cover says that future Aquaman has come back in time for nefarious purposes, except we never see him in this issue. Instead, it’s quiet time for the future kids to meet their parents to be, and the bonding is all sweet and weird because the League is taking to these prospective kids really fast. The nice thing Hitch hits on is the League’s eternal optimism—even with a bleak future ahead of them, Mera, Jessica, Barry, and Victor all bond with them pretty quickly as a sign of their legacy continuing. Clark learns the most about the dark future, but even then, he’s hopeful it can be averted. So, the issue’s OK, but damn, that cover is misleading. Rating: Three leagues out of five.
Nightwing #30 (Seely/Fernandez/Mendonca/Egea/Sotomayor): Dick screws up badly this issue. The whole storyline is still a continuation of the Grayson series and the issues with SPIRAL, so you’ll be as lost as I was if you didn’t read that series. But the kicked comes in the final pages with Dick committing a huge error that’s going to bite him badly later in light of the relationships he’s developed over this series. Ouch. But what’s with the plethora of artists this issue? Rating: Three batons out of five.
Superman #30 (Champagne/Benes/Kirkham/Tan/Ribiero/Morey/Gho): Yeah, we’re still doing a filler, just like Harley Quinn. But it’s by no means a botched filler, even if it’s different artists from the last issue despite it being a two-part story. Superman fights Sinestro and Parallax, but in doing so, illustrates just what makes Superman the character full of heart that he is. Even Superman gets afraid, but Champagne shows how even he can turn a negative emotion into a positive aspect of being human. Makes you wonder why Superman didn’t get a blue ring during Blackest Night. Rating: Four capes out of five.
The Winner: Batman is a heartbreaking standalone that still manages to advance the plot of a larger story. Good job.
The Loser: Green Lanterns is spinning its wheels and is unrecognizable from the fun book it was a year ago. Maybe another arc grounded back on Earth would help.