What I bought: April 12, 2006

Battle For Bludhaven 1Crisis Aftermath: The Battle for Bludhaven #1 (of 6)
“As a result of the blast, he’s become some sort of Human Bomb.”

In case you missed the Firebrand reference a few pages earlier, they were a little less subtle the second time. It appears as though the Battle for Bludhaven may just be a way to introduce the new Freedom Fighters. That Father Time guy does look a heck of a lot like Uncle Sam. Hmm… Dan Jurgens’ art here looks a lot better than I’ve seen from him recently (notably in Supreme Power: Hyperion). Jimmy Palmiotti’s inks seem to agree with him. But Jimmy might want to stick to inking, because his writing with Justin Gray leaves much to be desired. 2/5 (Hey! An actual grading scale! Check the bottom for what they mean.)

Green Arrow 61Green Arrow # 61
“And the last thing our country needs is another egomaniacal millionaire in the White House.”

Zing! Just remember that Ollie’s technically referring to Lex Luthor and don’t get your panties in a bunch because Judd Winick is injecting a bit of his own political beliefs into his writing. Green Arrow was the title I was least impressed with of the One Year Later relaunches I tried, but this issue is definitely an improvement over the last. For one, Green Arrow’s actually in it. Of course at this point, Mayor Oliver Queen is a much more interesting character than hippie-Batman-with-a-bow has ever been. 2/5

Nightwing 119Nightwing #119
“This, Mr. Grayson, is where I keep the bodies.”

Unfortunately, she’s referring to mannequins. Dick’s new girlfriend isn’t a mass murderer, just a fashion designer. And what comic book reader doesn’t love reading an issue about a fashion designer? Well, me, for one. This issue was essentially filler after the last one. Dick seems to be acting more like his old self here, but there’s way too much about his new pseudo-girlfriend and the albino twins. If they’re going for the slow burn on the Jason Todd showdown, I’d be all for it, but there’s got to be a more interesting way to fill time. 2/5

Superman 651Superman #651
“I won’t take the power ring, Lois. It showed me the answer itself. It reacts to your thoughts, and if I thought of myself as Superman…”

Kurt Busiek and Geoff Johns are doing a great job teaming up on Superman. “Up, Up, And Away!” has become my favorite One Year Later story, although it does have the benefit of coming out bi-weekly. Pete Woods is doing a great job on the art, and it’s a crying shame if he doesn’t get a permanent gig on a major DC title once this 8-parter concludes in a few months. The creative team has made me care about Clark Kent as a character more than I can ever remember carrying about Superman. It has brought to the forefront one of Superman’s long-standing weaknesses, though: his lack of a decent rogue’s gallery. Metallo, Prankster and Toyman? I guess maybe if Lex Luthor is your arch-nemesis, you don’t really need an entire gallery. My, my, that is a lot of Kryptonite. 4/5

Battle Pope 7Battle Pope #7
“We should have left some of them alive so they could help us clean up!”

Battle Pope is not Robert Kirkman’s best work. His usual brand of witty dialogue and storytelling hadn’t quite been honed into what it is today when he wrote these stories years ago (these new issues are re-issued color versions of the original black-and-white ones from 2000). Most of the jokes that succeed are visual gags, like the Pope emerging from his bedroom with clothespins on his nipples. We do see a bit of Kirkman’s style peek through when a minor plot-point from an earlier issue is worked into the story (one of the Pope’s neighbors happens to turn into a monster every once in a while). While the story is average, the art is consistently great and the new coloring by Val Staples is fantastic. In one panel, the onomatopoeic sound effect of an arm being cut of is written in the blood spewing from the wound. Genius. 3/5

Tick 5The Tick: Days of Drama #5
“Into the sunlight, cerebellum worm!”

The Tick is one of those comics that really don’t progress at all. You can read an issue without ever having read another and it makes sense. Sure, it follows its own continuity, but the continuity just doesn’t matter to the story at all. The Tick is a humor comic through and through. It’s not there to tell an engrossing story…we’ve got Infinite Crisis and whatnot for that. Days of Drama throws jokes at you left and right (sight gags, weird phrasing, superhero parodies), and even if only half the jokes work for you, it’s still pretty damn funny. Which is good, because only about half the jokes work. Of course for a different reader, specifically a younger one, the jokes that work might change. Oh, and it helps if you imagine the guy that voiced the cartoon Tick reading the lines. 3/5

That’s all for now. I still have my Marvels to go, but it’s 2:00 in the morning and I don’t feel up to it right now.

0/5: Bad. Not worth the paper it’s printed on.
1/5: Disappointing. It does have some redeeming qualities, but you really have to look for them.
2/5: Okay. Worth the cover price, barely. Not technically bad, but not particularly good.
3/5: Good. The positives definitely outnumber the negatives, but the can still notice the negatives.
4/5: Great. The flaws either don’t exist or the story’s good enough to hide them.
5/5: Classic. It’s clear this will go down as one of the greatest comics ever made.