The Doomino Effect for Nov 12, 2008

Let’s kick off this week’s reviews with Wolverine #69, the delayed fourth chapter to the Old Man Logan storyline. I couldn’t believe it, but it’s been almost three months since chapter 3 came out. That’s nuts. I knew it had been awhile, but I didn’t realize how long until I actually checked. I read chapter 3 sitting at a McDonald’s with Doom DeLuise. I read chapter 4 sitting on my couch. True story.

So anyway, chapter 4 will probably read fine when it’s in the paperback version but what a freaking 30 second letdown after such a long wait. This whole issue consists of driving the Spider-Mobile through a wall, across the desert, into a ravine, and then out. I’ve said for the past three issues that the whole point of this story seemed to be the build-up to Wolverine’s eventual return to form, and that’s still clearly the mission, but it’s being stalled long enough that there’s some major loss of reader goodwill. We are now four issues down, we haven’t seen Wolverine get tough, and we likely still won’t next issue because next issue is being teased as The Tale of What Made Wolverine Wimpy.

It’s clear that soon all comics are going to start costing $3.99. Just because $2.99 comics are a dollar cheaper doesn’t make it any more appealing to get skimped on value.

Speaking of publishers thinking they’re equating value with the price tag, that leads us to Justice Society of America Kingdom Come Special Superman #1, which was this week’s Book of Doom. As a supplement to Kingdom Come, it was nice, because it did fill in a few minor gaps in that story. But for the most part, it was just a showcase for Alex Ross’s art, and there are already plenty of those.

And considering Ross just draws real-life people — and the exact same real-life people he used for the original Kingdom Come — it’s really just a showcase of “Here are some more drawings of my friend Frank Kasy as I imagine him in spandex, and my dad, Clark Ross.”

(Robb with Capes Comics sent us a review of JSAKCS Superman #1 that has since been appended to Saturday’s roundtable post.)

Speaking of immortalizing one’s father, that leads me to Action Comics #871, part four of the New Krypton storyline. As I suspected, I was able to skip part 3 and not miss a thing. Some jerkwad Kryptonians are wandering the streets, looking down on the puny humans that Superman strangely does not want to conquer. Meanwhile, General Lane lets Lex Luthor out of his cage to enlist his aid with the Kryptonian defense project.

Doomsday has landed in Metropolis, and some of the good guy Kryptonians plus the two Super Els kill him on the moon. Meanwhile, the jerkwads go to the Fortress of Solitude with the intent of releasing General Zod and his posse. But they are foiled by the Kryptonian Flamebird and Nightwing!

The pot continues to boil, but the lid hasn’t yet bubbled off. Pretty good place for a chapter 4, though I imagine things are probably going to start getting bad soon. Having the bad guys stopped in their tracks by the surprise good guys isn’t usually what you expect midway through a big crossover. I like that I’ve been able to follow the story just by reading Superman and Action; Doom DeLuise suggested — and I’m inclined to agree — that next week’s chapter in the pages of Supergirl is likely to be as skippable as last week’s.

But speaking of surprises involving Nightwing, that leads me to Detective Comics #850, the conclusion to “Heart of Hush.” While it actually had nothing to do with Nightwing being the Black Glove, it did wrap up Detective’s “Batman RIP” storyline.

Thanks to Batman being awesome, Alfred being awesome, and Tim and Dick being pretty cool, Hush was again defeated, presumed dead after the Batcopter he stole exploded. For the most part, this was a great conclusion, though I could’ve done without using the giant animatronic tyrannosaurus as Hush’s undoing in the cave, much as I could’ve done without Hush defeating the giant animatronic tyrannosaurus with handguns.

Catwoman’s life is saved, and Bruce tells her he loves her, which actually made it feel like we’re really not going to see Bruce again, as if the story of Bruce and Selina gets a happy ending at a point where it won’t matter. Kind of fitting, I guess. This scene is what I was referring to in the aforelinked conversation with Doom DeLuise when I said “I was thinking about how cool Batman is while reading Detective #850, actually … I really don’t want Batman to die. I don’t think he’s a stale character in any way. I don’t have faith in DC to do something good with his removal. I don’t want Dick to be the villain. I don’t really see any problems solved by a huge betrayal that undoes Batman.”

I guess maybe that’s what makes deaths mean something — when you’d rather that you could wish them away.