The Doomino Effect for January 28, 2009

In this episode: Final Crisis: Revelations #5 | Final Crisis #7 | Captain America #46 | Batman #685 | Daredevil #115

Speaking of Daredevil #115, this was part 5 of the super awesome Lady Bullseye storyline. We find out the whole reason that Lady Bullseye came to town, killed Black Tarantula and White Tiger, resurrected them Hand style, got Milla out of the way, and led people to attack but not kill Daredevil — (highlight for spoilers) because she wanted him to lead The Hand!

I’m sure I’m not the only person who paused to think “Awesome!” But shame on us! We gave in to temptation! Good ol’ Matt sure didn’t, though! (Bummer) Throughout the issue, we get some groaner puns from Master Izo. We get a continuation of the Matt / Milla / Dakota soap opera storyline in the background where it should be.

I have one minor problem with the issue; Lady Bullseye says, during the big exposition, “You think your friends have been targeted for elimination?” as if to say “Wow, you sure are dumb!” Except for the fact that, you know, she killed two of his friends to turn them into Hand zombies. So the correct response to her rhetorical question should have been to make it not rhetorical, and say “Yes, I do think that, because you’ve already done that.”

Oh, I have another problem too — Iron Fist is totally not the type to get snuck up on. That was a weak way to take him out of the picture. I’m not coming at this from a perspective of “Aw man, Iron Fist is the best, and how dare you make him look bad!” but instead “Many many pages have been spent showing us how Iron Fist has a freaky sense of presence,” so a simple sneak-up-and-knock-him-out feels unconvincing. It’s like in that X-Men comic from the early ’90s when Wolverine complains about having shattered ribs.

But you know, big picture, this was a fantastic storyline. I’d say it’s Brubaker’s best since his debut arc, and I am totally pumped about the scenario it has set up. Wilson Fisk’s return was a matter of when and not if, so I’m glad there’s a fun twist to the circumstances.

Speaking of fun twists, that leads me to Final Crisis: Revelations #5, in which all sorts of otherworldly beings contort and swirl around. I had high hopes for this series, based on my belief that Batman would become the Spectre, but also because DC Universe #0 specifically said a new hero needs to step up and restore the good spirit, and I was excited to 1) see who that was and 2) see the Spectre revived a bit.

But that didn’t happen. Instead, we had a five issue miniseries in which Crispus Allen just throws a pity party for himself and becomes the Spectre again. I actually now care less about The Spectre than I did before this miniseries. I think the best part is how Greg Rucka rebuilds the Spectre as part of this FINAL CRISIS storyline … and Morrison himself writes in Final Crisis #6 that the mystics are trying to contact him to help … so that we can barely see him in one panel of Final Crisis #7, lying defeated on the ground. Fantastic.

Speaking of Final Crisis #7, it was our Book of Doom this past week.

Big thanks to Rokk at the Comic Book Revolution, Nate Winchester at Hunting Muses and Robb from Capes Comics for joining the roundtable.

Speaking of round things you could eat off of, that leads me to Captain America #46. I wasn’t all that crazy about this storyline so far, but a Captain America story that’s not the best is still better than a lot. This issue, however, brought me back to enthusiastic.

We get a little more back story about Professor Chin and his fascination with the original Human Torch. I said it last month, but I love anything that references Allan Jacobsen’s short-lived New Invaders series. AND THIS DOES. There’s a great scene, which is almost more profound for how understated it is, in which Bucky and Namor fly together to kick off this mission, and the concept of Bucky as Captain America is first addressed.

I have to say, I like Brubaker’s Namor a whole lot more than I like the Bendis Namor. You get the smugness and the rudeness, but at the same time you get a glimpse of the guy that much of the Marvel Universe has taken for a hero for several decades. He just seems a lot more multidimensional. But then what’s even better is that this conversation doesn’t happen for any of those reasons — those things are accomplished while Bucky and Namor talk about the mission before them.

I also totally geeked out for Natasha’s sneaky move over the British agent. Maybe it’s because I’m way dumber than a spy, but I think it’s awesome when spy characters do cool sneaky spy things that I would totally fall for. Her storyline also provides a fun complement to Bucky’s, as she gets to discover things for the reader that would be tough to easily work into his storyline. Instead, it gets to be effortless through hers.

I was also thinking last month how I was a little annoyed by this idea of cramming arcs into three issues. But after reading this issue, realizing the bigger story is clearly not wrapped up with the final issue, I actually started admiring this technique of making each arc essentially an act in something greater. Rather than having a six-issue or nine-issue story, whatever it’s going to turn out to be, each part gets to have its own sub-storyline. I don’t know why, but that just seemed cool. Maybe when an issue is really good, you just naturally start appreciating the craft side of it too. Then again, I read this on the toilet, so maybe I ran out of things to read and just started thinking about stuff.

Speaking of dropping the kids off at the pool, that leads me to Batman #685, part 2 of Paul Dini’s two-part Hush versus Catwoman storyline. Catwoman had captured Hush, who was posing as Bruce Wayne, and was planning on using him to bust up this animal smuggling operation she’d stumbled upon in Vietnam. Catwoman’s goons take Hush to escape down the river while she lets the animals free. But guess what? Her goons are secretly Tim and Dick!

I have to say, after the tension and suspicion in Batman R.I.P., and even though I really liked Batman R.I.P., it’s very refreshing to see Dick and Tim just being great good guys. They’re simply smarter and better than the bad guys, even when the bad guys play dirty. So Hush gets captured, and we know he’ll escape at some point. My guess is that Damian decides to make a deal with Hush to use his Bruce Wayne identity as some part of devious scheme to get total control of the Wayne fortune from the adopted Tim.