It’s that time of week again! No, not Wednesday. Well, I mean, yes, it’s Wednesday, but that’s not what I was trying to get at.
I mean I’m going to review some comics. From last Wednesday. At least I think they’re from last Wednesday. If I’m wrong, blame international date lines for the difference.
This isn’t going well.
Forget all that noise, let’s get this bad boy fired up! Top to bottom! Worst to First!
Justice League #22, by Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis
The Trinity War is here.
And it’s off to a bad start.
Ok, so, in this issue, Billy Batson decides that Black Adam deserves to be properly buried in his home country of Kahndaq, which has some sort of No Fly Zone in place for superheroes, ever since Wonder Woman and Superman intervened there a few issues ago.
Billy doesn’t know about this, though (just kidding), so he turns into Shazam (I think that’s what they’re calling Captain Marvel nowadays, anyway) and heads over to the country (because he’s a jerk), where some sort of international incident will play out upon his arrival (without a doubt).
Here’s where this issue goes from stupid setup to stupid actual story.
To sum up the issue so far: The superhero community will catch a lot of heat if a cape shows up in Kahndaq. Shazam is flying there as fast as he can. An international incident is imminent.
So, what does our ingenious superhero team do to prevent this? They… fly to Kahndaq as fast as they can!
Of course, once the Justice League heads out, the JLA is dispatched to stop them, since that’s the whole point of the JLA.
This issue, we see who each JLA member is matched up to stop from the Justice League. FINALLY. I’ve been on pins and needles for nearly a month!
At issue’s close, Superman’s killed Doctor Light, but the Mysterious Leader of the Secret Society of Supervillains muses to himself that Superman didn’t actually do that (uhh… dude, we JUST saw him do it), and something to the effect of, “Wait’ll they get a load of me” or something.
I don’t care who that Mysterious Leader is, btw.
The problem with this issue, aside from the utter stupidity of all of the characters, is twofold.
First, the entire thing plays out incredibly confusedly, as, even though it’s an extra large issue, it’s packed with a ton of stuff, including an entirely unnecessary framing device with Madame Xanadu and her stupid Tarot Readings.
The only thing this accomplishes is confusing the main story.
The second problem with this issue is that, regardless of how much setup we’ve supposedly been given (it started at the beginning of the New 52, duh), I still felt like I was in over my head. I still felt like I’d missed out on a lot of the story’s setup.
I have a good memory, and I have read all of Justice League and Justice League of America. Considering this issue barely even includes anything from the Justice League Dark, why in the hell was it so confusing?
It’s not a confusing feeling where you know it’s building toward unraveling a great big mystery; it’s the type of confusing where you start to think somebody’s been tearing pages out of your comics for the past two years and now there’s a pop quiz about what you’re supposed to know.
The bad kind of confusing, in other words.
I absolutely love Ivan Reis’ art, though.
Young Avengers #7, by Kieron Gillen and James McKelvie
I have nothing to say about this. A friend of mine on Twitter recommended it. He’s usually right about stuff. I don’t yet know if he’s right on this series.
I read the first seven issues in a single sitting, and they’ve all blurred together. I honestly don’t remember anything about it, other than the fact that it seemed fine.
Nightwing #22, by Kyle Higgins and Will Conrad
With the New 52 reboot, some things are all new and different, and some things are remnants of a continuity long forgotten.
Part of the fun (see: opposite of fun) is trying to figure out exactly what’s going on with your favorite characters.
Take Dick Grayson, for example. He’s Nightwing in the New 52, and I’m pretty sure he used to be Robin, too. I’m sure that’s mentioned somewhere.
Considering that Grayson and Jason Todd and Tim Drake and (until recently) Damian Wayne all have a place in the New 52, it suggests that a lot of the Batman Family’s continuity got sucked through the Flashpoint into this new world.
So why is Tony Zucco still alive?
Tony Zucco, for those of you who don’t know, is the guy who killed Dick Grayson’s parents, and he’s been dead for decades.
In this latest storyline, Dick finds out that Zucco’s still alive under a fake alias, so he goes on the hunt to find him.
But, think about it. In the New 52 Green Lantern books, all of Geoff Johns’ work from the past few years has been brought in, including Blackest Night, which featured the very-dead-yet-reanimated corpse of Tony Zucco in one of the crossover issues.
So, in the New 52, if Blackest Night happened, then we also saw Tony Zucco’s corpse (albeit, it was up and walking around, but it was very much a corpse, either way).
Now he’s just alive again.
You can call me a name for getting this hung up on details (I would, too!), but it doesn’t change the fact that it annoys me and jerked me out of the story.
Also, why is Nightwing dressed in Chris O’Donnell’s uniform from Batman & Robin? I thought we all had an understanding that we were never to speak of that again.
Superman Unchained #2, by Scott Snyder and Jim Lee
Upfront, full disclosure: There is nothing wrong with this series. I even kind of like it. Remember that.
The story here starts off with Superman trying to save the World Trade Center building from collapsing because of a terrorist attack (or something), which he eventually does.
He also meets with Batman in the Cave, in what is easily the best scene of the issue. Jim Lee’s design for an alternate Batman suit that can’t be detected by Superman is badass. Plus, as is evidenced by everything he’s ever drawn in this universe, Jim Lee is at his best when drawing the Batcave.
Later, Superman confronts General Lane, and he’s attacked. Then the REAL Superman, a character that can best be described as “Kind of Like Blue Energy Superman from the Late 90’s” intervenes, though we’re still not sure if he’s a friend or a foe.
At issue’s close, Lex Luthor is shown to have an armor suit that he’s going to use for something nefarious.
The main problem with this series is that it hasn’t decided what it wants to be yet. Either that, or it’s taking its time in getting there. Not a bad thing, but it’s just not what I’m used to.
It hasn’t decided which villain is the focus, so we’re still not sure what Superman’s up against.
The stuff with Batman is great (not surprising, coming from Scott Snyder), but it needs to get going soon, or I’m gonna get bored.
Oh, sorry, the main problem is the blue energy Superman. He looks terrible. It’s like God threw up a person.
The Walking Dead #112, by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard
In this issue, things finally come to a head between Rick’s camp and the Saviors, run by the villainous Negan.
Rick’s group shoots some of Negan’s, and Rick attempts to shoot Negan, but he doesn’t.
A sniper shoots his gun from his hand before he can pull the trigger.
It’s then revealed that Negan always has a whole slew of backup hiding in the bushes during these meetings. Tempers flare. F-words are exchanged.
We all know it’s leading to All-Out War.
The main challenge facing this series right now is that we know where it’s headed, and Kirkman has made Sudden Escalating Tensions a hallmark of the series, so the question is, how is he going to shock his increasingly hard-to-shock readers?
Can he top Negan’s first appearance back in issue #100?
Make no mistake, something shocking absolutely has to happen in order to start off the coming war. I’m just skeptical as to whether or not he can pull it off.
The tension in this issue felt somehow off, somewhat rushed, and it didn’t quite land the way it should have. Hopefully they’ll rectify this in the next two issues before the war. I’d hate it to start on a false note.
Green Lantern Corps #22, by Van Jensen, Robert Venditti, and Bernard Chang
I started reading this with the last issue, since Van Jensen, aka Jean-Claude Van Doom from the early days of this very blog, a friend of mine, took over writing duties on the title.
I think the highest praise I can give it is this: If Van’s name weren’t attached to this, I’d still be reading it.
So far, we’ve been introduced to a slate of new Lantern recruits, been shown that power rings are malfunctioning across the cosmos, and the power entities are dying.
That’s a lot to digest, but, by focusing the story mostly around John Stewart, it’s still able to remain dense with action and tight in spite of all these greater implications that are influencing the story.
It’s still too early to tell if I’ll keep buying this series, but I’m onboard for the next installment, and not just out of loyalty to JCVD. I’m actually enjoying it. Moreso than the flagship Green Lantern, which I’m pretty sure I’m done with.
Also, the main planet that the action takes place on this issue is named Nellewel-3. Nellewel backwards is Lewellen, which is Van’s hometown in western Nebraska. Easter Egg!
The grade below, as well as the placing on this list, is admittedly pretty arbitrary. Just because my loyalty to Van isn’t influencing my decision to continue buying this, that doesn’t mean it isn’t influencing my decision to make up my mind on its worth based off of only two issues.
I’m still onboard. That’s enough of an endorsement.
Indestructible Hulk #10, by Mark Waid and Matteo Scalera
Daredevil #28, by Mark Waid and Javier Rodriguez
Both of these issues are great. Both heavily feature Daredevil, a character that Waid has perfected over the past two years.
Indestructible Hulk features the Hulk… Hulking. Daredevil’s teaming up with him, and they have to fight a little bit. It’s way better than it sounds.
In Daredevil, the last storyline just concluded, so this issue seems like it could just be a one-shot or a throwaway, but it’s not. It’s actually really good, and it’s starting an entirely new arc already.
It features a bully from Matt Murdock’s childhood showing up and asking for some legal help, as he feels Matt owes him. Turns out that Matt was a braggadocios kid who wouldn’t shut up about his boxer dad, so the bully actually felt a little bullied by young Matt, back in the day.
It’s reminiscent of the episode of 30 Rock where Liz Lemon goes to her high school reunion, thinking that she’d be able to rub her success in the noses of her old bullies, yet it turns out that she was actually the bully, as she used to constantly throw around snide little sarcastic asides that she didn’t realize anybody could hear. Turns all expectations on their ear.
Why am I talking about 30 Rock?
Both of these issues are great. Both series are great. Mark Waid’s awesome. Do I need to keep repeating myself every time I write one of these?
Superior Spider-Man #13, by Dan Slott, Christos Gage, and Giuseppe Camuncoli
I am so glad that I gave Spider-Man another chance.
As I’ve explained on here before, I gave up on Spidey after One More Day. Now, this is one of my favorite series.
Peter Parker’s ghost is no longer following Doc Ock Spidey, as that was resolved a few issues ago.
Now, Doc Ock is Spider-Man, completely, and he’s doing a better job than Peter Parker ever managed.
This issue isn’t the best the series has to offer, as it’s basically just one big fight scene, with a few story points tacked on at the end, but it gets the job done.
Doc Ock as Spider-Man has now killed two
supervillains, which may not jive with Spider-Man purists. I, however, know that this won’t last, so I’m just enjoying the story for what it is.
It’s an entirely new Spider-Man story, at the very least, which is infinitely better than simply retconning out twenty years of stories in order to retell “classic” Spider-Man stories from the Silver Age.
It’s messy, it’s controversial, and it’s at times hard to read. This is what progress looks like, folks.
Oh, and the art continues to be some of the best in the business. Major, major props to Giuseppe Camuncoli (I hope to hell I’m spelling that right, or I look like a complete ass right now).
Batman #22, by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo
Remember back when Batman: New Earth came out? That graphic novel? I don’t.
When was that? Was that before the New 52?
Either way, this is essentially the same idea. It’s a retelling of the Batman origin, which has been done again and again and again, but this is so much better than Batman: New Earth it’s not even funny.
The shining spot of the New 52 has been this series, and Scott Snyder has done some amazing things with the Batman character, the Batman Family, the city of Gotham, and, now, the origin of it all.
He could very well end up creating a story that’s better than Batman: Year One. It’s way too premature for me to say that yet, but it’s sure going in a great direction.
The stuff in here with Cobblepot and the exchange with Edward Nigma and the brash idealism that Bruce shows when talking to Alfred… it’s all great stuff.
All it needs (ha, all) is to have one or two huge, iconic moments, and this story will go down in the books as one of the definitive stories of the Batman’s beginnings.
And Greg Capullo’s art. Damn. As always, this guy is amazing.
I love this series.
GRADE: A+, 10/10, 100%