Sunday, February 25, 2018

A Sunday Comic Books Review

Here are reviews of the DCBS comic books that I've gotten around to reading and reviewing, sorted by the original shipping date:
  • Dec 6th
  • Justice League #34 - Huh. This is basically a Batman story, with the Justice League serving as back-up to his break-down. It seems Bruce has been burning the candle at both ends too long and isn't doing too hot, leading to him screwing up. And when Batman screws up, people die. While I get Superman saying it was a good day, Bruce had Aquaman driving a frickin' bus instead of dealing with a natural disaster at a seaside town. That's not like him. But hey, Aquaman looks GREAT as a bus driver.
  • Green Lanterns #36 - Oh, the trial set-up. This wasn't as great a story as I was hoping for - the bluffing bad guy did his bad thing and we got a little insight into Jessica's continuing fight against her fears - but it didn't feel quite complete to me. I guess that's due to the set-up of the villain. She was truly frightening and not really something those two could have beaten, I think. If it had gone down to them having to fight Singularity Jain for any length of time, she would have won. I just hope the rest of the Corps recognizes the danger so if Singularity Jain shows up again they have a plan.
  • Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands #2 - A little bit of confusion in my head between this version and the television show, but not so much it hurts. I wish I'd read more of the original Black Lightning, then I might have a much better idea of the supporting cast, and possibly would enjoy it more. Even with that lack of certainty, it's still a very good book with a plot that is more than promising and a cliffhanger that is heartbreaking.
  • DC Holiday Special 2017 - Oh joy, another anthology, this one with eleven stories. Let's see... Batman in a revenge story, Green Arrow as Santa, a Sgt. Rock tale of the light of life lasting eight nights against the odds, The Flash helping out stranded travelers, Deathstroke and his family being Deathstroke-y, the Atomic Knights handle sentient plants, Teen Titans face a literal ghost of Christmas Past, the Swamp Thing brings hope to the desperate, and Wonder Woman and Batman celebrate the Solstice together. The whole thing is tied together by a framing story starring Clark Kent, Bibbo, and Constantine. And there's a bonus classic Neal Adams story featuring Batman singing Christmas Carols while his spirit moves through the city. None of the stories struck me as great, but none were particularly bad, either.
  • Bombshells United #7 - Black Adam replacing Franco in Spain? That's really disturbing on a whole lotta levels. And now he's searching for some secret arcane power that is somewhere under the ground. Batgirl really has her work cut out for her. It almost seems unfair to put her up against Black Adam, but I suspect Black Adam is the one who isn't going to like the end result of this one.
  • Doctor Strange #382 - Stephen Strange just can't help using the people around him, can he? And thanks to that horrible tendency, he's not only put Zelma in trouble, but apparently everyone in the world. Good job, Doctor Strange. Your ego continues to cause harm.
  • Usagi Yojimbo #164 - Another good issue, and it links several other Inspector Ishida stories from the past, setting up a much bigger story that also worked in each individual chunk. I love the moment that Ishida is attempting arrests and everyone vanishes. I'm also with Usagi that I'm liking the Robin Hood character quite a bit. Not a killer, but definitely a character.
  • Dec 13th
  • Titans #18 - Well, that was an abrupt ending. I kind of expected this story to continue for another five issues and include some sort of crossover. In fact, when Kid Flash raced off, I was sure that was a signal that a crossover was in the works. But then... it's over. A surprise, how quickly Donna took care of business once it occurred to her that she was equal in power.
  • Scooby Apocalypse #20 - Well, that's it for the story, then, right? Velma says there isn't a cure so that's the end of the world. Daphne admits that she might have been wrong and that if she dares to believe she was wrong she will be wracked by guilt. And it's Christmas. Wow. I really have to wonder where the series will go from here, since the hunt for a cure was the big force driving the group forward.
  • Spongebob Comics #75 - Hey, there's a tiny Mermaid Man appearance! Yay. The first story is a long-form Kochalka story, which means this issue feels surreal from the start. Kochalka even wrote the Mermaid Man short (half a page) but the art was by Jerry Ordway. I think my brain is broken by all of it. In a good way.
  • Dec 20th
  • Aquaman #31 - So Corum Rath has a final solution in mind, with the goal of getting rid of all the people in Atlantis who have been "sea changed", which frankly is a lovely way to introduce the idea of that type of mutation. In fact, this whole storyline has been dealing with a really problematic part of the nature of DC's Atlantis introduced thoughtlessly some time ago. In a society as xenophobic as this one, how could creatures that were not quite "human" live in Atlantis? The answer is that they sort of didn't - they were living below and outside the main city and they were mutated, probably by the same magics that created the mer-people of the other main Atlantean city. We know it's easy for racists to ignore people they hate - that seems to be what happened to Atlantis right up until Rath took over and decided to fence all of them in, and kill the ones he doesn't like. It works. I still have many questions, but it works as a story.
  • Justice League #35 - I loved the Spanish bit with Jessica. I loved even more that I understood most of it. I need to snag some comics in Spanish, I think. It would give me more of a motive to read and try to understand. I wonder if Aquaman has been translated to Spanish? *ahem* The story was a little strange, but not bad. The underlying horror of Wonder Woman's sword having been used to kill a nun was clearly still a theme of this issue, but finding and getting rid of the bug was a fun plot. A decent issue.
  • Green Lanterns #37 - Acting as a strong leader, the Podfather of the Molites not only shielded the Ungaran teenagers after they murdered the children of his people, he also took the blame for the crime that started it all. I just wonder how Baz is going to react now that he knows what started it and who is responsible. I also wonder if she changed after facing the hate of the crowd, or if she's going to try to convince Baz to join her.
  • Bombshells United #8 - A Lazarus Pit. Is that what Black Adam is looking for? And who would Cheetah have brought back to life? I'm also more than a little curious about Batgirl's injury. Why did her eyes glow?
  • Teen Titans Go #25 - This is definitely the Holiday special, with a truly bizarre Chanukah story that really made no sense whatsoever, unless Colossal Boy was just teasing the Teen Titans and they were stupid enough to fall for it. The Christmas story makes MUCH more sense, and even has a reference to the Neal Adams story in the anthology. Fun, but as always I know I'm not the target audience for this book.
  • Wonder Woman/Conan #4 - Ah. So Yanna was stabbed, and Conan's desire to look at Wonder Woman's breast is to see if the scar is there. Got it. Lots of history in this book, mostly focusing on Conan. The mirror trick for Wonder Woman was a bit disturbing, but perhaps the crow was telling the truth about the lasso. If so, it would certainly give Diana the answers she needs.
  • Doctor Strange #383 - So we finally find out why Loki is Sorceror Supreme. I'm not sure I buy it, but then there are horrible huge threats hovering over all the various universes in comics. Justice League has been hearing about a new threat for ages, and the Vishanti apparently decided that Loki would be a better solution to some major threat to the Marvel U. I was surprised to see Stephen go to the World Tree and make sure a perfect (and sad) offering. I wonder if this new power will be enough for what he wants to do?
  • Dec 27th
  • Teen Titans #15 - Oh, great. It's the third part of a crossover. I started to read and realized I had no idea what was happening. Annoying, DC. There isn't even a "previously" text box to give me some idea of who this new character is and why he's there. So, as far as I can figure, some version of Tim Drake wandered in from another universe and is trying to kill Jon Kent/Superboy. The Titans are divided on whether or not to help Drake find Superboy and Damian. But Aqualad knows exactly where they are thanks to his powers. And... that's it. If there's more story, we're not going to see it in this book. Which makes it really annoying. I buy titles to get complete stories, not a tiny portion of a larger story which to read I'd have to buy three or four other issues of books I don't read because I'm not interested in them. I hate crossovers. They basically mean I wasted my money on an incomplete story. I always feel cheated when publishers pull this crap.
  • Batman Beyond #15 - It looks like Matt has some plans for his future. What is the appeal of being a superhero in Gotham? I'd want to move away, personally. And Stalker has a very good reason to make a deal, but if he'd just looked for Batman *first* he probably would have gotten and even better deal - like assistance in making the fields produce food again to make his home self-sufficient.
  • Scooby Doo Team Up #33 - I've never been a big fan of the Legion of Super-heroes, but it's pretty funny to see them bringing in the "expert" help of the Scooby-Doo team to solve a haunting in their headquarters. Brainiac is as obnoxious as ever, and the team does a nice job of solving the problem through elimination and logic. And a few screams and run-aways by Shaggy and Scooby.
  • Usagi Yojimbo #165 - I have a sneaking suspicion I know exactly who the Master is, as he's been properly introduced as a jerk... and has ordered Inspector Ishida to stop inspecting the crime that would involve him. It will be fun to see how this plays out.
  • Back To The Future: Tales from the Time Train #1 - A nice introductory story with some fun side trips, introducing readers to the idea that Doc Brown and his family are going to be time tourists for a bit. A solid start with some action and some familiar moments.
  • The Tick 2017 #2 - Wow, we're learning all kinds of things about the Tick in this. He has a whole history before he lived in the city, and the proof is in the people who recognize him (no one could forget him, right?). And he can play the piano? And apparently has a very close female friend? Wow. This is a side of the character we've never seen before. I'm really enjoying this book.