DC Week in Review – 7th October 2015

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Each week I try to do as many detailed reviews as I can of the comics that I read, however time is not always in my favour. For that reason I am going to do a short overview of the releases.

I will split the release list into two sections, because there are certain series I will just give up on – they can’t all be gold.

Reviewed 

  • Action Comics #45

Continuing with the arch of Clark Kent being publicly outed as Superman, this issue picks up with him being more of a reporter than a hero. Investigating a biotech company he believes is involved with Wrath (The enemy that he has faced since convergence), he has gone undercover. What he discovers is a lab experimenting on people infected by the black goop that has been seen in previous issues – but why?

A solid issue, even if I was still shaking my head at the fact he suddenly has a ‘light refraction mask’ to help hide his identity, as if to admit that glasses were a bit dumb.

  • Batman & Robin Eternal #1 

Start of a new massive story arch, a follow-up to incredibly confusing Batman Eternal. This one has kicked off well, centered around a mystery attacker out to get Dick Grayson for reasons unknown. By the end of the issue you are left with a lot of questions that need to be answered – but with Bruce now having lost all of his memories getting those answers is going to be difficult.

Comic Comments: Batman & Robin Eternal #1

  • Batman Beyond #5

The battle for Gotham continues as Brother Eye brings in the heavy hitters to help – but this is Gotham, even with a robotic Superman to face they do not back down. Tim and Barbara track down some equipment to take the fight back to Brother Eye – the Batman armor the current Batman is using (with a few upgrades).

The issue ends with them heading to Wayne Manor to find another of Bruce’s toys – but what could it be if he already had the Metal Bat?

  • Cyborg #3

The Aliens that have been looking for Cyborg have finally started their invasion of earth. Their starting gambit is to infect anyone with cybernetic enhancements. Thankfully just as he is being overrun Cyborg gets a little assistance from the Metal-Men.

The back end of this episode made me realised that I don’t know enough about Cyborgs recent history – as it seems to play on animosity between Cyborg and a character that shows up, in order to make a reveal shocking. Without that context it was just kinda meh.

  • Detective Comics #45

Jim Gordon is starting to settle into the role of being the Robo-Bat, but there is still some doubt in his own mind due to the size of the Bat Shaped Boots he is filling.

For one his doesn’t consider himself up to the Justice League’s level of epic – However it seems the league agree but after trying to see if there is anything of their Batman left, they have no choice to recruit Gordon. Is he up to the challenge?

  • Green Lantern #45

Hal continues his adventures as the last remaining Green Lantern in the main universe. While is is still technically a fugitive from the corps, he does want to find them, find out where they are or where they have gone. However he has a sitation to contend with first, he needs to find out and stop whatever is causing that.

When he finally works out what is the cause he immediately sets off to deal with it, leaving the ship and his passengers behind in case he does not return. The book ends with a fight between Hal & Black Hand, but is Hal out of his depth?

  • Lobo #11

With Sinestro still trying to consolidate his power in the vacuum left by the missing Green Lantern Corps, he has hired Lobo to take out members of the other Corps.

This issue pits him against a group of Red Lanterns and it’s a bloody and gruesome battle and the issue is well worth reading.

  • Omega Men #5

Kyle Raynor is stuck with the group known as the Omega Men. They are outlaws of a kind within their sector of space and they are forcing Raynor to go along with their plans.

This issue see them arriving at the Temple of Omega, so that Broot can take a shot at retrieving the Key of Alpha from within the first stone. As an exiled priest of temple this may be his chance at redemption, however the priests have double crossed them.

I will admit that this story is being a little too slow in getting to the point, this is the first issue where I have felt they should start explaining a few of the plot points rather than adding yet more. Let’s hope that changes soon.

  • Telos #1

The character that nobody gave a crap about in Convergence, gets his own series and quite frankly it was not all that great a story – I wouldn’t rush out to get this one and unless #2 is damn impressive expect it to drop into the not reading list fairly rapidly.

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Comic Comments: Superman – Lois & Clark #1

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Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Artist: Lee Weeks

Issue (Status): #1 (Ongoing)

Previous Comic Knowledge Required: For this to really make sense you need to know about Convergence. This was DC’s latest universe rebooting event, it brought together heroes from various universes some of which didn’t make it out.

Basic Synopsis: After helping fix the multiverse, Clark and Lois from a destroyed reality find themselves on Earth Prime, with a much younger version of the justice league. Having finally had a child while Clark was unpowered during convergence, they decided to stay hidden and led a quiet life…because that always works.

My Thoughts: This is an interesting little idea, basically this Superman is from a reality where the timeline is further along and the opener for the issue shows that by having him in the background of the battle against Darkseid ready to step in if the Justice League not been able to handle him. They obviously were and Superman returns home to Lois & their child Jonathan.

However this basically means that they have theoretically been on this Earth for the run of the New 52. For the sake of Jonathan they decided to stay on the down low, setting up in a small town as a simple farming family – the Whites.

The story then picks up at the current day (in the timeline of the DCU) where Jonathan is now in school.  They seem to have done a fine job of staying hidden, but you just knew they wouldn’t be able to completely leave things alone. you very quickly learn that they have been subtly trying to use their knowledge to help influence things in this reality.

Clark has been off helping deal with certain disasters, even from the sounds of things helping stop certain super villains before they emerge. Lois on the other hand has stuck to writing under a pseudonym, writing books on important issues at key times to help raise awareness of them and help steer the discussion. This is a great conceit as it explains away instantly why certain things have or have not happened where they did before within the New 52.

The issue wraps up with Lois meeting her publisher, to pass on her latest book about an old Superman enemy group known as InterGang, while Clark himself is off dealing with the crash of the Excalibur, which before resulted in the creation of Cyborg Superman – but leaves both parts on a cliffhanger. Meanwhile Jonathan gets himself sent to the headmaster’s office at school, as he seems to be distracted by a news broadcast – the one about the incident Clark is dealing with – could he have already worked out his Dad’s secret?

Recommendation: I would say this is one worth buying, as it has a few angles to take the story. First there is the will they be discovered aspect, plus the why is this Superman still powered while the main one is not – But the big one for me is Jonathan, he is after all the offspring of Superman, will this come into play?

Comic Comments: Star Trek/Green Lanterns – The Spectrum Wars #4

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Publisher: DC Comics / IDW
Writer: Mike Johnson
Artist: Angel Hernandez

Issue (Status): #4 of 6 (Ongoing)
Collected Trade: Unknown but assumed

Previous Comic Knowledge Required: Hrmm – well on a basic level, Shit got real bad in the DC universe. Nekkron, Head of the Black lantern corps had pretty much destroys all the other Lanterns, Power Batteries and everything else.

As a last gambit, Ganthet pulled a set of rings plus a few remaining lanterns (from the various corps) into a new Universe – The Star Trek universe!

Basic Synopsis: Things heat up for the Hal and the Crew of the USS Enterprise as the heads of the Yellow, Red & Orange Lantern corps find out who got their rings in this universe.

My Thoughts: This issue was a bit exposition heavy but it really needed to be. Carol Ferris, the Star Sapphire, confirmed that Ganthet’s final gambit may not have been as useful as hoped – as it seems Nekkron was not left behind and has followed them into this universe.

While Dr McCoy attempts to use his Indigo ring to heal Saint Walker, the Blue Lantern and Scotty is studying his scans of the Power Rings – the Enterprise receives a distress call from a starbase under attack from what could potentially be other Lanterns.

Hal & the Enterprise rush to the aid of the starbase and arrive to find both the Red Lanterns (Atrocitus/Glocon of Gorn) & the Yellow Lanterns (Sinestro/General Chang of Klingon) going to town on each other. The art of this is very cool indeed.

The issue ends with the usual fight between Sinestro and Hal – but Sinestro manages to take out the crew of the Enterprise at which point Hal takes the Captain’s seat and forms a Gigantic light construct version of the ship.

Recommendation: Im kinda enjoying this one, so its worth a buy if you have read along – if not unless everything goes wrong in the last two issues, it will be worth picking up as a trade

Comic Comments: Bat-Mite #5

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Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Artist: Corin Howell

Issue (Status): #5 of 6 (Ongoing)
Collected Trade: Yes (released 3rd March 2016 – Amazon)

Previous Comic Knowledge Required: Basically there is not a lot that you really need to know. The point of Bat-Mite is really just meant to be an amusing little distraction. Bat-Mite himself is an Imp from the fifth dimension who possesses what appears to be near-infinite magical power, but in reality is highly advanced technology, using it to help whoever is his target superhero of choice – though generally causing more problems along the way.

Basic Synopsis: Bat-Mite’s ongoing battle against Gridlock (a supervillain who wants to stop the future from coming because the past was just better – seriously just go with it) continues, this time pulling into the fray a group for D-Rank heroes – The Inferior Five.

My Thoughts: The thing about the Bat-Mite series, and the reason I have been trying to keep up with it so far is the the fact that is just a break from the norm. It’s a reminder that not all comics need to be dark and gritty. Since being exiled from his home dimension for reasons unknown (probably just generally being a pain in the ass) he has so far teamed up with Hawkman, Booster Gold & Robin and picked up his own supervillain Gridlock.

This issue starts with him on his way to help out as the henchmen of Gridlock are attacking a film museum for unknown reasons, but are being taken to task by one of the worst hero groups in history – The Inferior Five! Thier powers are not great, such as Arkwardman whose ability appears to be clumsiness or  The Blimp who can kind of fly (if the winds are going the right way) but together they get the jobs done that are too low level for real heroes.

Turns out that what gridlock was after is the previously unseen pilot episode of Galaxy Trek, so that he can ensure that his is the first – and only – person to ever see it (its kinda his thing), so Bat-Mites only option is another makeover – turning the Inferior Five into the Superior Six – Seriously overhauling their powers.

After the new team takes the fight to Gridlock, and kicking serious ass, Bat-Mite and Tough Bunny realise that they can not stay this way. The whole power corrupts thing shines through and it’s clear that leaving them with this power would only end badly.

This issue wraps up with the reveal that the cloaked figures that initially exiled him to Earth are watching, and have decided its time to step pack in and deal with the mess that Bat-Mite is making.

Recommendation: As this is scheduled to wrap up next month I would say wait for the Trade, unless you can find all the issues at a good price

Comic Comments: Batman & Robin Eternal #1

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Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Scott Snyder, James T Tynion IV
Artist: Tony S. Daniel

Issues (Status): #1 of 26 (Ongoing)
Collected Trade: Unknown – Assume Yes

Previous Comic Knowledge Required: I am going to say that quite a lot of prior knowledge is going to be needed for this one, primarily last years 52 Issue series Batman Eternal. This was one hell of a confusing series, so I will point you in the direction of the Comicstorian if you want to know more about it (Batman Eternal Playlist).

Also a few important facts

  • Dick Grayson is no longer Nightwing – Instead is a Spy with an organisation called Spyral (Grayson Series)
  • Bruce Wayne is no longer Batman – In a recent story, Bruce has lost all of his memories. He knows nothing of being Batman and the decision was made by the Bat-Family to leave it this way and let Bruce have a shot at a normal life.

Basic Synopsis: On a quick mission that brings him back to Gotham, Grayson is attacked by agents of a Villain referred to as ‘Mother’ which leads him to a mystery surrounding all of the Robins.

My Thoughts: When I picked this one up, I will admit it was purely because it is a sequel to Eternal. Now I am not sure they will actually be related in more than name, but I am sure that it will be quite an interesting story.

This issue was all about setting things in place, and does a good job of that. Despite, or perhaps because of, the loss of Bruce as Batman – the Bat-Family is connected a lot more than they appeared to be before. This issue does a good job of selling that fact.

The story started off fairly light hearted with Grayson, Red Hood & Red Robin taking out a minor villain with ease before Grayson goes off to deal with the mission he actually came to Gotham for. It is here that things start to spiral, while Grayson is distracted by the last time he was in this building as Robin he is attacked.

Barely escaping he is shortly attacked by Cassandra Cain, the first time she has been seen in the New 52 properly. After their fight she simply hands him an pen drive, an old format that Batman used to use.

Returning to the BatCave – it is this drive that has the final secret of the issue, a list of all of the Bat-Family and a link to the villain ‘Mother’ – as well as a hologram revelation from Batman.

Recommendation: I might have to say that unless you are following on from Batman Eternal, I would wait a few issues until it starts to show if it’s going to be a good series.

Comic Comments: Injustice: Gods Among Us – Year 4

Injustice

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Brian Buccellato
Artist: Bruno Redondo / Mike S Miller / Juan Albarran

Issues (Status): 12 Issues (Complete)
Collected Trade: Yes (released 3rd May 2016 –Amazon)

Previous Comic Knowledge Required: A general knowledge of the DC Comics would probably be useful for an idea of who is who, but you could pretty much get away with just reading Injustice: Gods Among Us – Year’s 1, 2 & 3.

Basic Synopsis: After so long with no interest in the actions of humanity, Superman’s actions in taking control of the world has pissed off Zeus and the rest of the Pantheon. Forcing the Amazonian Army to join with them against Superman, Wonder Woman is left torn as to which side she will take, meanwhile Batman has to find a way to use this to his advantage. But what has caused Zeus to suddenly take an interest in the affairs of earth?

My Thoughts: I am liking the way that Injustice is picking a theme for each of its arcs, it really helps ground the story that could otherwise spiral out of control.

That’s not to say it’s completely grounded, this is a world where Superman and the rest of the Justice League are pretty much in control, the Green Lanterns have been wiped out, Superman was a Yellow Lantern and the Joker nuked Metropolis.

What was good about this year aside from the interactions between the Justice League and the Pantheon, was all the undertone for the greater story of this year.

There are characters within the Justice League that seem to be questioning whether they have gone too far. Lex Luthor has been subtly working in secret on something, as well as assisting the insurgency. Hal Jordan, now a Yellow Lantern, starting to worry about the state of Superman and some of his attitude and decisions. Even the animosity between Flash, Cyborg and Robin could be something that becomes interesting.

The way it wrapped up this year was a bit abrupt, but the hints towards the theme for Year Five were certainly interesting – if I have read them right I can not wait to see what it brings.

Recommendation: This is one of my personal favourite series at the moment, as it puts a new spin on all the characters because it does not have to worry about fitting into the rest of the DC Universe – well worth a buy as a result.