DC Week in Review – 14th October 2015

DCWeek14102015

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

  • Bat-Mite #5

I love this little book. I hope Bat-Mite gets another series after this one ends. This was an interesting issue as it introduced me to a bunch of other characters that really should get more of the limelight, there are more than just the Justice League in the DCU

Comic Comments: Bat-Mite #5

  • Batman & Robin Eternal #2

The story continues with Grayson following up on the list he was given by Cassandra Cain in the first issue, fortunately that takes him to the flat of Harper Row (BlueBird). He is just in time as Harper is attacked by a follower of “Mother”, while Cassandra Cain chases down the attacker he stays to help Harper.

It is here he also is joined by Red Robin & Spoiler (thankfully, Grayson says what we are all thinking about the number of teenagers in costumes these days) – but we’re still no closer to knowing who “Mother” is and what it has to do with Grayson’s first encounter with Scarecrow

  • Batman – Superman #25

With Clark Kent now public as Superman & Jim Gordon as Batman, it’s safe to say they do not see eye to eye. After coming into Batmans turf and nearly causing a war, Superman is persona non grata in Gotham.

So, picking up a few toys from the batcave he has gone underground to investigate who is behind it all. It’s not long before he finds himself having his ass kicked by Vandal Savage.

Fortunately while Batman is not helping, the Bat-Family will. He finds himself helped in his investigations by Batgirl, Grayson & Red Hood. But can they succeed without Batmans help?

  • Batman #45

Things we’re going well for Gordon at the end of the last issue and this issue picks up with him stuck in a blast furnace, with little hope of escape. This is comics though, so you knew he was going to.

His investigation of Bloom has pretty much hit a dead end, he’s out numbered in the fight and still not used to flying solo. Thankfully he is soon given backup, the Bat-Bot has been given an upgrade in the form of an autopilot mode.

But when the fight is over things go from bad to worse as he finds himself meeting with the head of Powers international, she informs him that he his being retired as Batman, but is he ready to step down from the roll?

  • Catwoman #45

I understand they had to do something to help expand on the catwoman story, to build her character to be something more than just anti-hero that sometimes Batman has the hots for. I gave it a serious shot, but personally making her the head of one of Gothams crime families isn’t really working for me.

This issue sees her playing matron a little bit once again, helping a friend who just became head of a rival family by getting revenge on Black Mask for killing her father.

None of this story interests me, apart from perhaps Cobblepot, his characterisation in this is spot on for me. That said this series is off on the not reading list.

  • Earth 2 – Society #5

It has been a year since Planetfall on Earth-2, society is starting come back together steadily. This is in crisis however as the last orbiting generation ship they came in, Overwatch-One, is falling out of the sky on a direct path for Neotropolis.

It falls to Batman, Superman & the Flash to try and get its stabiliser back online. With Superman only partly powered due to the red sun having only just set, Batmans exosuit not capable of the speed needed it eventually falls to The Flash.

This Flash however is still only just getting used to his powers, along with the responsibilities and fame that come with them. However with some fast thinking he manages to at least get the ship stable enough to buy them some time to ask the important question – who caused the problem in the first place?

  • Harley Quinn #21

Unlike Catwoman, the effort being put into building Harley Quinn into being more than just sidekick of the Joker is actually working. While the crazy is still there, it’s a strangely believable kind of crazy. Getting her out of Gotham was a really good start as it opens up a lot of new stories where she is not having to fall back or for no reason ignore the various other characters of that city.

That’s not to say she is alone, being that she is being a Merc/bounty hunter of sorts at the moment it was only natural that she would bump into DC’s best known Merc – Deadshot. What makes this issue for me is there is a moment at the end where Harley is talking to the Mother of the woman she has been sent to retrieve and reminds you that pre-Joker she was a psychiatrist, as she tells her exactly what she needs to do to help get her daughter clean.

Obviously being Harley this is done while she is topless, also followed by a threat to kill both of them if the mother didn’t pay up – but it shows that under the loopy are brains.

  • Justice League Of America #4

JLA is one of the stories taking advantage of the DC ‘Content of Continuity’ where after convergence writers were allowed to tell any story they wanted without having to worry about where they fit in the main timeline. This is why despite in this comic Superman is still fully powered and Batman is still Bruce Wayne.

The Kryptonian god Rao is still hovering over New York, while providing his blessing over the world. However while the UN seems happy to open the borders to Rao and his prophets, others are starting to questions his motives. While Batman and Superman are investigating different angles, Cyborg is helping both of them. While that is happening Green Lantern finds himself stuck a quarter of a million years in the past on Krypton.

He ends up coming face to face with the Great God Rao, but something is not right. This Rao is a 300 year old man, in the midst of a civil war and does not show any of the power that the one on modern earth does. However both sides of the timelines soon start to uncover dark secrets, like the fact that Rao is genetically altering people to worship him and that he may have done the same to Kryptonians long ago. Meanwhile on ancient Krypton, Green Lantern learns that this belief gives Rao certain abilities that may explain why he now needs earth to believe in him.

Unfortunately Rao knows he’s been rumbled, so what happens next?

  • Justice League United #14

What do you do when you’re trapped in a small french town, stuck in a temporal distortion that seems to have pulled in every war that has ever passed through its borders? Simply try to stay alive!

Vandal Savage knows this town, being immortal he was here during World War 2 and finds himself captured by some american soldiers he pissed off on his first time round. Soon saved by Batgirl they escape into the woods to attempt to regroup with the others. StarGirl has been knocked out of the sky and seperated from her power staff – thankfully she is being helped by the german world war 1 pilot that shot her down.

Meanwhile Steel and Robotman find themselves in the middle of the battlefield facing down DC’s Creature Commandos. 2 against 6 is long enough odds, but then that 6 consist of Frankenstein’s monster, a vampire, a werewolf, a gorgon, a zombie and a different android things are not going to go well. Against all reason they manage to survive, only to finish the issue under attack from OMAC.

  • Red Hood & Arsenal #5

Red Hood & Arsenal find themselves in Gotham on the tail of the Villian UnderBelly. Being a personification of all the dark and evil of the underworld, it obviously started here.

Basically this whole episode is one big action scene as the pair, helped by Bat-Bot, take on the Underbelly. It is not a simple fight as he simply is not human, but eventually they are successful and in a way that lets you realise that under his goofy exterior, Roy Harper is a genious. However the wrap up of the episode is a bit of character building for Red Hood as (in this book) it is the first time he learns that Bruce is still alive but without any memories. it turns out Jason spent some time at the community center bruce is helping at.

The Cliffhanger for this issue however does not give me much hope for the next one as it involves ‘Joker’s Daughter’ a terribly contrived character that I would much rather they did away with and forgot they ever created.

  • Superman – Lois & Clark #1

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.

I am interested to see where this one goes after this first issue.

Comic Comments: Superman – Lois & Clark #1

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DC Week in Review – 7th October 2015

DCWeek7102015

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

SupermanLoisClark

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: 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.