3.25.2017

056 Doctor Who: Supremacy Of The Cybermen


I love the idea of multi-Doctor stories.  I think everyone does.  The reality of multi-Doctor stories is quite different.  Titan Comics recently published a Four Doctors series written by Paul Cornell.  Now if Paul Cornell can't pull off a successful multi-Doctor story, no one can.  Well, he didn't pull it off (in my opinion).  But Cavan Scott & George Mann have.  This should be a training manual on how to pull off a multi-Doctor story. 

Basically, it's a 12th Doctor story, but it also stars 9, 10 and 11 with their respective companions.  In a nutshell, the Cybermen hook up with Rassilon, thereby giving the Cybermen access to time travel and all hell starts to break loose.  None of the Doctors leave their respective timelines and meet up, but instead they each have to deal with the fall-out of the Cybermen disruption of time and reality.  

This was such a well done story.  I'd love to see another multi-Doctor story done in this style, maybe featuring some of the earlier Doctors, or a mix of old and new.

Doctor Who: Supremacy Of The Cybermen
Writer: Cavan Scott, George Mann
Artist: Ivan Rodriguez, Walter Geovanni, Alessandro Vitti, Tazio Bettin
Titan Comics

3.24.2017

055 Batman: Legacy Vol 1.


Batman and I were on a break when this storyline was originally published.  I think I've managed to get most of these issues long after they were originally published, but I haven't read them in any cohesive order.  Until now.

This book picks up sometime after the Batman: Contagion storyline happened.  I wasn't a huge fan of that particular story.  It seemed forced to me.  This is a sort of sequel to that story as the virus from the Contagion storyline is back and deadlier than ever.  LOL.  This volume doesn't contain the whole story.  It's called Batman: Legacy, but the actual Legacy storyline doesn't officially start until the last issue in this book.  It's more of a prelude.

It starts with a story involving a vigilante capturing and locking up bad guys (holy Vigilante!!).  I think this is included because there's a very small plot point about the virus storyline starting up.  Next up is a Catwoman story which seems out of place here until you realize it's all tightly connected.  That realization hits during the actual virus storyline which rounds out the book.

I complained about how the Superman books during this period were all too interconnected.  That they were basically a weekly Superman book rather than four monthly titles.  The Batman books did similar things, but they never felt like the Superman books did.  It proves there's a right way and a wrong way of doing things.  The Batman books were basically all telling the same story, but it felt different.

This book also contains an art team that I still don't understand to this day.  Jim Aparo inked by Bill Sienkiewicz.  I don't know if I love it or abhor it.

Batman: Legacy Vol 1
Writer: Chuck Dixon, Doug Moench, Alan Grant
Artist: Graham Nolan, Jim Balent, Mike Wieringo, Jim Aparo, Dave Taylor, Scott Hanna, Bob Smth, Stan Woch, Bill Sienkiewicz
DC Comics

054 Doctor Who - The Fourth Doctor Vol. 1: Gaze Of The Medusa


Wow.  I wasn't sure what to expect from this volume.  I love the idea of Doctor Who comics, but they almost always seem to just miss the mark for me.  There's something missing and I don't know what it is.  But this.  This hit the target.  Bullseye!  It felt more like an episode of the show than any other Doctor Who comic I've ever read.  Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith took a trip back to the late 1800's and got caught up their usual shenanigans.  And much like a typical episode during Tom Baker's run, the Doctor and Sarah get separated and need to find their way back to each other, all the while battling the villain du jour.  This time it's a widow in Victorian England who, the the aid of magic lamp, wants to bring back her children from death but instead ends up as an agent of an imprisoned alien with, you guessed it, The Gaze of Medusa.  The book was well done and was over before I knew it.  Loved the story, loved the art.  I loved everything about this.  I know this story was put out as a mini-series, but I hope it's not a stand alone.  I want more!

Doctor Who - The Fourth Doctor Vol. 1: Gaze Of The Medusa
Writer: Gordon Rennie, Emma Beeby
Artist: Brian Williamson
Titan Comics

053 Vigilante By Marv Wolfman Vol 1


DC began collecting a different New Teen Titans spinoff series, Deathstroke, The Terminator, a few months ago.  And that surprised me by how well it's held up over the years.  I found myself genuinely enjoying that book.  So when this was announced, I was hoping for the same reaction.  This book came before Deathstroke if memory serves.  I remember enjoying it when it was brand new.  But reading it today, I didn't have the same reaction.  Marv Wolfman can write when he puts his mind to it.  Here, it felt like he had a few ideas but didn't quite know how to execute them.  Part of the problem was this book was published at the height of DC letting a handful of writers also edit the book.  Never a good idea, if you ask me.  

There was something I found especially laughable.  Technology.  This book used a formula with it's cast that's commonplace today.  We have the hero out there in the action.  Back at base we have the support team and their computers.  But with Vigilante, base was a giant camper parked out in the woods.  And I really don't know how they found anything with their computers back in the mid-80s.  First of all, everything was dial up.  Extremely slow dial up.  And second of all, the computer was in a camper in the middle of the woods.  How did they get a dial tone?  LOL!

By the end of this collection, it seemed that a direction for the book was starting to form.  I hope this book does well enough to warrant a second book.  I want to see if that direction actually firms up.

Vigilante By Marv Wolfman Vol. 1
Writer: Marv Wolfman
Artist: Keith Pollard, George Perez, Chuck Patton, Ross Andru, Don Newton, Pablo Marcos, Dick Giordano, Romeo Tanghal, Mike DeCarlo, Rick Magyar, Dan Adkins
DC Comics

052 Wonder Woman And Justice League America Vol. 1


This volume follows up Superman and Justice League America vol 2.  Dan Jurgens left as writer of the book with the end of that collection and hopefully he took the awful storytelling with him.

Dan Vado took over as writer and it becomes crystal clear almost immediately that either DC just didn't care about the Justice League anymore or they had the worst editor on the book they could find.  This volume is just awful.  I think the book might be worse than when I originally read it back in the nineties.  The direction of the book is laughable.  The stories are not good.  And we're missing some important continuity.  In the last volume, the League recruited some new members because they were lacking in might after their run-in with Doomsday.  Black Condor, The Ray and Agent Liberty were recruited.  We also found out that Bloodwynd was not who he said he was.  He was actually Martian Manhunter in disguise.  The last volume ended with the big reveal.  This volume starts off with the real Bloodwynd as a member and no Martian Manhunter, Black Condor or Agent Liberty in sight.  No mention.  No anything.  

We also have Guy Gardner acting as one dimensional as possible throughout most of this book.  I don't remember if that was how he was written in the rest of the DCU or just in this book.  We do find out that it's not actually Guy, but that's neither here nor there.

This book is a real stinker.  Consider yourself warned.

Wonder Woman And Justice League America Vol. 1
Writer: Dan Vado, Chuck Dixon, Bill Loebs
Artist: Kevin West, Greg LaRocque, Mike Collins, Chris Hunter, Rick Burchett, Ken Branch, Romeo Tanghal, Terry Beatty, Carols Garzon, Robert Jones, Mark Stegbauer, Bob Downs
DC Comics

051 Suicide Squad: Secret Files


I said a few posts ago that I was pleasantly surprised by the new run of Suicide Squad.  So here's a peripheral collection for me to study up on the current versions of three of these characters.  Three different stories highlighting one member each.  Captain Boomerang, Killer Croc and Amanda Waller.  I enjoyed two of the stories, but not so much the Amanda Waller tale.  I found that I just didn't care enough to finish reading that one.  It was just bad.  But the other two...  I really liked the Croc story the most.  I think I mentioned in my Suicide Squad post that there's a lot more to this character than what you see on the surface.  This story showed it. And the Boomerang story wasn't so bad, either.  

The book collects the Suicide Squad Most Wanted mini-series, but for some weird reason, they renamed it for the trade.  Really?

Suicide Squad: Secret Files
Writer: Michael Moreci, Christopher Sebela, Vita Ayala
Artist: Oscar Bazaldua, Scott Hanna, Brian Level, Matt Merhoff
DC Comics

3.19.2017

050 Superman And Justice League America Vol 2


Oh boy.  Dan Jurgens is better than this.  At least that's what I keep telling myself.  I don't think he's the greatest writer out there, but he's solid and reliable.  But after reading this, I really have to rethink that.

This book focuses on a dark era of the JLA.  This is a shadow of what the Justice League once was and will be again.  This Justice League isn't even D-List and that's counting Superman on the team.  The group has fallen apart and the only members left are Superman, Booster Gold, Blue Beetle, Maxima, Bloodwynd, Fire, Ice and Guy Gardner.  Then Doomsday shows up, killing Superman, nearly killing Beetle, destroying Booster's uniform and Fire loses her powers.  Ice quits.  The team is even sadder than before, so they recruit new members.  The Ray, Black Condor, Agent Liberty and Wonder Woman.  This is so not the JLA.  I'm sorry.

There's a fairly decent (in relation) story with Doctor Destiny, and we get the startling (not) truth about Bloodwynd, but for the most part this run of the book is pure dreck.  And Dan Jurgens leaves at the end of this collection.  Hopefully the next writer can take what he's left with and spin it into gold.  Stay turned to find out....

Superman And Justice League America Vol 2
Writer: Dan Jurgens, Dan Mishkin
Artist: Dan Jurgens, Dave Cockrum, Rick Burchett, Romeo Tanghal, Jose Marzan Jr, Bob Smith, Sal Velluto
DC Comics

049 Superman: Panic In The Sky


I've been trying to catch up on my reading.  I have two full bookshelves with backstock reading material.  I finally caught up on everything new I had, so I pulled this off the shelf.  This book really brought me back to the nineties.  But I'm not sure if that's good or that's bad.  I had stopped reading the Superman books by this point in time.  They weren't really doing it for me anymore.  But reading this felt like putting on a comfortable old pair of jeans.

Basic premise of this book is Brainiac is back, he's got War World and he's coming to take over earth.  Superman gathers up as many of his friends as he can to battle Brainac and turn him away.  It looks like Matrix hasn't been around as Supergirl for very long at this point.  She's easily taken over by Brainiac, as is Maxima, or so she wants Brainiac to believe.  This story ran through all four of the monthly Superman titles.  Around that time, everything ran through all four Superman titles, effectively making Superman a weekly title.  While it's a good idea on paper, it really hampers the creative teams on each book because they're not necessarily telling their own stories.  And it kind of shows.

Superman: Panic In The Sky
Writer: Dan Jurgens, Jerry Ordway, Louise Simonson, Roger Stern
Artist: Jon Bogdanove, Tom Grummett, Jackson Guice, Dan Jurgens, Bob McLeod, Brett Breeding, Doug Hazlewood, Dennis Janke, Denis Rodier, Trevor Scott
DC Comics

048 Batman: Death And The Maidens Deluxe Edition


Back to back Rucka entries.  I didn't plan it that way, I just read it that way.  LOL.  I'd never read this series before.  The only thing I knew about it was that it introduced Nyssa al Ghul.

I liked this book.  While not the biggest Klaus Janson fan out there, I thought his art worked rather well.  It was a quicker read than I expected, too.  But there was one thing that really bothered the shit out of me.  The Talia al Ghul portrayed in this book is soooooo out of character.  She's got no spine.  She's got no balls.  That is NOT Talia.  Talia would kill you for blinking wrong and not bat an eye doing it.  And the other thing that bothered me was this book felt like a six issue mini series padded out to be a nine issue mini series.  But otherwise, I liked.

Batman: Death And The Maidens Deluxe Edition
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Klaus Janson
DC Comics

047 Wonder Woman Vol 1: The Lies


Where to begin?  Wonder Woman has been fucked up for longer than I care to remember.  Gail Simone wrote a glorious run on the book a number of years ago.  It was fantastic.  And then DC decided, fuck it, let's wreck Wonder Woman.  They handed the book over to J. Michael Strczynski, who threw everything that came before away and we started with a new Wonder Woman.  His run was awful, though the thing people hated most about it was putting her in pants.  That's the one thing I liked.  But I digress.  Wonder Woman's direction after that seemed to be based on this awful misstep.  When the New 52 started, it felt like the Strczynski influence could be felt.  But this is where things get really confusing.  The main Wonder Woman title definitely through away EVERYTHING that came before it and radically revamped her origin.  And while the story itself was kind of fun to read, I wish they called it an Elseworlds or something like that, because it just wasn't Wonder Woman to me.  Nor was the other version of the character that was appearing outside the main title.  The Wonder Woman in Justice League was not the Wonder Woman in Wonder Woman.  They had different personalities, they had different back stories.  There was no consistency.   When Meredith Finch took over the book, it felt like she was given the unenviable task of taking the character from Wonder Woman and turn her into the character from the rest of the DC Universe titles.  Her run was panned, but I didn't find it as bad as the rest of fandom.

Now we come to the Rebirth Wonder Woman.  She is neither the pre-New 52 Wonder Woman, the Azzarello Wonder Woman, the Finch Wonder Woman nor the rest of the DCU Wonder Woman.  It feels like a whole different take on the character again, but it feels more honest.  And the running theme of this book is Wonder Woman's whole past has been a lie.  And she's out to find out what the truth is and what's going on.  I was a little scared when I heard Greg Rucka was going to be writing this book.  He's a great writer, but I wasn't a huge fan of his previous run on Wonder Woman.  He more than made up for it with this volume.  I couldn't put it down.  I want more.  Now.  I love where this story is going (so far) and want to see how it unfolds.  The next volume of this book will not pick up where this story left off.  It should be a flashback tale drawn by the amazing Nicola Scott.  I can't wait for that, either!

Wonder Woman Vol 1: The Lies
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Liam Sharp, Matthew Clark, Sean Parsons
DC Comics