087 Doctor Fate Vol 3: Fateful Threads

I'm shocked this book lasted 18 issues.  I'm happy it did, but I'm shocked DC didn't axe it earlier.  I don't think it sold despite being a solid and fun book.  It may have had something to do with Paul Levitz's arrangement with DC?  I don't know.

Anyway, this is it.  The end of this version of Doctor Fate.  From the beginning, it felt like an indie book to me. The writing, the art, the content.  It did not seem like anything else from DC.  I applaud them for giving us something different.  And I wasn't looking forward to yet another new take on another DC character.  Shows what I know.

I enjoy the reappearance of the original Doctor Fate in this book.  He's the current Fate's great uncle.  He shows up to give advice and aid the younger Fate in his travels.  What made me squeal with delight was a panel in which the elder Fate mentioned his time with the Justice Society.  Which means Paul Levitz was planting seeds.  Something he does well!!!!

I'll miss this book.

Doctor Fate Vol 3: Fateful Threads
Writer: Paul Levitz
Artist: Sonny Liew, Brendan McCarthy, Ibrahim Moustafa, Inaki Miranda, Breno Tamura
DC Comics

086 Champions Vol 1: Change The World

Plain and simple, I loved this book.  It felt effortless.  It felt natural.  And it was good.

The premise.  The teen members of the Avengers quit the team after the whole Civil War II thing.  Clearly it's a generational thing where they don't see eye to eye with the adult Avengers.  Ms. Marvel calls together Nova and Spider-Man, who think she's going to try to talk them back into joining the team.  Instead she shocks them by telling them she quit and wants to do something different.  And so is born a new group of Champions.  They want to fight social injustices.  They want to change the world, as the title of this volume announces.  They're very idealistic.

The three former Avengers begin to assemble a team.  They get the current Hulk and Viv Vision.  And so is born a team.  Shortly after, Cyclops hunts them down because he wants in.  This book has a very Teen Titans feel to me.  Teen Titans way way way way way back in the day.  A group of kids getting together to do what they feel is right.

The stories are based on a lot of stuff that's in the news today.  And it's highly enjoyable.

Champions Vol 1: Change The World
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Humberto Ramos, Victor Olazaba
Marvel Comics

085 Superwoman Vol 1: Who Killed Superwoman

I wanted to love this.  I wanted to love this a lot.  I didn't.  I didn't hate it.  I liked it, but I didn't love it.  Maybe part of it is I'm missing a little back story.  Superwoman got her powers when Superman died, his energy shot out and was absorbed by people.  I didn't read that book, so I don't totally get it.  I don't know if Superwoman operated in any books before this one.  If she did, it would make a little more sense to me.  If she didn't, then I think that's a loss for this book.

I wish this was the second story arc for this book.  I think the death of the Lois Superwoman would have had a bigger impact if we got a chance to know her better as Superwoman instead of a few pages.  

I didn't read the New 52 Superman books, so this version of Lana is brand new to me.  I don't know how long she and John Henry Irons have been together.  That was kind of a surprise to me.  The last I read of Lana was in the excellent Supergirl series pre-New 52.

The whole Lena Luthor plot was just too much for me.  I know it's a comic book and you have to let your disbelief go, but even this was ludicrous for me.  I don't know if it was meant as a way to write her out since the whole Rebirth thing is going on and these books are slowly supposed to right the ship.  It was just too much.

But I'm fascinated to learn more about Lana as Superwoman.  I like that she's got Superman's old red costume and power set.  I understand that Lois had to be written out, I just wish we got it a touch later than we did.

I'm anxious to see where this book goes in volume 2.  I hope I fall in as much love with the book as I am with the idea.

Superwoman Vol 1: Who Killed Superwoman?
Writer: Phil Jimenez
Artist: Phil Jimenez, Emanuela Lupacchino, Jack Herbert, Joe Prado, Matt Santorell, Ray McCarthy
DC Comics 

084 Avengers Four

I don't know how he does it, but Mark Waid is producing some of the best stuff of his rather long career.  He's still coming up with stories that entertain highly.  This is (mostly) no exception.

This is a sort of retelling of the first Avengers line up change, but it's an all new story, too.  The original Avengers all step down and are replaced by this new line up.  Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver and Hawkeye join Captain America.  And the public see them as a joke.  This is quickly rectified when they meet a woman who uses her powers to help boost and amplify the powers of these four.  They become a powerhouse team.  They invite her to join the team as Avenger X.  But because of the nature of her powers, they keep her in the background for her own safety.

However, since joining the team, she actively tries pitting them against each other and tries to take them down.  Which is fine, but unless I missed something, there really isn't a sufficient reason for her to do this.  And that makes this story crumble for me.  It was pretty good up until that point.

And on a tangent, can I mention how much I hate how Marvel publishes monthly books?  This volume reprints Avengers 1.1 - 5.1.  What?  They couldn't make it a stand alone mini-series.  They made it issues 1.1 through 5.1 of the regular book?  Really?  What's the purpose?  It's stupid.  At least I only read Marvel in trade format, so it's less confusing that way, but still.

Avengers Four
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Barry Kitson, Mark Bagley, Sean Izaakse, Ro Stein, Mark Farmer, Rafael Fonteriz, Andrew Hennessy, Scott Hanna, Mike Perkins, Ted Brandt
Marvel Comics

083 Batman/Wildcat

I love this kind of compilation book.  Unlike a book that collects a specific story arc or run by a particular creator, it's a book that takes a couple of mini-series and pads it out with some spectacular bonus material.

This book collects the Batman/Wildcat mini-series, the Catwoman/Wildcat mini-series and all the Batman/Wildcat stories from The Brave & The Bold.  And it's glorious.

The two mini-series are nothing to write home about, but they're solid and an enjoyable read.  The first mini-series is yet another take on the Fight Club cliche.  The second is another Vegas/Mob story.  Neither are original concepts by any stretch, but like I said before, decent enough reads.

The real treasure here is the inclusion of the Brave & Bold stories.  I'm currently reading the giant Brave & Bold Omnibus at work and have come across some of these stories recently already.  For some reason, DC decided to team Batman and Wildcat up despite the fact that Wildcat was an Earth-2 character.  No mention was ever made of it, so clearly this is an Earth-1 version of the same character.  I don't think he ever appeared anywhere but these select issues, which is too bad.  Not that it matters anymore.  After Crisis, there was only one Earth, so only one Ted Grant.

I'd love to see more books along the lines of this one.  Such fun to read.

Writer: Chuck Dixon, Beau Smith, Bob Haney
Artist: Sergio Cariello, Art Thibert, Danny Miki, Jaime Mendoza, Tom Palmer, Irv Novick, Mike Esposito, Bob Brown, Nick Cardy, Jim Aparo
DC Comics

082 Wonder Woman By John Byrne Vol 1

I'm really looking forward to re-reading John Byrne's run on Wonder Woman.  It's kind of like Velveeta.  It has absolutely no nutritional value, but that doesn't stop you from reading and kind of enjoying it.

I don't remember how long he was on the book, but I do remember he had a few big arcs.  It's been so long that I didn't really remember too much of what's reprinted here.  I'm waiting for his Hippolyta arc and his (kind of awful) Donna Troy arc.  I have very fond memories of both of those.

What he did here is take Diana, drop her in a new city, set up a new supporting cast and introduce the seeds for the new Wonder Girl.  At this stage in her fictional life, Wonder Girl is kind of a horrible idea.  Thankfully later on she gets fleshed out much better, only to be turned into something even worse than what we have here in the New 52.

Lots of guest stars in this book.  I like guest stars.  Sue me.  

The only thing that really pissed me off about this book is Byrne did what everyone else likes to do when they have no idea what they're doing with Wonder Woman.  They stage something big and tragic on Themyscria and slaughter half the Amazons.  That's so overdone and such bullshit.  Future writers, don't even think about it!!

Wonder Woman By John Byrne Vol 1
Writer: John Byrne
Artist: John Byrne
DC Comics


081 Deadman: Dark Mansion Of Forbidden Love

This is probably my favorite book in quite a while.  I was really iffy on it, but no longer.  This is fantastic.  It takes a lot of things that I love and throws them all together.  Deadman.  Check.  Ghost stories.  Check.  Romance comics.  Check.

Now I'm not sure what DC was thinking with this book.  It was announced as a three issue, bimonthly mini-series.  Bi-monthly automatically tells me they had no faith in the book.  When I read the book, I realized that each of the three issues were actually two issues combined into one book.  I'm scratching my head over why DC took this strategy with this book. 

Although Deadman is the titular character in this book, he's not the lead character.  He's more of a supporting character than anything.  The story centers on Berenice, a young woman who is living in this old mansion with her boyfriend as he's trying to write a novel.  Berenice is also psychically gifted.  The story is about a ghost that haunts the mansion and Deadman, who was drawn to the mansion but now can't escape.  It's a fascinating tale and I couldn't get enough of it.  I can't recommend this book highly enough.

Oh, and we get the real version of Deadman back, not that awful New 52 rendition.

Deadman: Dark Mansion Of Forbidden Love
Writer: Sarah Vaughn
Artist: Lan Medina, Phil Hester
DC Comics

080 Red Hood And The Outlaws Vol 1: Dark Trinity

I'd like to start this post by publicly stating that I think all the work Scott Lobdell has done for DC since the New 52 started has been shit.  Awful.  Terrible.  But DC seems to love him.  He's constantly working.  I'd also like to state for the record that I had no intention of reading this book.  Mostly for the above stated reason.  But I was told to actually give this one a chance.  So I did.  I went in open minded.  And I will admit, I really liked this book.  I have tried reading Red Hood in the past and it was garbage, so I don't know if the bar was set really low or if this was actually really good.

The story starts with Red Hood out on his own.  He's about to try to infiltrate the Black Mask's criminal empire in an attempt to bring him down.  Along the way, his path crosses with Artemis (possibly her first post New 52 appearance?) as they are both hunting down things that bring them together.  And then the two of them come across Bizarro.  It all feels fairly organic in nature and makes sense.  They bring the Black Mask down and decide to stick together for the time being.  They make an oddball team, but it seems to work for them.

Red Hood And The Outlaws Vol 1: Dark Trinity
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artist: Dexter Soy
DC Comics

079 All-Star Batman Vol 1: My Own Worst Enemy

This book was great.  In spite of John Romita Jr's art. (I'm really not a fan.  I don't hate his art, but I don't really like it either.)  It was non-stop action from cover to cover.

I'm guessing this is the Rebirth interpretation of Two-Face.  I don't really remember his being exactly like this previously (so if he was, my bad.)  He's more Jekyll & Hyde than ever before.  Harvey and Two-Face being two distinct people sharing the same body.  One emerges as the other one subsides.

The backstory is new, as far as I can tell.  Bruce Wayne and Harvey Dent were childhood acquaintances and have a deeper history now than ever before.  

The story itself is nuts.  Two-Face has offered the fortunes of the top three crime bosses in Gotham to anyone who could take Batman down.  This all happens as Batman is taking Two-Face on a road trip of sorts in order to put an end to the Two-Face side of Harvey for once and for good.  And it's a great excuse to fit as many A, B, C and D-List villains into the story.  It's brutal, but it's fucking great.  I had a hard time putting this book down.  I love Scott Snyder's Batman.  

All-Star Batman Vol 1: My Own Worst Enemy
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: John Romita, Jr., Danny Miki, Tom Palmer, Sandra Hope, Richard Friend
DC Comics

078 Aquaman Vol 2: Black Manta Rising

I have been kind of lax with my reading lately.  There's been too much tv to catch up on and that's left not a lot of extra time for comics.  But the season just ended on most of my shows, so I hope to get some of my backlog of comics read over the summer.

This is Dan Abnett's third Aquaman collection.  He started the book just before Rebirth and this is his latest.  I've enjoyed all three volumes he's written, but something seemed just a little off to me.  I don't know what it was, but after finishing this book, I don't think that way any longer.  Maybe he was just adjusting to writing the character?  I don't know.  

This picks up where the last book left off.  Black Manta took over N.E.M.O., a covert secret society hellbent on domination, and went after his arch nemesis by pitting the world against Atlantis, leaving Aquaman in the crosshairs.  Abnett has really built up and fleshed out Atlantis more and I really appreciate it.  I hope his version of Atlantis stays as is.  Seems every writer has a separate idea of what Atlantis should be, but this one I like.

There is some silliness (not in a good way) in this story, too.  The Aqua-Marines.  Bio-engineered soldiers who transform into different human/sealife hybrids.  Really fucking cheesy and cliched.  But I'm willing to give them a pass.

Aquaman Vol 2: Black Manta Rising
Writer: Dan Abnett
Artist: Scot Eaton, Brad Walker, Philippe Briones, Wayne Faucher, Andrew Hennessy, Daniel Henriques
DC Comics