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


077 Batgirl And The Birds Of Prey Vol 1: Who Is Oracle?

I loved this book.  Cover to cover.  I loved the story.  I loved the art.  I loved everything about it.  Rebirth Birds of Prey is so much better than New 52 Birds of Prey, I can't even tell you.  And I'm not quite sure, but reading this makes me think that New 52 Birds of Prey has been retconned out of existence.  It builds more on pre-Flashpoint BoP than anything else.  But it's not pre-Flashpoint.

Anyway, Batgirl and Black Canary are together again and they're trying to track down and figure out who usurped Batgirl's old Oracle identity.  It also brings into the mix The Huntress, fresh from her run in Grayson.  And not only is BoP building on the foundation laid down by the pre-Flashpoint BoP, the Huntress has her roots in the origin of the pre-Flashpoint Huntress.  It's a fun story to read, it's great watching the dynamic between all three main characters, and it's fucking awesome watching them burn up the streets on their motorcycles.  

I really, really, really, really can't recommend this book enough.  

Oh, and I forgot to mention this in my Justice League post, but Yannick Paquette has turned in some of the best covers of his career with this book.  He did the variant covers for JL, but the main covers for this book.  They're all amazingly beautiful, at least to me.

Batgirl And The Birds Of Prey Vol 1: Who Is Oracle?
Writer: Julie Benson, Shawna Benson
Artist: Claire Roe, Roge Antonio, Yannick Paquette
DC Comics

076 Green Arrow Vol 2: Island Of Scars

The first volume of this series ended on a cliffhanger.  And it pissed me off because I didn't want to wait to see how it was resolved.  Luckily the book is on a twice-monthly schedule, so the wait wasn't that long.  

Team Arrow was left scattered and possibly dead at the end of the first storyline.  This volume shows us what happened to everyone.  It's split into two distinct stories.  The first one involves Arrow's sister Emi.  I was less interested in this story (told in present day and flashback, just like the tv show) than what happened with Oliver, Diggle and Dinah.  But Emi's story wraps up the storyline with her mother nicely and frees her to get back into the main storyline.

With the rest of the team, they find themselves stranded on a deserted island (a recurring theme for this character!) which turns out to be not so deserted.  Diggle gets captured by robot bears (really!  and it's not as ridiculous as I'm making it sound), Dinah finds Ollie and they both find and rescue Diggle.  Which then puts them right into another adventure aboard a high speed train zooming under the ocean.  You know I'm awful at writing when I put those words down but tell you to trust me, this is good stuff.

Green Arrow is one of DC's most improved books, hands down.  It made it's way back into a good place pre-Flashpoint.  New 52 Green Arrow practically destroyed the character. If it wasn't for the success of the Arrow tv show, the book would have been immediately cancelled and who knows if we'd ever see Green Arrow again.  But because the book was so bad and the tv show was so good, DC brought in Jeff Lemire to fix things before passing the book on.  Benjamin Percy is my new hero for what he's doing with this character.  Green Arrow is fast on track for shaking off the stink of the New 52 and getting back to the character we all know and love.

Green Arrow Vol 2: Island Of Scars
Writer: Benjamin Percy
Artist: Stephen Byrne, Otto Schmidt, Juan Ferreyra
DC Comics

075 The Lone Ranger / Green Hornet: Champions Of Justice

I really didn't know what to expect from this.  I recently finished the first giant arc of The Lone Ranger's book and was looking for some more.  I haven't read very much Green Hornet at all, so my knowledge of the character is limited.  I figured this would be some sort of time travel story since Lone Ranger was from the old west and Green Hornet is a modern hero.  It's not.  And this is where my ignorance comes into play.  I'm not sure exactly when the Green Hornet stories take place, but I thought they were more modern.  This book takes place in the 1930's.  The Lone Ranger is old.  The Green Hornet is young.  So their timelines overlap.

And more ignorance here.  Both characters have the same last name and are related.  I don't know if that was a happy coincidence or if it's canon.  Whatever it is, it works.  

Michael Uslan gives us a well thought out story.  He uses a lot of historical realities in writing this story while tying in a lot of the Lone Ranger's history.  I was finished reading this way before I was ready to let it go.  I have to give this book a big thumbs up.

The Lone Ranger / Green Hornet: Champions Of Justice
Writer: Michael Uslan
Artist: Giovanni Timpano
Dynamite Comics

074 Mockingbird Vol 2: My Feminist Agenda

This book was HIGHLY disappointing, but not for the reason you might be thinking.  I was disappointed because it was cancelled before it could properly fill up a trade paperback.  To pad it out, the back of the book features a couple issues of the Avengers that featured Mockingbird.  What's funny is that one of the issues barely features her, but it key to her updated status quo.

Anyway, Mockingbird was probably one of my favorite recent Marvel books.  It took a character who has never been given proper love by Marvel and finally gave her a direction and a purpose.  I could read this book until the end of time.

The final story of this series is a three parter that is loosely tied into the big Civil War thingie.  But only peripherally, which makes me happy.  Yes, Mockingbird is a part of the MarvelU, but we're not forced to read her in an adventure that's centered right in the middle of a giant fight scene.

This book is funny as shit.  I didn't realize until I was reading the afterword, but Chelsea Cain isn't a comics writer.  This was her stab at it.  And knowing that, I want her to stab away more.  She's got a fresh voice that I love.  More!!! More!!!

Mockingbird Vol 2: My Feminist Agenda
Writer: Chelsea Cain, Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Kate Niemczyk, Sean Parsons, Mike Deodato, Howard Chaykin
Marvel Comics

073 Last Days Of the Justice Society Of America

I love collections like this.  There wasn't enough of the main story to fill a trade paperback, so it's more of a themed collection than one story.  Which is fine by me.  I've read all of these stories in the past and I was excited to read them again.

My memories of the main story weren't very good.  I remember not feeling satisfied with the story when it was first published.  It was published as a Special after Crisis On Infinite Earths finished.  DC wanted to take the JSA off the page and Roy Thomas was tasked with that job.  He was the perfect choice since he wrote most every JSA (and related) story during the 80s.  Rereading this story didn't bring me any new insights.  It just made me sad all over again.  I always felt that this story just didn't do the JSA justice.  All these amazing characters were sentenced to a hellish limbo to live out their days (at least until someone decided it was okay to bring them back.)  It just wasn't my favorite story then, it still isn't my favorite story now.

To round out this collection, we get a ton of origin stories from Secret Origins.  These were fun to read.  Roy Thomas' love of these characters and their histories showed in each one.

Overall, it's a good book if you're looking for some done in one JSA stories.

Last Days Of The Justice Society Of America
Writer: Roy Thomas, Dann Thomas
Artist: David Ross, Mike Gustovich, Michael Bair, Steve Montano, Tom Grindberg, George Tuska, Jerry Acerno, Luke McDonnell, Tony DeZuniga, Mike Clark, Dave Hunt, Michael T. Gilbert, George Freeman, Bob Downs
DC Comics

072 Justice League Vol 2: Outbreak

Even without Bryan Hitch drawing this book, it still has this great, cinematic feel to it.  He continues to write this book like it's a big, widescreen movie.  I love the whole feel of it.  This volume, although still very cinematic, has a lot of smaller moments.

This book collects two stories, which makes me happy.  I like that we still get occasional two-part stories.  There's a two-parter and a four-parter.  Not everything needs to be six issues.  The first story focuses heavily on Jessica Cruz, Earth's newest Green Lantern.  The League battles and defeats an alien invader, or so they think.  The creature managed to infect the League with fear.  They defeat the creature, but at the end, Jessica doesn't think the League is the place for her and leaves.

The second story is kind of silly to me.  The League gets hacked.  Hardcore hacked.  By a hacker that makes Oracle look like an amateur.  I know this is just a comic book, but this story was even a little too far fetched for me when we find out who the hacker turned out to be.  Read it and tell me if you agree.

Justice League Vol 2: Outbreak
Writer: Bryan Hitch
Artist: Neil Edwards, Jesus Merino, Matthew Clark, Tom Derenick, Daniel Henriques, Andy Owens, Sean Parsons, Trevor Scott
DC Comics

071 Batman Vol 2: I Am Suicide

 I liked the first volume of this Batman run.  I really liked this volume.  A lot.  Tom King is extremely reliable.  This book picks up on threads left from the issues before.  Batman collects a handful of his villains and mounts his own Suicide Squad mission to retrieve the Psycho Pirate from Bane.  It's a fun romp, if you can call any modern Batman story a fun romp.  It's an interesting collection of rogues, many who haven't been seen (at least in anything I've read) in a really long time.

The only thing that I'm unsure of is the whole part of this book involving Catwoman.  I haven't read any Catwoman stuff since the New 52 started.  I don't know if this Catwoman's backstory is the same as the New 52 backstory or if this is all reinvented for Rebirth.  Either way, I really don't care for a lot of it.  I wish they'd steer her back to her conflicted anti-hero status of the days of old.  It kind of seems like that's where they're heading, but it might be a while before she's back.

Batman Vol 2: I Am Suicide
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Mikel Janin, Mitch Gerads, Hugo Petrus
DC Comics

070 Black Widow Vol 2: No More Secrets

This book is beautifully drawn and well written.  It picks up after the first volume ends and barrels through to a satisfying conclusion.  It kills me that still, after as many years as he's been writing comics, Mark Waid can still produce.  And it's not just one book a month he writes.  It always seems like he's got a dozen titles going at the same time.

As I've said before, I don't pay attention to a lot that goes on in the Marvel Universe.  They've actively pushed me away from their books over the last few years.  So imagine my surprise to see what they've turned Nick Fury into.  I don't know how, I don't know why.  I don't know what the fuck he's supposed to be, but there his is.  Can anyone explain?  I don't care enough to actively seek out what they've done to him.

I think the series was cancelled after this volume.  Because that's what Marvel does.  Which drives me bonkers.  I like old school numbering.  I hate this launch a series, run it for 12 issues, cancel it, repeat.  But that's just me.

I need to search out whatever Chris Sammee is drawing next because his work here is stellar.

Black Widow Vol 2: No More Secrets
Writer: Mark Waid, Chris Sammee
Artist: Chris Sammee
Marvel Comics

069 Green Lantern: Hal Jordan

Green Lantern: Hal Jordan collects both Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn mini-series.  So I'm not quite sure why the title isn't Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn, but whatever.  Emerald Dawn and Emerald Dawn II were mini-series that came out in between Green Lantern having a regular series.  Maybe this was the Green Lantern: Rebirth of the time.  

In a nutshell, these mini-series retell the origin of Hal Jordan.  And take a bunch of liberties.  Most of the liberties I don't believe are canon any longer.  Hal was responsible for the death of one of his friends and ended up going to prison for it.  I really don't recall that being part of his history any longer.  The first series deals with him becoming Green Lantern, the second series is his first encounter with Sinestro.  Honestly, both series aren't all that great, nor are they all that memorable.  It was an attempt by DC to bring Green Lantern back to the forefront.  It did result in him getting his own book again, but that series ultimately led to his death.  A volume collecting the first year or so of that series was solicited by DC, but cancelled shortly thereafter because the writer, Gerard Jones, was arrested on child pornography charges.  The timing was unfortunate.  I'm sure the book will be re-solicited somewhere down the road, but for now, this volume will be all of that era of Green Lantern in print.

Green Lantern: Hal Jordan
Writer: Gerard Jones, Keith Giffen, Jim Owsley
Artist: M.D. Bright, Keith Giffen, Romeo Tanghal
DC Comics

068 Blue Beetle Vol 1: The More Things Change

I have to admit that I don't know too much about this version of the Blue Beetle.  I do know that DC likes him a lot.  They keep giving him chances, but his series don't seem to last.  This is at least his third series, if my memory is correct.

Since I haven't been a BB reader, I don't know how Rebirth has affected him and his history.  I do know that Ted Kord is a part of the supporting cast, so that's new, at least since the New 52.

This was a decent enough read, but I was kind of lost.  I just don't know who any of these people are.  I do like the dynamic between Jaime and Ted.  I love the art by Scott Kolins.  But storywise, it felt no different than just about anything else Keith Giffen has written in the last ten years.  Not fantastic, not awful.  Just Giffen.

Blue Beetle Vol 1: The More Things Change
Writer: Keith Giffen, Scott Kolins
Artist: Scott Kolins
DC Comics


067 The Hellblazer Vol 1: The Poison Truth

First the good news.  This volume reprints the Rebirth issue that was also published at the end of the previous volume.  When I first read that, I kind of breathed a sigh of relief.  DC has cut the balls off of John Constantine, realized that they did a bad thing, and have been working on trying to reattach them.  The Rebirth issue showed a lot of promise.  This volume starts with that issue, and I'm afraid it might be the best issue reprinted here.  

This is John Constantine's third relaunch since cancelling his Vertigo book.  The New 52 launch was awful.  They completely neutered him.  Alfred Pennyworth had more of a sharp edge to him than John Constantine did.  They really tried to integrate him HARD into the regular DCU.  Guess what?  I didn't work.  That book was eventually cancelled (along with Justice League Dark, which went from being a great book to absolute unreadable garbage in a short span of time) and replaced with a second go round.  That book was better, but it still wasn't quite John Constantine.  He was still a little too kind, a little too gentle, but heading in the right direction.  Maybe the phrase I'm looking for is "user friendly."  He was a little too user friendly.  He's not supposed to be likable.  He's supposed to be a bastard who happens to do good along the way.  His heart would be in the right place if he had one.  This John had too much heart still.  And now we have our third launch.  Maybe it's going in the right direction, I don't know.  Why?  Because this is almost more of a Swamp Thing (and don't get me started on what a walking disaster that is) story than a Hellblazer story.  Aaaannnnnndddddd, it's only the first half of the story.

I love John Constantine.  I'm eating up the remastered series of Vertigo Hellblazer trades.  The last three runs, though, not as much.  DC, you can do better.  You really can.  I don't know why you won't.

The Hellblazer Vol 1: The Poison Truth
Writer: Simon Oliver
Artist: Moritat, Pia Guerra, Jose Marzan Jr
DC Comics

066 Astro City: Honor Guard

A couple of posts ago, I was complaining that Kurt Busiek, although a solid writer, just doesn't get the Justice League.  Or the DC Universe for that matter.  There's always been something about the stuff he writes for DC that doesn't click for me.  His Marvel work is great and he's so good at what he does, but not when it comes to DC properties.  Astro City is his creator owned book and what he does here makes his Marvel work look like his DC work, if that makes sense.  There's something magical about reading Astro City to me.  It rarely hits a sour note (though there was that maxi-series a few years ago.  The less we talk about it, the better).  He was born to write this book.

Very often in Astro City, Kurt will write a story which involves some sort of flashback.  Sometimes it's a single page showing scenes from previous adventures of the characters.  When you read something like JLA and they do that, you see a panel of them battling Shaggy Man and you remember that story, or they show a panel teaming up with the JSA and it brings you right back to that issue.  When Kurt does that in Astro City, you get the exact same feeling even though what he's flashing back to has never been published before.  Every time I read an issue of Astro City, it feels like a universe I've been heavily invested in since I was ten years old.  How he can manage to do that on a consistent basis is beyond me.

This collection is a little different than the last few.  It's full of one or two part stories that were published in between longer arcs.  Each story is about a different member of the Honor Guard.  You get some decent backstory on some of these characters.  I do love a nice done-in-one tale and these are all solid stories.  Also different about this collection is the stories are all drawn by guest artists.  But that does not detract from any of the stories.

Astro City: Honor Guard
Writer: Kurt Busiek
Artist: Jesus Merino, Joe Infurnari, Gary Chaloner, Tom Grummett, Wade Von Grawbadger, Cory Hamscher, Ferlis Santacruz, Agustin Padilla Bob Wiacek, Andrew Pepoy
Vertigo Comics

065 Robin Vol 2: Triumphant

I'm a little behind on the Robin trade paperbacks.  This is the second, though there are three out right now.  The book collects the second and third Robin mini-series from the early 90s as well as a couple of issues of the main Batman book leading up to the second mini-series.  Like most of the Batman books under Chuck Dixon's lead, this is pretty solid.  He had built up a solid base of what Gotham City at the time was like, who was in it and what they were doing.  Robin got a slow build.  Rather than immediately introduce Timothy Drake and have him out as Robin within three issues, there was a deliberate build to getting him in costume and out on his own.  Which makes sense.  The previous Robin had been murdered by the Joker and the last thing Batman should be doing is just throwing a replacement out there.  

Both mini-series are solid.  The first involves Robin's first encounter with the Joker.  The second involves Robin's first meeting and team up with the Huntress.  Both series involve Robin's slowly building rogue's gallery (King Snake, Lynx) and introduces some of his regular recurring cast (Ariana).  This is a decent read.  You don't really get any nutrition out of it, just some empty calories, but they're tasty calories. 

Robin Vol 2: Triumphant
Writer: Chuck Dixon, Alan Grant
Artist: Tom Lyle, Norm Breyfogle, Grant Miehm, Bob Smith, Andy Mushynsky, Steve Mitchell, Scott Hanna, Jose Marzan Jr
DC Comics


064 DC Comics: Bombshells Vol 3: Uprising

I love the Bombshells.  It's a clever re-imagining of the ladies of DC Comics.  DC has the best when it comes to super-heroines and it's fun seeing them in this context.  What started out as just cool art has taken on a life of it's own. 

This is the third volume of the Bombshells series.  And as much as I love the Bombshells, this book is a mess.  The trade paperback format is not the way these stories are meant to be read.  I say that because these are digital first stories, so they all need to be a certain length and they need tell a complete story, or at least a complete chapter, in that frame.  I think each chapter is about ten pages.  So that limits what you can do.  In a normal comic, in ten pages, you can spend a page or two per scene, jumping here to there and back and it feels organic.  And you can do that because your typical comic is 20-22 pages.  That limitation here calls for stilted storytelling.  Now, it wasn't so bad in the first two volumes of Bombshells.  They were giving us a big story there.  Now that that story has ended, we have this volume which kind of loses direction.  There's an overarching story here, but you have to look for it because it often takes the back seat.

Without a lot of focus, and with an enormous cast, this book is just a mess.  There are some neat points, there are new Bombshells introduced, but it's all too much.  What I'd like to see are tighter stories focusing on a smaller (rotating) cast.  Use them all, but only when it makes sense.  Don't cram every Bombshell (and then a few new ones) into a story for the sake of cramming them into a story.

 DC Comics: Bombshells Vol 3: Uprising
Writer: Marguerite Bennett
Artist: Miraka Andolfo, Pasquale Qualano, Laura Braga, Sandy Jarrell
DC Comics

063 JLA Vol 9

This book was a real mixed bag for me.  It's the final volume in this era of JLA.  I believe it leads right into Infinite Crisis and then into the Brad Metzler run of JLA.

We have three big stories here.  And I see each of them differently.  One I loved.  One I hated.  One I liked.  The book starts off with the end of Kurt Busiek's run.  I love Busiek.  I think he's a fantastic writer.  His run of Avengers was my favorite run of the book.  Astro City is a book that is amazing to me.  But for some reason, Busiek and the DCU just don't gel together for me.  At all.  I don't know why.  The characters don't seem right to me.  The stories just don't grab my attention.  And this book starts off with a big story.  Nine or ten parts, I think.  It's massive.  And, for me, really hard to get through.  I did not enjoy it then.  I didn't enjoy it now.

The next story was my favorite.  It's a six part arc that sort of served as a sequel to Identity Crisis.  It was the beginning of the end of this era of JLA.  The team was falling apart.  Hard.  The Secret Society was going after the JLA and their loved ones.  Mind wipes were discussed.  It was a big mess for the team.  And although there was one more story arc, for all intents and purposes, the JLA was done.

The last story features the team pretty much packing it in, but before they can officially close this chapter, The Key strikes.

Despite my feeling towards the Busiek story, this is a really good collection of JLA tales from the early 2000s.

JLA Vol 9
Writer: Kurt Busiek, Bob Harras, Allan Heinberg, Geoff Johns
Artist: Chris Batista, Tom Derenick, Ron Garney, Mark Farmer, Dan Green
DC Comics

062 Batgirl Vol 1: Beyond Burnside

I don't know anything about new Batgirl writer Hope Larson, but I was expecting to not like this volume as much as the previous run.  I'm not sure why.  Maybe I was setting the bar low in case DC hired some hack to write Batgirl.  After reading this, I still don't know anything about Hope Larson, but I do look forward to more Batgirl from her.  I don't believe she's ever written comics before.  I assume that based on two things.  1) I have never heard of her before and 2) this book feels different.  I can't quite place my finger on it, but it kind of feels like all the regular superhero comic conventions were stripped away from it.  The story is kind of simple, kind of quiet, but very enjoyable.  It's a fun story.  If I had one major gripe about it, it's that there were too many coincidental things in the story.  Things were just too set up to not notice, whether it's her trainer's former home, her hostel roommate and where some of the bad guys learned to fight.  It's all just a little too convenient.  But it was still fun and I'm willing to overlook that.

The art kept pace with the style set out in the last run of Batgirl.  It's a little rougher, but still very Batgirl.

Batgirl Vol 1: Beyond Burnside
Writer: Hope Larson
Artist: Rafael Albuquerque
DC Comics


061 All-New X-Men: Inevitable Vol 3: Hell Hath So Much Fury

This volume of All-New X-Men: Inevitable could be named Interlude.  Not a ton goes on, but it's a nice break before the next story arc.  The first few chapters all take place over the course of the same night, each focusing on a different character or group of characters.  Wolverine gets out of the headquarters to bampf around on some missions, only to find out her boyfriend, Angel, has beaten her to the punch.  Idie and Kid Apocalypse take Iceman out so he can meet boys.  After failing miserably, he does meet an Inhuman and they kind of sort of hit it off.  Cyclops is still wheelchair ridden and going stir crazy after the events of the last trade.  He goes from playing video games to battling demons Beast may have inadvertently unleashed. Finally, the team converges as Goblin Queen shows up to test them.

It's a fun book with some real character driven moments.  And it's laying the groundwork for a big battle with the Goblin Queen.  Which I find intriguing since at one point in time, she was married to older Cyclops.  Seeing younger Cyclops battle her could prove to be an interesting thing.

All-New X-Men: Inevitable Vol 3: Hell Hath So Much Fury
Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Artist: Mark Bagley, Andrew Hennessy
Marvel Comics

060 Torchwood: World Without End

I was a big fan of the Torchwood television show.  If you're not aware of what Torchwood is, it's a spin off of Doctor Who (as well as being an anagram of Doctor Who).  Captain Jack Harkness, former sort of companion, headed up an agency who investigated alien incursions in and around England.  It ran for four series on tv, with most of the original cast dying.  The two main characters left were Captain Jack and Gwen Cooper, and they both star in this new adventure.

This is my first Torchwood comic.  There was a series published by Doctor Who's former publisher IDW, but if it was ever collected in trade format, I never realized it.  And I'm not sure if this is Titan Comics' first Torchwood comic, but like I said, it's my first.  And this definitely picks up where former comics left off.  There are new characters here I don't recognize.  Jack is now operating out of a ship.  He and Gwen aren't currently working together.  But it's easy enough to put who's who in order.

I didn't enjoy this book.  It took me a minute to figure out why.  It wasn't the story.  The story (of which this collection reprints the first half) was fine.  Well, it was fine during the parts I could follow.  It was the storytelling.  It's written by John Barrowman and Carole Barrowman.  It's sooooooo choppy and that it doesn't flow.  At all.  It's too choppy to make a lot of sense.  They've written a handful of comics together by the time this book came out, so they should know how to tell a story in this format, but they just don't.  It's like they write each panel as it's own separate story or something, forgetting that you need to logically progress from the previous panel and on to the next.  It's very choppy, there are big gaps in storytelling, there are things that happen that just don't seem to make sense, they pick up one plot point and drop it just as quickly as they pick up the next.  It's just not a fun read, though it is nice to look at.

Torchwood: World Without End
Writer: John Barrowman, Carole Barrowman
Artist: Antonio Fuso, Pasquale Qualano
Titan Comics

059 Power Man And Iron Fist Vol 2: Civil War II

Marvel is giving me Special Event Fatigue and I don't even read as many Marvel titles as I used to.  Luckily most of the series I do read take place on the peripheral of the main crossover heavy universe.  This book is part of the awful Civil War II event.  While it isn't directly involved in the mail crossover, this story is a Civil War II tie in.  You don't need to read the crossover to figure out what's going on here.  Basically, I guess, there's a new Inhuman who accurately sees what's going to happen in the future and Captain Marvel is going around arresting people before they can commit the crimes.  Or some such bullshit.  I really fucking hate this.  I hate how they've neutered Carol Danvers.

Anyway, enough of that.  Here Luke and Danny get hired by some former (and current) felons who need protection.  Someone is going around and beating and arresting former felons and throwing them in jail unjustly.  There's this recognition software that's finding these guys, falsifying criminal records to justify putting them in jail.  Luke and Danny get involved, Danny gets arrested and Luke considers how to get him out of jail.  That's where Captain Marvel and her posse of douche bags come in.  They want to arrest Luke for something he hasn't done and in the process manage to destroy the prison Danny and the unjustly arrested are jailed.  It's a fucking mess.  But an enjoyable story.  I really like this version of Power Man and Iron Fist.  Like most of the other Marvel books I read, it's not heavy.  It's fun and it makes me smile to read it, even when the shitty part of the Marvel Universe (and isn't most of the Marvel Universe pretty shitty these days?) crosses over.

Power Man And Iron Fist Vol 2: Civil War II
Writer: David E Walker
Artist: Flaviano, Sanford Greene, Scott Hepburn
Marvel Comics

058 Legionnaires Book One

When this run of Legion of Super-Heroes first started, I wasn't really having it.  Sure, I read every issue, but I just wasn't happy with it.  The Legion of Super-Heroes had two series going.  The main book featured the Legion and the second book, Legionnaires, featured younger clones of the original team.  Then DC decided "fuck it, let's start over."  And both books were rebooted and we started over at day one again.  We got new adventures, new motivations, new characters.  I wasn't happy because my team, a team I'd been reading since I was ten or eleven years old, was suddenly gone.  They were replaced with these imposters.

But over time, this title really grew on me.  It wasn't bad.  It wasn't done half-assed like another reboot I've complained about a lot on this blog.  And the characters slowly became old friends again.  There were new characters whom I adored (XS!!!  Monstress!!!!).  There were reboots I didn't particularly care for (Projectra.... um, no.)

What's weird re-reading these stories, especially in this format, is seeing how quickly the basis of the Legion was thrown together.  This volume reprints six or seven issues of each series and it's crazy how quickly they added and subtracted members in less than the first year of the series.  Sure, it kind of makes sense they way they did it, but it was still pretty quick how many characters were introduced after the team was formed.

It's weird to me that Mark Waid was behind the reboot of the team into this AND the reboot of this team into the next iteration.  This one worked.  The one after this so did not.  I'm anxious to see the next volume of this book.

Legionnaires Book One
Writer: Tom McCraw, Tom Peyer, Mark Waid
Artist: Stuart Immonen, Lee Moder, Jeffrey Moy, Brian Apthorp, Scott Benefiel, Yancey Labat, Chris Renaud, Ron Boyd, W.C. Carani, Philip Moy, Tom Simmons
DC Comics

057 Supergirl: The Silver Age Omnibus Vol 1

So, I always have comics in my desk at work to read during my lunch break.  I always eat at my desk and use my measly 1/2 hour to down my lunch and devour something graphic.  For the last few weeks, this is what I've been reading on my lunch breaks.  And man oh man, was it glorious.  I love all this Silver Age nonsense.  Comics were so much simpler back then.  And much more illogical, but that was the charm.

I've read a lot of the stories in this volume, but there were a ton I've never read before, or at least don't remember ever reading.  This book contains all of Supergirl's adventures from when she landed on Earth to the time Superman was ready to reveal her existence to the world and just beyond.  We follow Supergirl from Midvale Orphanage to a couple unfortunate adoptions to her final placement with the Danvers family.  We get to see her help other orphans get adopted (apparently back in the day, all you needed was a special talent like being able to play golf to get adopted by a famous golfer, or have a special talent like playing piano or cooking to find a loving family), we get to see her hang out with the Legion of Super-Heroes, we get lots of adventures with Streaky, the Super Cat and Comet, the Super Horse.  She's got boyfriends, both super and ordinary.  It's 600 plus pages of super cheesiness and it's absolute glorious.  I hope this whole new Omnibus series DC is pushing does well because I want more.  I want this to at least reach the Supergirl run in Adventure Comics and her own short lived title around that time.  There's a special place in my heart for that era of Supergirl.

Supergirl: The Silver Age Omnibus Vol 1
Writer: Otto Binder, Jerry Siegel, Leo Dorfman
Artist: Al Plastino, Jim Mooney
DC Comics


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


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


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