Another week another lot of comics. The second week of DC’s 52 continues is fine form, while 2000AD makes a proper start to what will hopefully be regular appearances on here.
Demon Knights #5
Frankenstein: Agent Of S.H.A.D.E. #5
Green Lantern #5
Legion Lost #5
Mister Terrific #5
Resurrection Man #5
Suicide Squad #5
Batman & Robin #5
The Incredible Hulk #4
Prog 1764 (4th Jan)
The Activity #2
Once again here’s a link the DC’s digital preview if you want to try before you buy.
Written by Gail Simone
Art by Ardian Syaf and Vicente Cifuentes
Cover by Adam HughesBatgirl does keep getting shown in odd positions. It’s not a bad thing, and it’s not done for the sake of over sexualising the character (the art is missing the traditional arse shots found in Superhero books), but it bears noting.
I still don’t want to give away last issue’s ending, so I’ll talk around things as much as I can.
There’s a hint at why Barbara is walking again, which adds a little more to the mystery. This month starts with a truly bizarre bit of dailylight robbery on one of Gotham’s bridges.
Some great lines this month “Okay. It’s Gotham. Crazy lives here on a long term lease.”
Barbara gets a very nasty punch to the face in the course of stopping the robbery. It’s painful to look at even. This serves as an introduction to Gretel the villainess of this arc, who apparently can take a licking and keep on ticking, and dishes out more brutal blows to the heroine. More great lines come “He’s got a grin like the Joker’s his therapist.”
Then comes the catch up with last month, which I’m going to skim over for the sake of spoilers.
There’s a news report from the site of “Occupy Gotham” in opposition to Bruce Wayne’s development plans, which is fantastic.
Rounded off with a great cliff hanger this issue introduces a new character introduced with aplomb, and Barbara gets fleshed out further as a character. Her father does show a magnificent lapse in judgement however.
Written by J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman
Art and cover by J.H. Williams IIIAnother gorgeous cover this month. To an issue going under the wonderful subtitle of “Evapotranspiration”.
More fantastic interior art, as Batwoman takes on the spectral Maria. The art becomes part of the story as the styles bleed over. There’s baggage stowed from the pre New 52 series as well, but whether it indicates a permanent close to things remains to be seen.
The Department of Extranormal Operations finally catch up to Kate, with Director Bones looking creepily similar to Black Skull (or is it Alan Buttons – Corporate Skull!). Actually just take a moment to follow the link I’ve tagged his name with and read his origin. The DC Universe was a strange place in the 80’s. Turns out he’s technically not just a skeleton, which is something to help you on a very specific pub quiz question one day.
The only niggle with this issues is Batman being a foreboding prick. I suppose it’s in character (well, a character, he’s got a lot of options to chose from), but it’s tedious none the less.
Written by Kyle Higgins
Art by Joe Bennett and Art Thibert
Cover by Simon BisleyThe usual action gets pushed to the back third of the issue, but it is more than worth the wait. The full impact of last month’s cliffhanger gets showcased for new readers with a bit of history, while in the present Deathstroke’s weaknesses are catching up with him.
Demon Knights #5
Written by Paul Cornell
Art by Diogenes Neves and Oclair Albert
Cover by Mike ChoiA fantastic bit of subversion after last month’s ending that leads to infighting amongst the Knights, which is only stirred by the machinations of the enemy.
Etrigan looks fantastic as he reappears this issue, while Savage returns to form in more ways than one. The writing remains strong throughout, both dialogue and plotting being very good. It certainly finishes up with final page that got me grinning. Next month promises to be very good indeed as the action really gets going, as the siege begins.
While much of the issue is taken up with the title fight there is still a lot else going on. There a nicely offhand bit of fighting from Frank before the title fight, and some nicely executed messing around with computers. The relationship between Frank and Father Time gets strained as well, and there are hints of the future path the series may take.
Green Lantern #5
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Doug Mahnke and Christian Alamy
Cover by Doug MahnkeI’m really enjoying this series. There are a lot of little touches that make it a good read. One such, almost throw away, detail is a single little speech bubble for an alien language that is just a squiggle.
DC is really upping the violence this month, with one of the Yellow Lanterns blown apart in horrific fashion.
Sinestro is really coming into his own as a heroic character, if one who will go to any means to achieve his end. He is also serving to demonstrate the true power of Green Lantern ring has.
The fight against the Yellow Lanterns is resolved in sneaky style, with echoes of Batman’s almost prescient pre planning on Sinestro’s part.
I’ll leave Carol Ferris’ role in thins unmentioned, but she does seem to be turning into a one note character.
Written by Nathan Edmondson
Art and cover by Scott Clark and Dave BeatyCole’s mysterious saviour gets fleshed out a bit this month, in an issue the is mainly gunplay and aliens. It seems to be a lot of padding for next month, with foreshadowing of the arrival of the “Black Currate”.
The art is really hit and miss. Some of the clothing textures look fantastic but faces look bad.
There seems to be a very subtle element of horror in the series, with one close up panel making me wince (Urgh, fingernails).
This issue bring the opening story line to a close with the Legion facing off against Alastor, and three members getting play with more impressive powers than previously seen.
There’s a very nicely done trick in the telepathic battle of wills, with the hijacking of character captions.
And we finish with two odd things, firstly an evil squirrel, who looks awesome, and a cameo from a character who seems to be on track for getting around more the Batman or Deathstroke.
Mister Terrific #5
Written by Eric Wallace
Art by Gianluca Gugliotta and Wayne Faucher
Cover by J.G. JonesThis issue is banging a big preachy drum. Both slavery and gender issues are highlighted in an overblown way. This is something I’m divided about as while it’s both laudable and probably necessary it feels overwrought and executed at far to grand a scale.
Mr Terrific’s escape from alien captivity is aided by the discovery of a hermaphroditic alien, sold into slavery because of hir difference from the general population.
The space faring is brought to an abrupt close with Michaels return to his HQ.
Resurrection Man #5
Written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Art by Fernando Dagnino
Cover by Ivan Reis and Joe PradoOpening with last month’s ditz of an angelic warrior trying to avoid taking the blame for possibly killing Mitch for good the issue takes a swerve into Mitch’s past, where he was apparently a complete and utter bastard, and not in a cool John Constantine way, but it an emotionally detached, self serving arsehole way.
Operating in Basra Mitch is heading up an R&D team testing a drug in the field. Swooping in before US medical aid onto the scene of a battle the wounded soldiers are used a guinea pigs, which Mitch showing callous disregard for both them and his team. Deathstroke is serving as their contracted protector, adding another mark to his tally of cameo appearances (will he get a whole set I wonder).
This derailing of the character built up over the last 4 issues is an interesting one, that will hopefully be rounded off next issue as Mitch ends up at a favourite haunt of many a super villain.
Suicide Squad #5
Written by Adam Glass
Art by Federico Dellocchio
Cover by Dan PanosianAmanda Waller’s look has changed substantially from the pre New 52 stylings. Not only in appearance, but in a sense of human attachment. She’s not The Wall of old.
Putting down the riot the squad is a divided force, which only adds to their problems. Another member is killed off by hilarious means (King Shark is a bastard), and the apparent upping of the horror violence quota in DC titles as Diablo goes on a power trip and burns a few faces off.
At least this month serves as a let up in the Harley Quinn show which will be making a return next month, in stronger form.
Written by Scott Lobdell
Art by Rb Silva and Rob Lean
Cover by Shane Davis and Jonathan GlapionTimewarp! In this issue we’re with Superboy before his fight with Wonder Girl in Teen Titans #4.
There is a manga feel, reminiscent of Hellsing, particularly as Mr Templar shares the silhouette of Paladin Anderson and powers not unlike Alucard dog form.
The allegiance of Superboy and other character is muddied further by this month’s events, and the series really feels as though it is hitting its stride. There are a number of thing I’m keen to watch for, firstly if and how Gen 13 is introduced into the New 52, and secondly how the series develops when (if?) Superboy joins the Teen Titans.
All in all a very good issue capped off by a deeply disturbing final page.
Batman & Robin #5
Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Art by Patrick Gleason and Mick Gray
Another strong showing this month. The triumvirate of Batgirl, Batwoman, and Demon Knights still reigns supreme, with Demon Knights pushing ahead of Batgirl and into second place. Green Lantern comes in at a very strong fourth place. Legion Lost and Supeboy both continue to impress. Resurrection Man has taken a swerve this month, which is going to really change the book going forward. Deathstroke balances overblown action with more plot, and loses none of its fighty charm. Frankenstein, Mr Terrific, Suicide Squad and Grifter and still teetering for me, being neither bad, but not pushing my buttons either.
The Ray #4
Written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti
Art by Jamal Igle and Rich Perotta
Cover by Jamal IglePoints for the B-movie style subtitle on the cover. There’s the sense that the series is breaking the 4th wall with the caption boxes, which is confirmed later on when The Ray addresses the reader directly.
The B-movie feel pervades the issue with such lines as “We will take your woman and you will be exterminated!” being delivered by giant space coach roaches (because that’s how infeasibly large giant insectile vermin roll). The issue earns extra points for the inclusion of not one but two ridiculous monsters enemies, and for some Disco! (It’s not dead!).
Lucien Gates proves to be not the smartest of heroes, not least for how he chooses to deal with meeting his girlfriend’s parents.
And for anyone who reads it, is that last page a sex face?
The Shade #4
Written by James Robinson
Art by Darwyn Cooke and J. Bone
Cover by Tony HarrisThe ambient weird continues this month with a flash back to 1944 and the entwined past of The Shade and Darnell Caldecott. There’s less magic than seen in the first there issues and far more hitting things with fists as Shade is backed up by two more pugilistic vigilantes. Both of whom are rather brilliant in their own special way.
This month it is really, really, impressed on the reader that Banner has lost it big style; to the point of complete insanity it seems. The Hulk for his part has agreed to kill Banner.
There are some fantastic lines with Banner proclaiming that “If it’s any consolation I didn’t set out to build an army of irradiated beast men.”
Judge Dredd-Days of Chaos Part 6
The final part of a story line from Prog 1763 (Pre Prog 2012) and one I’ll skip. A new arc beginning next issue so I’ll be picking up Judge Dredd then.
Grey Area – Meet & Greet (Part: 2)
Grey Area continues from Prog 2012, with more violence and conspiracy. And surprisingly healthy looking undead.
Nikolai Dante – The Wedding of Jena Makarov (Part: 2)
It’s all political this week, with not a sign of our eponymous hero. The wedding preparations go on with a typically bizarre and unnerving grandeur setting the scene for the big day.
Past Imperfect – H Battalion (Part: 1)
A tale from The Great War as a patient recovering in a hospital behind the lines remembers the events that sent him there.
Strontium Dog – The Project (Part: 2)
It’s back to base for Johnny Alpha this week, trying to find out who ordered last issues hit on him.
The Activity #2
Written byy Nathan Edmondson
Art by Mitch GeradsAnother series that seems to have jumped a week, which makes sense given I ran it just under the Hulk erroneously in week 3 last time around. Issue 2 follows the first in fine style, with another operation being pulled off by the team. Topped and tailed by a bit of character building it’s a very smooth read and recommended.