Another mediocre week in the main I’m afraid, apart from that 2000AD will be celebrating 35 years on the 26th. It’s going to be a zarjaz weekend.
DC – New 52 #6 Part 4
All Star Western
Batman: The Dark Knight
The Fury Of Firestorm: The Nuclear Man
Green Lantern: New Guardians
Justice League Dark
The Savage Hawkman #6
The Ray #3
All Star Western #6
Written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti
Art by Moritat and Phil Winslade
Cover by LodronnI’d expected the fight against a giant bat to take more than 3 pages. We get an unexpected appearance by Alan Wayne, with the Wayne family being ever such good upstanding people even way back when. Violence and torture resolves the child slavery ring plot, but leaves Hex chasing after another escapee from justice. A chase that is set to take him to New Orleans and out of hateful Gotham.
Within the home of one of the Gotham great and the good, there seems to be an abundance of owls. Which seems an unsubtle shout out to the Court of Owls plot running in “Batman”.
Final part of the Barbary Ghost tails off a bit compared to the previous issues, and the final resolve, while containing satisfying elements leaves too much open, or badly finished.
Written by Geoff Johns
Art and cover by Ivan Reis and Joe PradoMera responses to a pervy shop assistant with a broken arm and a police incident. Turns out she likes being Aquawoman even less the Arthur enjoys his epitaph (As to if Arthur likes being Aquawoman that’s a question for another time).
“I don’t know how Arthur can put up with this constant barrage of unappreciated and unoriginal comments. I won’t do it.” While still shedding light on the public view of Aquaman and Mera’s past, and also showcasing Mera’s water manipulating power in an unexpected way there also feels like a bit of a flat issue in comparison to the other in the series.
Batman: The Dark Knight #6
Written by David Finch and Paul Jenkins
Art and cover by David Finch and Richard FriendThe above, not happy in this issue. Happened a long time ago in fact.Not quiet sure how long in Bat-years though. Might be happening again this summer on the big screen. DC you big tease.
The self awareness that Batman already has a host of Alice in Wonderland based villains seems to fly in the face of using another one. Particularly one that after six issues remains a mysterious bit of unnecessary eye candy.
The writing seems to be playing up to the soon to be released movie, which is a shame. Both comics and films have the strength to stand on their own, if they were allowed to. Seeing Bane appear and mention over and over breaking Batman is a cheap trick and a sad decline for the Secret Six portray of his character.
Nice opening fight, followed by an explanation of who and what Blackhawks are. Or at least an explanation sanitised for public consumption at a press meeting. Which leads to some slightly prickishness towards the Native Americans. In the main it’s political crap, of a worrying sort, as the politicians try and spin the existence of the newly revealed Blackhawks in their favour.
As direct antidote to this we get manly man drinking in manly bars telling manly stories and touching on the future of a soldier whose enemy can’t be shot.
There are wheels within wheels this issue, and while it starts a bit flat this lends more punch to the last few page turns.
The Flash #6
Written by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato
Art and cover by Francis ManapulThere’s a nice little narrative caption intro to Captain Cold that gets the reader up to speed in three pages without impacting on the action.
The story line jumps about in time a bit, with motivations nicely revealed, although Captain Cold seems to have abilities beyond his previous scope.
The limitations on his powers Barry is now working under is set to cause problems, and it’ll be interesting how long this remains before resolution.
There’s also a cliffhanger that promises some nastiness next month as Barry seems to be on the edge of defeat.
The Fury Of Firestorm: The Nuclear Man #6
Written by Ethan Van Sciver and Gail Simone
Art by Yildiray Cinar and Norm Rapmund
Cover by Ethan Van SciverGood opening page, with a nice use of 3×3 panel layout. Sadly this is followed by a bad second/third page splash, which chases the marginally subtle with the grossly overblown. And then back to the better side of things with the horror of surviving an explosion show nicely and grim practicality on the part of Jason.
Mikhail Arkadin/Pozhar overshadows the boys as a character. Quite if he’s anti hero or villain remains to be seen however.
The series seems to be taking a long time to gather itself but is coalescing more and more, and, the odd slip notwithstanding, improving.
Green Lantern: New Guardians #6
Written by Tony Bedard
Art and cover by Tyler Kirkham and BattThe Lanterns remain trapped in the Orrery, and come face to face with its protector. Problems with the rings communicating lead to a nice little rant from Kyle as he tries to marshal his fellows.
Archangel Invictus makes a brilliant entrance, and seems set to be a powerful character who’ll shake thinks up nicely. He certainly provides a interesting point of view, as it’s not certain that he’s entirely wrong in his beliefs about “The Beast” yet.
“Eep” – I am loving the Orange Lantern Constructs, less so the return of a character that’s going to mess with the chronology of the four Lantern books.
I, Vampire #6
Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov
Art by Andrea Sorrentino
Cover by Jenny Frison“Prelude to Rise of Vampires.” It’s not just Batman having crossover “issues” then. This one looks set to draw in the Justice League Dark, which should prove good.
Some nicely quirky captioning introduce a dark issue, which provides a lightness of tone that is soon dispelled.
Batman’s wish to preserve life comes into conflict with Andrew’s methods asthe group are set on by hundreds of vampires. Resolution comes surprisingly fast, but is followed by a very unexpected death, which while likely not permeate is impressive for only six issues into a title (Sadly not Batman).
The foundations of a team divided are placed, which works in the favour of the characters who have always been of a more individualistic bent than most. The friction between the team should provide as much of a draw as the plots beyond the normal scope of the DCU.
The issues ends with a welcome tie into I, Vampire, which locks them together neatly, rather than having a disparate feeling crossover.
Teen Titans #6
Written by Scott Lobdell
Art and cover by Brett Booth and Norm RapmundFacing off with the police in the wake of their fight with Superboy the team are saved, after a manner, by the appearance of Skitter. This brings the revelation that team mate on team mates fights are a faux pas. Looking at you Marvel.
Static manages to be better than he is in his own series, during his cameo this episode, building a mechanical Raptor in his spare time (the dinosaur, not the bird). Called upon by Red Robin he’s the teams only hope as Kid Flash’s powers start to become uncontrollable.
Red Robin is wearing a Green Lantern shirt, which is fair enough, the Lanterns lacking representation amongst the Titans.
The issue continues the trend of fitting more in than a normal issue by including not only Kid Flash’s problem but also a fight between two of the team and Grymm, a new villain, who suffers from Wonder Girl subverting a trope wonderfully.
Kid Flash gets the best line of the month upon reading a huge text book – “He dies in the end”. Not brilliant, but it tickled me.
Is there a sexual flash joke from Static? That I’m reading it as such probably says more about me than the book. It’s about Kids Flash’s new uniform “A Yellow Rainjacket and you’ll be good to go.” Talking of his uniform he’s looking a lot like reverse Flash, which probably doesn’t bode well in combination with something else revealed elsewhere in this month’s issue.
Wonder how Kid Flash’s powers will tie into The Flash’s issues with pushing the Speed Force to its temporal limits.
The Savage Hawkman #6
The Ray #3
Written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti
Art by Jamal Igle and Rich PerottaThe strange creatures from last month get a stranger explanation in this issue, with a rather unexpected and completely insane master villain showing his hand. Anyone seen Bowfinger?
The vein of humour the series seems to be mining isn’t at the forefront as much this month as The Ray has a run in with the emergency services and the press. And then in the middle of it all our villain appears, and things get worse, who easily outmatches our hero. A fight ensues as these things are want to do, that involves one of the most surprising cameos/shout outs/rip offs I’ve seen in a long while, and it works all for the good.
The ending, in the run up the the final issue should play out very well indeed.
Judge Dredd- Day of Chaos – Eve of Destruction Pt6
The Judges finally swing into action, with an assault on the camp where Borisenko is hiding. The change of pace comes very nicely after the build up over the last 5 parts, but the larger plot still gets included, and despite this victory it is still dark days ahead for Mega City One.
Grey Area- The Do
A niceone shot story, that in the traditon of 2000AD has a twist in the tail. A change of art gives a different feeling, and if I had one criticism it is that the stories seem to be repeating the same small set of facts, especially regarding their translator.
Nikolai Dante- The Wedding of Jena Makarov Pt7
Dante once again saves the day, with brilliant cunning and cutting lines. The marriage gets interrupted with the best double page splash I’ve seen in a long while.
Absalom- Ghost of London Pt6
Lytton’s plan appears to be running ahead full steam despite Absalom’s direct methods. The Battle Of Cable Street looks to be taking a turn for the worse, but Absalom has plans to push things a long way back in time. “There’s a good reason why we tell ourselves we don’t know anything about what went on here in prehistoric times.”
Strontium Dog- The Project Pt8
Going it alone into Canvey Johnny evades the squad sent to capture him and blends in amongst the interned mutants, unearthing some familiar faces and getting some answers that might prove to be key to unraveling the whole conspiracy around him.
2000AD stands out once again, with Nikolai Dante and Absalom really impressing me. The New 52 seems to be slipping this week, with even Aquaman feeling a bit iffy. I, Vampire wins out for both quality and consistency, and Teen Titans still managing to pack more into an issue than anyone else manages in two without trouble.The Flash and Justice League Dark also worth a look. Blackhawks feels like a prologue to the next story line and disjointed because of it. New Guardians moves forward nicely if that’s your bag, and Firestorm remains consistently inconsistent for me if that makes sense.
Next week will be a bit odd, as DC has the Justice League out, but no other huge titles, and 2000AD’s anniversary issue will be out (it’s already in the shop, but I’ll get the digital edition and don’t want to get out of synch), so it’l be a short but hopefully good week. Till then…