Comics – 18th April 2012

The Night Of Owls begins in the New 52. Spilling out of the pages of this month’s Batman, Bruce Wayne’s fight against the Court Of Owls engulfs all of the Bat family bar Batwoman in frantic battle. They even appear in the Justice League this month. It’s going to provide  useful spike of continuity across many of the issues. It’s also good to see an event that doesn’t overtake the whole of DC’s output as these things are sometimes want to do.

DC – New 52 #8 Part 3
Batman
Birds Of Prey
Blue Beetle
Green Lantern Corps
Justice League
Nightwing
Red Hood & The Outlaws
Supergirl
Wonder Woman

Not Reviewed
Captain Atom
Catwoman
DC Universe Presents
The Legion Of Superheroes

Marvel
Incredible Hulk #7

Other
Dominique Laveau: VoodooChild

Skipped To The End…


DC – New 52 # Part 3

Batman #8
Written by Scott Snyder & James T Tynion IV
Pencilled by Greg Capullo & Rafael Albuquerque
Inked by Jonathan Glapion & Rafael Albuquerque
Cover Colour by FCO Plascencia
Lettered by Comicraft
Coloured by Greg Capullo, Nathan Fairbairn & FCO PlascenciaThe Night Of Owls begins as Bruce is attacked in his own home. Wayne Manor turns out to be prepared for such an eventuality, but not quite as much as you’d imagine. The Court Of Owls is out in serious numbers both within Wayne Manor and across Gotham city, striking at anyone with public office or influence.

This may be the biggest challenge Bruce has faced in a long while, as the city he’s always thought he’s known proves to have darker depth than he ever suspected. Certainly the reach of the Owls goes further than can be imagined.

The art isn’t the easiest to follow this month, which is a shame, because everything else is good. There’s a mid issue high point that would be the cliffhanger ending another book, and the Bat Cave sees some good use. The Talons are proving to do impressive and implacable villains and it’s good that none of the usual rouge gallery have got in on the action.

Birds Of Prey #8
Written by Duane Swierczynski
Cover Colour by Santiago Arcas
Finished by Javier Pina
Lettered by DC Lettering
Coloured by Jesús Saíz & June Chung
Layouts by Jesús SaízThis month opens on a crime scene, containing a murder victim apparently killed by Black Canary’s scream. As has been hinted at in the series thus far, this is not the first victim of such an attack.

There are some tiresomely descriptive villain names this month. Napalm, Head, and Flesh do not inspire terror but mirth and ridicule.

Although the Choke plot was not fully resolved last month, we’ve moved on as the team fight against an ambush set for them my an agency convinced of Canary’s guilt. Elsewhere Starling is doing some off the books investigation of her friend, trying to find the truth.

This issue looks set to turn things on their head for the group, with Ivy not in evidence and some of Canary’s past revealed.

Blue Beetle #8
Written by Tony Bedard
Lettered by Rob Leigh
Coloured by Peter PantazisThere’s possibly one of the daftest origin stories this month, as we get the genesis of Stopwatch. Determined to create a time machine after a failed experiment with one killed the girl Stopwatch is killing others to further his own ends and build the machine, enshrined in the knowledge that his success will reverse all his crimes. Jamie’s life seems set to kill him through unfortunate coincidence as he finds the trail of Stopwatch leads to a home for runaways.

It turns out the scarab doesn’t know everything, as it declares time travel impossible. Other DC titles would beg to differ.

There’s a good turn around in the last few pages, and Jamie looks set to run into more than a few of the heroes he’s been trying to find over the next few moths. Just not in the way he’d maybe want.

Green Lantern Corps #8
Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Pencilled by Fernando Pasarin
Inked by Scott Hanna
Cover Colour by Gabe Eltaeb
Lettered by David L. Sharpe
Coloured by Scott Hanna,Fernando Pasarin & Gabe EltaebThe Alpha Lanterns, who act as the Internal Affairs department of the Green Lantern Corps, have chosen to take action against John for the death of Kirrt. Altered by the Guardians for that purpose they are removed from other Lanterns, putting duty above all else. They even get their own rhyming oath.

While it’s all about to come home to roost for John, Guy is finding himself in front of the Guardians for other reasons than those you might expect. The burial of the Yellow Power Battery is a major point this month, and Guy’s actions are as you might expect. Crass and opinionated.

Justice League #8
Written by Geoff Johns
Pencilled by Gary Frank
Inked by Gary Frank
Cover Colour by Alex Sinclair
Lettered by DC Lettering
Coloured by Jim Lee, Scott Williams & Alex SinclairHal to Green Arrow “We already got one guy who can’t do anything. If Batman sprains his ankle, we’ll call you.” Whisper “Totally lying. We wouldn’t call him.” Bats – “Thanks”

There is much less confrontation than the cover would lead you to believe this issue. Instead Green Arrow keeps trying to impress the League and win their favour and a place in their ranks. He’s brushed off at every turn, and there’s the serious impression of previous tension between him and Aquaman.

There’s the appearance of the Court of Owls, which is unexpected. There’s also a very awesome splash page with an even more unexpected cameo (although this character does seem to be getting about the place).

The arts a little off. Wonder Woman looks very strangely proportioned in some panels. While the series has produced quotable lines month on month the characters still ring false against their appearances in solo lines. Aquaman and Wonder Woman remain a far cry from being as they are elsewhere, while Hal’s use of the Lanterns Ring bangs against the events in his own book (he’s nailed as a character though).

The Shazam story still lacks a real hook. For all that dysfunctional foster families and kids can be an interesting premise there just isn’t enough drawing me to the setting or characters. Nor is another orphaned hero original.

Nightwing #8
Written by Kyle Higgins
Pencilled by Eddy Barrows
Inked by Paulo Siqueira
Cover Colour by Rod Reis
Lettered by DC Lettering
Coloured by Rod Reis & Eddy BarrowsThe Night Of Owls begins it’s cross over as Nightwing breaks off an investigation into another murder that framing him to defend Gotham’s Mayor from the murderous attentions of the Talons. Interlaced with this we get the story of William Cobb, a Talon that was taken from Haly’s Circus.

There’s far more focus on action this month as NIghtwing protects the Mayor and fends off the Talon. There’s a very nicely done twist that plays on expectat, although the ending feels like itll stretch things next month, in terms of another miraculous escape for Dick.

Red Hood & The Outlaws #8
Written by Scott Lobdell
Pencilled by Kenneth Rocafort
Cover Colour by Blond
Lettered by DC Lettering
Coloured by Blond & Kenneth RocafortRed Hood also gets caught up in Night Of The Owls, but not till the tail end of the issue. Instead there’s a lose end to take care of from way back at the start of the series. Suzie was left with a bullet in her shoulder on a floor in Tokoyo. Transported to Gotham for treatment, she’s recovered enough to take the children’s wing of the hospital hostage and threaten their death if Red Hood doesn’t surrender.

This is dealt with in surprisingly short order by the gang, with Jason placing considerable faith in his accomplices. The high point of the issue is a surprising meeting between Jason and, ah, well, that’d be telling.

Supergirl #8
Written by Michael Green & Mike Johnson
Pencilled by George Pérez
Inked by Bob Wiacek
Cover Colour by Dave McCaig
Lettered by John Hill
Coloured by George PérezOf all the bloody names why does Supergirl have to feature Siobhan Smythe. That’s just a spelling trap waiting to happen. Siobhan’s Irish, ye can tell by the strange wee words she uses in her speech balloons.

The art’s changed this week, which I’m not sure I like. The story also seems to have gone a little flat now that Supergirl has found more of her powers and confidence. There’s too much focus on introducing Siobhan than on Kara as the central character.

Siobhan selflessly steps in to protect Supergirl from the potentially deadly attention of the military. With the fortuitous ability to master any language Siobhan is the first human Kara can speak with. The two make a fast pairing as Siobhan takes Supergirl in, and disguises her. Of course nothing is that easy and Siobhan has troubles of her own that are fast catching up with her, mainly if the form of her dead father.

Wonder Woman #8
Written by Brian Azzarello
Pencilled by Cliff Chiang
Inked by Cliff Chiang
Cover Colour by Cliff Chiang
Lettered by Jared K Fletcher
Coloured by Cliff Chiang & Matthew WilsonWonder Woman gets armoured up this issue as she journey’s into Hell in search of Zola. It’s a shame that that arm guard doesn’t look right, as it’s a clashing low point to what is otherwise gorgeous art.

Diana fights through a very grim hell towards a confrontation with Hades that resolves in none of the expected ways. The take on hell is unique and provides some very nasty creatures, and there are some very nice action scenes. The dialogue continues to crackle and there’s a real sense that events are being set in motion that will have consequences felt for quite some while.


Not Reviewed

Captain Atom
Catwoman
DC Universe Presents
The Legion Of Superheroes


Marvel

Incrdible Hulk #7
Writen by Jason Aaron
Pencilled by Whilce Portacio & Leinil Francis Yu
Inked by Allen N. Martinez
Coloured by Val Staples & Sunny Gho
Lettered by Neurotic Cartoonist, IncWell, things get off to a bleak start with the drawn out death of Bruce at the heart of a Gamma explosion. The story get back to the more expected over the top feel with the return of Von Doom and Gor. Count Von Doom gets a lot of time discussing in a very fighty way, the circumstances of Banner’s death, and actually comes out of it quite well, which is unusual. I think with the wrapping up of this arc though my patience for the series is wearing thin. While there is a surprising amount of substance beneath the ridiculous there needs to be more of one and less of the other to keep me engaged.


Other

Dominique Laveau: VoodooChild
Pub: Vertigo
Written by Selwyn Hinds
Cover by Rafael Grampá
Pencilled by Denys Cowan
Inked by John Floyd
Cover Color by Dave Stewart
Lettered by Clem Robins
Colored by Dave McCaig & Rafael GrampáThings get set much more firmly on the rails this month as explanations come fairly thick and fast as we get a Laveau family history. It’s “Who Do You Think You Are?” with Loa and ghost. There’s touches of Neil Gaiman about the premise and some of the story elements, wich is high praise indeed. Hopefully the run will continue well.


Skipped To The End…

It’s Batman that really jumps out at me this month as the one to read. The next stage of the Court Of Owls story gets off to a strong start and there’s serious promise for the next issue. Quiet how things hold up in the other “Bat” titles will be one to watch. It’ll be interesting, as always to see other artists and writers take on things.

Wonder Woman remains consistently impressive, while Red Hood is making a surprising niche for itself in my affections. Dominque Laveau is also very worthy of attention, and Justice League remains consistently good, strange body shapes aside. Nightwing provides a nice plot twist and action, but

Otherwise nothing is really setting the world on fire, and is more a question of attachment to characters than anything else. I think there might me a few more titles dropped from this month ere long.

 

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