Thursday, April 19, 2007

Batch of Reviews

Birds of Prey 105
Another wonderful issue. I love the Secret Six, so this story arc has been especially fun for me. Not only can Gail write wonderfully real characters, she can juggle a large cast and make them all individuals. I wasn't happy that Hawkgirl let herself get egged on by Scandal and dropped any advantage she had by dropping her weapons. A bit too cocky there, Kendra. And Catman is still a hunk.

Nightwing Annual 2
The book I've been waiting for. Okay, I didn't know this story would be in an annual, but I'm glad because it had sufficient pages to be told properly without needing to be continued in another issue. This is the story that fills the gap between Dick proposing to Babs who accepts and the broken engagement OYL. Andreyko continues to prove he writes characters, not male characters and female characters. Sure, they have some gender traits, but above all, as with Gail Simone's writing, they're people first. The flashbacks were well done, seamlessly weaving in some actual bits from older stories. I guess it's a retcon that Babs and Dick are the same age pretty much, because originally, Babs was a librarian. Maybe she was a student library worker in this version? Anyway, their first "date," was nicely done and Dick's "discomfort" after he and Babs are rescued from the tiny safe by Batman was priceless. The grin in response to Batman asking "You're sure?" after Dick says he's okay is a nifty piece of drawing. Bennett and Jadson did a great job on this. One very nice touch was Reeve Park. I've read this 3 times now and it still amazes and delights me.

Justice League of America 8
Meltzer continues to pour on the Roy goodness. I like that he's using Roy as his main narrator, so far. Roy may be an old hand at the hero game, but he's always had confidence issues despite his cockiness (the whole trying to live up to Dick, or even Ollie bit). And he's the real new guy here, finally promoted to the big leagues. He's finally made the big show and he wants to do good, show off a bit, embrace the experience. I love all the banter and byplay between the members of the two groups. I know a lot of folks don't like how Meltzer paces his stories and if all books were like this, I'd get annoyed. But I've got the action-packed, fast pacing of JSA and the solid mix of a BoP, so the more leisurely pace of Meltzer's opening chapters is fine by me, especially because of the character bits he includes and the payoff later on that I've come to expect. This is the only place for Roy stories right now, so I'm savoring the attention on him. I just want some bits with Lian. And there are stories that need to be done, if not here, then elsewhere. Roy and Dick need to talk. They've been friends, almost brothers for too long for there to be no contact now. Is Dick happy for Roy? Does he even know Roy's in the JLA? Okay, so I'm a bit fixated. We all have our favs. ;)

I don't remember where, but another blogger pointed out that Stargirl shouldn't be so thrilled to "meet" Diana as they had met previously. I'm wondering if the wrong character was drawn. She sounds a lot like Maxine Hunkel here. At any rate, I'm so lucky forward to the rest of this story.

Shadowpact 12
What a great end to the plight of Jim Rook. He dies, but then crawls back to life and learns the truth about his sword along the way, while we're filled in about his history. This is another fun book and Willingham is another writer who seems to have no gender issues in writing male and female characters.

Manhunter 30
Any comic that shows Wonder Woman acting like Wonder Woman is an excellent book. If Gail hadn't been given Wonder Woman to write, I would've voted for Andreyko, but not if it meant he'd have to give up Manhunter. Kate Spencer is a mess, but she's starting to put her life together. Hasn't smoked for almost a year, has people who love her, has her own law firm, and people she can count on. The supporting cast is one of the best in the DCU right now. Dylan is great and it's nice seeing Todd here. Best part though is this:
"To be continued! Really! We have a next issue!"
52 50
War came, and Black Adam was defeated. Solid action as things come together and Capt. Marvel saves the day. He's changed Black Adam's magic word and of the people who have read this, who isn't trying to guess what the new word is.

World War III 1-4
These really weren't necessary, and they were inconsistent, but I'm glad I read them. They filled in some of the gaps in 52 #50 and for many of the characters OYL. My main problem was that the whole thing was seen through the eyes of the Martian Manhunter and he's not my favorite character. Some of the scenes and narration worked, but a lot felt forced to me and gave the series a choppy, uneven feel instead of being a unifying factor.

We did see Aquaman and the fateful choice he made that turned him into the Dweller of the Sea. We got Jason Todd showing up as Nightwing, which was handled in Nightwing's book, ineptly by Bruce Jones. There was Firestorm action, Donna Troy deciding to become Wonder Woman (never mind what she's been doing the past 49 weeks), Supergirl materializing back in our time, Deathstroke making an offer to Batgirl, the usual crap from Amanda Waller, Terra's death (to make room for the new Terra?), and Kate Spencer quitting her job as prosecutor and starting her own firm. Most were things we could infer from the OYL books, but it was nice seeing the events as they happened.

Helmet of Fate: Sargon the Sorcerer
I really liked this one. I wasn't too familiar with the original, but the grandson did well once he inherited the house and magic gem. The helmet played a small role in this one. I think it would make a nice series.

Helmet of Fate: Ibis
This one reminded me a lot of the new Blue Beetle, with a teen boy caught by fate to be a superhero. heh heh Caught by fate. Sorry. I amuse myself sometimes.

White Tiger 5
Things are headed for the big showdown, and while I'm enjoying this a lot, I think I'd enjoy it more if I was more familiar with the rest of the Marvel universe.

Trials of Shazam 6
This thing is barely half over and it's starting to feel too long. This was the weakest issue, for me. Nothing of interest seemed to happen. I don't know why Freddie needs to prove himself like this, but I've accepted it. But while last issue had an interesting situation and development for Freddie, this felt like setup, which isn't what you want at the midway point.


  1. I don't remember where, but another blogger pointed out that Stargirl shouldn't be so thrilled to "meet" Diana as they had met previously. I'm wondering if the wrong character was drawn. She sounds a lot like Maxine Hunkel here.

    Ha, I think that's me, actually. I thought it might have been Cyclone's dialogue too, but still.

  2. Yes, thanks for stepping up and identifying your post. I really need a more systematic way to keep track of posts for later linkbacks, but when I'm using my work pc during lunch, I tend to lose track very easily.

    Obviously, I liked the issue much more than you did -- ;) -- but you did make some good points, even if I don't agree with most of them.

  3. Shelly,

    Is there any particular reason why most of the books you read/review are from DC? I tend to be a Marvel man myself, though I am not sure that I could tell you why!


  4. Matthew, I'm a DC kid. My parents were fans of DC, back in the '30s and '40s. My mother liked Batman, my father liked Superman. Growing up in the '50s and '60s, I read romance comics (some of which were from Marvel), Classics Illustrated, Archies, and DC. I got very attached to DC's superhero characters.

    I read some Marvel comics in the '70s (Howard the Duck and Killraven), but my preference for DC has held true.

    I read Wolverine, but am terribly far behind, White Tiger and Anita Blake (both from Marvel under another imprint), and some other comics as per my pull list. But I guess what one grows up with can make a difference.