Friday, July 06, 2007

Recent Reading

In no particular order.

Atom 13
I'm still liking this book, and Ryan. While Ryan embarks on a search for Ray Palmer, we see a hint, or two, of Dean Mayland's true self. And of course, the book ties in with Countdown, with Donna Troy, Jason Todd, and their new "friend" showing up at the end. In between, we get the land of the little people and some old-fashioned fantasy-type realm battle to the death, plus a Ray Pama wannabe. The crisp dialogue keeps this from falling into cliche.

Outsiders 49
Finally. The crossover with Checkmate ends and I'm free to drop this ridiculous excuse for a team book. I think Bats taking over is just another way of saying the experiment of this book, to create a new team with a couple of Titans and some new characters and make them badass didn't work. It was a decent read, but OYL, it warped into something unrecognizable, and with the explanation of the missing year coming so late, due to the desire to not spoil developments in 52, the book became a muddle of sloppy characterization.

Kalinara hit on the head what's been bugging me about Nightwing. Unlike her, I've been a longtime fan of Dick Grayson. But I haven't been happy with him in his own book, though Marv has improved things somewhat, even if Dick is still coming across as clueless half the time or weak-willed when it comes to his first love (more about that in a minute). But he's wonderful there when compared to this book.

On the one hand, he's acting all tough and badass, but on the other, the part of his personality that made him stand apart from Bruce and that put the two of them in conflict on more than one occasion is sorely absent. The compassion. So Dick is having a hard time listening to Boomer scream during the torture sessions? As Kalinara says:
"If a teammate was in danger or being hurt, there would be NOTHING keeping Dick from trying a rescue. Even if it wasn't the wisest course of action. "
Because no matter what, Dick often does wear his heart on his sleeve and he isn't capable of being so ruthless that he sits on a way out until the "right time." Give me a break. The right moment was when the cavalry arrives? Why need to do anything then? As in "our ride's here." I'm sorry, but that isn't being hardass; that's being a jerk. If he'd delayed breaking out and trying to rescue Boomer and Sasha had been for a real purpose to further the mission, maybe I'd buy it, but instead, it was simply to wait for the others to get there. What good did that serve?

Also, somewhere off-panel, Boomer must've acquired a pair of pants, because he left the cell in his birthday suit, and next time we see him, he's wearing pants with a belt. Did I miss something? They're in the fight for their lives, and he's scrounging up clothes? He was hurting pretty bad, but recovers quickly, so I'll assume the torture was more pain than actual damage.

I also agree with Kalinara about the page with Bats swooping up Sasha in his arms and her not wanting him to look with her. However, due to their history, I'll forgive it. Even tough gals are allowed a moment of weakness when the fighting's done.

But the part that bugged me the most was this:
(Dick to Bruce) "Roy had the idea for this team. He said it'd be all about the work, this time. We wouldn't fight alongside friends or family. It would be about the job."
(Bats) "And?"
(Dick) "I don't like it very much."
Uh, hello? It hasn't been just work for a long time, or haven't you been paying attention, Mr. Nightwing who's been too busy screwing up his personal life in his own book. And my feeling has always been that Roy told him that simply to convince him to join, because he knew he and Dick both needed it after Donna died. But Dick and Roy were like brothers and Roy got shot -- 5 freakin' times in the chest! -- and nearly died, and that was just about the work? It's bullshit is what it is. Has Judd forgotten what he wrote back then? We've seen over the months of the book before OYL how these characters have come to care about each other, as I suspect Roy knew would happen. Because that's the kind of man he is and that's what kind of man he knows Dick is.

I ended up really liking Boomer. I hope I see him again in other books where I can enjoy him. This book isn't it.

No reason to comment on the art. It was fine. It didn't matter. The story, despite its entertaining chapters, ultimately fell flat on its ass.

Nightwing 134
A new Vigilante. An old flame of Dick's who he doesn't trust yet still goes along with like a lovesick puppy. Yeah, a lot has changed. Well, at least now he's aware he's acting like an idiot. But I'm intrigued enough to keep reading.

Supergirl 19
In which Kara tries making amends with all the people she dissed/hurt/insulted/offended in some sort of 12-step help plan for super folks. She kinda looked like a kewpie doll or something with the headband. The scene with Lois, then Clark was nicely done at the end, but I'm still left feeling "huh?" about the whole crystals/dad background story. What exactly happened and why does she have the freaking crystals in her? Are we gonna keep seeing the damn things? Because I think they're a waste of time, add nothing to her character, and are unnecessary for someone with her powers. Kelly picked the book up a notch, but I'm still waiting for it to get good. And when the advertising insert, featuring MAD creators, is more entertaining, ya gotta wonder.

Wonder Woman 10 and Amazons Attack 3
Have to read these together, maybe alternating pages or something, to keep track of what's happening when, like the whole Nemesis hurt and near death bit. In between, we once again have Wonder Woman out of character and mainly acting like an idiot. (She and Dick should get together for group therapy or something.)

I think this story is being stretched over too many books. We get a lot of fighting, but the clues are far between and almost nothing actually happens in the WW book to further the plot. Diana dropping Nemesis on Dinah is so out of character to be unbelievable, especially during such dire circumstances as a freaking war that has her mother and the Amazons slaughtering humans.

Nice moment: Nemesis revealing he knows Wonder Woman is Diana. He's not the idiot he's been acting like around her. Good. I kinda like the doofus.

Meanwhile, in Amazons Attack, we see some dissension in the ranks. Nice to know not all the Amazons are sheep.

This story may have ramifications down the line for the DCU, but this story is losing me after a strong start, at least in Amazons Attack. The Wonder Woman chapters have been lame from the beginning.

Black Canary 1
Strong start for this mini. The appearance of Dinah's obnoxious, scheming ex was a nice surprise, as is learning this is about Ollie, not Dinah. I don't think that will sit well with her. It was also fun seeing Sin try to relate to other kids. Dinah really needs to tell her to ixnay on the talk about having been trained as Shiva's backup.

Countdown 44-43
Still confusing, still entertaining, still engrossing. We are learning things, bit by bit, but I'm mostly interested in the characters. Jimmy Olsen is experimenting with the super powers thing and Mary Marvel has legit complaints. I don't want to see her corrupted by power the way Black Adam has been, but if it happens, it'll make sense and hopefully, she'll live to learn the folly of it. We may not like what's happening to some characters, but they're getting their chances to be in the forefront now, and it's good to see. Especially Donna Troy, who looks to be more important here than in the Crisis story which supposedly was the reason to bring her back. She barely got to warn a few people then, before becoming just another hero in the battle. Here, she's got stuff to do and her scenes with Jason, who's becoming almost likable (I'd voted to kill him when he was Robin), actually sizzle.

The funeral for Bart was wonderfully handled. It got more pages than I expected and showed real sensitivity, real emotion. It's so nice to still have a weekly book that is actually entertaining.

Still have lots to read, doubt I'll ever catch up.


  1. While I have developed a great deal of affection for Boomer, I have to admit that Dick is acting strangely out of character in Outsiders. And I REALLY hate that it is Batman who swoops down like the proverbial Deus ex Machina to save their collective behinds. The rest of Checkmate and the Outsiders didn't do ANYTHING except run around like idiots.

    I was also depressed about Owen acquiring pants somehow.

    Black Canary was fun. Ollis is such a twit sometimes, but a loveable twit. I rather like Mervyn as a villain, he's interesting.

    Wonder Woman and Amazon Attacks just infuriates me. Killer bees for heaven's sake? I kind've like Nemesis, but Diana is behaving like a moron, and it doesn't become her. It's obviously MIND-CONTROL people! Figure it out!


  2. Sally, we are of a similar mind. Ollie has been a lovable twit since Denny O'Neill got his hands on him. Sometimes, you want to kiss him and beat the crap out of him at the same time.

    And Merlyn is the best villain Ollie's had in a long time. I don't count Deathstroke because Slade is everyone's enemy, it seems.

    Gail Simone can't start writing Wonder Woman fast enough for me. If she can't get her back on track, I doubt anyone can.

  3. I agree with your reviews :)

    Dick in Outsiders IS rly confusing :\ Esp since originally he showed up in Checkmate to rescue his friends and didn't slow down one second to rescue them, not knowing what condition they're in. >.> He COULD have waited, or plotted, or whatever. But he didn't!

    But here suddenly he KNOWS that condition their in (being tortured and possibly killed) and he sits around twiddling his thumbs!?

    Was his whole plan to sit there waiting for Batman to rescue him!?


    Honestly that story REEKED of "ending first, plot second". They needed to get from A to B to give Batman his team, and then they jammed their square pegs into the circular hole.

    Amazingly, I didn't get Supergirl this week. Do you think it's worth it? XD Even just to review?

    It sounds like the end of Loeb's run where he didn't die up what was going on with the 2 Supergirl's or Kara's past either. :(

  4. Hi, Ami,

    I wouldn't bother with the Supergirl, unless you want something full of fluff to rant about. ;) Seriously, nothing much happened in it.