Jeff’s May Reviews Part 1

Hello, blog! I was having too much fun living the retired life with my parents last week to write, so let’s get right into May’s books and try to get them done before I get another month behind…

Batman: Battle for the Cowl: The Network 1: Not too bad, but I still don’t get the logic in replacing “Birds of Prey” with “The Network”. It seems like by the end of this issue, we’re at exactly the same place with Oracle in charge – the only difference being that Batgirl is involved. (And it may not even be the same Batgirl we’ll be getting when her new book starts, though I think it will be.)

Flash: Rebirth 2: This pretty much ends up where I expected, following up on the “Black Flash” speculation from issue 1 (plus with Wally’s costume conveniently shredded so that we can tell him apart from Barry and so he’ll need a new one), but I like the explanation of the changes in Barry’s personality and the flashbacks to his CSI days. I don’t get why the super intelligent residents of Gorilla City are acting like, well, apes, but I’m sure that will be explained later. (And it looks terrific, as Mike pointed out.)

Power Girl 1: Basically returns to the 80’s status quo, with the Karen Starr businesswoman secret identity, but Amanda Conner’s art looks great and the story is fun so far.

World of New Krypton 3: I liked the way this issue shows off the difference between Kal-El and Zod’s philosophies, and his attempts to make some positive (by human standards) changes in Kryptonian society. Much more interesting than the last time we had a “World Without a Superman”, mainly because he’s not, you know, dead. (OK, he was only mostly dead, but you get my point.)

Trinity 49-52: I loved that this kept ramping up the drama even as you would expect it to be winding down in the last few issues. Also, the last issue showed more of a lasting effect on the DCU than I was expecting. I’m thrilled that those of you that have been waiting for the trade will be able to enjoy this starting this week. (If I remember correctly, it starts a little slow, but trust me it gets really good.)

War of Kings 3: This is very much a middle chapter, but there are some highlights in the Guardians of the Galaxy entrance (“Never doubt a raccoon.”), a long overdue defection, and some ominous indications that maybe the Inhumans will not turn out to be the good guys in this story.

Amazing Spider-Man 593-594: The ending of Mark Waid’s storyline is good, with some interesting stuff about the Aunt May/JJJ Sr. relationship, Peter’s apartment (which didn’t turn out the way I expected – I thought he had been evicted while he was away with the FF), and a revelation at the very end that will have (I think) an important impact on the “Dark Reign” storyline.

Final Crisis Aftermath: Run! 1: There’s nothing particularly wrong with this issue, but boy six issues of an ugly, stupid and reprehensible main character really feels like it’s going to be a long slog. If next issue doesn’t hook me, I’m done.

Warlord 2: I always go back and flip through issues before I write about them here, which is a good thing for this book because I didn’t remember a word of it (not a good sign.) I’m not too familiar with the original series, but I think this issue is basically a massive summary of it. This gets one more issue too. (Though I will be back for #7, which Mike Grell is going to write and draw no matter what.)

Oracle: The Cure 3: Still terrible and incomprehensible, and I don’t get why they’re taking out The Calculator when he’s finally interesting, but thank goodness at least the titular “cure” did not refer to Barbara Gordon. It seems she will not be the “new” Batgirl, unless something really dramatic happens in issue 1. That seems to leave the only candidates as Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown. (And as I said above, I think it will continue to be Cassandra.)

New Avengers: The Reunion 3: I just got caught up in completely rereading this when I was reviewing it for this entry, so I guess that’s a vote of confidence. The psychology between Clint and Bobbi is complex and interesting, because they’ve both been interacting with duplicates in the past when they thought they were being with each other. We get to see Mockingbird’s captivity with the Skrulls, and a reasonable explanation of why she was chosen first and why she was gone so long. (Apparently the Skrull Mockingbird did actually die, but her appearances after that haven’t been explained yet.)

Captain Britain and MI-13 13: It’s a shame this book is ending at the end of this storyline (issue 15), because it’s really firing on all cylinders, including a shock ending. I’m not that familiar with the old “Tomb of Dracula” book, but I’ll bet those readers would be pleased with the portrayal of Dracula here as opposed to his previous Marvel Universe appearances where he was a bargain basement Dr. Doom. Hopefully, the concept of this team will survive the book and get used in Avengers or something.

X-Factor 43: According to the recap page, I was supposed to be confused by the duplicate versions of the shooting last issue, so that’s comforting. Oddly, the apocalyptic future is the optimistic part of the story instead of the present day stuff. Peter David brings in another 90’s character at the end that I don’t know too much about, but this book is filled with those kind of characters and he’s made them all interesting so this new addition should be fun.

Action Comics 877: The Nightwing & Lois scenes are good, although it’s hard to imagine how it’s going to end up without General Lane figuring out that she’s somehow involved with Superman. (Which I guess is the point.) The art by Sidney Teles reminds me a lot of Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, one of the great Superman artists.

Captain America 50: Nice insights into Bucky’s character on his birthday, with flashbacks to some of his previous birthdays. He’s settling nicely into the Cap role, just in time for something catastrophic to happen, no doubt. The Steve Rogers recap backup has some beautiful Marcos Martin artwork. (Actually, Martin is the only one credited, so it’s not clear if he wrote it too.) Note that Cap #600 (the next issue) will be shipping on Monday of it’s release week, which probably means you can expect it to be spoiled in the mainstream media by that Wednesday. (But kudos to Marvel if they manage to get the book out before the publicity this time.)

Batman: Battle for the Cowl 3: There’s an inevitability to this that isn’t Tony Daniel’s fault, because it ends up with the characters in the Batman and Robin roles that we’ve all been predicting since before the shop closed. It’s good for what it is, however, and I’m looking forward to all the new titles.

Comments

  1. RE: New Avengers:Reunion . . . ..
    Are they (Marvel) or he/she (meaning the writer) trying to say that the Bobbi/Mockingbird who cheated on Hawkeye in the Ghost Rider (western version) storyline (West Coast Avengers) and then had to pay for that with her death . . was a Skrull? I really hope not. (I realize that Marvel years don't equal our normal years . . but those events were 20 years ago). That would indeed strain the credibility to the breaking point, as far as I'm concerned. (Could be another boycott/rant from me in the brewing).

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  2. Not exactly, but that's approximately the correct time frame. Mockingbird is shown in this issue to remember letting Lincoln (Phantom Rider) Slade die, so she was replaced sometime between then and when she reconciled with Hawkeye. (The real Bobbi says she actually wanted a divorce.)

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  3. In all honesty, I'd just consider it something to be forgotten. There are always going to be continuity errors, especially when they "reveal" a big change, but...well, I think that Keith Giffen put it best when he said that continuity could be a tool used to tell good stories--but it also shouldn't be a problem that PREVENTs you from telling good stories. I love that viewpoint, and am usually willing to set aside something that doesn't quite work out 100% if I'm enjoying what I'm reading.

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