Comics I Read: Catching Up #17

I don’t seem to be getting caught up, do I? I actually did get a lot of stuff read since my last entry, so let’s try to get caught up with the writing…

The Question 37: Forget what I said about my favorite of the “resurrected” books before – if you only buy one of them, it should be this one. Greg Rucka and Denny O’Neill deliver a moving goodbye to the Vic Sage version of the character that fits perfectly at the end of his original series. (In fact, those are being reprinted in trades now, so I hope they include this issue in the last volume like they’re including some recent issues in the fifth Starman hardcover.) The characterizations of Montoya, Tot and Lady Shiva are spot on, and Denys Cowan and Bill Sienkeiwicz convey the emotions perfectly (even with most of the pages taking place in a rainstorm!) Really, a must have for fans of the original series or “52” and I think even folks unfamiliar with the characters will enjoy it.

Suicide Squad 67: And this book is a close second. My only quibble, really, is that this is Part 1 of a story you need “Secret Six” #17-18 to complete. But you should be buying “Six” anyway, and John Ostrander’s co-writing is spread out over all three issues. The story starts with Deadshot’s replacement in the Squad and how she can’t live up to his skill level. After her first mission, Amanda Waller decides the Squad needs Deadshot back, and hilarity ensues. Lots of cameos of dead characters from the original series, including my favorite “forgotten” Atom, Adam Cray.

Secret Six 17-18: The Squad vs. the Six, including Bronze Tiger vs. Catman and Deadshot vs. Rick Flag. It’s great fun to see Waller and all her cronies again, and her battle with the Six leads to some interesting revelations about her tactics and the discovery (for the reader) of the answer to the great mystery of this series – Who is Mockingbird?

JSA All-Stars 2-3, JSA Annual 2: I actually like the “All-Stars” book, even though Magog’s personality is way different than the kid who originally joined the JSA. (This is actually acknowledged in the annual.) His conflicts with Power Girl are interesting, although it would be easier to sympathize with his point of view if he weren’t so bloodthirsty. But then in the Annual, Magog goes far enough off the rails (arguably justified) that he gets kicked off the team! So, now what’s the reason for there to be two teams? It was the conflict over Magog’s tactics that caused the split in the first place – Power Girl even says that she misses the original team. I’m assuming they’re not going to get back together after only three issues, so it just underscores to me how artificial the division was in the first place.

Teen Titans 76-79: I read four issues this month, and I barely remember any of it, which is not a good sign. I do remember liking that Wonder Girl is finally coming out of her funk and leading again (though it would have been nice if she had been able to do it before Conner came back), and I love the Milestone characters so seeing Static in Dakota in #79 was a lot of fun for me.

Blackest Night Wonder Woman 3: A mixed bag, though way better than last issue. Greg Rucka has Diana’s characterization down perfectly, and Nicola Scott’s art is gorgeous as usual. My problem is with the double-page spread where, via the combination of the red & violet rings and the magic lasso, Diana and Mera see each others deepest secrets. It’s a beautiful splash, but Diana’s secret is that she loved Bruce Wayne, which I don’t buy at all – It worked in the animated series because they built it up slowly over four years, but there’s no foundation for it in the comics – and I didn’t understand what Mera’s secret is supposed to be. Diana’s dialogue suggests that it’s not supposed to be a mystery to the reader, but I didn’t get it. That makes the issue, and by numbers the series, a failure in my book.

Adventure Comics 7: “Featuring Black Lantern Superboy.” The plot is similar to “BN Wonder Woman” #2, where she escapes from the Black Lantern ring, but this is much better because Conner resists the ring from the inside out instead of by outside influence. He does get help from Wonder Girl and Krypto, but it’s all driven by Conner’s inner strength (and the precautions they took after Conner was taken over by Luthor), so it works for me. A good job from writer Tony Bedard. The art looks a lot like Jerry Ordway to me, but it’s credited to Travis Moore.

Catwoman 83: I forgot to write about this when I got the first batch of “resurrected” books, but it is pretty good. Selina fights the Black Lantern Black Mask (the one she killed), and it sets up a new adversary for Catwoman, so “Gotham City Sirens” fans will probably be interested.

Brave and the Bold 30-31: #30 is the best of the JMS issues so far, with a nice exploration of mortality with Hal Jordan and the original Kent Nelson Dr. Fate. (He figured out a way to do it in the present day, which is part of the charm.) I’m less thrilled with the Atom and Joker issue, because the science of Atom being able to “see” Joker’s memories from inside his brain is pretty wonky and because the less the Joker’s past is explored the better as far as I’m concerned. However, I do like JMS’ take on what makes the Joker tick (“I’m an artist…an artist says, no, I will not be sensible. I will not change to fit the world, I will change the world to fit me.”) and I loved that Atom can’t travel via cell phone like he used to by land line.

Out of time for today – more over the weekend.

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