Comics I Read: Catching Up #23
Booster Gold 27-30: The “Blackest Night” crossover in #27 ends well, with Booster getting a chance to make up for Ted Kord’s original funeral by staging his own memorial. I also really liked the Coast City arc in #28-30. Even though the mandate not to change the past has been explored before in the Barbara Gordon arc, I didn’t mind going over similar ground because it’s an entire city and therefore a much bigger moral dilemma. Plus it’s fun to see Dan Jurgens and Jerry Ordway revisit their “Death of Superman” days. Jurgens has one more issue left in his run, but his epilogue this issue seems to almost directly address the concerns about Giffen & DeMatteis taking over. (Old Booster: “…I’m living proof that things will work out fine. When the time is right – I’ll be back.”) Frankly, I do have concerns about their upcoming issues. Johns and Jurgens (not to mention the “52” writers) have worked really hard to change Booster into a deeper, more interesting character and I hope that doesn’t get thrown away for the sake of jokes like the ones in the recent “Metal Men” backup. On the other hand, they have said that Booster will be visiting the JLI’s time and that does have some good story potential to see how “modern” Booster reacts to how he used to behave.
Blackest Night 8: This ending pretty much lives up to the built-up expectations, and I look forward to reading the story in one sitting when the trade comes out to see if it holds together as a single story rather than a near year-long “event”. (I suspect it may feel a little padded in the middle on rereading, but I hope to be proven wrong.) Anyway, there are some nice twists on my predicted ending beats, with the resurrections not being across the board (and some surprising choices about who came back and who didn’t) and with the White Lantern up for grabs. (Leading into “Brightest Day”, presumably.) As a whole, I enjoyed BN a lot – including most of the spinoffs – but I was also ready for it to be done and to see what’s next for the DCU.
Cable 21-24: Speaking of ready to be done, these issues finally end the long story arc of Bishop’s chase of Cable and Hope. I complained about this a lot, but it did end well with some real tension and the settings got more interesting as they homed in on the present time instead of being in unfamiliar apocalyptic futures. I also liked Bishop’s introspection at the end, where he wonders if he’s actually shaped the monster he was trying to destroy. Even if Bishop turns out to be right though, he caused mass destruction in the future trying to trap Cable and Hope, and since he wasn’t able to undo that by killing her and resetting the timeline I would have liked to see him show some guilt about his actions.
Dark Wolverine 81-84: As expected the ending of #82, where Daken seems to do fatal damage to a major “Siege” player”, turns out to be a trick. And then the story takes a really strange turn, as for some reason the Norse Fates suddenly decide they need Daken to bring on a new Ragnarok. Why they need to do this, when the ending of “Siege” #3 pretty much gives them what they want (courtesy of The Void), and why they need Daken (who’s not exactly a worshipper of the Norse pantheon) is beyond me. On the other hand, Daken’s dismal failure to be an inspirational leader compared to Osborn in #84 was really interesting, and not something that could be done with a lot of other Marvel characters. I didn’t get the ending of #84, however. Is Daniel Way just trying to say that Daken has decided to abandon his Avengers, or is he trying to say that the Fates have control over which side wins the battle and they need Daken’s consent for his side to be defeated? In my opinion, the latter undermines Bendis’ “Siege” story, which is all about the choices the mortal characters have made over the last few years, so I hope that isn’t the intended interpretation.
Red Robin 7-10: It’s become apparent that Chris Yost had a year-long story arc in mind when he started this book, as all of the complaints I’ve had about earlier issues turn out to be story points. We’re slowly getting back the Tim we know and love, but the journey was worthwhile as he picked up some new insights and some new enemies. (Not to mention a new respect for Stephanie Brown as Batgirl.) I wish Yost was staying on the book when his story is done, but it was recently announced that Fabian Nicieza (who did the last “Robin” arc) will be coming back with #13. It’ll be interesting to see what this book turns into after the “Return of Bruce Wayne” – my guess is at minimum there will be a costume change because of all the jokes in recent issues about Tim being mistaken for Dr. Mid-Nite.