Welcome back, Bat-fans! If you missed last week’s titles, check here real quick. If you didn’t miss last week’s titles, read on! But as with every week, there will be spoilers below. You have been warned. Enjoy yourself!
Batman Eternal #3
Holy crap! That’s how you do a weekly comic, ladies and gentlemen! Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV (with the assist from Ray Fawkes and Tim Seeley) certainly deliver a well-paced thriller with stunning artwork from Jason Fabok. The New 52 introduction of Stephanie “Spoiler” Brown (not to mention a significantly scarier Cluemaster) is nothing short of incredible. Mix that story with the slowly-connecting of the dots between Carmine Falcone’s return, the Penguin’s impeding gang war, and the new corrupt police commissioner erasing the active unsolved crimes board at the G. C. P. D. and just drawing a giant bat symbol and you’ve got the recipe for a fantastic title. Add to that the fact that the readers only have to wait a week to find out what happens next, and you’ve got gold. Which, to be honest, a weekly comic should be. We’re only three issues in, but if it keeps up this pace, we’re going to be in for a treat each and every week for quite some time. The large cast and the mysterious intentions make for a fast read, but also a fun re-read. Which is something, even for a monthly title. If this isn’t on your pull list, you’re a fool.
My Rating: 5/5
Teen Titans #30
This issue, much like the series as a whole, is a 50/50 bag of emotions for me. Part of me is angry that it is a dollar extra and though it is the final issue, isn’t really a finale. But another part of me really enjoyed the storytelling, artwork, and even formatting of the extra-sized comic. We get some answers that date back to “The Culling,” or as I like to call it, where this title got greedy and pretty much ruined the whole “Young Justice” imprint of the New 52 by adding a bunch of unnecessary and convoluted plot threads and titles to its ranks. But Skitter’s back, and the blossoming romance between Beast Boy and Raven and the fantastic bromance between Beast Boy and Bunker are just two reasons that this series is not worthy of a full-on cancellation. I’m glad it’s coming back. It’ll be fun to see what the annual does in terms of wrapping up loose ends and giving readers a glimpse of stories to come. I will miss the writing of Scott Lobdell, that’s for sure. His comedic timing and knack for superhero storytelling is unparalleled. It’s just too bad that strange character changes made it nearly impossible for him to succeed. Change is scary and comic nerds don’t like their favorite stories altered in any way whatsoever, but you’ve got to give him credit: he certainly tried. And, to be fair, he still told a great series of stories. Just not quite the ones that people wanted, apparently.
My Rating: 4/5
Secret Origins #1
Another mixed bag of a title was the premiere issue of Secret Origins. Five bucks is a lot to ask for a first issue, but we got three good stories, so it sort of worked out okay in the end. We got a cool Superman origin story from Greg Pak and Lee Weeks. And we got a fun Supergirl origin story from Tony Bedard and Paulo Siqueira. But the best of the three, by far, was the Robin (Dick Grayson) origin story from Kyle Higgins and Doug Mahnke. The overall issue is a 4, but the pre-Nightwing story is a nearly perfect comic. We get to see young Dick with his parents, talking about the origin behind the name and the significance in his pre-Batman life of the robin. We also see his parents’ death. And his adoption. And his discovery of Bruce’s secret and subsequent training with the world’s greatest detective. But the greatest strength of this story is the humanity in the eyes of Mahnke’s characters. And the hope in Higgins’ dialogue. And the cheesy but important final sequence with Alfred, the greatest surrogate dad in all of comic books.
My Rating: 5/5
Did you read the “First Contact” event coverage from David Hinspeter? Well, you should. Here it is. Now go read my comments in said articles comment section. That is how I feel entirely. Greg Pak is a wonderful writer. And he really “gets” the character of Superman, something that most New 52 writers don’t really seem to do very well. And Jae Lee’s artwork is beautiful, plain and simple. But scheduling delays, shipping out of order problems, and a general unnecessary storytelling technique of crossing over with a title that should have been cancelled months ago (and really should be now that this storyline is over) is just way too hard to ignore for this DC fanatic and Bat fan extraordinaire. But man is it well-written. And jeeze is that art pretty. Eh. I guess I liked it a little more than I initially thought. But still. Figure it out, guys. Ship things on time and either put Huntress and Power Girl back in the main Earth 2 title or just make them guest star in other DC titles on the “main” Earth for a while. Or, you know, give us backup stories for those 3.99 titles you so casually stopped “Drawing the Line at $2.99″ with. That’d be cool, too.
My Rating: 3.5/5
Ann Nocenti’s run on Daredevil (and even her continued appearance as one of many writers in subsequent Marvel Comics Presents stories with her creation Typhoid Mary) was good stuff. That was all I had ever read by her before she made her “return” to comics with the New 52. Her Green Arrow was, well, really bad. And her Catwoman? I gave her the benefit of the doubt that she had big shoes to fill. (Judd Winick was great. If you don’t think so, you are wrong.) But tying into all of the Batman storylines and gimmicky DCU stuff (like, yawn, Joker’s Daughter, for example) hasn’t really given her a chance to prove herself as a writer yet. So finally a storyline that is all her own. “Race of Thieves” is an interesting premise, and the artwork of Patrick Olliffe is fun and cartoony, with a touch of noir, which is perfectly suited for this title. And Selina getting back to her roots as the “world’s greatest thief” is an easy enough premise to get behind. But the whole guest stars galore thing? No. That’s not the right direction. I want Catwoman to be in her own comic. Otherwise it’s just an extra title to make some quick bucks and make me dislike the character. Stop it. I know you can do better. You have one of the most interesting characters in the Bat universe at your disposal. Use her wisely.
My Rating: 3/5
So there you have it. Another week of batty goodness. Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below. You know you want to be heard. See you all next Baturday!