Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Catching Up: DC Edition

Alright kids, let's figure out what the hell's been going on over in the DC books I buy, shall we? Massive Spoilers Ahoy!

DETECTIVE COMICS #832/833 --- Well, I didn't think much of the Royal McGraw Terrible Trio story, but it stuck to the basics (detecting, done-in-one, decent art) and it's biggest crime is that it's just kind of boring.

Especially when you compare it to Paul Dini's #833, the first of a two-parter with Batman and Zatanna and a genuinely shocking, lovely end-issue reveal of a certain homicidal clown (who Dini seems to understand better than anyone else has in the last five years). As long as Dini's on board, Detective remains squarely at the top of my DC reading list every month. CBG: 3/5.

(Side Note: I'm pretty certain at this point that I would pay a lot of money for a monthly Batman/Zatanna series written by Dini. They could call it Magic Knights or somesuch. This needs to happen.)

JONAH HEX #19-20 --- Kind of a dry spell here, as these two issues are some of the least memorable of the series; again there's nothing actively offensive, it's just kind of bland, and the art is in one of those fallow periods as well.

I do award bonus points for a completely ludicrous yet satisying sequence where Hex bites the head off a buzzard to use the beak to cut through ropes. You just don't get that sort of thing in, say, Green Lantern. (Though we really probably should, and Geoff Johns is probably working on it as we speak.) I also enjoyed the line "I've already got a headache, I don't need another one in Mexican." CBG: 2/5.

BIRDS OF PREY #105/106/107 --- Secret Six + Birds of Prey + Gail Simone = Comics I Need More Of. At this point, it's everything you would expect; lots of action, chock full of one-liners that are in character (which is an underrated talent these days --- anybody can throw out a cool line, but to have it jibe with the character requires, you know, skill), and a very nice present at the end in the form of a certain Norse princess with an affinity for low temperatures.

The main plot is a throwaway, but that's OK since this is really an excuse for Simone to get a bunch of characters she loves together for a good old-fashioned throwdown, and there certainly isn't anything wrong with that. CBG: 4/5.

CHECKMATE #13/14/15 --- OK, I'm kind of behind the curve here, because this is the Outsiders crossover, and I just couldn't bring myself to buy two issues of Outsiders, because if ever there was a cast I didn't give a damn about, it's the Outsiders. Regardless, not having read 52 I was a bit confused about the objective --- but that didn't matter once I got to Egg Fu, who is one grotesque sumbitch. Enjoyable, frequently shocking, and I think this remains a consistently underrated title. CBG: 3/5.

ALL-NEW ATOM ##11/12 --- The whole zombie ghost plotline wraps up, and the fact that I was glad that it wrapped up isn't a good thing. It's not that it was bad per se, but it just got a bit too confusing and ultimately depressing. That's OK --- I don't mind stories with a downbeat ending, but it'll be good to see Ryan Choi back in a more superheroic mode.

Speaking of which, there's a fanTAStic conceit in #12 where the Ivy Town newspaper is reprinted every few pages or so, and it's delightfully self-aware (you'll see what I mean). Plus, we get the Search for Ray Palmer, and the identity of the anagram-loving cabbie that's popped up so frequently revealed on the last page (and it's delicious). Good stuff, ready for the next arc. CBG: 2/5.

BONUS UNRELATED MARVEL NOTE: In yesterday's World War Hulk review, I mentioned that I thought the art was "just OK". Randy reminded me that I positively gushed about JRJR's depiction of She-Hulk, which was in fact all kinds of awesome. Noted.

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