Thursday, October 13, 2005

New comics 10/12/05

Beware of SPOILERS, although I'm trying to avoid discussing them.




Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #196 was the last part of the "Snow" arc, so I'm adding it to my omnibus-review inbox.

Action Comics #852 (written by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning, pencilled by John Byrne, inked by Nelson) was a strange little Halloween-themed Spectre story wherein Superman must decide whether to protect Lord Satanus from the Spectre. It doesn't amount to much at the end, besides allowing Lois a last visit with the ghost of her father, so I thought the most interesting aspect of it was its relative normalcy. Except for the Spectre's current predicament, it could have come out of Satanus' last heyday in the Jurgens/Ordway/Stern '90s. I take that as a good sign for the Superman books, at least for the moment -- a brief respite in the midst of all the other strife.

Speaking of which...

Villains United #6 (written by Gail Simone, art by Dale Eaglesham and Wade von Grawbadger) provided the most satisfying conclusion of the four lead-ins, probably because this miniseries ties into Infinite Crisis the least. The revelation about Mockingbird's identity got a nice twist, and while there were some unexpected deaths (in the "I thought _____ was more valuable to DC" sense), overall they made sense within the context of the story. VU was a story about unsavory people, regardless of Catman's attempts at nobility, so the laws of crime fiction had to be followed.

Firestorm #18 (written by Stuart Moore, pencilled by Pat Olliffe and Jamal Igle, inked by Simon Coleby and Rob Stull) bills itself as an OMAC tie-in, but it really follows up on 'Stormy's escape from last issue's Villains United-related predicament. Anyway, he defeats an OMAC in such a way that one wonders whether it will be applied to the other 199,999. More important, though, is the fallout in Jason's personal life, which will be familiar to anyone who's read a few Lee/Ditko Amazing Spider-Mans. We'll see how long the new status quo holds, since the next-issue blurb promises big changes. I am still confident that the book is in good hands.

For an issue which apparently starts a new Justice League era, JLA #120 (written by Bob Harras, pencilled by Tom Derenick, inked by Dan Green) was decent enough. The threat of an escaped Arkham Asylum inmate bookends Aquaman's memorial service at the old Secret Sanctuary cave. Of the Big Three, only Batman shows up -- in daylight, even -- and soon fingers are pointed at him as the mastermind behind destroying the Watchtower. This is nothing new, given the events of the past year, but I hope it's among the last of these types of scenes. Derenick's art is fine, although his figures start breaking down towards the end. I don't know if that's meant to convey the members' tempers, but it ultimately came off sloppy. Anyway, it could be the start of a good story, now that all the preliminaries have been addressed.

And since all its preliminaries are out of the way, Infinite Crisis #1 (written by Geoff Johns, pencilled by Phil Jiminez, inked by Andy Lanning) was pretty good. Pulling together all of the lead-in elements, Johns and Jiminez establish the theme as "everything is in the toilet and the Big Three have split up." That may be enough for a new reader who's picked InfC as her first DC comic in 20 years, but clearly this is meant for someone who's done his homework. Besides its lead-ins and the original Crisis on Infinite Earths, InfC contains references to Kingdom Come, The Kingdom, and even the classic Alan Moore/Dave Gibbons story "For The Man Who Has Everything". That last carries with it a bit of irony, since it was (in a small way) a celebration of the Superman/Batman/Wonder Woman relationship, and quite the opposite is happening here. As for the technical aspects, Johns' dialogue is sometimes off, and Jiminez' figures are sometimes a little distorted, but overall not a bad beginning. It may well have been worth the wait.


iamza said...

Wait, what, Aquaman's memorial? Is Aquaman dead now, too?

Tom Bondurant said...

Not anymore, sorry -- I meant to say the memorial service Aquaman led for the "death" of the JLA.

Mark "Puff" Anderson said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mark "Puff" Anderson said...


Realized that I was discussing spoiler stuff in an open forum where you had referenced not wanting to give away spoiler-ific info.


Tom Bondurant said...

I think spoilers would be OK as long as you gave enough warning. I gave a warning at the top of the post if you just wanted to go by that.