This week in DC we get some Doomsday action! Detective Comics features its own Batman Teen Titans! Action Comics #956 disguises itself as Justice League #52, and something about a character named Wonder Woman? Got a book you’d like to see reviewed? Maybe you’re thinking of picking up the series but want to know more about it? Shout out in the comments section and I’ll review a few issues for you!
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JUSTICE LEAGUE #52
STORY: Dan Jurgens ART: Tom Grummett, Danny Miki, Mark Morales, Scott Hanna COLORS: Gabe Eltaeb
Review: This really could have been Action Comics Rebirth #1 since it essentially takes place right before the series restarted its numbering under the “Rebirth” branding. Jurgens tells the story of why Lex returned, leaving Apokalips and taking on the mantle of Superman. The story sets the status quo of where Lex is mentally at the moment, and what his end game plans are, along with setting up his place as owner of the Daily Planet (I was wondering when that storyline would come back).
The art team assembled here does an excellent job keeping consistent looking and moving the dialogue along with some fun interesting shots. The big take away is Lex plans on being a better Superman than Superman was, while figuring out how to wake up his sister, Lena, who has been in a coma since the Amazo Virus incident. Is this story missable? Sure, but if you want to have a clearer idea of how Action Comics restarts up, then I’d suggest picking up this issue.
ACTION COMICS #958
STORY: Dan Jurgens ART: Patrick Zircher COLORS: Ulises Arreola
Review: Picking right up from the big Doomsday reveal last issue, Jurgens waste little time delving into the action. While this fight doesn’t feel anywhere near as epic as Superman’s first encounter with Doomsday, Zircher does give a strong sense that some major damage is being done to both Lex and Supes. I will refrain from using the name Clark, as it appears an actual Clark Kent is also at the scene trying to cover the story, much to the surprise and confusion of Jimmy Olsen. For those not in the know, in the new 52 world Lois Lane outed Clark Kent as Superman, so the whole world knew. Then Superman died, so naturally that meant Clark Kent died (new 52 version). At the same time, from pre52 world (thanks convergence storyline) Superman and his family arrive and basically have been keeping a low profile.
Flash forward to the present and Pre52 Superman steps up to fill the void left by dead new52 Superman, at the same time Lex Luthor (quasi good guy) also wants to step in and fill the void. Their sudden and obvious rivalry is stunted at the return of what appears to be Pre52 Doomsday (there was a new 52 doomsday as well, but he’s gone). Jon Kent, Superman’s kid who is slowly gaining his powers decides he’s gonna help (which I’m sure will play a bigger part next issue). With all this happening a mysterious figure watches it unfold on a monitor (as dangerous mysterious foes tend to do). So we have a few mysteries to solve: How is Doomsday here? Who is this reporter Clark Kent? Who’s the hooded figure watching it unfold and potentially responsible for all of it? Stay tuned to find out!
The Flash #1
STORY: Joshua Williamson ART: Carmine Di Giandomenico COLORS: Ivan Plascencia
Review: So Williamson pretty much wants to move away from the Rebirth storyline as we get a few quick pages recapping what’s taken place and essentially Barry saying “well Wally’s got this with his Titans team so I’m just gonna go back to being a regular hero and not worry too about the time missing”. Then we get (most likely for new readers) a heavy handed dose of dialogue and scenes showcasing that while Barry feels the need to constantly be everywhere at once, and if he doesn’t he feels bad, that same thought process is wreaking havoc on his personal life as he keeps blowing people off or forgetting important events (oh and he’s late to crime scenes-a lot).
We get a quick re-hash of how Barry became The Flash (the chemical accident) which ties directly into the formation of a brand new speedster at the end of the issue. Carmine’s art work stands out and really helps make what could be a dull, sort of “been there done that” story pretty palatable, thanks also in part to Ivan Plascencia’s color work. Overall the series is starting off pretty weak for me, but I’ll give it a few more issues before dropping it.
Detective Comics #935
STORY: James Tynion IV ART: Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira COLORS: Adirano Lucas
Review: The Bat Clan continues training! In their very own danger room as Tynion is doing his damndest to make this Batman’s version of New Mutants. Seriously, Red Robin is a completely genius on the level of Tony Stark apparently, as he’s designed an entire base along with a training/danger room called the “Mud Room” which uses left over samples of Clayface to create solid targets and objects for him and the new recruits to interact with. Batwoman runs the crew too hard so Red Robin is all like “F this, we taking a break”.
He then goes on to monologue about his brilliant and super sophisticated base he’s built to the team, who seem genuinely (sense my sarcasm) interested. We get some personal conflicts going as Tim has to decide if he wants to go to a special Ivy League School or stay being Red Robin with Batman, and Kathy Kane has her general dad putting thoughts in her head that she should be taking over everything because Bruce (and the Waynes) just don’t have what it takes to fight the war on crime, and on a smaller subplot scale Clayface wanting to use Tim’s dampening device to go on auditions as Basil Karlo (which is odd because isn’t it known that he is Clayface? Are movie’s really gonna hire a guy who’s a wanted felon?), and Cassandra doesn’t seem to want to be alone as she keeps crashing at various peoples places.
Detective Comics is definitely a slow burn, but the ending of the issue is promising to a degree as Batman finally comes to face off against the “Batmen” army. My guess? He gets taken captive and the new recruits with Batwoman will need to go rescue him and prove they can function as a team. All that said, I can’t leave out the excellent work being done by Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira and Adirano Lucas. They make the book look amazing! And I really love the subtle details they give to each character, including the unique coloring done on Batwoman, and the call back to the older Batwoman series panel layouts. There are some really fun inventive pages laid out in this series, and I suggest Batman fans to check it out!
STORY: Dan Abnett ART: Brad Walker, Drew Hennessey
Review: I gotta admit, since I’ve not read much if any (aside from the very beginning) of Aquaman in New 52, a lot of what is taking place here in the Aquaman “Rebirth” run feels fresh and new to me. That being said, it might be going over ground that’s been covered already before. I’ll let some of the old school Aquman fans enlighten me here. Aside from all that, Abnett is crafting an interesting story here and wastes little time getting to the action. It’s established that Arthur is attempting to bridge the gap between the Surface World and Atlantis (and pretty much all the sea kingdoms) and is holding an official press conference.
The story was going so well, except for a reporter character from the Daily Planet called Delaney. I hated him- everything about him felt ridiculous and poorly written when compared to the rest of the dialogue and characters. Without spoiling it I will say he’s not exactly what he appears to be and the end result of his actions is one bad situation! Arthur has a lot cut out for him, and next issue seems to be one that will be very action packed! I will give a lot of credit to Walker giving some awesome Atlantean imagery, the environments feel much like a character unto itself, and I really want to see how creative the team gets with its underwater world.
Teen Titans #21
STORY: Tony BedardART: Miguel Mendonca, Diana Conesa COLORS: Tony Avina
Review: how did this random DC New 52 title get included? Well I read it by accident, because for some reason I thought it might tie into the Rebirth storyline somehow. Spoiler! It doesn’t. In fact this is still very much the same Teen Titans team you saw in the beginning of the series, and this is Red Robin in his regular Red Robin costume with no tie to what is going on with the character in Detective Comics. So here is the dilemma I’m seeing from DC, right now you have a series of books taking place I’m guessing “Prior” to events in Rebirth and some after the events of Rebirth. But rebirth itself, aside from Wally Showing up in Flash isn’t really an “event”. Nothing is happening to the characters in any unique way, it’s simply a branding on this latest concept from DC Comics. I know eventually this series will end, and it will re-start with a new creative team and a new line up. So far nothing in this issue or previous issues suggests the series is heading in a direction where Red Robin will go off to be with Batman again, and the rest of the team will, I guess disperse.
Only Raven and Beast Boy are shown in any solicitations for Teen Titans Rebirth #1. Here in lies my issue with how DC is handling Rebirth: it’s half assed. The Rebirth Titles are great, but you’ve got so many other titles happening at the same time which do not connect AT ALL with the “Rebranding”. It’s one thing with the Justice League, but DC should have just cancelled all these series and let them restart under the Rebirth branding. For what it’s worth, this issue is decent, nothing spectacular from Tony Bedard or the art team. Everything is good, but the story of fighting animals at a zoo with people under “Brains” control just felt silly and not nearly as epic as I think the team wanted it to come off. The ending has Red Robin seemingly be taken by Amanda Waller to lead a Task Force X (suicide Squad) team into Belle Reve (the place where all the bad guys are held). Maybe somewhere in there the tie into Rebirth will happen.
Wonder Woman #1
STORY: Greg Rucka ART: Liam Sharp COLORS: Laura Martin
Review: Rucka really has strong control over the voice and presence of Diana. You just feel like this is badass warrior Amazon, who knows when to be cool and calculating and when to just let loose. In “The Lies” chapter one, Diana is searching for her true origin along with the location of Themyscira which appears to be missing. Liam Sharp draws a great Wonder Woman, and you see how much he loves cramming in details with his backgrounds and characters. Everything feels intense, especially the moments with Steve Trevor under gunfire. I think my biggest gripe is not really knowing “when” this story is taking place. At the end of Darkseid War it seemed Steve was cured of transformation at the hands of Grail, and apparently had rekindled something of a relationship with Diana. Here, with Diana on her quest, and unknowingly being in close proximity to Steve’s latest mission I found it odd that all the characters speak as those it’s been a very long time before any interaction between Steve and Diana existed.
I know there is a “zero year” storyline that will be running every other issue on this series (which is bi-weekly) so hopefully that will explain what’s happened and just how far off this current storyline is taking place. Again, Greg Rucka is a great writer for WW, but I’m not sure I like the idea of the bi-weekly stories with each one being completely different and set apart by what seems many years, especially when we will be having this Diana appearing in other books that most likely will contradict the events being told here in her solo series. Regardless I will enjoy this story for what it is, and if needed treat it like its own little universe.