Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Stryder's Favourite Comics - Release Date 2/8/2012

Happy Valentine's day!  Because I love you all so much, and because I have no date and hockey doesn't start until 9pm, I just HAD to get last week's comics out for your perusal!  Not to mention that tomorrow's New Comic Day and here I'm still on last week!  So without further ado here we go!

Batgirl #6 - Wow.  Just wow!  Batgirl starts out where we left off last month, in a throw-down with a mind-controlled Bruce Wayne that she really, REALLY doesn't want to participate in!  Of course, that doesn't stop her from jump-kicking the man right in the face!  She's awfully apologetic about it afterwards though.

In all seriousness, this book is just fantastic.  There are 3 emotional, gut-wrenching moments in this one issue that have just elevated the whole 6-book run so far!  One moment almost made me cry!  There was also one small panel, a close up of Batgirl's face focusing on her eyes/mouth, with the caption "You made a bad enemy on the wrong day, Gretel.  I'm coming for you." That, in my mind, turns Barbara Gordon into Batgirl for real for the first time.  Before this, she's just been Oracle at best, PRETENDING she's still Batgirl.  Now she's truly made the transformation.  Criminals beware!  Great, great issue. 

Overall Run: 

-Excellent, slow building story line that really focuses on the inner workings of Barbara Gordon and her struggle to overcome the tragedy and dysfunction that has beset her life and that of her family
-Really expressive artwork, particularly facial expressions, force me to empathize with the characters

-Because of the slow moving plot and Batgirl's various mistakes in the first couple of issues particularly, some people may find the book dull.  More personality development than action. 

Score:  4.5 out of 5 elevator-riding Batcycles!  One of the best of the New 52!!

More from Gotham and beyond after the Jump!

Batman and Robin #6 - DAMIAN!  That boy is just no end of trouble for our poor dark knight daddy....fatherhood is tougher than a night out with Killer Croc, eh Bruce?  This issue finds new Robin Damian Wayne working with his father's childhood peer, the son of one of the men who trained the bat.  This man is an assassin, pure and simple.  Batman wants to take him down.  Damian may want to join him.  Is it better to protect life, or punish evil?  What path will he take?

Great, tense book, as Damian struggles to decide his future while Bruce races to try and find him somewhere in Gotham, before it is too late.  The whole comic has a heart-pounding urgency to it, made all the more real by the brutality right at the end, which of course is a cliffhanger.  Very nicely done issue!  

Overall Run: 

-Seeing Bruce deal with being a parent and trying to teach a violent problem child is a treat, and a novel way to treat the Dark Knight.  Some may say we saw this with Jason Todd, but it's a lot different here.
-We, as readers, get to learn a lot of little secrets about being Batman along with Damian!
-Batman bought Robin a puppy.  How great is that?  

-Damien is SUCH a brat that he might turn off some readers. 
-Batman is too smart to be quite so oblivious to his own son's feelings and emotional needs.  

Score:  4 out of 5 sewer-traversing Bat-Gyroscopes!

Batwoman #6 - You know I have really tried to like this book.  It's critically acclaimed.  The artwork and colours are awesome and very unique.  The character designs are cool and the premise is very interesting.  However, I just can't get into it.  I don't care about Batwoman's life and problems, I don't like the supernatural story about a ghost being controlled by a black-ops type agency, I don't like Batwoman being blackmailed by the same agency and I especially don't like that the whole thing is masterminded by a skeleton who's name is "Bones".  If any of this was at all a real threat to Gotham City, I'm sure Batman would have already taken care of it.

I do like the character of Bette Kane, aka Flamebird.  Sadly she's lying in a coma, not saying too much.  Before that she just let Batwoman push her around for some reason.  Well, I guess cause otherwise she'd get nearly killed and end up lying around in a coma somewhere.  Hmmmm.  Anyway, I know I say this every month, but I think I'm putting this title down for good.  I tried, but it's just not for me. 

Overall Run:

-Great unique artwork and colouring give the book it's own feel 

-Comic doesn't seem to gel properly into the universe that DC is trying to create
-Story line seems too heavily supernatural but without the fantastical setting, creating a confusing tone to the book  

Score:  2 out of 5 cigarette-smoking skeletons.  Sorry Batwoman...

Green Lantern #6 - Last time in GL, Sinestro dismissed Hal Jordan back to Earth with a nearly depleted power ring and what seemed to me to be a fervent hope never to see him again!  This month, Sinestro needs Hal back!  That didn't take long...

Sinestro this month is tracking down one of his old Yellow Lantern corps members when he learns of a plot that the Guardians seem to be hatching.  This plot, teased last issue, appears to be one that will rid the universe of ALL Green Lanterns and set up something else in their place.  A universe, perhaps, where the Guardians are the supreme rulers?  The Guardians overall motivation and goals are unclear to me, however, they DO seem insidious.  (Having just re-read "Flashpoint" and the beginnings of the New 52, I wonder if the Guardians could be the threat that we are warned is coming to Earth that necessitated the reboot to begin with?  They certainly seem serious!) Sinestro works with one of his former foes in this issue, but realizes that if he wants to win, he'll need the help of his once-greatest foe.  In his own words, "Hal Jordan...Damn him."

Meanwhile, Hal's back together with Carol and doesn't WANT to be Lantern any more.  Sadly for him, and especially for Carol, I don't think he'll have a choice.... 

Overall Run: 

-Hal Jordan's a smart-ass, cocky, self-absorbed dick.  This comic has made me like him anyway.  Great character development!
-Although the plot spans galaxies, it's managed to stay grounded in very real human emotion and interaction

-Although technically Sinestro IS a Green Lantern again, this book almost should be titled "Sinestro" instead.  He's practically the main character.
-First time readers like myself who started with #1 are probably still confused about what is going on.  I understand that GL history, much like Batman's, has not changed for the new 52.  Sadly, I don't know it....so where does that leave me? Checking Wikipedia a LOT, that's where! 

Score:  3.5 out of 5 shiny green power rings!  They got an extra .5 for winning me over to a character that I really don't like, personally.  Good work!

Suicide Squad #6 -  The search for Harley Quinn begins as she has escaped the Squad and rushed back to Gotham city to confirm or deny the rumours of the Joker's demise.  It's not as easy as it looks to recapture the little clown girl on her home turf!  Particularly if you're trying to keep a low profile in the meantime.  Don't want to attract any indigenous wildlife, for example, bats?

We also get some very interesting flashback scenes between young Dr. Harleen Quinzel and an incarcerated Joker, slowly working to rebuild her mind.  Those scenes alone were worth the price of admission.  Then of course there's a little character building and tension between Deadshot and Savant and the inclusion of "Lime" and "Light" aka the "Twitter Twins" aka the ridiculously stupid superhuman bimbos who lost to Green Arrow in his first story arc.  Oh and we learn that King Shark is more active when kept wet.  Well, that makes sense.... 

Overall Run: 

- Interesting to read a story from the villain's perspective.  Strange what a fine line it can be between hero and villain
- Not afraid to let characters die.  It seems to happen quite a lot, actually.

- Gory and overly violent, but then again, it IS Suicide Squad. 
- Hard to root for characters that you know are awful people, even if you want to get behind them on some level. 

Score:  3 out of 5 giant walking shark-men.

Superboy #6 - This month's issue of Superboy picks up right where Teen Titans #5 left off, with Superboy triumphant over the Titans but feeling no joy in his victory.  Lost and alone, confused, wondering why everyone he's ever met has either lied to him, attacked him, or both, Superboy is fed up.  He's looking for answers.  He needs a friend.  He finds...Supergirl!!!

So Superboy meets Supergirl...can Superchaperone be far behind?  Doesn't look like that'll be necessary, because Supergirl is acting just like she does in her OWN comic book.  In other words, she hits Superboy a lot and then runs away.  Damn, Kara, that's your answer for EVERYTHING!  To be fair, she doesn't hit him until she finds out he's a clone, and she also give us some information.  She calls Superboy Kon-El, which translates into "Abomination in the House of El."  Apparently cloning was tried on Krypton and it didn't work out that well.  Something about inevitably becoming a mindless killing machine.  Hmmm.

On the plus side, Superboy (how long before Kon-El becomes Conner and I can stop calling him Superboy ALL THE TIME??) learns how to speak Kryptonian from Kara with his psychic powers, much the same way he learned English.  All in all, nothing is resolved in this issue but a lot of seeds are planted.  

Overall Run: 

-As realistic a cloning story as I've ever read, from the clone's point of view.  He has to learn EVERYTHING.  It's slow but rewarding
-I really like the art.  It's different from the rest of the universe, somehow almost retro, but also very cool looking 

-The start-from-scratch method may be TOO slow for some readers
-Not enough interesting or even likeable supporting characters or villains.  This is really ALL ABOUT Superboy. 

Score:  3 out of 5 glowing red telekinetic bursts!

So there we have it for another week!  This was a long one and next week promises to be even longer!  So much so that I'm wondering if I should start splitting these into 2 parts?  We shall see.  In any case, Everyone have a delightful week and I'll be back soon with Batman, Wonder Woman, Supergirl and more!!!!  Stay Frosty!

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