Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Stryder's Favourite Comics - 5/23/2012

Another big week!  Of course the biggest news of all was the triumphant return of Grant Morrison's Batman Incorporated!  Although it wasn't my personal favourite of the week...that honour goes to the Man of Steel!  Still, news is news so first let's look at....

NEW! Batman Incorporated #1 - Writer Grant Morrison's epic tale of the franchising of the Batman concept and the ongoing battle between father and mother for the soul of Damien Wayne is relaunched in Wave 2 of the New 52!  We open to see Bruce Wayne standing in the rain in a cemetery, telling Alfred to let everybody know that it's over.  Batman is over.  As he says this, Commissioner Gordon and most of the GCPD are closing in, encircling Wayne for arrest.

Of course, this is all one month from "now".  NOW, Batman and Robin are chasing armed assailants through a meat plant where it seems many of the employees are out to get them!  See, Leviathan (an evil organization and also an alias for Damien's mother, Talia Al Ghul) has come to Gotham to take over the underworld and has placed a half-billion dollar hit on the life of Robin the Boy Wonder!

Meanwhile, in San Francisco, a meeting of Bat-allies (Batman Incorporated, I suppose!) that are all thought, at least by Leviathan, to be dead, are having a secret meeting.  A mystery hero steps out of the shadows and declares that Batman put HIM in charge and proceeds to lay down a plan that we aren't privy too.

Oh and of course there's a huge cliffhanger at the end of the book in Gotham City...

Overall it's a very entertaining first issue, although if you haven't picked up the recent Batman Incorporated Graphic Novel then it might leave you feeling a bit lost.  I'm not sure how the story fits into the rest of the Batman titles or even the New 52, but a good story's a good story!  Besides...two words:  Bat Cow!!  Holy Heifer, Batman!

You know there's so much more AFTER the JUMP!

 Superman #9 - Right on!!  This is my favourite issue of Superman since the New 52 began!  We start out with a Russian submarine in peril somewhere in the deep!  They're definitely going to die but wait! Here comes the Man of Steel!!  The Russian commander, however, is not entirely pleased...this vessel has a secret (and a lot of lead lined chambers) and he doesn't want Superman to know what that secret could be.

Anyway so Superman rescues the sub in a stunning display of action and wit, and then it's off to Metropolis to get yelled at by Lois for forgetting to pick up her bitchy sister at the train station the other day...but no time for domestic squabbles because some little goth girl has gone to the bank to take a necklace from her father's safety deposit box.  When the bank won't let her, she opens the box herself with a single punch!  When they try to subdue her, their hands pass right through her!  She calls herself Anguish and she can touch you but you can't touch her!  This looks like a job for Superman!!!

Lest we forget, not all of our heroes' problems are due to punching and Russians.  A nosey blogger is convinced that Superman is hiding a secret identity and walking amongst us humans.  He says he has definitive proof and is just looking for a big payday to release this secret to the world!  Will Victor Barnes reveal that Superman is in reality mild-mannered businessman and family man Spence Becker?  Wha?!?!  Awkward!  Great issue, fast paced, well drawn, intriguing and fun!  This is a great example of what I've been wanting since Superman #1!!  Excellent!

Aquaman #9 - Black Manta is hunting Aquaman's ex-teammate The Prisoner as The Others, Chapter 3 commences!  The Prisoner is locked up in a mental institute and appears to gain his powers due to being possessed by the ghosts of long-dead army men!  He also has the power of an Atlantean Artifact, a pair of Golden Bracers with chains attached.  No wonder he's got mental issues.  Regardless, Manta's not going to find him an easy target!

Meanwhile, Aquaman and another "Other" Ya'Wara (the scantily clad young lady with animal control abilities) are fighting people in the jungle for reasons I've forgotten.  Once our heroes beat up the jungle scum, Ya'Wara starts hitting on Arthur, forcing him to remind her that Mera exists.  Ya'Wara's all like "You've changed, Arthur...you used to be cool!" Arthur doesn't succumb to her taunting seduction however, simply reminding her that they need to find their ex-teammates before Manta does.  Apparently one of these teammates lives on the Moon!!  Which of course must be why they're looking in the JUNGLE. I gotta go back and reread issues #7 and 8...

Finally, Mera, left home to babysit the possibly treacherous Dr. Shin, and to pout about Arthur running off with some hot chick to "fight crime",  has delved into the backstory of Shin and the Curry family in an effort to learn more about what's going on around here!  Shin was Arthur's doctor when Arthur was a child and his powers first started to manifest themselves.  He knows a lot about the past.  The question is, will Mera be able to ACCEPT the answers he provides???  Tune in next month!

Batman The Dark Knight #9 - Night of the Owls just won't quit!  In this case, though, perhaps it should have.  I'm not saying this was a bad issue, but it seemed pretty short and redundant and also contradicted the main Batman title, albeit only a little.  Let me explain...

Ok so this issue follows the Talon sent to assassinate Gotham City Mayoral candidate and Bruce Wayne look-alike, Lincoln March, as seen in Batman #9.  All well and good, we learn about this Talon and how he's not the best of the bunch by far.  We also learn he is/was the Talon slated to be replaced by a young Dick Grayson.  The problem comes when, in this flashback, the Talon encounters a Year One (or at least pre-Robin) era Batman.  Since the whole premise of the Court of Owls and the Talons since New 52 started is that Batman disbelieves their existence and thinks them no more than a myth, this meeting is very incongruous.  Granted it was a long time ago, and no dialogue was exchanged.  Still, did Batman FORGET this happened?  Unlikely...

Perhaps there will be an explanation eventually, but for now this particular plot twist struck me as a poor decision...

Not only that, but look at that cover!  Everyone knows I have a man-crush on Tim Drake and I was hoping this was going to be the issue that shows the part he plays in Night of the Owls.  Instead, he's in ONE
PANEL.  Sucks!

A lot of people on the Internet are also complaining that this is the only book where a Talon takes a bullet to the head and survives.  I'm willing to assume that said bullet only grazed his brain or something, but it IS pushing the boundaries of credibility.  Zombie rules are supposed to apply!! Someone didn't get the memo...

All Star Western #9 - Well, this is the first cowboy comic I ever bought!  Why?  Night of the Owls of course!!  All Star Western takes place in the Gotham City of cowboy times, apparently, and in this time, in this issue, there's a page or two where a Talon attacks someone!!  She's attacked in turn by Jonah Hex!!  Hey I know him from that movie!  He doesn't foil the Talon, but he does manage to snag one of her daggers.

Elsewhere in the book a cowboy named Nighthawk is in love with a cowgirl named Cinnamon and they ride around on horses foiling the plans of outlaws or something.  They make a cute couple!  That's about all I got...no context and little interest in Westerns, although I imagine if you like that sort of thing, this would be THE book to buy!  I just had to get the WHOLE "Owls" set (and yes that means a review of Batwing #9 is forthcoming...maybe next week).

The Flash #9 - At the end of last month's issue, The Flash was spit out of the Speed Force and right into a big group of giant apes wearing clothes, just as the largest of these apes started eating the brains of the second largest!  This month we're running (hee hee) with that premise as Flash learns that hey!  The Gorillas also talk!  Oh and they want to know who and what he is, but sadly he has NO MEMORIES!!!!  Gasp!

Well, the gorillas think he's some religious figure who's coming was foretold, all except for their leader, the pleasant fellow who was eating his father's brains earlier.  That Gorilla, named Grodd, wants to...you guessed it...eat the Flash's brains!!  Luckily the elder, wise apes show Flash their cave paintings (proving they're RIGHT about his prophesized coming) and those combine with a hit on the noggin to help him recover his memories and kick the crap out of Gorilla Grodd.  Hopefully.  He's certainly got the speed advantage!!

Oh in between planet of the apes scenes, we also get b-plot wherein Iris West and the others trapped in the Speed Force have some conversations about how it sucks that they're stuck in the Speed Force.  Oh and there's also C plot which reveals that the Flash's boss at work is gay and in a secret relationship with a vigilante named The Pied Piper.  This vigilante wants to come out of retirement since Flash is missing but his boyfriend, aka the chief of police, says NO!  Perhaps this month they are going for the "Most Random Issue" award...certainly they've achieved it!  Also one of the most entertaining!  Although you can see why the Flash doesn't get the same respect as Batman.  There's just not the same threat level from his bad guys...

Teen Titans #9 - "The Culling" reaches it's epic conclusion as Harvest is apparently about to be foiled due to Red Robin's ingenuity and the teamwork of both the Titans and Legion Lost!  Tim's got his team fighting Harvest as a distraction while the Legion hunts down and sabotages the power core to the whole place, hoping to cause an epic explosion and wipe the strange Antarctic base known as The Crucible off the map!

Meanwhile, the left-over, non affiliated teens are helping everyone escape and establishing themselves fully as the stars of new book The Ravagers, on sale next week!

I felt like the Titans, including Superboy, really came together as a team in this issue, as opposed to a bunch of people fighting alongside each other.  They started working together and managed to hold Harvest to a stand-off for quite some time!  This whole ordeal may be coming to a close, but they've learned a lot!  Sadly, not without cost as Skitter (their half-human, half-bug teammate/pet) has been missing for most of these issues and they're forced to finally flee without her.  Life-scans cannot detect her and no body can be found.  Knowing comics, I imagine she'll be back eventually, but for now, she's a casualty...poor Skitter!

Oh, by the way, Harvest may or may not have been stopped (he claims this is all a part of his plans, Tim thinks otherwise) but he definitely escaped punishment at the very least.  Can a round two vs. the Teen Titans be far in the future?

Well that's it for this week!  Tomorrow's a smaller New Comic Day than normal, being the 5th Wednesday of the month, but there's still a few things to look forward to!  Mainly Batman Annual #1 and Ravagers #1!  That seems a little short, but I'm sure I can find some other stuff to share, too..

In the meantime, I've got yet another new Stryder's Dementia post for you to amuse yourself.  Just try not to make a mess!  Peace out!

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