Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Stryder's Favourite Comics - 9/19/2012

Zero Month continues over at DC Comics as we get another week's worth of chances to learn new and interesting tidbits about our favourite heroes past lives!  It's all quite good as long as you don't try too hard to make it all line up nicely in the 5-year time line they've set out.  It's got to be a rather fluid, ill-defined 5 year period...just don't over-analyze these things...

Before we get into the Zero Month issues, however, I feel it's appropriate to take a look at this:

Before Watchmen: Nite Owl #3 (of 4) - "I hear you've been careless with some of you women, Carlos.  I've lost keys, spare change--my mind--but never an entire woman.  So what happened to them?"

Nite Owl #3 may be noteworthy mostly because it is (I believe) the last book that the late, great legend Joe Kubert worked on before his passing.  He contributes inks over his son Andy's pencils here, in his typically awesome style.  Joe was a superstar and he will be missed!

As for the plot this issue, Dan "Nite Owl" Dreiberg continues his campaign to assist the S&M mistress lady he met last issue in investigating the disappearances of several call girls that the police couldn't give a damn about.  Rorschach, of course, is not helping due to his ingrained disgust with prostitution.  Mommy issues.  Poor Rorschach.  Regardless, he ends up working the same case despite himself as he coincidentally uncovers the murderer that Nite Owl is searching for!  Which won't do any good if he is unable to survive long enough to tell anyone...

Meanwhile, original Nite Owl Hollis Mason also puts in an appearance simply to tell Dan about some deep dark secret.  He drops this secret in the form of a sealed envelope and leaves Dan to decide what to do about it.  What's the secret??  I'll be sure to let you know....next issue!

Zero Month shenanigans beginning with everyone's favourite Amazonian Princess after the JUMP!!!

Wonder Woman #0 - "Thou hast been trained by Amazons -- Brave warriors, true -- but there is more to learn.  Warrior Ways, that only a God can teach."

In a cute homage to the comics of yesteryear, Wonder Woman's Zero issue bills itself (with tongue firmly in cheek) as a reprinted story from "All-Girl Adventures for Men #41"  and attempts to hold to the old-timey style of storytelling and artwork that one would expect from a comic of that name!  Regardless, the story told is an interesting one that drops a lot of development on the prepubescent princess Diana!  This tale shows how, on top of her Amazonian lessons, Wonder Woman got secret training from one of the Gods of Olympus, WAR!!  He comes across Diana bemoaning her fate as "different" from all of her sisters.  She still thinks she's different because she believes she was clay made flesh (an even more outlandish parental fable than Santa and the Tooth Fairy combined!).  War of course knows that Diana's really a demigod, daughter of Zeus, and destined for great things!  Training seems to be in order.  At least until War learns of what he perceives of as Diana's great weakness...her soft, merciful heart!

Nightwing #0 - "Looking for Zucco took me to places I never should have gone.  With people I never should have been with.  But each night...He was there."

We join young Dick Grayson from "a few years ago" on the day before his life changes forever.  You know, the day that Tony Zucco decides to visit Haly's circus, and the Flying Graysons suffer for it...

I know everyone's heard the origin of the original Robin a bunch of times in at least 3 different mediums...this one is very similar, but also quite different.  In many ways, it's far more plausible!  For example, in the original origin, Bruce reveals to Dick that he is Batman and offers to help him get justice for his folks.  In this one, Dick is out for justice with or without Bruce and actually figures out the Dark Knight's identity on his own.  Bruce is more or less forced to take Dick under his wing or else watch him try to swim in the deep end all alone.  It's a lot more dramatic, and definitely has enough surprises to be worth reading!

Oh of course we get to see the New 52 version of the original Robin costume!   It's very similar to the one shown last week in Batgirl #0.  Cool looking, with no elf shoes or green panties in sight!  I like it!

Justice League #0 - "Good people get swallowed up,  They get taken advantage of.  They disappear.  Trust me."

Breaking the rules a little bit, the Zero issue of the Justice League has NOTHING to do with the League at all...instead, we get the conclusion of the ongoing back-up story, entitled, of course, SHAZAM!  Little Billy finally meets the "Last of the Council of Wizards and the keeper of the Rock of Eternity!"  He's pretty underwhelmed.  However, after a little philosophical debate about the nature of human behaviour, well....Billy says the magic word! 

SHAZAM!!  Too bad Black Adam is probably gonna come get him now...

We also get a little b-story involving Pandora and her mystic box (I always feel a little dirty typing that)...it also features a (very brief) cameo by the Question!  Seeds for the future...

Red Hood and the Outlaws #0 - "I remember being sad.  That I didn't get to say "Goodbye."  Or "Thank you." Or "I'm sorry."

For the second time this month, we get to see a tiny infant grow up to become Robin the Boy Wonder!  This time, of course, it's the ill-fated Jason Todd.  We see his early, pre-Batman life...the sorts of hardships that he faced growing up with drugged out, abusive, criminal parents...and the even worse hardships of being alone after they are gone.  Cap that off with a brief retelling of Jason's meeting with Batman, his induction as Robin, his discovery that his mother is still alive and his decision to go find her himself.  Most of the details match what I recall from the classic "Death in the Family" storyline.  Joker is waiting with his crowbar...

That's only HALF the issue.  The secondary story also deals with Jason's origin, albeit from a VERY different point of view.  The Clown Prince of Crime (pre Detective Comics #1)  gets to tell HIS side of the story, and it turns out that the Joker is taking responsibility for so much more than just poor Jason's death.  In his own words, "The Joker giveth...and then he giveth no more!"  Joker may just be responsible for Jason being Robin to begin with!  I won't spoil all the sinister details, but this is definitely a story worth checking out!  Of course, being that the entire narrative is told us DIRECTLY by the JOKER...it's possible one or two details might be made up...

Catwoman #0 - "Somewhere a gull screeches.  Someone kickstarts a motorcycle and it roars to life.  A siren wails.  But I don't scream..."

The early days of Selina Kyle's life are fraught with both mystery and peril.  We get to see the barest bones snapshots of several stages in her development...all of which bring more questions than answers.  We learn that Selina has a brother that she can't find, we learn about how she's an orphan and was (is?) caught up in some sort of possibly Russian conspiracy and we learn that, in actual fact, Selina Kyle might not even be Catwoman's real name!  If it isn't though, and we don't know that for sure, Selina herself doesn't KNOW what her real name might be. 

All of this and a Tim Burton Batman Returns cat-magic homage to boot!  Oh, and we can also infer the origin of the original, silly purple Catwoman suit.  We don't actually get to SEE it though.  Just the cloth from whence it came...

 Birds of Prey #0 - "Anyway, a little free advice for you...it's every bird for herself in here."

It's pretty obvious in hindsight that Black Canary, Starling and by extension the Birds of Prey had
something to do with the Penguin.  I mean,the "Ornithological theme" as Penguin calls it is pretty clear.  Still, I never put two and two together until this Zero issue drew the lines for me.

So this is a redemption story of sorts for Dinah "Black Canary" Lance.  She's finished with Team 7 and wanted for murdering her husband.  She wants to make a fresh start and to do that she's going undercover at the Iceberg Lounge, working security for the Penguin, in hopes of stopping the sale of a "mutation bomb" (a concept introduced in last week's Suicide Squad #0).  Yes, Basilisk is involved.  While undercover, Dinah meets Starling for the first time, also working for Penguin under circumstances that are questionable at best.  Unfortunately, her months of undercover work are foiled when Batgirl drops through the ceiling of the Iceberg Lounge, also after the buyer and seller of the aforementioned explosive device.  The rest of the issue sort of writes itself, and thus a new team is born!

 Supergirl #0 - "I have redeemed my work on the Worldkillers,using the science behind instruments of death...to save my daughter's life."

We finally learn what happened to Supergirl on the last day of Krypton...how she ended up in her pod orbiting our pretty yellow sun, dressed in her uniform with the "family crest" and why she has no memories of the situation!  Her father has been one busy controversial (notice I didn't say MAD) scientist!  A large part of this comic is his self-justification of the situation he finds himself in whilst trying to hide his plans from those who would disagree with him, including his wife and Kara herself!

Oh, in a very strange twist, Superboy makes a cameo on Krypton on it's last day!?!?!  This is, of course, impossible.  He wasn't even "decanted" yet!  I suppose we'll be told how it could have happened at SOME point...it certainly poses some interesting questions!

Wow so that's it for another week!  Lots of reading, but it seemed to fly by...join me next time for the FINAL week of Zero Issues, where we will learn more about Superman, The Flash, Batman, Incorporated, the Teen Titans and more!  All out tomorrow!

As always, I updated Stryder's Dementia...this week I'm starting a silly little YouTube project.  Don't worry, I won't pester you about it TOO much...

That's about it then!  Have a happy Autumn and we'll see ya next time!  Peace and love!

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