Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Stryder's Favourite Comics - 9/26/2012

The final week of the Zero Issue is here!  It's been an interesting month, and quite entertaining, if you're willing to look the other way on a few time-line issues.  Never let logic get in the way of a good back story, I always say!

Anyway, let's start with the nicest super-hero in the DCU!

The Flash #0 - "Stop it Barry.  Just stop.  You've...you've wasted enough time...on a guilty man."

Barry Allen becomes the Flash for the first time right before our eyes in this month's Zero issue!  He also learns some hard, hard truths about the nature of the relationship between his jailed father and his murdered mother.  All of his life, Barry's tried to prove his dad's innocence and find his mother's true killer.  It's what made him want to become a forensic scientist in the first place!  Now, we learn that perhaps the reason Barry can't find any evidence that his father is innocent is because his father is NOT innocent...

Reading between the lines (nothing is stated outright and everything is presented through Barry's eyes as a child), we can gather that Barry's mom wanted a divorce from his dad.  She was seeing someone else.  Possibly Police Captain Darryl Frye.  He's the man who took care of Barry after his mom's death and his dad's incarceration.  He also (unlike Barry's father) bears a strong resemblance to Barry Allen.  Coincidence?  Speculation?  Perhaps...

Oh hey, in with all of this family drama and character growth, there's also the whole matter of gaining super powers, forging a costume that can handle the speed force and foiling some crime for the first time as The Flash!!  Sweet!

Lots more Zero Issues, some Batman, some Superman and a NEW title after the JUMP!

Batman Incorporated #0 - "In the cave, in the dark, I saw a vision of the future.  Two headstones...the world in flames...time to ring the bell again."

This month we go back and fill in a few blanks, learning a bit more about how Batman, Inc. came to be and some of the key recruitment moments.  We see Batman "hire" Squire and Knight from England, then send them off to Australia to recruit Dark Ranger  while the dark knight himself runs off to Russia to recruit the (now-deceased) Ravil.  And so on...there are several stops and offers to be made!  Batman needs an army to fight Leviathan, and that's what he'll have!  It's nice that we also get to see that the army is made up of real characters with their own stories and motivations.  Grant Morrison knows how to build a fascinating tapestry!

NEW! Talon #0 - "Boy, what do you know of Owls?"

Remember the "Night of the Owls"??  Of COURSE you do!  DC (quite rightly!) liked the story so much, they commissioned this spin-off book to follow the tumultuous life of the ONE Talon ever to ESCAPE the influence of the Court of OwlsCalvin Rose is a young runaway from an abusive home who finds himself taken in by Haly's Circus as a child and taught to perform, specifically as "The Youngest Escape Artist in America!"

Of course, the Court comes recruiting and Calvin finds himself taken away and made a Talon!  At least, until they send him on a mission he just can't reconcile himself with...then poor Calvin's on the run again!

Superman #0 - "He didn't tell her.  How could he?  When is the proper time to tell your wife the world is ending?"

This month we join Jor-El of Krypton as he uncovers the unfortunate truth that his home planet is doomed.  Brand new creative team Scott Lobdell and Kenneth Rocafort give us a very interesting view ofthe doomed city of Krytonopolis in the months before it all becomes lost forever!  Superman's dad learns not just that the planet is doomed, but also that there's a conspiracy to keep that knowledge secret!  A conspiracy that threatens not just his life, but also that of his wife and unborn son! 

All this and another baffling impossibility...remember how last week in Supergirl #0 we saw Superboy on Krypton?  This week we see Kal-El...Superman HIMSELF on Krypton, spying on his parents before he is even born!  Wha?!?  I'm sure the upcoming Superman/Superboy/Supergirl crossover will delve into this more deeply...

Batman The Dark Knight #0 - "We know where it starts.  The patter of pearls on asphalt.  The soundtrack to my nightmare.  We know where it starts...but do we know where it ends?"

We get a fascinating and gritty coming of age story for young Bruce Wayne in The Dark Knight's Zero issue, as Bruce tries his best to learn the identity of his parent's killer and, perhaps more importantly, to learn WHY they died.  He needs to believe that they died as part of some conspiracy, for some important reason...perhaps to give their death some meaning, or perhaps just to assuage his own feelings of guilt..  We follow Bruce as he grows into a young man and develops his fledgling detective skills trying to solve this, his first and most personal case.

Finally we learn the answer to an important  question...what will Bruce Wayne do when he stands face to face with his parent's killer?  What does he feel when he meets Joe Chill?

Aquaman #0 - "You are the eldest son of the queen.  By law, you are our king."

Aquaman's Zero issue brings us a young Arthur Curry leaving behind dry land on the day of his father's funeral, to search the Oceans for the lost kingdom of Atlantis and, more importantly, his mother!  Unfortunately, this search is much harder than it initially appears...at least until a chance encounter leads our hero to find another Atlantean living on land!  An advisor for the throne of Atlantis has been searching for Arthur to help him, and imparts the first of what I can only assume are many lessons regarding the heritage of Atlantean royalty.  He also gives Arthur the necklace we sometimes see him wear (it's made of the Atlantean stones that once sat upon the Dead King's crown) and the map to the Dead King's armoury, where of course we already know, Arthur's Trident and the Other's Atlantean artifacts reside!

Of course, it's a good news, bad news situation...but then, isn't it always for Aquaman?  Guy almost NEVER catches a break...

Teen Titans #0 - "There is no surprise ending to this story.  From the moment I saw Tim--it was clear he was going to forge his own destiny."

The Teen Titans' Zero issue brings us the yet another origin story for (my personal favourite) Robin...Tim "Red Robin" Drake!  Unlike Batman and the two Robins before him, Tim's parents are ALIVE when he first dons the mask, and rather than wanting to avenge their deaths, Tim is motivated by the wish to make them proud of him!  According to, well, EVERYONE in this issue, Tim was/is destined for greatness...

Anyway Tim, noticing that Batman is "not himself" and that Robin is mysteriously absent (this is right after Jason Todd's death) decides to try to track Batman down and help him.  After being foiled in his first attempt to figure out the Bat's identity, he instead uses a very dangerous method to get the caped crusader's attention!  If Tim can't go to Batman, he'll get Batman to come to him, even if he has to risk life and limb at the hands of the Penguin to do it! 

In a controversial move that already contradicts some earlier issues, Tim calls himself "Red Robin" right away in the New 52.  He doesn't want to step on the memory of Jason, and so changes both costume and name immediately.  It's an interesting character point that makes some sense but also seems a little "odd".  I can't decide if I like it or not...

Nothing about the other Titans this month, but there are cameo shots of Bunker and Skitter pictured on the Bat-Computer as Bruce is doing research into meta-humans or something...nice that they're at least acknowledged, however fleetingly...

Before Watchmen: Ozymandias #3 (of 6)  - "There were rumours of something new in the world, something more than human, something that threatened the status quo in ways we could barely imagine..."

Ozymandias continues his life story for our "edification" this month, as he tells us of his first meeting with the Comedian (it begins and ends with violence) and his first encounter with Dr. Manhattan (perhaps the only being smarter than he is!)  Some seeds are sewn for the future in both meetings.  We also get to see him start building his Antarctic headquarters.  Already, in this young stage, his plans are starting to unfold...although even the good blue doctor can't foresee just what fruit they may bear!

All right!  That's it for Zero Month!  While I've enjoyed all of the origin stories and insights this month, I'll be happy to get back to less standardized comic book covers and, even more so, to start some stories I don't already know the endings of!  Luckily I don't have to wait too long as issue #13 of Action Comics, Detective Comics, Green Lantern and more come out TOMORROW!!!

Speaking of New Comic Book day, a HUGE Shout Out to my very own Comic Book Guy from the store Comics & More in Toronto for making us here at Fruitless Pursuits a "Site worth checking out" on his blog, News & More!  Thanks man!

Oh, this week at Stryder's Dementia I chase my whimsy and re-write the beginning of the Universe.  I guess I got caught up in all the Zero Issue excitement!

Okay, that's got to be enough reading for one post, right?  Have a stellar and spooky October!  My favourite time of year.  Peace and love to the hippies and the freaks!  See ya next week!

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