Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Stryder's Favourite Comics - 1/30/2013

Every month goes by in a flash when you're a comic book fan, and January is no exception as the last week of comics for the month is already here!  They dumped another 10 issues on me last Wednesday! Here's what I got:

Batman and Robin Annual #1 - "Let's see what the kid has up his sleeve...Game on."

I really loved the story presented in this annual.  It's a tale of Damian and Bruce Wayne, far more than one of Batman and Robin, and a tale that takes a lot of time to add little touches and humanizing qualities to both members of the Dynamic Duo.  Damian sets up a scavenger hunt of sorts for Bruce, sending him around the world in search of special "surprises" that he's cooked up...all of which revolve around getting to know the Wayne family a little better!  Not one to ever play things exactly straight up, however, Damian is using this same opportunity to trick his father into leaving him alone in Gotham City, whereupon he's decided to be "Batman" for a few days all by himself!  How long will it take the "World's Greatest Detective" to clue in to his son's ruse? 

This book really highlights Damian's character and character growth throughout the series and I thought it was great!  I've been pretty worried lately that between "Death of the Family" and Batman, Incorporated, that Damian Wayne may just be killed off...stories like this make me sincerely hope he is NOT!

Superman, The Flash and more after the JUMP!!

Superman #16 - "By my word.  By my actions.  Krypton will not die."

Superman and the Justice League (along with Superboy) continue to assault the Fortress of Solitude in their continuing efforts to stop H'El and Supergirl from activating the Star Chamber and collecting the energy to launch themselves back in time to save Krypton from destruction!  Why?  Because in order for the Star Chamber to gather the energy H'El needs, it must destroy our entire Solar System, perhaps even our entire Galaxy! 

For the record, H'El sort of glossed over that part when explaining his plan to Supergirl, who is still confused as to why her cousin and his friends are trying to stop them.  Silly girl, doesn't realize that boys lie!

There's also some strange alien thing in the Himalayan mountains that is aware of all that is transpiring and has summoned it's master to come to Earth and play some part.  The master?  An immense stone creature floating in the depths of space known as the Oracle!  What could it all mean? 

Another really, really beautiful issue drawn by my new favourite artist, Ken Rocafort!  This guy just keeps getting better!

Aquaman #16 - "They will know the power of Atlantis.  And they will fear us as we once did them."

Things start coming to a head as "Throne of Atlantis" continues!  Batman, Aquaman, Superman and Wonder Woman have been banished to the bottom of the ocean, to "The Trench", the place where the cannibalistic undersea monstrosities from Aquaman #1 first appeared!  Cyborg has a plan to save them...but it requires he undergo surgery to upgrade himself to operate underwater...he won't need to breathe, but they have to remove his one remaining lung!  He decides that it's a small price to pay to rescue his friends.  As a bonus, while he's unconscious for the procedure,  his computer-parts are still working to defragment damaged records from the warship that initially launched missiles at Atlantis and started this whole mess...hopefully they'll be able to discover who really caused this terrible ordeal!

We also get to see the "Justice League Reserves", called by Cyborg in Justice League #16 as they join the battle against the Atlanteans led by Ocean Master in Boston and at least TRY to hold them back from totally conquering the city!  This all builds to a conclusion next month in Justice League #17!

Teen Titans #16 - "Pfft.  When don't I have a plan?"

The very last "Death of the Family" tie-in arrives this week as the Joker continues his fiendish plot to help Batman "free himself" from all of his pesky allies!  To further this, he's captured Tim "Red Robin" Drake and (guest star) Jason "Red Hood" Todd!  The two former Bat-Sidekicks are trapped together in an undisclosed location, where the Joker claims to also have both of their FATHERS!!  Wait...isn't Jason's dad dead??  Or is he??  Well, he soon will be again, if Jason and Tim don't fight each other...to the DEATH! 

Aside from the extremely entertaining fight between the two ex-boy-wonders and the lead in to the "Death of the Family" finale in next month's Batman #17, we also get an actual appearance by the OTHER Teen Titans, concluding their team-up with the Outlaws from Red Hood and the Outlaws #16.  We also get a couple of other teasers...a cameo by Kurt Lance, and another with someone I'm super excited about...in her first appearance since Phantom Stranger #1...RAVEN!!

Flash #16 - "I wish I could promise her that I'll be back.  But knowing what I have to do...I can't."

Things heat up in Central City as the Flash goes forth to confront King Grodd and end this Gorilla nightmare once and for all!  How is he possibly going to do this?  Grodd is bigger, stronger, and thanks to his theft of the Speed Force batteries that Flash was tricked into supplying (thanks to Dr. Elias way back in the beginning of the series) just as FAST!!!

Well, right before the time travelling gorilla elder known as Solovar was brutally killed, he told the Flash "The Mind will always be faster."  What could it mean?  To Barry Allen, it means that the only way to stop Grodd is to out-think him...in practical terms, it means that the Flash is taking his enemy somewhere to stop him from threatening the Gem Cities...he's taking Gorilla Grodd into the Speed Force!!!

Batman Incorporated #7 - "The Knight's DEAD.  And they "lost" my Father...None of this would have happened if we'd been together as Batman and Robin."

The first thought to cross my mind as I finished this issue of Batman Inc. is that I can't WAIT for next month's issue!  Things have gone far, far awry for our heroes, as the Knight was KILLED last issue by the evil Heretic and on the very first page of this issue, Batman himself is taken by Leviathan!  Now Talia has Bruce and you know she has plans for him!

Poor Squire is devastated by her partner's death as the rest of Inc. seems to be falling to pieces!  Nightwing, Red Robin and Wingman are running around trying to figure out what to do next to help Batman, but it looks like Leviathan is RISING.  The only person who has any idea what to do is Damian...but he's been confined to the cave by his dad...unless he can convince Alfred that it's time to disobey orders!!

Also this issue...Damian confirms what we all suspected about Heretic as we finally learn the truth about his origin!!

Before Watchmen: Ozymandias #5 (of 6) - "Permit me to let you in on a little secret...Being the World's smartest man does not, by extension, automatically make you the most creative."

Adrian "Ozymandias" Veidt continues his journal of all of the event leading up to the implementation of his master plan to save humanity from itself.  This issue gives us his perspective on such controversial topics as the NYC Police strike and subsequent riots of 1977, the passing of the Keene Act making non-government approved vigilantes illegal, the interference of Dr. Manhattan in the Vietnam War, and Nixon's campaign to allow himself a third-term as president of the U.S.A.  On a personal note, it also covers the reveal of Ozymandias' true identity to the world at large, and my favourite part, the creating of Adrian's pet genetically altered lynx, Bubastis!  He's a nice kitty...

Before Watchmen:  Dollar Bill #1 (of 1) - "I was planning to label this a cautionary tale, but it's the story of my life, so how could I?"

If you've ever wanted to know more about the most commercial of the Minutemen, Bill Brady, the so-called Dollar Bill, now's your chance!  Here we have a fairly straight-forward, first person account of Dollar Bill's life, relating how a silly job as a marketing strategy for a bank led to some real-life experiences as a "costumed hero"!  We learn of the journey that Bill must take, and even his eventual fate...all sponsored, of course, by National Bank, "the only bank where your money is protected by the incredible Dollar Bill!"

Talon #4 - "I've not killed in over 150 years...I am eager to change that."

Calvin "Talon" Rose and a band of ex-super villain henchmen that his one-time girlfriend Casey Washington has been helping rehabilitate have successfully compromised a bank in New York City and drained several of the Court of Owls' bank accounts.  That's the good news!  The bad news is that Calvin has run into the worst Talon yet...a giant monstrosity of an undead assassin, his name is Felix Harmon...he's the most dangerous weapon the Court ever employed...in the 1860's, they knew him as the Gotham Butcher!!

Well, that's not the only piece of bad news...our heroes manage to briefly evade being pounded into a sticky paste by the Gotham Butcher, but at a price...the underground network that Casey's been running has it's location compromised!  The Court is on to them!  They KNOW where YOU live!  What now??

Batman The Dark Knight #16 - "They're merciless.  They'll kill one another just to get to me."

Citizens of Gotham are terrified (what else is new?) as a rash of kidnappings spreads throughout the city.  The kidnappers are ruthless and relentless and the victims are varied and seemingly random!  With no leads to follow, Batman is left chasing after reported sightings hoping to learn the reason for this erratic criminal behaviour!

Sadly, these kidnappings seem to be interfering with Bruce Wayne's love life.  He and the concert pianist he's been dating for the last few issues are having "the talk." 

Oh, did I mention that the kidnappings are being orchestrated by the Mad Hatter?  Man, he's a vicious little freak!

Incidentally, the new artist, Ethan Van Sciver, does a pretty good job maintaining the tone of the book.  New(ish) writer Gregg Hurwitz is still having a lot of trouble making me believe this is actually Batman, though...it's funny...16 issues in and I'm STILL undecided about continuing to buy this book...if it was anyone else but BATMAN the book would have been dropped ages ago...

Well, 2 out of 3 Batman books were awesome and overall it was a great week for comics!  Join me again next week as we look at the books coming out TOMORROW!!!  Including Grant Morrison's GIANT SIZED FINAL ISSUE OF ACTION COMICS!!!  Whoa!  Also new Detective Comics, Green Arrow, Green Lantern, Worlds' Finest and more!!

Until then, here's another grumpy Winter edition of Stryder's Dementia...I thought it was funny, but apparently it's just morbid...whatever!

Have a great week!  February may be painful, but at least it's short!  Peace!

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