Scott Reviews The New 52 (And Other Stuff Too!)
Only one Marvel title on my pull list this week, so the “Other Stuff” portion is only one review long this time. Dropped from the new 52 this week: Batman The Dark Knight and Firestorm, and Flash is kind of on the bubble for me as well. Let’s get ‘er done.
Captain America & Bucky #624 Starting out from the Marvel side of things, this is kind of an odd title that I picked up a few issues back and got hooked on. The basic premise is a throwback to World War II Cap & Bucky, telling the origin story again and filling in more stuff from the POV of Bucky and his troubled childhood on army bases. This issue, the last one of that direction, sees Bucky getting reprogrammed into the Winter Soldier by the Russians in the 50s and hooking up with the Black Widow while trying to kill an enemy of the state. Apparently the creative team changes and jumps back to World War II again with #625, so this was more of a mini-series, I guess. Do they have any long term plans for Cap’s long-running series? I dunno, but it’s a fun read and easy to jump into, and I like Winter Soldier and I’ll probably pick up his solo series too. Recommended!
Aquaman #3 Much like my review of Aquaman #2, this title once again gets my highest compliment in that it was over way too soon. Just as I’m getting into the story, bam, end of chapter. I’m really digging this series! Damn you Geoff Johns! Anyway, Aquaman continues his battle with the rather nasty Trench creatures, who enjoy eating people and cocooning dogs as a hobby. Johns and Ivan Reis even break out the classic “VUU VUU VUU” telepathy rings and sound effect as Aquaman tries to communicate with the monsters in between trying to survive. This brings him to the old friend of the family from last issue, who we learn a little more about, in that he taught Arthur everything about his powers and then tried to kill him. Same old story. Such a fun series thus far!
Green Lantern New Guardians #3 Kyle Rayner and his SEVEN power rings do battle with the Guardians! Lots of stuff happens and I increasingly have no idea what’s going on in this book! I gave it three issues to find something to say, and I’m done.
Superman #3 Why isn’t George Perez drawing instead of writing this title? The continuing adventures of underwear-less Superman continue to bore me, as it’s the third issue in a row of the same basic “Superman fights a weird Kryptonian threat” . This time, an ice creature, and he’s all “OMG, I can’t use my heat vision without killing it!” and doesn’t really think things through beyond “Well, I guess I’ll just try using the heat vision anyway and see where it ends up.” And again, this is a very talky comic, with multiple narrators and lots of explanations for everything but the central plot. I kind of wish they’d just bump up the impending changeover to Giffen/Jurgens because this is feeling like a lame duck arc at this point. How can Action Comics capture the amazement of a flying man so effortlessly and this series needs endless word balloons and still can’t muster any kind of sense of wonder?
Teen Titans #3 The slow build to Red Robin assembling the Titans continues, but since Scott Lobdell is introducing a lot of new characters in the process, taking his time is the right move. In fact, this issue didn’t really move the plot very much, but it allowed us to take a breath and see Red Robin meet up with telekinetic bricklayer Bunker, while Kid Flash tries to escape NOWHERE’s Antarctic prison with his mysterious new superpowered friend Solstice. The whole sequence on the train with Tim Drake disguised as a hobo while having a frustrating conversation with an annoyingly evasive Bunker was great stuff, as was them having to team up and deal with brainwashed hoards of people. Bunker’s clueless reaction to Tim suddenly dropping the whole subject and deciding to leave while speaking in monotone was fun as well, giving the whole thing a nice tinge of Giffen JLA. Weird that Lobdell can write both overwrought hipster nonsense like Red Hood and yet handle light-hearted stuff like this title so effectively. I continue to be intrigued and entertained! Not as entertained as Tiny Titans, which thankfully was spared a gritty New 52 reboot, but it’s a fun book thus far.
The Flash #3 Speaking of intriguing, this issue examines how getting a new power without knowing the full ramifications can often be a disadvantage. It’s nicely foreshadowed by Barry vibrating to save a plane and talking about how he had to learn about that power through trial-and-error, and the ending of the book shows him making one hell of an error while trying to use his new “see everything 3 steps ahead of the bad guys” brain power. The art tells a lot of the story here, with fantastic visuals that really show Flash being, well, fast. Mob Rule is an interesting villain, although they could have just recycled Multiplex from the original Firestorm run since his Suicide Squad death would have been undone by the reboot anyway. We’re also getting the gradual introduction of the original rogues (although wasn’t Trickster killed in Countdown? Or did that not happen either now?). Anyway, much like Batwoman for me, any simplicity in the storytelling is more than compensated for by the great artwork from Manapul and Buccatello. Plus I’m curious how they get out of the cliffhanger ending, so I’ll hang around for a while yet.
And finally this week…
All Star Western #3
“Settle down? This man has been torturing me and carving my flesh for hours!” “Sure, there’s that…”
Oh, Jonah Hex, how did they ever screw up your movie so badly? Hex continues to be the badassest badass in the West here, escaping from the clutches of the long-winded Crime Bible gang and moving on to his real target in Gotham, while having to fight off the companionship of the good Dr. Arkham. It’s a testament to the strength of the writing here that it can balance goofy one-liners from Hex with over-the-top murder by the villains without seeming cheesy or exploitive about it. Hex uses the humor and solitude as a coping mechanism, and just can’t understand why someone in the big city wouldn’t want to accept a perfectly good horse in trade for provisions. Don’t ever change, Jonah. I’m hoping that the brush-off of Arkham doesn’t mean this partnership has come to an end, but it seems to be headed back towards a solo Hex title again. Either way, this is a great Western throwback book and well worth picking up every month.
Winner this month: All-Star Western! I really liked Flash and Titans as well, though, so it was a good ratio this time around.