DC and Image Comics Reviews 4/27

And if you were waiting, here’s the rest of this week’s comic reviews. Will try and have a movie review up by Monday as usual, and should feel all better to have next week’s comic reviews up on Wednesday.

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The Omega Men #11

As the Citadel prepares to send their entire army to conquer the Vega system, the Omega Men form a united army of their own to stand against them.

The penultimate issue of this series gives us one last look at each of the Omega Men before their denouement. Each member goes to a separate planet in the system, and we see the different ways they use to convince that planet’s leadership and people to fight with them against the Citadel. I still think that Primus has the most interesting arc of the Omega Men, starting as a pacifist, and now having accepted that violence is necessary and raising an army to fight for themselves.

If you’re not already reading Omega Men, this issue won’t do anything for you. However, if you have been keeping up with this fantastic book, this issue is the last rally before the final charge.

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Secret Six #13

Strix is welcomed into the League of Assassins by Lady Shiva, but must pass some tests before gaining full membership. Meanwhile, the rest of the Secret Six plan to take her back.

From a devastating opening that would be absurd in any other context, to a couple monologues from Porcelain and Ferdie on why rescuing Strix, and being part of the Secret Six, is so important to them, this book is surprisingly emotional. It’s also funny, and bloody as all get out as you’d expect from this series.

It’s been great watching this cast of misfit losers come together and grow as a family, and it’s bittersweet only having one issue left with them all.

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Grayson #19

It’s a mad dash to the finish when a double-crossed Grayson once again finds himself alone, an agent only of himself, as he tries to rescue a possessed Helena, and the world, from Doctor Daedalus.

As the series wraps up, things get a little worse for the haste. There are a couple of good lines in here, but not as many as we’re used to from this book, and they feel more forced than usual. The issue-long chase sequence is action packed, but feels more like a Road Runner cartoon than a climactic finale.

It really sucks to have lost Tom King right before this book’s grand finale. The plot is still working fine, but the book has lost a lot of the polish that made it one of DC’s best.

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Justice League #49

The most insane Justice League story somehow gets even more balls-to-the-wall ridiculous. An Omega-powered Lex Luthor tries to take on Mobius alone before being joined by the Justice League and the Green Lantern Corps, and Superwoman is delivering a baby that might be the secret to defeating Mobius. And there are bigger threats still yet to come.

This story can only really be described as big. Every action in this book is an explosion. Every new introduction changes the tide of the war. Nothing is subtle, nothing is nuanced, everything is big and loud and powerful.

I don’t really even know if this book is good or bad, but I’m beginning to think it’s the type of story that doesn’t work on that scale. It’s like the ending to Gurren Lagann in that sense. And similar to Gurren Lagann, I’m enjoying the insanity of it all, and really can’t wait to see how out-there this story can get before bringing it all back home.

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Superman/Wonder Woman #28

Superman and Wonder Woman discuss Clark’s upcoming death before the two fly to ARGUS to meet the mysterious second Superman, and Clark asks another ARGUS prisoner, Ulysses, if he knows anything about the doppelganger.

Another meh issue in this final New52 Superman arc. It quickly devolves into a parallel fight scenes between Wonder Woman and Superman2, and Superman and Ulysses; and at the end of the book the plot hasn’t actually moved forward in the slightest.

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Batman #51

Something literally shook Gotham, and the city’s power is out. It’s a night of false starts as Batman figures out what’s causing all of it.

It’s the end of an era, Scott Snyder’s last issue of this run on Batman. His Batman has consistently been one of my favorite comics every month for the past five years, and I’m sad to see it come to an end. Yes, I know he’s doing another Batman thing on the other side of Rebirth, but this run is something else. And this final issue is the perfect bookend to Batman #1, and a perfect send off for the run.

Capullo is also bringing his best for this final issue, masterfully playing with contrast to make Batman’s silhouette pop in every panel.

All I can say is that Tom King and David Finch have some huge boots to fill in June.

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Dark Knight 3: The Master Race #4

A returned Superman refuses to fight back against his daughter and the citizens of Candor, who show him no mercy. And with Superman down, the leader of the Kryptonians, Quar, demands that Earth give up Batman, or Gotham will burn. Bizarrely, taking Superman out of this story almost as soon as he comes in doesn’t feel cheap in the slightest, though part of that might be because they leave him space to come back. I say bizarrely, because everything else in this issue seems cheap or pointless. Besides watching Superman take a beating, it’s unclear what Bruce and Carrie are really up to in this comic, and along with the GCPD, seem to let Gotham fall to rioters without much resistance. Wonder Woman is also in this issue for about a page, and doesn’t do anything; and a Flash is taken out in the same three pages he’s introduced in. I understand this issue is about raising the stakes, but it doesn’t do anything to advance the plot besides that. It’s still a well written, constructed, and drawn book, and I can’t accuse it of being an issue where nothing happens; I just wish I could say more of it mattered.

Miller’s insert Batgirl story is simple: a pink and lime-green colored Batgirl has to get something to the docks, and has to get through a mob looking to kill her in order to do it. But the art is atrocious. I get it’s his “style” now, but this doesn’t look like it’s by the same man who illustrated The Dark Knight Returns; it looks like it was drawn by a teenager for the zine he makes in his parent’s garage. Miller takes every opportunity to highlight Batgirl’s butt, for no reason other than because he likes butts, I guess. It’s a fine insert story, but the art makes it an ugly thing to read.

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Injection #9

After quickly, and with masterfully gruesome precision, taking out a assault-weapon armed Rubedo assassin; Red meets up with Simeon and Brigid in New York to catch them up with Vivek’s case. When the Injection appears in another laptop, Vivek has a breakthrough.

Everything in this book: the plot, the themes, the dialogue, etc. is pure unleaded Ellis; and this book regularly feels like a fiction companion to his weekly newsletter. Injection is a hoot that masterfully balances levity with seriousness, while the central plot is engaging enough to support all the more comedic little asides.

It’s weird, and winding, and kind of gross; definitely not the book for everyone, but definitely a book for me.

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Saga #36

In this issue, Marko breaks into Hazel’s school in order to rescue her, and The Will has a crisis of conscious when he goes after Squire and Ghus.

Luckily, this is one of those issues of Saga that goes from dreadful, beginning with Future!Hazel’s narration about how parents like to believe kids are safe at school, which I found evocative of the recent spree of school shootings in America; to uplifting after father and daughter reunite. And, it’s the end of the arc, so we’re safe from heartbreak for at least a few months.

Saga remains a consistently great, touching series that should be on anyone’s reading list.

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Sex Criminals #15

After another gap, the next issue of Sex Criminals is finally here…and I wish I liked it more. There are some great comedic and emotional bits as always, like Robert finally trying to talk to Rachel about his feelings of inadequacy and constant invasive thoughts of dicks; but there was nothing that made me literally laugh out loud as I’ve usually done with this book. Also in this issue, Jon, Suzie, Ana, and Jon’s therapist all finally meet after finding out that Kegelface stole the therapist’s file on Jon; and the book does one of the most obnoxious things I’ve seen in a comic. Instead of writing and illustrating the scene where all these characters meet, many for the first time, and catch each-other up on the events of this book; there are instead 4 all text panels where Matt/Chip just describe the scene.

It’s not just lazy, because if they wanted to, they could have just put one panel with a timeskip note. It’s obnoxious, and shows a disregard for the readers of this book who buy it issue to issue. I know they couldn’t have predicted all the gaps in release at time of writing, but even so, it’s normally a month between issues, and reader might like some catching up as well. It also spits in the golden rule of comics that every issue is someone’s first. If this is your first issue of Sex Criminals, then these four panels would do a great job of telling you that this book isn’t for you, at least not until you drop some more money on all the previous issues.

There’s still a lot in this book to like, and over the past 14 issues it’s built up a lot of good will with me, where I won’t drop it just because of this. But this is the second time in as many books that Matt/Chip decided to talk around a scene instead of just writing it, and this time it doesn’t even bother to introspectively explain why.

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