All-Star Batman #3
After barely surviving a scuffle with KGBeast with a save from Duke, Batman, Duke, and Two-Face reach a pit-stop before continuing down the road.
The opening fight with KGBeast is something straight out of horror movies like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. This is a brutal book where Batman has to choose flight over fight.
Having Duke tag along gives Bruce the excuse to exposit, finally revealing the significance of their destination. Flashbacks also neatly set up the cliffhanger going into the next issue.
Duke’s appearance in the main story, plus his continuing second story epilogue help define who he is as a sidekick. He’s stubborn, but idealistic, jumping the gun to do what’s right at his own peril. The second story also shows his increasing deductive abilities.
Detective Comics #942 (Night of the Monster Men #6)
Night of the Monster Men concludes with the Bat-family taking on once last kaiju and Batman himself taking on Dr. Strange.
Admittedly, the action in this issue doesn’t match the previous ones. The towers from last issue turn out to be giant turrets, not mechs, and only Nightwing gets out of his to really do anything. Its cool how the panel layout in these parts does seem to be inspired by megazord/voltron-esque split screen, with everyone communicating from their own little box-as-cockpits, but it would have been better with actual mechs. (But what else is new?)
How Batman ends up defeating Strange is more funny than it is climactic. Strange tries to psychologically shrink Batman, but Bats ends up turning the tables without throwing a single punch.
Despite this underwhelming finale, NotMM has been a fun and novel Batman story, and overall, I enjoyed it.
Action Comics #965
The last mini-arc focused on Clark(s), and this new one puts the spotlight on Lois! After receiving a letter from New52 Lois, our Lois itches to get back into the investigation game, which means going undercover as herself at the Daily Planet.
While it’s fun to see Lois going undercover, this issue never really sets the stakes of what would happen should she fail, which mean the issue feels flat, and Lois reads as kind of paranoid. Add to that the fact that Lois barely does any actual investigating, and you’ve got a boring issue. Also, if you read Superwoman #1, then the central mystery of this issue is spoiled for you, and even if it weren’t, it’s not as intriguing as the mystery Clark or what happened to the Geneticron building.
Lois Lane is a bad-ass, but this issue doesn’t show that off.
The Flash #8
A pretty boilerplate arc ends with a pretty decent introduction of the new Wally West as the new Kid Flash.
The introduction of Kid Flash provides a nice button on the theme of Flash’s inability to be in two places at once, and the big fight with Godspeed is resolved pretty matter-of-factly after Kid Flash’s entrance.
The new Wally quickly endears himself. He has the heart of a hero, and a scene where he talks with the person who inspired his heroism is exactly the sort of goofy sentimentality I enjoy from superhero comics.
I hope that the next arc actually gives the Flash, and Kid Flash, a less typical problem to solve.
Wonder Woman #8
This one-shot tells us the story of pre-Cheetah Barbara-Ann Minerva on her quest to find the Amazons.
This is an amazing one-shot, and Barbara-Ann is really set up as an Indiana Jones style archeologist, but more qualified. Rucka manages to give her a childlike wonder, curiosity, and zeal for finding the Amazons, and the worldliness and expertise to actually do it.
It’s a little hard to not be let down by the ending to this issue, it feels like this story is only half told and it’s unclear whether or not we’re getting an actual ending anytime soon, but the half a story that is here is a romp, and Barbara-Ann is infectious.
Doom Patrol #2
This issue continues the weird streak as it continues to introduce members of the Patrol without actually explaining who they are. Casey meets up with Larry Trainor, a man who claims to run on negative energy, gets suspended from her job, and finds herself in a strange cabaret. Meanwhile, Robotman is fixed back up and instantly gets into a fight with the low-res-polygon guys from last issue.
The book remains gorgeous, and while the book is hard to follow, it’s still not exactly understandable. It moves too fast and barely explains anything to the reader, and seems to be aimed only at people with at least a passing familiarity with Grant Morrison’s work.
For those people, Doom Patrol can feel a bit fan-fic-y, while others I imagine are completely lost, and either already strapped in for the ride, or have already given up.
The book has amazing pacing and flow and feels like a carnival, but really should start making more sense to give people something to hold onto.
Kill or Be Killed #3
The only thing preventing this from being my new favorite comic his how scared I am that I can relate so well to the main character.
This issue feels like a breather. There’s no murder in it, for one; and the story concerns Dylan spending a day with Kira as the two try and figure out exactly what’s going on with their relationship.
Firstly, it’s great that Kira, the books most prominent woman, is getting fleshed out past her love-interest role, and with such an unusual backstory, to boot. Plus, this issue really establishes the friendship between Dylan and Kira. They have an actual history, and how we see Kira as a full person through Dylan’s eyes conveys exactly why he feels how he does about her.
Of course, it’s not all about Kira. Dylan is paranoid that he’ll accidently let his secret slip, and continues to wonder if his inner demon is actually real or not.
The backmatter essay by Devin Faraci is about I Spit on Your Grave, which is…weird timing, to say the least. I wonder if this will be the last issue with an essay by him in the back. It’s just interesting, you know, to know what Devin did and then read what he writes here about sexual assault. But I’ve already written my piece about that.
Deathstroke #4 came out today, but because of Comixology futzing up, I didn’t know to pick it up. I’ll try and pick it up next week.