DC Comics Reviews 10/19/16

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Trinity #2

Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman find themselves in the past, in Smallville, where they run into a young Clark and Jonathan Kent. Startled, young Clark flies off, and the trinity plus Jon have to find him.

However it was that the trinity ended up in the past, it gives the opportunity for Superman to talk with his father again, to ask him how to raise a child with abilities. Batman is suspicious of everything about their situation, and Diana wants to give Supes and his father room.

Like last issue, the plot of this one is pretty light until an ending reveal, giving all the characters room to just talk, and Clark time to reminisce.

Manapul’s art fits the tone perfectly. The book is trapped in an autumn golden hour. The issue takes place mostly out in the woods, which means the super-saturated colors of the supersuits are comically juxtaposed with the earthy browns, reds, and yellows of the changing leaves.

 

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Superman #9

Superman and Jon meet Captain Storm, of the Losers, and the three work together to find a way off Dinosaur Island.

Besides the constant niggling feeling that Storm is awful spry for someone in his late 90s, I quite enjoyed this book. Like Green Arrow, its more action oriented than anything else – fighting dinosaurs, you know – though it does find some time for some of that good good Super-father-son-bonding stuff.

The ending does feel a little rushed, and though it does manage to land the ending to Storm’s short arc, the book continues to string things along with a cliffhanger that doesn’t do much towards explaining anything.

 

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Green Arrow #9

Arrow and Canary search for Diggle, but end up finding a native of the island instead. Meanwhile, Diggle learns about the island’s connection to the Ninth Circle from his kidnapper.

Aside from a part where the same exposition is delivered twice in a row, and a pretty abrupt ending, I liked this issue. Green Arrow isn’t the deepest comic, instead focusing on establishing just enough plot to bring its characters to action beats.

Ollie and Dinah’s relationship brushes up against the line of being a little too adorable, even for me, but it also provides the base for this book’s best dialogue – Ollie jokingly asking Dinah how she’d kill him should they become an old bitter married couple.

This was a short, fun arc in a series that seems to be going more for quick fun than any sort of depth.

 

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Nightwing #7

After finding out that someone intercepted the Owls’ book of knowledge leak, Nightwing confronts Raptor and learns that Raptor was watching him long before the Owls brought them together.

Full of long-cons and double-crosses, this comic harkens back to Grayson in more ways than just a cameo from Spyral. In this one issue, Raptor goes from anti-hero to criminal mastermind. The big reveal at the end is a little cliché, but works for the plot, and overall the book feels complex without being overstuffed.

However, what struck out at me most was that Raptor’s plan and his motivation are pretty sophisticated. Regardless of the reveal, his opinions on Batman and his sidekicks are nuanced (if not a bit, again, cliché.) While he’s not an empathetic villain, and you may disagree with his point entirely, he is well fleshed out.

 

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Batman #9

After a quick recap of Bane’s origin story, and an explanation of why he wants Psycho-Pirate, Batman goes to Arkham Asylum to assemble a team to bring Psycho-Pirate back. Batman’s new Outsiders consists of the Ventriloquist, Bronze Tiger, Punch and Jewelee, and Catwoman.

This really is just an assembling-the-team issue, with each member getting a quick introduction by way of Batman proposing they join him and including a brief description of their abilities. Catwoman’s intro in particular is neat, as it’s a short reference to another well-known Batman story.

As far as purely expositional comics without much plot goes, this one is very good. Each intro is unique and flavorful, and the book never drops a whole bunch of exposition at once. It’s pretty much a really good hype issue for the coming story.

 

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Dark Knight III #6

Superman and Batman lay the beatdown on Quar’s muscle, while an army of Gothamites take on the rest of the depowered Kryptonians. And Carrie Kelly fires true with her slingshot.

This issue has a couple really thrilling scenes of violence, and the general catharsis of seeing our heroes make a great push against the bad-guys through a coordinated effort, and that’s pretty much all it needs. It ends on a downer, because something has to happen in issue seven for issue eight to resolve, but other than that, just a very feel good hoo-rah issue.

The mini-book is about a fight between Carrie and Lara that becomes a fight between Lara and Wonder Woman, and these things still focus way too much on Miller’s crudely drawn butts. At least his women characters aren’t completely terrible man-hating stereotypes…so that’s something.

 

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Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye #1

Cave Carson, his wife, and his daughter used to be the world’s foremost spelunking geologists. But recently, Cave’s wife died, and his mysterious cybernetic eye has been showing him corrupted versions of his memories, so things haven’t been going so great. And then a Muldroogan – an alien that lives underground – knocks on Cave’s door asking for help.

If CCHACE isn’t the best Young Animal debut so far, at least it’s the easiest to follow. It’s a bit of an amnesia plot insofar as not even Cave really knows anything about his eye, but this issue really is putting us in the middle of a world and characters with history to explore.

The art style looks more like something you’d see in animation – it reminds me of a softer version of Bruce Timm’s style – rather than what most comics today look like, but that rings a bit nostalgic for me. The over-the-hill scientist whose family is leaving him also feels a bit Venture Bros.-esque, which I appreciate.

 

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Deathstroke #4 (from last week)

Slade and Rose have some father-daughter bonding time as they make their way to Gotham for a confrontation with Batman.

Slade and Rose’s road-trip to Gotham is actually quite endearing, especially because of their doofy middle-American disguises, and the fact that Slade really has no idea how to behave towards his teenage daughter.

Acting as this duo’s Alfred, Wintergreen helpfully cues Rose (and us) into how Slade expresses his emotions: “You’re an idiot” means “I’m concerned about your choices.” That tidbit is then used for a fun joke a bit later after we learn it. Details, details.

Wintergreen also provides narration for the third act of this issue, guiding us through every move in the game of Spy vs. Spy Slade and Batman are playing with each-other once everyone’s in Gotham. It’s one of those neat comic-book competence-porn scenes, a version of Sherlock Holmes explaining every detail he used to deduce something; and it again takes us into Slade’s head, but as an assassin rather than a father.

Maybe it’s just the road-trip aspect, but this issue feels the chillest of this run so far, and I also really appreciate that Priest is sticking to a mostly linear story at this point.

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