Action Comics #966
Lois is interrogated by Superwoman, who demands to know who she is, and to talk to Clark. Meanwhile, Clark teaches Jon more about his powers, and helps him adjust to not having his mother around all the time.
In an appreciated switcheroo, this arc shows Lois getting her groove back while Clark takes on daddy duties.
By giving Lois an actual threat in the shape of the new Superwoman, this issue solves a lot of the problems the last one had. We’re shown a Lois who stays calm under pressure, and has a drive to persevere and help others through her work. She also has a son she wants to be a role-model for, increasing her motivation to match Superman’s capability for good.
Clark also has stand out scenes as a father and husband who clearly respects and admires Lois, supporting her fully in going back to work at the planet.
The Flash #9
The new Kid Flash is still getting over being starstruck with working with his hero, when, while rescuing people on a collapsing bridge, another Speedster appears – one who knows the Flash.
While the scene of Flash going crazy pretty much came out of nowhere and barely affected anything, the badness of that moment is made up for by everything afterwards. The Flash is superhero comics most enduring legacy character, and it’s great to see this book take advantage of the familial bond between all the Speedsters, even across dimensions. I’ve pretty much come to accept that the entire Rebirth timeline is fubar, so even if some of the relationships don’t make any sense anymore, I’m glad their keeping them. And I hope this series continues to treat the Flash more as a family than just one character.
Batgirl finally pieces together what connects all the students to their teacher, and what teacher wants with Kai, and rushes back to Shanghai to save her friend.
It isn’t that the plot of the issue doesn’t make sense, or has ridiculous leaps in logic, but this issue feels uneven, simultaneously like everything is happening at once and none of it matters. After literally one bubble’s worth of dialogue, and a call to Frankie that she could have made any time before this issue, Babs cracks a case that she couldn’t even make a dent in for the past three issues. It’s like the series finally realized it needed a plot or something. And while this issue does give us the motivation for teacher’s henchmen, it creates a bigger hole in what Teacher’s endgame in all this is.
Adding to this is that after a pretty comically scripted fight scene that ends abruptly at the start of this issue, most of the plot happens to Barbara as she’s just either waiting around at an airport or at an internet café. For as much detecting Barbara does here, she just seems inactive.
Rose tries to bait Batman into helping her in exchange for Robin’s location, and meanwhile, Robin and Deathstroke have a nice chat.
What I really love about this book is how clearly competent its characters are. While Batman may not know the specifics of Deathstroke’s game, he knows enough not to fall for his plans, and manages to get inside Rose’s head as she joins him on patrol. Meanwhile, Deathstroke remains at least two steps ahead of his real target, remaining a strong presence in an issue he’s barely in. And Damian…even while stuck in a death-trap, Damian is savage, constantly laying into Deathstroke with verbal barbs. Damian steals this issue.
How the issue’s two threads eventually tie together is a little vague, if only because Batman seems determined to keep them separate for most of the issue. But even with a bit of a foggy ending, this issue is a complete pleasure, and I hope Priest gets the chance to write for Damian again.
The Titans split up into three teams of two to find Kadabra and Linda, but each pair runs into a pair of Kadabra’s powered-up clones. And when Kadabra reappears, Wally must choose between his friends and his love.
This issue is fine. Nothing extraordinary. The art makes it feel super busy, with page layouts bordering on cluttered; but the issue actually keeps its multiple perspectives pretty clear. Kadabra monologues and over-explains his evil plot to Linda, and none of the fight scenes have any real weight to them.
Maybe what’s keeping me from really enjoying this comic is that for as omnipotent as Kadabra is, the stakes in this book feel low. Maybe it’s that while the book demonstrated rapport between the Titans, it still hasn’t really sympathized them. Something just isn’t clicking with the book yet.
Teen Titans #1
On his thirteenth birthday Damian Wayne decided to kidnap himself some friends and make a new Teen Titans.
This book was super fun, and this week is quickly making Damian one of my favorite characters of Rebirth. His whole plan in this issue is delightful, the product of someone raised to be a villain and trying so hard not to be. And while Damian is the main focus of the book, the other Titans come together nicely, too. Unlike the other Titans team, these people don’t already have a history. Each of them has a distinct personality that makes itself clear in this issue, and they each find themself kidnapped by Damian, and have to work together to escape…unless they decide to take him up on his offer.
I’m also really enjoying the art on this book, which is so crisp, clear, and bold. Every character pops, from the saturated colors of their costumes or skin to their clearly expressive faces.
Six Pack and Dogwelder #3
Constantine takes Section Eight on the next leg of their ridiculous adventure to find out Dogwelder’s higher purpose, but first, the team takes a trip to see Dogwelder’s family.
A less outrageous issue than the past two, this one deals with Dogwelder trying to win his ex-wife and children over from their new husband/father…while talking through a dog he’s “bonded with.” And then they all go to Egypt.
Either you’re sold on this book already or you’re not. Either you find humor in the juxtaposition of the serious family drama in this issue with that drama coming from the fact that the man is trying to win his family back after welding dogs to their faces while a costumed nobody pukes in the pool, or you don’t.
Wonder Woman #9
On returning home from their mission, Steve Trevor debriefs, while Diana, Etta, and Barbara-Ann try to find Themyscira.
A bit of a breather episode, but that doesn’t mean an empty one. After all the debriefing, Diana and Steve have a brief date on the beach where the two finally just get to talk with each-other. It’s a sweet moment that really shows how much they care about the other; whether they’re romantically involved or not, there’s love there. And the issue nicely ties Diana’s unsureness with her love-life to the main plot of her inability to find Themyscira.
Overall, a nice and sweet issue.
Wonder Woman 75th Anniversary Special
DC has been rather hit-and-miss with these special anthology issues, but this one may be my favorite of the bunch so far.
First, there isn’t a single sour panel in the book. All of the various artists bring their A-game to this book, showing Wonder Woman and her world at their absolute best.
Aside from a contextless excerpt from Wonder Woman: True Amazon, and a couple of two or three pagers that could’ve been a bit longer, every entry in this anthology is a short celebration of what makes Wonder Woman such an enduring and special superhero. While many of the stories involve Wonder Woman using her strength to fight enemies, most of them end with Diana solving the problem using grace and love rather than just brute force. This book shows that while we might aspire to be like Batman, or are inspired to reach new heights by Superman, Wonder Woman is the superhero that teaches the importance of compassion.
The collection ends on Wonder Woman swooping in to save Superman and inspiring a girl to become a hero. That in itself is an important reminder of why Diana remains one of the best, and this book clearly groks that.