Comic Reviews 11/16/16 – DC, and Kill or Be Killed

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Batman #11

Batman’s plan to get his suicide squad into Santa Prisca continues, but Catwoman might have her own agenda.

First, I love the black and yellow color palette this issue uses for the opening flashback. It’s a palette that’s visually striking and definitively Batman, echoing the colors in this chest emblem. The rest of the book looks great too, with contrasting the tropical Santa Prisca island outside Bane’s fortress with the dark maze of pipes and iron inside.

Continuing from her narration in the last issue, Catwoman becomes this issue’s focal point, by the end of the issue, having made choices that change the direction of the story. And hanging over the present story is the question of how she killed 237 people, and what Batman promised her to get her to go on this mission. Catwoman is enigmatic here, playing her own side above Batman’s or Bane’s, and following her own code.

 

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Superman #11

Batman and Superman put Damain and Jon through super-boot-camp to teach the boys to get past their differences and work together.

If this is a sign of what’s to come out of the upcoming Super Sons book, then things are looking up. There’s a definite reflection of the Batman/Superman relationship, but a lot more volatile. Damian has Batman’s skills with none of the restraint, while Jon has Superman’s heart but very little control of his powers. In many ways they complete each-other; Damain keeps Jon focused, Jon keeps Damian humble.

This issue itself is a little hard to fully invest in – we keep on getting reminded how low the stakes are – but it’s a fun ride and preview of things to come, how these two might act when the stakes are real.

 

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Trinity #3

The Trinity, still unaware that they’re dreaming, find themselves in Gotham on the night of the Waynes’ murder, and Bruce suspects not all is as it seems.

Thankfully, this issue doesn’t use the revisiting of Batman’s trauma as an excuse to be maudlin, instead, using it to trigger his deductive senses. And, for some reason that’s still not entirely clear, the Trinity has to rescue young Bruce Wayne from falling from the top of Wayne Tower. Being that this story takes place in a dream, some emotion-propelled dream logic isn’t a huge fault, although, given that the reader isn’t dreaming, you can’t expect that disconnect to work as well for us as it does for the characters.

And, through the issue, Manapul continues to show off why he’s one of DC’s MVPs, with inventive use of panel layout and epic illustrations of the world’s greatest heroes in action.

 

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Nightwing #9

Nightwing is having nightmares due to the interference of Dr. Destiny, so Superman steps in to help.

This issue provides one of the first good opportunities to show us New52 Nightwing bond with the Pre-New52 Superman and learn to trust each-other as they would their own universes’ counterparts. Making the villain of this one-shot Dr. Destiny means that this book is able to make the bond-building exercises the main driving-force of this story, too, instead of having it be a kind of subtext. Because it’s all taking place in Dick’s head, finding his center and trusting this new Superman is the only direct method to overcoming. And it results in a fun one-shot that pulls the old trick of turning compassion and friendships from something the villain perceives as a weakness into something the hero uses as a strength.

And at the very least, we get one really cool splash page out of it.

 

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Green Arrow #11

This issue has a scene where sharks flood into an under-ocean train tunnel while Green Arrow and Black Canary ride away on a motorcycle. In the words of Stan Lee, “nuff said.”

 

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Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye #2

After a brutal flashback that reveals how Cave Carson received his cybernetic eye, we go back to the present, where Cave sneaks into EBX after hours to find out what they might have been doing in Muldroog, and stumbles onto a much bigger plot. What that plot is is still unclear, but Cave suspects it’s no good, and it involves the kidnapping of his daughter, so it’s probably not a good plot.

Nothing in this issue really grabs me. There’s some good jokes, and some visually interesting action illustration, but I’m not invested in these characters or plot. There’s no edge to CCHACE, and barely any real character to it.

 

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Kill or Be Killed #4

The first arc of Kill or Be Killed concludes with Dylan attempting another murder for the greater good, and balancing his secret life with his developing relationship with Kira.

There’s something powerful in the sense of realism that Brubaker creates within this book, at least with regards to Dylan. As I’ve said in my reviews of the previous issues, more than just being able to relate to Dylan, I feel like I’ve been inside this guy’s head before. It’s the things like how he criticizes his own delusions of grandeur that make him feel more real than any other comic book character I’ve read. Like all good characters should, he has clear motivations and morals, but like actual people, they aren’t always consistent and he has trouble communicating them without self-consciously “fixing” them so that he doesn’t seem like a hypocrite.

And while I can’t empathize with the plot in its entirety, there’s also something uncomfortably uncannily familiar about Dylan’s relationship with Kira.

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