Comic Reviews 1/18/17 – DC and Kill or Be Killed

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Batman #15

Tom King and Mitch Gerads give Batman and Catwoman the bittersweet love story they’ve always deserved.

After spending the night together, Selina runs from Batman one more time, and Batman has to chase her, one more time, along the way, finding out what really happened to those 237 people at the orphanage.

This two-issue arc is right up there with Hush when it comes to all-time Batman/Catwoman stories. The emotion that Bat and Cat have for each-other have almost never felt more honest, as they lie together, looking into each-other’s eyes, and try to remember how they first met; Bruce remembers Catwoman’s first appearance from 1940’s Batman #1, while Selina argues it was during Frank Miller’s Year One arc – a cute continuity joke.

It’s the last few pages, when Bruce and Selina find each-other again, that really shows us how mature their relationship has become, in spite of the costumes and jumping of buildings and constant will-they-won’t-they. Regardless on which side of the law the other might be on, and the things they have to do, Batman and Catwoman really do love each-other.

 

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Nightwing #13

Too late to prevent another murder, the Run-Offs lose confidence and leave Nightwing to find the real murderer on his own, making a beeline to prevent the assassination of Bludhaven’s mayor.

Really not much to say about this issue. It seems as though the Run-Offs lose steam a little to quickly, even if their reason for leaving Nightwing is, on paper, completely rational; their emotional arc falls short. The reveal of the murderer feels a little too Scooby Doo, but the book picks up at the end with its most interesting development, regarding Shawn and the cops. Looking like I might switch to trades when this arc concludes.

 

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Green Arrow #15

Firstly; yay, Ferreya’s back, and he’s brought his epic muralistic page layouts and painterly style with him!

Seeing the harm that the Dark Archer and others have caused to spite him, Oliver Queen has a crisis of conscious over whether becoming Green Arrow has only brought trouble to his city. Luckily, Dinah is around to put some sense into Ollie, and just in time, as the Vice Squad breaks into a prison and threatens to kill everyone – cops included – inside.

I continue to just adore this series, as it’s able to give a moral crisis exactly the weight it deserves while refusing to have its characters wallow in self-pity. Green Arrow remembers that Oliver Queen is a swashbuckling hero, and gets him back on his feet and stopping murderers in no time, with Black Canary by his side. And the book extends that sort of optimism to everyone. This is a comic book in 2017 with good cops, cops – not named James Gordon – who know that killing is the coward’s idea of justice and fight alongside the costumed heroes.

Green Arrow is fun, it is great, and it is good.

 

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Superman #15

Superman joins the Multiversity to gather up the remaining Supermen of the various Earths before Prophecy can get to them. Some of the Supermen join willingly, while others put up resistance. But with so many Supermen gathered in one place, it’s only a matter of time until Prophecy comes calling.

This is very much a team-gathering book, which means we get some brief exposition followed by a montage of the Multiversity on different Earths with different Supermen. Unfortunately, we only really spend time in two alternate Earths, one home to the Justice League of Assassins, and the other to the Justice League of Shadows, while four other Earths each get a panel showing off their variation of the DCU. The issue’s ending jumps us to after the Supermen have all come up with a plan, and shows us the first half-step of that plan, seemingly a one-on-one between Prophecy and the Superman.

 

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Trinity #5

In the dream world, the Trinity confront Mongul, who reveals to them whose dream they’ve really been in the entire time. And on the Kent’s farm, Poison Ivy explains to Lois why she’s put – to her knowledge – a random farmer, woman, and Bruce Wayne, under the Black Mercy.

This issue is full of exposition, at times approaching info-dump levels, especially as we get two versions of basically all the backstory for this arc. Ivy explains that she’s trying to rescue her dream-child through her connection to the Green (the lifeforce that binds all plants together), and thus the Black Mercy. Meanwhile, Mongul reveals to the Trinity that, as he has also been trapped in the Black Mercy, he’s using Ivy as a way out. Basically, all the forward momentum comes in the final two pages of this issue, after all the backstory is finally given.

Manapul is also back on art for this issue, and he’s knocking it out of the part again with huge double-page spreads and splashes. He also adds a few easter-eggs in the form of various styles of Supermen that Mongul has dreamt he’s beaten while trapped in the Black Mercy.

 

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Kill or be Killed #5

Brubaker and Phillips are back with another arc of Kill or be Killed that, like last time, starts in medias res – as pointed out by Dylan as he sits in a toilet stall, armed with a shotgun, waiting for his next target to walk into the bathroom.

Walking us back, Dylan explains that it’s been a few months since the last arc, and that in that time things have changed. First, he’s become uncomfortably comfortable with killing people, beginning even, to feel a bit righteous about it. He’s also taken up boxing in an attempt to learn how to take a punch. His relationship with Kira has gotten distant since she broke up with Mason, but an old ex, Daisy, happens to walk back into his life.

And through this issue, we probably get the best real insight into Dylan’s motivations and flaws that we’ve had yet. He brings up the idea of synchronicity, a type of fate, which he’s slowly coming around to believing in – and there it is. Dylan doesn’t take responsibility for his actions. He kills people because a demon tells him to; things just happen because they’re predetermined; some people are just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Whether the demon is real or not, it’s an important thing to establish about Dylan; that he’ll try to find ways to excuse himself for any wrong-doing, either through righteousness, that the people he murders deserve it and the world is a sack of shit anyways; or through helplessness, that he’s being threatened by a demon, or that fate is out of his control.

Maybe regrettably, this is also exactly the type of character flaw that makes Dylan incredibly relatable, especially considering the world we’re becoming this Friday. There’s something comfortable about finding an outside excuse for one’s actions, or lack of action. This idea is incredibly expanded on by the backmatter essay, Kim Morgan’s review of 1971’s Little Murders.

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