In an effort to keep my promise and be more on top of things, here are the reviews of my buy pile from last week.
Batman #654: Well, I may have gotten a bit overexcited with my last review of Face the Face part 7. It turns out that this arc has let me down quite a bit. First of all, it could easily have been six issues if this was all the payoff I was going to get. Second, once again Batman is portrayed as the World’s Greatest Detective with writer tricks rather than actual detective work. Whatever convoluted trail he followed to get to Great White is essentially the same trick as Batman thinking “of course, there’s only one quarry with this time of silicate in Gotham!” Weak. Third, I know that Harvey has supposedly not been Two Face for a year, but to the reader it has been about five minutes. Therefore, whatever shock value there was supposed to be in Dent returning to a life of crime turned up nil. The confrontation with Two Face was weak as well; it would have been a lot better if he’d just faded away leaving Gordon and Batman wondering until Two Face showed up again. Great White is a really stupid villain, and that pains me to say since I really like Dan Slott’s work. He’s Black Mask-lite which further bears up how stupid it was to kill Roman (Man, Catwoman is a book with so many problems they just spill out into the rest of the DCU). The HUGE change in relationship between Bruce and Tim was given about the time that should have been given to the confrontation with Two Face and vice versa. Overall, the arc was okay, but it could have been better. Unless Robinson was given a checklist of what exactly what had to happen and how many issues it had to take. If that’s the case, then it was as good as it could be and that’s what happens when editorial does more than half the writing. I’m glad Face the Face is over, but I only really feel like it wasted my time for two issues. If Robinson had kept it down to six, I would have been a lot happier. Frankly, it doesn’t really matter because once I pick up the first issue of Morrison’s “Batman and Son” this week, I’ll forget all about this arc.
Action Comics #840: There will be a statement from the staff of Earth K shortly explaining this, but Superman Returns was a bit of a disappointment for us. This is likely because Up, Up, and Away is what the movie should have been. Superman is out of commission for a bit, then returns to deal with a Lex who has discovered how to tap into Kryptonian tech. That describes both this arc and the movie, but one was obviously executed MUCH better than the other. Even without Johns’ involvement, I’m sticking around to see what Busiek does with Superman going forward. This is the first time that I’ve actually been excited to buy a Superman book (All Star doesn’t count!). I can’t give higher praise than that.
Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #19: It is no secret that we of Earth K are lovers of the Legion. I feared that Britney Zor-El’s involvement would be disastrous, but her brief time with the Legion so far has actually made me somewhat interested in her. Well done, Mark Waid, for that was a Herculean task. One reason for that is likely that she’s sort of a background character if not a plot device and she takes a major backseat in this story. I’ve felt that after the war story, the book has meandered a bit while it sets up the next few subplots, but one of the subplots comes home to roost in this issue. The cover blurb says it all; it’s a 31st Century Whodunit! Chameleon takes center stage and we get to know him a little better. He’s sort of been the weird exchange student that just doesn’t get it up until now, but with this story we get to see him take some initiative and we get a little in his head to understand why he doesn’t get it. So as not to ruin the mystery with spoilers, I’ll just say that while I miss the previous incarnation of the Legion a really, really lot, I’m enjoying the hell out of Waid and Kitson’s re-re-re-re-re-imagining of the Legion. Buy the trades to get caught up and then buy this thing monthly; it’s a good ride.
Brave New World #1 and Virgin Comics #0: I’d personally rather not review books that are essentially trailers for other books since their job is completely different than a normal comic. Both of these books made me want to look closer at some of the titles they featured. In that respect, they were a success. Some of the titles still look totally uninteresting to me, so that’s a failure. I will say to DC that I don’t appreciate a big thing like the reveal at the end of Brave New World appearing in a book that is essentially a preview. As a preview book, it didn’t really NEED a framing device and when said framing device shows up later and everyone who didn’t buy BNW wonders what the hell is going on, that sucks. Still, I might buy Creeper and the Atom…so Didio probably doesn’t care if I think the last couple pages are stupid.