Ah, new comics Wednesday. And a whole lot of new Bat-content yet again, some of it decidedly better than others. To the Bat-store!
The first one I wanted to read this week, and probably the best one I’ll read all week. The artwork on this series is just mind-blowingly great and is probably worth picking up the book for that alone. I mean, just look at the double-page spread with the bat symbol forming the backdrop for a conversation between Batman and Batwoman. JH Williams is using the artwork almost as another character, and it’s amazing stuff. I don’t usually even notice that art in a comic unless it’s really bad, and I’m just drooling over this stuff. The writing continues to be strong as well, with Kate Kane juggling a new relationship with Maggie Sawyer while attempting to evade X-Files-type agent Cameron Chase (is that a House reference?). My only complaint, which is a small one, is that I was getting more and more into the story, and then it suddenly ends with a weak cliffhanger. I WANT MORE, DAMMIT. Big thumbs up again.
I feel bad because Batgirl is a perfectly fun and serviceable comic book thus far, but it’s just getting destroyed by the greatness of Batwoman and I’m left wondering why they’re bothering. Still no answers forthcoming on the “miracle” that took Barbara Gordon out of the chair, although The Mirror is a good Bat-villain. Gail Simone is trying for “light and breezy” with the running monologue from Babs, but it feels like a totally different person than the Barbara Gordon who ran for office and ended up as Oracle and grew up into a real woman over the years. I guess I’m still not seeing the reasoning behind bringing her back yet. It’s good enough to keep buying, but not much more so than that.
Batman & Robin #2
The nice focus on Bruce and Damian as a family continues here, with Bruce worrying about what all the violence and killing is going to do to his son’s already-fragile psyche. And no doubt Damian is seriously messed up for a 10-year old, as his run-in with the Batcave’s resident rodents demonstrates. The annoying decompressed storytelling of the Trade Paperback Era continues, though, with our heroes taking out a minor threat and the main villain, NoBody, only popping up for one page. The rest is Damian training and Bruce fretting about his fathering job. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I can see how people might feel let down by the lack of plot development. I enjoyed it well enough, but I still miss Dick as Batman in this sort of mentoring role. Bruce Wayne is just not cut out to be a mentor. Oh, and apparently Ace The Bat-Hound is coming back into continuity again. Just in case you were waiting on that.
Resurrection Man #2
I’m glad that this doesn’t feel particularly like a superhero comic. Yeah, Mitch Shelley demonstrates crazy powers like turning into water, but it feels more like something on the fringes of the DC Universe, like it should be in the Vertigo universe or something. Decompression strikes again as not much happens plot-wise and no answers are forthcoming yet. Mitch visits a retirement home and researches his dad, but instead meets up with a former super-villain named The Transhuman who is now suffering from dementia. He’s also getting chased by an angel and a pair of oversexed assassins called The Body Doubles, but again no explanations are forthcoming yet. This is feeling like something that’s going to read better in the trades, but I’m still curious enough to follow along for the answers. They should totally make a movie out of this, though, it’s a killer “elevator concept”.
So my last stop of the week is here, as I’m hoping for the good Scott Lobdell again. The whole Superboy mythos is getting more complex by the day, as the first issue seemed like this version was grown whole in the lab, but no. Dan Didio is now saying that in fact all the previous stuff happened, and this NOWHERE group in fact blanked out his memory and basically just made him think he was newly born. Or something. Why they couldn’t just reboot the character, I have no idea. Anyway, Superboy has apparently beaten up a whole lot of people as the story opens, and I felt like I was missing something here, and soon enough he gets shipped into the field to perform some sort of capture mission against what look like giant mutated shark aliens. I have to say, this was not the most clear-cut storytelling I’ve read this month. I liked the VR stuff from the first issue, and there was none of that here, so this left me pretty underwhelmed. We’ll see where it goes next month, I guess.
Bonus Review! Grifter #1 / 2
Finally, someone mentioned to me that I might enjoy Grifter, so I picked up the first issue and indeed liked it enough to add it to the pull list. I had never really heard of the previous Wildstorm incarnation of Grifter before this, but this whole thing is structured as what appears to be a total reboot of the character anyway. Cole Cash (a thinly veiled comics version of James “Sawyer” Ford from Lost) is a two-bit conman who suddenly starts hearing voices in his head telling him that they’re going to kill him. This leads him to seemingly kill random people, who are of course actually aliens, but no one knows that but him. Turns out that if you do that on a plane, it gets you labelled as a terrorist. Rough luck there. He’s a former black ops guy, which is the standard go-to occupation for amnesiacs, and someone stole 17 minutes of his life and left him a bit crazy. So now he’s on the run, killing demonic cops and leading to a showdown with his military brother. All very familiar ground, but it’s a nice breezy read with a likeable main character, so I’m into it. His girlfriend leaving him and departing for Gotham would seem to lead to the inevitable sales-boosting crossover with Batman, but then he’s in pretty much every other comic this week anyway so you might as well just deal with it.
Winner and still champion: Batwoman! The rest is pretty mediocre this week, but Grifter is surprisingly fun.