DCU: August DC Stack

Its month three of the new “DC You” lines, and I’m back again with my ratings and thoughts on my August stack. This was a pretty good month, somewhat lackluster on the action across the entire stack but it brought a lot of explanations and a lot of books that were almost cut have earned themselves temporary reprieves. Since I get my stack on preorder that means I am committed through issue #6 of all the new lines (except Cyborg which is a month behind).

There weren’t a lot of standouts on the top end here, but the bottom of the stack was a lot lot better than last month. This was a big month for explanations, and let me tell you– that can go a long way towards keeping interest up. The in media res openings of these books just did not hold up, there was too much confusion in some of those first two issues– especially in books like Martian Manhunter, Doomed, and Robin: Son of Batman.

Anyways, onto  August’s stack!

The Top Side:

Midnighter #3: This book continues to be strong. The pop outs that they use to show Midnighter

s powers working are really working for this, and the book really seems to move. The focus on Midnighter’s personal life, both his former relationship with Apollo and his new relationships have been very honest, open explorations into the psyche of a man with no real past, or no normal past at least. So far through 3 issues this one has been consistently in the top of the stack so I am excited to keep going with this.

We Are Robin #3: The reveal at the end of who is running “The Nest” is not earth shattering, and the other major “surprise” of this issue feels hollow, as has been pointed out elsewhere, because we don’t know most of these Robins anymore. But the art is still good, and we are starting to get more insight into those that (I assume) will be the main characters. Duke is on screen here, but not the focal point which lies more with “Shug-R”, a bubblegum chewing robin who spends this issue behind her computer and dealing with her mom. The scrawl of the I-chat style crawl of the Robin’s chat really works. The art is great, and I am looking forward to getting to know more of the Robins individually, which I will assume is coming. The cover is great again too.

Grayson #11: This issue we get Grayson fighting what appears to be himself. We get classic Nightwing fight chatter, paired with the retro sixties style. This issue ends with Dick heading off towards Gotham, which I think signals the coming end of this book. He’s left Spyrol now, blown his cover, and now he’s going home, so I won’t be surprised if this wraps up in a few issues and we get Nightwing back thereafter. But this has been a good almost year run, so I may be wrong on that.

Cyborg #2: Cyborg is a month behind the rest of the DC You books, but finally getting Vic Stone going home, dealing with his father, and being on his own is good. We haven’t hit a single fight yet in this, but the looming computer aliens are out there. The glimpse of what’s going on in Detroit with cybernetics is interesting enough. The end of the issue seems to set up Vic meeting the enemies that’ve been shown through the first two issue. All in all, its good to see Cyborg/Vic getting the spotlight.

JLA #3: Bryan Hitch’s epic tale continues to expand here; the Justice League are split off– Flash is in the past on Earth, GL in the past on Krypton, Wonder Woman off somewhere in Greek God world, and Batman and Superman on Earth dealing with the Kryptonian God Rao. I like where its going so far, and the art is great– very quick reading epic sweep.

Dr. Fate #3: The tale of our new Dr. Fate and the flood continues. This issue we see Khalid learning his powers a bit, while also a glimpse further into his home life with the introduction of Akila, who wants him to dump his current female companion for a “proper girl”. The art is great and different, and I am still stoked about the new Fate, so I really hope this one keeps going.

The Middle of the Pack:

Secret Six #5: A bit of a don issue. Catman fights against “Mr. Big” who we find out who he really is, and the gang finds out that he’s been tipping off Mockingbird (who we already knew was the Riddler (and already new Mr. Big was tipping off). Really not a lot happened here, but it filled in some background.

Batman #43: We get a long conversation between Bruce Wayne and Jim Gordon (so much words on such a small panel), then Clark Kent + Alfred, then Alfred’s long explanation of what happened when Bruce came back after the last arc and why he’s not Batman now. Then half way through we finally get to see Jim Gordon in action outside the mech-suit, going up against the new “Mr. Bloom” villain’s buyer (a gang who have had horns surgically implanted on their heads. . .) All in all a decent issue, but heavy on the exposition.

Catwoman #43: A late add to my stack. The mob plot is thick in this one, and we get Selina, plus another Catwoman (Eiko Hesinga, a mob bosses daughter), plus Spoiler. Needless to say I am in. I picked up #42 and #43 at the shop, and have added Catwoman ot my pull list for the time being (and grabbed clearance #41 off DCBS). This was good enough to pull me in on a book I have never bought in issues before through a lot of different versions, so there is that.

Teen Titans #11: Its a prison break-in/break out heist. What more could you want? I mean, I would like to have the real Conner Kent/Kon-El Superboy back (with no John Kent future clone involvement), I’d like to have Raven in a costume that isn’t so awful, and I’d like to know why half the Titans are evil/working for the Elite now, but I guess beggars can’t be choosers. Its a decent issue if you can look past the nagging issues of some of the bad characterizations or costume. At least we have Bunker, right?

Deathstroke #9: Another late add to my stack. Superman on the cover for some reason can still make me pick up another book, despite not reading any current Superman titles. Funny that he never has powers in his own books, but is always fully powered everywhere else. . . . Anyways, here we get a fight then team up set up with Deathstroke versus Superman. Deathstroke is apparently already working with Wonder Woman to kill a crazy evil Titan. And the sword is pretty cool, so I will stick around at least through this story line.

Trouble-some Issues: 

Aquaman #43: Another issue heavy on exposition, but it was much, much needed here (whereas in Batman they could have left it out for a lot longer time before explaining anything about Bruce Wayne.) We get the backstory on Thule which is the now returning other dimensional city that threatens Atlantis. We also get the reveal on why Mera has been such a jerk to Aquaman lately. The art is jumbled, two different styles neither of which are very clean and which seem very disjointed. Like, I don’t understand why the entire background is brown for half the issue? Is the sky red? are they under water? (That’s a no, but some you know, sky for reference would help a lot?) I like the story here, but it is actually pretty hard to follow through the art they have used, and having two different artists (one for flashbacks and one for current time line) only adds to the confusion.

New Suicide Squad #11: I’m confused here. There are two different sets of mercenary/para-military guys besides the Squad themselves, and I am just not sure who is who or what is going on. I might try re-reading several issues to figure this out, but its a sign of bad storytelling to leave the reader this confused by what is a substantial part of this issue. I’d also like to see more of the Suicide Squad in the Suicide Squad book, which we’ve barely got here. A really down issue for what has been a pretty good book through ten issues.

Doomed #3: Finally someone understands our hero talking when he is in his Doomsday form. Its an inter-galactic monster hunter who looks like a little kid, but its progress. We also get some of the teen angst of his now much more complicated life. It reminds me of some of the best Peter Parker angst from the old days, which is good. This issue tickled a bit of a nostalgia spot for me with the re-introduction of the Alpha Centurion, a character originally from the 90’s Zero Hour event. This Alpha Centurion instead of being a gladiator taken away for two thousand years by aliens appears to be a powerful being channeled through a belt that gay teen Roman (no last name given). Its good to see some Zero Hour characters getting run, even in different forms. This issue certainly bought Doomed some rope to stay in the list.

Robin: Son of Batman: I’m still not sold on Damian. The story telling here is much, much cleaner. We get some of Damian talking to the young girl who is the new N.O.O.N.E. This is starting to go places that seem redeemable.

Martian Manhunter #3: The obvious “Mr. Biscuits is Martian Manhunter” reveal is here, but we also find out that J’onn has split hismelf into multiple bodies. This story line is still confusing, but its starting to coalesce. Now we have the other Martians sending beasties after him. Hopefully we will get back to the real/whole J’onn at some point here.

Justice League #43: I might just be weary of the Geoff Johns “big Justice League at War” story line– this feels like so much the same. We went straight from the Justice League War/Darkseid invasion storyline, to Trinity War, to this new “Darkseid War”. I’m just fatigued by this style of story telling I guess. We get to see more of Batman on Metron’s chair as Bat God, and a lot of standing and talking before everyone ports on over to Apokolips and we get the big face off with Anti-Monitor and the new evil Amazon versus Kalibak and Darkseid, with minions all around. Its a really nice two page spread that stands out with Wonder Woman and Mr. Miracle in the foreground (just their hips). Then Superman getting help from Luther, and we have a “no sun- no powers” thing, and Supes gets dumped into one of the big Apokolips furnaces and comes out as Evil Crazy Superman. Because making one Justice League member be corrupted by the power of the New Gods wasn’t enough, we know have evil crazy Batman God AND evil Crazy Superman God! Wow. . . I did not realize how little I care for this storyline until typing this.

Batman Beyond #3: I don’t know what else to say about this issue. Still in the future, still fighting Brother Eye. Now Tim Drake has accidentally led Brother Eye to the previously secure Neo-Gotham. I don’t know how much fighting OMAC cyborgs I can take and keep coming back for more. This book has none of what made Batman Beyond a great cartoon, none of what made Tim Drake great as Robin or Red Robin, or what would make him great as Batman. Its just so depressing and nihilistic, and firmly in last place out of every book in my pull list.

Non-DC Pulls: Low #8 & 9, Manhattan Projects (Sun Beyond the Stars) #2

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