October DCU Stack

Well, Catwoman made my normal pulls this month, but Deathstroke still was missing– not sure if that’s because I didn’t order it or if it was bumped to next month. Ironically, by the time Deathstroke makes my normal stack the storyline I wanted to pick it up for may be done. The addition of Catwoman and the new Titan’s Hunt brings my stack up to 17 DCU books this month, with the potential for 19 when Deathstroke and Omega Men which I intend to add come in.

So let’s get to it! As always, DC Universe books are rated from best to worst in my stack.

Catwoman #45: The current run of Catwoman has been really strong, but this issue pushed it to a new level. The mob war story line continues to develop here. Last issue Black Mask killed new Catwoman Eiko Hasigawa’s father. We open with the two squared off at the funeral. We get some great interactions throughout– Eiko & Black Mask, Selena & Eiko, Penguin & Calabrese & Black Mask– for n issue with a lot of talking, it felt like this was action packed and kept moving. All the building that the last several issues have put in are paying off. If you are a fan of the Gotham TV show, this Catwoman run is for you. The Penguin here is the best of the Penguin character from the show, (except in his look) and that’s the best part of that show. The plot and story are just great, and the art this issue really popped. I hadn’t particularly noticed it one way or the other the last few issues, but it was really working now– highlighted by the two page silent chase and fight between Selena and Black Mask. I’m not great at separating colors/inks/pencils, so I will give the shout out to all three artists– David Messina (pencils), Gaetano Carlucci (inks) and Lee Loughridge (colors)– really great stuff to go with Genevieve Valentine’s writing.

Dr. Fate #5: Paul Levits & Sonny Liew’s great work continues in issue five of the new Dr. Fate. With Lee Loughridge on colors here as well, the art from the series has been constantly striking and of high quality. Sonny Liew’s cover here is excellent as well, though it seemed very disconnected from the issue itself. The flood story seems to wrap up and morph into another story with a big twist at the end. We finally see Khalid square off against the Anubis jackal.

Cyborg #4: The first of the three books this month which I had double doses of due to late shipping last month. We get a lot of information here about the cyber-bad guys that are coming to destroy apparently everything. We also have the Metel Men guest starring. There’s something very Silver Age-y about the Metal Men which I find charming, and which offers a counter point to the pretty dark story line here. Overall, a good book.

We Are Robin #5: We are back to the main story here instead of the single character spot lights we have had the last few issues. The Robins are starting to question whether they should really be following the random messages that “the Nest” has been sending. So the Robin’s eventually meet up with Alfred whose been organizing them. Another great issue from this great series. I am really hoping the “Robin War” cross over that’s coming doesn’t derail this book.

JLA #4: Bryan Hitch’s epic tale continues both in the present where the Kryptonian God Rao has come to Earth and in the past on ancient Krypton where Green Lantern has been thrown. In the past we find out that Rao is really an old dude whose been siphoning power from his followers to get young again, and in the present we find out that the Rao conversion squad prophets will force convert you if you aren’t willing to submit, predictable set up for the inevitable “Rao’s really a bad guy!” that the “powerful being arrives and fixes all the world’s problems” story type, but Hitch is executing it really well so far. He’s juggling the many Justice League members well, and has done a good job splitting them up to keep them all engaged where as sometimes in big team books members tend to get lost on the page– theoretically present but not acting. This split time-line solution is working, and its heartening to see that the editors are letting these story lines stretch to their own ends.

Midnighter #5: This issue features the wrap of the Russian vampire story featuring Grayson that started last issue. Grayson and Midnighter take on the Russian Genetic manipulator whose using God Garden tech to weaponize folk lore monsters. The partnership between the two develops– this is the third or fourth issue between their two books that the pair have teamed up (or fought), and there is some definite character chemistry between them. We also get some good character building on Matt, Midnighter’s boyfriend. Steve Orlando has been doing a great job mixing action with character advancement throughout this run. The fight scenes this week weren’t as visceral as they have been in earlier issues, but the double edged character development is worth it.

Grayson #13: This month we get the name of the mysterious Agent 0 who has been mucking up Grayson’s life recently. We also see Grayson and his partner Tiger/ Agent 1 serving as paid security on a ship and fighting some pirates. The real treat here is the cover which is just god damned sexy. The shocking revelation is that the big bad of presumably this whole Grayson as spy set up is Luka Netz– and she has apparently been watching Dick since his earliest days as Robin.

Secret Six #7: Now that we are un-shackled from the initial story arc, this issue sets up the next story arc in which Black Alice’s powers are going crazy and threaten all mankind by unleashing some super evil Titans or something. This sets up the Secret Six to be fighting against all the magic using characters in the DCU– both bad guys like Felix Faust and Klarion, and good guys like Zatanna and Swamp thing are working together to try to stop what’s going on by killing Alice. Its a really good set up issue, but its still a set up issue– I’m looking forward to where this is going though. The other half the issue dwells on Catman trying to get the girls to play sports– to predictable results. These are not the kinds of characters to play sports. Overall, a fun issue.

New Suicide Squad #13: Another great kick off issue for a new run. I’m not entirely sure how the last story line ended?  I guess Black Mantra just stayed in whatever country that was with the terrorists and the rest of the Squad peaced out? The Squad this issue seems to be made up of Boomerang, Deadshot, Harley Quin, Parasite, and Amanda Waller in field mode. No sign of Reverse Flash or Manta, and their names aren’t on the panel for the cranial bombs so I am assuming they won’t be featured. Starting in media res on a drug deal, and the predictable Suicide Squad antics ensue. I wonder how long we are going to keep the “New” in the title of this book– its more than a year in now, and more than half the squad are long running stalwarts of the Squad dating back to the very first runs– Deadshot, Boomerang, Waller. I don’t really now what’s so new about it, but it was a good change of pace from the previous very confusing story.

Aquaman #45: This issue features Aquaman in space– he’d ported here at the end of issue #44. The art here was much less distracting than its been in some of the last few, and the story line is starting to build. You wouldn’t think that Aquaman in space would be a good fit, but I’m also really kind of pumped for this, its something that I at least haven’t ever seen before. Issue #44 was a really good issue of this book, and this issue has a lot of leftover good will from the back to back reading. Its a shame that 44 shipped late because it would have been near the top in my September stack had it been ranked.

Titans Hunt #1: I really don’t know what to make of this book. It seems to be setting up a story about the classic Titans line up in the past and them uncovering it somehow in the present. Of course, in the New 52 these Titans were never Titans– Aqualad, Robin, Donna Troy, Arsenal, plus Caveboy, Hawk & Dove, and Herald. Its an odd mix of characters and I’m not sure where its heading, but I pull listed this because I thought a classic Titans/mid-2000s Outsiders would be fun, and it looks like it could go some interesting places.

Martian Manhunter #5: This story is still confusing. Most of the characters present here are all Martian Manhunter, or aspects of him, or something. Hard to get too attached or interested in characters that you know aren’t really characters. I’d much rather have just seen an actual Martian Manhunter book instead of whatever this is that we are getting in this book. Mr. Biscuits is about the only bright spot here.

Doomed #5: Doomed is playing out the string here. This book features Superman and Alpha Centurian and then a lot of big info dumps about Doomsday and then we get the actual Doomsday showing up at the end. This book showed some promise early on, but its death sentence was swift and its sales have trailed off to less than 10,000 with this issue so I don’t see any reprieve like Omega Men got. At least next issue’s Doomsday fight can hopefully send it out in style.

Batman #45: I didn’t think this issue was bad when I read it, but that was early in the stack and since then nearly every other book bumped it down. The Jim Gordan as Batman stuff is pretty good here, and throughout this run. The other half of this issue, however, with not Batman Bruce Wayne is just un-bearable. I get it, he’s here and he is going to be Batman eventually again, but just like the ghost Peter Parker in Superior Spiderman was the worst part of that book, Bruce is just an anchor on this book We could have found out about the machine a few issue ago, then had his go completely away for five or six issue until it was time for him to come back. Here he’s just a bad B plot that seems pointless.

Justice League #45: Darkseid War continues. We get Bat-Metron, Flash merged with the Black Racer, Superman on Apokolips Juice. All the Justice League members are getting powered up to God status to set up some final fight between them and the Anti-Monitor. It wasn’t until reading these last two issues that I realized that this is just a continuation of the original continuous cross-over that started in Trinity War over a year ago. I dropped Justice League back then when I realized that crossover lead directly into the Forever Evil, which then led directly into this event (since Anti-Monitor destroyed their world, ect.) I’m still pretty fatigued on this kind of mass cross over event.

Robin Son of Batman #5: Damian heads back to the League of Assassin’s stronghold to get more stuff to return where he is ambushed by Talia. Confusing art has returned this issue and it seems like the writer’s got bored with the set up for the series and wanted to fast forward it by introducing a reason that Talia sent Damian to get the stuff he stole in the Year of Blood in the first place. This book has been really up and down the last few issue, but this was a clunker.

Batman Beyond #5: Still fighting Brother Eye in the future, but this time there was some actual progress for Tim Drake and crew. They use Jim Gordan’s Bat-mech suit and Bruce’s kryptonite ring to kil the Superman zombie, and the Atom-like character kills the Wonderwoman zombie as well. Seems like there is going to be some push back against Brother Eye and hopefully this will go to less hopeless places in the future, but I am skeptical. When a Batman Beyond book was announced I was excited, but this is not the book I was hoping to get.

 September Stack late ships: Aquaman #44, Cyborg #3, Justice League #44

October Stack late shipping: Teen Titans #13

Non-DCU Books: Low #10, Black Magick #1, Sandman Overture #6, Adventure Time #45. Munchkin #9, Munchkin #10, Teen Titans Go! #12, Adventure Time Fionna and Cake Card Wars #4

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