I’m hyper late with my stack review this month. I was distracted with my civilian job and with finishing the first draft of my first novel!
That said, I decided that its better late than never, so I am going to publish it now (just a week before my December stack ships.)
SPOILER ALERT– I’m going to review all the DC universe comics from my November pull list. I get my comics off DCBS so I receive them in the final week of each month.
As always, from first to worst in order!
Midnighter #6: Steve Orlando’s run on the only gay male DC hero with a solo title comes in at the top spot this month. This makes it the first repeat choice in my stack (Midnighter #3 also took top honors).
This issue sees M sharing thanksgiving with his new boyfriend, battling multiplex, then eventually going to the hometown where Midnighter’s boyfriend’s father has been targeted, apparently by homophobic thugs.
Of course, in the end, its a super villain. The fight scenes are visceral and bloody, the relationships are touching, and the betrayal is brutal and affecting.
This is still a cape book at heart, so we know intellectually that Midnighter isn’t going to die and that there will be issue #7, however, this was an excellent cliffhanger and a perfect continuation of a great series.
Catwoman #46: As good as Midnighter was this month, VIctoria Velentine, David Messina, and Gaetano Carlucci’s Catwoman nearly took the top spot a second month in a row.
This issue ends the story line that has been running since Issue #41. We have a series of falling outs– Antonia Calabrese and Eiko, Eiko and Stephanie Brown, Stephanie and Selena, then finally Selena and Eiko.
Eiko, no longer a Catwoman and now head of the Hasigawa family executes a bloody sweep of all the smaller Gotham families. The clearing of the board leaves three major players with a tenuous peace– Hasigawa with Eiko at the head, the Calabrese with Antonia at the lead, and Forster Lane (Penguin’s crew).
Selena discovers that Antonia is safe, having been tipped off by Eiko to seek refuge with Penguin. There is a tender moment between Antonia and Selena as they both reaffirm the value of family, then a heart breaking momet with Eiko and Selena seeing each across the roof tops, then finally Selena rolls out of town on her motorcycle, heading off to, presumably, a new story arc.
We Are Robin #6: The Robins square off with a Talon in what is I am sure the first shots of the “Robin War”. Duke gets shot, and the Robins eventually get saved by Alfred who reminds them that they need to start wearing masks. All around good issue. Good interplay between the Robins, and a good fight with the Talon.
Robin Son of Batman #6: This might be the highest I’ve ever rated this title. The meat of this issue is Damian talking to Talia, but the best stuff centers around Damian’s relationship with Goliath (his bat-dragon pet). We see Damian slaughtering Goliath’s family, then crying over the tiny runt of a bat-dragon, then in the present Damian releasing Goliath and leaving him on Al-Ghul island to be free. Finally, Robin is heading back to Gotham, and he leaves his mother a very threatening note on the way out.
Grayson #14: This issue features Grayon, Tiger, and Ladytron sneaking into a German Spyral facility. We find out that Otto Netz created both Spyral and Leviathan to constantly face off against each other, and that both his daughter are in charge of the organizations respectively but also probably creepy clones/mind transplants as well. Its good to start to get some of this stuff explained, but this Spyrol stuff is starting to wear long in the tooth a year and a couple of months in.
DK III The Master Race #1/ Dark Knight Universe Presents the Atom #1: Look, DK III has no hope of holding up to the original, but its still a decent outing. We get mysterious text message scroll about the Bat being back in an abhorrent dialect of texteese, then a glimpse at Wonder Woman defending some people in I guess, the Amazon? Then we get Lara who is Wonder Woman & Superman’s daughter at the Fortress of Solitude, where, oh by the way Superman is just sitting there frozen solid. Alive? Dead? No clue, but Kandor wants some help from Lara. Oh, then the person in the Batman suit is the female Robin and she says Bruce Wayne is dead. So, who knows where this will go?
The included Atom book definitely drug the rating of this package up a few spots. We see Ray Palmer, who by the way I miss seeing as the Atom since he’s been absent for what seems like a decade in the DCU proper fighting what looks like a Dinosaur, but of course its just a lizard in a cage in his lab. Then a little guy comes in and says something unintelligible to him. This is a guy from Kandor and Lara has brought it along and they want Ray to un-shrink them. This seems 100% more interesting that the Batman stuff in the main book.
JLA #5: We get a fill in issue for the 5th issue, so instead of the story of the first four issues we get Martian Manhunter fighting a Martian bad guy of some sort. For a one shot issue, its pretty good. J’onn stalks his opponent in Japan then fights with the shape changing creature. This really makes me wish that we could just get a normal Martian Manhunter book. If this had been issue five of the Martian Manhunter on-going, I can’t help suspecting that book would be in a better place.
Deathstroke #12: Finally firmly lodged in my stack, this issue features Harley Quinn and the Suicide Squad en tow. Deathsroke is breaking into Belle Reve to look for his daughter (Rose Wilson, sometimes known as Ravager). Pretty good fight between Slade and Black Manta here, and this feels like a good Suicide Squad issue, which seems odd to run into in a Deathstroke solo book, but I’m still along for the ride.
Doomed #6: The final issue of Doomed is here, and we finally get to see Reiser in action. He and Superman and Alpha Centurion take on some Doomsday monsters, and a massive Doomsday monster. The Alpha Centurion threatens to kill him, and Superman knocks AC out, and lets Reiser go. We get the hint that Doomed will show up in Teen Titans, which is nice, I liked the character for all the no where his solo book went.
Titans Hunt #2: Still not sure where this is going; we have Arsenal drunk driving cross country, we get Cave Boy (whoever that is) living in a grocery store, and then Grayson (in his spy clothes no less) researching in the Bat Cave. Oh and by the way, I don’t think any of these characters have ever met in the New 52. We also has Mal Duncan and his pregnant wife or girlfriend in the mix, then at the end Aqualad and Donna Trois show up to fight Grayson. So, total confusion still! But it was interesting, and I like these old Titans.
Teen Titans #13: This issue features the Titans and the Elite squaring off in a prison with some inmates mixed in. I think they were here to get Superboy originally? Or some of them to get Superboy and others to stop them? I don’t know, Dr. Psycho is here too. Then Power Girl gets huge, beats up Manchester Black. Then Alpha Centurion shows up with the obvious insinuation that they are going to fight him next issue. I still don’t really know who is on and who is off this team, and its pretty confusing all around.
New Suicide Squad #14: Waller and crew’s out and about on their current mission. This focus of this issue is whether or not the neck bombs are connected. They are, but Waller took control of them away from the control center (good thing since they were blown at the end of last issue). She for some reason lets herself get roughed up a bit before telling Harley, Deadshot, and Boomerang that if she dies they go off. The bait and switch was pretty obvious and doesn’t seem to add that much to this story, which is why this book probably slipped so low this month.
Doctor Fate #6: The flood continues into its sixth issue; this issue Khalid goes to face off against Anubis. The fight is confusingly drawn; good art overall but the story telling breaks down here and bit and the super slow pace is starting to drag. Hopefully next issue brings this to a conclusion because its really time that we should see Dr. Fate facing some different challenges.
Secret Six #8: This issue is a little down; Black Alice is still beset with magic crazy illness and there are some white gates that are holding out Cthulu monsters that the Six are going to knock down, but oh yeah every magic and remotely magical character in the entire DCU is out to stop them. One of the gates is underwater, so Aquaman is there to fight him. The best part of when the ladies on the squad sit down to watch as Catman and Aquaman fight. Then, there are some bizarre Cthulu people stapping out of their skin who I guess we will fight next month. This book really shines when it features the team interacting with each other, but sometimes there just isn’t enough of that stuff there, still feel like we barely know a few of the newer characters, and we are left leaning on the previous iteration of the book for Catman’s personality in a lot of ways. I think that Deadshot is really the missing ingredient that made that book work so well for so long. Mr. Big Shot is the obvious non fitting piece here. Stryx is great, but as a silent character can’t be the heart of the team, and with Alice sidelined that leaves Catman, Big Shot, Porcelain, and Ventriloquist to carry the team– but Porcelain is still very much a blank slate. We know nothing about her except that she’s a trans woman. I know this is a lot of words about a book on its 8th issue that’s been pretty good so far, however the allure of this book on solely nostalgia for the previous run will only last so long if we don’t get some more attachments to the characters that are actually in this series.
Batman Beyond #6: Tim finally takes down Brother Eye. Hopefully now this book can go into the kinds of places that I wanted to see it go when it was first solicited.
Aquaman #46: Wonder Woman and Aquaman fight with King Shark and the rest of the fake Atlantis squad sent to hint for Aquaman. Some good stuff here, but really a pretty in between feeling issue. The art has corrected itself to DCU standard, so that’s a positive but this is another story line that is starting to wear a bit think with very little movement going on.
Batman #46: Gordan Batman is fighting Mr. Bloom this issue, but there are also some pages with Bruce Wayne frolicking in the shower with his girlfriend and Duke Thomas (one of our Robins from We Are Robin, but with an awful helmet which I hope to god is not the design they go with for his costume) sneaking into Penguin’s iceberg hideout. Which one, why does Penguin have an iceberg hangout, and two why is Duke Thomas sneaking in there, and three why is that happening in Batman when the current Batman has no relationship with any Robin, much less Duke Thomas. Also, as we know from Catwoman Penguin’s hideout is Forster Lane and features tunnels under Gotham which is way cooler than this iceberg thing. Probably the worst issue of Snyder’s Batman I’ve read; really, really weak month here.
Martian Manhunter #6: The split personalities story line continues here. We finally see one of them emerge as a Martian, then there’s something that’s supposed to bring back Mars (by destroying Earth of course) and then they all go into it and it happens and J’onn is whole again, but he has the other personalities in his mind and has to put Earth back together again now. This is a stark contrast to JLA #5 which is how you tell a good Martian Manhunter story, which this is not. 6 issues in and I am not sure how long I want to stay with this book; now that Doomed is cancelled and Robin Son of Batman has righted itself, this is the weakest book in my stack pretty consistantly.