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It’s weird, but this week I’ve ended up covering only DC Comics titles. My Comic Book Review Round-Up includes Superman: Leviathan Rising #1, Batman: Last Knight on Earth #1, Detective Comics Annual #2, The Wild Storm #23 and Heroes in Crisis #9.
'Superman: Leviathan Rising' #1
This issue is the prelude to Event Leviathan, which hits shelves in June. Everything is kept deliberately and tediously vague here, while the premise—whatever we can make of it—sets up the main players. Even though Lois Lane and Supergirl play significant roles in this issue, I doubt DC will give them the time of day during the actual event, especially since Clark pretty much saved himself after getting a hand from the villain.
Not sure what to make of this haphazard issue, especially the strange detour to cover a Jimmy Olsen story. Also, I’m quite tired of Talia Al Ghul being written as inherently incompetent and reckless. She’s always belittled every time she shows up, and it’s no different here. I am confused why Lois Lane was wearing an outfit so similar to Talia’s—they’re drawn to look exactly the same (which is unsurprising, since most comic book women are replicas of each other), but where did Lois get the outfit and is it significant? As a teaser for the main event, this issue lacked focus or rhythm and definitely didn’t set up the stakes well enough.
'Batman: Last Knight on Earth' #1
Batman is on a mission to find a culprit who appears to know his true identity, but before long he finds himself in another world—one where Bruce Wayne is locked up in Arkham Asylum, and his life as Batman is nothing but a delusion. But all is not as it seems and Bruce is only one person in a greater battle against an incredible new force called Omega.
I was really excited after part one, especially because of the premise, but all that was little more than a gimmick for a less interesting story that involves… Gemworld. This giant sized-issue kicked off with promise but it devolved into something uninteresting. Do we need another story about Bruce Wayne reclaiming his right as the Dark Knight? Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo are synonymous with creating great Batman stories, but maybe it’s time to give some new people a turn, because Batman is running in place. For a character who appears in so many titles, Batman’s stories are not that compelling. Which is an oxymoron, as far as I’m concerned.
'Detective Comics Annual' #2
Detective Comics takes a hiatus from the ‘Arkham Knight’ story to re-visit an old villain of Batman’s. In the Dark Knight’s early days, he faced off against the Reaper, the violent and lethal protector of Gotham City who ended up killing himself, rather than turning himself in. When new Reaper attacks appear around the world, Batman decides to investigate. With Alfred Pennyworth by his side, Bruce Wayne sheds his cape and flies to Greece under cover.
This story was immensely fun, though the open ending seemed unnecessary; unless, of course, Tomasi plans to bring the Reaper storyline back at a later stage. Travis Moore’s art buoys this issue, even though his overuse of the Dick Grayson model for all dark-haired characters makes it confusing. I love the dynamic between Alfred and Bruce, it never ceases to amaze me. I almost don’t want to go back to the main Arkham Knight storyline because this was so fun. But that will end soon, so we can look forward to more interesting arcs in the future.
'The Wild Storm' #23
Yes, I’m still reading this series for Midnighter and Apollo and I’m glad some of the pieces of this grand puzzle fall into place in this issue. The main characters are trying to stop a war between Skywatch and IO, and unbeknownst to Midnighter and Apollo, they’ve been fighting the exact same war on a different front. When Skywatch tries to commandeer these two, Jenny and her team intervene. Now they have to fight together to stop Skywatch from destroying IO and all of New York city.
This issue was funny and action-packed. I think what worked in its favour was how natural some of the interactions were—the previous issues I’ve read had poorly-written dialogue that never read well. Also, highlighting how utterly adorable Midnighter and Apollo are is just a bonus in my book. I’d like to see how this arc ends and whether it will set up future collaboration between the Wild Storm team and my favourite DC superheroes.
'Heroes in Crisis' #9
Wally West was behind the murders at Sanctuary and set up Booster Gold and Harley Quinn to take the fall. In the series finale, Wally tries to break the cycle of violence and face his guilt head on. He has a surprising helping hand in Booster, who’s plan sounds crazy, but it may just work. If you’re looking for a happy ending, you won’t find it here.
And, so it ends. Heroes in Crisis began with a novel concept but soon devolved into a monstrous assassination of character, plot and even its own central theme. This final issue comes to terms with the massacre that happened and the need to take responsibility for one’s own actions. Has Wally really changed the face of the DC Universe? What does this mean for all the characters who were killed, and most importantly, what does this denouement mean for Wally? For a character to have suffered so much, it’s a shame that Wally has to suffer even more. Let’s see if and when DC have any plans to revisit this character.
And that’s it for May! Don’t forget to take a look at all my comic book review round-ups so far. Which titles are you reading and looking forward to?