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There are so many titles out every week, it’s almost a shame that I don’t have time to read them all. This week’s Comic Book Review Round-Up is full of Big Two stuff, plus an early edition of Valiant Comics’ The Forgotten Queen. From DC, I review the new Batman/Flash crossover, Titans #34, The Batman Who Laughs #34 and Wonder Twins #1. From Marvel, there’s more Age of X-Man action and a new Avengers title.
'The Flash' #64
'The Price' crossover continues with The Flash and Batman investigating Gotham Girl’s attack on the Flash Museum in Batman #64. Why is she doing this and what are her plans, that’s what they need to find out. But Gotham Girl isn’t the only thing on their minds. Barry Allen is struggling with the death of Wally West and the unsolved murders at Sanctuary. How will this affect the duo’s mission?
I am so glad that the Heroes in Crisis incident is finally having an impact in the main continuity of DC Comics. It’s adding a lot of weight to that series, but also brings in additional emotion and pathos in the solo titles of Flash and Batman. Gotham Girl is still an annoying character though, so I’m hoping this series finishes her off for good. That’s mean, but I said it!
Kyle Rayner and Steel have been captured by Mother Blood on Unearth. She finally reveals her interest in these two characters as well as the depth of her power. The Titans are no match for her, or the evil version of Raven, Commander Lenore, who doesn’t recognise her team. Could they get help from elsewhere?
‘Titans’ has been struggling over the past several months, but now that it is reaching its crescendo prior to the end of the series it is quite intense. Mother Blood is not a very imaginative villain – she wants to dominate the world just like everyone else and proselytizes needlessly – but she has injected the series with much-needed energy. I’m looking forward to the finale in April.
'The Batman Who Laughs' #3
James Gordon has gone to meet his son, James Gordon Jr. as his last hope for saving the city. Junior is a psychopath, and as revealed in this issue, is part of a program that helps configure his recognitive abilities to make him a functional member of society.
Unfortunately, that is not what either Gordon or Batman needs. They need the obsessed psycho killer to come to the fore so that they can decipher the Batman Who Laughs’ next move. Can they figure it out in time?
This issue was slower than the others—more circumspect and seemed to cycle around the same issues, over and over. But it’s the ending that’s a doozy. Is it enough to keep people engaged? Most definitely.
'Age of X-Man: Nextgen' #1
The plot of the Age of X-Man series moves to the next generation of mutants studying in the Summers Institute. The story follows the young mutant X-Men from the main continuity—Glob, Armour, Pixie, Rockslide and a couple of others—as they go about a regular school day. And then, Armour sees something and she can’t get it out of her head. Something is not right with this world, but is she ready for the truth?
This series continues to be unnerving as we traverse through this ‘perfect’ world where everyone is a mutant and everyone is happy. But this isn’t real, and the rules aren’t perfect. When does the bubble burst? And how will the X-Men cope when it does?
Comic Book Number Ones
The Forgotten Queen is the newest series from Valiant Comics which follows research patron Sarnai Oyuunchimeg relentlessly pursuing the recovery of an ancient artifact. Juxtaposed with these present-day scenes are those set in 1200AD where Vexena the War-Monger is intent on helping Genghis Khan.
I’m not sure how I feel about this first issue. It’s not quite tantalising and the story structure doesn’t set up the central story properly. What I’m looking forward to is seeing complex and brutal female characters interacting and growing. Here’s hoping that’s what the series holds in store.
Wonder Twins #1 turned out to be really fun. Zan and Jayna have been exiled from Exxor (an alien planet) for their own protection, but Earth is a tough society to get accustomed to. Especially when you’re in high school.
I like that Zan’s swaggering over-confidence is nipped in the bud, while Jayna slowly grows into being surer of herself. She also ends up saving the day by using her wits, which is how I like it. These Wonder Comics series are looking to be some of the best that DC has produced. Hopefully, they maintain their quality over the series.
There’s an audience for Avengers: No Road Home #1, but I’m not one of them. I’ve always struggled with the cosmic, myth-based stories in DC and Marvel books, and this one is no different. So much postulating and exposition, it makes reading the book a tedious and sluggish experience.
The art is vivid but the four women characters all look like petite teenage girls, while the male characters are of varying shapes and sizes (and species). Marvel really makes it hard to enjoy their books because most of their sensibilities are still stuck in the dark ages. This isn’t a bad book, but it has niggling issues which make me re-think picking up another issue.
Another exciting Comic Book Review Round-Up ends for this week. Check in next week for more!