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Sticking with DC and Marvel comics, the third July round-up features Batman #75, Nightwing #62, Wonder Woman: Come Back to Me #1, Uncanny X-Men #22 and Loki #1.
Batman seemingly defeated his father, Thomas, in the previous issue of the series, and now the series moves on to the ‘City of Bane’ arc. We may finally get a clear idea of what’s been happening this entire series and how Bane was tied into all this. He’s been pulling the strings of Gotham and Gotham’s criminals for long enough, time for readers to see them in action.
This was probably the most confusing, unstructured issue of the series so far. It started off with a breath-taking about-turn on the Batman mythos—what if the villains of Gotham were its protectors? I loved that entire segment, down to the fact that Thomas Wayne’s Batman was working with these villainous GCPD veterans. But, alas, the story changed art and tack partway through and became a meandering mess. We once again must contend with Gotham Girl, whose speech pattern is the quintessentially annoying style that Tom King imprints on all the sidekicks in the Batman series. We need to do away with Gotham Girl—she should never have been a thing, and she doesn’t need to continue being one either. This whole issue was so confusing, especially the ending. Seems like it ties in with other titles, so this could get interesting.
Ric Grayson has settled into his life as part-time superhero supporting the team of Nightwings. He has been told what it’s like to live a double-life as a superhero, and he wants none of it. In this issue, Ric comes clean about his past and present to his girlfriend Bea, but what he doesn’t know is that his every move is being watched by an old enemy of Dick’s.
A brand new creative team takes over Nightwing… once again. Not the biggest fan of the art—especially the way Ric is drawn—but it’s better than a lot of issues that we’ve had, so I’m not complaining too much. There is way too much exposition in this issue, even more so than the last few installments. Though the creators valiantly try to weave it into the narrative, it’s very obviously out of sync with the dialogue. Readers following the series know what’s happened, it’s time to move beyond this style of writing. Some of the insights into Ric’s experiences upon waking were good and we could have done with much more of that than just plain ol’ exposition. I don’t mind this arc as much as some people, but honestly, it’s time to bring Dick Grayson back and in his Nightwing costume again.
'Wonder Woman: Come Back to Me' #1
Now that DC Comics has made some of their Walmart comic issues available to the general public, we get to take a look at this one-off tale featuring Wonder Woman. Steve Trevor’s plane is lost under mysterious circumstances, but before the Amazon warrior can save him, she has to protect a town under siege by raging fires.
The story and the art of this issue feels like it belongs to another era. Diana is heroic in every way, but the pace is plodding, the dialogue stilted and the art is inconsistent—Diana looks different from panel to panel. DC has often struggled to give its most famous female hero the kind of stories that she deserves, and this one is no different. There’s a panel where Wonder Woman saves the day, and that’s outstanding, but Diana’s abilities are almost comical here. Also, restricting her focus to Steve Trevor does her a great disservice. It’s obvious the creators want to push for more page time between Diana and Etta, so why does the central plot device need to be Steve?
'Uncanny X-Men' #22
Emma Frost erased mutants from humanity’s minds, but what does that mean for the surviving X-Men? Cyclops is a soldier without a war, while Dani is struggling with the loss of her brothers and sisters. What should be a new start turns into a nightmare when the X-Men struggle with going back into the closet? And then it turns out that not everyone was affected by Emma’s psychic wipe.
This was an action-packed and emotional farewell. It’s hard to see the X-Men suffer—it’s hard to watch them die and leap back into action. How will the team cope with their new normal, especially when so many of them have been lost? I don’t expect the X-Men to be happy, but there is a feeling of hopelessness at the end of this issue that was unexpected. Well, now we move on to the next X-Men chapter, but will we see the dead and forgotten return again?
Loki sacrificed himself to save New York. He was then resurrected for his good deeds and made King of Jotunheim. However, being a king can be dull, so Loki returns to Earth for some fun misadventures. If only things were that straightforward. Before Loki knows it, Jotunheim is being invaded and Thor is reading him the riot act. And that’s just the beginning of his problems. The past and the future are about to be affected, but is Loki responsible, or someone else?
I am surprised at how much fun this issue was. Without relying too much on a bunch of gags, this issue can elicit a few laughs. The banter between Loki and Thor is pretty funny as well. Loki as a character is brilliantly compelling—his irreverence and general lackadaisical outlook are endearing. I hope the creators can expand on his pansexuality during the series, and not rely on the heteronormative tropes we’ve become used to in comics.
Quite an eclectic mix of Big Two comics this week, here’s looking forward to more in the final two weeks of July.