This Week's Haul: Better Batman and Other Good Stuff

Comics other than All-Star Batman and Robin came out this week, and many of them were very good. Let's take a look:

Batman #665

I love that this came out the same week as All-Star Batman. Everything about this comic is so right.

When we left Batman last time, he had just been stomped on by a large Bane-looking guy in an ally. This issue opens with this fantastic page:

So funny. And then Roxy the prostitute gives the injured Batman a lift, which gives us another great scene:

Aw. The look on Batman's face!

Batman drags his battered ass up to the penthouse (which looks awesome) and calls Alfred. Alfred and Tim get over there and Alfred pumps Bruce full of drugs. Bruce wakes up later and is all freaked out. We get an incredible facial expression:

God that's awesome. He looks like he was left Home Alone.

Batman's all scared because he's pretty sure he is being visited again by the "three ghosts of Batman": a killer Batman, a bestial Batman, and a Batman who sold his soul to the devil. We already saw the killer Batman shoot the joker in the first Morrison issue, now we've seen the bestial one stomp on Batman's spine, and the third one will no doubt be showing up in #666.

I really liked Bruce talking about the "Black Casebook" of supernatural files:

Batman's got X-Files!

He doesn't let it get him down for long, though. He goes to the laudry basket and takes a whiff of the dress shirt he wore the day before during a board meeting at Waynetech to get himself psyched for battle. It's weird, but entertaining.

I love this series.

Action Comics #849

I liked this better than the first issue in this two-part story, but it's still kind of meh. Religion.

I like it when Superman fights guys that are about equal to him:

I like his "Hmph."

I like Superman enjoying this pretzel:

And I like the way his boots are all slumped over against the wall in this panel:

And that's about all I have to say about that.

Supergirl #17

I was actually really looking forward to this issue because I liked the last one, but I was kind of disappointed. I can't even say for sure why. What happened to Mark Sable? He was credited as co-writing this issue on the website, but not in the comic itself.

I still think Supergirl looks a lot better. With her new normal-length torso she is also a lot shorter:

Her skirt looks really good in that panel, but that was a fluke. It's still a curtain tie for most of the book. And she still has those heavy Turner-style eyelashes that I hate because they look like spiders.

I'll admit, I'm a little confused about what's happening in this series and how it fits in with DCU continuity. Does that mean it's on another Earth? An Earth where Robin looks fantastic?:

This last page was pretty exciting:

Now THERE'S a Supergirl everyone can enjoy!

Countdown Week 50

Team Jonah Hex writes this one, which is rad. This issue gives us a much better idea of what Countdown actually is than the first one did. This time we got a series of vignettes filling in a few holes we've seen in other DC titles, along with snippets of a larger Countdown story-arc involving Jimmy Olsen, and another with Mary Marvel. Interestingly, a lot of the scenes take place in New York, rather than one of the many fictional DC cities.

I love seeing Jimmy back in action, with his pal Superman helping him from space:

I loved getting to see that fight between Batman and Karate Kid that we never saw in the last issue of Justice League, along with an extended aftermath scene:

I love that tube of Bat-costume. Especially the placement of the gloves, making it look like it's trapped in there. The art, by the way, was really excellent on this book.

I like it. It's like a bonus feature disc full of deleted scenes. This could be a very fun series.

Fallen Son: The Death of Captain America #3: Captain America

I am just never going to like this series.

Guess what Hawkeye wants to talk about (after he introduces himself unnecessarily to Iron Man and the readers at great length):

Iron Man knocks him out and Hawkeye wakes up in a prison cell. This is where things get weird.

What? Ew! Keep colonoscopies and polyps out of my comic books! Gross! Iron Man has a new hobby!

Anyway, then they get to talking about The Death of Captain America.

It's a very big coffin.

I kinda enjoyed the Hawkeye talking to the Young Avengers part, but it was still sort of clunky.

For some reason this panel cracked me up. Maybe I'm a jerk, but a sad Iron Man is always funny-looking to me:

And, Jeph, repeat after me:

"I. Will never. Use the word 'diddling.' Ever again."

Diddling is like what pedophiles do. It's just below "porking" on the list of gross euphemisms for sex. Man, I'm so grossed out right now. What's the next comic?

The Flash #12

I checked this out because it was one of those issues with an ending that will change the Flash forever. It was a pretty good issue.

I liked Mirror Master coming out of Flash's shiny earpiece:

Pretty clever.

I liked the Rogues chatting about what they were going to do now that time had stopped (though it hadn't, really):

And the shocker ending? looks bad for Bart. Almost as if he's going to be someone who has been dead for quite some time...

Justice League of America #9

I like the teams being split into little groups, each going to a totally different place. We've seen Arkham, we've seen the Fortress, and now we see Gorilla City and Thanagar. Fun times.

But I think that Meltzer may be grossly overestimating the top speed of a cheetah:

But I don't want to nitpick. I want to talk about this double-page spread of awesomeness:

Power Girl and Hawkman sitting in a tree! That's hot! I love the personality that PG finally has in the new JSA series. I'm so pleased with this development that I'm not even going to complain about her stupid-looking shorts. Aw, she had her heart broken. Hook up with Batman, Power Girl! Doooo it!

Heh: "I appreciate the size you think your testicles are." Power Girl is awesome.

Aquaman #52

I'm glad that, right in the first panel, we get an explanation as to why our heroes are in Sub Diego when we learned in WWIII that Sub Diego was lifted back above sea level. Well, it turns out not all of it was. So that answers that mystery.

I'll keep saying it: this comic is ridiculously fun. There's a word that I am searching for when I am trying to describe the writing, but all I can come up with is "informative, interesting and easy to follow." This is why I am not a professional writer. Maybe the word I am looking for is "good." Actually, do you know what I think makes this comic extra awesome? There very little narration. And when there is, it's a third-person perspective and it's very clear and informative and usually pretty funny. The story mostly depends on dialogue, which is delightfully snappy.


This really cracked me up:

The Babe Squad! I love it! That lobster girl! Holy God!

Did I mention that the art rules on this series?

X-Men First Class Special

Well, this was awesome.

Three very funny and enjoyable short stories, and three even funnier mini-comics, involving the original X-Men line-up. Jeff Parker writes them all, and is joined by a kick-ass team of artists (including Colleen Coover! Woot!). The book has a sort of Bizzaro Comics feel to it, which means it's nothing but fun. Magento using his powers to grab the key for the bathroom at a coffee shop? Check. The X-Men battling a mutant beatnik's powers of persuasion? Check. Angel in a sailor cap?

Plus, there's this:
X-Men + Ducklings = Perfection.

Colleen Coover rules.

Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century #2

It's weird to see Timber Wolf in two comics in one week, being drastically different. And by weird, I mean great.

Timber Wolf, Robot Fighter!


Catwoman #67

If you aren't reading this series, you are cheating yourself out of one of the most consistently action-packed comics going. There is very little in the way of hanging around and chatting in this series. Even now that Selina is a mom, the violence never stops.

Team Lopez rocked the art this week. I love everything about this page:

I like that Selina has her own little Bat-family now. She has Holly as Robin, Calculator as Oracle, Slam as Gordon, and...Karon as Alfred. Sorta. Anyway, it's good stuff.

Catwoman is rad.

The Plain Janes

This was really, really good. I loved it. The writing, by Canadian punk rocker Cecil Castellucci, was very funny and very smart. I loved the little gang of high school girls being secret performance art guerillas. I loved how layered each of the characters in the book were, despite still having clearly-defined interests that shaped them. I loved the sports-obsessed tomboy who refused to shape her eyebrows but still had a girly crush on the captain of the basketball team. It's little details that change a character from being a one-dimensional stereotype to being real. It was just a really interesting and entertaining read, and it's fantastic to have another great book to recommend to younger readers. There are so many indie comics out there that would almost be perfect for younger teenagers, but have some element in them that elevates them to mature reader status. I know the Minx line is intended for teen girls, but I think DC would do well to just continue to publish well-written, well-drawn, all-ages books for both boys and girls. This line fills a definite hole that existed for those who aren't interested in superheroes, and also aren't old enough for, or interested in, Vertigo or most Manga.

Teen-appropriate indie comics. We need more of them.