Well played, DC. Well played.
If you haven't read your comics yet this week, I'll just let you know that I am throwing down all sorts of spoilers here. You've been warned.
The Flash #13
In the grand tradition of making me like a character most just before he or she dies, I liked Bart a lot in this issue. He goes down fighting. Hard.
So that ends that run on The Flash. Mark Waid takes over soon, but with which Flash? The answer can only be found in JLA #10.
Justice League of America #10
Ok, before we get to the big reveal, a couple of items:
I liked the point made by Jay Garrick that he is not the fastest member of the combined teams:
Hal? Really? Also...where's Vixen? Apparently she can run as fast as a cheetah, which can run as fast as lightning. Also...Power Girl's shorts. They are stupid. I love Ed Benes' art, but I can't stand the cheesecake. Black Canary looks even worse:
With that all out of the way, let's get to the good stuff. I was on the edge of my seat for this whole issue. I was sure I knew what was going to happen, and who was going to come back. I mean, I think we all did. I was close...but not quite right:
Again, Starman is great.
But seriously, I'm glad it's Wally. Of course I wanted to see Barry Allen (I spelled it right this time!) again. But he is one of those characters where I think his death is more important than the actual character. And Wally has been the Flash for almost as long as Barry was. He's our Flash. And he's a great character and I'm glad to see him back and a part of the JLA.
Aw, who am I kidding? I wanted a tearful reunion/group hug with Barry, Hal and Batman. Though, I don't think we should give up on Barry coming back just yet. I think this was a fake-out. Barry will be back.
The real treat of this story was the confirmation that the Justice League and the Justice Society combined are no match for the Legion of Super Heroes.
Oh, and guess who's sticking around:
And this made me laugh out loud. Jimmy is dictating into a pocket recorder as he does some investigative jounalism:
And just in case a New Gods roll call doesn't sexually excite the male readers, they threw in this:
So did you need to read Countdown to get the full death/return of The Flash story? Absolutely not. This entire issue was actually pretty damn forgettable. Unless you need to know who the New Gods are. And even if you do it's going to be wrong because Jimmy called the "Forever People" the "Tomorrow People" for whatever reason (possibly just to make Strange Adventures manager/New Gods superfan Dave Howlett's head explode).
The Brave and the Bold #4
Last we saw Batman, he had been merged with Tharok:
I really like how well Supergirl handles herself around Lobo.
Plus, who would have expected a touching scene between the two of them like this one:
I love the crazy team-ups so far in this series. Supergirl and Lobo? Batman and Blue Beetle? Green Lantern and Supergirl? And next...Batman and the Legion of Super Heroes?! Awesome. I wish this comic came out every day.
The Incredible Hulk #107/Iron Man #19/Ghost Rider #12
I didn't read Heroes for Hire. Should I?
All three of these issues revisit the events of last week's World War Hulk #1, from different POVs. I really enjoyed the Hulk comic because it focused on his allies. It followed heroes (Hercules, Angel, Namora, and that really smart Amadeus Cho kid) and ordinary American citizens who are sympathetic to the Hulk, some of whom are even pro-Hulk killing everyone. Unfortunately for them, Hulk is not pro-anyone from Earth. And it's hard to convince him to listen.
So there's some fighting:
As for Iron Man, this just gave his perspective on the battle from last week, with no new real information. I think that the point was to make him seem heroic and noble, but I still think he's a douche.
Watching all the Iron Man robots get smashed by Hulk's ship was cool:
Y'know, I haven't read a single issue of the new Ghost Rider series. In fact, I probably haven't read a Ghost Rider comic at all since I was twelve. I have to say, I kinda enjoyed this. I have no idea what Johnny plans on doing once he's gotten the Hulk's attention, but I doubt he'll be the one to bring the big guy down. Whatever happens, it's only going to last one more issue.
The Amazing Spider-Man #541/The Sensational Spider-Man #38/Fallen Son: Spider-Man
I have figured out the fundamental problem with Marvel, and by problem, I mean reason why I don't like Marvel comics as much as DC comics. Marvel comics take place in the real world (read: current day America), and are determined to accurately capture that real world in their stories. So what happens when the real world is as bleak and depressing and tense as it is right now? You get non-stop Marvel wars, evil Iron Man, dead Captain America, and Spider-Man comics that make me want to commit suicide. Where is my escapism? Over at DC they are dealing with crazy, Earth-multiplying wackiness and bringing people back from the dead using lightning rods. And over at Marvel we have Sharon Carter in her bathroom with a gun in her mouth, and Peter Parker giving his dying aunt emergency blood transfusions.
Alright, so in Amazing Spider-Man, we have Peter Parker, not in costume, interrogating a guy. Then, by the time he's finished, he's in full costume:
Sensational Spider-Man was actually really good. It was an Eddie Brock story, and it had fantastic art by Lee Weeks and Stefano Gaudiano.
Fallen Son is too depressing for words.
Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four #3
This series is so right for so many reasons. It's fun, it's hilarious, it's all-ages appropriate, it's clever...it's everything a Spider-Man comic should be. And everything a Fantastic Four comic should be. It's great. But there's only one issue left.
There were just so many fun moments. Spider-Man busting his honorary "4":
Oh, Catwoman. I love you. Even if you comic is starting to get repetitive. I feel that it's about to go off in a bold new direction soon, though. It's always a good read, but lately I've felt that the larger story has been treading water a little. Now Holly is off to Metropolis in Countdown, and it looks like Batman might be showing up a bit in this comic again. He was mentioned in this issue.
Ha. Jupiter. Actually, Selina, depending on what you're reading, he's either chilling with the JLA and celebrating/mourning the return of Wally West, or he's joined bodies with Tharok and is a prisoner of the Legion of Super Heroes, or he is in the hospital after a convoluted adventure with the Metal Men, or he is just about to be shot by the Joker as Zatanna dies in front of him, or he is in Europe getting his groove back with a super model while trying to deal with the fact that he has an estranged son, or he is fighting off Amazons in D.C., or he is having Father's Day dinner with Tim. Just to name a few of the possibilities. Either way, he cannot come to the phone right now.
I also just want to mention that putting Selina's child in the middle of the road as she comes charging in a stolen police cruiser at top speed to stop the bad guys?
When this comic is on its game, it can be as good as Catwoman. And that is high praise from me. This issue was on its game. First of all, it was adorable. They had me at Tim buying an engraved watch for Bruce for father's day. Secondly, it followed the Catwoman formula for fun: cute/entertaining opening scene, large fun battle against a ridiculous villain with lots of action and funny quips, cute/entertaining end scene.
I'm not saying that all comics need to be like this all the time, I'm just saying I like it when they are.
Cute opening scene:
Captain America #27
This issue had a whole lot of sexy, sexy Winter Soldier and his mission to steal back Cap's shield, and kill Tony Stark. I approve of both parts of this mission.
Here's a nice scene at the National History Museum's Captain America memorial exhibit in Washington:
And if hot Winter Soldier action doesn't turn your crank, how about Sharon's new outfit?
I am really not giving this comic the respect it deserves. But, really, who doesn't know that it's a frigging masterpiece?
For one thing, Manta is totally awesome.
Actually, every character is totally awesome. And the story is great. Each issue is packed with tons of great dialoge and interesting plot developments. It's one of those comics where you can kind of trust that there is a solid plan for the story arc, and that they are going to do a good job telling it. I heard that this title is in danger of being canceled, and I, for one, will be miserable if that happens. Anyone who loves Jeff Smith's Shazam series should love this.
Plus, Manta gets his face bitten off:
Alright, I'm feeling under the weather and I am tired of writing. I also really enjoyed The Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #3, and Marvel Adventures Iron Man #2. Two high quality all-ages comics that were great-looking, entertaining, and funny.