The Alphabetical John Buys Comics

Batman No. 687

I followed Batman RIP and Battle for the Cowl and by gum, I’m going to read this Batman Reborn jazz, too. I’ll tell you when they get terrible.

Okay, I’m nowhere near my copy of Batman and Robin as I write this but I would categorize that comic as being concerned with establishing the relationships and character dynamics of the rejiggered Bat-crew and getting Dick “Batman” Grayson involved in some of the crazy Bat-style crime-fighting that we all know and love. Judd Winick, here in Batman, appears to be concentrating more on how folks are dealing with and adapting to the loss of Bruce Wayne. There’s a lot of heartfelt conversation here, folks, but Winick’s not bad at that.

I don’t know… this is a decent comic. It and Battle for the Cowl make each other slightly redundant, but I’m prepared to side with the regular series over the special event. I wish that I had more to say about it, frankly, but I got nothing. It’s not bad, it doesn’t contradict anything, it fills in some gaps that maybe didn’t need to be filled in but do no harm by being so. Oh! And they stopped that distressing trend of making the Scarecrow look like the visually-unappealing Batman Begins version! Full points for that!

Batman Confidential No. 30

Meh. I swear that the first half of this two-parter wasn’t so cliché-ridden. The motivations and ultimate method of defeat of the Bad Cop are so old and lame that I didn’t see them coming because surely nobody would trot out that old shtick again, right? And then I groaned. This wee arc also fell into the old Legends of the Dark Knight/Star Wars prequels trap of involving too many to-be-important characters in their younger years in the plot. So Montoya last issue and now Barbara Gordon? Gotta tell you, that flings us all headlong into the already murky depths of the timeline of the Bat-career. Babs here looks like she has 5-10 years to go before she’s gonna be Batgirl and then 5-10 until she’s Oracle and then Oracle’s career - say 3-5 more years and then One Year Later and then maybe six months to a year since… So is Batman 20 here or was he 50 when he died? If this is Year One, why is Gordon’s hair white? Could I be more nerdy-picky?

Booster Gold No. 21

Ah, good. Booster Gold was never in danger of being dropped from my list but the focus of the story was starting to waver a bit. Now the Black Beetle is back and there’s some Batman action going on… I am a happy man.

Meanwhile, this is the first of DC’s new experiment in doubling up lower-selling features. I have to say that I’m pretty in favour of the whole thing, as most of them are, like Booster Gold and Blue Beetle, the sort of comic that I like a whole lot and that get cancelled with depressing frequency. This issue shows that it can be done right, now let’s see if it’ll continue.

The Blue Beetle tale picks up where the series left off, with Jaime having to deal with the aftermath of rebooting his scarab and of his best friends being a couple. Also: a 40s-style giant robot named THINKO! and a family of criminal roboticists named von Neumann. I remain a happy man.

BPRD: War on Frogs No. 3

I guess that I haven't talked about this series before, huh? War on Frogs, for all of you non-BPRDers out there, is a series that is coming out in between the regular BPRD series, so one issue in six, essentially. They're character studies, taking place during the Bureau's a-while-ago-now effort to contain the horrible frog people that had been released into the world to herald the coming apocalypse. This one focuses on pyrokinetic Liz Sherman and is neato bandito. Artist Karl Moline delivers the most wearable-looking BPRD jackets yet!

John Arcudi writes this one, which highlights one of the interesting things about the world that BPRD and Hellboy and so forth are set in: it's all very much Mike Mignola's baby, but there's such an impressive level of artistic/editorial/writerly cooperation and collaboration that something that was at one point basically a one-man show has slowly becoome something that a multitude of people can work on and still produce a comic that fits right in with those thaat came before. Huzzah, Dark Horse!

Plus: exploding frog heads.

Red Robin No. 1

Another of those pesky Batman Reborn books, featuring Time Drake in the Red Robin getup that Jason Todd ditched at the end of Countdown and searching the world for Bruce Wayne. I'm glad that Tim's got a title even though Damian the jerk has taken over as Robin, now let's see how good it turns out to be.

Well, here are the good points:

- The Red Robin costume is boss. Easily one of the best designs from Kingdom Come, even if its presence  in the regular DCU is tinged with Countdown badness.

- This world tour that Robin is on is showing off some neat bits of the planet that regular nordamericano-centric comics don't, which is always fun.

- The more Damian-as-total-dick we get now, the more satisfying his eventual comeuppance will be.

And the problematic:

- For the most stable member of the Batman Family, Tim's acting awful crazy.  I guess that his lif has been slowly whittled away over the last twenty years or so... let's wait and see if he finds Bruce or not.

That's all I can think of just now. I was going to ask where Tim was getting all of his motorcycles as he traveled the world but it was covered in Batman in Barcelona so I shall keep my big mouth shut.

And the returning contestants:

Action Comics No. 878 - General Lane: “They can make diamonds out of coal with their bare hands, Lieutenant. Do you really think they’ve even the slightest inclination to be our friends?” That’s right, this is the issue that firmly establishes that the grand anti-Kryptonian/anti-superhuman conspiracy is headed by people who make wild assumptions all the time. And more than that one! These people are not good at their jobs!

Final Crisis Aftermath: Escape No. 2 - Oh man, I'm so confused. I'm... I'm going to have to read this again once it's all done. This has the potential to be one of the best comics of the year, or one of the worst, depending on how it all ends.

Flash: Rebirth No. 3 - This remains a good comic, but the more I read it, thhe more I realize that Barry Allen died when i was five and that i have a fair amount invested in the subsequent Flash mythos. I sure hope that all of that good stuff doesn't just get trampled underfoot in order to restore a status quo that's been gone almost as long as it existed in the first place.

Green lantern Corps No. 37 - Man, Sinestro Corps members all tend toward the ugly, don't they? Maybe they'd be nicer if people could get past that. Hey, this seems like as good a place to ask as any other: the Justice League: Cry for Justice preview says that it's coming out in July, and Hal Jordan is front and centre, whining his ass off. Shouldn't he be hip-deep in Blackest Night about then? What's the deal here?

Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers No. 2 - This comic remains a super-fun time. It's kinetic and funny and just plain fun to read. Ka-Zar's pal Zabu joins up this issue, Throg gets a good line, Ms. Lion is evidently the dog version of Johnny Thunder and Devil Dinosaur gets in on the action. Unadulterated good times.

R.E.B.E.L.S. No. 5 - Even if I didn't love Vril Dox and even if I wasn't happy to see best-Khund-ever Amon Hakk in comics again and even if this wasn't Legion of Super-Heroes-related, this comic would be worth it for the upcoming origin of Starro the Conquorer. I mean, what has it been, forty, fifty years since his first appearance. If this is done right, then Starro could make a far more compelling replacement for Darkseid than the somewhat dreary Lady Styx.

Plus: the spions look much cooler with their new puffy lizard heads.

Sherlock Holmes No. 2

The Strange Adventures of HP Lovecraft No. 2

The Unwritten No. 2