In Brightest Day, In Blackest Night, No Comics Shall Escape John's Sight

Hey, I just had a great idea! Next Summer DC could have a big event called Brightest Day, in which everything goes just swell!

Blackest Night: Superman No. 1 (of 3)

Urgh. There’s technical about this comic that renders it any worse than the Batman version last week, but somehow big cosmic-style event stuff happening to Smallville just skeezes me out. Like, Millennium was not by any means a masterpiece but it definitely hit its lowest point when they did the Superman tie-in and were all like “and by the way, there’s a giant Manhunter spaceship right over there and everyone under thirty is a Manhunter and hey, here’s Manhunter Lana Lang!” It just doesn’t work for me - Smallville is a perfect for smaller adventures (alien invasions by five or fewer aliens, theft-based crime, etc) or as a jumping-off point to more exciting places (the future, the past, space, everywhere else) but giganto world-shaking things just don't work as well there. Hell, set two or three modern-style events there and there won’t be a Smallville anymore, just a series of craters and bits of wood.

I’m also having a hard time reconciling this series with the start of Adventure last week. Does this take place beforehand? Is Smallville an idyllic small-town wonderland even after wholesale zombie-slaughter? Or does it take place at the same time and the rest of the Adventure run will mostly feature Superboy rescuing traumatized people who wander out into traffic whilst having flashbacks? Maybe Blackest Night will end up only kind of happening, like Countdown.

Ah well. As I said, it ain’t a bad comic on its technical merits. Of particular note is the effective use of the “Black Lanterns can see your emotions, well, seven of them” convention. Superman’s arm is afraid!

ZOMBIE WATCH: Earth-2 Superman, Earth-2 Lois Lane.

Superman Annual No. 14

Hey, uh, wasn’t the secret origin of Mon-El the top story in the last year's Action Comics annual? I will be highly amused if this is just a reprint of that story. (reads comic)

Okay, it’s okay. This issue was concerned with his secret origin before he touched down in Smallville and is largely focused on reconciling the happy-go-lucky good-time exploratoring Daxamites of Mon-El’s origin story with the xenophobic jerkwads of Sodam Yat’s. And, much like in the old “Hey, why are the Klingons all lumpy-headed in Next Generation when they just had severely receding hairlines before?” question of yore, the answer is basically “Uh, there are two different types. But only one type that we’re going to use from now on.”

Eh, it’s a decent story and a valiant attempt to retcon things so that all of the divergent bits of DC history match up (hey, does this finally remove the Daxamites from the Invasion! equation? Aren’t they the reason that Earth won?), though wouldn’t it have been easier to say that Lar Gand’s spaceship was slower-than-light and that he came from an earlier, more tolerant age on Daxam? Coulda cleared everything up in a couple of panels and devoted the rest of the Annual to him beating up Captain Nazi or someone. I’m just saying, is all.

Batgirl No. 1

I think that the fact that there would be a new Batgirl in this series was pretty broadly telegraphed, right? I'm not going to be surprising anyone by talking about it here? Okay (or SURPRISE!). I was kind of hoping that it would end up being Misfit from Birds of Prey (and will we ever get to find out what her DARK SECRET was?) but bad news: it’s not Misfit.

I guess that my personal code of ethics dictates that I not spill the beans until Issue 2 is already out, but it’s not like it’s hard to figure out - the potential Batgirl pool isn’t terrifically huge. I can’t even think of enough teenage girl martial artists to make an effective joke about someone really unlikely being considered for the job. How old is Judomaster? Or, uh...  Ah well. If it really matters to you, bring it up in the comments section (linkcmeo)

I know that it’s basically a cliché by this point, but the Bat-family is just super reluctant to admit that anybody else is at all capable of being a vigilante in Gotham, based on… the fact that they were there first? (so in a perfect world Alan Scott should be showing up and giving Batman a hard time?) It feels like I’ve read the scene where someone gets home from fighting crime only to have Batman or Robin or whoever show up to give them a a stern talking-to about a million times. They really need to just start assuming that new guys are going to show up every once in a while and have some gift baskets made up. It’s not like trying to dissuade them has ever worked, not even on Nite-wing.

The Red Circle: The Web (One-Shot)

I suspected that this would be the Red Circle comic that I enjoyed the most. So far I’m right, and I don’t think that the Shield is going to knock this one out of the top spot.

Let’s see… the Archie Comics Web was a Batman-style vigilante with a web-gun and (eventually) a disapproving wife. The Impact Web was a SHIELD-style spy organization who kept a beady eyeball on the super-types. This Web is a billionaire industrialist who is driven by dissatisfaction with his life and a desire to do something meaningful to start a website offering up his services as a super-hero. So... Iron Man plus Iron Fist?

I like the idea of a hero who, as the Web does, focuses on helping folks with day-to-day stuff rather than haring off after alien invasions and so forth, as DC heroes so frequently end up doing (heck, Mr Grim n' Gritty Street Crime himself got killed by the eye-beams of a semi-dead alien god). There should really be half a dozen of these guys per city, just busting muggers 24/7. Just like, some big guy with a wrench who you get in touch with through a number you find written on a phone booth wall and you have to buy him a sandwich to help you.

Power Girl No. 4 - Man, how’d I miss that Terra miniseries last year? I have to assume that she was just as fun there as she is here and kick myself a little for having missed it (I don’t think that there’s a non-creepy-sounding way to say this, but the fact that she takes her pants off as a substitute for having her costume with her is pretty adorable. But not creepy-adorable, I swear. Look, just read it and see what I mean). Guess I know where some of my nickels are going next week. As for the issue: yeah! More one-off (kinda) issues where PG’s life and supporting cast get built up! More of that cat! This is a good time!

The Brave and the Bold No. 26 - Man, I don’t know anything about Xombi. I gather that he’s some sort of techno-immortal and that he spends a lot of time getting involved with the supernatural, but that’s about it. Anyway, yeah. Xombi and the Spectre team up to fight a ghostly serial killer. Also, the Spectre was the one who made him a ghost, oops. I liked this one - decent story, nice art and colours, lotsa ghosts. I was, however, left with one important question: is the Spectre allowed to shave? Because man, that goatee looked pretty dapper on Crispus Allen but is not doing a thing for everyone’s favourite spirit of vengeance.

Atomic Robo: The Shadow From Beyond Time No. 4 (of 5) - Weep with me, for this latest Atomic Robo miniseries is almost over. Cheer with me, as Robo and Carl Sagan team up to capture and study the latest iteration of the creature that ate HP Lovecraft’s head. Laugh with me, because this is a damn funny comic, with some very good tough-guy lines from Sagan in particular. Fret with me, because another month must pass before we can find out how this whole thing ends.

North 40 No. 2 - I know, I know, it came out a couple of weeks ago. I missed it then, though, which is a shame because this is still a damn fine comic. I get the feeling that it’s going to be really satisfying to read a whole lot of this story at a time, so everybody be sure to buy lots of ‘em, if not for me and my need for this series to continue then for the entertainment value of watching a guy with a whole lot of extra eyes drink lots of coffee.

Superman/Batman No. 63 - Yeah, Dave really did a number on me. I can’t resist this damn comic. Now I’ve got like sixty back issues to check out. The man is a master salesman!

Viking No. 3 - Vikings. Gratuitous sex and violence. Adorable kittens. Is this something that you can afford to miss?

Invincible No. 65 - And we're back to lots of interesting stuff happening in Invincible! Hope it keeps up for a little while, as constant bloody fighting was fun but not as fun as constant bloody world-building. Also, lots of hate mail about the "death" of Atom Eve. Also also, Atom Eve all but explicitly states that she made her boobs bigger when she put herself back together, and that's creepy.

I also picked up The Complete K Chronicles this week, though the indicia says that it was released in 2008, so that’s not exactly a new release. Still: a super fun comic and a steal at 25 bucks for, like, 500 pages. Now I must wait for more.