R.E.B.E.L.S. No. 8
It’s no secret that I’ve been enjoying the hell out of this series, and not just because of the Legion of Super-Heroes connections. DC has a lot of really solid space action elements - evil empires, roguish heroes, lots of history, very few cosmic angst-mongers. I think that it might be because DC Space is rooted pretty firmly in the Silver Age antics from Mystery in Space and Tales of the Unexpected (???) and such, so that Adam Strange and his rocket pack/ray gun combo have survived reasonably well through to the present day.
Of course, the fact that so many DC heroes and villains have extraterrestrial origins helps as well. Brainiac is an alien, right? Well then *whammo!* a whole planet full of smart green guys! And a thousand years later: Brainiac 5! And then we hop back to Vril Dox! And space is big enough to hold a lot of stories, so the retcons have been a lot more gentle out there. Hell, I think that Space Cabbie is still in-continuity.
So: R.E.B.E.L.S., an astonishingly inclusive trip through all of this. You’ve got your Legion of Super-Heroes and Invasion!-inspired Dominators and Khunds, your Omega Men, straight from the 80s, your 1960s or 70s Green Lantern stuff like planet Malthus and a whole new spin on Mr. First Villain of the Justice League himself, Starro. And next issue, Adam Strange shows up to represent for the 50s.
And this issue finally touches on the fact that Dox already has a kid, which makes it weird that Brainiac 5 would be so concerned that he live to reproduce. Is Lyrl destined for a messy end?
Beasts of Burden No. 1
I love the Dark Horse Book of... series. Heck, I bought the Book of Hauntings twice thanks to my poor memory for who I loan things to and my tendency to move across the country. They were quality books is what I'm saying, and the high points of each volume were the new Hellboy story and the Evan Dorkin/Jill Thompson supernatural dog weirdness at the back. And now the dogs have a comic! And apparently a name!
I think that I've mentioned my weakness to the concept of the team of paranormal investigators who have a good weird hook. Well, being a bunch of dogs and one cat is good and weird enough for me. Not to mention the fact that Dorkin and Thompson write and draw this one out of the park. I can guarantee you that I will be buying this for as long as Dark Horse cares to print it.
Also: best letter column name in a long time.
Escape No 5 (of 6)
This was a very cool issue, as Nemesis is possibly flung back in time and chooses to change his approach toward the whole trippy, inescapable cityscape thing. I almost wish that the series were a few issues longer so that we could see more of Tom Tresser being so cool in difficult circumstances. Seems like his "blunder forward, shouting" tactics from the last four issues are very much the norm in the comical books nowadays. But why? Man, I would much rather see a guy outsmart his foes than beat them up every time (speaking of which: new Sherlock Holmes soon!).
Also: good Amanda Waller appearance, Captain Vertigo is always terrific, potential despair over loss of Cameron Chase.
Batgirl No. 2
You know, I like Stephanie "Spoiler" Brown as Batgirl, really I do (although reviewing issue numba 1 both without saying who th new Batgirl was and without using the word "spoilers" was for some reason mind-bendingly difficult). She's got a decent origin (and the potential for more Cluemaster appearances thereof), the requisite Bat-connections, and the tinge of moral ambiguity. As I said last time, though, I'm extraordinarily tired of the "Yew best move on afore the sun goes down." treatment that every Gotham vigilante gets, especially when it's already gone on for two issues and will likely go on for more. Especially from Barbara "I became Batgirl to piss off my dad" Gordon. And especially because I just realized that I haven't read a story featuring Babs that wasn't full of moralizing or agonizing for a long time. I would venture that she has provided me with no joy in the past six months to a year. When did Oracle start to suck?
Batman & Robin No. 4
Still good without Quitely, thank heavens. And man, look at that costume design on the new Red Hood! Look at that collar! Check out that logo! His guns are red! While the class of the original Red Hood costume and the simplicity of the Jason Todd version were both nice, this is most definitely the best of the three. Now Grant Morrison just has to make the guy someone other than Jason Todd and all will be right with the world. Heck, he already made me happy by making up a new super-villain (I think) for killing-off purposes, rather than offing Crazy Quilt or someone like that. You can do it, Grant! Go with that one guy who is so obvious that he reeks of red herring, I don't care! Just no Jason! Seriously, the guy's played out.
The Brave and the Bold No. 27 - An all right story in the team-up style. I'm especially happy, though, about the reversion of the Dial H For Hero concept. Not that it necessarily needed to go back to being Robby Reed using the thing, but the original concept of small-town heroism fits it well. Kid in small town fights a series of small-time villains by turning into doofy super-heroes? That could be done very right, I reckon. It'd be a good place to replenish depleted villain stocks as well.
Blackest Night No. 3. - Not bad. I was enjoying it a lot until the text piece at the back. Don't mess up the Phantom Stranger, Johns! Don't do it!
The Dibnys, Firestorm, Martian Manhunter, Spectre, Rainbow Raider, The Top, Golden Glider, Captain Boomerang, Unknown Soldier, Rocket Red, Osiris(?), Some Titans, Hawk, Qwardians, Black Hand, Madame Rogue, Cavalier, Conduit, Max Lord, The Thinker, Copperhead, Dr Light, Alexander Luthor, Psycho Pirate, and my namesake, John Monroe, the Weasel.
Atomic Robo: Shadow From Beyond Time No. 5 (of 5) - Well, it's done, and a very fine end to a convoluted time-travel debacle it is. Did you all buy it, like I told you? I'll choose to believe that you all just nodded and held up your copies. Featuring the best end-of-miniseries panel that I can recall!
Also of note this week: I read Super Human Resources, which is a damn fine example of the "re-cast superfolks in another setting" form of story. This one's set in an office, of course, and speaking as LBW's current token office drone I do declare that it hits a lot of very funny notes. Oh! and the heroes are actually amusing characters in their own right, rather than on-dimensional parodies! Not that some of them aren't parodies, of course, but they're funny parodies.
And finally: it came out a while ago but this week saw me finally acquiring a copy of Kate Beaton't Never Learn Anything From History, which is a fine addition to my shelf of web-comic books. The only way that this book could be any better is if it were ten times thicker.
Action Comics No. 881 - Heh. Supergirl thinks that the notion of Tara Ak-Var having a legitimate spiritual link to the Flamebird entity is way unbelievable. She should totally tell Firestorm about that some time! big laffs!
Citizen Rex No. 3 (of 6) - More good times with Gilbert and Jaime! You know, it's kind of weird to read their science fiction stuff. When all of the strange people and events are in some distant future it's almost... unsettlingly non-surreal.