Funny thing is, I wrote this on time. I just get distracted so easily, this time by a "games jam" which involved a lot of people who knew a lot more about programming than me making a game over the course of a night while I made little space ships. Here: as a consolation prize, one of the designs that didn't get used:
Enough of that malarky - on to the reviews!
Victorian Undead No. 1
I do so love being the target audience for something. Sherlock Holmes vs zombies with a side order of insidious automata? Yes please!
I have just now developed a theory as to why I so enjoy reading stories about Holmes encountering the fantastic. It might be due to the Victorian setting and an assumption about people of that era being a bit more credulous, but unlike the deductive brains of tales set in the here-and-now, our man Sherlock doesn’t let a little thing like something breaking the rules of science and nature as he understands them faze him in the least.
Like, say Batman, Brainiac 5 and Sherlock Holmes met an honest-to-goodness mummy. You can bet that Holmes would spend a fraction of the time that the other two did whining about things not making sense and talking about how they hate magic and claiming that it was a puppet or a hologram or a team of trained dogs. No, Holmes would maybe take a minute, maybe be a bit surprised and then figure out how mummies work. It’s why Holmes/Lovecraft mashups are so satisfying, I reckon - there’s just something about the guy that doesn’t let something as trivial as the unexplainable get in his way.
So: Victorian Undead. Looks great, reads great, looks like it's going to feature a lot of Holmes using his massive cranium to fight the undead. And did I mention the robots?
Adventure Comics No. 4
And speaking of being a target audience… This comic features a) the best damn appearance of Superboy Prime-as-fanboy ever. b) A twenty-years-later acknowledgement of the fact that White Witch and Blok are for reals in love with each other and c) a Quislet mention (because every Quislet mention brings us closer to having him actually appear in the comic again, that’s why). Plus both the White Witch and the Black Witch have those weird eye-antennae, and I’m always happy to see them put in an appearance.
The Legion stuff is no big deal, really, as I’d probably be happy to read a story about Cosmic Boy going grocery shopping as long as it was written in a halfway decent manner. The Threeboot Legion series ended on a fairly bleh note and everything featuring them since has been a BIG EVENT of some sort, so I can be very content with little tales that establish Johns’ version of the Legion. For now, at least.
As for the main story, well, it doesn’t get much better than Superboy Prime finding out about his impending maybe-death by reading Adventure Comics No. 4 and desperately trying to figure out what happens next. I haven’t been the biggest fan of the Black Lanterns’ habit of taunting people like third graders but by god is it satisfying when Alexander Luthor takes the time to really hammer home the fact that everyone hates Superboy Prime.
Outsiders No. 24
Okay, I admit it. I bought this so I could get the ring. Just call me Larfleeze, I guess. I just found myself in a position where my regular comics-buying would have netted me 6 of 8 rings and I was way too lazy to find one on eBay or trade with someone else or something like that.
Anyway, the comic. I’m pretty sure that the last issue of Outsiders that I bought had the Nuclear Family on the cover, so I may just be a bit behind. It’s not bad. There’s the Creeper and Killer Croc with a tiny little arm, both of which are a good time. Plus I finally learned who it is that’s always wearing that Owlman getup when the Outsiders show up in crossovers, which was bugging me but not enough, evidently, to look it up.
The Flash: Rebirth No 5 (of 6)
Blech. This series has so damned infuriating. I generally like Geoff Johns, but it seems like every second issue - hell, every second page in this issue - just strikes such a false note with me. Last issue it turned out that all the whacky stuff with speedsters dying and Barry turning into the Black Flash was down to Professor Zoom being in the Speed Force generating anti-speed or something, and that is just fine. I liked the series more because of it: it’s such a classic goofy super-villain plot that plays perfectly off of the whole Reverse Flash thing, plus it ended up bringing Max Mercury back, so hooray there. But this issue? Man, I’m going to start a new paragraph because I need a
Reverse Flash is now responsible for every bad thing that happened in Barry Allen’s life? Reverse Flash killed Barry Allen’s mother and framed his father for the crime? I am dumbfounded by how… depressing this is. I mean, the point of this series is to redefine Barry in terms of the present day DCU, right? And the murdered mother thing has been a recurring plot point from the start, yes? So the redefinition is as a victim? A guy whose parents were killed by the most poorly-motivated, over-the-top jerk that could be blown out of proportion for the purpose? Is he going to be a dark specter of vengeance with dead parents now, rather than a decent guy who does right for the sake of it?
Underground No 3 (of 5) - I missed the second issue of this somehow but now everything is right with the world again. Plus, it’s turning out to be even better than I was expecting. I thought that it was going to be all small town crime drama, and that’s definitely an element, but the real focus of the story is just how effed up things can get inside a cave, especially when there are dumb assholes who don’t know what they’re doing in there with you. And also they’re trying to kill you.
Batman Confidential No. 37 - I think that I might have enjoyed this issue more if I hadn’t been so fond of Zinda “Lady Blackhawk” Blake in Birds of Prey, because she does not come off very well here. How shall I put this… she both looks and acts like a not-very bright porn star, and she’s so much cooler than that when done well. Plus I was looking at an ad for some Authority/WildC.A.T.S. crossover in Victorian Undead and I decided to start harshing on books where the ladies don’t wear pants more. Everyone should get to wear pants, guys.
Batman Unseen No 4 (of 5) - You guys, I think that there’s going to be an invisible Batman in the next issue. All of my dreams are coming true.
Cowboy Ninja Viking No. 2 - They’re really getting into the multiple personality aspect of the characters in this series, especially during the fight scenes between Cowboy Ninja Viking and Pirate Gladiator Oceanographer.
Invincible No. 68 - Just to confirm: this comic is still great. Dinosaurus is a terrific villain name. Though Atom Eve still doesn’t get to wear pants.