John Buys Comics: Stone Age Edition

Okay, not quite Stone Age, but my Internet connection has become something akin to dialup. So: no fancy images on this post, kiddies, as I kind of want to go to bed tonight.  

Batman and Robin No. 11 

There’s an incredibly high chance that Oberon “Gravedigger” Sexton is a red herring, right? He’s just such an obvious candidate that he simply can’t be Bruce Wayne, back from caveman days and living in disguise. Or has Grant Morrison double-guessed me and brought him back in the most obvious way possible, just to fake me out for a month? Oh, this game of cat and mouse that we have, what chaos it leaves in its wake. Frankly, I kind of hope that he’s not – the DC Universe could use more guys who dress like Victorian hearse drivers and hit people with shovels, and Sexton does so with aplomb.
It’s probably not to be, though. If Oberon Sexton isn’t Bruce Wayne then he’s likely either some tertiary character extracted from the Bat-past for new duty (the head of the Batmaniacs, one of the Gotham Mystery Analysts, Batman Jones) or a brand-new character written as though he were of ancient provenance. Either way, I’ll put my money on him being motivated by some sort of instructions or clues that time-traveling Batman has left behind. I’ll also bank on the next few issues of this comic being totally awesome.
Man, I really hope it’s Batman Jones.
Re: the cover:  that’s a really nice shovel.
Red Robin No. 11
I’m really enjoying both Red Robin and Batman and Robin, but it’s getting pretty weird to read them both in the same week. Two stories in which two different members of the al Ghul family use what are presumably two different branches of the League of Assassins to try to kill Batman and Robin? It’s not like they’re at all alike in any but the superficial ways that I just pointed out, but it’s still enough to give one déjà vu. I wonder which of these is happening first, official continuity-wise? Which Batman should be rolling his eyes and going “Oh nertz, not again.” before socking some noggin? I guess it’s all contingent on whether “the Return of Bruce Wayne” means the end of Dick Grayson as Batman, doesn’t it?
Superman: Secret Origin No 5 (of 6)
I’ve been enjoying this series. It might not be strictly necessary, but I understand the need to realign the origin of a character as integral to the DCU as Superman is once in a while, as the Legion of Super-Heroes or Final Crisis or what have you alter how things have happened in general, so too do they alter how things have happened in Superman’s past. Heck, just the fact that Superman was Superboy again works well enough for me.
And this series has done a lot of things that I really liked: young Clark Kent finding his first peer group in the Legion worked just as well here as in the LSH cartoon, for example. Or the fact that Metropolis was a hellhole before Superman appeared, say. Plus, this is the best depiction of mild-mannered Clark Kent as a distinct, not-exactly-like-Superman person since All-Star Superman.
That said, have I mentioned how bored I am with the current General Sam Lane v. Superman plotline that has now evidently been incorporated into this origin story? I have? Well, let me reiterate: Mistrustful Secret Government or Military Group Targets Super-humans And Tries to Turn the Public Against Them is so damn played out that reading a comic book in which that is the main story element is like… it’s like when you were a kid and some terrible show is on television but there’s something that you really want to see on afterward and you have no concept of time being precious yet, so you just sit and watch the terrible show that you’ve already seen before at least twice. The world goes gray around the edges and you are so bored that it’s palpable. THAT IS WHAT THIS TYPE OF STORY FEELS LIKE TO ME.
At least the next issue is going to have the bit where everything looks really bad but then Metropolis embraces Superman and there’s an inspirational splash page.
Sparta USA No. 2
I think that I can safely bump up the RECAP on this book without violating my personal values and spoiling anything.
Sparta is a small town that believes itself to be a part of the United States. All Spartans are a) obsessed with football, b) dedicated to their family and its public image and c) capable of doing anything up to and including murdering one another in order to advance their agendas regarding a) and b).
The people of Sparta answer to the Maestro, a blue man visits town sporadically and who claims to speak for the President and dictates who gets married to who, who is allowed to have children – children that he brings with him from somewhere outside of town. No Spartan, by the way, is allowed to leave Sparta, and believes the outside world to be virtually uninhabitable.
Enter Godfrey McLaine, legendary former quarterback and the only person to have ever left town. He’s come back huge and red and looking to free the people of Sparta from the influence of the Maestro. Based on what he’s said and what we’ve seen through his eyes, Sparta is nowhere in the US, but rather in the midst of some sort of fantastical wonderland full of yeti and hags and fairy-types and the like. I am intensely interested in finding out what the deal is with this town.
Invincible Returns No. 1 – Okay, wait. The story picks up directly from Invincible No. 69 and the letters page text treats this like No. 70 but the cover and indicia disagree. I’m so confused, not least by why I’m spending this much mental energy on trying to figure things out (yet not, say, looking it up on Images website). Eh. What’s certain is that the yellow costume is much more visibly interesting than the all-blue was and it’s good to have it back.
King City No. 7 – I tell you what: I’m glad that I got into King City the second time around. This marks the first all-new issue of the book since early 2007 and I reckon that I’d have spent the past three years pining away if I’d been reading it back then. For all of you poor fools who’ve been doing just that, this issue features brain-theft, a look at the farm that Joe learned cat mastery at and a backup by James “Orc Stain” Stokoe! Hot damn!
Sweet Tooth No. 8 – Good gravy. It is almost physically hard to read parts of this book. Jeppard’s collapse is so complete in this issue that it’s painful. RECAP next issue.
Doom Patrol No. 9 – I have a good feeling about this thing where Giffen brings back Doom Patrol characters that I never thought I’d see again in a million years. Granted, Crazy Jane and Danny the Street Brick haven’t really had the facetime necessary for a full nerdnalysis, but my Cautious Optimism Sense is tingling. Of course, one must then wonder: who’s next? Coagula? Imaginary Robotman? Beard Hunter? Beard Hunter, please.
Speaking of characters that haven’t been around in a while, is Oberon’s bi-coloured hair freaking anyone else out?