Time for more comic reviews.
- Batgirl 24. Brian Q. Miller and Pere Perez.
If there is one book disappearing in the big DC relaunch that I’m going to miss it is Batgirl. Unfortunately, this issue rushes through what was probably supposed to be an epic showdown with Steph’s in order to have an actual farewell. As a single issue, it is not that impressive. As a goodbye at the end of a phenomenal 2-year run, it is terrific. Perez’s art is perfectly fitting and there are some wonderful and touching heart-to-hearts. There are also a few great fantasy pages (due to Batgirl being infected by a Black Mercy) that are all worthy of Elseworlds miniseries on their own. It is a good issue, but only for those sentimental for this title. ***½
- DC Retroactive The 90’s: Justice League 1. Keith Giffen, J.M DeMatteis and Kevin Maguire.
The old JLI team reunites one last time. This feels like a greatest hits of the old JLI team, in a good way. Villains who are more a danger to themselves than anything else being stopped by heroes who are more a danger to themselves than anything else. Guy Gardner is a jerk; Blue Beetle and Booster Gold are lovable doofuses. Martian Manhunter having to put up with them. If you are a fan of the old JLI, this is a worthy farewell. If you are not go die in a fire, if you can Satan spawn. JLI is one of my favorite comics, and all the characters from there a favorites of mine. Giffen and Dematteis say this is the last time they will write this crew. If so, that is sad, because we will never get anymore, but this is also a nice goodbye. I loved it. *****
- Mystic 1 (of 4) G. Willow Wilson and David Lopez.
This is a really good comic. It is a steampunk Charles Dickens story. Two young orphan women who slave away at the orphanage where they were raised spend as much time as possible sneaking in to the library to study, in the knowing unachievable goal of being accepted as apprentice magicians. When they must leave the orphanage, they end up as maids in the castle. The art is cartoony, expressive, and just really damn good. Wilson establishes the characters and the world without losing sight of the actual story, something most writers fail to do. The friendship is poised to shatter because one’s dream was denied and given to the other. This is really good. ****½.
- Spider-Island: Cloak and Dagger 1 (of 3). Nick Spencer and Emma Rios.
Rios’ art is great. There is really nothing else to say about that. Spenser’s writing is not quite as great. It is not bad, this comic does a good job of setting up who Cloak and Dagger are and the problems they face, but it feels hollow. The dueling thought boxes work well, except when the work in tandem. Most of the issue the two heroes seem to be on completely different pages, but sometimes they are basically finishing each other’s sentences. It just sort of shifts back and forth. I’m still interested in the rest of the mini; hopefully with the explanation of whom these characters are out of the way we can get to something substantive. **1/2
- World of Flashpoint 3 **
- Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown 3 **1/2
- Deathstroke and the Curse of the Ravager 3. ***
I’ll lump these together. Not because they are all equally good, Frankenstein is a good deal better than the others are, but because these are three Flashpoint minis that no one seems to be talking about. There is a good deal about how great Batman: Knight of Vengeance and Project Superman are and how terrible all the books about the Aquaman/Wonder Woman war are. While I do not disagree with that, these three were also pretty good. They are also the only three Flashpoint tie-ins, as far as I can tell, that had happy endings. World of Flashpoint is easily the weakest of the three. It follows young witch/magician/whatever Traci 13 as she teleports around the Flashpoint universe looking for help to stop her dad from nuking Europe in the hopes of saving the world. This gives her the knowledge to combat her grief-crazed father and save the world. In the end, both Traci and her father lose their magical powers and walk off to rebuild their lives. The art is somewhat bad and the dialogue is spotty, but it is a fairly enjoyable comic.
Deathstroke and the Curse of the Ravager ends the saga of pirate Deathstroke. His crew, upset with how little profit there seems to be in their current path, mutinies against Slade and his new partner — in more ways than one — Jenny Blitz. So they kill all the mutineers while the mutineers kill everyone else, leaving just Slade and Jenny. Slade finally finds his daughter Rose being held captive by yet more pirates. So they kill them too, leaving a happy family amidst the wreckage. It had to end this way, but it actually manages to be a spot touching.
Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown is a comic with crew consisting of Frankenstein and his bride, a werewolf, a vampire and a creature from the Black Lagoon who try to escape killer government robots by going to Transylvania. There they find a village of monster men, all slaughter by the robots that beat them there. So while the creature and the werewolf, as well as their one human friend, try to find the scientist who created them so they can cure the werewolf’s debilitating lycanthropy, Frankenstein and the rest fight the robots. They win, and the former werewolf and creature settle down to live a long happy life, Frankenstein and his bride ride off into the sunset to save the day again. It tries to fit in too many ideas for the amount of pages available, but when the ideas are that great it is hard to fault them.
Really Quick Reviews:
- Green Lantern Emerald Warriors 13 ***. Guy and Bats solve a locked room mystery on a space station. A very nice done-in-one.
- Jonah Hex 70 ***½. Terrific Sook art and a thoughtful end to a very good five year run on Hex.
- Superboy 11 ****. A fine end to a fine comic. It hints at all the great things this comic could have been had it continued. One of the real tragic losses of the relaunch.
- Supergirl 67 ***. The only real flaw is the yucky faces. Snappy dialogue, I wish DeConnick had more time on the title.