Due to actually having a life, I had only one night to read DC’s output this weekend before the books were withdrawn. I caution once again that since I don't have the books in front of me, I'm not doing actual reviews; I'm just reporting my impressions and vague memories. 

Green Lantern: Blackstars #1


(W) Grant Morrison (A) Xermanico (CA) Liam Sharp

What has Hal Jordan done? Following the catastrophic events of The Green Lantern #12, no Green Lanterns can be found patrolling their space sectors ... and not a single power ring lights the darkness. Across the universe, once-familiar faces now wear a different uniform and enforce a new type of galactic law. The Green Lantern Corps is dead-long live the Blackstars! Who are they? What are they? Answers will be revealed as the unstoppable Blackstars set their sights on the demons of Ysmault, Mongul ... and a tiny, backwater planet called Earth. A dangerous new chapter of the Green Lantern mythology starts now!

SRP: $3.99


I didn't read the last few issues of The Green Lantern, so I don't know why the universe has been rebooted so that the GL Corps never existed, and the Darkstars Blackstars -- run by a Controller, a relative of the Guardians -- in charge. *Shrug* I've read enough comics that I can guess, or at least take it in stride. And besides, this Blackstars business is only solicited for three issues, so the status quo will change again in three months. Meanwhile, let's see where Morrison is going with this.

Controller Mu is the big bad, and he sounded familiar enough that I googled him. But no soap; he appears to be new. Not so the Controllers, of course, with whom we are very familiar. I'm guessing this is Mu's master plan to eradicate free will in the universe.

But Hal "Mr. Will Power" is part of his new universe, and that will surely prove to be his undoing. You really should have just killed the guy, Mu. 

This book is mostly just set-up, but as you can see, the outlines of the story seem plain. Let's hope Morrison throws in a few curves, as he is wont to do, to keep me engaged.

The Infected: King Shazam #1


(W) Sina Grace (A) Joe Bennett (CA) David Marquez

Billy Batson is a good kid. He helps his friends, loves his family, and tries to do the right thing. But Billy is about to have a run-in with the most dangerous serial killer in existence, and the Batman Who Laughs wants Billy to be bad. Spinning out of the events of Batman/Superman and "Year of the Villain," it's the tale of a hero whose soul has been turned black, and who has something to prove to the old guard. Buckle in for Shazam's journey to punch a bunch of so-called "gods" in the face and show the establishment exactly what the future looks like ...

SRP: $3.99


Since this "infected" storyline still has a ways, and several more one-shots, to go, I expected this issue to be, more or less, a placeholder.

And it was, more or less, exactly that.

Evil Shazam runs around doing bad, and Mary chases after him, mitigating the damage and imploring Billy to find the good inside him. Yeah, that trick always works. Anyway, that goes on for 15 or so pages before the cliff-hanger, which I won't spoil. If you like the new Billy and Mary, you'll probably enjoy following them around for 15 spinning-in-place pages, but if you don't, you won't.


Inferior Five #3


(W) Keith Giffen, Jeff Lemire (A/CA) Keith Giffen, Michelle Delecki

The kids who don't know they're a team get a superhero from the '80s to come to their aid. It's the Tasmanian Devil ... and he's pitted against someone or something that looks an awful lot like a giant starfish! Plus, the Peacemaker's back in action in the final showdown with the KGBeast!

SRP: $3.99


I completely forgot to say anything about this book when I was doing these quick cuts, and left it curiously blank. That's because I simply forgot it. It left little impression.

Evidently, this new Inferior 5 has nothing to do with the old one -- well, I haven't seen Merryman or The Blimp or anyone else familiar, so I'm assuming. (I guess Dumb Bunny would be WAY unacceptable today.) Instead, there are (presumably) five characters who are doing ... something ... and the fifth one, like Kenny on South Park, keeps getting killed. Ha, ha. I'm not sure I met the other four in this issue.

That's really all I remember about it, except that Giffen was using his Jose-Munoz-swipe style, which now that I know it's theft, I no longer care for. Also, I often have trouble understanding what's going on, and distinguishing one character from another. I never have that trouble with Munoz (Alack Sinner), so it's a BAD swipe.


Justice League #35 (Year of the Villain)


(W) Scott Snyder, James TynionIV (A) Francis Manapul (CA) Tyler Kirkham

This issue: Lex Luthor wins! Everything Lex has been working for over the past year and a half comes to fruition as he finally possesses the fully powered Totality and plans to bend Hypertime to his will. The Legion of Doom's leader will defeat the Justice League once and for all and make his final pitch to serve at Perpetua's side -- and the Multiverse will never be the same!

SRP: $3.99


A lot more bad things happen, adding to the many other bad things that have already happened.

You know, this is exactly the sort of Justice League story I used to pine for. To me, every threat the JL takes on should be something bigger than anything Superman could handle on his own. Makes sense, right? So I used to get irritated when it would take the entire League to take down, oh I dunno, Amos Fortune.

But here we are with a story that checks off every box, and I'm not really all that hot on it. Yeah, I'm glad that it's a threat that Superman couldn't beat with super-ventriloquism, but it's also so off the charts I don't even understand it. What is Perpetua, why does she want to destroy the universe, why do people want to help her, what was the deal with the macguffin they were all after for a while, who cares what Luthor does when he's not really Luthor any more, how is this connected to the four Super-Trees from a while back (and why trees?), where did the Monitor and Anti-Monitor's third brother come from and how come we haven't seen him before, and etc.

I'm sure many of these answers are available from careful reading, but it all feels ad hoc. Yes, I'm sure it's all been planned out. But it FEELS like they're making it up as they go along. I don't know how to describe my ennui any better than that. Also, it's depressing to see our heroes utterly defeated at every turn in every issue for ... how long has this been going on? It feels like forever.

Anyway, I hope it's over soon. I don't want to hear the phrase "apex predator" another time if I can help it. I want Martian Manhunter back. Oh, and they better not kill off/make evil Jarro! I'm warning you, DC!

At least the art's nice.

Legion of Super-Heroes #1


(W) Brian Michael Bendis (A/CA) Ryan Sook

Welcome to the 31st century! Inspired by the acts of and lessons learned from the greatest heroes of all time, the Legion of Super-Heroes have gathered together to stop a galaxy from repeating its past mistakes. The greatest lineup of heroes in comic book history returns with new, fresh, and reader-friendly stories!

Eisner Award-winning writer Brian Michael Bendis reteams with master artist Ryan Sook (Action Comics) for one of the most ambitious mainstream comic books ever created! Why have the Legion of Super-Heroes broken the cardinal rule of the United Planets and inducted Jon Kent, a.k.a. Superboy, into the Legion? What are they hiding? And what does it have to do with Aquaman's long-lost trident?

SRP: $3.99


It almost seems pointless to review this book. I was going to love it pretty much no matter what they did, because I love the Legion. It's not a rational response -- it's one born of loving the book when I was a child. I can't help loving it.

Well, as long as it's upbeat. The Legion should never be gloomy. Yes, I read and enjoyed "Five Years Later," but that was with the firm conviction that it would be gone soon enough, so I might as well see where this take goes. I'd get "my" Legion back as soon as sales faltered.

And sure enough, that happened. And even though they went away again (a couple of times), here they are, back again, and sunny enough to light up a hemisphere. So far, Bendis is getting it just right -- these are happy, enthusiastic kids, and when something goes wrong, they'll say "oops" and go about trying to fix it. nIt' almost like they can't conceive of anything going really wrong for good.

Even though something has, as the reveal about Earth shows us. But I'm not too distressed about that. For one thing, this is a strip that has time travel (e.g. Superboy) at the heart of it. I suspect they can go back and fix things. And for another, so what? It looks like everything's spinning along in a joyous fashion, because that's what the strip is: Joyous.

So, yes, I was going to like this book no matter what. It's a bonus that BMB made it likable, and made the cast likable. I can't wait to read it a second time, so I can start figuring out who's who.

Wonder Twins #9


(W) Mark Russell (A/CA) Stephen Byrne

Don't miss the stunning secret of the Wonder Twins that will change how you look at them forever! Tensions run high as Jayna takes in friend-turned-fugitive Polly Math and opens up about her family's painful past on Exxor, but they are soon interrupted when Batman and Superman call on Zan and Jayna for an all-star team-up against a rogue army! Jayna must balance their duties to the Justice League with her responsibilities as a friend ... each of which is proving quite detrimental to the other!

SRP: $3.99


I'm pretty sure this books isn't aimed at me, but by golly, I like it. 

I like the dialogue, which is sprightly and more than a little funny.

I like the artwork, which is a little cartoony, but in the awesome Ramona Fradon kind of way. Who, come to think of it, worked on the Super Friends with Jan and Zayna book back in the day.

I'm sure there's a lot I missed, this being the ninth issue and not having read the first eight. But aside from "Polly Math," I know who everybody is and had no trouble following the story. This is comics done right.

Young Justice #10


(W) Brian Michael Bendis (A) Nick Derington (A/CA) John Timms

Welcome, Naomi! Wonder Comics' brightest shining star comes to Young Justice! She's ready to join this team of young heroes who have seen it all-and you'll want to be here to watch the sparks fly for the very first time. All this, plus the true story of Jinny Hex.

SRP: $3.99


I read the last issue of this, so I actually know what's going on! It seems that YJ has been lost in the multiverse, having various adventures in worlds very similar and very dissimilar (and some we've seen before) in their efforts to get home.

Spoiler: They do.

Further, in this issue we find out the origin of Jenny Hex's trunk, which was ... a lot more boring than I expected. Here's the story: Her mother gave it to her. The end.

Ah, well. They can't all be home runs. And I do like Jenny Hex as a character. But the trunk is kind of a storytelling problem, in that it always seems to have just the gadget needful -- or it doesn't, because the plot says so, which raises the question of why it doesn't. If anything can happen ... well, you know the rest.

Surely Bendis will put some rules on the trunk, so it doesn't just become a lazy crutch, or like magic, where you wonder why Dr. Fate doesn't just wish all his enemies away.


Batman #82

Batman Universe #5

DC Holiday Knightmares

Deathstroke #49 (Year of the Villain)

The Dreaming #15

Doom Patrol: The Weight of the Worlds #5

Gen Lock #1

Harley Quinn #67 (Year of the Villain)

Lois Lane #5

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“I didn't read the last few issues of The Green Lantern, so I don't know why the universe has been rebooted so that the GL Corps never existed…”

Hey, I did read those issues and I still can’t explain it to you!

“This Blackstars business is only solicited for three issues…”

I was initially ambivalent about this new direction, but when I found out it was going to last only three issues, it won me over. (I was going to buy one, anyway.) Haven’t picked it up yet, though.

You know, this is exactly the sort of Justice League story I used to pine for. To me, every threat the JL takes on should be something bigger than anything Superman could handle on his own. Makes sense, right? So I used to get irritated when it would take the entire League to take down, oh I dunno, Amos Fortune.

It was just as irritating back in the day when a villain that the JL had struggled to beat was beaten in one issue by a single JL member in their own book.

Of the ones you read, I've read Young Justice, Wonder Twins, Legion of Super-Heroes, and Inferior Five.

I liked Young Justice, and was glad we got the flashback to Jinny's inheritance. Not that the giving over of the box was full of excitement -- though I thought her mother's death was handled deftly by Bendis, cutting away just as it happens, so we only get Jinny's word balloons, asking her a question that'll never be answered. And I really like Nick Derington's art, the hold-up, and the tie-in to Batman Universe. As for the box itself: I like to think Bendis has it all cataloged in his notes, and we'll get to all of it eventually.

Wonder Twins is always a treat. I think of Mark Russel's time in the DC Universe like Alan Moore -- just doing short stories of various characters until he finds the run that will catapult him to the stratosphere. It's coming. But in the meantime, all these stories will make a fine trade paperback someday.

As for Inferior Five, I note the cover says it's now a 6-issue limited series instead of a 12-issue one. And I'm going to reread issues 1-3 and decide if I'm even going to go that far. It's interesting, but it feels like it's going nowhere.

Legion, I've covered elsewhere. I liked it a lot, but it really left me wanting more. 

I've been enjoying the Green Lantern series, but I decided to switch to digital with this diversion into Green Lantern: Black Stars. And having done that, I think I might be holding out for a while, to see when these issues turn up in a sale. At the very least, they're going to wait until I reread the series up till now. Digital means never worrying about sellouts. 

I also read Lois Lane, which takes the time in several places for Lois to explain journalism to various people she's talking with. I like this series -- it takes her seriously, and her job seriously -- but I really want a little more momentum. I suspect with the upcoming Superman revelations, we're going to see a sharp swerve coming up in the next couple issues.

I'm trade-waiting Lois Lane, and crossing my fingers that journalism will be presented relatively realistically. Sure there will be wild fantasy, but I'm sick of reporters being presented as vultures or law-breakers. (No, you cannot break into someone's office and pilfer their files for a story. Doesn't matter if they're Mafia, it's called breaking and entering and you will go to jail no matter what kind of great "scoop" you get.)

Regardless, it will get a few paragraphs in my book, if I ever get to 2019. I'm stuck in the '40s at present ...

I think you'll like it. One of the conversations is with a guy on an airplane, about how, No, reporters can't just print whatever they want. The other is with a source, where she explains the difference between off the record, background, and deep background. 

Both Rucka and Bendis have said that this is a great time to be writing Lois Lane, since journalism is so important and so in the spotlight right now. 

BTW -- one of my favorite things is that Bendis, Rucka, and Fraction, who are all good friends and all live in Portland -- get together regularly to talk about the Superman books. They call them "Metropolis City Council meetings." 

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