The Captain tries (and fails) to read all the review copies from Sept. 26, 2018

I get a lot of DRCs (digital review copies) every week. It makes me feel guilty that I get around to so few of them, and even fewer in a timely fashion. So for this week, the week of books shipping Sept. 26, I tried an experiment to expiate my guilt: I tried to read them all.

 I can’t give a whole week to anything, though, any more than any of you can – not without being paid for it, anyway. So I gave myself four days and change; I began reading Wednesday night, Sept. 26, and my self-imposed deadline was 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 30. That’s when I would have to move on to other tasks.

As it turned out, even with concentrated effort, it was beyond me. There are 81 titles in my Sept. 26 folder, a mix of regular titles and TPBs. (Action Lab and IDW were light, and I don’t get DRCs from BOOM! or Marvel.) I failed to read 27 of them, or roughly a third. That’s a miserable 66% success rate. Even I think that’s a failing grade, and I grade myself on a curve!

Oh, well. It’s not like I’ll be fired.

Anyway, what I have to say is below. Keep in mind that my comments are just that – comments. Immediate impressions. Random thoughts. Mental upchuck. I didn’t try to write professional reviews, because that would take longer. A LOT longer.

After this I’ll be back to posting comments in the “What Comics Have You Read Today?” thread. I’d probably have posted this monster on that thread, except that it’s waaaay too long for a regular response window. And, heck, after all the time I put into it I kinda want it to stand on its own, and to hear what you folks have to say.

Here we go:

ACTION COMICS #1003 (DC Comics): Bendis must be inspired. He is juggling several storylines in Superman and Action, and it’s not just Paul Levitz’s “A-B-C” plotting method, either. He’s doing the hard work where they are all happening simultaneously, they are all overlapping and interacting, they are all of (seeming) equal importance, they’re all interesting and, best of all, the storytelling looks organic and not staged.

In this issue we have a Batman appearance which is needful, quick and effective. Everyone stays in character, and it seems like the most natural thing ever for these two to work this well together, and so efficiently. There’s no maudlin dialogue or “old friend” remarks – they’re just two pals and veteran colleagues who do their job, nod their thanks, and then go back to their own business. Perfect.

That’s just the icing. The cake is the Robinson Goode storyline, where the new reporter is up to something underhanded, and gets – shockingly -- some kryptonite to achieve it. (It’s disturbing how she embraced Superman, pretending to be a sobbing victim, but was really getting a feel of his height, arms and chest. I’m worried she may be on to Clark.) This was all a mystery thick enough to sink your teeth into, as Goode’s kryptonite quest shows how criminals work in a city where the superhero has super-senses and raising the mystery of the red cloud. We also get the return of Lois Lane, an “oh no” moment with Luthor and a classic Silver Age “someone’s got kryptonite in the office and Clark Kent keels over” scene.

Plus, two lines of dialogue made me laugh out loud:

  • Jimmy Olsen: “Screw you, Snapper Carr!”
  • Robinson Goode: “Batman. Just. Mugged. Me.”

Add to that terrific art by Yanick Paquette and you’ve got a winner. Action and Superman are the best I’ve ever seen them – and I’ve been reading these books since the 1960s. All without a reboot. Eat your heart out, John Byrne!

ANALOG Vol. 1 TPB (Image Comics):  Collects Analog #1-5. Analog is set in 2024, when the Internet is only for exhibitionists, because someone unleashed the “the Great Doxxing” after the 2020 election (which was stolen by a foreign power). That event made it so that no one who goes online has any secrets at all – their lives, their bank accounts, everything is an open book. So if you go online, it’s because you want everyone to know all about you. Most people don’t.

One result of the Great Doxxing is that information can only be moved confidentially the old-fashioned way: couriers. These “Ledger Men” are part delivery boy, part mercenary – they essentially have to be espionage agents to get where they’re going alive, because corporations will resort to any sort of skullduggery to get a peek into the briefcases chained to their wrists.

Our hero is one of the best of the Ledger Men, who works with a partner, lover and expert sniper on the first mission we see him on, in what would be called a “cold open” on TV. (She has the cool name “Oona,” which to date in my life I’ve only seen associated with Charlie Chaplin’s daughter and a character in “The Losers.”) His life is immediately complicated after the opening vignette by the U.S. government and the return of an old foe (who is based on Mark Zuckerberg). As the series progresses, hints begin to coalesce that our protagonist may be the instigator, or one of the instigators, of the Great Doxxing. So it seems likely we’ll find out, through his adventures, how this came about.

I enjoyed this book. It’s crime noir, essentially, and Gerry Duggan has the world-weary, tough-guy, Sam Spade dialogue down perfectly. Which is needful, since the story is narrated by the protagonist and we hear his voice a lot. This example made me laugh out loud:

“I hit the veterinarian to get stitched up. He doesn’t ask questions, and he takes my insurance. Then I hit the fast food place on the corner. Somehow it manages to sling Chinese food, burgers and donuts. The health code rating is a damn ‘C.’ I firebombed it last year, hoping something good would take its place, but it regrew and added falafel to the menu. I know when I’m defeated.”

The art, by David O’Sullivan, depicts a rough, dirty world and has a style to match. I like that sort of art, and he does it well. Every character has a unique look, and most of ‘em look like they need a shower.

One note of caution: The flashbacks are indicated organically in Jack’s dialogue. For example, when Jack says via caption “nobody will ever know what I saved us from … back in 2018,” that means we’ve started a flashback to 2018. You return to the present when Jack’s caption begins “And now …” This is clever, I guess, but I had to go back and re-read what I’d already read when I caught on a few pages too late.

Looking forward to reading more.

ARCHIE MEETS BATMAN ’66 #3 (Archie Comics): This is a book that fairly begs for Michael Allred art. As it is, we get Dan Parent in phone-it-in mode – and his work, which draws heavily on Dan DeCarlo, is nothing to write home about when he’s trying, IMHO.

Heads are routinely too big. Bodies are out of proportion. Facial expressions remain frozen through scenes where they should obviously change. Hands take DeCarlo poses at inappropriate times, presumably because Parent is copying unrelated scenes from 30-year-old comics. Batman doesn’t look like Adam West – a fairly easy caricature to maintain, as Allred has shown – nor do the villains always look like the actors who played them. Heck, sometimes I have to look twice to recognize the Archie characters – the hair/faces/bodies for Barbara Gordon, Veronica and Catwoman are virtually identical. Maybe I’m making too much of this – many readers won’t care – but for me it’s a deal-breaker.

And, oh, for what could have been. Mike Allred, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

BATGIRL #27 (DC): This was part two of a story that required me to go back and read Batgirl #25-26 to figure out what was going on. I didn’t mind, but a new reader would. Well, maybe. I’m not sure Jim Shooter’s old adage to remember that every issue is someone’s first is important any more.

Anyway, I enjoyed all three books. Batgirl #25 was oversized, with extra stories by guest creators, plus the regular monthly installment by the regular creative team (Mairghread Scott and Paul Pelletier). They were all charming and fun, as Barbara Gordon is generally a charming and fun character. Plus, I really like Pelletier’s art.

The current storyline, “Art of the Crime,” involves a criminal who is disguised as another criminal, throwing Batgirl off initially. But she discovers the ruse – only for him to launch an electrical attack that has a worse effect than he knows, because it damages the spinal implant that allows Babs to walk. The story threatens to put Gordon back in a wheelchair, so the stakes are high.

And it’s good. I really like Scott’s take on Gordon – she’s tough, but not grim and gritty. Her reaction to the threat of losing her legs is “I overcame it once, I can do it again.” How refreshing to forego the usual angsty hand-wringing and for the hero to tackle a personal challenge heroically. (Imagine all the whining and drama in an X-Men comic, for example.)

I can’t say I’ll be a regular reader of Batgirl. It’s a strong, above-average book, but as this post indicates, there’s so much terrific stuff every week that I almost never get around to above-average books. I do recommend it, though, if your weekly reading list isn’t as long as mine.

BATMAN BEYOND #24 (DC): OK, there are some books I’m not going to read, because I know better. This is one of them. I just don’t like Batman Beyond – the premise, the cartoon, none of it. I’m not going to waste my time, or yours, on something I know I’m not going to like. It’s all horse races, and I just don’t like this horse. Batman Beyond is like eggplant – it doesn’t matter how you prepare it, I’m just not going to like it.

BEASTS OF BURDEN: WISE DOGS AND ELDRITCH MEN #1-2 (DARK HORSE): This book is flat-out awesome. Beasts of Burden has appeared before – in another miniseries and a trio of one-shots – but this is the first one by artistic find Benjamin Dewey. The other artists were no slouches (one was Jill Thompson), but Dewey’s work is eye-poppingly good. Another observation: The title is a play on “mad dogs and Englishmen” from the famous Noel Coward song. I like clever wordplay.

This is a rattling good story, about talking dogs, their human friends and the arcane forces they are battling in the Poconos, although not our Poconos, since all the animals talk (not just the dogs). Those mystical foes would include “Lurkers” (some kind of goblin) and their human helpers. In these two issues, we see that something worse has arrived, which worries our intrepid canines. There are eldritch signs on animal traps and carved into animals, humans and barn walls, signs unfamiliar to our veterans. (The dogs use magic to battle magic.)

Our four-legged heroes are led by a Scottish Terrier, so that means I’m on board already – I’ve owned Scotties my whole life and yes, they are [baby talk] the best little dogs in the world, yes they are! [/baby talk] They are tough, smart, loyal, self-possessed and fearless, so I can well imagine them in Sgt Fury mode. OK, you probably think that of your favorite breed, too. But this is mine, so there.

Anyway, the dogs all have distinct personalities, and an obvious hierarchy – information delivered painlessly and organically to the reader. Despite the cast being mostly dogs, some of them the same breed, I began to distinguish between them immediately.

And, thank Dog, the Scottie doesn’t have a Scottish accent, a lazy form of “characterization” that goes back to DC’s Space Canine Patrol Agency in the Silver Age. Why would a dog born on another planet to another species have an Earth dialect? Bah. Same here – these are dogs raised in Pennsylvania, so a Scottish burr would be lazy writing. (He does drop an occasional “Aye,” but I can overlook that.)

The writing (by Evan Dorkin) sells me. But the art (by Benjamin Dewey) is the closer. I can’t tell how it’s done – it looks as if different techniques are employed here and there – but it’s startlingly clear and beautiful. It’s like looking at a doggie calendar, only with a zillion months of the year (because of all the panels).

If I have a complaint, it’s that this series assumes you have read whatever preceded it, because nothing is explained, from the dogs’ magic powers to the ongoing conflict. I actually didn’t mind; I’ve read enough comics that if a Scottie’s eyes glow green and his enemies fall writhing to the ground in a green glow, I can go with the flow without needing to know all the particulars.

Gorgeous, engaging – and talking dogs who aren’t here for the belly rubs. I’m sold. I’m gonna have to go back and read the preceding series, and I can’t wait.

BETTY & VERONICA: VIXENS #10 (Archie): Here’s another book I’m going to skip. Not because I’m not interested, but because I am SO interested that I want to read the whole series in order, and that’s too time-consuming a digression this week. I’ll get back this series, though, probably when the next one comes out.

BLACKBIRD #1 (Image): Our heroine and her older sister are saved during an earthquake by a big magical creature that tells everyone to forget it, and they do, but the younger sister doesn't. She grows into her twenties a mess, a pill-popping bartender who crashes on her sister's couch, constantly obsessing over finding evidence that magic exists.

This is a fairly familiar coming-of-age origin story, with the expected parameters and trajectory for longtime comics readers. As I enter my seventh decade I’ve grown a bit tired of coming-of-age, learning-your-powers stories – heck, I was tired of them when Kyle Rayner debuted – but this is done well for those still in the market.

The art, for lack of a better word, is soft. It’s the sort of style one associates with books aimed at tweenage girls. And the magical aspects are very much of the cat/unicorn/sparkles variety associated with cartoons and books for young girls.

That's not a complaint -- there's certainly room for all sorts of styles, and this one suits the story. And as I have maintained over the years, I neither want nor expect every book on the market to be aimed at me. The wider the appeal of the books on the stands, the healthier the market, so I’ve always championed books that I wouldn’t read on a bet. (The reverse of that attitude is what gives us the bigoted dirtbags found in comicbookgate and gamergate and the like – selfish little boys who can’t accept it when they aren’t the focus of attention.)

But the estrogen is strong with this one, and after a while it became uncomfortably obvious that this was meant for someone else. I felt like the book was talking past me, to someone behind me.

That's probably how girls feel when they read a typical Marvel comic (and I wouldn’t blame them). I do recommend Blackbird for those for whom it is aimed, because it’s very well done.

BRIGANDS VOL. 1: SEA OF THIEVES TPB (Action Lab): Alas, I put this off to the end, and ran out of time. I’m interested, though – it seems to be a pirate story set in a sort of Hyborian Age.

BUBBA HO-TEP AND THE COSMIC VAMPIRES #3 (IDW): I’ve heard of the cult film starring Bruce Campbell, based on a Joe R. Lansdale short story. But I never saw it and don’t know any details, so I don’t know how closely this book follows that film.

Anyway, in this comic book, Bubba is an Elvis lookalike (or possibly Elvis himself) and appears in various Elvis gear, from his ‘60s black leather to his white “Aloha from Hawaii” spangled jump suit and aviator sunglasses. He and his gang are battling vampires (most of whom, for some reason, look like the animated skeletons from Jason and the Argonauts). A few others are incinerated in an electric fence and merge into a blobby spider-thing. I guess that’s because they’re “cosmic” vampires.

Bubba and his associates spend this entire issue fighting the vampires, so I don’t learn much about the premise. Bubba is accompanied by a dark-haired girl (who may be of Asian descent), Colonel Parker, a blonde guy with goggles, a black guy who sings his dialogue and looks like Jim Brown in his Dirty Dozen heyday, and some other, less-identifiable folks. One guy might be based on the Kurt Russell character in Big Trouble in Little China, but it’s hard to tell if that’s on purpose. Oh, and there’s a glowing woman who has sex with Bubba and then grows to giant size to fight vampires.

They may all be based on ‘60s or ‘70s actors/characters, but it’s hard to tell – the art’s not good enough to even figure out if the dark-haired girl is Asian or not. (If she is, she might be lifted from some early ‘70s chop-socky movie.) So I have a complaint right there. Also, Elvis impersonations are a dime a dozen in Memphis, so you have to go a ways to impress me, and this doesn’t.

BULLY WARS #1 (Image): Here’s a story about three nerds embarking on the first day of high school (ninth grade), along with the bully that tormented them in middle school. But the latter is in for a shock when he is the one bullied by even bigger bullies, and the four must band together so that the younger bully can successfully compete in the “Bully Wars.” (Which apparently is a real competition, but we don’t know the particulars yet.)

This issue is pretty much all set-up, so that’s as far as we get. I can’t really tell if the dialogue and hi-jinks are strong enough for adults to enjoy in a story clearly aimed at middle schoolers. Since nothing in this first issue made me laugh out loud, probably not.

The art is similarly attractive to the middle-school eye. It’s a sort of exaggerated, Cartoon Network style, along the lines of Garbage Pail Kids, but less gross. That’s not my thing, but maybe it’s yours.

CELLIES #5 (Lion Forge): This book is about a group of teens who work in a cell-phone store. The main plot of this issue is that the conservative parents of a Muslim girl are going to give the manager a piece of their mind because the girl was left to tend the store by herself one night. (Evidently this happened last issue.) They are probably going to make the girl quit, so the gang tries to intervene on her behalf but their half-baked plan falls apart.

Is that interesting? It wasn’t to me. But then, I didn’t like Blankets or Blue Monday. The latter, especially, is what this reminds me of. Even the art reminds me of Chynna Clugston Flores’ work – the kind of clear, un-fussy cartoon style that’s as easy to follow as a 1960s Archie comic.

Once again, I’m not the target market, so it leaves me cold. But maybe you are, and will enjoy it.

CEMETERY BEACH #1 (Image): Imagine a group of industrialists coming up with interstellar travel in the 1920s, and secretly setting up a colony – one that eventually loses touch with Earth. Further imagine the U.S. finding out about this colony, and sending an agent to this base, where the technology is weirdly backward – they don’t have computers or cell phones – despite their breakthrough in space travel. And their uniforms and military equipment looks straight out of World War I.

This is typical Warren Ellis, expanding from a single, brainy Big Idea explored with his usual brand of cynical humor and fast-paced action. If you like Ellis’ work – and I really do – you’ll like this.

The art looks very generic British sci-fi, if that makes sense to you. This book would look very comfortable next to Judge Dredd and ABC Warriors.

COLD SPOTS #1-2 (Image): This is a horror comic with a slow build, so we’re two issues in and not much has happened. A guy goes to an isolated island where it gets weirdly cold. (It’s ghosts! It’s GHOOOOOOSSTTS!) and there are weird and ominous portents and omens. People lurk and act suspicious. People say mysterious things that could be a threat, or just a reference to Hidden Knowledge. There are strange human-shaped shadows (It’s ghosts! I’m telling you, it’s GHOSTS!) that nobody seems to notice. The climax of the second issue is when it turns out that the guy’s ex-wife and daughter are on the island – at, of course, the Big Mysterious Crumbling Mansion. All trees have lots of Spanish moss, because trees are always covered in Spanish moss in any horror story south of the Mason-Dixon, even though it doesn’t exist in most Southern states.

So nothing much has happened yet. I’m enjoying the ride – strong dialogue, decent art – but even so something needs to happen soon.

THE CROW: MEMENTO MORI (IDW): I’m not sure what all is in this collection; I couldn’t find a description of the contents online and it’s unclear in the book, so I have to guess.

It appears to be a collection of a Crow miniseries, followed by a couple of Crow short stories of unknown provenance. There are different Crows in the various stories – sometimes more than one – so does this constitute a murder of Crows? That would have been a good title, but it’s probably taken.

I don’t know because these are the first Crow stories I have ever read. So I can’t tell you if they’re better or worse than other Crow stories, or even the movies. Until this book, I was Crow-free.

I do know the premise: Guy or gal comes back from the dead,  all Goth-y and unkillable, and murders the  murderers that killed him or her. I also know the knock on the series, that it’s sort of one-note and that an unkillable lead character doesn’t allow for much suspense. Apparently, the fun comes from the Gothiness of it all and, of course, the revenge fantasy.

I think it’s all true, both good and bad, and whether or not you like The Crow is pretty much a matter of your personal taste. The lead story, while I guessed the ending, was pretty Goth-y and kewl, with hints of Gene Colan in the art. The short stories in the back are, of course, pretty one-note but enjoyable for what they are. The last one had hints of Bill Sienkiewicz in the art. Everything proceeds exactly as you expect it to, with no surprises, but lots of angst-y and Goth-y dialogue.

So, as Don Thompson used to say, if this is the sort of thing you like, you’ll like this.

CYBER FORCE VOL. 1: AWAKENING, CYBER FORCE #6 (Image): The TPB collects only four issues (outrage!), so I accidentally jumped over #5 to this week’s current issue. I might have missed something – I don’t appear to – but I wouldn’t care if I did.

I wasn’t a fan of Cyber Force back when it had Marc Silvestri’s amazing art. This reboot covers much of the same territory, even more decompressed if you can imagine, with a lesser hand on the art. So there’s just not a lot to sink one’s teeth into, especially after 20 years of technological advancement have made cyborgs a lot less impressive (if they ever were).

Let’s face it, most of Image’s initial output wasn’t very impressive, story-wise. Cyber Force was never a world-beater, and 20 years hasn’t improved that.

DEAD LIFE #3 (Titan Comics): This is the third and last issue of a zombie-apocalypse comic from the UK that runs 72 pages per issue. If you’ve read any British comics, you can probably guess what it looks like, what the vibe is like, and pretty much how it ends.

I wasn’t sent the first two issues, but I had no trouble picking up the story – it’s not that complicated. A group of survivors at ground zero in a zombie apocalypse are searching for a MacGuffin that caused the plague, while harassed by the dead, dangerous living people and a military that shoots first and asks questions never. If you read The Walking Dead, you’re not going to see much that is new here. And the U.S. title is a better read – better developed characters, more expansive storytelling and civilians with more firepower (and therefore characters who survive more plausibly).

It’s not a bad read, however. If you like zombie comics, by all means pick up the collection in November that includes all three issues – 216 pages of undead action. I might go back and read the first two issues, out of curiosity to see if my guesswork matches the actual story.

DEJAH THORIS VOL. 1: GARDENS OF MARS (Dynamite Entertainment): Wasn’t there some sort of controversy a few years’ back about the ERB estate being unhappy about nipplage in Dynamite’s “Warlord of Mars” books? It must have blown over, since Dynamite still has the franchise. Or maybe I’m remembering wrong.

Anyway, yes, this book is replete with tons of cheesecake. No nipples, but lots of “fan service” of the “headlights” variety and a lingering male gaze. That’s a turnoff for a number of readers – virtually all women and myself included.

But there’s a decent story in this book, if you can ignore all the metal bras and gossamer pants. (Or enjoy them, if that’s your thing.) Despite the stripper clothes, Dejah is a woman with agency, the clear hero of the story, who sets out to save the whole dang planet from climate change. (That’s for real! It’s in the original books!) And while I disagree with her decision at the climax, it was in fact her decision – not her father’s, not her mentor’s, not a Thark’s or a Warhoon’s, not no one else, not no how, not no way.

In that sense the book reflects a more modern sensibility. And if it helps, the comic book Dejah Thoris probably wears more clothes than the one in the Edgar Rice Burroughs novels, from roughly 100 years ago. That’s progress, right? J

DETECTIVE COMICS #989 (DC): This is a pretty decent Bat-book.

Batman detectivates – yes, I made that a verb – a murder mystery somehow involving Firefly, Firefly’s new female partner and Tweedledum & Tweedledee. I like Batman best in detective mode, and that’s on display here.

Personality-wise – always a question mark in a Bat-book – he’s a bit gruff, but not a psycho. His interactions with Alfred amount to peer-to-peer banter, and he compliments Jim Gordon out of the blue. That’s a relief.

The art is reminiscent of David Finch, who draws one of my favorite Batmen, although not quite up to the master’s standard. It’s is by Stephen Sevovia, a new name for me, but it very much reflects the Bat-world we’ve seen for the last clutch of years. 

One weird observation: Batman and Alfred discuss a perp’s resemblance to actor William Bendix. Will anybody under age 50 get that reference? I found that an odd writing choice.

Interestingly, Firefly and his new gal pal are planning more Fireflies – a “swarm” of them, actually. That would be a welcome upgrade for a Bat-foe who actually acknowledges in-story that he’s on the “bottom rung” of Batman’s rogues gallery. (Firefly’s monologue about where each Bat-foe falls on the scale is mildly amusing.)

I stopped reading this book a while back because it got crowded out by other books, but I may take the time to go back and read the intervening issues.

DISNEY COMICS AND STORIES #1 (IDW): Isn’t there already a Walt Disney’s Comics & Stories at IDW? Maybe they’re rebooting.

This book has two stories originally published in Europe, one Mouse and one Duck. They’re both good Disney stories in the classic vein. I read the after-column by the new editor but didn’t learn anything interesting (or explain the title, which I was hoping for).

DOOMSDAY CLOCK #7 (DC): You know, it doesn’t matter if this book is good or bad. It’s an event, and if you care about DC Comics, you’re going to read it. What I, or anyone else, has to say is by definition superfluous.

And because I’m a DC fan I’ve been reading it. I did have to re-read Doomsday Clock #6 to remind myself what was going on before reading this issue. Feels like it’s been a while. Anyway, the Gary Frank art is still lovely, and I still have no idea what’s going on in Geoff Johns’ story. The nine-panel grid is a nice nod to the original Watchmen, although it kinda forces a comparison, and Doomsday Clock suffers in that comparison. The amount of care and detail in the original using themes and images that echoed, repeated and reinforced the narrative will probably never be equaled, and are entirely absent here.

This issue does reinforce some questions that have been lingering since the beginning. It looks like Dr. Manhattan did create the New 52, by preventing Alan Scott from becoming Green Lantern. Removing that pivotal player evidently un-created the Justice Society, and led to our current Earth 0. So now I’m wondering: Will Manhattan’s tampering be undone, returning the JSA to history? And maybe the Legion, too, since Saturn Girl is a player? (And what is wrong with her? She’s so cheerful and oblivious she seems demented.)

I guess I have to keep reading. With Johns as the writer, there isn’t the usual guarantee that everything will snap back to status quo when the story’s over – he’s got the power to effect real change. This might be a mechanism for a soft reboot that brings back some DC history that was lost in Flashpoint.

FAITH: DREAMSIDE #1 (of 4, Valiant): Faith is not only the world’s first chubby superheroine, she’s also the most fun.

That’s because Faith is a fangirl. She’s read the books we’ve read, she knows the continuities we know, she makes jokes that only other fans (like us) would get. That makes her the sort of superhero we’d be – one who not only constantly compares her life to fictional heroes, but has a sort of running meta-commentary on superhero fiction as she lives through the usual evil twins, retcons, fights before team-ups, and so forth.

This mini features a team-up with Dr. Mirage, but that character doesn’t make her appearance until the last page, so the team-up doesn’t really start until next issue. Nice set-up, though.

GAMMA #1 (Dark Horse):  I tried to get into this book twice and failed. It seems to have  elements of (or maybe parodies of) Pokemon and Power Rangers. There are giant kaiju as well. I don’t know how that all fits together, because for me it didn’t, and I gave up in frustration. You’re going to have to let Uncle Baron tell you if Gamma is any good – this sort of manga is just too new a trick for this old dog.

GASOLINA #12 (Image): Didn’t get to it.

GOOSEBUMPS: DOWNLOAD AND DIE! (IDW): Didn’t get to it.

GREEN MONK: BLOOD OF THE MARTYRS TPB (Image): Didn’t get to it.

HARBINGER WARS: AFTERMATH #1 (Valiant): One thing about the Valiant Universe: It allows for real change. Currently a character named Livewire (who has some sort of tech/electricity control powers) has angered the entire world by saving “psiots” (this universe’s superhumans/metahumans) from governments that wanted to kill, enslave or imprison them. (The U.S. government was among the most hostile to psiots.) So this is her story – the “aftermath” of the second Harbinger Wars, where various governments attempted to do those things, and Livewire stopped them.

I was learning all this on the go, so my mind was engaged there, and not on making a subjective evaluation of quality. I will read the rest of the series, because it seems to be leading to a new status quo, with Livewire the world’s No. One superhero (not X-O Manowar, as before). And with Valiant heading to the movies, I should probably learn more about this universe.

THE HCHOM BOOK TPB (Image): If I’m interpreting this right, this book is a collection of stories and images from a website called hchom.com where the creator pretends she is a goblin and posits what a goblin would eat, read and do – and post, obviously – and what sorts of things it would have in its house.

I cannot fathom why this would be of interest to anyone. But evidently it is, so those of you are into it, have at it.

HEROES IN CRISIS #1 (DC): We have two other threads on this, so I’ll comment there.

HEY, KIDS! COMICS! #1 (Image):  I seem to remember everyone chatting about this series a while ago, but I just got the review copy of the first issue last week. Strange. Anyway, I don't remember the general consensus, but my takeaway so far is that it's mildly entertaining to guess who's who -- I picked out Joe Shuster, Matt Baker, Jack Kirby, Will Eisner, Stan Lee, Jack Liebowitz, and many more -- but otherwise it's a recitation of the depressing facts we already know about the history of comics (and the abuse of its greatest creators). I'll stick around another issue or two to see if an actual unique story emerges, or if it's just a gloomy history lesson. If the latter, I’ll pass.

INFIDEL (Image): Didn’t get to it.

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #3 (DC): I’ve really been enjoying this series, which gives the origin of magic in the DC Universe a new source – one from Dark Nights: Metal, like everything else these days, but one that makes sense, is open-ended enough to springboard lots of great stories, and really challenges our heroes with something much, much bigger than themselves.

It sure beats the hell out of the “homo magi” nonsense in Justice League of America back in the Bronze Age. That was small-minded and lazy, even for the time. And I say that not because I’m old and jaded – I thought so at the time, too, when I was considerably younger.

Meanwhile, Wonder Woman’s been pushing a boulder uphill with her nose for three issues, and it’s really interesting to see her so outmatched. I even like Dr. Fate’s heel turn in issue #2; I honestly expected it, because if Dr. Fate is still a good guy then it becomes his story, not Wonder Woman’s, as the latter is completely out of her depth. (As the other magical characters keep telling her.) So it wasn’t a surprise; I was only curious about the execution.

And it was executed well. The whole way through I was thinking “This would make a great movie.”

I’m not crazy about the retcon inserted in this issue, that Wonder Woman’s been connected to Hecate since she was a child. Surely that would have come up before now? Haven’t some of her previous villains been connected to Hecate? Wouldn’t Hera or Athena have noticed, and taken exception to a pre-Olympian meddling with the object of their patronage?

Plus, Hecate’s worshippers were described as “Chthonic women” in JLD #3, which is H.P. Lovecraft, not Greek mythology. You’re getting your pantheons mixed up, Tynion!

Another complaint is that Hecate’s intervention was quite literally a deus ex machina. I was excited to see how WW was going to defeat the vastly more powerful Upside Down Man, but instead of a brilliant Amazonian maneuver, a god heretofore unconnected to Wonder Woman stepped in and saved her.

But, OK. If Diana has to be “marked” by an ancient Greek myth, Hecate’s a darn good choice and opens up some avenues for Wonder Woman as a magic-user – or at least gives her another patron to call upon. Plus, Hecate has always been bad-ass and terrifying.

And I’m still eager to see what happens next, which is the sign of a good comic book.

Also, the art is by Martinez Bueno. I’ve never heard of him, but it’s great stuff.

JUSTICE LEAGUE ODYSSEY (DC): Yes, another Heavy Metal Nights or whatever spinoff, and one that does not excite me.

I’m not sure I’m really into this whole Forbidden Zone of planets, because it flies in the face of so much DC history. How can Tamaran be one of these planets, for example, when Starfire is from there and we’ve been there in recent memory? I’m also not crazy about blowing up Colu, which has a long and rich history, and its loss in the 21st century kinda makes Brainiac 5 (and the Legion) less likely to make a comeback. Why not blow up an expendable planet instead of a great springboard like Colu?

I’m also not crazy about the “team.” I like Jessica Cruz, and Starfire needs retconning/redemption after she was screwed up so badly in Red Hood and the Outlaws, so maybe this will be the opportunity to do that. (Please let her sex puppet stories be retconned away, DC. Pleeeeeeaaaase.)  But Cyborg is now and always has been boring. Azbats is now and always has been a stupid character. And Darkseid Jr.? That’s reaching.

I’ll read it for a while because it’s sort of the new map of the DC cosmology. But it better get better fast.

KICK-ASS BOOK One: THE NEW GIRL: Didn’t get to it. I’ve only read the first Kick-Ass series, and this one stars a different character, so I don’t know anything about it.

DOCTOR WHO: THE THIRTEENTH DOCTOR #0 (Titan): We have a thread devoted to this, so I’ll make my comments there.

LOONEY TUNES #245 (DC): This was a Roadrunner cartoon reduced to two dimensions. That’s a mistake. It did nothing for me, except remind me that I’d rather watch the cartoon.

MANEATER #1 (Image): In this story, when girls hit adolescence, some of them become large man-eating cats (panthers, pumas, lions, something like that) and kill whoever’s around before reverting to normal. As a result, the government puts hormones in the water to prevent ovulation – but, as our luckless 12-year-old protagonist notes as she sees her bloody underwear, “sometimes one of us slips through.”

OK, if anybody’s missed it – which is unlikely – this is a broad-stroke meataphor for menstruation (and male response to it). To drive it home, there’s a public-service checklist in the back which asks if your cat or girlfriend shows symptoms like mood swings, irritability, defensiveness, yadda yadda. Yes, everything men stereotypically complain about when women are on their period.

Which I could live without. Listen, gals, I’m sympathetic. I’ve often said I’m glad I’m a guy, because women really drew the short straw on that whole baby-making thing. I’ve had bad gastrointestinal cramps for one medical reason a couple of times in my life, and I cringe at the thought of having that every month. Then there are all the preparations and machinations around handling your body actively bleeding every month and it makes my complaints about male pattern baldness sound pretty lame. And compound this with how badly women are treated in general – witness the pay disparity, the Kavanaugh hearings, #MeToo, the explosion of women on social media describing their own experiences with sexual abuse/attack, etc. – and man, sometimes I feel guilty for just having a Y chromosome.

On behalf of all members of my gender, ladies, I do apologize. We suck.

But do I want to read a comic book about that? Not really – it’s as depressing as the daily news, which I also don’t really enjoy. It’s something that needs discussion, but the people who need to hear it aren’t listening. (They’re senators saying Dr. Ford is “mixed up” or coming just short of calling her “hysterical.” Or they’re “incels” who think that they’re being discriminated against because gorgeous women aren’t pounding on their door to sleep with them, notwithstanding how boorish they act. Or they’re the whiny bullies of gamergate and comicbookgate who think that the target market of all media should be chubby  white guys like them, and women and people of color should be excluded.)

Still, I actually liked our young protagonist and her family, and am interested in her journey. I just hope the Message Stick doesn’t come out to club me too often.

MEDIEVAL SPAWN/WITCHBLADE (Image): Who cares?

MICKEY AND DONALD’S CHRISTMAS PARADE (IDW): Christmas? ALREADY?!?

Sigh. Well, that’s OK, if it brings lovely stories like this. As in Disney Comics and Stories above, this book is a collection of great Mouse & Duck comics in the classic vein from countries like Italy, Sweden and the Netherlands. This is the sort of stuff I like to read when I’m tired and just want to turn off my brain and enjoy something comforting.

MIKE HAMMER #4 (Titan): This is by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Colins, so you know they get the voice right. Even though this is the last issue of some adventure or so, all the complicated double crosses were easy to digest because I’ve read a lot of crime noir and was right at home.

The art was kinda bland, though. And it was too clean. This sort of story needs a rougher style.

MIRENDA TPB: Didn’t get to it.

MODERN FANTASY #4: Didn’t get to it.

MY LITTLE PONY: PONYVILLE MYSTERIES #5 (IDW):  Oh, please. Like I’m gonna read this.

NOBLE #12 (Lion Forge): Didn’t get to it.

PORT OF EARTH VOL. 2 (Image): Didn’t get to it.

RAVEN: DAUGHTER OF DARKNESS #8 (DC): Didn’t get to it.

REALM #9 (Image): Didn’t get to it.

REDNECK #15 (Image):  Didn’t get to it.

RED SONJA #24 (Dynamite): Lots of fan service in this book, and the story was virtually deja vu. Admittedly I came in at the end of an adventure, but I felt like I’d already read it anyway. And again, the art was bland and too clean.

RED SONJA WORLDS AWAY VOL. 3: HELL OR HYRKANIA TPB (Dynamite): Didn’t get to it.

REGRESSION #11 (Image): Didn’t get to it.

RICK AND MORTY VS. DUNGEONS & DRAGONS #2 (IDW): I see on Facebook that AWOL Legionnaire Rich Lane really loves Rick and Morty, which is a convincing recommendation. But I’ve never seen the show – regular readers of the “TV Shows I Am Binging” thread know that I watch a ton of TV already – or maybe a tonne, since lots of them are British – and don’t have time for more. If I had watched Rick and Morty, though, I might have bumped this one up higher. As it is, as the clock ticked down I focused on books that didn’t require a lot of foreknowledge.

ROLLED AND TOLD #1 (Lion Forge): Didn’t get to it.

SCARLET #2 (DC): I didn’t read this series when it and Bendis were at Marvel, so I thought this would be a nice jumping-on point. But I ran out of time.

SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP #42 (DC): This had just about every major talking simian from DC’s long, gorilla-loving history. That includes Ultra-Humanite, Mob Boss of Gotham City, Sam Simeon (without Angel), Grodd, Titano, Super-Monkey, Congorilla, M’sieu Mallah and two I didn’t know, Pryemaul (a vampire) and Mod Boss Gorilla.

You’d think with a cast like that it would be funnier than a barrel full of monkeys. But really the only amusement I got out of this was identifying all the characters and nodding at the references.

SHANGHAI RED #4 (Image): Didn’t get to it.

SILENCER #9 (DC): Didn’t get to it.

STAR WARS ADVENTURES #14 (IDW): Didn’t get to it.

STARCRAFT SCAVENGERS #3 (Dark Horse): Didn’t get to it.

STAR TREK VS. TRANSFORMERS #1 (IDW): I don’t much care for Transformers – wrong generation – but I have to admit this is a clever idea. IDW, which has both the Trek and Transformers licenses, has created a team-up between the Saturday morning cartoon versions of both. Those Star Trek cartoons were really very good, and it’s fun seeing this version of our familiar bridge crew again.

STRANGER THINGS #1 (Dark Horse): Evidently this series will follow Will’s adventures in the Upside Down before being rescued, which we didn’t see on TV. I’m not sure I need to see this, and with the murky art, I’m still not seeing it, or not seeing it well. This didn’t impress me, but I’ll give it another issue or two to do so, since I like Stranger Things so much.

THE DEAD HAND VOL. 1: COLD WAR RELICS (Image): This is a nice espionage/mystery story, even though I pretty much guessed the mystery after the first issue or so. What's that they say -- it's not the destination, it's the journey? Anyway, it features a teenage daughter of Atomic Blonde a former spy, and amazingly, she doesn't annoy me. That's probably why the book succeeds with me.

That, and I guess the art, too. It's like a more polished Denys Cowan, if that makes sense to you.

THE FLASH #55 (DC): No new “Forces” this week, but they’re apparently upgrading Heat Wave. Iris meets three of Barry’s co-workers, and so did I, since I haven’t been a regular reader. But I didn’t find them interesting, I don’t think Heat Wave needs an upgrade and the more I see of Scott Kolins’ art, the less I like it.

THE TERRIFICS (DC) #5-8: I have held a grudge against this book from the beginning, because sometimes the “why does this book exist” hurdle is too big for me to overcome. But this issue the nonsensical “tether” between the characters has been broken, so now they’re going to have to come up with a personality/plot-driven reason to hang out together, which is all I need to put my grudge away.

So I enjoyed the story, and especially the art. So much so that I went back and read the ones I’d skipped! I’m looking forward to some of the plot points hinted at so far – more on Bgztl, Plastic Man’s son, Mr. Terrific’s emotional damage from his wife’s death, and so on.

TITANS #26 (DC): Um. Not really that great.

The writing is pretty ham-handed, with two characters bickering in ways I could write myself and Beast Boy giving a speech about what a great leader Nightwing is. The art is generic DC.

The team does have a strong mission – it’s Source Wall related, like everything at DC – and a different Titans team than I’m used to. Nightwing, Raven, Donna Troy and Beast Boy have been held over from previous iterations, but new members include Miss Martian (now a print character, evidently), Steel and a normal human technical assistant (whose necessity eludes me). That’s not a complaint; it’ll be interesting to see this variation work out. And the New Teen Titans septet isn’t possible any more, with Cyborg being retconned into a Justice League founder, and not a Titan at all. (Although Justice League: Odyssey did allude to a shared history between Cyborg and Starfire. Just what is their history now?)

I have to say my primary interest was seeing how these characters would react to Heroes in Crisis #1, but evidently they haven’t heard about it yet. Disappointing.

TRANSFORMERS: lOST LIGHT #24 (IDW): Didn’t get to it and, honestly, probably wouldn’t if I had all the time in the world. As mentioned above, I find Transformers tedious. (That’s no knock on those who do. Horse races, you know.)

UNCLE SCROOGE: FIRST MILLIONS #1 (IDW): An Italian book, which is apparently not a one-shot. Scrooge tells how he got his first million, and the next issue promises to tell the story of his second million dollars. It’s a comfortable, pleasant read, although the Ducks are slightly off-model. (With Barks being the model, of course.)

VAMPIRELLA/DEJAH THORIS #1 (Dynamite): I expected this book to be Cleavage City, but despite teaming two characters renowned for sexy poses, it was a pretty straightforward adventure story that happened to have two female leads. Well, Vampirella’s outfit is still going to show a lot, but the focus seemed to be on story, not sex. That was pretty gratifying.

And from the first issue, it’s not that strange a team-up. It’s unclear where this story fits in the established continuity of either character, and my guess is that it doesn’t. Instead, we’re seeing what amounts to a war between two planets with dwindling resources – Barsoom and Draculon – and two princesses (of a sort) trying to stop it.

It’s not great – Dynamite doesn’t have a lot of A-level talent – but it’s so much better than I expected I plan to keep reading it.

WALMART BATMAN #3 (DC): This and Walmart Teen Titans #3 are the only two Walmart DRCs I’ve ever been sent, and I’m not really sure that they were released this week, or even last week. But they’re in the folder for some reason, so I might as well get at ‘em.

Turns out Brian Michael Bendis writes a pretty decent Batman. He’s grim but not psycho, and his exchanges with Alfred are well done. I don’t know who Nick Derington is – he’s the artist – but he does a pretty decent Batman, too.

Disappointingly, the reprints that flesh out the physical book aren’t included. I’m almost certain to have read them before, but I’d be interested in seeing what they picked and guessing why.

There’s also no indicia, so I don’t know what the official title of the book is. As Batman would say, “TT.”

WALMART TEEN TITANS #3 (DC): This iteration of the Titans is the Tim Drake Robin, Starfire, Raven and Beast Boy. I don’t recall off-hand if this was a standard line-up at any time, but I suspect not – I don’t remember a four-man Titans since Speedy became the fifth member in the Silver Age. However, they had to be restricted to four members in this issue so as to line up neatly with four member of the Fearsome Five: Psimon, Gizmo, Mammoth and Shimmer. A Cyborg, Kid Flash, Arsenal or Donna Troy would throw the numbers off, which would be inconvenient for the plot, so they’re not here.

The fifth of Five, when the team first appeared, was Doctor Light. But instead of him we get somebody called “The Disruptor,” who doesn’t seem to have any powers except mouthing typical bad-guy dialogue. Since he’s more or less unmolested, he manages to do whatever it is the Five were sent to do, while the Titans mostly got beat up and rescued civilians. Also, we learn the Five were sent by H.I.V.E., who have a mystery plan in motion. To be continued.

That’s it. Not much of a story. And the art is pretty generic DC – Jim Lee Lite, or Dan Jurgens Lite – which is passable but not worth writing home about.

And again, the reprints (which might explain why Deathstroke is on the cover) were not included.

WAYWARD #29 (Image): Didn’t get to it.

THE WICKED AND THE DIVINE 1373 (Image): I’ve wondered what this series is about since the first issue, since I never got around to sampling it. Oops, I didn’t get around to it this week, either.

WITCHBLADE #8 (Image): More fan service, and a character/concept that probably ought to be retired. There is nothing new here, as the characters’ names change, but the same shallow characterization and lame plots persist.

WONDER WOMAN #55 (DC): DC has spoiled me with consistently good Wonder Woman since the New 52 launched. So spoiled that this issue was kind of a let-down. It wasn’t bad, but I’m used to better than a convenient ending and mediocre art.

Anyway, it cleared the decks for the new creative team, which I think begins next month. The Bana-Mighdall have a new leader (Atalanta), Rostum had a comeuppance, and Wonder Woman gave Artemis her very own magic lasso, the Golden Promise (as opposed to the Golden Perfect). It’s actually Superwoman’s from … is it still Earth-3? Earth-2? Well, wherever the evil Justice League came from in “The Darkseid War” (roughly New 52 Justice League #40-50).

WORLD OF ARCHIE (JUMBO COMICS) DOUBLE DIGEST #82 (Archie): The pre-Mark Waid Archie stories were only as good as their artist, in my longtime estimation, so I only read those that are by the artists I like – mainly Dan DeCarlo and Samm Schwartz. I skip those by the DeCarlo imitators, Stan Goldberg and others whose work I don’t care for, which cuts down significantly on how long it takes to plow through one of these. And I like what I read, because I only read what I like.

XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS #8 (Dynamite): I thought it was openly acknowledged now that Xena and Gabrielle were romantic partners? This book sure doesn’t seem to think so – in fact, they’re mad at each other in a non-romantic way and seem on the verge of going their separate ways.

Which might have been a more absorbing story with better art. I can’t complain about fan service in yet another Dynamite book, because this art isn’t good enough for that. I’m not sure it was even tried.

X-O MANOWAR #19 (Valiant): It’s always been hard to like this book, because I’ve always found it hard to like Aric of Dacia. As I read this book, I found that problem still applies. He’s just a sort of ill-tempered, self-important bully, isn’t he? Well, maybe that’s what constitutes a hero in the Trump era and I’m the one who’s out of step.

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Cap, I really like Analog. It started off with a bang from the opening scene in the first issue, and it just rolled right on along through the fifth. The art really fit the story, and Duggan has built an interesting world. I do wonder what is up with the AI though.

I read that first issue of Cemetery Beach. This was another action packed issue, and its great to see a new Warren Ellis series. I just wish there was a little more in this issue. I read through it in no time at all.

I picked up 3 or 4 issues of Gasolina and I couldn't get into the series at all. It just wasn't my cup of tea. I was kind of surprised it is already to issue 12. 

I think I've read all of the previous Beasts of Burden issues, and loved them. You're in for a good time! Analog sounds interesting to me. When it shows up on Hoopla I'll check it out.

You have my sympathy on the review load. I receive at least a dozen jazz albums a week for review--most of them about an hour long--and even in retirement I have trouble listening to them all, much less writing about them.

The Mod Gorilla Boss in all his glory!

Wow -- that's a TON of reading, Cap!

A few random reactions to your comments:

Beast of Burden: I'm so glad Benjamin Dewey was picked up for this. We need more Beasts of Burden faster than Jill Thompson can paint 'em, and Dewey has so much animal experience already with the great (and on hiatus) Autumnlands that he did with Kurt Busiek,,, kind of a modern take on Kamandi, but from the perspective of one of the animals that meets the intelligent human, rather than the human himself.  

Detective Comics: I think you might have picked up the first issue of James Robinson's arc; he's taking over from an arc about the Outsiders that didn't do much for me (and so I decided to drop the title for a bit); I'll probably pick it up again when a regular team comes on, and maybe pick the Robinson book up in trade.

Hey, Kids! Comics! The second issue's out, and I enjoyed it.. but didn't have much to say about it once the guessing game was over. I'm still interested in reading further, though.

Justice League Dark: I'm already enjoying this more than the main JL series. 

Wonder Woman: We've actually got one more month before the new team takes over...but since October is dedicated to a crossover between Wonder Woman and Justice League Dark, I'm not complaining.

The Walmart Reprints: 
Teen Titans reprints the Johns/McKone series from 2003, Super-Sons from Rebirth, and Sideways. (Which means by issue 3, the only book I bought in its original form was Titans; I'm getting value for money  with this one. Likewise with Batman: The reprints are chapters of Batman: Hush, New 52 Nightwing, and Rebirth Harley Quinn; of those, I've just read Hush -- though there are a few issues of Rebirth HQ that I'm sure I've read too. 

Superman reprints the early issues of Batman/Superman, early Johns Green Lantern (the series immediately after Green Lantern: Rebirth), and The Terrifics. And Justice League reprints New 52 issues of Justice League, Flash, and Aquaman. With those, the new material is the only stuff that's new to me. But I'm hoping when Flash gets his own title, they'll sub in Cyborg's Rebirth title for his stories; those would largely be new to me.  

Wow, Cap. Impressive! (Even if you did “fail.”)

I read seven on this list.

ACTION COMICS #1003: I’ve fallen four issues behind on the BMB super-books; I haven’t read this one yet. Frankly, I’m waiting for a “good jumping off point.” It sounds as if you’re enjoying them, though. Perhaps several will read better in a single sitting.

ARCHIE MEETS BATMAN ’66 #3: All of the Batman ’66 books beg for Michael Allred art, but very few of them have it inside the covers; we have to make do with the covers. Having said that, this one’s no worse than any other Batman ’66 book without Allred art. I’m enjoying it more than most.

DOOMSDAY CLOCK #7: Is this series truly a bi-monthly? I used to read bi-monthly titles, and I followed them better than I’m following this one. I checked the indicia. No, it’s apparently a “monthly.” I’m reading each issue as it comes out and taking it for what it’s worth, but I’m looking forward to a comprehensive, single-sitting re-read when the series is complete (whenever that will be).

HEROES IN CRISIS #1: This was my “pick of the week” last week from before I read last week’s comics. Now that I’ve read them (well, most of them), I have a different pick. But you didn’t review that one here, so I’ll discuss it in “What Comic Books Have You read today?”

HEY, KIDS! COMICS! #1: “The second issue's out, and I enjoyed it.. but didn't have much to say about it once the guessing game was over. I'm still interested in reading further, though.” (What Rob said.)

DOCTOR WHO: THE THIRTEEN DOCTOR #0: “We have a thread devoted to this, so I’ll make my comments there.” We do? We didn’t on Friday. I guess I haven’t gotten to it yet. I’ll comment there, too.

STRANGER THINGS: I bought this one but haven’t read it yet. If you give it “another issue or two,” you might as well go the whole way because it’s a four-issue mini.

Thanks for giving me some information on Gasolina, Travis. I didn't know anything about it. That's one reason I didn't get to it -- as time ran out, I started avoiding series with a big learning curve.

I sure wish they'd do a Beasts of Burden omnibus, Mark -- I don't know how else I'm going to read those one-shots.

Thanks for cluing me in Mod Gorilla Boss, Philip -- that's a deep dive!

Rob, do those reprints in the Walmart books sound as self-explanatory to you as they do to me? And thanks for all the commentary.

Jeff, thanks for your commentary as well. Sounds as if Archie Meets Batman '66 and Bendis Superman hit you exactly opposite as they hit me! Well, as they say on Ripper Street, intelligent men may disagree without being disagreeable.

And I thought we had a thread on the new Doctor Who, at least the show if not the book. In fact, don't we have several Doctor Who threads? I know I've read some comments on this zero issue, but maybe it was in the "What Comics Have You Read Today?" thread.

Yeah, Bob and I both commented there, but I didn't find 13th Doctor #0 thread of it's own. It must have been "What Comics Have You read Today?" you were thinking of.

Cap, by "self-explanatory" do you mean "Johns is sure getting paid twice for a lot of stories he wrote over the years"? "And Jim Lee, too, for books he drew"? If so, then Hell, yes. That said, I think they're not unjustifiable choices for what these books are. 

I hadn't thought about them getting paid twice -- I don't think Johns is hurting for money, now that he's WB corporate -- but I see the choices leaning toward superstars (Johns, Lee), New 52 continuity (which requires no explanation) and properties they're trying to push.

Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:

Cap, by "self-explanatory" do you mean "Johns is sure getting paid twice for a lot of stories he wrote over the years"? "And Jim Lee, too, for books he drew"? If so, then Hell, yes. That said, I think they're not unjustifiable choices for what these books are. 

Oh, yeah, there's definitely synergy there. 

I actually really like that The Terrifics and Sideways are included in these books. I feel like reprints in the original Giants and Spectaculars were one of the ways DC introduced peripheral characters to people who were picking up the book for Superman or Flash. A book with an unknown character like Sideways might be the least likely thing a new fan would pick up at a comic book store, but by including these features in these books, it will help to give them some staying power - something all new characters struggle with.

Things like the Silencer's recent team-up with Nightwing are another good way to do it; I think Nightwing was probably a better title for that sort of outreach than Batman, since if you're buying Nightwing, you've already shown that you have the budget and the interest to move beyond "just the hits." But likewise, I thought just having her show up in Nightwing was a good idea, rather than a crossover. Just let people decide if they want to follow her; don't force their hand -- do that, and you might sell a lot of one issue, but if you let readers come over of their own volition, you might start building an audience with more stability.

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