Doom Patrol #2
DC Comics
Giffen, Clark, Livesay, DeMatteis, Maguire

I have to say that I enjoyed this story even more than the previous issue, which I liked enough to return for #2. That's saying something. It's quirky, but not Morrisonian, and this is a good thing for this umpteenth remake since Grant's version. I liked the way the people with the black voids for faces somehow looked like they were drawn by Keith Giffen, if that makes any sense. I really appreciate the way this doesn't feel like any other DC team book (let's see: Justice League, Outsiders, Teen Titans...this is DEFINITELY a good thing, if damning with feint praise). Cliff Steele is the guy we know and love, while Niles Caulder is somewhat creepier, and Rita and Larry seem to be revisions of those characters, but that is definitely okay with me.

The back-up featuring the Metal Men was hilarious, of course, but the joke that no one knows who Copper is (nor are they even vaguely aware they she's even on the team) getting old already. All in all, a great issue, and I'll definitely be back next time.

Batgirl #2
DC Comics
Miller, Garbett, Scott

This book had a pretty strong first issue, but this second one leaves me with a bored taste in my mouth, and I won't be back for the third. Lee Garbett's art is pretty, and that's about all there is to say about this book. Scarecrow (snore) is on the last page, and I could frankly care less. Nor could I care that Barbara Gordon is going to call Stephanie's mother. Like I said, the first issue showed promise. Just not sure where that promise went.

Blackest Night #3
DC Comics
Johns, Reis, Albert, Prado

Well, at least I can say that Firestorm's whiny girlfriend is gone. Unless she is somehow saved by the Blackest Night effect, in which case, I'd have to say what a waste. Other than that, I enjoy the Flash/Green Lantern stuff here, Ray Palmer back in action (in a book where he doesn't approve of torture--to me, this is his first actual appearance in action), the Indigo Lanterns that don't just click their tongues, and seeing Mera fighting alongside the Justice League. She fits right in, somehow. Great series, beautiful art, and I'm loving every minute of every book tie-in.

Batman and Robin $4
DC Comics
Morrison, Tan, and Glapion

The Philip Tan who drew Final Crisis: Revelations has cleaned up his work and does a beautiful job illustrating this issue, which picks up right where the last one left off. I like the villains High Rise Romero and Lightning Bug, and the Flamingo just sounds like he's going to be interesting. Seeing Red Hood and his own version or Robin take on criminals in their own way was just plain exciting, especially knowing that we have a showdown between them and Batman and Robin coming soon. As always, this is a fantastic super-hero series.

Green Lantern Corps #39
DC Comics
Tomasi, Gleason, Buchman, Nguyen

A full-blown attack on Oa of the Black Lantern/Black Lantern rings brought the whole Corps to their knees, and man was it glorious. Gleason draws such good aliens. I especially liked the scenes with the crypt keeper GL, and anything with Guy and Kilowog--especially when drawn by Gleason--is top-notch in my book. I love the characterization of Guy Gardner in this book. Only certain writers should ever be allowed to write him, and Tomasi has passed the test in the last several issues.

Blackest Night Batman #2
DC Comics
Tomasi, Syaf, and Cifuentes

LOTS of good stuff here. Awesome art, Tomasi writes, and tons of action. Batman and Robins pull out the heavy artillery (literally) to fight off the BLs, we get King Snake and the Trigger Twins vs. Jim and Barbara Gordon, and we get Tim Drake to the rescue. Anyone missing any chapter of Blackest Night is really missing out. I'm not a completist of anything, but when all the parts are this relentlessly entertaining, I will buy them all!

Green Lantern Corps #40
DC Comics
Tomasi, Gleason, Buchman

Man, it's just a Tomasi feast tonight, isn't it? Here, Kyle confronts "Jade", Guy confronts the BL Bzzt, and Lantern Grojamm (who looks truly awesome) does his best to hold off a swarm of Black Rings. There is one truly gruesome BL who will just turn your stomach. The scenes with the Star Sapphire and Kryb were somehow both excrutiating and morally ambiguous. If you've ever read anything with Kryb before, you might be surprised by how this plays out, exactly. Another great issue.

Outsiders #22
DC Comics
Tomasi, Pasarin, Leisten

Every so often, I check into this series for an issue, because I truly want to enjoy these characters. And I really like this writer (see the previous several reviews). So how is it that I can not care about Geo-Force and Metamorpho as they battle Clayface while two kids watch their dad being used by Clayface? Because neither of our heroes here are written in any likable way. Both are written as wooden people with little to appreciate. The art adds to the stiffness. Other characters I want to like? Halo, Creeper, Katana, and Man-Bat, and the last page promises a visit from them next issue. But somehow I doubt I would get anything to like out of them. Not sure what it is.

Solomon Grundy #7
DC Comics
Scott Kolins

Well, I get what I deserve for falling into this trap. The cover says "Black Lantern" on it, and that's exactly what we get--on the last page. The rest of the issue is something about Alan Scott and the Demon and Phantom Stranger, which I'm sure would have made sense if I'd read any of the rest of this series. But this issue wasn't that good anyway, so I'm not sure I want to go back and read it.

Magog #1
DC Comics
Giffen, Porter, Dell

Keith Giffen's name alone brought me to this issue. He's a great writer, and I was interested to see what direction he would take this seemingly unnecessary series. You know that feeling when you think you're about to take a drink of 7-Up or something like that, and it turns out to just be water? That's what reading this issue was like. Glenn Fabry, from whom I've grown to expect great things, seems to just phone in the cover. I can't even figure out what they're going for in this series, and that's exactly what a first issue should tell you. I won't be back next month.

Action Comics #881
DC Comics
Rucka, Gates, Perez, Robinson, Cafu

And with this issue, I've officially decided to stop reading the Superman titles until it's all back to normal. A new Nightwing and Flamebird taking over the book was something that I was actually looking forward to at first. And then I didn't even quit when I learned that Nightwing was just a turbo-aged Chris Kent. But the whole conspiracy thing that has come in since New Krypton--with Guardian, Morgan Edge (poor Jack Kirby), Squad K, Codename Assassin, General Lane, etc. is just way too dizzying for me. Or maybe it's that I just don't care. Not sure, but regardless, I'm done until something new and interesting comes to the books. I even wanted to like the Captain Atom back-up, but what fan of Captain Atom wants to see him blasting fantasy elf-and-kingdom characters? Blech.

Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam #6
DC Comics
Baltazar, Franco, DeStefano

I LOVED THIS ISSUE! I have to admit it's the only issue of this book that I've ever bought, though, and that the primary reason I bought it was Stephen DeStefano's art. MAN was it gorgeous. He was just a fill-in artist, but hello, DC Comics! I will buy this every month if you can get this guy to draw it. It's pretty different from his work on my much-beloved Hero Hotline series, but it's still beautiful. It was like reading an old 40's cartoon or something. It reminded me a lot of Popeye. Exquisite work by the artist, and the writing was entertaining as well. More like this, please!

Batman and the Outsiders #8
DC Comics
Torres, Barberi, Beatty

So I must have been on a kiddie-book binge at the store that day, but this one was also a lot of fun. I think it's funny that they had Batman team up with the Great Ten, a "super group" that's pretty much a dark one from the main DCU. Maybe they've been featured on the show, I have no idea. But they play it smart and focus on just a few of the Great Ten characters. This is my first exposure to this book or even the TV series, but I have to say I enjoy a Batman who smiles at himself, and I don't miss the Bruce Timm version of the character that dominated the animated world for so long nearly as much as I thought I would. Very cool!

Streets of Gotham #3-4
DC Comics
Dini, Nguyen, Fridolfs

This is a pretty cool series, even if it comes off as "Batman Lite" at times. I can't figure out why, because it's by the same wonderful team that did one of my favorite runs on Detective Comics. This focuses mostly on the criminal underground: the Penguin, Black Mask, and their reaction and dealings with the deadly Zsasz. Hush is also a big character here, and I truly do appreciate the way Dini has taken a Jeph Loeb character (in other words, incredibly two-dimensional) and fleshed him out into a rounded character. Now he is a cleverly written puppet of Batman's organization, held in check by the Outsiders and members of the Justice League. I will be back next issue, if only to see what happens next. This is the one series featuring a back-up that I don't have any interest in reading. I'm just not that into Manhunter.

Superman Secret Origin #1
DC Comics
Johns, Frank, Sibal

The book that didn't need to be written has one of the strongest starts I've seen in awhile. Pete's broken arm, the silent truck ride with Pa, saving Lana from the combine, Clark's reaction when he finds out the truth about himself (it makes so much sense!), and when he comes down the stairs in his costume--they all just hit on the right notes. The only thing I don't like is that Lex Luthor is from Smallville, but I guess that's one of those things that comes from having grown up in the Byrne-era. I'm really excited about reading this miniseries.

Blackest Night Superman #2
DC Comics
Robinson, Barrows, Jose

BL Psycho-Pirate attacks the town of Smallville, and Superboy and Superman have to protect the citizens. Everyone is going crazy, and it doesn't help that Black Lantern Golden Age Superman (longest name in comics) and Black Lantern Golden Age Lois Lane (nope, this one beat it by one word) are also rampaging through the town. Psycho-Pirate makes so much sense in a story that is all about emotions. Even though it was written in a hokey way, I really like the kick-ass version of Ma Kent we get at the end. Like she said herself, she is a midwestern farmer's wife. She can handle herself better than most anyone, and I wouldn't want to be messing with her, power ring or no power ring.

The Shield #1 (the one-shot)
DC Comics
Straczynski, McDaniel, Owens

There doesn't seem to be too much to differentiate the Shield from Captain America here, but I think there's enough. I'm a big fan of McDaniel's art, and this was the strongest out of the Red Circle books that I read. Things I liked in this book were the scenes that showed the hero jumping out of the plane--no one draws a guy in freefall like Scott McDaniel (see the first forty issues of Nightwing), the tenuous relationship between James Mattoon and his father (I presume), and the connection with the Web. I've heard that ongoing is supposed to be pretty good, and I think I'll be reading both The Web as well as Shield (already have the first one) in ongoing--or at least on an issue-by-issue basis.

Brave and the Bold #27
DC Comics
Straczynski and Saiz

I've never been a big fan of the concept of Dial H for Hero as a concept. It seems incredibly dumb, and as far as I can tell, there has been very little to explain where the H-Dial came from. Not that I require such knowledge to enjoy things, but this is too far out there to have no explanation of some kind. I digress. This issue barely had Robby Reed in it at all. The main character was a guy who got to go out in a blaze of glory after having picked up the Dial as a homeless person. The story is really predictable, but it was also really pretty touching. I can't stand the Joker, but he was used minimally here also, so if you have to have the Joker in your story, I suppose this is the way to do it. The art is awesome. Jesus Saiz has come a long way since the first time I saw his artwork. Can't wait for the next team-up!

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Comment by Wandering Sensei: Moderator Man on October 9, 2009 at 6:03am
Whoops, I realize now that instead of "Batman and the Outsiders", it should have said "Batman Brave and the Bold". Sorry about that!

And yes, that Frank Quitely cover was beautiful, wasn't it?
Comment by Figserello on October 8, 2009 at 8:19pm
Batman and Robin is a perfect comic. Are you reviewing #4 here? #5 is just out. Check out the Quitely cover of our two heroes staring down the barrel of the Red Hood and Scarlet's guns!

Brilliant or what? The alternative cover of Batman and the Hood fighting in mid-air or whatever is just so generic and done-to-death looking beside that.

Damien's characterisation is spot-on.

'Tt' indeed. Says everythhing you need to know about him.

Is Batman and the Outsiders a spin-off from the Brave and the Bold Cartoon? The outsiders were on the cartoon but I've never seen the Great Ten. A Morrison creation makes it onto Saturday morning cartoons.

Then again the new Blue Beetle that appears regularly on the show was created by him too, wasn't he?

How long before Tex Porneau shows up?

My only gripe with the B&B cartoon is that they don't seem to credit the creators of these great characters they are profiting from.

Every second week has a Kirby character in there to please the fanboys, but no mention of the King in the credits, unless I've missed it. The lawyers must have stiuck their oar in there, as I'm sure the fanboys who make this show would love to share a credit with the King.

Reflected glory and all that.
Comment by Figserello on October 5, 2009 at 7:59pm
Comment by Doc Beechler: Gary Frank is the perfect contemporary superhero artist...he mixes realism with great cartooning to amazing effect. He's only gotten better and better with time.

I've only just started reading World War Hulk, and it is great to be reading the Hulk drawn by Frank again. Like Perez coming back to the Avengers, it does look like his craft has improved immensely in the years in between. What was he doing before he came back to the Hulk?

The 'openness' of his style is a lot easier on my eye than the more heavily rendered 'realistic' art that is currently in vogue. He was a perfect match with Hercules. I'll have to catch up with the post WWH Hercules once I've read WWH.
Comment by Alan M. on October 5, 2009 at 5:12pm
He still tends to draw people with the Crazy Eyes, though...
Comment by Doc Beechler (mod-MD) on October 5, 2009 at 5:01pm
Gary Frank is the perfect contemporary superhero artist...he mixes realism with great cartooning to amazing effect. He's only gotten better and better with time.
Comment by Wandering Sensei: Moderator Man on October 4, 2009 at 9:08am
I'll concede that maybe Superman Secret Origin did need to be written--and anyway, I'm really glad it was, because I loved every bit of it.

Thanks, Jeff!
Comment by Jeff of Earth-J on October 4, 2009 at 8:08am
Wow, that's a lotta reviews, Jeff!

I don't really have anything to contibute at this time, but good work!
Comment by Captain Comics on October 4, 2009 at 7:47am
It wasn't Waid's best work. And, besides, it's already been rendered moot by later events. So a new origin is called for.
Comment by Wandering Sensei: Moderator Man on October 3, 2009 at 11:55pm
Thanks for the compliments on the reviews, Cap!

And yeah, I just wondered why this was needed when we got a Superman origin story from Mark Waid a few years back. Evidently it didn't take long to get rid of that one. I've never read it, though, so I'm not sure how good/bad it was.
Comment by Captain Comics on October 3, 2009 at 11:40pm
Great reviews, Jupiter! (Everyone is aware that's the origin of "Jovian Reviews," right? Right.)

My only disagreement is that I DO think Superman: Secret Origin needs to be written, because as of the most recent set of crises, I no longer know with certainty certain salient details of the most important story in comics: The origin of Superman. Like: Was Luthor from Smallville? When did the costume debut? Was there a public Superboy? When did Clark learn of the Legion? Did the powers show up when Clark was a baby, or later? Did Lana know his secret all along? These are things that I've known about Superman as well as my own name through at least three iterations. But right now I don't know. And I want to know!

I'm aware that this "definitive" origin (as Dan DiDio called it in an interview with me) is only as permanent as the previous ones. In one year, five, 10 or 20 there will be another "definitive" origin of Superman -- as should be the case. Every generation should have its own stories, and for Superman to be vital he must stay current. But I want an origin!


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