the Christmas rush of books, it was kind of a relief for the
stands to only have four books I wanted to buy this week.
Wow. Think about that: only four books. It's that much more
money to waste on HeroClix.
Gotham Knights #37
writer: Scott Beatty
artists: Roger Robinson and John Floyd
couple of months, it has seemed like everybody forgot about
Stephanie Brown. It's not a glaring plotting problem, as there
are just a heck of a lot of members of the Batman Family.
Anybody know where Harold is?
issue, The Spoiler comes roaring back into the spotlight,
as Batman fires her in the most painfully jerkish way he possibly
can - by holding out hope. Unfortunately for Stephanie, The
Bat plays a rigged game whenever he possibly can.
lays down a couple of interesting twists. Rather than al Qaeda
being the terrorist bugbear in Gotham, it's Kobra. Depending
on how you feel about our national situation, the search for
a terrorist in Gotham could be riveting or tasteless. I fall
in the former, especially because Beatty makes it suspenseful
and plays fair with the clues, even if Batman doesn't.
are also seeds for the future: a quick vignette of a lawyer
showing interest in Bruce Wayne's legal file, and the return
of Checkmate to Gotham City. As far as I'm concerned, that
can only be a good thing; pitting Batman against the government
still seems ripe for a lot of good plot riffs.
and Floyd continue with their slightly stylized approach.
With echoes of Miller and Jansen, they still portray the DCU
as recognizably such, though they portray a Metamorpho more
realistically human than usual. (Would somebody please
get around to explaining how he's not dead?)
Black + White backup slot, Mike Carey and Steve Mannion pit
The Bat against a well-worn enemy with a medieval twist. Though
the ultimate theme of the story has been done before, it's
still fun, and stands out as one of the better black and whites.
writer: Judd Winick
artists: Dale Eaglesham and Rodney Ramos
sure dumbed down the Guardians of the Universe. These guys
used to command a vast army of soldiers in the service of
good, and understood exactly what was going on in the farthest
corners of the cosmos. And now, look at them: all but one
are toddlers, and the remaining immortal, Ganthet, has decided
to settle into dotage.
course, their main soldier in the service of good, Kyle Rayner,
keeps making the same mistakes over and over, without any
real chastisement on Ganthet's part.
fair, the little blue guy does momentarily cluck over Kyle's
choice to leave Earth for a while in the hands of John Stewart,
until reminded that yes, John Stewart is a good Green Lantern,
and there's still a whole bunch of galaxy left undefended.
again, Kyle blunders into an alien situation and takes one
race's word for what's going on. Jade tries to introduce a
different point of view, but Kyle shuts her down. Come on,
for all her power, Jenny really hasn't had much experience
dealing with other worlds…
got past Kyle having feelings of inadequacy, to now just being
an idiot. Some days, you kind of wish Hal would just wake
up from a terrible dream in which he went insane, blew up
Oa, reignited the sun, and became The Spectre.
waste in this book is that Eaglesham and Ramos do some of
their best work on this title, just in time for Eaglesham
to jump over to CrossGen.
writer: Grant Morrison
artists: Frank Quitely and Avalon Studios
midst of a riot a-borning at the Academy, Morrison spends
the bulk of his time with "The Special Class." Not necessarily
students that have a hard time learning (one is nothing but
a brain), these seem more to be the ones who have trouble
adjusting. Of course, that sort of labeling is ironic with
The Omega Gang stirring up trouble while seeming to fit in
with the larger mutant society.
on the edges are the U-Men, with Morrison clearly planning
a colossal clash of all the social forces he has built up
in the last year. Starting with an Omega Gang raid on a U-Man
funeral, the action shifts over to the "third species" stalking
the special class on a camping trip. Led by their teacher,
Xorn, the special kids gain new insight into their own abilities
and a valuable lesson in self-reliance.
hands, it's not nearly as "very special episode"-ish as it
problem with this group of mutants are their practicality.
On the surface, they sound cool. But a character like Dummy
would have died upon discovering his mutant abilities. A sentient
gas, Dummy has no internal cohesion, and requires a special
suit to stay together. Mostly it's an excuse for the joke
that this character is, as Basilisk calls him, a smart fart.
No-Girl exist or not? We'll never know for sure, which makes
for a fine game played on the readers' heads, but could get
it looks like some of the bizarreness is getting reined in.
Quitely and/or Avalon Studios (are they inking or outright
ghosting?) have made Beak look far less like a human chicken
than he did originally. And only one Omega Gang member cannot
pass for regular human. Whoever did what artistically, the
results are the best Quitely has looked yet on this book.
So naturally, rumor has it that he has left it completely.
writer: Brian Michael Bendis
artists: Mark Bagley and Art Thibert
quite possible that by introducing Ultimate Eddie Brock, Bendis
set us up with a great red herring. We know what we expect,
but that's not what we're going to get. From the force of
Venom's official appearance here, it seems like he just might
not need a host at all.
than being an alien symbiote, the black suit is a genetic
experiment keyed to Peter's DNA. In far less time than it
took the original Peter Parker to discover, though it gives
the wearer what it needs, the suit has needs of its own. Or
does it? What it appears to be doing is drawing from Peter's
own repressed emotions. If anything, Ultimate Venom is a creature
of his id.
a spectacular debut it makes. Bagley certainly did his time
with the original Venom, but still makes this a different
creation. Yes, Venom still has the ridiculous teeth and tongue,
but in the back of his throat, there's still Peter Parker,
panels, it's clear that Venom and Peter are fighting each
other, but Peter's expressions indicate he may be thinking
that he is, after all, only fighting himself.
has gone on record saying that Venom is far from his favorite
character, but he has managed to give the character a real
shot at new life in this rebirth. Unless he reneges on another
promise and gives us Ultimate Carnage, Bendis once again proves
that he is one of the best writers working in comics.
he could probably even make Carnage interesting.