Gotham Knights #39
writer: Scott Beatty
artists: Roger Robinson and John Floyd
without notice, the follow-up to Bruce Wayner: Fugitive
has been playing out in these pages. Batman's antagonism toward
the government has been played up in all his books, and since
the loss of Sasha, he has had a particular beef with Checkmate.
the last couple of issues, it's looked like Checkmate planned
to simply repeat its earlier stratagem: take a supposed ally
of Batman and turn her against him. Of course, readers would
know that The Huntress has been the most tenuous of allies
anyway, but we assumed that the government wouldn't know that.
to break Helena, Checkmate has even brought in The Mad Hatter
and The Scarecrow as psychological experts. It's sort of like
the proverbial fox guarding the henhouse, but why not? The
insane denizens of Arkham know the human mind too well.
the psychology of it all has tended to get a little muddled.
Psychobabble has replaced real characterization. There's a
fleeting reference to Batman possibly not knowing The Huntress'
identity, but it's handled in such a way that after reading
it twice, I'm still not sure why he wouldn't.
Beatty fails in characterization, however, he makes up in
plotting and just sheer action. Plus he manages to bring in
The Question; Vic still lurks in Gotham City, and it's only
a matter of time before the faceless one has to step in and
lend a hand.
Garland and Sean Phillips contribute a nice light Black &
White. It's not a make or break on buying this issue, but
it does make for a good extra.
of Prey #53
writer: Gilbert Hernandez
artists: Casey Jones and John Beatty
all else fails, and the pulse-pounding action needs a break,
you've got to send your heroines on vacation. And so for this
issue, that's exactly what guest writer Hernandez does.
process, though, he makes Barbara and Dinah into people we
don't really recognize.
torn up over the reappearance of Oliver Queen into her life,
Dinah feels a need to test her affection for him by playing
around. At the same time, Barbara has grown unsure of herself
as a result of the recent break-in to the clocktower.
that Dick might be taking her for granted, and thus letting
him stew in his own juices for a while? This is Oracle. She
was once the greatest Batgirl of them all. And she plays by
kind of insulting to the level-headedness of the character.
Not to mention a throwback to the early days of the editorially
decreed relationship. The couple has already had its share
of re-evaluation. Sometimes in life, the one thing you can
count on is your loved one. Just not in comics, I guess.
crime-fighting occurs here, but Hernandez does set the stage
for some to come, with a twist ending that clearly, you have
to know some obscure continuity to understand. All I really
know is that the next issue blurb promises a return of Metamorpho.
While it's a weird team-up, any excuse for the Element Man
is a good one. (Except for that "how he came back to life"
story - I finally found it and hated it.)
writer: Geoff Johns
artist: Phil Winslade
artist Scott Kolins takes a month off, with the more naturalistic
Winslade stepping up. It's a mixed bag, as some of Flash's
supporting characters look unrecognizable without Kolins'
more edged style. However, the issue's "villain," Peek-a-boo,
looks more like the sad young woman Johns meant her to be
in the first place.
the fill-in, this issue isn't just meant to mark time. No
Flash creative team can feel complete without tackling
Professor Zoom, The Reverse Flash, and it's pretty obvious
that Johns is laying the groundwork for his shot.
the way, he wrestles with the state of medical care in the
DCU, a sticky wicket at best. This is a world full of scientific
miracles (an oxymoron?), and yet people's organs still give
out. And The Flash's ally, Hunter Zolomon, can't walk as the
result of his run-in with Grodd.
always fun and games until somebody lets out the giant homicidal
wants Wally to use the fabled cosmic treadmill, to go back
in time and stop his injury. Or, more poignantly, go back
even further to what he considers the first domino that fell
in his line of bad luck. It's an intriguing notion that gets
a little brushed by here; however, I have a feeling it's going
to be very crucial in the months to come.
plight remains poignant, and she stands revealed as a woman
with a barely controllable power who really doesn't mean harm.
With this issue, we can probably scratch her off the official
Rogues' list, but her farewell makes a good read.
writer: Scott Beatty
artists: Phil Hester and Ande Parks
to happen. After 21 issues of successive sweeping story arcs,
Green Arrow suffers the dreaded fill-in issue.
it pretty cannily, with the art team remaining intact, just
waiting for Judd Winick to jump aboard. Helping fill the void
is their new utility player Scott Beatty, who despite going
down to CrossGen still seems able to pop up at DC with great
clear in Gotham Knights this
month, Beatty has great plotting skills, telling a story that
really zips along. It's when he gets into deeper waters that
he tends to run into trouble. So if you're used to every issue
of this book delving into the character of the man named Oliver
Queen, you won't find much of that here.
Oliver tries to go back to the beginning, to the island where
once marooned he developed his skills as an archer. Unfortunately,
over in the D.E.O. Green Arrow's arch-nemesis Count Vertigo
has gainful employment, with the only mark on his personnel
file being an unhealthy obsession with killing Green Arrow.
tradition of his mentor, Chuck Dixon, Beatty throws as much
macho around as he can. This is a basic man against the elements
tale, as the island Queen returns to isn't so nice during
a storm. Evidently, he lucked out the time before.
isn't Dixon. Right now, he doesn't have much of a voice of
his own, blending into the shadows of a story. In many ways
it's a relief; Beatty just wants to be a good comic book writer.
However, he needs to develop a stronger imprint, because his
most high profile work remains Joker: The Last Laugh,
not something he really should want as his calling card.
continuity geeks, we also have to chalk this issue up to Hypertime.
When we last saw Count Vertigo, The Spectre (the first one)
had leveled his country as a Gordian knot solution to centuries
of ethnic strife. Vertigo has no people to return to
and fight for their freedom. Even his enemies are dead.
ignoring that, the resolution of this story feels a bit hollow.
But at least it looks like a regular issue of Green