writer: J. Michael Straczynski
artists: John Romita, Jr. and Scott Hanna
let the cover fool you. Though Mary Jane and Peter seem happily
reunited, there's still plenty in the way of a disgusting
new supervillain to attract readers who could care less about
the Parkers' love life.
opening in Vegas in 1957 (wasn't that where the two were stuck
last issue?), JMS offers us up "Digger," an amalgamation of
murdered gangsters and that pesky gamma radiation. Too bad
Peter David already created something like that in a Hulk
villain named Half-Life. (Isn't it enough that they raise
the price on Captain Marvel and likely fire him, too?
Must the powers that be wipe out the very memory of his work?)
this rough beast slouches toward Manhattan, our hero takes
it slow in reconciling with his wife. Everything looks good,
except for some reason, Romita has turned all of his characters
into bobble-head dolls. It's still the same look, just with
freakin' enormous craniums.
Detective Lamont returns, Mona Lisa smile still in place.
As a supporting castmember, he's welcome, and he grounds Peter
in a way that nobody else has. Lamont recognizes the need
for superheroes in a super-powered world, but still thinks
it would be a nicer place without them.
he hasn't been to Earth-Prime.
writer: Jeph Loeb
artists: Jim Lee and Scott Williams
think by now that the Gotham City Opera Company would learn
never to do Il Pagliacci. It's just an invitation to
The Joker or, in this case, Harley Quinn, to come and wreak
Bruce Wayne seems to have figured it out, and came in the
appropriate evening clothes. By the sheerest of coincidences,
his date for the evening turns out to be Selina Kyle, furthering
the strange relationship set in motion by Loeb.
in attendance, actually having invited both of our heroes
along, is Tommy Elliot. And so with all our leading players
in attendance, you can just turn the pages until the clown
reveals herself to be Harley.
Loeb and Lee also provide further tantalizing glimpses of
Tommy and Bruce's past, and a blissfully cancer-free Alfred,
this issue takes a clichéd situation and breathes no new life
the art remains stunning. And Loeb's grasp of characterization
continues to be masterful. But it's the plot, stupid. We've
seen it - heck, I think it's even in The Untouchables.
to think of it, in the real world I don't know that I've ever
seen an opera company do Il Pagliacci at all. Hmm.
Maybe it really is some sort of opera curse that performances
are always interrupted by supervillains.