writer: Brian Michael Bendis
artist: Michael Gaydos
Tsk, tsk. Bendis keeps sneaking in actual
cross-book continuity. Actually, when used in small doses
like this, it's quite cool. For those of us whose heads easily
fill with useless information (please don't ask me what color
my wife's eyes are), continuity has never been a problem.
Jessica has found her missing girl, Rebecca
Cross. Inspired by Matt Murdock's "outing" in the pages of
his own book, Rebecca finally found the courage to leave her
repressive small town and forge a new identity without having
to lie about being a mutant. She also writes poetry; I'll
let others decide if it's good or bad.
Much of the action of this issue happens
off-panel, with the story itself serving as more of a mood
piece. It's a somber ending to a thought-provoking arc, broken
up by the funniest question asked in comics this week: "Ever
been kicked in the nuts by a superhero?"
writer: Greg Rucka
artists: Steve Lieber and Mark McKenna
Not every comics writer has the right feel
for government shenanigans necessary to pull off a Checkmate
story. As a result, that organization has faded in importance
over the last few years. But with Rucka at the helm, we should
have seen the resurgence coming.
In fact, if you read this month's Detective
lead story as a Checkmate story with Batman in it instead
of vice versa, you may enjoy it more. That shadowy government
operation is responsible for Sasha's faked death, as a recruitment
tool. In Rucka's hands, Checkmate seems more formidable than
it has in a long time, possibly garnering new interest in
Batman, on the other hand, pretty much behaves
like the socially retarded golem he had been for most of the
year, Devin Grayson's excellent Gotham Knights issue
a couple of weeks back notwithstanding. Is it so hard to find
dramatic conflict in the guy actually betraying an emotion
or two to Alfred? Back in the Manor for only a couple of months,
and it's clear we're headed for another walkout by the British
Doom Patrol #12
writer: John Arcudi
artist: Tan Eng Huat
During the filming of Commando, or
so legend has it, Schwarzenegger had to be talked out of doing
a scene in which he ripped a guy's arm off and then beat some
other bad guys with it. Arnie didn't understand why people
might not think that was funny. (And you know, he probably
had a point.) Arcudi clearly shares that sense of humor, as
Robotman's chief weapon this issue is his own dismembered
The Doom Patrol has descended into Hell,
or at least a warehouse in Hell's industrial district. Caught
up in the strange plot of a minor demon looking to move in
on some greater action, they face their own fears and kick
some devilish butt. Some of the ideas at play are handled
fairly well, but the fight scenes tend to overwhelm the coolness
of the plot, and the running gag of Negative Man's mom calling
runs too long, with a punchline that's given too much weight
and simply isn't funny.
Finally, artist Eng Huat betrays a strange
weakness. He seems incapable of much variation in facial expressions.
When everybody was supposed to be surprised or angry (as most
of the run has required), it didn't stand out. But the opening
page depicts an angel with the sweetest voice in all of heaven,
singing his joy. He sure looks ticked to be belting out hosannas.
Green Arrow #16
Writer: Brad Meltzer
Artists: Phil Hester & Ande Parks
Reviewed by Michael
This issue begins the Brad Meltzer era on
Green Arrow. He has big shoes to fill, picking up where Kevin
Smith left off and so far the transition seems seamless. Oliver
is curious about his funeral and asks Superman to tell him
about it. While reviewing photos, Oliver becomes even more
curious about a man he does not recognize and thus, the mystery
unfolds. Meltzer's writing seems right at home in Green Arrow,
surprising since this is his first comic book ever. There
are some funny bits along with the superhero (and villain)
cameos we like to see. Clearly, Meltzer had time to study
the DCU while waiting in the wings for Kevin Smith to wrap
The transition is even less noticeable because
Hester and Parks continue doing their excellent job as the
art team. Like Powers, the cartoonish nature of the art doesn't
distract at all from the grittiness of the story. It only
makes it more charming.
writer: James Robinson
artists: Rags Morales and Timothy Truman
Following the pattern of Robinson's Starman
book, Hawkman pays a little visit to Times Past. The
result may be the best-looking book on the stands last week.
Truman's inks over Morales' pencils make for a great effect.
The story is pretty good, too, setting up
two old DC western heroes as part of the Hawkman mythos (tipped
off in the Secret Files book). Yet it has a couple
of missteps. The narrator seems to have a sort of twang to
him, but that appears to only be so we won't guess who it
is. (Truthfully, I'm still not sure.) And it all has a strange
feeling of déjà vu to it, not just reminiscent of Starman
but slavishly trying to follow it.
Opal City had its Western hero, too, occasionally
allied with a likeable rogue whom we had previously known
only as a supervillain in modern times. Instead of The Shade,
we get Gentleman Jim Craddock, better known as The Gentleman
Ghost, though appearing as a living human later than his previous
origin stories would have us think possible. So all may not
be what it seems, and surprises may be in store. But it's
a shame to have that rehashed feeling permeating the book.
Liberty Meadows #27
story and art: Frank Cho
To celebrate the move to a new publisher,
Cho has Brandy revealing a t-shirt with the Image logo on
it. Breathtaking, perhaps; unfortunately, nobody seems to
have told Cho they changed the logo on him. It's forgivable,
because the old logo sure has its effect.
As usual, this book is fun from cover to
cover. What's unusual is that Cho has altered the format somewhat,
switching to the style Marvel employs for its "wide screen"
books. For a title with its origin in the daily strip, this
is not only sensible, but long overdue.
This month Brandy and the boys hit a comic
book convention. Some of the strips appeared in newspapers,
but Cho has expanded the adventures to fit his more mature
(?) comics readers. Along the way, there's also a none-too-subtle
Scott Kurtz' often brilliant strip PvP. Check it out to
get the full effect of the comedy.
The Punisher #15
writer: Garth Ennis
artists: Darick Robertson and Nelson
By using crusading Bugle reporter Chuck Self,
Ennis points out the flaw in the arrangement between Lt. Soap
and Frank Castle. They don't really do a great job of covering
up the fact that they work together. Luckily, the police don't
really want to do a thorough job of tracking either man, so
they shouldn't get caught. Until Chuck Self wants to get the
And he does, in a bleakly funny night in
The Punisher's life. Along the way this tough-guy journalist
gets sucked into more murder and mayhem than he ever thought
possible. If only he'd remembered just how rigid and simple
The Punisher's code of ethics actually is. Luckily, Ennis
remembers, and delivers yet another excellent issue that skirts
the line of taste and makes you beg for more.
Ultimate Spider-Man #26
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: Mark Bagley & Art Thibert
Reviewed by Michael
If I ever lose all my money by betting on
wrestling and I have to beg on street corners, my sign will
say "Will Work for Brian Michael Bendis Comics."
Issue 26 is the same logical, fast-paced,
enjoyable retelling of Peter Parker's early years that we've
come to love from Ultimate Bendis. This issue in particular
gives little winks and nods to the classic Green Goblin vs.
Spider-Man confrontation on top of the bridge, with Mary Jane
this time playing the role of Gwen Stacy. There are new twists
and yet another cliffhanger ending to keep even the most jaded
long time fan interested.
Seriously, if you are not reading this book,
it's time to turn in your Spider-Man fan club card and move
out of your parents' house.