Adventure Comics #528: This issue is significant only in that four Legion Academy members actually graduate after 30 years! Wow, they must have been pretty poor students. ;-) Power Boy, Lamprey, Crystal Kid, & Nightwind all get to move on to bigger and better (?) things in the Legion universe, namely Takron-Galtos or a Science Police outpost (poor Lamprey). Next up, the Academy students get to fight Cosmic King in the last issue of the series.
Batman & Robin #25: Yeah, the three-part story with Jason Todd ended. Thank god.
Fear Itself #4: Wow, there was a lot of exposition early on in this issue. I guess Fraction felt he had to spell it all out for everyone (even though I kind of knew all of it from the context of the previous issues). There was one . . . odd moment in the scene where Black Widow lashes out at Nick Fury a little bit, and then five panels later is hugging Fury in grief and fear. The odd part to me wasn’t so much that it happened, but that it’s a quiet, background moment. I guess I just didn’t expect 1) Black Widow to react in this way since she is a hardened spy/superhero and 2) with Fury–it’s just weird seeing him comfort anyone. But I suppose this just underscores the level of Fear encroaching everywhere without the comic pointing it so obviously as it did earlier on. There are two bigger moments in the comic, but only one really made me go, “Wha–?!”. First, Steve Rogers dons his familiar red, white, and blue duds (but we all expected this would happen in this series, right?), and Tony Stark, in order to get Odin’s attention, makes a sacrifice of his sobriety. I found that to be more moving and having much more impact than Bucky dying in last issue.
Flashpoint #3: This whole issue seems to be undercutting expectations. First, Barry convinces Batman to let him get zapped by lightning again even though the first time has essentially killed Barry, but get zapped again Barry does and–oh my gosh!–it works! So much for the cliffhanger ending of last issue. Then, when Batman, Flash, and Cyborg infiltrate Project: Superman, they find a thin, almost gaunt Kal-El. Batman then says, “This is the most powerful being on the planet?” Later, after they’ve helped the Kryptonian escape, the issue ends with Kal-El flying away. So much for Barry’s plan. This was not my favorite issue of this series so far. In fact, it reminded me of how I felt reading Flash: Rebirth: too slow moving.
Flashpoint: Batman #2: WARNING: there be spoilers here. Of course, the Joker shows up (look at the cover!) in this new universe, but OH MY GOD THE ENDING!!! First, however, let me back up. When Joker is first shown to us, we get a very healthy dose of Heath Ledger’s look despite that Joker is shown in shadows, and I hated that. I’m so sick of Ledger’s Joker being hoisted up as the epitome of that character. Anyway. This issue is full of tragedy and Brian Azzarello does a good job of making you feel uncomfortable in general for most of the issue (or it’s just that he shows the Joker terrorizing Harvey Dent’s kids–a sure-fire way to get my blood boiling). What I like about these Flashpoint titles is that the creators are more free to play around with things (mostly grisly death scenes) that they wouldn’t be allowed to do in the DCU proper. Case in point: Gordan accidentally shoots one of the kids before being offed by the Joker. Who turns out to be Martha Wayne! That last page is definitely killer. This issue is by far the best Flashpoint tie-in title I’ve read so far.
Flashpoint: Secret Seven #2: I’m not sure what to think about this title. The characters are being gathered and something is wrong with Shade, apparently. The final issue better bring it. I do like that Black Orchid keeps popping up, even if she’s supposed to be dead. I’ve always liked that character, even before Neil Gaiman got a hold of her.
Flashpoint: World of Flashpoint #2: Until the Batman Flashpoint issue #2, this was my favorite tie-in. Like Secret Seven, this is a gathering of sorts, or at least a showcase of various characters, but the pay-off of the issue is the last page, where Traci’s Dad is wielding magic, as I expected to see, so no big surprise there.
Secret Six #35: Sigh. Given that Bane will be a baddie in the upcoming Batman film, and that (I believe) Dan DiDio has said that Bane will be more be “more antagonistic” than he’s been portrayed in Secret Six, this latest issue of one of the best comics on the stands today (period) starts Bane down that unfortunate path. Again with the sigh. Gail Simone does an excellent job at transitioning Bane into the editorial mold that he’s been cast, but it’s so disappointing to see this change given how cool I’ve thought Bane has become in this book. Even more so when you factor in his scenes from last issue! Despite this shift, there are still some very good moments in this book. The discussion between Catman and Bane at the beginning, Deadshot’s complete lack of empathy and his “relationship” with Jeanette, the scene between Scandal and Knockout (another near-heart-breaking moment from the pen of Simone!), King Shark singing his anthem (while I do not care for this character in general, I love Simone’s love of him–it’s a bit infectious), and Ragdoll’s method (with King Shark’s help) of convincing Penguin to cooperate with the team. All good stuff. Only one more issue. :(