Here some quick thoughts/reactions to the comic books I read during April, 2023 (count: 70). If you’ve read any of these comics, what did you think of them?
Justice 7-8: I wrote about issue 7 here and issue 8 here. All of the Justice related posts can be found here.
Sandman 1: No, this is not the Gaiman/Keith Sandman from Vertigo, this is the Kirby/Simon superhero Sandman from 1972. I talked about this issue (along with The Demon 1 and OMAC 1) with Christopher Calloway in episode 234.
Amethyst 2: Peter and I discussed this issue as part of the Legion Project (episode 41).
Giant Days v12 (45-48; actually read this in 2022 but I forgot to record it), Giant Days v13 (49-52), Giant Days v14 (53-54, Special), Giant Days: Extra Credit (1-5): Alas, all good (great, stupendous, wonderful, fantastic, sublime) things must come to an end, and it is with a heavy heart that I finally finished Giant Days. It’s rare for me to find a comic book that brings me such joy to read, each and every issue — Giant Days is one of those books (another one is Superman: For All Seasons). The Sarin/Allison collaboration is so perfect, and while I would love to see what happens to Esther, Susan, Daisy, and the rest ten years hence, I doubt they could capture that lightning in a bottle so well again. If you have never read Giant Days, I implore you to seek this out posthaste! It will change your life. :)
Parker Girls v1 (1-5): I love when Terry Moore explores different aspects of his ‘verse and this was not a disappointment. In fact, for a thriller style story, I was left at the end genuinely concerned for Katchoo. When does volume two come out?!
Superman 654: I have heard for years that the Kurt Busiek and Carlos Pacheco run on Superman was not to be missed! And given how much I adored Pacheco’s work on Arrowsmith, I couldn’t wait to see how he portrayed Superman. Unfortunately, I did not see any of the charm I saw in Arrowsmith in Superman. I also found the story generally lacking. I probably should read another issue to be more fair, but I don’t really want to.
Millennium 1: I reread this as part of the Legion Project (episode 41), where Peter and I discussed it briefly.
Blacksad v1: I have had this digital collection in my To Read list forever after hearing for years how good the Blacksad comics were. I was immensely disappointed. Maybe it was the hype that tainted my reading experience, or perhaps it was the uninspiring detective noir style (though with anthropomorphic characters)? I won’t be continuing with any further volumes.
Rocketman & Rocketgirl 1: I really only bought this because of the Jacob Edgar cover (interior art was by Jordi Pérez). He also wrote the issue and because I really like his art, I wanted to support him. This was a wonderful surprise! It captured a Golden Age quality while being accessible to a modern audience. The plot is pretty basic, but the characterizations were charming, especially the wife and husband (I got some Nick and Nora Charles vibes from them). I would love to see Edgar write (and draw) more in this world (or really, anywhere).
Danger Street 4: This is a simmering stew, where bits of this and bits of that are slowly coming together to make something tasty that’s more than the sum of its parts. It gets better with each issue (thankfully) and I love how Fornes and King layer meaning in the panels — it really can be the epitome of what comic book storytelling does best. Overall though? I’m still not sure. Does that make it a bad comic book? Does each issue have to be a stand-alone masterpiece? Oh yeah, fuck the Green Team — no man escapes the Manhunters.
Batman/Superman: World’s Finest 13: Metamorpho has never been a favorite DC character, and we get 5 pages of 22 devoted to his origin! The Doom Patrol didn’t get 5 pages to explain them (maybe because they had a tv show out at the same time?), but whatever. The opening two pages are another wonderful bit of DC superhero goodness by Waid and Mora that hints at a story we may never see but we’d sure like to! The rest of the issue is the investigation, which Jimmy Olsen somehow breaks, hands over what he’s discovered to the cops who arrest the suspect (Bruce Wayne!), and co-wrote the article with Clark Kent. Just how much time has passed in this issue?!
Nightwing 102: I love the scene where the bad guy — Disguise Master — throws Olivia, expecting the Titans to abandon him and save the little girl and he is astonished they don’t. Of course, it’s the Titans, so Donna saves her while Starfire and Cyborg blast him. Later, after Beast Boy sarcastically suggests they go to Hell and “break into a demon’s filing cabinet”, he concedes that Nightwing’s name for the mission — Hell Heist — is better than his. It’s a fine issue, but mostly for the comradery and humor more so than the plot. The best thing about the backup tale? The flashback scenes as drawn by Pansica / Ferreira / Lucas — the shadow work and subtle colors really stand out against the very brightly colored present day story.
Gotham City: Year One 6: I hate the kind of stories where a lie is the lesser of two evils, where allowing an adulterer and kidnapper be murdered and the killer go free is better than the truth. These are the hard choices Slam Bradley, and Constance Wayne, make in order for Gotham City to heal (at least for a while). While I prefer my superhero stories to be less shades of gray, this isn’t a superhero story. It’s about humanity at its worst. So what does this all mean to Batman? Bradley draws parallels to the Dark Knight Detective and his grandmother, but we don’t get to see how that impacts Bruce. He asks Bradley, “What does it mean?” Bradley replies, “Doesn’t mean anything. Just what happened.” In the end, does this story mean anything?
Marvel Saga 9: While I am now way behind Peter as he covers The Marvel Saga, I will continue to read this series (at least through issue 12, the last in the collection I have) to learn about the early Marvel universe. So, what did I learn this time? That Dr. Hank Pym is a pervert. He meets the young Janet Van Dyne, whom even he describes as “not much more than a child” (and who also looks like his deceased, first wife, Maria), and then he literally grooms her to be his “partner”, the Wasp. I found this sequence in the issue extremely problematic. Given what happens later between these two, you can almost see the writing on the wall in these early appearances.
The Variants 1-5: I almost bought this series as it was coming out, but decided to wait to read the first issue on the Marvel Unlimited app and see if I wanted the print collection. Time passed, and I realized in April that all five issues were available to read, so I started it … and essentially couldn’t stop until I read all of the issues! I have loved Jessica Jones since Alias, and this is a nice continuation of the character, even if the multiversal plot didn’t seem to add up totally for me. Regardless, it was neat to see Jessica What Ifed…?.
Inferno 1: I’m not sure why I added this mini-series to my reading list on the DCUI app months ago. I think it was because of the supermarket magazine-looking cover? When I finally read issue one, I realized it was a Legion book?! This is one of those future person trapped in the past stories. While I read the Threeboot Legion issues (at least until Shooter came back), I don’t recall this character at all. I found her to be a little too petulant and it turned me off reading more.
Sex v4 (21-26): For a book titled and depicts sex, I’m getting bored. About the only interesting part is the back story of Quinn (the Alfred of the story) and her involvement with Cooke and how she helped mold him into the Armored Saint. Also, the vision one of the main antagonists has before he dies plays into the next volume, so we’ll see where that ends up.
Dark Crisis: Big Bang 1: After I upgraded my DCUI subscription to Ultra, this was the first comic book I read. It was fun to see some of the infinite Earths as Flash and Kid Flash go racing among them, but even better was the list of alternate Earths at the end of the issue that included very brief notes by Barry — it makes me want to go read each of those issues. Of note in the list were the following Earths:
- Earth-0: the main DC universe
- Earth-33: where superheroes are fictional (from Flash 179); is this the new Earth Prime? Barry also states that by reading the comic books from this Earth, he was able to identify other Earths and he cites his sources for us!
- Earth-44: robotic JLA variants (I don’t know why, but that one panel intrigued me)
- Earth-59: the first known parallel Earth (from Wonder Woman 59)
- Earth-789: where the Reeve Superman, Slater Supergirl, and Keaton Batman versions of the heroes (based on the 1978 and 1989 films) are are set.
- Earth-1956: where the Silver Age Superboy and Krypto resides; also, later home of the Super Friends (interesting…)
I sure wish DC would lean into its parallel Earths in more comic book stories because I would love to see many of these Earths for more than a panel.
Action Comics 1051: I almost bought this issue for the Dan Mora cover. But I’m glad I read this on the DCU app because it was ho-hum. Too many characters, too much pulling from previous stuff I didn’t read, and not enough engaging material to hold my interest. I doubt I’ll read the next issue. I did love the Marguerite Sauvage art in the Power Girl short (even though I don’t get why TPTB thought PG needed psychic abilities?).
Superman: Space Age 3: Well, that ended, just as was predicted in issue 1. Was the point that narratives live on, changed though they may be? That Superman is the constant of the DC Universe? I’m so glad I hadn’t bothered to buy the issues, despite the Allred art.
Superman: Lost 1: Considering Christopher Priest was writing this, I was expecting something a little deep and definitely interesting. What I read was neither. Maybe it’s a slow burn that will just kill in the end, but it was unexpectedly … dull? Superman goes on a mission, returns, but it’s been 20 years and he’s changed? I think we should have gotten a bit more of what happened to him (which I assume is in the next issue) or more of how he was affected by this gap.
Justice Society of America 2-3: Quite honestly? I’m reading this because I love the JSA characters and Mikel Janin’s art. The multiple timeline aspect of issue 2 is just noise at this point, but having Degaton show up at JSA’s HQ at the end of issue 3 was unexpected.
Hope v1 (1-6): The Previews solicitation about a superhero who is outed and what that does to her and her family grabbed me, but I was not expecting to have such an emotional reaction to the struggle the superhero mother goes through when the state removes her daughter from the mother’s care because her being a superhero is a risk. It’s a take that has rarely been, if ever, explored. At the time of this writing, there is a sequel being published, and I will certainly be getting the collection for volume 2.
Aquaman: Andromeda 1: I’ve been waiting a while to read this because of the preview pages I’d seen online. When it finally came on the DCUI app and I had some time, I dove (heh) in. Aquaman is hardly in it, but the Ward art sure is nice.
Unstoppable Doom Patrol 1: I’m not the huge Doom Patrol fan that my friend Travis is, but I like the ragtag team of misfits generally. This is a new dynamic with Jane taking on the field leader role as Chief, and we have a new member, Beast Girl, who seems a bit useless. Speaking of useless, Batman shows up and Jane gives him the what-for and when she announces they are taking the metahuman they came to Gotham to retrieve (to help him — making this seem more like an X-Men book than a Doom Patrol book), she tells him, “I wasn’t asking you … for permission”.
Patsy Walker: Hellcat 2: After all of the other wonderful Christopher Cantwell written comic books I’ve read in the last year, this was a complete dud. I almost didn’t read this issue because the take on the character in the first one was so … wrong. I’m all for exploring different aspects of a character, but after what Cantwell and the artists on Iron Man did with Patsy there, this comedic send-up in this mini-series is a travesty. Maybe the humor will hit home with some out there, but it ain’t for me, and I will not be reading any more.
Detective Comics 569-570: I saw that Alan Davis had a short run on Detective Comics that I hadn’t read, so I sought these out on the DCUI app. I love Davis’/Neary’s lanky (Jason Todd) Robin and his smiling Batman. Coupled with the Barr stories and characterizations, it seems like they were trying to do the 1966 Batman in 1987. 569 has the Joker turning Catwoman “evil” again and 570 ends with Batman grimly contemplating his greatest fear: Jason Todd murdered (by Scarecrow but a year before it actually happened by the Joker). These are fun Batman and Robin stories elevated by the Davis art.
Wicked Things v1 (1-6): I bought this collection ages ago, but I didn’t want to read it until I had finished with Giant Days. Please tell me there will be more of this! It’s like Panel Syndicate’s Friday but with far more humor and British everything. I don’t think there is any finer comedic duo in comic books than Sarin and Allison. However, the plot meandered a bit too long with Charlotte being in the employ of the police and they never resolved the fact that she was charged with murdering a fellow detective. Maybe that’s to come in future issues, but that wasn’t clearly indicated to me.
Scarlet Witch 1: I really only wanted to read this for the Sara Pichelli art. The premise reminded me of DC’s Madame Xanadu a bit with wayward souls needing help entering the shop and Wanda coming to their aid. The issue was good on characters (I liked that Darcy from the Thor movies was there, as well as brother Quicksilver), but I found it a little wanting in the overall story. I’ll have to read the next issue to see if I want to continue with it.