Just in time for Halloween, Travis joins me to discuss our favorite magical comic book characters. Who will make the cut? Dr. Fate or Dr. Strange? Etrigan or Hellboy? Listen to find out! But first we briefly talk about the passing of Steve Dillon and then chat about the fantastic artist who’s coming to the 2017 Emerald City Comicon: José Luis García-López!
Who are your favorite magical characters? Let us know!
Daredevil #2: Oddfellow and I discussed this title in Episode 8 of the LBR podcast, and upon further reflection, I really like how Matt lawyered his way out of Captain America taking DD in to pay for his crimes while possessed. DD’s comment to Cap about handling Cap’s shield plays so well into the focus by Mark Waid on Matt’s super-senses. It’s this aspect of the title that I’m really liking. The issue ends with a nice cliffhanger moment featuring my first DD villain (again, listen to Ep. 8!), Klaw.
Flashpoint: Abin Sur, the Green Lantern #2-3: A few posts ago, I wrote about reading some other Flashpoint tie-in number ones, this title being one of them. It turned out that Abin Sur was the only one of the bunch that I wanted to finish. I found it interesting that some elements from the GL film worked their way into this series. For example, we get a flashback scene showing Abin Sur training Sinestro. At one point, Sinestro constructs swords to attack Abin Sur, much like Hal did in the movie. The GL uniforms and the look of the Guardians also are influenced heavily from the movie. So . . . does that mean that the movie takes place in the Flashpoint universe??? In issue 3, I really loved the scene where Abin Sur creates a hand from the ring (after Sinestro cuts it off in the previous issue), yelling, “This. IS. WILLPOWER!”. Later, though Abin Sur dies trying to save England and stop the war, but he’s chosen by the White Entity to LIVE. The issue ends with him trying to keep the world from tearing itself apart from the Geo-Force bomb. But that’s the problem, it just ends. There is no resolution to the story that had been built up over the series, or at least one that feels satisfying to me.
Flashpoint: Wonder Woman & the Furies #3: Yet another weak ending to a Flashpoint tie-in. I thought I’d end up liking this series more than others, but it didn’t rise to my expectations. It ended. Meh.
JLA #60: What an interesting issue, and not in all good ways. Please listen to Ep. 8 for my and Oddfellow’s thoughts about this issue, but to follow-up, out of the stories that this JLA team supposedly handled after the Eclipso event, I would have loved to read the Saturn-Thanagar War, followed by the Fortress of Solitude’s renegade robot story, mostly for the focus on Supergirl, which is one of the characters that I actually enjoyed as written by Robinson. I know I’ve written many times about how I’ve been disappointed with Robinson’s run on the title, but I did really like seeing some of the former Titans being on the big team, even though they were portrayed out of character at times (or all the time).
LSH #16: When I saw this issue being solicited and the hand shown on the cover, I knew it would Earth Man to die. Which is too bad, because he’s been the most interesting character of Paul Levitz’s newest run on the title. I never really understood the relationship between Shady and Earth Man, but again, I found it an interesting plot point that never really went anywhere, so Shady’s grief shown towards the end of the issue doesn’t really connect with me. This title used to be full of interesting characters and relationships, but this latest volume has been pretty much devoid of that, preferring action over character. I have read that the new LSH #1 coming in September will be more of the same as the Legion is largely unaffected by the new DCU. If that’s the case, I’m afraid I won’t be long with this title (or its sister title, Legion Lost), but I am hoping that Mr. Levitz wows me because I love the Legion so much.
Spider Island: Amazing Spider-Girl #1: While I didn’t love the Spider-Girl series as much as I did Batgirl, I still was not happy when it was cancelled after only 8 issues. So, at least I get a little more of Anya Corazon in this Spider Island tie-in. It’s nice to see Anya back with spider powers, but will she keep them after this mini-event is over? I hope so. The splash page ending of the Kingpin wall crawling was pretty cool to see, too. I’m looking forward to seeing where they take Anya next.
Zatanna #16: Yet another title that Oddfellow and I discussed in Ep. 8 (I hope you’re not tired of the plugs). While we had our issues with the plot, I thought it was a nice enough ending to a troubled series, and by that I mean it ended without aggravating me. We remain hopeful that the character will get to shine in Justice League Dark (but what a horrible name for a book).
Since it took me a little over two months to release a new episode, I now give you more comic talk goodness. Episode 7 was released a few days ago, and now Travis and I continue our conversation about some final DC titles. Specifically, we talk about the end to Birds of Prey, Justice League of America, Secret Six, Zatanna, and Batman. Being the talkative twosome that we are, we end up not just talking about the final issues, but our impressions of the whole run, characters, and creators. We also ponder which is better: a late, but quality book, or a filler issue. Also, the evils of an incorrect solicitation.
And if that wasn’t enough, we also talk about some newish Marvel titles that we’ve read, specifically, Daredevil, Moon Knight, Alpha Flight, and Punisher. So buckle up, hang tight, and enjoy this super-sized episode (2:25:45)!
Batman: Gates of Gotham #3: Based on the information that came out of San Diego ComiCon, I see now how this series will tie into the relaunch of Batman, so DC did deliver on the promise of the solicitation for this series. I’m actually now enjoying the story set in Gotham’s past, but don’t really care for the present story, which is weird for me since Dick is the focus out of all the Bat-family members, and I love Dick (get your mind out of the gutter!).
Daredevil #1: I so looked forward to this comic. How could I not like that one of my very favorite comic writers, Mark Waid, is writing one of my favorite comic book characters (not just favorite Marvel characters)? Let’s start with the Paolo Rivera cover. I love how everything surrounding DD is sound given form. The way that DD’s billy club covers his eye is, pardon the phrase, eye-catching, which then allows you to focus on the fact that DD is smiling. I recently listened to a Marvel podcast featuring Waid where he discussed his take on DD, which is, yes, a lot of shit has gone down in Matt Murdoch’s life, but he’s choosing to look past that and focus on the future (or he’ll go crazy again). So, superficially, we get the DD from many years ago (the fearless swashbuckler), but under the surface is the man who has endured a great many things, and who should kill Brian Michael Bendis for all the crap he put DD through. :) The only misstep that I see with Waid’s characterization of DD was when DD kisses a bride-to-be in the middle of fighting the Spot. I get the, pardon the pun, devil-may-care attitude, but it still reads out of character to me. I also really liked the vignette at the end of the issue that builds upon how Matt’s sensory powers affect him and are shown to us.
The Paolo Rivera/Joe Rivera art is good enough, and reminds me of Mazzucchelli’s art on the “Born Again” storyline, only less heavy and a bit more cartoony. I liked how DD’s radar sense was shown, though, it reminds me a little of the visual that was used in the Daredevil movie, but that’s not a bad thing. All in all, I’ll go along for the ride, for now.
Flashpoint: Wonder Woman & the Furies #2: I definitely prefer Abnett & Lanning’s take on the Aquaman/Wonder Woman relationship/death feud when compared to what we see in Emperor Aquaman. I just hope by issue three that Diana knows about the treachery within the Amazonian ranks.
JLA #59: Interesting issue. It’s still written by James Robinson, but it reads slightly different than the last few years worth of JLA. I wonder if someone helped write this issue? Or, perhaps the new artist, Daniel Sampere, had something to do with the slightly different presentation. The Eclipso resolution came a little too fast and convenient for my taste, but I did like this issue overall, unlike previous issues in this storyline. That is, until I got to the end where, in one page, Batman announces the end of this JLA. This after Atom speechifies how this version of the JLA has been doing a good job and remain as they are as long as they want. I guess that’s what the next issue is about?
War of the Green Lanterns: Aftermath #1: This continues the story that ended in Green Lantern #67, so I am happy DC is putting out this two-issue mini to lead into the relaunch.
Zatanna #15: Hmm, compared to the last issue, I enjoyed this Derek Fridolfs story despite the familiar tropes (witch hunters, Zee being silenced, Zatarra showing up). The only problem I have with it is that the witch hunters claim they’ve hunted witches for centuries, yet this is the first time we’ve seen these particular guys? And really, if they were to go after all the magic-based characters in the DCU, would they even be around at this point? I also really liked Jamal Igle’s & John Dell’s art in this issue. Also, Zee looks kinda hot as a Puritan (is that wrong of me to think that?).
I also read Flashpoint: Deadman & the Flying Graysons #2 & LSH #15.
Brightest Day Aftermath: The Search for Swamp Thing #1: Hmm. I was looking forward to this considering how much I enjoyed Brightest Day, but I might have been sold a bill of goods. Yes, it’s kind of nice to see John Constantine interacting with superheroes, and the bit between him and Zatanna was kinda cool, however brief (Marco Castiello and Vincenzo Acunzo drew Zee very well), but overall, I’m confused. In Brightest Day, I thought we were shown that the Alec Holland Swamp Thing had returned to be the champion of the Earth, but here, Holland shows up crawling out of a Louisiana swamp apparently not a swamp thing. I’m confused, and I shouldn’t be. What a way to squander the good feeling I had about the Brightest Day storyline, DC.
Flashpoint: Kid Flash Lost #1: I didn’t think I was going to like this comic that much, and while it isn’t great, it’s not as bad as I thought it would be. But can I just say how much I HATE it when writers make androids say things like “Statement” and then have the character make the statement (they have Red Tornado in Batman: Brave and the Bold do that, too). Do they think it’s cute or something? It’s so 1950s robot and should forever be abolished. Anyway. So we have another Flash who knows that the time stream is not what it should be, but since much of this issue is Kid Flash escaping the clutches of Brainiac (and is this a shout out to the world of DCUO?), not much goes on here. Actually, I’m starting to see a pattern with these Flashpoint tie-ins: many of the first issues so far barely have a chance to set up the premise before they’re over. We only get three issues, so I’m starting to think the actual story for each of these is pretty thin, and that kind of pisses me off. I guess I should reserve judgement until I read issue 2 of each, though.
Flashpoint: Lois Lane & the Resistance #1: This one kind of bored me. The only bit of character drama here was Lois’s desire to continue what Jimmy was involved with regarding the Resistance, but the Lois we’re shown at the beginning of the story definitely isn’t the Lois Lane I love. I’m getting worried that this is an indication of the kind of Lois we’ll end up with post-Flashpoint. Again, I’m probably judging prematurely. Regarding the cover, you’ll see the Canterbury Cricket and the Demon, but much like many of the covers for these tie-ins, they do not appear in this issue; however, the cover does tie into the story of the Canterbury Cricket one-shot, so why didn’t that come out first? Odd timing.
Flashpoint: The Reverse Flash #1: When I read this, it felt like it was an epilogue to Flash: Rebirth, or at least the first six issues of the latest Flash series. It doesn’t really seem to have anything to do Flashpoint per se, but maybe the events in the main even book will bear this comic out in some way.
Mighty Thor #3: That’s a pretty bitchin’ cover. Unfortunately, what’s inside is pretty standard fare. Thor beats up on Silver Surfer, and the Asgardians prepare for war with Galactus (wearing some pretty Kirby-esque armor). Also, there’s the very uninteresting story B involving Volstagg and the people of Broxton. I will go low-brow here for a moment and comment how well Olivier Coipel and Mark Morales draw Lady Sif. Heh. I can’t decide if I like this series or not. I think I expect a more action oriented Thor series and I’m not getting that so far.
Sigil #4: This was a waste of time. Not much really happens, other than the protagonist becomes aware that she has special abilities. I bought this not knowing what to expect, and knowing that I love Mike Carey’s work, but I didn’t really care about any of it.
Superman #712: As with Sigil, this was a waste of time. I usually don’t mind breaks in the main story for a one issue diversion, and they’ve already done that once with the Lois Lane story, but this time, it didn’t work for me. Maybe I just don’t identify with Krypto? Yes, you kinda feel for the mutt, but this was a filler issue, and it shows, despite Kurt Busiek’s involvement. Let’s get back to the “Grounded” storyline, shall we?
Zatanna #14: Wow! Two stories in a row where Zee doesn’t get gagged or tied up! But the whole bit with her lecturing her cousin seems awfully familiar. Other than that, it’s a generic rescue plot, with Zee coming across as the uptight, older family member. And the joke at the end? Lame-o. Certainly not worth a splash page. This title being cut come September is a mercy killing.
I also read Batman: Gates of Gotham #2 (yawn) & JLA #58 (which was actually somewhat entertaining and not as cringe-inducing as usual).