The Geekly DC Review #7

A Red Hood rises and a Catwoman falls in this week's DC reviews!

Cover courtesy of Courtney Pugh

Reviews by J.T. Johnson

This week on ‘The Geekly DC Review’, I have a pretty nice selection of reviews ranging from “Detective Comics” to “Red Hood and the Outlaws”! It was a fun time reading DC this week, but I do say goodbye to the latest “Catwoman” series. Three issues in and it just couldn’t hook me, so I’m dropping the title from my pull list.

“Detective Comics” #988
‘Deface the Face’ Part One
WRITER: James Robinson
ARTIST: Stephen Segovia

Writer James Robinson takes over with the latest issue of “Detective Comics”, titled ‘Deface the Face’. The issue is the first after Batman has decided to go back to his roots as Gotham’s expert detective after being left at the altar. Commissioner Gordon is surprised that Batman has taken an interest in what appears to be a standard murder case.

Of course, this is Batman so there is nothing standard about it at all by the time the issue reaches its conclusion. While I’m getting tired of mopey Batman who is upset about Selina Kyle dumping him, I did enjoy the fact that the issue is letting Batman get back to the streets of Gotham in order to rediscover why he became Batman in the first place.

The story is a little rough at the beginning as Robinson reminds us that Catwoman dumped him as though we all needed a reminder. After that, though, the issue was pretty fun as Batman took on not just Firefly but “Lady” Firefly, a new protege. The art by Stephen Segovia was the biggest highlight of the issue, though, as he beautifully captures Gotham City and gives us some wonderful panels that are action filled and dark.

This was ultimately a fun issue of Batman and the beginning of what could be a truly fun storyline… so long as they get over the fact that Batman is on the rebound.

“Superman” #3
‘The Unity Saga’ Part 3
WRITER: Brian Michael Bendis
ARTIST: Ivan Reis

This latest issue of Brian Michael Bendis’ “Superman” was admittedly a bit disappointing this week. It wasn’t the worst issue by any stretch, but the problem is what it doesn’t do. Part 3 of ‘The Unity Saga’ doesn’t really add anything new to the story, except to establish in a rather anticlimactic fashion that S.T.A.R. Labs was apparently the ones who accidentally sent the Earth into the Phantom Zone.

The issue promises that this is where Superman and Rogol Zaar will have their rematch, but by the end of it, all that’s happened is that Superman has admitted that he doesn’t know exactly what to do about Earth being trapped and Rogol has raised his army. I do hope that with the next issue, Bendis doesn’t write such a below average story. The art from Ivan Reis was good, but this was ultimately a disappointing issue in what has been an otherwise fun run.

I’m trying not to judge Bendis too much this early on, but DC has put so much at stake with his hiring that I feel he definitely needs to perform better than he did with this issue.

“Wonder Woman” #54
‘The Enemy of Both Sides’ Part Three
WRITER: Steve Orlando
ARTIST: Raúl Allén and Patricia Martín

Writer Steve Orlando crafts a pretty cool story where Wonder Woman finds herself trapped between two armies. She has returned Atalanta to Bana-Mighdall, a civilization of women who are outcasts from Themyscira. Unfortunately, the current Queen, Faruka II, is about to go to war with Qurac due to the influence of Rustam, a former enemy of Wonder Woman.

By the end of the issue, Wonder Woman finds herself (literally) between the two armies. Orlando fills the book with plenty of worthy exposition but doesn’t skimp out on the action. My only real criticism is the artwork by Raúl Allén and Patricia Martín. It just didn’t pop off the page as much as I thought it should and there were no memorable visual moments.

Despite this, though, the issue was a fun read as we were reminded that Wonder Woman will stand up for what is right, even if it is against her former sisters.

“The Flash” #54
‘Grips of Strength’ Conclusion
WRITER: Joshua Williamson
ARTIST: Christian Duce

For the past few issues, Flash has been dealing with the Strength Force, one of the many new Forces he’s learned exist beyond the Speed Force. After corrupting both the Trickster and Barry, Flash must learn how to nullify the Strength Force coursing through both his and the Trickster’s bodies. Ultimately, I loved that writer Joshua Williamson used Barry’s brains rather than his fists to figure out this situation.

There is also an interesting dilemma where the Flash must unlearn what he knows about the Speed Force because there are other Forces heading his way. Beyond the solid story, the issue is also filled with plenty of action as the Flash not only has to contend with the Trickster at Iron Heights but also the corrupt Warden’s forces and Commander Cold himself.

My only real problem with this story was Iris who saw a vision of her and Barry where they are married. She chastises Barry for not telling her the entire truth about his doubts but he’s also picked up on the fact that she’s hiding something as well. This storyline is just a little too melodramatic and I wish they would go ahead and tie up this particular loose end and move on.

Christian Duce’s artwork was once again solid and this was a fun book to look at as well as read. In the next issue, Barry will be facing another Force I’m sure, but if it’s as solid as this storyline, then it will be another great read!

“Supergirl” #22
‘The Killers of Krypton’ Part Two
WRITER: Marc Andreyko
PENCILS: Kevin Maguire

So, apparently, Green Lanterns can’t tell when someone is trying not to attack them. In part two of ‘The Killers of Krypton’, Supergirl continues to search for those who unleashed Rogol Zaar, the man who claimed to destroy Krypton. Her investigation has brought her to Mogo, the current home of the Green Lantern Corps.

There, she tries to find answers only for Rogol’s axe to go off and destroy her ship. She takes the axe to a huge archive room where it activates again, apparently in an attempt to protect her from the Lanterns who come to arrest her for breaking into their archives. The issue was filled with plenty of action, but the true highlight is the cliffhanger that suggests that Supergirl will find the answers she seeks sooner rather than later.

I enjoyed writer Marc Andreyko’s writing this time because it felt more balanced than the last issue where I didn’t know if Supergirl was going to be mad, sad or funny. Despite the stronger writing, though, Kevin Maguire’s artwork still leaves much to be desired. Again, the artwork feels a little too cartoony for the more serious storyline that Andreyko is trying to tell. While the story was strong, the mediocre artwork was a little too distracting.

‘Catwoman’ #3
‘Copycats’ Part 3
WRITER: Joelle Jones
ARTISTS: Joelle Jones and Fernando Blanco

Reading this latest issue of “Catwoman”, I realized just how much I don’t care about the story being told. There’s some crazy lady who killed a family and is now getting rid of her second husband for reasons that I just couldn’t get into and was also a mean, cruel issue with no substance other than shock value. Selina is also moping around and not the fun loving Catwoman that we’ve come to know over the years and I can’t stand the artwork by writer Joelle Jones and co-artist Fernando Blanco.

This issue was a slight improvement over the abysmal second issue, but it was not enough to save the series for me. I’ve given it three tries now and I think that’s enough. I’m dropping “Catwoman” from the list and hope that one day, the character returns to her former glory because this book just isn’t working out.

“Titans” #25
‘The Spark’ Part Three
WRITER: Dan Abnett
ARTISTS: Brandon Peterson, Guillem March, Denis Medri

Issue #25 of “Titans” continues writer Dan Abnett’s ‘The Spark’ storyline which sees Dick Grayson getting his new team of Titans together. Thankfully, Abnett tackles the only problem I’ve been having with this book and that’s the initial distrust that Nightwing has for Miss Martian, the person assigned to watch over them by the Justice League.

In this issue, we find that Nightwing doesn’t really dislike Miss Martian, but she represents the kind of control over the Titans that Nightwing didn’t want in the first place. In this double-sized issue, three Emergent Events happen at the same time. Steel, Raven and Beast Boy are sent to deal with the problem in downtown Washington, D.C. Donna Troy is sent to deal with the event in Bethesda while Miss Martian and Nightwing head to Anacostia to deal with the third event.

The three events are connected and we see just how well this team now works together while establishing certain story threads for the future. Again, though, the best thing about this issue was that Miss Martian and Nightwing finally resolve their differences and come to an understanding with one another. The big question mark is what has happened to Raven, a character who can’t seem to connect to her own soul, thus her powers are dwindling.

The artwork was done by a team of artist, which is usually the case when an anniversary issue is made. Brandon Peterson, Guillem March and Denis Medri do a great job of keeping things consistent, though, and the action across all three stories is fantastic and fun to look at. Ultimately, everything came together for this issue and “Titans” remains high on my favorite books from DC at the moment.

“Suicide Squad” #46
‘Sink Atlantis’ Part 3
WRITERS: Rob Williams, Dan Abnett
PENCILS: José Luís

The ‘Sink Atlantis’ crossover heats up in this latest issue of “Suicide Squad”. Harley Quinn and Deadshot team up with Aquaman in order to stop Lord Satanis from detonating a nuke and destroying all of Atlantis. Meanwhile, Queen Mera gives the United States an ultimatum: If Atlantis should be destroyed, so shall the U.S.

This is the penultimate issue before the story concludes in “Aquaman” #40. The stakes are set up wonderfully and Lord Satanis feels like a genuine threat. At first, this seemed like it was going to be an “Aquaman vs. the Suicide Squad” story, but thankfully it didn’t go in that predictable direction.

This was a solid issue and this crossover has been unexpectedly more entertaining than it has any right to be. The ‘Sink Atlantis’ storyline won’t necessarily go down in history as a memorable crossover event, but it is definitely an entertaining one.

“Red Hood and the Outlaws” #26 (4.5 STARS)
‘Outlaw’ Part 1
WRITER: Scott Lobdell
ARTIST: Pete Woods

ISSUE OF THE WEEK

Jason Todd as the Red Hood should always be the anti-Batman. That’s what sets him apart from the Caped Crusader and the other sidekicks that Batman has had over the years. This new storyline, ‘Outlaw’, sets up a Red Hood that has embraced his darker roots as he takes out a murderous biker gang and a drug lord that has bigger connections to an organization that Jason is investigating.

The story is action packed and, more importantly, violent. I had some reservations about his new costume, but it works for the purposes of this storyline. The Red Hood we’ve known from the past few iterations of “Red Hood and the Outlaws” is gone and the book is better for it.

I do hope that Jason eventually reconnects to his former teammates and that there are consequences for his bloodier actions. For now, though, I’m just going to applaud the return of the true vigilante known as the Red Hood!

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