DC Universe 0
(Morrison/Johns/A raft of artists):
...So I ... and that ... I mean ... what the hell was that hot mess, anyway? It was billed as a big status quo explanation that would be a perfect jumping-on spot for new readers, but it explained so little that unless you read one hell of a lot in the DC universe, you had no idea what was going on. Devi
It was meant at least in part also to be marketing and a teaser for the upcoming Final Crisis and its many many many many many many many many tie-in stories, and it managed to persuade me to read ... nothing I wasn't already reading. I mean, I'll probably do Batman RIP, because I read Batman peripatetically and Detective consistently, and despite the fact that "The Resurrection of Ra's Al-Ghul" crossover, after a great first issue or two, sucked like a sucking thing of suckitude making a giant sucking sound of suckiness. (In other words, it was very very bad.) I'll read "Whom gods forsake", because I read Wonder Woman, and because I've been waiting for the choice she had to make to rescue her mother to have consequences -- although a raft of Spartans about to attack the world because she's a woman who couldn't save it in fact has absolutely nothing to do with that choice. (Don't ask me why they're Spartans, either.) I was already planning to read "Final Crisis: Revelations", because it's Rucka writing Renee Montoya, and it's going to be a teamup with Crispus Allen/the Spectre, and there's no way on EARTH I'd want to miss that. I could give a rat's ass about "Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds: Prime Evil" in which various and sundry Legions try to beat down Superboy ... er, pardon, SuperMAN Prime. (How many colons does a title need, anyway?) I could give a rat's ass about "Green Lantern: Blackest Night Prelude: The Dead Shall Rise". Which is apparently a prequel to their major DEAR GOD YES THIS IS THE END OF ALL CRISES TO BEAT ALL CRISES crossover for next year, anyway. And I could care less about "Final Crisis" itself.
The other thing that baffles me is why DC spent so much time planting information in the media about the Big Event That Happens in the story ... especially since it kind of doesn't really happen. I will note, however, that I was vastly amused that the multiverse literally precipitates fallen heroes when it needs them, just assembling them and raining them out of the sky when it wants them, like sentient magma, judging from what we do see. Granted, it makes a sort of sense, given how he died, but still, it was terribly funny to see them actually do something that silly. That said, the ending graphic is, just barely, subtle enough that if DC hadn't been clanging that anvil, dropping said anvil on the heads of anyone who'd stand still long enough, and then shouting from the rooftops after that, a lot of people would have missed it entirely. Or assumed that the multiverse was precipitating a stripper, which would have been kind of perfect, really.
Anyway, a story that managed to actually not be worth the 50 cents they charged for it. Who knew?
19 (Mohapatra/Chandrasekhar; Virgin): basically, an issue long fight between Devi and the abruptly resurrected and body-jumping Daanvi, although it also contains flashes to activity going on underneath Sitapur in the lost city of Candara. Some tourists/archaeologists have most unfortunately gotten themselves mixed up with the darinde, who have plans for them. Aside from Tara getting a forced, and thankfully brief, review of her sister's life, not a lot happens in the main storyline -- issue long fight sequences tend to have that effect. Chandrasekhar's artwork is very nice, as always. It turns out that reminding us that Candara exists is also relevant to...Witchblade/Devi
(Ron Marz/Eric Basaloua; Top Cow/Virgin): a profoundly unnecessary, but oddly interesting crossover. It starts with us watching the original team-up between a very early holder of the Witchblade and an early Devi incarnation, teeing off against Tama, Bala and Iyam. (Familiar names? Why, yes, they are!) The artwork for the earlier Devi incarnation is sincerely problematic; we're explicitly told that Tara is the first living human to contain the Devi goddess -- the first incarnation that we see in the original Devi series is actually blue
, for heaven's sake -- and yet this person appears to be exactly that. She's also wearing nothing more than the Devi crown and strategically placed fire. Anyway, Sara Pezzini wakes up from her dream of the Witchblade/Devi teamup, gets guided about Sitapur by Rahul, who is helping to investigate a murder in which the murderers killed in New York and ran away to Sitapur, and then gets attacked by darinde when she tries to sleep. She drives them off, and then has a lovely meet-ugly with Tara/Devi. The story, as mentioned, is unnecessary but fun, although it's clear that it's going to get on an express train for the Devi/Witchblade issue from Virgin/Top Cow next month; it's got places to go, and it's nowhere near there yet. Basaloua's artwork, on the other hand, is wildly inconsistent. At times it's much too simply drawn -- Sara's face in particular suffers from a lack of detail and expression and she almost always has her mouth half-open -- and at times it's really well detailed -- Candara and the darinde in particular are very well done. An enjoyable read if you normally pick up Devi; I have no idea how this works for readers of Witchblade.Abyss
4 of 4 for the first story arc (Rubio/Maragon; Red 5): in which the big fight to which we've been building up finally takes place! At a comics convention! And it's much much shorter than you were expecting! ... because it turns out that we only thought
this issue was building up to the big fight. It was actually building up to what comes after that. (No, I'm not telling.) Artwork is very nice, and it's going to be interesting to see what they do with this setup, now that they've got it. Eric with a superteam is most unexpected, I have to say.Proof
7 (Grecian/Rossmo/Staples; Image): In which the big guy unleashes a bit of whoopass -- if only a bit -- Ginger and Elvis find and try to rescue the baby brontosaurus, and all the traitors are revealed. And ... not a lot else happens, actually, but it happens very interestingly. Highly recommended.Jack of Fables
22 (Willingham/Sturges/Akins/Pepoy; DC/Vertigo): In which we're introduced, quite abruptly and seemingly unattached to the current storyline, to Jack in his past. Unlike the present, in which he's a very self-involved criminal but still somehow charming, the Jack of 1883 is a brutal, vicious murderer. He's so bad that Fabletown decides something must be done, and sends Bigby out after him. It's going to be interesting to see how Willingham and Sturges manage to maintain this arc, and how long they take it. Jack really was a borderline sociopath already; pushing him into full-fledged serial killer/spree murderer/robber/thug may be a bit more than the audience can stand for too long.Caliber: First Canon of Justice
1 (Sam Sarkar/Garrie Gastonny; Radical Comics): One of the first issues of a new title from a new company. I read the issue and then saw some publicity elsewhere; only then did I discover that Caliber is meant to be a revisioning of the King Arthur legend. It's incredibly easy to miss if you're not paying the right sort of attention. (Though paying the right sort of attention makes it a terribly puzzling story indeed.) In the role of Merlin stands Jean Michel, son of a French trader and a Nez Perce shaman's daughter. In what appears to be the conflated role of Morgaine and Nimue stands Morgan, Jean Michel's lover. Captain Pendergon, commander of the town fort, appears to be standing in for Uther Pendragon -- his wife, standing in for Ygraine, dies during the story. And, of course, there's Arthur, the captain's son. And standing in for Excalibur is ... well, it's the old west. What would you think Excaliber would be? Knowing what the story is meant to be helps you understand a bit of what's going on ... if only a bit. For example, Jean Michel makes a critical mistake, because the spirits that speak to him to tell him what to do -- and we do hear the spirits along with him -- are profoundly unspecific, even though it seems as though they're being responsive. In any event, it may be interesting to see how this story goes. (Against that is the fact that I kind of hate Westerns, although a western with fantastical elements is pretty much something I may be able to deal with.) The art work ... well. Part of me wants to say that Gastonny's artwork is magnificent, because what we can actually see is well drawn and very detailed. The rest of me wants to say that it's incredibly muddy and dark, and it desperately needs to be lightened so that we can see what's going on. A good and intriguing beginning, anyway.Hercules: The Thracian Wars
1 of 5 (Steve Moore/ Admira Wijay; Radical): ...yeah. OK, take a bunch of heroes, most of whom seem fairly dislikeable anyway. Stick them in a situation where they get insulted and pushed and pushed and pushed. Add a quite dislikeable Hercules. Have the insulting Thracians insult some more. Set Herc to blenderize. You wind up with a quite quite gory story, with nothing about it making me want to pay any attention in the slightest to issue 2. Not recommended.Helen Killer
#1 (Andrew Kreisberg/Matthew JLD Rice; Arcana):
First, the title is NOT a typo.
Second, this story may be the most bizarrely awesome thing I've seen in a while.
In real life, Helen Keller was blind and deaf, and an incredibly accomplished woman. She met all sorts of luminaries of her day, including Frederick Douglass and Alexander Graham Bell.
In this story, her early life is the same, including meeting Anne Sullivan, who helps her retire her "Phantom", the personality she thought herself to be when she was locked into her dark and silent world. Anne and Helen are walking home from a college lecture when they're set upon by thugs. Cornered, and unsure where Anne is or if she might be hurt, Helen reaches up to touch a switch on her large, clunky dark glasses ... and suddenly she can see and hear. Moreover, it turns out that being able to see and hear allows her to tap into something that fills her with a wondrous rage and an awesome physical power. It turns out that Alexander Graham Bell has fashioned something in those glasses that uses a carrier wave into her brain that allows Helen to see and hear and to tap into that rage and power as an unintended side effect. It also turns out that she's being recruited by the secret service to ... well, that would be telling. Seriously, this is the sort of setup that's so audacious that it's clearly headed for either incredible success or awesome failure. Rice's black and white artwork is very very good, conveying character and expression very well. Kreisberg's and Rice's story ... works, so far, is all I can say. It's very good and very strange. Highly recommended.