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Batman Beyond (2015) #1 [Review]

batmanbeyond(2015)001Brave New Worlds, part 1

Writer: Dan Jurgens
Artist: Bernard Chang
Colors: Marcelo Maiolo
Letters: Dave Sharpe
Cover: Chang with Maiolo
Editors: Dan Didio & David Pina
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: August 2015
Cover Price: $2.99

I truly had no intention of buying any DC stuff in June, let alone trying any of the nearly-half-as-many-as-the-New-52-launch-not-even-four-years-ago new titles. Yet, despite not yet reading most of New 52 Futures End, I had stuff spoiled for me, namely the death of Terry McGinnis and that Tim Drake was the new Batman Beyond…and given it’s Tim Drake, from the present shunted out of his time into the future (not the Tim Drake seen in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker that progressed to the time in a linear fashion), I was interested.

Add to that that this is "only" $2.99 cover price (and I feel like I haven’t seen a $2.99 comic in AGES!), I figured I’d check it out….AND show SUPPORT for the price-point!

We open on some Jokerz, and a fight with Batman…excuse to show off the time period a bit, the Bat-suit’s abilities, the Alfred AI (think Iron Man’s Jarvis in the Marvel Cinematic Universe), and that the character now is a man out of time. The Jokerz were stealing a device that would reveal Gotham to Brother Eye, which would allow the city to be targeted and destroyed. Batman goes to the closest thing he now has to "home" and interacts with a new supporting cast–Nora and Matt. Matt is Terry’s younger brother, who appears likely to have some definite "issues" with Tim, and Nora took Matt in after the Brother Eye attacks. Tim then heads out to see if there’s more left of the world than Gotham, and winds up fighting a Brother Eye cyborg Superman, and then meets an old ally who is in the present through linear progression.

The story works…and definitely does well for me AS a first issue. We’re given a good structure for an introductory issue: shown a dangerous, criminal act in progress (one that actually threatens the entire city), we see the hero in-costume enter the situation and defeat them, saving the city. We see the man behind the mask, we’re introduced to a couple of major supporting-cast characters, and exposition gives us some background on recent goings-on and status quo details. We’re given a larger, more dangerous situation for the hero with some story threads tying back to the big story that led to this title existing, and then we’re introduced to another likely supporting character with a cliffhanger to leave us wondering how this character will factor into things. We see the title character, we see him in action as well as downtime, meet supporting characters and touch on the general status quo, elements to play into the larger arc (if not series in general) are seeded, and we’re given cause to come back for the next issue.

I applaud Jurgens‘ work here, and would like to say that I’ll definitely be back for the next issue…but I’m honestly not sure about that, and I’ll detail why below.

The art is very good–the issue’s a treat to look at; character designs are good, the flow of action is easy to follow, and it does what the art should without calling attention to itself AS art.

Probably my biggest problem was the double-half-page candy bar ad breaking this up…it was annoying and distracting, and very unwelcome in an age where I’m not mentally trained to "expect" such ads. I pointedly ignored it as best I could but it was a case of "the more you try to ignore it, the more you notice it."

I should want to come back for the next issue on price point combined with Jurgens‘ writing combined with the nostalgia factor for the classic Batman Beyond cartoon combined with this being actual DC Universe combined with THIS Batman Beyond being Tim Drake, a key character I have grown up with in comics since his very introduction. If any of those reasons are of interest to you, I certainly recommend this.

But on a personal level I’m not really interested in contemporary New 52 DC stuff (which this is, even if the branding/label has been dropped), and I’m reading between the lines on things that shunting Tim Drake into the future is a means to remove him from "present-day" continuity where his presence has been quite problematic for the established timeline and would run counter to the use of Damian as Robin (Dick is presumed dead and now works as a spy, Jason is off doing his own thing as Red Hood, and now there’s no longer a Robin/Red-Robin running around to muddy up Damian’s claim to the title).

If Batman Beyond remains a self-contained title and all, I may try keeping up with it for a bit just for the Dan Jurgens and Tim Drake factor. That will be an issue by issue basis and be heavily influenced by its ship-week and however many other issues I’m picking up and how interested I am "in the moment."

Convergence #0 [Review]

convergence000The God Machine

Writers: Dan Jurgens & Jeff King
Art: Ethan Van Sciver
Colors: Marcelo Maiolo
Letters: Travis Lanham
Cover: Van Sciver with Maiolo
Editors: Dan Didio and David Pina
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: April 2015
Cover Price: $4.99

This issue is an appalling $4.99, for “only” 30 story pages. Yea, that beats the heck outta 20 pages or so for a $3.99 book, but that’s STILL $5! The cover seems to be the shinier/glossy higher-quality (physically) stock, so at least there’s that, too. There are several pages of backmatter, basically showing off a bunch of different “cities” that will be part of this event, and a tidbit about them, along with a classic (-ish) cover image to go with them…some of the covers more relevant than others. This certainly is not as hefty as an Annual or other special issue. At $4.99 weekly, this would be an absolute no-go for me. However, a bit of internet digging yields the notion that this is an oversized issue as a prologue, and next week’s #1 is oversized as well kicking things off, but then will drop down to the $3.99 for fewer pages.

The story of the issue is basically filling in a “gap” of time from the end of Superman: Doomed, where Superman found himself elsewhere/elsewhen, but then found himself back in regular space/time with no memory of what he experienced. Turns out that what he experienced was meeting numerous incarnations of Brainiac and seeing a number of versions of Metropolis, domed cities on a strange/alien world and railing against the notion of the people within being held prisoner…while learning from the Brainiacs that the main entity has apparently grabbed these cities from just before their timelines would have been destroyed and preserving them.

While it felt (and in my summary above probably sounds) extremely “basic,” it works as a prologue. I’d read Doomed last year, so this sorta adds a little bit to that. It also sets things up for Convergence as an event over the coming weeks.

I can’t help but think that Jurgens’ involvement on the writing side is why certain scenes and versions of Brainiac got shown as they did. I’m not familiar with King though the name is familiar (further internet digging suggests this is his comics-writing debut though he’s worked on tv stuff like White Collar that I’m familiar with). Given the co-writing credit, and not having read other comics stuff by him, too early to tell if I like King’s work or not. I suppose if I continue with this series I’ll be finding out as it looks like he’s got the reins for the main run of the series.

I’ve long enjoyed Van Sciver‘s art, going back a good decade-plus now with his Green Lantern work. While there’s a bit of a “feel” to me in this issue that’s “off” just a bit, I really enjoyed most of the art in this issue. I think the “off” stuff is a combination of things, including Superman’s armor looking strange to me compared to the classic (non-armor) suit. Despite that, I was thoroughly struck by the depiction of the classic Death of Superman scene, and really dug the bearded Superman look by issue’s end–if you look closely, he starts the issue clean-shaven but sports a short beard by the end.

While I was certainly glad to see the classic, “true” (to me) Superman and Doomsday in that one scene, I was quite disappointed to not “meet” any of the non-New 52 Supermen in this issue. I was desperately hoping to get at least a “live” glimpse of “my” Superman. But this proved equal parts Superman: Doomed and Convergence : Prologue…either way a Superman story.

I do not relish the notion of EIGHTY $4 issues (on top of the main Convergence mini)…and though this issue has me chomping at the bit for more non-New 52 DC stuff, I’m truly torn on buying into this as single issues, or waiting for the inevitable collected volumes. Given my “giving in” on Villains Month in 2013 and Futures End Month last year…I may just say the heck with it and see what grabs my attention with the covers of #1s, what most rings that nostalgia bell for me and makes me think “ok, that’s freakin’ cool and I really wanna read that!”

Though this sets stuff up, I haven’t a clue how essential it’s actually gonna be in the long run. However, it’s served its purpose in grabbing my attention (against better judgment). Now having #0–and as such essentially the first issue of the series–I’ll probably grab the big #1.

If you’ve no interest in Superman, or only intend to pick up select 2-issue minis due to favorite characters and such and don’t care or intend to follow the core Convergence story, I’d skip this. If you’re considering the series, dipping in…and can stomach the $5 price…Convergence has technically started with this.

DC Futures End Month, Week Four

FUTURES END: SUPERMAN#1

futuresendsuperman001While the Green Arrow one-shot gave some interesting background details to get me a bit more interested in getting back into the ongoing Futures End book, and the Booster Gold issue added to that, those were general things, and more interesting than anything else. This issue is the first of these one shots to specifically address any of the “mysteries” I was expecting to be dealt with in this manner. Namely…who IS the masked Superman? It seems the secret was revealed a number of weeks ago, but I’d missed that. So here, now, this finally shows me who’s behind the mask…and why. And it makes sense on the powerset, and even the motivation…though Lois makes a good point, and it’s good to see the characters tep back out of the shadow of Superman to do their own thing by the end. Given the Superman title itself seems to be off doing its own thing while the other Superman-related books have been dealing with Doomed, it’s nice to have this issue firmly in-sync with the other DC titles. Also love the cover…quite a nice one and certainly one of my favorites of the month.

FUTURES END: FLASH#1

futuresendflash001It’s been quite awhile since I’ve read/checked in on Flash. To be honest, I’m not even sure I bothered to give the title a chance at the relaunch–I grew up on Wally, and was thoroughly tired of Barry being forced back to the forefront in his place toward the end of the pre-52 (though I was ok with Flashpoint). That said, this issue seemed to have *A* Wally, just obviously quite different than the one I was used to, and unfortunately set in a future that may or may not ever come to be, so it’s more tease than not. I’ve always enjoyed the “legacy” nature of the Flash stuff (I think in some ways that’s part of what drew me to the title initially), and that’s on display here, making for a rather enjoyable issue. I’d be interested in more with the characters seen in this issue, and further expansion on the situations hinted at. For an issue that I wasn’t certain I’d get until I actually grabbed it off the shelf, this was worthwhile as a one-shot…though I’m not sure it changed my mind any regarding the current ongoing series.

FUTURES END: RED LANTERNS#1

futuresendredlanterns001One of the earliest comics I can recall getting at the start of my “second phase” was Guy Gardner #1. I had no idea who this character was, what his story was, but hey…it was a #1 issue, he’d cameoed in that Action Comics Annual, so hey, check it out, right? And through the years I’ve had mixed feelings on the character, but here it was rather interesting to me to see him as a hopeful character, seeing the positive and good in the universe rather than the aggressive, angry, in-your-face sort. Sure, that’s partially the influence of a blue ring, but it’s far from inconceivable that Guy would be capable of such a change, and it adds another layer to the character. I snagged this issue to round out having gotten the other Lantern books this month. Yet–perhaps for simply being the most recently-read–I think this one was my favorite, sort of capping off Guy’s story as well as stuff with the Red Lanterns (that I have not been following) and it seemed more fitting and certainly a happier ending than in the other Lantern books.

FUTURES END: SINESTRO #1

futuresendsinestro001While I quite enjoyed the role Sinestro took on during Johns’ run on the GL title, this is the first solo issue I’ve picked up. I didn’t know what to expect, but it’s Sinestro, and come to think of it…it’s thus a Lantern book (five now?). I’m not sure I totally “got” the way things worked for harnessing the yellow, or any light energy, as shown in this book and Sinestro’s escape. However, this touched on some “interesting” points, and the way it ended, giving Sinestro a whole different spin, certainly seemed feasible and far from being out of the realm of likelihood. I don’t know that I’d want to read anything ongoing with that, but I’m quite glad to see the continued use of the various Lantern Corps and that they seem to have “legs,” to have become a fairly permanent element/addition to things. I’d worried they’d be a limited time thing heading up to and as part of the “fallout” from Blackest Night. As a character practically as old as Green Lantern in general, it’s good to see Sinestro fleshed out, fairly complex-ish, and not just some “joke” of a villain. I’m glad I didn’t pass on this particular issue…though again, it’s not enough to hook me into the ongoing series.

FUTURES END: HARLEY QUINN#1

futuresendharleyquinn001Harley’s become a sort of “DC’s Deadpool” it seems, and for that reason alone, I wasn’t gonna even bother considering this issue. But then it was the last copy there, and after some annoyance earlier in the month tracking down issues, I figured I’d grab it–worst case, the issue sucks, but at least I wouldn’t change my mind and face the hassles of tracking the issue down LATER. This wasn’t a bad issue, though I wasn’t particularly enthralled. I get that characters have to grow and change rather than be chained into their original appearance (literal and in the sense of being introduced to us), but I’ve not care much for the “New 52-ization” of Harley in general. This issue, though, was fairly “fun” in putting Harley and Joker back together, dealing with a wedding for the two and reminding me of the messed-up nature of both characters, and how much better Harley is having HAD a history with Joker but getting beyond it. I would not have picked this up as just some Harley issue..u.but as a one-shot it was worthwhile, and I’m glad to have gotten it and having this “check-in” with the character, though (like a lot of the other issues this month) it doesn’t necessarily tie directly to the “core” story running through the ongoing weekly Futures End title.

OVERALL THOUGHTS ON WEEK 4

futuresendboostergold001I’m definitely quite glad to be done with the month, given how wildly expensive it got! Still, it’s a once-a-year thing, and having been through two of these now…three if we count the initial launch, as I skipped the Zero Month a couple years ago. I might actually look forward to next year’s thing and pre-order to get more of a discount. I still wound up with more than half of the books, and am convinced that I’m going to go ahead and catch up on the main weekly book, and maybe follow this thing through to the end after all…or at least further than I left off!

Definitely loved the Booster Gold book–it was such a standout that I gave it the solo treatment for a review. But as it is, for the upcoming week’s worth of books, looks like it’ll be more than 50% cheaper than any of the past month’s weeks, which is a releif, though I might offset that a bit with a bulk catch-up unless I go with a several-week thing.

Futures End: Booster Gold #1 [Review]

Futures End Booster Gold #1Pressure Point

Written by: Dan Jurgens
Art by: Moritat, Dan Jurgens, Norm Rapmund, Will Conrad, Steve Lightle, Stephen Thopson, Mark Irwin, Ron Frenz, Scott Hanna, Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund
Colors by: John Kalisz
Letters by: Taylor Esposito
Cover by: Jurgens, Rapmund & Hi-FI
Editor: Joe Cavalieri
Asst. Editor: David Pina
Group Editor: Matt Idelson
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

[———- Please note: I will spoil this issue’s ending below, denoted by a further note. ———-]

I wasn’t going to cover any of these Futures End one-shots as a singular/full review, but then, that was partially due to the fact that all these others have just been the month’s iteration of an ongoing monthly book. But to the best of my knowledge, Booster Gold has not had an ongoing series since that final issue that tied into Flashpoint pre-New 52; and I haven’t a clue where he wound up via Justice League International and whatnot.

But knowing his creator–Dan Jurgens–was the writer on this issue in that way alone made it a no-brainer for me to pick this up, once I’d given in on getting ANY of these one-shots. I wasn’t sure what to expect of the issue and hadn’t seen anything for it in promotional stuff outside of the title itself. So seeing the cover was a thrill–this is definitely one of my favorite covers of the month. I’ve always loved the blue-and-gold contrast…the pairing of Booster and the Ted Kord Blue Beetle as well as simply the contrast of the two colors against each other. That makes for a striking cover. It’s also great to see the same title logo used as the last ongoing series…it lends an extra bit of recent-nostalgic familiarity to this.

As this isn’t just the month’s “five years later” glimpse of an ongoing character/series, we actually get a look at a Booster bouncing through time/dimensions trying to remember a mission, as we see Booster imprisoned, being interrogated for something…and eventually see that rather than some disjointed story there’s more going on than it seemed initially…and certainly gives me a “selling point” to catch up on and keep up with Futures End.

I was initially put off looking at the issue’s credits seeing a number of artists credited with ranges of pages…couldn’t one person (say, Dan Jurgens himself) do the entire issue? But I almost immediately realized then that hey…multiple worlds/dimensions…different artists lend some variance to the worlds, and contrary to my initial snap-judgment, I quite enjoyed that element here.
Booster himself looked familiar, yet there was something a bit different to the character that I couldn’t place…I vaguely recalled that he’d had a “new” costume in the New 52, so I wasn’t sure where this fit. Thankfully, that actually worked with the story.

After all these years, I really enjoy seeing Jurgens work on the character–particularly the story, but the art as well. There’s also that Booster Gold is one where time-travel is an intrinsic part of the character himself…which adds to the logic of this issue’s existence. Even if the character does not have an ongoing and may or may not (for my ignorance) be a regular part of any ensemble cast of an ongoing book–for anything involving time travel, I’d expect him to be a part of it in some form.

[——————————— Spoilers below ———————————]

By the end of this issue it became apparent that this was not a matter of Booster being imprisoned and the bouncing-through-time-and-worlds-and-dimensions being merely a mind-thing with someone screwing with him to convince him to give up a secret. We’re actually dealing with the New 52 Booster Gold as well as another version…and it seems to me that this other version is either THE pre-52 version or darned close to it. I don’t know where DC officially stands anymore on stuff, but this “hint” that the DC Universe *I* grew up on is still out there is a welcome treat, whether isolated to this title, this issue alone, or something bigger.

[——————————— Spoilers above ———————————]

All in all, like the Swamp Thing issue and the Supergirl issue, I ultimately found this to be an issue independently interesting and engaging (particularly by the ending and the “new view” of the earlier pages it generated for me), and very well worthwhile to have bought and read.

The “hope,” the potential weightiness of this single, short issue’s story…the possibility that I’ve just read a new Dan Jurgens story involving “my” Booster Gold…the attractive cover, the sturdiness of the physical cover…this all lends to the issue justifying itself and the $3.99 cover price (at least in this modern age of lesser-quality physical products for the price). Very definitely one of THE best issues of the month, and one I’d certainly recommend–whether the 3D edition or the standard cover edition.

Superman: Doomed #2 [Review]

Superman: Doomed #2Evolutions

Story: Greg Pak & Charles Soule
Art: Ken Lashley, Szymon Kudranski, Cory Smith, Dave Bullock, Jack Herbert, Ian Churchill, Aaron Kuder, Vicente Cifuentes, Norm Rapmund
Colors: Wil Quintana
Letters: Taylor Esposito
Cover: Guillem March & Tomeu Morey
Assistant Editor: Anthony Marques
Group Editor: Eddie Berganza
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Price: $4.99

[———- Please note: I will spoil this issue’s ending below, denoted by a further note. ———-]

This issue is late. I believe it was originally solicited/scheduled for at least a month ago, sometime in August. I’m not certain of course, but I’m guessing that also accounts for so many involved on the art team for the issue. With all the one-shots I’ve been reading this month on the Futures End stuff, in some ways I’d even forgotten about this story for several weeks, only last week realizing “Hey…Doomed #2 never DID come out, did it?!?”

This issue sees the “last stand” of Earth and its heroes against Brainiac. With Superman having given himself over to Doomsday, his “essence” is basically a passenger along for the ride, or in the mind or such, where Brainiac reaches out, showing how much better things would be with Brainiac free to do his thing, why he should be allowed to, etc. Perhaps most pressing is that if Doomsday–Superman–“Superdoom”–destroys Brainiac, it’ll mean the destruction of all human life on Earth, as the stolen minds will be done for and not returned to their bodies.

While showing Superman visions of what could be, Brainiac continues taking down the last remnants of Earth’s heroes–having apparently utilized Superman somehow to “find” them and get through their defenses. He also reveals his core, true motivation to things, which on one hand could be sympathetic but for the notion of “the good of the many outweigh the good of the few” and all that. Lois plays a key part in things, and ultimately the minds–and thus lives–of all on Earth rest with Superman and a gambit to take down Brainiac before he can remake the universe itself.

Visually, this issue is a jumble. A lot of artists involved, but that can be forgiven as they seem to be utilized for the visions of what-could-be and such. I’ve never been a fan of the “Superdoom” look and have found it ridiculous–still do–so that lends a visual weirdness to stuff for me anyway on top of numerous artists. That said, having made it through all the tie-ins and such to this point–all those styles and renditions of involved characters–I can’t complain too much here. The issue is what it is, and whether utilized to show alternate realities or that’s just a fortuitous element given so many involved, I’ll take it at face value. The only point that I REALLY consciously noticed a huge difference was a sequence that reminded me of Darwyn Cooke‘s art.

Story-wise I’m left with a fair bit of frustration at the sheer length of this “event” and such. It seems that SO MUCH was made of the “Doomsday virus” and Superman fighting it/becoming a Doomsday and so on–that Brainiac’s involvement feels like a bait-and-switch. Like this whole thing could have been done in just a couple issues–perhaps Doomed #1, a single month’s slot of tie-ins, then this #2.

Then there’s the fact that this issue itself doesn’t even definitively end but rather kicks down the door onto something else.

[——————————— Spoilers below ———————————]

In “trying to find a place for” Brainiac, Superdoom–powered by all that Brainiac had sought–pushes Brainiac’s ship into a black hole of sorts, ready to sacrifice himself as well to see that Brainiac’s threat to the universe is over. But in this we see shards of something broken, and in those shards, we see what look to me like glimpses of the pre-52 DC Universe…particularly recognizeable to me are Nightwing and his classic first costume (circa 1989) and of course, Superman himself with the “trunks.”

Like this week’s Futures End: Booster Gold issue, this sees to show that in some fashion or another, the DC Universe that *I* grew up on is still out there somehow, and perhaps something involving Brainiac would be a key to–if not bringing it “back,” then at least accessing it.

[——————————— Spoilers above ———————————]

Despite the enormity of what we see on the last pae of the issue, I still don’t feel this story warranted all the chapters it carried, and that this could have been handled in just a handful of issues. Chances are, with the likes of Bleeding Cool and other online spoilers, this issue will wind up being fairly signifiant in the long run and thus in that regard probably worth seeking out, I wouldn’t particularly recommend it in and of itself unless you’ve been following the story in general.

I’m actually (overall) glad I went and hand got it–despite that hefty $5 cover price–for the feelings elicited by that last page, for capping things off, and giving me an “out” to drop back to spending far less each month.

Except that this issue–and event–leads directly to an aftermath issue in October’s Action Comics, at minimum. The story isn’t over. And rather than a definitive conclusion, an actual “bookend” to things…we’re simply propelled on to “The next thing.”

Superman: Doomed will probably make for a nice, thick hardcover collection, similarly thick paperback eventually…and really, that’s gonna be the way to go. If you haven’t followed stuff so far, just wait for the collected volume. If it’s priced around $30 for this entire thing, that will be quite a bargain compared to the price paid for the single issues involved, and will put the entire story between two covers instead of the umpteen ones across five-some months for the single issues.

DC Futures End Month, Week Three

FUTURES END: SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN #1

futuresend_supermanwonderwoman001This issue caught me a bit by surprise, as apparently it’s the 2nd of a 2-parter, continued from the Wonder Woman issue. Not what I expected, and not something I was thrilled with, but hey…it is what it is. I read it anyway, even though I might’ve waited to track the first chapter down. But I wasn’t in the mood for that game, and since I feel like I’m always going on about how it isn’t horrible to “figure things out” in context, no reason not to put that to the test. Sure enough, I was able to figure out quite a bit just by reading alone…it helped that the nature of these stories is that there’s been a time gap anyway, so I’m already mentally wired for not having “the full story.” That said, this was one of the better issues in terms of story and felt like it really could have been setting things up for a new status quo in the ongoing if this wasn’t just a five-years-later deal. As I’m already following Soule’s run on this book anyway, it’s good–to me–to have this issue in there as well.

FUTURES END: BATMAN/SUPERMAN #1

futuresend_batmansuperman001I expected an actual fight between Superman and Batman in this issue. What I got instead was a Batman-centric story, where the confrontation happened sometime in the five-year-gap and left Batman in bad shape for where this issue picks up. Not following the ongoing series, I don’t know where this fits…whether it’s dropping any hints or particularly drawing from that. This issue also felt rather familiar in terms of Batman suiting up against Alfred’s advisement and putting himself in a situation where his body’s ready to fail him and he’s doing irreparable damage to himself, etc. I picked this one up on a whim…I had not planned ahead of time to get it, and it unfortunately proved more disappointment than not: I should have left this one on the shelf.

FUTURES END: SUPERGIRL #1

futuresend_supergirl001Of the various DC titles, this is the one that I’m probably most torn on. I liked stuff last year enough that I went backward several months on the title and kept up with it for several months after, though I did eventually let it go. This issue plays off from last year’s introduction of the Cyborg Superman, bringing us a Kara who is now herself a cyborg…though it quickly becomes apparent that the Cyborg exerted a certain amount of influence over her that takes old friends to bypass and get her back into her right mind. While certainly not an “ending” story, this one definitely felt like–if not the start of a new chapter–certainly the ending of one. There are plenty of questions about what happened in the Five Year Gap, and I’m all the more interested in Kara’s story simply for the various places her story can go, and hoping that it would never turn out like this. I’m also left quite curious about her relationship with other characters, particularly Captain Comet and whether that’s just a possible development or if it’s been dealt with in the Red Daughter of Krypton arc or such.

FUTURES END: JUSTICE LEAGUE #1

futuresend_justiceleague001This is the concluding/second chapter of the two-parter begun in Justice League United. On the whole it’s this massive battle between the heroes and former hero Captain Atom, who is determined to break free of Mars no matter the cost–to the heroes, to himself, to the planet itself. And of course, the heroes have to gang up to stop him, while also dealing with the other freed villains. While in some ways the cost to the characters is higher than it might be in a regular ongoing story, it doesn’t feel all that permanent. More like the end of an arc leading to a new creative team and/or new status quo on one or more books. All in all the issue isn’t particularly memorable for me except in seeing Captain Atom play Dr. Manhattan on Mars (the latter actually based on the former). I got my 2nd chapter of 2 that I intended, though on the whole nothing particularly special to this for me.

FUTURES END: BATMAN AND ROBIN #1

futuresend_batmanandrobin001I don’t know much about this Heretic character nor do I much care. I was expecting something more Damian-centric, be it memorial or I don’t know what. Instead this is just some teaser issue with a possible future-Robin, who (from this issue alone) I know nothing about and haven’t a clue why I need to care (nor how Batman’s gotten along this long in his apparent condition over Damian…which is not to suggest anyone should merely “get over” such a hurt or loss just because it’s been 5 years. That the focus of the issue is Batman’s pursuit of the true identity of this Heretic, that he does indeed get his DNA sample…it’s infuriating to me (as this is a one-shot) that we as readers do not get let in on whatever the truth is…and this made me feel like the issue was a waste. Apparently I expected at least some sort of cliffhanger-like ending stating who the Heretic was…or even was NOT. If this were a continuing issue, I’d be totally fine with what I got as it’d be likely to pick up next issue. As-is…I’m directed into the Robin Rises stuff, and I’m not going there in single issues.

FUTURES END: GREEN LANTERN: NEW GUARDIANS #1

futuresend_greenlanternnewguardians001I grew up with Kyle Rayner as Green Lantern. I get that I’ve hardly read anything with the character in years, and don’t know much about the status quo of the character for the last 30 or so issues’ time (and several GL crossover/”house events”). But from solicitation text and the cover, I sure expected more Kyle than I got. This was another passing-of-the-torch sort of issue, though I’m actually only GUESSING that this White Lantern was Kyle, based on the cover: nothing in the issue itself that I noticed confirmed or pointed out that this was Kyle, and at one point some name-dropping made me actually think perhaps this was Hal. Along with Batman and Robin this was definitely–for me–a stinker of a book and one I really would have been better off not getting. This is also the only one of the books this month with these 3D covers where the logo was given the treatment rather than just the image the logo and such is placed upon.

OVERALL THOUGHTS ON WEEK 3

Outside of the Supergirl issue, this week was pretty much a stinker for me, despite being one of the higher ones in terms of my expectation and such. Supergirl was definitely my favorite of the bunch, both the cover itself as well as the story. It may have been a circular logic sort of thing, but I didn’t even get around to reading these for a few days…and it was really only the Supergirl issue that pulled at me…the others I mostly read this week because I didn’t want to have NOT read them before the week four books would be out. Some of this is probably also blame to be lain at the feet of the price, and sticker shock this month, as virtually every one of these DC books has been a $3.99 book I would not normally get…and is on top of a bunch of other stuff, both regular and new.

Off the top of my head I’m most looking forward to the Booster Gold issue. Other than that, probably Red Lanterns and Superman…we’ll see what else may or may not grab my attention for the final week of the month…

DC Futures End Month, Week One

I wasn’t going to do it. I was going to just flat-out ignore all of DC’s output this month. I even dropped the weekly Futures End series a few weeks back to avoid being up to date on it and thus that much more eager to buy into things.

But I just HAD to look at these things at the shop. And where I’d thought from the previews that the 3D part was just the center image…like last year, it’s the ENTIRE cover. And I’m certainly more impressed with these than I am of the recent Valiant chromium covers.

And there’s the fact that despite all tying in to Futures End…these are all functionally one-shots, so like with the Villains issues last year, I don’t REALLY have to follow any of these issues with any subsequent issues.

FUTURES END: ACTION COMICS #1

futuresend_actioncomics001No matter how much I try to avoid the current stuff, there’s just no getting away from the fact that I’m a Superman guy.

This one caught my attention because the image reminded me of the sand-creature Superman, and I was curious if perhaps that would be some key clue to the fate of Superman in this continuity.

What I found instead was a short, slightly disjointed but overall enjoyable-for-what-it-is story about Superman and his powers, what he can do, as an inspiration to others.

Overall a rather generic issue, and it actually REALLY could have been set in the present…one might have questions as to status quo, but take away the “Five Years Later” caption common to all of these issues and you’d have a generically timeless Superman story. Still…I enjoyed the read, short as it was, but I’m quite glad it’s “just” this one-shot.

FUTURES END: DETECTIVE COMICS #1

futuresend_detectivecomics001It just didn’t seem right to me, somehow, to buy a number of DC books and not have Batman in the mix. While I’m not a particular fan of the Riddler or the way the character’s been trumped up as a new major “big bad” in Batman’s rogues gallery, the cover art here was just too good to pass up, so I got it into my head to give it a shot.

While ultimately, this seemed to be a Batman a bit harsher than I’d expect, it also seemed decently spot-on for the most part.

There’s usually something at least vaguely interesting about seeing him forced to “team up” with one of his rogues, and this was no exception.

I could’ve done without the various “Zero Year” references, but that just drove home the point all the more how much that story is being played as “the” Batman story of the New 52, and seems JUST interesting enough that I’ll probably gladly buy it Ii f it’s ever put out in one of these under/around $30 volumes.

FUTURES END: GREEN ARROW #1

futuresend_greenarrow001Given the cover and Green Arrow’s fate in the ongoing Futures End series, I was definitely interested here to see what the story would hold, what light it might shed on stuff leading to the character’s demise, or how his immediate “supporting cast” were dealing with the loss.

What I found instead was an interesting yet sort of dragged-out story that I guessed from the start was headed right up to the character’s death.

While it could have been totally cliché, the story did give some background and a new element to be played out in the ongoing Futures End book with more detail given to where GA was headed immediately prior to the death in Futures End #1.

Maybe not the best single issue, but I definitely enjoyed the read, and am glad I tracked this down.

FUTURES END: GREEN LANTERN #1

futuresend_greenlantern001I really had no idea what to expect from this going in….but flipping through it in the store I caught that it involved Black Lanterns, and I enjoyed that the logo is the same as it’s been for the past 10 or so years, and Hal looked good on the cover, and I figured if I’m randomly picking up an assortment of the DC books this month, Green Lantern ought to be one of ’em.

The story seemed rather disconnected from Futures End other than the fact that it’s set 5 years in the future and references the war between the Earths.

I’m not usually a fan of anything involving the Source Wall or anything Fourth-World/New Gods related, but I liked its use here. I have yet to actually read any of the stuff dealing with Relic, but still enjoyed the character’s appearance here and the way he and Hal played off each other, and contributes to my curiosity to stuff I missed already involving the character.

FUTURES END: SWAMP THING #1

futuresendswampthing001I’ve been particularly interested in Swamp Thing since the character “returned” after Brightest Day; and it was one of the titles I stuck with longest after the initial New 52 launch.

So it made sense to me to check in on the character (plus the more I looked at that cover, the more I was curious).

This was a nice standalone story of Swamp Thing’s apparent end, but works nicely seeing his final “quest” to cover his bases before undertaking his final act.

I recognized some elements, and others simply fit, so this was a “fun” casual read for me…as well as solidifying some suspicions I’d had for stuff I’ve missed, and reminding me that this is a title whose collected volumes probably would actually be worth my checking out at some point, given the chance.

OVERALL THOUGHTS ON WEEK 1

As said earlier, I was dead-set on avoiding these when I first walked into the shop. But the more I looked at them and considered, the more my curiosity got the better of me.

As did that little voice inside that prompted me last year to say the heck with it, and “give in” to the gimmick and buy a bunch of these one-shot issues since it’s just for this one month and not going to be any sort of ongoing thing.

And since I never was able to find any sort of “bundle” deal to get ALL the issues, and I’ve mostly decided not to keep up with the ongoing, I figured I’d just give in on the 3D covers, and go from there.

Where last year I had a checklist and interest in several specific villains and all to plan in advance, I’m thinking this year I’m just going to stick with the notion of seeing what grabs my attention each week on-the-spot, whether based on the title/character itself or just an attractive cover.

Looking back to last year, I “only” bought 4 issues that first week, while I bought five this year…but then I also had bought the first issue of Forever Evil with stuff last year, and there’s no such event/mini-series premiere this time around so it still worked out.

Could be worse…definitely going to make for a huge few weeks. But it is what it is, and I guess it kinda makes up for all my DC avoidance the rest of the year.

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