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Earth 2: Society #1 [Review]

earth2society001Planetfall

Writer: Daniel H. Wilson
Artist: Jorge Jimenez
Colorist: John Rauch
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Cover: Jimenez & Rauch
Associate Editor: Paul Kaminski
Editor: Mike Cotton
Group Editor: Eddie Berganza
Published By: DC Comics
Cover Date: August 2015
Cover Price: $2.99

For a guy who was intending to ignore DC output in June and consider Convergence an endcap to stuff for awhile, I’ve still managed to find myself picking up 3 books in 2 weeks. Though of those three, I think this was the most disappointing, and that’s almost surely due to this being only an opening chapter of a larger story. I expected something “more,” though…but then again, a series fulfilling its “premise” in the first issue is hardly a series, right?

I picked this up specifically because of the notion of it continuing from Convergence, and the premise of our seeing the development of a new world a new Earth 2. I suppose I expected to see a fully developed yet “young” world, and from the cover I definitely expected to see a number of the various characters…not basically “just” Batman.

The issue starts “one year from planetfall,” or one year in the future showing us a new city, the first new city on the planet, and a Batman in action with communication to an unseen individual. Then we flash back to said planetfall, as the survivors of the previous Earth 2 begin to arrive, having followed Green Lantern’s beacon. Something goes wrong and the ships begin to crash, and it seems this is something intentional by the person who designed them. Meanwhile, we see a man lamenting the loss of the use of his legs, as well as his family. I believe this is the Earth 2 Dick Grayson, but I’m not 100%. Jumping back to the one-year-later, Batman captures the man responsible for the thousands of deaths in the planetfall event…

Where I’d felt that Batman Beyond #1 and Constantine: The Hellblazer #1 gave me well-rounded issues (giving us an establishing situation, introduced us to the main character and some part of a supporting cast, and set something up for future issues) and generally felt relatively self-contained while setting up an ongoing series…Earth 2: Society feels to me like just another opening chapter of something larger. We don’t really get the full cast, the cover is misleading about characters’ involvement/prominence in the issue), and the time-jumping cuts in half the amount of information we get about “then” and “one year after.” This will probably read quite well in a collected-volume/graphic novel format where one can read the entirety of the arc in one go…but I’m left rather disappointed in this based solely on this one issue as a single issue.

The art is good…pleasantly “invisible” in the sense that it gets things across and isn’t jarring or weird, and I didn’t noticeably find myself stopping to wonder just what the heck was going on in a panel. I’ve found the “controversial” candy bar ad annoying, consciously forcing myself to ignore it and not focus on it, while trying to keep my eyes strictly to the actual content that *I* paid for, and my annoyance over that translated into my mind wandering slightly as I tried to think about the same double-page ad layout influencing my enjoyment of the other DC books the last couple weeks.

While I imagine it would not be terribly difficult to use this as a jumping-on point for the series, I’m pretty sure this book is more for continuing readers, with threads of the original Earth 2 title and the weekly Earth 2: World’s End having gone into Convergence and this is the result of what came out from that. One can start here, but there’s plenty I’m sure I’m not picking up on that I’d be better able to appreciate having READ what came before. That this does not feel like a quasi-standalone issue but merely the first chapter of a six-chapter collected volume leaves me thinking that unless you’re particularly invested and eager to get a monthly dose of the Earth 2 characters (and primarily Batman, in this issue), you’d be better off waiting for a full story in collected volume format.

As for me…I gave this a shot, interested in the start of things post-Convergence for these characters, and while I definitely support the $2.99 price point, I’m pretty sure I won’t be back for #2.

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Convergence – Week of April 15th, 2015

Convergence–the two-month “event” that covers for the absence of the “regular” DC books while the editorial offices are transferred from the East coast to the West–is officially in full swing. This week’s releases were the #2 issue of the core mini and a bunch of #1s for tie-in 2-issue minis.

Rather than try to cover stuff singly, I decided continue like last week and just do one huge post for the Convergence stuff I bought this week. We’ll see how coming weeks go, in this regard.

Convergence #2

convergence002This week got the price down…now that we’re done with the "special" #0 issue and oversized #1, the "core" of this event drops to $3.99…which is rather steep for yet being a $1 DROP in cover price. This issue gives us more detail on the Earth-2 refugees and presumably backstory to cover the events of Earth 2: World’s End for those who didn’t read that series. We also see the Flashpoint Batman (Thomas Wayne) meet his son from the pre-Flashpoint world and the two make a plan for dealing with their situation. The others from Earth-2 make a stand against Telos that unfortunately doesn’t work out all that well…and then a new ally shows up.

The art for this issue isn’t that bad, though I don’t believe I’m familiar with the penciler or inker. The art got stuff across, and nothing stood out in a negative way enough to be memorable to me. The story, though, borders on formulaic, boring, and generic despite having a lot of potential. I’ve yet to get around to actually reading the entirety of Flashpoint but I have read the core story and the Batman mini so I appreciate the presence of Thomas Wayne here as well as his meeting with a pre-Flashpoint (judging from the costume) Bruce.

That the story so far seems largely a framework for a lot of punching and has yet to really involve characters I’m really looking to see more of is a definite turnoff. To me, Flashpoint was always self-contained as a single event rather than serving as an "era" or particular period of comics. And seeing the Earth-2 characters as New 52 characters…this just doesn’t do much FOR me.

I’m tempted to jump off for now on this core series…maybe it’ll read better as a single whole in collected format. At $2.99 an issue I’d be more inclined to suck it up and keep up…but the $3.99 (as always) very quickly wears thin on me.

Convergence: Batman Shadow of the Bat #1

convergence_batmanshadowofthebat001This issue got my attention by its title alone. Batman: Shadow of the Bat was the first Bat-title I was able to get from #1 back in the day and followed for a good chunk of its early run, returning at its end with No Man’s Land. I wasn’t thrilled at the notion of Azrael’s presence, but if I had any doubt on picking the issue up…the cover absolutely sucked me in. Despite being relatively generic in a sense, the coloring and the title logo make this easily one of my favorite comic covers of 2015 so far.

The story sees Jean-Paul Valley and a still-healing Bruce Wayne both trying to work undercover to find out how a new (to us) villain is going to hit the city’s food supply. The two work together while yet at odds with one another’s methodology, and when the dome drops find themselves quickly facing a couple of Wetworks agents that promise to make their already rough day even worse.

The art on the issue is good overall with an almost quasi-painted look at points. Some panels are just ugly–at least the villain’s appearance–but that’s presumably intentional. On the whole, though this definitely looks and feels much like an issue of the old Shadow of the Bat title. As with the other #1s I’ve read so far we have the tie-in to the first issue of Convergence with Telos’ speech…which is starting to feel a bit repetitive to me despite whatever positive I had to say of its inclusion previously. I suppose I somewhat expected a staggered timeline and not getting that is something I’ll have to soon decide if I’m ok with.

Convergence: Superman Man of Steel #1

convergence_supermanmanofsteel001I’d intended to pick this one up on title alone…to go with Superman and the forthcoming Adventures of Superman and Action Comics, to have a couple months of picking up "all 4" classically-titled Superman books. While I enjoy the Steel character I was decidedly disappointed at the cover logo showing this is actually a Steel book with a missing Superman.

With Superman missing from THIS Metropolis, and all super-powers being nulled out, Steel’s in a position of being one of the most powerful individuals in the city. Having taught his nephew and niece how to repair HIS armor, the two had secretly created Steel armor of their own. When some rogue Lexcorp battlesuits show up, Steel takes them on single-handedly…just before the dome drops and the Gen13 kids show up. Despite Steel’s orders, his kids join the battle (as does the re-powered Parasite), and by issue’s end Steel’s very fate is in question.

I’m not as familiar as I’d prefer to be with Steel…I have most of his 50-issue series but have yet to read more than a handful of issues…I’m most familiar with the character from Reign of the Supermen and guest appearances in the main Superman books…and probably much longer once he was no longer Steel and was simply around as a non-suited supporting character in the books in the 2000s. As such, I don’t have much attachment here…certainly not as much as I’d like.

The art works well enough for me, as does the story (in and of itself) but I’m not too keen on the Gen13 kids nor of this being a Steel issue vs. a Zero Hour-era Superman. While I’m curious as to Steel’s fate I’m not certain I care enough to follow into the next issue. If I do it’ll likely be more on the "principle" of this being "only" 2 issues and my OCD not justifying having bought HALF the series only to leave the other out.

Convergence: Green Lantern/Parallax #1

convergence_greenlanternparallax001I have fond memories of the early Kyle Rayner days. The numbering had even worked out at the time for the first year or so–issue #50 of Green Lantern was Hal’s final issue, and Kyle was the full star in #51…essentially a #1. I remember the first few issues–particularly what happened to his girlfriend, and then his #0 issue post-Zero Hour with Hal.

As such I decided to pick this issue as one of my select few…for that ’90s nostalgia. So the premise of Kyle and Hal both being present was sorta interesting for that…and yet Hal being present doesn’t quite work for me with what I remember of his timeline, going essentially from Green Lantern #50 to Zero Hour to…where-ever.

Given the notion that it’s the power from internalizing the rings and main power battery from Oa that drove Hal mad, the power being cut off by the city being taken and domed, the guilt-ridden Hal turns himself in to be jailed…his only regular visitor being Kyle, who tries to convince him he’s needed. When the dome comes down as Telos kicks his fight-for-survival thing into motion, Kyle’s ring picks back up with the charge it had…though Hal’s "clarity" as Parallax returns along with HIS power. Parallax finds himself attacked, and quickly seeks out the source city to put an end to it.

I’ll be interested in seeing Hal/Parallax kick some butt…especially as I have zero emotional investment in Lady Qark and that city/world. I’m aware OF it but it’s from far enough before my time and outside my experience with pre-Crisis stuff. And for what this is, as a 2-issue series, I don’t have any particular misgivings about picking up the next issue to see how things wrap up.

I’d’ve been happier if this was simply a Green Lantern issue…having the more modern Parallax logo on the cover kinda spoils things as it’s a logo I don’t currently recall seeing til well after Zero Hour (either circa Final Night or the post-Rebirth era around the Sinestro Corps War).

Overall Thoughts This Week

Where last week I stuck with the Core Mini Plus Two, I allowed myself 3 issues this week. I seriously considered the Superboy and Supergirl issues as well, but wound up holding my ground on principle with the $3.99 price point and trying to keep my "double dipping" at a minimum as I suspect I will seek the entirety of Convergence in collected format when all’s said ‘n done.

As said above, I was disappointed that the Superman: Man of Steel issue was Steel-centric and that as a result I did not get to see "my" superman from the Zero Hour era (which could be argued was a different Superman than the pre-Flashpoint one).

I believe next week’s books are Crisis on Infinite Earths-era centric, and I look forward to the Adventures of Superman one WITH Supergirl, but not planning presently on much else…and may even pass on the core mini moving forward, as noted above. While I can justify limited double-dipping with the notion that I’ll have a handful of issues from any given volume on the tie-ins…I all but KNOW the core mini will be its own volume and thus a far more DIRECT double-dip.

Whatever excitement I had is definitely wearing thin only two weeks in, and broken record that I am…a lot of that is certainly to be blamed on the $3.99 price point of the entirety of the event.

Convergence – Week of April 8th, 2015

Convergence–the two-month “event” that covers for the absence of the “regular” DC books while the editorial offices are transferred from the East coast to the West–is officially in full swing with this week’s release of the #1 issue of the core mini and nearly a dozen #1s for tie-in 2-issue minis.

convergence001_wraparound_full

I’m not at all impressed with the cover, particularly as it appears just as an issue…but I give DC credit that this is a wraparound cover rather than having the two-panel image be an “interlocking” variant.

Rather than try to cover stuff singly, I decided–for this week, at least–to just do one huge post for the Convergence stuff I bought this week. We’ll see how coming weeks go, in this regard.

Convergence #1

convergence001Somehow, I was expecting a LOT more out of this, especially for the price. $4.99 is an awfully steep price for ANY single-issue–surpassing my hated $3.99 by a full additional 25%–and not delivering a whole lot for the cost. There are 30 story pages but also 4 “backmatter” context-pages detailing some of the “cities” in the issue.

While on some level I “know” that much of the issue involves characters fresh outta Earth 2: World’s End and presumably events of New 52: Futures End…there’s not one note anywhere in THIS issue that caught my attention referencing that. “See Earth 2: World’s End for the grisly details” or “See final few issues of Futures End” or whatever. So these are just characters that show up, and I can wonder what makes THEM so special that they get so much page-time? 

Having the “singular event” of Telos “broadcasting” himself to EVERYONE makes for a good rally-point for the first issues of the various tie-ins…something to tie them all together even if every other detail of the story has nothing to do with it…it roots them in the time-frame.

I was excited and looking forward to this issue, but sorely let-down by what I got. If the entire series was $4.99 I’d CERTAINLY pass…but it DOES drop to $3.99 after this. I’ll “grudgingly” pick up the next issue…but if it feels too much like this first one, I may let it go and wait for a (relatively) cheaper collected volume.

Convergence: Superman #1

convergence_superman001Despite HUGE changes around Infinite Crisis and beyond, I still clung to the notion that the Superman that existed up to the dawn of the New 52 was still somehow at least somewhat “my” Superman. As such, I was looking forward to this chance to revisit the character. 

Finding Superman powerless and in Gotham City was a bit of a surprise, as was learning that the whole city has been “trapped” in a dome for over a year (how “convenient” that Clark, Lois, AND Jimmy were all in Gotham at the time!). Clark’s played secret vigilante, unable to suppress the need to help others. Luckily for him, reaching the “end of the line” conveniently coincides with Telos dropping the domes and his powers returning just in time to repel a hail of bullets.

We learn that Lois is pregnant (presumably something that was able to happen due to Superman’s powers being gone), which seems to be one of the “final steps” that seem to be allowed in anything for Superman–once he has a kid it’s like that’s “it” for his story…so something as brief and temporary as this is–of course–the perfect time to “allow” such a development.

As a two-issue thing, it seems TOO short to be HALFWAY through the story already. That also makes it too short for so much space given to Telos’ bit. While I appreciate and am glad that’s there, I’d be glad for a PANEL of it, tying this to the core story but otherwise let this stand alone OR “assume” that someone has read Convergence #1 (or put the full speech FROM Convergence #1 into the backmatter for those truly curious).

And speaking of the backmatter–the recapping of stuff made me doubt myself, that perhaps this was Superman and Lois shortly after the wedding (circa 1997)…yet there was reference to stuff from the early 2000s as well, making for a very selective over-brief recap of only huge moments.

All in all I’ll be interested enough in the next issue, but I can’t quite “recommend” this in and of itself…either you’re interested in what I believe is immediately-pre-Flashpoint Superman or you’re not. 

Convergence: Batman and Robin #1

convergence_batmanandrobin001This issue picks up on a Gotham City where Batman’s back from being presumed dead/lost in time–it’s Bruce-Batman and Damian-Robin, sometime after Dick’s tenure as the Caped Crusader. Ivy’s largely responsible for the citizens of the city surviving–her control over plans has allowed for quality production of food–and the Penguin wants to threaten that. 

Batman and Robin arrive to spoil his plans, and encounter a Red Hood. Damian is jealous of how Batman seems toward his former Robin, which leads to some definite tension and an eventual having-it-out within the present Bat-family…right before the dome closing them in drops and they hear Telos’ message.

As with the Superman issue, I was glad we had the unifying moment of Telos’ message…but even moreso than in the Superman issue, it felt to me like it took up way too much space in this issue for this only being a two-issue story.

The backmatter was less than impressive to me, though it was more informative than the Superman one–I’m far more familiar with Superman than “later Batman” stuff. I have never liked the Red Hood character, and 11-some years later still have not “embraced” the returned-to-life Jason Todd…and probably never will. Having had a couple days to mull over the reading experience, I’m pretty sure I’ll only pick up #2 because of having bought #1…not for any particular interest in where this issue goes from here.

Given that pre-Flashpoint Batman essentially continued straight into the New 52, this is more like an alternate take splitting off briefly from a specific point more than it is revisiting something that’s been lost…and I do wish I’d chosen to go with the Batgirl issue instead to get Red Robin.

Overall Thoughts This Week

Even though I’m tentatively “buying into” this Convergence thing, the price of the books is a big issue for me. With 2013’s Villains Month and last year’s Futures End month, for my $3.99 and whatever-length story, I was getting that fancy cardboard stock and 3-D image cover…and the issues largely stood alone as functional one-shots. With Convergence, everything is $3.99, and I’m not even getting a slightly better quality coverstock, no fancy image technology…and this is a TWO-MONTH thing. Whatever I buy a #1 of, I’ll likely want to then get the #2…and if something would get my attention with a #2 I’d want to backtrack and also get #1.

Additionally, along with any of the issues I’d pick up, there’s the WEEKLY main/core series itself, so that’s already ONE “slot” taken up for anything extra I would buy. With the higher price point, 2 issues (the main title and a single tie-in) would almost match my buying all 3 weeklies for the last 26 weeks previous…and matching the quantity will be a significant bump beyond.

And since I’m already thinking quite a bit about possibly snagging whatever collected edition format is presented for Convergence as a whole (I’m guessing a hardcover for the core series and 4-8 paperbacks for the tie-ins) I’m already going to be rather heavily “double-dipping,” which is not very appealing to me for this. But…I’m eager enough to revisit some stuff and to read some of these that I don’t want to “just wait” and not read them at all…especially if there are some “surprise” things.

If I’m going to “double dip,” I’ll grudgingly do so on the main series and a handful of tie-ins…but I’m finding myself a LOT more “conservative” on other random books as a result. At the $3.99 “premium price” I am not going to buy half the event just to pay top dollar for collected volumes. Since I don’t even know what titles will be collected how (for example, will we have one or two volumes apiece for a Convergence: Crisis on Infinite Earths, Convergence: Zero Hour, Convergence: Pre-Flashpoint? Or will we get the series collected by “family” with Superman books clustered, Batman books clustered, etc.?)

Given my gripes and concerns…probably the largest reason I find myself looking forward to anything more is the simple notion of getting a couple months of Superman, Superman: Man of Steel, Adventures of Superman, and Action Comics again. There’s also stuff like Shadow of the Bat, which I believe the original ongoing was the first actual continuity Bat-book I got in on at its start, back in 1992 or so. And that I recently listened to the GraphicAudio adaptation of Crisis on Infinite Earths, and this strikes me as a sort of 30-year successor to that story.

The Weekly Haul – Week of December 31st, 2014

Final comic shops visit for 2014…

weeklyhaulweekofdecember312014a

Despite being a really "small" week for DC…since I’ve been getting the weeklies, I didn’t notice a "break" in things at all. Image had a $1 issue, and Valiant actually had one issue out.

I also took advantage of an after-Christmas 20% off sale for a couple more Walking Dead volumes, working on getting caught up there.

weeklyhaulweekofdecember312014b

It’s been a number of years since I’d gotten a new Walking Dead "standard" TPB. (I started with this format, and am too far in/committed to switch to any of the other formats). My last was vol. 13, and 22 is the newest. I’d "gone back to" the single issues for a couple years or so; dabbled in digital for a couple years, and outright passed on the series entirely since All Out War ended (thanks to my continued personal boycott of comixology since they did away with in-app purchasing for iOS).

But it’s been bothering me, to look at my bookshelves and see that gap, to be missing nearly HALF of the series, so I’ve been working on "catching up" on the 9 or so volumes I’d not yet picked up. I snagged 3 volumes from Half-Price Books; I’d picked up vol. 22 as an all-new read at the start of Comic Heaven‘s 20% off sale; and then vols. 20-21 this week. I intend to finish up with 14-15 and 17 via eBay or otherwise online to get ’em for around half-ish off.

The Weekly Haul – Week of October 8th, 2014

While not a SMALL week, this was a decent week of comics, with 2 promo-priced $1 issues in the bunch.

weekly_haul_october_8th_2014a

I’ve been looking forward to the X-O Manowar #0 most out of this bunch. With Soule soon leaving Superman/Wonder Woman I might be jumping “off,” as it IS a $3.99 book. And I’m far preferring DC‘s $2.99 stuff…

weekly_haul_october_8th_2014b

…most specifically, DC‘s weeklies.

I remember when it was a big deal when they did ONE weekly (52). And earlier this year I’d thought it interesting their trying two weeklies, but now they’re up to THREE.

I’m “trying” World’s End, and will see how it seems, as I have not followed Earth 2 since its first or second issue.

While I’m questioning a single $3.99 book above…I’m not entirely against the notion of buying three $2.99 books ($8.97) each week. It will be expensive–that’s a $36/monthly investment on top of other stuff. BUT it’s a lot of content (relatively speaking) each month, and a lotta story crammed into a single year.

And I’d far prefer to buy a single weekly title than a bunch of separate titles. Much as the Superman books were functionally a weekly during most of the ’90s.

DC Futures End Month, Week Two

This week, I catch up on a couple extra issues I picked up from last week’s bunch over the weekend between Wednesdays, as well as this week’s new issues.

FUTURES END: BATWING #1

futuresend_batwing001It’s been a couple years since I’ve checked in on Batwing, offhand. It was the first comic I followed digitally, taking advantage of the $1-cheaper-one-month-later but lost track of it once DC went to waiting 2 months. I was aware of a status quo shift from the character I knew as Batwing to the sun of Lucius Fox. This issue didn’t really do much for me, though it was interesting enough to read. Definitely glad it’s a one-shot…I was satisfied enough with the read to not feel like I wasted my money, though I would not have been happy if this was a “regular” issue. I admit to giving in on some hype with this, but when I found it at cover price, I figured I’d give the thing a shot. Overall not bad for a “weekend wave” of “what was left” after the iniitial Wednesday release.

FUTURES END: EARTH 2 #1

futuresend_earth2001I was going to avoid this one, but then it occurred to me that this was Earth 2. And with all the hints dropped about the war between the Earths, of Earth 2 refugees and such in the Futures End main title, I thought FOR SURE this one would detail some of that, so I was curious enough to hit an extra comic shop to track it down. Sadly, it didn’t deal with that at all, and dealt more with an apparent “fall” of Mr. Terriffic, which while surely a major plot point was not the one I was looking for. The cover made me think it was going to involve the Red Tornado somehow, as well, but that was another point that didn’t hold up to the actual reading. Not a bad issue in and of itself, but certainly didn’t measure up to my expectation, and I might’ve been better off “saving” the $4 for a different one later this month.

FUTURES END: BATMAN #1

futuresend_batman001So, Batman’s apparently working on preserving and being his OWN legacy. However, as his body (and technology) fail, he finds that he has to go to extreme measures to complete a “puzzle” of sorts to prolong the very existence of Batman. This leads to a fairly all-or-nothing assualt on a Lexcorp facility for material in its lab. Batman being Batman, things have a way of working out, even if not quite what one might expect. I think I was expecting this one to take place a bit further in the future–I wanted to see a Bruce dealing with Terry–the Batman Beyond. I picked this up specifically, simply because it’s Batman…I figured for the “regular” price but much shinier, better cover it would be worthwhile. I wasn’t terribly impressed, though…I very well could have done without the issue. Still, it’s Batman, so not a complete waste. Just definitely not a “top” issue for me in this month of five-years-later one-shots.

FUTURES END: GREEN LANTERN CORPS #1

futuresend_greenlanterncorps001It’s been awhile, again, since I checked in on this title. So I’m not sure how much of the “five years later” ties back to the recent stuff–I assume it does, though. It’s nice to see the continued use of the multiple Lantern corps as such a general thing and not strictly as a Johns thing. While not exactly a “Last John Stewart Story,” this definitely comes off like it could be just that, though I don’t know much of the actual “official” established background of the Indigo Tribe (I think much of that was revealed shortly after I left off with my following of all the GL stuff). We see a hardened John Stewart here facing what he’s become, conflicting with the Indigo Tribe, and what his attitude there leads to as he’s forced to confront his own past and the destruction of a planet. I’m pretty sure this issue would carry more significance if I were to be caught up on the GL family of titles. As-is, it didn’t feel all that important, just sort of an “epilogue” or such, perhaps, on the John Stewart character.

FUTURES END: BATGIRL #1

futuresend_batgirl001My earliest Batman comics involved the original introduction of Tim Drake, Robin…and while I didn’t fully “get” it at the time, Barbara Gordon was already a couple years along from the events of The Killing Joke, was already in the early stages of being Oracle…and that’s the character I grew up on for at least 20 years. So I never gave this title much of a chance before bailing…Having Barbara Gordon as Batgirl seems weird, as to me, she’s Oracle and “Batgirl” would be Cassandra Cain or Stephanie Brown. Given that…this issue’s inclusion of a group of Batgirls (plural), including a “Stephanie” and a “Cassandra” was rather cool…and a Barbara who–while not Oracle–was in more of a leadership/advisory role to a group of women seemed far more familiar and interesting to me. I haven’t a clue if the use of Cassandra and Stephanie here will be “canon,” but I do believe this is Simone’s final issue on the matter, and so it’s good seeing the characters’ inclusion. I was going to pass on this issue on principle…but I’m glad I actually picked it up, as it was a good read, and a nice “check-in” on the title and character, as this single one-shot.

FUTURES END: JUSTICE LEAGUE UNITED #1

futuresend_justiceleagueunited001I’ve only loosely been aware of this new title even existing–but while I haven’t cared enough to check it out in a present-day continuity context, as a “five years later” thing it works as just a possible alternate offshoot of the “main” Justice League…so I don’t really have to “think” too much about the matter. Here we find an apparently former group being contacted by the Martian Manhunter, “recruited” to deal with an escape from the JL’s “gulag” on Mars. The situation isn’t all that good, and as the characters arrive, the situation may be more than they can handle alone. Which, of course leaves us with a to-be-continued note, as this story continues into the Justice League issue this month. Technically this is a one-shot, but it’s part 1 of a 2-part story. Though I’ve relished the one-shot nature of DC’s books this month, I actually picked this one up specifically FOR the fact it was part of a two-parter…just to have a slightly larger story, given the involvement of numerous characters when one talks “Justice League.”

FUTURES END: CONSTANTINE #1

futuresend_constantine001As a long-time fan of Hellblazer, I “settled” for the new Constantine series when it premiered, as the only likely monthly dose of the Constantine character. I didn’t much care for the single issues, and figured I’d wait and catch up. I’ve yet to do so, just for simple “apathy” on the matter. Yet, when it came to having “given in” on DC’s annual one-shots, I decided it was a great chance to get a single-issue check-in with the character. Unfortunately, the issue proved to be a real pain to track down…perhaps because there’s a tv show about to premiere with the same name. However, I managed to get thsi for cover price, and it was a neat little story of Constantine vs. Nabu, the Helmet of Fate. It also has probably my favorite cover of the week, if not of the month. I think even if I was not buying any others, I’d’ve been interested in this anyway, just from the cover. While not quite as harsh as it likely would’ve been in Hellblazer proper…I very much enjoyed this issue, and am very glad I sought it out and got to read it. If anything’s to pull me further/back in, this’ll do it.

OVERALL THOUGHTS ON WEEK 2

This week I actually “planned” for including several extra DC books, to the point of emailing ahead to the shop to have several issues pulled. I suppose that’s the surest sign that I’m “hooked” on anything: when I take the time to specifically request something be pulled, even if just as a one-time thing and not an ongoing pull-list item.

In the hassle of tracking down Constantine, I wound up settling for a couple extra issues of Futures End itself, making myself think that ok, I’m not getting every tie-in this month, but MAYBE I’m actually rethinking avoiding the Futures End book. At the very least I’m now intrigued at the prospect of the Earth 2 weekly, and maybe I’ll give that one a shot.

I suppose the big thing all this is telling me is: I’m sick and tired of ongoing $3.99 books and constant events. I just want a self-contained $2.99 or less thing to follow on a regular basis, and when I KNOW from the START it’s a weekly, I’m willing to buy a book weekly for $12ish/monthly–that’s more than the $8 from a double-shipping $3.99, but feels like I’m getting a better value at the weekly new chapters, even if the art varies.

I guess time will definitely tell.

DC Villains Month, Week One

FOREVER EVIL #1

foreverevil001I find it rather…interesting…that the first issue of a “core series” beginning with 52 other “#1 issues” featuring villains, and 3-D-ish covers does not, itself, carry such a cover. That said, I’m really not impressed with Forever Evil #1. It wasn’t bad–and I definitely liked the art–but it’s only the first chapter of SEVEN, and I lack the context going in that might otherwise hold me to it. How did Trinity War end? Is this set in the present? The future? We start cold, with only the parallel universe villains’ word to go on with the fate of the Justice League. While I expect that’ll be revealed over the course of the next six issues with some typical flashbacks and maybe even flash-forwards or flash-sideways…this just fails to strike me as a worthwhile book to read month to month. If I’m not spoiled on a hugely negative ending, I’ll probably seek out the inevitable hardcover, though…in about a year or so when DC finally puts one out.

CYBORG SUPERMAN (Action Comics #23.1)

foreverevilcyborgsuperman001Of the five DC books I bought this week, this was the only one I’d intended to buy, and that on a whim. Cyborg Superman? AKA the “Superman” I initially “bet” on waaaaay back in 1993 as “The Real Man of Steel”? The character whose Sinestro Corps War special I thoroughly enjoyed, and who I recall popping up regularly throughout the ’90s (even if a bit TOO often)? Yeah, why not? Especially with the potential for a 3-D cover, to boot! Sadly, my high expectations proved fruitless, as I am THOROUGHLY disappointed with the “revamping” of the character for fitting into the New 52. This is absolutely NOT “my” Cyborg Superman…this new origin, background, BASIS of the character itself…it’s virtually unrecognizable to me, and feels like this should have been an entirely different character. Still…better to have found that out with a SINGLE issue than getting suckered into trying multiple issues of any title for “promise” of the character appearing/being developed!

JOKER (Batman #23.1)

forevereviljoker001I actually quite enjoyed this one-shot. We get a truly one-off tale of the Joker, from his point of view, as he adopts a baby monkey (ape?) and raises it to be his son and partner in crime…raising it in contrast to his own memories of childhood. Of course, things don’t turn out well, and Joker finds himself back to reflecting on life in his own twisted way. The art was a bit jarring for the flashbacks, but quite good for the main story. I got the feeling that this story could fit pretty much “anywhere” in time…just a period when the Joker went off the grid or such. Since it’s set in “the past,” it’s before he had his face cut off, which makes this all the more timeless and not necessarily set in the New 52 (and being the Joker, who knows how much of this was “real” vs. made up/exaggerated/etc?). All in all, this was a nice one-shot, and with the 3-D cover combined with the short one-issue story, I’m quite satisfied with my $3.99 spent on this issue.

DARKSEID (Justice League #23.1)

foreverevildarkseid001I actually wound up getting this issue because I was intrigued at the Desaad issue, and had pretty much made my mind up to get that issue. And having just read the first 6-issue arc of Justice League a few days ago thanks to a 99-cent Comixology sale, and typically associating Desaad WITH Darkseid…I decided this would go with Desaad’s issue. What I got was an origin of sorts, a glimpse of the “old gods” and the start of the “New Gods.” And a look at how Darkseid shows that he’s not oblivious to what goes on around him, but uses everything to his own ends. Nothing fancy, or deep, or really all that compelling for me. I’ve never been particularly interested in Darkseid in general, and have rarely enjoyed anything with him involved–“Big Bad” or otherwise. This issue did nothing to change that, and only cemented my actual lack of interest in the character.

DESAAD (Earth 2 #15.1)

foreverevildesaad001This issue hooked me with the cover. Desaad has a MUCH different appearance than the sniveling old-man looking character I recall from the ’90s and generally pre-New-52 DC stuff. While I’m not a fan of the new look in and of itself, it is rather striking. Combined with the 3-D effect of teh cover, this one really stood out to me with a lot more “depth” to the image than other issues that seemed a lot more obviously “layered.” As a story, the issue basically shows us Desaad working his machinations, trapped on Earth 2, waiting for Darseid to find/rescue him. He’s not idle–experimenting, mutating, and generally doing horrible stuff. He ends up looking in on a human–My first thought was Jack Kirby–and decides to let the human live for now, better to be “eaten” later. While I was definitely impressed with the cover–the cover can be credited with my buying into the month’s event in general–I wasn’t particularly impressed with the interior; though it could’ve been worse.

OVERALL THOUGHTS ON WEEK 1

I was going to stick to the Cyborg Superman and Doomsday issues this month, and those two mainly “for old time’s sake.” I probably would’ve been grabbed by the Bane issue due out later as well, anyway, for that 1993 nostalgia (despite severe disappointment in The Dark Knight #6). But I wound up buying four of the villains issues, primarily because of the 3-D covers actually impressing me. That, and I was at the comic shop late in the evening, well after some of the other issues sold out, and I was truly just looking at the covers/characters, with no real mind given to creative teams or ongoing stories. Just covers and the characters.

foreverevilweek01

While I was quite disappointed in the new Cyborg Superman, his origin, etc, and far from impressed with the Darkseid story…I enjoyed the Joker story, and the Desaad story was a middle ground. But I really do credit the Desaad issue with my buying into the Villains Month thing: I was impressed by the cover, and if I was buying Desaad’s issue, “had to” buy Darkseid’s issue. And if I was already buying a couple characters’ issues like these…how could I NOT buy the Joker issue? Especially since all 4 were still available in the 3-D editions….despite rather severe allocations and whatnot.

I submitted a list of 12 more Villains books to the comic shop this morning, figuring I’d just throw in and go with characters I’m interested in. I received an email back this afternoon, and a note that for the ones I’ve requested, I should be able to have the 3D editions. While I reserve the “right” to disappointment if I get “stuck” with a 2-D edition amidst all these 3-D covers…tentatively I’m looking forward to MORE one-shots, as I truly don’t remember a time that I read so many such issues that were ok in and of themselves, without feeling like I HAD TO follow them into a bigger story.

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