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Thoughts on Issues First Week of October

QUANTUM AND WOODY #4

quantumandwoody004I’m continuing to quite enjoy this series. I’ve been reading through the original series digitally, and other than consciously noting that they’re different, for what I’m getting of the reading experience of both: this new iteration fits right into the spirit of the original. Even the slightly modified relationship between Eric and Woody works well and does nothing to diminish their interactions…if anything, it adds depth. Despite all the hubbub earlier and the promotional posters, here in THIS issue we finally meet “the goat,” and quickly see why this is the most awesome goat in comics. I’m pretty sure my high enjoyment of the Goat is knowing it to be a running gag from the original series combined with the “hype” from even before I’d read any of the originals. I look forward to seeing both the continuing development of the main characters, as well as how the goat is handled in this iteration long-term/moving forward. This issue wraps up the first arc…if you’ve not read any so far, it’ll definitely be worth picking up the collected volume.

SHADOWMAN #11

shadowman011Of all the Valiant titles, this is certainly the best one TO have a Halloween Special. That it’s another issue of the main title and not some extra issue (say, a $4.99 one-shot with a couple of sketch pages making up the $1 difference from the price of a regular issue) is a huge “plus” for me. The story itself didn’t interest me all that much, yet as a slice-of-life piece, I liked it; it’s the sort of thing I often like to see…so I can’t quite figure out why it didn’t have the expected appeal. The art was good; no complaints from me there. This is a self-contained issue…and Valiant offers a “previously” blurb on the inside cover, so really, you don’t need to have read anything before this to pick it up and “sample” the Shadowman title. Not my favorite issue, but not every issue CAN be. This is still a decent read and I’ll be continuing to keep up with the title.

FOREVER EVIL #2

foreverevil002With all the “hype” around the first issue and what it COULD mean for Dick Grayson/Nightwing, as well as buying several of the 3-D covers and figuring context wouldn’t hurt, I bought the first issue, and it wasn’t all that bad…I figured even though I had no intention of following Villains Month into any individual titles, I’d go ahead and check out the next issue of Forever Evil…and here it is. I did. There’s potential…but I have no intention of buying all the tie-ins: whether individual titles’ issues OR specific tie-in minis, and this reeks of Infinite Crisis to me where the main issues might advance things a bit, but also serve as ‘setup’ for many of the tie-ins (which will have the “meat” of the event). I’m not interested enough by this issue to plan on continuing on with the series. Perhaps if it gets good word of mouth from others I’ll jump back in…otherwise, I think I’m pretty much done with this.

BATMAN: BLACK AND WHITE #2

batmanblackandwhite002Normally I’d balk at the $4.99 cover price, especially for “only” a mini-series…and I’d wait for the collected volume. After all, mini-series = short, finite story = better in one go as a single-volume. However, this is an anthology, and each issue is already several shorter stories…and for me that would get a bit grating after awhile, having a thick edition where every several pages begins a new story. So I’m enjoying this format, and getting some nice, short one-off bits dealing with Batman and his cast, by a number of creators with varying name-recognition for me. If this were an ongoing series, I doubt I’d have as much interest in it–I’d wait for others’ reviews and general word-of-mouth as to anything particularly “amazing” to be found in a given issue. But while nothing really stands out to me from this issue, I enjoyed it, and compared to many comics felt I got a good read for my money.

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DC Villains Month, Backtracking

villainsmonthcatchup

With the end of Villains Month and all the issues I wound up getting, I still found myself curious about a few more issues…and ended up “backtracking” and picking up several of the “leftover” 2D editions for a few issues…and figured I’ll offer some some thoughts/commentary associated with each of these same as I have all the rest this month.

ARCANE (Swamp Thing #23.1)

foreverevilarcane001I jumped into Swamp Thing at the start of the New 52, but never got to “meet” Arcane himself. I’ve heard of the character through the years, been aware that he existed, but never actually encountered him. I also–based on where I left off when I dropped the title before the Rotworld stuff or whatever it was–knew “something” was going on with Abby, so her appearance here (while not to my taste) isn’t all that “shocking.” It’s interesting finally meeting the character, and it’s easy to see just how dangerous he really is; I could also tell that there seems to be some retconning going on as he interacts with Abby. No problem with the story or art; this one issue is not enough to draw me back in to the ongoing series, though it gets my curiosity up where I’ll be interested in learning where things go, down the line…and/or perhaps I’ll seek the series out in bargain bins someday or snag the issues digitally if there’s a sale or such. Definitely enjoyed this, and I’m glad I picked it up.

BIZARRO (Superman #23.1)

foreverevilbizarrow001Bizarro is another character I’ve really never cared that much for. I didn’t mind the interpretation used in Byrne‘s Man of Steel mini, and the Bizarro’s World arc not long after the Return of Superman wasn’t bad (as I recall). But I’ve never been thrilled with the more recent version from the early-2000s to present. However, having checked out a number of the other Superman-related villains’ issues this month I figured I’d check this out, and have to say that I found this at least somewhat “interesting.” I actually think I’d prefer this interpretation of the concept to a singular character, as this makes more sense to me than some backwards quasi-duplicate of Superman. This issue fits the “Morrisonian” aspects of my understanding to the New 52 Superman, and this felt like it would’ve been right at home in the pages of Action Comics moreso than Superman, but c’est la vie. As an issue I “backtracked” on, I’m glad I didn’t pay $3.99 for the 3-D cover as I’d’ve been particularly disappointed…but as a 2-D edition “after the fact” this was a good read.

H’EL (Superman #23.3)

foreverevilhel001I’d already bailed on the New 52 prior to the recent H’El on Earth Super-book crossover, and never paid attention to any of the solicitations or covers for that story, so knew virtually nothing of the character until seeing this cover. This was another issue that I got–backtracking–because of having grabbed other Superman-family villains’ issues, I figured I might as well be a bit more comprehensive in my “experience” for the month. While I don’t entirely buy into the time travel aspect of stuff, I still felt like I got a better handle on this character from this issue…enough that if there’s a single-volume collected edition of H’El on Earth I might be inclined to try to get/read that sooner than not. Along with that, I’m ALMOST inclined to watch for the Action Comics Annual, except I actively want to keep from getting sucked into more monthly titles right now. I probably would’ve enjoyed this had I bought the 3D edition when I had the chance, but I’m satisfied with the 2D edition and simply having read the issue.

PENGUIN (Batman #23.3)

foreverevilpenguin001The Penguin was one of the earliest Bat-villains I remember becoming familiar with, in whatever iteration. I don’t think I consciously noticed the shift in the character from washed-up umbrella-guy to master gangster, but now that I have noticed that, it’s a fitting role for the character, in my eyes. This issue touched on a number of things I do like about the character and associate with him–from his past having been bullied to present-day exacting revenge upon those (and other) bullies, as well as being a kingpin-like character. I also definitely enjoyed seeing confirmation that he’s not JUST some backseat leader…this Penguin is dangerous on multiple levels and quite capable of wading in and getting his hands dirty, doing his own dirty work, when provoked. This isn’t enough to get me to rush out and buy the recent Penguin mini-series…but if I find the collected volume for a decent price I’m more inclined to check it out, or might even be inclined to on a whim buy the issues digitally since they’re all well into the discounted 2+ months old range. All that said, this issue felt rather short–it pulled me in and the whole thing flew. I’m actually rather disappointed that I didn’t pick this up the week it came out…but content with having read it as I did rather than waiting til sometime later.

TWO FACE (Batman and Robin #23.1)

forevereviltwoface001I’ve got a mixed history with Two Face…generally I’m not that enamored with the character, though I’m not necessarily going to avoid his appearances. I did avoid this issue earlier in September…but found myself curious and so tracked this down to read for the immediacy. I’m not all that impressed by the issue’s story–of the character using his coin-toss to decide to help or hurt Gotham–but it “works” with what I know of and think of regarding the character. It might have been the quick read of flying through the issue but I didn’t get much “substance” from this, and really didn’t feel I gained any particular insight into the character or anything of much interest to consider watching for later. This was just sort of a slice-of-life/what-he’s-up-to kinda thing to me. I would have been quite disappointed buying this at $4 (or the marked-up $10+ I saw the 3D edition going for)…but as a $2.99 issue, not AS disappointed.

DC Villains Month, Week Four

BANE (Batman #23.4)

foreverevilbane001 It’s rather discouraging to see such a great character go to waste. But, seems that’s what’s happened with Bane in the New 52. I was hoping for something with a lot more depth in this issue, than I found a year and a half ago in The Dark Knight #6. But this seems to be pretty much that same Bane…the one that–to me–truly seems to ignore 15 years of character development and depth. The issue basically shows us Bane recruiting an army to “take back” “his” city (Gotham) as if his only goal has ever been the taking of Gotham. He’s making use of a modified Venom, which flies in the face of what I saw as one of the character’s greatest strengths and the poignancy of the second Vengeance of Bane issue: his rising above and overcoming the need for Venom, and consistently proving himself powerful and smart with no use for the drug that had once had such hold on him. What I get out of this issue is pretty much a caricature of the character circa 1993 with none of the depth/growth/developoment that made me continue to like the character beyond the Knightfall arc 20 years ago. I see no reason to care about or be interested in this New 52 Bane, and I suppose I’m thankful to “get” that from a single issue rather than investing in an entire multi-issue arc…such as the Forever Evil tie-in mini this issue was probably aiming to “sell” me on picking up as a continuation.

SINESTRO (Green Lantern #23.4)

foreverevilsinestro001 I quite enjoyed the Sinestro Corps War a few years back, and enthusiastically followed all the Green Lantern stuff for years, but gradually trailed off. My past enjoyment of Sinestro as a character was the “selling point” for me for this issue, once I’d decided to get some of these Villains Month issues. I’ve been very loosely “aware” of stuff the last couple years in the GL side of things, so was not totally lost with this issue. It was cool to “catch up” a bit on Sinestro–even from a point of view outside of his own. While the “witness” is not entirely reliable to me, the overall context seems to me that we’ve had some extra detail added to Sinestro’s background–including his introduction into the GL Corps–that fits within established stuff. While not quite enough to spur me back to the monthly issues, this was an enjoyable glimpse back into the GL side of the DC Universe and hint at what I should expect as I gradually get caught up with the collected volumes from the last couple years.

BLACK ADAM (Justice League #23.4)

foreverevilblackadam001 I really wasn’t going to ‘bother’ with this issue. I’ve not been a huge fan of Black Adam except under Johns‘ writing, and I hadn’t cared for what I’d seen second-hand of the New 52 Shazam stuff…and was not at all interested in buying Justice League for the “backups,” and generally figured the Shazam side of things was no longer for me. But a friend’s into Shazam, and knowing he’s interested sparked my interest…as well as realizing that hey, this IS by Johns, so why not? And even though I am not “up to speed” on the New 52 status quo of the (formerly?) Marvel family, this issue provided some interesting details, and left me more curious about other New 52 stuff than any of the other Villains Month issues. With a collected edition of the New 52 Shazam story thus far just out, I might actually be inclined to check it out and see where I land thanks to this issue.

METALLO (Action Comics #23.4)

foreverevilmetallo001 I have never been a particular fan of Metallo, though I got kind of attached to the Byrne version introduced in Byrne‘s Superman #1. That take on the character–as he showed up with differing amounts of power and control over machines, the machine with a human brain basically–is the one I prefer. I’m not a particular fan of the former military John Corben or the ties to Sam Lane and Lois Lane. It just seems a bit too complicated having a major Superman villain be basically just a girlfriend’s spurned “ex.” Technically this issue does what I would hope for–introduces me to the character, shows how he got the way he is, and shows what he can do. But my lack of interest in the character in general taints that, and left me fairly cold and honestly did nothing to spark my interest in where the character might go from here. I’m pretty sure I remember Corben showing up in one of the earliest issues of the New 52 Superman (unless that’s blurred with Geoff JohnsSecret Origin mini from a couple years ago), and this issue hints at a prior battle with Superman, so it would seem to me the only real “significance” of this particular issue is the “introduction” of the “Kryptonite heart” and technically being the issue in which Metallo is recruited by the Society.

PARASITE (Superman #23.4)

foreverevilparasite001 If I’ve not been a fan of Metallo, I actually dread Parasite. I think the only time I found the character relatively tolerable was the 1990s Superman: The Animated Series. I especially disliked the character’s transformation in the mid-90s’ comics to the tapeworm-round-mouthed blob, and the continued round-mouthed look in general. And it seems the character was just redone in the last few years in JohnsSuperman: Secret Origin arc. So having yet another version of the character isn’t that appealing. As I read this issue, I found myself wondering why, exactly, I had even bothered to buy it–I grabbed it “off the shelf” not having pre-ordered it–when I should have “left it” same as I did the Bizarro issue (a character I likely would have preferred over this) and H’el (a character I’ve yet to actually read anything with). At least this issue confirms for me that I’m STILL not at all interested in Parasite, and saves me investing in a longer story than just this one issue.

KILLER CROC (Batman and Robin #23.4)

foreverevilkillercroc001 I think this is probably one of the better versions of the character I’ve seen; it definitely works for me, at the least. I never really cared for the grey-skinned version of the character on the Animated Series, and wasn’t all that fond of what I saw of the character in the early/mid ’90s (specifically around Knightfall). That version “worked,” though and I liked it better than the later “Leatherhead-lite” version that was further mutated a few years ago to look more like a “real” crocodile. This issue shows a Killer Croc that is green-skinned, some of the looks of a crocodile, but much more human-looking overall without losing the “monster” appearance. Something to this take on the character doesn’t go over badly for me. I like that the character’s still more muscle than anything else, yet he shows some room for brains, and definitely has a fairly disctinct “place” within the Gotham hierarchy of Batman rogues. I won’t specifically seek anything else out with the character just as a result of reading this, but the issue lets me know that handled similarly I probably won’t dread another Killer Croc story down the line.

Another Look: Cyborg Superman (Action Comics #23.2)

foreverevilcyborgsuperman001One of the things I love about comics is the community around them–the comic shop, the conventions, the podcasts and discussion forums and blogs (and why I keep this blog myself).

As I haven’t the patience or real inclination to give the “full review treatment” to the Villains Month issues from DC, I’m touching on each issue I get, briefly, which–for a glimpse at my behind the scenes thought–can mean a bit of laziness on my part, as I’m just putting my initial, casual thoughts out there without really analyzing an issue the way I would for a full review.

A couple days ago, I listened to Sean Whalen‘s thoughts on the Cyborg Superman issue on Raging Bullets, and he gave things a whole different “spin” on it for me. Jim (Sean’s cohost) also had a bit to say on the subject contextually–both speaking of the events of Supergirl #23 and speculating where things will go with Supergirl #24 and beyond.

I also read Michael Bailey‘s review of the issue (which is far more in-depth and insightful than my own!).

And much to my chagrin, I’m now actually interested in checking out Supergirl. I passed on the first issue back in 2011–had zero interest in yet another new version of the character even then–but now, given the Cyborg is one of my favorite Superman villains, coming out of one of my favorite, most defining Superman stories ever….well, I might actually be “hooked.”

Of course, I’m most likely to wait a bit and buy the digital issue(s)…barring a spur of the moment impulse buy, I still don’t have any real interest in following Supergirl long-term…but with the $1 “discount” by reading a month or two “behind” the current issue…I’d get to read the story, get a bit of context myself, and go from there.

I really don’t like that some of my favorite characters have been so drastically overhauled–Superboy, Steel, Cyborg Superman (no sign of the Eradicator that I know of, as yet)–but returning to Whalen‘s analysis…his excitement’s a bit infectious, and he indicated similar trepidation at the complete, drastic change (that the Cyborg’s not even the same underlying character as pre-New 52). But if he can look past that…perhaps I should, too. And perhaps all the moreso, with Bailey‘s history with Superman being very similar to my own…same deal. If he can read the same issue, same story, and–with a history much like my own with the character–enjoy it?

I’ve gotta give things more of a chance. I’m not saying that this reverses my initial thoughts or that I’m gonna suddenly go gung-ho on DC stuff again, but I’d like to think this shows that I’m open-minded, given the proper influencers. Sure, I’ll have my take on something…but I’m WILLING to be argued with, provided the arguer has sound reason to their argument. (And that they’re not just throwing some snide remark at me or putting me down for my thoughts/take/context). (Such as someone suggesting that there is homework to be done before reading any given comic, that one has to have read up on multiple sites’ interviews and wikipedia analysis, etc. in order to have an opinion about a spur of the moment purchase).

Goes to show…context is important…but I’m consciously and mostly intentionally context-less on most of the villains issues, using these as a random month of indulgence into new takes on old favorites.

Of course, budget permitting…more and more I begin to wonder if I’d actually be interested in pursuing what seems to be an annual “omnibus” of all 52 September issues…I believe DC has done one for the #1 issues two years ago and for the #0 issues last year. It looks like I’ll be buying about 18-20 of the issues this month, leaving 32 “on the table,” that at cover price would still be about $96 for the 2-D editions and $128 for the 3-D). Assuming the hardback’s $125 and I get it for a significant discount (say, 45% off) I’d still come out well ahead price-wise, even WITH all the issues I’m buying this month.

Time, of course, will tell!

DC Villains Month, Week Two (Part 2)

BRAINIAC (Superman #23.2)

foreverevilbrainiac001I was surprised at this issue. I’m not a huge fan of the Brainiac character, especially the comics version–there have been so many interpretations that it might as well–to me–be outright inconsistency. Geoff Johns attempted to bridge that a few years ago, positing that we’d only essentially seen “avatars” of the one, TRUE Brainiac…but that story came rather late in the pre-New-52 era, and did not really seem to get time to develop. This is my first exposure to the New 52 version of the character, and we get a bit of a blend of past versions. That this version of the character strongly resembles Johns‘ take works well for me; we also see that there are other emissaries out there working for Brainiac. This issue worked QUITE well for me as an origin story, as we see where Brainiac came from and how he got to be what he is and what set him off on his quest to shrink and preserve alien cities. That we get a mix of the 5th dimension (I don’t believe Mxyzptlk has shown up in the New 52 as yet?) and a DC version of the Annihilation Wave (a nice nod to Marvel) tied in to Brainiac gives an interesting depth and motivation to the character. As with all the other villains issues so far, I’m hardly inspired to go seeking OTHER issues beyond this one…but like the Zod issue, my interest is piqued, and I wouldn’t be oppose to reading a full story in collected edition should the occasion arise.

MR. FREEZE (Batman: The Dark Knight #23.2)

foreverevilmrfreeze001I seem to be quite a sucker for this character. Like many people, one of my favorite episodes of the 1990s’ Batman: The Animated Series is the one that introduces a new version of Mr. Freeze and gives him a tragic backstory and plausible motivation. I don’t remember the character really appearing in any form in most of the Batman comics I read throughout the ’90s and early 2000s…but when the first New 52 Batman Annual focused on Mr. Freeze amidst the Court of Owls stuff last year, I went ahead and bought it, and quite enjoyed it. It was the memory of that annual that led me to include this issue with the villains issues I’d get, and I wasn’t really let down. This one does less exploration of an origin and more “where the character is now,” actually taking place after the events of Forever Evil #1 and leaves Mr. Freeze “out there” for whatever story he gets involved in next. This was an enjoyable one-shot, and while I wasn’t blwon away by the art, I actually enjoyed the interior more than the cover.

RIDDLER (Batman #23.2)

foreverevilriddler001I’m no great fan of the Riddler, even though I do rather appreciate some of his riddles as written by whoever’s used the character at the time. I actually can’t remember ever particularly enjoying any of the Riddler-centric stories in the comics. I had not planned on buying this issue–I intentionally did not include it in the list of requested issues I submitted to my comic shop last week–but when I found myself filling an unexpected gap in what I’d planned on spending, I pulled this from the shelf and added it to the week’s buy. And surprisingly enough, despite really expecting to dislike the issue, I found myself enjoying it. While the story is set somewhere between the ongoing Zero Year stuff I’ve not been reading and whatever comes next in Zero Year, this seemed more like a “timeless” story, and a (morbid as it sounds) “fun” one-shot focused on the Riddler. We see how dangerous he can actually be, yet a hint of depth beyond simply a gimmick…and this, quite frankly, stands out as probably my favorite Riddler issue at this point.

OVERALL THOUGHTS ON WEEK 2

At least this week being a “big week” was somewhat planned…though it still proved to be a bit larger than I’d intended. All six of these Villains Month issues are ones that–two weeks ago–I’d had no intention of buying.

foreverevilweek02

It’s extremely dismaying to realize that I bought TEN new comics this week (at least DOUBLE what I usually buy in a week!) and they were all $3.99 books. At least these DC Villains issues with the 3-D plastic-ish covers FEEL like they’re actually WORTH the price, physically. They’re regular-sized issues content-wise, but the covers are certainly sturdy, high quality.

I’m continuing to enjoy that these are by and large truly one-shot issues. Even though they carry the “point whatever” numbers on the covers tying them to series I’m not actively following, FUNCTIONALLY they remain single-issue stories focused on the titular villain. Some of the issues do say the story continues into a series/issue, but as far as I’m concerned–for what I’m buying these for–I’m rather satisfied with what I’ve got and nothing’s led me to chomp at the bit for another issue or the next appearance…though some have got my interest such that I’ll at least read about issues they might appear in and perhaps pick up a collected volume that I probably wouldn’t otherwise have any interest in prior to all these issues.

DC Villains Month, Week Two (Part 1)

ZOD (Action Comics #23.2)

foreverevilzod001Zod’s story is definitely a new one for me; a new take on the character that definitely humanizes him a lot more than previous versions. Adding a fairly defining (if clichéd) episode to his youth goes quite a way in fleshing out the character…and even leaves a lot of room for some future stories, should anyone wish to revisit that period of the character’s life. We get a little bit of insight into his motivation as well as just how far the character will go…both to survive, himself as well as to push his people to survive (a bit of a hint at the influence of the Man of Steel film version of the character, perhaps?).. All in all, the story seemed rather short, and though I have no particular intention of following things into any of the ongoing Superman books at present, taking this as a totally new version of the character, I might check out a Zod-focused story arc in collected edition format sometime down the line..

MONGUL (Green Lantern #23.2)

foreverevilmongul001My first exposure to Mongul was at the dawn of my comics-reading life, in the infamous Alan Moore tale For the Man Who Has Everything. I think my next exposure to the character was in Reign of the Supermen, and then another version of the character in 1999 when the alien Imperiex was introduced…and most recently his involvement after the Sinestro Corps War in the Green Lantern books. While I still most associate the character with Superman, it’s kinda cool to see that he’s really become a Green Lantern villain, where he certainly fits! As to this issue…it felt too short for the events it contains. Other than Mongul himself, the other characters are pretty much inconsequential and of no real significance.  Though what Mongul does in this issue comes off as throw-away, had it involved Earth or Oa this’d be a half-year Event crossover. Still…it’s a “cosmic” story by Jim Starlin, which was a pleasant surprise to me!

LOBO (Justice league #23.2)

foreverevillobo001The cover is quite deceiving to the story within…yet, I’m quite glad the cover has “my” Lobo rather than this new “Goth” Lobo. However, while getting to see this new take on Lobo, I’m actually sorta interested in where things are going to go for the character, and even somewhat see where some of the online controversy over the new design falls. At the very least, this gives a different perspective on the character, and an intriguing new interpretation of past Lobo stories.  I’ll be interested–thanks to this issue–in learning what fate befalls Lobo moving forward…though I don’t think I actually care enough to seek the issues out for the story itself.  I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting from this issue and its story…I definitely got a mix of familiar and new. Lobo has never been my favorite character, though I have to admit to a certain grudging interest in the character due to some of his appearances in Superman comics back in the late-’80s/early-’90s.

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.

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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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