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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.

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Comixology vs. Comic Shop: First Impact

supergirlbackissuescomixologyComixology has never replaced the comic shop experience for me. Sure, I partake in the various 99-cent sales to try stuff I’ve never read or to get a digital copy for a re-read or such, and RARELY will outright buy a “new issue” of something just as an impulse buy. But I don’t think I’ve ever been in a comic shop and had issues in-hand with the intent to buy them and then put them back in favor of buying them digitally from Comixology instead.

First time for everything, though, right?

In my various posts the last several weeks about DC‘s Villains Month, I’ve reiterated my lack of interest in following the villains’ issues into ongoing titles, and yet also my likely exception for following the Cyborg Superman’s story into Supergirl. I ducked into another comic shop Friday since I was out of town, curious about what 3-D covers they might still have in stock, and a bit of an increased interest in catching a few more villains issues. I ended up buying Supergirl #23–the issue immediately preceding the Cyborg Superman‘s September issue, as well as snagging the 2-D editions of the Arcane issue, the Bizarro issue, and the H’El issue.

Saturday I decided to check another shop I occasionally visit, having decided I was interested in the Penguin and Two Face issues (which I found and bought the 2-D editions as the 3-Ds were marked up to $10 and $15 apiece). I also ended up flipping through the Supergirl issues on the shelf (looked like the entire series back to #1), and checked the endings to #s 22 and then 21, both of which seem to involve the Cyborg Superman. I picked ’em up and was going to include them with my purchase, when it dawned on me: sure, #23 made sense to buy in-print, it’d still be $2.99 on Comixology since DC seems to have moved to a 2-month lag on dropping the price. But we’ve already hit the 2-month mark for #s 21 & 22.

So rather than buy either of those, I figured I’d just wait, since all I want to do is read them for further context of the Cyborg Superman (and the lack of issues 0-20 in my possession would kinda bug me) and I can just buy ’em via Comixology and save $1 apiece.

In this case…yeah, the digital may have “undercut” a sale for a comic shop…but this is in the 2+ months time-frame, and NOT the week-of/day-and-date sales window. Granted, at this particular shop, recent back issues are still cover price; as opposed to shops that may bag ‘n board and mark up issues after only a month or two. But it’s still “back issue” territory, and a 33% discount. $2 apiece–a TOTAL of the price of ONE Marvel issue–for two recent issues makes for a decent price, to me.

Just something I found sorta interesting to note in my own purchasing (or lack thereof). ‘Course, DC–thanks to the Villains Month stuff–wound up with me purchasing 27 issues this month that at the end of August I’d had no intention of purchasing. 21 of these were the 3-D editions; several of which were still impulse-buys the week-of; 5 were 2-D editions and 1 was Forever Evil #1 itself.

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.

Batman/Superman #3.1: Doomsday #1 [Review]

foreverevildoomsday001Tales of Doom

Written by: Greg Pak
Pencils by: Brett Booth
Inks by: Norm Rapmund
Colors by: Carlos M. Mangual
Cover by: Tony Daniel, Sandu Florea and Tomeu Morey
Assistant Editor: Anthony Marques
Editor: Mike Cotton
Group Editor: Eddie Berganza
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

This issue is REALLY the entire reason I “bought into” Villains Month at all to begin with, prior to deciding to “also” check out the Cyborg Superman issue and everything snowballing from there. Doomsday is probably THE key character for me, even more than the Cyborg, when it comes to my history with Superman. Whether the actual Doomsday arc, the issue of Reign of the Supermen where the Cyborg throws his body into space, the Hunter/Prey mini-series, the Doomsday Wars mini-series, his appearance during Our Worlds At War or his “Jokerization” during Last Laugh…the creature is one that I’ve “always” taken note of. 

All that said, my initial take on this issue is extreme disappointment. Labeled Doomsday #1 for the issue, I expected actual details–of the creature, of its past, clarification of its involvement with Superman already –and perhaps something of what might yet be coming. While we do get a look at the past, with the creature inserted much more closely to Superman himself in the family history…it seems to almost “cheapen” the character, making it just another part of stuff carrying over from Krypton to plague Superman on Earth, rather than something that arrives out of nowhere or “legend” and all that.

Rather than any real background on the character or firm details of the creature’s origins, we’re given a glimpse of a past encounter with the creature involving Zod, and from Lara’s perspective.  We get some development of Zod’s history with Supergirl (Kara)…which works in context of showing the danger the creature can present, of its place in Kryptonians’ consciousness…but really does not seem to “matter” for an issue that’s supposed to “focus” on the creature. This story seems like it would be far more appropriate as an issue of Supergirl, showing her remembering what she’s learned of the creature. Though the creature’s prominence on the cover is apt, this issue doesn’t really feel like it lives up to its “title,” and certainly fails to live up to my own expectations.

Despite that, had this simply been a random issue of Supergirl and I saw the creature so prominently placed on the cover, I’d’ve likely found this a rather enjoyable “one-shot” of sorts. And with the Zod/Kara stuff, it’s seeming likely that the entirety of Villains Month MIGHT actually drive me to checking out the Supergirl title.

The story itself is solid; I do like the art in and of itself. I don’t mind the reconfiguration of the bone protrusions from Doomsday, except the cheek-horns that just look totally ridiculous to me and seem a pointless addition to the face. While I’ll read about “any” Doomsday, this is somehow probably my least-favorite of all the looks the character’s been given.

All in all…I suspect if you’re a fan of the Supergirl series, you’ll enjoy this. Ditto if you’re a fan of Pak or Booth, or just want the cover to look at. With the apparent “consolidation” of titles for this month, I don’t know where Doomsday is likely to next show up (if at all), but this issue feels like it’s pointing me to the Supergirl title. If you’re expecting to find out where Doomsday came from in-continuity of New 52 or the New 52 “past” of the creature and Superman, you’ll have to look elsewhere or stretch a between-the-lines interpretation.

As a $3.99 one-shot with the fancy 3-D cover…if you can find this at cover price (or opt for the “standard” edition or digital edition), and don’t hold high expectations (or my comments have dispelled those expectations), it’s not bad and I have to “grudgingly” admit I’d recommend it as an expectation-less standalone.

DC Villains Month, Week Three

THE ROGUES (Flash #23.3)

foreverevilrogues001This was a last-second choice for me, but ended up being one I’m quite glad I made! I got pulled into The Flash back in 2002 or 2003–with Johns‘ #197 or so, starting off the Blitz story arc introducing a new Reverse Flash/Professor Zoom/whatever. I’d heard plenty of good prior to that, and finally checked in on the series, and found the issues focusing on specific Rogues to be extremely enjoyable–adding far more depth to cheesey characters than I would have ever seriously considered. Similarly, I’ve heard about some “changes” to the Rogues in the New 52; of their prior “gimmicks” being turned into “powers” through machinations of one of their own…but I never bothered to follow up. So this issue gave me a sampling of exactly what I wanted out of the issue and expected: a glimpse at the Rogues; how they’re interacting, what they’re like, and all that. Seeing that they still have a Code; that they may not get along perfectly but still have each others’ backs…I like that. That it’s mixed with seeing where they’re headed in light of the Crime Syndicate’s bursting onto the scene shows there’s a lot of potential. The cover’s fairly generic/”iconic,” but I still like it…though I seriously doubt it would have grabbed me in and of itself.

CLAYFACE (Batman: The Dark Knight #23.3)

foreverevilclayface001I’ve never been a huge fan of Clayface, though he always had potential. Yet, while that’s a singular thing…my very first “true” Batman villain in comics I owned as a kid was Clayface…or rather, it was the Mud Pack–Clayface II, III, and IV banded together attempting to bring back the original. And it was the fond memory of that 1980s arc that prompted me to want to check out this issue, and while it certainly doesn’t measure up to 25 years of sentimentality, I found it to be a solid issue. We get a glimpse at Basil Karlo in this case…a rather different Clayface than I remember pre-New 52, or from The Mud Pack. Here, he’s basically a thug with a temper and powers, who refuses to blindly follow others and prefers to act on his own plans and initiative. Nothing here particularly struck me or interested me in seeking out other stuff…but it was still an enjoyable enough issue, and with the 3-D cover, certainly “worth” my $3.99 for the issue.

LEX LUTHOR (Action Comics #23.3)

foreverevillexluthor001This was probably my favorite issue of the Villains stuff this week, and definitely one of my favorites for the month. Seeing Luthor BE Luthor…businessman and evil and all that, yet not without thought/motivation. We get to see him–amidst dealing with other stuff–take apart a rival businessman’s life for slighting him, JUST to make a point. And while a feat on that level to many would take a lot of time and effort…it’s hardly a second thought for Luthor. It’s also a look at what he does–can do–outside of solely plotting and executing plans for Superman’s downfall. Probably what hit me the most was that it reminded me a lot of Luthor from the late-80s/early-90s…not an exact fit, but I could see this Luthor propositioning a waitress just to mess with her, and then drive off, leaving her to wonder what her life could have been. That this issue leads directly into Forever Evil #1 which I read a couple weeks ago adds to my enjoyment…here I’m only really visiting DC stuff again for a month, and there’s already some “continuity connection.” I was also quite glad that–despite the cover–Luthor was NOT the power-armored mad-scientist in this. The cover itself doesn’t blow me away or anything, but works for the issue…I suppose I have to “accept” that the power-armored Luthor IS rather “iconic” in general.

ECLIPSO (Justice League Dark #23.3)

foreverevileclipso001The first real “crossover”/event I remember “experiencing” in comics was the Eclipso: The Darkness Within story that crossed through a bunch of DC‘s Annuals back in 1992, and carried with it some iconic moments for me, and gave me a rather serious introduction to the character beyond his goofy-ish earlier appearances that I–to this day–have yet to read. So getting to read an issue focusing on the character now in the New 52 seemed ripe for an enjoyable check-in of sorts…though I found myself somewhat disappointed with the issue. There’s a lot of potential, but there’s no way one lone issue can hold the level of story that a dozen Annuals held…there’s just not that much room! Add to that the hassle getting this issue in the edition I wanted (3-D cover) and it just wasn’t gonna measure up to expectation. That said, I by FAR prefer this take on the character to the stuff post-Identity Crisis, and wouldn’t mind reading more dealing with this character. I do quite like the cover itself as well–for one thing, Eclipso’s name is spelled out pretty much as its own logo, so the Justice League Dark logo looks like just more dark energy radiating from the background swirl or the black diamond energy. The issue’s not worth the hassle I went through getting it…but it was worth reading, and I’m glad I did get to.

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.

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