Editor's Note: Leaguers, I'm going to go back to occasionally talking comics around here. Feel free to ignore these posts, friends and family who don't care!
I'm also going to mostly focus on suggestions for stuff I liked. It'll save us all a lot of time.
Detective Comics #854
Written by Greg Rucka; Art by JH Williams and Cully Hamner; Cover by JH Williams : Variant Cover by JG Jones
We're on issue #854 of Detective Comics, where Batman made his first appearance in 1939ish in issue #29. So, this is the first issue in quite sometime given over to someone other than Batman, or people standing around talking about/ thinking about Batman.
Instead, after 3 years of getting our chain yanked by DC with its sporadic appearances of the "all new" Batwoman (That's Batwoman, not Batgirl), DC finally committed to the character and gave her a chance to make it on her own. Apparently DC is also trying to make amends with novelist/ comic scribe Greg Rucka, with whom it seems things got crosswise during the "52" event of 06' - 07', by giving him "Detective" and then, just to be extra nice, assigning artist JH Williams III (of Batman and Promethea fame) to the storyline.
With karate she'll kick your ass, from here, to right over there...
Longtime readers will know I'm a fan of Rucka's work on Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, OMAC, and I spent a lot of time in Costa Rica reading his "Queen & Country" comics. Rucka does fetishize a certain type of female character, as evidenced by his similar treatment of Renee Montoya from Gotham Central/ The Question, Queen and Country and now Batwoman. Highly competent, jaded, and a personal life in shambles. And maybe he needs to shake that off a bit, which he's forced to do when he's handling characters he didn't manage from scratch (and which he handles quite well).
There's nothing wrong with the narrative here, and, in fact, Rucka does an amazing job of setting the stage for who Kathy Kane is and where we're headed. But Detective Comics just jumped page count and increased its price by 25% with a Question back-up feature by Rucka, that will probably remind readers a bit too much of how similar the two characters actually are.
I'm counting on the back-up feature intersecting with the main feature at some point. We'll see. But both characters have been tied up with Rucka's ongoing "Religion of Crime" storylines at different times.
I'd be remiss in discussing the new Batwoman as character if I didn't point out, like everyone else has, that she is part of DC's efforts at representing the world "as is", in that Kathy Kane has been established as a lesbian. It's not an overarching part of the plot, but its not hard to see that DC was trying to spread its wings a bit with the character intended to be part of its mainstream offerings. Which, I just realized, means that Detective Comics #854 features not one, but two gay heroes.
The art: Is phenomenal. I really don't know what else to say about JH Williams, other than that the man is one of the most wickedly talented people working in the comics business. His style is vastly different from, say, Frank Quitely, but I feel he's in the same category, and it'd be nice if he were a bit better recognized/ had greater influence on the comic art community. I suggest going here and then clicking "view preview" to see his stuff.
Green Lantern #42
Written by Geoff Johns: Art and Cover by Philip Tan and Jonathan Glapion; Variant Cover by Rodolfo Migliari
This is more an endorsement of Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi's work on Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps, two books I enjoy immensely. Johns and Tomasi have both been using the serial and ongoing nature of the books to lead to an event in "Blackest Night", which is hitting at the end of the summer. (And if you're reading GL but not GLC, you are crazy. Seriously.)
Johns and Tomasi have managed to greatly expand the conceits of the GL books of decades past, and have introduced a spectrum of colors and their varying allegiances, roles, etc... And its been a fascinating read.
The last few issues of GL have focused upon the Guardians' attempts to negotiate with Larfleeze, a being who seized the Orange Lantern (think Gollum, but with the power of a thousand GL's) millions of years ago.
As a single issue, it would be incredibly difficult to walk into GL #42, so The League recommends picking up with the Sinestro Corps stuff in trade paperback.
Every once in a while when you're reading a comic, it just clicks, and it becomes abundantly clear that the comic you're reading is going to be remembered and become essential reading for decades. It may eventually spawn movies, etc... And, most certainly, that's the case right now with Green Lantern, provided the whole ending for Blackest Night doesn't crater.
Written by James Robinson; Art by Renato Guedes and José Wilson Magalhães; Cover by Andrew Robinson
Like Batman disappearing from the pages of Detective, Superman hasn't actually appeared in "Superman" for the past few months as the "World of Krypton" mega-story has taken over the Superman wing of the DCU. Clark Kent/ Kal-El is off planet at the moment (a move I confess to thinking was nuts when I first heard it), and has left Metropolis in the hands of a fellow alien, Mon-El. Meanwhile, Action Comics is now featuring an all-new Flamebird and Nightwing, a Kandorian super-team hunting down Phantom Zone criminals.
Mon-El has appeared in the Superman-related comics since the early 1960's, first in Superboy, and then in the Legion of Super-Heroes. From the planet Daxam (and actually named Lar Gand, but given a Kryptonian name by a young Superboy) Mon-El has similar abilities to a Kryptonian. However, unlike Kryptonians, Daxamites are affected by the simple element of lead the way Superman might be affected by Kryptonite. In today's continuity, he was found by a young Clark Kent who was forced to place him into the Phantom Zone to save his life.
Freed from the Zone and given a temporary cure, he's taken Superman's place in protecting not just Metropolis, but, as this issue explores, Earth. Its a great story, showing how this very human alien relates to the planet and is trying to make the most of his time.
I'm not as enamored by Robinson's writing as some, and some scenes, such as The Guardian's defense of Mon-El to Morgan Edge feel simply rushed. Like Robinson had an item he felt he wanted to check off his list of narrative moments, but didn't quite know how to frame it, and so a fairly simple speech cleared up an entire storyline. It seemed almost quaint in this era of televised punditry. It also felt oddly like a call back to Superman's defense of Krypto circa issue 680.
But the issue is an overall enjoyable read, and a great beat in this ever-expanding storyline of World of Krypton, as it runs through the Superman titles.
Sure, its odd that DC has decided that Clark Kent himself isn't the star of his self-titled comic at the moment, but I'm enjoying the feeling of a broad, epic vision for the Superman comics at this moment. Superman's displacement doesn't feel artificial as it did in "Superman: Exile", and I feel that Robinson's stewardship on the title is sound.
Plus, I like the artwork.
That's it for the moment. I doubt this will be a weekly thing, but doing some comic-related writing felt like a good idea today.