I got caught up on a bunch of comics this week. Here’s the lowdown:
Brave and the Bold #33 (Yeah, I know this came out last week, but whatever.): DC’s Brave and the Bold hasn’t been on my pull list since the “Book of Destiny” arc closed out a few years ago, but I approached issue #33 with cautious optimism. Jesus Saiz’s cover image of Zatanna, Wonder Woman and original Batgirl Barbara Gordon walking over the bodies of felled bad guys was irresistible. And since current B&B writer J. Michael Straczynski begins writing Wonder Woman in July, I wanted to get a sense of his vision for my favorite comic book character of all time. No pressure.
This comic not only exceeded my expectations, but also reassured me that Diana is in good hands. (Spoilers ahead) Straczynski’s Wonder Woman is a certified badass. Early on, she takes down a terrorist by snatching him out of his bomb-rigged clothes, pinning his nude body under her heel and daring old boy to try something. When Zatanna compliments her crime-busting flair, Diana’s response is sassy and genuinely funny.
Zatanna, who’s been plagued lately by unsettling visions, decides a girls-only night out with Diana and Barbara is in order. It’s a blast to see these three out on the town, complete with killer nightclub attire (I swear Diana is wearing a Gucci heel.) Artist Cliff Chiang’s pencil work is lovely, and a panel of the trio doing a karaoke performance of “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)” put a big smile on my face.
It isn’t immediately apparent where Straczynski’s story is going, which is why the ending packs such an emotional wallop. I may have shed a tear, but you can’t prove anything.
Justice Society of America #38: Am I the only one who thinks the last two issues of JSA have been more powerful than any event comic this past year? Bill Willingham is not playing with this “Fatherland” storyline, which takes place in a future, Nazi-ruled America. Sapped of their powers and imprisoned, heroes like Mr. Terrific, Batman, Superman and Blue Beetle are relying on good, old-fashioned teamwork — and spilling a lot of their own blood — to take down the Fourth Reich. Kid Karnevil is now “The Fuhrer,” and he’s as much of a sociopathic asshole as that title suggests. What I love about this story how it defines heroism as something beyond winning and breaking villains’ faces — though I dearly wish someone would go all Sopranos on Kid Karnevil. Willingham and artist Jesus Merino are bringing their A-game to this book, and I’m glad my pal Chocotaco put me on notice.
Green Lantern Corps #47: I can’t decide what I liked most about Peter Tomasi’s Blackest Night epilogue. Arisia clocking a Guardian Laila Ali-style? Guy Gardner’s trademark sarcasm? Penciller Pat Gleason’s panel of Mogo releasing thousands of emerald rings into the universe to find new bearers? There are plenty of solidly nifty moments in this issue, though I still hate Kyle’s mask.
Wonder Woman #43: Writer Gail Simone is closing out her run on this title with a bang. Part 2 of “Wrath of the Silver Serpent” reveals the backstory of Wonder Woman’s mass-murdering aunt, and it’s pretty jacked up. Meanwhile, I officially have a crush on Nicola Scott’s version of Diana, who has an elegant athleticism and truly gorgeous hair. I still don’t care about Steve or Etta as supporting characters, but I am looking forward to the showdown between Diana and her first cousin, Theana, who appears to be a sort of Bizarro Wonder Woman. Um, she’s scary.
Ultimate Spider-Man #9: Peter’s current girlfriend, Gwen, and his two exes, Mary Jane and Kitty, gang up on him to give him a haircut, and Johnny Storm falls hard for the mysterious Spider-Woman. As usual, this book crackles like a good TV episode, and there’s a heck of a cliffhanger as Kitty stares down anti-mutant feds who’ve barged into her classroom. I’m gonna put my money on Kitty.
Justice League: The Rise of Arsenal #2: I’ve enjoyed some of writer J.T. Krul’s previous work, but everything about this series so far feels clichéd and silly, despite the fact that Roy Harper is facing overwhelming tragedy: the death of his daughter, Lian, the loss of his arm and the very real possibility of drug relapse. The best thing about this issue is the opening sequence (illustrated by Mike Mayhew and Andy Troy), which is right out of every parent’s nightmares. Unfortunately, the rest amounts to awkwardly drawn panels of Roy being angry, throwing things and generally going off on everybody. (Is there any particular reason heroes always come to funerals in full costume? Anyone ever hear of a private ceremony?) I get that Roy is grieving and in physical agony, but I’m not sure I want to keep paying $2.99 to see him knock over furniture and brandish an oozing arm stump. Plus, isn’t it just cruel to keep putting Cheshire’s kids in danger and/or killing them off? Have a heart, DC.
What did you like this week?