I put out a poll last week regarding the inclusion of spoilers in my comic book reviews and the overwhelming response was in favor of spoilers. So, I'll warn you now. My reviews from this date forward will have spoilers. Of course, I'll try and warn you if it's something major, like this week's Green Lantern Corps. Also, rather than the bland "Pull List Reviews - whateverthedate is" titles, I'll just call these posts "Comic Reviews" and have some hopefully more interesting title. But that's it with the boring explanations. Bottom line: beware spoilers! Now... bring on the reviews!
Action Comics #883
The World Without/Against Superman storyline has me all over the place. Some issues are great and others just seem bland. This issue is one of the better category. I like the idea of Nightwing and Flamebird and that they're somehow reincarnated Kryptonian heroes. This issue plays with that a bit and has Chris and Thara discussing and trying to grapple with that idea. On other fronts, Jax-Ur (one of Genral Zod's remaining sleeper agents on Earth) is worming his way into S.T.A.R. Labs and setting up some kind of plot to kill our Kryptonian heroes. But the big finale (and I warned you there'd be spoilers so stop reading if you don't want 'em!) is that Chris' accelerated aging kicks in again and he becomes an old man. And who do you think S.T.A.R. Labs brings them to on a silver platter? You guessed it! Things just went from bad to worse.
Score: 4 out of 5
The idea of Dick and Damien as Batman and Robin is another issue that I'm torn on. First off, I think the current writers really "get" the characters of Dick and Damien and really... I mean REALLY... enjoy them as the new dynamic duo. What I'm not sold on is the idea of dumping all of Batman's traditional villains in favor of new villains or trying to bring B-listers to the front lines. The villains are part of what made Batman books great and these new ones just haven't really excited me much yet. This issue opens with Batman and Robin delving deeper and deeper into Black Mask's territory, smashing up False Face soldiers along the way. There's an interlude in which Dick, Huntress and Oracle gets to attend a Gotham socialite party and basically they're just there to keep tabs on Tommy Elliot (now disguised as Bruce Wayne) and the Falcones. But the party takes an odd turn when the little girl from the Falcone family shows up dressed like a rag-tag Catwoman and does something. Robbing the place maybe? It never really explains. The girl sets off a bomb and gets away. The explosion somehow triggers Edward Nigma's psychosis and it seems he's become the Riddler again. The issue closes with Batman off again to track down Black Mask. He starts by questioning young gang members in the area where Black Mask is operating and ends up getting one of them shot. It's not a badly written issue by any means but Black Mask and Hush as villains are just boring me at this point. At least we've got the Riddler coming back so that's a comfort and something to keep me reading.
Score: 3 out of 5
Batman and Robin #6
Here we've got another case of the DCU trying to come up with new Bat-villains and falling flat. That is made even worse by the fact that the rest of the book is amazing! Frank Quitely's cover is stunning. Morrison's characterization and dialog of Dick and Damien is spot on and makes me care about these guys. The artwork by Philip Tan is very fitting for the gritty action sequences that are showcased. But it all doesn't add up since the main villain is the Flamingo. Who's that you ask? Just some daft-looking idiot in pink on a motorcycle who does nothing but grunt and try to kill people. It's obvious that they're trying to make him appear deadly and frightening like the Joker and he is laughable... but not in the good Joker way. The only drawback I've had with Batman and Robin thus far is the new villains. I liked Jason Todd's returning to the Red Hood but Todd's arrested this episodes so now even he's gone. It seems like we're going to be focused on El Penitente and his gang of thugs and freak assassins and I'm not overjoyed at that prospect.
Score: 3.5 out of 5
Green Lantern Corps #42
Okay, DC. The Bat-books may be lackluster and still finding their footing without Bruce, but the Blackest Night books are what's keeping the DCU at the top of my must-read list every week! This week's Green Lantern Corps picks up where the last issue left off with the Black Lanterns assault on Oa. The Green Lanterns, with the assistance of one of the Indigo Lanterns, are slowly losing their collective battle when the Black Lanterns' rings finally hit 100% and they all get the order to "consume will" and they all just stop mid-fight and attack the central power battery of Oa. The Green Lanterns come up with a few ideas to stop the attack including releasing Red Lantern Vice. Vice does a decent job slaughtering the Black Lanterns until Alpha Lantern Chaselon arrives and kills him. Then the Black Lanterns just kill Chaselon and return to trying to drain the main battery. The issue ends with a scene that I really didn't see coming. When Chaselon is killed, Kyle grabs the Alpha Lantern battery and flies into the center of the main Oa power battery with a slew of hungry Black Lanterns giving chase. Once inside the main battery, Kyle creates a dome shield and then detonates the Alpha Lantern battery, killing tons of Black Lanterns... but himself in the process. I assumed Kyle might die during the course of the Blackest Night series since Hal had returned as the main GL of sector 2814 but his death still shocked me. Well done, DC. Very well done!
Score: 5 out of 5