Friday 24 February 2017

Weekly Comic Reviews

Detective Comics #951
League of Shadows part one: Unleashed

Lady Shiva is definitely the main event here. I've always associated her more with Tim and Cass, her being something of a coming of age test for the first and the supposed mother of the other (did they ever resolve that?) and its nice to see her used as the merciless badass I always thought she could be. The last I remember her turning up, Tim beat her using food poisoning which is a fantastic Tim move but doesn't do much for Shiva's credibility. Poor booking, frankly.

What is good booking is bringing back one of Tim's big villains because it gives me hope that he'll be coming back to the main action sometime soon. Tim is “my” Robin and Tim/Steph is one of the only ships in existence I have any sort of strong feelings about.

Also, as the situation in this issue spirals out of control you can just see the Tim-shaped hole in the team. No one is made to look incompetent or sloppy but you can see the lack of a multi-track mind as the League makes its moves and the team falls straight into the trap.

There's also a lovely moment of Batwoman wondering how much social contact Cass is getting now Steph is off the team. One of the things I like about this series is that it takes seriously the psychological problems of the Bats. I've always hated the stasis that DC insists on for the Gotham characters' trauma and its nice to see someone addressing it.

Infamous Iron Man #5

No, Victor, your mum!

No, but serious, though, this issue is all about Victor Von Doom's relationship with his mother. Its something that's underpinned his character for donkey's years. Last issue I rather assumed she'd been brought back to life in some Fantastic Four story I missed (I've always been rather patchy in following that series) but it turns out this was a big, massive revelation that went over my head!

This is the problem of coming back from the dead being a genre trope.

In typical Bendis fashion the confrontation between Doom and Momma Doom is related through two separate conversations about it: one between Ben Grimm and Maria Hill and the other between Doom and his love interest Doctor Perera.

It feel really weird writing “Doom and his love interest”. If nothing else it shows this series has novelty going for it. Okay, and being one of Bendis' better paced series of recent years as, in spite of being mostly people talking about people talking, this was actually a pretty satisfying single issue.

Spider-Gwen #17
Sitting in a Tree part 4

Is it just me or Spider-Gwen a title made out of pure joy? I mean, crossing over with Bendis' Spider-Man is rather slowing the pace of things but Jason Latour really crams in the fun. You've got Miles and Gwen meeting Ms. Marvel, who is a little matchmaker and it is so sweet! I don't think I really need to recommend this issue beyond that, frankly.

Justice League of America #1
The Extremists part one

I've never really connected with the New 52 version of the Justice League but this team, with its mission statement of being a more human and inspiring League rather than gods swooping in to the rescue, certainly appeals to me. With the Rebirth one-shot and its prequels doing the heavy lifting on establishing the characters, this first issue hits the ground running with a bunch of vignettes showing Batman's League working solo in pairs before an interdimensional invasion kicks off.

I have to admit, as silly and dated as his “coded” alien swearing is, I am rather glad to have the old Lobo back. He's over the top and silly but he's part of my childhood and I am rather fond of the main man. I'm also interested in Killer Frost, who is a character I don't know much about. In fact, I'm mainly aware of her because of the version in the Flash TV show who is so very different from this one it barely makes sense to think of them as the same character.

There are plenty of interesting conflicts and alliances between characters like Ryan Choi and Killer Frost both being scientists, Black Canary's clear mentoring role for newbie The Ray and so on but the one that interests me the most is that Vixen will absolutely be taking none of Batman's shit. As she says at one point, there's never been a Justice League Batman didn't end up fighting so I'm hoping that at some point she and Bruce come into conflict and she ends up leading the League.

Just a theory.

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