Friday 1 September 2017

Comic Reviews

So, this week the Nazi stupidity is (almost) over. Secret Empire is over, Captain Charlottesville is Captain America again and with only an epilogue issue yet to go (because apparently this idea needs another issue before it is allowed to die) I am unlikely to be confronted with any more sudden Nazi stupidity in my reading.

Bombshells United #1
American Soil part 1

Funny that DC should relaunch their WWII AU series the same week Secret Empire ends, isn't it? If it was deliberate then more power to the Distinguished Competition, I say. Anyway, the single best series DC has published in years is now back with a fresh coat of paint and a three year time jump. After London, the Berlin Ghetto and Moscow, I wondered what theatre Marguerite Bennett was going to send her Bombshells to next.

I was not expecting “the United States” to be the answer. I don't want to harp on the Secret Empire parallels too much but its sort of inevitable that just as Marvel finishes a series that posits the Nazis could have won (they really, really couldn't have), DC has Wonder Woman in a Rosie the Rivetter costume fighting US soldiers to prevent the Japanese internments.

Oh, and Donna Troy and Cassie Sandsmark are introduced to the Bombshells universe. Its been a long time but its nice to see a Cassie that I can at least vaguely recognise as the same girl from Peter David's Young Justice as opposed to kleptomaniac that was introduced during the New 52.

Gotham City Garage #2
Start With Hope

And then there's this other gem being hidden in the digital side of DC. Seriously, for a company obsessed with its own multiverse you'd think they'd do more to promote these AU-style series.

Anyway, the titular garage finally appears as well as some small background on how the world outside the rotten paradise of the Garden functions. Natasha Irons, always a nice face to see, turns up to be aggressive at Kara. We get a few answers on who this fascist-even-by-Batman-standards version of Batman is (and, boy, is that interesting). Like you'd expect its a whole lot of answers leading to a whole lot more questions and I absolutely adore it. I cannot wait to see where this is going and to see what other DC heroes get the Mad Max treatment.

Most of all, though, I want to know why Kara recognises Harley's name. Theory: given the psychological programming we know is going on in the Garden, what if Doctor Quinzel was one of the people who did the groundwork on that?

Red Hood and the Outlaws Annual #1
Big Tent, Bigger Dreams

You know, I've actually become rather fond of this series since it came back and this is a perfect done-in-one example of why. We join our Outlaws undercover in a circus that is a cover for the Russian mob and Jason has called Nightwing in to give them as hand. Its a pretty good set-up and there's a classic Batman baddie knocking around but the meat of the issue is examining the relationship between Jason and Dick. In fact, at certain points, I rather thought I was reading the beginning of a smutty fanfic since artist Tyler Kirkman spends a good few panels having Jason looking coyly to one side like a lovesick schoolgirl as he thinks about how much he admired Dick's circus performances when he was younger.

Most of the issue is just Jason, Dick, Artemis and Bizarro hanging out and talking and its sweet. Its not a particularly flashy story but it spends the extra page space of an annual wisely and I look forward to any other encounters Lobdell has planned between the Outlaws and the rest of the Bat-family (I think there's a Batwoman appearance on the slate, if I recall correctly?).

Generations: Hawkeye and Hawkeye one-shot
The Archers

This was a bit less consequential than most of the other Generations one-shots but it was fun. Its interesting to see Kate interacting with Clint back when Clint was, let's be honest, still a fairly serious character. They're both on an island filled with other archery and otherwise weapon themed characters who have been summoned for a game to see who is the greatest marksman.

Somehow this involves Boomerang but just go with it...

Anyway, the order of the day is meditating on mentors as Kate meets a younger Clint as he encounters his own mentor, the Swordsman, on this island. There's a lot more worry with Kate over the ethics and effects of time travel which seems like a bit of a drag on the story but, admittedly, is probably natural since she's more likely to think in those terms than most of the other characters we've seen drawn back into time. There's nothing as Earth-shattering revealed here as the whole “Odin banged the Phoenix” business from the Thors issue buts its a nice prelude to the modern Clint and Kate promised on the last page.

As Kate remarks at one points, its nice to be reminded how well these two characters bounce off each other even if the Hawkeye here bears little resemblence to the walking hot mess the guy's been since Matt Fraction got his hands on him.

Doctor Who: The Lost Dimension Alpha one-shot
The Lost Dimension part one


Seriously, I have no idea what's going on with this. You've got all the regular Doctors who have ongoing series, cameos by the Fifth and Third Doctors, UNIT and a certain guest star who shall remain nameless because spoilers (no, it isn't River). There's all sorts of shenanigans with time and space and, well, this is a whole big Moffat-esque puzzle box that's going to be spread over eight issues and multiple Doctors so don't go getting your hopes up for things to make any sort of sense at this stage, okay?

That having been said its plenty intriguing, the surprise guest star is a character I never thought to see again and I'm interested to see what the murderer's row of writers on this crossover have decided she's been up to since... well, that would be telling.

Oh, and Bill and Nardole make their Titans Comics debut which is nice since given time constraints we probably won't see much of the Season Ten era cast in the pages of the Doctor Who Magazine comic strip. Not that these comics will ever compete in my affections with the DWM comic strip, I'm just saying its nice Bill and Nardole will get some extra time in the limelight, is all. 

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