October 15, 2016

The Pull List: 12 October 2016, Part 1

Lois Lane has always been one of the best characters in DC's canon: a smart investigative journalist, bravely inserting herself into war zones and super-human crises all over the world. She also made a perfect romantic foil for Superman: he may be able to fly, break steel bars and use his eyes to burn holes through walls, but Lois would dive into dangerous situations without any of those powers. I honestly think one of the biggest misjudgements of the New 52 was to sideline Lois and hook the rebooted Superman up with Wonder Woman. There simply wasn't enough of a contrast between the characters to make them work.

In DC Rebirth Lois is right back, front-and-centre, and married once again to Clark. It is great to have her back: not just allowed to take a prominent role again, but as the pre-Flashpoint Lois. She's a little older, a lot wiser, and Dan Jurgens has made her the central character of Action Comics' next storyline. The New 52 Lois has sent a secret message to the pre-Flashpoint Lois for help, and that means impersonating her younger self and entering the offices of the Daily Planet for the first time in this rebooted reality. Jurgens has a masterful handle on the character, and the scenes play out tremendously well. Stephen Segovia and Art Thibert's artwork is intricate and attractive as well, and Arif Prianto's relatively subtle colouring enhances their work.

I think that Jurgens' current work on Action Comics is the best he's produced in years. It's good to see Superman treated so well. (4/5)

Action Comics #965. DC Comics. Written by Dan Jurgens. Art by Stephen Segovia and Art Thibert. Colours by Arif Prianto.

Under the cut: reviews of All-Star Batman, Batgirl and the Birds of Prey and Detective Comics.

All-Star Batman #3
DC Comics. Written by Scott Snyder. Art by John Romita Jr, Danny Miki and Declan Shalvey. Colours by Jordie Bellaire and Dean White.
For the long-term Batman fanatic, "My Own Worst Enemy" has been mana from heaven. Pretty much every second-string, partially obscure villain and supporting character from the last 30 years of Batman comics is turning up here. A knock-down fight with the KGBeast dominates proceedings, but a guest appearance from Batcave technician Harold came as a real surprise. This story has been complete unadulterated fun from beginning to end; over-the-top in the best possible way. Snyder's back-up storyline presents a sharp change in tone, showcasing new sidekick Duke Thomas in a much more serious and dramatic fashion than the main story. It's an expensive title ($4.99 per issue), but so far it's been more than worth it. (5/5)

Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #3
DC Comics. Written by Julie Benson and Shawna Benson. Art by Claire Roe and Roge Antonio. Colours by Allen Passalaqua.
The hunt for the fake Oracle continues, putting pressure on the partnership between Batgirl and Black Canary and their new ally Huntress. The tone of this book is what is really making it work for me: there's a lot of humour and action, but it always seems to ground itself in moments of character and relationships. The art this issue is split between Claire Roe, who illustrates the bulk of the action, and Roge Antonio, who provides some well-placed and intriguing flashbacks to Dinah's childhood. (4/5)

Detective Comics #942
DC Comics. Story by James Tynion IV and Steve Orlando. Script by Steve Orlando. Art by Andy Macdonald. Colours by John Rauch.
"Night of the Monsters" reaches its climax with a nice combination of over-the-top giant monster action, and a face-to-face showdown between Batman and Hugo Strange. I have to admit I'm not the greatest fan of Strange as a villain. He's one of the longest-running Batman villains (his first appearance was in 1940) yet he simply doesn't ever seem interesting enough with which to bother - either as a writer or a reader. Despite some decent writing here, my opinion remains unchanged. There's some great Nightwing-versus-monster action to compensate, and solid art by Macdonald, but ultimately this finale feels about as disposable as the rest of the story. (3/5)

1 comment:

  1. The best part of Night of the Monster Men is that it's Nightwing, Batman's oldest friend, who knows him well enough to work out just what Hugo Strange is doing. In a fun, over the top monster storyline, it's that personal touch between characters that I really enjoyed.

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