October 6, 2016

The Pull List: 28 September 2016, Part 3

DC's first big Rebirth crossover is currently running between the various Batman titles. "The Night of the Monsters" has now reached its third part in Detective Comics #941. Once again the book's regular writer (in this case James Tynion IV) has co-plotted the issue, with the script falling to Steve Orlando.

The storyline has seen giant monsters sprout from dead bodies in Gotham City, sending Batman and his various sidekicks on a multi-location mission to stop the monsters from destroying the city and to find out how the villainous Hugo Strange (still unseen) created them. This issue focuses mostly on Nightwing's race to Blackgate Prison, where yet another beast has emerged and where the emotionally damaged Gotham Girl has already headed to try and save the day.

On a basic level it's all pretty entertaining stuff, but if you pause for more than a moment to think about it it's obvious how much this story arc is less about telling a significant event and more about providing a four-week buffer for the regular creative teams to get ahead on their twice-monthly schedules. It feels disposable, as if nothing is really going to have mattered or changed by the end of it. It is simply a novelty-based six-issue distraction: entertaining, nicely illustrated, but utterly disposable. (3/5)

Detective Comics #941. DC Comics. Story by James Tynion IV and Steve Orlando. Script by Steve Orlando. Art by Andy McDonald.

Under the cut: reviews of Action Comics, Batgirl, and Doctor Who.

Action Comics #964
DC Comics. Written by Dan Jurgens. Art by Patch Zircher. Colours by Ulises Arreola.
So the world found out that Superman and Clark Kent were the same person, but then Superman died. Then a new Superman revealed himself - the pre-Flashpoint Superman returned - but then so did a new Clark Kent. In this issue the two men finally have a face-to-face conversation. It does not provide any answers but it does provide a really intriguing conversation and a set-up for the next stage in the story. Dan Jurgens really seems to be in his element with this book. It feels like a contemporary book but it feels like early 1990s Superman too. I'm really beginning to enjoy it. (4/5)

Batgirl #3
DC Comics. Written by Hope Larson. Art by Rafael Albuquerque. Colours by Dave McCaig.
Barbara Gordon's non-stop tour of Asian cities continues, as she finishes up in Singapore before jumping over to Seoul. To be honest it is all becoming something of a drag: a relatively weak plot, lax character development, and highly tokenistic representations of each city to which her quest takes her. Rafael Albuquerque's artwork is strong, and well coloured by Dave McCaig, but it's all kind of wasted due to Hope Larson's underwhelming plot. This is one of the few DC Rebirth books I've been reading that really isn't worth picking up - and after the great "Batgirl of Burnside" run that preceded it that's a real shame. (2/5)

Doctor Who: The 11th Doctor #13
Titan Comics. Written by Rob Williams. Art by INJ Culbard and Simon Fraser. Art by Gary Caldwell.
After several issues featuring the Doctor's companion Alice trapped inside the Time War, we jump back to the 11th Doctor and Abslom Daak as they continue to fight against the time-travelling "Then and the Now". Rob Williams has done a stunning job with this extended arc of replicating the epic, twisting style of Matt Smith-era Doctor Who, with plenty of fan-pleasing continuity references and tie-ins. It feels like things are building to a climax here - assuming the team pull that off successfully, this could be the best Doctor Who comic book storyline of all time. (4/5)

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