Friday, May 5, 2017

Not-Very-Deep Thoughts: The April 19 Edition (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

Batman #21:  Whoa, this issue is legitimately intense.  King and Fabok do an amazing job just grabbing you at the start and not letting go.  The issue begins with Bruce contemplating the Button, which he eventually places on a counter next to Psycho-Pirate's mask.  The two items unexpectedly interact, and Bruce momentarily comes face-to-face with the "Flashpoint" version of his father.  Bruce calls Flash and asks him to come discuss the phenomenon, and Flash promises to arrive in a minute, after he defeats the enemy he's fighting.  However, it seems the interaction of the two items has also revived Reverse-Flash, who attacks Bruce in the Cave.  Bruce tries to stall Reverse-Flash until Barry can arrive, but Barry takes longer than a minute and Reverse-Flash beats Bruce into unconsciousness.  He discovers the Button and disappears upon touching it, only to reappear seconds later missing the flesh on the left side of his body and muttering he met God.  Flash arrives shortly thereafter to discover both bodies.  By the time we get to this point, I'm pretty much holding my breath.  Fabok is as good as he's ever been in depicting the fight between Batman and Reverse-Flash; the countdown clock showing the minute passing was particularly clever.  He and King also brilliantly contrast it with a fight happening at a hockey match between Gotham and Metropolis, where one of the players beats another one to death.  It really adds to the atmosphere of this issue, as the violence escalates in both fights as we progress.  In terms of this series' ongoing story, the only disappointing part is we don't seem to have a clear resolution of Claire's story.  She appears in Arkham here, watching the aforementioned hockey match with other inmates.  She goes crazy at one point, prophesying the death of either the hockey player or Reverse-Flash.  Does that mean Psycho-Pirate didn't cure her?  It's a minor complaint at this point, given the focus on the cross-over story, but King is going to need to tie up that loose end at some point.  In the meantime, I feel like this event is actually the shot in the arm this title needs, after spending so much time on the extended Gotham/Gotham Girl/Bane story.  It even makes me want to re-read "Flashpoint," and, man, that's saying a lot!

Dark Knight III:  The Master Race #8:  If this series didn't have such celebrated talent on it, I wouldn't hesitate to say what I want to say:  that it stopped making sense several issues ago.  In fact, Azzarello doesn't even seem to be trying anymore, content simply to tell Kubert and Janson to go to town and call it a day.  This issue is basically just an extended war sequence as the Amazonians repel the Quarians, and I admit I can barely remember what the Quarians want with Jonathan.  Supes arrives after Diana has won the day, and he almost immediately flees somewhere else, where apparently Quar and his children have ingested nuclear bombs.  Yeah, I know, it sounds absurd.  It is absurd.  Rather than racing to the end of the $5.99 issue, as he does here, Azzarello could've spent some time reminding us why Lara has seemingly defected and who Bruno is (and why Commissioner Yindel would've dates a woman with Nazi tattoos on her breasts).  After all, it's been three months since the last issue.  Instead, we just get some pretty pictures and jump to the next nonsensical sequence of events.  I guess some part of me hopes the celebrated talent has some sort of plan.  But, after so much money spent on this story, I wonder if DC is just testing how much of a sucker I really am.

Ms. Marvel #17:  I've really enjoyed this arc, but I'm disappointed to say this ending isn't the strongest.  Based on where we were at the end of last issue, I expected Doc.X to force Kamala into revealing her secret identity (or, at least, show her willingness to do so) to defeat him.  However, that never really happens.  In fact, I have no idea how she beats him.  As expected, we start the issue with her getting her World of Battlecraft friends to help her make the Internet a nicer place, and it seems to be working, as Doc.X goes all Zen on Mike.  But, then, Kamala confronts him at a parade and...something happens.  Honestly, I have no idea; he's angry again and then he just sort of explodes.  I would still give this arc to any teenager or pre-teen I knew, with its message of rediscovering compassion for each other.  (The scene where everyone hugs Zoe after her love letters to Nakia are released is lovely.  Gabriel's reluctant feels also continue to make him my favorite.)  But, I feel like it would've been even more amazing if the ending had made sense.  At one point, Kamala comments on a parade being moved to the next day as said parade seemingly happens around her.  I don't know why it went down this way, but I'm disappointed it did.

Nightwing #19:  This issue really sets up the larger conflict between Dick and Dr. Hurt nicely.  Dick and Shawn track down Hurt to a temple in Egypt dedicated to Anubis, the God of Death.  Seeley portrays Hurt not as the Devil, but his prophet; he has been resurrected through a ceremony requiring blood, but we're not told who arranged the ceremony, who died to make it happen, or why someone wanted him to return.  The Devil sends the newly resurrected Hurt a vision of Nightwing, and Hurt believes it means he is to turn Dick into the Devil's new weapon.  To do so, he sacrifices Damian to run the ceremony in reverse:  rather than Hurt leaving the Hell of Hells, he sends Dick there.  Presumably, the goal is for Dick to fight his way through Hell to become this weapon, though it seems unlikely it's going to work the way Hurt wants.  This sort of story is a departure from the usual "Nightwing" story, but I have to say Seeley is giving us reason to have faith in him.  The story flows well, and I don't feel anywhere near as confused as I did by Morrison's Dr. Hurt.  We'll see where we go from here.

The Wild Storm #3:  Man, I love this series.  Ellis does an amazing job here of showing us the debut of the Wild C.A.T.s.  Cole, Kenesha, and Void arrive in Angie's bunker offering her sanctuary.  Angie reminds them she stole technology from International Operations (IO), the organization that runs "most of --- of everything."  She believes herself to be already dead and, on cue, the room explodes.  IO's Razors 3 team arrives to take Angie into custody.  Angie begins activating her flight suit as Cole and Kenesha activate their gear:  Cole puts on his Grifter mask, and Kenesha puts on a pair of sunglasses and pulls out a gun.  (Void is inactive with a shard of glass in her temple.)  Watching from a control room, Miles and someone I don't recognize realize Angie has also stolen micro-drones IO had created for search-and-rescue missions; her suit can apparently manufacture them, and she uses their flashlights to blind the Razors team.  Kenesha fires a bullet into one of the Razors that disintegrates him, taking even Cole by surprise.  Watching from the control room, Miles asks who these people are, and the person I don't recognize responds that it's an "unaffiliated covert action team," or "wild CAT," just as they always feared.  It's an awesome moment, really.  I don't remember the original series ever setting up the premise of the team so amazingly.  Meanwhile, Angie blows a hole through the ceiling and flees as Kenesha tries to revive Angie and Cole keeps on firing; Miles orders the remaining two Razors to demolish the room.  Beyond this amazing sequence, Ellis also adds a new character to the mix:  a woman who can walk through electronic devices (including fictional sequences).  As she moves through a comic book someone is reading on a tablet, she overhears someone in IO hypothesizing Skywatch is going to make Miles resign over the stolen technology.  She eventually returns home to add Angie to her map of secret organizations she's assembling.  I have no idea what it means, but it's all just remarkably awesome.

Also Read:  Moon Knight #13; Star Wars:  Poe Dameron #13

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