You know a good way to get Batman to beat you into the trauma ward? Steal the corpse of his son. It’s a lesson some supervillains are about to learn the hard way. Plus Archie dies, superheroes get their organs stolen, and more in our overview of this week’s notable comic books.
Robin Rises Omega #1
Or, “One Very Long Superhero Fight From Tomasi and Kubert.” Not that I’m really complaining, but after all the hype, and Tomasi’s masterful handling of Batman’s grief elsewhere in the book, it’s a little disappointing. Still worth reading, if for no other reason than Batman deciding to go kick ass on Apokolips.
Teen Titans #1
Bar the ridiculously forced loose end that eats up a page or two in the book, which you’ll know when you see it, this is a solid reintroduction of the team with no padding; somebody’s got a grudge against S.T.A.R. Labs, and they’re willing to kill kids to settle it, so in come the Titans. It’s fun, if not revolutionary, and a brisker start than the first go-round.
Harley Quinn Invades SDCC #1
I profoundly dislike Conner and Palmiotti’s run on Harley Quinn, so I’m biased going in, I admit. New Harley” is the supervillain as magical pixie dream girl, and just like in real life, it makes her tiresome and annoying. Now imagine paying five bucks for forty-eight pages of that.
The plot is simple: Harley wants to get her comic book, which of course has a terrible and somewhat revolting idea, published. In the process, every stale joke about a comic book convention is hit upon, and the book is leadenly paced. When you get to the last page, where Harley Quinn asks for the issue she first appeared in, in a precious meta-moment, “Never the End” seems less like a joke and more like a threat. Give the woman back her singlet and her giant hammer, for the love of God.
Sadly not an adaptation of the ridiculous French action movie, this parody of/tribute to bad ’80s action movies is amusing enough for what it is, but it has a few problems; it’s a bit too faithful to the tropes and comes off less as a parody and more of an imitation. Brandon McKinney’s art is unfortunately just generic enough that it downplays the comedy. Still, the basic concept is amusing, and it might be worth following if it picks up.
Borderlands: The Fall of Fyrestone #1
Mikey Neumann and Agustin Padilla essentially start retelling the first game’s plot. But they do a good job of capturing the goofy humor and comedic sociopathy that define the game, and it makes for a good read, even if you’re not into the games.
The X-Files: Year Zero #1
Essentially, Mulder and Scully are a framing story for the first X-File from the ’40s, which, obviously, has some ties to the present day. Karl Kesel’s script is fairly amusing, if straightforward, and Greg Scott and Vic Malhotra have a nice, moody style that’s not too hampered by copying celebrity faces. Worth a read if you’ve got any fondness for The X-Files.
The Last Fall #1
Tom Waltz packs his script with too much dialogue and exposition, not to mention more than a few clumsy metaphors about religious wars, and Casey Maloney isn’t really suited to a gritty, cynical war book as an artist, although he puts in a yeoman’s effort. Ultimately, it’s a little too blunt and obvious to recommend, sadly.
The Squidder #1
Leave out the Cthulhu nonsense this book is spackled with, and Ben Templesmith has put out a fairly generic tough-guy action book. It’ll be a great read for his fans, but few others.
Black Market #1
In a world of pharmaceutical companies and genetic manipulation, how valuable is superhero DNA? How useful is it? Could it be a cure, and for what? Frank Barbiere actually sets up a compelling premise with his script, and if Victor Santos has a little much of Michael Avon Oeming in his art, it still works for the concept. Definitely worth a read, especially as it’s a miniseries.
The Devilers #1
It’s pretty hard not to laugh at the idea of the Unitarian Universalist Avengers on paper, which is basically what this team book is. But Joshua Hale Fialkov makes it work because each character is well defined, and our introduction is a smart-ass priest who spends a fair chunk of the issue mocking the idea of demonic possession. Matt Triano’s taste for the warped and grotesque helps matters substantially; the art’s photorealistic, which makes a hippo head on a crab’s body running around all the more freaky. It’s got some real promise: Highly recommended.
Lady Zorro: Blood and Lace #1
Despite the cover, this is a solid little adventure book. Even if it resorts to quasi-Nazis for the bad guys, which, really, come on. Still, a fun swashbuckler if that’s what you’re looking for.