Detective Comics #804 continued David Lapham and Ramon Bachs’ “City of Crime,” and finished Mike Carey and John Lucas’ “The Barker.” Honestly, “The Barker” never quite grabbed my attention, not because it didn’t have Batman, but because I couldn’t quite follow the action. Maybe I are an idiot. Anyhow, “City of Crime” continues to be a really fine, polished look at Batman and Robin. It is dark without wallowing in grim ‘n’ gritty or presenting Batman as an alienating psychopath. There is one scene towards the beginning of the book where I thought we were getting into Geoff Johns JSA territory, but it turns out to be more suspenseful than disturbing. Not that the book isn’t disturbing — the cover takes care of that. It’s little touches like the closing narration (“Right now he is surrounded by a score of unknown enemies … Right now he is grinning”) which make the book work.
Firestorm #11(written by Dan Jolley, with art by Dale Eaglesham and Wade von Grawbadger) begins Jolley’s last arc on the book, so I take the developments therein with a grain of salt. One way or another, Jolley is establishing Ronnie Raymond’s future with Firestorm. Now, although I have every Firestorm issue except the original Conway/Milgrom run from the ’70s, I never thought that Ronnie would play that big a part in this series, so this issue was a nice surprise. If it remains the status quo, I won’t be unhappy; but I kind of liked the “rotating co-pilot” element which was used early on. The art is fine, although the color (by Chris Sotomayor) really has tied the series together visually. I didn’t notice much difference until I looked at the credits. Regardless, this remains a very good book, which of late has balanced nostalgia for the “classic” version with the new character’s sensibilities. Here’s hoping that Firestorm‘s new writer brings as much to the character as Jolley has.
This week’s (heck, this year’s) guilty pleasure is Shanna The She-Devil #2, written and drawn by Frank Cho. Last issue was an excuse to have a hot naked woman beat up dinosaurs. This issue offers similar cheap thrills, but Cho now has Shanna not caring too much about whether anything eats the men who let her out of the lab. Said men have also taken a rather exploitative attitude towards Shanna, which Cho may think lets him off the hook a little for all the cheesecake. If the men’s piggishness is acknowledged, then by extension the reader might feel better about the book.
Still, this is still a comic filled with ample bosoms, which at times seem to strain of their own accord against the various fabrics covering them. There’s no way around that. Does giving Shanna a substantial dark side help to mitigate the behavior of her bazongas? I’m not sure that it does; but it lends this book a little more depth than I expected, and I’ll probably get #3.