Comics Ate My Brain

September 12, 2005

Some new comics, 9/8/05

Filed under: batman, gotham central, superman, weekly roundups — Tom Bondurant @ 2:09 pm
Copping out slightly this week, because I will devote a set of essays to arcs/miniseries which are either complete or almost complete. Therefore, hold on a bit for analyses of Serenity, City of Tomorrow!, Seven Soldiers: Manhattan Guardian, and Villains United. I will say I liked the conclusion of Guardian and the penultimate issue of VU, but was lukewarm towards Serenity #3 and CoT! #6.

That leaves only three titles. Jeez, looks like I get a lot of miniseries, huh?

First up is Superman #221 (written by Mark Verheiden, pencilled by Ed Benes, inked by Mariah Benes, Alex Lei and Rob Lea). It’s advertised as a VU crossover but isn’t really. Instead, it highlights Jimmy Olsen and Bizarro, who both struggle with building up Clark Kent. The Verheiden/Benes era has so far been a mixed bag for me, and I think part of that is the constant intrusion of Infinite Crisis hoo-hah. Here, though, their efforts actually end up feeling like a classic Superman story, or at least one which doesn’t feature the put-upon Supes who’s suffered so many emotional sucker punches over the past several months. Yes, there are some VU moments, but not many, and certainly not enough to warrant Zoom on the cover. Still, I was pleasantly surprised by this issue.

Detective Comics #811 (written by David Lapham, pencilled by Ramon Bachs, inked by Nathan Massengill) returns to ”City of Crime” after a couple issues’ diversion, but while Lapham and company ease the reader back into the story, things get confusing quickly. A mystery villain (maybe the Joker, probably the Scarecrow) introduces a foaming fear elixir into the slum Batman has infiltrated. The elixir wreaks havoc on everybody including Batman, but apparently it’s easy to overcome, which kind of deflates the tension. Still, at least for a while there was tension. Also, Robin and Jim Gordon share a nice, almost nostalgic scene, and the disguised Batman also has a few good moments with neighborhood kids. Finally, I noticed that this issue was a regular 22-page story, without the backups the title has had for the past year or so. Don’t know whether the backups are gone for good, but they weren’t all bad.

Last is Gotham Central #35 (written by Greg Rucka and Ed Brubaker, drawn by Stefano Gaudiano and Kano). This is the penultimate chapter of “Dead Robin,” and it’s another solid installment. It has more of a wrap-up feel, as if there will be a big blowout conclusion next issue and all the subplots have to be gotten out of the way first. The real Robin makes another appearance, in another sweet scene with Stacy, the Bat-Signal operator, and big pieces of the mystery are revealed. I really can’t say enough about this title, and everyone who enjoys superheroes in general and Batman in particular should read it.

Coming soon: omnibus recaps, as promised.

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