DC This Week: Titans #3, WW #21, Batman Confidential #18, Booster Gold #10

Titans #3

Titans #3 cover

I know it’s fashionable to bash this series, but I didn’t think it was all that bad. Someone’s using emotional warfare against the team members — inducing envy, lust, anger — which at least gives the characters something to do beyond hit people. I like bringing in these motivations, even if artificially induced, because this team is a great group of personalities, always has been, and it shows them off well.

I could go a long way before I see Trigon again, though. He’s boring in his inhuman power, because it allows for sloppy plotting. But the idea of his kids… that humanizes the threat, and I’m curious enough to come back next month.

The visual storytelling could be a lot better, of course — too many of the women are posed for pinups no matter what the plot requires. But which superhero books isn’t that true of?

Wonder Woman #21

Wonder Woman #21 cover

Was anyone crying out for a mishmash of Amazon warrior with Conan?

Oh, no, Diana is losing compassion and mercy and love, becoming a cold-blooded killer. Didn’t we already explore this recently with the whole Max Lord thing? If I was going to do a storyline in which a DC hero seriously ponders the implications of deadly force, I’d use Batman. His world is much better suited to it. Wonder Woman’s character is, historically, too muddled for any storyline of this type to be as meaningful as it should be… or even to stick for any length of time.

Very odd to read this barbarian alternate world stuff after having just read Trinity, where she’s drinking coffee in a snazzy white suit and talking about losing her powers when she’s out of armor. Hard to reconcile in my mind.

Batman Confidential #18

Batman Confidential #18 cover

I just adore Kevin Maguire’s art. He makes even fanboy pandering, sending Batgirl and Catwoman into a nudist club, attractive. It’s a ridiculous storyline — Catwoman steals Batgirl’s Dad’s police notebook, the Maguffin which gets them chasing each other around the city and eventually wrestling naked — but entertaining nonetheless. Mostly due to the expression-filled art. And a sense of fun, even if it’s so obviously aimed below the belt at an audience I’m not part of.

Booster Gold #10

Booster Gold #10 cover

Where did the fun in this book go? Now it’s all mucky trying to kill people jumping around in time stuff. It’s like all the most boring plot device pieces from Back to the Future without the amusing history or characterization.

Now, everyone’s all hateful, making threats through gritted teeth. Too much dialogue, and none of it interesting (or particularly informative if you’re reading for story instead of continuity). And if I never see another superhero trying to work out his father issues through battle, it’ll be too soon. I’m also very tired of superhero comics with the message, “no matter how hard you try, you can’t make a difference.” What kind of lesson is that?


15 Responses to “DC This Week: Titans #3, WW #21, Batman Confidential #18, Booster Gold #10”

  1. Michael Rawdon Says:

    In defense of Booster Gold, which is nearing the end of the Johns/Katz run, it would certainly be in keeping with the tone of the series for it to reverse course on the “no matter how hard you try, you can’t make a difference” message. This is certainly the point in the story arc where all should be at its darkest.

    Whether or not that’ll actually happen, I dunno, but you might be judging it a little too quickly on that score.

    That said, I haven’t enjoyed the second arc as much as the first, either. Possibly because I find pretty much everything involved in Identity Crisis/Infinite Crisis/Final Crisis to be boring as hell, and revisiting Infinite Crisis is just like bringing the boring back for an encore.

  2. Johanna Says:

    Oh, good point. I hadn’t thought about anticipating the bigger arc.

  3. Gail Says:

    “Was anyone crying out for a mishmash of Amazon warrior with Conan?”

    Me! ME! I was! ME! ME!

    That’s ONE!

    :)

    Gail

    PS. I’d like to add that these are cheap Conan SUBSTITUTES, if you don’t mind. Hmmpph!

  4. Johanna Says:

    Well, when it comes down to it, YOU’RE the one who matters. :)

    I’m sure I will wind up liking this arc much more by the end than I do now. I’m just hard to convince. (I know, duh.)

  5. James Schee Says:

    I’m torn on Booster Gold, as I’ve really enjoyed seeing Ted Kord again. The interaction with Booster and the other characters has been pretty spot on for me.

    On the other hand the storyarc as a whole isn’t working for me as I think the whole thing is built on a flimsy story in the first place. (the idea that Ted’s death is needed to make Superman, Batman and WW act like heroes is idiotic)

    If the point of the storyarc turns out to be “hey Ted’s death had to happen!” it isn’t going to work. Since all I’m seeing is “darn, Ted really is a fun cool character, its a shame they killed him off.” And no story is concrete, or HAS to happen. Especially in a universe where a decade of stories can be undone by bringing in a yellow grasshopper.

    Yet like Michael I’m hoping for a positive ending, but given how the other members of the JLI have been treated, I’m not overly optimistic.

  6. Johanna Says:

    Good analysis. It’s a “methinks they protest too much” king of situation, where working too hard to prove the point only undercuts it.

    But I must be more out of it than I thought: yellow grasshopper?

  7. Gail Says:

    “Well, when it comes down to it, YOU’RE the one who matters. :)”

    I was kidding, Johanna, I always enjoy your column, even when you don’t like my stuff that much. No worries. But yes, absolutely, I would be the one in the audience with my hand up, saying, “Yes, PLEASE mix Wonder Woman with failed Conan imitators!” I find that stuff very lively, but then, my affection for also-rans is pretty much limitless.

    I’m frankly always amazed ANYONE likes my work, so there’s that to consider!

  8. James Schee Says:

    Hal Jordan’s descent into madness and becoming Parallax, was explained as him being controlled by a being who embodied the emotion of fear. Which happened to look like a really big, yellow grasshopper.:)

    Gail, since you’re popping in on this thread. Has your first WW arc been collected yet?

    (I just saw today that the Houston library just got all of your BoP trades in, so I put in for an inter-library loan for them yay)

  9. Johanna Says:

    Gail: me too kidding, sorry it didn’t come through that way.

    James: ah. Another one I’m lucky to have missed. :)

  10. Gail Says:

    James, it’s a weird thing, but the bop trades are tremendously popular in libraries, I’m told. It’s apparently one of the reasons why they are constantly being reprinted.

    My WW has not yet been collected, it’s going to be a hardback first, I believe!

    Johanna, no worries, Jake. it’s the internet!

  11. James Schee Says:

    Gail, I wonder if the TV show (on DVD in a few weeks woo!) plays some small part? It helps that its well written too. ( I stopped reading because of financial stuff, not quality)

    Johanna, yup you were! Yet it is clear evidence that anything is changeable if the writer wants it to be. (in this case its even the same writer)

  12. Dan Coyle Says:

    “I’m also very tired of superhero comics with the message, “no matter how hard you try, you can’t make a difference.” What kind of lesson is that?”

    One Geoff Johns had beaten into him a long time ago, apparently.

    And one that’s killing the DC universe very slowly.

  13. Chris G. Says:

    Johns’ writing is bizarre. On the one hand, you’ve got goofy ideas that 12-year olds might think were exciting like Orange Lanterns or Shadow Lass teaming up with Night Girl. And on the other, you’ve got a level of gore that’s completely wrong for mainstream superhero comics, like Superboy dismembering people and people gouging their own eye out and the like. (In fact, if you’re a character in a Geoff Johns comic, you might not HAVE an other hand, because Superboy probably ripped it off.)

  14. Fascination Place » This Week’s Haul Says:

    […] and this issue is a fine wrap-up to the arc of the past year. (Even if it didn’t address Johanna Carlson’s concerns, I think it’s still a nicely optimistic […]

  15. My Subscription Standings, or Why I Don’t Read More Superheroes » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] used to like Booster Gold, Green Arrow/Black Canary, and The Brave and the Bold, but the books changed when the creative […]

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