- Posted by Johanna on May 17, 2009 at 12:44 pm
- Category: Superhero Reviews
- PUBLISHER: DC Comics
Secret Six #9
Kudos to Gail Simone for writing a readable crossover issue, a rare skill these days. I care not at all for “Battle for the Cowl”, because I don’t believe Batman will be gone for any significant period of time or that his absence will have any lasting ramifications. But I didn’t have to care in order to find this story, where Catman and Bane go to Gotham City to fill the hero gap, entertaining.
The two characters are already Batman-connected, so the crossover seems natural, not forced. The allusions — back-breaking, Bane’s childhood — were subtle, a welcome contrast to the usual “look at me, I’m continuity” usage. Bane is surprisingly touching. And Ragdoll as the sidekick is, as expected, hilarious.
The art, by Nicola Scott and Doug Hazlewood, is wonderful to see, easy to read, clear and energetic. But what I like most is that these characters have unique and distinctive personalities. Too many team books are created by people who cannot write in more than one voice. (Bendis and Bedard are two obvious examples.) Here, if you read the dialogue aloud, it sounds plausible (in a superhero situation) and often quite funny, plus, you can guess which character is speaking without seeing the visuals.
I waver on this title because, since it’s based around a group of villains, it’s sometimes too violent and disgusting for me. (I’m amazed some of the previous issues’ material has seen print, frankly, but clearly, my old-fashioned expectations have been superseded by what’s considered standard for “heroic” adventures these days.) But I liked the combination of good deeds and amusing dialogue in this issue. A preview is available from the publisher.
Update: J. Caleb Mozzocco has a great post about the strengths of Nicola Scott’s art with lots of samples from this issue.
House of Mystery #13
Just when I’d decided to give up the series because it wasn’t answering questions fast enough for me, this change of pace refreshed my interest in it. Three stories tackle the number 13. Matthew Sturges and Ralph Reese tell of a world where during the disappearing thirteenth hour, monsters destroy San Francisco. Bill Willingham and Eric Powell tackle the cliche of the mysterious shop that grants your fondest wish, adding in a layer of “don’t believe those who say they love you.” And Chris Roberson and Neal Adams portray two immortals brought back together.
These tales have always been the strongest part of the series so far, and so this issue shows off the book’s strengths: a framework allowing for strange, creepy stories illustrated by great talents. I hope that regular writer Sturges, when he gets back to the main story, brings more of these lessons to it. More answers, more substance, would be welcome in moving that along.
A preview is posted on MySpace.
Superman: World of New Krypton #3
I don’t understand why the triangle numbers are being used when all the Superman-related titles are telling different stories, but that’s just marketing, I suppose.
I hadn’t expected to be drawn into this particular series, but I realized this is just what the character of Superman needs. By putting him into a world of beings, all with his superpowers, writers James Robinson and Greg Rucka are better able to show what still makes him distinct: his morals, his intelligence, his creativity in problem-solving. It’s refreshing to see a Superman story about Superman, instead of those who duck out on the problems of writing the character by writing about his supporting cast or finding other ways to skip.
There are also some ideas in this story beyond “here’s the superhero, here’s a villain, they fight” (although there’s plenty of battle, both weaponized and hand-to-hand), which is similarly pleasant to see. A preview is available from the publisher.