DC Spinner Rack: Batman: Brave and Bold #7, Superman #711, The Spirit #14, Superman/Batman #84, Zatanna #13

Zatanna #13

Zatanna #13

Writer: Paul Dini
Penciller: Jamal Igle
Inker: Jon Sibal

Unlucky number 13 is a bit of a disappointment in this usually charming series. The opening, with a magical cat that reveals the future, is a bit too much authorial whim to get a new story going, although in keeping with the general feel of the series, but too much of the issue is devoted to creepy bad guy Brother Night and his escape from prison, with some sadly now-standard careless deaths to make him seem scary. The Spectre’s guest appearance would be a neat chance to see how Zatanna interacts with some of the more mystical denizens of the DCU, if they didn’t spend only two pages fighting like a divorcing couple.

Art’s outstanding, though, attractive and expressive without being exploitative or all about the body parts. I’m hoping that, now this storyline setup is over with, the next issue gets back in the groove of enjoyable, whimsical-with-a-hint-of-menace entertainment.

Superman/Batman #84

Superman/Batman #84

Writer: Cullen Bunn
Penciller: ChrisCross
Inker: Marc Deering

When did this series become the new home for Elseworlds stories? At least that gives the title a unique approach to otherwise over-exposed characters. In this issue, the conclusion to the four-part “Sorcerer Kings“, “our” Superman finds himself on a world run by magic, where Batman’s future Justice League consists of such mystics as Aquaman, Klarion the Witch Boy, and the reason I’m reading, Nina, aka Scream Queen, of Scare Tactics. When she tosses off the aside, “Maybe I’ll put the band back together,” I loved it.

Sadly, she’s disposed of soon thereafter, but it’s all only possible futures, right? I don’t know that this issue will be worth reading if you haven’t been following the story, since it’s a whole lot of this group posturing against that group and battles among sometimes unidentified characters. (The problem with magic as a plot point is that it’s really easy to make whatever you want happen in a fight.) Taken as a whole story, though, it’s an interesting reuse of a wide variety of demons and magical users.

The Spirit #14

The Spirit #14

Writer: Matthew Sturges
Artist: Victor Ibañez

It’s a bit inside baseball, but given how often the Spirit is used for metaphorical tales (since he doesn’t have much character of his own), I found it charming.

The Spirit rescues Alabaster Cream (oh, my, how Eisneresque; visually, she resembles Dave Stevens’ Bettie Page) from some typical baddies, only to discover that she’s the assistant to the creator of the Strongman superhero comic. Her boss has been murdered, but she won’t go to the cops because they are likely to think she did it, due to unfortunate circumstances, so the two rehash what happened while searching for his trove of valuable art.

Cream’s character is an interesting insertion into what is otherwise a classic 40s tale. The bad guys are wearing pinstriped suits; the cartoonist is a schlub at a drawing table; and the Spirit himself, of course, has an air of being from a past time. She, in working actively as an artist, is the modern element. That’s followed through in the art; she’s running around in hipster glasses, a tank top (the better to show her many tattoos), exposed bra, shorts, and high-tops.

Even if she looks like a fanboy’s idea of a hot girl artist, I was touched when the Spirit enters her apartment, littered with short boxes and bookshelves, and remarks on just how many comics she has. She responds, “These aren’t just comics. This is my life, measured out in Wednesday afternoons.” I could relate.

Superman #711

Superman #711

Writers: J. Michael Straczynski & Chris Roberson
Penciller: Eddy Barrows
Inker: J.P. Mayer

Another little-known favorite character brought me to this comic: Livewire, the electric woman. It’s a pretty generic story in which Jimmy calls Superman to Vegas to stop the girl gone crazy. It’s a shame that most writers can’t give her more depth than “she’s jealous of the attention Superman gets”.

So I didn’t enjoy this appearance very much, unless you count wondering at the sheer idiocy of some of it. The STAR Labs scientist who’s been studying Livewire, for instance, dresses like someone colorblind who uses Goodwill as her closet, wearing matching pink-and-yellow-striped miniskirt and slouch socks, with what looks like an orange leopard-print long vest over it all. I found that panel, pairing that outfit with her spouting fake-science talk about what Superman should do to “fix” Livewire, hilarious. The ending, which I won’t spoil, is smile-inducing in its determination to show goodwill… and find a new use for an old look.

The All-New Batman: The Brave and the Bold #7

The All-New Batman: The Brave and the Bold #7

Writer: Sholly Fisch
Penciller: Rick Burchett
Inker: Dan Davis

Always my favorite to end on. I love the way Fisch tells simple stories with power and heart. They’re not dumbed-down or overly basic, though, instead tackling major themes. In this issue, it’s the generational passing of the torch, with Green Lantern Alan Scott convinced that the newcomer Batman (this story is set a while ago) isn’t doing crime-fighting right. (Those newcomers, young whippersnappers the lot of them, never respect those who’ve gone before, mutter, mutter.)

The two heroes argue, although thankfully their first encounter doesn’t go far as fighting, before teaming up to stop a kidnapping. The way they work together, each playing to their own strengths and skills, is a wonderful lesson, and the full-page panel where scary-strong Batman is holding the little girl, sporting big eyes and a teddy bear, is a terrific reminder of how great a character Batman is when done right.

2 Responses to “DC Spinner Rack: Batman: Brave and Bold #7, Superman #711, The Spirit #14, Superman/Batman #84, Zatanna #13”

  1. revsoncorp Says:

    I’m so happy that someone else is reading and loving Sholly Fisch’s work. Between his Brave & the Bold work at the recent DC Superfriends monthly, he’s quickly become one of my must-buy writers.

    And I loved seeing that you picked out the exact panel that made me laugh in this issue. Fisch gets that Batman is only terrifying to crooks; little girls are totally safe around him.

  2. July 2011 Previews: If It’s Summer, Why Am I Thinking Halloween? » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] Shades of the Past (JUL11 0261, $19.99, Oct 5). It reprints #7-12. Dini also wrote #13, but it wasn’t very good, and the storyline it was setting up didn’t go anywhere, given the change of plans and the […]




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