Tag Archives: Wonder Woman

DC Future State February 2021: Great, Good, Decent

Introduction

Technically, all of these books released in January. But, you know what you get here at 2 Guys Gaming. I’m not part of the comics media elite (yet, and I may never be, but hope springs eternal), so I order my books from Discount Comic Book Service and they arrive all in a big box at the end of each month. And, so, you read the general review of the first month of books DC Future State February 2021 instead.

If I’m completely honest, and I usually am, I considered calling this “Month One” instead of February 2021 to cover up my deficiencies. Delightfully devilish indeed, Seymour.

I originally planned to review each book individually as I do for all of my comic reviews. That plan is unfeasible for a couple of reasons. One, there are a ton of books (my order doubled for this month) and I only give myself a week to read and review the books. Two, none of the books have been very good so far.

I ran the gamut when it came to opinions of Future State. Initially, when I thought DC planned to use it as a reboot, yet again, I met it with my usual cautious optimism. When Chris assured me that DC said it was an event and not a reboot (though that’s looking to be delightfully devilish on their part in retrospect), I jumped all in. I put ever single book on my pull list. I even added a few variant covers by mistake. Now that I read a few of the books, put me on the (spoiler alert) extremely disappointed list. What makes DC Future State February 2021 so disappointing? I’m glad you asked. Let’s start with the good news first.

The Great

Sorry folks, no great this time. I wager there are more than one or two great books here. They have some of their best writers (Tamaki, V, Jones, Bendis, among others) on the “project”. So, once I get around to reading them on vacation, I might write an amendment to give them their props. Overall, though, as mentioned, the books give me the impression of a failed reboot that they repackaged as an event. It all looks and feels like the next generation reboot that pissed off so many Marvel fans about a decade ago now.

As I wrote to Chris, nerds are a fickle bunch.

I, personally, would have more respect for them if they just powered through the awkwardness of another reboot until the books got good again. You know it would happen eventually. The hard core collectors would keep collecting because they’d be afraid of missing out. The lovers like me and Chris would grab the books that held our attention and eventually found new books to enjoy. The casual fan (haha), if they still exist, would pop in here and there. Who knows, you might even expand your audience. Again, I mock, haha. Instead, we’re met with this mealy mouthed “event” in which nothing really happens.

That can be forgiven when Bendis writes for a title for 3 or 4 years. There’s bound to be lulls in the story. But, when you give these characters 2 or 4 books in which to be introduced and possibly concluded? Those books had better be damn good. And, quite frankly, they just aren’t.

The Good

Marketing – I often say that I’m not very susceptible to marketing. I say it almost as much as I say that I don’t hate Tom Brady. Both come out of my mouth (and virtual mouth) enough that you may think that I’m compensating. Chris has said as much on numerous occasions. Honestly, that may be partly true.

Mostly, I repeat myself because I don’t know which post might lead someone to the page. Therefore, I feel the need to explain myself on as many articles as possible so people know what they’re in for. To make a long story short…

Even though I generally feel like I don’t respond to marketing, of course I do. It’s just that marketing needs to be tailored exactly for me. DC accomplished that with Future State admirably. I went from not caring and maybe picking up a few titles that interested me to ordering every single title they published. Well played, DC.

The Decent

The Stories: I don’t mean to imply that the books are bad. They’re not. Admittedly, at this writing, I’ve only read three of them. However, the overall trend follows this pattern. They’re DC books set in the future. Sure, Aquaman mentions the multiverse. However, the Batman Superman and The Next Batman stories are just Batman and Superman stories set in a near future dystopia.

Don’t get me wrong. That’s all fine. It’s just not “event” stuff. As I said, it looks, smells, and feels very much like an aborted attempt at another reboot. I give them some credit for trying to switch it up and give the reboot some flavor. However, I have no respect for backing off and then trying to resell it as an “event”.

This is no event. Civil War was an event. Planet Hulk was an event. Secret Empire was an event. This is a well (at least to suckers like me) marketed shift of focus. Again, nothing wrong with that. They invested quite a bit into this and want to see some return. I just don’t understand why they’re being so coy about it. Perhaps their margins are thinner than Chris and I have feared all these years. If so, do what you need to do to keep making comics, guys. I’m 100% behind you.

The Verdict

I will read the rest of the books in DC Future State February 2021. I’m on break next week, so I’ll need things to keep me occupied. Perhaps I will also write an addendum article with some of my free time. I mean, there are some great writers and artists on the project. Almost every one of my favorites is involved other than Tom King and James Tynion. I suppose some had to stay back to hold down the fort when we return to the present. At the risk of sounding like one of those comic nerds, that return can’t happen soon enough. In the meantime, there’s always WandaVision.

Note: Header image from here.

DC Comics January 2021: Great, Good, Decent

Introduction

We finally finish out comics week and a half for this month with DC Comics January 2021. I planned on posting this article last week on Friday. I had a busy weekend of playing Minecraft, Lego, and board games with my family. Plus the NFL unveiled their Super Duper Mega Wild Card Weekend. Finally, college football played their national championship game. There’s only so much I can be expected to do in a weekend.

Sure, I should have already had the article written before the weekend, but what is time if not for procrastinating?

And so, it is how I have arrived at nearly a half a week past my self imposed deadline to review DC Comics January 2021. I know you won’t believe me, but I swear it’s not because DC has been a let down these last couple of months. I always go into a new month of comics with an open mind and hope for the best. More often than not, that faith is rewarded. Let’s see if that’s true this time.

The Great

Batman 104 and 105 (James Tynion IV et al): I always feel bad when there are numerous artists on a book because I use the et al tag for them all. They all work hard on these books and they should get credit. By the same token, I mostly read comic books for the writing. However, I don’t want my byline to be two or three text lines, either. None of that is relevant to this review. I just want to be as open and honest as possible.

Now, for the review. As I’ve mentioned several times in the past, James Tynion IV on Batman excited me when I first heard the news. Either high expectations or the reality of the situation or both brought me crashing back to earth. Slowly, but surely, the book got better until Joker War. Since then, the book lived up to that promise. Now, comes Future State. I, again, hope that the book survives the hiatus.

Wonder Woman 768 and 769 (Mariko Tamaki, Rafa Sandoval, and Steve Pugh): Similar to Tynion on Batman, Tamaki on Wonder Woman excited me. Honestly, I enjoyed Wonder Woman for most of the last 2 or 3 years since Rebirth. They hooked me with Rucka and then it stayed just above water enough that I don’t think it ever dipped into “Decent” territory for more than a month or two. Now that Tamaki is on the book, she makes even secondary storylines fun to read.

The Good

Aquaman 66 (Andy Lanning, Ron Marz, and Miguel Mendonca): Like Wonder Woman (is the theme of this article going to be call backs to the previous books?), I started collecting Aquaman because of the movie. Also, I wanted to get in on the ground floor of Rebirth with as many titles as possible. This book hasn’t been as consistently good as Wonder Woman and I considered dropping it a few times. My favorite writer is Deconnick, but Lanning is a good stop gap on these titles, too.

Action Comics 1028 (BMB and JRJR): I make no secret of my distaste for the unholy union of Brian Michael Bendis and the Superman titles. At least this book shows promise every so often. I saw the news recently that he’s moving to Justice League after Future State. So, I will spare you the same old story going forward. Maybe, for old time’s sake, we can resurrect it when he writes Justice League.

Catwoman 28 (Ram V and Fernando Blanco): I texted Chris about this title last week. I saw that Ram V will be writing for Swamp Thing after Future State. We both agreed that his work on JLD has been solid. I then surmised that perhaps Catwoman isn’t a strong enough character for a solo title because his work on the book is solid, but I just don’t like the stories. How many different “heist” issues can you do? I liked this one, though. More of these types of stories, please.

Justice League 58 (Andy Lanning, Ron Marz, and Xermanico): I suppose that Lanning was not a stop gap on Aquaman. He and Marz are cowriting the Endless Winter story. I admit to being skeptical when I saw yet another event in DC Comics with Future State so close. However, I enjoyed this story even if it is just a rip off of Frozen. Which, of course, is a ripoff itself. Aiden even liked it. He asked where the missing issues were. So, maybe I’ll have to find them at the LCS.

Justice League Dark 29 (Andy Lanning, Ron Marz, Amancay Nahuelpan): I will be honest. It wasn’t until I saw that Ram V wasn’t the writer on this title that I realized that Lanning and Marz were cowriting all of the titles in Endless Winter. Not sure why they included this title in the event other than as a send off. Which, by the way, I do not approve. The JLD will still be with us, but only as a bonus story on the main title. What are you doing to me, DC?

The Decent

Detective Comics 1032 and 1033 (Peter J. Tomasi and Brad Walker): When Tynion wrote this title, I loved it. As soon as Tomasi took over, it dropped to the “Good” category. More and more, my enjoyment of the title eroded over time. Some people might like Tomasi. I just don’t Other than the Joker War issues, this book has been forgettable during his tenure. Williamson is taking over after Future State, though, so that’s something to look forward to.

Superman 28 (BMB and Ivan Reis): Action may have had some redeeming stories during it’s run. I did not enjoy this title after the rebrand from Man of Steel. I simply kept collecting for collecting’s sake. Now I can say I have the entire BMB run of Superman. For whatever that’s worth.

The Verdict

As we head into Future State, I’m tentatively optimistic about DC Comics. They are mixing up creative teams, dropping some books, and folding others into bonus stories on more popular titles. The only decision I’m currently angry about is their decision to make JLD a bonus title. I feel like it has been the only consistently good book for them over the last year and a half. As always, thanks for reading my DC Comics January 2021 review and we’ll see you next week for Future State.

Great, Good, Decent: Dc november 2020

Introduction

I finally got around to DC November 2020 review. Though, to be fair, this is actually a quicker turnaround that I’ve been accomplishing recently. I’m not quite back to the point where I can write before multiple deadlines. However, the articles are being written within a week of the deadline at least.

Gotta walk before you can run.

Speaking of running (Actually, this doesn’t have anything to do with running, but I wanted a smooth transition. Nailed it.), Chris and I were texting earlier in the week. He texted to warn me that it looked as if DC Comics might be on the precipice of another reboot. Granted, it’s been about 4 or 5 years since the last one.

But, still, I felt that familiar old irritation. Why do they keep doing this to us? Why can’t they just let the comics evolve for a decade and then maybe decide that it’s time to sell to a new audience? I have to say that I love what both Marvel and DC are doing right now for the most part and don’t think there needs to be a massive overhaul. Thankfully, Future State appears to be simply and “event” right now. Our conversation ended with us both in agreement that it was most likely to test the waters for an eventual reboot. *sigh* Well, while we can, let’s enjoy DC November 2020.

The Great

Batman 100 and 101 (James Tynion, Jorge Jimenez, and Guillem March): This issue has been hyped for months. Ever since Tom King was on the title and he promised something completely unexpected. Many assumed that meant that Batman might finally kill the Joker. That’s the ending I hoped for, but it wasn’t quite that. Nevertheless, this encounter has forced Bruce to rethink the way he’s doing things. I’m excited to see what that means. 101 promised to be a letdown after the excitement of 100, but that ending was magnificent.

Justice League Dark 27 (Ram V and Amancy Nahuelpan): Like Hulk, I’m running out of superlatives to use for this title. It stumbled slightly when Tynion left, but as I’ve said numerous times, Ram V has proven to be a worthy successor. Also, like Hulk, this is the title that I’d miss the most if they rebooted and it isn’t in the lineup like it looked like might happen.

Wonder Woman #763-765 (Mariko Tamaki and Steve Pugh): I started collecting WW for a few reasons. One, when it started after Rebirth, Greg Rucka wrote it. Two, I loved the movie version. Three, and not insignificant, it is a core title. For a bit there, it wavered. But, Mariko Tamaki has firmly taken the reigns and made it hers. Good choice, DC.

The Good

Aquaman 64 (Kelly Sue Deconnick and Miguel Mendonca): I started collecting Aquaman for one of the same reasons as Wonder Woman. I enjoyed the movie. The first story arc was interesting. Ever since Arthur returned and there’s only been hinting at a showdown with Manta, the book has bounced between Good and Decent with a few issues close to great. Those issues have been written by Ms. Deconnick who is back after a (covid related?) hiatus. So, the future looks good.

Action Comics 1026 (Brian Michael Bendis and John Romita, Jr.): Either Bendis or Romita or both of them together figured out how to make a BMB patented “talkie” more interesting. The panel configuration in this book is all over the place. Backwards, upside down, sideways, sometimes all three at the same time. Overall, I’ve enjoyed this title more than Superman, but neither is giving me reason to believe that the BMB hire was anything more than a PR stunt.

Catwoman 26 (Ram V and Fernando Blanco): This had the “Joker War Collateral Damage” and it involved fallout from the last issue with the Joker. However, it served as little more than a set up for the next arc. I had to look up Father Valley. I thought he was a new character, but he’s not. I’m interested to see where V goes with this.

Justice League 54 and 55 (Joshua Williamson and Xermanico): Maybe Death Metal focused the title similar to how Joker War did with Batman and Detective. Perhaps it is Josh Williamson’s touch. Whatever the reason, this title is starting to recapture some of the fun at the beginning of Venditti’s run as writer. They probably just took my advice and read Avengers to see how to write a team title.

The Decent

Detective Comics 1028 and 1029 (Peter J. Tomasi et al): These issues are better than the title was before Joker War. It’s not as good as it was during the tie in issues. I realized that I think I just don’t like Tomasi’s writing style. Here’s hoping that he and I can find a compromise soon.

Superman 26 (Brian Michael Bendis and Ivan Reis): At this point, I’m only collecting the book for the artwork. This title might not survive on my pull list after Future State.

The Verdict

Other than Detective–and I’m realizing that probably won’t change unless I come to terms with Tomasi or they replace him–and Superman–which is subject matter and not even BMB has been able to make Superman interesting to me, the DC November 2020 books are very good. I’m still upset that they’re choosing now to take a hiatus and push Future State, but who knows. Maybe that will end up being awesome and I won’t even miss the regular titles. It remains to be seen in a couple of months.

Great, Good, Decent: DC Comics October 2020

Introduction

DC Comics 2020 is a bit of a misnomer just as Marvel Comics October 2020. First, it is now technically November. Second, I got behind in my reading and reviewing. These are the comics that I received from DCBS in both September and October.

Sue me. Things have been a bit busy at work this year.

However, as I wrote in the Marvel Comics review this (technically last) month, I’m committed to getting back on track by the end of the year. While I committed to that last year as well, I learned some tricks during the quarantine that will help this time. The only weird thing is that you will now be treated (?) to two straight weeks of comics. Think of it as a proper reboot of the page. Comics fans love reboots. Right? Right?!

The Great

Action Comics 1024 and 1025 (Brian Michael Bendis and John Romita Jr.): I’ve made no secret of my severe distaste for Superman. If my younger brother Tim ever reads the page, he might disown me for the amount of times I’ve said it. However, BMB has been doing his best to reverse that opinion. Right now, he is succeeding with Action. This story is fun and focused. That was missing from the Leviathan story.

Batman 96-99 (James Tynion IV and Jorge Jimenez): After reading issue 96, I texted Chris and said, “I’m really enjoying Joker War.” He agreed that it has been really good. This is the story that I’ve been waiting for from Tynion since he took over the title. I hope it continues.

Justice League Dark 25 and 26 (Ram V and Amancy Nahuelpan): I wept when they took Tynion off of this title. It was probably my favorite DC book since Rebirth. It took a few issues, but they found a worthy successor. Ram V is great on this book and I want this to be long term.

Wonder Woman 759-762 (Mariko Tamaki and Mikel Janin): I’ve been looking forward to this since I saw the announcement in the previous issue. Then, she wrote one of the vignettes in the Detective Comics 1027 anniversary issue. Now, I finally get to experience Mariko Tamaki on Wonder Woman. It’s worth the wait and hype. Love it.

The Good

Catwoman 24 and 25 (Sean Murphy, Blake Northcutt, et al): Catwoman has been iffy ever since Joelle Jones left. Ram V filled in nicely for a few issues, but then it went a bit off the rails. It was just inconsistent. I’m not ready to declare Sean Murphy the savior, but these two issues were fun.

Detective Comics 1025 and 1026 ( Peter J. Tomasi and Kenneth Rocafort): Detective Comics disappointed me more than the main title. I knew that Tynion would eventually find his footing. Not so for Tomasi. However, Joker War has focused him and this book. It might be great if not for the main title, which is absolutely killing it.

The Decent

Aquaman 62 and 63 (Jordan Clark and Marco Santucci): As I’ve been looking at the books on Previews World (also where I grab my cover shots), I’ve noticed that many of the creative teams have been reshuffled because of the Covid break. It might explain why it has been so inconsistent. This book is a fine War for Atlantis, but it’s not what I hoped from this story.

Justice League 50-53 (Various, but it looks like they might have settled on Joshua Williamson and Xermanico for the DM tie ins?): Perhaps no title has suffered more this year than good old Justice League. Scott Snyder seemed to have put it at the bottom of his priorities. After they took him off the title, it became a fun team title again. Then, it wandered in the darkness for a couple of months. Death Metal might serve to focus it similar to how Joker War did for the Batman books.

Superman 24 and 25 (Brian Michael Bendis and Ivan Reis): BMB has not successfully changed my mind about Supes in the main title. He keeps introducing new characters that should add to the mythos and make the character more appealing. None of them have. I just don’t care. If I get rid of a book (and I have no plans to do so because I get so few books lately), this is the first to go.

The Verdict

DC Comics October 2020 is much stronger than Marvel this month. There were a couple of good books that I considered making great and the only decent book that I truly did not enjoy was Supes. Join us next week as we do back to back comics in an attempt to get the page back on some sort of predictable schedule. See you in a couple of days for Spawn 310 and 311.

DC Comics August 2020

Introduction

Welcome to DC Comics August 2020 review! I mentioned in my last article that we are doing some “retro” content this month and next to celebrate the anniversary of the page. Can you believe that it’s been live for 6 years? Me neither, but here we are. So, how are new comics retro? Well, they’re not. But, comics and Dungeons and Dragons both helped to start me on my journey to geekdom.

So, today we’ll take a look at the latest batch of DC Comics. Then, on Friday, I’m going to give my thoughts about the new season of Umbrella Academy. How’s that for retro content! I promise, it’s coming. Next week, I’m going to revisit DOOM and then I’m going to take a look back at another of the influential companies from my childhood, Nintendo. So, stay tuned for all of that! For now, let’s talk about these DC Comics August 2020 that I enjoyed so much.

The Great

Batman 94 and 95 (James Tynion IV and Jorge Jimenez): Initially, I wasn’t impressed with the great Tynion on Bats experiment. In fact, I dropped the book from Great to Good a couple months in a row. However, that all changed with issue 93. I really enjoyed King’s take on the Joker, but Tynion looks like he’s going to do the Joker War justice. The Bat seems truly broken this time.

Justice League Dark 24 (James Tynion IV, Ram V, and Kyle Hotz): I think that part of the reason that the great Tynion on Batman experiment was floundering was due to the fact that he was also still writing Justice League Dark. It felt like much of his focus was on this title. Now that they have Ram V cowriting, it hasn’t missed a beat. He did great on Cats and now this title. Versatile writer!

The Good

Aquaman 61 ( Kelly Sue Deconnick and Miguel Mendonca): Aquaman was good and then it was great for a couple of issues and then it was good. I might have even put it in the decent category a couple of times. I just wasn’t feeling the story. However, it is getting good again. Mera took a DNA test, and she is 100% that “B”.

Action Comics 1023 (Brian Michael Bendis and John Romita Jr.): If I was not impressed with the Tynion run on Batman, I absolutely hated the Bendis experiment with Action and Superman. I nearly took both titles off my list. I’m glad that I didn’t. It appears as if old BMB is hitting his stride with both books. This one wasn’t as much fun as the last one, but it’s still almost there.

Detective Comics 1024 (Peter J. Tomasi and Brad Walker): I was actually more impressed with how Tomasi took over Detective Comics and made it his own than with Tynion and Batman initially. I’m sad that this story is ending. I very much enjoyed Two Face and will miss him. However, maybe Joker War is the unifying force these books need. I’m excited.

Superman 23 (Brian Michael Bendis and Kevin Maguire): Went back and forth on this one from Good to Decent. Probably just my Superman bias and my bias against Bendis on this title to this point. But, I loved the JLD crossover and want to see more.

The Decent

Catwoman 23 (Sean Murphy, Blake Northcutt, and Cian Tormey): All I wrote was “Bring back Joelle”. The book has been in steady decline since she left, with a brief respite by Ram V. I usually like Sean Murphy, but this story was just weird.

Justice League 48 and 49 (Robert Vendittie, Eddy Barrows, and Eber Ferreira): The book is fine. I wrote that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Not sure what I meant by that, but Justice League is probably my least favorite book right now.

Wonder Woman 758 (Steve Orlando and Emanuela Lupacchino): They sucked me back into Wonder Woman with a surprisingly entertaining movie and Greg Rucka as writer. I’ve stuck with the title because I genuinely like the character. This issue is fittingly a fine conclusion to a fine story. However, I’m glad that I stuck around because next month Mariko Tamaki is taking over. Can’t wait for that!

The Verdict

DC Comics August 2020 weren’t as much fun as Marvel. However, they were still very good. I’m excited for Joker War, Mariko, and to see if BMB can continue to improve Action and Supes. I said last time that I wasn’t sure if comics were getting better or I just missed them. Chris insisted that it was because he missed them, but I’m going to err on the side of optimism and say that they’re very good right now. Go out and buy comics!

DC Comics July 2020

Introduction

DC Comics July 2020 was not a disappointment. Well, that’s not entirely true. While there were more books in the shipment than Marvel this month, the books were less than stellar. I will just chalk that up to the mid summer lull that the entertainment industry goes through to give movies a chance to have their blockbusters.

Covid-19 doesn’t care about your blockbusters.

I’m not saying that the books were bad. I’m just not saying that they were good, either. They were, in the immortal words of Magic the Gathering players everywhere, medium. So, I guess without further delay, let’s talk about medium DC Comics July 2020 books! Are you psyched?! Get psyched!

The Great

Justice League Dark #22 and 23 (Ram V, James Tynion IV, Alvaro Eduardo Martinez Bueno): There’s only one book in the great section this month. Anyone who’s been paying attention won’t be surprised at the selection. Of course, it’s Justice League Dark. I will say, though, that the book had been falling off a bit before quarantine. I think that Tynion splitting his time between this and Batman wasn’t getting his best for either book. With Ram V coming in to help, the book is great again. Plus, Swamp Thing is back!

The Good

Action Comics 1022 (Brian Michael Bendis and John Romita Jr.): I have made no secret of my disappointment in the BMB experiment on Superman and Action Comics. However, I can admit when I’m wrong. I mean, it’s my opinion, so it’s not like I can be wrong. Okay, I’m getting away from the point. This issue made it into the “almost great” category. I like this story so far and I hope that the book is finally realizing the potential that DC saw when bringing in Bendis.

Batman 92 and 93 (James Tynion IV and Guilleme March): I have also made no secret of my disappointment with Tynion’s run on Batman so far. However, these two issues were really good. It seems that all he needed was an event to get him started. Joker War is next and I am so ready for the “final showdown”.

Detective Comics 1022 (Peter J. Tomasi and Brad Walker): I very much like this version of Two Face in this story. The Joker, not so much. Hopefully Tynion can do a better job in the Joker War.

Wonder Woman 756 and 757 (Steve Orlando et al): Wonder Woman is facing a war on several fronts. That’s all I wrote for this one. I’m too lazy to go upstairs to get the books and flip through them, either. Seems like this one is close to the Decent pile.

The Decent

Aquaman 60 (Kelly Sue Decconnick and Migueal Mendonca): Once upon a time, I was close to putting this book in the great category. The quality has eroded gradually over time. However, this issue looks like a decent filler/set up issue for whatever is coming next.

Catwoman 22 ( Paula Sevenbergen and Aneke): This issue had a neat campy retro art style. I wrote that the story was only meh, but in light of the art style, it actually makes sense. I could be persuaded to move this into the Good category. Either way, it seems as if they are just biding their time until the 80th anniversary issue.

Justice League 46 and 47 (Robert Venditti and Xermanico): This has become a good ensemble book since Venditti took over from Snyder. However, I’m not at all enjoying this Spectre story. I can’t wait for them to move on.

Superman 22 (Brian Michael Bendis and Joe Prado): I have no notes for this book. While it would seem that Action Comics is realizing some potential, this one is still floundering under the BMB banner.

The Verdict

See, I always give you the TLDR at the beginning of the article. This month wasn’t great for DC and it wasn’t terrible, either. The books, overall, were just medium. Even so, they seem to be setting up for big things and I don’t just mean their Super Summer Crossover Spectacular, Dark Metal. Each book looks to have some good stories to run parallel to that one. Can’t wait for next month!

DC Comics June 2020

Introduction

Wow. DC Comics June 2020. It’s been a while since we’ve had a comics review on the page. Chris and I have been texting back and forth about various updates from the comics companies and DCBS over the last few months. For a while there, it looked touch and go.

I mean, we’ve had conversations in the past about the state of the industry. It has been touch and go even before having to shut down production and distribution for just under two months. But, we both got notifications last week that comics were being shipped. I only got 9 this time around, I think. Compare that to the 25-30 that I was getting.

So, things obviously aren’t back to normal. Then again, we keep being told that we shouldn’t go back to normal. I agree with that in some sense. And, I don’t mean to be insensitive because ultimately comics are a small thing compared to all that is happening. However, I hope that if we find a “new normal”, comics are a part of that.

Then again, we have been inundated with arguments that comics have gotten far too political these days. Wait, this panel is from the 1980s?

Because there are so few comics this time, I’m going to give each series their own section in this article and the Marvel one tomorrow. Now, let’s talk some DC Comics June 2020.

Aquaman 59 (Kelly Sue DeConnick and Robson Rocha)

The Great (Plot Twist with Orm): Since the beginning of Rebirth, Arthur has been in a fight to regain his throne. This continues into this issue. However, there is a bit of twist with the fight that I found interesting. Hopefully they continue to explore that going forward.

The Good (Aquaman’s Daughter): I don’t mind that Aquaman has a daughter now. It just seemed to come out of the blue and I don’t care that much about the character. Sure, she’s just a baby (kid?) and I should, but this particular plot idea wasn’t well thought out in my opinion. Maybe I missed something.

The Decent (Gods?): I have no idea what this was or why I should be interested in it. They were working to find Aquaman’s daughter. Okay, great, sure. I probably missed something. I might need to go back and read some Aquaman. However, gods might be a theme going forward. More on that in the next section.

Justice League 44 and 45 (Robert Venditti, Xermanico, and Eddy Barrows)

The Great (Team): From what I’m seeing, this is a tough title to write. You have a ton of very strong personalities and egos at play and you have to give them all air time. Often, that fails. I feel like it worked very well in these issues. I got the personality of each individual member. Also, they worked very well as a team.

The Good (Spectre): As a seemingly intended contrast to the teamwork, they begin fighting among themselves after defeating the initial threat. It is revealed that it is the Spectre judging them that is causing this. I liked the twist in the story. I guess that’s where I am right now.

The Decent (God again?): So, the Spectre is God’s judgment incarnate. I get that. But, I just found it odd that both this book and the other one dealt with gods in an overt sense. Made me think there might have been a theme. However….

Wonder Woman #755 (Steve Orlando and Jesus Merino)

The Great (Art): I’m not usually an art guy. I mean, I can appreciate the art in a book, but as a frustrated writer, I usually focus more on the story. This story, as many of Wonder Woman lately, as been a bit lackluster. So, I took a step back and looked at the art. Comic book art these days is simply astounding.

The Good (Fine Setup): I feel like I said this last time about Wonder Woman. The story in this issue wasn’t great, but it seemed like a fine set up for whatever is coming next. Hopefully I don’t keep saying this until the story is over.

The Decent (Leviathan): I had no idea this was even still a thing. I didn’t really like it all that much when it was being introduced and now it just feel like one of those annoying canon things in the background like the source wall. Maybe there will eventually be a payoff. Again, maybe I just missed it.

The Verdict

DC Comics June 2020 picked up where they left off before Coronavirus put a pause on things. They’re not great, but they’re not bad, either. At this point, I’m pretty sure it is just the summer lull and not anything else. I, for one, am just glad that there are comics again. Tomorrow, Marvel!

DC Comics October 2019 Review

Introduction

Welcome, finally, to my DC Comics Review for October 2019. Both life and technology have been working against me recently. Still, I’m not ignoring articles like I used to. It might be a couple of weeks late, but it’s here. Plus, Liam is getting the new Pokemon game this week, so that gives us something to discuss next week.

Finally, I’m pretty excited about the prospect of Pioneer. That’s what I meant by technology. Chris and I were all set to record last week except my phone wasn’t delivering messages for some reason. Nevertheless, I’m going to record something this week to get us to the Pokemon discussion next week. Who knows, maybe doing so will inspire us to actually record more. The goal is still to get to consistent content by the end of the year. Now, let’s get to the DC Comics Review for October 2019 so that I can read November’s books!

The Forgetable (Eff Superman)

Eff Superman…

Superman #14 and 15 (Brian Michael Bendis and Ivan Reis)

There are two books this month that made me finally break out “The Forgettable” category for these reviews. I will discuss the other briefly. All I can say about this one is Eff Superman. Maybe I should elaborate. I’ve never liked Superman as a hero. The only time I ever read the book was during the death story. My brother really likes him for some reason, but I just can’t get into the character.

I gave it a chance when Bendis came and very much enjoyed the Man of Steel lead in series. Ever since then, though, the book has gone back to the same old formula that just isn’t that interesting. I will continue to collect, but until the story gets better, I’ll probably just skim rather than reading.

The Decent (More Bendis and Justice League is on the block)

Time for a change?

Justice League 31 and 32 (Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Howard Porter)

This book is such a mess right now. I texted Chris about it and he mentioned that he gave up on it a while ago. There are already so many of my books being killed that I don’t want to stop collecting, but this one is definitely on the block right now. I mean, they have Tynion cowriting for the Doom War books, but as Chris said, “Not even he can save it.” There are some good things. I enjoyed the Wonder Woman speech and Aquaman coming in at the end. Otherwise, these issues were just another war for the fate of mankind as Kamandi said in exasperation. Also, Braniac 1 million? Ultra Monitor? Good lord.

More Bendis…

Action Comics #1015 (Brian Michael Bendis and Szymon Kudranski)

Action, for what it is worth, has been worth reading, at least. This issue had some distracting artwork with the lightning border for the initial Naomi panels. Also, the parallels of her story to Superman and Batman were nice to read. Otherwise, again, Bendis isn’t making me enjoy Superman any more.

Detective Comics 1011 (Peter J. Tomasi and Doug Mahnke)

This was a one shot (?) issue about some Japanese soldiers on an island being rescued by Bats from Deadshot. He’s my least favorite villain, so this issue was just okay the end seemed to finally set up for the Mr. Freeze show down that has been teased for the last 3 or 4 issues, so I’m excited about that.

The Good (Aqua, Wonder, and Cats, oh my! Oh, Detective, too)

Love is dead. Not the most subtle of metaphors.

Wonder Woman 78 and 79 (G. Willow Wilson and Tom Derenick)

Cheetah has the God Killer. She’s already used it to off Aphrodite. This means that love is dead. It’s not the most subtle metaphor for what’s happening in real life right now. Then again, maybe I’m just extra sensitive to that sort of thing. I will say that this particular writer is doing a good job with the story and I can’t wait to see where it goes next.

Not as strong as recent issues, but still fun.

Aquaman 52 (Kelly Sue Deconnick and Robson Rocha)

This issue was a bit weaker than some of the recent issues. I even pushed this book into the great column in my last article. Ultimately, this is just a fight issue against a big dumb monster. Most likely, it is a set up issue for the big Mech Black Manta show down coming.

Detective Comics 1012 (Peter J. Tomasi and Doug Mahnke)

Okay, this is more likely. Finally, we get Mr. Freeze. The intro showing the dichotomy of Batman and Mr. Freeze set the mood perfectly. Then, comes a decent set up story explaining what Mr. Freeze is up to and why Batman is getting involved. Spoiler Alert: It has to do with Freeze’s wife. I hope this story continues to pick up.

Ram V is growing on me

Catwoman 15 (Ram V and Mirka Andolfo)

I admit to being salty when Joelle stopped writing the title and I couldn’t get into Ram V’s version of the character. I’m not sure if it getting better or if I’m just getting used to the writing style. Either way, Ram V is starting to grow on me. This story, like the Freeze story in Detective, is gaining steam. Also, this one is building to the Tom King’s upcoming Bats/Cats book, which I’m here for.

The Great (Batman stands alone…as usual. Oops, forgot Justice League Dark)

Justice League Dark 15 (James Tynion IV and Alvaro Martinez Bueno)

Sure, James Tynion IV is working on the main Justice League title. But, you can tell that he is much more in his element on this title. This is another great set up issue where things are just falling apart for our intrepid “heroes”. Swamp Thing has lost his connection to the green. Wonder Woman is lost (?) on her way to the moon to fix magic. How can things possibly get worse? I can’t wait to see.

Batman 78 and 79 (Tom King and Clay Mann)

Tom King pissed off a lot of people with Batman 50. That’s been discussed here and elswhere. But, come on, that was at least a year ago now. How long are we going to stay pissed off? Okay, before City of Bane, things were slow, too, but there has to be some set up. Yes, I’m an unabashed Tom King stan. Still, this most recent story has been nothing short of amazing.

I love what King is doing with Batman and Catwoman now. This “interlude” is a great story of redemption and a great story of revenge. I know that King will be leaving Batman soon and I’m sad to see him go. But, he will be working on Batman/Catwoman and I can’t wait for that book.

The Verdict

DC Comics had been fading a bit for me recently. I found that I was skimming more books than I was reading. I’m still skimming some (Superman and more recently Justice League), but I am enjoying most of them. Batman is back to the amazing form that Tom King brings. Justice League continues to be amazing. As long as those books are great, the rest can be sort of middling and I’m a happy camper. Thanks, as always, for reading my DC Comics October 2019 (even if it is a couple of weeks late) review and join me in a few weeks for November.

DC Comics September 2019 Review

Introduction

Welcome to my comic book review for DC Comics September 2019. The comics are technically from my August DCBS order, so that makes this about a month late. Unlike past articles, I’m not going to fill this introduction will a lot of excuses and self deprecating humor. I will explain that the beginning of the school year has hit me harder than I expected, but I’m in a bit of a groove now. My hopes of making semi-regular posts by the end of the year looks quite promising.

So, Chris and I have been regularly talking about the demise of comics. Previously, as you surely know, we have been completely and utterly wrong. More recently, however, it seems as if we might be on to something. I noticed a couple of weeks ago that my DCBS order was very light. Upon research, I found that several books have been canceled and Chris confirmed that many others are being delayed. Peculiar, to say the least. Stay tuned to see if comics are indeed on the way to extinction.

The Great (Justice League Dark Remains, Batman is Back!)

Bane is breaking the Bat again, but in very different ways this time.

Batman 76 and 77 ( Tom King, Tony S. Daniel, and Mikel Janin)

Tom King clearly got too comfortable on Batman. Look, I get that not every issue can be fire, but the more recent issues have been the polar opposite of fire. It was all I could do to not just skip the issues entirely. City of Bane started to pick up until Chris texted me about these issues. I read 76, then texted him back about needing a break before reading 77. I’m glad I took one. Like Chris said, King knew he was on the way out and he is pulling no punches. Jesus.

Seriously, if you’re not reading this book, shame on you.

Justice League Dark 14 (James Tynion IV and Alvaro Marinez Bueno)

Regular readers of the page know that this is my favorite DC book and it isn’t even close. Broken Record Alert: (say it along with me, take a shot, shout BINGO!, whatever you do when a common phrase is uttered) Like Immortal Hulk for Marvel, there hasn’t been a bad issue of this book. It has just consistently brought the quality. I love the team. The stories have been entertaining. If all comics were like this and Hulk, Chris and I wouldn’t have to worry about their inevitable collapse.

The Good (Aquaman might be great, same with Catwoman, Wonder Woman and Justice League are inconsistent)

This book is dangerously close to cracking the great section. Who would have ever thunk it?

Aquaman 51 (Kelly Sue DeConnick and Robson Rocha)

I enjoyed Aquaman right after the Rebirth. Things got a bit slow right before the 50th issue. I know that comics cares about round numbers and that they usually have a bit of a lull before the big numbers. Still, I would have liked for the consistency to be there. I’m telling you, if this keeps up, Aquaman will be up there soon.

Maybe I will be able to get over myself and move Cats up there, too.

Catwoman 14 (Ram V and Mirka Andolfo)

I got into Catwoman after the big wedding fiasco mainly to show my support for the controversial ending. I fell in love with the book because I liked the way that Joelle Jones handled the character. She did a good job. I’m not as big a fan of Ram V’s version, but it is still okay. this latest issue was very good. If I can ever get over my Joelle bias, perhaps there will be multiple books in the great section.

Are things starting to turn around?

Justice League 29 and 30 (Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, and Bruno Redondo)

I was pretty down on Justice League for a while there. I just couldn’t get into what Snyder was trying to do. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy Snyder as a writer, but I just wasn’t in to the whole source wall story. That might be changing. It appears that there is finally going to be a payoff for all of that with the Justice League/Legion of Doom War.

Another book that suffers from some inconsistency.

Wonder Woman 76 and 77 (G. Willow Wilson and Lee Garbett)

As part of my comics reading, I have been keeping up on the DC Giants that used to have Walmart exclusivity, but no longer do. Speaking of the Giants, I’m going to do a review of the latest issues sometime this week (hopefully Saturday). As far as this book is concerned, it’s been up and down. Right now, it is up. Hopefully they can continue.

The Decent (Honestly, I could do without Action and Detective Comics)

A cornerstone of DC Comics with one of the superstars of writing = meh.

Action Comics 1014 (Brian Michael Bendis and Szymon Kudranski)

I was excited when I heard that Bendis was coming to DC. I was slightly less excited when I learned that he was going to retool Superman. Superman is probably my least favorite superhero. However, I gave it a chance and the initial limited series was good. Some of the follow up was decent, too. Then came Leviathan. I had no use for that story. This one is better than that, but they sold it on the Red Cloud, who is barely even in the book.

Tynion left. Boo.

Detective Comics 1009 and 1010 (Peter J. Tomasi and Christian Duce)

I was upset when Tynion left this title. Still haven’t gotten over it. I just can’t get into what Tomasi is trying to do with this title. Seeing Mr. Freeze on the cover of this one was exciting. However, similar to Action Comics, he’s barely even in the book. Maybe that will change as it seems like they are setting something up. I hope so because this used to be my favorite book.

The Verdict (DC Comics September 2019 is more good than bad)

As I just said in the title, DC Comics September 2019 is more good than bad. Certainly, it is better than some recent months. Batman is great, which could go either way when Tom King departs. Justice League Dark will be good until Tynion eventually leaves like he always does. I would make a missing dad joke here, but I don’t see how they are funny.

The rest of the books ping pong between good and decent from month to month. Aquaman and Catwoman are threatening “great” status. Wonder Woman could get there, too, with a few good months. The real bummer is that their two marquee titles are not very good at all. I haven’t read Marvel yet, so I can’t compare the two companies this article. Look for that in my Marvel review on Friday.

DC COmics Week of 7/21/19 Review

Introduction

I think I said in one of my previous articles that it would be the last time that I would include older comics in the review. So this isn’t technically DC Comics Week of 7/21/19. There might be some older books in here, but I am at the point where I’m caught up on the books that I read and it is the most recent books as of last month. Progress! If I’m going to get any more current, I have to get famous and have the companies send me preview books.

Superman #9, 11, 12 (“Unity Saga” by Brian Michael Bendis, Joe Prado and Ivan Reis)

My heavens, what has the House of El ever done to deserve all this hate?

The Good (This book is better than Action Comics right now)

As you probably know since you are all fans of comic books, DC Comics handed control of their most famous hero to Brian Michael Bendis last year. What you may not know if you aren’t a fan of this page is that I’m not a huge fan of Bendis. I’m not against him necessarily, I just don’t like his propensity for long exposition and the standard that he set for serializing comics into 6 part stories. With that being said, I have liked this book more than Action Comics lately.

The Bad (Why the Retcon?)

I’m not much of a fan of Superman, either. Again, I don’t actively dislike the character. I mean, how can you? He’s a boy scout who champions the virtues of America. However, the character is kind of lame and Zack Snyder kind of ruined Superman and DC for me and it is taking some time to purge myself of those very painful memories. Granted, I was always a bit biased against DC, but they have been doing good things with their comic books the past few years, so I was missing out.

The Ugly (Everyone Hates the House of El)

Now, I know I just spend a couple of paragraphs talking about the negatives of this book in the good and the bad section. I’m not a hater, though. I did enjoy this story as I read it. So, you can’t count me in the headline for this section. However, the Evil Justice League, Rogol, and Zod most definitely do not like Superman’s family and they will stop at nothing to destroy them.

Wonder Woman #73 (“Prisoner of a Dark Dimension” by Various)

Why is Wonder Woman always tied up? Uh, don’t Google that unless you want your preconceived notions about comics and kids utterly destroyed.

The Good (This is an interesting story)

I’m pretty sure this is a rehash of a story that has been told over and over in Wonder Woman. However, not being a DC fan as much as a Marvel fan, I haven’t read many of these stories in the past. With that being said, this was a good story that I enjoyed reading, even it it wasn’t Greg Rucka writing it. There’s your obligatory Rucka reference for 2GG Bingo.

The Bad (This is only a one shot)

This issue was obviously filler for some reason or another. That’s why I say that it is most likely a story that has already been told. Even so, I’d have liked to have explored this story more. Oh well, maybe in the future.

The Ugly (I like this creative team)

What, what? You liked the story. You liked the creative team. How is that ugly? Well, this team filled in for this one shot. Therefore, chances are they won’t be back next issue. I wish they were. Hear that, DC? If these guys don’t have a regular book, give them one!

Catwoman 11 and 12 (Joelle Jones and Fernando Blanco)

I think I like Catwoman more than either Batman title now. That’s saying a bit.

The Good (Joelle is Back!)

The last time I reviewed Catwoman, there was a one shot fill in issue not involving Joelle. That made me sad. Joelle is back writing for Catwoman again. That makes me happy. I like her writing style for this book and if she leaves, it will almost be a Rucka-like adjustment for me to get used to a new writer.

The Bad (Not Quite Deus Ex Machina)

One problem I have with the book is that while there is an ongoing story, each book has it’s own specific narrative. It’s not quite Deus ex Machina that she utilizes to accomplish these feats of daring and do-baddery, but it’s close. Things just wrap up entirely too quickly for my tastes. I wouldn’t mind a cliffhanger or two.

The Ugly (Movie Premiere)

Part of the narrative of issue 11 was a movie premiere. I’m sure that it has some bearing on the book or the character, but damned if I was able to find it. Just felt completely random and not related to the story one bit. Maybe those pages could have been used for more set up for the eventual heist.

Justice League Dark #11 and 12 (James Tynion IV and Alvaro Martinez)

This might be my favorite DC book right now.

The Good (This is better than Justice League)

I’m not a fan of whatever Scott Snyder is doing with Justice League right now. It’s a fine title, but it just doesn’t feel cohesive or well executed. I will keep reading in hopes that things change. I would much rather be reading this book, though.

The Bad (Nothing)

That’s not an exaggeration. I love everything about this book. As I wrote in my caption, it might be my favorite DC book right now.

The Ugly (Justice League Dark Chaos?)

Is that a double negative? Are they now the real Justice League and the other Justice League is what then? Yes, this is a reach. But, as I said, this book is very good and you should be reading it.

The Verdict (DC Comics Week of 7/21/19)

Overall, the comics that I read for this week are strong. DC is having a bit of a wobble since it is mostly a comics venture at this point and it can’t quite figure out how to make movies. That being said, I did like Aquaman and Shazam was quite a bit of fun. But, I digress.

Back to DC Comics Week of 7/21/19, it isn’t as strong as some previous weeks. But, it wasn’t bad, either. At this point, I’m not sure who I like more, DC or Marvel. Maybe neither, and I’m just becoming a fan of individual books instead of either company.