So much to catch up on. For this post, I think I’ll concentrate on the good reads:
I might as well start with the brand new Birds of Prey by Gail Simone and Ed Benes, since this is the book that actually got me off my ass and into the comic store for the first time in over a month. I feel bad for Gail that she got kicked off Wonder Woman, but, if I’m being honest, I’d rather read her Birds of Prey and Secret Six any day. Gail has a knack for writing interesting team dynamics that was a difficult fit with the Wonder Woman gig—not that she didn’t try to bring that oddball-ensemble sensibility to Diana and her friends, even if the results were hit-and-miss. It’s hard to be quirky with an icon, but Gail makes it look effortless on the Six and now again on Birds.
So, yeah: Birds of Prey #1. Well-scripted, well-illustrated, well-paced, exciting. Loved it. And love the idea of bringing Hawk and Dove to the title—such a “Gail” move, and SO brilliant in terms of storytelling possibilities. The prospective interplay of Hawk (the maniac? the dickbag? the “fancy boy”?) with Dawn, Zinda, Dinah, Helena, and Babs is basically just delicious. I really missed this book and I am so glad it’s back. P.S. to the haters: Ed Benes does a bang-up job on the visuals.
Sticking with Gail’s comics, Secret Six is still amazing 21 issues in. The gruesome story of Catman’s dysfunctional family and his continued journey into nihilistic badassery this issue plumbed just the depths of depravity that one has come to rely upon this book to provide. The inventiveness of Gail’s mind when it comes to developing tortures to inflict upon her characters (and readers) always astonishes me—and I mean that as a compliment, of course. She’s making great use of Black Alice in this series—which is a feat, since Alice gives off this “annoying character” vibe that is difficult to write through. Alice’s askew “romance’ with Ragdoll has helped, and her surprise possession near the end of this issue is delightful.
I finally got around to reading the epilogues to Blackest Night in Green Lantern #53 and Green Lantern Corps #47. We’ve been hearing rumbles of Geoff Johns backlash around the web for awhile (something that was obviously stoked by his recent ascension to Chief Creative Officer at DC), but whatevs. Blackest Night was a spectacular—and spectacularly well-managed—comic book event, and these issues are more of the same. (The return of the Anti-Monitor! Still excited about that !!) Peter J. Tomasi’s writing still shows a bit, but he has grown by leaps and bounds over the past several years. I love his “day in the life” stories, and GLC #47 was no exception. It’s nice to see a superhero comic spend a whole issue dealing with the issue of workplace relationships—who’d a thunk? I liked the tease for August’s Guy Gardner headlined Emerald Warriors series too.
Brightest Day itself is a lot of fun so far. I’m enjoying the spotlighting of Aquaman and Mera, as well as J’onn, the Hawks, and Firestorm. The series so far has the feel of a sequel—despite the ominous beats, everything feels a bit lighter, which is not a bad thing at all after all the zombie-anguish of Blackest Night.
Bill Willingham’s first arc on Justice Society of America didn’t wow me, but his second is turning out to be a barnburner. Mister Terrific and the JSA vs. the Nazis in an alternate reality? Could have felt like a waste of time, but Willingham has taken the story in a nasty anything-can-happen direction that has me riveted every month. The ending to this issue is particularly jaw-dropping, and I can’t wait for the conclusion. Jesus Merino’s pencils are amazing, too.
Matthew Sturges’s JSA All-Stars has a very different feel from the main book. Perhaps because Freddie Williams II is working an early Bart Sears vibe in his pencils, I keep drawing comparisons between this book and Justice League Europe (coincidentally a team book also featuring Power Girl!) during the Giffen/DeMatteis heyday of the Justice League. Both spinoff books have a “cozy” quality about their storytelling that I enjoy, without being absolutely jazzed about. So far, JSA All-Stars has not felt like essential reading, but it serves up an extra helping of JSA every month that I have so far always enjoyed. I have been particularly digging the Liberty Belle/Hourman back up romp featuring Icicle and Tigress. It’s fun. And kind of sexy.
NEXT: The Bad