Welcome to this week’s Comics RAMBLINGS or MEANDERINGS,.. haven’t decided what to call it.
It’s another week of DC Comics! This is what I read:
Meanderings and Spoilers Ahead!
Martian Manhunter 2 [DC Comics] – Excellent!
The first issue I wasn’t too fond if he changes to his original story, but I was willing to look past it as I did find J’onn to be interesting. He’s kinda like the Frankenstein monster. Misunderstood by the people of earth for his appearance and origins, and misunderstood by his friends and colleagues in the Justice League.
One stand out thing I really enjoyed about the first issue was Mr. Biscuits. He’s really intriguing. Is it J’onn? At this point I’m not very sure if this is a flashback to when he first arrived on earth or is this NOT J’onn? He’s scary, in a good way. I want to know more about him. And the girl who kinda takes him in as a friend is so endearing. She believes him to be good.
The beginning pages of this second issue were a little confusing for me. Maybe because it had been too long since I read the first issue, but I had no idea what was going on with that trans-warp engine and terrorist attacks they were referring to. My bad perhaps. I’m kinda impressed with issue two so far. Not what I expected. In this second issue, I love reading J’onn’s interior monologue in the beginning. He’s scared of what people think of him, but he tells himself to be brave and to be a hero. I like it.
He’s really a tragic character. The Justice League are his friends. They care about him. He plants this image of a fight between himself and the Justice League as if to push them away. It’s kinda self-destructive and sad. Superman flies off calling after him, knowing that he’s about to hurt himself somehow.
Oh, I love how they explain his new origin in the context of the old one. It’s revealed here that the other Martians had actually planted memories in J’onn’s head to make him believe he was the last of his kind, and that he lost his family back on Mars, etc. Now I wonder, how much of it was a lie. J’onn’s memories of his kind and family dying in fire is what made fire his psychological weakness right? So maybe it never happened, maybe his family is alive, if he truly isn’t the last of his kind. Could he now undue his weakness to fire, or is he psychologically scared regardless? Poor J’onn. His whole life a lie, and now he sets out to sacrifice himself to save this planet where he didn’t fit in, but he will miss his friends, and most of all, being a hero. I love all this! He uses the Trans-Warp to “kill” himself. I think its so that the Martians won’t come to Earth to get him!?!? I’m not sure that it makes sense. If they’re coming, they’re coming regardless right? Does he really think they won’t come if he’s dead? Wasn’t the plan all along for him to be some kind of plant for an invasion? Anyhow,.. he “dies”…
OMG,… I think I get what Mr. Biscuits is! I think Mr. Biscuits is J’onn, after killing himself. It’s what he’s become; a physically and mentally weaker version of his previous self. So, Mr. Biscuits has been more of a flash-forward, or rather, present day, and everything else was the flashback. As Mr. Biscuits, he’s a bit crazy because he’s actually been psychically experiencing everything leading up to his “death” since he reemerged. As we reach the end of the issue where he “dies,” Mr. Biscuits now has become more aware of his previous self. He is now a little bit more coherent, and realizes that he must stop the Martians! I’m very excited, as they tease the next issue to be “Death and Rebirth.” A great revamp of the Martian Manhunter character! Bravo, I’m totally on board! And the art has been great too by the way!
And then there is the character The Pearl. Was she introduced in the first issue? I already forgot. Either way, it’s unexpected and I like it. How does she fit in with everything? Why is J’onn talking to her in her head, guiding her? Is all of this also post dying?
Premise of him cleaning up all the tech that got stolen from the “Garden” is alright, but I’d prefer stating away from the retrieval of the stolen item of the week/issue formula. I’m reading this second issue NOW, so far they seem like background noise, while exploring the characters dating life. I’m not exactly sure who the audience for this book is yet, but I feel if I give it a chance it will find itself an identity.
I love this part in the issue where he takes down this woman who is using tech from the “Garden” to take revenge on this grocery store company who let a product go through which killed her husband. The corporate guys are so grateful, but Midnighter makes it clear he isn’t here to help them. They had called the woman “unwell” and Midnighter defends Henry saying that she isn’t unwell. He understands her pain and desire for justice outside of the courts where they can hide behind expensive lawyers and place blame elsewhere. He takes some swift justice and to her surprise makes demands on her behalf which she gratefully accept, and the corporate men accept out of fear of his threats.
Ha turns out the ‘item of the week’ isn’t just background. I didn’t expect this, but this woman may be more than just a background player. Midnighter actually respects her and what she was trying to do. He talks to her while she is in jail, saying that he’ll be waiting when she gets out, as a peer. Will he take her in as a partner?. Will she help him in stop whomever is selling the stolen tech from the Garden?
In modern day comics, it’s no longer uncommon to find character moments that weren’t typical of superhero action books. In the case of Midnighter, he’s on a date, again, and it explores being single, after a breakup. It’s not gay specific. It brings up the idea of doing things you did with a previous partner with someone new, and addresses it. I appreciate it, but I’m not completely on board with the dating stuff.
Midnighter is a no bullshit, it is what it is, a matter of fact kinda guy. I’m not so sure he’s likeable, but maybe cause he’s confident in a cocky almost bored way.
The book tires to sell that though he’s a dark character, he still has an optimistic side that his date points out, “you see the world and you see how we can beat the odds.”
In this issue it continues to address that Midnighter and Apollo have broken up, which I think is good. We get to see the breakup scene from months earlier. Apollo is accusing Midnighter of lying to him because Midnighter tells him that he really doesn’t have an identity; that Lucas Trent was a name he just made up to fit in. Apollo can’t look past the lying to see that Lucas is telling him the truth now, and I really don’t thing it’s a huge deal, I mean he didn’t lie about his past right? Just his name?! I though Apollo would be more sympathetic, the name thing isn’t a big deal. Maybe I’m missing that Lucas lied about everything in his past? Anyhow, Lucas gives him the ‘it’s me not you’ deal, and “you deserve better.” Does he truly believe that or is he all of a sudden scared to be honest? Why the stupid mind games? Doesn’t seem like Midnighter even though these things are true to real relationships.
Then suddenly. Lucas stops. Kisses Apollo, and Apollo know right away it means he’s leaving him. Apollo become sad. He finally looks past the lying part to see what’s more important. That’s how they break up, cause Lucas wanted to. But, he doesn’t go into why,.. just turns and walks away saying, “I already know how this fight ends.” So Midnighter. The loner. But what is the real reason Lucas is leaving?
This comic was a case of story/writing over the art. Alone, the art is ok, without the shirt and writing the art wouldn’t save the book. As long as the writing hits the spot, I’ll still enjoy the book, but it doesn’t hurt to have art that appeals to me more. I think this may have been a fill-in artist. The art isn’t bad. Though there was a panel that’s thought was a little confusing.
Is that him climbing the wall, scaling down or jumping over the edge of the rooftop?. I think it’s him jumping off the side of the building from the roof. But it looks like he’s going up because of the clouds.
It’s a little indie, which is the trend right now it seems. It’s a bit like how I felt about Sean Phillips at first, but it really grew on me, because it became a part of the book’s identity. I really like his work now.
Batman Superman #23
This review has ended up being about more than it should be as usual. It’s about Superman but,.. You’ll see. It should be it’s own post.
Maybe I’ll rename Comics I Read & Ramble About (This Week), or Comic Book Ramblings.
I’m enjoying Greg Pak’s Superman. Sure we’ve seen Clark as a human being before, but with god-like powers. And we’ve probably seen him powerless before too. What’s interesting here is the world now sees Superman, as Clark Kent, the more human side of Superman. Human in that his Clark Kent identity isn’t a superhero.
Because he is less powerful now, he must discover who he is, and who he can be with no or less powers. Is he still the same person but less powerful? Will he make the same decisions he would normally? He realizes he now has to consider things he normally took for granted like mortality. He starts to realize what his body can or cannot do anymore. He feels his body give up on him. He gets tired, bleeds, and bones break. He realizes what normally would just take a punch may now require some more. Can he still be Superman, without the options he normally would have? He starts to understand what everyday humans have to deal with; pain, limitations of a human body, and the risks in mortality some take to do the right thing, or to help others; to be a hero, like firemen, police, the good samaritan etc.
Learning all that, we start to see that his values are what really make him Superman, not his powers.
I love how he’s capable of being fair, open-minded, and willing to not jump straight to action or conclusions. He can be so understanding and compassionate, while others want to just run in and destroy things. Greg Pak had said that it’s because he knows he could just run on and demolish others that he had to proactively take a step back to consider the situation before he takes action. As Superman he doesn’t normally have to punch first and ask question later like other heroes might. I love how he was willing to see the side of the subterrainians. It’s not always black and white; good versus evil. Sometimes it’s more complicated.
It’s almost like the book is showing us how that if Superman can still be Superman, without his powers, then so could anyone else. People don’t need to have god-like powers in order to be compassionate, have hope, never give up, and always finding a way do the right thing. He can be the epitome of hope, the human spirit, and greatness? Potential? regardless of power or identity, so can you.
This makes me think of Max Landis’s video about Superman. Well there are many, bit here, watch this.
This is Batman Superman, so there is some Batman too. You get to see how different they are, and how they start to learn to work together, but they don’t yet know if they can even trust each other. So seeing those dynamics are nice. It’s fresh, considering it’s like having a whole new Batman and Superman. I suppose it’s part of the point to why Batman is “dead” and Superman is depowered and revealed as Clark Kent. Without changing things up like that, the relationships between characters can get stale. It’s like what they do with some characters that have grown and progressed so much; they try to take them out of corners that prevent them from telling the stories the character was originally based on. They set the clock back, making characters younger, single or change their gender or race to add the potential of stories the character never had before.
Even though I got all of this from this one issue, I would’ve liked to see something else as well. Some other element to raise its value more than it already is. What? I don’t know what, it’s just a feeling that with one more “thing” it would’ve made it a 4-5 star book. Then again, that’s how I always feel!
One last thing I liked, is the appearance of ….. a hero that I think should be fun to see. I definitely didn’t expect it. This character is like the Subterranean’s ally! So if a hero is siding with them maybe Supes was right to not jump to conclusions. For some reason I suspect there’ll be a misunderstanding which will cause some friction between them.
Justice League of America #2
Bryan Hitch! BRYAN HITCH! First a superstar artist, and now an upcoming superstar writer! I gotta say, I was looking forward to JLA after I saw his work on Real Heroes! He really has a good sense for these team books. The widescreen feel of his trademark art, is complimented by his widescreen storytelling/writing! I’m just impressed! The direction he’s taking is something new and different we hadn’t seen before with the JL, and the voices of the individual characters, it’s all there! It’s interesting to think this, but some elements make me feel like it’s a Marvel-like book at DC. Maybe it’s just that he did Ultimates, and so the art evokes that, otherwise, I can’t really pinpoint the reason from the writing.
My only gripe is that it was a bit heavy on words. There’s a lot of reading. I got through it, but it was almost too much for me. I’m not sure how this book is doing, but I hope Hitch can keep the momentum. There’s been way too many examples of good books that die out due to inconsistent releases. An example is Hitch’s own book Real Heroes. JLA is a great alternative to the Justice League book, if you’re not a fan of it, but are a fan of more old school Justice League. JLA has more of that traditional Justice League feel to it. I think DC is smart with their DC YOU initiative to first let books stand on their own, and not be tied to having to tie into other books that are being published, then maybe later on, start to connect to the rest of the extended universe. Right now, things are looking really good at DC for me.
Another solid book!
Robin, Son of Batman #2
It looks like they’re doing a lot of looking into the secret histories of the New DC YOU, post-Flashpoint and New 52.
Patrick Gleason owns Damian Wayne Robin! Well, he’s a good adoptive father to the absent Morrison. From the first issue, I loved this premise of seeing Damian Wayne redeem himself from a year in his past called the Year of Blood where he was set out to do a year of horrible things as part of his evil training. He is set out to right all those wrongs, so we can expect each issue to be a little “monster of the week”ish. That’s ok, so long as it’s good. I’ve always enjoyed Damian’s characterization and Gleason, is seamless in doing it. I also love the red Goliath he has as his faithful companion. What a cool mix of the world of Batman, and a little bit of fantasy.
I also like to occasional flashback to the actual Year of Blood, which is the secret history part of Damian Wayne.
In the vault of collected trophies and keepsakes from his Year of Blood, it’s like the vault of Indiana Jones, full of artifacts, and strange items. In the second issue, it’s more of this mystical aspect of Damian’s life, as he returns the head of some giant stone guardian of a village, that protects a mysterious treasure. I’ll say, I love Pat’s art, but during his battle with this guardian, after he returns it’s head, I got a bit confused as to what was going on. Some of the art was confusing to me.
Along the way, is the subplot of the new Nobody! The daughter of the original who Damian killed. She is out for revenge, and is following him. In the battle with the guardian, she ends up helping to save some of the innocent village people. So, I guess, she’s not “evil”, she just wants to avenge her father’s death?? Either way, by the end, she tells him she’s gonna let him atone for all his sins by finishing off his quest to right all his wrongs from the Year of Blood, before she kills him or something. And that she intends to stay with him through it all,… and help him.
I’m not exactly sure I get it; the motive that is, but it’s ok for now,.. she’ll make an interesting companion/supporting character for this title. I like her.
The only little gripe I have about this issue is that it is a little wordy as well. I was a little tired reading it, so that didn’t help. There were a couple areas that tested my focus.
Anyhow, a very fun title!