The War of Jokes and Riddles Begins

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Batman (Volume 3) #25
Written by Tom King
Art by Mikel Janin

This issue begins a flashback story called the War of Jokes and Riddles. It begins with many violent hard to watch/read murders by both the Joker and the Riddler and ends with a great panel of a naked Batman looking pretty great next to Catwoman in bed as he tells this story. We still don’t know if Catwoman said yes to his marriage proposal last issue but who cares – we got to see Mikel Janin draw a great naked Batman! Yay! Jokes aside (no pun intended), this was a great start to what looks like a very cool past-Batman story which if done right looks like it could be on the level of something like the Long Halloween. Tom King is really good at dissecting these characters and his explanation of why the Joker and the Riddler do what-they-do (as told by the Riddler) is fascinating.

Two Corps United, But For How Long?

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Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #22
Written by Robert Venditti
Art by Ethan Van Sciver

First of all, it is so amazing and gets me all nostolgic to see Kyle Rayner back in his old Green Lantern duds. Too bad he did not make the cover of this book. Can’t we just change it’s title to Kyle Rayner and the Green Lantern Corps and make Hal the Spectre already? This was a good issue and it does give me hope to see the Sinestro and Green Lantern Corps working so well together. I love Arkillo and Guy Gardner’s new bromance especially. The final page cliffhanger is a great twist though.

Why Don’t I Care All That Much About Jon?

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Superman (Volume 4) #25
Written by Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason
Art by Gleason and Doug Mahnke

This was an okay issue with some great moments. I love having Superman and Lois back as a married couple and I always knew Superman would be a good father but I don’t really find myself rooting for Jon Kent all that much yet and I do not know why. Is it because I miss Connor? Or is it because he is so young? I don’t know, although I know I am in the minority here. Maybe I will like him more when they move to Metropolis.

 

Justice League 19 – 22

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Justice League (Volume 3) #19
Written by Bryan Hitch
Art by Fernando Pasarin

Molly the Keeper (whatever a Keeper is, they seem like monitors?) but she warns she only wanted to destroy the League because someone way worse is coming to destroy them. I am assuming this has something to do with Dr. Manhattan and Rebirth but maybe it is a different threat? I also have no clue who Alexis, Vincent, or Jane are.

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Justice League (Volume 3) #20
Written by Bryan Hitch
Art by Hitch

This was spectacularly depressing issue of Justice League where the Flash keeps reliving the death of Jessica Cruz like Groundhogs day and eventually figures out the guy who caused it’s family was accidentally killed by the machine he created when it mixed with the Speed Force and he blames the Justice League. This is the second time this book has had a villain who blames the League for deaths of loved ones but I am willing to see where this goes before I judge the story because it was enjoyable.

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All-Star Batman 9 and 10

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All-Star Batman #9
Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Jock and Francesco Fracavilla

For a split second I thought that the woman posing as Batman was really Cassandra Cain because of how Jock drew her – but sadly no it was just Catwoman. That being said the main story was just beyond awesome as we think everything is completely hopeless and it turns out Batman had everything in control the whole time. I rather enjoyed Bruce’s speech about stories and how stories about heroes are better than stories about villains. Could this by Scott Snyder’s rather dark way of giving his support to the Rebirth’s hope and optimism? As for the back up story – I am not exactly sure at all what happened.

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All-Star Batman #10
Written by Scott Snyder, Rafael Albuquerque, and Rafael Scavone
Art by Albuquerque and Sebastian Fiumara

Wow I did not expect Scott Snyder to use Hush in this series, and I loved how Alfred and Batman worked together to scare the crap out of the villain. I am not fan of the Jeph Loeb run that introduced the character, but I do like the character and I am glad to see him again. I even had forgotten he had made himself look like Bruce with plastic surgery. The crazy Pirate fort was beyond cool as well and I wonder how this will all have to do with Alfred’s past. The backup story written by Albuquerque was interesting but it is too early to judge.

 

Will We Get Bart Allen Back?

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The Flash (Volume 5) #24
Written by Joshua Williamson
Art by Carmine Di Giandomenico

Reverse Flash seems to remember the Pre-New 52 history of the Flash and that makes me happy because he referes to having raced all of Flash’s Proteges – which I assume would mean there is more than just Wally West – he is referring to Bart Allen too! Bart has been painfully missing since Flashpoint. I know that the version that appeared in the new 52 was nothing like the real Bart – I hope this means we get him back some day. Reverse Flash even asks Kid Flash if he is impulsive – which I assume is referring to Bart’s original code name of Impulse. This was a great issue – I even liked the moments between Barry and Hal – two characters I think should be dead. The artist on this book also seems to much improved from before. There were some great moments – including the Flash running down a Green Lantern construct slide. The final moments in the 25th Century lead me to even more proof maybe Bart will be back sooner than later and Iris’s futuristic origin will be restored.

 

Superman Goes Dark

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Action Comics #981
Written by Dan Jurgens
Art by Jack Herbert

This Jack Herbert seems like the perfect Superman artist. He draws the hero in such a beautiful way. I thought that Jurgens was showing us that the trio of the Eradicator, Cyborg Superman, and Zod are a force to be reckoned with in this issue but the final issue shows that something else has happened to Superman! And it is something I wonder will last for a while or will be fixed in one issue? I hope it gets explored well because I don’t remember this ever happening to Superman before this. This was a good issue of Action Comics.

Big Reveals and Romances

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Titans (Volume 3) #12
Written by Dan Abnett
Art by Kenneth Rocafort

This was a very good issue of this series as we see the Titans through the eyes of Lilith Clay. First of all, Abnett portrays Lilith as even more powerful than I ever realized with her new fighting technique. She truly deserves to be on this team. We are also introduced to a romance between her and Tempest….something I never saw hinted at before. And another romance between Donna and Wally. I am not okay with the new status quo for both Donna and Wally but I am hoping this leads somewhere. I am very confused as to which of Donna’s memories are fake because she did serve on the Titans when she was younger. This issue also reveals that one of the Titans will betray the team….I have no idea who it is but I am betting it is actually Omen herself or Bumblebee or maybe someone who hasn’t joined yet.

Cheetah’s Violence

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Wonder Woman (Volume 5) #24
Written by Greg Rucka
Art by Bilquis Evely

This series has had top notch artists since Rucka came on board and Bilquis Evely is no exception. I mean look at the smile she draws on Cheetah when Veronic Cale tells her in this issue that she is suffering from guilty and Cheetah says Good. It is perfect. Speaking of Cheetah, she really does some damage to Veronica Cale. This is violence I have never seen her due before and I think it makes her seem like a formidable foe to Wonder Woman – the kind of foe she needs to be to make her terrifying – and Evely draws the wounds Cheetah inflicts so realistically it is disturbing. It is unclear to me if Diana just knocked out Cheetah at the end or did she actually kill her? I sure hope not.

The Man From Monster Valley Surprise

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Justice League of America (Volume 5) #8
Written by Steve Orlando
Art by Felipe Watanabe

I enjoyed how this JLA team is really in the spotlight and are becoming almost celebrities. I am forever interested in how the news media treats superheroes in the DC Universe and I am glad that Steve Orlando has brought this to the more “grounded” Justice League team. The dynamics between team members and how they don’t always agree with each other’s actions or Batman’s leadership is why this is the better of the two Justice League books being published right now. The villain that is introduced in this issue is as fascinating as the cover says. I encourage you to read it, I won’t spoil the end like I usually do but let’s just say I did not see that coming. Monster Valley is not really explained well in this issue though, where did this place even come from?

DC’s Best Writer and Best Ongoing Series

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Detective Comics #958
Written by James Tynion IV
Art by Alvaro Martinez

This was another incredible issue of DC’s best series. Cassandra Cain takes a break from being the lead now as this story arc focuses on Azrael and takes a look back at his origin, beautifully drawn by Alvaro Martinez. Of course being the Cassandra Cain fan that I am it was Cassandra’s small moments that made me smile. She is learning Shakespeare with Clayface, her understanding that someone who teaches children to kill must be a mother.  Those were great moments. The surprise guest at the end was something I did not see coming and I am glad to see her because she hasn’t been around much in DC Rebirth. Martinez draws a beautiful Gotham City. He needs to stick around. Tynion really loves Gotham City, there are so many easter eggs including naming the basketball stadium Dixon Stadium which has to be an homage to Chuck Dixon whose work on these characters inspired Tynion’s incredible run on this book so far. Tynion is by far the best writer and this is the best book that DC is putting out right now.

 

Superwoman vs. Skyhook

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Superwoman #11
Written by K. Perkins
Art by Jose Luis

Despite the cover, Superwoman never fights Steel in this comic. Lana tracks down Skyhook after investigating the case of Steel’s nephew, Zeke Iron’s kidnapping. I sure hope that Zeke is still alive. That would be very sad if he is not. He is just a little boy. I am not sure I agree with Lana choosing to not involve Steel or Natasha in the investigation. It seems somewhat like a betrayal and Lana needs to be a better hero as Superwoman than she has been in my opinion. That being said, she was much more likable and less filled with self-doubt than in previous issues. This was decent. The art was certainly good.

Trinity 8 and 9

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Trinity (Volume 2) #8
Written by Cullen Bunn
Art by Emanuela Lapacchino

This issue focused on Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman discussing the realization that someone is tampering with reality and they decide to keep it among themselves for now until they know more information. What was odd to me is that Batman doesn’t mention that Barry and Wally know someone is messing with reality already so they really aren’t keeping it just among themselves. It was a good Rebirth tie-in issue none-the-less.

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Trinity (Volume 2) #9
Written by Frances Manapul
Art by Manapul

Frances Manapul returns for this new story arc focusing on an invasion of the Justice League sattelite from a viris alien. As usual, it is breathakingly beautiful and well-written. Reading this, I can’t help but think Manapul should be given the writing and art duties on the regular Justice League book because he knows these characters and his art makes them come alive. He manages to balance action and character moments perfectly, which is something I am not sure the main Justice League book does well right now. Either way, I am glad he is writing these characters somewhere.

Suicide Squad 14 – 18

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Suicide Squad (Volume 5) #14
Written by Rob Williams
Art by John Romita Jr. and Eddy Barrows

Big shocker…Amanda Waller is not really dead. Actually, no one in this series ever stays dead so why call it Suicide Squad? I can’t say I enjoyed this issue all that much. It was just the Suicide Squad for some reason going after that Rustam guy and I don’t buy at all that they would stick together after being released from jail. This makes me miss how good Gail Simone’s Secret Six was. Remember when Deadshot had actual characterization?

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Suicide Squad (Volume 5) #15
Written by Rob Williams
Art by John Romita Jr. and Eddy Barrows

Okay I have to give it to Rob Williams he did write some funny Harley Quinn dialogue in this issue. At one point she yells a command, “Suicide Squad attack! Make defamatory comments! Use Sarcasm.” That gave me a chuckle. This was a much better written issue. Amanda Waller’s evil is always fun to read in a weird way. That being said, Romita and Barrows have very different art styles and it is jarring to see them both in one issue.

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Supergirl Rebirth 1 – 9

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Supergirl (Volume 7) #1
Written by Steve Orlando
Art by Brian Ching

I went into this issue expecting to at the least find it boring if not hate it. I love Linda Danvers – she is Supergirl to me and ever since Kara Zor-El replaced her I have been pissed – and mostly pissed because no one ever seemed to mention there was a Supergirl before her. I want her to be acknowledged! And now we have Kara living with people who are Danvers. Can we at least ackowledge her somewhere Steve Orlando?! Anyways, I did not hate this issue. It was actually a good set up of taking what has worked with the Supergirl tv series and applying it to the comic book universe but still keeping it different enough to be its own thing. I sure hope Martian Manhunter shows up soon! That being said, I find the art distracting.

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Supergirl (Volume 7) #2
Written by Steve Orlando
Art by Brian Ching

Cat Grant is written as interesting as she is on the tv show in this issue when Kara goes to interview at the new Catco Worldwide Media. I appreciate that they followed continuity and explained that Cat left the daily planet to find this new company. The stuff about Supergirl’s Dad being maybe still alive as a robot annoys me as it has been done before. We don’t need more Kryptonian angst in DC Comics. Can we also get a new artist on this book? Sometimes Ching doesn’t even draw faces!

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New Super-Man 1 – 11

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New Super-Man #1
Written by Gene Luen Yang
Art by Viktor Bogdanovic

Going into this new series I did not know what to expect. I thought maybe DC was doing this to sell a series in China but I don’t think they would let a comic book be sold there that has “conspiracy theories” the Chinese government. I did end up finding this first issue to be a lot of fun. Yang is building almost a paralell world to Superman’s world in China with his own Lex Luthor and Lois Lane. But why Shanghai, why not make up a fictional Chinese city? The character of Kenan Kong…the new Super-Man is very interesting in that he is not a reluctant hero. He seems excited about gaining powers which is so different from how these things are usually done in comics.

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New Super-Man #2
Written by Gene Luen Yang
Art by Viktor Bogdanovic

Young Kenan Kong is now the Super-Man of China and meets the Bat-Man and Wonder-Woman of China. This Dr. Omen is putting together a Justice League for China. I quite enjoyed Dr. Omen’s no nonsense characterization and Kenan Kong is also a lot of fun. He is so excitied to be the new Super-Man he announces his secret identity on live tv.

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Birds 9 and 10

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Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #9
Written by Julia Benson and Shawna Benson
Art by Rogue Antonio

Wow it looks like Blackbird has taught Black Canary to use her powers in ways I don’t remember her ever having including manipulating the sound waves so she can hover off the ground and directly destroy certain objects. It’s all a ruse though as she plans to steal Canary’s powers. Blackbird could become one of the most powerful metahumans ever if she keeps this up. It looks like Black Canary’s pre-New 52 upbringing is still not back in continuity…I can’t wait till the idea that she was raised by a JSAer returns.

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Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #10
Written by Julia Benson and Shawna Benson
Art by Rogue Antonio

The Birds of Prey team up with Nightwing and Green Arrow to defeat Blackbird who is a formidable foe for them. I do think how she was defeated in this issue was way too easy – why doesn’t the Huntress do that hypno thing with all the villains? I mean I guess she said she could only use it once right but still. Meanwhile, it looks like Gus the new Oracle’s secret is about to be revealed soon.