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Spoiler Alert Comic Book Podcast: Oldtron Edition -ROM 1, TITANS 1, CAPTAIN KID 1, CIVIL WAR II 4, BATGIRL 1, CAPTAIN AMERICA STEVE ROGERS 3, HAL JORDAN AND THE GREEN LANTERN 1

Comic Book Podcast

Welcome to the Spoiler Alert Comic Book Podcast. We explore comics, life, love and usually end up offending 4 out of 10 groups that feel oppressed. I’m Rob Patey, often known as Optimous Douche from AIN’T IT COOL NEWS. My counterpart is Mark L. Miller, my comic life mate and editor of AIN’T IT COOL comics. Our third wheel on this podcast tricycle is Johnny Destructo of POPTARDSGO, and that wheel fell off this week.

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THE MINUTE BY LOOOONG MINUTE 

Bug goes to San Diego 2016
Bug finally gets to the Marvel panel – 29:00
ROM #1 (w – Chris Ryall & Christos Gage, a – David Messina) – 42:00
TITANS #1 (w – Dan Abnett, a – Brett Booth) – 54:00
CAPTAIN KID #1 (w – Mark Waid & Tom Peter, a – Wilfredo Torres) – 1:00:00
CIVIL WAR II #4 (w – Brian Michael Bendis, a – David Marquez) – 1:12:00
BATGIRL #1 (w – Hope Larson, a – Raphael Albuquerque) – 1:24:00
CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS #3 (w – Nick Spencer, a – Jesus Saiz) – 1:34:00

Email us your brain stuff about comics – we’ll read it.

 

ALL NEW 52 DC COMICS: A COMPLETE (ish) LIST AND REVIEW

NEW 52 LOGOThere’s a nice young twenty-something lad at my local WaWa who will chat geek with me while I await my Barista Bar flavored coffee treat. The other day he said he was finally ready to get back into comics, specifically the New 52. “So, what’s your first trade going to be,” I asked, fearing I already knew the answer. “Justice League,” he retorted.

“Fuuuuuccccckkkkkk why does this happen every time,” resonated through my headspace.

Of course I know the answer. That first JUSTICE LEAGUE arc was the big news item. It’s the book that was covered by CNN and all of those credible media outlets with behemoth marketing budgets behind them. The book that had reach.

However, quantity of units sold is rarely the sign of quality. Every one-hit wonder and earwig we end up loathing after its 2 months half-life is indelible proof of this theorem.

“Dude, you having a stroke?” Obviously my face was more reflective of my mental yawp than I thought. “Why JUSTICE LEAGUE,” I murmured through pursed lips of rage. “I don’t know, seemed the central point.”

Hard to deny the logic here, but after 3 years into the New 52 experiment. That original JUSTICE LEAGUE story with the five years behind continuity and a team-up wonder team that just didn’t seem to gel on page, was the tarnished crown, not the crown jewel of the New 52.

In an effort to serve this nice young man and any others who might have missed the boat, but now want to jump on I give you the Rob Patey (Optimous Douche) complete New 52 frank talk. I’ve read multiple issues of every mother lovin one of them, and reviewed a high percentage of each title. Here though, the shall now live in one consolidated list.

The Stratums of a Universe- EMBRACE THEM 

Scott-Snyder-Rob-Patey

Comics CAN make you happy

There is much to love about the New 52, there really is. Fanboys to Fangeezers love to dwell on the car wrecks, but many books have shone brightly. One smart move given the cacophony of chaos leading up to the New 52 was to create a universe of different themes. So all books live in one of the following buckets: Justice League, Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Young Justice, The Edge, The Dark and Other.

There was never an edict that we must buy every book on the shelf. Fanmen like myself, those of us weaned into DC from CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS became used to buying every book because it was an affordable endeavor. Also, it was years before the rise of the powerful indie. We would have to wait until the early 90s until we got to a time average comic shops carried something other than Marvel and DC. Ahhhh early Image.

With this presentation in place fans could really go wherever they chose based upon their particular comic appetites. This was a good call, even if the plan has somewhat imploded on itself during this new age of infinite cross overs and events.

The New 52 A Complete (ish) Breakdown

 justice-league-new-52JUSTICE LEAGUE UNIVERSE

JUSTICE LEAGUE: Set five years before the events of all other books in the New 52, this was supposed to give our favorite heroes of Batman, Flash, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Aquaman and Cyborg a back-story and context for their doings elsewhere. It was also supposed to be a nuclear explosion of action and impending danger. What we got were a bunch of petulant children inside big splash pages and yet another appearance of Darkseid, well, sorta. Darkseid appeared for about 2 pages. The rest of the time we watched our heroes act far too young for merely a five year trip back in time and act contradictory – personality wise, not maturity wise – from who they were in other books. I love Geoff Johns. I love Jim Lee. I do not love them together. Jim is too bombastic and Geoff is too intimate. What it left was a hollowness in the title until we got to Thrones of Atlantis. Forever Evil has caused a bit of the hollowness again, but the other books in the crossover make up for the loss. JUSTICE LEAGUE can be a rand read, it simply wasn’t until it was tied to a crossover or given a great back up story with Johns and Frank giving a new birth to Shazam.

AQUAMAN: The fish jokes have never been forced and I love a good reluctant King story as Arthur struggles between the love of his Father’s world and the underwater world of his Mother. Also, his relationship with Mara is one of the best love stories DC ha sever seen. Despite the fantastic elemnst of the book, this bond is very authentic.

THE FLASH: I hate Barry Allen, Wally West is my Flash. Book never stood a chance. I have dabbled in a few issues here and there and quite frankly it’s only when Barry acts in a smart ass fashion like Wally do I find myself interested.

GREEN ARROW: Here’s another one where I will show my image. My Ollie Queen is best buds with Hal Jordan and looks like Errol Flynn. This new guy is just sort of there. There’s no relationship between GA and Black Canary either, and this I truly can’t abide.

WONDER WOMAN: AMAZING! Azarello has created a story for the ages as Dinah battles her sisters and brothers of Olympus to keep Zeus’ latest bastard safe and sound. The mixing of mortals (the baby’s mother) and those that have fallen to mortality has kept one of the creepier titles of the New 52 a first read for me each month it drops.

Justice league of america 1 coverJUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA: I loves me some Amanda Waller, even this ultra skinny one who is more evil than pure Machiavellian. This is, I got enough of her SUICIDE SQUAD. I applaud a team of JUSTICE LEAGUE busters, but this ain’t the crew. Baz versus Hal…please. Catwoman against Batman, I bet on the Bat. Martian Manhunter versus Superman, sure as long as Supes gets his eyes gouged out. Vibe versus Flash…WTF?????? Also, this title was born for a crossover and has lived tere since. It has had no time to set its own pace.

EARTH 2 AND WORLD’S FINEST: I’m a parallel universe whore so take this recommend with a grain of salt. Objectively I can say these books are most reflective of the time before New 52. It’s a more adult universe with a more realistic bend on how the globe would operate were it overrun with Gods. Power Girl and Huntresses’ “fish out of water” tale in WORLD’S FINEST has been an almost in-universe catharsis as they complain how young and inept the New 52 holy trinity is compared to their now deceased family members Reality Deux.

VIBE & KATANA: See JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA review for why these two members never should have had their own titles. Both were well written, they just simply couldn’t compete even within their universe for prominent shelf space.

JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL: The first team of JUSTICE LEAGUE busters were too laughable to live up to the mission, but not laughable in the Bwahahahaha sense. More awwwww. They couldn’t do the job and had no gravitas to balance the funny. It was a still born resurrection of the old title from the 80s.

JUSTICE LEAGUE 3000: This hot mess of resurrected JUSTICE LEAGUE members in the year 3000 is hilarious, fun and just introduced a stellar story element with forgotten “garbage earth.” Finally a JUSTICE LEAGUE and future book that got it right, right out of the gate.

CAPTAIN ATOM: He’s a man of the atom. I only read the first issue. Nowhere near as impactful as the miniseries a few years prior.

FIRESTORM: Another one issue and done read for me. Sorry, just didn’t grab me.

HAWKMAN: Ditto.

MISTER TERRIFIC: This was a tragic case of too many rich smart dudes in one universe syndrome. No one knew what to do with this guy. So they basically cast him off to EARTH 2, which no one except me was reading before Taylor took over. Great character and well done dialog along with future pay off continuity integration when Power Girl appeared. Sad sad sad waste of potential.

Batman_and_Robin_Vol_2-16_Cover

 BATMAN UNIVERSE

5 years before truly rocked these titles. Even though DC tried to ignore it from a story perspective, comic fans could not be mind wiped enough to do the math on the four Robins bounding about. I love Damian Wayne, so I wouldn’t have supported any decision that would have wiped him or any of the Robins clean off the map. However, each Robin being Bruce Wayne’s ward for about 6 months felt like a bit of a slap in the face to those of who watched Batman and his Robins build years long relationships.

Still hasn’t really been course corrected even with the fugazi of Tim Drake’s Red Robin ruse.

BATMAN: Snyder has done some bang up work in Bats, first introducing to the court of Owls and then rebuilding a bunch of other new mythologies for Gotham’s most famous families. I enjoyed Death of the Family, but I also understand the rage of some fans since there were no real deaths – simply betrayals and separations. In the beginning BATMAN required a balls deep commitment to Batman Universe books to get the full effect, but f you’ve been thirsting for an open story without the extra work I highly recommend joining the fun with Zero Year.

BATMAN INC. AND BATMAN & ROBIN: A true yin and yang relationship. BATMAN INC. delivered the atrocity of Damian’s life while BATMAN & ROBIN showcased the joy of a loving Father and Son relationship. These books also gave us Bat-Cow and Titus, two gifts I will forever be grateful for having read.

BATWING: every fiber of my being wanted to like this book, Winick and team have created a quality book here month after month. It was wise of DC not to squash this one even though it doesn’t bring the thunder and the noise. I stopped reading it solely for ideological reasons. I thought the Incorporating of Batman opened the Kimono too wide and squashed any willing suspension of disbelief. Don’t be a purist like I am kids, you are only cutting off your own nose.

BATWOMAN: Some of the most gorgeous art to grace a comic page. I wish I gave two shits about Batwoman.

BIRDS OF PREY: This one sadly annoyed me after the joy I had with the old book. I’m pissed Black Canary is no longer with Oliver Queen and I just couldn’t let that nagging sensation go enough to enjoy this book.

batgirl 16 coverBATGIRL: I’m fine with walkie Babs and absolutely dig her psycho Brother, James. Gail Simone has once again delivered the goods issue after issue. Babs is the heart of the Bat Family and that heart once again beats within enthusiasm as opposed to her somewhat maudlin existence as wheelie Babs Pre 52.

CATWOMAN: I loved this book under Winnick. The crazy hot passion between her and Bats, her cavalier attitude towards….everything, and some really well thought out heists and capers. Then Nicola Scott took over with some shit about Eclipso. Haven’t been back since that hot mess dark pall shrouded the fun.

DETECTIVE: A great Bat book for dabblers. If continuity gets you blue and you don’t have the resources to read everything on the shelves look no further than DETECTIVE. My favorite story to date was the Emperor Penguin takeover of Oswald Cobblepot’s empire.

NIGHTWING: I’m bugged by what the “five years before” have done to the ages of the Robins. I shun because I care.

RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS: Sadly, this has been a very good book that was mired in ridiculous controversy spurred by assed up mommy bloggers. Yes, Starfire is a wee bit more liberal with her orange ta-tas, but I say who the hell knows what an alien libido is like? Also, there are a ton of people who can’t abide the return of Jason Todd. Personally, I read the book for the camaraderie. Since we no longer have Ollie, Hal and Dinah these three are some very intriguing intergalactic wanderers.

HARLEY QUINN: A new entry that remains to be seen on staying power. The 4th wall breaking 0 issue left many wanting since we’re not all comic insiders. Follow-up issues have been a sadistic fairytale. The literal will walk. My advice is to just pretend that you are viewing the world through Harley’s eschewed lens and you will find a new level of joy in the adorable mayhem.

TALON: No, just no. Court of Owls were much more interesting as an entity than a personal tale of vengeance.

Superman_Unchained_1_

SUPERMAN UNIVERSE

Another five year before that just did not fly. ACTION was Ok, but the rest of the books not mired in the past barely skimmed the surface of who Superman truly is beyond the cape. The course has corrected over the past 6 months, but there are still some tall buildings Superman needs to traverse to get back on top.

ACTION: I love Grant Morrison, but I did not love ACTION. It had nothing to do with jeans and t-shirt Superman and much more to do with the plot that felt like Johns’ SECRET ORIGINS and the fact Clark never felt like a corn fed kid from Kansas. Oh, then he became a fireman or some shit. This book didn’t hit its stride until Pak took over with the issue 25 ZERO YEAR.

SUPERBOY: I honestly read the first issue and never came back. Kids in fluid tubes just don’t do it for me.

SUPERGIRL: This little lady course corrects every other thing wrong with the SUPERMAN UNIVERSE books. We feel her pain as she struggles to understand a world that fears her. We truly see a fawn on new legs. She has also been on some great intergalactic travels and quite recently became a Red Lantern. A plot line that helped give her book a goose and actually got me interested in RED LANTERN for the first time.

SUPERMAN: If you’re into the talks of mergers and the politics of media, you found your book for the first arc of Superman’s new life. If you like villains that don’t mean shit to anyone akin to the mutants of the week from Smallville, then stay for the next couple of arcs. If you like a good comic book where Superman must balancer his hero life and the world of Clark Kent, start reading SUPERMAN when Lobdell takes over.

SUPERMAN UNCHAINED: I love how Snyder once again tried to inject real history into a title. I was on board for Sam Lane running a covert ops group compete with their own Superman. As we watched this Darkseid looking chap try to espouse the virtues of duty to country while Kal talks of saving humanity, you begin to realize why the New 52 was so necessary. The world is much bigger than it was in 1938; we need a hero that fights for truth, justice and that’s it really.

batmansuperman1BATMAN/SUPERMAN: Quite simply this is the book for everyone who hates the New 52. The interchange between our New 52 versions of B&S with their older and wiser counterparts on Earth 2 satiates fans new and old. This was also a great read for EARTH 2 and WORLD’S FINEST fans. Love seeing worlds that recognize God’s walk among them and where the Gods get off their asses for some proactive world management. The second arc of BATMAN/SUPERMAN finally gave Huntress and Power Girl to out themselves to their Earth Prime family members, making everyone’s lives a little less lonely.

SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN: I’m pro on the Superman and Wonder Woman relationship if for no other reason than it makes Batman more nervous than the Joker having a map of the cave. Soule is doing a bang up job showing the dichotomy between these two despite being similarly powerful. WW’s being raised as a goddess and Clark’s humble bringing will ultimately be their undoing in my opinion rather than the obvious return to Lois. In the mean time it’s nice to see some real relationship turmoil permeate the fantastical.

green_lantern_16_cover

GREEN LANTERN UNIVERSE

While there were no time travel shenanigans shoved into Gl, this was a book that remained virtually untouched from its pre Flashpoint happenings. Pretty much if it was written by Johns or Snyder the book was storyline saved from a reset. In this case it worked though as the universe course corrected around the Lanterns instead of the other way around. Lately, I have loved the fact the GLs are now the scourge of the universe since their mentors went batty. I’m also intrigued to see how long the corps can stop the other light spectrums from draining the universe’s emotional well. Sort of like being an arms control specialist in Compton.

GREEN LANTERN: Because we never skipped a beat from the old universe it’s safe to say the New 52 versions will sit just fine with lapsed readers. Johns continued to play with the light spectrum in the new universe as he dethroned the Guardians for a new universal order. Today, Hal is back in charge and Mogo takes the place of OA as the corps tries to get the rest of the light spectrum to conserve the finite well of power.

GREEN LANTERN CORPS: John Stewart is one of the most tragic heroes in the DC Universe. Guy Gardner one of the most hilarious. Put them together and you noy only get a great buddy book, but one with consequence. Stewart continues to make tough choice after tough choice as guy finds a new home within the emotional spectrum. The road to getting to these destinations is well worth the read.

GREEN LANTERN NEW GUARDIANS: I won’t lie, it took this book a long time to get to the point – basically making Kyle Rayner the White Lantern and introducing to more humane set of Guardians who were locked away by the originals. Not necessary reading, but if you dig Kyle this was the only place to get him. What’s also been interesting is the friendship that formed between Kyle and Carol Ferris. A Carol with options beyond Hal causes some serious strife for our favorite hot headed pilot.

RED LANTERNS: I hated this book when it was released. The one note rage of the Red Lanterns was fine and dandy in a supporting world, but made for very two -dimensional focal points in their own title. Fortunately Guy Gardner came in to take over and kept some of his pre blood ingesting wits about him. The latest crossover with SUPERGIRL has been sensational.

LARFLEEZE: More like Larplease. Same issue I had with the red lanterns at the outset, the embodiment of one emotion is a very flat experience.

teen-titans-11 YOUNG JUSTICE UNIVERSE

This will be the biggest gaping hole in my review. For one, most of the books have been cancelled. Secondly, none of the kids have captured my imagination.

TEEN TITANS: No T tower, no Nightwing and no Marv Wolfman. No thanks.

BLUE BEETLE: I was done with BB the day Maxwell Lord put a bullet in his head. I like my Beetle as a fun nerdy science guy, not a mystical alien. Apparently the market agreed with me.

HAWK & DOVE: Bad art and a worse story. A trade you can skip. To be fair I never really cared about these characters. The only time Hawk was interesting was back when he took over the future during ARMAGEDDON 2001.

LEGION OF SUPER HEROES & LEGION LOST: I was never a big LoS guy, more a L.E.G.I.O.N. chap. Still, I went into these series with open eyes and mind. All we got was confusion and cross pollination between books performed by retarded bees. Not good, and a huge blow to the year 3000. Fortunately JUSTICE LEAGUE 3000 has been able to save the future.

STATIC SHOCK: A title that never stood a chance. The editorial meddling is well documented and unfortunately there are still too many myopic white kids buying books for a black superhero to truly take hold.

THE RAVAGERS: This short lived title didn’t make a lick of sense, not a lick.

all star western cover THE EDGE UNIVERSE

Probably the most original and under appreciated corner of the New 52. Here is where Sci-Fi, westerns and more eclectic titles come to live and sadly die. The biggest problem with the The Edge, that like The Dark, many of these titles are set-ups for events rather than their own beasts.

ALL STAR WESTERN: The best Jonah Hex has ever been. His first few adventures in old time Gotham are great ole’ time tales and fish out of water stories. This series became even better by placing Dr. Arkham as Jonah’s dandy sidekick.

STORMWATCH: A tragedy and travesty from how good this book once was. I reiterate the point I made at the outset; you can’t place a pastiche of the JUSTICE LEAGUE in-continuity with the JUSTICE LEAGUE. I was right, as exhibited by the reboot around issue 20 when Jim Starlin came on. Now, I have no idea what the hell this book is trying to accomplish.

suicide squad 20 coverSUICIDE SQUAD: It kills me to see what happened to this book. A black ops group of criminals that was tons of fun until it had to go serve its crossover masters. This was also where Amanda Waller was at her best.

THE MOVEMENT & THE GREEN TEAM: Meant to be an analogy for our current economic class imbalances, one was mildly interesting and one was simply atrocious. Ever wonder what the world would be like if rich kids had even more in this world they didn’t have to work for? Neither did anyone else, which made GREEN TEAM wither on the vine. THE MOVEMENT was decent about poor kids with powers in New Orleans, but even Gail Simone couldn’t save it from the chopping block next month.

O.M.A.C, GRIFTER, VOODOO, TEAM 7, THRESHOLD, BLACKHAWKS, MEN OF WAR: Some of these were decent, but again they lived to simply serve cross overs, the need to integrate Wild Storm universe events, or were kept so separate from the rest of the new 52 there was really no reason to care. My favorite of the bunch was MEN OF WAR, but it also made one realize how unnecessary mere mortals are when capes are around. Not a great message about the armed services in a time when our country jumps from one war to the next.

justice league dark 23 cover THE DARK UNIVERSE

An original world of magic, might and cynicism. I love this corner of the DCU even if I am beyond pissed about its perpetual implosion of titles.

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK: A fine book when once again it is allowed to breathe. DC needs this book as desperately as Marvel needs to bring back Dr. Strange. Magic has a place in the superhero world. This team is a fine departure from straight fist-to-cuffs.

SWAMP THING: I never liked the character, yet I am still pissed I shunned the title. I heard it’s good. Any thoughts?

TRINITY OF SIN: PHANTOM STRANGER & PANDORA: Basically vehicles for the Forever Evil crossover. Vehicles more unnecessary than the Pacer.

CONSTANTINE 1 COVERCONSTANTINE: A fine attempt at making the main DCU a little darker. WARNING – this ain’t Vertigo. If that’s what you are looking for you will find this Constantine less than edgy. When placed against other books though he is absolutely bawdy. Decide what you want from your JC.


ANIMAL MAN:
I am livid about the end of this book. I could care less about Buddy Baker’s ability to mimic animals, but I loved the fact we had a superhero with a real family and real family problems. This adoration grew even more with the complexity of Buddy trying t manage a budding acting career. This is the best book to ever get cancelled.

DEMON KNIGHTS: Another original title about the team that would one day become STORMWATCH assuming they could escape the middle ages. Very adult and very good. Also, very cancelled.

FRANKENSTEIN: AGENT OF S.H.A.D.E: DC’s successful swing at a BPRD league of weird powered super heroes. Fish chick, wolf man and an immortal leader in the body of a small girl this book had weird counterbalanced by Frank’s huge bleeding heart. The issue where he had to kill his child was probably one of the best moments of the New 52 that only I and handful of others ever saw.

I, VAMPIRE: Mary was made a vampire by John. John felt pretty bad about this and spent eternity repenting. He also had to spend it fighting Mary since she kind of dug the ultra violence. One of the most messed up and bloody love stories in comics that just never took hold with fans.

END ANALYSIS

I really feel the New 52 is just coming into its own finally after three years. The rough spots have been smoothed and the books that will work are here to stay while the experiments become fewer and fewer. DC is not Image, they need to realize they are managing icons inside an equally iconic universe. DC main is not just stories – frankly that’s what Vertigo is for.

I still hold to the fact only two books should have been released at reset time: DETECTIVE and ACTION. From there, let new ancillary characters build who are reflective of now instead of then. I know this doesn’t work from a cash and licensing standpoint, but universes like EARTH 1 have ben critically and revenue proven to be the right choice.

Also, I’m dumbfounded by the dogmatic adherence to 52 titles. It was a cute nod to FINAL CRISIS and the multiverse, which hasn’t truly been explored since. It’s an albatross keeping great books either obscured from sight or weighed down carrying the lesser titles, and bad books getting the green light simply to fill an artificial quota.

I wouldn’t write 4,000 plus words about a topic unless I vehemently believe it is worth the time and can be improved. Also, I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t care. Take stock and heed of this DC and realize you have great stories in you as long as you can kick the fucking suits and money-men out of the bullpen.

FOREVER EVIL WEEK 1 REVIEW ROUND-UP PLUS DARKSEID 1, VENTRILOQUIST 1, JOKER 1, BIZARRO 1

Forever Evil 1 coverFOREVER EVIL 1
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: David Finch
Publisher: DC
Reviewer: Rob Patey (aka  Optimous Douche – Ain’t It Cool News)

FOREVER EVIL is the crossover we have been waiting for…well…forever. That is if we all believe time began in the year 2011 with the end of FLASHPOINT. Court of Owls was good, Throne of Atlantis even better, but personally I’ve been waiting for a cataclysm that would truly test the mettle of our heroes beyond an emotional level.

Trinity War truly helped set the stage for this book in both plot and tone.  There are no subverses of light, magic, Bat or Supes — every character is going to be affected by this event as is clear in this week’s .1 holocover (if you were lucky) villainous deluge.

DC September events have become a staple at this point. Unlike the New 52 launch or the zero issues of last year, FOREVER EVIL is an apocalyptic treat for those of us ingrained in the universe. No exposition in the traditional sense and It also doesn’t waste one second jumping from the end of Trinity War to Lex Luthor flying high above…Chicago??????

That’s right kids Chi-town sets the stage for what is probably the best treat fangeezers will get this year. Lex is soaring the skies with none other than one Mr. Kord, a kind family man with a son in college who is a whiz with electronics (hint-hint-wink-wink). How DC will work two Blue Beetle’s in the universe remains to be seen or perhaps the one-half of the ole’ Bwahahaha will take on a new mantle. This could also lead to nothing at all, but you can’t blame a boy for dreaming can you?

This moment was also compelling because Lex has played a very gray area in years past. We know he’s not a good man, but is trying to make humanity self-sufficient truly evil? I don’t think so. The way he treats Pappa Kord though, leaves no room for doubt. If the company isn’t signed over, Lex will take this man to the pain destroying all he cares for before killing him. However,before lex’s schemes can come to fruition, possessed Cyborg kills the entire US power grid and let’s off an EMP blast just for good measure.

This blackout serves as the perfect cloak for the rest of the Crime Syndicate to begin their reshaping of Earth Prime into the perfect image of horror. One by one they hit every major DC correctional institution to release the hounds on a world unprotected. This is also so Crimey Superman can bust into Lexcorp to get a Kryptonite fix. Kudos to the creative team for having him grind it up and snort it like a college Freshman taking Adderall during finals.

With evil running amuck, the issue closes with a feat of SUPERMAN like daring we haven’t seen the real Supes even come close to accomplishing yet. Let’s just leave it at the world is now shrouded in metaphorical and literal darkness thanks to the positioning of an entire celestial body in front of the sun.

Superheroes, Superfeats, Super Sold on this event. Now let’s see how the expanded titles fared.

A NOTE ON VILLAIN’S MONTH: First off: Holocovers? Get them is you can, they do provide a unique dimension and depth to the imagery that titillated the same nerve centers as when I saw my first mini hologram on titles like ROBIN I-VIII back in the 90s. Now, before we get into the play-by-play of select titles, I have to honestly say the .1’s left me nonplussed. I really thought these were going to be issues of villains raping the land with reckless abandon as opposed to a deluge of straight-up origin stories (I know, I know…my fault for not reading Previews). Some were good, some not so good, but all in all none of them served to push the event forward. Again, decent reads in many cases, just don’t think you need these books to push you deeper into the Forever Evil story.

darkseid-1-coverDARKSEID 1
Writer: Greg Pak

Artist: Paulo Siqueira & Netho Diaz

I didn’t love this book, DARKSEID’s new origin is an antiseptic story that’s simply too clean and not evil enough to convey the terror that Darkseid brings to the universe. Before he ran a planet that is the embodiment of death, Darkseid was a…mud farmer along with is Brother-in-Law, Highfather. That’s right, both of the newest and greatest Gods were…mud farmers.

Perhaps I am tainted by the recent origin of Thanos, where his pathos was given form and explored from childhood to today. I know many, including my fellow Spoiler Alert hosts, who found that to be too much of a Kimono opening. This in my opinion is not enough. There’s simply no fucking way a man with this much discontent would subjugate himself for any period of time especially not until adulthood.

Basically Darkseid sows discontent into the ears of the old Gods to get them to fight one another. I didn’t see this as a herculean feat though. First off, hey are kind of stupid. At one point mud and fire make out in a field. Next flaw, all it takes is one night for Darkseid to climb the most sacred mountain the universe and one whisper to each God to get them to turn. I’m sorry, but Gods should have more freewill than the average watcher of TMZ or the Bachelor.

So the old Gods kill one another and as a final fuck you bestow their last bit of power to Darkseid and High Father. The artists did an admirable job trying to make this story epic, but as we all know spectacle can only take a story so far.

I hope someone eventually gets Darkseid right. He scared the beejezus out pf me as a kid with his reckless regard for all life. Thus far in the DC Universe, he jumped up and went BOOM once. Oh, and he farmed mud.

ventriloquist 1 coverVENTRILOQUIST 1
Writer: Gail Simone
Artist:  Derlis Santacruz

Odd that this title hijacked BATMAN THE DARK KNIGHT, since this  vaudevillian Carrie has been the bane of Babs over in BATGIRL. For the uninformed this new addition to the evil line-up possesses telekinesis that she chooses to manifest in murder and mayhem. Her weapon of choice (as the name implies) is a dummy with corkscrew hands of eye gouging delight.

This character has one of the most interesting and intriguing origins of the entire .1 bunch. As the uglier and less talented of twins, her delusions started early. Her perfect Brother was gifted the looks and talents, while our future murderer was perpetually forgotten by her parents. Simone makes these moments come alive by never transcending to hyperbole. This little girl was simply forgotten, not beaten or abused in any fashion. However, this is more than enough to make any would-be diva lash out by pushing the attention whore of the clan off a swing set so the spotlight can shine where she wants it.

It wasn’t so much the origin or the bawdy mannequin who get “wood” so much you think the little bastard was actually ingesting Viagra that entranced me. Don’t get me wrong any kill killing a clown to get a dolly is aces in my book, but what I liked best was that Simone remembered there was a larger story going on than just the genesis of evil. The entire origin is told to reporter hanging from the gallows of a dressing room. The Ventriloquist is getting ready to take the stage and perform her death non-defying act to anyone stupid enough to enter her theater of lights and food during this Forever Evil crisis.

I can’t wait to see more of this character and the depravity she will wrought with her little boy toy.

Joker-Cover-1-Forver-evilJOKER 1
Writer: 
Andy Kubert
Artist: Andy Clark

Anyone remember the old Harry Chapin song, “Cats in the Cradle?” Basically, Harry laments the mistakes of the  Father being passed to the son, then watching the son make the same damn mistakes.

Naturally, the recollections of a madman should be taken with a lick of salt, but since this is all we have to go on, we’ll roll with it. In a time before he lost his face we see the old clown prince of crime adopt a wee baby gorilla from the zoo. During each step of raising Bobo, Kubert flashes back to a similar, but far more horrific hyperbole of The Joker’s aunt raising him. It’s not hard to figure out the Joker was abused as a kid, but seeing it happen still stings the little parts of humanity that remain inside me. No one should fuck with kids or puppies period.

I enjoyed this issue for every reason I disliked DARKSEID. I want my villains to be evil for a reason, not just because. Also, Kubert reveled in the madness of raising a gorilla and making him the Joker’s Robin. And the biggest joke of all is that when all was said and done, this was just another laugh for the Joker to have at the expense of his own humanity.

superman-BIZARRO-1BIZARRO 1
Writer: Scholly Fisch
Artist: Jeff Johnson

Why? Just…why? BIZARRO hasn’t done shit in the DC Universe before now, why did we have to bring him back and in such a…temporary form at that. That’s right Bizarro’s genesis is also his destruction.

Keep in mind I have deep a prejudice against easy silver age trappings like Bizarro’s backwards speak.  So it was going to take a lot to get me to like a character that even Grant Morrison couldn’t warm me up to. The backwards speak is gone, but so os Bizarro by the last page.

Essentially Luthor moves his Kryptonian DNA cloning clinical trials from animal testing to Phase I (that’s human testing on people who are healthy for anyone not married to a clinical data specialist). Fisch does an admirable job with the page count afforded to get us to empathize with the wide-eyed cherub injects with his Bizarro juice, but again he’s just an expendable element in an expendable story. Some Luthor gadgets chase the mad creature around before Luthor melts it with sun rays (opposite – get it).

The only reason I think this book exists is the fact Luthor is hatching another labeled B-O. But why would he name it Bizarro before this one went bizarro? Uhmmm…moving on.

Literally moving on, week 2 just dropped. Let me go write some reviews that will actually help when you get to the store this week instead of remembering when.


REDHOOD AND THE OUTLAWS 18 REVIEW – Redemption? Yes! Requiem? No!

redhood cover 18RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS 18
Writer: Scot Lobdell
Artist: Tyler Kirkham
Publisher: DC
Reviewer: Rob Patey (aka Optimous Douche – Ain’t It Cool News)

Before I climb atop my high horse, let me say this is an amazing issue. I would say THE BEST issue of RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS to date. Lobdell peeled away psychological layers in Jason Todd that few writers have ever dared to explore. This issue fully redeems the once nostalgia-riding upsell tactic of Todd’s resurrection into an actual honest to God good idea for the Bat and DC universe.

Kirkham is a wonderful welcome change to Rockafort. I’ll miss the Rock, I’m on the hells yes side for his unique stye. I’m also a bit upset I must retire my coined LobRocster contraction, because LobHam just doesn’t sound as good, but Tyler keeps the energy strong and fast which is a staple of this book. His style brings a darker less cartoony tone, which is exactly what was needed for the deep soul searching Jason undergoes in this issue.

However, I have an issue. And it’s not aimed at Scott, Tyler or any of the other creators on the Bat books. Unless you just woke up from a coma, you know doubt that Damian Wayne is no longer with us. To commemorate this event, the Bat books following Damian’s demise have all come with the sub-brand of “Requiem” with a beautiful Robin branded R leading the phrase.

Requiem is defined as “a mass for the dead.”

Makes sense, no? I mean Damian did die.  So why for the sweet love of Fisher Brothers Funeral Services have I read two books now that have the Requiem moniker and not an ounce of Damian?

I actually defended BATGIRL on our Spoiler Alert podcast this past week when the guys wanted to rail on this topic…until I realized I couldn’t. Yes, I laughingly tried to argue that Dick Grayson telling he Babs he was too upset to talk right now counted as a nod to Damian’s death. I know I was reaching, but at least there was an attempt. RED HOOD though has not one mention of Damian. Not one.

Redemption. Regret. Hell even Rebirth would be very fitting R’s for this title as we watch Jason recoup from recent events in “Death of the Family.”

In his fugue state of recovery we see scenes from the monastery he went to after he was resurrected – a hallucination that crosses ever so gently into reality – interlaced with his lifeless body where Bruce and Alfred hold constant vigil. Between the words of the dead wise-woman we met earlier in the series and Alfred’s tough but tender caring of both Jason and Bruce a transformation occurs. Jason realizes he’s held grudges and those grudges have consumed whatever soul he was resurrected with. He comes to an understanding of self and more importantly the responsibility his gifts place upon him to live by some kind of ethical code. There was a tenderness and endearment to this issue that makes me glad it came so late in the series, because I think all the Mommy bloggers who came after this title simply don’t deserve this level of good storytelling in their lives (yeah, I’m still not letting that go).  When Bruce and Jason hugged at the end, I was a little verklempt and not once felt it was forced or hokey.

I’ve had a few even stauncher than I defenders try to say this isn’t a literal Requiem. First off, no shit, I didn’t expect a cross-over comprised of Gregorian chants. When I probe further these Internet sages try to say it’s a metaphorical Requiem for the “Death of the Family.” I’ll be honest, I was close to buying this, until once again I look at the word on the cover and the R is clearly off of Robin’s costume.

This issue was a departure from the flippant norm (not a slight – I like the irreverence in which this book dabbles usually), but a great departure. It wasn’t a damn Requiem for Damian though.

YOUNG ROMANCE 1 REVIEW: Neither young or romantic, but there’s ladyboys

YOUNG_ROMANCE_1YOUNG ROMANCE 1

Writers: Nocenti, Castellucci, Fawkes, Milligen, Higgins, Diggle
Artists: Lupacchino, Miranda, Gopez, Bisley, Greene, Rocha
Publisher: DC
Reviewer: Rob Patey (aka Optimous Douche – Ain’t It Cool News)

First: compilation books are not bad. I enjoyed the hells bells out of Vertigo’s recent GHOSTS short spooktacular vignettes.

Second: $8 is fine as long as it actually is double the content and it’s good.

Third: YOUNG ROMANCE isn’t bad, just wildly wildly unfocused. One moment you think this Valentine’s day themed title is how a child perceives romance and then the next minute you are cock slapped by the inclusion of a Taiwanese lady-boy.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for lady-boys since men are the ugly side of the species with our ass hair and protruding genitals. The more men that can look like women the more aesthetically pleasing the world becomes I say. ‘Well comics aren’t always for kids Optimous.” Uhhh, they are if it comes complete with Valentine’s day cards that are sized for grade school mass distribution (except to the fat and smelly kids of course). Oh and the title is called YOUNG ROMANCE. Go kid, go adult, I don’t care. But I can say without reservation I don’t want to explain the shemale phenomenon to a 10 year old. I actually had to recently and it wasn’t pretty.

As most compilations the quality is a roller coaster in this title as well, ranging from pretty decent to not decent. Again, none are bad, it’s just the “not decents” were way too short for the creatives to flush out a full story. I think part of the problem is that DC jammed in too much as you can see from the attribution at the top of this article.

All right let’s get into these and hope the world doesn’t implode before I get to six.

CATWOMAN & BATMAN: Nocenti gets women, hands down. Her pacing though is still somewhat frantic as exhibited in recent issues of CATWOMAN and this vignette. I’m also feeling zero sexual energy from the character since Winnick left. CATWOMAN was also kind of a bitch before the New 52 launched; she was robbing from the poor when she and Batman first met.

This was the tale where I really thought this thing would be for kids, since my Grandmother exudes more sex and she’s been dead since 1994.

AQUAMAN & MERA: BEST one in here. This takes place in two times as Mera uncovers a series of love letters from the 1800’s between the original lighthouse owner’s daughter and the love she lost to the sea. The panel placement was original and Miranda’s art is beautiful in both time periods. Kudos also go to coloring for the sepia in the time gone by. Action and true heart prevailed in this vignette.

BATGIRL & THAT DUDE FROM THE ANNUAL: What the sweet fuckity fuck is going on here was all I could think through the first two pages. Remember that guy Babs made out with in the annual? He decids to break into a car in hopes Babs will show up and he can get another kiss. By the end this was endearing as the two discover how alone they are and how love, even unrequited, needs no logic. Still though, in the beginning, Babs was in some poses that not only defied logic but physics as well (ever seen a Batgirl fused to a lightpole – I have).

VALENTINE CARD BREAK: There are 18 of them, each with a different character and they are adorable.

APOLLO & MIDNIGHTER: I felt no heart here, no love, but it did have ladyboys. Apollo ends up in Bangkok because he thinks it’s instructions…or some Asian city, I don’t remember or really care. Anyway he goes looking for Midnighter and starts in the gay-town. Midnighter is actually out fighting crime though, you know like we would all expect Midnighter to be doing. Apollo finds him, Midnighter’s a dick. Apollo goes back to bang a ladyboy. That’s amore bitches!

NIGHTWING & URSA MINOR: Really good action and fun, not a waft of love though.

SUPERMAN & WONDER WOMAN: Second best story hands down. I’m a big fan of this match up and it’s nice to see the two on a date just talking about how apart from the world they feel. Eros helps WONDER WOMAN get the date in a hot spot, but then pulls a double cross. Action, character insight and continuity consequences. Sold!

I don’t hate Valentine ’s Day, I’m a true romantic at heart and that’s really the problem with this tale. These characters don’t have time for love in their lives and this book drove that point home. Apart from the two stories where genuine affection was delivered, this will push all the lonely comic fans over the suicide edge this February 14th.