The Patriot and the Bat


Captain America #35

The Red Skull and his allies are looking to burn America down from the inside, and the Skull has his best plan ever, involving a host of corporations he secretly owns, politicians and agents who don’t realize he’s controlling them, and a few supervillains here and there to tip the odds. SHIELD is crippled, the president is in danger, and people are rioting in the streets. What can Bucky Barnes, the new Captain America, do to stop the rising chaos? Well, there’s not a lot — a little shield-throwing, a little face-punching, it’s like trying to dam a river with a few stray sticks. But the roots of the conspiracy are beginning to show, and that means Cap can take the fight to the real bad guys. Meanwhile, what’s Arnim Zola got in store for Sharon Carter?

Verdict: Thumbs up. This is probably the best and most devious plan the Red Skull has ever come up with, and I’m enjoying the process Cap is taking to uncovering what’s going on. Sure, a lot of the detective work involves hitting people in the face with an adamantium shield, but that’s just the icing on the cake…


Batman #674

Well, Batman has been resuscitated after his heart attack and captured by a maniac wearing a version of his own costume. Still hallucinating a bit, he sees a demonic Bat-Mite and remembers a time when the Gotham police trained three officers to be able to take over as Batman if the real McCoy ever went down. The Bat-Torturer is one of the replacements, either re-activated or driven mad — he shoots Bats in the arm with a crossbow bolt and tries to hack off his hand, but Bats manages to get loose and unleash a little whoop-ass.

Verdict: I don’t really know. Sometimes, I think Grant Morrison is way, way smarter than I’ll ever manage to be. Sure, I could easily keep track of everything he did in “JLA,” but this issue — what with the hallucinations, the weird Bat-secrets I’ve never heard of, the unreliable narrators, I just don’t know.

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