Death Plays to Win


The Spirit #19

We get a trio of stories in this issue. First, the Spirit recounts how he bested a childhood bully and earned a lifelong friend. Second, Spirit tries to track down a one-handed criminal called El Leproso who may have turned over a new leaf. And finally, a comic book writer has been murdered, and three different artists claim sole responsibility. Can the Spirit figure out who the true killer is?

Verdict: Thumbs up. This is really a lot better than most of the Aragones/Evanier “Spirit” stories have tended to be, and I think the shorter stories are what’s responsible. Instead of trying to pad out 22 pages with lame jokes, we get shorter, more compact stories. I approve wholeheartedly, and I hope they keep the comic going in this vein.


Green Lantern Corps #26

Our core Corps members have been captured by the yellow-ring-powered Mongul and implanted with fear-inducing Black Mercy plants. Mongul lectures Mother Mercy about trying to betray him, then leaves like a sucker, while Mercy frees the GLs again. A terrific battle ensues, but the victory is finally won by the smallest of the Green Lanterns, Bzzd, an intelligent alien insect. Unfortunately, things don’t turn out so great for Bzzd, and the latest rings from both the Green Lanterns and the Sinestro Corps both seek out Mother Mercy…

Verdict: Thumbs down. Mostly a slugfest. We lose good characters like Bzzd, Mongul, and Duel. It all ends up feeling like I wasted my time reading it.


The Brave and the Bold #15

The cover just shows Hawkman and Nightwing, but Green Arrow and Deadman are also included in this team-up. Nightwing sends nearly all the world’s superheroes off to fight Trigon, but it’s just a ruse to get them off-planet when he hears Deadman’s story about Annuttara and his ghostly assassins. Yeah, Deadman is still alive — Green Arrow hadn’t really killed him, he just shot him and threw him off a mountain to give him a chance of getting back to warn the world’s heroes. But Nightwing doesn’t like the risk of getting a bunch of superheroes possessed and killed by ghosts, so he sends everyone away except for Hawkman, whose experience with past lives makes him an expert on ancient civilizations and ancient magics (Really? Whatever).

Meanwhile, in Nanda Parbat, Green Arrow is being horribly tortured and deformed by Annuttara, but Nightwing, Hawkman, and Deadman (who’s able to take solid form inside Nanda Parbat) attack, take out the ghost assassins, and try to free the imprisoned Rama Kushna. But they may have no chance of success after Nightwing throws himself off a cliff…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Good story, good teamwork. And I thought it was pretty cool how Nightwing and Deadman, both former circus acrobats, got to trade some carnie lingo back and forth…

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