Undercover Brothers

Batman #10

Spoilers if you haven’t seen this issue. Not that I’m sure it matters, ’cause everyone’s talking about it. But spoilers anyway.

The Court of Owls is almost completely shut down, leading to the Batman tracking their inner circle to their hideout — and arriving to find all of them dead by poison. So that’s the case wrapped up, right? Maybe not — Bats realizes he’s missed a clue, and it leads him to a long-deserted insane asylum just for children, closed after scandals about child abuse. And there, Batman finds the supposedly dead Lincoln Marsh, who injected himself with the Talon serum so he’d be able to resurrect himself.

Lincoln tells Batman that his mother had been injured in a car accident before he was born, and his parents secretly placed him in the children’s home, which had a good reputation when he was a child, in order to keep him safe from the family’s enemies. But when his parents were killed by a lone gunman in Crime Alley, he was forgotten and suffered years of abuse and neglect until he was taken in by the Court of Owls. He tells Batman that his real name is Thomas Wayne Jr., and he’s the new Owlman.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a good story, with good action, great tension and mood, nice dialogue, and a pretty good twist. I’m not all that bugged by Bruce Wayne having a long lost brother — Superman’s supposed to be the last Kryptonian, and no one complains about all his relatives who’ve survived. The “legend of the Bat” wasn’t too badly damaged when everyone thought Dr. Hurt might be Bruce’s father, and I don’t see Thomas Wayne Jr. as a particularly bad plot development. My only concern is that there are a lot of revelations going on lately about the Bat family — the deaths of the Flying Graysons kept Dick Grayson from being turned into a Talon, Dick’s own great-grandfather is a Talon, Mr. Freeze’s Nora isn’t actually his wife, etc. They need to slow the shocking revelations down, or they’ll lose their ability to shock.

The Amazing Spider-Man #687

Dr. Octopus is mentally controlling the Avengers as they attack Spidey, the Black Widow, Silver Sable, and the temporarily turncoat Mysterio. After Mysterio finally deactivates the Octobots with an electromagnetic pulse, the rest of the Avengers go to work trying to stop Doc Ock’s satellites before he can use them to burn the Earth to a cinder. Spidey and Silver Sable head for Ock’s secret hideout to keep him from activating the satellite web, but run into Rhino, who’s willing to let the world be destroyed because he still hasn’t gotten over his wife’s death — and he’s willing to make sure that he and Silver Sable drown. Spidey runs on to confront Dr. Octopus, but he may not be strong enough to escape the villain’s new and improved robot arms. Is there any way for Peter to save the world and make sure no one dies in the catastrophe?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Good story, good action — heck, there’s a lot packed into this issue. It feels like it’s a double-sized comic, but it isn’t. Any time you can make a regular-length comic feel like an annual, that’s pretty dang good.

Demon Knights #10

After foiling a bunch of pirates who sail the seas on top of a giant sea monster, our heroes get into the main story. They’ve traveled to a town under siege by giant, savage monsters — and they all seem to be coming from the ancient ruins of Camelot! As they ride toward the old castle, they’re attacked by a giant wolf which, when defeated, turns into a normal wolf. All the animals around, in fact, appear to have been changed into giant monsters. When they finally reach Camelot, they discover it’s been turned into a foreboding citadel, and they’re attacked by the resurrected corpse of King Arthur himself! But before they can do anything about the zombie king, all the team but Madame Xanadu are themselves changed into giant monsters!

Verdict: Thumbs up, even if only for Vandal Savage’s hilarious line: “Look! It’s a pirate sea serpent! That is something I have never shouted before!

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