Archive for Justice League Dark

Vampire State

American Vampire #29

Pearl Preston and Skinner Sweet are tracking vampires in ’50s Hollywood, hiding out in the mansions of directors and stars. Claiming to be investigators for the House Un-American Activities Committee, they pay a visit to producer Wells White, who shows off his pet lions before Pearl and Skinner catch sight of his vampire guest. While Pearl takes care of the vampire, White turns his lions loose on Skinner — not that a bunch of lions have much of a chance. But who’s behind the sniper who kills White? And what kind of hold do the Vassals of the Morning Star have over Skinner Sweet?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Just a good issue. I like the vamps’ cover of “Oh, hey, we’re with HUAC — you got any shady connections we need to know about?” Makes it a perfect fit for the paranoid ’50s.

Justice League Dark #11

Felix Faust is trying to get into the government’s vault that contains all of the most powerful magic items in the world, while the JLD struggle to contain him and his pet demons. Meanwhile, Madame Xanadu seeks out Timothy Hunter, a kid in London who may be the only magician in the world powerful enough to safely use the Books of Magic — but he insists there’s no way he can help them. Can John Constantine prevent the Books from falling into Felix’s hands?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Ehh, it’s alright. Mostly a big punch-up. Still not sure I’ll ever get used to the idea of John Constantine and Timothy Hunter running around on the superhero side of the DCU.

The Amazing Spider-Man #690

While Spider-Man tries to corral Morbius the Living Vampire, Dr. Curt Connors is back at Horizon Labs trying to turn himself back into the Lizard — and using the rest of Horizon’s staff as guinea pigs. Can Spidey capture Morbius and make it back to the lab before all of his coworkers are turned into giant lizards?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Worth it more for Connors’ internal monologue than for just about anything else.

Today’s Cool Links:

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Welcome Back, Tallulah Black!

All Star Western #10

Tallulah Black is back in Jonah Hex’s life, thanks to getting pitched out of the Wayne Casino by a crook’s bodyguard. While she terrorizes Amadeus Arkham, Hex hunts down Alan Wayne to see if he knows anything about the man Tallulah accused of being responsible for her injuries. And the Court of Owls send an assassin after a maniac in Arkham’s asylum. All that plus a backup feature starring the Western dandy Bat Lash!

Verdict: Thumbs up. This is one of my favorite issues of this comic, partly because I think Tallulah Black is a wonderful character, and I love the way Gray and Palmiotti handle the way she inspires both desire and revulsion in Arkham. Plus there’s the Bat Lash backup — Lash is one of my favorite of DC’s old Western heroes, and he’s rarely been handled as perfectly as Gray and Palmiotti write him here. And it doesn’t hurt that the art chores for the backup are handled by the great José Luis García-López. And let’s not forget Moritat’s outstanding artwork in this issue, either — he handles Tallulah’s scarred beauty perfectly. All in all, just a plain wonderful comic, and I hope Gray, Palmiotti, Moritat and García-López can keep this level of awesomeness going for a while.

Justice League Dark #10

John Constantine leads Zatanna, Deadman, Doctor Mist, Andrew Bennett, and Black Orchid to the mystical House of Mystery — now that they have a map to the Books of Magic, he wants Constantine wants all of them off the grid while they decide what to do with it. The Books of Magic are terrifically powerful, and he doesn’t like the idea of turning them over to the government, or anyone else, really. Unfortunately, Constantine can’t resist the temptation to check out the map when no one’s watching him, and that unleashes the new rebooted versions of the Demons Three, who manage to steal the map and escape. Meanwhile, Madame Xanadu has a vision of what will happen if Constantine gets his hands on the Books of Magic — and it involves everyone on Earth dying…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Good story, nice art, nothing really earthshattering, but it’s a good read.

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Back in Business

Batman, Inc. #1

Grant Morrison’s “Batman, Inc.” series gets a brand new Number One, though as far as any of us can tell, the old “Batman, Inc.” storyline continues on the same course it was on before. Batman and Robin (Bruce and Damian Wayne this time) chase a goat-masked gunman into a slaughterhouse — and promptly find themselves in the middle of an ambush as more masked thugs attack. And by the end of the fight, it’s revealed that Leviathan, the shadowy global crime organization, has targeted Damian for assassination. While Leviathan works on cementing its hold over Gotham, all the heroes who seemingly died in the last issue — Batwing, the Outsiders, the Hood, Gaucho, and more — meet and reveal that they’re now part of Batman’s secret army. But can Batman save Robin from death? Or are there just too many assassins gunning for him?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great writing by Morrison, great art by Chris Burnham. Lightning-fast action, outstanding twists and turns. Great dialogue for the squabbling Dynamic Duo. And it’s great that, with the pre-Reboot Outsiders we see here, this story is still set in the original, proper DC Universe.

And I’d be lying if I didn’t say that this panel was my very favorite in any comic in the last month:

And as others have noted, this definitely means that Grant Morrison was a fan of the “Tiny Titans” series.

So yeah, definitely adding this one to my pull list.

Justice League Dark #9

I didn’t enjoy the first issue of this, but I decided to give it another shot. Jeff Lemire is the comic’s new writer, and while I haven’t yet decided whether I like *all* his stuff, I’ve got enough good impressions of him to try this comic again.

So Steve Trevor, special liaison for the Justice League, calls on John Constantine with a special mission — find out what Felix Faust is up to and retrieve the magical item he’s using to empower himself, and in exchange, Constantine will get ten minutes in the Black Room — a secret repository for powerful magical items — to take whatever he can carry. So Constantine puts together a team — Zatanna, Andrew Bennett from “I, Vampire,” Deadman, and Black Orchid — and they go out to bust up Faust and his cult. But will the new “Justice League Dark” be ready for the item Felix Faust is hiding?

Verdict: Thumbs up. I’ll admit, I wasn’t expecting much from it, but it was far more entertaining, readable, and engaging than what I saw of the first issue of the series. I’m more than willing to pick up some future issues, so I think that’s enough for me to judge it a success.

The Amazing Spider-Man #686

Dr. Octopus’s satellites are going to burn the Earth to a cinder, and they’ve already started on Silver Sable’s homeland of Symkaria — but wait, it’s all an illusion created by the special effects wizardry of Mysterio! While the Chameleon masquerades as Doc Ock to battle the Wall-Crawler, the real Otto discovers the deceit and takes over Chameleon’s remote-control disguise so he can fight Spidey himself. Luckily, the suit is just a cheap imitation and can’t stand up ti Spidey, Silver Sable, and the Black Widow — and Spidey manages to make a deal with Mysterio to get him to join the good guys, at least temporarily. So the Sinister Six has been depleted down to just Doc Ock and the Rhino — unless Octavius has managed to acquire some new, unexpected minions…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Excellent story all around — writing, art, dialogue, humor, action, plot twists, and just overall braininess. There has not been a single bad issue of this storyarc, and that’s pretty impressive.

Today’s Cool Links:

  • The loony One Million Mom group (which doesn’t include anywhere near one million mothers — just 47,000 homophobic, faux-Christian bigots) has already gotten its butt kicked by Ellen DeGeneres and Archie Andrews and is now going to get its butt whupped by Northstar and a DC hero to be named later.
  • Greg Rucka keeps giving great interviews. Here he is talking about why he writes strong female characters.
  • Snell digs up every jungle prince and princess he can find.

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Dark and Dorky

Justice League Dark #1

The Enchantress has gone crazy again, and that’s causing hundreds of clones of her alter ego, June Moon, to start appearing and walking blindly into traffic. The Justice League shows up at the Enchantress’ hideout, but they’re powerless to stop her. Can anyone? Well, I guess we’ll see if Madame Xanadu, Shade the Changing Man, Zatanna, John Constantine, and Deadman can do it.

Verdict: Thumbs down. This is not a very good comic. I like the art, but the dialogue is just plain goofy. And the whole blasted thing bored me to tears. They worked hard to build up some hype for this one, and it just fails miserably.

American Vampire #19

We get treated to an unexpected flashback all the way to the 1860s to the friendship shared by two Missouri boys — future American vampire Skinner Sweet and his future nemesis Jim Book. Skinner was an orphan taken in by the Book family and though he played rougher and took more dangerous risks than Jim liked (including catching a rattlesnake with his bare hands), they still got along pretty well. Years later, when they were both in the Army fighting the Indian wars in the New Mexico territory, they’re under the command of the naive General Hawley. They capture a scout for an Apache chief named Hole in the Sky, and the scout refuses to tell how many braves Hole in the Sky has, but claims that they’re about to unleash something he calls Mimiteh. But what is Mimiteh, and what’s it doing in a book called “American Vampire”?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nice to see a return to the Wild West for this series, and nice to see Jim Book again. The story is excellent, too — wonderfully tense with tons and tons of personality.

Avengers Academy #19

Okay, I’m sick to the gills of “Fear Itself.” Ya know why? The covers for it are awful, and the blasted things just won’t… go… away.

The god-empowered Absorbing Man and Titania are causing the hyper-miniaturized “Infinite Avengers Mansion” to grow — and when it grows to its actual full size, it’ll be big enough to destroy a city. Finesse figures out a way to destroy the mansion and the villains — but she and another Academy member will have to sacrifice themselves to make sure the plan is successful. Finesse has to monitor the computers, and one of the kids has to hold off the villains — it’s decided that Hazmat has the best chance of actually hurting the bad guys, and Mettle decides he’ll help her. Is there any way out, or are three of the students about to become heroes the hard way?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Good personality work all around, and that’s what this series has had going for it from the very beginning. Nevertheless, looks like the students have some big changes ahead.

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