I’ll be honest, I have absolutely no interest in DC‘s Dark Crisis or any of the repackaged 5G that they’re trying to roll out here. They’ve largely made the DCU so unrecognizable to me that it’s off-putting and, the stories just aren’t that interesting.
Still, I wanted to check out the Young Justice
story they were doing. Young Justice
is one of those titles that I really enjoyed back in The day, because it was just… Fun. It was just interesting. Peter David had been getting increasingly spicy and ideological and a little preachy in his writing around that time, and to see him approach Young Justice
with straightforward adventure, centered around teen sidekicks that were actually… Well, teens! It was refreshing. One of the strengths of Young Justice
is of course the youth of the cast. DC has a tendency to want to age up kid characters as soon as possible, and it always backfires. Tim Drake Robin, Connor Kent’s Superboy, heck even Jonathan Kent’s Superboy… They’re all more interesting when they’re 12 or 14. Once you bump that up to 19, they’re just another cape lost in the crowd. Young Justice
leaned into the fact that these kids
were kids, and The title was genuinely fun. I know they’re trying to rope us in with nostalgia, but fun was what I was still hoping for.
I don’t feel like I got that here. We get classic costumes, and a lot of member berries, but it’s permeated by the general angst of the DC right now. That is perhaps a complicated way of saying this just wasn’t what I wanted from this title are these characters. And these versions of these characters feel strangely out of place when you drop them in next to the 5G characters… The young Justice cast is really from another time… A time that DC has decided it’s best moved past.
Speaking of something else that was nostalgia bait, they
released a new issue of New Fantastic Four. That’s that strange 90s team up between Grey Hawk, ghost rider, wolverine and Spider-Man. I don’t know where these gimmicks are coming from …I don’t know who’s green lighting the stuff… But on the other hand, I’m obviously encouraging them because I keep buying it. It’s an interesting revisit to that era… I’ve always wanted to read more Grey Hulk, so this definitely scratches that itch. It’s also a nice demon based story, kind of in line with what we’re seeing in the current ghost rider run. A bunch of people being mind controlled by some demonic thing and attacking everything in sight. Come to think of it, it almost feels a little bit like what we’re seeing in Worlds Finest as well. In any event, it’s an interesting little story, although I almost wish I’d been a one shot. We get a to be continued… And I’m not sure if this is going to have the legs to go multiple issues or to keep my interest that long. We’ll see what happens.
A big surprise for me this month was the Perry White
book. Much like New FF.
I have NO idea who’s idea was to put this out… A collection of stories featuring the editor in chief of the daily planet… with some hijinks involving Jimmy Olsen as well. But you know what, this was delightful. Way more interesting that had any right to be. We got a team up with Wildcat… charmingly titled “old guys talking in bars”, we get some reprints here and there – I’ve only read about Perry’s super cigars, I’ve never actually seen them. Good to see Curt Swan reprinted and to finally experiences classic story upfront. Not sure how they got away with it actually, considering the anti-smoking sentiment we have in 2022!
No, but serio
usly, the book is just fun. I’m shocked at how much fun I had with this… But perhaps I shouldn’t be. After all, I’ve always said that one of the great strings of the Superman comics is in fact the supporting cast.
Likewise, Worlds Finest also continues to bring the fun, and man this book is getting crowded. Do you know how we were talking about supporting casts? Worlds finest is increasingly supporting cast. It almost feels like that first run of Batman Superman – Public Enemies with Ed McGuinness drawing… Where Superman and Batman are public enemy number one. All sorts of other superheroes crowding in the edges… it’s a very similar take… and it’s good. I actually really enjoy this version of Supergirl, heck, I enjoy both his version of Supergirl AND Robin! They are extremely well done and complement the main characters very well, and have so much fun chemestry.
This issue is still just a beat down issue, we’re in the middle of the devil controlling other superheroes to take down Superman and Batman. There’s a little more to it, but you get the jest… Now go read the book. I’m absolutely buying this in trade when it comes out. This is one of those stories that needs to be collected… Although I must say, the once a month format isn’t bothering me on this nearly as much as it is Spider-Man.
Of course that’s probably because Spider-Man
still a convoluted mess and I don’t know what’s going on. There’s a sort of Spidey saves the day resolution for this issue, and another one of those sort of bread crumbs drops… “What’s going on here?“. Black cat swings by to see Mary Jane for some reason and it’s weird, it’s almost like she’s surprised to see the daughter. “Hmmmm. Cute kid.” You know, that’s remarkably cryptic. Impressively so considering it’s simplicity.
Full disclosure. I miss the days when Nightwing
was the best kept secret in comics. Chuck Dixon really had interesting directions to take Dick in, and when the comic got popular it felt like it mainstreamed a little bit more. More editorial dictates and control over the direction it went… It was never
quite the same. I have to say, this issue feels a lot like the old Nightwing series… I’m really enjoying watching his relationship with Barbara start to takeoff again. This is something that I see them exploring both here and in Batgirls
, and I’m really up for it. There’s not an enormus amount of Nightwing shenanigans going on here though… It’s a fairly simple straightforward story. I picked a good issue to try out with a contained narrative. This area of the Haven is seeing increased crime, and the police are using it as a excuse to hassle the locals. Of course the police force anywhere near Gotham is going to be corrupt, and it turns out these guys are using the crimewave as an excuse to step up patrols and triple the amount of cops in the area. They point out, quite correctly actually, that if there’s increased crime in the area, you need a increased police presence… But Nightwing replies, asking if making these kids feel like criminals is gonna make them feel safe…
And this is where the problems begin.
The thing is, we had a lot of these kind of stories in both Nightwing and the Batman titles back when Nightwing was a new title. However, this sort of thing takes on a different context in 2002 then it did back in 1997. After the better part of a decade with politicians on a certain side of the aisle demonizing cops, saying they’re all bad, saying they’re all bullies, and suggesting that any sort of increase patrols is just racism… seeing it portrayed here, it’s not nearly as palatable. These can’t be read as just caricatures of villains… The writer is trying to make a political statement here. It’s one that bothers me too, because it’s misinformed, and it’s incorrect. When the corrupt police chief says an increased police presence in high crime areas is going to make people safer… He’s right. And the hero tries to suggest that he isn’t. This is how Giuliani cleaned up New York. This is something that a lot of the poor want in their neighborhoods. Something I definitely want in mine.
Now, of course these bad cops take it a step further, hassling kids playing basketball in broad daylight at noon on a Sunday or something…, But I still feel a suggestion that all police activity is harassment, all cops are bad, and that if they just left it all alone, everything will be all right… After all it’s probably the cops causing all the trouble anyhow! It’s a drag too, because I was really liking this book… Until I got smacked in the face with a large baseball bat labeled “the message“.
On the other hand, there’s absolutely no message in Elvira… Other than cleavage is good.
We take a trip to the overlook hotel this time around, although the names have been changed to protect the innocent… From legal action.
I know I keep saying this, but it’s a ridiculously self-aware book. The best part of it being, Jack Torrance keep speaking in Jack Nicholson quotes. There’s a lot of Batman
quotes here, along with the occasional “You can’t handle the truth!“ At one point he confronts Elvira with a “did you ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?“ To which she responds “you wanna get nuts? Let’s get nuts!“ It’s all insanely glorious. There’s a couple of pokes at Kubrick‘s directing style as well, the use of banner slides to tell you which day it is… That sort of thing, and even an acknowledgment of the recent Dr. Sleep
film. But the part that’s truly horrifying is when you see what’s written on Jack’s typewriter instead of “all work and no play makes jack a dull boy“. It’s genuinely good stuff, and we can see by the end of this book, that is leading her into her next film… Alien
. Once again, I can’t wait.
The thing that is so charming here is that it’s really the best possible venue for the character. Elvira has always been fundamentally a horror host, so dropping her into these movies… It’s really just an extended version of the things that a lot of posts like Zacharly would do, green screening themselves into the movie. Elvira is taking this to a whole new extreme, but it fits. It gives her a chance to be a character, while still retaining her identity as a host.
If you’re a fan of the current ninja Punisher
run, You may want to check out Punisher war journal.
It’s a nice self-contained story, but it’s a side quest. Definitely something that they’re doing in another book so that they don’t interrupt the flow of the main story going on in the main book. Or journal still evokes a desire for gunplay, and I have to admit, while this is a Punisher
story… It’s a Punisher
story largely without firearms. There’s a few, but I have to admit I miss them. Then again, props on them for at least giving us a scene or two of ninjas with guns. I understand cinematicly why you never see them using firearms in the movies, but realistically, just like any good spy I would assume a ninja would use any weapon at his disposal… That includes firearms. I think at the end of the day, this is still gonna go down as just one of those “weird“ periods in the Punisher’s history, much like the mobbed up ponytail storyline, or the Demon Hunter one… Marvel’s just not sure what to do with him right now because he’s a little too politically incorrect, but at the same time a little bit too popular to just rest the character. I’d still prefer all of this is the side quest, and alternate universe whatever sort of thing, but I’m still enjoying the ride a lot more than I expected to, so I’m sticking with this.
My personal definitive way of drawing iconic characters
We did batman last time, so let’s get into the logical next character – Robin!
While Aparo defines my Batman, to me he never seemed to understand the Tim Drake Robin (my favorite). Breyfogal (who is a heavy influence on Batman’s utility belt for me) really gets Tim’s face and hair, but Tom Lyle defines the suit for me.
The muscles are smaller and less defined, but still fit. Again, he’s Lean, just like Batman.
I was sad to see this suit go and never understood why we moved away from spiky hair, for me this is the way I think Robin should look.