Hello, Fangirls, and Happy Holidays!
Let’s get down to business…
…Excuse me. As always, Some reviews may be more expansive than others (because sometimes I just don’t care). Anywho, jumping right in:
Batgirl #25 – This issue was a “Zero Year” story, following Barbara dealing with a natural disaster in Gotham and all of it’s complications. Rather than this being a Batgirl story, we simply see a younger, pre-Bat Babs trying to protect her brother.
CopDad Jim Gordon orders them to stay in the house as he goes out to help and, like, five minutes later, another officer bangs on the door and orders them to evacuate. So, Barbara throws her whole life into a backpack and straps on a MOLLE/tactical vest because of reasons and she and James Jr. head to a local community centre/refugee camp. At this second location, while James Jr. bemoans the water leaking from the ceiling and Babs meets a behemoth of a man who assures her he’s but a humble gentle giant, the building collapses into a massive sinkhole and Barbara proves that climbing the rope in gym class really does have real-world applications and she climbs to safety, even occasionally diving back into the water to save people in what is an obvious and desperate cry for help, herself.
She almost slips and the Giant saves her. The group begins to hop along across rooftops, keeping moving because building inspectors don’t exist in Gotham City and every-fucking-thing’s about to collapse. Of course, inevitably, the group is separated when Giant Guy is crossing and the steel ladder they’ve been using as a bridge inexplicably collapses (because that happens). He urges the others to throw their belongings across the gap so that they themselves will be lighter and he can catch them when they jump… Then he promptly apologizes for his impending douchebaggery and makes to abscond with their treasures. Barbara sees him hoist the bag which has her most treasured shit she threw into a sack on her way out of the door and it leads her to leap across the gap between roofs and tackle a man she admittedly couldn’t possibly take on. She promptly defeats him by throwing him off of a roof after, of course, letting go of the material possessions she tackled him for in the first place.
The issue ends with the group of survivors on this last rooftop (don’t ask me how they all got across). That’s right. It ends. Just like that. So, we learn that Barbara is insanely lucky, kind of stupid RE: self-preservation, and anti-materialistic at the flip of a hypocritical switch.
Not the finest issue and I have no idea why there needed to be a break between issues of a single arc.
Batwoman #25 – “Zero Year” continues. Kate Kane travels home from West Point to Gotham to attend the funeral of her murdered uncle Phil. Cameos by Alfred and Bruce ensue, the latter speaking with an old-timey formality about justice and criminals and all that jazz. As a storm is rolling in, she decides to sneak out and take on some burglars and would-be murderers. She does so, saving a young boy in the process, and catching the eye of a fresh-faced Sawyer when the police arrive. Aaaand that’s pretty much it. So far, all of the Zero Year stories have been pretty mediocre…
Birds of Prey #26 – Another “Zero Year” story, this time following a young Black Canary before the fishnets. She was homeless, abandoned, dumpster diving, until a martial arts instructor found her and trained her. She eventually took over his dojo, but a disaster in Gotham (not sure if it’s the same one from Batgirl) ends with the building burning to the ground. She isn’t there until it’s too late to salvage, instead fighting off looters and ninjas, but she is saved from a return to life on the streets when some dude from the government who she’s just met up and offers her a job. Another issue with very little in the way of substance.
Catwoman #25 – Fuck me. “Zero Year.” HO-kay… Selina Kyle is a petty thief who snatches some douchebag’s backpack, only to find it full of rock-climbing equipment (including a grappling gun, somehow). The stuff is valuable, but she can’t sell it because a bad storm is rolling in and bitches only wanna buy food, water, fuel, etc. Her local grocery store is run by a good man named Mr. Archuleta who Selina actually consciously refuses stealing from, since he’s up at the front of the store, imposing a ration so that everyone will at least get something. Of course, an insanely wealthy man named Arnett Crocker shows up in person with two goons to load up everything in the store into a single black van so that he can throw an end-of-the-world party for his rich buddies. Selina tries to stop him by scratching one of the goons in the face, but end up being socked in the face.
As would we all in this situation, a completely green Selina uses the rock-climbing equipment to infiltrate Crocker’s party from the rooftop. She arrives and changes into a long black dress with an impressive slit and her hair done up and introduces herself to the shindig’s host. On the way, we pass familiar faces like Oswald Cobblepot (the Penguin) and Basil Karlo (Clayface).
Crocker tkes her towards one of his “back rooms (blech),” passing throw a masquerade of escorts in various costumes, a casino room, a circus room for some reason… But their walk is interrupted by the goon Selina scratched earlier telling the boss that “that guy” he’s expecting is here. He doesn’t recognize Selina, and she watches through the peephole to see exactly what kind of exchange is happening behind that closed door. Crocker presents an unknown buyer with a selection of prototype batteries, stolen by Black Mask the previous week. They are what is powering his entire building at the moment… But Selina’s eavesdropping is interrupted by the reappearing of the goon (not wearing the bandage he sported in the previous shot and also having no scabs in a moment of lazy colouring).
Crocker orders her death, and Selina teases that the dress isn’t the only thing she found in the back room…
She disarms the goon with the knife and the buyer with a gun and catches Crocker around the neck with her new toy. She inventories herself as she ties the men up and swipes the batteries, turning to find– .
She uses the batteries to power her own block (including Archie’s Grocery), and muses on her own lack of mad skillz, but looks towards practicing her craft of master thievery. Of all of the “Zero Year” stories, this is probably the best, and that’s really something considering how much I don’t enjoy the regular Catwoman series issues. There was an origin, a conflict, and a resolution. Y’know, like there really should be in a one-shot. Of course, just because something is entertaining doesn’t mean it’s necessarilly good, as Selina’s inner monologue constantly noting the fact that she’s inexperienced, winging it, and generally a poor decision-maker is pretty awkward. Like, why are you doing this, then?!
Next month’s episode is teased with the tagline “Catwoman at ROCK BOTTOM!” See you, Selina.
Earth 2 #17 – This being the Fangirl Perspective, we are focusing on the character of Lois Lane in this series, even as her consciousness has been downloaded into the Red Tornado. Soooooo brief recap: Superman is brainwashed and evil. He is tearing shit APART, and the only thing stopping him from drilling into the army base like wet TP is the Flash. The speedster’s brilliant plan?
Below ground, Major Sato faces off against Batman OR DOES SHE? It turns out, this cowled man isn’t Bruce! He is, however, super strong and apparently invulnerable and, just as we’re about to find out who he is, RedTornado! Lois shows up to pry him away from Sato.
Sato shoots Batman in the head, he survives, and goes to free Aquawoman from one of many shady-ass stasis pods used to detain criminals and enemies of the state (more on that later). Half-way around the world, the Flash is leading Superman on a foot chase, but evil Supes uses Darkseid-style unnecessarily-bendy-heat-vision to knock him over, then swoops in to grab and crush his ankle, and then return to the Arkham Command rubble to capture Mr. Terrific and Co-Commander Sloan for Apokolips.
Back underground, Batman is freeing his second of three targets from a blacked-out canister, telling Lois that it’s been blacked out to hide the atrocities of the world army. It turns out to be a young Jimmy Olsen, the solitary force behind a hacker group called “Accountable” that systematically released classified government records. Hooray for social commentary! Jimmy takes it pretty well in stride that he’s waking up from stasis, seemingly actually relieved that it’s not the year 3000, hello Futurama reference. He asks if any of them has a phone.
Jimmy sees that Parademons are invading from fire pits all over the world, and Batman veers off from the group towards his third target, even as Aquawoman (who hates that name, BTW) urges them to leave. Batman moves purposefully towards the Joker, suspended in his own tubey chamber thing, and Sato moves to intercept; she will not let him release such a monster. But Batman has another idea and reaches for a GUN on his utility belt.
Now, with a bloodied and SUPER dead Joker left behind, Batman is ready to lead an independently capable group of strong women to battle an unstoppable force, even though nobody knows who the fuck he is behind that cowl (although I’m betting Jason Todd, somehow, ’cause of guns and stuff).
I actually mildly enjoyed the issue. This series is promising, although I have to wonder how long this ongoing series is going to be, as well as whether we’re going to see any interaction in the Batman/Superman/World’s Finest crossover next month… It really helps that this is an alternate universe; I don’t care quite as much about discrepancies since it’s not the main universe… Come to think of it, they should just go ahead and reveal that the New 52 is just an alternate universe and the old universe is still out there! You’re welcome, DC.
Harley Quinn #0 – I have NO fucking idea what I just read. Panel after panel of breaking the fourth wall, wherein Harley realises she’s in a comic, wants to pick the artist herself, and writers Palmiotti and Conner talk to her all along the way. The comedy fell flat, the name-dropping intolerable, and Conner’s complete Mary Sue moment really ruined this for me…
Let’s hope the first actual issue is worth my time.
Supergirl #025 – This is part 3 of the “Krypton Returns”
trainwreck storyline. Supergirl is in the clutches of H’El, her evil ex-boyfriend (gag) who is still fucking trying to resurrect Krypton at the expense of Earth/the Universe/whatever it is this time. She bemoans his betrayals and bitches about the Kryptonite poisoning, then hits him in the face and picks up a spear, and through these couple of pages, we see three awkward shots of her ass.
Also, in this issue, Superman muses on the bittersweet moment he got to meet and speak to his biological mother (but his thoughts are interrupted by his uniform changing due to time-travely hijinks and the appearance of some unseen character mocking the change), and Superboy battles a weird-ass version of the Eradicator* as a slightly younger (and much more lively/much less angsty) Kara Zor-El is kind of useless, but at least she doesn’t hate Kon yet. Superboy can’t kill him, so, instead, he punts the Eradicator into a portal and the creature thunks straight into Smallville, Kansas.
H’El shows up at that moment, trying to kill Kon, even as he is simultaneously fighting Supergirl in another timeline. Both heroes are able to figure that out, and the two try to take advantage of that fact. BUT! Before Supergirl can prove that she isn’t totally useless, an alternate timeline version of Kon tackles H’El and Supergirl makes the giant-but-apparently-accurate leap in logic: “When I defeated Kon, did I become their leader– And now it’s the tribal instinct of the clones to protect me?” H’El, who already has gone on about how he’s not Kryptonian and how he’s a singularity, is outraged at the clones’ behaviour, so… I guess H’El is a clone?
In the very last panel, Supergirl has hoisted a spear (and is holding it backwards) and is about to engage H’El as her randomly devoted, face-tattooed clone army cheers her on. The suspense is killing me! Will Kon survive? Who was talking to Clark? Just how useless is Kara? What of H’El or the Eradicator? Will I care?!
*(SIDE-NOTE: He refers to himself as the embodiment of entropy, but he also maintains that he is going to ensure that everyone who is going to die on Krypton is going to die on Krypton. HOWEVER, entropy is a decline into disorder. Death is not disorder. Death is perfect order. So, basically, bad writing strikes again.)
Superman/Wonder Woman #2 – *Swallows the vomit* Okay, let’s get this over with… The issue picks up where last left off, with Diana and Clark saving a ship or something (who remembers?) but the former being sidelined by a punch to the face from (drumroll, please) — DOOMSDAY! For those who maybe weren’t aware, Superman never died in the New 52. He and Doomsday have never met let alone come to blows. So, the first to meet the monster is Diana, who is promptly suckerpunched and has both of her arms broken.
There is a moment here where the Amazon thinks to herself, “Okay, your arms aren’t your only weapons, you can fly, etc.” But we never get to see that pan out because the issue takes an awkward jump to Superman placing the ship he’d previously lifted out of the water back into the water. He asks her if she’s alright, and she responds with something along the lines of, “Oh, yeah, totes. I mean, my broken arms are already healed because I’m a bastard child of Zeus and stuff.” But she does remark about never having been hit that hard. Superman takes her to the Fortress of Solitude (TM) and a page and a half of exposition later, we find that the Kryptonians had imprisoned Doomsday in the Phantom Zone, but that the barrier between ours and that dimension must be weakening. What that would make Doomsday appear on Earth instead of Krypton, I do not know. Clark worries, but Diana places a reassuring hand on his giant pectorals and tells him that he is going to win because he’s not just mighty but also a good ol’ Kansas farm boy… With a fucking demi-goddess for a girlfriend.
In the next scene, Diana has taken Clark to see Hephaestus about weapons, and their conversation alludes to him possibly constructing a suit of divine armour. Their scheming is interrupted by Apollo and Strife, who then proceed to belittle Superman just like
my family at Thanksgiving the Greek gods are known to. Apollo calls Superman (due to his Alien heritage) an inhuman “thing” and says it doesn’t even bother him who Diana chooses to “slut around with.” Superman asks Apollo to clarify their definition of “god” and, satisfied, tells Apollo that he’s glad that he won’t have to hold back if the new ruler of Olympus disses his boo-tay like that again.
Then we see a brief moment of Cat Grant from the Daily Planet leaving him an angry voicemail… So, I guess Lois and Clark can’t even be partners in journalism.
Ahem. So, Diana freaks out with a massive “NO!” because Clark’s been slapped into one of the vats of molten something-or-another in Hephaestus’ forge, and Strife delightfully says that she’ll never see Superman the same, strong way again after that TKO. In a moment which I’m sure is meant to be much more impressive, Clark emerges from the fire pit and socks Apollo on the jaw. The god of the sun is knocked back and down… But not ACROSS THE FUCKING ROOM like a certain bro from Krypton. Apollo then blasts Clark with, I dunno, a ray form his face (like ya do), but Clark emerges all glowy because, y’know, sunlight.
Apollo takes himself a pounding and Clark returns to politely thank Hephaestus for his help. Strife, in the background, gushes. Meanwhile, in Wonder Woman, she’s sworn to kill Diana and stuff, but let’s ignore that for comedy that is misogynistic and falls utterly flat. After all, this is New 52 DC.
The issue wraps with a bunch of guys on camelback in the desert being ripped apart by something unseen… And the apparent return of General Zod. And me snoring.
Wonder Woman #025 – Strife commissions a weapon to defeat Wonder Woman and Hephaestus provides her with what looks like a single, red-hot nail. Hephaestus, even though he made the thing, is skeptical, but Strife looks super psyched. Meanwhile, Cassandra is on flying metal cockroach of a plane and using Ol’ What’s-His-Name to find baby Zeke (because, obviously, he’s a child of prophecy and destined to be ultra powerful).
Hermes and his weird-ass chicken feet are creeping all over Diana (dressed in a burlap sack but still wearing her tiara in public), Hera, and Zeke’s-Mom-Whose-Name- I-Also-Forget as they eat lunch and discuss how mortality made Hera a shit ton less crazy. Suddenly, Orion zooms overhead and announces that they’re under attack. He fries the tree that Hermes is leaning against and the two fight TO THE DEATH– Except for that they don’t because Strife shows up to giver her condolences to her brother, mother, and “baby sister” Diana amongst all of the fucking oblivious mortals just eating their sammiches and shit. Diana apologizes for Ares’ death, and Strife’s pretty much like, “Psh. Yeah, sure you are, skank.”
In a quick scene, we see Dio serving bits of a still living and conscious First Born to Apollo for dinner, because why not? We then return to Diana’s apartment (where that severed head is still on the mantle) and Strife is giving out presents AND THERE ARE BALLOONS! She has brought Hera the peacock feathered cloak she wore as queen of the gods, making her mother sort of sadly nostalgic, and has brought War’s horned helmet to Diana. Diana calls her a bitch and it rolls off of Strife’s shoulders as she gives the last gift, a magic spider-silk blanket for baby Zeke.
Back on the airship with Cassandra, she reveals that she, too, is a demigod, and then What’s-His-Face goes nuts and talks to no one as warthog- or dog-men chill out underground with video screens in a single, unexplained panel.
Back in the apartment, Orion has a temper tantrum because Diana won’t let him fight Hermes in her living room and Strife watches on with an amused smile.
Sriracha Siracca blows in through the window and warns Diana that Milan (HA! That’s What’s-His-Name’s fucking name!) is being held captive by Cassandra, that he loves her, but that she’s torturing him, etc… Orion and all of his testosterone use the distraction to open up a BOOM Tube and Diana asks Strife to keep watch as she, Siracca, and Hermes travel to Chernobyl to save Milan from Cassandra. Strife is confused by the notion of Diana’s trust in her, but when Zeke’s mom re-entres the room, we see that their journey to Chernobyl apparently falls right into Strife’s plan.
World’s Finest #17 – This issue felt very much like filler. I’m still holding out for the crossover with Batman/Superman in January, but the past few issue shave fallen very flat. In this issue, Karen’s trying to find the silver lining of her still-fluctuating power levels by… Getting a tattoo?
Right, because she’s a tremendously successful business woman and getting another distinguishing characteristic is gonna be great for the maintenance of her secret identity.
Speaking of which… While Helena is off trying to track down a coincidentally heavily tattooed murderess avec les pouvoirs super, Karen has decided that now would be a good time to go for the ultimate sunbath, hitching a $10 million ride on a shuttle to Right-In-Fucking-Front-Of-The-Sun, where she promptly strips down in front of the shocked pilot and goes for a little space walk.
So, Helena’s trying to tackle this tattooed chick who, by the way, has tattoo-related super powers… And Karen’s sunbathing takes a bad turn when she apparently overloads. This, for some reason, sends her falling back towards Earth.
Karen conveniently lands in the water that runs under the bridge that Helena is also conveniently fighting a low-grade supervillain atop… And the impact distracts Helena so that she can go to her friend and comrade’s aid and so that Tattooed Chick can run away to fight in another issue. Whoo…
I actually had lots of pictures to attach to this review, but so little happened in this issue that I had to go back through and make sure that it was a full issue! This series opened a lot stronger, I feel, and I need them not to coast. The crossover needs to be amazing, because I’m considering dropping a lot of books and, until now, World’s Finest wasn’t among them.
What happened to you, DC? You used to be cool.
That’s it for the reviews this month! See you next time, Nerds!