There were so many excellent issues to pick up last week! It was hectic due to Halloween and all sorts of things, so I didn’t get to them until now. That said, a delayed review is better than none, so here we go!
I asked a friend of mine if I should check these out. He proclaimed them “bat-tastic,” so clearly that made picking them up necessary. I’ll start by saying that I found the art in these issues to be particularly fantastic. The fight sequences appear fluid and precise all at once, the use of color is perfect, and all three covers are extremely eye-catching.
In the zero issue, the narration is all Batman trailing and investigating Batwoman to confirm or deny his suspicion that she is, in fact, Kate Kane, wealthy socialite and former military, kicked out due to Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. He studies her fighting style, we get a glimpse into her back story as well as her current habits, and ultimately find out that she’s managed to impress Batman.
Issue one opens with some sort of supernatural creature kidnapping children by putting their parents into a state where they appear to be underwater and can’t move (the art in these scenes was particularly impressive). Batwoman crashes in through the window and scares the creatures away, but they escape with the children. She promises the parents she will get them back. Meanwhile, the parents have just finished talking to a female detective when Kate Kane shows up and asks that very detective out. We then see her go out with her cousin Bette, formerly Flamebird, to practice fighting before Kate’s father, whom she doesn’t speak with, shows up unannounced and we find out just why she doesn’t speak to him. Also, a government agency called The Department of Extranormal Operations or DEO is looking for Batwoman because of a group that’s popped up in Gotham called “Medusa” and the police start finding bodies of children drowned with only an urban legend to go on. Basically, there’s a lot going on.
In issue two, the agent from DEO arrives in town and suspects Detective Sawyer (aka Kate’s love interest) of being Batwoman. Meanwhile, the Weeping Woman claims another victim, Kate goes on her date with the detective, has meetings with Batman, and the police department investigates the aftermath of a battle between rival under-world gangs involving were-beasts. Essentially, this series is the “lot-going-on” kind of story I can get behind. An interesting superhero combined with supernatural elements definitely catches my interest. Plus I must say, I’ve never seen a mainstream gay or lesbian superhero, and it’s pretty great. All of the other elements are the same…she just happens to date women. Batwoman: you are pretty awesome.
Why’d we even go in there if you were just gonna stake block me?
First thing’s first: Steve Morris’ cover art is wonderful, as usual! I adore Rebekah Isaacs’ art on the inside as well. I particularly enjoy the way she illustrates Faith: she captures her expressions and interior monologue brilliantly.
The Angel & Faith books continue to consistently show a depth of character I haven’t found in many comic books as of yet. In this issue, Angel continues to grapple with the aftermath of his actions in Buffy Season 8 and Faith continues to grapple with balancing her loyalty to Angel with her loyalty to the remaining Slayers. Their search for the source of the Mohra blood takes them to a shady demon club where it becomes obvious the owner is the one dealing the blood, so they follow up with former customers to find that only some seem to have benefited. They also speak with an old friend of Giles’ who warns Faith not to let Angel go through with his plan due to ominous disastrous results. We also see one of the remaining Slayers struggling to deal with a world without magic providing her with a fight every night and Faith realizing that she’s suddenly become the “grown-up” or the responsible one, which is a position she has certainly never found herself in before.
Basically, this series continues to find a perfect balance of character development, humor, action, and plot. I’m impressed.
Wolverine and the X-Men: #1
Keep the number handy for a good debris removal company. No matter what you do, this place is bound to get blown up with an alarming frequency.
We open in the post-Schism world. Wolverine is about to become the Headmaster of a school at the former location of Professor X’s Academy, a role he certainly never expected he’d be taking on. The morning of the first day of school, he’s in the Headmaster’s study taking a shot for courage. Kitty Pryde aka Madam Headmistress says she’s already thrown up three times that morning. It’s clearly an excellent start for an institution of learning! The school itself has been designed by Beast and named The Jean Grey School for Higher Learning. First off, it has to pass a state inspection. Naturally, the inspectors are extremely skeptical and not very impressed when they find out The Danger Room program can now be run in every room of the school.
There’s plenty of the usual chaos and the usual snark. Kitty protects one of the inspectors from a thrown coffee pot by allowing it to fly through her head, Hank has a beer-helmet on filled with coffee, lava has bubbled up into a couple of the rooms, and a Shi’ar brat has arrived calling the students “inbred alien barbarians.” To top things off, Kade Kilgore, new head of the Hellfire Club, shows up on their doorstep. So good times all around.
Just when you think you’ve seen it all some low-life bastard figures out a way to crawl even lower.
Huntress is another book I knew nothing about going in, but I read a couple positive reviews and I’m all about the girl power, so I picked up the first issue. After reading the blurb at the end of this issue, it sounds as though Huntress was originally conceived as a character as the child of Batman and Catwoman on Earth-2 (although after further reading, it would appear she’s had several incarnations). With this New 52 reboot, who knows what the story will be.
At any rate, with this issue, we begin with Helena’s arrival in Italy. She’s there to stop a shipment of illicit goods from reaching Gotham, which turns out to be both girls and guns. She spends the rest of the issue starting to track down the source of both as the source works hard to protect the next shipment scheduled to go out. So far, it’s a very clear good vs. evil dynamic with a Gotham/Batman connection thrown in. It will be interesting to see where it ends up.
The Flash (New 52): #2
One thing I love about The Flash is the discussion of different scientific theories. Some superhero books I’ve read only vaguely reference the science behind whatever is going on, but in this issue of The Flash, they actually test his powers, discuss them, and hypothesize ways to improve upon them. He and Dr. Elias discuss something called augmented cognition (after doing a speed test on a treadmill that promptly falls apart, naturally). Basically, Dr. Elias theorizes that Flash can tap into the “speed force” with his mind as well as his body. He goes on to test it out as the issue goes on and Francis Manapul does a great job illustrating it visually. The Flash realizes that when he uses the augmented cognition, he can see what’s going to happen, the possible outcomes, and do something about it without anyone ever realizing.
He then gets a lead on his friend Manuel and why there seem to be clones of him all over the place and goes off to investigate. It looks to involve some sort of government conspiracy, but it isn’t clear what that might be just yet. This bit is done with the help of Barry’s love interest, Patty Spivot, who (much to my delight) is a brilliant scientist in her own right and frequently points The Flash in the right direction without even realizing it.
Aquaman (New 52): #2
You may recall that I greatly enjoyed Issue #1 of the Aquaman reboot. Issue #2 picks up right where it left off, with creepy monsters of the deep rising up to the surface when they realize there’s “food” aka people up there. Naturally, this issue features carnage thanks to that realization and a deputy posing as the sheriff stopping at every lighthouse to find Aquaman and Mera, followed by a battle between our two heroes and these creatures. You know it’s bad when creatures come out of the ocean and even Aquaman doesn’t recognize them. Honestly, there wasn’t a lot to this issue in terms of plot, but it’s necessary in moving the story forward regardless. I’m looking forward to Issue #3.