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What with my Black Friday purchases and everything, this week’s comics kind of fell by the wayside. I figured I should probably read and get these written up before I pick up this week’s issues tomorrow! Write-ups for the above seven issues after the jump:

Catwoman #3

It’s an awful lot more fun than being dead.

Selina Kyle has managed to get one of her real friends killed. To say she isn’t happy about that would be a serious understatement. Bone (Louis Ferryman) has her tied to a chair and leaves her to his goons, but Selina quickly turns the tables. She then shows up at the strip club where Ferryman’s getting his jollies off and starts beating him with a baseball bat. Batman shows up and tries to get her to stop, so she tosses Ferryman over the side of the building to distract Batman. She then goes back to Lola’s to cover her tracks, but finds herself suddenly in the company of some unexpected visitors.

Selina Kyle doesn’t seem to have many true friends, so the serious anger and anguish in her eyes at the death of Lola MacIntire is all too real. Just when she is about to beat Bone to death with the baseball bat, Batman shows up. This wouldn’t seem to be of much consequence until you take into account the fact that Batman doesn’t kill. He very pointedly informs her that he wouldn’t be able to forgive her if she kills this man in front of him, so instead, she tosses the man off the building and lets Batman rescue him. It’s clear that this series of events awakes issues in Catwoman that will continue to be explored as the series go on. She will not be curling up and licking her wounds. She will be fighting back.

Wonder Woman #3

Before there was you…there was a man. No, there was more than a man. There was a god. THE god. There was Zeus.

The Amazons of Paradise Island are burning their fallen sisters and Queen Hippolyta is filled with regret. Some of the Amazons blame Diana, while Strife laughs at their misfortune. However, Diana learns the truth of her origins: that her mother, Queen Hippolyta, had an affair with the god Zeus, and that Diana was not, as she had always believed, formed out of clay with no father. It becomes clear that Diana no longer feels that she belongs on Paradise Island and, in the end, she forsakes her name and says she is only to be known as Wonder Woman from this moment on.

Honestly, I’m not sure what to make in the change of origin story for Wonder Woman. Certainly, making her less that the perfect Amazon she always has been will lend her more inner turmoil to grapple with, but will that really be better? Of course, this also opens her up to attacks from Hera should she ever find out (which I have a feeling she will) and an ongoing battle of Amazons vs. gods could certainly be interesting. I don’t think we’ll truly understand the repercussions of this change until the series has continued for quite some time.

Batman #3

He was right about the owl nests. They’re in our homes.

This third issue opens with a flashback to Alan Wayne, Bruce’s great-great-grandfather, who became inordinately obsessed with owls at the end of his life, claiming they are in his home and that they are coming for him. With that, we move back to the present-day with Batman roughing up the Whisper Gang for information about the Owls. Nothing seems to be leading anywhere until Bruce considers Alan Wayne’s extreme levels of superstition and the fact that he was one of the first men to eliminate the thirteenth floor from his buildings, leaving just a small space between the floors to hold the bad luck of thirteen. As Batman investigates, he finds some rather interesting things in these thirteenth floor spaces…

The story is really picking up with this third issue. Batman is hot on the trail of the Court of Owls and seems to get his first big breakthrough at the end of this issue. What it will mean has yet to be determined, but it’s the first big twist/revelation of the series and I think it’s appropriately creepy.

Here Comes…Daredevil #2

Cap, how long have we known each other? Long enough to grant a continuance?

It seems that Captain America is none too pleased with Daredevil’s recent exploits, which becomes glaringly obvious when he shows up to arrest him. Daredevil maneuvers and talks his way out of the situation though, going off to prove that he’s been used. We then see Kristin, the new D.A., popping in on Foggy to pass him a bit of off-the-record evidence. It seems that the reason Ahmed Jobrani’s case went to Matt Murdock is because someone was placing threatening calls to quite a few attorneys in the area warning them not to take the case. Once this has been pieced together, Daredevil goes to the building Jobrani recently lost due to his bankruptcy to investigate and finds not only a very bizarre situation, but one that looks rather sticky for our hero.

First off, I love the prior issue summary in the form of a page from the Daily Bugle. It’s certainly the most creative way to remind the reader of where the book left off that I’ve seen. Anyway, the initial fight and argument between Captain America is great. Cap is as mission-focused and by-the-book as usual while Daredevil is as argumentative and cocky as ever, which makes it that much better. The discovery in the basement of Jobrani’s basement is extremely bizarre and it will be interesting to see where that goes next.

I, Vampire #2

My name was Mary Seward. Now they call me Mary, Queen of Blood. And it’s amazing to be me.

In this second issue, Mary and her group of vampires begin their war on humanity in earnest. After rousing the troops, so to speak, she takes them to the street where they take on their first group of humans. The battle is fairly one-sided, to say the least, until Andrew turns up to fight against Mary and her vampires. She again tries to get him to join them and he, again, refuses. They fight, Andrew is captures, and Mary instructs her vampires to kill him, knowing full-well that it will be the other way around. It would appear she plans to use him as a pawn in her war.

It would be extremely difficult to deny the fact that there are so many different vampire tales in popular culture at the moment, but this one still manages to be fresh. In fact, I would go so far as to say it’s one of the most interesting books of the New 52. Mary and Andrew are both interesting, dynamic characters and in what I believe to be a rarity in the comic universe, there isn’t a clear good versus evil dynamic. It all depends on which side of the divide you happen to fall. I’m looking forward to seeing where the story will take these two characters. Also, I’m still intrigued by the sort of vampire-werewolf blend that Mary and Andrew seem to be. We’ve all seen vampires turn into bats, but I don’t recall ever seeing them turn into snarling, vicious beasts. In a word, it’s awesome.

The Occultist #1

The truth is, I was there. I got chased by weird guys, and absorbed a book.

Somewhere in Los Angeles, a Mr. Beck answers the door to what appears to be a call girl. Mr. Beck is, of course, very surprised when that girl suddenly turns into a sort of demon, demanding to know where “the book” is, telling him new shamans like himself rely far too much on technology. The creature calls itself The Swordbreaker and reveals that it is looking for The Sword, a boy with the book the creature seeks, before devouring the unfortunate Mr. Beck.

The scene then moves to Plymouth, New Hampshire, where college student Rob Bailey is trying to cope with his sudden powers as The Occultist as well as the death of Jacob Elder, the owner of an antiquarian book store where Rob worked. Rob’s hall-mate Cole stops by to tell him that he hacked into Elder’s eBay account as requested, but that the sales history seemed to have disappeared. Just then, a Detective Melendez shows up to question Rob about the circumstances of Mr. Elder’s death. It seems she’s come up with evidence to place Rob at the scene, but using some of his newfound powers, he quickly makes her forget that bit. Meanwhile, across town, a number of supernatural assassins are gathering and it seems they’ll be looking for The Book and The Sword. That night, Rob goes out as The Occultist to learn more about his powers and finds himself at Elder Rare Books and in a bit of a predicament.

I knew very little about this book before picking it up other than the Dark Horse website’s description, but I’m very glad I did! In true Dark Horse style, it’s an original story chock full of supernatural elements and gorgeous artwork. I’m already a fan of Steve Morris‘ covers from various Buffy titles and the wraparound cover on this issue is gorgeous. The art inside is fantastic as well, with great attention to detail and facial expressions. As for the story, any hero that draws his power from a book is alright by me. The character interactions are realistic and well-done, the issue is paced perfectly, and I feel as though I’ve learned quite a bit about this character just from the first issue (which is good considering this is only a 3-issue run!). Rob’s buddy Cole in particular made me laugh, just in his few pages. The supernatural/occult element is completely intriguing as well. I’m excited to see the various assassins reveal their individual powers and just what Rob can do with his new ones as well.

Avengers Origins: Vision

You…are not…one of…them…

Vision was originally created by Ultron, a creature that was the result of an experiment by Henry Pym aka the avenger Goliath (aka Ant-Man). Ultron refuses to give him any name other than “the creation” and begins training him to be an ultimate fighter. Vision works to please him, without knowing why. Once Ultron feels that Vision is trained well enough, he reveals that he wants his creation to kill The Avengers. As Vision battles The Avengers to carry out this task, he notices that they fight hard for each other and care about each other. He questions why they must be killed and eventually turns on his creator. His creator killed, Vision believes he has nowhere to go, but instead he is invited to choose a name for himself and become an Avenger.

This is the second of Avengers: Origins one-shots that I’ve read and both have been pretty excellent. This one illuminates the tale of an Avenger I didn’t know much about in an interesting story filled with great art. I particularly love the spread when Ultron is training Vision as well as the final battle between the two of them. Plus Vision is generally a very interesting character. Seeing him go from sudden consciousness to learning to fight to learning that he seeks love and approval, all in one book, is very clear character development. He sees The Avengers fighting for each other and even without a learned moral compass decides that he would rather be a part of that than stay loyal to a creature who has only instructed him to fight and to kill. Joining The Avengers is called his second chance, but it’s his first chance at a real existence.

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