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Harley Quinn #12 is DDelightful, puddin’

November 19, 2014 Leave a comment

Harley Quinn #12 with Power Girl

The casually murderous Harley Quinn and the still-clueless yet good-to-the-core Power Girl are a match made in heaven/hell in Harley Quinn #12, from writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner, and artists John Timms and Chad Hardin. Power Girl is the perfect straight character to play alongside Harley Quinn, and the Kryptonian bombshell provides a much-needed anchor point for a wild ride to another dimension populated by giant dogs, four-breasted aliens and Thanos knock-offs.
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Comic Review: Grayson #1 feels like Mission: Impossible 3

Grayson #1
From the perfect haircut to the face-changing to the spygames, Dick Grayson’s new world in Grayson #1 feels like somewhere Tom Cruise would be right at home.

This comic is all about espionage and double-blinds and undercover plots, with a big twist of pseudo-science thrown in. The art is good, the character rings true and there’s enough here to warrant sticking on board, though Grayson doesn’t quite leap out of the book and grab you as an issue #1 (though there’s plenty of leaping going on).

Mikel Janin handles art duties with some clean pencils, but there are a few points where you have to stop and re-read sections because he loses you in the visual logic – especially in the jumping scenes.

The comic opens with a train heist which DC readers will already know from seeing it printed in the backs of other comics all through June. Dick sneaks onto a train somewhere in Russia while wearing a blonde wig. After a run-in with a very Bond-esque femme fatale and some help from an equally Bond-esque female spy (more on her later), Dick kidnaps a fat Russian man and escapes the train using some form of chemical to make the man cooperate with him.

Dick is working for Spyral – apparently as a double-agent – helping the mysterious organization capture people to reclaim a bunch of powerful body implants that grant superpowers. His boss is swirly-faced Mister Minos, and he’s aided by a certain Helena Bertinelli, the alias of Earth-2’s Huntress. This Helena is blacker and less costumed than her alternate universe equivalent, as Nightwing readers saw at the end of that series’ last issue.

That’s not to say it’ll stay like that forever, though.

Writer Tim Seeley brings out Dick’s sense of fun in the writing and also creates a few sparks between him and Helena, but the most engaging part of the story comes in the middle, when Dick is holed up at a nuclear silo with his abductee.

As soon as Dick gets there he’s attacked by Midnighter, a cowled hero in black armour and a dark coat. Midnighter had a brief New 52 existence in Stormwatch, but that didn’t last long and had few readers. Instead, it appears the character will get some work in this title as a good guy-foe while Dick works undercover.

Grayson #1 is admirable if only because it takes DC’s most-developed character and develops him even more. It’s easy to tell DC has a lot plotted out for this character in the future, and while this first issue doesn’t wow, it does suggest plenty of layers that we’ll get to see peeled back in issues to come.

Oh, and the gun on the cover? Dick never uses one. We’ll see if that keeps up.

7.5 out of 10

Comic Review: the Xavier kid is alright in All-New X-Men #28

All-New X-Men #28 cover

All-New X-Men #28 fixes a lot of what went wrong with the Battle of the Atom event – in more than a few ways.

In terms of story, young Charles Xavier and his half-brother, Raze, get the character-building attention they deserve from Brian Michael Bendis in this latest All-New X-Men issue. Bendis simply didn’t have the space to both introduce, explain and wrap up Xavier’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants from the future during his Battle of the Atom storyline, but he seems to be rectifying that problem now.

Much of All-New X-Men #28 focuses on the Mystique siblings and their relationship with Hank McCoy, as Bendis begins to flesh out the future world he only hinted at months ago. We get a glimpse into the Brotherhood’s team dynamic (hint: it’s no team), and we also get a proper explanation for why pacifist Hank McCoy is helping a psychopath psychic (hint: mind control).

We also get a proper explanation for why these guys are alive and back in the past again, as the first group to foray into the past managed to warn their future selves with a note. If that’s confusing, read the comic. You’ll get it.

Yes, just as the Brotherhood righted their mistakes in the past, so, too, does Bendis seem to, as he uses this comic to develop Xavier from weird pseudo-clone status up to being a full-fledged villain. This Xavier is arrogant and powerful but young and angry – an interesting mix, given that he knows more than his opponents, yet is still very inexperienced himself.

Xavier’s plan centers, of course, on taking out Jean Grey, but not a whole lot happens with the present-day X-Men where she’s concerned. The struggle at Cyclops’ school advances a bit, but the real meat and potatoes of this story lies in the future, with manipulative Charles, angry Raze and poor, poor Hank.

That’s not to say the present is boring though. Bendis spices things up some his typical witty dialogue, and even includes a fun anti-hero shoutout when someone asks Raze who his father is.

“Batman,” is the first answer.

“Wolverine,” is the second.

Stuart Immonen’s art is spot-on again, and while he doesn’t get a lot of spectacle in this issue (mostly more Jean Grey and Cyclops pink/red explosion panels), he has a marvelous spread of future Beast’s labratory.

All-New X-Men #28 makes a proper enemy of Charles Xavier Jr. and his team. And while the Battle of the Atom event may have been a bit disappointing, Bendis looks like he’s got this series ready to dovetail nicely with the events of Marvel’s big Original Sin event.

Give us more evil Xavier. He’s great.

8.5 out of 10

Comic Review: Batman Eternal #6 adds Joker’s Daughter and a dash of magic

Deacon Blackfire in Batman Eternal

If Batman Eternal #5 was all about going high tech (what with its nanobot virus thingie), then Batman Eternal #6 goes the exact opposite direction. This comic is rife with magic, opening the door for a whole new conflict in this ever-growing plot against Batman and his allies.

Batwing is our Batman ally of the week this time around, and the story opens with him battling Gentleman Ghost. From there, Ray Fawkes (scripter for this issue) loops in Jim Corrigan, a.k.a. the Spectre, to help out Bats, while also re-introducing Deacon Blackfire for much longer than his brief cameo in issue #1.

Between Corrigan, Gentleman Ghost and the green-flame skeleton Deacon Blackfire, there’s a whole lot of magic going on here. Batman doesn’t care too much – he just sees it as another item on his growing to-do list – so Batwing becomes our entry point as readers. The tech whiz is out of his element with magic, but that just promises to make it more interesting when he’s teamed up with Corrigan to investigate a disturbance at Arkham.

And that disturbance? It’s the Joker’s Daughter (not really his daughter), holed up deep underground and talking about summoning someone (or something). She’s taking prisoners and giving them hallucinations, but beyond that, I don’t know what to tell you.

Magic brings a whole new dimension to this story, as it always does. Now, Batman is dealing with a gritty crime boss in Carmine Falcone, a nanotech virus, a potential psychic (someone capable of making Jim Gordon hallucinate), and elements of magic and the occult.

Just going to throw this one out there, since we’re pulling in everything possible: aliens for issue #7?

Batwoman regular Trevor McCarthy’s art is clean, crisp and easy to look at, but it steps to another level every time he draws the irradiated skeleton-ghost, Deacon Blackfire.

The writing is solid, too, if a little slow-paced.

After six issues, this is starting to reach the point where I want some progression on the existing storylines before we introduce any more of them. We’ve got just about all the Bat-pieces on the board now, with Red Robin, Batgirl, Harper Row, Batwing, Catwoman and even Stephanie Brown all involved. That leaves only Nightwing (kind of busy with Forever Evil still) and Jason Todd’s Red hood out of the picutre. And if they’re going to go for obscure cousins like Batwing, Batwoman is probably in the cards soon, too.

And I love the Batwoman character, but seriously, can we get this show on the road?

The trailer for Gotham, the Batman prequel series, looks amazing

They’re doing this series right.

Fox recently ordered a full season of Gotham, and here’s what we have to look forward to.

Based on the early bits, it looks like it’s going to be incredible.