The Weekly Pull – 2/1/12 (Part 1)

   

On account of illness, I was unable to do the Weekly Pull. Additionally, we’re on another week with a lot to talk about. So as an experiment, we’re going to be taking this week’s purchases in two parts. In part one, we talk about DC’s offerings.

First up is DETECTIVE COMICS #6. Perhaps realizing that there would be a likely tonal inconsistency between depictions of the Penguin, DC wisely decided to postpone the final issue of Penguin: Pain And Prejudice until next week. Now, I have no way of knowing if this is actually true, but it certainly helps. As I predicted, we’re back to more a more traditional version of the Penguin, complete with “Wah Wah Wah”, of Burgess Meredith fame.

It’s not that this version is bad. If one just needs a crime lord for Batman to fight, one could do a lot worse. The problem stems from it just being a weaker character than one we’ve seen in PPAP. It’s jarring, really, seeing a shift from sympathetic victim of circumstance turning to evil, to just another weirdo with a gimmick and a bunch of goons.

As for the story, it’s serviceable. In the long run, this arc just serves to elaborate on Bruce Wayne’s perpetually stalled romantic entanglements, and kill time until the Joker plotline finally gets going. Also there’s a subplot about Bruce’s romantic interest being the sister of a one-eyed woman that’s also trying to steal diamonds from the Penguin.

Next is SWAMP THING #6, which makes me realize more and more that I should have been reading ANIMAL MAN alongside this. With more than a few books in the relaunch, I’ve found them prone to finding maybe one other book in the line to be linked with, in addition to just referencing events in other books. Both Animal Man and Swamp Thing are fighting The Rot, the force behind putrifaction and decay. And the more I read Swamp Thing, the more I feel like I’m only getting half of a complete story. When the time comes, I’m going to be picking up the first Animal Man trade paperback.

In the meantime, I’ll just keeping reading Swamp Thing, although the plot seems intent on hammering home that fighting the encroaching rotten hoard is a lost cause, which bugs me immensely. High odds stacked against the protagonists is one thing, but outright hopelessness is a whole other deal. Makes the eventual victory of good seem like something that would only come through a contrivance.

Changing from the darker comics, OMAC #6 continues the trend of being a fun book. Which makes it all the more tragic that OMAC is slated for cancellation after issue eight.

I knew this would happen sooner or later. In the likely event my readers haven’t heard, DC decided to cancel the six lowest selling books in the line, and replace them with six new ongoing series. I’ll probably end up writing my thoughts on the so-called “New 52 Second Wave”, as well as a retrospective on OMAC when the final issue comes out. For now, I’m going to enjoy this book while it lasts. From the beginning I knew it wouldn’t last long, so in a way I was always ready for its cancellation, despite how much fun it’s been.

Conversely, RED LANTERNS #6 continues to defy my expectations by being a book I didn’t think would work, yet is coming along nicely. We finally have a human Red Lantern, who admittedly spends most of this issue coming to grips with his new condition. On the downside, the continuing subplot of Atrocitus having an existential crisis, and trying to keep his corps from overthrowing him, is starting to get old. Once again, the main plot stalls so Atrocitus can keep wondering about what his purpose is now that Crona left, instead of just fanning out and finding him. And since much of the issue is devoted to the new guy on Earth, this indecision will continue into at least the next issue.

On the bright side, Green Lantern Guy Gardner shows up, promising a fight between him and the new guy, Jack. Or are we calling him Rankorr? It says to call him Rankorr on the cover, but at no point has it yet been necessary to rename him.

And that’s pretty much it for the offering from DC. In Part Two, I’ll talk about what came out of Marvel this (or last) week.

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