The Weekly Pull – 3/14/12 (Part 1)

    

Due to an alarming quirk of the comics release schedule, not only will this Weekly Pull be another multi-part affair, it will also be broken into three parts as opposed to just two. Not including Adventure Time #1, I bought twelve individual issues this week! So here in part one, we’re looking at the books from DC comics. In part two we’ll look at the offerings from Marvel. And in part three, we’ll examine the issues from third party publishers.

First is GREEN LANTERN #7, which begins the two part storyline “The Secret of the Indigo Tribe”. The Indigo Tribe, for those unfamiliar with the GL mythos, is the lantern corps that wields the indigo power of compassion. Their theme is being less an organized military police force and more a collection of people who wear generic tribal clothes and carry their lanterns on the end of sticks. And they’re also the most enigmatic of the corps, because until now almost no stories give more than passing attention to what they’re about. So if nothing else, I’m looking forward to how they resolve this arc and reveal things about them.

It’s like having an entire group of guys with mysterious backstories, who stand around all day and brood. And have their own made up space language.

I think the biggest problem with this issue comes right back to the consistent problem of the series as a whole. The book stars Sinestro, but no matter what the writers need to keep roping Hal Jordan into the adventures, even when he doesn’t want to. At least a third of this issue is devoted to Sinestro trying to force Hal to go with him and investigate the Guardians, and then he just ends up being forced by circumstance into the Indigo Tribe plot. This isn’t a deal breaker, but it outlines the overall reluctance on DC’s part to just allow Sinestro to do things himself without Hal around.

We have two other books directly involving Green Lanterns that aren’t Hal Jordan. I think we can handle him not being the focus here.

Next is DEMON KNIGHTS #7. At long last, all the buildup over the last five or so issues to this epic battle pays off in full force. Everything happens in this issue, from epic magic duels to mass slaughter, betrayals and valiant stands against overwhelming odds. I think every one of the seven main characters get at least a little panel time and a moment of awesome, except Al Jabr (because he kind of already one last issue). Not crowning moments of awesome, but they weren’t ignored.

This was a busy issue. Panels were used to show not only what the main seven were doing during this massive battle, but also the villains and some minor characters. And it feels like a brutal battle. The whole lot of them nearly don’t make it. I can’t say it was the best climax to a storyline I’ve ever seen, but it felt like my patience was rewarded. And we didn’t even get time to wind down after the battle. That’s for next issue.

RESURRECTION MAN #7 sort of continues the trend from the last issue, in that it’s more self-contained than the initial issues. Although in this case, it follows up on points brought up earlier and establishes a new mission for Mitch Shelley for the next issue. That mission: he has seen the face of his former self, and he was a bastard. Now he has to learn more about himself. From the past.

The issue also explores an idea I know was a point in the first Resurrection Man ongoing back in the nineties. Namely that when he comes back to life with a new power, it in some way reflects the manner he died. This is important to the series for the reason that it creates layers to his powers and the narrative, and gives the writers a way to explore unconventional powers and abilities. The major strength of the Resurrection Man concept is generally being contrary to the way things work for the main character. He can’t stay dead, and in fact dying only gives him more options, and the selection of powers being obscure makes him unpredictable.

Also of note that this issue takes place in Metropolis, but doesn’t have Superman cameo. It does have a brief cameo by Jimmy Olson, but that’s besides the point. That’s another thing I enjoy about this series. The writer seems either eager or forced into having Shelley run around the DC Earth, but resists the urge to cross over with other characters just for the hell of it. My hope is that Mitch will end up in Opal or Star City, or Central/Keystone. The chance to see this guy running around these landscapes and making them his own intrigues me.

After that we have THE SHADE #6, still in Barcelona. La Sangre’s nemesis, The Inquisitor, has issued a challenge, and it’s up to her and her mentor the Shade to put an end to his reign of terror. We get some more details about La Sangre’s history with the murderous zeolot, and we meet another of Spain’s superheroes, Montpellier. He’s snake themed, and is basically Spain’s Batman. I’m going on record now and saying this guy will turn out to be evil. And that’s not a spoiler of any kind, just a guess.

We won’t see the conclusion to this Barcelona plot until next issue, which means after this there’s probably one more major arc after this, give or take a one issue story or two. Not much else to say other than this issue came out suspiciously quick after the last one.

Thankfully, I have plenty to talk about with THE RAY #4, the finale to that miniseries. I certainly can’t say I expected how this miniseries was resolved, but I also wasn’t surprised. In any other book I’d find the resolution questionable, but every part of it had a basis established over the course of the book. Well most of it did anyway.

What did confuse me is that The Director, the guy I called Evil Bruno Mattai, had his entire motivation just told to us, and it didn’t really mesh with how he’d been portrayed thus far. In the previous issue, he’d basically been set up as a guy who wasn’t in his right mind, and couldn’t even stay on one thought for too long. And then he just chalks the thing up to daddy issues? What?

There’s also a whole lot of liberal claptrap that rankles me personally at the end, but I can’t fault the book for it. It’s perfectly in character for the Ray to spout stuff like “you should spend more time with your families” or “you’re the reason we need stronger gun control laws”, because of his hippie parents. This doesn’t change the fact that criminals, by their very nature, won’t care about gun laws because they’re already set on breaking the law, and so gun control only punishes innocent people. But whatever. I’ve weathered more blatant propaganda in my comics, and I’m not about to declare this comic in particular awful because of it.

I think the biggest strike against this book is just my disappointment. Like I’ve said before, the comic has a villain that can alter reality and wants to force the Ray to be in his movie of death. And despite basically setting us up for Ray flying through a deadly obstacle course and matching wits with an insane man, The Ray resists any attempt towards this. And thus, we can’t get a lethal gauntlet to rescue anyone or Ray trying to force the situation against Evil Bruno Mattai, and I’m left disappointed. Instead we get his fighting maybe three robots made from cars, and a lot of motivational speeches.

And hypnotism. Don’t forget about hypnotism.

Do I recommend this miniseries in hindsight? That’s a tough one. Although I think I recommend it more than the nineties Ray series. Come to think of it…

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