It’s the start of a new month, which means the pull list gets swamped. Again. Matters are made worse by DC’s release of six new ongoing series, four of which come out this week. I bought three of them. For now, part one of this week’s pull include the current ongoings from DC comics. In part 2, we’ll take a look at the books from Marvel.
First on the list is RED LANTERNS #9, and I am officially done with this series. No, I’m done with it. There’s enough books to buy that I have no reason to keep buying books I don’t like. And let me tell you, I am sick and tired of Red Lanterns.
Let me start by pointing out that this issue has a fantastic cover. It’s very reminiscent of the covers from Blackest Night, except with muted reds to go along with the title’s theme. It even has the tagline for the issue, “The Dead Lantern Corps”. The only problem is the utter lack of the red lanterns dying. Regular readers will recall issue eight ending with the central power battery poisoned and the red lanterns slowly dying from the poison. But then this issue starts and the corps is hardly worse for wear. They say they’ll still die, but evidently not as quickly as we’d been led to believe, and there’s no reason to think they’ll be dead any time soon. So both the last issue’s ending and the cover greatly exaggerates the plot, and is quite misleading all things considered.
This has been the consistent problem with Red Lanterns since the beginning. Not only do the titular corps not do anything of substance, but every time they boast of doing something, it’s basically dropped by the next issue and nothing gets done. This has happened half a dozen times at least, and I’m quite tired of being jerked around by this point. You hear me Red Lanterns? I gave you nine issues, and all you’ve given me is a lukewarm experience and a lot of spinning wheels without getting anywhere!
When I get more time, you better believe I’ll be writing a retrospective of this series, and unlike OMAC which will be bitter sweet and with a heavy sadness, I’ll have nothing but bile to throw around about this series. More angry spitting will occur there than was done in this entire series.
Next is DETECTIVE COMICS #9, which is considerably better than RL #9, but kind of disappointing. It’s time for Night of the Owls tie-ins, the first I’ve looked at since the last issue of Batman, and the setting is Arkham Asylum. The issue starts with Doctor Jeremiah Arkham, head psychiatrist of the place and descendent of our good pal Amadeus Arkham from All Star Western. Unlike Amadeus, Jeremiah is considerably less well put together, and even has a history of briefly donning Black Mask‘s mask. He’s also a bit too sympathetic to the maniacs in his care, meaning he’s partly to blame for Gotham’s revolving door policy.
A good portion of the issue is devoted to Arkham’s internal monologue about how his asylum is a safe haven for the criminally insane, how much he despises Batman and the legal system for “mistreating” those he considers very ill, and how safe he is from the threats outside. While I disagree with the methods of dealing with the criminals and psychopaths in his care (eventually you just have to put a bullet in their brains and be done with it, especially with these guys), I do see his empathy and care as genuine. You can make anyone sympathetic, and I found myself really feeling for this guy a bit. And as I read this, I began to think maybe this issue will concern Arkham fighting off the Talons using his knowledge of the asylum, and his rapport with his patients. Maybe this will be an issue where a less than moral supporting character gets his due.
And then Batman shows up. I know this is kind of his thing, but I have to ask both from a narrative standpoint and a logical standpoint: how the heck is Batman here?
I’m serious. Shouldn’t he be very badly injured and stuck over in the bat cave, piloting a bat mech and fighting off dozens of Talons that want to kill him and Alfred? How and why is he here? There’s no logical reason for it, other than this being a Batman book and thus requiring Batman to be in it. Except why does he need to be here? In fact, I make the argument that given all we see in this issue, Batman could easily have not been in this issue, and it’d be better for it. It’d be stronger if Arkham had to rely on his wits, knowledge of the place, and the trust of his patients to fight off the assassins. Instead, Batman shows up to fight them. Arkham and Black Mask practically do it all anyway, so why did Batman have to be here and create a massive plot hole?
My guess is that either the writer didn’t know or care about what’s going on in the pages of BATMAN, and just assumed the dark knight would show up. This is the kind of thing that seriously makes me wonder why I even still read Detective Comics. I’ve been told I should read things like Batwing or Nightwing, and this series has been lacking basically since Batman caught the doll maker.
Well, I could keep coming back for the side story with Two Face. Harvey Dent, former prosecuting attorney turned crime lord, has made a deal with a longtime rival: take care of some blackmailer, and the rival can give Two Face his old job as a DA back. It’s a pretty solid story, especially since it scratches that itch for a villain-centric story.
You know, if you hadn’t guessed at this point that I’d like a villain as a protagonist every once in a while. And no, a jackass of a hero doesn’t count. I’m looking at you, Justice League. My list of ongoings is too large as it is, and I’m looking for series to cut. And you especially don’t look so good right now.
Lastly from DC is SWAMP THING #9, who thankfully works very well and gets to stay on my pull list (my poor wallet). Last time, a heavily armored Swamp Thing marched into the base of Sethe, God of Storms and major general in the armies of The Rot. And he kicked ass! But then The Rot pulled a low blow, and set loose the newly transformed Abigail Arcane against our agricultural hero.
Now I don’t want to spoil it, but Swampy pulls a win out and even frees Abigail. It’s a pretty well foreshadowed win too, though I’m not entirely sure what the mechanics of it were. Regardless, Abigail gets freed (with a makeover), and they beat the bad guys. I really feel bad about what spoilers I gave, and you really should be reading this series yourselves. It’s good, and worth the money.
Oh, and at the end it’s revealed that Antone Arcane, Swamp Thing’s oldest recurring villain and Abigail’s made scientist uncle, has returned from death at The Rot’s command! We’ll be seeing the resulting fight next issue. And believe me, I’m awaiting with bated breath.
And that’s basically it for DC’s books this week. Well, other than the three new series I bought. After part two of the weekly pull, where we’ll look at the offerings from Marvel, I’ll give my first impressions of EARTH 2 #1, WORLD’S FINEST #1, and DIAL H #1.