It’s nice to just have the select few ongoings after a high density week, new series and all.
Let’s start with DC comics and GREEN LANTERN #9. The tagline to this issue is “Drowning in the Madness of Black Hand”, and it is true William Hand aka “Black Hand” does appear in this issue and he is freed from the brainwashing of the Indigo light. But that’s it; the cover, once again, lies to the readers. Black Hand, the guy instrumental to the events of Blackest Night, does exactly nothing in this issue and barely even shows up in panels. Presumably he’ll do something in later issues, but not here.
Rather, this issue concerns the Indigo Tribe as a whole, and specifically how and why the corps was created in the first place. Issue eight gave us the revelation that basically every member of the Indigo Tribe was once a sadistic criminal, captured and brainwashed as Black Hand was. The reason for this goes into spoiler territory, so suffice to say it’s an interesting revelation we receive. And as it turns out, revealing the tribe’s origin story factors into the current predicament facing the GL books, namely the ever-growing insanity of the Guardians.
Not that what we learn here factors much into it, since this book follows another trend in the GL books wherein an entire lantern corps gets shattered. Again, not going to spoil things, I just thought the reason why the corps was, shall we say, broken up seems forced. Unlike the death of the Sinestro Corps or the slow poisoning of the Red Lanterns, there’s no reason why the Indigo Tribe had to fall apart like it did. For spoiler related reasons.
As much as I find these turn of events interesting, though, I’m getting tired of this story arc. It looks like the Indigo Tribe business ends next issue, but that’s what I’ve been thinking since the first part of it. There’s a lot of things I wished DC would do as far as publishing formats are concerned, but one of them is telling us explicitly how many parts are in a particular story arc. The worst that can happen is that people don’t like a particular story, stop reading with the intent of starting again when it ends, and then pick up after the requisite number of issues have passed. Otherwise the readers could stop reading and never know when to come back in. And then they’ve stopped reading it forever.
A little courtesy is all I’m asking, DC. That and giving Alan Moore back the rights to Watchmen.
Next is RESURRECTION MAN #9, which promises a fight between the titular hero and the Suicide Squad. I never cared about the Suicide Squad ongoing, especially since DC made it an ongoing series about a team of villains when they already had a really, really good ongoing about villains in the form of Secret Six. Because of this, I’ve paid Suicide Squad no attention, and thus only know that they’re a group of former villains working for the US government on covert assignments in exchange for their freedom.
And most of the team (or who I presume to be the team) do nothing but get thrown around this issue.
See, this one had more to do with a power struggle between Amanda Waller, the uptight black woman in charge of the Suicide Squad, and Director Hooker, the facially scarred head of a rival government covert ops department that commands the Body Doubles. You remember the Body Doubles, those two psychotic women with a healing factor from several issues ago? Both departments want Mitch Shelley, and Waller uses that empath from the last issue whose name escapes me as bait. Unfortunately for us, it seems the writer decided to stop the much more interesting one-off meanderings from the last few issues, and get back to the plot. Which at least from my perspective is the weakest aspect of this series.
Not to mention I barely know any of the villains in the Suicide Squad besides Deadshot and that humanoid shark guy. Maybe the next issue will be better.
DEMON KNIGHTS #9 has our ragtag band of violent sociopaths finally arriving at the City of Alba Sarum, where they gain audience with the two princesses. We’re given some more information about the city and its leaders, namely that the two princesses are lovers who made a law giving the women the right to marry, but only on the condition that they make their city into the New Camelot. Eh whatever, I’ll buy it, even though it’s historically asinine at best.
And also Merlin got murdered. But he’ll get better, just as soon as the team invades Avalon and retrieves his soul.
Thing about the initial issues of this ongoing is that the entire cast was working together mostly out of necessity. So my concern was how the writers would get them all working together still, when they have no immediate need to do so, and in fact hate each other’s guts. I guess this issue does that, if only through the promise of a greater reward. The book downright plays with the conflicting personalities, as if they’ll be at each other in no time. And it being a plot point. Trust me, more than a few of these guys are planning to totally betray each other at the first opportunity. Especially Etrigan.
But what did you expect from a freaking demon? I surprised he hasn’t plotted these things sooner.
Next is BATMAN #9, and I just now noticed issues eight and nine shifted to a four dollar price as opposed to a three dollar price. Probably to take advantage of the Night of the Owls storyline. But at least this one begins a side story involving Alfred’s father Jarvis Pennyworth. It’s told mostly as the latter’s last letter to the former, revealing he too came under the scrutiny of the Court of Owls. What this amounts to will have to wait for the next issue.
Here’s the part where I eat crow, because there’s a point where Batman gets out of the cave (dispatching his foes in the process, naturally), and drives off to deal with the other Talons attacking people. So despite my objections about Detective Comics #9, Batman did have time to go out and save Jeremiah Arkham over at the asylum. This doesn’t change the fact that he shouldn’t be in any condition to do so, nor should that issue have needed him around when Arkham alone would be more interesting. But regardless, I jumped the gun.
It is worth noting that getting involved with Jeremiah Arkham caused Batman to be late saving someone else. But that’s getting into spoilers again. I do like this book still. It’s just that this storyline is running long and smacks of editorial involvement by how greatly it’s stretched out to cover all these books.
Moving on to Marvel comics, THE PUNISHER #11 helps build down from the Omega Effect with a simple one-issue story. With zombies!
Admit it, you didn’t expect zombies in a Punisher comic.
This issue is formatted as a flashback told by Walter Bolt, one of those detectives that make up the police procedural part of this ongoing series. He’s been supplying information about criminals to the Punisher for a while before, and in this issue he confesses as much to his superiors. He also recounts how in a recent run-in with a necromancer villain, he was unduly given credit for taking him and his zombies down, when really it was the Punisher. And it’s pretty funny to boot, which is a lot coming from a Punisher comic. Especially this run, which pushes more towards gritty realism.
Well, aside from the villains and the zombies and the super hard drive with trillions of terabytes of memory made out of an old Fantastic Four insignia. You know, aside from all that.
Now if only the cover would be a little more relevant to the proceedings. The Punisher doesn’t wield a chainsaw in this issue, nor is he fighting army dudes. If there’s one key failing of this book, it’s that the covers rarely correspond to the events happening in the comic. Frank Castle doesn’t even look like he does in the comic. At least Green Lantern’s covers, while wildly deceptive, at least correlate with the content.
And finally we have SCARLET SPIDER #5, where Kaine works together with supporting character Officer Layton to find and defuse an atomic bomb planted in Houston by a right-wing extremist group. And while I count myself as leaning more to the right from a more moderate position, I fully agree that these guys should be punched by an angry clone with spider powers. And then executed Judge Dredd style.
Like Punisher number eleven, this issue is a standalone piece. We’re taking a break from the mysteries of Aracelly the psychic illegal alien and Kaine’s deal with the Assassin’s Guild. Taking a break to deal with a nuke. And Kaine deals with it using his own brand of borderline lethal interrogation techniques, and one of his traditionally less impressive powers. Not revealing which one. I’m just glad when writers take seemingly useless powers and finds logical ways to make them incredible. It’s the entire premise behind One Piece.
Me talking about manga on a mostly western comics site? It’s more likely than you’d think. This isn’t where comics collide for nothing. Or have I introduced that catchphrase yet?