Another two-part pull list, though the distribution is stacked more heavily in DC’s favor. Here in part one, we look at DEMON KNIGHTS #10, GREEN LANTERN #10, BATMAN #10, RESURRECTION MAN #10, and THE SHADE #9. In part two, we’ll look at the offerings from Marvel comics.
First up is DEMON KNIGHTS #10. And nothing reminds me better why I love this ongoing series than Vandal Savage punching a Pirate Sea Serpent in the dislocate-able jaw. I keep telling people that a really fun comic is worth more than an entire deep, deconstructionist graphic novel. The unlikely band of warriors set sail for Avalon, near the remains of old Camelot. But it wouldn’t be an epic quest to resurrect Merlin if any number of obstacles stood in their way. Be it giant wolves or the aforementioned sea serpent ridden by pirates, this group just can’t catch a break.
Also there’s something about a zombie King Arthur with messed up magic powers. But that only comes into play at the end.
This issue has some pretty sweet fight scenes, and plenty of amusing exchanges between some of the members. Not to mention this series continues to focus on giving all the characters something to do. We finally get to see Al Jabr in action, and apparently he’s got electric science on his side. Or as he called it, “Electrickery”. I love Demon Knights. I really do.
From the middle ages to the depth of space, it’s GREEN LANTERN #10, and the long-awaited conclusion to the Indigo Tribe storyline. Nostromo, a resident of the Tribe’s home planet, has lost hope for the corps he helped build upon learning of Abin Sur’s death. Distraught, he destroyed the central power battery for the Indigo Tribe, releasing those former murderers and maniacs from the Indigo light’s influence. Now Hal Jordan and Sinestro need to convince the guy to undo the damage before they’re all killed horribly.
Oh, and Black Hand becomes an undead Black Lantern again. Kind of makes me wonder why they didn’t use this issue’s cover for the last issue, and have this issue warn of the madness of Black Hand. Heck, he barely does anything either issue, so I really don’t know what to say about these covers.
I won’t spoil anything more than I already have, and just say this was a satisfying conclusion. And despite all evidence to the contrary, this isn’t the end of the Indigo Tribe. Although we do get a lot more characterization for Indigo-1 at least. Plus, we’re finally getting around to talking about Sinestro, and whether or not he can be redeemed. How easy is it to forget this series is supposed to be about him? My only complaint is the lack of scenes establishing future storylines, aside from Black Hand of course. Then again, that’s probably a good thing; the return of the premier Black Lantern ought to draw readers into buying the next issue, and any other scenes might have broken the flow or just made half-hearted references to things happening in other books.
On to adjectiveless BATMAN #10. Night of the Owls is officially ended, yet the Dark Knight’s crusade against the Court of Owls isn’t quite finished. The Talons have almost all been wrangled and put on ice (except whoever that Talon is in that upcoming Talon series), and all Batman needs to do is track down the ones who orchestrated the whole shebang. Needless to say, things don’t go according to plan.
It’s only now that I look back and realize Scott Snyder managed to stretch this plot thread over ten issues, and yet avoid descending into tedium. And we’re still not done yet! There’s a plot twist in this issue that will blow your mind on several levels. Established well in advance – as in established in the first couple issues – this one draws together the entire bunch of lingering plot threads, and it’s brilliant. Not to mention we’re given reasonable doubt as to whether the final twist is true, or whether it’s a lie/fabrication/delusion on someone’s part. It’s practically Inception-esque in how ambiguous it is.
Or at least it would be if the backup story featuring Jarvis Pennyworth didn’t outright verify it one way or the other. And we were so close to a perfect streak here, too.
Regardless, this has been a great run. Scott Snyder should be proud of himself; there’s a reason I’ve been putting money on him being the next great comic writer. For those who haven’t been reading BATMAN or came in late, I highly recommend picking up the back issues from the beginning of this run because, having read it from the beginning, the most recent developments fit together perfectly.
Let me reiterate. BATMAN is a great series. Go out and buy it!
Moving right along, RESURRECTION MAN #10 has a cover that promises Mitch Shelley trapped in an evil laboratory, being killed repeatedly by some guy for the purposes of science. None of which actually happens in this issue. Instead, we have Shelley and Kim the Psychic travel to an abandoned factory that served as a base for the Transhuman.
You remember the Transhuman, right? Old young guy forced into a nursing home because of artificial aging. Uses a suit of powered armor. Is kind of friends with Mitch. No? Well, they go there, hoping to find out where they can gets answers as to the titular character’s past, and why everyone wants his soul.
Speaking of, angels attack with the intent of claiming said spectral property. And demons do too. It’s better just to read the issue.
It’s another solid issue that stands on its own (for the most part at least). The way the two main characters play off each other is great, though where Kim bought a skintight stealth suit on a detective’s wages is beyond me. Besides that, there’s not much to say, other than Shelley sports some shadow-based powers that he surprisingly keeps the entire issue. Yeah, he didn’t die once! Weird, huh?
Speaking of shadow powers, THE SHADE #9 pits our Victorian anti-hero against the gods of ancient Egypt. With his business finished in Barcelona, the Shade travels to London, where one of his descendents has embroiled himself in esoteric, pseudo-Masonic rights, including ritual sacrifice. Also there’s some brief thing with the Shade helping some Irish superhero kill off particularly evil villains. It’s really weird and doesn’t really go anywhere.
Of particular interest is yet another new artist for this issue. The book has cycled through quite a few different artists over the course of the limited series. Starting now – presumably for the remainder of this story arc – art duties fall to Frazer Irving. He’s a strange one, Frazer Irving. His style leans towards heavily stylization, with a unique inking and coloring method that I’ve not seen in any other artist. The colors make everything pop out more, which combined with heavily contrasting color schemes mean while the design is weird, it’s never impossible to figure out what’s going on.
But what gets me is the way he renders the Shade’s shadowy tendrils. Unlike previous artists, where the mass of shadow was more solid, this stuff looks more like black string or hair. It’s really good for not blocking parts of the background with what amounts to a huge ink spill. If I had to cite one defining aspect of this style in comparison to the last artist’s work, it’d be that the last one made things in a very 2D fashion, whereas Irving’s art possesses a wealth of depth I rarely see these days.
Strange how we’re already three fourths of the way through THE SHADE. I’m almost kind of sad. Although, if this works out DC might think of giving Robinson the ability to work on another of his characters. Although how many of them are still in continuity remains to be seen. If not for the cameo from Deathstroke in the first issue, I’d almost say the Shade lived in his own universe.