The Weekly Pull – 11/7/12 (Part 1)

    

First of the month is always the cramped time when it comes to comics. For some reason, my choice of books stacks me with an excess of titles in this one week. As such, part one looks at the books from DC comics, including ANIMAL MAN #14, SWAMP THING #14, GREEN LANTERN #14, EARTH 2 #6, and DIAL H #6. Part two will contain my thoughts on Marvel’s offerings.

Decided not to pick up DETECTIVE COMICS #14 this week. Maybe next week, when the load is lighter.

ANIMAL MAN #14 continues Rotworld on the red side, with Buddy Baker learning the horrible truth: his family died in the year he’s been gone. Or did they? Well, Maxine might have survived yet, and we get plenty of flashbacks to her fleeing from the Hunters Three, reconstituted in the bodies of her family! Bwa ha ha!

Sorry, the Halloween effect hasn’t entirely worn off yet.

Meanwhile, the titular Animal Man helps the remains of the Red weather an assault by Rot forces, including a zombified Felix Faust. According to him, Arcane has Maxine in his dread fortress, and Buddy needs only come and pick her up. Assuming she’s even really alive at this point. Her fate in the past thus far certainly seems as though she’d fall into Rot hands. There’s even a cameo from a particular Swamp Thing character.

As well as a cameo from Gorilla Grodd, but that’s for later.

Speaking of swampy, SWAMP THING #14 shows the other side of that conversation in SWAMP THING ANNUAL #1, where Alec Holland learns of the “death” of Abigail Arcane. I say “death” in quotation because, like Maxine in Animal Man, her ultimate fate is hinted at though not yet made clear. And also like Maxine, we get to see what Abigail was doing after the world went to crap. She’s returned to her East European village in the mountains to confront Arcane and stop the madness. As you can probably guess, she didn’t succeed.

Swamp Thing, meanwhile, has had it up to here with sitting around, surviving. He’s going to go kill the Rot, out of revenge and the forlorn hope that Abby might still be alive. And then that same character makes a cameo as he/she did in Animal Man.

No, not Grodd. Not everything can revolve around him, regardless of his Megatronian ego.

Yet more green in GREEN LANTERN #14, where our neophyte ring-slinger meets the Justice League. It’s something I’ve kind of dreaded, given how the actual Justice League ongoing went. Geoff Johns – who wrote both that and this – has a specific style applied to the JL that can best be summed thusly: smug self-importance. The team comes off as being such a big deal, I daresay I can’t properly see them as characters so much as a collection of walking plot devices. It’s one of the reasons I abandoned the series at issue eight and never looked back.

That and everyone but Batman and Hal Jordan lacked any kind of personality, the exceptions having unpleasent ones. And now that Hal is bopping around with Sinestro somewhere, the prospects are even lower. Although the Flash gets a chance to be a character…one that wished the death of Guy Gardner. Harsh man! Especially compared to the characterization in your own ongoing.

Before I descend into yet another rant about Johns’ handling of the Justice League, let’s talk about the Guardians and their slow descent into vileness. We learn a bit more about the First Lantern being used to power the evil plot. He’s apparently a sadist with a penchant for causing emotional suffering in his victims. And he chastises the Guardians for their bull crap. Take note: when the monstrous sadistic demigod who had to be locked in a block hole for a few eons sounds morally superior to your plans, you have serious problems. And I love it.

Not exactly on board with Baz as a green lantern, but he’s hardly detrimental to the book and he’s got time to grow on me.

We’ll move from a series about Green Lanterns to another series, co-starring a Green Lantern. Yeah. EARTH 2 #6 picks up with Solomon Grundy killing everything, Terry Sloan having ordered a nuke on Washington DC, the intrepid new “Wonders” not being able to do much, and Alan Scott being tempted by the Grey to abandon Earth to death using a vision of his dead boyfriend.

Things not looking up. Must be the climax of the story arc. Would you look at that, it is!

Most definitely this is a GL centered issue, where he gets a big damn hero moment – including a brilliant disposal of the local trouble. And not to spoil anything else significant, but he kind of starts juggling an idiot ball. Once the danger is resolved, he straight up tells Flash and Hawkgirl that he’s too awesome to need their help. Indeed, he all but tells them they can screw right off because they’re unnecessary. I’m giving James Robinson the benefit of the doubt and say Scott will live to rue that decision and his arrogance.

Because unlike Geoff Johns, Robinson can in fact deliver on teaching characters a valuable lesson about their own superiority in a timely fashion. And make them likable in the meantime so we care what happens to them. Did I mention you ought to read this series?

Last for today is DIAL H #6. What does one do once all the major players of the initial adventure are dead, all the deceased are avenged, and the looming threat is established? Have an entire issue where the characters sit around waiting for adventure to happen of course! Yes, this entire issue revolves around Nelson and Manteau chilling at her house, talking. Gotta say, if I weren’t personally a fan of characters interacting and talking like human beings, I’d almost say this were really boring. Act least Nelson spends the whole time dressed as a stereotypical red Indian.

And no I don’t mean Native American – though I’m not nearly PC enough to say that anyway if I don’t have to – but rather a literal pop culture Indian warrior, bright red skin and “Heap Big” and all. The comic makes a point out of how it’s kind of offensive, though it could easily be worse. Manteau actually keeps a record of some of her “worse” options, like Kid Torture or a KKK propaganda superhero. This leads me to believe the dials not only draw from alternate, very specialized universes, but also from elements of pop culture, at least within the DC universe.

That’s basically what happens the whole time. A lot of exposition about the patterns of the dials, and how dialers deal with its quirks. If you want an exciting installment, this one isn’t it. But for those already reading, it helps to fill in some details and mechanics that are much needed. If you’ve been waiting for a place to jump on, I much better recommend starting from square one rather than coming in here.

Can a comic spend an entire issue milling about a house and still be interesting? Do you think either Maxine Baker or Abigail Arcane are dead by the time Rotworld came around? What does a comic need to do to make a character being a jerk compelling? And if you’ve been following Justice League this far, has it gotten any better? Leave your comments below.

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