Thankfully we can cram the entire week’s comics in one post. Includes BATMAN #14, DEMON KNIGHTS #14, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #697, VENOM #27, STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION/DOCTOR WHO: ASSIMILATION 2 #7, and BLOODSHOT #5.
And yes, I’ve decided to straight up skip DETECTIVE COMICS #14. It’s complicated.
BATMAN #14 continues Death of the Family with the dark knight recovering from his encounter with the returned Joker. Or rather from a recording of the Joker or something, as acted by Harley Quin. I’ve found out that Suicide Squad is also included in this event for this reason, but we’re not talking about that. Harley promptly drops out of this issue after one page, so it’s no loss.
Oh, and Alfred gets kidnapped by the Joker. It’s a big deal.
So much of a big deal that the entire Bat-family is put on alert, though the detail of the good butler’s kidnapping kept hushed up except for Nightwing. And after some crazy stuff happening, Batman has a real encounter with the real Joker, face to face to face. It doesn’t go well. But in the most…exciting manner possible. My rule against spoiling issues goes double here, because as usual Scott Snyder does a great job infusing pathos into every page. Like a doctor injecting raw emotions through a syringe. What I am willing to say is that, as stated previously, the clown prince of crime wants to rid Batman of the family “burdening” him. And he can do it now.
Because, well, he’s got the inside tract. No more secrets.
Gorgeous artwork by Greg Capullo as well, as usual. Lots of splash pages that feel appropriate to the situation.
Lastly on this one is the backup feature. As with last issue, the main plot is followed by a scene between the returned Joker and another Gotham villain. First we had Harley, and now it’s the Penguin. And once again, the person working opposite the clown is made to feel more uncomfortable than usual. And more endangered. My guess is these segments aim to show how the Joker interacts with the various people around him, and how the old status quo is being horridly subverted.
Next is DEMON KNIGHTS #14, which as I may have mentioned is a series I love – to the point that it’s the one series I consistently have trouble not spoiling. I love to gush, and there’s always enough stuff to gush about in this series with so many quick but effective character moments.
So the eponymous Demon Knights remain in hell, trying to bust out because hell sucks. All except Jason Blood, who had every intention of killing himself so as to take an express ride to hell, if not for the intervention of the Questing Queen and her hoard. Remember her from the first story arc? She just happens to have a means of sending him to hell without the whole dying thing (and by that I mean her hubby Mordru has the magical means).
While Jason tries to come to hell from the top down, Shining Knight proceeds to bust everyone out of their torments while Xanadu tries to find an escape route from the bottom up. And all of this is going exactly as Etrigan planned. There’s a whole lot of plans going on in this book, and plans made within other people’s plans. It’s like Pirates of the Caribbean, except while only some of those characters were sort of awesome some of the time, basically all the characters in Demon Knights are completely awesome all of the time.
Oh, and we finally learn what the heck’s up with Shining Knight’s gender. Xoristos is disappointed by the revelation. I’m personally torn for reasons not worth getting into. Just so you know, Shining Knight is now probably my favorite character.
And the ending to the issue is industrial grade awesome. More on that next month.
On to AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #697, where Peter Parker and his boss Max Modell flee in terror from the now (partially) united Hobgoblins. I say partially because, even though Phil Urich and Roderick Kingsley have a common interest in retrieving the Goblin Key from the nerds, they yet loath each other for hijacking their bit. So it’s a quasi-battle royale, with guys technically on the same side yet will spend half the time assaulting each other.
Sounds like any given game of Chivalry: Medieval Warfare.
The previously mentioned Goblin Key helps locate and unlock one of Norman Osborne’s secret caches of Green Goblin tech. Naturally Pete and Max hole up in it to escape the death from above. Just a bit of detail on the hideout, it contains among other implements of Goblinic death a full suit of Iron Patriot armor. This is never discussed, even though it’s basically an Iron Man suit and would be the most useful thing to fight against the Hobgoblins.
There’s a difference you see between making a background nod to past continuity, and creating an accidental plot hole. They use everything else in that room to fight, why not the armor?
We get a brief cameo from Osborne’s son Harry, who then promptly goes back to caring for his son. It’s an entire thing from a few years back. Frankly I’m still reeling from the fact that he’s alive again. Tell me Mr Quesada, what part of bringing Harry Osborne back to life required Spiderman making a deal with the devil?
Something to say regarding the artwork for this issue; the mask on Kingsley’s costume was altered from the previous issue to look more like the traditional Hobgoblin mask (basically the standard latex affair), while Urich’s mask maintains the more rigid design I like. I think the difference complements the rivalry, so it’s a smart change. Really, this was a great storyline, and I chalk a lot of it down to the way these two play off each other. Makes me want to go read more on the Hobgoblin. Or at least watch the Spiderman Animated Series from the nineties.
Speaking of the Spidey crew, VENOM #27 marks the second to last part of Minimum Carnage before Minimum Carnage Omega. Marquis Radu captured Venom and Carnage, with the intent of using their symbiotes to create an army to kill the god of the Microverse. He does this by forcefully converting hundreds of clones into symbiotic hybrids of their respective symbiotes. I think this may be the closest I’m ever going to get to being able to use “incestuous slurry” in the context of anything, so I’m damn well going to do it.
Man, Venom spawned Carnage. This sure turned into an incestuous slurry of violence. Yeah.
I don’t know people, this storyline has been okay, but it’s hard not to compare it to the last time Carnage showed up. Remember Carnage USA, and how dark that was? This one is more traditional superhero action, but with Carnage thrown in. Usually I have no problem with superheroics – a sight better than the endless melodrama or event comics where heroes fight each other – but for some reason this isn’t quite doing it for me. Maybe I’ve just been in a bad mood. There’s nothing wrong with this story. I just feel so worn out lately.
You know what else wears me out? Having to write STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION/DOCTOR WHO: ASSIMILATION 2 #7 in its entirety. Much then to my joy that we’re almost done with this as well.
I’m going to have a lot of retrospectives to write in the next few months. Really I ought to be keeping a list of them.
So with an alliance forged with the Borg, the crews of the Starship Enterprise and the blue police box are preparing to take down the Cybermen before they fully upgrade the Borg collective and become unstoppable. In order to do that, though, they need to gain an intact copy of the Borg central system OS or something to that effect. Which required time travel to a famous battle from TNG. Such is where we are, with the Doctor and companions retrieving said OS thing and getting the hell out of Space Dodge.
But oh no! Even with the Borg suping up the Enterprise, they still can’t catch up the Cybermen ship before it reaches Borg space! What ever shall they do? Once again, The Doctor gets to completely save the day while everyone else stands around being useless and overly fond of their guns.
Yes, the Doctor actually does confront Worf about his using guns in the inevitable TARDIS trip to the Cybermen ship, saying they make you stupid. I like Doctor Who well enough, but I’ve always disagreed heavily with the show’s pretentious anti-gun mentality. No Doctor, guns don’t make you stupid, they make you alive when enemies try to kill you. Especially when they’re enemies you know very well, and know for a fact will have no compunction about opening fire at the first sign of invaders! If half the generic enemies in any given serial weren’t holding the idiot and villain balls simultaniously at all times, you’re no guns policy would have gotten you killed a million times over!
Sorry. I get that way sometimes. Besides, I’m pretty sure the men and women of Starfleet know how to use a damn phaser rifle without losing their marbles. And thankfully Worf agrees with me about the idiocy of going into a hostile enemy ship unarmed. It’s nice to know this crossover isn’t fully engaged in pandering to the Who side of the things.
Can you believe it? I’m actually anxious for Star Trek/Doctor Who to finish already. The fan juices must be wearing off after both this and the Star Trek/Legion of Superheroes miniseries.
Last on our list is BLOODSHOT #5, and the attack on Project Rising Spirit. Our amnesiac hero(?) procured enough intel on PRS to mount an assault on the base containing information on who he is and what his existence means. For some reason, both the EMP psion Pulse and paramedic Murphey are going along for the ride on the ticket of a man who isn’t all there. Then again, they do have reasons (revenge and wants nanomachines for comatose sibling, respectively).
We get a little more backstory on Pulse, namely her initial time as a slave of PRS. As established here and briefly in Harbinger, Project Rising Spirit has a vested interest in the psychic children of the world, namely collecting them Pokemon. And we learn that Bloodshot’s nanomachines have a dry wit when it’s appropriate. Oh, and Bloodshot’s mysterious red chest circle is at least acknowledged for once.
The full implications of the attack won’t play out until at least next issue. Besides that, I’ve got nothing.
How is everyone enjoying the new Valiant titles as of late? Does this new version of the Joker creep you out as it does me? Have I badly overstated my love of Demon Knights and should stop? Which Hobgoblin do you like the most and why? Do you miss good old fashioned super hero action? And has IDW leaned too far to one end of the fandoms with its latest crossover? Leave a comment below.