It’s the first of the month again, so you know what that means. A pull list twice as long as every other list. Includes ANIMAL MAN #15, SWAMP THING #15, EARTH 2 #7, and DIAL H #7.
We’re in the third main part of Rotworld, as depicted in ANIMAL MAN #15 and SWAMP THING #15. The two issues take the track of sending their respective main characters to a major, famous city of the DC universe, in search of aid or a way to fight Anton Arcane. It’s actually funny how much the two mirror each other, beat for beat. In Animal Man, the titular hero is assaulted by a team-up between the Brain/Mala combo of the Doom Patrol and Gorilla Grodd, which is broken up by Frankenstein (Agent of SHADE) and his army of patchwork soldiers.
How people resurrected in such a manner don’t fall under the purview of the Rot, I don’t know. Maybe it’s just enough that they count as being rot, like how Abigail is rot-aligned in power yet very much against her uncle. More on that later, for now I’ll just sit and admire the awesome.
Their meager force bolstered, the Red gang lead way to Metropolis, the last city to stand against the Rot before finally falling, aided by Superman’s sudden and inexplicable disappearance. Do they find Superman in Metropolis? No, that would be too obvious. More on that next month. The issue also shows us slightly more of what happened to Maxine, after coming into contact with William Arcane.
Speaking of William, in the time since that flashback he’s been made lord of the undead sea in the pages of Swamp Thing, even trying to use a zombie Starro to kill Holland. Yes, a zombie Starro. For some reason, Deadman decides he needs to make a heroic sacrifice. One that shouldn’t have killed him, being a ghost and all. So jumping into thousands of Black Lanterns only shocks him, but jumping into one half-dead child somehow kills Deadman forever?
Yes, this was a transparent ploy to get Alec alone for his trip to Gotham. It’s basically the inverse of Animal Man. Whereas the one has the hero’s entourage increasing with each issue, the other systematically strips the hero of all companions.
Just like in Animal Man, Swamp Thing goes to Gotham, with the implication he’s going to encounter Batman and receive his aid. Things don’t quite go according to plan, though he does meet the Bat. And there’s yet more flashbacks, this time with Abigail captured by Anton Arcane. It’s a really effective sequence, including clues that the power structure of the Rot might not be what it seems.
I’m still baffled as to why both of these series need to come out on the same week. Especially since they play out very similarly, to the point I feel like I just read the same issue twice. At least more than I usually do as a matter of course in rendering my thoughts.
Moving on from Rotworld, EARTH 2 #7 shows us the aftermath of the battle with Grundy. For reasons of arrogance, Alan Scott decided to go off on his own, spurning the offer from Hawkgirl that they and the Flash team up. He’s not shifted his position, though we have an opportunity to see how he’s held up following his boyfriend’s death. Hawkgirl gives her backstory as basically what would happen if Lora Croft suddenly gained superpowers. And was then hunted by the government and could never go out in public because of her wings.
Take note writers. Sometimes superpowers aren’t all for their owner’s benefit. Use this to your advantage.
Meanwhile in the World Army, Commander Amar Khan understandably fumes about his superiors deciding to not only bring in Sloan during the recent battle (his major contribution being to try to nuke Washington DC), but also hire him full time as the organization’s science officer and equal to Amar. Doesn’t help Sloan killed millions of Khan’s people. If this issue is about anything, it’s Amar Khan and Sloan engaging in inter-company politics, gritted toothed jabs, and active espionage. We finally meet this universe’s Red Tornado, an as-of-yet incomplete gynoid. I say gynoid as opposed to android, because it’s obvious modeled after a female with superfluous breasts. Oddly enough the first character in comics history to bear the name Red Tornado was a human woman dressed as a man.
Comics are funny like that. Funny in an early installment weirdness kind of way. What’s more, this was (at least until 2011) still in continuity in the JSA books.
Wesley Dodds and his Sandmen also reappear, set to play a bigger role in the events to come. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that this issue marks the return of Mister Terrific, having previously been captured by Sloan for his own ends. Micheal Holt has seen better days, especially when it comes to his free will. He’s better now, though. Maybe.
Last for today is DIAL H #7. Nelson and Manteau, having learned there may exist another dial somewhere in Europe (and badly needing one because sharing is hard), travel around the continent looking for clues. They inspect and infiltrate a number of centers of dial worship – you saw what I just typed – before learning of a sunken temple that may have had a dial in it. Manteau goes into to search it, donning the identity for the issue in The Planktonian, The Tiny Many Champion!
It’s a sentient school of krill. If you thought maintaining one’s sense of self while dialing was bad before, try becoming a hive mind of fry. Much punching of whales was had.
While that amazing nonsense was going on, some guy with vague, not adequately explained powers investigates the old base of Ex Nihilo and Squid. This is The Centipede, and as much as the comic says he’s got rewinding powers, I kind of need to see the thing in motion. The way the comic conveys it in still image form just doesn’t quite do it for me. Still cool though.
Are you sick of the off-the-wall nature of Dial H yet? Should Animal Man and Swamp Thing be released on different days of the month? Do you care about the Golden Age Red Tornado? Should Deadman be able to be killed? Whale punching; really? Leave your comments below. Feedback is always appreciated.