Well played, DC. Well played.
If you haven't read your comics yet this week, I'll just let you know that I am throwing down all sorts of spoilers here. You've been warned.
The Flash #13
It's the last issue of this series. It has the Black Flash on the cover. Carrying Bart's dead body. So anything that happens inside isn't much of a surprise.
In the grand tradition of making me like a character most just before he or she dies, I liked Bart a lot in this issue. He goes down fighting. Hard.
Sadly, it's not enough.
R.I.P. Bart Allan. We hardly understood ye.
Tim Drake is sad:
I thought that was pretty touching. Man that kid has seen a pile of death.
So that ends that run on The Flash. Mark Waid takes over soon, but with which Flash? The answer can only be found in JLA #10.
Justice League of America #10
Ow! I've got boobs in my eye!
Ok, before we get to the big reveal, a couple of items:
I liked the point made by Jay Garrick that he is not the fastest member of the combined teams:
Hal? Really? Also...where's Vixen? Apparently she can run as fast as a cheetah, which can run as fast as lightning. Also...Power Girl's shorts. They are stupid. I love Ed Benes' art, but I can't stand the cheesecake. Black Canary looks even worse:
Yes, Dinah. We do have a problem. This is what you choose to wear to the office.
With that all out of the way, let's get to the good stuff. I was on the edge of my seat for this whole issue. I was sure I knew what was going to happen, and who was going to come back. I mean, I think we all did. I was close...but not quite right:
Wally West?! I mean...I like Wally. I'm glad he's back. It's just...no, I'm glad he's back. I think Batman summed up my feelings in this adorable and heartbreaking panel:
Awwwwwwwwwwwwwww. Who needs a cookie?
Again, Starman is great.
But seriously, I'm glad it's Wally. Of course I wanted to see Barry Allen (I spelled it right this time!) again. But he is one of those characters where I think his death is more important than the actual character. And Wally has been the Flash for almost as long as Barry was. He's our Flash. And he's a great character and I'm glad to see him back and a part of the JLA.
Yay for Wally!
Aw, who am I kidding? I wanted a tearful reunion/group hug with Barry, Hal and Batman. Though, I don't think we should give up on Barry coming back just yet. I think this was a fake-out. Barry will be back.
The real treat of this story was the confirmation that the Justice League and the Justice Society combined are no match for the Legion of Super Heroes.
Oh, and guess who's sticking around:
Countdown Week 45
I barely remember what happened in this. I did notice that Palmiotti and Gray were writing it for the second week in a row. And that it had a nice Benes cover with Karate Kid hanging with the JLA.
And this made me laugh out loud. Jimmy is dictating into a pocket recorder as he does some investigative jounalism:
And then he does spell out who the New Gods are, for the sake of his/DC's readers:
I love it. A double-page primer of who's who on Apokoplips and New Genesis. It's so ridiculous. Man, this series is so weird.
And just in case a New Gods roll call doesn't sexually excite the male readers, they threw in this:
So did you need to read Countdown to get the full death/return of The Flash story? Absolutely not. This entire issue was actually pretty damn forgettable. Unless you need to know who the New Gods are. And even if you do it's going to be wrong because Jimmy called the "Forever People" the "Tomorrow People" for whatever reason (possibly just to make Strange Adventures manager/New Gods superfan Dave Howlett's head explode).
The Brave and the Bold #4
Oh, hooray. I love this comic.
Last we saw Batman, he had been merged with Tharok:
I'm looking forward to seeing how he gets out of this one. But that will have to wait until next issue because this one focuses on Supergirl and Lobo.
I really like how well Supergirl handles herself around Lobo.
And I also enjoy her temper:
Especially Lobo's indifferent "Yep."
Plus, who would have expected a touching scene between the two of them like this one:
Supergirl is awesome in this series.
I love the crazy team-ups so far in this series. Supergirl and Lobo? Batman and Blue Beetle? Green Lantern and Supergirl? And next...Batman and the Legion of Super Heroes?! Awesome. I wish this comic came out every day.
The Incredible Hulk #107/Iron Man #19/Ghost Rider #12
No one is going to accuse the World War Hulk cross-over of moving too quickly.
I didn't read Heroes for Hire. Should I?
All three of these issues revisit the events of last week's World War Hulk #1, from different POVs. I really enjoyed the Hulk comic because it focused on his allies. It followed heroes (Hercules, Angel, Namora, and that really smart Amadeus Cho kid) and ordinary American citizens who are sympathetic to the Hulk, some of whom are even pro-Hulk killing everyone. Unfortunately for them, Hulk is not pro-anyone from Earth. And it's hard to convince him to listen.
So there's some fighting:
And it ends with this:
I like seeing sides getting formed, so it won't just be Hulk versus everyone. It makes sense that a lot of regular people would hate Iron Man and other superheroes after the Civil War.
As for Iron Man, this just gave his perspective on the battle from last week, with no new real information. I think that the point was to make him seem heroic and noble, but I still think he's a douche.
Watching all the Iron Man robots get smashed by Hulk's ship was cool:
Basically we got to see a lot of last week's comic with different art. Pretty art.
As for Ghost Rider, which is an odd tie-in, well...he's mostly just concerned about traffic problems as Manhattan is being evacuated. He has to make his own (awesome) detours:
Y'know, I haven't read a single issue of the new Ghost Rider series. In fact, I probably haven't read a Ghost Rider comic at all since I was twelve. I have to say, I kinda enjoyed this. I have no idea what Johnny plans on doing once he's gotten the Hulk's attention, but I doubt he'll be the one to bring the big guy down. Whatever happens, it's only going to last one more issue.
I like that art.
The Amazing Spider-Man #541/The Sensational Spider-Man #38/Fallen Son: Spider-Man
Before I get into this pile of Spider-Man (which only represents half of the Spider-Man comics to come out this week), I just want to make an obervation about Marvel.
I have figured out the fundamental problem with Marvel, and by problem, I mean reason why I don't like Marvel comics as much as DC comics. Marvel comics take place in the real world (read: current day America), and are determined to accurately capture that real world in their stories. So what happens when the real world is as bleak and depressing and tense as it is right now? You get non-stop Marvel wars, evil Iron Man, dead Captain America, and Spider-Man comics that make me want to commit suicide. Where is my escapism? Over at DC they are dealing with crazy, Earth-multiplying wackiness and bringing people back from the dead using lightning rods. And over at Marvel we have Sharon Carter in her bathroom with a gun in her mouth, and Peter Parker giving his dying aunt emergency blood transfusions.
Alright, so in Amazing Spider-Man, we have Peter Parker, not in costume, interrogating a guy. Then, by the time he's finished, he's in full costume:
So my question is: was Spider-Man changing his clothes while talking to this guy?
Sensational Spider-Man was actually really good. It was an Eddie Brock story, and it had fantastic art by Lee Weeks and Stefano Gaudiano.
Eddie is in the hospital dying of cancer (again: fun!) while being haunted by Venom. It was a Venom story and I liked it, so it must be pretty damn good.
Fallen Son is too depressing for words.
Argh. All I've got to say is thank God for Jeff Parker.
Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four #3
This series is so right for so many reasons. It's fun, it's hilarious, it's all-ages appropriate, it's clever...it's everything a Spider-Man comic should be. And everything a Fantastic Four comic should be. It's great. But there's only one issue left.
There were just so many fun moments. Spider-Man busting his honorary "4":
Dr Doom talking like Dr Doom should:
Dr Doom being kinda scared that Reed Richards is stumped by something:
Just a good time. For everyone.
Oh, Catwoman. I love you. Even if you comic is starting to get repetitive. I feel that it's about to go off in a bold new direction soon, though. It's always a good read, but lately I've felt that the larger story has been treading water a little. Now Holly is off to Metropolis in Countdown, and it looks like Batman might be showing up a bit in this comic again. He was mentioned in this issue.
Ha. Jupiter. Actually, Selina, depending on what you're reading, he's either chilling with the JLA and celebrating/mourning the return of Wally West, or he's joined bodies with Tharok and is a prisoner of the Legion of Super Heroes, or he is in the hospital after a convoluted adventure with the Metal Men, or he is just about to be shot by the Joker as Zatanna dies in front of him, or he is in Europe getting his groove back with a super model while trying to deal with the fact that he has an estranged son, or he is fighting off Amazons in D.C., or he is having Father's Day dinner with Tim. Just to name a few of the possibilities. Either way, he cannot come to the phone right now.
I also just want to mention that putting Selina's child in the middle of the road as she comes charging in a stolen police cruiser at top speed to stop the bad guys?
When this comic is on its game, it can be as good as Catwoman. And that is high praise from me. This issue was on its game. First of all, it was adorable. They had me at Tim buying an engraved watch for Bruce for father's day. Secondly, it followed the Catwoman formula for fun: cute/entertaining opening scene, large fun battle against a ridiculous villain with lots of action and funny quips, cute/entertaining end scene.
I'm not saying that all comics need to be like this all the time, I'm just saying I like it when they are.
Cute opening scene:
Fun fight scenes:
Alfred fretting about Tim not being home to make dinner like he promised. Bruce Wayne strolling into the kitchen just as a casual reminder that he is sexy:
Captain America #27
This comic is so awesome. Seriously. I know I just went off on Marvel for being too serious lately, but I forgive all things Brubaker-related because they are PERFECT.
This issue had a whole lot of sexy, sexy Winter Soldier and his mission to steal back Cap's shield, and kill Tony Stark. I approve of both parts of this mission.
Here's a nice scene at the National History Museum's Captain America memorial exhibit in Washington:
We also learn that, while in Russia, Bucky was getting some action from Natalia Romanova.
Nice! Too bad she's working for Stark now.
And if hot Winter Soldier action doesn't turn your crank, how about Sharon's new outfit?
Something for everyone!
I am really not giving this comic the respect it deserves. But, really, who doesn't know that it's a frigging masterpiece?
This comic just gets better and better.
For one thing, Manta is totally awesome.
Ha! "Attention, beloved trembling citizens!" Just a perfectly-written villain.
Actually, every character is totally awesome. And the story is great. Each issue is packed with tons of great dialoge and interesting plot developments. It's one of those comics where you can kind of trust that there is a solid plan for the story arc, and that they are going to do a good job telling it. I heard that this title is in danger of being canceled, and I, for one, will be miserable if that happens. Anyone who loves Jeff Smith's Shazam series should love this.
Plus, Manta gets his face bitten off:
And the shark that did it? Awesome.
Alright, I'm feeling under the weather and I am tired of writing. I also really enjoyed The Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #3, and Marvel Adventures Iron Man #2. Two high quality all-ages comics that were great-looking, entertaining, and funny.