- ACTION COMICS #30 – Doomsday is back! Yeah, it’s for a mere 3-pages, and so he only accidentally kills two people, but he’s back and ready to . . . actually, I’m not too sure what he’s doing back here either, but I’m sure it’s bad!! Okay, let’s face it, Superman is boring. This is no secret, and DC is well aware that their antiquated, old-timey man in tights isn’t aging all that well. I don’t typically read a lot of Superman comics, but Action Comics #30 outlines Supes’ flaws. Greg Pak (Turok, Eternal Warrior) pits Clark against Harrow, this necromancer chick who isn’t a fan of the way Supes and Wonder Woman have been dealing with recent issues around the globe. Superman recalls himself “saving this” and “protecting that”, while Harrow recounts her side of the story, calling the Man of Steel “too powerful — and too weak at the same time.” To further prove this point, Supes’ inner dialogue boxes keep saying how pissed he is, and how he has to control his rage; but with an army of ghosts (and ghost-elephants) coming after him, his victory against Harrow is… anti-climactic at best. (Hey Kent, try not controlling your rage! I’d like to see how that turns out.) Also, I get that this ish is supposed to “prelude” the Doomsday story arc, but all the panels and pages he’s mentioned in are COMPLETELY separate from the main comic. If you’re anticipating that story, this isn’t the place to start. Otherwise, this comic is a lot of talking, some good old clean DC art from Aaron Kuder (Avenging Spider-Man), and not a lot of punching. 2.5/5.
- DETECTIVE COMICS #30 – A great Batman story has Batsy working both ends of his identity. If he’s beating thugs to a pulp at night, and dealing with corrupted suits as Bruce Wayne during the day, it makes for a story that doesn’t get dry. “Icarus” delivers that story. The first issue from Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato (both from The Flash) starts off as most: The Dark Knight chases and beats the crap out of some thugs. The transition afterward is a little abrupt, but it’s probably because unlike Snyder’s Batman, this Caped Crusader doesn’t have an internal dialogue spanning the entire book. In fact, Manapul and Buccellato make due without any narration boxes, which drives the story at a brisk pace. DC #30 also reflects the medium of film and television, where viewers often deal with dramatic silence (or for you imaginative types, dramatic music) between sound effects and dialogue. The only peak we have into Bruce’s thoughts is his conversation with Alfred in the Batcave. M&B are writing a still very grief-stricken Batman from the death of his son Damian, so the continuity is there, which is great. And the cliffhanger is a standard DC Comics “WTF” moment that leaves you no choice but to stick around next month. For the casual reader, this comic serves as an overall sound intro to Gotham, with superb art as expected, and a new villain “Mr. Squid” that doesn’t seem as theatrical as he sounds. But for the regular Batfan like myself, the arc still has a long way to go, as the sadder, gloomier-than-usual Batman is sort of a buzz kill. 3.5/5.
(Flip the page for our review on the final issue of Ultimate Spider-Man!)