It’s Sunday, and aside from football, that means another session of the Sunday Night Stash. This week we’ve got a smorgasbord of DC Comics goodness to prepare us for a smorgasbord of holiday coverage and events! For now, let’s jump in and see just what we have in store to spend our hard-earned dollars on, before we go focusing on spending our hard-earned dollars on gifts and Black Friday deals!
For a series that I was so excited about going into it, there aren’t enough words to describe my vexation at this conclusion. I’ll start off with the positives, which the vast majority of which are related to the art. Alex Maleev’s work is as crisp and as page turning as it was on Daredevil nearly two decades ago. He knows how to build towards a reveal (the identity of Leviathan) and he knows how to make even talking heads scenes seem interesting. The colors fit the moody noir mystery of the story. Speaking of story, we have to discuss this.
I have been a critic of writer Brian Michael Bendis’ past work. That being said, I do feel he’s been rejuvenated since coming to DC. However, over the past few months, I’ve noticed some problems with many of his books and this one was at the top of the heap. Leviathan’s true identity was revealed and it kind of made sense. Kind of. In one of the biggest event stories of the year, kind of doesn’t cut it, ESPECIALLY when you’re digging through the back issue crates and using a character that at least two to three generations of fans have barely heard of. I knew who the person was, but when clues weren’t really dropped until the last two issues, it made for a flat ending. There should have been hints of this dropped in several other books at least a year and a half back, and not just the Superman books. The fact that characters like Batgirl were undercover in his organization; that Kate Spencer was made a patsy in all of this; that Manhunter had this level of technology and no one thought to call in Victor Stone, John Henry Irons, Doctor Cyber, ANYONE with higher level tech know how, all of it points to the fact that this story felt like it should have just been an extended Action Comics arc or a crossover within the Superman books instead of an event story.
This story could have been so much more than what it was. Dozens of pages wasted on inconsequential banter, telling all of the action beats in past tense (therefore robbing the story of any immediate tension), none of this spilling over into any other ongoing books, having Lois Lane recruit a second team of detectives who, in the end, were there for window dressing, and the ending which appears to have said villain finally give up the “I don’t want to fight Superman because that automatically makes me the bad guy” mindset that actually made him interesting, I’m trying to not pull my hair out.
I was so looking forward to this book six to eight months ago. I’d love for this creative team to tackle a Kate Spencer Manhunter series or a Green Arrow title, but another mini-series like this in the future will be a hard pass. 1.5/5 Bibles.
Tim Seeley‘s Blackest Night one-shot weaves a tale how one choice sealed the fate of the universe and shrouded in death and darkness. The narrator, Tempus Fuginaut, tells of his duty to keep all entities of the dark multiverse from escaping into other universes. He tells the story of the fate of one where Sinestro made the selfish choice to keep the power of the white lantern for himself. What follows is the success in the Blackest Night. Lobo, weeks later, is hired to save and escort the last remaining hero, Dove, off-world. Next, Lobo, Sinestro, and Dove trek to the Source Wall of the universe in a last ditch effort to destroy all the Black Lanterns.
At first I didn’t know what to expect from a story like this. The introduction starts with a summary of the events of Blackest Night then dives into a full story of an unlikely trio tasked with saving what was left. I admit I thought this was going to be more of an overview of a universe than a story, I was relieved. The story on the whole was great. I saw coming the betrayal of one of the characters, so it felt rushed to get to an immediate solution for the story. The final result was devastating and clued the reader in how it could have played out if everything went according to plan. Kyle Hotz‘s character artwork varied from rounded and sharp to blocky and goofy. The environmental art was a bit sparse most of the action was depicted in close ups which didn’t lend to giving a sense of space. 3/5 Lobos.
Peter Tomasi has been delivering such solid story arcs (minus that last Brainiac kid’s thingy on Supersons) when it comes to Batman, and when he scripted anything to do with Clark and Jonathan Kent. This issue delivers for fans of Mr. Freeze, whether scripted or those of the early Warner Bros. Animated Series. He was so awesome in that cartoon. I showed the issue to my wife and my son; my wife’s response to the story was “oh sweet, that’s awesome!” The events surrounding his relationship with his wife, Nora, is a breath of fresh cold air. Doug Mahnke’s art remains as stunning as ever. I’ve been a fan of Mahnke since Joe Kelly’s run on Justice League and earlier. I was upset to find he didn’t pencil the entire book. It’s not that Jose Luis is wack, he’s just not Doug! 4/5 Bibles.
-Rob Deep Maldonado
Jeff Lemire, fresh off of concluding the Age Of Doom arc in his seminal Black Hammer series, closes out the Black Hammer/Justice League crossover, one which is admittedly as unlikely as it was ever going to be. The unlikely (yet absolutely logical) antagonist of the series finally revealed, the heroes of both the Justice League and Black Hammer universes team up, make some hard decisions, and leave open the possibility of future crossovers (either willing or unwilling).
I’ve loved absolutely everything Lemire has done with Black Hammer, and throwing his heroes against the Justice League has been a stroke of genius, even as they both acknowledge the fact this is a crossover that would likely be forgotten in a few months. The meta-narrative within Lemire’s Black Hammer universe has been the most consistently fascinating aspect of the series, and it’s great that he manages to fit it in here in such a succinct way. The antagonist being who he is (and the resolution being what it is), one can hope that these disparate characters wind up running into each other again in the future, as the possibilities are wild (as is the revelation that both Golden Gail AND Barbalien are hot for Aquaman!). Fun, exciting, and a welcome continuation of the Black Hammer series, I, for one, would catch this if you’re into meta-textual stories, odd crossovers, or the sort of oddball stories that Lemire seems to excel at. I only wish this series would continue for another issue or two.
If it’s Black Hammer, it’s on my pull list. It’d serve you well to do the same. 4/5 Bibles.