Comic book Catch-up #5 -DC Edition!

Forever Evil #7 (thank gods that is over!) & Future’s End #3 + #4!

Forever Evil #7

Batman is still strangling Luthor and Catwoman is trying to stop him. She says “this lightning rod is from the future, maybe we can use it to, I don’t know, save him or something!” 

Image

 

DO CPR!!!! What the Hell?! 

Wait. It get’s worse. Luthor zaps Batman with electricity (Catwoman still does nothing) and then he reveals that he flatlined Dick after, get this, giving him a pill that would paralyze the muscles around his heart… he needs a shot of adrenaline NOW. He gets the shot and wakes up. A sweet moment is had between Nightwing and Batman (and Luthor and Bizarro) and then Cyborg busts in, he took out Grid. blah blah. Ultraman and Deathstorm debate about what to do now that Mazahs is free. The theorize that they can use Superwoman’s lasso of submission. But she’s not here.

“Is she with Owlman?” Ultraman questions.

Nope. She’s with Mazash. And pregnant with HIS child. And Ultraman gasps, “Lois? You traitorous witch, why?” and she says, “Because Alex is stronger than you, Clark.” Cause all women are either hoes or incompetent in this piece. 

Image

A million middle fingers for Geoff Johns. 

Ultraman and Mazahs duke it out and Deathstorm confronts Superwoman, “You manipulated us all.” and she calls them “Stupid men.” (Hay awesome, her secret weapon is manipulating men, hahaha… ugh) but she gets him wrapped up in her lasso and Mazahs prepares to feed on his nuclear power. 

Mazahs kills Bizarro. Luthor kills Mazahs. Owlman joins the Batfamily. Sinestro and Black Adam move the moon so that the sun weakens Ultraman (what? how was the moon there that whole time? This is stupid) And all of the exiled heroes from this world climb out of Firestorm (again.. what?) but Superman is dying. Luthor pulls the sliver of kryptonite out of his head. Well, that’s unlikely. He also meets Ted Kord and doesn’t buy Kord industries and encourages Ted. He knows Bruce Wayne is Batman and it ends with an apocalypse baby, Darkseid returning and the Antimonitor vowing to consume him. So it ended. With the heroes coming back which was a huge “duh” because there is no way that all DC’s heavy hitters would get roasted. And then a not real ending. Suck.

Futures End #3

This one is actually getting good, we get backstory on Grifter and Firestorm (who are fighting against each other) the stories flow cohesively between Firestorm giving some ladies a sunny day, to the same babes at a bar where they get harassed by someone who just won a celebrity death pool with the death of Green Arrow. They get bounced by… Red Robin. Lois’s mysterious package lead her there and she immediately knows who she’s looking at. Meanwhile, Mr Terrific knows that Batman (but not which Batman) is looking into him. Light on Batman, good amount of backstory on DC’s B-List. Still not a lot of women, but at least the ones there aren’t bimbos. Thumbs up.

Futures End #4

Frankenstein confronts SHADE about why they are trying to kill him. They just wanted his attention, turns out. Who the fuck is SHADE? run by Father Time (now inhabiting a young girl) SHADE fights against monsters.. with even worse monsters. Bad asses. Fathertime calls attention to the destroyed Stormwatch space ship. The theorize again that THE storm is coming. Red Robin/Cal Corcoran is out for a jog with the babely Madison Payne. He won’t talk about his past, she’s suspicious they’ve done this dance before. Cal lays eyes on the new Batman and it’s clear that he has a grudge against Batman’s Batfamily. Lois is trailing them in a get up that no one has worn since 1990 and no one would wear in the future. Plastique and Key lure Coil out of retirement with a “grail mission” the “last job.” That Grail? It’s in Terrifitech. Grifter is hunting Daemonites and other aliens that prey on addicts when Faraday catches up with him. Faraday paralyzes Grifter, and says he’ll reverse it if Grifter comes and works for him. 

Forever Evil #6

If you’ve been reading my reviews here, you know that I have not quite been enjoying this series. And that I think Geoff Johns is a racist/sexist ass. issue 6 has my man Nightwing on the cover and maybe we’ll get to the point for some of this instead of in-fighting between egotistical villains and inexplicably helpless females.

Image

 

I love Nightwing.

Luthor and Batman both argue and bond over their paranoia against the justice league as they infiltrate their fortress. catwoman’s wishy washy behvior prompts Batman to ask whose side she’s really on. Once inside, Batman, catwoman and Luthor stumble on nightwing who has been held in “the Murder Machine” a cell designed to hold Doomsday it’s a bomb with impenetrable walls. Meanwhile, Sinestro, Manta, Black Adam and Captain Cold throwdown against the Justice League’s evil alteregos. Highlights here are Owlman’s waivering allegiance and Black Adam’s mumbling through his broken jaw. 

Epically, the bomb only disarms if nightwing’s heart stops. He dies or they all die. we all know that Batman can’t make that call so Lex Luthor takes matters into his own hands… specifically, he Grayson’s airways into his hands after disarming Batman with his lasers and Bizzaro grabs Catwoman’s whip and apparently that’s as hard as she was willing to fight (FUCK YOU).

Nightwing’s heart stops, Batman beats the crap out of Luthor because apparently no one remembers what CPR is. That was really predictable. So stupid. 

Geoff Johns is such an asshole. everyone here is white as rice (except the aliens -doesn’t count!) and the women are dingbats. Since when is Catwoman not decisive? Superwoman didn’t even talk, sadly that might be for the best. Atomica is usually pretty wicked, but this time she was useless and helplessly watched as Johnny Quick got maimed. Captain Cold was the biggest badass. I’ll give them that though, that part was good. It was also, like, A page. 

Mazahs is now escaped. That’s alternate Shazam, it’s also Shazam spelled backwards, I’m also rubbing my head wondering how I started reading this. So the “good” and “not as evil” guys are in for more trouble.

Also, I knew Nightwing wasn’t going to die. 

Fantastic Female Friday: The Crimson Avenger

AKA Jill Carlyle.

Justice Society of America member, Ultra Humanite plot thwarter, bad ass, highly educated, super powerful.

Jill Carlyle was technically the third Crimson Avenger. She was also the most powerful. Jill Carlyle was a lawyer. She took up the original Crimson Avenger’s guns after failing to convict someone who was obviously guilty. In pursuit of justice, she purchased pistols at a pawn shop. From the origin story comes something very potentially Batman meets Dexter. Unfortunately, this was set forth by Geoff Johns, who I think is an misogynist ass. And racist. I hate him. Which is unfortunate, the Crimson Avengers third incarnation was a fucking bad ass.

Image

 

The good: Carlyle was the most powerful of the three, she got added bonuses of teleportation and was able to dematerialize in order to avoid enemy attacks. She can’t die and she can’t miss. The original crimson Avenger, Lee Walter Travis (1938), was a trained soldier with martial arts skills who worked as a reporter and was the first official masked crime fighter. The second Crimson Avenger, Albert Elwood, made his single appearance in 1963, he was more trouble than he was worth. In 2000, the third Crimson Avenger found the guns and sealed her fate. Jill was something terrifying, she wasn’t some masked vigilante, someone hiding the skin around their eyes and toting a smoke gun; she took up the cause for a righteous reason and ended up cursed. Left with an eternally bleeding wound on her chest that made the hyper-masculine Lee Travis’s golden “bullet-esque” costume look weak. It’s deeper, the knowledge that if you set out to do the right thing you might get more than you bargained for. You might not be able to stop. 

Image

But unfortunately, a great character was undone by bad writing. During the time when she joined the JSA to team up against the Ultra-Humanite and Thunderbolt, Jill’s personality was consumed by the power of her weapons. (In the same string of events, the only other female; Powergirl, was artistically strong and stunning, but unnecessarily catty and impulsive to the point of incompetence- not that impulsive and irrational behavior is out of the norm for her. And the only other African American character was the one who accidentally gave the Ultra-Humanite a Genie that made him be able to take control of ALMOST all the world’s superheros. (Jakeem does set it right -but after a pep talk from HourMan… like I said, Johns doing inclusion.. HA!) 

At the end of the “Stealing Thunder” story arc we get a good glimpse at Jill. Ready for a new assignment, she wakes up in an electric chair, out to avenge Charles Durham. Charles Durham was framed. She gets to tell her story, and she shares that Lee Travis was cursed too, but left it behind for a costume and a sidekick, the curse was broken until she picked up the guns. The guns compel her, the holsters never come off (how does that work?) and she ends up after Wildcat -who helped save everyone from the Ultra-Humanite. 

Image

Jill Carlyle, educated black female from Detroit, from an unapologetically urban background, drawn to violence by grief -the way so many heroes are… Jill could have been more, if crimefighting was an itch she needed to scratch (a la Dexter) if she went home at night rather than turning into mist and drifting off to her next assignment she would have been more. It is a great disservice that she did not have more agency. 

That being said: Carlyle’s justice was universal. Wildcat didn’t get a free pass. He framed a man who died as a result. No amount of good deeds on the side made up for it. Jill Carlyle does not believe in affluenza. Jill Carlyle does not care about your upbringing, your excuses or who you know, she doesn’t care if you’re a “nice guy” or a pillar of the community. Her justice is universal. She can stop anyone who stands in the way.

And she does. Even the impervious Power Girl. 

Image

Jill Carlyle: “I am on no one’s side.” 

She spares Wildcat after hearing his testimony, he committed his crime for the same reason that she took up the guns. It was the only way. She fights against her curse and saves him. Using strength and will against the curse upon her. And sets off for a more worthy kill. 

She has been absent from The New 52! But I’m holding out hope that she can find a home under a worthy pen somewhere in the DC Universe. 

Forever Evil #4

Trying to get back to regularly scheduled blogging, but it’s been a slow couple of weeks in comics… what with Christmas and New Years. But just shy of 2014: Forever Evil #4 hit shelves.

I’m slightly less than lukewarm for this series. I know many people who like it, I keep holding out and thinking that I will come around…

As I see a tattered Batman and Catwoman on the first pages: I’m interested.

Batman takes Mz Selina Kyle to the Batcave. She looks over his wares. Displays of his old costumes, a steampowered Batcycle, a giant dinosaur. Batman is all business. Catwoman says that they “are practically the last man and woman on earth and all you can talk about is the plan.” Wowzers. I assumed they would be “talking” when they weren’t front and center, since they are humanity’s last hope. Actually… the cover says Lex and Batman are humanity’s last hope… so… I get Catwoman just wants to talk. Errrr…. Anyway, Batman keeps her at arms length because way back in October, Nightwing was unmasked and now it is common knowledge that Nightwing is Richard Grayson. Batman feels responsible for this, since Batman trained him to be Robin and then drove him away where he became Nightwing… but ZZZzzz… because we all already knew that.

More interestingly, Batman has been hoarding artifacts as a contingency plan against the Justice League. A Kryptonite ring (which won’t work against Ultraman. But they don’t seem to know that), a ring recovered from Sinestro corps, a lightning rod from the future -you know, typical stuff.

Meanwhile Lex Luthor is resurrecting Black Adam as Black Manta, Bizarro and Cold look on. Luthor explains that Ultraman’s biology is opposite of Superman’s -specifically that Ultraman has been consuming kryptonite and hiding from sunlight while Superman’s weakness is kryptonite and his power is enhanced by the sun.

Speaking of Ultraman… he’s huffing kryptonite out of Metallo’s suit while Superwoman taunts him. Ultraman finds out that Superwoman is pregnant (with Owlman’s baby which he doesn’t know) Superwoman says that Owlman is plotting against them and that they need to prepare. Elsewhere, Power Ring is having a meltdown, Deathstorm is summoned back to unlock Firestorm’s ability to change matter into kryptonite leaving Power Ring to go after Captain Cold alone.

Luthor has a heart to heart with Bizarro (whose name originated as B-Zero? cool!) and then they bust in to Wayne enterprises where they find Catwoman and Batman. And then Power Ring, Deathstroke and that lot bust in and find everyone. Batman tries to wield the Yellow Ring to defeat this bad dudes, but it is easily taken from him. Power Ring is victorious! But then Sinestro shows up! Next issue is Sinestro vs. Power Ring…

There is so much going on here. And for some reason minor quarrels dominate the majority of action and dialogue. The women in this series are FEW so FEW and the portrayals are shallow and heinous. Superwoman was in fear of Ultraman and he was clearly abusive towards her, but Geoff Johns was sure to include that she was really sneaking around with Owlman (AKA “she deserves it”) and now another layer of conniving is being added. And the taunts? Calling him weak when in the first 2 issues she was terrified of him and fearful that he would find out she was with child… and now in this issue she taunts him and threatens him (while “needing his support against Owlman”). Uh, huh. This is not how a woman who has been victimized would behave. That Geoff Johns feels the need to make women either helpless or devious is insanely creepy. Catwoman being treated as if she’s new, can’t handle herself and wants to stop and talk about their feelings? Batman has always been chivalrous and reserved so I can forgive some of it, but Catwoman not understanding the urgency… and hiding from Black Manta and Luthor. I’m unamused.

David Finch’s art didn’t help in that regard:

Image

Why can you see her whole buttcrack!?

Why am I reading this series?!

Are you reading it? Pipe up with it’s redeeming qualities, or let me know if there is something I am missing.

Alternate Opinions:

ComicSpectrum: who has issues with the art for other reasons but likes the story and also referenced the Lex/Bizarro interaction as one of the highlights in this issue.

Sciencefiction.com: Just loved it.

 

Forever Evil #3

I’ve been …disliking… this series. I know, everyone likes it. I don’t. Mostly because Ultraman is an over the top goon (blocking out the sun like a giant Monty Burns, being abusive to his girlfriend, Superwoman). Also because Lex Luthor’s opening scene had Luthor fondly remembering killing his sister’s pet. 

But, last issue Catwoman and Batman stepped back into the picture…

Batman returns and quickly learns what has happened to Nightwing. Despite the rift between them, he calls Nightwing a friend and rushes off to help him out. 

Lex Luthor is having his “I told you so” monologue. He told everyone that they relied too heavily on Superman. And now Superman is gone! And Metropolis, Gotham and everywhere else is screwed! He’s also hanging out with Bizarro, who picks him a flower instead of picking up a satellite dish so he can track the Crime Syndicate. 

Eventually Luthor and his undercooked FrankenSuperman get it online and he tracks Ultraman, who is having a battle high above the ocean with Black Adam (who?) his head gets squished til his teeth break and Ultraman drops him into the ocean, but the Ultraman’s nose start bleeding and he asks for Metallo’s location. 

In Central City- former home of the Flash- the Rogues have “failed” to level the city (you know, the hospitals and schools). Heat Wave is threatening the Rogues but Power Ring freaks out at them and is delusional thinking that the Rogues are trying to kill him. So they have a battle. I have no emotional investment or really even general interest in these characters…

Black Manta crawls up out of the water before Luthor and Bizarro with a very crumpled Black Adam. The way Manta sees it, the Crime Syndicate killed Aquaman The only thing he EVER WANTED! Soon after, Captain Cold (of the Rogues) hops through a portal and tells them the sitch.

So now Lex and Bizarro are joined by the Rogues, Black Manta and Black Adam. Is this a team? 

An egomaniac in a mechanical suit + a band of misfits + a pissed off villain + a half dead 2nd rate hero?

Better development this time, although I really need to know what Batman is going to do to free Nightwing! Not enough Catwoman. In fact, not enough ANY FEMALES. And this is the cover:

Image

Not even close to what happened.