Image © DC Comics, Inc.

The best thing about this book and this issue is Batman really being a detective. The second best thing is watching him interact with another one, Gotham City Police Detective Harvey Bullock. Both men are following clues and making intelligent decisions based on those clues. Then there’s the gang/drugs angle which doesn’t interest me as much, but it leads this time to an entertaining set piece in the former Gotham Aquarium between Batman and a very large sea creature. There’s also a nice scene with the daughter of the woman who has just been murdered on Bruce Wayne’s doorstep, poignant and moving. The art is terrific, atmospheric, colorful, moody, perfect. Oh, and there’s a brief glimpse into Harvey Bullock’s personal life that I loved, too. After a start I wasn’t quite sure about, Manapul and Buccellato have made this a must-read.


San Diego Comicon — not this year!


Above is an image that’s making the rounds on Facebook, not sure who put it together, but I found it amusing. I’m breaking a 21-year streak by not going this year. My reasons? Ellen and I wanted to save some moneyafter our spending slightly exceeded our income last year, never a good thing, and San Diego seemed a reasonable place to save a few thousand dollars. Also, we had other things going on in July before and after that are easier to manage if I don’t go. I’ll miss it, I love going, and am starting to get withdrawal symptoms already. Continue reading



Image © DC Comics, Inc.

Last issue was mostly about Kyle Rayner, this one is mostly about the Guardians and Star Sapphire, as they investigate the apparent abduction by force of their Guardian brother. Anything that can take a Guardian by force, even these relatively inexperienced ones, has to be powerful. And to put a name to it, one only has to look at the cover above, Psions. The Psions were created by Marv Wolfman decades ago, and I used them a bit in my issues of THE OMEGA MEN, so I’m interested to see what writer Justin Jordan does with them. This issue is just a prelude to that. When Carol Ferris and the Guardians find and enter the gigantic Psion ship that’s holding their brother, you just know things aren’t going to go smoothly. The art by Brad Walker and Andrew Hennessy is quite good, and I particularly liked the coloring by Wil Quintana this time, great use of glow and lighting effects.


And Then I Read: HAWKMOON: THE SWORD OF DAWN by Michael Moorcock


Image © Michael Moorcock.

This third of four books about the warrior Hawkmoon’s struggles with the empire of Granbretan is very much a segment of the larger story. It begins with a synopsis of what happened in the first two volumes, and ends with an unsatisfying “to be continued” non-ending. That aside, it was entertaining, though not as good as the first book of the quartet, “The Jewel in the Skull.” It remains to be seen how satisfying the final book will be when I read it.

Hawkmoon, Count Brass, and the entire city of Kamarg have escaped the domination of the evil Granbretan empire by slipping into an alternate version of their Earth which seems to have no human inhabitants. It’s quiet and rather boring to the warriors of Kamarg, and even to the regular folks there. When a new person shows up on the border of the city, Hawkmoon is quick to investigate, and soon a troubling alternate method of reaching them is revealed. Hawkmoon and his friend Huillam D’Averc decide they must return their own world to investigate, try to find the sorcerer who has pierced their hiding place, and retrieve his devices and knowledge. The process is made easier by the fact that nearly everyone in Granbretan’s capital city of Londra wear ornamental masks covering their entire heads, a handy plot device. The quest and pursuit of Hawkmoon and D’Averc of the sorcerer, and themselves by their arch-enemy Meliadus of Granbretan, make up the first half of this volume. The second half dumps them in a distant land they know nothing about where they must contend with desert predators, river monsters, and pirates before reaching a special sword that can help them on a larger quest engineered by a mysterious figure who keeps popping up in the series, the Warrior in Jet and Gold.

The story and characters are appealing, the action and adventure keep things moving, but overall this entire book feels like the middle section of a long movie, and had me wishing for some resolution that won’t arrive until the final book, “The Runestaff,” apparently.

Mildly recommended.

And Then I Read: AQUAMAN 32


Image © DC Comics, Inc.

As a kid I was not a regular reader of AQUAMAN. I saw him mostly in JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA, or occasional backup stories. That may be one reason why I’ve enjoyed this new version, which restarts the characters and continuity. Mera seems much more interesting in the new series than she ever was to me before, and the undersea kingdom of Atlantis and related fiefdoms, with their cliques and infighting, feels fresh.

What would comics do without scientists out of control? Here, one creates a new threat which is sort of an anti-Aquaman, with many of Arthur Curry’s powers and enough hate to fill an ocean. Meanwhile, Mera is confronting the terrorists who are trying to kill her in their own deep corner of the sea. They think she’s stepped into their trap. She has, but they won’t like it. Nice writing by Jeff Parker, fine art by Pelletier and Parsons.