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Sequential Snark: Out With The Old, In With The New…

Last batch of 2017 and first batch of 2018.

Many books use current events to ground their fantasy stories.

It’s up to your discretion whether it’s too early for so much realness.

 

Action Comics #994
Words – Dan Jurgens
Pictures – Dan Jurgens, Art Thibert,
Trevor Scott, Johnny Desjardins, Joe Prado

We rejoin the adventures of Booster Gold and a de-powered Superman on a Krypton that was never meant to be – Happy New Year!

With Supes hurt and stunned, it’s up to Booster (and Skeets) to try to get his lovable blue tush away from this chronal irregularity before it becomes real enough to become real (time travel is weird and dangerous).

It doesn’t help that Jor-El and Zod are actively hunting the two “infiltrators” and Superman still insists on learning all he can while they’re in this reality offshoot.

It never pays to be Booster, but it’s sure fun to follow him.

(And the Lois’s dad narrative continues, sure that will become an A storyline soon)

 

Batgirl #18
Words – Hope Larson
Pictures – Sami Basri, Jessica Kholinne

It’s the holidays, time to hang out with friends and par-tay.

Or so the book starts out.

After stopping a seasonal-themed C-list villain Babs and Frankie go to Alysia’s White Elephant party. But gag me with a candy cane, the venue was double booked with Smellicule’s While Elephant shindig. A start-up run by the smarmy venture-capitalist Bradley Burr.

A be-Santa-d Harley doses the mixed party with an airborne virus, the antidote will only to be administered when the rich waste-of-suit Bradley realizes what the season really means.

It’s an entertaining chaperone mission from then on as the three (Frankie, Alysia and Babs) drag Bradley around Gotham trying to solve the challenge and save all partygoers.

It’s once again not a surprising book, but enjoyable to read with relatable dialogue and interactions that make it easy to root for them to succeed. The art is cute, if character models aren’t distinct enough, the expressiveness of the faces more than makes up for it.

 

Blue Beetle #16
Words – Christopher Sebela
Pictures – Scott Kolins, Romulo Fajardo Jr.

Our young/old punks’ boss is finally revealing himself. The world around them is flipping like the remote of an ADD kid and in this stress Jaime learns a shocking secret, his best friends are in a relationship.

Jaime still hasn’t come clean with his friend/hopefully girlfriend Naomi and it’s just too much – he needs something to punch.

Good thing there’s the headquarters of a dead(?) mad scientist with complete control of time buried into his very flesh directly in front of Jaime.

I like and appreciate this title, it’s not clean or pretty. The characters are as raw as their drawn appearance, it’s older kids learning who they are as they’re confronted with world threatening situations.

Yeah you want to shake them sometimes (WHY haven’t you come clean with Naomi yet ya putz?). If this team keeps the quality and pace, this will be a great slow burn character arc book.

 

Cyborg #20
Words – Kevin Grevioux
Pictures – Cliff Richards, Ivan Nunes, Gabe Eltaeb

Just because a story is simple, doesn’t mean it’s not good.

It was an easy call to recognize this two-chapter piece a version of monkey’s paw, but it’s not what you start with it’s how you use it.

Kids are being exploited by the warlord, they litter the battlefield when (newly human and feverish) Vic wishes them not dead – zombies result because bad ideas happen.

Naliah gets bit and goes down to raise the stakes (and we have the uncomfortable images of Victor beating zombie kids).

When “safe” Sarah hands Vic his self-sorry butt in a way we can only help sticks, but a stealthy zombie Naliah takes Sarah out!

Alone Vic has to save the locals, stop the curse, and stop the warlord (and learn something?) in the Twilight Zone-ish fashion you know it will wrap up in (not completely fair, but solidly satisfying).

 

Dastardly & Muttley #5
Words – Garth Ennis
Pictures – Mauricet, John Kalisz

It can not be overstated how much fun it seems Garth Ennis seems to be having on this title.

It’s not the only book this week taking cues from current politics to shape their story and the message within, but it’s a joy to read.

Congress has become a gaggle of chittering monkeys taking their frustration out on the now raccoon-ed General Harrier.

Meanwhile Dick, Mutt, Zee and Uncle make their way through the Pentagon. Zee’s distressed by her sudden wasp waist and protruding boobs, Dick should be concerned with his more regular monologuing.

They stop the General from destroying evidence, and we learn more of the gas’s history full of ancient madness.

There’s a heartbreaking moment in this chapter of Mutt on the phone in the middle of all the weird silliness. You really want to see them succeed, or at least do better than the characters they’re being forcibly warped into.

 

Green Arrow #36
Words – Benjamin Percy
Pictures – Juan Ferreyra

This issue’s all family relations.

It’s why Ollie’s at the bottom of the ocean waiting for death in a cracking suit. It does say something for this creative team that they make it a lovely event to watch.

Life goes on as his friends above fight on his behalf.

Dinah follows his tracker and scoops him up in the nick of time (their relationship remains consistent)

Moira gets back to Star City, she works with (and does other things with) Malcolm. Dinah and Ollie have a quiet talk on the beach. Red Arrow watches after Wendy, but is called into action!

A big fight under Queen Industries! Son vs. Mother, Mother vs. Daughter, friends and lovers fight side by side and someone doesn’t look like they’re making it out.

 

Green Lanterns #38
Words – Tim Seeley
Pictures – German, Ulises Arreola

Last we saw Liseth admitted (in bed) to Simon that she was a member of the xenophobic terrorist organization “Red Tide”who would break the law and use violence to keep the foreign refugees out, (but she feels super sorry ’bout it now kay).

Everyone who needs to know Vob was framed learns so in this issue, so that frame-up lasted less than two issues.

Vob is the character I feel worst for here, he went with the farce because he felt like his failures in leadership should be punished. Would letting his entire species die off be better than struggling here and now in unfriendly territory? Vob questions his decision.

Regent Vok is ready to hit the Red Tide hideout with soldiers, our two Green Lanterns and her completely trustworthy daughter.

Would you believe this plan goes wrong, spectacularly? It’s fun to read with lots of interesting visuals, just don’t expect to be surprised.

 

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #35
Words – Robert Venditti
Pictures – Tom Derenick, Jack Herbert, Jason Wright

No adorable little Green Lantern in this one, it’s all grittiness and dire consequences and butt-kicking action.

Our four Lanterns (John, Guy, Kyle and Hal) mount the Guardian’s rescue.

Two more Guardians are sucked dry to make another two Controllers.

We’re down to six of the little blue dudes.

The Controllers made sure to hire all the mercenaries available and the Lanterns punch through them like a difficult video game level.

There’s blood shed on both sides as they force their way in. Hurry up guys, you’d hate to get there with no one left to rescue!

 

Harley & Ivy Meet Betty and Veronica #4
Words – Paul Dini, Marc Andreyko
Pictures – Laura Braga, Adrana Melo, Arif Prianto

“Joker” (actually a head-bonked Reggie) saves our two body swapped girls from Harley and Ivy’s carload of gangster problems.

Betty and Veronica use the powers of their present bodies to get away (in an ungainly way, but it works).

In an attempt to put Reggie into his right mind (which is the most cringe-y thing about this story, please do) Veronica has to use Ivy’s kiss power. (Don’t worry girl, only Betty and you will remember, and she’s too nice to use it)

Meanwhile, in Riverdale… Harley and Ivy are getting a raised eyebrow from the locals for getting along. Cheryl and Jason invite them to obvious trap (that is obvious) at the local drive-in tonight and Ivy quickly agrees. Their dumb plans falls in line with the only thing she’s wanted to get done this whole time.

Meanwhile (again) Betty and Veronica are accosted by the law for not breaking it. It’s all the shenanigans all the time as everybody just wants to accomplish their task and get back into their own skin.

Two more issues, it’s gonna get wackier before it gets better.

 

Justice League #36
Words – Priest
Pictures – Pete Woods

Chairperson Hasgrove of the U.S. House of Representatives interviews Superman, for an investigation of the activities of vigilante superheroes.

You get the feeling they’ve been building up the case and waiting for when to spring it, there’s a “Civil War” (the Marvel one) feel to the questions asked.

Unfortunately her concerns about “masked wraiths” are proven true when after the hearing a “Batman” leaps on her car hood and slams a batarang dead center of her forehead, burying it halfway.

How do you prove it wasn’t Batman without exposing everything?

Would that even prove it wasn’t Bruce if you did?

The League, on it’s current unsure footing try to help a submarine that might be in distress.

No one’s sure what would be overstepping until Aquaman decides to flex his sovereign state muscles and no one dies, but no one’s happy with them.

Well… almost, there is the imposter Batman. He just wants to help.

 

Justice League of America #21
Words – Steve Orlando

Pictures – Stephen Byrne

The Ray (also named Ray, that’s convenient) is taking a break from Justice League membership and trying to help in his hometown.

But someone is getting to the troubles before he can, the latest was a bank robber wrapped for the police with the bank vault door.

He doesn’t have long to wait, the city’s new guardian Aztek introduces herself violently. Ray abandoned the city so she doesn’t trust him but “The Sons of The Earth” have taken cops hostage and she’ll need the backup.

On the B plot, Caitlin is suddenly “cured” while in a dream. I’m sure this won’t go badly.

The dialogue is relatable and the art clean and clear, it’s not the same as the animated series but it reminds me of it – and that’s a welcome comparison.

 

Nightwing #36
Words – Sam Humphries
Pictures – Bernard Chang, Marcelo Maiolo

It would be easier to count how many Blüdhaven officials aren’t corrupt.

The mayor’s under the thumb of the casinos as he rails against the efforts of Nightwing.

The Judge is in his office with him, waiting to be noticed. He offers the mayor what he most wants for one favor. It’s how he do what he do, anyone he makes a deal with furthers his plan and receives a gold poker chip for the service.

Nightwing continues to pursue the Judge, and bleed. Guppy gets the raw end of every deal. I feel worse for the fish boy here, Dick has resources he just chooses not to use.

Many deaths happen, most to keep the Judge’s plan moving forward. It looks like he’s raising the stakes, like he’s going to take or kill Blüdhaven itself.

 

Nightwing the New Order #5
Words – Kyle Higgins
Pictures – Trevor McCarthy, Dean White

Penultimate issue! Dick, Kory, Wally and Lois fight Mr. Freeze and the might of Kate Kane to break Jake out of the lab. Wally loses the speed force, but with Jake comes hope.

We get to see how desperately this family fights to stay together, at least until they’re safe and Dick insists he wasn’t wrong.

But that’s o.k. still one more issue, and with a road trip to Metropolis we get to see powered Lois and depowered Superman share an adorable kiss.

A bit more history is revealed, it’s more understandable why Dick is so inflexible (Batman did not die easy).

Even with this chapter wrapping up with the resistance working together to give powered people a second chance, a single act of treachery in the last page assures us the victory won’t be easy.

 

Scooby Doo Team Up #33
Words – Sholly Fisch
Pictures – Dario Brizuela, Franco Riesco

The Legion’s faced many challenges with members adept in so many fields, but none have investigated a haunting. When you have a time machine you can recruit the only experts for such a task – Mystery Inc.

Everyone but Brainiac 5 think this is an excellent idea.

Once again this creative team has a great feel how an episode would play out. The Scooby gang are all on model and the Legionnaires look appropriately altered.

If there was a lesson to this one, it’s… assumptions are dumb?

Just because you assume it’s a ghost doesn’t mean it is.

Just because you assume someone’s a dangerous villain doesn’t mean you can’t make friends.

Just because someone comes from centuries in the past doesn’t mean they’re worthless troglodytes.

It’s nice that each Legionnaire gets a chance to show off their power and in a somewhat unforced manner (their villains less so, but it would still work for a Saturday morning cartoon).

 

The Snagglepuss Chronicles #1
Words – Mark Russel
Pictures – Mike Feehan, Mark Morales, Paul Mounts

Here we go, a new limited series starts with allusions to current politics using the McCarthy era to illustrate their point.

I’m not complaining mind you, just explaining for any confused readers.

There’s gonna be a lot of ideas and terms we’d like to believe we are past – as told by a anthropomorphic pink mountain lion.

It’s written well, and as much is told through picture as through words.

It’s never outright stated that Lila Lion is his beard, and I wonder how many readers will not recognize the meaning of Stonewall but I’d like to think they stay long enough to learn of this parallel history to the one in our own world.

I recommend it, though I expect to find more sad than smiles in this “funny book”, but if you can take shows like Bojack Horseman you’ve been here before.

 

The Demon Hell is Earth #2
Words – Andrew Constant
Pictures – Brad Walker, Andrew Hennessy, Chris Sotomayor

And now – burning children! Just kidding, (actually not, really not).

The bombed area is en-domed (is that a word? It is now.) though not sealed, the contagion (of evil?) will spread if you get too close (as the rescue workers learned firsthand).

Inside Etrigan not happy and throwing a little hissy fit, he wants to destroy the one little girl that didn’t “go to hell” when everything else did. Jason threatens him with long rambling monologues about kindness, puppies, goodness and butterflies.

The girl can see him (and later Xanadu too) which should be odd since Jason is technically in Etrigan’s head, but the rules of newly-helled Death Valley are weird.

The girl leads them to Xanadu, they all had visions before this and the four of them (if you include Jason) are the only things unaltered here. No one can explain the situation, and Etrigan looses his temper – the kid might be dead.

Can’t wait to see how the next issue picks this up.

 

The Hellblazer #17
Words – Richard Kadrey
Pictures – Davide Fabbri, José Marzán Jr., Carrie Strachan

John’s on trial in front of San Francisco’s witch council.

He has to explain: First, he didn’t kill anyone; Second, this group is getting in his way; And third, the killer is after him – and not tee them off as he does so.

Meanwhile, the killer is recharging himself and the magic gun. He’s being a xenophobic ass about the encounter with John.

The witches test his truthfulness, and he isn’t lying, a fun change of pace for him.

Corrupt cop from last issue sells him out, and the bad guys send a magic junkie to kill John.

The gun John saw proves to be real, and so many die unnecessarily before this chapter concludes.

Seriously, less would die and this would go so much faster if they just believed him!

 

The Jetsons #3
Words – Jimmy Palmiotti
Pictures – Pier Brito, Alex Sinclair

Strange fleshy glowing colored things are streaming out of the ocean floor asteroid.

Lake gets busted reading a book (It’s fuuuture, that’s a weird act for them).

Everyone’s getting ready to wish George and Jane good luck on the mission, George meets his new Gothy/Punky assistant.

The dead mannequin look of the characters in this story have, is so well seen in panel 2, page 8… I’m sorry, back to story itself.

The guy in charge of the ship or mission (I’m not sure which) use a power play to shoo George down to the engines.

George saves the ship when one of those things from earlier try to eat it.

George bonds with it and gains mind reading abilities that are thematically convenient here, but if this goes past the six issues will have to of course disappear. (If the meteor heading to Earth doesn’t kill them all first).

 

Wonder Woman #37
Words – James Robinson
Pictures – Carlo Pagulayan, Stephen Segovia,
Jason Paz,
Art Thibert, Raul Fernandez,
Romulo Fajardo Jr.

Zeus vs. Darkseid, lots of punching and blasting and destruction of priceless historical sites. Jason tries to be helpful but can’t even keep Grail incapacitated. Diana and the rest jumps through a Boom Tube when Darkseid moves the fight to the Philippines.

Now with helpless victims that must be saved there’s less Diana can do to help her father (who’s only here to help her). Darkseid uses the same power sucking move on him that he used on Wonder Woman.

The Legion arrives too late, Diana will never forgive Darkseid (or herself for not stopping him). Zeus collapses like dried clay (a nice bookend to Diana’s own birth) and she finds comfort on her brother’s shoulder.

I gave him a chance, but Jason has proved to be completely useless. Hopefully the next storyline “Silver Swan” is composed of different characters.

 

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