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Sequential Snark: Team-Ups, Death and Gambling

[=It’s a heck of a ride this week.

We’ve got highs, we’ve got lows!

Fun and fighting, emotion and action all on display.

Batman Teenage Mutant Turtles II #2
Words – James Tynion IV
Pictures – Freddie Williams II, Jeremy Colwell

This one definitely delivers what it promises on the tin – Batman, Turtles, and the wackiness when you mix them. The story is standard (not a bad thing mind you), Tynion has a good handle of how all the characters sound and think and where their stories are.

Pictures are practically impressionistic, characters look sculpted from wet clay with anatomy and proportion fluid from one panel to the next. It’s the artist’s flair and the funky premise of the whole book that lets these visuals dance on the page.

From where we left off last month, Bane is wreaking havoc in the Turtle’s New York. You know how effective the Foot Clan isn’t, and they were in disarray before he got there. Back in Gotham the Bat family and Donnie must borrow tech from the likes of Ra’s Al Ghul and Mister Freeze to get back to the Turtles before it’s too late.

It’s a fun romp with a distinct visual style that respects the rules of both universes. If it sounds intriguing flip through it to make that age old call for yourself – read now or wait for trade.

 

Batwoman #10
Words – Marguerite Bennett
Pictures – Fernando Blanco, Marc Laming, John Rauch

Ah, Batwoman. Visually and story-wise you do not disappoint. Kate has turned into a giant be-batsuited nightmare bat/wolf and she’s scaring the hell out of Scarecrow in this trippy wonderland dreamworld. (That’s a beautiful sentence, thank you for letting me express it)

The comparatively boring “shadowy organization representative” Fatima stands by and gloats (evil dude tip #439 – don’t do this, so dumb!) and then is chased down by the 10ft Kate until she turns a corner and then things start to get weird.

This book is a joy and it uses the medium to explore where they can narratively go.

I want to see how far this team can run; art can and should be challenging to the creators and readers.

 

Green Lanterns #37
Words – Tim Seeley
Pictures – Carlo Barberi, Matt Santorelli, Ulises Arreola

Remember that scene two issues ago of a murder on the planet of magenta tinted aliens? It came back up.

Simon and Jess get called to Ungara to solve the murder. Ripples from it have already enflamed xenophobia in the local populace. Evidence points to the recently introduced Molite refugees for the crime.

(I do question the scene where they sneak into the sewer system as sanitation workers, but their clothes are ring constructs and they use a ring to melt bars to get in… maybe the clothes only glow for the reader and appear normal in cannon?)

They find themselves immediately under attack from the Molites.

There’s pain and misunderstanding on both sides. If talking had happened before the killings (Molite eggs were crushed, whipping the refugees into a frenzy) them maybe this planet could have been the safe haven the Green Lanterns had hoped for.

Lots of action (more fight scenes in this issue than you’d suspect) sadness, introspection and in the end betrayal! (Secret undermining organizations my old tropey friend, nice to see you again. This time you’re called “Red Tide” and I’m sure we’ll get an earful about you – next time.)

 

Harley Quinn #33
Words – Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti
Pictures – Brett Blevins, Otto Schmidt, Moritat, Alex Sinclair

Oh Harl, I’m so sorry. It’s the issue when they start to say goodbye to Mason.

The issue begins at his gravesite, where Harley is just trying to support others. For a person who has killed so many (even in this book) this side of it, feeling the impact of a death isn’t something she seems to be equip for and she admits to Ivy to be winging it. (It’s o.k. dear, we all do)

After a heart to heart where she tries to coax Madame M to eat anything, it’s back home to get the building ready for an incoming hurricane. Life does not stop for anyone.

Harley, after being told Madame M is taking some time away, goes to the roller derby to work through some of the emotional twists she’s barely been holding together within her.

There’s fun, heartbreak, violence and wonderful quiet moments within this family Harley’s built in her book.

Next issue we seek a change of pace with a road trip, I hope she can catch a break.

 
Justice League #35
Words – Christopher Priest
Pictures – Pete Woods

Criminal fallout from last issue places Diana in front of investigating detectives, very Law & Order, even down to a snippy banter back and forth over Diana’s “costume”.

What looks like a space spartan transports onto the Justice League Satellite fully armed, and it turns into a slight kerfuffle when the first person it comes across is Jess – using the restroom. After the expected fight, the intruder asks the whereabouts of Martian Manhunter (as he sloughs off the armor to reveal a humanoid form) and reveals that he’s a bounty hunter going by the name of “Glenn” Gammeron and he needs their help.

A “superbug” (literally, a space cockroach) escaped from a bounty’s ship and landed on Earth. The League must find it before it mates with the local variety and eats the world alive.

There’s some great visuals here, it’s a creative use of “all the creatures bunch up to become mega creature”, but I did not need to see a dog eaten alive – trigger warning there for people who can’t stand that.

A nice quiet discussion is had between Cyborg and Glenn, when each questions the other and Cyborg realizes his thinking is a bit Earth-centric. This has a nice payoff at the end (p.s. I don’t know the physical characteristics of other world animals either Glenn)

But our interlude must end as the footage from last issue gets leaked to the internet. Edited, unedited, who, why – we don’t know. This is gonna get rough.

 
Nightwing #35
Words – Sam Humphries
Pictures – Bernard Chang, Marcelo Maiolo

Dick tries to keep the peace in Blüdhaven as a manipulatively charming man plays cards in a local casino.

Suddenly with a whispered word an old lady on vacation takes an offered switchblade and stabs the dealer in the neck. Both her and his eyes glow with a fiery red light at that moment. The only other person at that table, Guppy, can only watch in horror.

Nightwing takes down the “League of Limousine Assassins” a group that kills by running randos (random people) over while drinking rosé in the back of an armored limo, all dressed as… limo drivers (group’s name was too cool for the reality). But the car hits a tree that represents good in this city and it bums out Dick.

But he recoups, tries to enjoy some normal life time until he’s called out to solve the incident with the switchblade bubbie at the casino. Dick might know who it was, and the perpetrator might want Dick to know it was him.

More violent bonebreaking fun for our bruised and battered Batboy.

 
Teen Titans Go #25
Words – Sholly Fisch
Pictures – Lea Hernandez, Marcelo DiChiara

…no

No, no that’s not fair. This is a good time to bring back the debate of art vs. writing – which one is more necessary to keep you reading. This book has two stories, the first is drawn by Lea Hernandez who does yeoman’s work here recreating the style of the cartoon while the author does do a good job of recreating the story flow and dialogue of the show here in page form.

This is effort that fans of the show should appreciate, and there are many of them out there, this book has gone two years and the show has dominated all of cartoon network in a practical stranglehold.

Beast Boy brings the rest Hanukkah sweaters and paraphernalia without any knowledge of the holiday except “8 days of presents!”

At that moment Colossal Boy bops in from the 31st century convinced he is visiting the time of the Maccabees and wants to watch the assault on the temple and miracle firsthand (because he’s Jewish, but no character does their homework, and the wackiness is hurting me).

The Teen Titans instead of using logic or reason, recreate it to the best of their ability using villains luckily on hand because they’re afraid the hero from the future might crush them if they don’t.

The second story is worse. Robin gets annoyed when Beast Boy sings the “Jingle Bells” variation from Batman: The Animated Series (please don’t reference a better work in your writing). The discussion veers to a theory Beast Boy lands upon – Batman is Santa Claus. How long can you stretch out that premise? 10 pages. It ends with them being laughed out of the Bat cave but twist – they were right.

Marcelo DiChiara’s images do not raise the work as well as Hernandez’s did. There are facial exaggerations and body contortions that do the script no favors, but it deserves none.

From page 16, Cyborg: Sure “Keep Cyborg away from the cookies.” That is how Fascism starts…

No context can make jokes like that make sense or be funny.

 
Trinity #16
Words – Rob Williams
Pictures – V Ken Marion, Sandu Florea, Dinei Ribeiro

60 minutes to the New Year and Bruce is spending it chasing trucks around town with Deadshot, hoping with each to pick the right one before time runs out. It’s a kidnapping, and a car chase, and a night of introspection for all main characters involved.

Deadshot’s daughter was kidnapped by Kobra. They took offense to their leader being killed and promise to snuff her out at midnight if they can’t guess which van she’s in.

Meanwhile – Clark and Diana wait at Bruce’s party and wonder what the hold up is. That is until they see the explosion at 51 minutes to midnight.

Now with all four looking for the innocent girl, they reflect upon who they would hate to see lost to them and it gives fire to their efforts. They’re gonna need it, vendettas this big don’t stay personal especially when the group wants to make a big bloody fiery splash.

It’s tense, quiet, thoughtful and honest to the characters it portrays. It feels like a sorbet chapter before a big meal, so I expect with the coming year the ramp up to an exciting arc.

 
Wonder Woman / Conan #4
Words – Gail Simone
Pictures – Aaron Lopresti, Matt Ryan, Wendy Broome

This book is so fun and if I didn’t recommend it last time for the animated treatment let me correct that now.

Gail Simone has always had a talent with voices, especially children’s and it’s in splendid effect here. The team of Lopresti, Ryan, and Broome set a whimsical sometimes storybook feel to the pages that it would miss if translated to the screen (especially their creative borders for flashbacks) but I’d love to see someone (ala JoJo’s) give it a good honest try.

Having foiled the Corvidae sisters plans to watch them fight each other to the death for their amusement, they’ve gained another powerful enemy.

Conan remember the night at twelve he snuck away to join the young “Yanna” on her escape. We rejoin them both grown and almost to shore. Still chained together, after a little “light finger action” (that means pickpocketing- mind out of the gutter) they hit the local ale house. Diana drinks for the first time (that she can remember- amnesia) and after dinner passes out. The comely drink wench propositions Conan, the bar owner offers Diana a life of being his housewife but neither jumps at the chance.

The cur who sold the two into slavery is approached by the Corvidae. For their revenge they want all his slaves killed in front of Diana and Conan, mostly out of spite.

A bloody bar fight breaks out, Diana recovers enough to break the chain and join in and they steal their attackers horses (and the hearts of the bar’s staff). Diana got a vision while passed out, they now have a clue to follow!

And we end with how the two parted as children. Quiet, tragic, done lovely by people putting their heart into their art.

 

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