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Welcome to The Planet: Crossovers, Annuals, Mentors & More!

What a difficult week to review! With team ups being the name of the game characters no one character was given a chance to shine. The Hanna-Barbera crossovers were an oddity I was unprepared for. When news broke a month or so ago about the specials I was skeptical and it seems, rightly so, with some of these team ups working better than others.

Back in the regularly scheduled books we have Harley’s meeting with Lobo, it was brilliant, I’m surprised it hasn’t happened before now. Likewise Batgirl and Supergirl, longtime friends from the Silver Age, meet once more in the here and now and it feels like they’ve never been apart, they seemed to be more of a natural pairing compared to their male counterparts.

Over in the Titans annual, they showed us two teams that are like fractured versions of the other and the revelations for Donna will ensure we won’t soon forget it. For me the Hanna Barbera/DCU crossover didn’t work, but I think my favourite issue this week was Justice League of America.

Agree? Disagree? Leave me a comment!

This is my look into the best of the DC Universe this week!


BATGIRL ANNUAL #1
World’s Finest
Writer: Hope Larson
Artist: Inaki Miranda

A plot by environmental terrorist Red Spur leads Batgirl and Supergirl to cross paths.

The Maiden of Might wants to explore a Cadmus Black Site and she wants Batgirl’s expertise to help her rescues telepath that is being held captive there.

Using their unique skills they are able to break in but by crashing the security system they enable the escape of another prisoner with the power of cold. With his aid they navigate to the cells and find the young girl.

What was intended as a rescue turns out to be a trap as the girl uses Supergirl to escape to the Phantom Zone, but as the bombshells make a dash for freedom they realise there is more to this mystery than they realised.

To Be Continued…

ART: 5/5
Really beautiful character work, Miranda was able to capture the characters perfectly making the dialogue a natural fit. I wish there were some splash pages to showcase the duo, but that is a minor thing. Supergirl in a cowboy hat was super cool.

OVERALL RATING: 5/5

Hope Larson delivered a brilliant first team up between the two women and their struggles to succeed.

Coupled with the superb art and seeding more for the future the dialogue and story flowed naturally. A real shame this wasn’t longer.

BACK-UP STORY
Rain Check

Writer: Vita Aylaya
Artist: Eleonora Carlini

Batgirl has been tracking Riot Black with the aid of tech whiz Frankie. Despite a violent confrontation the villain eludes Barbara once more but each time he escapes Barbara sacrifices her friends. One night making up for lost time with Alysia Riot turns the tables of Barbara and confronts her but despite his tech the two girls are still able to combat him in time to celebrate the anniversary of their friendship.

The End

ART: 5/5
Capturing the look of Batgirl from the rendition by Cameron Stewart and Babs Tarr. The layouts are innovative, quirky and energetic, a difficult balance to keep up but Carlini does a great job. Would have loved to see a full splash page of Batgirl versus Riot Black as the story felt quite constrained by the page count.

COVER: 3/5
A fun cover spotlighting the pairing that presents a great snapshot of the heroines but it doesn’t really feel like it was ‘epic’ enough for a. Batgirl’s first annual or b. the first pairing of two of DC’s second World’s Finest. I wish it were a stronger piece of art but it does a good job

OVERALL RATING: 4/5

The writing and art is spot on. A really enjoyable book that I recommend picking up if you’re a fan of Batgirl, it works as a set up piece for future stories with my only negative being that there were no real splash pages to give Barbara a shining moment.

 

BOOSTER GOLD/THE FLINTSTONES SPECIAL #1
Booster Trouble
Writer: Mark Russell
Artist: Rick Leonardi
Inker: Scott Hanna
Cover: Michael & Laura Allred
Variant: Dan Jurgens, Norm Rapmund & HIFI

Booster tracks a reptilian race back in time to Bedrock where they were planning an alien invasion.
Booster saves to people of Bedrock and befriends Fred Flintstone after his time sphere malfunctions.
Skeets reveals to Booster that the alien he stopped on arrival was in fact a peacekeeper and Booster had accidentally caused an invasion in history. Using what power the Flintstones and Booster bounce around time causing havoc until one of Booster’s fellow travellers, Crabulon, finally arrives and helps them restore history.

On a date in the here and now, Booster learns from his misadventures in time bringing a little Bedrock to modern day.

To Be Continued…

ART: 3/5
I don’t read The Flintstones though I’ve heard some good things about it, but here Fred, Wilma and Barney seem lost in the goings on. Not the fault of the artist, the writing didn’t really give them much to do. There was a little too much of the aliens and not enough of the lead characters, it left me a little underwhelmed.

OVERALL RATING: 1/5

This story was ‘by the numbers’ I didn’t find it engaging at all. It wasn’t funny, it wasn’t particularly fun or memorable. It happened but to be honest it might as well not have. Really disappointed in the whole thing.

BACK-UP STORY
The Jetsons in “Eternal Upgrade”

Read the review HERE.

COVER: 5/5
The cover makes a promise, a promise of fun that to be honest the book doesn’t deliver on. If only the interior stories were as fun as the cover! The Allreds definitely know how to deliver a great piece of art and Booster enjoys a rare shining moment.

OVERALL RATING: 2/5

The Jetsons back up feature was pretty fun but the Flintstones/Booster Gold main story fell flat. I’ll never get the time back that I wasted reading this.

 

GREEN LANTERN/SPACE GHOST SPECIAL #1
The Wonders of Space
Writers: Christopher Sebela & James Tynion IV
Artist: Ariel Olivetti
Cover: Ariel Olivetti
Variant: Doug Mahnke, Christian Alamy & Alex Sinclair

Hal is investigating an uncharted dimension to investigate the cause of a message beacon that leads to a powerful weapon.

Hal is surprised to find Space Ghost also on the trail, each of them in pursuit of the mysterious weapon. Foes initially, the two heroes are forced to band together when they encounter a race of aliens and help an old scientist realise his dreams.

Years later their influence have led to the isolated race to embrace the wonders of space in the name of Space Ghost & Green Lantern.

To Be Continued…

 

ART: 5/5
Wow, I was blown away at how stunning this story looks. Each page was better than the last and both Space Ghost and Green Lantern were given a chance to shine. None of it was at half measure (just check out the mech work) and the team up felt quite natural with neither feeling out of place in the story. I loved that splash page of Hal soaring through space.

OVERALL RATING: 5/5

Everything that went wrong for Booster and the Flintstones goes right for Hal and Space Ghost. It is a book in the same position as that crossover as a forgettable non continuity story but is far better in writing and coupled with the art we have a winner.

BACK-UP STORY
Ruff ‘N’ Reddy
Read the review HERE.

ART: 2/5
Yikes. I am really thrown by these books. This back up looks terrible, it feels rushed, I might be alone in this but visually it was not appealing at all.

COVER: 5/5
A great cover that really brings the two characters to life and neither feels out of place. Really like it, Space Ghost I guess has the difficult job of fitting in to the DCU style rather than his signature look but the transition for him is seamless. Would love this as a poster.

OVERALL RATING: 2/5

Ruff ‘n’ Reddy was a chore from start to finish. It wasn’t funny, it didn’t do justice to the characters and almost spoilt a near perfect book.

 

HARLEY’S LITTLE BLACK BOOK #6
Bare-Assed & Belligerent

Writers: Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti
Artist: Simon Bisley
Cover: Amanda Conner & Paul Mounts
Variant: Simon Bisley

Harley teleports aboard Lobo’s spaceship and gets caught up in one of Lobo’s latest fights. In over her head, Harley fits right in with the madness going on around her and when she helps the Main Man evade capture and kill his enemies they spark an unusual friendship. Lobo takes Harley along while he aims to collect on his bounties, but end up crash landing on an alien planet and having to rely on each other to survive. They live through a storm and battle with a mighty beast before they enjoy a feast of its innards and move on to a late night shower and though there is chemistry Lobo and Harley are destined not to be… maybe(?)

The End.

 

ART: 5/5
Simon Bisley on the art chores? I’m sold! His signature style is all over this and the frenetic pencil and inks add a certain charm to this off the wall pairing. He certainly didn’t hold back on any element.

COVER: 5/5
Harley is right at home with Conner’s art but Lobo is new, having previously been an emo assassin so it’s good to see him brought back to life in style. Harks back to the days of Superman The Animated Series.

OVERALL RATING: 4/5
Black Book is a strange book if you’ve ever read it. Is it in continuity or in Harley’s imagination? I guess that’s for you to decide. It is essentially a team up book with Harley’s unique twist and thus Lobo is right at home in Harley’s world. They are not unlike one another and I hope the Czarnian and the hammer-wielding bombshell meet again soon.

 

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #3
The Extremists: Part 3

Writer: Steve Orlando
Artist: Diogenes Neves
Inkers Ruy Jose & Marc Deering
Cover: Ivan Reis, Joe Prado & Marcelo Maiolo
Variant: Doug Manhke & Wil Quintana

Havok might be saving the people of Kravia but even they know it isn’t a good thing. Batman and the JLA teleport into a local pub and offer their assistance to the reluctant and suspicious citizens. The people ask that the League remove the Extremists so that they can take their country back. Meanwhile Havok approaches leaders of other countries to convince them to join forces with him.

Each Leaguer takes on a different Extremist leaving Batman, Vixen and the rebellion to take on Lord Havok himself and they aim to save Kravia at all costs.

To Be Continued…

ART: 3/5
The art isn’t the strongest this issue but I feel it suffers more due to the inking being so light. There are some cool splash pages and the book isn’t shy of the action element at least in the artwork. I wish the story didn’t hobble Neves but to be honest with all the fight scenes being cut harder than an episode of Iron Fist, none of the fight scenes were allowed to play out. Neves did an admirable job injecting some wow factor into a mainly dialogue heavy issue.

COVER: 5/5
I never tire of Lobo and his ‘I don’t give a crap’ attitude. Reis, Prado and Maiolo give us a cover which is all about the attitude with a face off between and Extremist and the Main Man. I wish the book had let me see this fight play out.

OVERALL RATING: 4/5

In one respect it is a solid and well told chapter in the story but in another by focusing on that element and making Havok a bit more than a passing threat the other side of a superhero comic book is sacrificed… the action. I hope the next issue allows for the fights alluded to to play out. I am really enjoying Orlando’s take on the team and to be honest I’m finding Vixen and Black Canary more compelling than Batman and would like one to take over his role to allow him to return to the JL, though I’m not sure which I’d chose!

 

TITANS ANNUAL #1
Titans: Legacy
Writer: Dan Abnett
Artist: Minkyu Jung
Cover: Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund & Andrew Dalhouse

Kid Flash, Tempest and Flash are the first to meet, followed shortly by Aquaman and Nightwing. None of them with a real understanding as to how they got there. The Flash and Kid Flash investigate finding Wonder Woman and Donna Troy with a sword at her throat, Batman is the final addition and is as puzzled as the rest of the team.

Unbeknownst to the League & Titans a villain by the name of The Key is manipulating events for his amusement, pitting mentor against student. Batman gives each faction a mission, to explore, to find a way out and to find their captor. The Key releases Metallo as a foe to liven things up but in doing sohe actually makes them a stronger team. Keen to break their spirit, The Key unleashes Parademons to attack.

They fight and win but in the aftermath the heroes begin to bicker amongst themselves leading to Wonder Woman revealing some secrets about Donna. The distress and pain she feels is enough for the missing members of the League and the Titans are able to pinpoint a location. Batman figures out a way to track the mastermind of this plot and leads the charge as they fight The Key.

The villain conjures up a magic door and escapes into it leaving the the heroes with even more mysteries to figure out.

To Be Continued…

ART: 4/5
The art is solid. Everyone looks the way they should and there is something special there seeing the two teams mingle that is more than nostalgia. Jung does a great job conveying the feeling of legacy. I loved the scenes with the speedsters, but of course that revelation for Donna Troy stole the show.

COVER: 5/5
No it isn’t an attack of composite heroes! Again like Jung opting for the legacy of each character I love the split screen effect showing their reflections symbolically. Nightwing and Batman as a pairing looks really slick. A well thought out cover that delivers a nostalgic look for the teams.

OVERALL RATING: 4/5

I’m not familiar with The Key as a villain and a lot is left unsaid as to how they got into his lair. I know that isn’t the point of the story and it was more to do with pitting the characters against each other.and on that front it delivers on all fronts. It is obviously setting up for a bigger story along the way but it was interesting to see how the mentor and student look at one another and feel about their collective legacies. I can overlook the set up for the story just for the character beats and that Donna Troy moment was devastating.

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