I’d only had a few tangential dealings with the Damien Wayne Robin and found him to be brash, spoilt and a total loose cannon – everything the late and unlamented Jason Todd had been vilified for, years before – but he was something of a fan favourite for some reason. How times change, I guess.
Still trying to find a way back to Earth-2, Huntress has a run in with the red breasted psycho that uses the name she used back on her home world and she’s shocked to find how careless and callous he is, which is probably why, despite the age and experience difference, he ends up beating her. However, Power Girl arrives and gives him a well-deserved kick in the backside before they decide to team up and work out who has been stealing regularly from Bruce Wayne’s bank account.
The rest of this month was fairly low key; BLUE BEETLE and FIRESTORM were limping along; the GREEN LANTERN titles were getting wrapped up in the Rise of the Third Army storyline; SWAMP THING and FRANKENSTEIN were mired in the slow-moving morass that was Rotworld; and TEEN TITANS was doing . . . something that I can’t remember.
Still mostly DC, with 21 issues this month; GHOST from Dark Horse; the final issue of THE BOYS from Dynamite; and FATALE from Image. Looking back at my records, those sort of numbers wouldn’t change until 2014.
This was it – the final issue of the final story arc in THE BOYS where Wee Hughie and Butcher had their final face-off. Thing is, Hughie was badly wounded, and Butcher had broken his neck meaning they could do nothing more than talk for pretty much the whole issue – but what an issue. With a single issue left in the series, this was where Butcher had his final words and Wee Hughie understood what sort of a man he was at the end of it all. Damn fine writing.
Elsewhere, DC was heading in to the second year of the New 52; the GREEN LANTERN titles were dealing with the Rise of the Third Army, a story arc that I can honestly not remember a great deal about; Dan Jurgens took over FIRESTORM but even he wouldn’t be able to do much with it; and TEEN TITANS revealed the blood-soaked origin of Wonder Girl . . . because why not?
Tally this month was one from Dark Horse, one from Dynamite, and 16 from DC.
Way back in the early 90s, for better or worse, Dark Horse Comics tried to launch their own superhero universe with new characters all crossing over with each other to establish that sense of community and continuity. GHOST was the only title of that push that I picked up so, in 2012, when it was relaunched by Kelly Sue DeConnick (about whom I’d heard good things) I thought it was worth a go. Thinking back on it, it wasn’t bad; it didn’t just retread old ground but tried to do something a little fresh while still holding on to enough of the original conceit that old fans like me felt as though it were being treated with respect. This issue was the first of a mini-series bringing the character back and, as I say, it did an okay job of it.
Elsewhere, the New 52 was celebrating its birthday with a bunch of #0 issues, some of which retold the characters origin, some introduced new characters, and some were the final issue of series that had launched at the start of the initiative a year before.
Notable for me was the premier issue of THE PHANTOM STRANGER; I’ve longed liked the character and admit to being intrigued by this new take in the New 52 and how he fitted in with Pandora and The Question as part of this Trinity of Sin…
Say what you like about Dan Didio as editor or chief creative officer or whatever else title he had while at DC, but my god he was a writer of terrible dialogue.
Tally this month was 21 issues from DC, and one a piece from Dark Horse (GHOST as mentioned above), Dynamite (THE BOYS), and Marvel (FURY MAX).
Prior to the New 52, Palmiotti and Gray had had a good run with a couple of incarnations of the Freedom Fighters, with tales tying into and spinning out of INFINITE CRISIS to good effect. After the line-wide reboot, amongst other things, they started to play about with new versions of some of the characters they’d used in the Freedom Fighters team. THE RAY was followed by this series, PHANTOM LADY, and it wasn’t bad. Sadly, despite the cover, no Amanda Conner art, but from memory, Cat Staggs work was nice and clean and it was a good fun read, too.
Elsewhere in the New 52 (fast approaching it’s first anniversary next month) CAPTAIN ATOM, JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL, RESURRECTION MAN, and VOODOO were all preparing to finish their runs next month; SWAMP THING was about to start the boring Rotworld crossover with ANIMAL MAN; and BLUE BEETLE and TEEN TITANS were meandering, still trying to find something that worked.
There was some good stuff, too – Geoff Johns on GREEN LANTERN was still entertaining, and the other Lantern titles of GREEN LANTERN CORPS and GREEN LANTERN: NEW GUARDIANS were still enjoyable, too. EARTH 2 introduced us to a new Hawkgirl, and FRANKENSTEIN was enjoying itself as well.
Outside of DC, it was still just THE BOYS, FURY MAX, and FATALE, the latter of which had lived up to the promise of the early issues.