Sunday Reviews

AQUAMAN #52

Aquaman and his Amnesty Bay friends deal with the monster that rose up at the end of the previous issue with some success, though that comes with a cost. Elsewhere, Black Manta enjoys the oversized underwater robot/sub that Luthor has given him to find a proto-Atlantean site beneath the waves.

Another so-so issue that looks good but plods along.

BLACK HAMMER: AGE OF DOOM #12

As Anti-God is about to arrive and destroy all of reality, Abraham Slam and the others have to make a desperate choice to save their world, and the result is something altogether new.

This is the final issue of AGE OF DOOM and while I know there’s the promise of a new mini-series soon (SKULLDIGGER) I wonder if we’ll see the original team again?

JUSTICE LEAGUE #32

Split across two timelines, half the Justice League aid the Justice Society in World War II, while the other half help Kamandi and Justice Legion A fight against Brainiac. Alongside that, Lex Luthor and Perpetua scheme for the end of the multiverse only to be surprised by the arrival of the Anti-Monitor.

It’s another roller coaster, don’t stop to pause, reality’s breaking issue. I was more intrigued by the multiple mentions of Hypertime and the connection that Jay Garrick and Barry Allen felt for each other, as well as the future Starman for the League – clearly some of these characters know they’ve met before somehow.

LADY MECHANIKA: SANGRE #3

Lady Mechanika faces off against La Madrina before finding out a little more about her adversary and her own connection to her via La Dama de la Muerte. And, at the end of the issue, Mechanika comes face to face with La Reina Roja . . . the Red Queen.

The call back to the previous miniseries was a welcome surprise and the monsters that Mechnika faces are wonderfully designed. Another splendid issue.

Sunday Reviews

ANIMOSITY #20

Jesse and Sandor are taken to a house where some animals want to speak to them; entering, they find the place is full of snakes. Instead of finding the trap they expected, though, they discover the snakes are trying to work out how The Wake – the event that allowed all animals to speak – happened and, through their experiments, they have come to a startling conclusion: magic!

Another solid issue; just when you think it’s starting to get a bit WALKING DEAD in that there’s a situation that’s overcome and they head off only to end up in another situation, Marguerite Bennett throws something new in.

AQUAMAN #47

It’s the final battle against Namma and Aquaman has a multitude of ancient ocean gods on his side. With them, he is able to defeat her and is rewarded with some mystical tattoos and a new trident.

The first story arc of Kelly Sue DeConnick’s run on the title comes to an end with the promise of an epilogue of sorts next issue where – we assume – Aquaman will regain his memories. I’ve said all along I’m not a fan of “waking up with no memories” type stories as they’ve been done to death; still, the art looks great.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #22

Mr Mxyzptlk has gone crazy and is re-writing reality before the Legion of Doom – complete with a weaponised Bat-Mite to fight Mxy – turn up to try and save the day. While that’s all going on, we get the origin story to pass all origin stories – that of the first Multiverse. Perpetua narrates the tale of how she created the first Multiverse, along with the Monitor, Anti-Monitor and World Forger. Refusing to pass on once her work was done, the Monitor, and his brothers, organise a rebellion against her which ends with the creation of the Source Wall and her imprisonment beyond it, at the same time sowing the seeds for the Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Sucker as I am for some continuity wrangling, I really enjoyed this issue and the glimpse it gave us of the Monitor and Anti-Monitor before the first Crisis.

Sunday Reviews

BLACK HAMMER ’45 #1

The Black Hammer Squadron was one of the fiercest group of fighters in World War II, a group of daring-doers who took on the biggest missions and overcame the enemy time and again until the fateful day when they have to go up against the Ghost Hunter, the dreaded ace from Germany. Tasked with saving a scientist and his family from a Nazi camp in Vienna and returning them to the States, the Squadron must contend with both the Ghost Hunter and the Russian’s Red Tide – huge, mechanical war robots, who have the same mission, only they plan to have the scientist work for Russia.

Jeff Lemire expands his Black Hammer universe again, this time with a take on the Blackhawks, setting up this mini-series nicely. My only complaint would be Matt Kindt’s art – never really been a fan of his style.

DOOMSDAY CLOCK #9

Following Firestorm’s detonation at the end of the last issue, the heroes trace the energy that caused the explosion to Mars and Dr Manhattan, believing him to be responsible. Manhattan’s vision of a final battle with Superman that is yet to come is enough to trigger the heroes into attacking him but he dispatches them all, seemingly killing them, but not before revealing to Firestorm that Professor Martin Stein is not only in league with the shadowy agency behind the creation of government sanctioned heroes, but that Stein deliberately created Firestorm in order to infiltrate the heroes at large.

There’s a lot going on in this issue aside from the summary above, with Batman, Lois Lane, and Wonder Woman all dealing with their own problems. There are nods back to the original WATCHMEN series as well, alongside a mostly silent four page spread of the heroes heading to Mars that works really well. The story is ramping up now, and the art by Gary Frank is simply gorgeous. Despite all of fandom’s misgivings about this story when it was first announced, I’m really enjoying it.

THE GREEN LANTERN #5

In order to prove his desire to join the Blackstars is sincere, Hal Jordan is taking to Belzebeth’s homeworld of Vorr, a planet of vampires, where he must run a gauntlet to find his Blackstar uniform and confirm he is worthy to join them.  Not surprisingly, he passes the test only to face a final one where he must kill the Blackstar’s prisoner – Adam Strange.

I’ve been enjoying Grant Morrison’s run on this title so far, but this was probably the weakest issue. There was never any real doubt that Jordan would a) complete the trial, and b) in a flashback be revealed to still be working undercover for the Guardians. Do we think he’s going to kill Adam Strange next issue? I very much doubt it. Morrison scatters some vaguely cool sounding phrases – “necro-sun“, “blood bells“, “deadnoon” – but they sound more like 90’s image anti-heroes than anything else. I’m hoping next issue picks up with some surprises. (Oh, and don’t think I missed the mention of the Over-Master, either.)

JUSTICE LEAGUE #19

The League recruit Mr Mxyzptlk to help them find their way to the Fifth Dimension where, they hope, they’ll find the key to fixing the Multiverse that is on the brink of collapse following the breach in the Source Wall. Mxy reveals, though, that they need to go to the Sixth Dimension, the home realm of the Monitor, Anti-Monitor, World Forger and their mother Perpetua – that’s where they’ll find what the need to stop Perpetua. A handy portal takes Superman to the Sixth Dimension, and he returns moments later a decade older saying he’s found what they need. Most of the League follow him and appear in a different realm where future versions of themselves live happily. Unknown to them, the real Superman has been trapped in a different place.

Once again, big ideas abound in this title but the execution is better than previous issues, as though Scott Snyder has finally wrestled the story into a direction he wants it to go.

OBERON #2

Bonnie wakes in the house of Oberon and is taken by him to Mother Mayie who, in turn, takes her to the Endless Labyrinth where her magical potential – if she has any – will be determined. While Bonnie is being tested, Oberon discovers that Titania knows he has the girl.

Another good issue, with Oberon’s narration adding a wonderful counterpoint to his actions on the page, and though the story seems a little thin this issue, there’s no doubt that it’s setting things in place for further down the line.

A WALK THROUGH HELL #8

Carnahan, the child killer thought dead in the real world, is happy to spill the beans about his early days and how he came to take the path he did before a revelation of who else is involved comes to light.

I’ve read and watched a lot of horror books and films over the years but this story keeps surprising me – just when you think you know where it’s going, something else happens instead. This really is worth picking up.