Sunday Reviews

BLACK HAMMER/JUSTICE LEAGUE: HAMMER OF JUSTICE #1

The heroes from BLACK HAMMER are introduced before being approached by a mysterious figure; in Metropolis, the Justice League are fighting off an attack by Starro before they, too, are approached by the same figure. This mystery man manages to transport the heroes from one place to another, swapping them from one world to each other’s, with the BLACK HAMMER heroes appearing in Metropolis and the League on the Black Hammer Farm. Elsewhere, Colonel Weird is found by the Green Lantern Corps.

By necessity, there’s a bit of recapping and introduction here, more for the BLACK HAMMER characters than the League, which is understandable. It’s done well and with little preamble, though, getting into the story nice and quick. While there are no surprises with this initial swap scenario, I have hopes for more from the rest of the series.

HAWKMAN #14

Hawkman is in Kenya, hoping to find some peace and quiet in a mystical cave at the top of a mountain but his relaxation is disturbed by the arrival of one of his oldest foes, the Shadow Thief. They fight, with the Shadow Thief revealing he has new powers and abilities, and at the end of the battle, the Thief literally walks away dragging Hawkman’s shadow with him.

This is part of the Year of the Villain event happening in DC stories where, much like UNDERWORLD UNLEASHED, villains are granted new powers in order to take on their old foes. I’m confused as to why Hawkman takes so long to recognise Shadow Thief, but on the whole this isn’t a bad issue.

JUSTICE LEAGUE ODYSSEY #11

As the Odyssey League feel constrained to work with Darkseid to build Sepulkore, Cyborg tries to understand what Darkseid’s doing and realises that he actually can – he shouldn’t be able to, but he can process the almost unimaginable amounts of data, much to his surprise. Darkseid isn’t surprised, though, and goads Cyborg, telling him he’s always been a machine posing as a human and that he should embrace it. The rest of the League arrive and take down Darkseid, only to find Cyborg might have taken the old god up on his offer.

Not a bad issue; this title’s come on leaps and bounds since Dan Abnett took over.

OBERON #5

Oberon and Puck battle and Bonnie is revealed to be the Lovet, the natural magician that Oberon thought she was. The Nevermen strike and Titania plots and, at the last, Oberon shows what an absolute bastard he is and just how far he’ll go to get what he wants.

It looks like this is the end of this series which is a shame – there are multiple story threads that could continue, but unless there’s a volume two coming next, this looks to be the last issue.

Sunday Reviews

BLACK HAMMER: AGE OF DOOM #10

Lucy and Talky get the gang back together, waking up Abraham Slam, Golden Gail and Barbalien, along the way finding Colonel Weird, all because the red skies that are gathering herald the return of Anti-God. Before their next move, Lucy is whisked away to meet someone they all thought long dead: her father, the original Black Hammer.

Another fine issue the moves the Black Hammer world along nicely – the red skies were a nice touch, too!

HAWKMAN #12

It’s the final battle between Hawkman and the army of Deathbringers he used to command in ages past. And, as you might imagine, it’s sort of brutal as Hawkman wrests control of the Deathbringers who have invaded London away from Idamm while his previous incarnations prevent the destruction of the city.

Bryan Hitch goes out in fine form as this first big arc of the HAWKMAN series comes to an end. It hasn’t been brilliant, but it hasn’t been bad, either.

JUSTICE LEAGUE ODYSSEY #9

Azrael’s new power to speak of peace calms both the Tamaraneans and the followers of Rapture, making them work together, while Cyborg tries to find the first of the relics Darkseid needs to build Sepulkore and use it to prevent the destruction of the Multiverse. As the team get back together, Jessica Cruz is the only one who seems suspicious of Azrael’s new power, Starfire’s apparent willingness to follow Darkseid, and even Cyborg’s motivations.

We’re still trapped in the Ghost Sector, still trying to find some magical doodad to put together to prevent the end of it all, and slowly moving forward. Dan Abnett’s character interaction is better than the early issues, but it still seems like we’re treading water, here.

OBERON #4

Mother Mayie’s betrayal of Oberon is dealt with, and he prepares Bonnie for attendance at the Immortal Masquerade, a fairy ball that never stops. Elsewhere, Titania receives news that the mysterious Nevermen are returning. She and Oberon strike a deal to swap Bonnie for the end of Oberon’s exile, the exchange to take place at the Masquerade. Unsurprisingly, Oberon is double crossed and ends up face to face with Robin Goodfellow.

Once again, another good issue that looks and reads great. My only concern is the “To be concluded” on the last page and the fact that OBERON hasn’t been solicited beyond next month’s #5. I’m hoping the conclusion will be to the story arc and it’ll just be on a break for a couple of months.

SHADOW ROADS #7

Part of the gang track down The Mizadori in their quest to find the Hunter and who he was working with, but interrogating someone who turns out to be a sentient hotel doesn’t go well. Elsewhere, the others receive portents and messages that will send them to different places.

Honestly, it’s been the best part of three months since the last issue and it’s all a bit disjointed by now. Still, it looks good.

SHAZAM! #5

Billy and Mary are trying to escape the Funlands; Pedro and Eugene are trying to get out of the Gamelands; and Darla and Freddy are on trial in the Wildlands. Back at the Rock of Eternity, Black Adam tries to enter the seven kingdoms but is stopped by Dr Sivana. The big reveal here, though, is that this take’s version of Talky Tawny is finally revealed and he looks great!

I guess it’s the art that is causing the delays on this title, as the Eugene and Pedro pages are illustrated by Scott Kolins while the rest of the issue is by series regular Dale Eaglesham. The styles are different so it’s a little jarring but if it gets this book out sooner, I’m all for it.

Sunday Reviews

HAWKMAN #11

London, and the rest of the world, is in danger from the return of the Deathbringers and even an army made up of Hawkman and all his previous incarnations from across time and space may not be enough to stop them.

This issue is basically a big fight scene as Hawkman and his former lieutenant Idamm go against each other while the other Hawkmen fight the Deathbringers, and finishes with a cliffhanger as London is about to fall. Its not bad – it looks good, as you’d expect with Bryan Hitch, but I’m left thinking this could have been condensed rather than dragged out.

JUSTICE LEAGUE ODYSSEY #8

Darkseid finally spills the beans about the real reason the League are here: he knew the Source Wall would be destroyed and that the Multiverse would fall and has spent millennia preparing for the event. He needs the League to recover a handful of relics so he can build Sepulkore, an ark to hold life and protect it from the end of the Multiverse. Before the League decide whether to work with him, Blackfire attacks, forcing Darkseid to send Cyborg off to find the first relic, while Azrael reveals a previously unknown power.

As I said for the previous issue, the unsteady start to this series seems to have smoothed out as Dan Abnett takes over and brings a less frenetic pace to the book while tying in, at least tangentially, with the main JUSTICE LEAGUE book and it’s big-scale story. Oh, and it looks great, too.

Sunday Reviews

BLACK HAMMER #9

Talky Walky tries to convince Lucy Weber of the existence of superheroes and fails; Barbalien’s lover is killed and he enacts bloody revenge on Mars; Abrahamn Slam gets a harsh dose of reality; and just as Talky’s about to end it all . . .

This series is so good; in the DC world, this whole alternate reality/superheroes never existed storyline would probably take six issues so it could be neatly packaged as a trade paperback. Here it’s already half way over in two issues.

FREEDOM FIGHTERS #4

The team strike a massive propaganda blow against the Reich and, unknown to them, that’s enough to get Uncle Sam back on his feet in the Heartland, the idea space where he’s been resting for decades. As the Fuhrer begins to suffer doubt and anxiety, that’s enough to get Sam back into the real world and delivering his first blow against the Nazis.

Another good, solid issue that brings more info about the Fighters’ dynamic as well as moving the story along nicely.

JUSTICE LEAGUE ODYSSEY #7

Confronted by Blackfire and her troops, Starfire loses control and almost kills the lot of them before the rest of her team manage to calm her down. While they end up leaving Tamaran, they at least have a lead on Darkseid’s location and head off to find him, unaware that Blackfire is setting Rapture – the ex-follower of Azrael – on their trail. Finding Darkseid, the League save him from the Eskaton and he promises to tell them the truth of his plans.

As much as I like Joshua Williamson’s other stuff – BIRTHRIGHT in particular – the early issues of this series seemed a little all over the place. Dan Abnett seems to be tightening up the story and it’s working better.

SHAZAM! #4

Talky Tawny makes his first appearance in the series, being arrested for “not being a proper tiger” before we see the various Shazam family kids in the other magic lands where King Kid has sent them. The King reveals to Billy that every time a child turns 18, they’re sent to the Below where they work to keep Funland fun – and that’s where Mary’s ended up. And back at the Rock of Eternity, Black Adam turns up to find to find the place deserted.

Remember when Geoff Johns seemed to be writing everything in the DCU? Sure there were mis-steps along the way (FOREVER EVIL instantly springs to mind) but when he was good (JSATEEN TITANSINFINITE CRISIS) he was good. So far, this is a return to form.

TERRIFICS #14

The Terrifics face off against Java’s Dr Dread and the Dreadfuls, overcoming the multiversal bad guys and finally bonding as a team through choice rather than circumstance.

This is the end of Jeff Lemire’s run on the series and it’s been great fun; this has consistently been one of my favourite titles as it doesn’t take itself too seriously, has some great dialogue, and remembers (almost alone amongst the DC titles) that they’re part of a multiverse. Sad to see Lemire go, but I hope the new team continue the same feel.