Sunday Reviews

“There is nobody out there, the whole town is falling apart, and it’s hot as crap!”

The Trip Advisor review of Dangerfield, Arizona, from INFERIOR 5 #1

BIRTHRIGHT #40

Mikey and his family face off against Mastema who wants to create a whole new world from the ashes of both Earth and Terrenos and isn’t going to take no for an answer.Her plans are waylaid, though, which leads to a whole new set of problems.

Just ten more issues to go in this excellent fantasy/modern age mash-up that’s been consistently good in both writing and, especially, the art. Seriously, it’s gorgeous art work.

DARK ARK: AFTER THE FLOOD #1

Khalee attempts to keep the monsters in order following her murdering her father Shrae, while her Dark Lords order her to bring Noah’s Ark to the island.

We’re back in the post-diluvian world with monsters and magic abounding. A straightforward first issue of book two about the Dark Ark, setting things up for the future.

THE GREEN LANTERN #12

Hal Jordan faces off against the Anti-Matter Man (or Qwa-Man) for the final time, only to be amazed when everything he’s fought for turns out to be part of Controller Mu’s plan. It was all a set-up and a trap to force Jordan into using the Miracle Machine to recreate the universe according to Mu’s will.

This is the last issue of GREEN LANTERN for now as there’ll be a three issue miniseries called BLACKSTARS from next month. Morrison’s scatter gun approach of dropping items and characters in left, right and centre was apparently deliberate . . . but it didn’t really work for me as everything seemed so piecemeal, the reveal of a grand master plan was a little underwhelming.

INFERIOR 5 #1

It’s shortly after the INVASION! and Justin and his mother have moved to Dangerfield, Arizona. It’s a quiet town populated with strange people and it clearly has a secret that needs to be revealed. Unfortunately for Justin, that secret may have just killed his mother.

This actually came out a couple of weeks ago but my comic shop forgot to order it for me. Written by Keith Giffen and Jeff Lemire, I had high hopes for this and, sure enough, it’s well worth a read. The art by Giffen is excellent, the writing is crisp and economical, and there’s enough of a mystery to want me to find out more. No-one seems quite sure whether this is actually set just after the INVASION! or whether there’s some sort of experiment going on, but I like this.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #33

One third of the League face off against Perpetua and Luthor in the Promethean Galaxy; another in 1941 face the Legion of Doom in Atlantis; the last in the far future face Brainiac. Can they all get together to defeat Luthor and his team before the end of everything?

Probably, I’m guessing, but by god they’re taking their time getting there. It’s another bombastic “It’s the end of everything!” type issue where nothing much seems to happen. Considering this title has been produced twice a month for the last few years, there’s been a hell of a lot of pages spent talking about how dangerous and cataclysmic everything’s becoming without actually getting anywhere.

Mash-Up #140 Nemesis vs Justice League of America

Okay, I admit it – I’d never heard of Nemesis before I found this image while looking to mash-up covers. Want more info? Check this page.

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.

Random Thoughts On DOOMSDAY CLOCK

DC’s December solicitations came out over the last few days and, with little fanfare, they included the write up for the final issue of DOOMSDAY CLOCK, the Geoff Johns and Gary Frank follow up to WATCHMEN which, by and large, has been greeted favourably.

As we probably all know by now, DOOMSDAY CLOCK launched in November 2017 and was meant to take a year to be released. Early promotional interviews revealed it was set a year into the future of the DCU so that, by the time it finished, the rest of the DCU would be at the same point as DOOMSDAY CLOCK‘s finale.

Scheduling problems mean that it’s now two years since the start of the series and, during that time, so many things have come in to play that I can’t help thinking that once finished, DOOMSDAY CLOCK will have next to no impact on the main DCU.

One of the threads running through the story is the Superman Theory – a conspiracy theory that says the American government is responsible for the creation (and thus controls) the superheroes. As a consequence, the public distrust them and superpowered beings are heading to Khandaq, the last refuge for them.

In recent issues, Superman has been blamed for the deaths of dozens of Russian soldiers and Firestorm appears to have exploded in the same confrontation. American citizens are rioting in multiple cities, demanding the fall of Superman and other heroes.

None of the above is being mentioned in any other DCU series – everyone’s either ignoring the deaths of multiple characters in the horrible HEROES IN CRISIS; running around trying to work out who Leviathan is; fighting with characters from the Dark Multiverse; or are too busy dealing with the ramifications of UNDERWORLD UNLEASHED Year of the Villain where Neron Lex Luthor is offering the bad guys new powers.

And speaking of Luthor, he plays a small but important part in DOOMSDAY CLOCK which gives lie to the original idea that the rest of the DCU would connect to it. Here’s how the character appears in DOOMSDAY CLOCK and current issues of JUSTICE LEAGUE:

As the Justice League storyline of Justice/Doom War is only just getting underway and is due to run well in to next year, there’s no way Lex is suddenly going to transform from the “apex predator” version of himself on the right to the standard Lex we all love to hate on the left.

DOOMSDAY CLOCK looked to be set to return the Justice Society of America to the DCU, a team that’s been missing since the New 52 was instigated in 2011; it was also bringing back the Legion of Super-Heroes.

Both teams have now been reintroduced in other titles – the JSA in JUSTICE LEAGUE and the Legion in their own, forthcoming title, making the reveal and tease of them in DOOMSDAY CLOCK now redundant.

I can’t help but wonder if some of the publishing problems the series has had is down to DC editorial saying to Johns and Frank – “You know those plans you had bring back the Legion and the JSA? Bendis and Snyder want to play with them, so can you alter your story?” – forcing them to re-jig some elements. It would sort of explain why Saturn Girl, teased as an important player in the story, is basically taken off the board in an almost throwaway moment:

There’s no way the DCU is going to reflect the DCU shown in the pages of DOOMSDAY CLOCK; there’s been no hint that any other title is going to tie in to this world – it’s basically being ignored.

Sad to say, as good as DOOMSDAY CLOCK is (and it is good) I can see it being consigned to a self-contained story, perhaps shunted off to one of the unknown Earths from Grant Morrison’s MULTIVERSITY, a way of saying “Wasn’t that a great story? Now, on with the rest of the DCU…”

While Geoff Johns was once the golden boy at DC, in the time he was away dealing with film and TV, Brian Michael Bendis has come in and taken over the Superman line; Scott Snyder is running the Justice League; and REBIRTH has been quietly moved to one side, and the DCU has become a lot darker since.

In an interview before the series began, Johns said:

[DOOMSDAY CLOCK] will have an impact on the entire DC Universe. It will affect everything moving forward and everything that has come before.

I really doubt that’s going to come to pass now.