Friday, March 03, 2006


I only read JSA #83 and Detective Comics #817. I probably would have picked up more, but all of the back issues of Manhunter that I'd asked for came in from their other store, and so did the issues of Batman and the Monster Men.

(Spoilers for JSA #83, Detective Comics #817, and Jonah Hex #4 follow)

Read on.

Detective Comics was really enjoyable. James Robinson's primary assignment seems like a return to the status quo of Batman. And by status quo, I mean a recognizable Batverse from people who know it by the movie, the cartoon, or just common pop culture knowledge. I'm actually very happy about that. Mainly this is because of Page 5 (Page 6 counting ads). Page 5 saw the return of one of my favorite Batman characters to the regular recurring cast. Someone I've been waiting anxiously to come back since the "Officer Down" storyline. When I saw his fat, unshaven, cigar smoking face I had to put the book down so I could dance my "Harvey's back!" dance. Then the little old lady downstairs pounded on her ceiling and yelled, and I had to sit back down and read quietly again.

Despite opening with a murder, it was definitely a brighter, lighter Batman than we've seen in a while.

JSA had equally dark subject matter, but the tone was also lighter than the book had been for years. I'm happy to see Power Girl, Terrific, Courtney, and Jay alive. The absence of Sand is notable and worrisome. The continued absence of Atom-Smasher is a joy. I was happy with Alan. When Jennie died, the expectation was that Alan would grieve but get on with his life, and her brother Todd would have a meltdown. Well, in the Manhunter preview art he looks perfectly well adjusted an cheerful. And decidedly not evil. Alan, on the other hand, attributes his seeing a ghost to PTSD, and references how off-center he's been since his daughter died. Credits Jay with keeping him sane. Anyone else who thinks Alan's going to get worse before he gets better, raise your hand.

Anyway, I had trouble enjoying this issue because of Dr. Mid-Nite. Pieter Cross is on my list of favorites, you understand. I went out of my way to get Batman and the Monster Men (after ignoring it) because someone likened it to the 1999 Dr. Midnite miniseries that brought us Pieter. (I think it was Chris but I'm not sure)

Anyway, firstly, what was Pieter doing in Gotham? Are they going to station him there now? I mean, I know he's not in an ongoing, but Portsmouth was set up well enough to support it. And he did have a likeable supporting cast, headed by Camilla. Johns even showed us glimpses from time to time.

Secondly, if Pieter's going to see ghosts that accuse him of killing them, why not the person he actually killed when he got his powers? Why not his mother? Why these nameless, lost patients that he didn't personally know?

Then there's his behavior. I think he panicked too much when he lost his goggles, but that could be just me. It just didn't feel like Pieter.

What really bugs me, though, is this panel. It not only implies that Pieter doesn't believe in the afterlife now, but that he never did.

Which directly contrasts previous characterization.

This annoys me. The characterization was put in place, I think, to differentiate him from Mr Terrific. Terrific, for most intents and purposes, has the same surface personality. You need to get seriously into the characterization to tell the two apart, and this was one of the big differences.

It was a little off-putting to have one of my favorite character show up so... off.

Aside from that, I got Jonah Hex #5 but haven't opened it yet. Possibly because I didn't read Jonah Hex #4 until Tuesday night. I was impressed. You've all heard my complaints about Spider-Man/Black Cat #6 and it's unfortunate plot device. Well, here it is again and it works quite well.
Jonah Hex is hired by a father to bring in the young man who sexually assaulted his daughter. When Jonah does bring him to town, the daughter, who's mute, hits him. Later on, she passes him a note saying that the young man didn't do the crime, and that she'd helped him escape. Jonah spends the issue trying to save the wrongfully accused young man, while the girl takes care of herself and ends up saving them both. In the end, when she communicates what happened very clearly, no one but the culprit challenges her story. I even noticed that in one panel where the townspeople are asking him where his explanation is (in the clear mood they won't believe it), the more prominent extra was even female. It made me think of David Welsh's complaints about victims never getting conventional justice. Mayleen got conventional justice, Western-style justice, but still, it was conventional and it relied entirely on her testimony. I wonder what he thought of this issue.

I don't think I can form a coherent review of Green Lantern Corps: Recharge #5 of Infinite Crisis #5 right now, but I was very pleased with both. I'd tell you about Manhunter as I now have the entire series, but I'm not finished reading. You see, some unscrupulous person (I suspect the cat) has move issue #9. I could have sworn I had it when I left the .

I haven't read Batman and the Monster Men either. The owner of the LCS tracked down a copy of issue one for me, and it was a copy signed by Matt Wagner. 'm not much of a collector, but there's something intimidating about a signed copy. Especially when it's one with a certificate on the back of the board, with a scary looking silver seal holding the bag together. Chris assures me it won't hurt it, it's meant to be read, but it's still intimidating. I'll get past this eventually, I'm sure, but as it is I'm afraid to open it. It's the seal, I think.

Maybe this weekend I'll get a bout of bravery. Then I'll talk about it.


  1. At least yours showed *up* in JSA. :-) I have to wait worredly to find out if mine dissolved in the Earth's crust again. :-)

    But yeah, poor Alan's going to have a rough time of it.

  2. I enjoyed Detective Comics, too. I liked it when they turned on the signal and people were honking and hollaring for Bats to come back.

  3. I loved this week's Detective since it definitely returned everything back to the way it "should" be in Gotham. Gordon, Bullock, the signal...loved every minute of it.

    I was, however, curious as to the identity of Robin. There's a clear redesign going on with the suit, as well as a retro "R". It was even more interesting when the officer welcomes Robin back, and he says something to the effect of "I'm not even sure I've gotten used to the feeling of being back." Made me wonder who's actually behind the mask. Jason, maybe? I guess we'll find out soon enough.

  4. Was I the only who was disturbed by Doc Mid-Nite's drugging the homeless and dragging them off to a shelter?

  5. I didn't get any Hourman either...

  6. Devon -

    No, the drugging scene was a definite WTF moment. Marred what was otherwise a solid story from Levitz..

  7. You know, I totally spaced on the drugging thing, as I was too busy saying "WTF is Pieter doing in Gotham?" as I turned the page in wonder.

    But you guys are utterly correct. I could see him doing that if the guy had attacked him or someone else, but just some random homeless person on the street? No. Pieter's usually out on the streets, yes, but he's usually offering prevention and treatment right there rather than collecting patients who may not want to leave where they are. He's usually portrayed as big on individual freedom.