"Justice League": Exploring How Superman Returns (Again)
Comic Books, Film
This is a great week for DC Comics fans. Not only is there another wave of second issues from the New 52, but this week also heralds the release of Batman: Arkham City and a bevy of news coming out of New York Comic Con. There weren’t new No. 1s for any miniseries, though, but that didn’t keep some quality second installments off the shelves. Let’s jump in!
Warning! Spoilers ahead!
Written by Scott Snyder with art by Greg Capullo
Scott Snyder is poised to become one of the best writers in the New 52. Batman is one of those rare Godfather-like instances in which the second installment is actually better than the first – and considering the quality of the previous issue, that’s high praise. Snyder resolves last month’s cliffhanger somewhat dismissively, but it’s more than made up for by the new mystery of The Court of Owls and Bruce’s mayoral candidate friend Lincoln March. While Nightwing gets a little panel time this issue, Snyder’s real focus is Batman. Not only does the reader get a great feel as to who Bruce Wayne is outside of Batman, the writer also focuses a bit more on the city itself, making for an excellently structured and tightly plotted issue. Greg Capullo continues to show his versatility, making for a creative team that’s really firing on all cylinders.
Written by Tony Bedard with art by Ig Guara
The second issue picks up where the first left off as Jaime Reyes tries to adapt to the scarab armor that just merged with him. None of the super-powered thugs recognize him, and the suit keeps trying to kill anyone that gets in his way. It seems like Tony Bedard is using this issue as an opportunity for setup, which is fine, but it makes for a slightly uninspiring second installment. Unlike the first issue, readers don’t get a taste of Jaime’s civilian life, but they do get a look at the threat that’s coming from Space Sector 2809 – rendered in Ig Guara’s signature style. While the issue may serve more as a platform for what the scarab armor can do, the subplot involving Brenda and Tia, the collector, looks like it may be picking up.
Did this book really have to pick up exactly where the first issue left off? It’s unfortunate that a book that had so much potential in the middle pages of the first issue really misses the mark in the second. Catwoman has lost much of the ferocity and espionage savvy she had in the first issue. It’s unfortunate that much of the issue focuses more on Selina’s sex appeal than on her actual skills as a thief, and even the introduction of a new villain who brutally murdered Selina’s friend isn’t enough to get me on board with this month’s installment. In fact, some of the best moments in this issue were during a party with a fake-drunk Bruce Wayne trying to out-con Selina Kyle in disguise – and in a book called Catwoman, it’s disappointing that the best part is Bruce Wayne.
Green Lantern Corps
Written by Peter J. Tomasi with art by Fernando Pasarin
Peter J. Tomasi will make you care about the Green Lantern Corps. It’s the truth! His second installment lays the groundwork for a conflict bordering on a full-scale war between willpower, while still keeping the mystery alive as to why Green Lanterns are getting their ring fingers cut off. There’s more action in the pages of this book than you can shake a green-construct stick at, which is perfect for a second issue – but even for a Green Lantern book, there’s a lot of green here. However, Fernando Pasarin makes it work as best he can, and when you can get past the 12 or so pages of green as the base color, the detail really shines through. Readers who are unfamiliar with the previous installments of Green Lantern Corps may still be a bit confused with the cast of characters, but it’s a small price to pay for this amount of action in one issue.
After what many considered to be a misstep in Issue 1, the second installment of Justice League seems to get a lot right where the first got it wrong. It’s no longer just the Batman and Green Lantern show – the book jumps right in by introducing the Flash and throwing him right into the fray while giving Superman a fair amount of panel time. Young Victor Stone is the character that gets the most development, as we see a little more about his relationship with his father, and the beginnings of the accident that will presumably turn him into Cyborg. This issue would have made the first so much better had the two been packaged together, but Geoff Johns is very clearly playing a longer game and, pacing aside, is doing a good job of introducing these characters. One of the strongest pieces of the issue comes in the back pages, in a transcript of an interview between Amanda Waller and Steve Trevor, that lays the groundwork for the New DCU Wonder Woman mythos. This is a fun book, but I’m still not sure if it’s living up to the flagship title of DC’s New 52.
Written by Michael Green and Mike Johnson with art by Mahmud Asrar
Much of this issue won’t be anything you haven’t seen before. Supergirl, confused and adrift, fights Superman across China. We know what’s going to happen. Where this issue really shines is with Kara’s immediate empathy for humanity. Green and Johnson have crafted a Supergirl who’s a very empathetic but strong character – a welcome introduction to one of the premier superheroines of the New DCU. The only unfortunate thing is that, beyond the fighting, there’s not much to this issue. Red Kryptonite was recovered from Kara’s ship, but beyond that, not much occurred. Mahmud Asrar’s art has a unique flair that I tend to gravitate toward, but I’m not sure it’s for everybody. This book looks to be a lot of fun, but the second issue didn’t live up to its full potential.
I really like that Brian Azzarello is further exploring Wonder Woman’s mythological roots. Zeus’ dalliances with mortal women are legendary, as are Hera’s responsive fits, but Azzarello takes them to a whole new level, emphasizing the wrath of the gods. Readers are also introduced to Queen Hippolyta, Wonder Woman’s Amazon sisters, and the goth-clothed goddess Strife, who reveals that Diana wasn’t really made from clay, but may in fact be a daughter of Zeus. Azzarello does a great job pacing this issue, even taking time to put some focus on Zola, the woman carrying Zeus’ unborn child. Cliff Chiang is bringing his A-game, and it’s impressive. This book has me excited to see Wonder Woman facing off against Hera, but even more so, Azzarello has me excited to see if Strife’s claims are true.
That’s it from the pull list this week. What did you enjoy from your own pull? Did Red Hood and the Outlaws grab you with the second issue? Did you stop playing Arkham City long enough to see what’s happening with Nightwing? Let us know in the comments!