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Your Mileage May Vary | Red Robin #1

Now that Battle for the Cowl‘s over, the DCU’s Batclan has undergone drastic changes, some of which we can see in DC’s Red Robin #1.

Jason of Clever Name Comics & Pop Culture Blog thought the issue was great:

Red Robin #1

Red Robin #1

Red Robin #1 creates an interesting new status quo for Tim Drake, until recently Robin. During Tony Daniel’s Battle For the Cowl story, he was one of the heroes that was, ummmmm….battling for the cowl. I like Tim Drake, he wanted to be Robin and essentially applied for the job by showing Batman what he could do. But the only issue I had with him becoming the new Batman is that he’s too young. After reading this issue, I’m starting to take back that limitation. Basically, Tim has now become Batman, but as Red Robin. He’s dark and intense but in his own costume (which is a small question I have, where did he get the Red Robin costume so quickly?).

Chris Yost handles the writing duties well as Tim leaves the Batcave upon seeing Damian in the Robin costume, although Damian’s insults didn’t help either. There is a great scene where Damian shows up in his new Robin costume (which looks much better here than in Batman & Robin) and sees Tim talking to Dick who is wearing the Batman costume.

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from Magog #1

from Magog #1

Recently DC announced a new ongoing, starring Magog. This surprising decision has, naturally, caused some reaction.

Jim at Comics And…Other Imaginary Tales is incredulous:

DC announces an ongoing Magog series by Keith Giffen and Howard Porter. Are they kiding? I mean the JSA has Hourman and Liberty Bell husband and wife team that is virtually untouched, Dr. Midnight, the revamped Sandman, Damage and many other characters that would be fascinating and great to carry a book and we get Magog. This guy is a bizarre homage to some of the worst 90 characters every created. Who the hell green lit this idea at DC? This is a really a bad idea in my opinion, Giffen has been more miss than hit, Porter’s style is all over the map and there is no buzz on this character. It will not last past 12 issues is my guess.

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New Mutants #1

New Mutants #1

Recently, Marvel has reunited its classic X-Team, New Mutants in the pages of the aptly named New Mutants #1.

Paul O’Brien of If Destroyed, Still True cautiously enjoyed the issue:

That aside, though, it’s a good issue. I like Wells’ take on the characters, and artist Diogenes Neves is doing solid work here. Okay, his Magma and Magik are a bit too similar, and I’ve seen flashier artwork. But he tells a good story, and does a great job with the final few pages. Wells sets up an effective mystery and makes sure to get the plot underway instead of dragging out the set-up.

The big question, of course is: if we’re not doing the junior team again, what is the premise of this book? Is it an entire series about a bunch of characters who happened to be in a series with a stronger premise 25 years ago? Is it really just a second X-Men series which happens to have a dash of nostalgia thrown in? Come to think of it, perhaps that wouldn’t be such a bad idea.

Carlton Hargro of HeroesOnline is enthusiastic:

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The Dark Knight Strikes Again

The Dark Knight Strikes Again

Recently on their blog “4th Letter”, David Brothers and Esther Inglis-Arkell each posted an interesting perspective on Frank Miller’s “Dark Knight Strikes Again.”

In his initial post, David Brothers discusses DKSA as an exorcism:

Even still, there is a lot to digest here. Frank Miller, for good or for ill, is responsible for our current vision of Batman. Creators took the DKR model and ran with it, and it’s easy to see DKSA as Frank Miller striking back at that idea. Where we’ve had paranoid and grim Batman for the past fifteen years, Miller gives us one who’s faking grim but skipping like a schoolboy on the inside. Where we’ve had an utterly miserable Batman who figures out ways to trap his friends, Miller delivers a Batman who believes in the strength of others and trusts his fellow warriors.

DKSA is an exorcism. It takes all of the grim and gritty from DKR and the ensuing years and turns it on its head. It’s a push toward day-glo superheroics and away from miserable heroes. The moral of DKSA is “Superheroes are cool!”

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All-New Savage She-Hulk #1

All-New Savage She-Hulk #1

One new comic out this week was Marvel’s All-New Savage She-Hulk #1. Reactions appear to be interesting and varied.

Chris Sims approves of the issue:

All-New Savage She-Hulk #1: With this issue, Marvel takes another stab at She-Hulk, this time ditching Jen Walters in favor of Lyra, the alternate future daughter of the Hulk and Thundra, who has come back to the present to punch men in the face with gamma-powered militant feminism. Feminism which is, of course, expressed through the time-honored medium of a fetching Andre-the-Giant-esque sports bra and skin-tight low-rise Han Solo pants, just as it should be.

Electric Goldfish didn’t enjoy the issue:

All New Savage She Hulk #1 (Dark Reign tie in)
Urgh, I have no idea where to begin. I literally facepalmed a few times while reading it. Writer Fred Van Lente does a bait and switch for this book and it mainly features Lyra, child of Hulk and Thundra.
Dear Fred Van Lente: Not much Jen Walters in this issue, but I have my doubts you can salvage her from the mess she’s in.
Final though: Oh gawd, please get better next issue. I don’t know if I can handle all this camp.

Randy Lander’s response was short and mixed:

All-New Savage She-Hulk #1 (Well, it’s different, that’s for sure… it’s a goofy concept played straight, and not as impressive as Van Lente’s work in places like Scorpion or Incredible Hercules, but a few glimmers of potential, plus Van Lente’s track record, means I’ll give issue two a shot)

So what do you think?

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This week saw the debut issue of the “Flash: Rebirth” miniseries. Naturally, that’s leading to a lot of blog-type discussion.

Seb Patrick enjoyed the issue but thinks it might be a bit “reader unfriendly”:

Flash: Rebirth

Flash: Rebirth

Still, such concerns are probably for the longer view, and needn’t necessarily be reflected in what this is like as a comic and an introductory issue. And it’s… well, it’s as you’d expect from a Geoff Johns tentpole book. It’s entirely, thoroughly and inextricably rooted in “DCness”, and hugely reliant on prior knowledge of the identities of just about everyone that shows up. Make no mistake – if you’re wondering what the Flash is all about and you’re looking to start following his adventures, this ain’t the place for you. There isn’t even an explanation for why Bart is suddenly (a) alive and (b) a teenager again for those of us who haven’t read Final Crisis : Legion of 3 Worlds (I had to Wiki it just to find out that that was where it had happened).

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Oracle: The Cure #1 has come out and given all the potential implications this story has for Barbara Gordon, it’s probably natural that people are talking about it.

Esther Inglis-Arkell believes that the series will end with Barbara as Oracle, uncured:

Oracle: The Cure #1

Oracle: The Cure #1

While I may not be much of a second-lifer or skull-exploder, I do know my Babsology, and more importantly, my superheroes. The series is called The Cure. The first issue chronicles the villain’s desperate, yet evil, attempts to save his desperately ill daughter. It also makes much of the hero’s misery over her grievous injury. Babs is going to have to choose whether to heal the girl or heal herself. Being a hero, she’s going to heal the girl. There is a way that set-ups like these go. In fact, this is the way that this set-up has already gone in Birds of Prey.

And so, of course, I’m hoping it goes the other way. Part of this is because of my shameless bias for Batgirl Babs. Part of it – let’s say that I’ve had it up to here with stories that come complete with forgone conclusions. My heart drops a bit each time I see summaries that go along the lines of: “Will Batman kill the Joker this time?” “Is this the end for Lois and Clark?” “Is Batman dead?” The answer is always ‘no.’ Always. Without exception. We know it the moment we pick up the solicit.

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Batman: Battle for the Cowl #1

Batman: Battle for the Cowl #1

The new Batman event comic, Battle for the Cowl #1, came out this week, and of course that means a lot of people are talking about it.

Chad Nevett and Tim Callahan weren’t fans of the book:

I can’t believe you hated the writing more than I did! I think we hated it equally or thereabouts, but my low expectations made it seem not quite as bad, while your neutrality made it seem worse. Yeah, it’s bad, but it’s that workmanlike going from point A to point B sort of writing. I think that because it so utterly lacks in ambition, I can’t fault it too much for being so bad, because I don’t think Daniel was shooting for anything beyond this (aside from thinking it’s good). I don’t think he’s trying to be anything but obvious in dropping obvious hints and insultingly basic narration. While Todd McFarlane’s writing always had a hint of pretention, like he thought he was a great writer, Daniel’s work almost screams, “Hey, I know this isn’t up there with Morrison, but I’m not trying to be that good! I just want to write an action comic that ends with someone as Batman!” Not good, but it could be worse. I would have probably given it two stars…

Rokk Krinn gave the comic an average review:

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Watchmen

Watchmen

The Watchmen movie comes out next week, and a lot of fans have been revisiting the comic in preparation.

Our own Tom Bondurant compares his initial impression of the comic with his perspective this time around:

And yet, the thing about Watchmen is that it’s not nearly as cynical as it looks. All the drama, violence, and sex only matter to the extent that we can’t get past them. The thermodynamic miracle isn’t just the uniqueness of each human life, it’s the spark of individuality, of creativity, which powers each work of art. If all we see is one way to go, we limit ourselves to that path. We forget that we each have, as a certain starship captain once said, a “capacity to leap beyond logic” which helps slice through our own Gordian knots. Watchmen trades pretty heavily in structure and form, but it ends up saying you don’t have to do it this way.

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Robin #183

Robin #183

Quite a few books celebrated their final issues this week. Robin #183 in particular got a lot of reader response.

Captain Elias thought the issue was fantastic:

Fabien Nicieza wrote a fantastic final issue. (100 times better than the penultimate one, and far superior to the majority of issues in Robin’s surprisingly long run.) He gives Tim’s solo title a send-off it deserves, with a clearly defined individual who does not exist in the shadow of his mentors, but under the weight of his own expectations and ambition. Even Freddie Williams manages to draw Tim as more of a grown-up, rather than the mini-Robin so often seen in the animated series or the main Batman titles. In his final pages Tim has poise and presence, and judging from the art leaked by Tony Daniel this will continue in Battle for the Cowl.

Nevermore999 was had some problems with the issue:

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Vixen: Return of the Lion #4

Vixen: Return of the Lion #4

I think I’ve mentioned before that part of the new deal with this column, aside from the name change, is that once a month or so I actually get to post my own opinion.  Same rules for commenting apply though.  Agree, disagree, feel free to pipe up in the comments.

I wasn’t really sure what to make my first opinion column about until I went to the comic shop today.  After claiming my pull list, I went over to the shelves and notices something interesting.  The Vixen miniseries was already on issue 4.

I’d bought issue #1 when it came out and enjoyed it a lot (I have a thing for female characters beating the crap out of a group of bad guys while wearing a pretty dress) but somehow I’d forgotten about the series by the time the next one had come out.  It never got added to my pull list and, well, fast forward a few months, and I’m suddenly THREE issues behind!

At least I got to spend an afternoon playing catch up!

I think I managed to forget about this comic because I rarely see anyone online talk about it.  Which is a damn shame, because honestly, I think it’s really good!  Actually, I think it might be the most fun mini-series I’ve read in quite a while.

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DC finished off its big event of 2008 this week with Final Crisis #7. Naturally, there have been a lot of thought about the issue.

Evan Waters really appreciated the payoff:

But what FINAL CRISIS does right that so many of these events don’t is in delivering the payoff. FINAL CRISIS #7 is the issue of triumph and glory, and too often as of late, as a result of trying to raise the stakes as high as possible, superhero victories have been so pyrrhic and brief as to be unsatisfying. Here, we take our time, we see Dr. Sivana and Lex Luthor smiling as they help put together a machine to rewrite the laws of physics, we see Supergirl and Wonder Woman tell the story of how the universe was saved to a room of waiting children before they go to deep-freeze, we get payoffs to arcs that weren’t even technically part of this crossover, we get a sense that the world might actually become more interesting as a consequence of all this.

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Dark Avengers #1

Dark Avengers #1

The first issue of Dark Avengers came out this week. And so far, reactions have been interesting.

Matthew Pease is excited about the issue:

This book did exactly what any first issue should do. It got me excited for the series going forward, the possibilities for this team and the conflicts they could have are fantastic. Let face it Bendis knows exactly where he is going. Nearly every team member has a counterpart on the New Avengers or the Mighty Avengers. Having Daken dress like wolverine is excellent and will lead to a father/son throw down that should be excellent. Having Bullseye dress like Hawkeye is likely going to piss off Clint Barton who is currently Ronin on the New Avengers and is going to lead them in to a sharpshooter showdown which is sure to be seen in “Dark Reign: Hawkeye”. Moonstone taking on the persona of Ms. Marvel will lead to a sexy fight with Carol Danvers. Osborn as the Iron Patriot will no doubt royally annoy both Tony Stark and Bucky.

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Final Crisis #6

Final Crisis #6

In celebration of our relocation, the “Variations on a Theme” column is undergoing a slight change.

Well, really, just a name change. You are now reading “Your Mileage May Vary” which is essentially the same column but with the added bonus that once a month or so, I get to post my opinion about… something. (I haven’t figured that part out yet.)

This week, the big topic among all of you seems to be Final Crisis #6. If you’ve read it, you know what I’m talking about. If not… Well, don’t continue reading this post.

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