Two blogs in one week is a feat not seen here since last year’s new 52, but I thought I’d take advantage of the last moments of my time off work. I really wanted to do something a bit special, but ended up just reading comics and playing NHL 13 and Borderlands 2. And I regret nothing.
Swamp Thing #12 Why is there another fucking talking cat in my comic? This issue sees Swamp Thing cross over with everyone’s darling of the issue ones, Animal Man. Everyone’s darling except me. I’ll just sacrifice a little street cred here and say I thought Animal Man’s initial premise was boring and the artwork looked shit (yep, I said it). Readers of Animal Man have informed me from early on that this crossover was inevitable, and now it’s here I’m not impressed at all. See, as I don’t read Animal Man I have very little understanding of the relevance of almost every character in this book, and to make things that little bit shittier this issue is actually a second part of a story that begins in Animal Man #12. Which I don’t read. Now it’s no secret that publishers attempt these kinds of crossovers to tempt you into buying a title you don’t read in the hopes you might like what you see and stick with it. Not me though. DC did this to me with Superboy for months, and not only did I not start collecting Teen Titans, but Superboy is on the fucking chopping block. And so is Swamp Thing. Like most people I have a limited budget, and can’t afford more titles, but I do ponder if the grass might be greener in another title like oh, I dunno…. Green Lantern or Wonder Woman, or something else from Marvel, and that one of these might be money better spent. Anyway I’ve still got Swamp Thing #0 to read, and it’ll be make or fucking break I can tell you.
Swamp Thing #0 This issue at least reminds me of what I liked about Swamp Thing in the first place, that at it’s heart it’s a great horror book, and the story’s most chilling moment is in this issue, where Arcane, in the grotesque form of a brain and face atop a large hand crawls on to the face of a sleeping baby and murders it. In fact, Arcane’s murder spree through time is more or less what this one is all about, and I could go for more of this, but Swamp Thing seems to be going in a more fantasy/horror direction when I’d really rather see it echo Scott Snyder’s other scary book, Severed, and be a more straight up horror story. This one almost turned me around, but I think I need to drop this book and just ask around for where to get the kind of fix I’m really after. Sorry Swamp Thing, we’re done.
Detective Comics #0 Holy shit, there’s a good one in the bunch! Two stories here and they’re both worth your money. The main story shows a pre-Batman Bruce Wayne training in the Himalayas with a sensei and his wife. His humanity is in danger of being trained out of him, as he is told that all attachment is weakness. There’s one final lesson for Bruce to learn, but I’ll stay spoiler free and just say I really liked this one. The second story, though much shorter, I liked even more. Alfred is custodian to the Wayne mansion in Bruce’s absence, as a businessman pressures him to sell the property. Alfred remains faithful that Bruce will return and refuses. When Bruce does return, he tells Alfred he has been training, and begins to explain a grand plan he has for the future. The whole Bruce-away-training thing is a great story hook that worked in Batman Begins and works well in the continuity reset (of sorts) now. This part of Batman is ripe for good stories and I hope to see more.
Supergirl #0 With Supergirl’s origin story pretty much ignored in the first twelve issues, the zero issue presents a good enough opportunity as any to tell it. Told mainly from Zor-El’s perspective, we see his final day’s efforts put into the preservation of Argo City from the coming disaster, and his scheme to save his daughter’s life. There’s isn’t much on offer that’s not already common knowledge, but just as I was about to dismiss this one as boring, a few panels throw a spanner in the works and may just lead to a small reward for my efforts in reading all the Super-titles: Superboy appears in a few panels to set up a future story where somehow Superboy transcends time and space to witness the final days of Krypton! Not a great issue by any stretch, but this little inclusion is enough to keep me interested in Superboy into 2013, and this is what I’d prefer to see crossover-wise from DC, characters from the books I’m already reading so I can get the most out of what’s going on.
Justice League #0 Lots of Shazam. A little bit of Pandora. One panel of the Phantom Stranger. For an issue of Justice League there sure is a lack of the Justice League. To be fair, this story continues the Shazam story that has featured as the second story in this book since issue #7, and it’s been pretty good too. Secondly, with Green Lantern announcing he has better shit to do in space and quitting, there’s a Shazam-sized space on the team that needs filling. So while Cyborg, The Flash and those other heroes might not be present this time, it’s likely tying up Shazam’s intro before #13 is important to the regular Justice League reader. Those uninitiated with the League looking for a jump on point might want to grab #12 over this though, which despite being the close of an arc, still arms the reader with the right ammo for what’s approaching.
While I wait for some more zeroes to come I have about a year's worth of Venom to catch up on. Have fun in the meantime, kids!