Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Gary Frank
Okay, I really enjoyed this issue. In fact, it was great (aside from Jazzerciser Brainiac), but I'm having a lot of issues figuring out how this huge ass retcon of a story fits into place.
I still have no clue why Superman and Supergirl are making this huge deal about Kandor and I have no idea why Brainiac had no clue what all those 'fake' Brainiacs, whom Johns is retcon punching away, were up to while fighting Superman for the past 70 years.
Pretty much anything to do with this Brainiac is unexplained and, just like the recent Zod, Toyman and Legion stories, we're supposed to just accept the fact they've run out of ideas for new stories and villains and just introduce their own version of a character with no explanation or real reason behind it. With how they've been treating the Superman continuity of late, they should have just did a Man of Steel II and retconned the whole Superman universe and I think I'd be much happier with how they are handling these "new" characters.
With how they've been treating the Superman continuity of late, they should have just did a Man of Steel II and retconned the whole Superman universe.Okay, enough doom and gloom because, despite my misgivings, this was a fantastic issue and you should be readings Superman (well, just Action Comics) with this and the upcoming New Krypton event.
After last issue's supernova ending, which saw Superman captured by Brainiac, he wakes up here in a very Matrix-esque fashion right down to the freaky pods of aliens and the 'tube in throat' pulling out scene.
From there, Superman meets up with the 'real' Brainiac and, unfortunately, he's not the creepy looking version from the cover or the previous two issues. No, once Brainiac wakes up, he's basically a big, green strongman. I was actually pretty disappointed to see him resort to fisticuffs as his first option after the build up of this new persona.
Don't get me wrong, he's still much better than the Y2K version (and the past decade worth of Brainiac incarnations for that matter) and his dialogue was spot on, right down to referring to Superman simply as "Kryptonian", but the fact he pops those cables out of his head and then proceeds to just punch Superman about turned me off to this new incarnation a little bit.
I did love the implication that Brainiac did the same thing to Krypton's star as he did to the planet in the last issue when he captured Superman. It'll be interesting to see if that's what really happened or not as Brainiac ignored Superman's inference.
The ending to this issue left us with Brainiac's ship hovering above Metropolis with the implication he'd be bottling it up.
Verdict - Must Read. Again, if you've never read Superman or don't really care about what happened in the past, these complaints are completely moot. In fact, I, and everyone else, that have a problem with the wanton disregard for previous stories still find it hard to criticize a book as good as Action Comics and I loved everything about this issue, from the creepy Matrix-like feel of Brainiac's ship to the confrontation with Brainiac.
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Tony Daniel
I've expressed my dissatisfaction with Morrison's Batman RIP in the past, but I just want to say that this was a much better outing than in the past and went a long way to redeeming this arc in my eyes.
Yes, this issue is just as bat shit insane as the previous chapters, but, unlike those, this issue is focused in its madness and features a logical progression of events without the jarring cuts and nonsensical plot developments. It's as if an editor stepped in and told Morrison to cut the crap already and tell a real story.
As such, this issue features the Zur-en-Arrh Batman running around beating up random Dr Hurt goons with the figment of his imagination, Bat-Mite, on his shoulder. He's completely lost it here and is running around with his broken AM/FM radio, er, I mean Bat Radia, ripping out tracking devices in his teeth and acting like a Batman that's cracked, but, for as far as he's fallen, still has some wits about him. Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you.
Meanwhile, with the crazy, but in a good way, Batman scenes out of the way, we get a lot of other plot details filled in. In fact, we actually get a plot for this event, something it's been severely lacking up until now. We still don't know what Dr Hurt, who claims to be Thomas Wayne (Alfred says otherwise), wants or why he's doing this to Batman.
Yes, this issue is just as bat shit insane as the previous chapters, but, unlike those, this issue is focused in its madness and features a logical progression of events without the jarring cuts and nonsensical plot developments.However, we do see the push towards a conclusion with Dr Hurt setting up Arkham as the final stage for his destruction of Batman. He's promised Joker Robin to kill, we get a glimpse of said Joker, Nightwing is being prepped for a lobotimization by one of Hurt's men at Arkham and Robin has called in the calvary with a quick message to the Squire, who we last saw during the League of Batmen story. It's looking like we may see a League of Batmen vs Club of Heroes showdown with a crazed Batman and the Joker stuck in the middle to wrap this event up.
My only real complaint with this issue is the fact Robin takes out his pursuer and then leaves him trapped under some rubble as he runs away. Uh, not going to question him? Wouldn't that help you find Batman or figure out what the hell is going on? Just seemed like a really dumb thing to do given the circumstances.
Verdict - Check It. I'm wary to give it a Must Read since the first couple of issues were nearly unreadable and I'm unsure if this will continue to improve or if this will take another trip down the rabbit hole next issue. For now, this was good, but tread lightly in fear of future issues.
GREEN LANTERN CORPS #27
Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Art by Luke Ross and Fabio Laguna
Let's get this out of the way right now. Lantern Saarek, the guy advertised as being able to 'speak to the dead', is a blatant plot device who's only purpose in existing is to give us foreshadowing of the Blackest Night and the whole back from the dead motif the Black Lanterns will have.
Normally, I'd hate this type of character conveniently showing up with no prior development, but it was handled as well as you could expect and the character was far mroe interesting than I expected he would be.
Basically, he shows up randomly in the Green Lantern crypt, where Morro, the GL cryptkeeper, is busy putting Bzzd to rest, and we find out who he is, that he can speak with the dead and that 'they are cold' and the dead GL's are afraid of what's to come.
Meanwhile, Guy and Kyle open the Warriors bar on Oa. We don't spend much time there, but we do catch up with the two after closing time where they celebrate the first night with a beer. Some interesting stuff came from this, such as some info on Guy and Ice's relationship and an odd piece where Kyle scribbles a drawing on a napkin and tosses it in the garbage. After he leaves, Guy picks it up and it reveals a random (I couldn't figure out who it was) Green Lantern with a gapping hole in his stomach. Parallax influence seeping through his ring / lantern or something else?
Finally, there was a training segment with Kilowag that saw the sky rain eyeballs, explaining the trippy looking cover. The rings reveal the eyeballs are from various Green Lantern relatives, including many of the current recruits. How the villain made these rain down on Oa was left unexplained, but Saarek communes with the dead and reveals a head shot of the killer. I didn't recognize the villain, but it looks almost like a Dominator.
Finally, finally, remember Mongul dying last issue? Well, the rings didn't fly away, so we knew he wasn't really dead, but this issue confirms it with him just getting up and flying away. If he wasn't missing an arm, it'd be almost like nothing even happened. Why wasn't he trapped in the Black Mercy's trance like everyone else?
Verdict - Check It. It's a slow issue that sows the seeds for future stories. While nothing mind blowing or must read, it's definitely worth checking out.
SECRET INVASION #5
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Leinil Francis Yu
When I read dberes comment on this week's Post-Crisis Previews about how my prediction about what Secret Invasion #5 would be like was right, I nearly cried. How could Bendis show us an ending with Thor and Captain America entering the fray and then spend the entirety of this issue playing "Who's A Skrull?" in the Savage Land? The worst part of this is that, while my predictions were said in jest, I was honestly expecting this and that when it turend out to be true, I didn't even have it in me to get angry. My apathy for this event has reached new highs (or is that lows?).
You want a recap? Oh, very well. Norman Osborn talks to Captain Marvel and he flies off after a page or two, leaving me wonder why the hell we had to put up with that "attack" anyways. Guess the Tbolts tie-ins have absolutely nothing to do with fighting Captain Marvel.
From there, we get the absolute worst drawings of celebrities I have ever seen with Yu's attempt at drawing people like, well, I'm guessing here based on the backgrounds or accessories they have with them, but people like Paris Hilton, Obama and Oprah, as well as several other Howard Chaykin-esque chinned "people". What's stupid about this scene is the Skrulls could have taken over by simply impersonating the heads of state and announcing their submission since, well, they're shapeshifters and everything. Why even bother causing a panic by announcing to the world they are taking over and why do it as Paris Hilton or other retarded celebrities?
Where's Cap and Thor, you ask? Do I even have to answer this? They aren't in this issue. No, not even a cameo.From here, we get the only decent scenes in the issue with Agent Brand busting Reed Richards out. For the Osama Bin Laden of the Skrull race, as Bendis has claimed, they sure as hell didn't guard or secure Richards in the least. Brand kills a couple of Skrulls, opens the airlocks and then frees Reed, who's pissed. He claims the Skrulls are somehow using his mind to invade Earth. No clue what that means, seeing as Starknet virus is what took everyone out, but I'm sure Bendis won't explain it and will just move onto pretty explosions.
Oh, look, we jump to some explosions as Captain "Plot Device" Marvel shows up to take out the Skrull armada so Reed and Brand can escape. They take their ship and head to the Savage Land, where we spend the rest of the issue playing grab ass as everyone claims everyone else is a Skrull only to have Reed blast them all with his de-Skrullifying gun and it's revealed, shockingly, that everyone that came out of the ship, including Mockingbird, are Skrulls.
For some reason, Hawkeye seems pissed that his dead wife was actually a Skrull and Bendis looks to be taking cues from his Ultimates 3 Gunman Extreme version as Hawkeye starts cursing about killing every goddamn Skrull and takes a gun and kills his "wife".
Where's Cap and Thor, you ask? Do I even have to answer this? They aren't in this issue. No, not even a cameo.
Verdict - Avoid It. All you need to know about this issue is Brand rescued Reed, most of the 70's Skrulls are all dead and, if we're lucky, we'll never hear or see them mentioned ever again.