Well, it's that time again, it's time for me to give my uninformed and at times offensive opinion on comic books and their creators! Yes boys and girls(OK, I think I'm stretching things with the "and girls" line)it's time for another installment of The Best of the Rest! Please, hold your applause! With no school(or much of anything else)to occupy my time this past week, I've been reading through TPB's like there's no tomorrow. Before getting into the shoddy reviews and all that, I should announce what my sister brought me for Christmas. How do I know what she brought me already? Allow me to explain. You see, I'm terrible at holding on to the Christmas presents I buy for people until Christmas... Once I buy a Christmas gift for somebody I want to immediately give it to them. I just don't have the willpower to hold onto it until Christmas. Fortunately for me, my sister is just as bad as I am! After I picked up her gifts a few weeks ago(a few Birds of Prey trades plus the Hal Jordan funeral issue of Green Lantern)I immediately wanted to give them to her, but she told me to wait until she picked up my present. So a few days ago, a good week and a half before Christmas, I gave my sister her gifts and she gave me mine. What did she get me? The Batman: The Black Glove TPB along with the deluxe edition Batman R.I.P. hardcover. Pretty sweet no? OK, enough about me and my severe lack of willpower, let's get on with the reviews!
Batman: Knightfall Part Three: Knightsend TPB- This massive trade collects Batman 509-510, Batman: Shadow of the Bat #29-30, Detective Comics #676-677, Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #62-63 and(for some reason)Catwoman #12. Basically, the formerly broken Bruce Wayne has worked himself back into fighting shape and is ready to wrestle the Mantle of the Bat away from the increasingly insane Azrael, who Bruce left in charge of Gotham City during his absence. With Bruce was away, Azrael has been running wild in Gotham, using excessive force on criminals and apparently being responsible for at least two deaths. Needless to say Bruce, Nightwing and Robin aren't pleased, and Bruce is forced to try to take down the man who managed to defeat Bane, the villain who Bruce himself was unable to best. This should have been a satisfying end to the Knightfall trilogy, but instead it just fell flat. Real flat. All this trade/storyline really needed to do was pit Bruce and Azrael against each other and have them duke it out in an epic battle with the last man standing claiming the cowl. Instead we get a whole mess of filler and a really lame ending to the Bruce-Azrael fight. This should have been SO much better... Score: 6 out of 10.
The Flash: Wonderland TPB- This trade collects Flash #164-169. Wally West wakes up in a police station in Keystone City, in handcuffs, with no recollection as to why or how he got there. To make matters worse, Wally is without his speed powers and the cops aren't exactly the nicest of guys. Wally gets tossed into a cell where he is sprung by Captain Cold... Captain Cold?!? Yes Captain Cold, one of Wally's worst foes. Wally soon learns that along with Cold and Mirror Master(another of Wally's rogues)he is trapped in an alternate version of Keystone City, one where there is no Flash, and the cops have no qualms about shooting first and asking questions later. In short, things aren't looking very good for Mr. West. This was the great Geoff Johns' first Flash story, and for the most part I did like it. With that said, it was missing something... I can't quite put my finger on it, but there was something about this story that kept me from becoming fully engrossed in it. Maybe it was the big villain reveal at the end, or maybe it was how predictable the story was, but I was kind of hoping for a little bit more here. This was still a very good trade, but not as good as I would have liked. Score: 7 out of 10
The Flash: Blood Will Run TPB- This trade collects Flash #170-176, The Flash: Secret Files #3 and The Flash: Iron Heights #1. Here we have Wally trying to combat a doomsday cult that worships the Flash as their god, Wally finding out that he may have an illegitimate son, a couple of skirmishes with the Rogues, and Wally and Jay Garrick trying to figure out who is causing a rash of deaths in Iron Heights prison. This trade was kind of hit or miss, but it was definitely more hit than miss. The Flash/Cult story didn't really do much for me, but everything else here was pretty good. I especially liked the Iron Heights story and the illegitimate kid story. Iron Heights was exactly what I thought it would be, an exceptionally good Flash story. I'd always heard good things about Iron Heights, and now I see why. It was really good. If you're a Flash fan, read it! The thing that really interested me was that illegitimate kid storyline though. I REALLY wish Geoff wouldn't have busted out the cop-out excuse during this story, because I for one would have loved it for the kid to have been Wally's. Wally was a flat out player when he first became the Flash, so it wouldn't be beyond the realm of reason for Wally to have fathered an illegitimate kid. Unfortunately though, that was not to be. It's a shame too, because that idea could have definitely produced some interesting stories. Score: 8 out of 10
Batman: The Black Glove TPB- This trade collects Batman #667-669 and #672-675. First Batman meets up with the International Club of Heroes on a deserted island, and is forced into a battle of wits with a brilliant and deadly adversary, the Black Glove. Glove is slowly killing off members of the Club, and it's up to Batman to figure out who is responsible and why. From there, Batman heads back to Gotham City and is has to deal with the third evil Batman created by Dr. Hurt. While all of this is going on, Bruce Wayne has begun dating Jezebel Jet, which leads to a whole different set of problems. Grant Morrison was the writer here, so naturally there were some storyline elements that went sailing over my head. However, I managed to grasp most of what Grant was doing here, which made me very happy. Sure, one full issue was a bizarre dream/hallucination sequence, and the villains spoke like they were born on Mars, but at least the story was relatively coherent. When it comes to Grant's writing, if I can understand the broad strokes, I consider that a win. Score: 7 1/2 out of 10.
Well, that's it, The Best of the Rest, a day early and a dollar short... Huh? Anyway, before this post becomes totally incoherent all that's left to say is this, Long Live The Legion!