It's time for the second Best of the Rest this week! You KNOW what that means... It means I'm getting tired of doing my normal long-winded reviews and want to take a slight break. It also means that these five comics I reviewed really didn't impress me enough to want to do full reviews for them. As a matter of fact, I'd go so far as to say that most of these books depressed me! For the record, all of these comics are from DC, so that might have a lot to do with my displeasure. Anyway, let's move forward.
Superman says: Gimme Money!
This Tuesday DC Universe Online was released on all of the major video game systems, and although I have yet to see any reviews for the game pop up yet, the owner of the comic book shop I frequent was playing it, and not only did it look good, but he was raving over it, and he's more of a Marvel guy than a DC fan. So I figured I'd look into the game and see what the pricing system looks like, since I know there is a monthly service fee associated with the game. First off, the main game itself. Since I have a PS3 and never really play anything on my computer, I'd be paying $60 right off the bat for the game itself. From there, there's a monthly service fee of $15(!), meaning if you were to buy the game new, and then pay for a year's worth of monthly fees, that comes to $240 for the year!!! That's enough for an entire video game system, or 4 new games! Now I'm a huge video game player, I spend plenty of time a day relaxing in front of my TV playing something, but I'm sorry DC, I will NEVER pay $240 for a game! A $5 service fee a month would be doable, because that would basically amount to another game over the course of the year, but for a company that loves to scream at every turn that they're keeping comics affordable for us, they sure don't feel the same way about video games! That's for sure.
Now, on to the reviews. First up is going to be Lex Luthor's Action Comics #896... I had to add the “Lex Luthor's” part of the title, because that is so awesome. We kick things off with a flashback of Lex meeting up with Scandal Savage of the Secret Six and somehow convincing her to aid him when he called her. As for what Lex had over Scandal, I don't think we ever find out. So when Scandal's father Vandal Savage attacks Lex, it should come as no surprise as to who he calls. The Secret Six attack Vandal and his goon squad and Catman manages to get his hands on the remote control that Vandal was threatening to blow Lex's building up with. With his remote gone, and his men attacking the Six, Vandal goes after Lex with an ax in an effort to just kill him. Lex begins to use the dreaded Silver Tongue of Flattery on Vandal, and in time, Vandal actually seems to be contemplating an alliance with Lex, however, this issue ends when Catman is shot in the arm and drops the remote on the ground, right on its button. As usual, I enjoyed reading this comic. It's a funny thing actually. Paul Cornell always seems to write a strong story, but that's all... I mean I've no real complaints here, except for the fact that in a few nights time, I doubt I'll even remember having read this comic. So like many issues of this series have been, this was a good, if forgettable comic. For a score, I'll go with a very solid 7 1/2 out of 10.
Next us we'll take a look at everyone's favorite comic book archer, Robin Hood in Green Arrow #7... Oh wait, I mean Oliver Queen... Imagine me mixing up Robin Hood and Oliver Queen! I mean it's not like they wear similar clothing, use the same weapons or BOTH live in a forest! Oh... Nevermind... Anyway, this issue gets underway with Ollie flashing back to the death of his parents during a loin attack when he was a child. Upon waking up, Ollie decides to take a stroll through Starwood Forest, which is NOTHING like Sherwood Forest... Nope, nothing at all... Anyway, Ollie runs into the ghost of his mother, and she tells him that he wasn't responsible for her death, since he was only a small boy when she died. Ollie still feels guilt over his inaction during her death, but manages to spring into action when a giant flaming lion approaches them. Ollie shoots some arrows at the fire lion, but alas, it wasn't really there. From there, Ollie's mother tells him to forgive himself, he seems ready to do so, and that about wraps this comic up. If ever there was a textbook definition for a “Perfectly Acceptable Comic Book,” it was this one. I mean it was a one issue story, there was some mild character development, and by the end, the main character was pretty much back where he started, physically none the worse for wear. Nothing special happened here, nothing blew me away, or anything like that, this was just a solid story. Nothing more, nothing less. And what kind of a score do we give a perfectly acceptable comic? Why a 7 out of 10, that's what!
And now we begin to head down into the doldrums... It's time to take a look at Justice Society of America #45, a comic I've been avoiding for about a month now. Back during WWII, Jay Garrick and Alan Scott came across some Nazi project where they were working on an infant to... I don't know, I'm no evil Nazi mad scientist. Do something really bad let's say. In a bizarre reversal of roles, Jay wants to kill the infant, while Alan disagrees. In the end the two men fight and Alan wins. Fast forward to the present and Jay is told by a US Senator that the being that attacked and devastated that town near Washington DC last issue was actually the infant from WWII, now calling himself Scythe. Feeling partially responsible for his inaction during WWII and for not killing Scythe in the womb(almost literally), Jay decides to leave the JSA to help the town rebuild. That was the main gist of this story, and to be quite honest with you, about as much time as I'm willing to spend on this issue. I don't like this storyline one bit, basically because I really don't like the fact that Scythe is being called a Super-Terrorist... When did super-villains become super-terrorists? If Scythe is a “super-terrorist” because he fought the JSA and wrecked some town, wouldn't the same be true of practically EVERY comic book super-villain? Besides that, I just can't seem to get into the storyline. The battle from last issue was just SO ridiculous that I've lost all interest in this storyline and can't wait for it to end. For a score, I'll go with a pretty lousy 3 out of 10.
So the last review gave a 3 out of 10, right? Well the only way to go from there is up, right? Let's see as we take a gander at Wonder Woman #605. Wonder Woman returns to her apartment and is greeted by her talking cat... *sigh* This is going to be one of THOSE issues, isn't it? The cat pesters WW, telling her she has flower arranging lessons with Anthea the following day(?!?), which WW whines about it, ultimately blasting some music until the cat leaves her alone. The talking cat and another Amazon who was living at WW's apartment discuss the finer points of football(I am NOT making this up!)while WW decides to sneak out to fly around town. WW heads to a pawn shop and tries to pawn an ancient Amazonian statue, but the pawn shop owner is only willing to give her $1,000. WW throws a tantrum and breaks things until he raises his price to $10,000... Wow... WW then takes the money to a woman and her son who escaped an abusive relationship and hands it over. The woman is thankful, and the woman's son shows WW a picture he drew of her, a picture which depicts classic Wonder Woman, not the current version. This sight makes WW feel faint, and she decides to leave. As she climbs onto the fire escape, she is met by an angry Amazon who tells her she can't just be wandering around town. As if to hammer that point home, WW is struck in the back by a spear and crashes to the ground in front of Cernunnos, a minion of the Morrigan, a group of women who don't like WW for some reason. Heh heh... And I thought JSA #45 was bad! This was... It was actually kind of hard to describe. I mean where do I start?! We had WW conversing with a talking cat, Amazons talking football, a random group of evil women, and WW basically forcing the owner of a pawn shop into giving her more money then he felt he should have to... For a comic book with 2 writers, 3 pencillers and 4 inkers you'd think things would have been better, but it sure as hell doesn't seem like it! I don't even want to say anything else about this comic. Let's just give the score, a 2 out of 10 and move on.
Man, that last review was a tough one to get through... Let's see if things get better with Batman #705. What am I saying, of course things will get better! How could this comic possibly be worse than a 2 out of 10?! We get started with Batman(Dick Grayson)and his ally Peacock battling against the Sensei and his throng of ninja assassins. The story here is the the Sensei had kidnapped Peacock's brother... For some reason. The two heroes fight for a while before they decide to run after the limo the Sensei had his men steal with Peacock's brother in it. By the time Bats and Peacock find the limo, it has been destroyed, leaving no clues to follow. From there, I-Chang arrives on the scene and regales us all with a story so boring and long that I literally find myself skipping tons of dialogue. Basically there is a Mask of the Beholder which is important for some reason. Maybe because it's evil. Or powerful. Let's say powerful... That makes the story sound more dire. So this Mask of the Beholder is really powerful and the Sensei has learned of it, and as such wants it. To this end, he kidnaps Peacock's brother because he can see glimpses of the future... I think. Back with the Sensei, he is beating the child in an attempt to force the boy into having a vision that would tell him where the Mask was located. While beating the boy, the Sensei finds a business card from Lucius Fox, and sends his goons after poor Lucius. Bats decides to leave I-Chang and Peacock alone to check up on Commissioner Gordon for some reason, and learns that Lucius had received a phone call from a man who died last issue... What?! Bats decides to check up on Lucius and discovers some people kidnapping Lucius and his family. Before he can step in to help though, he is blown out of a window by some bombs and this issue ends with the Riddler and his daughter Enigma standing over the fallen hero... Me and my big mouth... And I thought things couldn't get any worse after the last review! HA!!! There was absolutely NOTHING in this comic I can point at and say, “Well at least this was good.” This comic made NO sense whatsoever. It was just a horrible read. The story just doesn't make sense!!! What the HELL is I-Chang?! And why should I care about him?! It would have been nice if Tony Daniel filled us in on that! Man, Daniel may be a really good artist, but his writing runs on the various Bat-books he's done have just been terrible. I shudder at the thought of the next issue of this series arriving in the mail... I'm going to give this comic a 1/2 out of 10. Why a 1/2 and not just a zero or a 1? Well, because the art wasn't bad, but the story was about as bad as anything I've read in quite some time. What a mess.