Saturday, July 9, 2011

Batman and Robin #25 & Superboy #9

And we're back to DC today... I've got to admit, with the exception of Batman and Robin, none of the DC comics I picked up this week are really that interesting to me... Too bad I don't have some more Marvel/Fear Itself comics left to read. Eh, who knows, maybe DC will surprise me in a good way for once...

Batman and Robin #25:

Summary: We get started with the Red Hood(That would be the awesome Jason Todd to any noobs out there) ditching Batman(Dick Grayson) and Robin so he could rescue Scarlet on his own. After contacting Scarlet's kidnappers, Jason heads to an abandoned middle school, where he finds the mystery woman who took Scarlet. The woman forces Jason to disrobe, and scans him to make sure he wasn't carrying any concealed weapons(must resist urge to make concealed weapon joke...). As soon as the scans come back clean, the mystery woman releases Scarlet, and Jason tells her to run away while she still can. Scarlet doesn't want to, and Batman and Robin arrive on the scene, having tracked Jason thanks to a GPS he swallowed before “ditching” the Dynamic Duo. With the mystery woman and her goons distracted by the new arrivals, Jason gets dressed, grabs his guns and prepares to get some good, old fashioned revenge. Jason begins shooting at the goons, but is quickly jumped by Bats, who gives the whole, “No killing!!!” speech. Jason angrily agrees to play by Dick's rules, until he spots an opportunity to escape with Scarlet. With Bats and Robin dealing with the goons, Jason grabs Scarlet and makes a break for it, getting to the roof of the school and discovering a helicopter. Jason and Scarlet get in and take off, but are soon pursued by Bats and Robin, who... um, I don't know, beat up and then tied up the bad guys, called the police, grab a cup of coffee, learn just what the mystery woman's problem with Jason was, and then were right on Jason's tail. Jason pushes a remote control which sets off a bomb on some train tracks, and radios Dick, telling him that he had 6 other bombs on those tracks, meaning Dick could either follow Jason, or disarm the bombs. With no real choice, Dick goes after the bombs, and Jason and Scarlet get away scot-free.

Thoughts: Oh well. When I first heard about this three part storyline a few months back, I was beyond psyched! I mean it was Jason Todd, probably one of my top 5 favorite DC characters, written by the man who writes him better than anybody else, Judd Winick! I was expecting three consecutive perfect scores! Instead I wound up reading three mediocre comics... After I finished this comic I took a moment to sit back and ruminate on this storyline... Yes, ruminate! “Why wasn't it as good as it should have been?!” I wondered... And then I figured it out. This wasn't Winick writing HIS Jason Todd, it was Winick writing Grant Morrison's Jason Todd! Yes, the dialogue was good-to-great, something Winick is a master at, but the story, and even the look of Jason was the Morrison version! And anybody who knows me knows I hate the red-headed, acne-riddled Morrison version of Jason Todd... Now if Winick would have written HIS version of Jason, I'm SURE this storyline would have been eight different shades of awesome. But he didn't, and so it wasn't.

Score: 7 out of 10.I guess those goons know what Jason's natural hair color is...

Superboy #9:

Summary: Okay, this one isn't going to be easy to review, so bear with me... The Phantom Stranger has brought Superboy, Krypto, Psionic Lad and Simon Valentine: Boy Genius to the bizarre city below Smallville named Hollowville... Oh, and it's named Hollowville because the Hollow Men live there. See, it makes sense now, right? Anyway, The Phantom Stranger tells Psionic Lad and Simon Valentine: Boy Genius to search for the captured Lori Luthor while he takes Superboy and Krypto to destroy the factory in the center of Hollowville. Simon Valentine: Boy Genius, being a genius and all, convinces Psionic Lad to change his name to Psion, so that's what I'll be calling him from this point forward. Simon Valentine: Boy Genius and Psion find Lori tied up in some barn, and while Simon Valentine: Boy Genius is untying Lori, Psion is contacted by his superiors in the future who tell him that he had to kill the future's huge threat now, since the situation in the future had reached a critical stage. The huge threat in question? Simon Valentine: Boy Genius! Yeah, I know, SHOCKING... Anyway, Psion doesn't want to kill Simon Valentine: Boy Genius since they were friends and Simon Valentine: Boy Genius gave him a new codename and all. Psion decides to ignore his superior and is blindsided and knocked out by Parasite, who works for the Hollow Men now. I guess... Maybe... As for Superboy, the Phantom Stranger leads him into the factory where Superboy finds himself surrounded by thousands of cloned bodies of himself. The Phantom Stranger reveals that the evil Took family was planning on powering the Superboy clones with the souls of every living being in Smallville. Upon hearing that, Superboy questions how the Phantom Stranger knew all of this information, and the Phantom Stranger reveals that he was the one who was going to put the souls in the cloned bodies(!!). At this time Eben Took(the head of the crazy Took family) shows up and Took and the Stranger thrash Superboy and Krypto. Superboy asks the Stranger to stop what he was doing, at which point the Stranger reveals that he was an impostor Phantom Stranger, and that he had captured the real Phantom Stranger(!).

Thoughts: Looking back, that review was a bit more sarcastic then it needed to be. I actually enjoyed this issue quite a bit. We finally learn that Psion had been sent to the past to kill Simon Valentine: Boy Genius, which was, in all honesty, no surprise at all, so I'm glad Jeff Lemire just came out with it already. We also learn about how many of the events from earlier in this series were connected to Eben Took and his Hollow Men. Plus the reveal that the Phantom Stranger leading Superboy around was a fake TOTALLY took me by surprise. I definitely didn't see that one coming. Nor did I expect to see the real Stranger a helpless captive at the end of this issue. There are going to be two issues of this series released in August as Lemire has to wrap up his run before the reboot, and if they're as good as this one, I'll definitely be looking forward to them.

Score: 8 out of 10.But he was using the Phantom Stranger's dialogue box!!!


  1. "Score: 7 out of 10.I guess those goons know what Jason's natural hair color is..." Lmao.... best part of the entire review.

  2. Suggestion to DC: Write more of Phantom Stranger. He quickly became one of my favorite DC characters during a mini-series many years ago. And after that, he usually only appeared in mega-events or some side story here/there which translates to few and far between. He has an interesting origin/history but besides that, in my mind at least, I'd really enjoy seeing more of him in future storylines out there. So in closing: LESS Spectre and MORE Phantom Stranger!

  3. Since this IS DC we're talking about I'm sure they'll kill off the Stranger and give Spectre his own series now... :/

  4. I had to come back here and read your review of this issue, because I wanted to see what you thought. I actually kind of enjoyed the sexed-up, snarky Jason, but I was dumbfounded that Winnick just essentially forgot to tell us who the mystery woman was. I'm glad it wasn't just me who was left wondering what the hell happened!

  5. Looking back at these three issues I think I probably set my sights too high... I mean when I first heard "Jason Todd is back, written by Judd Winick." I was expecting comic book perfection! Instead, for me at least, it was just an okay story. Plus my favorite version of Jason is Winick's version, I'm not a fan of Morrison's characterization of Jason... I completely forgot about the mystery woman who was after Jason here... I wonder if Winick had plans for that some time down the road(maybe a Red Hood and Scarlet series?), but those plans were derailed due to the reboot. It's definitely odd for Winick to leave something THAT major dangling with no explanation ever given...