Justice League Dark #1

 

Quote:
Old crooked witches’ teeth hurting Superman. That’s all wrong.

 

Some characters most recently (or not so recently in some cases) seen in the Vertigo line of comics now turn up in the newly rebooted DC universe. Shade, the Changing Man, Madame Xanadu and John Constantine all make appearances as do Zatanna and Deadman. All great characters but hard to see many of them working together as a team long term.

Some of the Justice League show up as well (Cyborg, Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman) just to prove that this is a DC book and not a Vertigo one and to show Superman being injured and being ineffectual against magic. The story is filled with mystery, madness and dark portents but is still in its early stages as only Madame Xanadu and Shade have hooked up and none of the team have come face to face with the adversary yet, the Enchantress.

This is only the second comic that I have read in the DC universe reboot (Swamp Thing was the other) and I have to say neither has knocked my socks off yet. This one was written by Peter Milligan (who wrote the nineties version of Shade, the Changing Man) and is no stranger to other Vertigo titles. I hope that he is let off the leash enough that he can bring some of that Vertigo sensibility to this book. The art by Spanish artist Mikel Janin is very good – clean and detailed.

I will give this book (and the Swamp Thing) a couple more months to see how the stories develop but I am slightly disappointed that they haven’t produced more of a bang for the launch of the new universe.

Batman: The Bat and the Beast (2010)

 

Quote:
No, hold back your men, Lukzov, I’m pretty good at this stuff.

 

This book collects Batman Confidential 31 to 35 and was written by Peter Milligan with art by Andy Clarke. Peter Milligan is a veteran writer that I first came across in 2000AD where my favourite series he wrote was probably Bad Company but he has moved on to write for both DC and Marvel. Andy Clarke is a name new to me but he is also an alumni of 2000AD, of a later generation of creators, who has moved on to work on a number of titles for DC.

The story concerns a nuclear threat to Gotham from a Russian crime lord called the Tsar. Batman travels to Moscow to tackle the problem at its source only to find that the criminals do not fear him as they are much more afraid of the Tsar and his genetically modified muscle, the Bear. Batman must battle against the underworld in Moscow as well as a corrupt police force if he is to save Gotham from the predatory gaze of the Tsar.

This is a perfectly acceptable tale of Batman without being in any way extraordinary – as it is part of an ongoing series I am not sure if there was further context for the story in earlier issues but I doubt if it would make it any more compelling. I was expecting more from Milligan as he is usually a writer whose work I enjoy but I suppose that the things I like by him are more self created or esoteric – such as the aforementioned Bad Company and Shade, the Changing Man for DC . The art by Clarke was very nice and clean and reminded me of Frank Quitely’s work with maybe a dash of Dave Gibbons and helped to make up for the weak story.

Song of Ice and Fire – Final Update

It’s been a long time since the middle of June when I started reading the books in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series but today I finally finished A Dance with Dragons.

My mind is still spinning with all the twists and turns introduced during the series but it has been a (mostly) enjoyable ride. The worse thing about coming to the end of this book is that I am now playing the waiting game for the next instalment. At least there is the TV series to look forward to in the more immediate future.

I think both books 4 and 5 have suffered for having been split in the way that Martin chose to do so. However the story has now become so vast with numerous different threads that it would be almost impossible to write a book that gives enough attention to each plot line to satisfy me totally – it can be hundreds of pages (or even books) between characters and story lines that I want to know more about. I hope that the TV series will mix these two books together when (if) it gets this far.

With my reading of the series finished I will have more time to read the comic books that have been gathering up and so will return to this blog more often over the autumn/winter.