Fourteen Thoughts About Fourteen DC Comics – Justice League, Batman, Red Hood And The Outlaws, DC Universe Presents, Catwoman, Wonder Woman, Supergirl, My Greatest Adventure, Green Lantern Corps, Birds Of Prey, Nightwing, Legion Of Super Heroes, Blue Beetle And Captain Atom

Fourteen comics, fourteen thoughts…

Batman #3 from Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo takes the idea of Batman and an urban legend and applies it to a figure, or figures in Gotham, that really have remained secret for a long time. All the way back to All Star Western. And they seem to insist on keeping it that way…. This Owlman or Owlmen seem to intentionally mirror Watchmen's Nite Owl in terms of costumes, casings, and caves – makes me wonder if Scott Snyder was approached over Watchmen 2… oh and also Greg Capullo still kicks ass on panel design and layout in this book. Kicks ass.

Wonder Woman #3 strikes me not so much as a tale of old gods amongst us, or as a superhero comic, but as a kitchen sink drama, where the truths of one's childhoods are revealed. The person you thought of as your uncle, is now your father. The aunt who disappeared was a terrorist. The things that seemed the truth as a child, now exposed, and you wonder how you could have been so gullible. And Wonder Woman, basically, gets taught about the birds and the bees – and that she wasn't formed from clay after all. Boy, she must feel dumb.

In Catwoman #3, we get the aftermath of the Women In Refrigerator moment from the last issue. It's struck me that you rarely see a woman targeted by that action. But then you also rarely see such an emotionally resonant story emerging for one. For those who see this book as nothing but tits and ass, ignores that this journey, from frivolous actions without consequences to the worst horror, told with care and attention. This is the book that you don't think you like, and I think you might be wrong.

Captain Atom #3, and clearly he has become Doctor Manhattan on far more than just a physical level. This is a philosophical debate about the responsibilities of being a god, from a mind that hasn't quite got there yet. It's a first person told process, an unreliable narrator who cannot perceive how his universe is shrinking- or in this case growing. And, yes, another Watchmen refrence this week. Almost as if they're doing it on purpose.

Blue Beetle #3 is really starting to feel more and more like an eighties sci-fi film like The Last Starfighter. Combined with an evil Green Lantern Corps and a malfunctioning super suit, I read the comic and get William Daniels in my head as the voice of the alien parasitical costume. He's still alive, isn't he?

The digital download for Justice League #4 still isn't working for me. And after I went to all that effort to type the fifty-four digit, or whatever, code in. What we do get in this issue is Wonder Woman – and a very different Wonder Woman she is to the one we've been reading about in her own book. Rather than that hardened warrior, we get this innocent, joyful spirit who still believes she was made out of clay. 22 pages for your $3.99/$4.99 this month, with a few pages from the beginning of a book about Atlantis (including library card and title page) and a couple of Cully Hamner DC designs.

Birds Of Prey #3 has some rather nice uses of text throughout the issue, newspaper headline, notes, ultrasound,  to tell a rather multilayered story here, as we begin the rehabilitation of Poison Ivy. For a couple of pages before there's the obligatory fight scene and eventual reconciliation, obviously.

First appearances folks. In Supergirl #3 we get to meet Simon Tycho who looks like he will be, to all intents and purposes, Supergirl's Lex Luthor. Multi-multi-billionaire… sorry, trillionaire, adept with new technologies, alien technologies, and an eye for a business/political/power opportunity. Oh and a little lecturing on public/private business relationships. In another period, he could have been the good guy. Today, he's definitely the Big Bad,

Red Hood And The Outlaws #3 given new meaning to the personality accusations against Starfire. Because this is about the stuff she does remember. Less of a goldfish, more of a cross between a shark and a piranha. But I warn you, Jason Todd's memories are left till last. And you'd better have  kleenex ready. For such a bizarre, off the wall book, in terms of art if nothing else, it can switch to sentimentality in a heartbeat. Be warned…

In DC Universe Presents: Deadman #3 I learned that elderly angel librarians can be real bitches, that Lucifer is part of the DCU now, and it's easier to get legless when you're… legless.

We may have a full blown war in Green Lantern Corps #3 but strangely it's a lot less bloody than the previous torture porn Green Lantern Saw issues. Instead we get a light show in the classic Green Lantern style. But for all that there are aspects reminiscent of real warfare throughout. Just without chopped up bodies or streaming blood.

My Greatest Adventure #2

Robotman faces a dilemma with Iaaac Asimov's Laws Of Robotics when fighting zombies, Garbageman faces his humanity… and Batman, while Tange goes floatabout. If you're looking for weirder bits of DC, they're right here.

It does surprise me that Legion: Secret Origin and the latest issue of Legion Lost can be so readable, in a way that's never managed to brek through my Legion allergy in the past, but Legion Of Super Heroes #3, the lead book, is both impenetrable and boring. The one thing that lifts it for me is seeing how Francis Portella's work seems to be influenced by the gay porn legend, Tom Of Sweden…

My name is Rich Johnston. Thankfully in the UK, people don't give people called Richard the nickname Dick quite so readily. And Johnson is not slang for penis here either. "You dick" as an insult is rarer too, so I managed to avoid that double barrelled shot quite easily. But in the States, it's harder. But nothing stood out from the classical feel of Nightwing #3 more than this panel of Nightwing's dead parents being rather uncruel to him.

And on that insightful note, we leave this week's DCU books. Best comic of the week? Catwoman #3. I know, I was surprised by that as well.

Comics courtesy of Orbital Comics, London.

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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