I got completely blindsided by this week. I knew it was big, but I didn't realize how many major titles were shipping this week and before I knew it, I racked up a $50+ comic bill. Where to start? Well, let's start with the major event:
BLACKEST NIGHT #4: We immediately get the acknowledging of Hal Jordan and the Indigo Tribe exiting stage left (as seen in last month's "Green Lantern" issue), leaving Flash, Mera, and Atom to fight off the Black Lanterns in the JLA Watchtower. Jason Rusch is briefly able to take control of BL Firestorm, but it's not long before Ronnie Raymond retakes it. Atom adjusts his size-changing belt to allow the heroes to escape through the phone lines into a 911 office. Barry Allen rallies the troops (with Wally West and Bart Allen soon following suit elsewhere), having them all shine their brightest light to hold off the BL's until Hal comes back. The JSA try to hold off the BL's, but the undead Jean Loring rips Damage's heart out...to increase the BL Ring power to 100%. Barry Allen senses a disturbance in Coast City and tries to take out Black Hand immediately upon sighting him, but he's knocked down just in time to see the rise of the dark lord Nekron. And Nekron's first act is to raise the 7 million dead of Coast City. Business has just picked up. Thumbs WAY up, especially for Ivan Reis's two huge two-page spreads.
EDIT: How I forgot to mention the scene between Black Lantern Azrael and Scarecrow is beyond me. After all, it's the big confirmation that Jean Paul Valley is indeed dead.
BLACKEST NIGHT: TITANS #3: Unlike the Batman and Superman tie-ins, the Titans tie-in actually ADVANCES a piece of the main plot with something useful that will likely be used in the main series later. Donna Troy faces facts that her husband and baby are dead, so she tearfully wipes them both out. Cyborg, Starfire, and Beast Boy get the cavalry in the form of Donna and the other Titans, but are quickly overwhelmed. The undead new Hawk tries to take the heart of the new Dove, but something funny happens. She's unable to take it and the light radiating from Dove severs the connection with the Black Ring, essentially destroying the undead Hawk. Other Black Lanterns try to rush Dove, but upon trying to take her heart, are also destroyed. As the other BL's flee, the Titans put two and two together that Dove could be the good guys' secret weapon. Issue ends with Donna reminding everyone that she was bitten by a BL and could be on her way out soon. Mega points added for advancing the plot of the main story, instead of going with cop out endings like the last two tie-ins. Thumbs up!
GREEN LANTERN #47: Issue opens with another major revelation. The Black Lanterns take Atrocitus's heart, but since the Red Lanterns only run on pure blood rage, they're unable to kill him. Meanwhile, Hal and Sinestro take on BL's Abin and Arin Sur. Indigo is able to destroy them, but it's ominously notable that Abin Sur was about to say something about Indigo that we don't quite get to hear. Sinestro makes the deduction about the Red Lanterns and wants to save them, but Hal overrules him and takes them all to help the Blue Lantern world still under attack by the constructs of Larfleeze. As the cavalry arrives, the Orange constructs vanish. That's because Larfleeze is currently being chased by BL's of all those he killed and whose identities he made constructs of. Issue ends with Larfleeze being saved by Atrocitus...who immediately demands the Orange Power Battery. The mystery of the BL's thicken, as this issue now reveals that they may also be weak against RL's. Thumbs up, particularly for Hal and his Green Violin.
NEW AVENGERS #58: I can't tell you how tired I am of Bendis's bait-and-switches. So yeah, the Hood regaining his power and fighting the New Avengers, the thing you see on the cover? Yeah, that doesn't happen. In fact, the Hood's in about 2 pages. This issue's all about Luke Cage being handed over to Osborn and whether he'll survive his injuries, which we know he does, because he was just a Thunderbolt a few weeks ago. The rest of the issue is a whole lot of nothing. In a week like this, I can't really afford a waste of four dollars, but here it is. Thumbs down!
X NECROSHA #1: Another major event begins in the X Books, with the start of Necrosha. Black Queen Selene has a plan and it consists of taking Bastion's techno-organic virus and using it to raise the dead. I know, I know, comics don't need MORE guys rising from the dead, but there's a sentimental value to undead mutants rising from their graves to do Selene's bidding. Selene and a group of zombie mutants head to Utopia and start the fun by taking out Danger and looking for Sebastian Shaw, but Donald Pierce sees this going on, which tells Bastion that someone's been using his virus. Wolverine and X-23 are ambushed by the Hellions, and upon seeing them, Emma Frost goes into a psychotic meltdown. But that's the least of their worries, as the issue ends with Selene now touching down in Genosha, home to millions of dead mutants. I was skeptical about the premise (Marvel's Blackest Night?), but I'm sold after this isssue. Things look promising. Thumbs up!
BATMAN #692: This is the start of a new arc from "Battle for the Cowl" writer/artist Tony Daniel. Daniel once again pulls double duty, as Batman tries to find the Black Mask. To do so, he makes a deal with Catwoman, but doesn't get much out of it. Big revelation comes as Bats tails Catwoman and finds Mario Falcone, effectively bringing the Falcone crime family back to Gotham. Meanwhile, Black Mask has enlisted the services of Hugo Strange and Dr. Death in brainwashing civilians to do his work. A decent start to what should be a fairly good arc. Thumbs in the middle, leaning up.
ARKHAM REBORN #1: Welcome to the new Arkham Asylum, which more resembles Springwood Minimum Security Prison (damn these dated Simpsons references). Many old friends like Clayface and Killer Croc still reside here, but with humane and decent conditions. That won't do for Black Mask, who tells Jeremiah Arkham's #1 to initiate "The Amadeus Code". What that entails will be answered next issue. A good start. Thumbs up!
GOTHAM CITY SIRENS #5: Remember last issue when we saw vintage Joker and a lot of people were wondering why Paul Dini would ignore Grant Morrison's revamped Joker? If you guessed that it was actually a fake Joker, you were CLEARLY ahead of the curve and get a gold star. Yes, that Joker's a phony, as it turns out it's actually Gaggy, the original Joker sidekick, out for revenge. Issue ends with Gaggy neutralizing Catwoman and Poison Ivy and about to kill Harley good. Thumbs up for the curveball and for the nostalgia value of the JOKERMOBILE~!
DETECTIVE COMICS #858: This issue expands on the ending of the "Elegy" arc by going into Kate Kane's childhood. She apparently had a twin sister named Beth, who turned out to be the arc's villain, Alice. The issue's a good character piece, as it looks at a lot of Kate's military upbringing. I give Greg Rucka a lot of credit for finally making Batwoman more than a one-dimensional character, but if you're looking for plot advancement you won't find it here. Thumbs up as a character piece, but ultimately skippable.
And there's STILL more to come, including Norman Osborn's List.
BLACKEST NIGHT: TITANS was fucking stupid. Donna Troy getting bitten by her dead Black Lantern baby and becoming zombified was the stupidest thing I've forced myself to read this year... and I even read Loeb's ULTIMATES. The ONLY good thing about this issue was that the cover wasn't insultingly retarded like the first two issues.
What else came out this week...
GROO - THE HOGS OF HORDER: It is Groo! It is awesome as always.
SECRET WARRIORS #9: I was getting a little lost here until I saw that the 'THE LIST' book from 3 weeks ago was supposed to come out AFTER this issue. Reading the past few issues in the correct order made it all much better. So much so that this series is STILL my favorite Marvel book out now.
ULTIMATE AVENGERS #3: Gregory Stark is a total asshole and I like him. War Machine kicks major ass. Nick Fury and Stark's new Avengers team is very interesting. Who the hell is that Spider Man? Who's the new Black Widow? I want to know NOW!
----SPOILER!!!---- DARK REIGN - THE LIST : THE PUNISHER: Holy fuck! Daken was kinda awesome here, and I really hate myself for saying this. Punisher getting killed like THAT is totally fucked up and insane and I can't believe it hasn't happened before now. ANYONE with powers should have taken him out years ago, he is JUST a guy. Interesting call back with Man-Thing there at the end. This book, all around, was fucking nuts! ----END SPOILER!!!----
BUCK ROGERS #4: This book is really good. The art is wonderful, the characterization is perfect, the story keeps dragging me in... This series is perfect. I highly recommend it.
SUPERMAN - SECRET ORIGIN #2: The Legion pops up in this issue. It feels a little rushed and pushed upon me actually. I get it Johns... you LOVE the Legion... I'm happy for you. Get on with other stuff now. The Lex Luthor stuff, however, is very good and I'd like John's to write a book JUST about Luthor.
DARK REIGN - ARES #1: I wasn't a big fan of this character until recently. Having him in DARK AVENGERS has really made him grow on me. His interactions with his son in SECRET WARRIORS is also highly entertaining.
This book let's us see what a true bad ass he is. He picks the absolute worst team you could ever imagine and training them for war. The one dumbass who questions what relevance an ancient God of War has in modern times/warfare was a highlight. Ares goes on a short rant about modern weaponry, culminating his spiel with "Consider... the human fist." and tearing the idiot a new asshole. EXCELLENT read!
The wife and I split most of the Blackest Night stuff this week and she picked up Gotham Sirens. I disagree with the Donna biting since it fits with the zombie aspect of the BLs. I disagree how its the stupidest thing ever since you read Marvel, I am guarantee there have more stupider things this month alone. It was also good to see the Titans actually be able to take out some BLs. I thought Blackest Night four was good for advancing the plot and the art is just amazing. Sirens with the Joker fake out which. I will say that Dinni should be able to override Morrison, because Dinni you know can write good stories.
I also grabbed the original DC Invasion trade. A pretty good story and if they did a JLA movie, I can see this being a good starting point. Boy, McFarland is hit or miss with this stuff. His Batman is awesome while Superman is a bit cartoonish.
I went ahead and got this book in abridged audio CD form. This book actually pretty closely resembles The Da Vinci Code in the overall narrative structure, and that is both good and bad. If you liked The Da Vinci Code, you will probably like this one.