The Flash #6
This storyline has been a complete amateur night embarrassment and I eagerly anticipate the current writing team (Bilson & Demeo) leaving the book.
Remember when Impulse was a fun, silly character? I think the mandate on Bart Allen's new attitude was: make him boring. The six parter was intended to set up Bart as the new Flash and explain why the DCU has been red-suit-Flash-less for a year. Of course, the only way to do that was to have Bart's cocky One Year Later-flotsam best friend become a super-villain. Plus a STAR Labs girlfriend. Not an ounce of this reads well, from "the Griffin"'s constant hackneyed use of "bro," to Bart's constant hand-wringing about how he isn't good enough to inherit the lightning. Terrible.
And then the the whole Infinite Crisis dangler - what happened to the Fastest Men Alive when they raced Superboy-Prime into the Speed Force - is tossed aside in a sepia-toned page-and-a-half at the very end! Gawd, so that's all that happened? The other guys essentially give up and Bart volunteers to do the deathrace back to Earth-1? Lame.
What is it with writers who think we want these tortured, self-absorbed, depressed characters? This is the DCU, not Marvel. We want heroes who have fun using their powers. That Spider-Man bullshit went out in the '60s. Let's all pretend that Bart crashed back from Infinite Crisis with a really interesting story to tell and that he is nervous but excited to be the new Flash. Jesus.
JSA Classified #19
Now this I like. This is the start of an arc spotlighting Dr. Mid-Nite, one of my JSA favorites. Particularly in this incarnation as a stoic, smart, actual-doctor.
The hook here is that old urban legend about illegal organ harvesting... where you get knocked out and wake up in a bathtub with your kidneys missing. Except in this version, somebody is knocking out mutated heroes and removing things like wings. Cool as hell. And it makes fun of the leftover losers from Bloodlines!
Best line: Doc barges in on a smoking Roulette and says "As a doctor, my oath compels me to warn you of the risks of smoking." It's great because he's serious when he says it.
In the same panel, he also describes Batman as an "urban myth" which is probably the coolest ongoing story nugget that DC had since COIE, and they have since worked diligently to ignore it. This is the first time I've seen it mentioned in years, which makes me hope it has been re-retconned back into being.
Although we do briefly drop down into that old Super Hero Fight Club garbage. Can somebody do a story where that gets shut down once and for all? It is patently ridiculous to think that the super-villains regularly all gather in one place to watch C-Grade heroes battle, and nobody ever does anything about it.
Another winner. This is a definite uptick after all that fan-service Joker/Mxy crap from a couple issues ago.
The plot confronts the idea that Superman is an alien, and may have been physically altered to blend into the human Earth race. Of course, we know that will prove out to be crap, but it's a tantalizing idea in a universe full of innumerable non-human alien races. And it will be fun to see who's behind the mystery and impersonating or mind-controlling other famous alien characters like Kilowog and Starfire.
Lots of great lines in this one, but the best one comes from Lex Luthor: "...if you were able to ask the dinosaurs where real danger lies... They would point to the stars." Superb. It fits with Lex's xenophobic persona, it's a compelling notion, and it's just nice dramatic writing no matter what medium.
Green Lantern #15
Things I have no interest in: Hal's entire military career, his new supporting cast of OYL Top Gun rejects.
Things I do have an interest in: hints about "the 52", the geopolitical borders and treaties of super-heroics, and the first peek at the Sinestro Corps.
Things I'm undecided on: Abin Sur's long-lost son (*sigh*), the reappearance of Star Sapphire.
There's a lot going on in GL right now, which means we've got a good writer (comics superstar Geoff Johns) setting up a lot of stuff down the road. I'm hoping this is the cornerstone issue where the good stuff takes the fore and the weak stuff starts to recede.
Civil War #5
Such wonderful art. Lots of nice surprise elements. But a tottering storyline that is inching on at a snail's pace. How many times can we see Group A fighting Group B, or heroes getting carted off into the Negative Zone prison complex?
And once again, nobody really important dies.
It's good to see Reed finally thinking about the issues though. She-Hulk does have a great response though, probably the first time I've seen the pro-registration argument brought up in such a way that you actually start to believe they're in the right: "People were sick of sixteen-year-old kids blowing up buildings, Reed. You guys gave us all a future."
Civil War: Front Line #8
Pretty sad how fast this series is out-pacing the core title, eh? I hope that nobody out there is reading Civil War and NOT reading this one. The "Accused" storyline is really good, the "Embedded" one may just be better, and "Sleeper Cell" is leading up to some big Namor reveal which should be cool.
I just wish they would kill the pretentious Horrors of War Poetry section.
Justice Society of America #1
Get onboard now.
I was about to wonder aloud why we had to reboot this title, but of course the answer is to attract attention. An unfortunate side-effect of today's disposable audience is that everybody is afraid of buying a book that's already at #50 or higher.
That said, this is a good "introductory" issue to characters that have been around for sixty years. Nice art, too. We've got plenty of mysteries set up, a few intriguing new characters (remember when Stargirl was the giddy Britney Spears character?) and a few long-forgotten names return.
I did find the touchy-feely Hourman/Liberty Belle couple a little weird, though.
Jonah Hex #14
Continuing the origin story. The artist (Jordi Bernet) is doing kind of a Joe Kubert + John Severin thing, which is pretty amazing to watch. I expected this title to disappear within a year, and I am super-glad it is still kickin'. It's nice to get a good, hard Western every month.
This is how I knew it had been three weeks since I last picked up my books.
I'll tell you, DC just announced a second weekly series once 52 finishes and I couldn't be happier. 52 continues to deliver an all-encompassing, tightly-woven storyline. Have I said already that 52 is as if Robert Altman did comics? I may have, but it strikes me every single week. I am looking forward to reading all 52 issues in one big glorious Sunday afternoon someday.
I do have to admit that, for all my love of the DCU, I'm a pretty stupid reader of 52. I never put any thought to the secret identity of Supernova, so reading on Seven Hells that it could be Ray Palmer was like getting slapped in the face, in a good way.