Friday, November 30, 2007

Fast Thoughts - The Week of 11/29/07

BATMAN #671: The best issue of The Resurrection of Ra's Al Ghul so far. That's not saying a lot, mind you, but at least I was clear on the action and we finally get an explanation of who is fighting who and why.

The short version? It turns out that Sensei - a very old school O'Neil/Adams Batman baddie (not to be confused with O Sensei, who is a good guy) - is Ra's Al Ghul's father and that he's been leading the faction of martial artists out to stop Ra's - currently a slightly more articulate zombie - from regaining true life again. Batman - in an effort to stop Ra's from killing either Tim Drake or Damien Al' Ghul (Ra's Grandson, Bruce's apparent son by Talia who has been hidden all these years) to get one of their bodies - agrees to guide Ra's to Nanda Parbat - DC's Shangri-La equivalent and home to The Fountain of Life, where Sensei and his assassins are already lying in wait.

Yes, that's the short version. You don't want the long one.

Grant Morrison is true to form here, balancing the exposition with a fair helping of action and writing Batman with the same skill he showed a decade ago in JLA. And artist Tony Daniel had managed n this issue to do something every artist on this mini-series has failed to do so far; draw a Ra's who actually looks like Ra's.

I'm glad to see the greatest Batman villain of all time (literally) returned. I just wish he had been given an epic worthy of him to mark the occasion.

GREEN LANTERN CORPS #18: I note a disturbing trend with this issue that seems to have become a habit at DC over the past few years. This marks yet another comic where we finally are given a sympathetic and interesting portrayal of a new or long-neglected character only to have them die at the end of the issue. It happened in Identity Crisis with the Ralph and Sue Dibny relationship being highlighted in a way that hadn't been done since James Robinson's Starman. It happened at the start of the new JSA with the introduction and immediate death of Mister America. And now it has happened - apparently - with newbie Green Lantern and newly dubbed Ion, Sodam Yat.

This issue, split between a fight between a hyper-powered Yat and Superman Prime has been built up to with a number of recent comics. And while Writer/Editor Peter Tomasi does an excellent job with the story here, it still seems severely anti-climactic for The Guardians to remove the Green Lantern's restriction on killing, reveal the ace-in-the-whole that they have in Yat (as a native of the planet Daxam, he has powers equal to Superman's on a planet with a yellow sun) and given Yat a connection to the Green Lantern energy source that basically makes him a walking power-battery... only to have the issue end with his defeat and apparent death.

This is all the more shameful as we are finally given a damn good origin story for Sodam Yat in this issue. We learn of his troubled childhood on Daxam and how he dreamed of a live for himself in the stars - almost a high crime on the isolationist Daxam. We see him befriend a shipwrecked alien and see him defy his parent's attempt at reprogramming him into an alien-fearing drone like themselves. We see him plot to escape his stifling world, knowing not where he is going but knowing he can't stay home. We see all this and how he came to be chosen as a Green Lantern. It is wonderful. It is inspiring. And it is apparently pointless.

The art by Gleason and company is as good as ever, but it's all pretty frosting on a rather tasteless cake.

JACK OF FABLES #17: The cover of this issue is pure win.

That's all I can say except... READ THE BOOK!

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