DC comics


Collects Green Lanterns issues 1-6.

Writer: Sam Humphries

Artists: Ethan van Sciver, Ed Benes, Robson Rocha, Jay Leinstein, Tom Derenick, Jack Herbert, Neil Edwards, Eduardo Pansica, Will Conrad

Publisher: DC

This is the Rebirth Green Lanterns, Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz. They’re both very new to GLs and struggling with both their new powers and duties. Jessica is pretty open that she doesn’t think she’s worth the ring. She has an anxiety disorder and didn’t leave her home for years. She also feels guilty, because her friends died (murdered in some other comic I think) and she ran away and lived. Simon also feels guilty about causing a car accident that left his sister’s husband in a coma for years. His sister doesn’t blame Simon, though. Simon has little experience with the ring but Jessica has none and she can’t even form objects with it. He thinks that she’s a screw-up and she simply doesn’t like him.

In the first issue, we get a little glimpse of their lives and personalities before the ring calls them to action. Hal appears to inform that he’s leaving Earth and they must work as partners. He also claims that the JLA will train the duo. Unfortunately, the training didn’t happen.

Next, our heroes are thrust to action trying to round up aliens. When they find instead a lair of a serial killer, the people in the town are justifiably angry. But their anger grows to unnatural rage. That’s the effect of Rew Dawn, the big threat in this volume. Jess and Simon must find out the source of the rage and put a stop to it.

Both GLs are rookies just learning to use their rings. Simon knows more about it than Jess, though. Both also have very strong inner demons to wrestle with. It was interesting to see a superhero with an anxiety disorder but I’m don’t know if it was handled well. At one point Jess was almost paralyzed with fear but then she just talked herself out of it, which a bit seemed strange. The way that the woman was the anxiety and fear-driven wreck and also a total rookie and the man is an overconfident hotshot who teaches the woman how her own ring works is… well, it’s nothing new. The characters are fine but surprisingly old school. I rather liked their supporting cast. Jessica’s sister is supportive. Simon’s sister’s family supports him.

I’ve only seen these characters in the Rebirth JLA but they seemed to be created before Rebirth, because both have lots of history which are only briefly explored in this volume. I’m also not familiar with the Red Dawn duo of Bleez and Atrocitus. We get Bleez’s tragic backstory which was nice.

The art team is very variable. But their styles work together enough that the changing artists didn’t really bother me.

I feel that this comic was done for long-time GL readers rather than someone new. But I still mostly enjoyed it. Both characters must struggle with their inner demons while they battle very powerful enemies and try to work together.

Collects Superwoman issues 1-7 (Rebirth).

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Writer: Phil Jimenez

Artists: Phil Jimenez, Emanuela Lupacchino, Jack Herbert, Joe Prado, Matt Santorell, Ray McCarthy

When the original Superman of this timeline died exploding, Lana Lang and Lois Lane were near him. The women got powers from the explosion. Lois got powers similar to Superman and Lana got electricity powers. Lois wants to be Superwoman, to continued Clark’s work but Lana doesn’t.

However, Lois convinces Lana to train her. Then Lois starts her career as Superwoman.

Lex Luthor is Metropolis’ new Superman. He uses an armored suit and he has built a huge battleship called the Gestalt to battle (other) supervillains. But when he unveils it to the people in Metropolis bay, someone takes over it. Both Lois and Lana are needed to try to prevent the mysterious person from taking over Gestalt and perhaps the whole world.

I really liked the dynamic between Lois and Lana. They aren’t friends, they don’t even like each other, but they’ve lost Clark. Lois wants to protect the world to keep up his legacy. Lana doesn’t want to do any superhero stuff but she agrees to train Lois. In the end, Lana does take up the mantle of Superwoman and help Lois. I was really interested in seeing what happens between them. That’s why I was very disappointed with the end of the first issue, hoping it wouldn’t be true.

So instead of the (more interesting?) storyline I was expecting we got a story about how Lana’s powers are killing her and she must overcome her fear to function. After Clark’s death, she started having panic attacks and she’s afraid that everyone she loves will die. She’s an engineer but is now a science reporter. However, that wasn’t really relevant to the story. She’s in a relationship with Steel, John Henry Irons. She clearly loves him but she’s also afraid that he will die and she’s trying to push him to the side to protect him. Or her own feelings.

I really enjoyed Lana’s supporting cast of Steel and his genius inventor niece Natasha. I also rather enjoyed the ghost. Traci 13 seemed interesting but I don’t know her. Maggie Sawyer appears as the Captain of Metropolis’ Special Crimes Unit. Lex’s newfound obsession with becoming a superhero was interesting.

The storyline jumps some days or weeks forward at one point. I think that could have been clearer. Also, at some point, Lana was telling us (in recap boxed) about things she couldn’t know, which was really strange. Also, it ends in a cliffhanger.

Most of the art is done by Jimenez and I love it. The fill-in artists weren’t too different, either.

While I didn’t like everything about the comic, I enjoyed it.

Collects The Brave And The Bold: Batman And Wonder Woman issues 1-6.

Writer: Liam Sharpe

Artist: Liam Sharpe

Bruce and Diana must find out who killed King Elthe of the Formors.

Diana is taking a deserved vacation with Steve Trevor. They’re in bed when the old Celtic god Lord Cernunnos appears through a magical portal. He wants Diana to negotiate peace between two warring factions of old gods: the demonic-looking Fomorians and the more human-seeming De Dannan. They have hidden away from humans in Tir Na Nog for hundreds of years. But they’ve become restless and the home has become a prison for them. They are old enemies and now they’ve started fighting again. Cernunnos is the only one who can leave Tir Na Nog. Diana agrees to help.

Meanwhile, something strange is going on in the Irish Quarter of Gotham City. The people there seem lethargic and haunted. Batman of course investigates and strange dreams or spirits haunt him, too.

The third plot thread is around an old homeless Irish man who has lost everything pursuing old Irish legends.

When Cernunnos takes Diana to Tir Na Nog, they find out that king Elatha is dead, murdered. Elatha is the king of the Fomors although he looks like a human. Both his people and the De Dannan loved and respected him. Elatha’s right-hand man captain Furf blames the boy who found the king. However, Diana manages to stop the lynching of the boy and calls for a proper investigation. Only Batman can find out the culprit.

This was a fun read and I enjoyed it a lot. The art is gorgeous with lots of little details and full-page panels.

The story has a narrator who constantly refers to bad things happening in the future, but we don’t find out who that is until the end. Sharpe draws from the Irish myths and it really shows here. On the other hand, the new characters leave Bruce and Diana in their shadow, which clearly displeased many readers. The story also starts slowly with Cernunnos explaining the history of the two factions to Diana. Also, the ending was very open, begging for continuation.

The two warring factions are quick to take offense and use any excuse to fight. Diana must continually play peace-maker between them which was nice. Bruce insists that magic is just science they don’t know yet, which is very much in character for him.

Collects Batman/Superman issues 16-20, Batman/Superman Annual 2, and Batman/Superman: Future’s End 1.

Writer: Greg Pak

Artist: Adrian Syaf, Tom Derenick, Tyler Kirkham, Ian Churchill, Emanuela Lupacchino, Cliff Richards, Jack Herbert, Vicente Cifuentes

Publisher: DC

Publishing year: 2015

The main storyline takes up most of the collection. Someone shoots Supergirl, Steele, and Krypto without a trace. Even Superman can’t see who did it. Worse, an innocent man wearing a Superman costume is killed. Then people Superman has saved in the past are killed. Clark must find out who is doing this. Bruce thinks it’s “Superman’s Joker”: a psychopath with an obsession with Superman. Bruce and Clark must find out who is behind it, and quickly.

This was quite an entertaining mystery and adventure story. I’m not a huge fan of psychopath villains, but this time it worked. I didn’t see where the story was going and enjoyed it. It was personal for Clark to begin with and became even more personal. I also really enjoyed Lois and Bruce working together, even if briefly.

In the annual, the previous story’s mastermind can influence the minds of others. He sends a compulsion to some of Batman’s enemies to kill Clark Kent.

Meanwhile, Clark is in Bahamas investigating the damage that Doomsday did to the local ecology and people. As a reporter. Bruce is trying to convince him to switch to Superman’s outfit. When Clark arrives, something triggers an explosion, and he decides to use his new “solar flare” ability, which allows him to clean up the explosion safely, but leaves him powerless for 24 hours. He falls to Earth near town. Locals are raiding the buildings for food and medicine. Clark tries to convince them that he’s there to help, when ManBats attack.

In this story, Clark must fight and run from enemies because he’s powerless. He still wants to help and defend the local people. The story shows his personality well. When Batman shows up, he’s convinced that without his powers, Clark can’t make it. The story has a couple of nice scenes between Bruce and Clark.

The final issue is set five years in the future. Apparently, JLA has fought off an invasion from space. During it, Bruce forced Clark to do something so terrible that Clark faked his own death and abandoned Earth and his friends. Bruce is trying to fight Clark’s enemies in power armor and waiting for Clark to return. A really dark and pessimistic story, which was very different from the others.

Overall, I quite enjoyed this collection, except for the last story.

Collects World’s Finest issues 0-6.

Writer: Paul Levitz

Artists: George Pérez, Kevin Maguire

Publisher: DC

Publication year: 2013

In the New 52 universe, Huntress and Power Girl are from Earth 2. Huntress is Helena Wayne, daughter of Batman and Catwoman. But in that universe, Selena Kyle wasn’t a criminal. Power Girl is Kara, Superman’s cousin, and in Earth 1 she takes the identity of Karen Starr, a billionaire known for buying tech companies. The seed money came from Helena when she hacked this world’s Bruce Wayne’s companies’ accounts. Helena works in the shadows using several identities. On Earth 2, they were heroes, Robin and Supergirl. In this world, they’re trying to find a way back home and also doing heroic works.

The story starts five years after Helena and Karen have come to Earth 1, accidentally. A superpowered man, Hakkou, attacks one of Karen’s companies. He gives off radioactivity, which affects even Karen. He destroys Karen’s pet project, which was supposed to open a portal to another dimension, to Earth 2. Karen and Helena pursue him and the fight continues for three issues and a couple of continents.

We also get flashbacks both to Karen and Helena’s life on Earth 2 and to right after Hel and Karen came to Earth 1, accidentally. The heroes of Earth 2 faced Darkseid – and fell. Karen still hopes to get back and save whom she can. Helena has given up hope of that, but supports her friend loyally.

Levitz writes in a classic superhero style, and I like it very much. Helena and Karen are brave heroes who think of others before themselves. Because of her near invulnerability, Karen can and does often fly brashly in. Batman trained Helena, so she’s the more tactically trained one. They were best friends before they were thrown into this strange world, and now they can only rely on each other. With this premise, the comic could well be dark. But it’s not. Hel and Karen tell jokes to lighten up the mood.

As a bonus, we also see their first meeting on Earth 2.

However, Karen’s clothing is often torn to shreds, which is a tiresome troupe. Also, Hakkou isn’t particularly memorable villain. The dialog also equates ugly with evil, which I really didn’t care for. Otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed the comic focusing on two superheroines.

The art styles of Pérez and Maguire are very different. Perez draws the present story and Maguire the past which works well, at least for me.

Collects Batman/Superman issues 10-15.

Writers: Greg Pak, Jeff Lemire

Artists: Karl Kerschel, Scott Hepburn, Tom Derenick, Daniel Sampere, Tom Raney, Ken Lashley, Jae Lee, Diegones Neves, Marc Neering

This is a collection of stories which don’t have much to do with each other. In the first story, Batman has collapsed. With his microscopic vision, Superman first finds a tiny dead man is in Batman’s brain’s blood vessels. And then a whole tiny alien city! Superman contacts Dr. Palmer. He shrinks them and they go into Batman’s brain! They encounter the aliens and, of course, battle them.

This was loads of fun! The premise is, of course, ridiculous but I throughly enjoyed it. Also, I love Ray Palmer in Legends of Tomorrow, so it was very nice to see him in the New 52 universe.

The next story is actually the first part of a Doomsday story, but the story doesn’t continue in this collection. Superman is out of control because Doomsday has poisoned him. Batman, Wonder Woman, and Steele go to the Fortress of Solitude. Doomsday escaped from the Phantom Zone, so our heroes head to the Zone as well, hoping to find a cure from there. Of course, the Zone is full of villains and monsters whom Superman has sent there… and they’re not co-operative.

This story doesn’t work as a stand-alone. If the continuation was impossible to print here, I think it should have been left out. Now, it’s almost like an ad for Superman: Doomed. I did enjoy Batman and Diana working together in the Phantom Zone.

The next stories continue from volume one and the Powergirl/Huntress story from volume two. First, Bruce and Clark encounter Kaiyo the Chaos bringer again. This time she sends them to Earth 2 and they have a chance to change just one thing. Bruce and Clark hesitate while they witness the final moments of Earth 2’s heroes.

Kaiyo isn’t impressed with them and so she strips Bruce and Clark of their memories, and sends them to Gotham City, separately. Immediately, Clark sees a giant robot trying to catch Catwoman, and helps her. She quickly realized that he’s lost his memory and gleefully takes advantage of that. Meanwhile, Bruce is getting to know his life and meets Lois Lane.

This was an interesting story. Without his memories, Bruce is a far less dark and far less determined. He’s still heroic and tries to help the people around him. But for some reason, Clark tries to take over Gotham. So, without the influence of Ma and Pa Kent, Clark would be a tyrant? I’m not sure I buy that. More light-hearted Bruce makes perfect sense, though. I was almost sorry to see him return to his default mood.

Like the previous one, this collection has a lot of artists. Mostly, their styles are pretty similar, but Jae Lee’s art is, again, very distinctive.

But I enjoyed most of the stories here, with the exception of the ending of the second one.

Collects Batman/Superman issues 5-9, Batman/Superman Annual 1, and Worlds’ Finest issues 20-21.

Writers: Greg Pak, Paul Levitz
Artists: Brett Booth, Jae Lee, Kenneth Rocafort, Philip Tan, Scott McDaniel, RB Silva, Norm Rapmund, Joe Weems

This collection has three stories. The first one is about virtual reality game. Toymaker has made a new VR game with three game testers, one of them Jimmy Olsen. The testers gleefully try to kill Batman and get Batman and Superman to fight each other. Except that it’s not a game, at least not the way the game testers think it is.

I’m not a fan of VR games come to life –stories but this one was pretty decent. Except that it changed our heroes pretty significantly. Batman is now dead and only walking around because nanobots reanimated his body – and his mind! But I’m pretty sure the editors will just ignore this very interesting change…

The main bad guy uses the rage and hate of gamers to whip them into frenzy against their heroes. This seemed a bit excessive to me, but there was an outside influence that explained some of it and the ending was pretty rosy.

The art is by Brett Booth and it’s sideways. Pretty neat idea and easily distinguished this story from the rest.

Next up is the annual where Mongul’s son Jochi comes to Earth to challenge Batman and Superman and their clans for all life on Earth. He lives in a savage Warworld so obviously he was to fight the heroes. Batman chooses Red Hood to go with him to Warworld. Batgirl almost forces her way in. Superman chooses Supergirl and Steel. Krypto (the dog) also follows them.

Jochi has been challenged for the leadership of the Warworld. As soon as our heroes hear that the other would-be leaders would like to just incinerate Earth, Batman and Red Hood go to the arena and help Jochi. Jochi then becomes a part of the Batman clan. Superman, Krypto, and Supergirl make up another team while Steel and Batgirl have a more secret mission.

Even though the story was sounds like it was focused on arena fights, it actually has a decent storyline. This was very uneven art wise with three different artists whose styles didn’t work together well.

The last story is actually from World’s Finest. Even though that series stars Huntress, Helena Wayne from Earth-2, and Power Girl, Karen Starr also from Earth-2, Bruce and Clark are the main characters in this story, too.

Karen’s powers are going haywire and Helena contacts Batman for help. Batman doesn’t want Superman anywhere near Karen, because his powers could also start acting up. But Clark turns up anyway and insists on helping Karen. It turns out that Kaizen Gamorra could be behind it and so Bruce and Helena go undercover to New Gamorra. Of course, Kaizen has plots within plots. He has targeted Power Girl especially and used Kryptonian DNA to power his own super soldiers.

This story also had three different artists, whose styles are very different. Jae Lee’s first and third issues were especially jarring compared to the very conventional art of Scott McDaniel and RB Silva on the second and final issues.

Bruce still doesn’t trust Clark. His thoughts belittle Clark’s intellect and he thinks that Clark constantly rushes headlong to trouble. When Karen’s powers act up Bruce is very worried that he can’t stop Clark if Clark’s powers start misfiring, too. Clark is also somewhat cautious of Bruce. They’re definitely not the best friends from previous incarnations. In fact, they have chillier relationship than the one in the Trinity series. But they do sometimes think that they must rely on each other.

This was an ok collection and I enjoyed all three stories. In fact, I ended up buying the first World’s Finest collection. Hopefully, it’ll be decent.

Collects Trinity issues 17-22.

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Writer: James Robinson
Artists: Patrick Zircher, Jack Herbert, and Tyler Kirkham
Publisher: DC
Publishing year: 2018

The collection has two storylines. The first one is No Home for You Here where the Trinity is sucked to another dimension, essentially a fantasy world. It has enough magic that Superman loses his powers and Wonder Woman is struck blind. I was prepared to really like this story because they would need to use their wits more than powers. But nope. The only difference really was that Clark’s costume was torn during fighting.

The second story continues the first one and is the titular search for Steve.

I like lost worlds. I’m not familiar with Skartaris and the warlord Travis Morgan. It’s apparently DC’s equivalent of Marvel’s Savage Land or Burroughs’ Pellucidar. However, it does look very dated with women wearing only fur bikinis. Admittedly the Warlord himself only wears a loin cloth, metal shoulder pads, and a helmet.

Diana, Bruce, and Clark must battle their way through the fantasy land to Morgan’s city so that his sorceress daughter can send them home. Very battle heavy story, even though Bruce gets to play a little of detective near then end. The framing story is that someone is interrogating the Trinity for everything they know about this fantasy land.

In the Search for Steve Trevor, fantasy comes to our heroes’ world. Bruce, Diana, and Clark track down a mysterious “security organization” and find out that Steve and many other people have been transformed to mindless fighting machines. Of course, they must investigate further and try to return him to a human.

This collection feels much grimmer to me than the first two. There aren’t many moments between our heroes, it’s mostly just mindless fighting. Too bad.

Collects Batman/Superman 1-4, Justice League 23.1: Darkseid.

Writer: Greg Pak
Artists: Jae Lee, Paulo Siqueira,Ben Oliver, Yildiray Cinar, Netho Diaz
Publisher: DC
Publishing year: 2013

The main storyline tells us the story of how Batman and Superman met for the first time in the New 52 world. Also, some kind of demonic spirit transports them to Earth 2 where they meet their older counterparts and Wonder Woman.

Collects Batwoman issues 7-11.

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Writer: Marguerite Bennett, K. Perkins
Artists: Fernando Blanco, Scott Godlewiski, Marc Lamin

Kate Kane continues her battle against the terrorist organization the Many Arms of Death. She and Julie have tracked down the operative called the Needle to Sahara Desert. Her plane is shot down and she must fight Colony soldiers who have been poisoned. After trekking in the desert for almost a day, she hallucinates about her lost year in the island Coryana and about her former lover Safiyah. The Needle’s operative captures Kate and takes her to an underground secret lab. It turns out that the Needle is actually the Scarecrow.

Most of the story is full of hallucinations while Kate battles her scars and father issues. The Scarecrow has also imprisoned Colony Prime who thinks of Kate’s dad as his dad. They bicker while trying to save themselves.

The final issue is a more stand-alone story. Kate’s right hand woman Julia is missing and her apartment shows signs of fighting. Kate tracks her while berating herself for not noticing quicker that Julia is missing. This one has a new villain to me, at least. I didn’t really care for him.

This was a pretty good exploration of Kate’s inner demons and the art complemented the hallucinations. Kate is a very wounded character and her father’s betrayal has also cut deep. She starts to question if her actions are doing any good at all, especially after the collection’s final issue. The story doesn’t end in a cliffhanger but Kate is going to confront her sister so it’s not neatly tied up, either.

Of course, the main action is in the TV-show so Kate can’t have much character development here.

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