Ennis Continues to Build a Castle with The Punisher

By Mark Wheaton

 “Huh.  Bitch, you dead?  You ain’t dead.  You best git to work suckin’ my dick.  Then fix me some muthafuckin’ eggs.”

These words, spoken on the last two pages of The Punisher #31 to a naked, dead-looking woman sprawled on a bed with an opium pipe dangling loosely in her fingers, introduce us to Frank Castle’s new nemesis, a hitman named Barracuda whose front teeth are capped in gold, the words: “FUCK YOU” carved into the metal.

Getting the first issue of a new Punisher arc is always nerve-wracking.  Will it be as good as the last one?  Can Ennis just keep on delivering some of the best Punisher stories the character has ever seen?  The answer, time and time again, keeps being a simple “yes.”

Sadly, the beginning of the six-issue “Barracuda” arc bids farewell to the brilliant pencils of Leandro Fernandez, but turns right around and delivers with the fine work of Black Widow: Homecoming artist Goran Parlov, who filled in on Y: The Last Man for a short time to solid effect.  Parlov’s Punisher looks about ten years younger than Fernandez’s, but he looks like he’ll be a great partner for Ennis’s storytelling.

“Barracuda” starts off with what is apparently to be the end of the miniseries – somewhere out in the ocean where Castle watches as dozens of suited men are devoured by hundreds of sharks.  But then we flashback to Frank killing a bunch of drug dealers – only to discover a young man, Stephens, tied up in the bathroom where he’s been raped for days.  We soon learn that he was meant to be murdered by the minions of a mysterious man (how’s that for alliteration, true believers?) named Harry for potentially turning whistle-blower against his New York empire – one which seems to stretch from the Mafia to big business to high-powered politics.  At first, Frank doesn’t care much for Stephens’ plight, but then realizes Stephens could hold the key to a major Gotham crime syndicate and busts him out of jail – just as one of Harry’s lackeys comes to get him in order to finish the job the drug dealers started.

While yes, the One Innocent Person (Who Just Endured Sexual Torture) Rescued By Frank plotline just happened in “The Slavers,” Harry’s next call is to Barracuda, a decision he tells his assistant Dermot, he “doesn’t make lightly.”  Harry needs Stephens dead.  Does he call Bullseye?  How ‘bout Tombstone?  No, he calls this mysterious Barracuda, setting up what could be a great Punisher adventure.

So far, so good.  It’ll be nice to see the Punisher being hunted for awhile by what will hopefully be a worthy adversary.  Certainly, Ennis hasn’t lost a step.



Underwater sword and sorcery with… Aquaman?

By Graig Kent

 He’s been revamped about as many times as Hawkman and the Legion of Super-Heroes.  He’s truly one of DC’s big names, and yet as a character most don’t know much about him beyond “he talks to fishes”.  His persona has undergone numerous changes over his 65 years, and none of them has stuck.  He may be more notorious than Marvel’s Prince Namor, but he’s not nearly as consistent.  Each writer that tackles him sees fit to reinvent him, and rightly so.  Arthur Curry is really kind of dull.  He’s the king of an underwater city, and his son was killed by his nemesis, and he has a brother who abhors him, and he’s been the leader of the Justice League a couple of times, but still, he’s dull.

Enter Kurt Busiek.  He’s redone Aquaman yet again, this time with his Conan hat on, and telling a sword ‘n’ sorcery-style adventure undersea starting with issue #40.  Set “one year later” from the Infinite Crisis, Aquaman’s been missing for some time and things in the wet world have gone practically primeval.  A violent storm drags young Arthur Curry, the boy with gills, from his Seaworld-like home and deposits him in the ocean.  Upon his arrival a voice speaks inside his head, imploring him to aid a shark-man of great importance locked in a fierce battle.  After the rescue, Arthur and the shark-man go and meet the voice in his head, a mystic man with a squid-beard who gives Arthur a wardrobe which happens to be a familiar orange tunic and green tights.  Squid-beard tells Arthur of his destiny, which actually is the original Aquaman’s history, and sets him and the shark-man off on a mission.

Having heard the advance buzz of what Busiek was planning to do with Aquaman, and trusting him as a writer based on a routinely solid output, I was very interested to see how Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis would play out.  As you can tell from my brief description, it’s primarily a lot of exposition.  Even with the tremendous amount of exposition, there’s still not a clear path set in terms of the direction the book is going.  Busiek seems to be relying upon the mystery of “what happened to Aquaman,” and why does this kid seem to share both his name and powers?  As my preamble stated, not many people have cared about Aquaman in the past, so hinging a mystery based on caring about him may not be the best option for relaunching him.

Butch Guice provides art for the book, and, well, it’s Butch Guice.  The dude is just solid.  He gets the dynamics of underwater, both in terms of its effect on the physical beings and in terms of lighting.  I don’t know if he’s done the genre before, but swords and armor really suit him, as do dudes with squid-beards.  Dan Brown accompanies Guice’s line work with an exquisite color palette, basing most of his backgrounds using a wash of blues and purples.  Together they truly bring the undersea to life.  I only hope the story becomes more lively to suit them.


Ms. Marvel: Ludicrously over-proportioned female in preposterously revealing outfit

By Jeb D.

 Geek guilt. It touches us all. You’ve been there, you’ve heard it: “What on earth are you still doing reading those silly comic books?”

After a while, we learn to persuade people of the virtues of the medium of graphic storytelling by hitting them over the head with a hardcover copy of Epileptic or Acme Novelty Library. It’s even possible to win them over to the notion of superheroes with the urban grit of Daredevil or the tough family drama at the heart of Invincible. But for all of that, there remains one aspect of superhero comics that makes us hesitate to pull one out in public:

Hot babes. Ludicrously over-proportioned female characters in preposterously revealing outfits. Superhero comics abound with them.

The hypersexualization of women in media is hardly unique to comics, but there aren’t many places where it’s as over-the-top as it is in the world of capes and cowls. Most superheroines, even the well-written ones, are movie-star glamorous, and dressed (sometimes just barely) in outfits whose practical application has nothing to do with adventuring, and everything to do with arousing the… um… “interest” of male readers.

And there’s no point arguing that “the male characters are treated the same way”: in our culture, exaggerating the physical and/or sexual characteristics of a woman carries a completely different set of connotations than doing the same thing for a man.

But the aesthetic appeal is undeniable:  even the politically-correct male reader is more likely to spend money on comics with pretty women than realistically “plain” ones. Artists like drawing ‘em, too (Terry Moore has said that one reason Strangers in Paradise became a relationship story about two women is that he preferred to learn the fine points of drawing women’s bodies than men’s). It’s not a simple question of good or bad, particularly for the companies that have to persuade their readers to part with good money for their comics.

So, this isn’t a polemic against sexism in comics, because this is a complex argument, whether in the field of comics or of movies, TV, advertising, etc. It doesn’t yield simple answers.

But it does mean that a superhero comic featuring an eye-popping female lead has to work pretty hard to persuade us that it’s got any value beyond simple eye-candy. Solo superheroine books (as opposed to teams like the X-Men) are traditionally a tough sell: even Wonder Woman has had periods of such slow sales that only contractual obligation kept her book being published.

And so here we are with the first issue of a new solo comic for a character with, arguably, the most ridiculously sexist costume of all-time: Ms Marvel is certainly the only major character from the Big 2 that I can think of who covers her boobs and NOT her butt, and the combination of  thigh boots, opera gloves, and butt-hugging sash make  Emma Frost look like the girl next door And choosing Frank Cho as the cover artist just reinforces the cheesecake stereotype. But if you like this costume, and the curves, and the lush blond mane, you can just download her to your desktop wallpaper: job well done there. The real question is, did they make her worth READING about? And spending money to do so? The answer to that one’s a bit tougher.

Ms. Marvel #1 has a fairly conventional post-modern superhero story setup: we start with an establishing scene of Ms Marvel (Carol Danvers) in action, aweing children with her flying and super-strength, and dispatching one of Marvel’s sillier supervillains (which is certainly saying something). From there, we get a chatty and funny out-of-costume “girl talk” session between Carol and her friend Jessica (Spider-Woman) Drew, as Carol uses the encounter to underscore what’s evidently going to be at the series’ heart: her search for an identity as a superhero: who she is and how she can make a difference.

The story hits some familiar beats on the subject of superheroes in the Marvel Universe as part of our celebrity culture, and while it’s handled nicely, it’s nothing we haven’t seen done better in Powers or Noble Causes. And the end of the book leads into next issue with Carol coming face to face with one of the most deadly of Marvel’s alien menaces.

Given the relatively high commercial stakes here, it’s surprising that Marvel hasn’t put a more high-profile team on the book.

Writer Brian Reed is best-known for working with Brian Bendis on the Ultimate Spider-Man video game, and the Spider-Woman: Origin miniseries. He’s got a decent story premise going, and if the dialog sometimes seems more functional than natural, it’s not bad. He obliquely addresses the issue of her costume, but doesn’t dwell on it. And it does take a bit of conversational maneuvering between Carol and Jessica to make it sound like a character that’s been around for a couple of decades, and been in and out of The Avengers (among others) has a need to quest for an identity. Reed makes it at least plausible enough not to get in the way of the story.

Artist Roberto De La Torre is relatively new to me (I believe his only previous American comics work was Seal Team Seven), and I think he’s one to watch. His work reminds me of the old-school artists like John Buscema or John Romita Sr., who came up at a time when an artist was routinely expected to handle everything from mystery to horror to Westerns to anything in between. Seal Team Seven hinted at that with its mixture of Clancy-like military action and Conan-style fantasy; here, in addition to the superheroing, De La Torre gives the female characters something of the look and feel of a vintage romance comic (another area where Romita Sr excelled). The reliable Palmiotti helps tie it all together.

Is Ms. Marvel #1 a decent read? Sure. Reed’s come up with a fairly good character arc for his heroine, and next issue promises some good superhero mayhem. I’d also say that De La Torre’s future prospects might make this a good investment for collectors.

But compared to what else is out there, I honestly don’t know that this is going to reward your three bucks for an extended period of time. And, frankly, if it makes it past six issues, I’ll be surprised.


Invincible Is A Hyperbolic Name

By Elgin Carver

 When comics began, superheroes were public servants; men and women acting altruistically to better the lot of all. Shortly thereafter came the super-villains, the flip side of the coin. At some point this distinction began to blur. Arguments can be made as to exactly when and who, but the clear result is that with few exceptions,  much more complex persons populate our favorite literature today.

Invincible is a title that is exploring one of the possibilities today’s visions present. An alien with the requisite powers, hidden amongst us, seemingly admirable but soon revealed to be otherwise, and from a race that is clearly vile. His half human son, inheritor of his powers, grew up with the former image and struggles with the latter. From this premise flows most of the issues explored thus far, and with some success.

It has been said that if we live long enough we will be disappointed to find our parents are not infallible. Here the father not only has failings, but the race from which he sprang are the Nazis of the universe. Mark, the young lead in this saga, strives to take his fathers place when the truth comes out and dad leaves the planet.

In the past few issues, the evolution of this story has taken the action away from earth for the most part, and, for me, while it has brought the father back into the story, it is somehow distracting from what  the main thrust seems to be, and perhaps that strikes at the heart of not just this series but most comics.

Either the central concept is limited or the direction the writer(s) takes it is. I very much enjoyed the first 20 issues or so of Invincible, but it is beginning to feel more and more like a limited series. If there is depth to the storyline which I do not perceive, then shame on me. But if my perceptions are correct, I hope this series (that has been fun to this point) will find a way to wrap it up rather than let it fade away.


"The Adventures Of Superman #649" Sums Up A Crisis In 22 Easy Pages (And Some Ads)

By Rob Glenn

 You’re just going to have to assume that this review is riddled with spoilers.  When it comes to something like this massive DC Comics cross-over event, only the most hardcore (or richest) fans have purchased every tie-in available.  The Infinite Crisis up to this point has been a little confusing.  Fortunately, there is an "all you need to know" here.  Unfortunately, that "all you need to know" stretches back to the mid-80s.  See, all the different dimensions including the earth and earth-like worlds were colliding into each other.  Eventually, all the earths were combined into one.  This was supposedly to simplify things coming out of DC.  No more trying to keep track of what dimension you were in when picking up a new title.  Now, the new Infinite Crisis retconned the idea that Lex Luther’s son, Superman and Lois Lane from Earth-2 (with Superboy from Earth Prime tagging along) holed themselves away in a bubble just to the left of this newly consolidated universe.  For 20-plus years they have been watching us… and Supes-2 is pissed.  From his perspective, things in the four color comic book world should not have become so complicated.  Bad guys should be punished and good guys shouldn’t consider gray areas.

Adventures of Superman #649 is a mini-series tie-in that started in Superman #226 and continued in Action Comics #836.  Superman-2 is out of the protected bubble and is trying to set things straight.  His immediate concern is taking out Superman-1, who he feels is the cause of this needlessly complicated world in which DC has become.  Now, if Back to the Future Part II has taught us anything about quantum theory, it’s that you never interact directly with yourself from another timeline (or in this case, dimension).  Having two Supermen in the same plane is enough to start shattering reality.  The two of them actually coming to blows makes for a fireworks display of the splintering of current, alternate and possible nonce.  Between hits, Superman-2 has the chance to right what he considers wrongs his counterpart has transgressed.  We see what a world with Superman-2 in charge would have been like.  Peace through superior firepower.  You kids play nice or you won’t be placed in time out, you’ll be deported forever.

There are so many interesting ways to view this short series and the current Crisis in general.  What shouldn’t be surprising is that comics have always been a not-so-oblique mirror on contemporary events.  Superman is the world’s strongest superpower.  He has always endeavored to be a shining example for the world to see.  He is the inspiration that shows us all what we can do if we keep the greater good in mind and do our best to fight for our fellow man.  So what happens when the example you set is of a superpower forcing what he believes is right upon others?  Wait; do you think Superman symbolizes America here?  Nah.  Superman’s colors are red, yellow and blue.  All you need to know is that two Supermen are punching each other and the world is falling apart and complex superdimensional ideas are conveyed through colorful splash pages.



Jonah Hex is a Half-Loaded Gun

By Mark Wheaton

 Hm.  After a sterling and incredibly welcome return, Jonah Hex has now had a couple of so-so issues.  Not bad, really, just not as great as the initial ones. 

In issue #5, we pick back up with Hex – on Christmas Day – bringing train robber Mike Harley to a remote depot to await the Texas Rangers, who will haul him in and pay Hex his bounty.  Along with a pretty young woman and her crusty old grandfather, the four stave off the cold and wait.

But then Harley’s men show up trying to spring him…

…only to be quickly killed by a man named Denson and his cohorts, who want to hang Harley themselves for the murder of Denson’s little brother.  So, there are a lot of gangs arriving at the depot and they all go down in a hail of bullets.  Denson’s men attack and try to burn the depot down, but – naturally – Hex gets the better of them, massacring the lot where they stand, all while trying to retain custody of Harley.

With now literally dozens of bodies dead in the snow and the depot burned down, the Rangers show up – but have already been bribed by Harley to save him, abandoning the hard-fighting Hex.

But it doesn’t end there.  We cut to ten years later as Harley robs a train on another Christmas Day, only to find Hex waiting in the train car with a Gatling gun.  Naturally, he sends Harley to Hell in a blaze of hot lead. 

Though it’s a siege issue a’la Rio Bravo, it’s a little too repetitive to be as engaging as it might be.  The last page, with the maniacal Hex firing the Gatling gun, is pretty neat, but other than that, it’s an okay issue.  That said, Tony DeZuniga really knows how to draw his western action.


Winick and Davis Explain the Secrets of Resurrection in “Batman Annual”

By Russell Paulette

 We voted for his death years ago, and writer Judd Winick decided things would be better undone.  With a better-than-it-sounded-on-paper turn in the last year-and-a-half on Batman, Winick finally outlines the entire scenario that brought former charred Robin back from the dead.  The solution, foreshadowed and hinted at in Loeb & Lee’s Hush arc, as well as various clues, blind alleys and red herrings in the Batbooks along the way, is both logical, clear and concise, as well as unsuprisingly satisfying.

Turns out the various clues that have inevitably lead do the resurrection of Jason Todd all play a role in Winick’s answer, along with the most infinite of macguffins to get the plot-ball rolling.  In essence, then, Winick supplies the solution by allowing for every speculative answer to weave in-and-out of the tapestry of his plot.  Despite my cagey descriptions to avoid spoilers for those who care, suffice to say, the answer is as satisfying as it is a no-brainer.  It’s pretty much what’s been said all along.

Which isn’t to say the book wasn’t an enjoyable read—Winick carefully takes the reader step by step through the death and resurrection of Jason Todd, providing appropriately involving scenes to his character and motivation that would eventually lead him to become the new Red Hood and oppose his former mentor.  Along with this, Winick provides an omniscient narrator who, we are unequivocally told, is providing the reader with absolute knowledge about the veracity of this being the resurrected Todd.  This voice provides all the evidence and, like a prosecutor making his case, begins and ends with “Make no mistake.  It is him.”  (There almost seems to be a subtextural understanding that, though he’s walking away from the book, he wants the writers to follow him to not mistake his intentions.)  And so, as its provided with the best of all comic booky answers, the writing holds up along those lines.  Its silly in spots, and relies on two different supernatural macguffins to make it all hang together, but at the end of the day, Winick makes it work, largely on his ability to carry the silly ideas through to their logical conclusion.

Pencilier Shane Davis does an admirable job of pulling it all off.  Whether its in recreating classic moments from the character’s history, or ably depicting some of the greater DC cosmic events, Davis does a nice job of making the moments believable and accessible.  Some, like the scene of Jason climbing out of his own grave, he pulls off better than others.  That said, Davis is an artist whose work I want to like, but something about it sticks in my proverbial craw.  I’m unsure if its the inking by Mark Morales or not, but the art has a certain visual tick—sometimes expressed by awkward foreshortening, sometimes just in an overabundance of texture on smooth surfaces—that separates the artwork from “great” and firmly over into “good.”  It works, it’s passable, and, though there’s a few moments of impressiveness, it never completely jells together.

An additional note on the artwork, however, is kudos to Winick and the creative team for working seamlessly into the narrative the lost alternate ending from Jim Aparo’s original run—where Batman holds Todd’s body and screams “He’s alive!”  It worked in as a smooth transition away from, and back to Davis’s artwork, and the moment feeds into the story in very nice ways.

Overall, Winick’s secret origin for the resurrection of Jason Todd worked well—though, falling this late in the narrative feels, in some ways, like a tacked-on afterthought.  That said, the issue has enough of a drive to make it a compelling read, even though, upon reaching its conclusion, the savvy reader won’t necessarily  learn all that much. 


Hellboy Ends Another Great (Looking) Adventure

By Elgin Carver

 A comic is made up of two parts; the art and the text. On rare occasion’s the text does not exist, and the graphics become the story in its entirety. But without the art, it is no longer a comic. The graphics are the sine qua non of this art form and certainly the initial reason I have bought every single comic I have ever owned. I still buy the first book of a title because something about the art catches my eye. I make every possible attempt to avoid reading any portion of the story until I can get to a quiet and comfortable location so that I can then immerse myself in the experience. Sometimes the totality of the experience is acceptable and sometimes not.

I have fully enjoyed Hellboy from the beginning. Mike Mignola’s artwork from first glance and the later reading did not disappoint. I say this despite my general disinterest in the horror field. I read few horror novels, finding Stephen King, for example, to be an uninteresting writer, facile and with little depth, and enjoy Lovecraft only for the originality of the imagery. I enjoy an occasional zombie movie, but find splatter horror movies to be generally transparent and even emotionally and mentally ill/twisted. The Hellboy stories are different. The clever use of myths and fables as background for an exploration of this truly unique and original character caught me and held on, including the spin-off books like B.P.R.D. and Abe Sapien. Any books in this series or any spin-offs will always be on my pull list.

Seeing Richard Corben’s name on Hellboy: Makoma was exciting. The first work of his I ever saw was in an underground comic titled Fantagor. For those too young to remember, underground comics were small run, independently produced comics that were an offshoot of the counterculture movement of the 1960s. They were only available in either head shops (stores that sold items to young folks who thought they  could change the world) or porno stores. The violence was at least as graphic as found in today’s books and the sex far more so. Corben’s work was distinctive, if poorly reproduced, and I always kept an eye out for examples. The heroes were muscular, big jawed and the women were extremely voluptuous and the stories were usually dark and EC-ish, in the best sense. Additionally, when left to his own devices, he created some of the very best examples of superhero interpretations that I know of. Check out Batman Black and White, Volume One for how I think Batman stories should be going, and an eye opening sense of the Spectre in Solo # 2. Both are exemplary as what those two characters should be, ever, for my money.

So, here? Well the art is fine, near perfect for the character in fact. Mignola’s work will always be the defining vision, but this is as good a substitute as is likely to ever be found. And the story? Not so much. Not that it is bad, not even close. Second and third readings make it seem marginally better, but just not up to the original quality I have grown to expect. Should you buy it? Without a doubt. No artist creates a masterpiece every time but every artist needs encouragement. It’s not a bad book, just not a great one (like they usually are). Buy it and enjoy it for what it is then wait patiently for the next one.


The build-up is nothing but a let-down: Infinite Crisis #5

By Graig Kent

 I’d like to think I’m old enough and experience enough to not get wrapped up in “the hype machine” anymore, whether it be for the next great indie band, the next big blockbuster movie, or for the years-long-in-the-making crossover comic-book event.  I’d like to think I can keep an objective eye open, despite the barrage of advertisements, interviews, blog posts, and message board conversations, and yet whether it be music or movie or comic, if the hype is big enough I wind up checking it out regardless.  Afterall, hype is not out there to say something is good, it’s just meant to sell.  No, as egotistical as it may sound, it falls onto people like us (“us” meaning everyone from reviewers, to website operators, to message board posters) to keep open about these things, no matter how much free stuff, money, or friendly emails from insiders are thrown our way (not that I get much, if any of that stuff, but I digress), to consume both the hype and the product and then tell about it like it is.

That said, point blank, Infinite Crisis isn’t very good.  As a story, it’s choppy and convoluted, as a mini-series it’s a mess, and as an event it’s disappointing, and if I was in doubt of my feelings previously, issue five certainly solidified them.

We all know this by now, but just to reiterate how we got here… this who shebang was kicked off with Identity Crisis.  “Fin-headed rape” jokes aside, it was a fairly fascinating story, the fallout from which carried through the DCUniverse titles for a few months, planting the seeds for what was coming.  The one dollar, one-shot, 80-page Countdown book emerged as both a bargain and one of the best comics-by-committee ever. Even with four writers and a varied artistic team, it still managed to read sharply as a whole and maintain a consistent tone throughout.  Countdown splintered off into four separate mini-series and this is where things began to fall apart.  Though starting off strong, none of the minis managed to finish off with a satisfactory conclusion (Villains United got the closest but still disappointing), and the fact that each of the minis required reading off-shoot issues of other titles, the stress lines began to show under the sheer enormity of the whole “New Crisis” project. 

Once the Infinite Crisis proper emerged, the outline of what was in store began to take shape.  But as the issues waded on, delays and, no doubt, numerous re-writes took place, the outline became a distended blob.  Attempting to pull together all that had been wrought previously as well as tell a new story is obviously simply too much.  Those unfinished conclusions that the pre-Crisis mini-series’ had left open were supposed to be closed via Infinite Crisis, and yet, each of them now has a one-shot special meant to do that instead.  As well, the hype machine didn’t stop with the arrival of the New Crisis.  No, this wasn’t the end of the road, in fact it was yet another beginning, with the announcement of “One Year Later” and the weekly fillin’-in-the-gaps series 52.  Like the writers’ directive on the X-Files, it seem that for every storyline they close, two more must be open. 

As for Infinte Crisis #5, it’s evident to me that Geoff Johns was the wrong person to tackle this job.  The guy obviously knows and loves DC history, but he’s too much of a fanboy to tell an innovative story.  Too much of the dialogue is unnecessarily expository, whether clarifying exactly what’s going on in the scene or verbalizing a characters emotions or just filling in the blanks to those questions only the die-hard fanboys would ask … it’s agonizing.  At the same time, I don’t think there is a right person for the job.  With Infinite Crisis being an event where, quite literally, all hands at DC must be involved, there shouldn’t be solely one person responsible for the story being told.  Johns is no doubt getting re-write notes and having board meetings, and sitting with a wall covered in Post-Its telling him what he has to cover each issue in a paltry 32 pages.  In trying to produce a unified story, DC went with having one single writer and artist, it’s taken its toll on Phil Jimenez, requiring substitute pencilers for various parts of the past two issues (and apparently the next).  Perhaps this should have been written and drawn ala Countdown, with the same teams taking on sections of the story, and an increased page count wouldn’t hurt either.  There’s a lack of character focus, as well, which the original Crisis also had, only here an attempt is being made to have one (or ten), but it can’t decide on which character to hone in on, thus it becomes muddled with no clear perspective.  It’s trying to be so all encompassing that it misses its objective in telling a good story.  And don’t get me started on the absurd reveal at the end of this issue.

This whole Infinite Crisis project is the comics equivalent of driving across the Canadian prairies, watching the Rocky Mountains in the distance slowly get bigger as time drags on with nothing but wheat fields and bug splatter on the windshield to look at.  We were excited for our journey at first, but it’s been a long haul already and everyone’s getting kind of grumpy. Yet, we’ve come this far, there’s no point in stopping, and, really, why turn back?  Might as well follow through until we reach our destination. Whether we like where we end up or not remains a mystery.