Whew. Back from Wizard World Chicago and ready to rumble - err – review! Light the candles and the incense…it's party time!
Godhead: The trinity gets called "the trinity" to their faces and with a bit of neat teamwork manages to subdue the alien duo of Konvikt and Graak. Oh, and Jose Delgado once again becomes – Gangbuster!
It’s Heaven: Where the JLA fails, the trinity succeeds. Working together and drawing upon their individual skill sets, our three heroes win out over Konvikt, and there's a good vibe when they do so. It's kind of like one of those old "road" pictures when they good-naturedly rib each other during the wrap-up: sly winks to their friendship. The view from the rest of the JLA for their famous comrades is evident again, this time from Firestorm, and there's also the barest hint of jealously that one may read into that. I also realized this issue that the "out in the country" setting of their fisticuffs with Konvikt lends a bizarre and not-unpleasing surrealism to the proceedings, what with the powerful punches being offset by placid trees and lush green grass. Bagley's really gone to town here, and I noticed again how much of a competent professional he is with layout and posing.
The high point of the "back-up" tale is the triumphant return of Gangbuster. I think everyone who knows the character would have guessed that Jose would suit up again, but it came sooner than I'd have thought. It was definitely an "oh, yeah!" moment, regardless. There's also a great scene with Gangbuster fighting three low-tier villains when one of them, Whiteout, accidentally "erases" the head of his compatriot Throttle. Talk about surrealism!
Threads from the two tales are once again strengthened by the revelation of the creature that wounded Wonder Woman last week as a minion of Morgaine le Fay – and that very same type of creature is also shadowing Jose and Tarot. Connections like these can only help the overall feeling of togetherness and unity within the book, I think, and when adding in the trinity's appearances on Tarot's cards I just don't see how anyone can truly say that the two tales are unconnected. They are orbiting each other, and that's a set-up that's pushing the super-hero comic buttons that matter the most to me.
In Purgatory: I'm still having a tough time at feeling any interest in Tarot's "voice." She's barely come across as anything but a semi-whiny bystander, and there's little to no hint that she holds much in the way of power or abilities. I don't hate the character, just not sure why she's seemingly being hunted by Morgaine – what's her worth? I realize that will be explained but frankly, I'm losing a bit of patience with her.
I also don't think much of Mark Farmer's finishes over Mike Norton's layouts. To go from Jerry Ordway to this rather pedestrian effort is come-down. Its gets the big "ehh."
From Hell: I guess I was reading too much into what I saw as glimpses of prickliness between Superman and Wonder Woman in previous installments, as their hunky-dory "tag" this week seemed to dispel any bruised egos. In fact, I really thought Busiek was building up to it, what with Superman's reference to his ego. Alas, apparently it wasn't meant to be – and I think something of the potential of the circumstances is lost. That was pretty disappointing to me, but again, maybe it was my own expectations that caused it.
Wonder Woman Ascending: Busiek continues to deliver interesting tidbits of brilliance with Diana, this time around highlighting her courage in the face of her own wounds. In addition, she acknowledges that Konvikt is more than she can probably handle alone but urges Clark to attend to Batman's call. A true heroine, I will admit. Loved her little "poke" at Batman and Superman's male conundrum over how to broach the subject of her injuries – it was both playful and all together true. Good job, Kurt! She's a "wonder," as she should be.
Batman Ascending: There's a small, tense moment when Superman seems to think Batman will be torturing his captive, Graak, and when it's dispelled by Bruce's "good cop, bad cop" routine, it highlights something important about the character: even his friends never quite know exactly what he'll do or is capable of. Look at this and then witness Batman's rather nonchalant capture and exposure of Morgaine's minion (and Enigma's continuing "admiration") and you have a multi-textural hero worthy of our attentions. I love this guy – especially when after all that he can be a bit flummoxed over a coy, playful Wonder Woman.
Superman Ascending: All three of our heroes are on the rise this week! While fighting Konvikt and reflecting on his "second wind," Superman affords us a strangely intense smile – and at that moment I felt as if I was looking at the original, Golden Age Superman. Raw, earthy, proud, shorn of some of the more modern baggage of self-imposed morality and rules, the Superman in that scene is a devil of sorts, reveling in the feel of his fists against alien physiognomy, a grinning kid with a whole lot of muscle. Nothing will stand in his way that he can't knock down, and by God, he's going to enjoy his actions. It's also a hoot to see Clark's own attempt at interrogation with the minion – I bet if we could see Batman's face, he was probably grinning.
Dogma: Will it surprise anyone if I hold up "…but Throttle's head will grow back soon." C'mon, even Gangbuster thought that was the line of the book! It gets better when you add in, "Note…to self…do not taser the headless guy who magnifies kinetic energy…" Ahh, only super-heroes talk to themselves like that.
Monsignor Wanty: wants to know if he'll be considered a broken record if he asks if there's still any chance for a teeny-tiny argument between the trinity, maybe over who shall lead, who shall call the shots, who's better equipped to handle a particular situation. It'd add some dimensionality to the relationship, eh? Or, maybe not.
What did you think of this book?
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