Comics Load: Of Bats and Owls

All the crossover summer events are underway now, so most of this week’s titles are dominated by Avengers Vs Owls and Night of the X-Men. Wait, that doesn’t seem right…I’ve read a lot of comics this week, so I might be confused. Anyway, there are lots of Bats, Owls, Avengers and X-Men this week. But that’s not all. The ladies are representing, as well. Catwoman and Supergirl both make new friends, and Wonder Woman gets a new outfit! All in all, a stellar week in comics. What are you reading this week? Let us know in the comments section below.

Now, on with the Load!

WARNING: Spoilers ahead!

Amazing Spider-Man #684
Written by: Dan Slott
Art by: Humberto Ramos
Inks by: Victor Olazaba
Colors by: Edgar Delgado

I understand that things couldn’t get much crappier, what with Doc Ock taking over the world, and most of the Avengers captured and incapacitated. (Hey, X-Men! Sign Doc up for AvX.) Still, I don’t think it’s an excuse for Spider-Man to dash the hopes and dreams of the only sympathetic supervillain on the team. Poor Sandman. He just wants his (fake?) daughter back. With Ock in control, Sandman finally has the means to be the freaky sand-based supervillain dad he always wanted to be. So much for my hopes of a Sandman spin-off, where he moves to Malibu to be a lifeguard and raise his daughter, while also solving beach crimes. Not cool, Spidey.

Avengers Vs X-Men #2
Written by: Jason Aaron
Pencils by: John Romita, Jr.
Inks by: Scott Hanna
Colors by: Laura Martin

It is bad that I’ve already chosen sides in this? I have a feeling I’m supposed to sit back, nod my head gravely and say, “Yes, yes. I see both sides.” But, honestly, I hope that big, flaming bird eats the Avengers for breakfast. Arrogant doesn’t begin to describe how they’ve been acting. I don’t know what makes Wolverne salivate more: killing Hope or destroying Scott’s dreams of mutant rebirth. And don’t get me started on Captain America. What…a…tool. I suppose all of this is a thinly veiled metaphor for America’s two opposing military policies: “wait and see” versus “strike first; ask questions later.” I suppose that makes me a bleeding heart liberal (no surprise there). Why can’t we just talk to the planet-destoying fire bird and try to reason with him/her/it? Scott should text Hillary. She’ll fix this.

Batman #8
Written by: Scott Snyder, James T Tynion IV
Pencilled by: Greg Capullo, Rafael Albuquerque
Inked by: Jonathan Glapion, Rafael Albuquerque

After a lot of bad poetry (”The Court of Owls watches, watches all the time…”) and a disorienting issue that tested the limits of digital comics, the Night of the Owls crossover event finally commences! Bruce is lounging around the manor, thinking of smacking Nightwing again, when a whole parliament of owls (that’s what a group of owls is called, I swear) swoop down and attack! The Talons chase Bruce all over the manor, and he finally ditches them by sliding down the Bat-chimney. This is only the beginning, and I already hate these owl jerks. Thankfully, they’re all just a bunch of reanimated corpses, so Bruce doesn’t have to worry about tying them all up, safe and sound. Wow, we haven’t had hordes of re-animated corpses invade Gotham since Blackest Night! Come to think of it, Bruce missed out on all that, so this is really his first chance to kill zombies. This looks like a job for…MECHA BATMAN! Things can only get wackier from here, folks!

Catwoman #8
Written by: Judd Winick
Pencilled by: Adriana Melo
Inked by: Mariah Benes

Awww, Catwoman made a new friend. After being rescued by the mysterious Spark in last month’s issue, she’s forged a nice little partnership with the handsome thief. I’m sure he has some horrible secret or deadly ulterior motive, because this is Catwoman we’re talking about. For now, though, I’m going to enjoy the friendship and sexual tension that only grand theft larceny can inspire. This issue is also notable as the first time I’ve ever seen a male prostitute in Gotham (in cutoffs, no less). Batman and friends are always rounding up female adult workers to interrogate or liberate. I’ve never seen a hustler in the lineup before. Is it weird that I’m excited about this? In terms of leaps forward in equality, this isn’t exactly marriage or adoption rights, but I’ll take what I can get. But am I wrong? Have there been other rent boys in Gotham before? (Robins don’t count.)Doctor Who #16
Written by: Joshua Hale Fialkov
Art by: Matthew Dow Smith

Though this story arc wraps up a bit too easily (with a wave of the sonic screwdriver), I have really enjoyed the Doctor’s version of Casablanca, complete with Nazis and Silurians. The characterizations of the Doctor, Amy and Rory have been spot on, and we even get to see a twist on a familiar Doctor Who trope. Namely, the big Doctor Ultimatum. Usually, when the Doctor gives you one last chance to stop what you’re doing and make peace, he’s forced to wipe out your civilization. This time, however, the Silurians change their minds at the threat of extinction and return to the underworld, promising to tell tales of the power and might of the Doctor. I guess that’s better? The comics have now covered Chaplin, fairytales and Casablanca. I guess Wizard of Oz is next!

Justice League #8
Written by: Geoff Johns
Pencilled by: Gary Frank
Inked by: Gary Frank
Cover Color by: Alex Sinclair

The members of the Justice League have turned into the mean girls of the superhero community. So, no, you can’t sit at their table; you can’t join their reindeer games; and you can’t be red in superhero croquet. (Flash is always red.) Along comes Green Arrow, who wants to Veronica his way into the Heathers, but they’re having none of it. Superman thinks maybe they ought to consider letting other heroes join, but even Batman says, “You want to f**k with the eagles, you have to learn to fly.” And he doesn’t even have any powers, as Green Lantern so helpfully points out. Meanwhile, the government is worried that the Justice League might just decide to dethrone them and take over, so they want a super man or woman on the inside, keeping tabs on them. Steve Trevor puts them off, but who knows for how long? Who will be the first new member? I vote for Lindsay Lohan.

Nightwing #8
Written by: Kyle Higgins
Pencilled by: Eddy Barrows
Inked by: Paulo Siqueira

This month’s Nightwing is both a history lesson and an homage to the American Dream, where a poor kid on the mean streets of Gotham can go from juggling balls for spare change to being a circus-trained assassin in the legion of the undead. Dick, of course, had a similar career trajectory, except he went from circus boy to Bat-trained vigilante with a perfect ass. Dick answers Alfred’s all-Bats-bulletin and somersaults to the aid of Mayor Hady. He arrives just in time, too, as a particularly overzealous Talon tries to remove the Mayor from his head. What are the chances Mister Owl has some connection to Dick? Pretty good, I’d say. This Night of the Owl business will hold my interest longer if Dick is heavily involved. Kudos, Kyle Higgins. I’m intrigued.

Red Hood And The Outlaws #8
Written by: Scott Lobdell
Pencilled by: Kenneth Rocafort
Colored by: Blond, Kenneth Rocafort

This book. I’m not sure from month to month if I’m going to keep reading. Like anyone who’s not a 13-year-old boy, I’ve been a little queasy about how Starfire has been depicted. But I stayed on board, because I trust Scott Lobdell, and you have to allow a character to start in one place, so they can move toward another place. And I think it’s pretty clear by now that these kids are all damaged goods, hiding their scars and vulnerabilities behind walls of violent bravado and sexual abandon. Jason stands apart, of course, as a corrupted version of Batman. When he beats returning underworld villainess Suzie Su, he encourages her to change her ways, a very Batman sort of thing to do. But when she refuses…Jason distinguishes himself as the only member of the Bat family who’s willing to cross Batman’s line. He is the living representation of Batman’s failure, and yet, you could argue that he gets the job done in a way no one else can or will. I will keep reading for now.Supergirl #8
Written by: Michael Green, Mike Johnson
Pencilled by: George Pérez
Inked by: Bob Wiacek

Supergirl finally foregoes the monologes and confused tantrums that filled the first seven issues of this title and plants her super feet into the beginnings of a real storyline. She’s still confused and tantrum-y, but at least she’s found a roommate who mysteriously understands Kryptonian. I don’t know if you’ve ever looked for an apartment in New York, but even if Killer Croc himself opened the door of an affordable studio near the train, my only question would be, “Is there a broker’s fee?” So, I don’t blame Supergirl for moving in with someone who could potentially become her arch nemesis. Frankly, I’ve never had a roommate who didn’t become an arch nemesis eventually. So, for all intents and purposes, I’m on board for whatever craziness comes next. As for Supergirl, I can’t help feeling kind of sorry for her. She’s been on Earth for, like, 20 minutes, and already she’s been kidnapped, attacked by Planet Killers and tossed around by Superman. Earth sucks.Wolverine and the X-Men #9
Written by: Jason Aaron
Pencils/Colors by: Chris Bachalo
Inks by: Tim Townsend, Jaime Mendoza, Al Vey

Despite my disdain for Wolverine at the moment (see Avengers Vs X-Men #2), I do admire his devotion to the school and to the safety of the children (except when he needs to drag them to dangerous alien casinos to cheat for him). In a prelude to the Avengers/X-Men smackdown (Go, X-Men!), Captain America shows up to convince Wolvie to turn against his brethren and help the Avengers kidnap/kill Hope and wipe out the X-Men forever (or something to that effect). Since Wolverine is still hung up on Jean and wants to destroy anything and everything Scott cares about, he agrees. If I were Scott, I’d level that school and blast all those brats to ashes… And just like that, I realize I have anger issues. Next.Wonder Woman #8
Written by: Brian Azzarello
Pencilled by: Cliff Chiang
Inked by: Cliff Chiang

If the sight of Wonder Woman diving through the air, with guns blazing, on the cover of this issue startled you, don’t worry. She hasn’t suddenly joined the NRA. Those fabulous gold pistols belong to Eros, the God of Making People Do Stupid Things for Sex. The guns are just a ploy to get straight guys to buy the book. But since gay guys are the main audience, we also get a treat. Wonder Woman in a new outfit! This actually makes a lot of sense. You can’t go to the underworld to rescue the girl pregnant with your half-sibling in just anything. And if there are golden love pistols hanging on the wall in act one, you can bet your ass they’re going to be fired by the end of act two. Hades promises a wedding in the next issue, so you know what that means: a new outfit!X-Factor #234
Written by: Peter David
Art by: Leonard Kirk
Colors by: Matt Milla

Oo, I love a good shocking revelation that someone’s alive! After making it back from his multiverse excursion and making out with Layla for an entire issue, Madrox finally pulls his tights on and re-introduces himself to the team. They are shocked/horrified/disgusted, to say the least. Naturally, they assume Layla has been resurrecting again (Exhibit A: Soulless Guido). Monet has clearly had enough of Layla’s schtick, because she grabs the troubled soothsayer and flies her to the top of the Empire State Building for a fight. It may seem like a random choice, but the location actually helps Monet gain a new perspective on what it’s like to be Layla (an overpriced tourist trap). Meanwhile, Madrox convinces the gang he’s the same guy who got stabbed by showing off his horrific stitches (courtesy of a third-year medical student). Team reunited. Monet and Layla on the path to friendship. Bring on the tragedy.

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