Comics Load: 99 Problems

If owls prey on bats, what preys on owls? Is there some sort of tree badger that attacks owl nests during the daytime? I wish I’d watched more owl documentaries on Discovery. As it is, all of my owl knowledge comes from comics and Harry Potter. Wait, can owls only be killed by Death Eaters? Clearly, I have a lot of homework to do. So, how are you enjoying the summer events so far? Are you reading Night of the Owls or Avengers VS. X-Men? Do you have a favorite? Personally, I’d love to see Avengers VS. X-Men VS. Owls. How awesome would that be? Be sure to let us know what you’re reading in the comments section below. Also, if you’re an owl expert, feel free to chime in with some bullet points.
Thanks for reading! Now, on with the Comics Load!

Batgirl #9
Written by: Gail Simone
Pencils: Ardian Syaf 
Inks: Vicente Cifuentes
Colored by: Ulises Arreola

I wasn’t sure if Gail Simone had made up the whole “balloon bomb” thing or not, since I’d never heard of it. She’s crafty. I wouldn’t put it past her. So, I did some research, just to be sure. Wow! I had no idea. We never learned about this in school. Leave it to a comic book (and Simone) to take such a bizarre and desperate war strategy and weave it into a haunting and emotional Night of the Owls tie-in. In this issue, the Owls taunt Commissioner Gordon, threaten Barbara and warn him not to turn on that bat signal, no matter what. (They mean it! Don’t do it!) Meanwhile, Barbara suits up and takes on one of the Talons, a female recruit from Haly’s circus, circa 1944. Great issue, great storytelling. On a side note, though, we’re nine issues into Barbara’s return, and yet, there are still moments when I think I’m reading about Stephanie. Maybe Stephanie could be a rogue Talon who’s rehabilitated by Red Robin. Or they could put her in a revealing Owl costume and stick her in Red Hood. I guess what I’m saying is, I miss Stephanie!

Batman #9
Written by: Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV
Pencils: Rafael Albuquerque, Greg Capullo
Inks: Rafael Albuquerque, Jonathan Glapion
Colored by: FCO Plascencia

As you know, I’m a big fan of reading comics out loud. This issue is particularly entertaining, because if you’ve ever wanted to roleplay Batman as a drag queen who’s been pushed…too…far, this is your chance. “You crazy owl bitches come into my house! You attack my butler! You ruin my best outfit! Oh, it’s on!” Bats is through playing defense. He’s going to take the fight to Owl HQ (aka Hooters). Hopefully, that will go better than the last time he visited the Court, and they spanked his little bat butt and flushed him down the sewer. (BTW, Bats claims it was a tie. Sure.) Meanwhile, Alfred gets some back story. Frankly, I don’t really care about Alfred’s dad and his drama, but since history has been rewritten to include the Owls in everything, I suppose Alfred’s dad deserves to be involved, too. Maybe Alfred is a sleeper agent, just waiting to be activated, Manchurian Candidate style.

Batman and Robin #9
Written by: Peter Tomasi
Pencils: Andy Clarke, Lee Garbett
Inks: Keith Champagne, Andy Clarke, Ray McCarthy
Colored by: John Kalisz

I do enjoy Damian’s solo adventures, but this issue is kind of a mess. I don’t know about you, but I am wildly uncomfortable with Damian giving orders to military personnel. And I’m not so sure a commanding officer would run from a fight, leaving his soldiers to die. None of that really rings true to me, and I’m not even in the military. (Though, I’ve certainly done my share to support the troops over the years. Yay fleet week!) The other problem with this issue is the unbelievable two pages of exposition the Talon recites, explaining why he’s chasing down the modern Major General in the first place. Then there’s the most unnecessary decapitation scene in the history of comics. So bizarre. I did enjoy the clever way Damian dispatches the assassin, and I can appreciate the parallels Tomasi draws between Damian’s upbringing and the servitude of the Talons. I just think it all could have been organized a little better. (See Batgirl #9 for a better example of integrating flashbacks and exposition into an Owl tie-in.)     

Deadpool Vol. 3, #54
Written by: Daniel Way
Pencils: Ale Garza
Inks: Sean Parsons

Deadpool and Hydra Bob. They’re like the Booster Gold and Blue Beetle of the Marvel Universe. The Tick and Arthur. The Bill and Ted. This is a surprisingly sweet installment in Deadpool’s fickle quest to end his own life. Daniel Way does a nice job with the sentiment, while keeping the action moving and the stakes high. I won’t give away the shocking twist, because you should really get the book and see it for yourself. However, I will tempt and tease you by promising some surprising eye candy. And I’m not just talking about Tombstone. 

Superboy #9
Written by: Scott Lobdell
Pencils: RB Silva
Inks: Iban Coello, Rob Lean
Colored by: Richard Horie

There comes a time in every young clone’s life, when he must decide if he’s going to be a living weapon, wielded by a mad man with a fetish for teenagers, or stand up for what’s right, throw off the chains of his captor and run away with a group of kids in costumes. It’s a uniquely American folk tale, really. “Are you going to be evil or not?” is the most common title of graduation speeches, after all. But Superboy can’t just make his decision and flee. These sorts of revelations must be earned. Trial by fire; you know the drill. In this issue, the Culling continues, and the heroes actually think they’re doing pretty well. That is, until Harvest shows up and tells them their victory is all part of his super evil plan, and the really scary stuff is yet to begin. Ugh, he’s like Ryan Seacrest, dragging out the eliminations on American Idol. I have a feeling not all the Titans will get out alive. If I were the new gay kid, I’d be worried. Here’s my advice: hide behind the heteros for this one. You can make it up to them later.

Wolverine and the X-Men #10
Written by: Jason Aaron
Pencils: Chris Bachalo
Inks: Jaime Mendoza, Victor Olazaba, Tim Townsend, Al Vey

Like in Avengers Academy last week, another youth-driven series takes the time to offer some actual perspective on the Avengers VS. X-Men crossover event. Scott shows up at Logan’s school to have a calm, civilized chat about Logan’s loyalties. Logan explains, calmly, that he has a fever, and the only prescription is killing Hope, and nothing can persuade him otherwise. It’s all he can think about. “Must kill Hope.” It’s like he’s under a spell or something. Or he’s just a creepy old man who likes stabbing teenage girls. Meanwhile, Angel (aka Warren) begins to suspect he might not actually be an angel. Yet…he really does seem to have some sort of angelic power. Logan tells Scott he’s wasting his time; everybody wants him to kill Hope. Fortunately for Scott (and Hope), most of Logan’s faculty want to stand and fight with the X-Men. Even though Logan promises that killing Hope will be “totally awesome,” the team wants no part of it. Good for them, I say. Now, where’s this Spider-Woman VS. Dazzler battle they mentioned? Did I miss that issue? I’m betting on Dazzler.

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