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I try to make it up to Dan Didio: Graeme finishes 4/18’s DC books.

Graeme McMillan

I know, I know; it’s APE this weekend, so I should be all about the indie comics this time out. But there are so many DC comics for me to write about this week, even though I have no idea why I ended up with quite so many… If it helps, expect me to write something about Nick Bertozzi’s The Salon, as well as the new Eddie Campbell and Jeffrey Brown books, in the next couple of weeks. The Bertozzi book alone is very, very good and should be read by many. For now, though, step into the world where Dan Didio rules supreme.

THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #3: With every issue of this series, I’m becoming more and more convinced that Mark Waid is writing this after looking through some Phantom Zone viewer into my brain. Not only is this an outright fun superhero book – a romp, even – but it’s something that grows in scope each month. As the plot gets more and more grandiose and out there, this issue also sees some of the more human moments of the series so far (and from Batman, no less, trying to help Spider-Ma – no, wait, I mean, Blue Beetle – be a better superhero). It’s an interesting growth for the book, and a welcome one; if part of this series is to act as an introduction to new characters and a selling point for you to check out their books, then you need those character moments in order to properly do that, and the interplay between Batman and Jaime makes me want to check out what the real Beetle book is like each month. It’s also welcome because, as over-the-top as the plot is becoming, it’s those character moments that make this issue enjoyable and memorable.

That said, Batidus? Worth a Very Good grade all by itself.

THE SPIRIT #5: And talking of ridiculous plots, this issue of Darwyn Cooke’s (so-much-more-than-a-) revival of Will Eisner’s crimefighter deals with a brand new snack for kids: pork, beans and sugar. And, unless I completely misread the book, the beans are pig testicles. As if that wasn’t enough, there’s also the hint of bird bestiality mixed in with this tale of intellectual property appropriation, and yet somehow… it all works. More to the point, it works on multiple levels, so that both kids and adults will get different (and equally wonderful) things out’ve the story, whether it be a straight-forward adventure or a satire on easily-conned, image-conscious consumer culture. As if he hadn’t already shown that he was pretty much the master of monthly adventure comics, this issue Cooke gets to add “pitch-perfect American bastardization of ‘manga’ style” to his quiver of genres, too… Very Good, and like every issue of the series so far, pretty highly recommended.

BIRDS OF PREY #105: As Gail Simone nears the (surprise) end of her run, the book continues to get back into the rhythm that it lost around the same time that it lost Simone’s original heart of the series, Black Canary. Maybe it’s because of the use of Simone’s other superteam (the Secret Six, who are arguably more enjoyable here than the Birds themselves), but there’s a welcome swagger to this book that hasn’t been here for awhile. What’s interesting for me is that it’s that swagger that makes the book for me, even though I have to admit that I’m not that involved with (or really that sure that I’m entirely following) the plot; the second book this week that had that effect on me. Maybe I’m an easy sell when it comes to witty repartee? Good, nonetheless, and I’m very much looking forward to Simone taking over Wonder Woman later this year.

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #8: There are all manner of reasons why this should be a carcrash of an issue – It’s a DC continuity nerd’s dream to the point of ludicrousness, including using versions of current characters that haven’t seen print for almost 20 years and continuing Brad Meltzer’s fanboy-gone-mad-with-power style of writing the main characters. The art by “rising star” Shane Davis is fairly generic, papercut-face-filled, and in all ways that count, a return to Image Comics from the 1990s. The plot is, yet again, a slow build, and the dialogue is self-conscious and awkward. Yet, for some reason, it’s Okay, perhaps entirely due to my inner DC-fanboy being sucked into the idea of a return for the Levitz-era Legion of Super-Heroes that gets offered up fairly strongly here. I’m so pathetic.

PICK OF THE WEEK is probably The Spirit, because Cooke manages to provide something that works really well for brand new readers who have no idea about continuity, no matter what their age may be. That kind of thing takes skill… PICK OF THE WEAK is, very obviously, World War III. Doing that kind of thing takes some kind of skill as well, but it’s not a skill that we talk about in polite circles.

What has everyone else been up to this weekend, anyway?

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