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Look! Up in the sky!: Graeme takes on DC’s trinity for 3/28.

Graeme McMillan

DC’s 52 may be a year without Superman, Batman or Wonder Woman, but by coincidence and the magic of fill-ins to try and get books back on schedule, this week couldn’t make that claim. Admittedly, now that there are four Batman books and four Superman books (although those numbers both include the All-Star books), every month should, in theory, be able to have a week starring the Big Three…

ACTION COMICS #847: I think Hibbs and Lester have already covered most of my feelings about this fill-in – It’s well-written, and more substantial than the filler than you may have expected considering its “between the panels of the ongoing story” origin, and provides a return to the classic “Superman is a hero throughout the universe” feel that really hasn’t been around in the main books for years – but what really stood out in this high-Okay book for me was the art: Renato Guedes has provided some fill-in art through other DC books over the last year, but his effort here, where he also does the coloring, is really rather wonderful – I’m looking forward to the next three months-worth of Action fill-in now, just to see how lovely the art looks.

BATMAN #664: See, and this is what I expect from Grant Morrison’s Batman, unlike the last issue text piece. Dense, sarcastic, throwing camp back into the bat-bowl with abandon (“He says you’re cool, like James Bond.” “Oh, I’m much cooler than he is,” followed by a two page action scene that is very clearly a Bond rip-off), while the two sections of the issue seem to point towards the idea that there’s more of a continuing story throughout Morrison’s run than was apparent until now. Very Good, and wouldn’t it be nice if this is Morrison getting back on track now that 52 is winding down…? Maybe we’ll even see some of the missing Wildstorm books before too long.

WONDER WOMAN #6: This is a weird one; there’s a lot wrong with this issue, as Hibbs has pointed out already – Since when was Diana so naive, and the Circe reveal at the end of the issue (complete with her amazing shrinking leg, a bum note in otherwise pretty strong art by Drew Johnson – I’d like to see him come back to this title on a regular basis if the Dodson’s can’t stick around) ruins the one thing left to spoil about the end of Allen Heinberg’s unfinished arc – but nonetheless, I actually really enjoyed it. If you can completely ignore everything about continuity or common sense, as I was somehow able to do, then there’s a kind of goofy charm to this. It may not actually be good, but somehow it manages to seem Good, if that makes sense.

What’s interesting about these three books is the variety of tones between them – Batman and Wonder Woman are both kind of dumb and not-to-be-taken-too-seriously, I guess, but Batman in a more “arched eyebrow” way against Wonder Woman’s innocence (both the character and book; it reads like a curiously sincere attempt at the character, even though it also reads out-of-character. Maybe it’s that sincerity that I responded to?) – I’ve seen some complaints online about the lack of consistency in DC’s superhero books recently, and Mark Millar’s comments that he doesn’t know what’s going on in the DC Universe anymore, but I tend to see this thing as a strength: Why should a line of 30+ (and I’m being conservative, but I can’t think offhand of how many superhero books DC publishes each month and can’t be bothered to check) books have one feel, or one throughline of story? As much as I may be responding to some of the post-Civil War Marvel Universe (Hello, Fantastic Four), that’s much more to do with the individual creators’ efforts than any kind of linewide “new status quo” that’s been forced upon everything. I don’t know; is this my inherent DC-centricness coming to cloud my mind? Would everyone else want to see some kind of superconsistency in tone on all DC’s books?

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