- 52 #29 of 52 (DC)
- Jack of Fables #5 (DC/Vertigo)
- Superman/Batman: Absolute Power TPB
- Wonder Woman #3
- Red Menace #1 of 6(Wildstorm)
- Fantastic Four: The End #2 of 6
This week’s 52 has the cover tag: “Last Days of the JSA”. To which I thought, “What, again?” Of course, a new JSA series is due to be launched in a few months, so the story within is about as exciting that that implies.
I’ve been reading the paperback collections of the Superman/Batman series even though they often don’t make a lot of sense. Jeph Loeb’s ideas are often pretty nifty, but he’s not very good at executing them. In Absolute Power, three super-villains from the future come back in time and adopt Superman and Batman as children, and together the five of them eliminate most other heroes and set up Supes and Bats as world dictators. Things then go horribly wrong, leading to a little romp through alternate timelines.
There are plenty of questions left unanswered: The villains have a blind spot where Wonder Woman is concerned, which is odd since she’s both famous and extremely powerful, and this helps lead to their undoing. Also, why would they bother to adopt Batman, who is not powerful and is unlikely to be a significant asset in world domination? And although Loeb tries, playing around with history and with the characters’ memories to the extent he does here is very hard to pull off, and the story doesn’t quite hang together. The art by Carlos Pacheco is very pretty, though, and is almost worth the price all by itself.
The book does end on a high note, though, with Loeb performing a neat connection between Mark Waid and Alex Ross’ Kingdom Come and Alan Moore and Curt Swan’s Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?. So overall this volume gets a thumbs up (which is more than the last volume, Supergirl, got from me).
The re-relaunch of Wonder Woman is running terribly late. The art by Terry and Rachel Dodson is very pretty, but the story is a huge shrug, as Allan Heinberg doesn’t really have a new spin to put on DC’s prime superheroine.
Red Menace has Jerry Ordway’s always-wonderful artwork to recommend it. The story is by a trio – Danny Bilson, Paul DeMeo and Adam Brody (none of whom I’ve heard of before) – and it’s okay. It concerns a hero being accused by Joe McCarthy’s HUAC in the 1950s, and it’s a promising start, although so far it feels rather by-the-numbers. If the writers manage to pull it off, then this might slide in nicely alongside Astro City. We’ll see.