Pull Box: December 11

That was one hell of an ending! Azrael has killed Batman’s entire Rogue’s Gallery, and taken on the mantle of the Bat for himself. With Gordon dead, those he left behind are focusing on the work, and discovering the secrets of Gotham’s past, learning how Edmond Wayne, Bruce’s ancestor, betrayed those that trusted him to become rich. Now, with the mysterious message on the wall that Jack and Harleen don’t want him to know, what could possibly destroy him like that?

I’ll never get tired of seeing Batman on the ground level, and helping the world in ways that only he can. In ways that only Bruce Wayne can. There are times when it’s better for Bruce to be out in the open, in the light, with a smile and a caring gesture for someone in need. It’s also great when Damian’s soft side comes out. He’s such a brooding, aggressive kid, that it’s easy to sometimes forget he’s still a kid who cares a great deal.

I respect DC’s inability to care whether they’re being political or not. They see the world for what it is, and they’re not afraid to shy away from telling everyone what they think of it. This was Frank Miller at his most… Frank Miller-est. Incredible artwork, and visceral descriptions and dialogue. Additionally, this version of Jonathan Kent is almost Godlike, with his powers being a mystery, yet seemingly limitless. I’d love to see where this goes.

That was actually far more beautiful than I expected it to be. Clark Kent revealing his secret to the world. Superman, revealing his secret identity, and the extent of his past. It gave me goosebumps, and genuinely felt like a gigantic shift in the landscape of the DC Universe. The heroes of the world were happy for him, and cheered his decision, while the villains contemplated. Unsure of what to truly do with this information. Where do we go from here? Well… it’s a whole new world, now.

I’ve been wondering how Barry Allen plans to get fully back on track, as his powers and abilities have been weakening the last several months. He just seemed to be getting further and further away from being himself. But, with the Speed Force running rampant, he’s forced to relearn his abilities now that they’re in overdrive. That should set him straight, and get him ready for his next challenge in dealing with the Forces once again.

This was even better than the first issue. The art is still one of the most incredible things I have ever seen in a comic, with mind-boggling character designs in play. On top of that, the story is really starting to fire on all cylinders after just two issues. Mullein’s clearly a rookie with her Power Ring, but she’s also cut-off from other Lanterns, with little training and mentorship at her disposal, making this even more complicated.

Despite being yet another waste of an issue, following Harley and Poison Ivy doing whatever there is to do, this at least furthered the story a bit. Now, they’re taking the fight to the Floronic Man, rather than let Pamela be hunted by the self-appointed Avatar of the Green. That’s definitely forward progress.

I feel as if there is considerable missed opportunies with this little one-shot to announce the winner of DC’s survey for Villain of the Year. It’s not surprising that The Batman Who Laughs won, despite his solo book being not that great (I voted for Apex Lex). It is surprising that they didn’t use more joke villains that we never see, aside from Flamingo to make the book more fun. There were a few here and there, but they could’ve leaned into that a lot harder.

It was nice to see these books focusing on other members of the New Mutants. Partcularly those are still on Krakoa. You know? The most interesting thing about the X-Men, right now? I’m not sure whose idea it was to immediately take the mutants off-planet and not explore the key plot point in all of mutantdom, but I’m glad we’re back to that story, right now.

As expected, the death of Charles Xavier was greatly exaggerated through the pages of X-Force, given the Krakoan Resurrection. But, it did exacerbate the need for a covert group of mutants to operate in the shadows: the X-Force. Now, this shadowy organization, XENO, will have to deal with the full might of mutantdom, with their powers unleashed, and restraint dialed back to zero. Ouch.

Ok, this is a genuinely original piece of story-telling with a rag-tag group of mid-tier heroes that are all medically inclined, and it’s actually awesome. The death of death is only a story that Valkyrie could deal with, but its implications are still insane. This book just keeps getting better by not ignoring the greater universe, as Jane becomes more and more comfortable in her new persona. Additionally, I love that the Lead Coroner just immediately figured out her secret. There was no secret identity or banter, he just knew. That’s clever.

I certainly didn’t see that twist coming at the end, with the Overseer inadvertently creating the Fantastic Four after amplifying the cosmic storm that gave them their powers. But what’s his reasoning? Was this all a ruse so he could manipulate the people of his planet into letting him experiment on them? There are still a lot of questions, right now, but hopefully we get some answers, soon.

There are so many drastically different Batman books running right now, with each one focusing on a different aspect of what makes Batman such an incredible hero, and The Batman’s Grave in the role of mundane detective is probably one of my favorites. Alfred’s quips and snark about Bruce’s habits in his day-to-day tasks just make it all the better. Sometimes they’re so harsh, they’re almost demeaning, meant to rile Bruce up, clearly. It’s made for some great reading.

Sky Tyrant proved no better a fighter than Hawkman himself after being easily bested by the returning Hawkwoman, who I truly hope ends up being a larger part of the Hawkman series moving forward. Now, with the secret of this mysterious Black Journal about to be revealed, and a spy on Hawkman’s ship, things are really getting interesting.

Another interesting twist for the Tales from the Dark Multiverse, this time focusing on Terra in the Judas Contract, and just how powerful she could become if she had made a few different choices. So often, the heroes in the comics seem like small characters, but in the right hands, many of them could be all-powerful beings that could change the world in a moment.

Despite not getting a gift from Lex Luthor, Ocean Master made the most of his circumstances after defending Atlantis during the Drowned Earth event. Now, through an insane series of circumstances, Orm is the king of the outcasts, in command of a powerful ocean elemental that cares for him after he set her free. Even not getting a gift, Luthor was still able to make an impact on the course of yet another villain.

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