Pull Box: March 27

This was exactly what it needed to be. 1,000 issues of the hero that has become iconic to people across the planet. The caped crusader. The dark knight. The world’s greatest detective. The Batman. Each of these stories were fantastic, though a few were particularly great. Ending the issue on the comic book introduction of the Arkham Knight was fitting. It left off once again leaving us all wanting more. And it will continue that way for another 80 years. Happy Birthday, Batman.

That was a twist I did not see coming. Of course, Harley couldn’t kill Booster, even though she saw Booster kill Poison Ivy, who also wasn’t dead, thanks to Wally. But, Wally killed himself? Took his own life? Maybe? This is intensely confusing with twists and turns all over the place, creating a fantastic story that I cannot stop reading. Can it be the next issue already?

This Leviathan story is yet another example of just how fantastic DC is at telling stories. There are so many layers and mysteries in play here. Amanda Waller is the most untrustworthy person in all of comics, and she’s inside the Fortress of Solitude while every single secret organization on the planet is targeted one at a time by a single mystery culprint with super advanced technology. This is getting good.

What a way to start this reboot. Inspired by an act of kindness from Superman, a young boy lives his life looking to push himself to his limits and feel the rush of being saved by Superman once again. Now he has the power of the H-Dial, which is mysteriously calling out to several seemingly random heroes. I’m not entirely sure, but something certainly seems up here, and I’m excited to see where it goes.

Maybe The Trickster has a bigger plan than I was expecting. Brainwashing and infecting the entire city with some sort of Happy drug that forces them to be better people, even against their will is quite a trick. But is it only a distraction from the true threats? Zoom? The forces scattered across the world? Unless this is all linked, somehow? I suppose we’ll know more soon.

Honor is dead-set on making this ruse work, no matter the cost to her humanity. Whatever it takes to keep her family safe. Now that may have cost her, as she’s unleashed her “sister.” A telephatic, smoke-phasing mutant that immediately dispatched their “brother,” moments after he was set up to be a stone-cold killer. Pretty fantastic way to really set the tone for a new villain.

After numerous attacks, the Freedom Fighters have successfully revived Uncle Sam, and the Nazis seem to be on the run, with the exception of the crazy son of the Fuhrer. Who seems to be on a whole other level of crazy from everyone else. I’m still not sure of the dynamic between these new Freedom Fighters, and the old, but I’m sure it will be explained more as time passes.

This was already a fairly interesting story with loads of additions to the lore and continuity of Shazam! and his magicla abilities and past. But that ending just threw an entire wrench into the mix that makes things a million times more exciting. Black Adam is there, and he knows about the Seven Lands of Magic! He knows their danger, and their true reason for being closed. But what could that reason be?

It would make sense that amongst the many gods and villains the fall of Olympus hurtled towards Earth, some legendary weapons would be among them. The kinds of weapons bestowed upon heroes of Greek mythology. The sort that Wonder Woman could totally use at the moment while she’s fighting false-Titans alongside Giganta, one of her oldest enemies. This is a crazy arc, but I’m enjoying it.

That was a long arc to finally get this team rolling but it was totally worth it. Not to mention the ending was way more than any of us deserved. Not only did Mr. Terrific, one of the most deserving heroes in the DC Universe, find his wife across the Multiverse, but now they’re on a team together. Both happy to see the other. That’s quite the happy ending that you don’t normally get in stories, and it’s nice to see it.

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Pull Box: February 27

This entire time, this arc that has been an insane roller coaster of recollection and remembrance for Bruce’s upbringing and road to Batman… was a simulation. Created by Bruce to kill himself, every year on his birthday, he uses it to hone his skills and evolve. Getting better each and every year. That’s a level of dedication that I didn’t think Batman was capable of, but yet again he has shown why he’s the baddest dude in the DC Universe. The ending, with Batman’s goal of Absolute Zero becoming known gave me goosebumps, and the Epilogue was charming. Fantastic end to a fantastic arc.

This was such an incredibly masterful setup for the future of the DC Universe. So many of DC’s biggest stories have centered around the relationship between the Batman and The Flash, because the chemistry there is so real that they just make a great team. With the events of Heroes in Crisis becoming a focal point, as that mystery deepens and the big event for the year starts to unfold, The Year of the Villain, expect things to start to ramp up with mysteries and twists all over the place.

So, first off, all this time Amanda Waller has known the identity of Superman. That’s quite a crazy thing to think of, but she does understand his importance, as well as just how powerful he is. Not to mention calling down the wrath of the Justice League isn’t sometime she would like to do. But the threat of Leviathan, which seems to grow each and every week has forced her hand. Now, Sam Lam is possibly dead, just days after learning the truth about Superman and possibly re-thinking his stance. Attack after attack is happening, and things are getting pretty crazy, now.

Sneaky sneaky Honor Guest, manipulating Talia and playing along with her charade. It’s a clever plan, but she needs to make sure she plays it just right. Talia is wildly intelligent, and twice as dangerous. Add on the tech that her family discovered in the backyard, what looks like a laser shield of sorts and you have quite a predicament on her hands. The closer they get to the truth, the more danger they’ll be in with Leviathan as they become more and more of a threat across the DC Universe proper.

The pace of this issue seemed incredibly slow, but it was still yet another fun throwback to the days of comic books old. Mr. Terrific discovering his wife alive on another Earth, with the exact same circumstances as himself was quite the lucky break. I just hope that this ends up being a bit of a happy ending for the team. With that being said, I’m ready for the team to move on from Doc Dread and his Dreadfuls. That villain seems to have made his mark, and I would love for the team to take on some new threats.

This book really pulls no punches. Bringing out the darkest and dirtiest the world has to offer to show how truly terrible that future could have been. Thankfully, the Freedom Fighters seem like a competent team, prepared for many contingencies when it comes to their enemy. The evil German Plastic Man is still the most horrifying thing ever, and he just seems to get more and more creepy. I can only imagine how creepy he’ll be when he starts fighting again.

It was pretty obvious that King Kid had some tricks up his sleeve, but I wasn’t exactly exepcting it all to rush to the surface as soon as he saw them as Champions, turning into adults. The Seven Lands are of course still mysterious, but it seems we’re going to learn more about them pretty quickly given the next issue. I honestly wish we would have seen more on Mr. Mind and Doctor Sivana in this issue, though, as that cliffhanger last month was fantastic.

Doom’s trick was finally revealed… at least part of it. He plans to harness the power of Galactus as an endless energy source. That’s a bit old school of an idea for a villain like Doom to concoct, leading me to believe there’s a little more at play here. The confusion that Reed had on his face when Victor revealed the “Good Galactus” and Johnny and Ben backed him up was pretty priceless. I would certainly like more moments like that in upcoming issues of this Fantastic Four revival.

A slow-paced, emotional issue based around the caveman Gnarkk and Harley Quinn, finally give us a better idea of what happened here. Harley broke into Sanctuary to help Poison Ivy, and get help from Ivy. They’re friends, and lovers, that’s what they do. Meanwhile, Booster Gold, who has been on a considerable decline in the last two years, has finally snapped, and laid waste to everyone there. But, there’s still the mystery as to why this Wally was older than he should have been. Still, there are questions unanswered.

I’m starting to get fairly bored with this story, as it’s pretty convoluted and a bit ridiculous. Even for comic books. But, seeing them address the events of Justice League, with the Source Wall being torn down, and all of the New Gods being killed was certainly worth it. Darkseid was protected in the Ghost Sector, but how much longer can he keep the danger away?

That lawsuit business sure seemed to last a long time, didn’t it? That strangeness aside, it makes perfect sense and reassures the character of Veronica Cale that through all of this, all she wants is her daughter back. She spent years attempting to save her daughter, and when she finally does, she has to leave her behind in Themyscira. Now, with Themyscira destroyed through the paradox of Ares’ death, she’s lost, alongside the other inhabitants of the Amazon homeland. With the help of Aphrodite, Diana starts a new quest, and a fascinating new arc that could have some big repercussions in the future.

Pull Box: January 23

The secret is out! The last several issues of Batman have all been a dream. An induced nightmare as Batman is strapped to a machine that’s pumping Scarecrow gas into his system non-stop in an attempt to drive him insane. In a play to keep his mind in one piece, Batman’s psych created a version of Constantine to help guide him along, but it hasn’t exactly worked the way he hoped. Now the question is where did this start? Was it Thomas Wayne? Before that? After? Interesting questions to ponder until the next issue.

This issue was even better than the first, with great action sequences and a fantastic way of establishing the new versions of these classic characters. On top of that, the idea of Uncle Sam being some extradimensional entity that’s fueled by the American Dream is so ridiculous that it just works. It’s such a “comic” idea that it fits so perfectly in this setting, and I’m intensely interested to see where it goes. Lastly, that evil German Plastic Man is the most horrifying villain I have seen in ages.

It’s all coming together. Shayera was using the Absorbascon to create a false Thanagar-Prime to keep the reputation of strength that Thanagar has kept for generations intact. But she knows it was wrong, and now looks to rebuild. Meanwhile, J’onn J’onnz is the key the Perpetua and her army, as he was abducted as a child by Humans from the far-flung future in an attempt to make their DNA whole. Perhaps Starman isn’t who he says he is, and he’s the result of that experiment? Lastly, Kendra knows what the secret on her wings is, now. A map to an alternate dimension of God-like beings. Man, this is intense!

This is going to be quite an interesting book. I can already tell. This first issue sucked me in with its incredible artwork, and relatable characters. Then it hooked me with that cliffhanger ending. What’s special about Naomi? She has an obsession with Superman, and feels close to him as they’re both adopted. Now, she finds out that… maybe she is? But how? What’s different? I wish this was a graphic novel so I could read it all, right now!

I’m glad that they’re making the personal stories, like the arrival of Billy Batson’s mysterious biological Father, on the backburner here. Because the Marvel Family exploring the various magical lands created by the Council is way more interesting. Theme parks are always ominous when they’re magical, and now there’s a creepy clown, and even the ruler of the “Funlands” claiming that he’s a member of the Family. The last Champion. Maybe he abandoned his post to stay in Funlands? We’ll get answers soon, as lead-up to the movie later this year continues.

Pull Box: December 19

NEWCOMICS

BM
A surprising callback to an older issue on Tom King’s run, this culminated in a way I wasn’t expecting. It started out usual enough, and quickly became something else, with small twists here and there. How they’ll bring this all back around is the question. On top of that, this break from the main story, right as Thomas Wayne appears in the Batcave? Come on! The next issue cannot get here fast enough.
FF
A timely reboot for a team that is meant to stand in for America itself, the Freedom Fighters are most certainly a direct response to the uptick in Neo-Nazi and fear-mongering movements across the world. While it won’t have a big impact, it shows strong resolve of DC Comics to release this book and stand for something. On top of that, it already seem like it’s going to be a fitting continuation with new takes on classic characters, and I am all for that.
JL
Oh man, that was amazing! Shayera and Katar Hol are alive?! But, is it really them? What secrets are they holding in regards to the Totality, and what is their plan with the Martian Keep? And, how does Starman fit into all of this? He seems linked to the Multiverse on several levels, with his overwhelming power linked to the source wall itself. So many questions! Every time we get answers, more questions come together. It’s brilliant.
THOR
After years of build-up, the slowest burn I have ever seen in an event, The War of the Realms is finally on its way. The Avengers are slowly getting roped into it all, and Thor has become more ruthless on his search for answers, and a strategic advantage against Malekith, the mastermind of the war itself. With the Angels defeated, and Angela now in the fray, things have evened up a bit, but they are still several steps behind.
MMPR
While Lord Drakkon was probably one of the best overall villains in Power Rangers history, there is certainly something unnerving about Praetor. His ability to get into the heads, and invade the minds of the Rangers is something new to them, and should prove to be quite the problem in the coming issues. The realization that the Solarix is a piece of the Morphin Grid was a fascinating piece of writing, though. As if the Grid could potentially be tangible, in some corner of the Universe. Now, that could be fun to explore.