DC Round-Up: Comics Released 3/22/17


How many Batman 
books is too many Batman books? Depending on who you ask there ain’t no such thing! We try to stay up on what’s going on at DC, but we can’t always dig deep into every issue. The solution? Our weekly round-up of titles coming out of DC Comics. Today, we’re discussing Flash 19, Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps 17, and Wonder Woman 19. Also, we’ll be discussing Batgirl 9 on Friday, so come back for that! As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

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The Flash 19

Michael: The Flash 19 feels like classic DC superhero tales of yore, providing a colorful change of scenery while maintaining the series’ narrative threads. Joshua Williamson places Flash and Kid Flash in The Outback with Flash Rogue Captain Boomerang. It’s a tantalizing cover tease that doesn’t rely solely on that gimmick.

After Wally learns that his father died in a Suicide Squad mission, Barry tries to console him by finally revealing his secret identity to him. It’s a nice gesture but arrives at a moment that is too late and inopportune. Wally just recently learned that his Uncle Daniel is the new Reverse Flash and more importantly his biological father. The boy’s world has been turned upside down, leaving him in a vulnerable state.

In a moment that mirrors the reunion of classic Wally West and Barry Allen, (new) Wally embraces his mentor upon this revelation. Once he processes it however he realizes that Barry Allen and The Flash are two more people that he thought he knew in his life but was completely wrong about.

Between the two artists, I gotta say I prefer Jesus Merino to Carmine Di Giandomenico for The Flash. Merino gives this Kubertian life to his characters that evoked that classic DC feel I mentioned earlier. The end of the issue shows that Eobard Thawne remembers Flashpoint and is ready to become the impetus for the upcoming Batman/Flash crossover “The Button.” If there’s a multiverse problem, then The Flash has got to be at the center of it.

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Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps 17

Patrick: The Green Lantern comics have always commanded an expanded mythology the size and scope of which rivals that of the rest of the DC Universe. These guys have explored parallel universes and anti-matter universes and deep deep histories and futures that Batman and Superman will never encounter. It’s easy to think of them as something separate: a kind of in-universe-multiverse. It’s even easier to forget that that myth-making is tied into the very fabric of the DC Universe. Green Lantern uber-architect Geoff Johns used his decade with the characters to weave these discrete mythologies together, but in the fall out from Blackest Night and Brightest Day,  the Lanterns have been content to manage their own little corner of the multiverse. With Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps 17, Robert Venditti and Ethan Van Sciver confidently assure us that is no longer the case.

Of course, the moment I’m referring to here is the fracturing of the White Light, which sends ripples throughout eternity, grabbing the attention of the Red Lantern Atrocitous, The Flash, and a hooded figure we can only assume is Oz. Let’s put the page up here:

I love the progression of this sequence. Atrocitous is no huge leap — even if we haven’t heard from him in a while, he’s still a fundamental part of the Green Lantern narrative. But then we find ourselves on Earth, for a check-in with Barry Allen. That’s slightly outside the normal cast for a Green Lantern comic, but the Blue Lantern logo arcing off his chest subtly reminds the reader of his greater connection to the mythology. And that last one — that’s the real WTF moment, right?

The rest of the issue serves as a gradually intensifying spool up to this dramatic revelation. Kyle’s journey in this issue is always toward fulfilling his destiny, which is buoyed by every possible mentor talking up his importance — Walker, Ganthet and Sayd, even Hal. That’s cross-cut with Guy Gardner processing his own rage issues and the powderkeg the Green Lanterns are slowly filling as the pack the Sciencells with the most aggressive Sinestro Corpsmen. It’s emotionally disorienting: every moment of “you can do it!” is contrasted with a “we’re fucked,” until the cyclone of emotion just rips through the book.

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Wonder Woman 19

Mark: What once seemed like two unrelated Wonder Woman story arcs — half told in the odd numbered issues, half told in the even — transforming into one inter-connected story is one of the great magic tricks Greg Rucka and his collaborators have managed to pull off in their 20 or so issues so far. Another impressive feat is how they’ve managed to solidify the idea that Love can be as powerful as any superhero’s power.

It sounds terribly hokey when written out like that, but in Rucka and artist Liam Sharp’s odd-numbered issues that Love comes from a place of such naked emotional truth that the mawkish sentimentality works. Earlier in the story, Wonder Woman was able to help Cheetah heal by holding Barbara Ann in her arms. In Wonder Woman 19, Diana’s memory and power are restored after an embrace from her old friend Ferdinand.

Still, this is one of the less satisfying issues of Wonder Woman. That the restoration of Diana’s powers lacks any real explanation is frustrating, but forgivable given the emotional resonance (I also thought the end of LOST worked emotionally, if not logically, so there’s a barometer for my bullshit tolerance). What the issue can’t shake is a sense of wheel-spinning as it moves us from Diana regaining her power to Diana being shot. Wonder Woman’s injury is robbed of the intended drama given that we just spent some issues with her out of commission. It feels less like forward progress, and more a like a good old-fashioned stalling tactic.

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The conversation doesn’t stop there, because you certainly read something that we didn’t. What do you wanna talk about from this week?

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9 comments on “DC Round-Up: Comics Released 3/22/17

  1. I think merino is servicable, but that Giandomenico page really got to me. Williamson writes a great Flash that means well but doesn’t know how to be a mentor (as opposed to a teacher)

    I also really liked the Gardner exchange, and him asking to be Arkillo’s partner. Did you notice the “coverup” scene in Green Lantern Corps. It sounds like some Green Lanterns aren’t fit for sciencecells. I wonder if this will be used to fuel further conflict within the corps? I hope the GLs move outside of Ring issues again. I liked using Brainac as an antagonist and hope they explore other cosmic elements. (Like introducing the Legion through GL)

    • I was surprised by how dark and sad the fallout from Guy’s beat-em-up with Arkillo was. I walked away from my first read of it thinking there was some suicide-by-Sinestro-Corpsmen sentiment in Guy’s apology to the unconscious Arkillo, but on second read, I was totally projecting that. Regardless, something is not right with the Warrior, and this was a heartbreaking reminder that there’s some serious illness behind that swagger.

      • I agree with what you’re saying, but I think I saw some growth in that scene. Gardner recognized his abusive tendencies, and I read his giving back the tooth as an apology and a pledge to try and change.

  2. HJatGLC: I’m gonna miss White Lantern Kyle. His transformation into the White Lantern was one of my more satisfying comics reading experiences (not to mention some of my earliest experiences writing for this site), and I thought it was something that not only made Kyle unique in a visual and powerset sense, but which served to highlight why he’s so special amongst the Corps in the first place.

    If he had to go back to being a GL, though, I’m glad he got his classic costume, weird crab-mask and all.

    Wonder Woman: So someone lied to Wonder Woman about the Themyscara she visited being Themyscara, and she wanted to believe that lie so badly that it BECAME her truth. I love it, because it’s such a good metaphor for confirmation bias and how we perceive reality around us: as we can see in the current political climate, people tend to believe what they want to believe, even if facts don’t confirm it. The fact that Wonder Woman is an embodiment of truth whose beliefs have been implied to have warped reality around her is just a nice comic-booky touch.

    Action Comics: Okay, we didn’t cover the Action half of this crossover, SO, let’s talk about the conclusion.

    At the height of Mxy’s attack, Jon is assisted by a red light who turn out to be the “spirits” of the New 52 Superman and Lois Lane. They can’t seem to exist at the same time as Jon’s parents (the old continuity/Convergence Clark and Lois), who fade away into a blue light. Jon’s rattled by version of his parents who don’t remember him (he also pokes fun at New 52 Supes’ collar), but through his love, he’s able to revive his parents’ spirits as well and merge the red and blue Supermen and Loises together.

    The result is that continuity has been rewritten — the two versions of Superman and Lois Lane have been combined. We can see that the alt-universe, Convergence backstory is no longer in place — these versions of Superman and Lois Lane both grew up on this earth, met and fell in love at the Daily Planet as per tradition, got married, and had Jon, who doesn’t appear changed by this shift.

    We don’t know if they live in Metropolis or on the farm still, but this does get rid of the need for the “Smith” alias. It also seems like it’s wiped the Superman/Wonder Woman relationship out of continuity. It will also have wiped out of continuity the death of the New 52 Superman and the New 52 Lois in the Superwoman book, as well as the truly dumb story of Convergence-Lois taking over her dead counterpart’s life at the Daily Planet. If the “Truth” secret identity reveal storyline is still in place, it’s been drastically changed, and Mxy masquerading as Clark Kent has given Superman his secret identity back anyway.

    It’s an interesting choice, and I’ve got mixed feelings. On the one hand, Clark and Lois as parents has proven to be a powerful concept, and I’m glad that it can exist without the baggage of the alternate universe/New 52 death backstory. It will be much easier to explain and sell. I’m just wondering, why wait until 20 issues into Rebirth to do this? Why do the death of New 52 Superman at all? If you were gonna merge the two together, why not do it in that last storyline before Rebirth, and kick the initiative off with a clean slate? A few of the Rebirth Superman stories (such as the Swamp Thing annual) have already been invalidated with the loss of the alternate-universe backstory.

    The timing is a weird choice, but I’m cool with the change itself. This was a fun storyline.

    • I liked Action Comics as well, but if you give it too much thought, it doesn’t work. In my headcontinuity, I consider all those New 52 stories still cannon, but just exist as a wacky adventure of SUpes where he was experiencing an alternate history for a time. So he was always married to Lois, and always had a son but Mxy made them forget as part of a trick and had him dating Wonder Woman. Not exactly that, but I think the Swamp Thing Story still counts.

  3. What the hell was their justification for fracturing the White Light? Because I can’t imagine any way that doing something so boring that would be satisfying.

    Making Kyle a Green Lantern again is just so stupid and unimaginative. Kyle should be in one of his most interesting periods ever, with the aftermath of Omega Men, and instead they are doing this.

    When will the Rebirth trainwreck end?

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