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