***”Weekly Comic 100s” keeps it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***
By Rob Siebert
DC’s decision to get in bed with Lunar Distribution is starting to feel like a mistake. Because out in my neck of the woods (the mid-west), it seems like Lunar is crapping said bed.
My local comic shop just went three weeks without receiving any product from DC. (Any DC books you’ve seen here in the last few weeks have been purchased digitally.) I’ve been going to comic shops for almost 20 years now and I’ve never see that happen. Not only is it unacceptable from a simple customer service perspective, but it couldn’t have happened at a worse time. Retailers are already being hit by the fallout from COVID-19. The least publishers can do is put the damn books in the stores…
Bad form, folks. Bad form.
Not really my cup of tea. But if you were into Lord Drakkon’s dark alternate universe, or the “Coinless” Universe as it’s now called, you’ll be into this.
I was hoping for something more tightly focused on this alternate version of Kimberly. But the scope of this story is more about the Coinless Universe at large. Fair enough. I just wish they’d called this issue something different.
This issue gives us something I never thought we’d see, though in hindsight seems obvious for a universe like this: Ghost/Zombie Power Rangers. It was inevitable, I tell you!
This one ends on something of a whimper, rather than a bang. Which is to say it more or less ends the way you think it will, with Franklin ending up where you think he will.
Still, the appeal of a mini like this is to see characters from different books rub against each other. X-Men/Fantastic Four does that.
There’s also a curious little scene at the end with Reed Richards that I’m curious to see if they follow up on.
We kick off with kind of a dumb “retroactive foreshadowing” scene with Batman and Alfred. “Good thing Alfred will always be here,” and all that. Lame.
It occurred to me during this issue that “Joker War” is just a sophisticated version of that New Batman Adventures episode, “Joker’s Millions. That’s not a knock. I’m just sayin’.
Now that Joker knows Batman’s secret, it’s extremely foreboding to see him messing around with movie theaters. Especially the one Thomas and Martha Wayne went to with Bruce before their murder…
Well damn. If this book is ending in September, we’re not going to get a pay-off for this Superboy Prime stuff are we?
As the book really cranks up the father/son drama with Billy and his dad, I’m struck by just how great Dale Eaglesham has been on this title. It’s clean. It’s expressive. It’s versatile. He fits Shazam like a glove, to the point that this series has become one of my favorite takes on the character. Frankly, his work with Michael Atiyeh is worth the cover price on its own.
Now that the Shazam! book is ending, I’m particularly grateful to see the Big Red Cheese join DC’s line of digital-firsts.
What we get here is nice and kid-friendly. One of Billy Batson’s classmates is bragging about knowing Shazam. So Billy shows him up precisely the way you think he will. From there we segue into a fight with a villain.
Travis Moore’s Shazam looks a lot like Zachary Levi in the movie. I wonder if that’s intentional, or just how the character came out…
So far, this book feels a little bit like Saga for young people. It’s got whimsy and wit, but a lot less sex stuff.
After reinforcing some of the world-building they did last time, this issue cranks up the emotion with the prospect of separating Wynd from his adopted family. It’s very well done, and has me invested in not only Wynd, but his sister Oakley.
We also meet a character called “the Bandaged Man.” I really dig how he’s designed, though that may just be my love for Batman: Hush sneaking through.
TITLE: Action Comics #1023
AUTHOR: Brian Michael Bendis
ARTISTS: John Romita Jr., Klaus Janson (Inker), Brad Anderson (Colorist), Dave Sharpe (Letterer). Variant cover by Lucio Parillo.
RELEASED: July 21, 2020
This is typically the part of “Weekly Comic 100s” where I complain about John Romita Jr. So here you go: I don’t like JRJR’s art here.
I just wonder if this book is getting over-crowded with Super-people. Remember, that’s part of what prompted the original Crisis on Infinite Earths. Superman didn’t feel as special because he had too many sidekicks, cousins, stringers, etc.
At the end of this issue Jimmy Olsen says, “Guess we’re not putting out a paper today.” That line should have had a lot more weight to it. If you’re a newsman, that’s blasphemy.
A team-up between the Joker and the Court of Owls? Now that’s the stuff of nightmares.
Detective Comics hasn’t felt like a Tomasi book in awhile. There’s a certain refinement that’s missing. In particular, Batman is a little too talky for my taste.
In this issue, Batman performs brain surgery on Two-Face out in the streets of Gotham (Because why not?). The comic book science regarding how Harvey’s brain is being messed with is a little confusing. Not that I’d put too much stock in it. At the end of the day, he’s still Two-Face.
A brutally honest, unfiltered look at where our society may be going sooner rather than later. And in all honesty, a clever premise for a book. I was expecting things to get Survivor-esque right off the bat. But they’re taking the time to build to that.
The most unsettling part of this issue? Our lead villain puts his opposition (journalists, etc) into a giant hamster cage. Complete with an oversized water dispenser. The sad thing? That doesn’t even seem that far-fetched anymore.
Email Rob at firstname.lastname@example.org, or check us out on Twitter.