Aha! I’m finally caught up on my comic book reading after SVP. This two-week interval’s books are dominated by the Zero-Year crossover, which I find to be mostly a Zero-excitement crossover. The main story in the Scott Snyder penned Batman is good, but the tie-in books are all pretty flat and make me wish for their main stories to return.

Without further ado, scores out of five stars:

Batwoman #25, Andreyko, McCarthy, Mutti, Fern, Olliffe, Leisten, Nguyen. **
This is the first Batwoman issue not penned by the Williams III & Blackman team. I’m not satisfied with the storyline, but it seems as though all of the Zero-Year tie-ins have had their story (the same story!) dictated by the editorial staff. Pre-costumed vigilante character realizes his/her need to help out in Gotham during the Riddler’s blackout combined with Superstorm Rene. Adventure! Foreshadowing! Things!

So it goes here. The only benefit for me as a long-time reader was finally making the connection that Kate Kane (Batwoman) is from the same Kane family as Bruce Wayne’s (Batman, duh) mom. So Bruce and Kate are, in fact, cousins. Or something. Oh, and they work in an explanation of the Pathetic Fallacy. That was good.


The Shadow # 19, Roberson, Mutti, Guerra. ***
The Shadow begins a new storyline, and this issue takes a page from The Shadow: Year One and is narrated from Margo Lane’s POV. It’s a good introductory storyline, but nothing too exciting. I look forward to future issues set behind the Iron Curtain….

WW fights strife in a metaphor for the verbal sparring inside the cover.

Wonder Woman #25, Azzarello, Sudzuka. ***
This issue doesn’t have much action, and seems mostly to be positioning characters for the next step in the story. That said, the art is great and there are some interesting interactions amongst the characters. This has always been a character driven book, so that’s to be expected. I am disappointed by the cover: it pulls the common comic book trick of depicting a fight that does not actually happen in this issue. Perhaps it’s a metaphor?

Batman and Two-Face #25, Tomasi, Gleason, Gray. ****
This Bats-Toothpaste storyline continues to be compelling. I am actually finding this story more interesting than the main Zero-Year story. Keep up the good work.

World’s Finest #17, Levitz, Silva, Weems. ****
This story continues to develop slowly, along two lines. One is the pedestrian ‘superhero lost her powers’ story for PG. The other is the intriguing one where the supervillaness with the living tattoos is attacking fashion targets. In this issue she makes her motivation clear: “You defent this cirty that worships false beauty? Think of the lives ruined by the lies it spreads…”  This is an interesting juxtaposition for this title, because its two headliners are drawn to be conventionally ‘beautiful’ by comic book standards, and this villain is also drawn with a convetional figure. I am curious to see how it develops.

**Insert witty caption here**

Deadpool #19, Posehn, Duggan, Shalvey, Bellaire. *****
This is, alas, the conclusion to the Wolverine + Captain America crossover. It’s a satisfying conclusion, with excellent art and some major pathos for a typically comic character.  I feel like this is our winner for this round of comic-book reviews.

Batman #25, Snyder, Capullo, Miki. ****
With a blackout cover to reflect the blackout in the story, this book does a good job of connecting from the last major arc, about the Red Hood (soon to be the Joker!) to this new story about ‘Dr. Death’ (a re-imagined Golden-age Bat-villain) who uses a bone-growth serum to make his victims into human trees. Dead, bony, human trees.

I like the story because its sci-fi aspects tie into an area of biology I’ve actually studied: bone growth. Here I, at last, have an opportunity to tie-in some research to my comics reviews. See, I’ve worked a tiny bit on antler growth. Antlers grow extremely quickly and some researchers are attempting to harness that growth for biomedical purposes, exactly as Dr. Death has done in Snyder’s story. So: good on you, Mr. Snyder.

Also, this issue ends with a suprise bonus Zero Year story for Cullen and Harper, two characters introduced to the Batman storyline in the wake of the Court of Owls arc. I want to see more of these two, please.

Nightwing #25, Higgins, Conrad, Richards. *
OK, so I said I was dropping Nightwing. I picked this one up because of the Zero Year tie-in, and I wish I had. See my note on Batwoman above for the storyline. Otherwise, blah.

One note on the blah: If Dick Grayson is today old enough to be living on his own and out of college, (and has been for two years: we’re on issue 25), then he must be ~24 years old now. This issue is set ‘Six years ago…’ as with the rest of the Zero Year stuff. OK, never mind that in six years, Batman has had four Robins, two of whom have died, let’s just think about Dick Grayson’s age. He would be 18 in this story, right? Then why is he depicted as a tween or early teen? Amygdala calls him and his friends ‘little people’ over and over, and they do, indeed look little. Last I checked, 18 year olds are typically fully adult in height. Also, they’re fully adult in their legal status, so parents that ground them are being very overprotective indeed.

In the end, I think that DC has royally Fricked up the Bat-continuity by trying to keep all of the characters and stories (Bane has broken Bats’ back, he’s come back, and then he’s had his adventure in time-and-space in the wake of killing Darkseid! In the last six years!). Can we have some sense here? Or maybe I’m asking too much from my costumed vigilantes… Le sigh.

Batgirl #25, Bennett, Pasarin, Gapion. *
See the note for Batwoman about the plot for this issue. I feel like if I spend $3.99 on a comic book it should have a qualitatively different story from the other comic books I purchase in a week. Boo.

Superman / Wonder Woman #1, Soule Daniel, Banning. *
I bought this one on a whim, because I like Wonder Woman, but I detest Superman. Too bad, Superman manages to ruin a story again. Plus: why do we need a romance between these two? I’m not sure that it helps either of them from a narrative perspective. I guess I don’t ship this one. No more issues for me, please. (Oh, plus Doomsday! As if that _ever_ made a comic book better)

This moment never actually happens in this story. But it looks cool.

Red Sonja #5, Simone, Geovani. ****
This was a very good issue, but it doesn’t quite get to five stars. I think that’s because the action is, in the end, all preparatory for next issue. The art continues to be excellent, and the characters wonderful to follow. This book, unlike the Zero-Year tie-ins, is fully worth its $3.99.