It was another crop of good titles last week. Well, it would have been ‘great’ if not for a few missteps with a couple titles. It might come off like I’m nitpicking here but they stood out pretty loud to me and before I start musing or ranting, there will most definitely be spoilers ahead.
Uncanny X-Men #3. “Flanking!” that’s the F-word screaming in my head when I put down my copy of Uncanny X-Men #3. In case you aren’t familiar with it, a flanking maneuver is a basic military tactic, an attack on the sides of an opposing force.
In this latest issue of Uncanny X-Men by writer Brian Bendis and artist Chris Bachalo, Captain America’s team of Avengers catches up with Cyclops’ gang of wanted mutants. Both groups start flexing their muscles, lots of posturing, trash talking and all this go on for I’m thinking, maybe 10 to 15 minutes of comic book time. Yah, after all it’s Bendis and you can expect plenty of talking heads.
Then like how the sun always rises from the East or how you always read a comic book from left to right, the inevitable happens, our heroes finally fight! And all the Avengers do is to simply charge head-on right at the mutants. Really? Really?? REALLY??? Isn’t Captain America one of the best military strategists around? Didn’t it occur to him to at least send someone like Hawkeye or Black Widow to flank the X-Men? We seen them on sniper duties before. All that standing around during the faceoff and no Avenger thought of maneuvering him or herself into position to take out any of the mutant big guns? So Cap’s entire team rushed in as one unit and was promptly frozen in their tracks by Eva, one of the new mutants in Cyclops’ team. And with that stupid move, the Avengers lost the fight before it even started. I just can’t help but imagine how would different the outcome would have been if Cap was in character.
Now I’m not saying that I didn’t enjoy the title after all that. I thought it was still an entertaining issue despite that annoying character gaffe. There were many elements here that were brilliant. Magneto being a triple agent made perfect sense. The new mutants all have tons of plot potential and Bachalo’s art is still out of this world. I also really like Cyclops’ new costume. Together with Bendis’ other title All-New X-Men, there is plenty to look forward to if you are a Marvel mutant fan.
Batman #18. In case you haven’t heard, Batman or Bruce Wayne’s son Damian Wayne aka Robin is dead, killed in Batman Incorporated #8 a couple weeks ago. So like all the rest of the Bat-titles this month, this latest issue of Batman by writer Scott Snyder with artists Andy Kubert and Alex Maleev looks at the aftermath of that tragic event. Come on people, Damian’s grandpa has this own little hot tub called The Lazarus Pit so really, how tragic is it? But I digress.
So here we see Batman filled with parental rage as he rips through Gotham City, beating up bad guys non-stop for days. Plus we get the return of Harper Row from Batman #12, the teenage tech specialist, rooftop-swinging, crime-fighting girl, or in other words, our best bet to be the next Robin.
If not for the comic book cover, there is no mention at all of Robin’s death in the story. We see Batman’s grief, anger as well as Harper’s frustration as she confronts a seething Dark Knight, all without directly revealing the fact that Robin’s dead. Harper doesn’t know that and apparently neither does the rest of Gotham City I think. All she sees is a Batman out of control, on self-destruct mode and she’s doing her best to stop him. It’s a gripping story that got a little predictable at times. Always a treat to see Kubert’s Batman in action and I think this is the first time I’m seeing Malvee drawing the Caped Crusader, am more used to savoring his work at Marvel.
Well, It would had been a much better story if not for the fact that according to last month’s Channel 52, the short 4-page news report stories appearing monthly in the back of all the DC titles, the DC Universe does know that Robin is dead as it was reported on TV. So Harper and everyone else ought to be aware of the fact that Batman’s partner is dead right? Yah, I know it doesn’t seem like a big deal but it’s still a story element that could potentially change the direction of the entire tale. I mean, the story hinges on the fact that Harper doesn’t know about Robin’s fate.
Like Marvel’s Uncanny X-Men #3, I would still highly recommend Batman #18 to anyone and everyone. It’s a standalone issue and as far as I’m concerned, Scott Snyder’s Batman is one of the few consistently good titles DC is putting out these days.