Weekly Readings

Welcome to this week’s “Weekly Readings,” where I go through what I read during the week.  Well, really, what I bought.  Although, I may toss in the odd collection if I happened to get it read during the week.  This week includes:

  • Fables #120, in which Darien tries to avoid his own destiny.
  • The Fury of Firestorm #12, in which Jason Rusch fights to save Ronnie Raymond.
  • Justice League Dark #12, in which the search for the Books of Magic begins.
  • Superman #12, in which Superman fights another alien, just because.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #13, in which everyone takes a moment to prepare for what comes next.
  • Saucer County #6, in which we get a history of alien encounters.

As you can probably guess, there are spoilers past this point. 

Fables #120 – “Cubs in Toyland:  Part 7”
It’s not really useful for me to try to summarize this issue, because it wouldn’t make any sense to you.  Maybe eventually I’ll get around to writing summaries of the Fables stories after issue #100.  But here’s my best shot at it.  Therese was tricked into going to Toyland, which is a desolate place full of broken toys.  They believed that she could restore them.  However, all she really does is become hungry.  Dare set off to find her, and was taken there by a tiger.  Their rescue attempt fail leaving Dare seriously injured and the tiger ends up being eaten by Therese.  And that is where we begin this issue.  Mr. Ives and Mr. Wellstuffed (toys) discuss how things aren’t working with Therese, and instead of her purifying them, they seem to be diminishing her.  But it doesn’t matter what happens to her.  Therese panics when some toys find more wood, that isn’t one of them, and sees that it’s Dare’s toy sword and shield.  She worries that there isn’t enough to food for both of them.  Dare, meanwhile, is wondering around in a wasteland, hallucinating about what he should do.  A grown up Ambrose appears to him, describing the legend of The Fisher King, saying that there isn’t a choice between a sword (to spill the blood) and a cup (to catch it) because both are needed for the old magic.  The voices he hears in his head tell him that a sacrifice must be made.  Dare tries to search for a way around this, thinking that there is always a tricky way around things but fails.  He relegates himself to his fate, and digs out a large vase type thing that was buried in the sand.  He then impales himself with a toy pool cue, and bleeds into the cup.

So yeah, things are staying weird.  And I don’t expect them to get any less weird as this story arc wraps up in an issue or two.  There’s a prophecy about the 7 cubs (here), and it seems like the actions in this story deem that Therese is the third and Darien is the fourth.  (Still not sure who the second is.)  But honestly, this is one of the darker Fables stories there is.  At the end of the issue, they teased the next issue with “the return.”  No clue what that means.  It could be that they’ll be returning home, or it could mean that someone returns.  I can’t wait to find out.

The Fury of Firestorm #12 – “Fallout & Decay”
To catch you up, there are many Firestorm protocols that were sent to different countries by Zithertech.  A rogue Firestorm named Pozhar has merged with Ronnie Raymond and took over, creating Scorn.  At Zithertech, Director Zither starts a fail-safe to eliminate the Firestorms that they sold, Indian, British, and French.  Firehawk (French) before she dies, tries to take a device left for them by Professor Stein and destroy Scorn.  She’s unable to reach him as he obliterates her.  What stops Scorn/Pozhar is the connection that Ronnie and Jason share.  Their connection to each other separates Ronnie from Pozhar, and Pozhar vanishes.  Director Zither, who is about to be under investigation tries to catch up with everyone else that has left the compound, when Firehawk appears.  Apparently, Stein’s invention had saved her.  She reaches critical mass, and there’s a blinding light.

This was a nice ending to the first bit of story.  Especially considering that neither of the people that started the story, Ethan Van Sciver and Gail Simone, are credited with any story or writing credits in this issue.  That said, Dan Jurgens will be taking over in issue #13.  The #0 issue  will be written by Joe Harris, and seem to be a bit of a continuation from this issue.

Justice League Dark #12 – “War for the Books of Magic:  Part 1”
With the betrayal of Dr. Mist, Felix Faust is able to escape with the map to the Books of Magic.  Constantine thinks he knows that they are headed to Slaughter Swamp, just outside of Gotham City.  However, Zatanna believes she detected that they are going back to Faust’s base in Peru.  So, Orchid and Constantine head to Slaughter Swamp, while Deadman and Zatanna head to Peru.  Both locations end up being a trap, as Blackbriar Thorn is waiting in Peru, and Black Boris, cannibal king of the fire trolls, is waiting in Slaughter Swamp.  An unknown person that is working with Mist and Faust, killed Dr. Occult in order to take over the House of Secrets.  In London, Madame Xanadu speaks with a boy named Timothy, who she believes can handle the Books of Magic.  Unfortunately, he’s expelled all magic within his body.  (It just happened to be in the form of the Phoenix, so I assume this issue happens sometime before Avengers vs. X-Men #1.)

The dialogue in this book has always been a strong suit.  Even with the changes in writers.  There is some discussion between Orchid and Constantine about things between him and Zatanna.  Having read an old Zatanna one-shot published many years ago, I just assume that this is a romantic past.  Although, he does mention somehow being responsible for her father’s death.  But, these questions will be answered next month in the zero issue.

Superman #12 – “Home”
Superman is captured by an alien that the Russians summoned.  Superman escapes, and fights the alien that he cannot understand.  He thinks the alien is trying to summon his people.  Superman knocks the alien down, and can suddenly understand him after picking up a little orange tube that the alien was carrying.  The alien says that he just wants to go home, but Superman won’t let him because he’s killed hundreds of people.  The alien says he’s not bound by Earth’s laws.  Before anything else can happen, the Russians launch a nuke at their base to eliminate the alien and Superman.  Superman hears it and flies off, and the alien is presumed to have made it back through the portal to his home.  Clark Kent meets up with Lucy Lane (Lois’ sister), and goes bungee jumping with her.

This was a pretty boring storyline, in what is usually a pretty boring book.  Don’t get me wrong, there have been glimpses of something resembling good, but usually, those are quickly done away with.  But in the end, this was Dan Jurgens last issue, as Scott Lobdell takes over next month with issue #0.  And then there is a crossover coming up with Superboy and Supergirl.  This book has until that ends to regain my interest, or it will become the first New 52 book that I drop.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #13
The Turtles are trying to relax in their new home, when Casey Jones stumbles in, having been beaten up by his father.  Raphael runs out to teach the guy a lesson, and Splinter follows after him.  Shredder forces Karai to demonstrate her skills for him, but is not pleased by what he sees.  He points out that she’s a better warrior than a leader, and begins his search for a second in command.  Baxter Stockman wakes up to find himself in a strange place, and discovers the true nature of General Krang.  Raphael attacks Casey’s father, but is stopped by Splinter, who says that he fights with too much rage, and will show him the true way of the ninja, as he holds a sai to Casey’s father’s neck.

For the most part, this is a filler issue.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  Sometimes, it’s nice to just take a step back after completing a major storyline, take a deep breath, and then begin again.  Although, at the end of this issue, holy shit, Splinter might kill someone.  It may be the most badass Splinter images around.  (Though, I’ll probably use a different, light-hearted image from earlier in the issue for the “Panel of the Month.”

Saucer County #6 – “A Field Guide to Flying Saucers”
A professor gives a long lecture about the history of alien encounters.

Yeah, that’s pretty much all that happened.  Don’t get me wrong, it was very informative, had a nice narration to it, but it didn’t really progress the story any.  I will be surprised if in the grand scheme of this story, this issue becomes necessary reading.

Next Week
Aquaman #12, Before Watchmen:  Minutemen #3, Detective Comics Annual #1, Green Lantern Annual #1, Justice League #12, Superman Annual #1, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Micro-Series #7 April,

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