Welcome to a pretty late edition of Weekly Readings. Sorry about that. This week we have:
- The Fury of Firestorm #0, in which Jason and Ronnie deal with what comes next for them.
- Batman, Incorporated #0, in which Batman recruits a ton of people.
- Aquaman #0, in which Arthur discovers his true heritage.
- Happy #1, in which Nicholas Sax finds himself in a highly unlikely situation.
- Justice League Dark #0, in which John Constantine gains magical knowledge and meets Zatanna.
- Superman #0, in which Jor-El deals with the end of Krypton, and my fears are realized.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #14, in which Splinter teaches Raphael a lesson.
Spoilers after the break.
The Fury of Firestorm #0 – “Covalence”
Jason Rusch is sitting in a science lab, bored and frustrated because he no longer has the Firestorm protocols, when he suddenly comes close to transmuting something. He races off to find Ronnie Raymond, who’d just completed football practice. Ronnie tells him that he doesn’t want to talk about the possibility of still being Firestorm, because he’s happy he has his life back. Later on at a football game, Helix attacks Ronnie. Jason distracts Helix, and is saved by Ronnie. Jason then has an idea, grabs Ronnie’s arm, and this transforms them into Firestorm. Only now, Ronnie is the sole body with Jason inside his mind. Following Jason’s instructions, Ronnie transmutes Helix into nothing. Ronnie is able to fly into space in order to release the energy he absorbed. After returning to Earth, they accept this new development.
Yeah, this is cheating with the whole zero issue format. Yes, it’s an origin story of sorts, but it’s also just the natural next issue in the series. But, you can’t really tell an origin story when you started the series from the very beginning. But I digress. It’s a transition issue. Not really good, but not really bad either. It set about establishing a new status quo for Firestorm for the next writer (I think Dan Jurgens starts with #13) to continue.
Batman, Incorporated #0 – “Brand Building”
Bruce Wayne is in the board room, promoting his idea of Batman, Incorporated. One board member looks uncomfortable, and tries to leave. But, Batman and Robin are there to take him to the police for embezzlement and bribing. After that, no one has any problems. Next is the recruitment. First up is Knight and Squire. Batman then sends Knight to Australia to recruit Johnny Riley (sidekick to the original Dark Ranger, who died in the Club of Heroes story). Johnny doesn’t immediately agree, but is eventually convinced by Squire. Batman goes to Russia, and recruits Ravil. Batman then heads to France to try to recruit Jean-Marie, but Jean-Marie declines, saying the Nightrunner will do fine. Next up is Japan, where Batman tells Jiro that his probationary period is up, and has full membership now. Lastly, Batman makes a stop in Australia to see what the Dark Ranger can do.
There’s not a lot to this issue, but it was still a fun read. Plus, there was a Doctor Who reference. Knight and Squire ask Batman if he has access to a shrink ray, because they want to shrink down their headquarters and put it inside a call box. There’s also a call back to the shrink ray, when Jiro asks Batman if he has one, because he likes Lolita Canary of the Young team, but she’s really tiny. Otherwise, this is really a roll call; a reminder of who all makes up Batman, Incorporated. Though, there is a hint of a relationship between Squire and Dark Ranger, but I’m not sure there’ll be time to develop anything.
Aquaman #0 – “Underwater”
Arthur Curry’s father, Thomas, is in the hospital after an attack from Black Manta. He wants Arthur to go into the oceans and find his mother to tell her that he (Thomas) loves her. On the day of the funeral, Arthur gets frustrated with reports wanting to ask him about Dr. Shin’s accusations that he is Atlantean (from Atlantis, not Atlanta). Arthur fleas, and begins the search for his mother. During this trek, he’s attacked by a shark, and here learns that he can influence the actions of fish (not talk to). He also saves a man and his daughter when their boat crashes on some rocks. This man tells him that he’s heard of someone else that believes Atlantis is real, and gives Arthur the guys name. Arthur finds this Vulko person, who immediately recognizes Arthur as the son of the queen. Vulko says that he was an advisor to the throne. He goes on to say that the queen is dead. She had met Thomas after rescuing him, and had fallen in love. When she found out she was pregnant, asked to be released from the throne, but was imprisoned. She was able to escape and give Arthur to his father, but returned to protect them. She was then forced to marry another, and gave birth or Orm. After her husband died on Orm’s 12th birthday, she planned with Vulko to escape again, but died the night before. Vulko believes that Orm did it. This accusation is what forced Vulko to leave Atlantis. Vulko gives Arthur a map to the Dead King’s Armory, and guides him to Atlantis so that he can reclaim his throne.
So, is that more Aquaman history than you wanted to know? Yeah, it’s a lot of exposition, but Ivan Reis’ art still looks pretty. Nothing else to really say. A whole lot of exposition. Though, it was a little too convienent that the boat that Arthur just happened to save just happened to have someone who knows a guy that has said something about Atlantis before. That’s stretching the suspension of disbelief a little bit.
Happy #1 of 4
The Fratelli Brothers were hired to kill Nicholas Sax. Gerry and Mikey are on their way to meet Tony and Paulie. In another building, a whore is giving a man a blow job when that person is shot in the head. Nicholas Sax is standing in the doorway, and tells the hooker that he just killed Jack the Hammer, who was about to kill her with a hammer (get it?). Gerry and Mikey arrive at the place to find Paulie and Tony dead and tied up. Gerry answers a phone, and Nicholas says that he had been hired to kill the Fratelli brothers, and needed a simple way to get them all together, so he hired them to kill him. He sneaks up from behind, and kills Gerry, but is surprised by Mikey, because there was only supposed to be 3 brothers. (Mikey had been on a vineyard until then.) They wound each other, and Nicholas stumbles off. Unfortunately, he passes out in the street, and is loaded into an ambulance. Maireadh, the cop that found him, calls a Mister Blue, and fills him in on the situation. Mister Blue hires someone to torture Nicholas, believe that Mikey gave him the password to access his family’s fortune. In the ambulance, Nicholas starts to hallucinate, seeing some fairy tale creature that tries to talk to him. At the hospital, Maireadh tries to convince that she can save him if he gives her the password, but he doesn’t tell her anything. The creature reappears to Nicholas, and says that its name is Happy the Horse, and is Hailey’s imaginary friend, and they have to go save Hailey. Nicholas doesn’t want to accept that Happy exists, but Happy points out that either way, he’s still in a mob hospital and needs to get out.
I picked this book up because it was written by Grant Morrison, and I usually like his stuff. And, I think I liked this issue enough to pick up the 2nd issue. Probably the rest, given it’s only a 4 issue mini-series. But yeah, I have a feeling that this is going to get weird. Hell, it already is a little weird. It also may be evident that Morrison has some repressed writing in him from writing so many mainstream books. By my count, there were 68 F-bombs dropped. Not that I have a problem with cursing, but damn. That’s a lot for a 24 page comic.
Justice League Dark #0 – “Young Bastards”
John Constantine arrived in New York City to gain all of the magical knowledge that he could. He finds himself at The Oblivion Bar, looking for Nick Necro. Nick dismisses him, because it’s time for his girl, Zatanna, to perform. Constantine is in awe of her. After the performance, Nick and Zatanna are walking away, when Constantine saves them from an attack by a member of The Cold Flame. After this save, Nick allows Constantine to accompany them for the night. The night turns into a year, as the three of them went around fighting The Cold Flame. After a year, Nick marked both Constantine and Zatanna with his own rune, calling it a black magic graduation ceremony. After this, Nick became distant, and obsessed with the Books of Magic. During this, Constantine and Zatanna became closer, until one night they kissed. Nick saw this, and told them both to leave. One day, Nick calls Constantine, and says he’s in trouble. Constantine and Zatanna arrive at Nick’s secret apartment, only to find that it’s a trap. Nick was going to give Zatanna to The Cold Flame, and bind Constantine to Hell. However, they are able to fight them off, and Nick ends up dying in the rune circle that he had created. Constantine takes Nick’s jacket and leaves with Zatanna.
First off, I don’t have a clue as to what the Vertigo origin of Constantine is. And I don’t really care. This was fine issue in establishing how the DCNU Constantine got started-ish, and the history between him and Zatanna.
Superman #0 – “Every end has a beginning”
Normally, this is the part where I recap what was in the issue, but I’m not going to with this issue. Why you ask? Because I don’t want to relive this issue more than I have to. Maybe this is my own bias towards Scott Lobdell, but this issue confirmed the worries I had when it was announced. It’s just a terrible issue. First, the story of Krypton’s destruction just isn’t interesting. You can’t make it interesting. Putting Superman somehow on Krypton as it was dying isn’t going to make it interesting. It’s trying to force an emotional response that isn’t really there. Superman’s Kryptonian parents don’t matter. And the writing. Oh god the writing. It seemed Lobdell challenged himself to see how many science-sounding words he could make up to throw into the issue so that he sounds smart. Oh, and lets have all the characters talk as awkwardly as possible. Different planet, and all. It just didn’t work. Not sure how long I’ll be getting Superman if this continues.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #14
Splinter and Raphael are with Casey Jones’ father. Splinter uses this occasion to teach Raphael about not making decisions in anger. In the end Splinter convince Raphael that killing Casey’s father in anger is not the right thing to do, and would only create more problems. He poses no mortal threat against them. Splinter tells Raphael to gather Casey’s things, because he will now be living with them. Krang is telling Baxter Stockman some of the history of the Utroms from Diminsion X, and about his father was supreme ruler, but the story is cut short when some Neutrinos in the NRF come through the portal and attack Krang’s base. Unfortunately, these Neutrinos are quickly dispatched. Krang then tells Stockman that he’ll be working on his ultimate weapon, the Technodrome. When Splinter and Raphael return, they have a family meeting, including Casey and April O’Neil, and discuss Casey living with them. Splinter also discusses the decisions they face when facing a mortal enemy, and what must be done to protect family. Shredder tells Karai to bring him Leonardo.
A good issue, as always, but this issue is about what is coming up. You’ve got Krang and the Technodrome, and now Shredder wanting to try to lure Leonardo away. I must say, trying to lure a Turtle away from the family is something new. To me anyways.