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Comics Catch for March 21, 2012

Comics Catch for March 21, 2012

By Eric Garneau

Comics Catch compiles short reviews of a bunch of comics worth reading each week.

BOOK OF THE WEEK: Wonder Woman #7: After a two-issue break on art duties, regular penciler Cliff Chiang returns to Wonder Woman just in time for this excellent issue that expertly combines Greek mythology with DC's most kick-butt heroine. Wonder Woman has manipulated Hades and Poseidon into battling her nasty stepmother Hera (who has a habit of causing trouble for the Amazons), but with a price… Hades, angry at being tricked, has abducted her mortal friend Zola, and Wonder Woman wants her back. Before she can go to the Underworld to rescue Zola, Wonder Woman pays a visit to Hephaestus, blacksmith of the gods. But what she finds in Hephaestus' forge will test her legendary compassion -- all of Hephaestus' workers are the unwanted male children of Wonder Woman's Amazonian sisters, and they all work as slaves! Can Wonder Woman afford to turn her back on the gods now, even in the name of justice? With a strong story based on thousands of years of mythology, (literally!) strong characters and incredibly smooth art, it seems Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang's Wonder Woman can do no wrong.

Batman #7: Finally free of the Court of Owls' trap, Bruce Wayne begins to investigate his mysterious antagonists, who have plans to take over Gotham City -- or have they done it already? Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's Batman continues to be an intense and engrossing read, with startling revelations about Batman's ultra-powerful new foe at every turn. This month we find out what Dick Grayson (aka Nightwing) has to do with it all—has he been programmed to kill Bruce Wayne? Full of "OMG what?!" developments and awesomely moody visuals from Capullo, Batman #7 is a straight-up winner.

Batman Beyond Unlimited #2: The best thing about BBU is that you get two full stories for $3.99 (for that price, some comics don't even give you half of that!). In the first tale, Terry McGinnis—the Batman of the future—has to team up with the psychotic conspiracy theorist Mad Stan (voiced by Henry Rollins in the old cartoon, so imagine him while you read this) to track down Stan's cute little puppy. It's adorable and also awesome, and it features art from Batman vet Norm Breyfogle. In the second half of this comic, starring the Justice League Unlimited, Terry, Superman, Green Lantern and their buddies go after the terrorist organization Kobra, who seems to have brainwashed one of the JLU! Can Micron be saved, and just what is Kobra up to anyway? BBU is a substantial comic with two great stories and some real solid art. This is highly recommended, especially for people who loved the cartoon.

Hoax Hunters #0: Kind of an X-Files in reverse, Hoax Hunters is all about a reality TV show crew that goes out into the world to disprove things like Bigfoot, ghosts and zombies. Except… that's not really what they're doing. These guys just want to put on a show for the public; their actual job is to keep any supernatural stuff like random monster appearances quiet so normal people don't freak out too much. This is a sweet concept, although Hoax Hunters #0 loses it a little bit in the middle of the issue, which is all about a half-century old astronaut made of crows (which, admittedly, is pretty awesome). There's lots of cool supernatural action here, and the book will definitely please people who are into conspiracy theory-style fiction, but hopefully the reality TV angle used to sell this book won't be totally forgotten.

Justice League #7: The first six issues of this series brought the Justice League as a team of the world's greatest superheroes; now it's time to see what they can do! Except, of course, every hero needs a villain. This story, menacingly called "The Villain's Journey: Prologue," shows us a mystery antagonist who's been studying the Justice League at length. He knows their weaknesses, and he's ready to strike. What's he going to do?! Well, we'll have to wait 'til next month. Besides that, this issue marks the beginning of an ongoing back-up feature called SHAZAM, in which teenage orphan Billy Batson gains the magical superpowers of an ancient Wizard to fight evil, kind of a Harry Potter meets Annie thing (with a little more attitude). While at 12 pages in length the backup is only a tease at this point, it features art from Gary Frank (Action Comics), whose visuals are always welcome. As for the main story, Gene Ha's fill-in art isn't quite up to the usual standards for this book (it looks a little rushed; usually Ha's a star), but it's nice to see the Justice League settling into a bit of a routine; it lets us see the status quo of how they operate, which will make the inevitable shakeup coming in the next few months all the more fun.

Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes #6: This miniseries, which brings together the original series Star Trek cast and DC's 30th century superheroes, comes to a close here as these two teams figure out a way to free the imprisoned, omnipotent Q and return their timelines to the way they're meant to be. Fans of either or both of these series will have a lot to enjoy here; it's especially fun to see how Captain James Kirk deals with the villain of the story, an immortal caveman who's using magical powers to make everyone his slave (spoiler: he's not too happy about it). Crossovers of wildly different groups like these are always just a bit silly, but Trek/Legion finds the essence of both worlds it's combining, which should make it really satisfying for fans, even if technically the Star Trek guys could never really meet Superman or whatever.

Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi #2: After last issue's stunning introduction of this series' villains, now we spend some time here getting to know its early Jedi heroes, like Shae Koda (an animal trainer who flies rancor-dragons), Tasha (a Twi'lek born into a family of organized crime but who's chosen a more virtuous path) and Sek'nos (a cocky ladies' man who's too eager to flirt with the Dark Side). Each of these characters has a vision of Xesh, last issue's "Force hound" who's come to the planet of the Jedi to enslave them… or worse. By the issue's end they all unite to investigate these visions, but it may be too late. There's a lot of dramatic tension in this series, and a whole lot of interesting characters, and two issues it shows no signs of not being great.

Are you buying any comics this week?

Tags: star wars, batman, star trek, comics, books-and-comics, comics catch, wonder woman, justice league, hoax hunters, batman beyond unlimited

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