Goddammit, Metal, did you have to break your winning streak like that! Why?
And the rest of this week’s list: Batwoman battles Scarecrow, Aquaman rediscovers the hero within I hadn’t noticed he had lost and Champions battle weirdness from outer space.
Aquaman #29: Underworld (Part 5)
It’s confusing that Arthur is still trapped in Atlantis when in other ongoing titles he and Mera are back together on the surface. Kinda feels like a big spoiler. But here he remains in the Ninth Tride with Dolphin.
Dolphin may be mute, but she communicates very well. At the end of the previous issue Arthur realised she and her allies wanted him to reclaim the throne, to save them from King Rath and his obsession with purity. Arthur believes the Atlanteans will not accept him back. Their conversation is beautiful – and that has been characteristic of this arc. There’s just something about this friendship… Anyhow, Dolphin reminds Arthur that he’s part of the Justice League and that he’s much more than just King of Atlantis. While it’s good to see Arthur reclaim the Aquaman mantle, the moment feels rather contrived because I never felt he had really lost it. He is cut off from Mera, deposed, betrayed by his former allies…he has lost a lot but he never stopped being Aquaman.
Meanwhile Mera and Garth are still trying to break through the magical barrier surrounding Atlantis and Vulko is still trying to break into the Treasury to find some magical artefact that will allow him to do the same from the inside. It’s fairly clear how those threads are going to meet. Damn I wish they hadn’t changed this to a monthly title!
Batwoman #9: Fear and Loathing (Part 2)
The last issue ended with the reveal that the assassin Kate is tracking, known to her as Needle, is Jonathan Crane, the Scarecrow. Overcome by his drugs, Kate is now a prisoner in his underground lair. Crane is working on something nasty. Most of the issue is Kate’s hallucinatory journey: flashbacks to her “lost year” on Coryana where some mysterious ailment is killing the native foxes, dreams or visions of her family. Since she’s under the influence it’s hard to tell what’s real and what isn’t but I’m not sue it matters. It all leads to a nicely kick-ass ending and a tantalising hint of what is coming next.
Champions #13: Worlds Collide (Part 2)
I guess it’s about time the Champions returned to their roots as Avengers. The teenage superheroes formed a team of their own, hoping to help the world in a new way, with a bit less collateral damage. They have largely succeeded. This story unfolds in alternating issues of Avengers and Champions. In part one, the teams united to stop a meteor from crashing into the earth. Despite the hilarious attempt to catch the meteor in a net of spider-web as if it were a football, they did slow it enough to minimise the impact. But then it started emanating some weird vibration which caused the tallest buildings across the planet to shake. The teams deployed once more heading to the places most affected while Hercules and Hulk remained to study the meteor. Although in this case “study” meant “crack it open like an egg” and out popped a giant Minotaur! (Where’s Wonder Woman when you need her, huh? Oh, right, wrong comic.)
So, part 2 picks up with our super-strong heroes taking down a Minotaur (Wonder Woman would have done better) and on hearing it boast of its master the “high evolutionary”, they decide to interrogate, rather than smash. Meanwhile Vision joins Miles Morales and Cyclops to keep the Burj Khalifar in Dubai standing, with a side order of the youngsters critiquing his fatherhood technique. Not that he didn’t treat Viv poorly but who takes parenting advice from a couple of teenage boys? Thor, t’other Spider Man and Ms Marvel head to South Korea where the Lotte World Tower threatens to topple, and discover that Mjolnir is a pretty effective counter to the meteor’s vibration. Nova and Wasp are in Shanghai and discover that the vibration appears to make some people insubstantial, like Vision and Viv’s ability to phase through walls. Viv is with Falcon in New York, also saving a tower with the aid of a flock of seagulls (yes, really).
The lessons each team learns come together and the stop the meteor’s vibration-weapon, but too late. Viv and Falcon are sucked into the Evolutionary’s dimension, where they are surrounded by weapon-wielding creatures with animal heads! Tune in next week….I guess.
Dark Nights Metal: Batman The Drowned
Well, there had to be one issue I wouldn’t like. But why do it this way, Abnett, Tan and White, I’m disappointed in you.
This is the Twisted-Aquaman version of Batman. It opens with a narration that explains how much this version has lost, Gotham sunk beneath the waves, a past lover, Sylvester, killed. And I thought, is this version gay? Because that would genuinely be a twist. But no,, turns out this version is female: all the characters are gender-swapped. Okay, still interesting if not so bold. Except, look how she is drawn…
No face. But gigantic tits the only flesh on display. I could deal with the mask if not for those overblown knockers. And it isn’t only. The art. Each of the “Dark Knights” has been undone by something different: fear, hubris, Alfred’s death. But the girl is the one who went crazy because she lost her boyfriend. Of course.
Maybe it’s just shitty timing but this was one display of misogyny too many for me this week. Screw you, DC.