And I’m back. It’s been a busy month, but I plan on getting back into the blogging thing in full force. In the interest of trying to cull faster and create room for new books, I’ve been jumping ahead a bit, and so I’m actually quite behind in my writing compared to where I am in my reading. Quit your whining.
Robin – A Year Reborn, Year One
A Hero Reborn is the very first mini-series featuring the Tim Drake version of Batman’s platonic preteen boy-partner Robin (for those of you counting at home, there have been five Robins, with Tim Drake being the third. He’s since retired the mantle of Robin, and apparently has the imagination of a rotting tree stump, since he now calls himself Red Robin. Because his costume is red. And because he used to be called Robin. Sweet Sarah Palin). Oh, and one of the Robins had a vagina. She didn’t last long.
Back to Hero Reborn. The character of Tim Drake has always been one of the more likeable additions to the DCU, and a lot of the character beats that Dixon set up here stuck with the character for years. However, it’s still a relatively generic, though readable story, and like a lot of Dixon’s stuff that I’ve been rereading as part of this cull, it’s enjoyable, but maybe not enough to keep.
However, if Hero Reborn is an exercise in meh, Dixon’s work on Robin: Year One, MORE than makes up for it. It’s a great little coming of age story set in the early days of the first Robin’s career. Lots of fun, and lots of action. It’s a perfect companion piece to Dixon’s Batgirl: Year One, and both books are an essential part of any Bat completest’s collection.
Hero Reborn: Cull. Year One: Keep
Secret Six – Villains United, Six Degrees Of Devastation, Unhinged, Depths, Danse Macabre, Cat’s In The Cradle
Secret Six is a fairly simple, yet extremely effective concept: 6 bad-ass super-criminals team up as a merc collective for hire. It’s a reworking of a relatively obscure DC title from the ’60’s and it’s one of the few sparkling jewels in the fetid swamp that is the current DC Universe. This comic book kicks unholy superhero ass. It’s a testament to Gail Simone’s skill as a writer that one of the toughest, hard-hitting books on the stands also somehow manages to reek of pathos, and contain some of the most charming, effective character moments you’ll see in a mainstream comic these days. While the quality of the book varies slightly from arc to arc, as a whole this book is a must read for fans of big, intelligent comic book action. Highly recommended.
Seven Soldiers Of Victory – Volume One to Four.
My opinion of Grant Morrison’s writing ability changes about as often as a newborn’s diaper, but for the most part I’m one of the few serious comic book fans that do not worship at his bugfuck crazy altar. Seven Soldiers was an interesting experiment: Morrison would take 7 of DC’s more obscure characters, and rebuild them from the ground up, hopefully giving them a new lease on life. The experiment failed miserably, mostly because Morrison couldn’t be bothered to actually work out what happened to the old versions of these characters, or to figure out how any of his crazy changes would affect the current DC storylines. Grant Morrison: Fucking over the creations of others since 1989.
That being said, if you try not to think of how these mini series screw up the rest of DC’s storylines, there’s quite a bit to like here. In particular, the Bulleteer, Shining Knight, Klarion, and Guardian minis still stand up quite well. The Zatanna and Frankenstein series are fine, and the only real stinker here is the Mr. Miracle mini. LIke I said, as stand alone minis these are relatively enjoyable. It’s when at the end when Morrison tries to bring them all together when disaster strikes. Much has been said of Morrison’s seeming inability to compose complex plots that tie into each other, and Seven Soldiers is a shining example of that. But it’s also a great example of how brilliant an idea man he really can be, and I wouldn’t be sad if some of these concepts were revisited in the future.
Next Up: Shazam, Starman, and Supergirl!