Comics Briefly: Batman #5, The Legend of Oz: The Wicked West #2, Wonder Woman #5

Favorite Issue This Week: The Legend of Oz: The Wicked West #2

All Issues were new in stores on 1/18/12

NB: It has been noted, in my conversations with friends about comic books, that like all of us, I am affected by my introduction to comic books and comic book characters, and that affects the kind of stories and characters I expect and enjoy. So be advised, when I get cranky about the new DCU, it's largely because what I like best in DC-based stories are interactions between heroes that have some history and/or emotional weight, legacy characters, strong friendships and galactic-level Batman. And I'm not getting a lot of that. That doesn't mean the books are bad, but it means that I don't love them.

Batman #5
Writer: Scott Snyder, Pencils: Greg Capullo, Inks: Jonathan Glapion, Colors: FCO

There are some moments with Gordon and the extended Batclan that open and close this issue, and they are very sweet and well done (minus my feelings about one panel of Batgirl with serious anatomy issues), but the vast majority of this is Bruce stumbling around going crazy in the labyrinth of the Owls. This is decently done, but I really didn't need a whole issue of it. The 'quirky panel angle equating to mental instability' motif that I liked a couple issues back is taken a bit far; at one point you actually have to flip the entire book around, and I had to jump ahead to check whether the pages were just printed wrong. I don't know, I guess I'm losing traction on the whole secret society of evil whatever plot-line. I don't feel like anything has been actually revealed in issues and issues, and I just can't believe that this is a real conspiracy of whatever or a real threat. It's just a schmuck in a stupid helmet, Bruce, stop buying into the drugged hallucinations or whatever and just hit him, already!

The Legend of Oz: The Wicked West #2
Writer: Tom Hutchison, Artist: Alisson Borges, Colorist: Kate Finnegan, THAT UGLY COVER ABOVE is by Nei Ruffino

Yes, I have the variant cover, and it's frankly hideous. It was the last copy at my favored comic shop, and I hate it. So when I tell you that the story and the art underneath that cover is ridiculously great, believe me. (There's still some cheesecake, and it's computer color-ish but it it's good.) I picked up the last issue on a whim a month or two back, and frankly, I'm just tickled by the premise. This is Wizard of Oz crossed with Gunslinger. We're being introduced to a whole new spin on these characters. Gale, and her horse Toto, have spent years trying to make their way across a blasted, lawless landscape, in search of the Emerald City. Somewhere along the way she picked up a pair of ruby spurs and the matching six-shooters. We met the Tin Man in Issue #1, he carries a badge, and in this issue we see the Witch of the West for the first time. Occasional direct references to the source material keep the tone from getting too dark, but I dig the old-time western mix of sardonic fatalism and grittiness in this world. This is a fairly small-press book, and I did spot a typo in this issue. However, I loved the introduction of the Scarecrow here. She seems awesome.

Here, I'll give you a pretty page from inside so you don't have to take my word on the art:

Dorothy finally gets to kick ass!

Wonder Woman #5
Writer: Brian Azzerello, Artist: Tony Atkins, Colorist: Matthew Wilson

Some decent moments here, but I am still not liking this story. (The less said about the stupid plot from last month, which I skipped writing about then, the better.) New artist this issue, and I like the style, except for the dead-doll eyes on Diana much of the time. Those are not helping me connect with this character. And then at the end I think there should be an awkward laugh track or sound effect or something because of the (unintentional? intentional?) silliness of the last panel. Plus it took me way too long to figure out what was going on a little bit before that because of the layout, and is Wonder Woman hovering standing still or walking on water? I know I'm practically the only one, but I just don't get this book.


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