KILL OR BE KILLED Vol. 2 by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips follows the spirit of Vol. 1 in taking its vigilante premise literally — not only are the police on Dylan’s trail, but so is the Russian mob. Fun, but Dylan’s life away from the violence is the series’ weak spot — he’s a generic slacker loser, and I honestly can’t care which woman he hooks up with
GREEN ARROW: Emerald Outlaw by Benjamin Percy is the weakest of GA’s uneven Rebirth arc so far. The plot concerns Malcolm Merlyn framing Ollie, who’s already operating as a vigilante, as a murderous vigilante, but stripped of John Barrowman’s charm on Arrow, Merlyn’s strictly a D-lister. This just feels too much like a rather underwhelming episode of the show, and nothing more.
NOT DRUNK ENOUGH by Tessa Stone has a repairman answering a call at a spooky office building only to discover the place is rife with monsters. Nicely Buffyesque in tone, but it didn’t hold my interest, partly because the art makes the fight scenes confusing.
I was disappointed in the last volume of Girl Genius a new arc due to the transition from besieged Mechanicsburg to mid-book, so THE SECOND JOURNEY OF AGATHA HETERODYNE: The Beast of the Rails by Phil and Kaja Foglio worked much better as we’re past the transition point. Agatha escapes the Storm King on a sacred railroad but finds it stocked with spies, power-hungry schemers and assassins. Meanwhile Gil and the Storm King are attempting to tackle other challenges, so it’s a lively, if somewhat sprawling adventure (I’ll be curious to see if the Foglios keep all the different plotlines running in the next book). Cover by Phil Foglio, all rights remain with current holder.
BATMAN BEYOND: Escaping the Grave by Dan Jurgens and Bernard Chang starts the Rebirth cycle for the book (based on the cartoon about a young man becoming Batman in a dystopian near-future Gotham). While I’ve no idea what this book was like before Rebirth, the story, involving a villain’s scheme to resurrect the dead Joker, was enjoyable.
TRUTH AND FEAR is Peter Higgins’ follow-up to Wolfhound Century in which the alt.Russia “the Vlast” begins to collapse under the pressure of war, which doesn’t stop renegade secret police officer Lom and his adversaries in the government struggling to master the Mystic McGuffin. The Russian setting is the book’s strongest point, but the story and the writing style make it a must-read.