As I’ve accumulated a lot of these to review, I’ll just skip Saturday’s movie reviews this week so I can catch up.
FLINTSTONES: Bedrock Bedlam by Mark Russell and Steve Pugh (cover by Pugh, all rights to current holder) is the second and final volume in DC’s reboot of the old Hanna-Barbera series. The underlying premise is that humanity has just gone from hunter-gatherer to “modern” civilization in the space of a generation, so everyone’s still awkward in dealing with it. While it doesn’t really have the spirit of the old series (Fred and Barney are a lot smarter, and happily a lot less sexist), it wasn’t bad, particularly involving the interactions among the Flintstones’ living-creature appliances.
NIGHTWING: Nightwing Must Die by Tim Seeley and multiple artists is a real disappointment after the previous volume. Dick’s interactions with Damian Wayne are great, but this ignores most of what Back to Bludhaven set in motion to focus on the unmemorable Bat-foes Pyg and Hurt. Who, unfortunately spend lots and lots of time pontificating on What Makes a Hero — as I’ve said before, villains sharing Deep Thoughts (which are rarely actually deep) never works for me.
BATGIRL AND THE BIRDS OF PREY: Who Is Oracle? by Julie and Shawna Benson and Claire Roe is noteworthy for establishing yes, Babs Gordon did spend time as super-hacker Oracle in the New 52 continuity (something that was left vague up till now); this has her reunite the Birds of Prey when it turns out a new hacker has adopted Oracle’s ID. Unfortunately the book overall is middling at best, with unsatisfying art (everyone looks rather doughy, and I don’t think it’s because they’re bending body-standard norms or anything like that) and the dialog is way too TV-bantery.
Supergirl’s Rebirth volume 1, SUPERGIRL: Reign of the Cyborg Supermen by Steve Orlando and Brian Ching falls way below middling. I actually thought the previous Supergirl TPB, Crucible, had a good set-up but this ditches that for a remake that borrows as much as possible from the TV show without making it work (as a high-school student Kara is an Outcast Who Doesn’t Fit In! Wow, talk about originality!). On top of which we get one of the hoariest plotlines in the Super-mythos, Krypton attacks Earth (Supergirl’s already done that one recently). Given the New 52 was Kara’s third or fourth version in the 21st century, I wish they’d kept it instead of rebooting yet again.
JUSTICE LEAGUE: Darkseid War Part 2 by Geoff Johns and several artists only confirms that Johns has absolutely no sense of Kirby’s New Gods. In Origins, Darkseid’s a generic alien conqueror; Apokolips itself is equally mundane in Darkseid War Part One. In this TPB, which wrapped up Johns’ JLA run, the Anti-Monitor from Crisis on Infinite Earths is equally unimpressive, possessed by Kirby’s anti-life equation which turns him into a generic genocidal psycho (that the Anti-Life Equation is more about control and order than death and destruction flies over Johns’ head). I’d welcome the Justice League’s Rebirth run if that were any good.
Switching from the Super-stuff, BECOMING UNBECOMING by Una is a mix of the author’s ruminations on sexual violence (I doubt anything in the current crop of exposures would surprise her) with the account of the Yorkshire Ripper who terrified her community when she was growing up, partly because of the epic police fail in dealing with him. Didn’t entirely work for me because a lot of the sexual assault information was old news to me — a personal memoir mixed in with the Ripper stuff would have worked better.
THE COMPLETE PEANUTS: 1965-66 shows Charles Schulz in peak form — even though I’ve read all of these dozens of time, I found myself laughing a lot. And Schulz is still willing to try new stuff, as Snoopy enters his Sopwith Camel for the first time and some girl named “Peppermint” Patty volunteers to coach “Chuck” Brown’s team. Very good, though as I’ve noticed before, even Peanuts isn’t as timeless as some people think (there’s a joke about Hathaway shirts that will baffle lots of people now).