BATGIRL AND THE BIRDS OF PREY: Source Code by Shawna and Julie Benson, Roge Antonio and Claire Rowe is a big improvement over the previous volume as Batgirl, Huntress and Black Canary go up against a thief who steals metahuman powers, a shady eco-friendly company and Oracle’s old foe the Calculator. The banter and the art were much less annoying than V1, and overall I think they did a great job.
BOMBSHELLS: Allies by Marguerite Bennett and multiple artists is the second volume in the series (somehow I neglected to review the first volume, Enlisted), set in WW II. With the male superheroes all fighting on the front, 1940s versions of various characters (Supergirl, Batwoman, Stargirl, Mera, Wonder Woman) have been recruited by Amanda Waller to fight against the Axis. The first volume was a lot of fun, this one a little less. Partly, some key events seemed to have happened off-page, partly that the living dead Tenebrae are way too stock a foe. Still, I liked this one.
LOBSTER JOHNSON: The Pirate’s Ghost and Metal Monsters of Midtown by Mike Mignola, John Arcudi and Tonci Zonjic is a mixed bag. The first story arc, concerning giant robots running amok in New York, was a lot of fun. The second, in which a ghost pirate ship shows up in New York (surprisingly for the Hellboy-verse, it turns out to be a fake, like something from a Doc Savage novel) is fun, but I honestly don’t think the plot makes sense. Both stories have been added to the Hellboy Chronology, of course.
I recently reread the Bronze Age Prez series because I’d picked up the 2015-16 PREZ: Corn-Dog in Chief by Mark Russell and Ben Caldwell, which is as goofy as its predecessor but in a different way. The premise here is that Beth Ross, whose gaming skills have given her a cult status, is picked as a write-in candidate and wins her state. When the election is thrown into the House of Representatives, she obviously has no chance to win… right? Suddenly an 18-year-old girl is thrust into the White House in a corporate-controlled dystopian future (“I’m the end-of-life bear, would you like some medical marijuana?”), helped by her vice president, Rep. Rickards (an alt.version of the original Prez). I liked it, but apparently not enough people did, as DC ended it here instead of the planned twelve-issue run.
THE COMPLETE PEANUTS 1967-8 by Charles Schulz doesn’t add as much new stuff as the previous volume, mostly building on ’65-6. We have more of Peppermint Patty, a lot more of Snoopy as the WW I flying ace (“I’ve always wanted to meet a blighter.”), and more of the perennial gags (the little redheaded girl, losing at baseball, trying to kick the football, Lucy’s hopeless crush on Schroeder). That’s not meant as a negative: Schulz has found his groove and the strips are still fun years later. We do get one new element, a black kid named Franklin (Brian Cronin writes about the story behind adding him), and Snoopy has a regular bird friend now, though not yet named Woodstock. Good, though I can see why some of my friends hated the increased emphasis on Snoopy.
#SFWApro. Cover by Ben Caldwell, all rights to image remain with current holder.