Selected Comics Haul 6/7/06

A fairly light haul this week. There is a risk of spoilers, but Iâ??ll try to be vague around the important parts. Never-the-less, if you donâ??t want ANYthing ruined, donâ??t read it.

Detective Comics #820: â??Face the Face part 7â?
Well, Batmanâ??s first One Year Later arc is almost over (just one installment left). For the most part, this arc has just been a tour of Gotham City and the new Post-Crisis world Batman lives in. A few surprises in what villains survived, what villains didn’t and what aspects of Batmanâ??s history were reintroduced. The arc has been fun, but you can tell it all serves as a primer to the â??newâ? Batman universe and to return various elements to the status quo. We get to see the Scarecrow in this issue, albeit briefly. A nice cameo from Jack Ryder (AKA the Creeper), too. This arc has also served as a way of reintroducing the “detective” element back into Batman, though the mystery is practically resolved. Weâ??ve all known since Part 1 that Harvey wasnâ??t responsible for the murders of various 8th tier super villains, but Batman manages to prove it in this issue. Or so weâ??re lead to think, anyhow. Jim Bardâ??s back-up story is pretty good. I had forgotten all about the Tally-Man. Iâ??ll put in more insight once the last chapter comes out and I can look at the arc as a whole, but for right now, the arc is really just serving as a sampling platter of Batmanâ??s new world.

52 Week 5
I have to say, the most impressive thing about 52 is that DC has managed to produce a comic of this quality on a weekly basis. Makes you wonder why Astonishing X-Men and the Ultimates 2 keep taking so long. In this issue we get to see what happened to all those heroes who were stranded in space at the end of the Infinite Crisis. Most of the results were pretty gruesome, too. Think the “Amalgam” concept from the early 90’s only a little closer to the Megatron-Ratchet hybrid from Simon Furman’s Transformers comic. This series has been heavily focusing on the 3rd tier heroes rather than the Holy Trinity, which has been fantastic. This series (and this issue, in particular) is the best Steel has been written since Grant Morrisonâ??s run on JLA. This issue also starts a new arc with Starfire, Animal Man and Adam Strange, and I canâ??t wait to see where this one leads. The History of the DC Universe has been a fairly good back-up story, though theyâ??ve spent a bit too much time on the Crisis on Infinite Earths and seem to have just quickly glossed-over the era previous to it.

The Punisher (Max) #34
So, just to repeat something weâ??ve all known for years, Garth Ennis is certifiably insane. This volume of the Punisher has been nothing but a string of the most outrageously violent, vulgar and vicious acts of brutality any human being can possibly comprehend. And Ennis does it all with a disturbing sense of humor, too. â??Barracuda part 4â? has been the best installment in the arc so far. The Barracuda is all the worst Black stereotypes rolled into one and then multiplied by a hundred. In other words, heâ??s absolutely hilarious. Frank taking on a great white shark is easily the highlight of the issue, though the interplay between Si, Dermot and Harry is almost as much fun. Which is a testament to Ennis’ skill, as most people don’t care about the incidental characters that change from arc to arc.

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