More DC Trades – Dec 2008

 Birds of Prey : Metropolis or Dust
2008 / DC Comics

The birds are in a little bit of disarray and it doesn’t help that Oracle has become obsessed with finding out who was behind a major catastrophe in their new home of Metropolis. Birds of Prey has always been an exceptional read because of the great pacing and high action content. As the series has progressed it has also become very character driven with the various members of the group becoming more like a family. The newest member, Misfit, is a bit out of joint because Barbara doesn’t trust her to do field work. Lady Blackhawk runs into problems of her own when someone from her past resurfaces to rise a little Hell. And running through out is a group operating out of a place called Platinum Flats who is under the radar and starting to get oracle’s attention.
By the end of the book, after a lot of great fight scenes the Birds are getting ready to move again, this time to Platinum Flats, and that can only mean even more action coming. Birds of Prey once again satisfies on every level.

Justice League International Volume Three
(hardcover format)

2008 / DC Comics

At a time when comics were embracing change in the late 1980’s, embracing darkness and retro fitting deconstructionism it was quite refreshing to see a comic book that was just straight forward fun super heroics. Keith Giffin himself was part of the deconstruction with his run over at Legion of Superheroes, a jump into a future with Modred winning the legion having to rebuild.

This new version of the league came after some major revamping at DC. The previous version was probably the weakest in the groups history featuring questionable heroes like “VIBE”. Under Max Lord the new league had direction and UN sanctions, they were light hearted, but they were fun. And the art rocked. Kevin Maguire’s work is outstanding and is just as good as anything being done now.

Volume three has our gang of fun loving heroes traveling to countries ruled by dictators undercover to stop evil, dealing with an intergalactic threat from a group of alien traders ruled by one Gengis Khan who only believe in business and traveling to Apokolips to rescue one of their own. And an alien invasion waiting for them on the return to Earth.
Throw in guest shots from Wonder Woman, Superman, Darkseid, Lobo and more and you can’t miss. Things that took place in this run on the series actually had ramifications that have been felt right into current story lines. Max Lord and Blue Beetle shined here, Fire and Ice were made to be real players, mister Miracle and Barda were in love and setting an example and Hawkman was, well, Hawkman.

I’m thrilled that this run on Justice League is being reprinted and I can’t wait for more.

Nightwing : Freefall
2008 / DC Comics

Dick Grayson has always been an interesting character, and while at times it seems people weren’t sure what to do with him, in recent years he has really become the hero to watch as Nightwing really defines himself.
Peter J. Tomasi really seems to have a handle on Nightwing and Dick Grayson, managing to balance both identities into a cohesive character that has depth and a true sense of honor. In Freefall Nightwing is finally settling in both as Dick and a night flying hero in his new home of New York. He establishes a great new cover identity, and a new base of operations. During this he is also investigating the twisted crime of grave robbing. Someone is digging up dead heroes and villains and Nightwing needs to find out who and why. The who is actually a Dr. Creighton working for Talia al Ghul and the why, well, lets just say you need to read it to believe it.
What really made this story work for me was Nightwing’s willingness to ask for help from other heroes, but not rely on it to do everything. It had some great moments that reminded me of the Denny O’Neil and Neil Adams days of Batman in the 70’s, which I consider high praise.
This book gets better and better.

Teen Titans: On The Clock
2008 / DC Comics

The Titans aren’t what they once were, the feeling of family that has always held them together seems to be gone. This riff within the team makes it easier for the Clock King to come in and start kicking asses. New members struggling with themselves and trying to get along make the team just that much more vulnerable.
By the end of this tale there are some new members and some older members are leaving. The last few years change has really been the only constant on this team. I’m not sure I’m loving everything going on here but I have to say this book has my attention and I NEED to know what’s going to happen. I am hooked and that says to me that the writer, in this case Sean McKeever , is doing his job right. There are a number of different artists involved here, and they are all up to the job. I think once this whole story arc is over and I go back and reread the whole of the last two years back to back it will be more satisfying, but for now I want to know what’s going to happen next. McKeever is taking some chances and I’m enjoying the ride.