Mild Mannered Reviews – Elsewhere in the DCU

Here we are at another installment of our view into the wider DC Universe. The Suicide Squad book leads into the Justice League vs Suicide Squad event that is coming up soon. So maybe keep an eye on the developments of that book.

So let’s get into it shall we…

Deathstroke #8 Deathstroke #8 KindleDownload iBookBuy Now

Deathstroke #8

Scheduled to arrive in stores: November 23, 2016

Cover date: January 2017

“The Professional” – Part 8: “Conclusion”

Writer: Christopher Priest
Breakdowns: Larry Hama
Penciller: Carlo Pagulayan
Inker: Jason Paz & Sean Parsons

Reviewed by: Keith Samra

Click to enlarge

Picking right up from last issue, Superman confronts Deathstroke on the aircraft carrier. Deathstroke seemingly gives up and surrenders to Superman, only to catch him off guard, and he attacks the Man of Steel. Deathstroke tells Superman that he will turn himself over to him, but he needs to carry out his contract to assassinate Alisante first. Superman refuses to let him do so, and the two battle it out. Deathstroke’s Ikon suit is able to take the brunt of Superman’s blows and other attacking techniques. Even manages to use it against Superman in an offensive manner.

Deathstroke through various means and traps manages to avoid getting captured by Superman, even tricking Superman into thinking that he is shooting at him with Kryptonite bullets, and gets away long enough to actually kill Alisante.

Superman then finally captures Deathstroke, and in a last bid to flee attempts to battle Superman one on one. It is then revealed that Superman also bought in some help, in the form of Jericho (Deathstroke’s son), whose own Ikon suit shorts out Deathstroke’s.

At the end, Superman meets with Deathstroke’s ex-wife, explains to her, that after he removed his Ikon suit, he turned him over to the U.S coastguard. This leaves her very angry that he didn’t bring him in to her, how she wanted him to. Superman in not too many words explains he bought Deathstroke to justice, and is not a tool for her or any government.

5Story – 5: I liked this story, I have been following this book since the first issue, and I like the direction that Priest has been taking it.

The first two pages of this issue reminded me a lot of the 1980s “G.I. Joe” comic series. Which is no wonder, as Larry Hama wrote that book, and he scripted this one.

Deathstroke was able to “play” Superman. Like the majority of Superman fans, I hate when Superman is made to look weak in any way. Be it power wise or his intellect. However, in the DCU there are only a handful of people that could and should be able to do so, and Deathstroke is one of them. Heck Deathstroke is a character that can outsmart Batman!

Priest did a good job of handling Superman, and not making him look foolish or weak at all, which I liked a lot, as he respected Superman’s character and place in the DCU.

Critically reading this issue, I was like, “No, this shouldn’t happen, Superman would do this to counter,” and every time this happened, I felt foolish as I read on, because Priest and Hama were always one step ahead. For example, I was thinking to myself “Kryptonite, really”? Then it was revealed that Deathstroke tricks Superman and us the reader into thinking that he shooting at him with Kryptonite bullets, when in fact it was florescent dye and glow sticks. It was of those moments that as a reader I felt I was Superman, and I was being outsmarted.

The only thing I had an issue with was that the Ikon suit’s power level. Being able to hold Superman at bay the way it did. Though masterfully explained, I guess I just have a personal bias against characters having tech such as this. But I digress. It was handled well.
5Art – 5: Carlo Pagulayan again did a fantastic job with this issue, just as he did with the last. His Superman looks strong and powerful. And the action is fluidly laid out. I felt echoes of Jason Fabok in the art, whose style I admire a lot also. Pagulayan is a great young talent.

The opening page splash is very reminiscent of Batman v Superman, with Deathstroke facing off against Superman.

The best thing about the art is that you can tell what is happening in the story, without even reading the words. And this is a sign of a great visual story teller. If I had anything bad to say, it would be that at times the facials felt a little devoid of emotion at times in some panels, but this is just me nit picking.

Having two inkers on the book, didn’t change anything. Both inking styles meshed together quite nicely.

Jeromy Cox also does a fantastic job of coloring this series.
3Cover Art – 3: Both the covers felt quite average, nothing at all dynamic sadly.
Check out the Mild Mannered Reviews contents page.

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #10 Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #10 KindleDownload iBookBuy Now

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #10

Scheduled to arrive in stores: December 14, 2016

Cover date: February 2017

“Bottled Light” – Part Three

Writer: Robert Vendittit
Penciller: Ed Benes
Inker: Ed Benes

Reviewed by: Keith Samra

Click to enlarge

Brainiac scans the bottle city of Xudar, which now contains both Green and Yellow Lanterns. Brainiac catalogues each member of each Corps, according to their planetary race. All the while mentioning the “Grand Collector” and how pleased he will be.

Meanwhile on the planet Nok in sector 2814, Ganthet and Sayd tell the newly arrived White Lantern, Kyle Rayner that Hal Jordan is trapped within his own Green Lantern ring. They explain that only he as a White Lantern can bring him back from where he is trapped.

We then see Hal being led by Abin Sur to the place where all other fallen Green Lanterns are gathered. He meets with them all, and is greeted by Tomar-Re and Katma Tui. He tells them that their loved ones are doing well, and that they miss them. Abin Sur again reminds Hal that he doesn’t belong, and must go back to the realm of the living.

At that moment, Kyle manages to break through, and bring Hal back to the living realm.

We end with Brainiac arriving in the Vega system. Where there is no sort of intergalactic peacekeeping force such as any Lantern Corps. He presents the bottled city of Xudar to the mysterious “Grand Collector,” who is then revealed to be non-other than Larfleez, The Orange Lantern.

To be continued…

5Story – 5: Yet another great issue. This was really more of Hal centric one, which is understandable seeing as how he is the star of the book. However, like last issue, it was great to be able to see Kyle Rayner again.

I find that Robert Venditti is running with the ball that Geoff Johns originally kicked off. He is picking up a lot of the plot points and threads from Johns run on Green Lantern. Hal Jordan again seems to be the most important man in the universe once again. I apologize for the sarcasm, but that’s how Johns made him feel, and now Robert Venditti is establishing that again.

The only downsides that I felt, was that John Stewart feels like a jerk at times, which really is Guy Gardner’s role. I hope that Venditti does more with the rest of the Lantern Corps in the future.

Obviously we are reviewing this book, because Brainiac is involved. So I was a little disappointed that the reveal of the Grand Collector was Larfleez and not a “Brainiac Prime”. It will be interesting to see how Larfleez gained control of Brainiac. I wonder if his ring has power over Brainiac’s Colu mind, or did he do it in some other manner?

Time will tell. I look forward to the next issue.
5Art – 5: I was surprised that Ed Benes had taken over the duties for this issue. I’d have thought it may have been Ethan Van Sciver, as he and Rafa Sandoval rotated on the art duties.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Ed Benes work. He is a great visual story teller, and has been a great asset to DC for over a decade now. There was a shift in the art styles obviously, and that is even more evident with the lack of an inker. Even with tight pencils, you lose of the sharpness that an inker provides to the page. The page definitely looks softer without inks and colors straight over the pencils.

Ed is great at drawing females. He and J. Scott Campbell are cut from the same cloth in that way, but here, Benes showcases that he’s also great at the traditional superhero stuff. Solid figure work.
5Cover Art – 5: The regular cover by van Sciver is amazing. I love the composition of Kyle reconstructing Hal in a way. Kevin Nowlan’s variant I like quite a bit also. Like I’ve mentioned in the past, I love this look for Brainiac. It’s such a great piece, which I think would look far better in Black and White. I’d love to own the original art for this.
Check out the Mild Mannered Reviews contents page.

Suicide Squad #8 KindleDownload iBookBuy Now

Suicide Squad #8

Scheduled to arrive in stores: December 14, 2016

Cover date: February 2017

“The Black Vault” – Part 8

Writer: Rob William
Penciller: Jim lee
Inker: Scot Williams, Richard Friend and Sandra Hope

Reviewed by: Keith Samra

Click to enlarge

We pick up where the last issue leaves, with Col. Flag facing off against Killer Croc. June Moon agrees to change into the Enchantress, if Flag agrees not to kill Croc. Hack talks to the digital ghost of Capt. Boomerang, and is discovered by the rest of the crazed inmates of Belle Reve. Enchantress transports Croc and Harley to the black vault that houses Zod’s body. Zod wakes up and starts making short work of the soldiers surrounding him. Killer Croc and Enchantress try to stop him also, but fail. Zod picks up Amanda Waller by the throat and is about to kill her, when Harley manages to strike him with some power cables, running millions of volts of electricity through him. This opens up a window for hack to hit Zod with a “virus,” which happens to be the digitized essence of Capt. Boomerang. Passing through Zod, Capt. Boomerang somehow manages to regain his body, while Zod is left standing mindless.

With sanity restored to the entire complex, Harley is again discovered to have returned to insane state.

4Story – 4: The conclusion to this storyline really felt like a high octane, Jerry Bruckheimer third act to a summer blockbuster. Yes, there were parts to this story that were almost formulaic, but it was a fun ride. There were a lot of similarities to the recent live action film. Which I’m sure is by design.

The twist with Zod, being almost a barbarian conqueror was a nice change. It was established that his body had been mutated by his time in the Phantom Zone. I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of him yet. He is a blank slate now, one that Amanda Waller will surely exploit.

A good balance of humor, action and suspense, with the backup story about Killer Frost being introduced into Belle Reve, this book will now directly lead into the Justice League vs Suicide Squad upcoming event. I hope that Waller will attempt to use Zod during that, or at least lay the groundwork for her to do so in the future. I want to see what Superman will do when he discovers that Waller has a crazy Kryptonian despot at her disposal… Or at least his body.

I like the Fire and Ice aspect of having El Diablo and Killer Frost on the team. Should be very interesting to see how that plays out.
5Art – 5: I can’t say enough about how much I have enjoyed Jim Lee’s work on this book. I’d imagine this may be his last issue, as he moves onto something else. Again Lee was able to juggle a wide cast of characters and action sequences with ease. One notable thing was, the Enchantress costume, it looked so awesome, far better than the skimpy, Harley Quinn duds. Just goes to show, over sexualization of some characters isn’t always a winner.

I hope the following artist can keep the momentum rolling with the art.

I can’t leave without mentioning the colors. Alex Sinclair did not do this issue, but there isn’t a change in the tone of the book at all. In fact, had I not been writing the credits for this issue, I’d never have realized that it was Jeremiah Skipper on the color duties instead of Sinclair.
5Cover Art – 5: Another poster like cover, I like them very much. I know that some fans prefer something a little more than characters standing around as if they are posing for a picture.

The Lee Bermajo Variant of Harley Quinn is probably a little more fitting for the issue, and his work on the covers have been great so far.
Check out the Mild Mannered Reviews contents page.

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December 18, 2016 6:54 pm

Regarding Deathstroke #8:

Superman was supposedly stalling Deathstroke, until Jericho could arrive. In that time, Jericho completed his mission, and killed someone. Forget the ridiculous contrivances crafted to make Superman look like a fool, Superman allowed someone to die on his watch because he didn’t simply use his speed and apprehend Deathstroke. How this is a good showing for Superman, I’m at a loss to agree with.

So far we’ve seen Superman get smacked around by Aquaman, and now jobbed by Deathstroke. Wally West is up next in Titans.

Kal L
Kal L
December 18, 2016 8:53 pm
Reply to  liheibao

I don’t think he LET anyone die. Deathstroke managed to assassinate the guy by giving Superman the slip.
How different is it from Batman getting away from Superman during Hush?
I get what you mean about the whole speed thing, but then wouldn’t everyone be complaining that he used “excessive force”?

December 18, 2016 10:02 pm
Reply to  Kal L

Superman was “distracting” Deathstroke, while Jericho searched the ship for data logs. While Superman was distracting Deathstroke, it allowed Deathstroke to make his kill. Superman could have used his speed and cuffed Deathstroke while Jericho completed his search. Instead he lets Deathstroke kill on his watch, and looks like a complete fool for doing so.

Kal L
Kal L
December 18, 2016 10:52 pm
Reply to  liheibao

Actually if you read the issue, Superman was busy protecting the men that were abandoning ship, from a missile attack. When he finally catches up to Deathstroke, he gets tricked into thinking that he is being shot at by Kryptonite bullets. That was all the opeing needed for Deathstroke to get to Alisante’s mini sub, and make the kill.

He knew had the Ikon suit could be a problem, hence why he had Jericho come along to cancel it out.

December 19, 2016 4:59 am
Reply to  Kal L

None of which would have happened if he just apprehended Deathstroke immediately. If you enjoyed the story, sound, but that doesn’t preclude that Deathstroke got to his mark thanks to Superman. Bad stuff.

Kal L
Kal L
December 22, 2016 1:02 am
Reply to  liheibao

By that way of thinking, shouldn’t Superman take down the Joker so he doesn’t ever kill anyone again, because Batman cant get it done?…

Its a comic dude, and you cant have Superman solving all the problems.

It cant always be the writings fault, sometimes fans just need to go with it.

Super El
Super El
December 18, 2016 10:47 pm
Reply to  liheibao

It’s true.

Superman had ALOT of time in-between to cuff Deathstroke, or just knock him out. The fact that he is once again handicapped both physically and mentally by the plot really undermines him.