November 20, 2016: Mild Mannered Reviews – Elsewhere in the DCU

Welcome to another exciting installment of “Elsewhere in the DCU”, chronicling the appearances of Superman, his villains and supporting characters in the wider DC Universe. We have a few to mention this time around, so let’s get to it…

Mild Mannered Reviews – Suicide Squad #6

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Suicide Squad #6

Scheduled to arrive in stores: November 16, 2016

Cover date: January 2017

“The Black Vault” – Part Six

Writer: Rob William
Penciller: Jim lee
Inker: Scott Williams, Sandra Hope, Matt Banning and Jim Lee

Reviewed by: Keith Samra

Click to enlarge

We pick up directly where the last issue ended, Col. Rick Flag had just opened fire and shot Amanda Waller, he says the bullet directly hit Amanda Waller in the head, and she falls dead on the ground. In reality, Kitana manages to intercept the bullet with her soul sword, and Amanda Waller stands stunned and surprised. She takes down Flag in short order by herself, and it becomes evident that there is something in the atmosphere that is causing everyone to act violent and irrational.

In the mess hall, the guards turn on the Squad, as they taser Hack, who tries to explain that something was going on.

Harcourt seems to decipher that whatever is causing everyone to lash out violently to one another, started when they pulled Zod from the sphere, and yells that they need to put him back into it. Elsewhere in the compound, June Moon discovers her cell is unlocked and wanders out, only to discover Killer Croc behind her, as he attacks her saying “Eat You”…

Hack wakes up in the room where they install the Neuro-Bombs into the members of the Suicide Squad. She is strapped to the table, and is confronted by a corpse looking creature that resembles a lot like Captain Boomerang, she somehow manages to make him disappear as she panics.

Over in the Lab, Harcourt mentions that Zod poses no trouble during this distress, as Kryptonians are powered by the yellow sun, and that they have the red solar lamps going, but one of the affected scientists switches the red sun lamps to yellow… And Zod wakes up!

Finally, Harley Quinn is seen, straightening herself up, as it appears that whatever it is turning everyone crazy, has the opposite affect on her. Reverting back to Dr Harleen Quinzel, she walks right into the thick of things, leaving us with the final image, of Kitana creeping up behind her ready to behead her with the soul sword.

To be continued…

5Story – 5: This was an amazing issue. The suspense had me glued to each page… or rather the screen, as I read this digitally. I confessed last time around, that I spoke to soon, and should have let the story play out, instead of complaining about the elements that I felt hadn’t been addressed yet… Again I have mud on my face, as I a few weeks ago I said that they had wasted a well known character like Captain Boomerang for a cheap shock moment… Well it appears that I could have been wrong about that also. I am man enough to admit it. Well done Mr Williams!

I love the affects that the Phantom Zone is having on everyone. As if Zod’s blood lust is seeping into everyone’s psyche. Ironically I find it great that it is the very thing that makes Harley Quinn sane again… What I wouldn’t give to have the Joker in the building too. I’d love to see what it does to him.

This issue featured the first appearance of El Diablo in the main story of the book. Up until now, we had only seen him in specials and back up stories.

I’m curious to see what role Zod will actually play. Up until now, he has been pretty much a berserker, tearing things up. I wonder how Waller will ultimately gain control of him… If she can.

Hack is another character that has been an interesting to follow. It appears she has abilities that even she isn’t totally aware of yet. We may have seen the end of June Moon, if Killer Croc carries through with biting her neck clean off. The psychological ramifications that Killer Croc will be left with could prove to be compelling reading.

All in all, this series, though a little slow to start with, has been a fun ride, with a perfect marriage of writing and art. I have faith in Rob Williams. Also it makes me anticipate the upcoming Justice League vs Suicide Squad… I wonder what Superman will think… Or do when he finds out that Amanda Waller is in possession of one of his deadliest enemies.
5Art – 5: I must say that I truly am impressed that Jim Lee has managed to keep a bi-weekly schedule the way he has lately. And also provide top notch art. So far he has given us 6 consecutive issues, and hasn’t seemed to slow down or let the art suffer.

I loved the Harley Quinn page, where she cuts her hair, removes her make up, and assumes the look she sported as Harleen Quinzell. It seems almost like a reverse Bizarro transformation.

I like the look that Lee gave El Diablo. He has a great handle on translating the film costumes and making their comic book interpretations.

Lee along with Sandra Hope and Matt Banning join Scott Williams on the inking chores this time around. The art doesn’t suffer from it at all. Good job team. And lastly I again must mention Alex Sinclair’s colors. He is an important part of the art team. The book wouldn’t look as good as it does without him.
5Cover Art – 5: The cover is generally the first thing that we look at when read a comic. So the cover to this issue had me mesmerized, as I focused on why Deadshot looked like a mutant. With bullets for teeth and fingernails. This cover is a perfect representation of what to expect inside. Awesome job again by Jim Lee. I love the composition.

The Lee Bermejo variant of Captain Boomerang is very moody, and I wondered why they would put a dead character on the cover like this, after reading the issue, it was a smart choice.
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Mild Mannered Reviews – Nightwing #9

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Nightwing #9

Scheduled to arrive in stores: November 16, 2016

Cover date: January 2017

“Rise of the Raptor” – Conclusion

Writer: Tim Seeley
Penciller: Marcio Takara
Inker: Marcio Takara

Reviewed by: Keith Samra

Click to enlarge

The story so far…

Nightwing was on a personal mission to take down the Court of Owls spread around the world. He is aided by a mysterious operative Raptor, who has ties to his days in the Haley Circus from his childhood.

This issue…

Dick Grayson is having nightmares of his team The Titans all dying in action. He wakes to discover Superman at his window. Superman takes Nightwing to the Fortress of Solitude, and explains that Dr Destiny may be causing his recent nightmares. Superman goes on to tell Nightwing hat he wants to gain his trust, and that the Nightwing from his world was a good friend of his, and would like this Nightwing to be his friend also. Nightwing is skeptical of this Superman, telling him that the Superman of this (New 52) world was a good friend of his.

They go into Nightwing’s dream-scape, using technology from the fortress. While in there they run into Dr Destiny who is wreaking havoc. They both start to get beaten down by Dr Destiny, when Superman explains that Nightwing need but only remember those times that he had been successful in the past. When he does this, he see’s Superman (New 52) of his world and Red Robin (Tim Drake). Who help take Dr Destiny down. Nightwing happy that he is once again reunited with his lost friends, learns that they will always be with him. Dr Destiny makes one last attempt to attack Nightwing and Superman, when Nightwing is able to summon multiple heroes to aid him, seeing as they are all in his psyche.

They take down Dr Destiny and also the criminal organization called Cobra. The Justice League come into clean up. Batman thanks Superman for the assist to Nightwing, then offers Nightwing a ride home. Nightwing agree’s, and asks Batman if they can take a detour through the city of Bludhaven…

5Story – 5: I’ve always been a big fan of Nightwing. I’ve collected his various series over the years, so when Rebirth came along, it was a no-brainer for me.

This issue was very inception like, an obvious way. It was a great little interlude from what’s been happening in the previous story arc. The use of Superman was perfectly handled. I love that Superman and Nightwing are friends in the universal sense. I also love that they kept the origin of where Nightwing’s got his name from, by keeping it tied into Superman lore.

Superman reaching out, and asking Nightwing to call him “Clark” showcased the amount of trust he has in him. Was a real “Superman like moment”. Tim Seeley really has a good grasp of the character.

Another thing that I really enjoyed was using this interlude of an issue to reestablishes Nightwing to the city of Bludhaven.

A great issue and a great series. I urge anyone that is even a little bit curious to at least check out the trade once its out.
5Art – 5: I’ve been familiar with Marcio Takara’s work for a little while now. I was a frequent visitor to his Deviant Art page at His visuals flowed nicely, and I like the Pre-Flashpoint call backs with Doomsday, Superboy Prime, The Key and Mageddon.

His rendition of Superman was iconic looking, as well as very youthful at the same time. I’d love to see him tackle an issue of a Superman comic one day.

Lastly I just want to mention his rendition of Dr Destiny. In the past, many people mistake Dr Destiny for Skeletor from “Masters of the Universe”. There is no exception here either, but rather, I’d now really like to see Takara take on a “Masters of the Universe” piece in the future some time. His Skeletor would most definitely look epic!

Marcello Maiolo perfectly accents Takara’s art with the colors! A great job with the reflections and tone!
5Cover Art – 5: The main cover is very eye catching! Marcio Takara did a fantastic job with it! I also liked the Ivan Reis variant just as much. I love the birds eye view of Superman and Nightwing.
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Mild Mannered Reviews – Aquaman #11

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Aquaman #11

Scheduled to arrive in stores: November 16, 2016

Cover date: January 2017

“The Deluge” – Prologue

Writer: Dan Abnett
Penciller: Phillippe Briones
Inker: Phillippe Briones

Reviewed by: Keith Samra

Click to enlarge

The story so far…

Black Manta and N.E.M.O unleash the Shaggy Man, who wreaks havoc through Atlantis on his way to Mainland America. There Aquaman draws the line at Amnesty Bay and fights the Shaggy Man, until he is beaten within an inch of his life. Aquaman manages use his Justice League membership card to teleport the Shaggy Man into space. Mera learns about the battle and makes her way to the surface world.

This issue…

Mera finds Aquaman in hospital, they have a moment. Just then the Justice League walk in to make sure that Aquaman is OK after the battle. Superman and Aquaman talk, and shake hands. Later Superman being interviewed by a news station, reminds the people the world that Aquaman has the full support of the Justice League and that he has proven to be a true hero.

Elsewhere Black Manta discusses with second in charge that the Shaggy Man plan may have failed, but they must move onto the next. A false flag operation.

Aquaman makes his way back to Atlantis. And soon after they discover that the surface world has been attacked by… Atlantis?

4Story – 4: I have been enjoying this book since its Rebirth special. It has heavy political undertones, which should be expected, as Aquaman IS A KING of a sovereign nation after all.

Superman has made two appearance in this book so far, and both times he has been handled quite well. I really liked the way Dan Abnett used Superman. He showed Superman’s trust in his friends and teammates, and showed his diplomatic side. All in all, I am always happy when a writer uses Superman without making him a joke or a weakling.

If you are not reading Aquaman, I urge you to check it out at the least. It’s a good title, and a good balance of politics, action and super heroics.
4Art – 4: Phillippe Briones is a good artist. I like his story telling techniques. His style reminds me of Paul Pelletier and a little of John Romita Jr.

I like the way he renders the Justice League. They seem like their classic counterparts from the bronze age, with modern twists.
4Cover Art – 4: I like the composition, perfect representation of Black Manta causing Aquaman and Mera distress.
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Mild Mannered Reviews – Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #8

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Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #8

Scheduled to arrive in stores: November 9, 2016

Cover date: January 2017

“Bottled Light” – Part One

Writer: Robert Vendittit
Penciller: Ethan Van Sciver
Inker: Ethan Van Sciver

Reviewed by: Keith Samra

Click to enlarge

The story so far…

The Green Lantern Corp had vanished, leaving only 3 Green Lantern’s operating in the Universe. With Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz assigned to Earth and the Justice League, Hal Jordan heads into space to stop the Sinestro Corps, which are now the dominant peace keeping force in the universe.

The Green Lantern Corps led by John Stewart return to this universe from where they had vanished to. John Stewart sends Guy Gardner out for recon, and to find Hal Jordan. Guy Gardner runs into the Sinestro Corps while on this mission, and is captured by them.

Hal Jordan takes on Sinestro, in a battle to the death, and Hal manages to disintegrate himself and Sinestro, in a blast of pure will power.

This issue…

With the Sinestro Corps defeated, and their prisoners liberated, the Green Lantern Corps learn that the planet Xudar is being invaded by Starro. John Stewart leads the Corps to take down Starro, and liberate the planet, which they do, with the help of some of Soranik Natu (Sinestro’s daughter) and the Sinestro Corps members that weren’t 100% devoted to the way Sinestro did things.

Starro disappears mysteriously, and John Stewart, Tomar and Kilawog head into the upper atmosphere to find out what is happening. They don’t get to far into orbit, when they are suddenly stopped by an unusual barrier. The stunned Lanterns look on, and wonder where it came from, when it is revealed in the last scene that Brainiac that “collected” them…

To be continued…

5Story – 5: This book has been an excellent read so far. It started in the second phase of Rebirth. It has a non stop action ride from the first issue. Really reminiscent of Geoff Johns run on Green Lantern. Though Hal is the focal point, we do see John Stewart and Guy Gardner a fair bit.

Brainiac, a Superman villain that pretty much graduated to a larger DC Universe threat as of late. He pretty much now stands along side the likes of Darkseid, The Dominators, The Anti-Monitor, Mongul and Krona. So I was happy to see him make an appearance here. Seeing as how he is an intergalactic threat. I’m actually surprised it’s taken him this long to appear in any Green Lantern title. Ironically, this is the second Superman villain to be used in the pages of Green Lantern, right behind the Hank Henshaw Cyborg Superman. (Third if we count Mongul, for all the hardcore fans).

He seems to be one of the “android” machinations that appeared in the Geoff Johns Superman: Brainiac story line from a few years back, before the New 52 started. So I’m assuming that the “Grand Collector” that this Brainiac 2.0 unit mentions will be the organic green version of the character from that story… Well I hope it is anyway.

Something I didn’t mention in my recap of this issue, is that in the final page, Hal Jordan’s ring flies to the planet Nok in space sector 2814. There two beings stand and witness this ring fly toward them. It is later revealed that these two are Ganthet and Sayd. With the appearance of Hal’s Ring (which is actually searching for Hal Jordan). Ganthet says that their time of exile has come to an end. The Guardians have been largely missing from the two Green Lantern books that DC is publishing right now, since Rebirth. So it will be interesting to see these two take a role of any proportion.

I’m really excited to see where this story arc will lead. Brainiac is one of my most favorite villains in the DCU, and I love that he has turned up in one of my other favorite books right behind the Superman titles.

This title has been a really fun to read so far. So please take a look at it, if you’re curious at all about. You wont be disappointed, I promise.
5Art – 5: The art in this book has been stellar so far. Every issue is a feast on the eyes. And in the case with this issue, I must say, Ethan Van Sciver truly is a modern master of comic book art. His level of detail reminds me of Brian Bolland’s art, and his high octane action scenes are full of energy that can rival the greats like John Byrne, Jim Lee and George Perez.

Obviously my favorite moment was the reveal of Brainiac. Especially this robot look/version. It looks like it literally stepped out of the 80’s Super Powers era. Maybe that’s why I loved it so much. As the Super Powers Collection is my most favorite action figure line of all time. It was my doorway into the larger DC universe. And where I first learned of characters such as Green Lantern and Brainiac, falling in love with them instantly. For it all to come full circle in this book was absolutely a joy to behold.

Van Sciver’s signature detail is peppered in the entire book, the best example are the other bottled up creatures and cities in the background of the Brainiac scene. If I could own the original art for this page, I’d die a happy man. I loved it that much. Go check out the book just for this page alone, you wont be sorry.

Jason Wright does a great job on the colors, and without them, I don’t think the book would look as sharp and vibrant as it does as it does.
4Cover Art – 4: The cover is really attractive, with a good composition. It falls a little short of epic for me, but its still great.

The Kevin Nowlan variant featuring Hal Jordan is good also. I prefer the standard cover to this one though.
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