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The Non-Marvel Action Hour – 10/8/8

Mister Miracle, ‘Mazing Man, Catwoman, Supergirl, Trinity, and Yotsuba.

Employee’s Pick

Catwoman 46

[DC] Catwoman Vol. 3 #44-49

Writer: Will Pfeifer
Artist: Pete Woods

Suddenly, everything gets better. Will Pfeifer takes over as regular writer, to remain until the series’ cancellation with issue eighty-two. Pete Woods takes over on pencils and inks, with Adam Hughes on covers, ensuring that if nothing else, there’ll be pretty pictures every month. Even the colorist and letterer are replaced. Best of all, Holly gets a haircut!


Well, OK, the sharp increase in the quality and consistency of the writing, as well as that of the art and fun factor, are a bit nicer. Longhaired Holly – and longhaired Selina, thankfully absent during the series’ nadir – is merely a pet peeve.

Pfeifer kicks off his run by burying Selina in supervillains. Some familiar faces from Ed Brubaker’s run, like Captain Cold and that one crazy, Clayface-like killer, some new to the series, like Hammer and Sickle and Hugo Strange. It’s all tied to her archnemesis Black Mask, of course, and to protecting the East End. Pfeifer looks like an old hand at Catwoman stories, tailoring this one specifically to her by not only including the key players in her life, but by forcing her to make tough choices in the face of overwhelming odds. It’s all kinds of dramatic, but more importantly, it’s fun.

Hush up

For the first time since issue twenty-four, the book’s worth reading. Pfeifer and editor Matt Idelson seem to agree; there are several notes included in Pfeifer’s first storyarc, pointing out which issues of Catwoman you should track down if you’re curious as to when Selina last ran into a given character. Several references to past events, and of those, all but one are from the good part of Brubaker’s run or an earlier issue of Pfeifer’s. The parts between, being forgettable, are largely ignored. Pity they can’t be swept away entirely, but then they aren’t as abhorrent as all that.

New-Type Books

Trinity 1

[DC] Trinity #1

Writers: Kurt Busiek (main story and backup), Fabian Nicieza (backup story)
Pencilers: Mark Bagley (main story and backup), Scott McDaniel (backup story)

DC’s third weekly series, and hopefully their last. First came 52, which was well received and generally regarded a success. Now they knew they could do it, DC followed up with Countdown to Final Crisis, which went off the rails and has now become a laughingstock thanks to miscommunication between editorial and Grant Morrison. Then Trinity, at nineteen issues and counting. What do they all have in common? They’re prohibitively expensive, at least for this critic. Three dollars per issue? Fine, fine. But four issues a month, with an extra every three months? That’s far more than I pay to keep up with any other title, and the breaks between issues tend to help the writing and, especially, the art in those. Bagley handles the first issue fine, and from what I’ve seen of subsequent issues, he doesn’t seem overly rushed. Still, he’s no Carlos Pacheco, who turns in a subpar effort on the book’s cover; ask Pacheco to keep up with a weekly workload, and you won’t get the same level of detail he put into Camelot Falls.

Why should I buy something like this over something like Camelot Falls? Why should anyone? Because it’s not bad. Because I do already. The art may not make my brain’s pleasure center do the Batusi, but it’s more than serviceable. Interesting story, too, though I’d be more intrigued if it came in a smaller package. As it is, it’s something of a luxury item, so this figures to be as far as I get with it.

I’ve heard it said that in order to fully appreciate – or understand – Final Crisis, you should read some or all of Morrison’s prior work. The same could be said, to a lesser degree, of Trinity and Busiek. The lead story, having to do with Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman sharing a nigh identical dream and discussing it over breakfast doesn’t ring any bells, but the backup story is very familiar. It’s the flipside of the Trinity, where three villains share similar dreams and more tentatively approach the idea of an alliance, as you do. Two of the three stand out. Morgaine Le Fey is the first to appear, mirroring Busiek’s start to his beloved Avengers run, where Morgan Le Fay was the first villain the team faced, and the most memorable. Then there’s Enigma, so dubbed by the fey one, who couldn’t possibly be related to the Edward Nygma from the Crime Syndicate’s Anti-Matter Universe, who briefly appeared in the Busiek-penned JLA: Syndicate Rules.

Not that Busiek’s recycling material. Even Le Fey and Le Fay are markedly different in characterization. Like anyone, and as noted in my review of Action Comics #842, he likes to use certain of the same characters. As a reader, I generally approve. It’s fun to see favorite characters pop up again in good hands, and a good writer tends to make most characters into favorites. Plus, if they do something awful to one of their pet characters, it doesn’t feel as dirty as when a writer breaks someone else’s toys. Or maybe that’s from good writers not resorting to senseless killings and maimings and such.

Back Issues

Supergirl 9

[DC] Supergirl Vol. 3 #9

Writer: Peter David
Penciler: Gary Frank

So, between issue seven and this one, Supergirl’s nemesis, Buzz, managed to delay her date, show up to dinner uninvited in his place, transform said date into a nasty villain, and some business about dark gods wanting Supergirl’s soul or whatever. There’s a touching scene with Linda and her father, but we also get tears of blood and a deus ex machina ending. Supergirl’s parents die, and she snaps and nearly kills their killer, who happens to be an innocent stooge, saved only by the machinations of a being who is apparently meant to literally be God, who saves Supes from having to make the right choice and rewards her by rewinding part of reality. It’s not a totally inconsequential story, but it amounts to little more than a VR simulation.

'Mazing Man 3

[DC] ‘Mazing Man #3
Writer: Bob Rozakis
Penciler: Stephen DeStefano

Curse my lack of research! The credits for the first two issues didn’t specify, so I’ve been listing Rozakis as the penciler and DeStefano as the writer for this series.

danger danger

‘Mazing Man’s barely in this issue, which is a shame. The first story drags when the focus shifts to Eddie and Brenda attending a boring office party. The second story saves the issue with a cleverly designed joke.

Mister Miracle 7

[DC] Mister Miracle Vol. 2 #7
Writers: J.M. DeMatteis (plot), Len Wein (script)
Penciler: Joe Phillips

This is JLI-era Scott and Barda Free, from when they were living the quiet life in a small town. Blue Beetle and Booster Gold pay a visit, inadvertently attracting the attention of one Professor Ivo, who’s determined to kill the Justice League. Meanwhile, Oberon is plotting against the Frees? Yeah, probably not, but that’s a subplot for another day.


Yotsuba Vol. 3

[ADV] Yotsuba&! Vol. 3

Writer/Artist: Kiyohiko Azuma

Not much to say that I didn’t already in reviews of the first two volumes. This collection has more of an emphasis on continuity, with a two-part adventure at the end and the first chapter picking up where the last chapter of volume two left off. Can’t say as I read this for the storyline, though. When the series ends, I’ll be sad, but I doubt I’ll wonder what happens to the characters next. Seems like they’ll continue to have hilarious adventures, of which I’d love to see more. This isn’t the sort of series that has cliffhangers, though, or drawn out mysteries, or slow burn romances. I keep coming back because it keeps being great, keeps making me laugh. The lack of a firm storyline adds to the rereadability, too. There are surprises to be found, but there aren’t any shocking twists in the vein of Darth Vader that color the reading experience if you know them in advance. It reads differently if you go in order, but chapters generally stand up well on their own, so you can jump in wherever.

super fun


Catwoman – I enjoyed this perhaps more than I should have. It’s so much better than the previous twenty issues, it’s like coming in from the cold to a mug of hot cocoa.
Trinity – Out of my price range. Tempting to pick up solely to see what other cameos and allusions Busiek throws in from past stories.
Supergirl – Maybe I’m being too hard on it, but I don’t feel too conflicted in calling this issue awful.
‘Mazing Man – Decent.
Mister Miracle – Not bad. Could be funnier.
Yotsuba – Still great. Possibly my least favorite volume yet, which is like saying "least favorite delicious cake."


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