If you have to ask yourself – in the middle of your first read through – what the point of this issue, something has gone terribly, terribly wrong. Indeed, Peter J. Tomasi missteps with Batman and Robin #0, opting to give readers a completely unnecessary look at Damian’s childhood amongst the League of Assassins. If DC is truly keeping with it’s stance that Batman’s history is intact, there should be no reason to explain Damian’s origins yet again – there really is no inventiveness at all. And the real tragedy is, this could have been done extremely well, but Tomasi simply drops the ball and takes the easiest route possible. After a lackluster “Terminus” arc and now this, I’m starting to question whether or not I even want to keep following B&R.
Green Lantern Corps #0
Wowee did Peter J. Tomasi have a tough week, first with Batman and Robin #0, and now Green Lantern Corps #0, another unnecessary issue that doesn’t give much in the way of interesting narrative. Sure, we get a good look at Guy Gardner before he gets his emerald ring, but this series is called Green Lantern CORPS for a reason, and Tomasi has not been honoring that title. For a series that’s supposed to be about one of the most extensive, impressive, and powerful organizations in the universe, it’s hard to justify an “Issue Zero” that only focuses on one single character, no matter if he’s one of the protagonists or not. Seriously, I just felt let down the entire time, and that’s not a good feeling to have in a month that’s supposed to be about catching a similar spark that DC achieved last year.
There really is no way to describe how little I care for the Comedian after reading Brian Azzarello and J.G. Jones’ Before Watchmen: Comedian – with each passing issue, Eddie Blake becomes more and more ridiculously vile and twisted in a way that doesn’t create a “love to hate him” situation, but just a simple hatred. This month, instead of killing innocent civilians in Vietnam, Eddie is pissed because people are protesting that he was killing innocent people in Vietnam; it’s totally hypocritical. Oh, and then he decides he’ll just head on over to Los Angeles and just make the rioting all the worse by provoking people into looting and beating each other up. In what way, in what world does Brian Azzarello believe he’s making Eddie Blake a relatable or even interesting character?
Garfield and Tara are kidnapped by Harvest and N.O.W.H.E.R.E., experimented on until they become paranoid and edgy, they rebel against Harvest, but still get stuck in the Crucible – THAT’S IT. Howard Mackie takes a full issue of The Ravagers to flesh out the prior sentence of storyline, something that could have easily been achieved in a fraction of the page space, leaving room to explain other characters associated with this series (not to mention Caitlin Fairchild, a main character with deep ties to Superboy as well) meaning this really isn’t an origins issue for the team featured in this series at all. Sure, the fact that Beast Boy was relatively normal until N.O.W.H.E.R.E. got it’s hands on him is a revelation that will bear consequences for the future, but the more stock put into the diabolical scheming of N.O.W.H.E.R.E. and Harvest without an adequate reason just works to make readers all the more confused. The Ravagers is the weakest of the Young Justice titles DC is currently publishing, and it’s a basic problem of indirection – Mackie doesn’t seem to have any idea where he’s going with these characters and it’s painfully obvious.
Team 7 #0
While Team 7 #0 does an excellent job introducing the various members of the titles namesake, it very much feels like this should have been issue #1 – I know that’s a nitpick-y issue with an otherwise solid issue, but it stayed with me the entire time I was reading. Because Team 7 starts five years in the past, this series is poised to give readers a great look into the years before the official beginning of the ‘New 52’, something fans have been clamoring for since the beginning. Of course, the inclusion of such characters as Deathstroke, Grifter, and Black Canary (before any of them took these monikers) helps give credence to the team’s connection to the superhero world, while also including some new characters (like Alex Fairchild, father of Caitlin from Superboy and The Ravagers) means this isn’t just a history class, but also a chance to expand this new universe with some cool new faces. While I will hold that this “Issue Zero” should have highlighted the team members before they were recruited, I’m still ready to keep up with this series going forward.
I really didn’t give X-Treme X-Men a chance at first, unfairly assuming it would be one of the weaker X-books available, but still slightly intrigued by the Exiles-esque multidimensional adventuring. The premise itself was rather silly (ten evil Xaviers across dimensions who need to be put down), but this first arc that takes the team to a world where gods actually exist was absolutely engrossing – the betrayals, the twists, and the character development have all been excellently handled by Greg Pak, with amazing artwork from Stephen Segovia and Paco Diaz. While X-Treme X-Men may never be as good as Exiles, it’s got a lot of good potential: Captain Howlett apparently was in a relationship with the Hercules from his dimension, a 14-year-old Kurt Waggoner just wants to make a difference after failing to save his family, and Dazzler from our world is out to prove herself when Cyclops talks down about her. If Pak keeps up the momentum, this series is set to be one of the best fringe series Marvel offers.