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The Week in Comics #5

Even though I wasn't able to sit down long enough to write this feature last weekend, that's not the main reason it never went up. No, I actually didn't buy any new comics that week because I only left my house to go to the chiropractor. Not a great week in my life. Never mind that, though. I did buy a bunch of comics this week and I'm ready to talk about 'em...

Legion of Super-Heroes Annual #1 - This is not the first issue with this title I've ever bought - such is the cyclical nature of comics. This particular edition is notable for the fact it reunites Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen, who were the creative team that cemented my love for the Legion back in the early 80s. As for the story, it introduces the rise of a new Emerald Empress on Orando and members of the Legion naturally come into conflict with her. It is a solid story and Giffen (along with his inkers, John Dell and Scott Koblish) is in his Kirby-mode of drawing here and it looks a lot like his previous work on the title. This is a good thing. After the story, there's a fun Legion history in the form of a board game. Is this the best Legion story ever? No, but it is a good one and there's nothing wrong with that.

Adventure Comics #523 - Speaking of the Legion, this issue reintroduces the Legion Academy and brings Phil Jimenez on-board as penciller (and co-plotter?). The Legion Academy was featured in my very first issue of Legion of Super-Heroes, #272, so I have a soft spot for the idea as well as some of the characters. That issue was a focus on Blok and here he is, helping the Black Witch send Glorith off to the Academy. We meet new members and see old stand-bys, as well as instructors. It is very much a set-up issue yet it works to pull the reader in, or at least this reader. Is it nostalgia or craft? Maybe a bit of both for me.

Flash #9 - You know how you can tell this issue came out late? It has the stark white cover and portrait of a hero all of DC's titles did last month. Setting that aside, this second big story arc and ramp-up to the big event (Flashpoint) heading our way is as engaging as the first story arc was. Barry uses work to avoid a Flash-family picnic and discovers an aged version of a new super-hero, Elongated Kid. Meanwhile, there's a mysterious motorcyclist who ends up being all too familiar. Francis Manapul is back on art with his clean lines and appealing Iris West and I have hopes that Johns can bring the goods as we move towards Flashpoint.

Batman and Robin #20 - Score one for DC's house ads. I've been staring at this cover by Patrick Gleason in DC's comics for a few weeks and just had to pick it up. This issue starts Peter Tomasi's run with Gleason, which makes it a good jumping-on point (and yes, I should already have bought the collections of Morrison's first year on the book and will rectify that some time this year). It starts off with a nice moment of the men of the Bat-family getting together to watch The Mark of Zorro, the movie Bruce saw with his parents just before they were killed. I really liked the interaction in this book, both during that scene and later with Dick (the Batman of this book), Damien (Robin), and Commissioner Gordon. The least appealing part of the book is the end, which gives us another piece of the mystery, but I will come back for another helping.

Batgirl #18 - Here's another of the Batman family of books, of which I'm suddenly reading a number. I'd picked up the last issue due to hearing good things about it on iFanboy, liked it, and decided to come back for more. This is a Valentine's team-up with Karion the Witch Boy and if that doesn't make you smile, we have different tastes. The story is a ton of fun, not only for the goofy set-up but the great interaction between Batgirl and Klarion. The highlight for me, though, was the art of Dustin Nguyen. I have not been paying enough attention over the last few years, I guess, because this guy is phenomenal. He uses several different art styles depending on the setting and they are all great. Is he the regular artist? If so, I think I'll be sticking with this book.

The Unwritten #22 - Tom makes his escape from the world of Moby Dick and finds himself in an even scarier fictional world. He talks to Frankenstein's monster and doesn't get the revelations he (or we) were hoping for. Meanwhile, Tom's companions receive a potential preview of upcoming events (and what they should say) in the form of a puppet show. The text piece by departing editor Pornsak Pichetshote promises next issue is a game-changer. I love this book so so much and always save it until last.

The Unwritten would have been my last book too, except I got some Valentine's money (thanks, Mom!) and went back to the comics shop for the Daytripper collection and the following two comics...

Knight & Squire #5 - This series has picked up steam as it has gone along and you can begin to see the design that Paul Cornell had for it. We needed those earlier more madcap issues full of characters to reach the point in which we find ourselves at the end of this issue. The set-up is that the British Joker is dying and Knight & Squire decide to let him go out with a big one. The problem is that not everyone else is in on this plan and that there is someone who doesn't like it at all - the true Joker. He enters the book in a shocking manner and will factor heavily in the final issue. Cornell has proven with this issue and last month's Action Comics that he knows how to write Joker.

Secret Six #30 - I read the last issue of this book due to the crossover with Action Comics and decided to pick this up, which starts a crossover with Doom Patrol (a book I've not been reading). There is so much to like in this issue - Bane's attempts to connect with a woman, a new version of The 100, Ambush Bug (when did he start hanging around with the DP?), and more. It's funny and fun and I think I may have to stick around on this book. I will definitely pick up the second part as well.

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