All Star Western #13
Story: Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray
Art: Moritat/ Phil Winslade
Clowns and Gotham City do not mix. Well, they do if you enjoy homicide and chaos.As Haly's Circus arrives back in Gotham, Jonah Hex, Tallulah Black, and Amadeus Arkham are called to look into a gruesome murder, and all hints point them to the circus. There they find it's more than just a clown that have gone insane, and that it seems like this madness is tied in with what they have already been hired to look into, the missing formula of Dr. Henry Jekyll. It seems that Jekyll's formula is tied in with the black diamond, the source of Eclipso, that has been popping up all over the DC Universe. What's nice is that none of that matters to the story at hand. What we have here is a suspense and action story, with killer clowns, man eating tigers, and a formula that makes men evil. Which in all fairness is pretty much any Tuesday in Gotham, no matter what era the story takes place. This issue also sees the return of the Barbary Ghost, who was featured in the back-ups earlier in the series, now entering the main story. While she didn't really interact with Hex and crew this issue, I look forward to seeing her more in upcoming issues. Speaking of back-ups, a new serial begins this issue, featuring Tomahawk, although this is a different version of that character. Here, he is a brave fighting with Tecumseh against the US forces after the American Revolution. It's an intense story, not sugar coating in any way the way the US treated the Native Americans. Interestingly, the US general who will be leading the army against Tecumseh and Tomahawk is "Mad" Anthony Wayne, who's last name was given by Bob Kane to his greatest creation and has been established as an ancestor of Bruce. I'm curious to see if this will all tie into the Watyne family legacy, or if its just a nice little nod. We'll have to see.
Batman Incorporated #4
Story: Grant Morrison
Art: Chris Burnham
Batman Incorporated has its first major throw down with the forces of Leviathan, and while things seem to work out in Batman's favor, there's much more going on here. I like that Morrison can actually take an all action issue and use it for some excellent character development. We get a really good sense of many of the members of Batman Inc who aren't Gotham residents, specifically the adversarial relationship between The Hood and Gaucho due to the issues between their countries, and a nice scene with Batwing getting back at the ninja Man-Bats for his near death fight with them in the "Leviathan Strikes!" one-shot. Batman had been left in a pretty precarious place last issue, but as ever, he's Batman and had his escape plan set all along. Morrison crated Damian, and writes him as such a perfect little brat with a broken soul underneath. When the revelation of who has been wearing the Wingman costume finally happens, you can see that Damian is both hurt and confused, exactly as ten year old would be, no matter how mature he pretends to be. The revelation makes perfect sense, and fits with some of what has been going on in the New 52. I wonder if Morrison had this planned even before the transition. The ending, the last panels, is something I didn't see coming. Poor Damian has been pushed around like a chess piece for so long, I wonder if these events will finally push him over the edge. Only time, and Grant Morrison, will tell.
Story: Bill Willingham
Art: Gene Ha
Fables is the second longest running Vertigo series currently running, and every time I think Bill Willingham is getting ready to wind the series up, he comes up with a new angle to play with. This issue starts out some years in the future, with an adult Ambrose Wolf working on his history of Fables. The story he tells is one of the old days in the Homelands before the war with the Adversary, when his father, the Big Bad Wolf was still the most terrifying creature in all the forests.Bigby gets himself into some trouble when he tries to eat a witch, and finds his destiny is to die in two days time. As we all know, this doesn't happens, but we get to see how destiny works in the world of Fables. More than just a fun and interesting story, this issue features beautiful art by Gene Ha. Not only are his people always great to look at, but he draws beautiful forests. And most of all, his giant wolf is out of this world. I can't wait to see what happens in the second part of the arc.
OK, folks, I'm an east coast boy, so I'm scheduling this sucker to be posted tomorrow and finishing battening down the hatches for the monster storm about to hit us. Stay safe, everyone, and you'll hear more from me once I'm out the other side.