Batman and Robin #14 - The main reason I still read this is curiosity about Dick Grayson as Batman. I like Mr. Grayson for being simultaneously one of the toughest people in the DCU and at the same time one of the more lighthearted (at times). This series has definitely turned out more grotesque and less fun than I hoped, but I keep going with it, for some reason. I want Whirly-bats and I want Bat-Mite. But what I've got is the Joker, Damian (don't people know not to trust a kid named Damian?), and the revolting Professor Pyg. Mind you, the element of Damian does interest me a bit, as I remember reading and enjoying Son of the Demon way back in the eighties, and I'm glad it's been reshuffled back into continuity after status for some time as an unofficial Elseworlds. Ras Al Ghul is my favourite Bat-villain, except for the Penguin maybe, so naturally I'm curious about a character who is his grandson and Batman's own kid all at the same time. I give this ish, oh, let's say a 6 out of 10. Grant Morrison's writing is confusing, the art storytelling is quirky, but on the other hand there are a lot of face kicks and other Bat action. I'm not really feeling the characters much, though, even scenes between Dick and Alfred are kind of perfunctory, not a lot of meat there.
Doom Patrol #14 - Ambush Bug, Ambush Bug...is there a place for you in this jaded world? Well, he'll make room, if Keith Giffen has his way. The first page of this comic being some of AB's trademark metereferencing is fun, then we get into the more serious part of the issue itself, with Rita Farr grown to giant size and squeezing her ex-squeeze Steve Dayton so we can actually hear the bones pop, via comic book sound effects. Yuck! By the way I'm not crazy about the current version of Elasti Girl's costume, which has some slick looking elements, but then the part covering her midriff looks like a cross between an eighteenth century corset and a third grader's sewing assignment. Maybe I missed something, and it's functional...? Which reminds me, maybe I don't know much about women's clothes but you know that commercial where the mother has borrowed the daughter's shirt? Am I wrong, or is that not actually a really hideous shirt? I don't mind the weird green but then it's got that totally non sequitur ruffle thing off to one side and...well, I just think they should burn the damn thing rather than use whatever product it is that supposedly gets the stains out.
Oh, the copy on the cover says "Super-Chief!", a witty reference to a more obscure DC character, who was a Native American with superpowers from the Silver Age. I'm sure most of you probably knew that. I've only know about him for a couple of years, since first reading about him in Michael W. Barr's book on Silver Age sci fi comics.
Adventure Comics #518 - Saving the best for last...
By the way, I can't now write a high number for the Adventure Comics issue without thinking how now my Adventure Comics #503, which says "Final Issue!" on it is now out of date thanks to the relaunch. It's turned that issue (which was in digest form, by the way) into lies! But in all seriousness, I'm kind of glad they revived this venerable title. I've often said, at various functions - society balls, boardroom meetings, looting sprees - that if there was one title I'd like to own a complete run of, it would be Adventure...as it is, I'm working on the fifty or so issues that were Supergirl adventures, some of the quirkiest early seventies stuff I've read.
But now to this issue. I must admit I like the cover, and I'm not even a big fan of Doomsday. Additionally, I'm not sure if his towering that high over Superboy is meant as sort of symbolic, ie he will cast a large shadow over the Superman legend type thing, but I dig the rendering of that big nasty. Cover is by Scott Clark and David Beaty. The story, "Whispers of Doom", takes us a bit further into Legion continuity than we were in the last issue, as they have now gained a few more key members such as fan favourite Ultra Boy.
Anyway, Paul Levitz, Kevin Sharpe, and Marlo Alquiza deliver a great issue for action, drama and fun. Levitz has still got it, even more so. One of the highlights is a scene where a young Phantom Girl flirts with Superboy - and it's nice to see her in that old unrevealing costume with the big P on the front. We also see a young, pre-Legion Dream Girl, in fact her home world of Naltor provides much of the focus for this story. And there are some other key elements which may or may not be suggested by the cover.