We finish off the week of comic books with a couple heroes trying to gain access to their memories. Superman attempts to make sense of his origin after the REBORN story in Action Comics, while the Demon’s Head urges Batman to access his memory in Detective Comics. In The Flash, Barry and Iris have a bit of an issue while a mole is suspected at STAR Labs.
Detective Comics 954
Written by James Tynion IV
Art Marcio Takara and Marcelo Maiolo
As the League of Shadows, led by the ridiculously dangerous Lady Shiva, continues to torment Batman, taking out his team the same way Bane did over in the main Batman book, Ra’s al Ghul has come to the Batcave to offer the Detective some assistance. Batman immediately traps the Demon’s Head in a laser prison, but it quickly becomes clear that the leader of the League of Assassins is fully in control.
It turns out that, over the years, Ra’s has manipulated Batman, wiping out his memory every time he’s gotten closer to the League of Shadows.
From the image at the top of the review, it seems clear that Ra’s used the same kind of magic that Zatanna used to wipe Bruce’s mind during the controversial Identity Crisis story from 2004-05. Ra’s hints that it is the same type of magic that Zatanna’s father, Zatara, uses. Since the release of the solicitations for upcoming books shows that Zatanna is joining Batman’s team in Detective, this is clearly leading somewhere.
Ra’s gives Batman the information he needs to defeat Shiva’s League, but the Colony – the shadow army led by Batwoman’s father – breaks their leader out of Batman’s prison. So we’re set up for a three-way battle in the next issue, with The Colony vs. The League of Shadows vs. Batman and Orphan, who looked pissed on the last page of this issue.
While Tom King’s Batman may be getting most of the love during the first year of the Rebirth era, James Tynion IV’s Detective Comics has been a consistently great read, with amazing characterization and a consistently engaging story.
The Flash 20
Written by Joshua Williamson
Art by Neil Googe and Ivan Plascencia
Barry Allen – The Flash – and Iris West are just starting moving their deep friendship into a romantic relationship, and Iris is still in the dark that Barry moonlights as the Fastest Man Alive.
In the last story, Barry revealed his secret to the new Wally West, his new mentor, but he still hasn’t told Iris, Wally’s aunt and his purported best friend, that he moonlights as the Fastest Man Alive. But when Iris follows a story that leads her to the same group that caused the lightning storm to kick off Rebirth, Iris starts to wonder about what Barry is doing. She doesn’t suspect him of being the Flash. No, that would make too much sense. No, she begins to suspect that he’s a mole within STAR Labs helping the science terrorists. Of course, the revelation of who it is – in the issue’s last page – is so much worse.
Writer Joshua Williamson has kept a consistent pace with his Flash stories, and every issue is a fun read, but taking Barry and Iris’ relationship back to the beginning and leaving Iris in the dark, is a bit frustrating. Especially when you consider that we’ve just seen it done on TV with The Flash. And it was the most frustrating thing about the TV show, too.
Barry and Iris have a lot of history together and watching them start it all over again feels unnecessary and Barry not trusting his best friend and girlfriend with his secret, while telling his mentee, is just ridiculous. Almost a year in to the Rebirth era, I hope that we get past this soon, because it really bothers me.
Action Comics 977
Written by Dan Jurgens
Art by Ian Churchill and Hi-Fi
With the events of SUPERMAN: REBORN behind him, we’re back to a familiar status quo – Lois and Clark working at the Daily Planet, the world is completely unaware that Clark Kent and Superman are one and the same and the Kent family is moving back to Metropolis from the farm in Hamilton County. But Clark is still ill at ease. And he should be, considering the mysterious force gathering a Superman Revenge Squad throughout the issue.
But Clark doesn’t know about that yet. He’s more concerned with Mr. Oz and why he trapped Mr. Mxyzptlk and what he has planned for Superman. After work on Friday, Clark takes to the skies and heads to the Fortress, where we get a detailed retelling of Superman’s origin, going right to the beginning on Krypton.
I can only imagine how many times writer Dan Jurgens has had the opportunity to retell Superman’s origin story. It’s as top notch as you would expect, and with Ian Churchill’s beautiful art, the issue is a lot of fun. But it’s obviously a bit of a retread, and it feels like the book is biding time before something big happens.