Week 11: The Return of C'est Hay!!Gonna be a short entry this week--not a lot to discuss, and I'm off to Comic-Con anyway.
In both of this week's storylines, 52's returning to the questions of eroding identity that I talked about in Week 4. This is pretty much the first week that the Question hasn't asked Montoya who she is, but now it looks like that's actually going to be an issue. We have it underscored for us a few times that Intergang are likely to rub out anyone who gets in their way, 401(k)s or no 401(k)s, and now that Whisper's forced her to say her name, well, I assume she's not going to be "Renee Montoya" much longer...
Much as I enjoyed the solid dose of Montoya action this time, I'm getting the sense that the series is juggling way too many threads--just to recap, there's the Ralph/Cult of Conner plot, the Montoya/Question/Batwoman plot, the Black Adam/Isis/Freedom of Power plot, the Lost In Space plot, the Who Is Kidnapping the Mad Scientists of America?/Egg Fu plot, the Booster/Time Out of Joint plot, the Steel plot, the Supernova plot, and the Oh Dear Lord I See It Teh Fifty-Toooo plot, and not only do they not seem to be coming together, most of them are barely inching along, no offense to Mr. Mind. It'd be nice to check in with a few more of them every week, and if that means shorter fight scenes or compressing the recaps of Gotham Central storylines, I'm cool with that.
My diagram of the master plot isn't as complicated as Rip Hunter's: at the center of it are Apokolips and Intergang, who have an established relationship. Apokolips gets arrows drawn to the planet-that-might-be-Adon and Devilance the Catch-and-Releaser, and to the gun Montoya found at 52 Kane (and I like the theory Dennis Culver suggested in last week's comments that Supernova is Lightray). Also, in answer to the "why did Hawkgirl get huge?" dangler, I'm guessing that's what happens when a Boom Tube and a zeta beam overlap. Intergang gets arrows drawn to the 52 Kane warehouse, and now to whatever's going on in Kahndaq under Black Adam's watch; Intergang's also got historical ties to Lex Luthor, which gets us to the Steel/Purple & Green Justice plot. That leaves the Rip/Booster and Worm/Egg plots undealt with, but that's probably enough for right now.
I'm happy to see the assurances that everything will fit together, and there are some hints of it here. It'd be easier to believe if not for the little gaffes and inconsistencies that make it harder to put my faith in the series' controlling intelligence: this issue is the first one that doesn't have a title, for instance, which is not consequential except inasmuch as it suggests that somebody's not crossing the Ts.
Similarly, J.G. Jones' cover is once again pretty awesome, and once again is inconsistent with the interior art. The creatures on the cover are not the creatures inside the comic, and although there's a gun pointed in the general direction of Batwoman, it's Montoya's Kirbytech gun. You'd think the Powers that Be would deal with this stuff the easiest way: if the cover is drawn before the interior, send a copy of it to the interior artists so they can get it right, and vice versa.
History of the DCU: "To Be Continued in the DC Universe Everywhere!" You know, I also wouldn't mind a bit if this plot thread got quietly dropped, then dispatched in a done-in-one issue of Superman or something eight years down the line. I can dream, I guess. Next issue we lose two pages of story but get Waid and Adam Hughes' Wonder Woman origin: hooray!
Pg. 1: Grim Ralph is regrowing the facial hair again. Can't wait to see what his blog has to say about this.
Pg. 3: Good to see Montoya's finally got her cast off. And what is the image on Charlie's shirt? It looks like the cover of The All-New Atom #1. (Which, for those of you who haven't read it, is not bad at all--neo-Silver Age fun!) "Lead... the stuff that'll drive you insane"?
Pg. 4: "Her name's Mallory. She's a doctor." Is this anyone we recognize? "Ridge-Ferrick": rings no bells for me. Anyone? Also: what's up with the "Gordon Back?" headline? The first One Year Later issue of Detective Comics had Gordon saying it was "Three months since my return. Six months since Harvey Bullock made his discoveries. Nine since the rot within GCPD first shone as more than a glimmer." In other words, the rot should be more-than-glimmering right about now...
Pg. 5: I dig how that tape of the theme from Love Story starts up every time Kate and Montoya are on panel together.
Pg. 7: The Question-Van! Love it. I see he's got files on big tobacco, Ohio 2004, Checkmate (in a box lifted from Gotham's police department) and Hub City (just one box for the whole city he used to live in)--but "Luthor 986"? Anyone want to suggest a connection between Luthor and that number?
Pg. 8: I like the little gesture of the eight cig stubs on the ground as a measure of how long Montoya's been waiting. "HSC": now what could that stand for? Whisper A'Daire, of course, is a Rucka creation--she first appeared here--and Abbot is her confederate's last name (his first name is Kyle).
Pg. 14: It takes a special kind of crimefighter to twist such that you can check out her rack and her butt at the same time. Plus it's not clear where she stores Batarangs the size of Montoya's forearm in that costume. Or where the grappling-hook gun she's rocking on pg. 17 is holstered. And: she is fighting in high heels. How does she do that?
Pg. 20: Something about the setup of the attempted resurrection here--the faithful encircling the "body"--reminds me of the one returning-from-the-dead story in (former) DC canon that I actually really like, "The Super-Sacrifice of the Legionnaires"--and actually I like it even more because of the beautiful retcon in this annual (which I know other people hated, but I thought it was a great idea). Of course, all that stuff is noncanonical twice over now...
Still, a couple of odd things here, which I hope will be cleared up in the fullness of time. Wonder Girl insisted that her branch of the Conner cult had nothing to do with the spray-painted symbol on Sue's grave, but it appears that it was responsible for the breakin at the storage space. And if they're trying to dress the Sue-doo reanimation doll in her stuff, pillbox hat and all, wouldn't they want her wedding band instead of Ralph's? Second-worst-case scenario: this has something to do with Brother Power, the Geek. Worst-case scenario: this has something to do with Giffen creation C'est Hay.
See you in San Diego.