Bottom of the Pile - December 14th, 2016

This was initially going to be a much, much longer article, but Blogger lost my initial draft and I honestly just don't have it in me to start them ALL over again.  So this is an approximation of the best material of the original, before I move on to last week's comics and then THIS week's comics.

Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows
 

If you were wondering how Mary Jane as a superhero is going, well...here you go.  Renew Your Vows #2 shows the same day from issue one, only from Mary Jane's perspective.  By doing so, the writer re-frames your entire view of the character, erasing the sort of flighty, flaky girl you're used to and revealing her to be this goals-oriented, driven woman who only seemed flighty because her mind was on a billion things at once.   Showing her as a woman who splits her time between running a clothes shop, a fashion blog, being a mom AND a superhero, Mary Jane is basically the opposite of Peter--she doesn't take pictures or tell jokes, she just punches bad guys in the face and webs off.   Sure, her new name (Spinneret?  Yuck.) needs work, but by the end of this issue Gerry Conway had made MJ seem a strong enough character to justify this book basically being about her.


Detective Comics

This is quite possibly the strongest Batman/Tim Drake panel, ever.  Set just before the start of James Tynion's arc and Batman's formation of his "Gotham Knights", Tim clues Bruce into the true potential of Batman's wide-reaching influence.   What's most fascinating about people who attempt to poke holes into the idea of Batman is how often people bring up that his fortune would be better spent on philanthropic efforts, ignoring that: a.) he already does that, and b.) people do that in real life and the world hasn't magically transformed into a utopia, and we don't have nutcases like the ones in his rogues gallery running around.

But in a comic book that's been consistently great from the moment Tynion started his run, this scene pushes past great and reaches excellence.  It (unintentionally, I'm certain) hints at the eventual DC One Million end of Gotham, which saw the city turned into a crime-free beacon of hope.  Secondly, in just a single two-page splash it encapsulates the entire point of Tim and Bruce's relationship.  The only reason Tim Drake ever donned the cape and mask in the first place is because he believed Bruce needed the light to balance out the darkness of Batman.  And here he is, being that light for Bruce's path into a better tomorrow.

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps
If I was trying to downplay how good Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps before, I've got to give it up now.  In a single issue we've reintroduced my favorite Lantern Kyle Rayner, saw him bring back Hal Jordan to life, and made restoring the Blue Lantern Corps (the Hope Lanterns) a major priority going forward.   And that's without even discussing the killer last page reveal.

Since returning from the last universe, the Lanterns have been zipping across creation attempting to re-establish their place as the premiere force for peace and order in all 3600 sectors.  But after a mission on Xudar goes wrong, the team ends up captured on the planet by what initially seems to be Brainiac...until eventually we see the robot hoarder talk about his "master", something that seems initially puzzling until its revealed that Brainiac now serves Larfleeze of the orange light of greed, who realizes he's captured not only whatever exists of the GLC, but the remainder of the Sinestro Corps as well.   It's such a delicious twist and delivered so perfectly that I can't help loving it.

We're truly building up not only the space corner of the DCU, but reviving all these great Corps that were inexplicably torn down not long after Geoff Johns left GL, and it feels awesome.

 Wonder Woman
As I correctly predicted, the eventual twist to the chapters of Wonder Woman set in the present revealed that Diana not only could no longer return home to Themyscira...but that she'd never been.  A fact that was highlighted when she attempted to do so only to meet a version of the Amazons and her mother Hippolyta that were entirely unfamiliar to her.   This means that a lot of the memories Wonder Woman has had since the New 52 began are potentially false, highlighted by the excerpts from future issues that see several of Wonder Woman's villains taking advantage of her weakened mental state, not the least of which being Veronica Cale, Greg Rucka's genius scientist that's meant to be the Amazonian Princess' version of Lex Luthor.

Where am I going with all this?  Well, it's never made sense to me that Wonder Woman was a god(dess) of war, and now this issue of WW seems to agree: Diana explicitly states that Ares is not a patron god of the amazons, even though other comics had very plainly stated she'd taken over Ares' job.    It's not that Diana can't be a goddess--she was the goddess of truth for a brief time in the late 90's--but the desire to bring peace to Patriarch's World that's almost hardcoded into Diana's DNA both in-universe and creatively means that for her to be the goddess of war isn't just weird, it's almost antithetical to her existence.  Having said all that, and seeing this panel here, it's possible we're approaching a point at which it's revealed Diana was never the goddess of war at all.

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