The whole story--beautifully told by Mike Del Mundo, who's abstract, fantastical art is perfect for telling this retrospective through all the different time periods--makes Kang out to be a massive threat, and actually makes Nadia's decision not to simply get rid of Baby Kang all the more insane and "heroic" all at once. Of course, now that the Avengers have decided they aren't putting up with Kang's "ultimate time dominance" anymore, things are about to get more hectic--from the looks of things, they've basically hopped through time and dismantled his empires one by one. I'm sure Kang's going to have some more tricks up his sleeve, but...given the Avengers force assembled in front of him: is it even going to matter?
But what's most curious to me is the idea presented here--that Bruce is somehow better working alone than with help. That he couldn't protect his kids better with them fighting alongside them. That's fascinating to me. And by fascinating, I mean completely stupid. These are all men (and a boy) who've been through the fire. Jason was killed. Dick was nearly killed. And Damian basically went through all of what Bruce has in a single night, and survived. They've faced much larger, more insane threats alone than this, nevermind together--so for the life of me I don't understand why, particularly when in Detective Comics he's learning not to do THIS EXACT THING, this is how this arc plays out.
Other than that, I do wish so many new books weren't so caught up in trying to tell a massive twelve issue story arc for their first story. It asks so much of the reader to be invested for that long, when ideally you should let reader faith build in the character over a longer period of time.
Lastly, I'd be lying if I said this last page of issue #9 wasn't laugh out loud funny. I'm kinda bugged by how they go out of their way to make sure you know that this super-genius black hacker knows all the "hip" lingo in his dialogue (hip like, 1990's), but I do love that they're genuinely building up a supporting cast for a character who usually is supporting cast for some other character's book or is part of an ensemble cast.
Death of Hawkman
Still, there are some things about this issue that drove me nuts. For one, and here come some spoilers: this issue, Green Lantern of Thanagar Isamot Kol is murdered by Despero. It's so quick it happens off panel, and I'm pretty pissed about it. If you're a GL fan, Isamot's basically been around for almost a decade now--surviving multiple wars on the GLC from Sinestro, Nekron, Final Crisis, and more. To see him taken out in a single panel is depressing as fuck. Doubly so considering the Green Lantern ring is the most powerful weapon in the universe. Or at least, it used to be. Lately, it's been about as helpful as the Nova Force when it's not all gathered up in one being. Despero even makes a joke about how GLs always think they're more powerful than they really are; its embarrassing. I'd love to learn one day that GLs have just gotten lazy and aren't even tapping into the vast majority of their powers. These rings really shouldn't be done in by fucking Nth Metal, which up until the New 52 (and maybe the Justice League cartoon) had its most useful incarnation as a fucking harness for bird-like wings.
Sidenote: Supposedly in the next major DC event, the one being done by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, is all about metals. You don't think...
The joke here is obviously that they're both right, but the bigger question I have here is: how did Batman not see that? I mean, these people are all acting out of fear but the attacks are localized entirely to Gotham and they're all mostly trying to kill him. Feels like the most obvious thing ever. Still, this is a solid enough team-up that DC could use way more of if we're going to bring back that feeling of a connected universe. I am a little bummed about the gun thing though--it's been brought up multiple times in this book, and I'm pretty sure Simon's going to throw it away at the end of next issue....and then need it the issue after that, because why wouldn't the universe work that way?
Having said that, "Bludhaven" has definitely been where Nightwing has found its groove--with slick Marcus To artwork and beautiful, almost painterly colors from Chris Sotomayor that just happen to have enough blues and blacks in the backgrounds to make me think it's being done on purpose, and the character finally finding his way back to the city he left over a decade ago, I'm ecstatic to say the Nightwing book is the best it's been since the Pete Tomasi run back in '07. He's got a love interest that isn't Barbara or Koriand'r, there's a neat little supporting cast, and he's finally got his city back--he's starting to feel like his own man again, and that's cool.
Equally cool in this book is the confirmation that the Detective we met not long ago, Elise Svoboda, is basically lady Bullock. From her dislike of the costumed sect to her willingness to cut corners while wanting to be noticed as an important member of the police agency, right on down to her overall bullheadedness. And she's actually a pretty good cop when it comes right down to it--she plays as big a part in solving Nightwing's first case in Bludhaven as Nightwing. Speaking of Nightwing, it's looking like our next arc is going to have him dealing with a copycat--one wearing that gross red and black, so I'm hoping he gets pasted mid-way through so I never have to see that suit again.
Planet of the Apes/Green Lanterns
I do think that there aren't nearly enough of the Lanterns in the Apes' world yet. Hopefully next issue fixes that for me.
There's a lot of really cool moments in this book--like the first meeting of Superman and Kenan Kong (Super-Man), and all the Supermen and Superwomen working together rather than it simply being New Earth's Clark Kent taking the main stage and being the only important character. The only thing that bugs me is Red Racer--who sacrifices himself in order to build a second ship capable of traveling through the multiverse. On its face I'm okay with this, but was there really only one speedster there that could do the job? Couldn't multiple have saved them this trouble?
The other issue is: after defeating Prophecy, he's teleported away by--you guessed it--"Mr. Oz". It's a good thing we're only two issues away from "Superman Reborn". I'm REALLY going to need the story of WHO Mr. Oz is and what's his purpose. He's been kidnapping people across the Earths for months now, time to find out what tf he's about.
Transformers - Lost Light
At the same time, I do wonder how much of a threat the authority on this world can be to our protagonists. War is known to accelerate technology at a rapid pace that peace just wouldn't, and billions of years of war would just make these guys better equipped and just flat-out better built for combat. It's evident when we get a look at the "resistance" later, a group of people who...well. It's best you see for yourself. But I do hope Roberts has thought about this, and either shows them steamrolling the bad guys later or we get an explanation of some sort why they're in any kind of real danger.
I initially thought Gwenpool was the stupidest idea, but I literally had no idea what I was talking about. I just figured they were cashing in on the Deadpool and Spider-Gwen popularity by combining the characters. What I didn't know is that she's basically an even more insane version of Deadpool--a comic book geek like myself that's from our world but transported to the Marvel Universe. She's got no compulsions about killing people in violent ways but also has none of the years of training or technique that your average assassin would have in the MU, but she DOES know the secret identities, weaknesses, and whereabouts of most of the heroes and villains of the Marvel Universe. So, fancying herself a hero (albeit a murderous one), she spends most of her time exploring the MU and getting into wacky hijinx to make her comic book interesting to the people from her world like me that are reading.
So, I was wrong. Gwenpool isn't the stupidest idea, it's the BEST stupidest idea ever. I will say that this character has a certain shelf life--eventually she'll have been a resident too long to actually know what's been going on in everyone's lives. But for now, I'm happy to follow along with her ridiculously meta adventures--like this issue she winds up in a town full of undead normal people, who seemingly just wanna live out their dead lives on Earth in peace, but end up being attacked by Marvel's most famous monster hunter--Blade--leaving only a certain Gwen Poole to save them. There's more to the story, but I don't wanna spoil the sad (and kinda funny) twist at the end. Just, give Gwenpool a try.