Heroes & Villains: Last Week in DC Comics Today

With a distinct lack of superhero sex scandals to write about this week I have no choice but to think for myself. I must say that I am not a fan of that since I spent about a quarter of an hour trying to pick the right wallpaper for my desktop. I ended up with a United Federation of Planets flag but I’m not 100% sold on it. I may revert to my old favorite of the Starfleet delta, or a stylized The Flash symbol.

Now, having effectively created a segue, I can reveal my new idea for this week’s column:

Last Week In DC Comics Today

With the change in distribution for DC Comics (I have it on VERY good authority that retailers love it) their new comics hit stands on Tuesday instead of Wednesday like every other comics publisher. My LCS is closed on Tuesday to put out the other publishers books and their customers have made it known that they wouldn’t want to make two trips to the shop anyways.

To that end, I haven’t really been able to cover DC books since by the time I would be able to get around to writing about them they’re already eight days out of date. However, they’ve been doing some really great stuff lately so I decided to take the time and write about a few of last week’s books from them.

The Flash #771
Jeremy Adams (W)
Various (A)
DC Comics

The Flash relaunch was a book I covered WAY BACK at the end of March which seems like it just happened…but didn’t. I recall being optimistic about the future of the book and its treatment of one of the previous publisher’s favorite punching bags, Wally West…and thank the Speed Force it’s been good.

Under the pen of Jeremy Adams, Wally West as The Flash has taken on a kind of Sam Beckett in Quantum Leap role as he is shot through the Speed Force into the bodies of various speedsters across both time AND the multiverse. Issue #771 is where The Flash really started clicking for me again, as I was reading it I was struck by how fun the book had become. Not to retread old ground but since The Flash: Rebirth in which Barry Allen’s origin got Batman’d the book has taken on a grim & gritty tone that really didn’t suit the character.

In this issue, Wally just so happens to leap into the body of the Reverse Flash…but not just any Reverse Flash. It’s specifically the Super Friends version of the character and what follows is a fantastical farce I completely adored. It didn’t hurt that this sequence of the book was penciled by the legendary Kevin Maguire which catapulted this issue into A+ territory for me.

The rest of this issue of The Flash is stuffed with other great thing and a ton of excellent guest artists so if you’ve been hesitant about picking the title up…don’t be. Here’s some irresponsible speculation on my part: I think issue #772 is going to address head-on one of the worst things DC has done to Wally West in recent memory.

Nightwing #81
Tom Taylor (W)
Bruno Redondo (A)
DC Comics

Another title that’s on a spectacular redemption arc right now is Nightwing, a book in which the titular character has been through the wringer over the last decade. I’ve always been of the opinion that, as a legacy character, Dick Grayson’s greatest trait is that he’s not Batman. That was something Grant Morrison had zeroed in on in the wonderful Batman and Robin title in which Grayson assumed the mantle of the Bat and was paired with a dour Robin in the form of Damian Wayne.

I had been a longtime reader of the Nightwing title but I had to drop it after the character suffered a grievous injury…IN ANOTHER BOOK. It’s seldom a good sign when an issue starts with, “This issue takes place AFTER Batman #…” I didn’t rush out to buy a copy of a book I wasn’t reading at the time and opted to get the Cliff’s Notes from my pal at the shop. For those interested he made the “thumbs down” gesture and made a fart noise at the same time. For those interested in what ACTUALLY happened, Nightwing got shot in the head, lost his memory and became a cabbie. Yes, for real. Then a bunch of random folks found his old costumes and became…the Nightwings. I do not enjoy crapping on books (that’s what the rest of Comics Twitter is for) so I instead decided the book wasn’t for me and moved on.

Nightwing has been part of DC’s recent relaunches and also has been one of the great ones. Not to be overly negative again but the vast majority of those Future State books were about as welcome as a wet fart so I’m glad that at least somebody at DC is focusing on their core book instead of trotting out a tired dystopian future story.

Taylor’s Nightwing isn’t Batman and he doesn’t have to be. The character is still a dark vigilante of the night but it’s fun, they gave him a dog! Presently, I’m not sure where DC is going with Barbara Gordon since she’s been a supporting player in most of the Bat-books since the Batgirl title went away. I know there was quite a bit of valid outcry after DC undid her disability and brought her back as Batgirl during one of the last decade’s many relaunches. Barbara’s presence in the Nightwing title is not insubstantial, however. It’s more of a co-star type vibe from what I’m getting and there’s no question in my mind that she’s probably the better superhero of the two (even though she’s not currently in costume).

Oh, and this issue of Nightwing ends on a HUGE bombshell and I cannot wait for issue #82.

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