THE SIXTH GUN: A Town Called Penance by Cullen Bunn, Brian Hurt and Tyler Crook continues the story from Vol. 3, as Sinclair falls into the clutches of the cult he once served and Becky, disguised as a man, tries using the sixth gun to clear out the bad guys from the title town of mutants. Synopsizing this book doesn’t do it justice as the appeal is as much the mood and the twists as the storyline itself. And it definitely appeals to me; thumbs up.
BATGIRL: Knightfall Descends by Gail Simone and various artists has Batgirl dealing with murderous new Gotham vigilante Knightfall (the name is presumably a hat tip to a classic Batman arc of that name), while flashbacks fill us in on her origin and her crippling by the Joker as they occurred in the rebooted “New 52” universe. The New 52 Batgirl feels way too young to me—the reboot de-aged a lot of the characters—and it doesn’t work as well with Simone’s writing as with the recent Batgirl of Burnside phase. That said, this was entertaining except for the Night of the Owls tie-in issue and a really, really stupid scene with Lois Lane trying a “gotcha” question on one shady character (Lois is supposed to be a competent journalist and her tactics were completely not competent).
Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo manage to tell a gripping story in parts of BATMAN: Endgame, but the book sinks under the weight of the New 52 concepts of the Batman and the Joker. I hate Snyder’s handling of the Joker as a guy who think he’s Batman’s frenemy (as noted here) and the added ideas here (the Joker is immortal and predates Gotham City) don’t help things. And while I can buy that Batman has contingency plans for fighting super-heroes gone bad (a key point in the JLA’s “Rock of Ages” storyline), having him wear a battlesuit that can take every one of them down is just … not Batman. And if he has that kind of tech, why doesn’t he use it all the time (I think the psychobabble of the ending about how Bruce doesn’t want to be unkillable may be intended to explain that)? Thumbs down, but depressingly it’s still better than the sequel.
DESCENDER: Machine Moon by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen falls into the category of Not Bad But Not Gripping: in a distant, spacefaring future where androids have been outlawed, a robot boy finds safety with a planet of his own kind, but of course it’s not that safe. Meanwhile his human brother is running into just as much danger trying to find him. Adequate.