I really enjoyed the first volume of the New 52 Supergirl, but it’s been declining since that author, Michael Green, left. SUPERGIRL: Red Daughter of Krypton, by Tony Bedard and various artists, has a pissed-off, resentful Kara joining up with the Red Lanterns which alarms everyone as she’s now a Kryptonian Red Lantern, OMG! I never much liked the Red Lanterns to start with and their internal struggles aren’t any more interesting here. And Supergirl as angry teen never works for me (at least not the way it’s been done so far). And once again, this crosses over between multiple books so there are key parts that we don’t even see (like Supergirl getting kicked out of the Lanterns).
TEEN TITANS: Light and Dark: by Scott Lobdell and Eddy Barrows is almost as disjointed, even though it’s all from consecutive New 52 issues. We’re jumping around between Tim “Red Robin” Drake dealing with Damien Wayne’s death, a pointless battle with the Suicide Squad, a big battle with Trigon and then everything rationalized as Trigon manipulating Robin to explain why his actions didn’t make sense. And Wonder Girl saying she’s fine with Tim boinking her while he was demon-controlled (because if he didn’t want to do it anyway, he’d have shaken off Trigon’s control) makes equally little sense. The unfortunate side effect of the George Perez/Marv Wolfman 1980s run making the Titans a hit is that DC’s going to keep them around, even when this is the best anyone can come up with.
DOCTOR STRANGE: Way of the Weird by Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo is a curate’s egg for me (i.e., a mix of good and bad). I love Aaron’s view of Dr. Strange moving through a world none of us can even see, and how much weirder the MU is than any of us can imagine. However the overall arc involving fanatics wiping out magic across the multiverse fell flat for me (and it’s awfully close to Aaron’s first Thor arc). And all the talk about how Strange pays a terrible, terrible price for magic (unable to eat anything except the wormlike meals Wong cooks up) didn’t work for me at all — it’s not a bad idea, per se, but it just doesn’t fit my notion of Stephen Strange.
HAND-DRYING IN AMERICA and other stories by Ben Katchor was a much more entertaining book. This is a collection of one page strips in which realtors discovers the last cheap space in America (the space under our beds!), street punks paint the town gold, construction-worker vests become a sexy accessory and a woman contemplates how much easier it is to admire a building if you don’t know the scumbag who designed it. Absurd, quirky and fun, though almost all of them seem to peter out at the end rather than end.
BEYOND THE FIELDS WE KNOW was a Ballantine Adult Fantasy collection of Lord Dunsany’s short works (following At the Edge of the World) including the complete text of his first collection, The Gods of Pegana. I love Dunsany’s flowing prose and his descriptions of the outdoors (he writes like someone who’s actually heard the birds singing at dawn), and he has far more range than I sometimes credit him with: the first collection is kind of Silmarillion-ish in its story of gods and world-creation, which is far cry from the whimsical adventure A Story of Land and Sea, about a pirate who puts wheels on his galleon and sails it over the Sahara. While he may not be to everyone’s taste (I assume a YMMV element in any fantasy written a century ago), I certainly love him. Cover by Gervasio Gallardo, all rights remain with current holder.