Hey, look at this, a Cocktail post on time for once . . . okay, it's about half a week after most people get their comics but I'm in the UK and I pick mine up on a Saturday so cut me some slack, huh?
Ah, The Boys #23 - if there's one title I look forward to each and every month, knowing I'm going to get one hell of a good read it's this one and, with no surprise, this month's delivers. Vought American, the company behind most of the successful American superheroes, is obviously gearing up for some huge confrontation; Wee Hughie and Annie continue their romance unaware of who each works for; Butcher still gets his kicks . . . manipulating . . . the Director; and a plan is put in place to find out information about the most profitable superteam out there, the G-Men. Said plan involves someone from The Boys going undercover and while I mentioned Ambush Bug last week as giving me a laugh out loud moment, that didn't compare to the last page of The Boys #23. If you haven't read it, you need to, trust me!
I honestly thought I had missed an issue when I read Justice League Of America #25, I really did. I even went so far as to double check the stash of comics I still haven't bagged up and put away and sure enough, there was #24 - I had simply forgotten what had happened. That's not a good sign for what is DC's flagship team title. Still, it was a better read - the Anansi storyline speeds up and there are some nice touches and references to Animal Man's previous problems with reality aka Grant Morrison. Red Tornado quits the team after asking his long suffering girlfriend to marry him and at the end, the reality warping powers of Anansi appear to have created an alternate time-line complete with its own version of the League.
One issue I had missed last week was Tangent: Superman's Reign #7 so I picked that up this week. The change of regular artist was a little unsettling as Wes Craig's style seems a little more cartoonish at first - which isn't saying it's bad, just a little different. On Earth-9, Batman and the native heroes manage to break into Superman's fortress to find their friends captive while the magicians attempt to find Superman himself; both groups coming to the knowledge at the same time that both the Earth-9 Superman and his wife Power Girl are now back on our Earth. They wander around, shocked at the idea of homeless people and attempt to help but merely gather a crowd of hangers on, people who want something for nothing. Of course it's not long before our own Superman and Power Girl turn up to find out what's going on. The back up story, History Lesson, continues to be a potted history of the Tangent characters, this time focusing on the Flash while at the same time having the Earth-9 Jennie Hayden showing a lot of gratuitous cleavage.
Picked up Terror Titans #1, the first of three new mini-series this week, and which follows on from recent events over in Teen Titans. Within the first couple of pages, a third string character bites the dust, cut in half by an axe, before his compatriots are made to fight in an arena for the Clock King. Ravager, late of the Teen Titans herself, has joined Clock King to train the Terror Titans and isn't impressed by the team that she almost singlehandedly dealt with recently. Dreadbolt, field leader of the Terrors, is given a mission by Clock King - to kill Dreadbolt's own father, the villain Bolt while Ravager takes to the arena and battles another third stringer, Fever. It's all good, dirty fun hanging round with the bad guys and girls who aren't afraid to kill people and there's a couple of surprises in there.
Being a big fan of Alan Moore, I had to pick up Top Ten: Season Two #1 even if the man himself isn't connected to it. Written by Zander Cannon, though, who has worked with Moore on these characters before, as well as being illustrated by Gene Ha who co-created the original series with Moore, it's no surprise that it's in good hands. Like the original, it begins slowly, offering up several different threads and stories for the characters to deal with, both criminal (like having twelve dead girls appear in the fountain outside the police station), personal (Lieutenant Peregrine's husband going through an identity crisis) and procedural (the new Commissioner being something of a stickler and insisting on the entire Top 10 members wearing standard police uniforms. That the series is only running for four issues surprises me - there's a lot here that would seem to imply a longer run, but hey, I'll take what I can get.
With Trinity #18, the maxi-series appears to have shifted up a gear, changing from one big fight to something more of a mystery. Krona's out from his prison and free to roam the stars while the release of whatever energy by the bad guys in last week's issue has shifted this world into something else. Heroes are all members of the Justice Society International and Lois Lane's a bitch on TV who is determined to bring the Atom in for questioning over the death of Sue Dibny. I'm something of a sucker for alternate worlds - hell, that's one of the reasons I read DC and not Marvel! - and while this issue is a little bit of a scene setter, it still works.
The last title I picked up was the last of the new mini-series that started this week: Vixen: Return Of The Lion #1 and I have to say I'm glad it's only running to five issues. I picked it up as Vixen's long been a character I've liked - hell, I was one of the three people who enjoyed the Justice League Detroit - but I have to say this held no surprises whatsoever. With the discovery that the death of Vixen's mother wasn't solved years ago, she packs up her bag and heads back to her home village . . . which is being threatened by me who work for the man behind her mother's death . . . whom she humiliates and defeats in battle . . . prompting an appearance by the bad guy . . . whom she attacks but is surprised to discover is stronger than her. Early in the issue, Superman tells her "You can never go home again. It's a cliche because it's true." and that seems to sum up this issue - it's strictly by the numbers. If this was an ongoing, I'd be looking to drop it; as it is, I'll stick it out for the run.