Lazarus Planet continues with another anthology called Dark Fate! It mostly focuses on the not-so-pretty results of the Lazarus rainfall. Although half of the tales focus on heroes we know like Huntress or The Doom Patrol, it sets up the tragic origins of newer characters.
Whisper Of The Moth
The first story follows Helena Bertinelli chasing her intuition in Arkham Tower as the Huntress. Huntress has consistently seen herself as the black sheep of the Bat-Family. Although, this long running insecurity isn’t exactly something Batman worries about. Before now, Huntress was still suffering from hallucinations, but at present she’s hearing new things. It is hard for readers not to wonder if she’s crazy or just the strange weather. Tim Seely pits the Catholic Huntress alongside several religious elements. For instance, there is discussion about heaven, perdition, and evils with Helena even referring to herself as a righteous bolt of justice! Strangely enough, the story follows Killer Moth himself becoming a messianic figure of Arkham Tower.
The theme is interesting, but not wholly important. It is fun seeing low-tier villains like Killer Moth or The Cavalier get some use. Albeit, Huntress is sort of a D-list Bat-Family member herself. At times, the art is often wonky with the perspective getting worse and worse the longer I look at it. Luckily, it doesn’t affect the overall tone or readability. Giving Huntress a chance to show the methodology of her personal crusade is a delight, but her revelation doesn’t amount to much.
The Unstoppable Doom Patrol: Storm Damaged
Dennis Culver writes a new kind of Doom Patrol story. The chief sends the Doom Patrol to aid government agents with a Lazarus Resin problem. As champions of mutants, metahumans, and outcasts, The Doom Patrol accept the chance to help one of their own. Unfortunately, they find a bunker full of trippy fungus preying on the fears of the soldiers trapped within. Of course, the manifested fears of a unit of soldiers would end up being bugs and clowns in a Doom Patrol comic. Unable to fight them head on, Negative Man decides to approach the problem with more empathy or rather therapy. I like the idea of Larry being the one capable of appealing to a mutant soldier.
Chris Burnham’s style for these characters is gross but wholesome like a Frank Quietly piece. I even enjoyed seeing his take on the look and abilities of Crazy Jane. Although, I will credit Culver with the odd choice of making Crazy Jane the new leader of the Doom Patrol. Somehow, it makes the already weird team far more chaotic, but Jane’s alternate personality transformations make for a cool addition. They even color coordinate in orange and black garments like the X-Men. Ironically, their maxim of coming to the rescue of mutants makes them exactly like the X-Men. Regardless, this story is a good example of what may come in The Unstoppable Doom Patrol.
8 Seconds Of Still Force
Somewhere near the Badlands Station is a historical reenactment studio by the name of Molly Maverick’s reenactments. Al Kaplan’s story centers on two of its current employees dealing with a Lazarus Resin attack while in the middle of a rehearsal. One of the employees, Jules, seems to be talented with a lasso. While I’m not quite sure of Jules Jourdain’s gender, I do know they have effeminate eyes, lips, and scars on their figure. However, it could easily just be a reflection of Al Kaplan’s cartoonish art style. Jules and their friend aren’t very good at LARP-ing, but adapt fairly quickly to Lazarus Rain abilities.
Although the actors are fans of the Flash, Jules inherits similar powers to The Turtle. Kaplan’s depiction of the Still Force is now a seafoam green lasso that fits Jules’ theme. Incidentally, Jourdain does end up with a costume and a code name. As Circuit Breaker, Jules dresses like a masked elf while magically wresting dangerous purple energy from victims. I even love Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou’s Western style typography! Suddenly, The Flash of China shows up and tries to figure out what’s happening. Circuit Breaker isn’t a hero yet, but whatever they end up doing will factor in at a later date.
Alyssa Wong tells a short story about a new magical character named Xanthe Zhou. She is supposedly a once-dead kid with street smarts from Gotham’s Chinatown. The plot surrounds the Lazarus Rainfall resurrecting Hopping/Jiangshi zombies to steal Qi from the living. Haining depicts Xanthe using a magic talisman and sword to free the Jiangshi the best she can. Wong informally acquaints her original character with the Hellraiser Constantine, exactly how Nightwing is used to prop up City Boy. In addition, Cassandra Cain also joins the fight with Xanthe. As the only Asian member of the Bat-Family, Cassie easily fits in with the culture of the story. I’m not so much sold on this storyline, but I appreciate the unique art style. Typically, the story functions as a “soft pilot” for a Spirit World series.
- Forced to keep up with Lazarus Planet tie-ins.
- You want to see Cassie fight vampiric zombies.
- You want to see a sneak peek of The Unstoppable Doom Patrol.
The book looks great at times, but often remains uneventful. Most of the tales in the anthology follow new characters, cartoonish art, and plots right out of serial television. Although, none of these Lazarus Planet tie-ins are that good on their own, readers can at least count on some engrossing teases to future storylines. In this issue, I’ll definitely cosign a Dennis Culver led Doom Patrol, but Circuit Breaker, Xanthe Zhou, and Batgirl might be a bit harder. In terms of Lazarus Planet so far, I don’t think the rain is playing a part effectively, and find myself wondering who thought spin-offs were necessary at all.
DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purposes of this review.