DC Universe Presents #17

Roy's Night Out

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Well, this is now a week overdue, sadly. I've been trying to get to it for some time, but I've been unsuccessful until now. Due to the late date, I'll probably be more brief than usual. Obviously, I'm covering this issue of DC Universe Presents because it focuses on Arsenal who is famous from Teen Titans and is currently a member of the Outlaws. I'm pretty interested in seeing what happens when Arsenal meets once more with Killer Croc. In case anybody is out of the loop, Arsenal became an alcoholic for a time and took on Killer Croc in an attempt to commit suicide via super villain, but once Croc figured this out, he actually refused to kill Roy and encouraged him to clean himself up. It's an odd dynamic, but somehow, it seems in line with at least some portrayals of Killer Croc. Now, presumably, there will be a reckoning between these two for Croc promised not to show the same mercy to Roy if they met again. This issue is written by Joe Keatinge (former writer of Image's Glory and current writer of Image's H*** Yeah, Morbius the Living Vampire, The Amazing Spider-Man and a new volume of Glory) and the art is handled by comic newbie Ricken. (current artist of H*** Yeah and Glory) Is Arsenal a sharply written story with a nice point, or does it miss the mark entirely? (Oh yeah! Those are puns! I roll like that)

In this issue, Arsenal is captured by the Chinese Triad, but he makes a daring escape so that he can rescue his enemy in need, Killer Croc.

Fun, Fun Nonsense

In the spirit of cutting to the chase, this was a blast. It's kind of like what I keep hoping Nocenti's Catwoman will evolve into, a story that is just a fun adventure with no delusions of being anything profound. Were there better comics ton the market in the past two weeks? Sure, but there were a lot more that were much worse.

Keatinge understands who the DCNU Roy Harper is, and he runs with it and makes the whole story a blast. Nearly the entire issue is filled with Roy's sarcastic and self-defacing inner monologue, and its great because Roy has no illusions about himself or the world around him. He does not take himself or the situation to seriously, and he is constantly making jokes though at the risk of practicing some dime store psychology, I would say his flippant and comedic attitude comes from the same places as most comedians get their material, a very dark place. Roy and the other Outlaws for that matter could not be so flippant if they did not have at least some part of them which did not care whether they live or die.

However, none of that is really brought to bear in this issue. Instead, its pretty much all good times with lots of blood flying this way and that. There is also a little plot twist I did not see coming, so its not like this is a totally straightforward tale, but again, its not trying to be anything profound.

The only real problem I have with the issue is Roy's escape from his shackles. Roy takes a quarter and spits it at his handcuffs repeatedly causing them to crack until he can work himself free. That is total and complete bull crap. It's scene like this that make me wonder if writers have been living in some parallel dimension where the rules of reality are vastly different, or have guys like Keatinge never taken two pieces of metal and beaten them together just to see what happens?

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Real quick, I'm going to explain why this is stupid, and then I'll wrap up. First, things of small mass can make great impacts if they are going fast enough. For instance, a bullet can do great damage. However, the only way that works is if the small object is traveling extremely fast, but bullets travel at about six thousand miles an hour. (varies from bullet to bullet obviously. That's an M16 bullet according to the internet which knows all) Unless Roy has some magical mouth abilities previously unexplained, I don't think he's getting it up to speed. Also, when two objects meet, the weaker one gets more damage. I'm guessing handcuffs are probably made of sterner stuff than a coin.

You can also say that Roy's following rampage armed with just a toolbox is ridiculous, but that is a regular comic book level of ridiculous which requires ridiculously good skills but no more, and I'll buy that for the sake of a comic book, but laws of physics blinking off for a convenient escape? I don't think so.

Also, the art looks very good though Ricken is not as detailed as some, so it might not be for everybody.

Conclusion 9/10

The spirit of this book does not really demand a very serious attitude, so I can roll with one stupid scene. If you like Roy Harper in the Outlaws, then you will love this issue, and you should definitely buy it. If you do not care for the new Arsenal, then pass.

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