Tuesday, June 6, 2023

The Flash #800 Review


Written by: Jeremy Adams, Mark Waid, Joshua Williamson,. Geoff Johns, Si Spurrier
Art by: Fernando Pasarin, Oclair Albert, Todd Nauck, Carmine Di Giandomenico, Scott Kolins, Mike Deodato Jr.
Colors by: Matt Herms, Ivan Plascencia, Luis Guerrero, Trish Mulvihill
Letters by: Rob Leigh, Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Cover art by: Taurin Clarke
Cover price: $4.99
Release date: June 6, 2023

The Flash #800 celebrates the milestone number with five short stories revved up to speed you on your way to fun and excitement. We find a gang of criminals playing the Flash-version of Almost Got 'Im, Impulse acts impulsive (duh!), Barry and Iris go out on a heartwarming date night, Zoom's origins and mission are explored, and Wally and Linda have a very troublesome date night of their own.

Steelworks #1 Review


Written by: Micheal DornArt by: Sami Basri
Colors by: Andrew Dalhouse
Letters by: Rob Leigh
Cover art by: Clay Mann, Alejandro Sánchez
Cover price: $3.99
Release date: June 6, 2023

Steelworks #1 makes way for the grand opening of Steelworks Tower and John Henry Irons's plan to supply the citizens of Metropolis with all the power, tools, and defensive capabilities needed to make the Super-family unnecessary.

Shazam #2 Review


Written by: Mark Waid
Art by: Dan Mora
Colors by: Alejandro Sánchez
Letters by: Troy Peteri
Cover art by: Dan Mora
Cover price: $3.99
Release date: June 6, 2023

Shazam #2 finds Billy Batson struggling with the fallout of his outburst in front of a live audience as the Captain. When Psycho Pirate comes to town to steal priceless art, Billy may have found the cause of his uncharacteristic emotional outburst... or has he?

Is It Good?

I like Shazam #2. I like Shazam #2 because Mark Waid and Dan Mora do everything right with a character I like, and that's the best you can hope for out of DC Comics right now.

When last we left Billy Batson after reacquiring his SHAZAM powers, he raced off to save lives during a disaster, only to lose his cool and sound like Captain Jerk in front of a live-streaming audience. Now, Billy is racked with self-doubt, fearing his reacquired powers are affecting his mind, and his recent string of heroics are bearing unpleasant consequences (property damage, legal civil fallout, etc.). Plus, pressures at school and home are turning Billy's day into a lowdown, no good, pretty rotten day.

Suddenly, Psycho Pirate shows up at the local museum to nab the Mona Lisa on tour, giving Billy hope that a villain is behind his unexpected outburst. Unfortunately, Billy finds that answers never fall into your hands so easily.

Why do I like what Waid and Mora are doing in this issue? everything about this issue works. Billy embarks on the classic hero's journey as he seeks to overcome the greatest challenge anyone can face - the unknown. Billy struggles to keep his powers from doing wanton damage and his emotions from lowering his inhibitions so low that he does the unthinkable. Billy can't help but be a hero, but his biggest enemy right now is himself. That sort of internal conflict is ripe for dramatic storytelling and character growth.

As a bonus, Waid executes the fine art of teasing out a mystery beautifully. You know there's a problem, little hints are dropped to give the reader clues for speculation (don't skip the prologue), and Waid draws you along the path to discovery without spilling the beans too quickly or teasing not enough to create frustration. Comic writers should take note of how well this issue is structured to create the desired effects of intrigue, entertainment, satisfaction, and anticipation.

Is it all rainbows and sunshine? Almost entirely, yes. Sure, there are little nitpicks. For example, the visiting T-Rex alien legal officer is a bit silly, but it instills a flavor of Silver Age charm that's quite enjoyable. If you don't like Silver Age silliness, you may find the alien's visit corny.

How's the art? Forget it. Just forget it. There's nothing to critique. Dan Mora's art is glorious. It's bright and fun, serious when it needs to be, dramatic when necessary, and always exciting. Mora's art crackles with energy on every level.

About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of ComicalOpinions.com, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.

Follow @ComicalOpinions on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

Bits and Pieces:

Shazam #2 is a treat. Filled with fun action, powerful art, and a masterfully constructed mystery to keep you guessing without frustrating, Shazam #2 is a near-perfect blend of modern comic storytelling with a Silver Age twist you won't find anywhere else.


Batman #136 Review

Written by: Chip Zdarsky
Art by: Belén Ortega
Colors by: Tomeu Morey
Letters by: Clayton Cowles
Cover art by: Jorge Jiménez
Cover price: $4.99
Release date: June 6, 2023

Batman #136 finds Batman acclimating to life in Gotham after his return from an alternate dimension, minus one hand. As he struggles to portray an image of stability and strength, Bruce's doubts about who controls his mind create cracks that slowly but surely widen.

Adventures of Superman: Jon Kent #4 Review

Written by: Tom Taylor
Art by: Darick Robertson, Norm Rapmund
Colors by: Jordie Bellaire
Letters by: Wes Abbott
Cover art by: Clayton Henry, Marcelo Maiolo
Cover price: $3.99
Release date: June 6, 2023

Adventures of Superman: Jon Kent #4 drops the scales from Jon Kent's eyes when he learns how terrible an Injustice world can be from the lips of the people he trusts the most. Unfortunately, not everyone is trusting enough to let Jon roam as he pleases.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Detective Comics #1072 Review

Written by: Ram V
Art by: Ivan Reis, Stefano Raffaele
Colors by: Brad Anderson, Lee Loughridge
Letters by: Ariana Maher
Cover art by: Evan Cagle (cover A)
Cover price: $4.99
Release date: May 30, 2023

Detective Comics #1072 marks the beginning of the Fall for Batman and Gotham as the Orghams unleash their final gambit.

Is It Good?

Detective Comics #1072 marks the beginning of the end. Of what? Honestly, I have no idea, and neither do most readers of Ram V's run, but at least it looks like something is happening. We'll take any progress we can at this point.

When last we left Batman and his less-broody allies, they didn't do much except receive an unexpected visit from the Vigil, Ram V's recently-launched hero title. That part only lasted a few pages, as the rest of the issue was devoted to a flashback explaining a chunk of the Orgham family history and its connection to Ra's Al Ghul. Issue #1071 was chock full of historical information, but it contained nothing about the Orghams' plans for Gotham, the nature or intended use of the Reality Engine, or the purpose of Orgham Place.

Now, it's the grand opening celebration for Orgham Place, and the Bat-family is on high alert to stop whatever the Orghams have planned. And therein lies the problem.

Does Batman know what the Orghams are planning to do? No. Does the GCPD know? Nope. In fact, Commissioner Montoya struggles to accept that anything untoward is happening. Does Ram V know what the Orghams are planning to do? At this point, I'm not entirely convinced.

How do you wrap a multi-act arc around a new criminal organization/family with a master plan designed to change Gotham forever, and nobody seems to know what's in the plan, what it's supposed to do, the stakes of the plan if it succeeds, or how to stop it? As of this writing, Ram V has delivered ten issues to make the plan, and the Orghams' motivations behind it, clear. C'est la vie.

Watch our Detective Comics #1072 Video Review

Still, things happen in this issue. Cass/Batgirl tracks down the kidnapped citizens, only to learn they've been Azmer-ized and set loose on the streets to set explosives. Why did the Orghams create an Azmer Army to set explosives when they employed a small army of workers for months to build Orgham Place? Who knows.

Nightwing runs crowd control. Oracle coordinates everyone. Gordon tracks down Montoya to tell her "something" is about to happen. Which leaves Batman to deal with the Orgham family.

Batman tracks down the Orghams to an underground control center beneath Orgham Place, where they give him a choice - let the Azmer army blow up the city around Orgham Place or blow up Orgham Place to send the building (they just finished building) down on their heads in a bizarre form of suicide. No spoilers on which one Batman chooses, but if you know Batman, you know the choice he makes.

This final development somehow makes the issue, and the arc as a whole, worse. What's the point of going through all the trouble to buy up property, clear the low-income citizens, build a sparkling new tower, and create a big PR push to announce the salvation of the city if the Orghams always intended to just blow it all up? If readers knew about the plan, maybe we could see some method in the madness, but as it stands now, it appears Ram V is just pulling big moments out of a hat to distract away from the lack of a clear, concise, cohesive plot.

How's the art? Gorgeous. I don't say that lightly. Reis and Raffaele's art looks fantastic. The big sin of this run is the lack of a cohesive plot, but the much bigger sin is how much Reis and Raffaele's talents are wasted on a script not worthy of the work they're delivering.

About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of ComicalOpinions.com, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.

Follow @ComicalOpinions on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

Bits and Pieces:

Detective Comics #1072 feels like the beginning of a climactic finale, but the bizarre lack of motivations, stakes, or clarity results in a comic where explosive things happen that have no meaning or purpose. Reis and Raffaele deliver stunning art, and the action scenes look great, but it's not clear if this title (or Ram V) knows where it's going, or if the creative team is just making it up as they move along. Right now, it feels like the latter.


Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Action Comics #1055 Review


Written by: Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Dan Jurgens, Dorado Quick
Art by: Rafa Sondoval, Lee Weeks, Yasmin Flores, Montanez
Colors by: Matt Herms, Elizabeth Breitweiser, Brad Anderson
Letters by: Dave Sharpe, Rob Leigh
Cover art by: Sebastian Fiumara
Cover price: $4.99
Release date: May 23, 2023

Action Comics #1055 delivers three tales of Super Adventure when the Super-family faces off with a resurrected Cyborg Superman, Superman battles Doombreaker while young Jon Kent is held hostage by an alien princess, and Conner Kent lends a hand to the Steelworks repairs.

City Boy #1 Review


Written by: Greg Pak
Art by: Minkyu Jung
Colors by: Sunny Gho
Letters by: Wes Abbott
Cover art by: Minkyu Jung, Sunny Gho
Cover price: $3.99
Release date: May 23, 2023

City Boy #1 unveils the origin story of Cameron - a young man imbued with the power to see everyone and everything in the city, and when necessary, able to bend the shape of the streets and buildings around him.

Nightwing #104 Review


Written by: Tom Taylor
Art by: Travis Moore
Colors by: Adriano Lucas
Letters by: Wes Abbott
Cover art by: Bruno Redondo
Cover price: $4.99
Release date: May 23, 2023

Nightwing #104 brings the Titans' conflict with Neron to a close when the King of Hell tempts Nightwing with the ultimate gift of power. All he has to do is give up protecting Olivia's soul.

Harley Quinn #30 Review


Written by: Tini Howrd
Art by: Sweeney Boo
Colors by: Sweeney Boo
Letters by: Steve Wands
Cover art by: Sweeney Boo
Cover price: $4.99
Release date: May 23, 2020

Harley Quinn #30 finds Harley trying to make the wrong things right by traveling to Earth-26 to return the magic fish she accidentally stole from Captain Carrot during a critical moment in battle.

Green Arrow #2 Review


Written by: Joshua Williamson
Art by: Sean Izaakse
Colors by: Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Letters by: Troy Peteri
Cover art by: Sean Izaakse, Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Cover price: $3.99
Release date: May 23, 2023

Green Arrow #2 finds Roy and Dinah on the warpath to find the one person who knows what happened to Oliver and Lian - Amanda Waller. Meanwhile, Oliver and Lian try to settle into life in an alien world with a dangerous secret.