Thursday, July 18, 2024

Superman #16 Comic Review




  • Written by: Joshua Williamson

  • Art by: Jamal Campbell

  • Colors by: Jamal Campbell

  • Letters by: Ariana Maher

  • Cover art by: Jamal Campbell (cover A)

  • Cover price: $4.99

  • Release date: July 17, 2024


Superman #16, by DC Comics on 7/17/24, checks in with the assorted characters of Metropolis after Amanda Waller's first wave of attacks robs supers and magic users of their power.

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Who is the Next Writer on Detective Comics?

Nightwing #116 Comic Review




  • Written by: Tom Taylor

  • Art by: Bruno Redondo

  • Colors by: Adriano Lucas

  • Letters by: Wes Abbott

  • Cover art by: Bruno Redondo (cover A)

  • Cover price: $4.99

  • Release date: July 17, 2024


Nightwing #116, by DC Comics on 7/17/24, sets Dick Grayson on a spiritual journey to overcome his fear of heights while Heartless takes control of Bludhaven.



Is Nightwing #116 Good?

Good gravy! October can't get here fast enough. In an already slow, meandering, do-nothing arc centering on a villain who remained unchecked and undeterred by Nightwing for years, Tom Taylor still manages to find a way to waste even more time. I mean hats off to Taylor for making an uninteresting plot even more uninteresting, but that's not the kind of feat that's going to earn anyone an Eisner (Although, the qualifications for earning Eisners these days appear to have little to do with talent or accomplishments).


When last we left Dick Grayson in Nightwing #115, Heartless made his big move to set Dick Grayson up as the "real" Heartless and criminal mastermind in charge of the city. Bruce Wayne seemed content to let Dick Grayson be carted away in a nondescript ambulance, where Heartless and Tony Zucco discovered the domino mask in Dick's jacket, proving he's Nightwing. The issue concluded with Dick waking up wearing Heartless's mask and standing near the body of a Heartless victim when police arrived.


In Nightwing #116, news travels fast. Tom Taylor sets up a rapid-fire montage of reporter questions and press conference answers that use circumstantial evidence to link every plot point in Tom Taylor's run together in a damning spider web of incriminating activity that suggests Dick Grayson is Heartless. Meanwhile, Dick Grayson lies handcuffed in a hospital bed, under police guard, while he recovers from being shot and beaten by Bludhaven police during his arrest.


Tom Taylor has the right idea, but the execution is lacking. The reporters bring up photos, meetings, seemingly connected events (like the homeless encampment fires), and more in a way that suggests Dick is in the right place at the right time to cause all of it. However, the execution is lacking because Dick should be able to easily present proof of his whereabouts on several, if not all, of those events to show he couldn't have done it. Further, the montage of "damning evidence' is only possible because Nightwing has done nothing to stop Heartless since the beginning.


Dick escapes the hospital and heads to Barbara's place. She acquired a copy of his medical report which shows traces of fear toxin in his blood, specifically modified to cause a fear of heights. The toxin is mostly gone, causing Dick and Barbara to conclude that his lingering fear is psychological. Dick decides he has to leave town for a spirit walk, and he needs everyone to remain to keep Bludhaven safe in his absence.


Again, Taylor has the right idea but executes it poorly. If Dick's fear was caused by an infusion of fear toxin, a simple blood test should have picked it up as soon as he noticed a problem. Didn't he get checked out? If so, how did fear toxin get missed? The explanation only works because everyone around Dick is incompetent, which really means Taylor didn't put in the work to make this plot point believable.


Dick begins an international trek to Nanda Parbat with his dog to receive mental and spiritual help from Boston Brand, aka Deadman. Brand helped Dick to overcome his fear when he fell for the first time as a boy. Now, Dick seeks Brand's help again.


"Wait a minute! Isn't Brand dead-dead after last Summer's horrible Knight Terrors event?" you might wonder. Yes, you're right. An editor's note confirms as much. Dick somehow immediately deduces that Rama Kushna brought Brand back and bound his spirit to Nanda Parbat in a huge development that nobody saw. Again, really lazy work from Taylor.


Meanwhile, Heartless begins broadcasting his master plan to the good citizens of Bludhaven over the Internet and airwaves. He orders the Titans to leave the city or he'll begin executing the parents of every child he has in captivity, an order the Titans comply with for now. Heartless then taunts Nightwing to come out and face him, secretly knowing Nightwing is Dick Grayson and hoping the taunt will draw Dick out.


The issue ends with Bruce Wayne donning the domino mask.


What's great about Nightwing #116? The concept, plot pacing, and execution may be terrible, but at least the story is moving toward a resolution. Some movement, even if clumsy, is better than no movement, which is what we've had on this title for nearly two years.


What's not great about Nightwing #116? Taylor's lazy, poorly structured construction of the Heartless arc grows more glaring with each passing issue. It's clear now that Taylor had an idea for Heartless but didn't know what to do with him, so the last few issues are a mish-mash of hand-waving contrivances that come out of nowhere to justify why Dick and everyone around him didn't do what they should have done in the first place.


How's the Art? Redondo's digital art is perfectly serviceable in a relatively action-free issue. The figures don't integrate as well as they should into the backgrounds, and the coloring relies too heavily on purples (Not Rico Renzi levels of bad but bad enough to be noticeable), but the art team gets the job done.

 

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 YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

Final Thoughts

Nightwing #116 is a mediocre, lazy, action-free issue that tries to explain why Nightwing's lack of effort to capture Heartless was really part of some master plan (that nobody will believe). The art is serviceable, and I'm at least thankful the series is moving toward closure, but this title is going to go down as a series of wasted opportunities and missteps.

4/10



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Batman/Superman: World's Finest #29 Comic Review




  • Written by: Mark Waid

  • Art by: Dan Mora

  • Colors by: Tamra Bonvillain

  • Letters by: Steve Wands

  • Cover art by: Dan Mora (cover A)

  • Cover price: $3.99

  • Release date: July 17, 2024


Batman/Superman: World's Finest #29, by DC Comics on 7/17/24, brings the Long Night of the Mites to a close when the magic users of Earth unite to pull off a long shot.



Is Batman/Superman: World's Finest #29 Good?

 Mark Waid wraps up the magical, mystical, dimension-hopping adventure for the World's Finest to a close with an edge-of-your-seat adventure, some heart, and a relatively satisfying conclusion. Will this go down as the greatest arc in World's Finest history? Probably not, but it ends as well as it starts, and it's a lot of fun.


When last we left Batman and Superman in World's Finest #28, they escaped a succession of hops from the 6th Dimension to the 1st Dimension with Bat Mite's help. When they returned to the 3rd Dimension, just in time to take over from Jimmy Olsen and the Justice League of Mites, Batman's pronouncement of a plan prompted Doom-Mite to turn him into a lifeless puppet.


In World's Finest #29, Puppet Batman manages to eke out a single word, "Pull!" That single word is enough to get Robin and Superman to recognize where Batman is headed, so they knock out a strategy in short order.


Jimmy's powers return to Mr. Mxyzptlk, Superman throws his full force into keeping Doom-Mite distracted, and the Mites Poof! themselves around the world to gather all the magic users available, including a couple we haven't seen in decades (Prince Ra-Man and Dr. Occult).


The lead-up to the big battle makes sense as long as you don't think about the catalyst that gets everyone moving in their respective directions. Sure, Mark Waid has to wrap things up quickly, but you have to make a few Grand Canyon-sized leaps in logic to get from "Pull!" to everyone knowing exactly what they need to do.


The Mites complete their task while Superman gets a vicious pummeling from the Doom-Mite from the 6th Dimension. The collected Magic users show up to cast their spells and "pull" the time magic out of Doom-Mite. Inspired by the atmosphere of heroism, Bat-Mite delivers the knockout blow that reduces Doom-Mite to a manageable size so Dr. Fate can cart him away in a magical cage.


What's great about World's Finest #29? Action, fun, adventure, and excitement come at you from all directions like a water balloon fight in a clown party. Thankfully, Waid keeps the shenanigans from dipping too far into silliness or listing too far into ultra-serious dourness. Plus, Bat-Mite's face reveal is a smile-worthy moment.


What's not great about World's Finest #29? The logical leap to get from "Pull" to a working plan is just too far to buy into. Plus, you have to ignore how Mxyzptlk and Bat-Mite were able to snap in and out of the barrier surrounding the city when the barrier is supposed to be impenetrable.


How's the Art? Dan Mora's art is reliably fantastic. At some point, you run out of ways to praise Mora's style and eye for being the best-running DC artist around.



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 YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter


Final Thoughts

Batman/Superman: World's Finest #29 ends the arc with fast-paced fun, action, adventure, and excitement. Dan Mora's artwork and Mark Waid's script wrap the adventure up with a pleasant mix of heart and fun. That said, Waid takes a few shortcuts to the finish line that are a little too big to ignore.

7/10



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Wonder Woman #11 Comic Review




  • Written by: Tom King

  • Art by: Tony S. Daniel

  • Colors by: Jay David Ramos

  • Letters by: Clayton Cowles

  • Cover art by: Daniel Sampere, Tomeu Morey

  • Cover price: $4.99

  • Release date: July 17, 2024


Wonder Woman #11, by DC Comics on 7/17/24, hunkers down with the JLD as they keep a low profile until they can figure out why and how the world suddenly turned against them.



Is Wonder Woman #11 Good?

Wonder Woman #11 is a mess for a reason that has nothing to do with the comic quality. It's a mess because it contradicts multiple developments in the event it ties into, Absolute Power, and the other titles with connected characters such as Shazam! How can a pretty decent tie-in make an event worse instead of better? Read this issue to find out.


When last we left the Woman of Wonder in Wonder Woman #10, she survived a bizarre battle against Cheetah on a deserted island because the Sovereign couldn't think of anything else to do with her. The enemies slowly turned into frenemies and then something more when they expressed their love for each other. The issue ended with everyone leaving the island after the trio of Wonder Girls clumsily figured out how to fly the invisible jet and arrived for a rescue.


In Wonder Woman #11, we begin Wonder Woman's tie-in to the Absolute Power event. Wonder Woman and the JLD, consisting of Det. Bobo, Madame Xanadu, Spectre, The Captain, Mary Marvel, and John Constantine, take refuge in the Watergate Hotel for a rousing game of "Go, Fish!"


In a scant few pages, inconsistency with the Absolute Power event and other DC titles abound. How did Billy Batson and Mary Bronfield get to Watergate with their powers intact when they're still dealing with Billy's split personality in Shazam!? Why is the JLD in Washington D.C. when Wonder Woman presumably is still Public enemy #1 due to the efforts of the Sovereign? Why is this issue coming out now when Absolute Power #1 and Absolute Power: Task Force VII #1 both take place after this issue, and Absolute Power #1 shows the downfall of this team happening very differently? Oy!


Suddenly, the Amazo robot designed to deal with magic users crashes through the window and systematically begins robbing each character of their magic. Wonder Woman quickly deduces that the magic-stealing comes by way of physical touch. The Amazo robot is also stuttering and sputtering lines from Charles Dickens novels, primarily Great Expectations, indicating some kind of growing neural glitch.


We've seen hints of the glitch in other Absolute Power-related issues. The Amazon robots have a Victorian-era quality to their speech, but it's unclear what that means or how that plays into the eventual conclusion of the event. Otherwise, the action is well-played and exciting.


The issue ends with Billy and Mary getting away after losing most (but not all of their magic) to head into Absolute Power: Task Force VII #1 and the rest of the JLD down for the count.


And... that's it. The team gathers, the robot shows up, they fight, and the Shazam siblings get away. The issue adds nothing to the event other than to explain how an event we already knew happened came to pass. It's not a waste of time, but you could skip it and miss nothing.


What's great about Wonder Woman #11? Tom King and Tony S. Daniel deliver an action-packed, issue-long battle full of energy and excitement. If you're looking for a big brawl starring the Justice League Dark, this is as good as it gets, even if they lose easily.


What's not great about Wonder Woman #11? As I mentioned in the beginning, the big downer of this issue is how poorly it integrates with everything outside of this issue.


There are at least two comics connected to Absolute Power that have already been released and take place after the events of this issue. The continuity between The Captain and Mary Marvel in Shazam! doesn't match their characters here. Further, the context of the battle, where and how Wonder Woman and her magical cohorts are defeated, doesn't match what happened in the first Absolute Power issue. For example...


Mark Waid describes the defeat of characters such as Constantine in Absolute Power #1 by invading their minds to cause them to forget how to cast spells. Here, Constantine is robbed of his magical power as though the magic was imbued in Constantine's body. Well, which is it? Does Constantine have magical power imbued within him that can be stripped away, or does he have knowledge of the Arcane arts like a traditional warlock? Conventional wisdom says it's the latter, so why is Wonder Woman #11 addressing Constantine's character differently than in Absolute Power #1?


How's the Art? Tony S. Daniel does a killer job delivering an issue-long battle with impact, excitement, energy, and engagement. If there was any concern about Tony S. Daniel stepping in for Daniel Sampere, that concern is unwarranted.


Overall, Wonder Woman #11 is a fine issue on its own, but the inconsistencies between the script and how it integrates with Absolute Power are just plain sloppy. Do you need this comic to learn essential information about Absolute Power? No, but it could have been essential if it was released in the right order and Tom King and Mark Waid had bothered to talk to each other.


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 YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

Final Thoughts

Wonder Woman #11 delivers a fast-paced, action-packed issue that pits the Justice League Dark against one of Amanda Waller's Amazo robots. If you want a comic that's nothing but a fight from beginning to end, you'll probably be pleased. That said, this issue contributes nothing new to the Absolute Power event, and the plot is riddled with inconsistencies concerning the characters in this issue and the same characters in other Absolute Power comics, which misses the whole point of a tie-in.

5.5/10



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