Friday, October 4, 2013

Batwing #24 Review

Written By: Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti
Art By: Eduardo Pansica and Julio Ferreira
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: October 2, 2013

Worst Day (Night) Ever

As Batwing #14 title suggests, Luke Fox can't catch a break.  Since last issue (which seems like years ago...Thanks Villain's Month) Luke has been falling off a building special delivery of Lady Vic.  Of course, his Batsuit flakes out on him and he is about to be pavement paint. Fortunately, his luck improves a bit and the suit kicks in just before he hits the concrete.  After some other mishaps, Luke makes his way home to deal with an ex-girlfriend in need and a Family ready to line up behind Lady Vic to kill him.

Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti have really made Batwing a fun title.  Luke Fox brings just the right amount of intelligence and resourcefulness that makes this Batwing great.  He consults with Batman without relying too much on him.  The best example is .when Luke has said problems with his suit.  He saddles up to the workbench and fixes and improves the suit himself.  It just makes sense since he's the one risking his life while wearing it.

This scene also really drives home why the book is so good...the art.  Eduardo Pansica and Julio Ferreira do a great job throughout, but really shine in the Batwing suit montage.  I also want to point out Paul Mounts' colors.  They are the most vibrant of any of the Bat Family books on the shelf.

The only downer for me was the whole ex-girlfriend storyline.  I'm not going to say it is cliche or trite, but it has the potential to go there really quick.  I have faith in Gray and Palmiotti to steer clear of that, though.

I actually almost forgot the best part of the book, the cover.  Darwyn Cooke's cover art will hopefully draw new readers in because it really is an awesome image.  It may be my favorite cover from the whole New 52 so far.

Bits and Pieces:

Batwing #24 is a fun read with great art and an awesome cover.  Hopefully it will get more attention because it really deserves it.  I definitely  recommend picking up this title.


Batman '66 #14 Review

Written By: Jeff Parker
Art By: Ruben Procopio 
Cover Price: $0.99
Release Date: October 2, 2013

Exit Sandman

Jeff Parker's Batman '66 has been such a fun title and an easy one to recommend to any comic fan.  The camp of the TV series shines through in the zany take on the rogues gallery, the dialogue of the dynamic duo and the tiny shout outs to the series many fans.  While I've been a fan, Batman '66 #14 just didn't grab me like past issues.  I'd say it almost put me to sleep, but I don't want to use bad Sandman puns and it wasn't actually that bad and who wants to start a review with a lie for the sake of a lame joke?

The Sandman has captured Batman and Robin and laid siege to Gotham with his sleep powder.  His goal?  To find out the location of the Batcave to store the spoils of his crimes.  Yes, he just wants a secure storage space.  It's actually very funny how uninspired Sandman is.  His assistant points out that with Batman asleep he can take off the mask to reveal his identity.  The Sandman shrugs it off saying Batman only matters because he's Batman.  Batman foils the Sandman through lucid dreaming, beating the Villain at his own game.  

Jeff Parker really has the Adam West Batman down to a tee,  The dialogue is spot on and the situations zany enough to have been actual episodes.  What I didn't like about issue #14 was the art of Ruben Procopio.  This looks more like a Richie Rich or Scooby Doo comic than Batman.  Seriously, I really thought the Sandman was going to mention meddling kids or call Batman the poor little rich boy.  

Bits and Pieces:

Batman '66 #14 is a fun comic that is held back by an ill advised art style.  Jeff Parker plays up to the Sandman's d-list status and motivations.  I just wish the art style was more Batmobile and less Mystery Machine.


Top 5 Worst DC Comics Villain's Month Issues

An Unnecessary Evil

There are things I hate in my life.  Babies crying in movies, garlic, people who are intolerant of other people's cultures and the Dutch.  Well, I can add another one to my bucket list of hate...unnecessary Villain's Month issues.  Why were they Unnecessary you ask.  Oh, let me count the ways...

Again, click on the score to read the original reviews

5.Batman #23.4 Bane

Why was this issue unnecessary?  We get Bane's origin.  The same origin we always had.  But Jim, they changed it enough to justify a $4.99 price tag, right?  Nope.  What they did add were details that don't mesh right with Talon or the Forever Evil books and the fact that Bane punches little girls in the face after killing their Dad.  All this as a lame setup for you to read Forever Evil Arkham War.

My Score: 4.5/10

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Top 5 Best of "Villain's Month"

I'm Still Having The Nightmares....

I think back to a time before the reviews.  A time when I'd pick up books and take my sweet time enjoying them.  Normally the reviews aren't that demanding.  I enjoy the read, and then I either blow the creative team, or slam them.  You know a good time.  But then came Villain's Month.  Oh god....  The weeks kept coming, and the issues came with them.  One shot after one shot, origin story after origin story, giving us information we already knew, or didn't want.  I still hear the screams in the comic shops when I close my eyes at night.  Okay enough drama, granted we had some real duds when it came to Villain's Month, but it wasn't all bad, and I'm hear to sum up what reviews had a special place in my heart, and if not that, then the title that tricked me into giving it a decent review.  Top 5 Best of "Villain's Month".

Swamp Thing #24 Review

Written By: Charles Soule
Art By: Andrei Bressan
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: October 2, 2013

Can't Fight the Seeder

Charles Soule is quickly becoming one of my favorite writers.  In fact, his Arcane Villain's Month issue was my favorite of last month and had me pumped for the return of his Swamp Thing.  Well the wait is over and Swamp Thing #24 is here.  Believe me, it was worth the wait.

Everything has a consequence.  Every action has a equal and opposite reaction.  You better check yourself before you wreck yourself.  I could go on with more and more stupid and outdated sayings, but Charles Soule's Seeder arc in Swamp Thing does a much better job.  You see, the Seeder thinks he is doing good.  He made a Whisky Tree in Ireland...and almost destroyed the town he wanted to help. He made a rice patty in Bangladesh and a Kelp bed near South Africa disappeared because of it.  Action...reaction.  Swamp Thing tries to tell the Seeder this, but he doesn't want to hear it.  You see, he means well, but he just isn't in touch with the Green.  They fight a bit, yell a bit more and because of an ending twist are going to be fighting a yelling even more in the near future.

The major selling point was the big reveal of the Seeder's identity.  It was a surprise, but for some reason it fell flat to me.  Again, the thing that had me excited was the twist at the end that sets up more intense Swamp thing, Seeder conflict from here on out.

Bits and Pieces:

Swamp Thing #24 is a really good read.  Charles Soule has made the Seeder a great villain for Swamp Thing and the ending twist ramps up that conflict even more. Highly recommended.


The Movement #5 Review

Written By: Gail Simone
Art By: Freddie Williams III
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: October 2, 2013

Time I Move On

I'd like to say The Movement has been a labor of love for me, but love is such a strong word.  I have read every issue and even gave the last issue a good review.  Even with that, this book has been walking on thin ice with more bad issue and I'm done.  The Movement #5 is that issue my friends.  Done, finis, caput.

I could spend this entire review telling you what I didn't like about this issue, but I won't.  I will tell you that Freddie William's art is pretty good.  Gail Simone's story isn't horrible and I actually love Dan Ponosian's cover.  I just don't care anymore.  I don't care about the main characters.  In fact, I can't name more than two by name and couldn't tell you their powers either.  How can I possibly care about this "Movement" if I don't even remember who's fighting it.

This leads me to my main problem with the book as a whole.  Who the hell is it for?  Street urchins fighting for a scrap of bread?  Teens who have been left behind by a broken system and can't fight for themselves?  Dirty boys who like to hang with rats and hum Micheal Jackson's "Ben" all the live long day?  Hey, I know that the World has problems.  I know that the system is made by and for the rich at the expense of the needy.  I get it.  I just don't want it in my comics.  I love comics because they are fun.  Yes, they can make you think as well, but when all is said and done I like them because they are fun.  The Movement is not fun.  For myself, it has actually become the opposite of fun.  It has become a chore.  Hey, I don't mind doing chores, but the only way I'm doing this one anymore is if Gail Simone gives me an allowance.  Actually, keep you're money Gail, I quit.

Bits and Pieces:

If you enjoy the Movement, all power to you.  Like the heroes in the book I can't seem to remember, everyone should fight for a say in life.  Please, scream to the rooftops how much you love this book.  I'll be sitting here reading a book that I enjoy with heroes that make me wish I could fly, run super fast and fight evil so I can own the night.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Detective Comics #24 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written By: John Layman
Art By: Jason Fabok
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 2, 2013

Oh The Wrath's Going Down!

It's the last part of the Wrath story arc, and I'm wishing it was longer.  This story might not have all the scope of a Forever Evil, but I've enjoyed it since it started.  Which is saying a lot because I hated the original Wrath.  This re-imagining was surprising good, and needed.  Last issue Caldwell had set off the booby trapped bullet proof vest that he donated to the police, and the outcome was shocking......yeah they were electrocuted.  Batman had escaped the Caldwell Tech Building and Wrath was going after Alfred in the secured sector of the same building.  So let's jump into the thick of it.

Batman baits the Wrath into coming after him, (leaving Alfred alive thankfully) and the Wrath does not disappoint.  Wrath comes busting out of Caldwell Tech with a Wrath War-Jet, and all Batman can do is try to out maneuver him.  But he's running out of time to save the remaining police officers.  So what does Batman do?  Well he does the most badass thing he can do.  He blows up the Bat Wing so that it wrecks the Wrath's jet.  Batman gets away using a new glider he developed.  

Back at Caldwell Tech Batman shuts down the electro vests, and saves the police.  He also uses the information Alfred hacked to find out that Caldwell's father was gunned down by crooked cops, and deduces his next target.

The Wrath comes back with a vengeance he drives what Layman calls a "extensively modified Caldwell produced, reinforced-armor, heavy-artillery vehicle."  But what all that adds up to, is a big fucking tank.  Wrath drives it right up to the 13th precinct and is trying to get maximum kills during shift change.  BOOM!  Wrath gets out the tank but inside the giant fiery hole that once was the 13th precinct, he only finds Batman waiting for him.  Batman got all the cops out, and now it's one on one.  Sadly this doesn't last very long, and Batman lets the GCPD have a turn.  

So yeah Wrath killed a bunch of cops, yup he's a bad guy.  So what does Gordon do?  He shoots Wrath with that big ass tank.  In the end he tells Batman he knew it wouldn't kill Wrath (Bullshit), and a cynical Bat hater cop comes and thanks Batman for doing all that he did.  In Black Gate Gordon comes to Caldwell to tell him about the resolution on his father's case.  After Gordon leaves we see that across the hall Emperor Black Gate (Emperor Penguin) wants to talk to Caldwell about his future plans.

Bits and Pieces:

Even though this story arc crossed over a bit into Detective Annual.  Yeah I count it.  This story seems like it should of been at least two more issues worth.  But for what it was, I enjoyed it and continually love John Layman's work on this title.  Seriously when I first heard that Wrath was going to be the new villain of Detective, I did what any self respecting fan boy does.  I bitched left and right.  I hated this character back in the day, but after reading this re-imagining I like the character and wished he had had a Villain's Month title.  All in all get the issue complete the story, it looks great and you won't regret it.


Action Comics #24 Review

Written By: Mike Johnson
Art By: Tyler Kirkham and Jesus Merino
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 2, 2013


Pycho Pirate, Qu'est-ce que c'est

Action Comics #24 is part two of the Psi War and picks up right after Superman #23.  Louis Lane is in a coma and Psycho Pirate has Superman in his clutches.  He tells Superman about the "Twenty" and tells him he wants to stop Brainiac from winning the upcoming War.  Unfortunately to do that, he has to sap Superman's psychic power by feeding off his emotions.  What better way to do that than to control Superman's mind to relive emotional memories and even change them to be more upsetting this time around.  Just when all hope seems to be lost, a surprise heroine of the Twenty arrives to save Superman.

I really liked Superman #23 and  hoped that Mike Johnson and Jesus Merino would get to do more Superman stories.  Well, my wish came true and I'm torn if it was a good thing.  I really liked the narration of Psycho pirate in Superman, but getting him in the flesh just wasn't as good.  He didn't have the condescending snarkiness that set him apart.

I'm not a fan of the plot devise either.  The whole control your memories to feed off the emotions was just done in the Green Lantern First Lantern story arc.  I know one book shouldn't effect my review of another but I didn't like the device in Green Lantern and I like it even less here.  That being said, I like the idea of the Twenty and the twist at the end could prove very interesting.

The art in the book was pretty average.  Nothing really jumped out which is sad because Psycho Pirate looked awesome in Superman #23, but here is pretty boring looking.  What a wasted opportunity.

Bits and Pieces:

Action Comics #23 is a pretty average read.  The story is cliché and there was nothing special about the art.  The end reveal may prove interesting in the upcoming Psi War books, but I cannot recommend this book on it's own.


Earth 2 #16 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written By: James Robinson
Art By: Nicola Scott, Trevor Scott
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: October 2, 2013


So do you remember those two awful Villain's Month issues of Earth 2?  Well I don't care if you liked them, they were awful.  Now you got me all off track.  Oh yeah shitty issues.  Well this makes up for all of it.  Hell this makes up for all of Ann Nocenti's Green Arrow issues, and I don't care if that doesn't make any sense.  This issue is awesome.  Dig it.

Alright now remember last issue when Earth 2's wonders were all down for the count?  Well that's still going on but we dive right into the World Army staging their big attack on Steppenwolf.  Big mistake.  We're reintroduced to Steppenwolf's Hunger Dogs.  Beguiler, Bedlam, and the big badass Brutal.  The three of them take down the World's Army pretty much by themselves.  But we're told specifically that Brutal did most of the damage.  But don't worry Mr. Terrific, and the head of the World Army Amari make it out alive with jet pack action.

Okay back to the wonders who are finally coming to, the hero's regroup as Dr. Fate heals everyone, and decide to get back into the fight.  But Sandman gets orders to rescue survivors, and off they go.  All the wonders find people and get them to safety, but Green Lantern has other plans.  Revenge!  Green Lantern takes the fight directly to Steppenwolf, and isn't doing to bad until he's hit from behind by Brutal.  The two big bads have a stomping contest on Green Lantern, and I'd call it a tie.  Poor poor GL.

All right dig this hero lovers.  Steppenwolf moves to a reporter with a camera he spots behind some rubble, and tells the world that he first came to this world and killed it's heroes for Darkseid, but his passage home is lost, and he now conquers for himself.  He is Steppenwolf, your master.  Obey him and live, resist and die.  Okay true believers get ready..... Suddenly Brutal cuts him in half hot dog way.  Holy Shit!  Energy from the ground erupts and burns the armor off his body, and it's revealed that Brutal is the long thought dead Superman.  "Hail Darkseid!"   I'm still giddy.  In the end we see the world split with energy, and we're left thinking we're fucked.  Wow.

Bits and Pieces:

This has continually been one of my favorite titles since it came out.  Even with this I wasn't really concerned with James Robinson leaving the book.  It had to happen sooner or later, but after reading this issue I can't help but scream out "Don't leave me James Robinson.  Please!"  But to compose myself, this is a hell of a way to leave a title with a bang.  Nicola Scott's artwork has yet to disappoint, and is one of the things I most look forward to when reading comics.  This issue is just a nerdgasm, and anyone who hasn't been reading Earth 2 needs to start now.  So run to the comic shop, and pick up the back issues just so you're up to date, so when you finally get to read this issue in order you'll know what the rest of us know.  This is one of the best issues the New 52 has to offer.


Green Arrow #24 Review

Written By: Jeff Lemire
Art By: Andrea Sorrentino
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: October 2, 2013

Seattle sure is Crowded

I have to admit, I am not a regular Green Arrow reader.  I really like the character, but didn't enjoy the earlier issues in the New 52.  When Jeff Lemire took over and the hype machine started churning overtime, I wanted to give it a try.  However, it wasn't until Count Vertigo's Villain issue last month that I actually sat down and read.  I was impressed enough to jump into the series this month with Green Arrow #24.  As it turns out, I picked a hell of an issue to join in on.

Green Arrow #24 does a great job of getting everyone up to speed whether you're a long time reader or a rookie like myself.  Through backstory and an awesome splash page, everyone will be ready to go.  That is a good thing because after that page Jeff Lemire kicks it into overdrive and things get crazy, and I mean that in a good way.  We get Count Vertigo's awesome power corrupting downtown Seattle. Richard Dragon is karate kicking and chopping on the rooftops, and a surprise reveal will have fans of the TV show cheering wildly.  Seriously, Jeff Lemire grabs you and never lets you catch your breath until you close the book.

Speaking of grabbing you, Andrea Sorrentino's art is incredible.  I'm normally a story first, art second kind of guy, but I'm not sure which is better in this issue.  I say that as a huge compliment to both Lemire and Sorrentino.

Bits and Pieces:

Green Arrow #24 is that rare comic that has it all.  The story is nonstop adventure and action and the art is breathtaking.  The book is made to be a jumping on point for the uninitiated and also has enough fan service to please long time fans.  Seriously, do yourself a favor and pick this one up.


Forever Evil #2 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written By: Geoff Johns
Art By: David Finch, Richard Friend
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 2, 2013

Shit Continues to Get Real!

Oh thank god!  Villain's Month is finally over.  Yeah this title was apart of Villain's Month, but after this I can get back to regular titles again.  YEAH!!  But what about this issue you say.  Well calm the hell down and let me get into it.

This book begins with Lex Luthor heading down to the 13th Subbasement of LexCorp.  Can you guess who he finds down at the end of the subbasement hallway?  If you guessed Ned Beatty, you're right.  Well they never say that, but his name is Otis and he's a security guard.  But I dare any Superman fan to read his dialogue, especially when he says "Mr. Luthor", and not do Ned Beatty's voice.

Anyway, Lex takes Otis into the secret lab and we see where the first experiment in Bizarro's Villain Month issue, has led us.  Even though Lex tells us that the creature needs five more years in his tube, with the power out it will die.  So Lex ups the awesomeness and opens the tube and the creature walks out.  Lex sees if the programming has held up by ordering the creature to kill Otis.  But no go.  It's not until Otis turns a gun on Lex that our Bizarro kills him.  Lex pleased with himself takes Bizarro and gives him a Superman suit, while he puts on his battle armor.  Lex is ready to get shit done.  Oh and of course Bizarro puts the costume on inside out.

Meanwhile the Teen Titans are having a panic attack about what to do.  Red Robin tells them to man up and they go out to take on the Crime Syndicate.  But before they get to Happy Harbor they find Johnny Quick, and Atomica terrorizing local law, and military.  Now try to understand this.  Johnny Quick seeing that Kid Flash vibrates at a different frequency, knows that he's from a different time.  So he vibrates Kid Flash to a point where a time vortex opens and sucks all the Teen Titans into it.  Just that fast the Teen Titans get their asses handed to them, and are exiled to a future time.  So disappointing.  I'm not sure if the Teen Titans will get back for the rest of this story, but damn that was really really weak sauce.  One of my favorite teams and they go out like a bunch of punks.  Boo, I say boo sir.  Anyway.

Elsewhere the Crime Syndicate have a secret.  Maybe the secret Evil Alfred was talking about in Secret Society #1, or maybe not.  I don't know, but they have someone locked up with a bag on their head, and they plan on throwing this person at the thing that ruined their world, if it shows up here.  Oh and on a more personal note we find out that Super Woman is pregnant with Owlman's baby, and they plan on taking Ultra Man out before he finds out.  Next Week Crime Syndicate On Maury.

In the end we're at S.T.A.R. Labs in Detroit.  Cyborg's father is guarding "The Red Room", a room that houses weapons of mass destruction, or at least things you don't want in the wrong hands.  The side of the wall comes down, and their getting ready to fire a BFG when we see who's on the other side.  Catwoman, and Batman carrying the stumps that are left of Cyborg.  Batman tells us that the rest of the League didn't make it.  

Bits and Pieces:

This issue was busy.  So much going on in Forever Evil it's ridiculous.  But I guess it's what you have to do when working on a universe expanding epic.  The artwork was very strange, I don't remember if it was like this last month, but it seemed that all the good guys were really clearly drawn, and looked great, while all the bad guys, and monsters were gritty as hell.  Maybe it was an artistic choice, I don't know it was just weird.  The only thing I have against this book is the Teen Titans.  Come on, that's all we get?  All in all this was another great issue, and I can't wait to get the next, and all the spin off titles.  Geoff Johns just has that way of keeping me in suspense, and making me hate him for it.  So everyone else jump on the good hate bandwagon, and check out this issue.


Green Lantern #24 Review

Written by: Robert Venditti 
Art by: Billy Tan
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: October 2, 2013

Maybe They Should Keep the Lights Out

Hal, John and Salaak are trying to figure out why their rings keep blinking out when Kyle, Carol and the New Guardians teleport to OA.  They tell everyone that Relic is on his way to destroy the Lanterns like he did in his Universe.  Relic arrives and begins draining the GL Power Battery while Hal and the rest of the Corps desperately try to stop him.  

I have not been a huge fan of Green Lantern since Robert Venditti took over.  My main reason has been Hal.  He has been a real jerk.  Unfortunately, this trend continues here.  This issue adds immature to his character traits, using "fart" to describe a planet's atmosphere and declaring himself a "charismatic guy."  Who says that about himself?

 Venditti does do a good job making Relic an imposing villain.  He's huge, calculating and seems to view the Lanterns as a mere annoyance rather than a threat. What he accomplishes in the first issue of the event is pretty major and makes me wonder how the Corps can possibly beat him.

Billy Tan shows once again that he can handle the Green Lantern Universe and all the characters that the job entails.  Everything is grand in scope and Relic looks both imposing and awe inspiring.  I really think he is becoming one of my favorite artists.

Bits and Pieces:

Green Lantern #24 kicks off the Lights Out story with a bang.  The art of Billy Tan really nails the scope of the Green Lantern Universe. So why didn't I like the issue as much as I should have?  Hal Jordan is a jerk, that's why.  I really hate the way Venditti portrays him and it is killing my enjoyment of the title.  Hopefully the other writers will fix that as the story continues.


Monday, September 30, 2013

Jim's Top 5 Best Villain's Month Issues

A Necessary Evil

The debate of whether Villains Month was a gimmick, a sly marketing move or just good fun will probably be waged in comic book shops and the Internet for a good time to come.  This list is just a collection of the best 5 reviewed books I read this month.  I didn't read every book that came out, so if there are any missing that you believe belong it may be from my laziness (we had a really tough time getting things done on the third week of the month) or it may be on Eric's list.  To read the original reviews for each just click on the my score link.

With that said, here is my list:

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Action Comics #23.3 Lex Luthor Review

Best Lex Day Ever

Lex is having his best day ever.  He gets out of jail, has his facial scaring fixed, crushes a financial rival and sets up a disaster to make Superman look bad.  What could possibly go wrong?  Action Comics #23.3 is a direct prelude to Forever Evil so we all know the answer to that.  Oh well, at least we can enjoy what little fun times Lex has until all Hell breaks loose.

Lex Luthor has had a huge presence in Villain's Month.  He's a main player in the Forever Evil story and was basically the star in the Bizarro issue.  Charles Soule, though, uses Lex's Villain solo issue to show us what drives this New 52 Lex.  Yes, we all know he is a megalomaniac driven by greed and power, but this Lex is also a homicidal killer who will do whatever it take no mater the cost.  I'm not sure I like this Lex.  He was always greedy and power hungry, but he always seemed to think he was doing the right thing.  He had a different moral code, but it was still there.  This Lex is just a cold blooded killer. This issue is not bad, it just leaves a bad taste in my mouth in general.  Hopefully, Lex can redeem himself a bit with the continuing Forever Evil books.

Raymund Bermudez handles the art and does an ok job.  Nothing really stands out and some of the facial looks of Lex and his hangers on look a little off. However,  I did like the splash page of Lex in his battle armor, so all wasn't lost.

Action Comics #23.3 was a bit of a dissapointment.  It leads directly into Forever Evil #1 and shows this Lex is a cold hearted killer with no soul.  Hopefully it is just a setup for Lex's redemption later on in the Forever Evil storyline, but as a single issue I can't really recommend it.