Saturday, November 16, 2013

Worlds' Finest #17 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written By: Paul Levitz
Art By: RB Silva, Joe Weems, Ryan Winn
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: November 13, 2013

Worlds' Something

Last issue was a bit of a let down for me, we had Huntress being clumsy, and a Power Girl with erratic powers.  They let the Tattooed Woman get away with burning down several buildings, so where does that lead us to start out the issue?  They better be doing something productive after the weak sauce they gave us last issue.  So let's find out.

Explain It!:

So we start out this issue with Power Girl getting a tattoo.  God damn it!  

Since Power Girl's powers have been faltering, she decides to go out with Helen and get a tattoo.  But she doesn't have any luck there either, the tattoo gun breaks as soon as it touches her skin.  So now the two can get back on the job.  

Power Girl decides to try and get her powers back on track once and for all, so with the help of the fortune she's acquired on this earth, she takes a shuttle into outer space.  The pilot apparently has signed a non disclosure agreement so when Karen Starr strips down to her Power Girl costume, and leaves the shuttle, we don't have to worry about him spilling the beans.  Karen figures since her powers are derived from earth's yellow sun, that she will get up close and personal with it.  But what she didn't count on was for her powers to become super charged, and uncontrollable.  Power Girl is going down..........and by down I mean back into earth's atmosphere.

Meanwhile Huntress uses her deductive reasoning to determine the Tattooed Woman's next target.  An explosion erupts, and the chase is on.  Huntress chases the Tattooed Woman to a bridge where the two duke it out with shadow constructs, and crossbows.  But the fight is interrupted when a large ball of light is seen in the night sky.  So obviously this is Power Girl, but what are the chances that she'd come down right where Huntress is?  There is the telescopic vision answer, but why would a superhero who doesn't have control of their powers come down so close to a populated area?  Or maybe I'm just reading too much into this and should get a social life.  But back to the book.  Power Girl lands in the water surrounding the bridge Huntress is on.  She jumps down to Karen, but the book ends with Karen telling her to say away, she's out of control.  Again, why did she land there?  

Bits and Pieces:

So this issue brings us nothing new.  We get Huntress chasing the newly introduced Tattooed Woman, but we get no back story on her, and Power Girl's powers are still out of control, and besides for a disastrous trip to space, we might as well be reading a new take on the last issue.  This book has seemed to struggle to find it's way since it's introduction, and issues like this aren't helping.  


Superman/Wonder Woman #2 Review

Written by: Charles Soule
Art by: Tony S. Daniel
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: November 13, 2013

Gods and Monsters

Superman and Wonder Woman are two parts of DC's Trinity, the most powerful couple on Earth and now the stars of one of the best books in the New 52.   I had my concerns about this book, but Charles Soule and Tony S. Daniel have really come through in spades.

Wonder Woman has brought Superman home to meet her Family.  Most of us know how awkward that can be, but when the "Family" is a dysfunctional bunch of Gods, it can get crazy real quick.  Of course, it does.  Apollo doesn't approve of Diana's choice of Boyfriends and lets them both know.  After reading this issue you will know what happens when Superman fights a God and let me tell you, it's awesome.

Charles Soule proves last issue was no fluke.  Where others may have chosen to ignore the main characters other titles, he cherry picks the best parts of both and mixes them into this book to produce something even greater than it's parts.  The book fits so well into both hero's mythos and the New 52 in general. Superman/Wonder Woman is also pretty damn funny (Clarke's answering machine and a shout out to Batman vs Guy Gardner are both hilarious).  Furthermore, the issue is bookended by two popular villains, the later creating a cliff hanger that will surely prove exciting in issues to come.

Tony S. Daniel's art is also a great combination of the Wonder Woman and Superman titles.  Everything looks great, but more importantly, everything looks right.  A special shout out to Tomeu Morey on colors.  Everything is so bright and vibrant that it just jumps off the page.

Bits and Pieces:

Superman/Wonder Woman #2 continues to impress.  Charles Soule is giving us a personal tale of two of Earth's most powerful Heroes.  Tony S. Daniel's art compliments both the story and it's main characters so well.  This is now become one of my top five books in the New 52.


Vibe #9 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written By: Sterling Gates
Art By: Derlis Santacruz
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: November 13, 2013

Justice League of Piradell?

So is everyone ready to get confused?  Well you're more prepared than I was.  When last we left our cancelled hero, Vibe signed on with Breacher (The outed king, and leader of a rebellion on Piradell), and a gang of misfits to take down his wife, and mother of Gypsy; Mordeth.  So be prepared to be thrown into a world where you are introduced to a lot of things, or not introduced and have to make wild leaps at understanding them.  Now this is the point where I explain it, but I'll apologize to you now, and just hope....... just really hope you understand whats going on.  Oh and hopefully you read last issue, or at the very least read my summery to help me, help you understand.  Oh god here we go.

Explain It!:

Mordeth the evil queen of Piradell is planning on using the dimensional energy absorbed by Gypsy from her time on earth, to break the dimensional barriers that Breacher placed around the dimension of Piradell.  Are you with me so far?  Alright let's go further down the rabbit hole.  Now Mordeth wants to invade earth with her army of Raptors, (Pretty much like the Borg from Star Trek.  Ordinary people who are assimilated into what look like Lycans from Underworld, and controlled by Mordeth.) and her general; Rupture (Vibe's long lost brother Armando who is being controlled by Mordeth).  Apparently earth is the cornerstone of the multiverse, and Mordeth wants control.  Fair enough.

Back to our heroes.  Vibe and a rag tag team of people you've never heard of before, and probably will never hear again, patrol the decimated streets of Piradell.  Lucky too, because two young travelers are on their way to Breacher's camp to bring him a special sphere that he needs to complete his plans.  But their progress is stopped when a patrol of Raptors attacks them.  The young sibling travels are over powered, and when the boy is about to be assimilated, Vibe and his band of rebels take the monsters down, and save the day.  Back at camp, the sphere is revealed to be a multiversal refraction sphere.  As if that means anything to us.  Bottom line is in the last issue Vibe was stabbed in the chest by Rupture, and when he got to Piradell, Breacher slapped a device on his chest to contain his powers.  The sphere acts as a back up so that Vibe's powers don't overload the device on his chest.  So now that they are ready, the assault on Mordeth's castles can commence.

Alright quickly now, we'll jump back to earth.  When Vibe went after Rupture, he left a mess for his handler Gunn, and his injured brother Dante.  So right now Gunn is covering up that Dante was ever at ARGUS or that the two of them freed Vibe from his prison tube.  But apparently Gunn didn't do a good enough job, because at the hospital Amanda Waller comes to pay Dante a visit.  Now back to Piradell.

The team gets ready to move on Mordeth and her army, but Mordeth upped her time table, and activated  the machine to siphon Gypsy's multiversal energy, and break down the barriers to earth.  In the end Breacher teleports himself and Vibe above the fortress, and tells him that the device on his chest was meant for him, and that he was going to sacrifice himself to stop Mordeth.  But now they're out of time, so Vibe is now multiversal bomb.  Dick move.  Earth is too important to fall, and Breacher thanks Vibe for his sacrifice.  This book has become so alien to me, its ridiculous.  Hopefully I was able to explain the strange, strange world of Piradell to you, and hopefully we understand more next issue.  See you then.

Bits and Pieces:

Well Vibe has certainly become "out there".  This issue tries to cram so much information on you, and doesn't even give us the benefit of having Vibe try to explain it to us in normal terms.  He just nods his head, and goes with it leaving us in the dark.  The new direction of Vibe might be appreciated in a DCU that is preoccupied with the Crime Syndicate, but it's too much too soon.  Especially for a title that is on the way out.  Hopefully next issue will give us a break, and talk to us like Vibe would want to be talked to.


Friday, November 15, 2013

Green Lantern Corps #25 Review

Written by: Van Jensen and Robert Venditti
Art by: Victor Drujiniu, Ivan Fernandez and Allan Jefferson
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: November 13, 2013

Flashbacks and Flashbangs

John Stewart is a man without fear. Some have wrongly labeled him as a man without personality.   He has always been a strong character who tries to do the right thing.  Unfortunately, this has led to him being labeled as boring since he's not as brash as Hal Jordan or cocky as Guy Gardner.  This may be the reason that of all the Green Lanterns of sector 2814, John Stewart has been the most underused.  Van Jensen and Robert Venditti try to rectify that by giving us a glimpse at what made Stewart the man he is today.

Gotham is in the middle of the Zero Year blackout and Super Storm Rene is about to hit.  A young John Stewart and his marine battalion are sent to help evacuate a couple hundred people from the Gotham Seaside Colosseum, but as you can guess, things don't go as smooth as hoped.

Jensen and Venditti use a flashback in a flashback to show how John's Mother helped show him right and wrong and the grey areas between.  She taught her son that power and authority aren't inherently right or wrong, it's the people who wield it that determine it.  As the Zero Year story unfolds, the reader sees first hand how these lessons have shaped John into a man who values justice and doing what's right over following orders blindly.  

Beyond showing the hero in the making, the story is pretty dull.  Furthermore,  I can't help but question it's necessity.  As a John Stewart fan, I'm glad to have read it.  However, as a Zero Year tie-in it is hard to justify it.  John Stewart has no real connection to Gotham or Batman.  The Dark Knight makes a very, very brief appearance in the issue, but it's actually pretty ridiculous. He seems more like a stalker than a hero in the couple panels he is in.

The art is a mixed bag.  The three artists don't equal regular artist Bernard Chang in quality, but what they present here is serviceable at least.   Nothing looks horrible, but nothing stands out either.

Bits and Pieces:

Green Lantern Corps #25 is a good John Stewart book, but an unnecessary Zero Year tie-in.  Readers get to see what shaped John into the good man he is today, but beyond that the story is dull and uneventful.  This book is not a must read for anyone but true John Stewart fans.


You Wanted A New Robin, You Got It!

I swear I can't stop talking about the death of Damian Wayne.  But at least this time I have a reason.  Ever since our little pumpkin headed Robin died, everyone has been asking themselves, and anyone else who will listen.  Who will be the next Robin?  Well in the new retrospective, anthology coming to us in Detective Comics #27 we'll be given a future story brought to us by Scott Snyder and Sean Gordon Murphy.  Lucky for us Sean Gordon Murphy tweeted earlier about his first pencils for the all new black Robin.  But don't get your hopes up just yet.  Being an anthology with multiple writers, this still could just be a else worlds story.  If it is to be in the main continuity then my Top 5 list I did last summer is totally off.  But there you go new Robin, Woo!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Suicide Squad #25 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written By: Matt Kindt
Art By: Patrick Zircher
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: November 13, 2013

Face The Wall!

When last we left our anti heroes they were fighting over the possession of OMAC with Amanda Waller's newly formed team of heroes.  Power Girl, Warrant, Steel, and The Unknown Soldier.  But there seemed to be more to the story than what was revealed.  So strap on in and let's talk about Suicide Squad.

Explain It!:

So we get the two teams continuing to battle over OMAC, but Waller's new team might be too much for the Squad, who now consists of Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, and Harley Quinn.  But when Deadshot has a gun to the Steel's head it seems like a appropriate time to talk their differences out.  The two teams realize that they were set up by Waller, but Unknown Soldier has his doubts.  He explains that the Waller that recruited the heroes was probably a sophisticated hologram.  Of course.  That's a hell of a jump.  In a world where people have powers to do almost anything, Soldier just jumps to the conclusion that it was a sophisticated hologram.   Well he's right.  What a shot in the dark, I'm calling Shenanigans!  Turns out that the man who's running Belle Reve for the Crime Syndicate "The Thinker" set up the hologram in order to take out the Suicide Squad and get his hands on OMAC.  But he has another trick up his sleeve.  As the teams are talking it out, The Thinker's double agent Harley Quinn sneaks OMAC out of the complex, activates him, and has him demolish the complex the two teams are in, with an energy blast.  Apparently Harley's done being a team player, and wanted a big way to say goodbye for good.

Back at Belle Reve, the real Amanda Waller and James Gordon Jr. realize that all their options are gone, now that The Thinker has taken out the Suicide Squad.   But Waller has one more option she doesn't want to choose.  The two make their way down to the classified Level 7, where we get a little back story on Task Force X.  We find out that there have been Task Forces designated all the letters of the alphabet all the way up to our current X.  These past teams consisted of awful things like killer chimpanzees, robot spheres, people suspended in air by a super computer, and so on and so on.  All these are awful ideas, but in the end what did they use?  Crazy criminals.  Who is signing off on these projects, and how do I get his number to submit a proposal?  Oh yeah.  I got some ideas.  

In the end the story is cut short, which we can all be thankful for, if it went on any longer we'd probably have James Gordon Jr. getting all creepy with his mommy issues.  Yeck.  But thankfully King Shark is on the hunt for Waller's blood.  James slows him down, as Waller makes her way through the final door, that she knows will get her killed in the end.  Inside this secret vault we see a god, named Kane who might or might not be King Shark's father, but I thought his dad's name was Chondrakha, but it's neither here nor there.  King Shark wants his daddy, and it's a new universe we're dealing with so either this is the magical king of the sharks or a new character that Waller is going to get killed for releasing.  I'll be here next month finding out the answer hopefully you'll be here too.

Bits and Pieces:

Last month's issue of Suicide Squad blew me away with the new direction it was taking, and the Forever Evil fun going on, plus adding a rag tag team of superheroes to throw at the Squad.  Sadly my hype doesn't continue after this issue.  But it was a decent issue, not going to put anything down.  Not every issue can be SMASH BANG POW, Kindt seems to be working towards something that could be really exciting in the future, but heading towards that goal we're bogged down with enigmatic exposition, and inner monologues.  So we'll see next month if the hype is resurrected, so go check it out.


Batman #25 Review

Written by: Scott Snyder
Art by: Greg Capullo
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: November 13, 2013

This in Your Life (Death)

Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo are taking us on a brand new stroll down memory lane.  Every time you think that you have figured something out, Snyder turns it on it's head, twists it and pulls it out so it is strange yet still familiar.  Zero Year is that good.

The Red Hood Gang have been defeated and Batman is getting some much needed rest, right?  Of course not!  The Riddler has plunged the city into darkness, there is a biological serial killer targeting Wayne Enterprise scientists on the loose and the GCPD have declared Batman Public Enemy number one through twenty.  Oh yea, I forgot that Superstorm Rene (ed note: not Superstorm Nocenti, Eric) is bearing down on Gotham city.  What is a new Hero to do?  Take his new car for a spin, infiltrate crime scenes, fight with a certain mustachioed Lieutenant and devise a plan to counteract the Riddler's plan before it happens.

Scott Snyder throws so much at the reader, but to his credit, everything hits the mark.  There are already so many smoke screens and red herrings  in Zero Year that half the fun is guessing if what you see is what it seems.  Old friends like James Gordon or Lucius Fox have dark secrets and may not be what you expect.   When an iconic Villain is shown in one panel, you can almost see Snyder winking at you behind the panel.  Then when an older Villain is reintroduced, it makes you giddy with anticipation.  Seriously, everything in this book is tweaked just enough to make it fresh and exciting.  

It goes without saying that Greg Capullo is a great artist.  It seems that every issue I say is my favorite, but this one is so good.  The shine of the new Batmobile, the look of a revisited Villain and everything in between makes this a book to admire as well as read.

The only complaint I have is the confusing beginning and end.  I have no idea of the how, what or why of these panels.  However, I have supreme faith in Snyder that all will be explained in the future.

Each Zero Year issue throws in a backup to justify the $3.99 price tag and this one by Snyder and James Tynion is pretty good.  It ties the other Zero Year issues up nicely in a bow and features an origin story of a certain tech guru punk gal who longtime readers will smile to see again.

 Bits and Pieces:
Batman #25 is a great issue.  Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo continue the history lesson and it is fresh and exciting.  Gotham's future is dark, but this book's is so bright it's blinding.  A must read.


Justice League of America #9 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written By: Matt Kindt
Art By: Tom Derenick, Tom Nguyen, Allen Martinez
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: November 13, 2013

Stargirl: Down The Rabbit Hole.

When last we left the only two heroes that remain in the JLA, Martian Manhunter was exploring the prison that holds various members of the three Justice Leagues, and Stargirl found that she was able to just walk out of it. Yep last panel of last issue, we go through the whole thing, and Stargirl can just walk out.  Shenanigans!  But being the heroic young lady she is,she came back to get J'onn out too.  At this point of the Forever Evil story if this is the first thing you're reading, then you have a lot of catching up to do.  Unless you're only interested in Martian Manhunter, and Stargirl which is kinda weird, but hey what do I know?  JLA here we come.

Explain It!:

Stargirl makes her way down the multiple levels of the prison, which should be according to Forever Evil #3 the Deathstorm Matrix within him.  But for this issue we only see it as a multi leveled prison which each level is it's own dimension that acts against the hero it's containing to drive them mad, lose all hope, or to simply keep them amused with where they are.  So with all that aside, Stargirl descends the prison in search of J'onn.

Throughout this issue we get glimpses of how Stargirl became Stargirl.  We first see her watching a cartoon program where Yankee Poodle is the central character.  First glimpse of the stars and stripes.  It's kinda funny, we get a whole re-imaged Captain Carrot in the form of a crazy one eyed, robot legged Captain K'Rot.  This Threshold version also came with Pig Iron, who was pretty much the same with a more serious art style.  But here we get a spot on Earth C Yankee Poodle.  The Zoo Crew if ever reintroduced is going to be a weird book.  But back to Stargirl, Courtney goes snooping around her step father's stuff and finds the costume, and star rod of the Star Spangled Kid.  So what would a young teenage girl do in this instance?  Well obviously suit up, and make the costume a little sexier by tying up the front exposing her stomach.  Now I kinda feel weird describing a teenager as getting sexy.  Let's forget this part of the synopsis ever happened, okay?  Because you're into some weird shit and I don't want to have to tell you're friends and family about what you keep in that foot locker of yours.  Wow, we are getting real off base here.  Courtney goes down all the levels of the prison that we saw in the last issue.

Back to Martian Manhunter.  J'onn has now found Aqua Man, and his prison is a ocean that is all dried up, and all the sea life lay dead around him.  J'onn tries to explain the situation to Arthur but the anger takes over and we get a really strange panel where it looks like Aqua Man flies away.  Or does that super Aqua jump that he's famous for.  In the end J'onn finally finds his own prison where he must fight himself.  He's not doing so well, but luckily Courtney found her way down, and turns the tide of the fight.  And we see her real strength.  The reason that there isn't a prison for her.  It's because of her youth, and her undying optimism, that this prison can't find a way to beat her down.  She grabs J'onn and makes her way out of the prison, but when she opens her eyes, J'onn isn't there, but who is is the real upsetting part.  Stargirl awakens in a cemetery surrounded by the Secret Society.

Bits and Pieces:

Sadly this issue doesn't do anything to continue the story until the very last page.  What we do get is a rehash of everything that happened in the last issue, with a small bit added to give us some background on Stargirl.  It's really small.  But the artwork of Tom Derenick is able to come through and give us a reason to still enjoy this book a bit, but it isn't enough to save it from being dull.  So if you're anything like me you'll get the issue because you're a completist, but you won't enjoy it as much as other tie-ins to this event.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Batgirl #25 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written By: Marguerite Bennett
Art By: Fernando Pasarin
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: November 13, 2013

In A City Full Of Desperation, There Is Zero Hope.

The Batgirl Zero Year Tie-In....... Uuuugggg!  All I want is to finish up the Batgirl Wanted story arc, and we have to cut to something else again.  Also the biggest problem with the Batgirl Wanted story is the lack of Batgirl.  Barbara doesn't want to be Batgirl anymore, so she dresses like a ninja, and whines about it constantly.  Here we have a break, and we still don't get Batgirl.  But this is just me blowing off some steam, let's look at what Marguerite Bennett gives us for this Zero Year installment.

Explain It!:

We begin this issue like all the other tie-ins, and talk about the Superstorm that threatens Gotham.  Well the storm isn't here yet, but the citizens of Gotham are going all end of the world crazy trying to get ready for it.  Barbara gets a gun pulled on her for a loaf of bread, and a few gallons of gasoline.  That might not sound like much but one of the signs read that regular gas was $24.90 a gallon.  Nothing like impending doom to bring everyone together.  

Back at the house Barbara and James Jr. are being evacuated from the area due to it being in a flood zone.  So what to bring what to bring?  Barbara decides that her father's riot gear would be a good thing to save.  The two are sent to a nearby fire house shelter.  There Barbara befriends a man named Henry who was evacuated from Cold Light Island.  The two pass the time talking, before *que disaster music*  the foundation starts letting water in, and a sinkhole opens beneath everyone.  I don't know what's worse this shelter or the Astro Dome, well at least they have water here.  Too Soon?  Barbara puts her fears behind her, and saves as many people as she can.  The survivors make their way to the roof, but the building isn't structurally sound, so the game plan is to make their way to the next building over.  

Everyone's attention is momentarily diverted to Cold Light Island, as the panicking Gothamites see that things could easily be worse.  The island brightens up the night as flames consume everything.  Explosion after explosion erupt on Barbara's new friend Henry's home.  But back to survival.  They use a loose ladder to stretch across the two buildings.  Henry makes his way across, but the ladder breaks.  He pleads with the crowd to throw their duffel bags over to make it easier for them to jump across. (Can you see where this is going?)  After the bags are over Henry tells them it isn't personal, and takes there things and leaves.  That's a lesson to all you little boys and girls out there.  Don't trust anybody.  Especially during a disaster, especially if their name's Henry.  

Barbara realizes that she needs to protect the things she loves.  Gotham is her home so she'll protect that, and these people of Gotham are her family so she'll protect them, and she won't wait for a hero to do it for her.  Barbara jumps the buildings and takes Henry down.  The two tussle a bit, but in the end Henry falls off the building, and says as the water pulls him away, "I'll see you around."  So after Batgirl: Wanted ends, expect a familiar face to be back.  Barbara leads the way for the survivors to get to safety.  We need a name for this storm that is affecting all these characters.  Something that's awful, and when it comes you lose all hope in the things you love.  Super storm Ann Nocenti?  Anybody? Works for me.

Bits and Pieces:

Yet another Zero Year Tie-In that isn't needed, but I found myself enjoying this story none the less.  Even though it's a pre Batgirl story, it feels a bit more like Batgirl then the current timeline.  Both give us Barbara without the Bat suit, but this one gives us less depression, and whining.  So win there.  All in all this story gives us a lot of inner monologue to the psyche of Barbara Gordon that will shape her to become the hero we all know and love, and the artwork surrounding it set the depressing, and hopelessness nature that we felt from the people of Gotham.  Maybe not the best Zero Year Tie-In, but it keeps you interested.


Injustice: Gods Among Us Annual #1 Review

Written by: Tom Taylor
Art by: Xermanico, Mike S. Miller and Bruno Redondo
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: November 13, 2013

How Many Times can You Say "Main Man"?

Tom Taylor's Injustice has been such a huge highlight of the DC comic stable that when I think of the best comics out there, it is near or at the top.  During it's run, Taylor took what could have been a mere video game cash in and turned it into a weekly must read.  When the book went on hiatus a couple months ago, I didn't think we'd get an Injustice fix until it returns in 2014.  Luckily, we get a bit of extra Injustice with this Annual.

Tom Taylor uses the Injustice Annual to introduce Lobo into the Injustice Universe.  Yes, the Main Man has arrived and he is working with Superman to bring in Harley Quinn.  While Lobo may wear his welcome out pretty quick by repeating his tried-and-true catch phrases, him and Harley still bring some good fun.  

The Annual does a good job of being beginner friendly, but fans of the series will have the most fun.  There are plenty of nods to in jokes, especially between Harley and Green Arrow.  Yes, the two are back together and the team-up is just as fun as before.  Harley and Lobo also have some fun moments together which leads to the final panel that will make fans laugh out loud while they wish the book would continue next week.

There are three artists on the book and the different styles can be a little off putting.  I really like Bruno Redondo's detailed work the best with Mike S. Miller coming in a close second.  I was not a fan of Xermanico's pages compared to the other two.  The art of Injustice has always been a mixed bag with so many artists contributing each week so the Annual is no different.

Bits and Pieces:

Injustice: Gods Among Us Annual #1 is just plain fun.  The introduction of Lobo and the return of Harley Quinn spell fun and excitement to old and new readers alike.  The wait until the return of Injustice in 2014 will be a hard one, but this Annual made it a little more bearable.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Batman '66 #19 Review

Written by: Jeff Parker
Art by: Christopher Jones
Cover Price: $0.99
Release Date: November 6, 2013

Face the Face

From the moment it was introduced, Batman'66 has been a hilarious trip down memory lane.  Every issue hit on the nostalgia of the Batman TV show that many of us grew up with and others watched on reruns. However, the last couple issues showed a chink in the campy armor.  Yes, the fun factor remained, but without a strong villain, the book took a bit of a slide in the quality department.  I am happy to say that this weeks issue doesn't have that problem.  One of Weird Science's favorite villains, False Face has arrived.
Jeff Parker dials down the hijinks a bit and give us a story that would feel at home on the small screen.  Bruce Wayne is pawning jewelry because it seems Aunt Harriet has been running up tabs around town.  I'm not sure on what, but my guess is ribbon candy and bonnets.  After selling it for dirt cheap, he leaves the store and runs into...Batman and Robin!  They are on the tail of the Riddler and during the ensuing fight, Robin catches a glimpse of Bruce which of course throws him off his game.  

Batman immediately figures out that the impostor is False Face, but before they can hatch a plan, Commissioner Gordon calls and drops a bomb.  The jewelry turns out to be counterfeit and the police are on their way to Wayne Manor to arrest Bruce.  The setup for next issue is great and I can't wait to see how Batman gets out of the jam and deals with False Face.

Batman '66 is always great fun, but without a strong villain it sometimes misses the mark.  Issue #19 doesn't have that problem with False Face on the prowl.  Even though this is one of the least "funny" issues, it is a good story and great setup for more fun to come.


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Batwing #25 Review

Written by: Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti
Art by: Eduardo Pansica and Julio Ferreira
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: November 6, 2013

Sweep the Leg

Since Luke Fox took the mantle of Batwing, the title has really taken off.  Gray, Palmiotti and Pansica have turned a book that was being ignored into one I look forward to each month.  This month they use the Zero Year event to give Luke Fox what is essentially his "zero issue".  No, we don't actually get to see Luke become Batwing, but we do get to see him take the steps toward becoming a hero.

Time traveling back six years we get to see a young Luke Fox, a good kid and an aspiring MMA fighter.  In school, he befriends an intelligent outcast named Russ and tries to help him deal with the bullying he deals with on a daily basis.  Cue the montage.

The book reads like a mix between a teen coming of age flick crossed with an action movie.  Think Karate Kid mixed with Revenge of the Nerds.  Yes, the story is filled with cliches...a wise and inspiring mentor, bullies who get what's coming to them and a nerd that is more than people realize, but since it's a comic we also get a 90's-like villain transformation and Batman.

Yes, since this is a Zero Year tie-in we get the Dark Knight, but he is nowhere near essential to the tale.  In fact, his appearance seems a little too forced for my liking.  The introduction of Luke's first villain is essential and sets up a very dangerous and personal threat that I hope will reap dividends in the title going forward.

The art is split between regular artist Eduardo Pansica and Julio Ferriera.  The biggest compliment I can give Ferriera is that I didn't realize there were two artists on the book.  Although most of the other Zero Year books seemed to go gritty, Pansica and Ferriera give us a clean and brighter look.  It is a look that fits the tone and subject of the book nicely.

Bits and Pieces:

Batwing #25 is a good issue that shows us the beginnings of Luke Fox as a hero.  It is not an essential title as a Zero Year tie-in, but is nice for fans of Batwing and Luke Fox in particular.


Swamp Thing #25 Review

Written by: Charles Soule
Art by: Jesus Saiz
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: November 6, 2013

Rumble of the Jungle

Swamp Thing has been such a gem in the New 52.  Scott Snyder's run was so good that I was worried when Charles Soule took over the book.  My fears were immediately put to rest.  Charles Soule has taken the book and made it a more personal story about Alec Holland and how he deals with being the Avatar of the Green.  Swamp Thing Annual #2 set up the confrontation between Swamp Thing and The Seeder and it all comes to a head here.  The final battle for the Avatar of the Green.

Charles Soule and Jesus Saiz do something in this issue that may seem easy, but may be the harder than it looks.  They have made an entire issue that is just one fight scene, but do it so well that it is a compelling and fulfilling read. To watch the two battle with their different personalities and philosophies is so good.  Soule doesn't need funny quips and comebacks between the two to keep the reader's interest.  Swamp Thing and The Seeder are both fighting with powers of The Green, but each has their own way.  I hate to reference Episode one, but it is similar to Qui gon Jinn vs Darth Maul.  Good vs Bad.  Right vs wrong.   Unfortunately, we have all learned that good and right doesn't always win.  The ending doesn't seem permanent, but it certainly makes things interesting.  That actually seems impossible.  How can something this good get even more interesting?

Jesus Saiz does such a good job on Swamp Thing.  His art complements the story and the character so well that it's almost unfair.  There is one panel in this issue in particular that will leave you speechless.  It is that good.

Bits and Pieces:

Swamp Thing #25 is great.  Charles Soule and Jesus Saiz wrap up the Seeder arc with style.  The end sets up an interesting future for The Green that I can't wait to read.  Please read this book.