Thursday, November 21, 2013

Red Hood and The Outlaws #25 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written By: James Tynion IV
Art By: Jeremy Haun
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: November 20, 2013

Who Do You Want To Be Today?

Hey kids guess what we have in store today.  That's right another Zero Year!  But don't let that get you down, because what we have here is an actual tie-in that serves a purpose.  So because we now live in a world where Batman has done everything that he's done, within a six year period.  A lot if not most things don't make sense.  But with that still in mind, it's good to see how a character like Jason Todd fits into his own history within this short timeline.  Okay let's jump into our TARDISes, TARDI?  Get into your closest time machine, and let's go back six years ago and check out Red Hood, but not the Outlaws.

Explain It!:

Alright so six years ago, Jason Todd was hanging around his barren apartment talking to his out cold junkie mother.  Fun right?  Well let's get to some fun then.  Jason's friend Chris comes over and they reenact Stand By Me, and the two go to see some dead bodies that Chris found.  But these aren't just any dead bodies, they're members of the recently defunct Red Hood Gang.  So the two take the masks and plan on attending a group meeting to decide the fate of the Red Hood Gang.

Later sitting on his fire escape, Jason contemplates his life.  Chris told him that with this mask they can be anyone they want to be.  We see the first spark of Robin, when below a woman is being attacked by some crumbums, and Jason jumps into action.  But the men run away more from the woman, than our would be hero.  We get a little banter about him being a little short for a storm trooper, or something along those lines.  Yeah I could really go for some Star Wars right now, probably gonna go with Empire... Well I better get done this review.  What we fans know, that Jason doesn't is that he is meeting Talia al Ghul.  Talia seems to be going around the seedier spots of Gotham looking for the location of the Red Hood Gang meeting tonight, and lucky for her, and for us, Jason knows the location.

The two pass the time before the meeting at a empty warehouse, well empty besides a place for Jason to sit, and a punching bag for Talia to practice a special move on, while she repeats a montra.  Over and over Jason watches her perform this move, and chant her words.  But Talia isn't satisfied, and tells Jason that her teacher Ducra didn't believe she'd be able to perform it.  But where does the time go?  We're going to be late for the meeting.  The two begin to leave, but Talia knocks Jason out, knowing that where she's going is no place for a kid.  Only if Batman were that responsible.

Jason awakens with a full on bandaged faced Red Hood 1, standing above him with a crowbar.  This scene is chilling, yeah I actually got chills.  Red Hood 1, tells Jason that he has so many ideas now, and that he can't wait for him to see them.  Jason doesn't want anything to do with some bandaged freak, so he kicks him and runs away dodging bullets as he goes.  

Jason makes his way to the secret meeting spot of the Red Hood Gang, and looks for Talia, but first he sees a hooded figure in front of the gang, talking about taking the city back again.  Jason looks on as Talia mounts the stage, and performs the move she was practicing on him.  No go.  Turns out Ducra was right, and this hooded figure prattling on is one of the Untitled.  The Untitled is about to kill Talia, when Jason takes the stage, and performs the move correctly, and we find out that this move makes The Untitled mortal.  Swiftly Talia takes out her sword, and beheads him.  Before the gang can attack, Talia throws a smoke bomb, and they make their way out of there.  Downstairs Red Hood 1, is cracking open the gas main, and as our anti heroes exit the building, a match is lit, and the building is engulfed in flames.  Red Hood 1 looks on, and starts laughing maniacally.  Enter Joker.

In the end Jason knows that he wants to be a good guy, and will never be a Red Hood, and Talia takes her leave.  Back at the warehouse Talia is met by her father Ra's al Ghul.  Talia tells him that she wasn't strong enough to complete the move to finish the Untitled, but a boy was, and that they should keep their eye on him.  Nice.

Bits and Pieces:

This issue seems to be the best fit for all the Zero Year issues coming out, and tells a important story, not only for Red Hood, but for Batman Year Zero as well.  For a nice contrast this issue told a story that will continue to effect Batman, and Red Hood, and didn't feel compelled to tell a story about a super storm.  One of the best issues of Red Hood and The Outlaws I've read in awhile.  I found Tynion lacking as of late, but he's got me back on his band wagon after this.  Go check it out.


Wonder Woman #25 Review

Written by: Brian Azzarello
Art by: Goran Sudzuka
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: November 20. 2013

It's a Family Affair

Wonder Woman is such a good book.  Without crossovers and tie-ins, Brian Azzarello has erected his own little corner of the New 52 based on mythology, fantasy and intrigue.  Every character is fleshed out and has their own motivations and schemes going within schemes.  Wonder Woman, while the central figure, is not always the most interesting in each issue.  Wonder Woman #25 shows why these attributes can be a plus and a minus in the same issue.

Brian Azzarello throws a bunch of storylines at us this issue.  There is seriously tons going on here and it's all interesting.  Unfortunately, I have a similar problems as I did last issue, nothing is really tied up and we don't get enough Wonder Women.  What we get is great, though.  The character development with Hera is some of the best we've had and the mystery behind Strife's intentions is intriguing.  Orion and Hermes are there for action and a bit of comedy relief and Apollo and Dionysus have the First Born for dinner...literally.  Then throw in Cassandra, Milan and Siracca and there is no party like an Olympus party.  Like I said, nothing gets resolved, but what does happen is setting up some serious stuff.  I can't wait to see how everything comes together, but I hope Azzarello gives us a little more Wonder Woman when it does.  It may not seem it lately, but it is her book.

I mentioned last issue that I hadn't got a full grip on Goran Sudzuka's art.  I really didn't like it on this issue as a whole.  Some panels (the dinner party in particular) look pretty good, but others are not as detailed and vibrant as I'd like.  Maybe I'm still spoiled by Cliff Chiang's art, but I hope it gets better in the near future because the story deserves it.

Bits and Pieces:

This is the second straight filler issue with not enough Wonder Woman.  However, I really liked what we got here.  The character development and promise of future conflict are enough to give this issue high marks.  Things are building up to a head and I'm going to be so glad to be there when it all hits the fan.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Trinity of Sin: Pandora #5 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written By: Ray Fawkes
Art By: Francis Portela
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: November 20, 2013

It's All About Her Box

Pandora made her way to Happy Harbor last issue where she planned on double tapping the back of Outsider's head.  But before she she puts an end to the evil Alfred, she wants some answers.  Let's see what The Outsider has to say.

Explain It!:

So Pandora has a gun to Outsider's head, and instead of the answers we want.  What we get is Pandora's origin again as described through the Outsider.  So Pandora does the only thing that makes sense if someone started telling you your life story.  She pistol whipped him.  Outsider is wasting time of course because he knows that the Crime Syndicate will come and save him, and show Pandora why you let a wookie win.  So to continue The Outsider tells us that when Pandora let out the seven deadly sins, she didn't unleash evil unto the world.  The world has always had evil, and the sins merely enjoy it when evil happens.  He goes on to say that the Council of Eternity wrongly cursed her, and her whole life pursuit has been for nothing.  So with all this narrative going on it seems the Syndicate has finally arrived, but all we see is a giant explosion that would seem to kill The Outsider, but I doubt that happened, and you shouldn't believe it either.  Before the fire can engulf Pandora she is teleported away.

Back in Baltimore Pandora's weaponsmith Marcus is pondering on how he's supposed to put the box back together, especially now that he lives in a world without power, or technology.  But you don't have to worry he's pretty good at what he does, and before we leave him, he has an eureka moment.

Pandora got teleported away you say... Yeah but Pandora finds herself with a void dimension, hearing all her old masters who taught her how to properly fight evil.  But these thoughts are interrupted by HORRIBLE ENERGY TENTACLES THAT WANT TO PULL HER INTO THE UNKNOWN!  Well it's not that bad, but Pandora is now back in time, witnessing the destruction of her village after she unleashed the seven deadly sins.  But she's not alone.  A single figure picks up a rock and rushes at Pandora, and a moment before she is teleported away again, she sees that the person trying to kill her, is herself.

In the end, with all teleporting behind us.  Pandora is chained side by side with the Trinity of Sin, deep within the Rock of Eternity.  In front of her is Swamp Thing, Nightmare Nurse, and John Constantine.  Who wants her to help him kill evil.  Next up Forever Evil: Blight.  See you then, and be careful while teleporting.

Bits and Pieces:

I love the character of Pandora, and can't wait to see what we get in Forever Evil: Blight.  But sadly I don't think the writers can wait either, so what we get is a issue with little more than a villain monologuing, and rehashing a origin story only five issues in.  Francis Portela's artwork is solid, and really works for this title, but the plot was just lacking overall.  Still looking forward to continuing this title, and so should you.


Supergirl #25 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written By: Scott Lobdell, Michael Allen Nelson, Justin Jordan
Art By: Paulo Siqueira
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: November 20, 2013

Time To Fight! 

Alright we're already in Pt. 3 of 4 of the Krypton Returns story arc.  So if you like jumping around throughout timelines, and not getting a full story you're in for a treat.  I kid, I kid this should be fun.  To get you caught up go check out the review of last issue HERE.  So let's jump right into Supergirl, and see how the trio are doing in their respective timelines.

Explain It!:

We start this issue off with a Silver Surfer wanna-be flying through space, having himself a nice little inner monologue, about how one of our three heroes would have to sacrifice themselves.

Alright let's get back to some fun.  When we last left Supergirl, H'El had come at her with a shard of Kryptonite looking for revenge.

H'El has Supergirl pinned down, and the two banter about who betrayed who, when Supergirl takes matters into her own hands, and shoves her palm into H'El's nose.  Aaagghh, you could feel that one.  Supergirl gets away, and finds a loose axe left from her battle in last issue.  But let's take a quick break and find out what Superman's up to.

Well our big boy in red and blue is just lounging, being content with himself being around his mother.  But suddenly Superman's armor turns back to normal (it's been acting funny in the past two issues), and a unknown figure approaches him, who I guess we'll find out who in the next issue.  See I told you that would be quick, now moving on to Superboy.

After defeating Eradicator in the last issue, a time portal opens, and Superboy believes his mission is a success, and he can go home.  But before he enters the portal, guess who's back.  Eradicator isn't dead, and will not die until the universe is destroyed.  Oh good.  So Superboy does the only thing he can think of.  He throws Eradicator into the time portal.  Where we see the other end lands him in Smallville.  Superboy hugs Kara goodbye, planning on going through the portal himself, but he is stopped by a time hopping H'El.  

Here's where we get a little bit like the flick Frequency.  Now H'El is fighting both Supergirl, and Superboy but in different timelines.  So when Supergirl cuts H'El with her axe, Superboy's foe backs off as a slice forms on his chest.  The two heroes don't let this advantage go to waste, and start pounding on H'El.  But they're not the only ones.  Since Supergirl beat the hell out of a group of clones in the last issue.  Including the clones leader Kon, Supergirl seems to be their new leader.  The clones attack H'El, but in the long run are no match.  But Supergirl isn't going to go down that easy.  We end this issue with Supergirl throwing herself at H'El brandishing an axe, yelling "FOR KRYPTON!"

Bits and Pieces:

Krypton Returns Pt. 3 does nothing to further the story along.  With one more issue left of this arc, it feels like it will be a  mad dash to the finish, and we'll all be left disappointed.  But that's for another review.  This is a great continuation to the action that we saw in the last issue, but didn't give us enough to be blown away. 


Birds of Prey #25 Review

Written by: Christy Marx
Art by: Romano Molenaar
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: November 20, 2014

It's a Hard Knock Life for Canary

Best part of the issue
Birds of Prey is a strange book.  It features an all-star cast of some of the DC Universe's most popular heroines yet it has failed to find a large audience.  The main culprits for this are poor storytelling and inconsistent art.  Unfortunately, these two rear their ugly heads in this Zero Year tie-in featuring Black Canary.

Explain It:
Dinah Drake was a poor young girl, dumpster diving for pizza when she is taken in by Sensei Desmond, the teacher at a local martial arts dojo.  He gives her a place to live and teaches her mixed martial arts as well as life lessons to make her a better person.  When he finds out he has a terminal illness, he leaves the dojo to Dinah.  She has lost her hero, but is doing her best to help the young kids of the neighborhood while keeping the dojo afloat in honor of Desmond.

Then the City goes dark and Dinah's life changes forever.  She is given a mission from a dying man, gets tangled up with murderous ninjas and is on the run from a shadowy government agency.  After the smoke kind of settles, she is offered an opportunity that will set her on the path toward being a favorite member of the Birds of Prey team.

I'm not really sure what Christy Marx was going for here.  The story was the weakest Zero Year tie-in I've read so far.  As an origin story it also misses the mark which is a shame. What we get is such a cliched story that it's hard not to wish for more.   Some of what we get is interesting in concept, but on the page it felt rushed, incomplete and confusing.

Romano Molenaar's art was equally frustrating.  His pencils lack definition and detail and the faces look crazy.  Seriously, I've never seen anyone with the crooked face disease Molenaar seems to want to duplicate, but when I do I'm going to high tail it out of wherever I am.  

It's a real shame this issue is as bad as it is.  With the hype surrounding Zero Year, this could have been just what Birds of Prey needed to get a wider audience.  Sadly, I believe this issue will harm the book more than help it.  I just hope Christy Marx can get back to the little momentum that last months issue provided because I really want this book to get better.

Bits and Pieces:

Birds of Prey #25 is the weakest Zero Year tie-in and a sorry excuse for an origin story.  Even Birds of Prey fans would be wise to give this one a wide berth.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Superboy #25 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written By: Scott Lobdell, Justin Jordan, Michael Alan Nelson
Art By: Ed Benes
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: November 13, 2013

Krypton Continues To Return!

I Hate This Cover!
So this is Pt. 2 of Krypton Returns story arc.  For all of you out there that missed Pt. 1 check out Jim's Review.  Hopefully this issue turns out better.  So on with the show.

Explain It!:

Alright coming in a bit late on this review, but I'll try to do my best.  Our Superman Family is transported separately to three different timelines of Krypton.  Superboy to a week before Krypton's destruction, Supergirl to the brutal time of the clone wars, and Superman to when H'El came to power.  So let's see how Superboy fairs in his mission to make sure Kara gets off of Krypton alive.

Kon already failing at the aspect of keeping himself hidden from Kara, finds himself face to face with the re-imagined Eradicator, who is the living embodiment of entropy in the universe.  Eradicator knows what Superboy's mission is, and plans on making sure Kara dies on Krypton like the rest of it's resident.  So the fight is on.  But on a side note, the new Eradicator looks like a green flaming Swamp Thing.  Not even a sweet pair of yellow shades.  What's the DCU coming to?  But back to the fight.  Superboy is getting his ass handed to him, until he realizes that he's an idiot.  All this time he was conserving his energy because now he's under a red sun.  BUT SUPERBOY DOESN"T GET HIS POWER FROM ANY KIND OF SUN!  I know this, he should certainly know this.  So as soon as he gets his mind wrapped around the idea.  BAM, Eradicator is done.  Superboy impales him on a bunch of metal conduits he TK'ed out of the ground.  Okay we'll move on to see how the big man is doing on his quest.  In last issue, he was busy getting his ass whooped by his mom.

Yup still getting his ass whooped.  Now for some reason last issue Superman's armor went all white, and his S shield disappeared.  But whatever happened then, luckily for him his armor decides to go back to normal and mom knows the family crest when she sees it.  So Lara does some tests, and sits him down to wait for Jor-El, and dopey Superman doesn't say a damn word.  I get it, he's finally seeing his mother, and interacting with her, but not a damn word.  How about something interesting huh?   Let's move on, and see how Supergirl is doing with her mission.

So Supergirl is back in time, and her mission is stopping the clones of this timeline from damaging the planet which will lead to it's destruction in the future.  So what does Supergirl do when she get's back in time?  Well she gets surrounded by a bunch of armed clones.  Solid.  But even with her powers fading, what the clones don't know is that when she was younger, she trained with her aunt Lara on how to kick some ass.  So Supergirl wins the fight, and revels in the achiness she feels from defeating her opponents without powers.  But in the end her pride needs to be put on hold, because H'El has followed her back, and has a shard of Kryptonite for a little payback.

Bits and Pieces:

This is a really short issue, with a lot going on.  Size aside (which I'm not happy about) this keeps you interested in this controversial story arc.  Controversial in bringing back one of the most despised villains of the New 52.  I can't wait to see what happens next, and kind of wish that each character just continued their story individually in their own titles instead of jumping back and forth.  But whining aside, this has the makings of a great story arc, and I'll continue to enjoy.


Monday, November 18, 2013

Constantine #8 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written By: Ray Fawkes
Art By: ACO
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: November 13, 2013

A Kick In The Arse!

When last we left our chain smoking anti hero Mister E had caught Constantine in a very vulnerable situation.
 What I mean by vulnerable is that he was butt naked, and had just had a slam dance with Sargon.  So let's see if Constantine is up for a fight, or just wants to finish his cigarette, and go to sleep.

Explain It!:

So the fight you've been waiting for.  Constantine vs. Mister E.  Now this isn't a conventional fight so to try and not bog you down with a play by play scenario, I'll just tell you that this fight was full of mystical probing energies, illusions, and astral projections.  But we do find out that Sargon has left a mystical weapon by her bedside; the moon blade.  The law of the Cold Flame denies any member to hurt another, but it doesn't state that they can't help someone else.  Constantine takes the sword, and plunges it into Mister E.  The fight is over the only way it could and still continue this story.

The moment Mister E's heart stops, his magical energy is siphoned out by Sargon, and Tannarak.  We find out that Tannarak, and Sargon had planned on Mister E's demise, and John seeing no way out, finally agrees to join the Cold Flame.  Later after all the initiation ceremonies, John makes his way back to his room.  There alone with the Moon Blade we find out that when Constantine stabbed Mister E, he also bound his soul to the weapon.

In the end Constantine tells Mister E, how the Cold Flame had betrayed him, and makes a deal with Mister E.  If Mister E tells John all the secrets, and vulnerabilities of the Cold Flame, he won't send him to a empty dimension.  To show that he's a good sport John also let's Mister E chose who will die first.  So now that that is taken care of John can go back and join the three teams and finish up the Trinity War.  Damn out of sync timelines.

Bits and Pieces:

With only nineteen pages, this book seems to do a lot.  We have a big battle, plot twists, and even gets us to where the book should be with the rest of the DCU.  But nothing in this issue impressed me.  It just seemed to be spinning it's wheels to get done as soon as possible.  Last issue seemed to be setting up for something big with the introduction of Julia Everheart, but we're left without any further explanation, I guess either she'll play apart of Forever Evil: Blight, or maybe we have to wait until that is even over.  I don't know.  But I'll keep reading waiting for the asshole with a heart to capture our hearts once again.


Superman Unchained #4 Review

Written by: Scott Snyder
Art by: Jim Lee
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: November 6, 2013

Keep Your Friends Close and Let Your Enemies Save You

Scott Snyder is a Comic Book Rock Star.  His Batman is the crown jewel of the New 52 and whatever he writes seems to turn to gold.  However, I must admit that I had trepidation when I heard he'd be penning Superman Unchained.  I was afraid that his layered writing and strong monologues that make Batman so special would not work with the Man of Steel.  Superman is a hero who always wants to do the right thing and punches things...real hard.  It's strange to admit it now, but I thought Snyder might be too smart for Superman.  As is usually the case, I was dead wrong.  Scott Snyder gets Superman and him and Jim Lee are already taking us on a hell of a ride.

Explain It:

Superman is fighting Ascension with the help of Wraith.  Yes, we aren't really sure of the brute's motives, but he seems to be on Superman's side...for now.  No matter the reason, Wraith is really laying it out there to save Superman's hide.  Meanwhile, Lex Luthor has taken Jimmy Olsen captive is is not so much torturing him as he is mentally abusing him.  He is making origami figures of Batman, Wonder Woman and of course Superman and asking Jimmy cryptic questions about how they will die.  There might not be anything creepier than a grown man making paper dolls, just saying. 

There's lots going on in this issue because at the same time Lois is recovering from Ascension crashing her plane.  She seems to have survived with the help of a blind man with a shard similar to the one Superman has in the Fortress of Solitude.  He tells Lois the shard is the secret to everything right before Lois is knocked out guessed it, Ascension.

The Issue ends with Superman in dire need of medical attention, Lois learning that Ascension has some personal ties and Lex telling Jimmy that he will kill Superman.  Holy Crap!

Scott Snyder is a master storyteller.  He gives you enough to whet your appetite while leaving so many things unexplained.  This issue goes in so many directions, but your happy to follow them all.  What makes the book so special is Snyder's take on the characters.  Superman wants to help everyone, but can't even seem to help his dearest friends or himself.  Lex is bat-shit crazy and a genius at the same time which makes him all the more scary.  Lois is strong and independent, but still needs Superman's help.  Everything fits so well.

Speaking of masters, Jim Lee's art is second to none.  His work here is so vibrant and detailed and his action scenes are awesome.  I know the guy has problems meeting deadlines, but when the work is done it is worth the wait.

The only problem I have with this issue is that it gives more questions than it answers.  It is a minor issue and one that I know will eventually pay dividends in the future.  I'm just nitpicking so I don't seem like I want to have Snyder and Lee's baby.

Bits and Pieces:

Superman Unchained #4 continues Scott Snyder and Jim Lee's run as the best Superman book in the New 52.  This issue is action packed, mystery filled fun and excitement.  The storytelling and art combine to make this one special book indeed.  Must Read.


Birds of Prey #24 Review

Written by: Christy Marx
Art by: Romano Molenaar and Robson Rocha
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: October 16, 2014

It Finally Gets Personal

When we last saw the Birds of Prey things weren't going so well.  The team were trapped in dream sequences for most of last issue and then Black Canary and Condor were taken by Basilisk terrorists.  Batgirl barely managed to escape with the help of Strix and the two have no way of following the Basilik aircraft and their captured teammates.

Christy Marx has not been on a good run.  The title has stalled a bit in the last few issues and Villain's Month interrupted the series completely.  Fortunately, I can say that issue #24 is one of the better ones in a while.  First off, it's a decent jumping on point for new (or returning) readers.  The Team's recent history is recapped enough to get the reader up to speed.  There are also a couple of early reveals that make the situation Black Canary is in very interesting.  Plus, you get the fact that Condor is back with his ex(?) team which really puts his motivation and loyalties to the test.  Condor was due for some character development and this issue puts him on that path.

The Villain reveal also provides a better conflict for the team.  He has a past with them and his plan is one that would effect the whole DC Universe.  He is a bit generic, but at least there is some good setup for future trouble.

The art of Romano Molenaar and Robson Rocha doesn't fare as well.  Their faces and bodies just seem a little off.  Also, a couple of panels have characters with just whites for eyes.  It may be a minor quibble, but it freaks me out.

Bits and Pieces:

Christy Marx has given us her best issue of Birds of Prey yet.  The story sets the team up for future conflict that is sure to be interesting and personal.  Unfortunately, the art is not very good, but the way things are going for this title I won't ask for too much.  Hopefully, being sandwiched between Villain's Month and next issue's Zero Year tie-in doesn't make readers just give up on the story and the book for good.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Forever Evil: Arkham War #2 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written By: Peter J. Tomasi
Art By: Scot Eaton, Jaime Mendoza
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: November 13, 2013

Banes, And Penguins, And Man-Bats, Oh Shit.

Continuing the Forever Evil side story I was looking forward to the most.  Bane's raising an army, and all of the Arkham inmates will feel his might.  Or we'll side peddle till the last issue, find out here if this shatters my expectations and leaves me crying for a Arkham War we deserve.  So join me in Arkham War #2.

Explain It!:

We begin this story with Bane's forces trying to take out the resistance in Man-Bat's sector.  But what they didn't count on was for Kirk Langstrom to give people his Man-Bat serum as well, but what they really didn't count on was for these Man-Bats to have automatic weapons.  Man-Bat 1 Bane 0.

In another part of the city, The Penguin meets up with Bane.  The two discuss their future working relationship.  Since we see now that Penguin is playing both sides of this war.  Bane expects him to keep up appearances with the Arkhamites, and when the time is right betray them.  Penguin agrees, but in return he wants one of Bane's newly acquired men from Blackgate Prison; Emperor Penguin.  Bane agrees to these terms as well, and the two are about to part ways, when Penguin let's a little knowledge bomb on Bane due to their new found friendship.  Apparently during this meeting, Scarecrow, and the rest of the Arkham inmates are raiding Blackgate prison to take Banes advantage away.  They're transporting the statis pods of the Talons out of Banes hands.  Bane is furious, and almost takes these frustrations out on Penguin, but calmer heads prevail.  Bane leaves Penguin to go defend his stronghold.  Now that Penguin is done with that meeting, he walks over to a van parked on the road, and opens the door.  Inside Commissioner Gordon, and Officer Pierce were attempting a secret stakeout of the two villain's meeting.  So much for that.  Man the Penguin is on top of this city, I vote for him to win this war, I don't think that's the way it works but I'll still vote for him.  But back to the busted stakeout, Penguin tells the two officers, that the temp Warden of Blackgate is still alive, and gives them away to rescue her, during the battle for Blackgate.

Inside Blackgate Prison chaos explodes, as the city's worst criminals, and biggest psychotics have a Hunger Games scenario without all the teen angst.  Outside by the loading dock Scarecrow is securing the freeze tubes that keep the Talon's in their big sleep.  The Man-Bat gang is harnessed up, and breaking off into teams of two to haul each tube to Mr. Freeze's labs.  But what they didn't expect was for Bane to come a runnin, and ruin their day.  The Man-Bats take flight with their cargo, but Langstrom is too slow, Bane grabs him breaking one of his wings, and keeps at least one of his Talons.

During the frenzy Gordon, and Pierce make their way into Blackgate dressed as inmates, and free the warden.  They make their escape, in an antique police car that wasn't affected by the worldwide blackout.  As they make their way out, they are stopped by Bane, who gives the warden her assistant back, claiming that they temporarily want the same thing.  Bane's playing the angles now too.

Bits and Pieces:

We get a lot of action in this issue, but not a lot of substance.  Besides for a conversation between Bane, and The Penguin, we are given no new information to keep this story moving forward.  But I really have a hard time faulting this title for anything, because it's just an awesome concept, and the artwork has the ability to give your eyes an orgasm.  With two issues down, and four to go I'm sure it'll come to a head in a big way, and I can't wait.


Stormwatch #25 Review

Written by: Jim Starlin
Art by: Yvel Guichet
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: November 6, 2013

Maybe Deathwatch Would be More Appropriate

Stormwatch is not a book on the top of many readers list of best New 52 books.  The book has failed to grab an audience even with fan favorites Martian Manhunter at the beginning of the run and Lobo recently. The book feels like a relic from the past ( a Jim Lee Wildstorm past to be exact) and just doesn't seem to fit in the New 52.  I think that it is "when" not "if" this book will be canceled and I can't see it lasting beyond this Summer.  Oh well, at least we have issue #25, right?  Well, be careful what you wish for young readers because you may get it and what you get here is a complete mess of a comic.

Explain It:

The Stormwatch team is set to fight Mordak and retrieve an artifact before Extrememax can get it for himself.  With the help of A.I. the team attacks Mordak and things don't go well.  Hellstrike gets taken down, Lobo gets hurt, recovers and then deserts the team, A.I. gets shut down and Apollo gets the crap kicked out of him.  All is not lost though, as Weird recovers the artifact and Jenny Soul psionically blasts Mordak to pieces.

The team gathers themselves up and head back to the Skywatch in time to see Lobo return against his will.  You see, he has a fail safe on him that doesn't allow him to get too far from Skywatch without permission.  Meanwhile, there appears to be a traitor amongst the soldiers stationed on the ship and A.I. is going to reveal the true nature of the Kollective after taking the Skywatch to an unknown destination.

Jim Starlin is really fighting an uphill battle.  He has a team of unknown and unwanted heroes to work with.   However, what he gives the most popular member, Lobo, is some of the worst dialogue of the series.  Lobo's lines are cringe worthy and some of the worst I've seen for the character in general.  The action is confusing and cluttered and the story doesn't go anywhere.

The art by Yvel Guichet is serviceable at best.  It lacks definition and just comes across as bland.  It doesn't help that it is the "grayest" book on the stands today.

Bits and Pieces:

Stormwatch #25 is not a good book.  The story is confusing and the art is bland.  The team itself is a relic from the past and doesn't seem to fit in the New 52.  The way things are going, it won't be there much longer anyway.


Katana #9 Review

Written by: Ann Nocenti
Art by: ChrisCross and Cliff Richards
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: November 13, 2013

Beware of Children, You Stupid Katana

It's been a running joke here at Weird Science to make fun of Ann Nocenti.  It is nothing personal, I'm sure she is a lovely woman.  However, when it comes to writing comics, there may not be a worse writer out there.  Her Catwoman is horrible and she turned the hype surrounding Joker's Daughter into a joke.  The best thing she did on Green Arrow was let Jeff Lemire take over.  Then there is Katana.  This book has been a total mess since it started.  It goes from laugh-out-loud funny (in a bad way) to frustratingly confusing page after page.  Luckily the powers that be at DC have seen the light and are allowing Katana to commit seppuku on her Soultaker and end the madness.  Until then, we have the final issues of Katana trying to take over the Dagger Clan.  At least that's what I think is going on.

Explain It:

After defeating Coil in the last issue, Katana has been told she must kill Mona Shard and the Dagger Clan.  Unknown to Katana, Mona has taken possession of a little girl's body and has killed the leader of the Dagger Clan, claiming the leadership for herself.  When Katana attacks the Clan, she cannot bring herself to kill a child even though the girl (who is Mona Shard, remember) stabs her in the back.  She goes back to the Sword Clan convinced she was setup, sleeps with Sickle, has a crazy dream about her dead husband and Sickle, spies on the Sword Clan's gambling den and then returns to fight the little girl.  Ok, if you need to sit back and relax a bit I understand.   We also get to see Shun's severed foot, Shun, herself, buying a sniper rifle and deciding to maim thugs instead of killing them and a possessed Sumo wrestler trapping a rat in a cup.  

Ann Nocenti has done it again.  This book is so bad it is almost good.  The dialogue is hilarious, the story ridiculous and the characters just plain stupid.  Ann is definitely from the "tell-don't-show" school of comic book writing.  Unfortunately, I don't think there is such a school.  I imagine Ann sitting at a desk in an empty classroom waiting for the teacher to arrive.  Seriously, comic books are at least a bit of a visual medium, right.  Isn't that what the pretty pictures are for?  Everything that happens in this book is explained with dialogue.  Mona Shard has killed the Dagger Clan leader and is sitting on his corpse and we get such gems as, "She's sitting on our Boss like it's her couch".  

What makes this even worse is often the visuals don't even seem to match the story.  CrissCross and Cliff Richards have done a decent job on this book in the past, but maybe with the cancellation they mailed this one in.  Katana looks different throughout the book and the action can get a bit confusing.  Again, I have to give them a bit of a pass because most of the action is described with dialogue leaving little room for them to show what they can do.

Bits and Pieces:

Katana has been canceled and issue #9 shows why.  The story is confusing, the dialogue will make you laugh and the art is not good.  I really cannot find any reason for anyone to read this book except as a lesson on how not to write a comic.  It is that bad.


Nightwing #25 Review

Written by: Kyle Higgins
Art by: Will Conrad and Cliff Richards
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: November 13, 2013

Teamwork Helps You Win, Not Arguments

Young Dick is a real...jerk.  His ego has caused a rift between his friends and also to disobey his parents.  He just thinks he can do everything better by himself.  This Zero Year issue shows the reader and young Dick Grayson that a hero needs to depend on others to truly be great.  At the end he knows, and knowing is half the battle.

Kyle Higgins uses this Zero Year tie-in to show how a young Dick Grayson made the steps to becoming a hero.  What I like about it is this is before his Parent's murder.  It shows that while their murder was the final straw, the boy who would become the first Robin already was developing into a future do gooder.

The action features Amygdala and is pretty intense.  Higgins has given Dick an enemy that he can't hope to beat, especially head on.  To a bunch of young kids, what could be more frightening than a uncontrollable brute bent on ripping them apart.   Of course, Dick rises to the occasion using his smarts, bravery and acrobatic skills.

What I didn't like about the issue was how heavy handed it was.  It came off like a GI Joe PSA (hence the intro).  Everything just seemed like a setup.  Dick doesn't rely on others, goes and sees a movie with a Superhero TEAM, is saved by a TEAM of kids when Gotham goes dark, and TEAMWORK saves the day.  Of course, throw in the kid who acts like Dick used to (all but two hours earlier) and he quickly sees the err of his ways.  Don't get me wrong, I didn't hate this issue, but it is far from subtle.

Bits and Pieces:

Kyle Higgins uses Zero Year to tell the story of a young Dick Grayson learning to be a man and a hero.  It is nice to see him pre Robin in the New 52.  However, it's a shame the story had to be so heavy handed.  Higgins has given us so many great Nightwing moments in the past couple of years, but unfortunately this one seems like a missed opportunity.  This issue is by no means necessary as a Zero Year tie-in, but Nightwing fans will probably like the early look at their favorite crimefighter.