Friday, November 29, 2013

The Flash #25 Review

Written by: Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato
Art by: Chris Sprouse and Francis Manapul
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: November 27, 2013

With a Mountain of Maybes and Some Icarus Wings

Gotham has no power and Super Storm Rene is about to hit.  The City is in utter chaos and the call has gone out for anyone to help.  Among those who answered the call is everyone's favorite forensic scientist from Central City, Barry Allen.  As this is a Zero Year tie-in, Barry Allen is just plain Barry Allen.  Like most of the Zero Year issues, we get to see that our heroes were already super before they had powers. Unfortunately, this issue is like most others in that it is completely unnecessary and adds in a huge amount of ridiculousness to boot.

I love The Flash.  I love Manipul's and Buccellato's Flash in particular.  Their run in the New 52 has been great and I was so sad when it was announced they were leaving the book to head over to Detective Comics.  Well, they overstayed their welcome by one issue.  In my mind, they did this Zero Year issue as a favor, but I will pretend it never happened and their run ended with  Issue #24.

Don't get me wrong, it has nothing to do with the dialogue which is good or the art which is stellar as usual.  It is the situation that Barry is put in.  Gotham is in utter chaos and Barry is helping the evacuation, right? No.  Is he stopping rioters and looters? Nope.  He is in Gotham chasing down a drug dealer.  Hey, I know that "crack is wack" (or in this case "Icarus is Ridiculous") and you should "just say no", but a freaking Super Storm is on it's way.  Gotham has no power.  And worse of all, Barry is a forensic scientist not a street cop. A forensic scientist just weeks out of the Police Academy.  Like the movies, this can't be good.

Of course since Barry is involved, the drug has to have some speed effect.  Couple that with junkies and cops telling Barry he is too slow for whatever situation he's in and this issue has it's share of groan inducing lines.  To top it off, there is an unnecessary cameo that comes off as forced and completely unnecessary.

Not all is bad, though.  As I said earlier, the art is stellar.  Chris Sprouse really does a great job making this gritty enough to be a Zero Year story while maintaining the Flash feel.  Francis Manapul outdoes himself with his panels and this is a fitting end to his run.  I just wish the rest of the issue would have been up to par.

Bits and Pieces:

The Flash #25 is an unnecessary and ridiculous Zero Year Tie-in.  The art is stellar and Manapul and Buccellato do their best to explain why Barry is in Gotham, but it doesn't ring true.  I'll pretend that issue #24 was the end of their New 52 Flash run because it was too great to end like this.


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Talon #13 Review

Written by: James Tynion IV
Art by: Emanuel Simeoni
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: November 27, 2013

This is the End...Almost

Talon used to be my favorite book in the New 52.  That's why it pains me to have given it such bad reviews in the past bunch of months.  Unfortunately, after the excellent issue #7, things started going off the rails. Guillem March left and the art has been subpar since, but more importantly, James Tynion's story has been convoluted and uninteresting.  It seems as if he told the story he wanted to tell and has been trying to regain the magic ever since.  Well, issue #13 is here and I'm happy to say it is one of the better ones in many a month.

James Tynion sets a bunch of story lines on a crash course in this issue.  This is defiantly not new user friendly, but for those there from the beginning, things are starting to tie up.  Calvin and Casey are searching for Sarah.  Meanwhile, Sarah is being brainwashed by the Court.  Sebastian Clarke is trying to regain control of the Court from John Wycliffe and Felix Harmon wants to kill everyone and everything, especially Calvin.

Tynion does a pretty good job for the most part.  The battle between Calvin and the Butcher is a highlight. Felix is such a hulking figure that you can't help but be frightened by his power and fear for Calvin's life. However, the indoctrination of Sarah into the Court was ridiculous.  She goes from saying she misses her mommy to a few pages later demanding to kill Calvin herself.  I understand that Tynion is trying to tie things up by next issue, but this was just too rushed to be believable.

Another issue I've had for the last couple issues has been Emanuel Simeoni's art.  To say I'm not a fan is an understatement.  That being said, this issue isn't half bad.  Yes, Calvin's face looks strange and the Butcher's size changes from panel to panel, but some of the pages are the best he has done yet.  That may sound like a backhanded compliment, but take it for what it's worth.

Bits and Pieces:

Talon #13 is actually not a bad issue for long time readers.  James Tynion is leaving the book after next issue and he is doing his best to wrap up the numerous dangling threads left.  I actually am looking forward to next issue which is something I haven't said in months.


All-Star Western #25 Review

Written by: Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti
Art by: Moritat
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: November 27, 2013

Crazy Sexy Cool

I have to admit that I didn't pick up All-Star Western until Booster Gold showed up in the "WTF" issue #19. I'm so glad I did because after that issue I went back and read it from the beginning and realized I had been missing out on one of the best books in the New 52.  Since then, All-Star Western has become my "fun" book and issue #25 continues the good times.

The issue picks up where last issue ended, with Jonah and Gina meeting up with Constantine at the Weirdo Sex Festival (I just love writing that, by the way).  Seriously, Jonah in the Present is a home run...Jonah in the Present with John Constantine is a walk off grand slam.  Jonah and Constantine play so well off each other that it seems like they've been fighting huge demons at Weirdo Sex Festivals (last time, I promise) for years. This particular Demon gets a hold of Jonah and realizes he is more than meets the eye and afterwards Constantine can't help but agree.  Constantine tells Hex that someone else may be able to help him get back to his own time which sets up the second awesome teamup in two issues.  I really love where this book is going and while these characters showing up may sound like a bad idea at first, when you see them in action you can't help but giggle with excitement.

The star of this issue may well be Moritat, though.  I criticized his art in last issue, but he came back with a vengeance here.  His gritty style fits the mystical-zombie-demon action to a tee and there is a splash page that deserves to be framed and displayed.

 Bits and Pieces:

All-Star Western #25 takes the fun of Jonah Hex in the Present, adds the mystical and throws in two of the coolest characters in the New 52 to create a great issue.  I was getting wary of Jonah just shooting his way through our time, but the addition of magic is brilliant.  Everything is so fun and fresh that everyone needs to read this book.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Teen Titans #25 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written By: Scott Lobdell
Art By: Tyler Kirkham, Art Thibert
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: November 27, 2013

Flash To The Future, Or Teen Titans D'oh

Falling through time, the Titans find themselves slightly saved, when Raven uses her soul self to latch onto the Titan's souls, to navigate through time, and to keep everyone together.  But Kid Flash, and Solstice are in the future, and under attack.  Let's find out how our favorite adolescent ass kickers are doing.

Explain It!:

Far in the future, Solstice, and Kid Flash find themselves surrounded by gun toting hooligans, that claim to know Kid Flash, and call him Bar Torr.  Apparently Kid Flash betrayed their cause, and screwed them over real bad.  But luckily for our fast friend he....... well he's fast.  Being fast Kid Flash takes everyone down, but what he didn't count on was for this group to be ready for him when he finally returned.  In the air is a synthetic accelerant, and the faster Bart breathes in the faster his lungs fill with a solid polymer.  Now I don't know the exact science behind this ultimate speedster weapon, but wouldn't it stand to reason that all these guys that want Kid Flash dead would eventually die as well?  Maybe it's a speed force synthetic accelerant?  Hell I don't know.  They should just take some home with them, so the next time Gorilla Grodd shows up we can teach him to keep his damn dirty hands off the speed force.  Alright so Bart is down, what now?  Oh yeah Solstice has super scary powers, and has feeling for Bart.  I wonder if she'll do anything. And... Boom goes the dynamite.

A mile out the rest of the Titans have homed in on Kid Flash and Solstice.  We find out that all this time hopping has left Raven weakened, and if she tries to go 88 miles an hour again, she'll die.  So no getting home that way.  They see the scary power of Solstice looming in the distance and make their way to them.  

Back at the fight Kiran is kicking ass and taking names, until she gets shot in the leg.  Now she isn't really hurt, but more stunned from the shock of it.  But no one shoots Bart's girlfriend.  He begins pounding away at the gunman, as the rest of the Titans show up and witness him loosing a bit of control.  So after all that awkwardness, the team regroups as another team descends upon them.  But this is the Echo Cronal Authority, some sort of future police.  We find out that Kid Flash was put into witness protection, and sent back in time to protect him.  But you also get the idea that this ECA isn't a fan of KF either.  But orders are orders, and the cops take the Teen Titans back to their base to get some answers.  At the base Bart is hooked up to a machine to help him get his memories back, and the team besides Wonder Girl, and Superboy witness on the view screen, the maniac that KF used to be.  But what are Wonder Girl and Superboy up to you say?  Well the Teen Titans have been harboring John Lane Kent the homicidal son of Superman from a possible future.  Our Superboy was left behind, and swapped out for this one, and Wonder Woman found this out the hard way, when in the end of the issue he finally woke up and started strangling Wonder Girl.  Oh No!

Bits and Pieces:

Well surprisingly this issue wasn't that bad.  After months of having a sub par Titans, we seem to be slowly getting back on track.  But it's still far from fixed.  With this being a team title, it seems like we're always focused on one character, and yeah it's nice having a character flushed out, but they should still feel like part of the whole.  Hopefully this title will continue to improve, and hopefully I'll continue to enjoy, because it's been hard lately.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Harley Quinn #0 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written By: Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti
Art By: Amanda Conner, Becky Cloonan, Tony S. Daniel, Sandu Florea, Stephane Roux, Dan Panosian, Walter Simonson, Jim Lee, Scott Williams, Bruce Timm, Charlie Adlard, Adam Hughes, Art Baltazar, Tradd Moore, Dave Johnson, Jeremy Roberts, Sam Kieth, Darwyn Cooke, Chad Hardin
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: November 20, 2013

Special Harley Quinn Sized Issue!

We start this review out with me having to write a shit load of artist's names.  Please don't do this to me again.  Plus I had no idea how to write a review for a issue like this, but I think I put to much thought into it, and realized I just had to keep it simple stupid.  So here we are, starting our Harley Quinn solo experience in the style only these artists could give you.  I'll explain to the best of my ability, but this issue is pretty much out there to give your eyes an orgasm.  So go out, get it, and check it out.  

Explain It!:

This is normally the part of the review where I explain the issue to you, and try to add some humorous content.  Emphasis on the try.  But for this strange, meta, fourth wall breaking issue I'm just going for something short and sweet to explain it the best way possible.  Since the story is broken up by pretty much each page becoming something new, and Harley just looking for the best artist to give her life what we get is.....

Remember the Daffy Duck cartoon where he's just waiting for the show to start, and the artist keeps fucking with him?  Well that's what we get here, with the only exception Harley seems to be in control of whats going on around her by suggesting to the artist what she wants.  Or where she complains to the artist enough that a new one jumps in.  We get different styles, a lot of laughs, the creators making fun of themselves, and even laughs at how low certain book's sales are.  

In the end, after all the madness, and creative depredation we see that Harley was left a property in Coney Island, and I guess this is where the book will pick up for issue #1.

Bits and Pieces:

While not being ones conventional comic, this was a great way to pull fans in.  Guess what everybody.  I think I found my new fun book.  In a DCU where everything seems to be dark, and miserable, this title with all the murder, and chaos, that this character is bound to bring could be the light hearted delight I was waiting for.  So see you next month, and we'll find out if the merriment continues.


Green Lantern: New Guardians #25 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written By: Justin Jordan
Art By: Brad Walker, Geraldo Borges, Drew Hennessy, Cam Smith
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: November 20, 2013

Every Rose Has Its Thorn, Just Like Every Paradise Alien World Has Its Awful Quantum Mirror Of A Future That Never Was

Does everyone remember in the last part of Lights Out, when Kyle Rayner sacrificed himself to replenish the emotional spectrum reservoir?  Well good.  Then you know as well as I do that Kyle survived the experience, and him and the Templar Guardians went off to continue exploring the universe, while keeping Kyle's survival a secret.  So on with the show.

Explain It!:

On Zamaron, the home world of the Star Sapphires, Carol Ferris explains what happened with Relic, and Hal Jordan's new mission to stop ring bearers from using the emotional spectrum.  When suddenly Carol is called away.  She arrives on the alien world Exuras, which is being hailed as paradise.  After Carol's arrival, she is immediately furious when face to face with Kyle Rayner who she and everyone else believed to be dead.  The two squabble for a bit, and we see that the feelings between them are growing.  But all that can be put on the back burner, because we have a strange case of this planet being a paradise, or a ruse concocted to enslave people.  So what do we need to solve this mystery?  Well only a White Lantern, his Sapphire companion, who may or may not be moving him out of the friend zone, and a small band of blue midgets.  That's who.

Kyle is told to go searching for the places that don't permit entrance.  Because in a paradise, nothing should be hidden.  So Kyle taps into some of that all powerful white energy, and finds that there is a place on this planet that is full of fear, and rage.  When he goes there he finds that all the people he was reading were teenagers.  Yup sound like teenagers.  Inside he is told that all the people of this paradise planet must make a choice, and that paradise isn't free.  Kyle is led to some sort of quantum mirror.  The teenagers of this world must enter, and chose if they want to pay the price.  The quantum mirror is a doorway to a parallel world, where if on one side something good is the outcome, then the other will have a bad outcome.  So the price is to go to the parallel world, and steal the good future from that world, by creating, or doing something awful.  I had to read this twice to understand, so I hope you got the gist of what I'm saying.  So what this alien race is doing is creating a hell for this other dimension, and some can't bring themselves to make it worse.  So if they do not accept the price of paradise, they stay behind in hell, and try to make it better for them.  God I hope I'm explaining this right.  Stupid aliens with their confusing magic/science.  In the end Kyle is confronted by the parallel world's people who cross the threshold, and plan on taking their happiness back.

Bits and Pieces:

While I'm happy that we can finally get New Guardians back tie-in free, I found this beginning just a tad bit confusing.  While I eventually got what they were selling it took a couple reads.  Now I know that sounds a bit lazy, and maybe it is, I just expected something dealing with what Kyle went through in Lights Out to be more prevalent.  But with bitching aside, I did enjoy what I was given, and will continue to read.  I have complete faith in Justin Jordan to wow me, and I don't think he'll disappoint.  So go check it out, and read it twice if you're slow like me.


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Batman and Two Face #25 Review

Written by: Peter J. Tomasi
Art by: Patrick Gleason
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: November 20, 2013

Batman and Who?

Last issue we were treated to the New 52 origin of Two Face.  I think I stand with many fans in saying it was forced and unnecessary to revamp Harvey Dent's history.  What made it worse is that it only seemed to serve as the introduction of Erin Mckillen, the Gotham Mob Boss with a past with Bruce Wayne and Batman.  Though this issue continues to be called Batman and Two Face, what is inside tells a different story.

Peter J. Tomasi continues the Big Burn arc with a sprinkle of Two Face and alot of Erin Mckillen.  Seriously, if she is the future of Batman villains, count me out.  She is as bland a bat villain as there has been in a while. Tomasi tries to make her interesting by having her best Batman twice in two issues, but both seemed forced. At least in last issue she fought him hand-to-hand, in this one she just shoots him.  We also get hints of a past with Bruce Wayne, but again it doesn't feel legit.

Two Face is in the issue and he steals the show in the first few pages.  Then he disappears until a very confusing flashback.  It is just thrown at you with no warning and takes a few seconds to realize you are seeing the past.  The flashback itself tells nothing new and is just gratuitous violence continued from last issue.

The story as a whole is going nowhere slow.  I like Tomasi and he hasn't steered me wrong yet, but I hope things get going soon.  If Mckillen is an important figure, please make me care more about her.  Also, where is Carrie Kelley?  I know solicits are usually false, but I expected her to at least make an appearance (though it seems to be her on the cover's coin).  There is an interesting cameo, however, that will make some fans smile their geeky smiles.

Patrick Gleason's art is not as good as usual, either.  The faces look odd throughout the book and some of the action is downright confusing.  I am a Gleason fan so it pains me to say this issue may be his weakest yet.

Bits and Pieces:

Batman and Two Face #25 is a bit of a bait and switch.  There is not enough Harvey Dent and too much Erin Mckillen.  The story treads water and doesn't advance the book at all and the art is subpar and confusing.  Two issues into this arc and there is no reason for me to recommend it...yet.


Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion #2 Review

Written by: Brian Buccellato
Art by: Scott Hepburn
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: November 20, 2013

Playing Ping Pong With the Rogues

Even though it wasn't stellar, I liked Rogues Rebellion #1 well enough (see my review here if you are interested).  I thought the story had a decent setup and hoped it would start heating up with this issue. Unfortunately, Rogues Rebellion #2 doesn't really push the story forward and in fact is mainly a rehash of the Rogues bit in Forever Evil #3 (Reviewed by Eric here).

Rogues Rebellion #1 ended with Deathstorm and Power Ring confronting the Rogues about not joining the Crime Syndicate.  That's right where we start here and before much else can happen, Trickster's big mouth and Power Ring's nervousness start an all-out battle royale.  During the scrap, Deathstorm rearranges Captain Cold's DNA so that he is powerless. Mirror Master attempts to open an escape route for the gang, but Power Ring blasts it and everyone but Captain Cold ends up in Metropolis where they are attacked by...the Archer and then Parasite.  They fight a bit and then escape to Gotham where they are greeted by a popular Bat Villain which sets up next issue.

I really like Brian Buccellato and the Rougues as thieves with honor.  I am not enjoying what I'm getting with this book.  The Rogues are just bouncing around between Villains with no real story happening.  It's just fight, jump into the Mirror World, rinse and repeat.  There hasn't been anything to move the story forward and the best bits were already in Forever Evil #3.  I'd like to say that the move to Gotham will be interesting, but after two issues of not much happening, who knows.

The art is another downer for me.  Scott Hepburn did half of last issue and to me it was the weaker half in the art department.  This issue he gets full reign so at least there is no jarring art change, there is, however, art that doesn't fit the tone of the book.  Hepburn's cartoony, animated TV style just doesn't fit the gritty nature of what's happening in the DC Forever Evil Universe right now.  I get that the Rogues are not deadly serious Villains, but this style just seems silly and out of place.

Bits and Pieces:

Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion #2 was a disappointing read to me.  The Rogues are just thrown around between Villains and the best parts were already in Forever Evil #3.  The story is progressing at a snails pace and the art style doesn't fit the tone of the book.  I hope the story picks up soon or I'm out.