Saturday, December 21, 2013

Wonder Woman #26 Review

Written by: Brian Azzarello
Art by: Goran Sudzuka
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: December 18, 2013

The Land of Milk and Honey

Cassandra is trying to force Milan to give up the location of the First Born, but Orion will fight through a thousand hyena-men to save his friend.  Wonder Woman finally kicks some ass, but Strife convinces Zola to run away with Zeke.  Meanwhile on Olympus, Apollo is giving the First Born a bath he will not soon forget.

Brian Azzarello's Wonder Woman has been a slow burn.  Each issue gives us a few more pieces of the puzzle, without showing too much of the big picture.  Wonder Woman #26 is no exception.  Cassandra is revealed to be a force to reckon with, obsessed with rescuing the First Born from Apollo.  Apollo's plan, however, is still shrouded in mystery.  As always, Strife is up to no good, but it's not clear what her end game is either.  The puzzle pieces are getting a bit clearer, but they still aren't fitting together exactly.

What this issue does that the last couple didn't is show Wonder Woman kicking ass.  She is the new God of War and she gets to strut her stuff a bit.  However, the star of the issue for me was Orion.  His bull headed loyalty brought a smile to my face and provided the action that the series has lacked.  In the end, Wonder Woman is forced to make a decision that could shift the power structure of Olympus and it looks like Zola and Zeke are already in trouble.

I have been critical of Goran Sudzuka in the past, and while I liked most of what I saw this month, I still find some of his panels lacking the detail the action in them demands.  This, however, is a solid issue for him with some really good work.

Bits and Pieces:

Wonder Woman #26 is another small step towards the larger picture Brian Azzerello is building.  However, I enjoyed it more than the last couple of issues mainly due to the action and character moments and solid art. The pieces of the puzzle are slowly being put into place for what I hope is a stunning finale.  I just don't know how long we will have to wait to see it.


Friday, December 20, 2013

Birds of Prey #26 Review

Written by: Christy Marx
Art by: Romano Molenaar
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: December 18, 2013

Please Put Me in a Sleeper Hold

Black Canary continues to fight Regulus over the fate of her husband while Batgirl and Strix have to decide very quickly whose side Condor is on.  Then when things couldn't get worse...Bam! Super Powers Overload.  Will this be Gamorra all over again?

I actually liked the last proper issue of Birds of Prey (Issue #24 review here) and thought it was the best writer Christy Marx has given us.  After reading issue #26, I still think that.  She had set the stage for some nice character development, but this issue takes it and gives us one big fight. Between yelling and fighting, Regulus does reveal a twist to Black Canary about her husband, Kurt's resurrection, but it's pretty ho-hum. That's about it, though.  The whole "is Condor bad?" plot line resolves itself so quick that new readers will probably miss it and longtime readers will just shake their heads.  Oh well, at least Strix kicks some ass which is always nice.  

Romano Molenaar's art is not good.  A few of the panels look ok, but for the most part everything looks unfinished.  Every distant shot is done in this blob-like mess that makes it hard to figure out who the hell he is trying to draw.  In a book with multiple characters this is unforgivable.  In parts of the book I wasn't sure if I was seeing Regulus or Condor and the Island military look like little green army men toys (unfortunately with no mine sweeper, my favorite).

Bits and Pieces:

Birds of Prey #26 is not very good and ruins the little momentum that the last proper issue had gained.  This issue is one big ridiculous fight that's poorly drawn and confusing.  I hope someone at DC can kick start this title soon because as it is now, it is not worth reading.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Trinity of Sin: Pandora #6 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written By: Ray Fawkes
Art By: Francis Portela, Staz Johnson
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: December 18, 2013

Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh. The Blight Stuff!

Continuing right along from Constantine #9.  The new Justice League Dark, or at least the group I'm calling the new JLD, got their asses handed to them by Blight, everyone is down, and Blight is about to kill Constantine.  Let's find out.

Explain It!:

So Constantine's about to die, we got that happening.  But out of nowhere Pandora comes leaping out, and pulls Blight out of the giant smoke dragon he manifested around him.  You think we should call him a he?  I mean is Blight a he?  I know that his physical host Chris is a he, but do we call Blight a he because of that, or should we refer to Blight as an it?  I'll continue with he just because it's easier for my to mind wrap around.  But comment and tell me what you think it should be, and I'll change it, or keep it for future Blight related stories.  Moving on.  So Pandora creates a distraction for Blight, and the perverted Deadly Sins, I say perverted because their appearance has been twisted even more than their usual disturbing selves, and not because five out of the seven were caught jerking off at a movie theater during a Hannah Montana movie.  Using the distraction Nightmare Nurse heals Constantine of his wounds, as Blight turns back into a giant smoke dragon, and sprays the park, and the surrounding apartment buildings with dragon fire.  Yep that just happened.

Constantine wants to let the fair citizens of New York burn, while they deal with how to take down Blight, but the other members of the JLD are jumping into action before he can light his first cigarette.  Our heroes save the dragon victims, and Constantine comes up with a plan.  Nightmare Nurse does some ju-ju called the mark of Dun-kon-wen, and marks the team.  Phantom Stranger isn't happy about this, because it comes at a terrible cost.  (Insert ominous laughter)  

So the team takes another stab at taking down Blight, and this time Constantine gets his damn head knocked off, no I'm not playing here.  His head literally gets knocked the hell off.  Oh god.  Nightmare Nurse, and Phantom Stranger both get impaled, and Swamp Thing is burned up.  Oh god, oh god, oh god.  Pandora isn't going down without a fight though.  She's now the last defense against unadulterated evil, and she.... oh oh, she's dead.  In the end Pandora lies bleeding out, and is experiencing for the first time, how it is feels to die.  After her last breath, she sees Nightmare Nurse in the ether.  Nightmare Nurse tells Pandora that she is dead, and she will experience this death over and over in her dreams.  This is the price of the mark of Dun-kon-wen.  The issue ends with the bodies of the JLD piled up in Doctor Thirteen's house.  So come back here next week for Justice League Dark, so we can figure out what Constantine's plan actually was.  Because if it was just dying, I don't think I can fully support that plan.

Bits and Pieces:

Forever Evil: Blight still seems like a slow burn.  While I enjoyed this issue, and continually enjoy Ray Fawkes writing on Pandora, it seems like we're constantly waiting for the real story to start.  We're given some fine action, and a lot of WTF moments that keep you on the edge of your seat, but I have trouble seeing where this story is going.  Can the JLD actually kill evil?  Doesn't seem likely.  So if that's the case is this just a throw away story line for the Dark characters to keep busy during Forever Evil?  Don't get me wrong, for what I've been given, I've been enjoying.  Pandora is being made into a very fun strong character I hope to keep reading for a long time.  While it's not meant for first time readers, if you're a Dark fan this is for you.  Go check it out.


Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion #3 Review

Written by: Brian Buccellato
Art by: Scott Hepburn and Andre Coelho
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: December 18, 2014

Rogues meet the Rogues

The Rogues find themselves in Gotham and  become intimate with some of Gotham's most famous villains. Things don't go so well, but the Rogues never leave a man behind...or do they?

Brian Buccellato gives us a fun issue.  It's just not very good.  We get to see the Rogues (minus Captain Cold) deal with some of Gotham's most colorful villains.  However, it seems forced and desperate.  This book is the weakest of the Forever Evil tie-ins mainly because it really is going nowhere the other books haven't.  Last issue was a recap of Forever Evil #3 and this issue is a weak Arkham War tie-in. After three issues, this series is showing that the Rogues while fun, can't carry their own book.  I wish I could say more about this issue, but not much goes on plot wise.

The artwork in this book is neither fun or's awful.  Scott Hepburn and Andre Coehlo should be ashamed.  It's that bad.

Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion is the weakest of the Forever Evil tie-ins and this issue is no exception.  The Rogues combined with some of Batman's best villains is bound to be fun, but is it too much to ask for a good story to go with it?  Add in some of the worst art I've seen in a New 52 book and I can truly recommend everyone steering clear of this one.


Batman and Two-Face #26 Review

Written by: Peter J. Tomasi
Art by: Patrick Gleason
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: December 18, 2013

The Ties that Bind

Batman and Two-Face has been a decent, if not underwhelming arc so far.  The revamp of Harvey Dent's origin felt unnecessary, but the main culprit is new villain,  Erin McKillen.  Besides the hints at a past with Bruce Wayne, there has been nothing that dangerous or even interesting about her. Batman and Two Face #26 begins to rectify that a bit with some good character moments, but is it too little too late?

Awesome Cover
Peter J. Tomasi uses this issue to fully flesh out the background and motivations of Erin McKillen.  We find out more of her past with Bruce and more importantly, her reasons to hate Harvey Dent.  The interaction between her and Bruce is good and Alfred's obvious contempt is pretty funny.  Bruce and Erin have a common bond that keeps them close even after Erin has become a horrible criminal.

Tomasi also shows us the link between Erin and Harvey.  They have both made each other what they are today and want nothing more then to see the other dead.  Of course, Batman is there to make sure neither gets their wish, but not before a twist back stab that does prove blood is not thicker than water..

The art of Patrick Gleason is hit and miss.  I have been a fan of his since the series started, but I haven't been a huge fan of his work on this arc.  Characters seem to look different throughout the book and some of the action is hard to follow.  It's not horrible, just not up to Gleason's standards.

Bits and Pieces:

Batman and Two-Face #26 is a good issue.  Peter J. Tomasi gives the reader some much needed background on Erin McKillen that makes her a better character, if not a great villain.  The artwork by Patrick Gleason is inconsistent and not up to the series' standards, but it is not a deal breaker.  Overall, I am still a fan of the arc, but I'm still waiting to be blown away.  Maybe next issue.


Red Hood and The Outlaws #26 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written By: James Tynion IV
Art By: Julius Gopez, Sandu Florea, Walden Wong
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: December 18, 2013

Trope: Amnesia Be Thy Name.

Last time in this story line Red Hood and The Outlaws defeated the Untitled.  Their power being absorbed into a lazarus pit.  But that isn't the end.  We find out that Ra's Al Ghul had intended for this outcome, and now has absorbed all the Untitled's power from said lazarus pit.  Now it's on.  

Explain It!:

Well Ra's is back, and first thing on his to-do list is to take back control of the League of Assassins.  Now you might think this would be a bit of a challenge, but Ra's has all these badass new powers, so not that tough.  But speaking of powers, you don't really get a sense of what these powers are.  I'm seeing super strength, possibly a bit more on speed, but mostly he glows.  Yup glowing Ra's Al Ghul.  That's all I have to say about that.  Back to the story.

So the team is captured, and Jason is pseudo crucified.  Now Jason and Roy have their bromance moment, and Jason cries, about not trusting them, and about removing his memory, blah blah blah.  They tell him that only he has the power to prevent forest fires, and apparently his memory.  So luckily that little tidbit of information was revealed, because when Ra's comes back to murder everyone, from where ever he was, Jason screams out "I WANT TO REMEMBER!", and Red Hood is back baby.  So immediately after Red Hood escapes his chains, and kicks Lady Shiva's ass.  But can he take down Bronze Tiger?  Probably it's Red Hood's book.  During the fight Cheshire throws allegiance to the wind, and frees Starfire, and Arsenal, so we've got The Outlaws in the fight, and Starfire quickly takes down Bronze Tiger.

In the end we find out that this whole thing has been Jason's plan from the beginning, even losing his memory and forgetting the plan.  So hopefully we'll get a little more insight into this grand design next month, because you won't find it here.  Also we find out from Ducra, who's been watching the siege of 'Eth Alth' Eban, that Jason has recovered his memories too early.  Ducra finishes this issue saying that this means Jason will die, and that Jason knows this as well.  I swear if you give me back my Red Hood, just to take him away again, I'm going to hurt somebody.  Probably the other Weird Science reviewer Jim, and I know he doesn't want to be hurt, so don't make me do it!  Alright violence aside, see you next month when we conclude this story, and find out the fate of all the players.

Bits and Pieces:

This issue is really taking a step into the right direction, by moving us towards the end of this story.  I've been really tired of seeing The Outlaws, and the Amnesiatic Guy, now we get our anti-hero back, and I'm finally excited to see what's going to happen.  But that being said, a lot of the other bits of this story seemed to be lacking just to give us our payoff with Jason.  Not a perfect book, but I keep reading so that has to say something.  So for everyone that has felt this title lacking in the past few months, come take a look, and dive back into the world of Red Hood and The Outlaws.


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Stormwatch #26 Review

Written by: Jim Starlin
Art by: Yvel Guichet
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: December 4, 2013

No Penicillin For You, Earth

The Stormwatch team head through space to see what the Kollective have done in the past and why they are now targeting Earth.  Meanwhile, Earth is already becoming assimilated by the Kollective and the team must make a decision on whether or not to attempt an alliance with Extrememax.  Also, Jenny Soul can't clear her head, Weird plays the harp and Lobo is pissed off.

Not much goes on in Stormwatch #26.  Jim Starlin attempts to show the reader the horrors of the Kollective by showing Worlds they have taken over.  I have to admit, my reaction was lukewarm at best.  Yes, they are anti-tech zealots, but they don't seem like the worst big bads in the Universe.  They don't kill little babies, they just convince you not to vaccinate them.  Sort of like Jenny Mccarthy.

The lack of a threatening villain is far from the biggest offender Stormwatch is guilty of, however.  No matter how much Starlin tries, the team itself is too large and uninteresting.  Good team books rely on the interaction of the members, but it's hard for the reader to care when they don't care about the team.  Seriously, Jenny Soul, Weird, Hellstrike, A.I. and a bunch of others I can't even remember two minutes after putting the book down?!  That's hardly a stellar roster.  Throw in the worst representation of Lobo I've ever seen and you do not have a winner, my friend.  I like Apollo and Midnighter, but their relationship is shoved down the reader's throats and they don't do much more than lay naked in bed.

In past issues I thought Yvel Guichet was a little hogtied with his art.  The team usually is hanging out in Skywatch and you can only do so much with spaceship corridors.  However, this issue involves a couple alien planets that Guichet draws as generic as possible.  Oh well, back to the corridors for you, Yvel.

Bits and Pieces:

Stormwatch #26 continues the trend of the series which means it is not good.  We get to see the underwhelming plan of the Kollective and the bare chests of Apollo and Midnighter...again.  Seriously, not much happens in this issue and I can't recommend it to anyone.


Superman/Wonder Woman #3 Review

Written by: Charles Soule
Art by: Tony S. Daniel
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: December 11, 2013

You'll Shoot  You're Eye Out Bash His Face In

Superman is still reeling from his power surge from Apollo's attack. while Wonder Woman looks for a Christmas gift for the man who has everything.  Meanwhile, Batman is trying out to be the host of Loveline, Zod is trying to get a grip on his powers and some cool members of the Justice League of America are on the business end of this awakening.

Charles Soule has made this title a must read by showing us the personal side of Superman and Wonder Woman and their burgeoning relationship.  He ups the ante in this issue by giving us a stellar supporting cast. Yes, we still get a great Wonder Woman moment while she's shopping for Superman's Christmas present, but the highlight is Batman giving Superman dating advice.  It's hilarious and touching at the same time.

Of course in a book like this, you need some action and Zod provides it in spades.  Seeing him realize his powers on Earth is great.  I give Soule credit here for pulling back and letting the art do the talking here.  We then see the extent of Zod's power when he is confronted by Steve Trevor and members of the Justice League of America.  Soule doesn't give us the whole league, just the coolest members (IMHO)!  To see what Zod can do to them is just scary.  However, the end of the book shows that their might be a more unique danger for the power couple than a disgruntled Kryptonian General.

Tony S. Daniel's art is so detailed and just awesome.  No tricks needed here.  Everything looks great and is so easy to follow that I was done the book so quick that I thought it was a twelve page issue.  I have to mention the ink work done by Batt mainly because it's so good, but also because his name is Batt.

Bits and Pieces:

Superman/Wonder Woman #3 is great.  This book has action, romance, humour and great art to boot.  Charles Soule and Tony S. Daniel have given us an early Christmas present and I'd like to thank them for that.


Justice League 3000 #1 Review

Written by: Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis
Art by: Howard Porter
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: December 11, 2013

What Happens to Us in the Future? Do We Become A-Holes or Something?

When Justice League 300 was announced I didn't know what to think.  How could our favorite band of heroes still be around 1000 years in the future and how could this possibly fit in the New 52?  Then after creative changes and delays. I couldn't help but worry about how the finished product would turn out.  Thankfully, the book is here and it's pretty good.  Pretty Strange, but pretty good.

Keith Giffen and J.M DeMatteis throw us right into the setting of the book and the reader gets an instant grip of what's going on.  Yes, there are still mysteries, but we are on solid ground.  We've seen this type of future setting, but it is colorful and varied and gives DC readers something that's been missing since Threshold was canceled (all 10 readers of that book, that is).

Much to their credit, the writers also present the League in a similar fashion and it's refreshing and exciting. We don't see how the team is formed and more importantly how the heroes are still around 1000 years in the future.  Nope, the first time we see them is in the middle of battle.  Two things are immediately apparent. These aren't the exact heroes we are used too and they really don't like each other.  The rest of the book is devoted to explaining the why and what of these two facts.  I really like the ideas behind the setup of the team, but the bickering and trash talk between members (especially Batman and Superman) got old real fast and it seems like it will be an ongoing theme.

Howard Porter does a good job matching story to art.  I like his view of a dystopian future and his action scenes are real good.  However, I'm not a huge fan of the look of the League members.  Some of the characters have an unfinished look, while other times they look downright bizarre.

In Justice League 3000 #1, Giffen and DeMatteis do a good job at throwing us into a future world where we get to discover what is going on as it happens.  I really like the setting, but the jury is still out on the Justice League itself.  The art is a bit inconsistent and the relationships between League members is already getting on my nerves.  Despite these complaints, I am still looking forward to next issue to see the mystery of this new/old Justice League unfold.