Saturday, January 4, 2014

Teen Titans #26 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written By: Scott Lobdell
Art By: Tyler Kirkham, Art Thibert, Dan Green
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: January 1, 2014

Kid Flashback!

Johnny Quick did his best trick to get the Teen Titans out of Forever Evil, when he opened up a vortex, and threw them across the time stream.  Since that happened, the Titans have been lost in time, Superboy died and was replaced by the psychotic Jon Kent, and the Titans found themselves in Kid Flash's time the 31st century where he is about to be put on trial, after his memories are returned.  Let's find out why Kid Flash's memories were taken, and why he wound up in the 21st century.

Explain It!:

A long time ago in the future, Kid Flash's parents were murdered.  Now how can I explain this so it will make sense?  It appears (at least to me) that in the 31st century there is a big war between church and state.  Well kind of.  The Functionary is the government of the universe, and they don't look kindly on people who put their faith in anything but them.  So Kid Flash's parents were kind of like missionaries, and the Functionary sent Purifiers to go, and murder all the keepers of the word on the backwater planet they were missionaring at.  Missionaring is a word right?  This is how I understand it, but I barely understand church and state in reality, let alone a comic book version set in the 31st century, so take what you will from it.  So Bar Torr's parents were killed, and he took his young sister and escaped the bloodshed as he heard all the other missionaries in the area screaming.  

So out in the universe by themselves Bart, and his sister Shira try to survive.  Bart becomes a thief in order to feed his sister, and himself, but eventually he leaves his sister at a convent so he would know she was safe, and could fend for himself easier.  So completely on his own now, Bart decides that he's not old enough to kill purifiers, but he can enlist with them.  To make ends meet he would smuggle contraband from one backwater planet to another on a little skiff, which he was good at until he crash landed.  When Bar Torr woke up, he seemed to have the powers we all know him to have.  A bunch of explanations were given, exposure to radiation, near death kicked in his meta gene, but nothing concrete is given to the reader about how Bart Allen became the speedster he is today.  

Bar Torr was alone on that planet for a month practicing his new power until the purifiers sent someone to pick up his skiff.  He took them out, and when he got back, he realized he finally had the power to stand up against the Functionary.  Bar Torr gathered an army, and became a revolutionist.  One outpost after another Kid Flash won the battles, and freed the people.  That is until he recognized a girl he almost killed.  His sister had grown up in the convent, and had become a part of the Functionary.  After he almost killed her, Kid Flash turned himself in, and ended his revolutionist days.  He promised to tell the Functionary everything, and would take down his whole rebellion.  The case would take months to put together, and in the meantime they put Bar Torr into witness protection, and in the 31st century that means wiping your mind, and sending you back in time.  In the end Kid Flash pleads for his fellow Titans to understand what he had to do, and in the end we are left with the Titans looking like they don't trust their friend anymore.  Come on guys!  When are the Titans going to become a family instead of just suspicious asshole kids?  They should really be doing for group exercises like trust falls, and such.  Oh well.

Bits and Pieces:

After what seemed to be a big build up to the origin of Kid Flash, it just leaves you wanting more.  The team seemed to becoming unified again, with the exception of the psychotic new Superboy, and now it seems all for not, as Kid Flash is the odd man out.  So all in all not the origin I was hoping for, but maybe it's the origin I deserve.  I'm a bit of an asshole.  Go check it out and see what you think, but don't go and do anything stupid like getting your hopes up.


Catwoman #26 Review

Written by: Ann Nocenti
Art by: Rafa Sandoval
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: December 31, 2013

Don't Buy This Book

Ok, lets play the Good, the Bad and the Ugly..  The good?  Last month's Zero Year tie in issue was the best Catwoman issue in over a year.  The bad?  It was a one shot story written by John Layman.  The Ugly? Ann Nocenti is back and so is the Gotham Underground story.  

It's a new year and one of my resolutions was not to bash Ann Nocenti so much.  I thought it would be easy. Then I read Catwoman #26.  I can't help it.  Some writers are known for writing in "layers" that the reader must peel away to fully understand the book.  Ann writes in "piles" that need a shovel.

The main problem is that underneath her awful dialogue and overly verbal style is an awful story.  Gotham Underground is just a horrible steaming pile of crap.  At least I think it is.  Half the time I'm not even sure what the hell is going on.  Nocenti throws so many characters at the reader that you end up confused at best and pissed off at worse.  I don't care about Joker's Daughter, Tinderbox, Warhog, Doctor Phosphorous and unfortunately I no longer care about Catwoman. I actually was rooting for everyone to die. Well, at least the story is over and we can move onto Gothtopia next Month.

All is not awful, though.  Rafa Sandoval's art is pretty good.  Since Nocenti explains everything ad nauseum, Sandoval is a bit handcuffed, but what he gets to do looks nice. My favorite part of the issue is the colors by Sonia Oback.  She does a really good job making Sandoval's art pop.

Bits and Pieces:

Catwoman #26 ends the Gotham Underground story and it's about time.  It is a horrible issue to finish an awful arc.  It isn't new reader friendly, old reader friendly or any reader friendly.  If you see anyone picking it up at your local comic shop, do the right thing and stop them immediately.  They will thank you later.


Damian: Son of Batman #3 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written and Art By: Andy Kubert
Cover Price: 3.99
Release Date: January 1, 2014

Miracle Or Brain Damage?  You Decide.

This book keeps throwing a monkey wrench in what you think is going on.  The first issue Batman dies, and
if you're anything like me, you thought that Bruce Wayne had died.  Then in the second issue we find out that Dick Grayson had taken the mantle of the Bat, and he was the one who actually died.  Damian wanting revenge for the death of his friend began murdering the psychotics of Gotham.  But when Bruce Wayne makes his appearance, and confronts his son about his decisions, Damian runs him through with a sword.  Accident of course but damn.  But to make things right Damian then swore off killing to honor his father (who's still alive if you haven't been following the story), and became Batman.  At the end of last issue, Damian went after Professor Pyg, but took on more than he could handle when he was overrun with Dollotrons.  We last saw Damian being thrown from a window.  Let's see how he made out, and what else is in store for us in this odd look into a future.

Explain It!:

After a long fall out of a window, Damian decides to take a nap in the Gotham River.  Well decides maybe isn't the right term.  But luckily Alfred being the loyal old Brit that he is came to check on young Damian, and pulls his body out of the river, and gets him back to the Batcave.  Damian is in rough shape, and Alfred isn't sure if he's suffered any brain damage or not, and then we have to stop and think if he's had it all along.  After dragging Damian out of the river, and getting him home, and then performing his Wayne doctorly duties, Alfred is exhausted.  He goes to sit down for awhile, and rest his eyes, but he'll never open them again.  Our favorite butler, confidant, and parental figure has served the Wayne family for the last time.  I'll give you a second to wipe your eyes before I go on.

So for all the weirdness we've seen in this mini, that was nothing.  Dig this, so when Alfred died the only thing to see it happen was Damian's cat Alfred, (Damian named his cat after Pennyworth) and after Alfred died, the cat went and jumped on Damian, and told him to wake up because Professor Pyg's men are at it again, all in Pennyworth's voice.  Damian gets up, and we are left wondering does Damian have brain damage, or is this some kind of miracle.  Well you won't find out in this issue, if we find out at all.

Across town a group of intelligent gorillas, and a shark headed man have hijacked a bus load of kids for Professor Pyg, but luckily Damian is back on his feet and suited up.  Batman takes them out as violently as possible, but Damian keeps his promise, and doesn't kill them.  Damian goes back to the priest he has been confessing to, and what we can only image Bruce, and Dick confessed to as well.  Now I brought this up last issue, and we're still not given an answer, but the priest looks a lot like Jim Gordon, the rest of this mini doesn't talk about Gordon at all, and they never mention the priest name, but man does that look like Gordon.  Moving on.  Damian is talking to the priest in confession, and the priest knows that the Jackanapes gang Damian just took out, confessed to working for Professor Pyg, but Pyg has gone into hiding since their arrest.  The priest goes on to ask Damian if he will still pursue the Joker, but there we have a problem.  Damian never told him he was going after the Joker.  Damian jumps out of the confessional, and goes to confront the priest, but he's already gone.

Damian goes to check on his unconscious father, and finds that Bruce is gone.  All that remains is a Joker's card.  Damian goes back to the place that Dick Grayson died, and finds a bloody bandage and knows that this will be a trap, but needs to find his father none the less.  In the end Batman finds Bruce tied up, and the Joker surrounded by a gang of freaks.  We're told that this isn't the original Joker, and that he hasn't been seen in years, but this Joker is a great admirer.  New Joker, new twist, where will we go next in the final installment to Damian: Son of Batman?  Come back next month as we see how the story ends.

Bits and Pieces:

We're almost at the end of this mini, and I don't know how I feel about it.  Where the story started out strong, it keeps taking left turns into weirdness, and with only one issue left I doubt we'll get all the answers to all the questions this issue makes us ask.  Now this is totally fresh, and has the reins to do whatever it wants, and it is fun, but man is it out there.  Go check it out.


Friday, January 3, 2014

The Flash #26 Review

Written by: Christos N. Gage
Art by: Neil Googe
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: December 31, 2013

I Believe I Can Fly (by Running Really, Really Fast)

A close friend of Barry Allen is murdered and he's on the case.  Unfortunately, the trail leads to the skies and Central City is in big trouble.  What can a hero who runs real fast do when the danger is flying overhead?

Christos Gage gives readers a stand alone Flash story that's both fun and exciting.  Barry flies (kind of) in pursuit of Spitfire, a female villain straight out of aviation pulp fiction like G-8 and his Battle Aces or old-time radio such as Speed Gibson of the International Secret Police.  However, unlike most of those pulp villains, Spitfire has chemical terrorism on her mind and it's up to Flash to stop it.  His pursuit of Spitfire, along with his inner monologue is good, fast reading.

The only downside of this issue is timing.  It was announced Gage was going to do the first issue after Buccelatto and Manapul left the book.  That was partly true.  Buccelatto is returning for the next couple of issues.  I know that it shouldn't matter, but it makes this one-shot seem even more like a detour until we get back to the regular book.  It's a shame because I do like the fun self contained story that Gage gives us here.

The art of Neil Googe is hit and miss for me.  Unfortunately, the miss is how he draws The Flash.  There are two panels in particular that makes Flash look batshit insane.  He really has those crazy eyes of someone you don't want to talk to, but it doesn't matter because he's already talking to the five people living in his head.  I do like the look of Spitfire, and most of the aerial scenes.  I also had a bit of a problem with some of the panel layout being more confusing than necessary.

Bits and Pieces:

The Flash #26 was a nice little one-shot story that unfortunately may be overlooked as an unnecessary diversion from the main title.  Christos Gage gives the reader a fun villain and situation for The Flash to deal with, however the inconsistent art brought some of the fun crashing to the ground.


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

All-Star Western #26 Review

Written by: Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray
Art by: Jeff Johnson and Moritat
Cover Price:  $2.99
Release Date: December 31, 2013

The Guest List Keeps Growing

All-Star Western has been my go to book for fun and excitement.  The book had a Dwarf with a chain gun, for Christ's sake. Since Booster Gold dumped Jonah into the present day DC Universe, things have become even more interesting.  Palmiotti and Gray showed Jonah dealing with modern society in a fun way without relying on cliches.  Jonah has not been alone in his adventures, either.  A steady stream of DC favorites have joined him, from Bruce Wayne to Swamp Thing.  All-Star Western #26 continues the fun train, even though it doesn't really get out of the station in the plot department.

Last issue ended with Swamp Thing's arrival in the desert and all was not well with the big guy.  It was obvious that he had been poisoned by the Black Mercy plant.  Most of this issue deals with it's effects on Jonah.  We get to see into the mind of Hex and though it's not pretty, it's about what I'd expect from a scarred Civil War Vet stuck in the future.

After coming to his senses and almost killing Constantine, we get a little more story progression.  Swamp Thing tells the gang that the House of Mystery is in Metropolis and after a carnal pit stop, Jonah and his lady head to the City of Tomorrow.  Of course things don't go so smoothly and they are confronted with...I'm sure you can guess.

Again, Palmiotti and Gray really only progress the story by baby steps, but I can't help myself, I still loved it. The interaction with Constantine, Swamp Thing and Jonah is great.  One typo notwithstanding, everything in the book continues to be so much fun.  The only issue I have is the new guest star reveal.  Hopefully I'm wrong, but it just feels forced.

Regular artist Moritat shares duties with Jeff Johnson and everything looks good.  I usually don't like multiple artists, but the story transition lends itself to it.  I have been a fan of Moritat, but I like Johnson's art better here.  Don't get me wrong, both do a good job, I just prefer Johnson's pages more.

Bits and Pieces:

All-Star Western #26 continues Jonah Hex's fun tour through the modern DC Universe.  The story kind of stalls a bit, but Palmiotti and Gray make it so much fun anyway.  I question the final reveal, but the book hasn't let me down yet.  If you want a fun read, here it is.


Mr. Freeze Story DLC Coming to Batman Arkham Origins in 2014?

The Batman Arkham Face book page had teased a big announcement for December 31st and the time has come.  They released the following image with "all-new story DLC coming in 2014".

It certainly looks to be hinting at Mr. Freeze with a nod to the Batman: TAS episode "Heart of Ice".  I know that Eric here at Weird Science will be pumped as he just finished the game yesterday.  I may get around to playing it past the hour I've already played...sometime in 2016.  I'm not saying I don't like it, it just takes me a long, long, long time to finish games anymore.

Superman Unchained #5 Review

Written by:  Scott Snyder
Art by: Jim Lee and Dustin Nguyen
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: December 31, 2013

Blinded by the Lights

While searching for Ascension, Wraith asks Superman some pretty heavy questions on who he is and who he wants to become.  Even while being held captive, Lois Lane remains feisty and learns more of Ascension's plan because Villain's can't help but spill the beans.  Then the book ends with an explosive cliffhanger that could end the World.

Scott Snyder continues the slow burn story of Superman becoming SUPERMAN.  Wraith has been an intriguing and mysterious addition to Superman's world and it really pays off in this issue.  The questions he poses really make the reader wonder if Superman has gone about this whole superhero thing the right way. Wraith's intentions and loyalties have always been sketchy and after this issue they are really messed up.

The issue also involves a flashback that shows a pivotal point in Clarke's young life and a flash forward that shows how solitary an alien superhero's life can become.  Snyder really shows the reader that being Superman isn't just flying into space and smiling at the camera.

As far as Ascension and The Machine goes, so far they are no Court of the Owls, but things are heating up. While we don't really get to see much more of their plan, we do see that they are bad...really bad. At the end of the issue, them having Lois captive is the least of Superman's problems.

Any book that has Jim Lee on art is going to look good.  However, I was more impressed with Dustin Nguyen's art in the flashback scenes.  It is a water color like art with soft colors that not only looks great, but contrasts nicely with Jim Lee's pencil heavy art in the rest of the book.

Bits and Pieces:

Superman Unchained #5 is another piece in Scott Snyder's puzzle of what it is to\ become Superman.  Jim Lee and Dustin Nguyen combine to make the book look great and the issue ends with a bang.  With this and Greg Pak's Action Comics, 2014 should be a great year for Superman fans.


Happy New Year from Weird Science

We would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year and let you know that not only are we looking forward to 2014, but have a few New Year's Resolutions for next year.  The first being our "Best of 2013" list which should be up by the end of this week.  Another big one is starting our weekly podcast.  We have been flirting with the idea since we started the blog and I myself think it's about time to do it.  If I can only get Eric away from his Gilmore Girls marathon...or was it China Beach?

This awesome art was done by The-BlackCat at deviantart

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Red Lanterns #26 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written By: Charles Soule
Art By: J. Calafiore
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: January 1, 2014

We're Red, You're Dead!

Last month we saw the Red Lanterns taking a little initiative, by going on the offensive in protecting sector 2814.  They found a bad guy named Gensui who was enslaving his people, then they came up with a plan to infiltrate his stronghold on the planet Kormorax, and then the opposite of what Hannibal loves happened.  The whole plan went to shit.  Oh and Atrocitus found a giant killing machine who became a Red Lantern, and wants his ring, let's see how that works out for him. So feel the rage as we jump right into it.  

Explain It!:

The Reds have been made, and it's time to fight their way out.  Guy looks for a pep talk in inquiring about their oath, because we all know the Green Lanterns can't finish anyone off, without chanting their oath.  But when Guy hears it, he is not motivated in the least, so he makes one a little more inspirational, at least to Red ears.  We're Red, You're Dead!  Isn't Guy the best with words?  But the fight takes a down spin when Gensui unleashes his neuro blocker field.  This causes all the Reds you act like that guy you once new who'd get high, and sit there with a big dopey smile on their face, and giggle a lot.  Okay that was me.  But everyone knows one, and now Gensui knows five now that the Reds have been subdued.  

Now it's time for a grand open execution to show any would be revolutionists, what happens to people who don't like being enslaved.  But we still have a chance people.  Zilious Zox is aboard the Red Lantern ship The Kaalvar, and is orbiting Kormorax.  But our chance is fading away because what Zilious doesn't know, is that Gensui knows that he is there, and is going to test out his Dyson Sphere (think of a Death Star using the sun as energy) on the Kaalvar.  Looks like all is not well in Zilious Zox land, but wait.  That little mad ball is plugging his ring into the ship.  The Kaalvar takes the punishment of the Dyson Sphere blast, and comes out looking like a million Red Lantern dollars.  But the fight on Kormorax isn't over yet.  The Reds are still dopey, but Ratchet finds the anger to break free, and when the firing squad let's them fly, Ratchet's tentacles block his teammates, but he takes a lot of hits.

Now that the Reds are free it's time to clean house.  Bleeze kills Gensui, and frees the enslaved people, but Ratchet didn't survive his wounds.  His last words were about how he became a Red.  His people didn't think individuals should be around one another, and when he disagreed, he was tortured, and imprisoned, the anger within him was enough for the ring to come, and now he has finally found his place with others, with his friends the Reds.  Now is a good time for a rage filled cry.  Who would of thought that a jellyfish brain monster could make you feel this bad when he dies?  When the Reds are back aboard their ship, Guy orders all military structures, and weapons on this planet to be destroyed.

Meanwhile Atrocitus has found a new Red Lantern.  Only problem is he's a skyscraper tall giant, who just got done killing a city.  But Atrocitus wants his ring, so his ring he will have.  Now Atrocitus knows that this thing is all alone, and wants companionship, so he has Dex-Starr create a giant construct so the monster can have someone to hug.  In the end Atrocitus enters the giants ear, and kills him from the inside out.  So now Guy has a ring wielding Atrocitus to look forward to in the future.  Atrocitus you so crazy.

Bits and Pieces:

Charles Soule has got to be everyone's favorite writer this year.  The work he's doing on this, and on Swamp Thing is incredible.  The man can make you care about a jellyfish brain monster out of nowhere, now that's real power.  Fluffing aside, I've really enjoyed how Red Lanterns has been over the past couple months, and I find it being one of the books I look forward to the most.  So get your rage on, and pick up another great issue of Red Lanterns.


Talon #14 Review

Written by: James Tynion IV
Art by: Emanuel Simeoni
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: December 31,2013

Dead or Alive

For the uninitiated, Talons can't really die.  They are like undead energizer bunnies, they keep going and going and going...  Unfortunately, the book isn't infused with Electrum and will indeed be buried after issue #17.  This is sad, but in my opinion is about 10 issues too late.  Yes, I loved Talon, but I think after it's first arc it lost it's focus and became a bit of a mess.  Enough ranting though, because this months issue has some closure as well.  Talon #14 is the last for creator James Tynion and artist Emanuel Simeoni as well as hero Calvin Rose...kind of.

Yes, James Tynion does a decent job of wrapping things up in his final issue.  Calvin does what he set out to do from the beginning and with the help of his team and a certain Caped Crusader, saves Sarah Washington and  puts Sebastian Clarke behind bars.  Unfortunately, the Court of Owls are not easily taken down and remain a mysterious threat just out of the grasp of the good guys.  We will certainly see them again, I'm sure.

I guess we will be seeing Calvin again as well.  Spoiler alert, he lives.  Those Talons are sure tough to kill (just ask the Butcher).  What is interesting is what he becomes at the end of the book.  It is a setup for the final couple issues of the series, but it's like an old friend returning.  Interesting.

Emanuel Simeoni ends his run on the book with his best issue yet.  I have not been a big fan of his art, but I liked what he did here.  Yes, the final pages brought back his odd looking characters and Batman looked a little strange and in desperate need of a shave, but I'll give him credit for the most part.  He did a real good job on the action scenes throughout and I must give him a big shoutout for the cover this month.  I loved it.

Bits and Pieces:

James Tynion does his best to end the tale of Calvin Rose in Talon #14.  Most of the loose threads are tied up satisfactorily.  The Court of the Owls will survive and so will our favorite Talon, for a couple of issues at least.


Justice League Dark #26 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written By: J. M. DeMatteis
Art By: Mikel Janin
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: January 1, 2014

The Sea King Cometh, And.............Goeth.

Well luckily a new aspect of the story started so I can stop with the Blight rhymes.  Last time we saw our heathen heroes everyone died, and Constantine even had his head knocked off.  Hell of a way to end a story.  But we find out that the team had put a spell on themselves called, the mark of Dun-Kon-Wen.  This allowed the group to die, and remain in limbo for a bit, and somehow have their bodies transported to Dr. Thirteen, where hopefully they will be alright.  So let's find out if this just a memorial service, or we can continue Forever Evil: Blight.

Explain It!:

Into the limbo our heroes souls flow, where they might end up nobody knows.  But as a head spinning about Constantine has time to reflect on everything that's transpired.  During his moment of zen, Dead Man appears out of nowhere, and pleads for Constantine to help him.  

Constantine awakens in the home of Dr. Thirteen, the rest of the gang seems to be getting up as well.  As they try to explain to Dr. Thirteen what happened to them, and how they got here, Constantine intends on finding Boston Brand.  Pandora uses her magic to locate the source of the vision, and gets a ping.  Everybody is ready to go on Constantine's crazy rescue mission when they realize that Phantom Stranger, and Dr. Thirteen are gone.  God damn Judas's.  

The location of Dead Man's energy seems to be at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, and our new JLD travel there riding a giant moss covered whale.  Yup Constantine, Pandora, Nightmare Nurse, and Swamp Thing are riding a giant whale to the bottom of the ocean.  Oh magic, you make any story make sense.  *A little note here, J.M. DeMatteis informed me that the whale IS Swamp Thing.  Damn my eyes!* When they get to the bottom, the team passes through a mystic portal, and gain access to one of the oldest lost cities, Nan Madol.  Magic courses through these ruins screaming out at the intruders, and as Swamp Thing tries to reach out to this very old unknown green, the team is attacked by the Sea King.  The Crime Syndicate apparently put his body in the ocean, and Nan Madol called his corpse home.  

This Sea King did die though, and the spirits of Nan Madol are the ones pulling the strings looking for a host to have their revenge against a air breathing world, who cursed them into a barrier beneath the ocean.  The fight leads to the top of the water where Nan Madol uses all it's magic to try and kill the team, but what does a ancient mythological city of spirits have on our Constantine?  Huh?  Anyone?  The answer is nothing.  Constantine takes a blade, and imbues it with a severing spell, and *Tukk*, Sea King Goeth. 

After the battle Constantine goes to the body of the Sea King, and gets what he came for; Boston Brand.  We find out that when the Crime Syndicate crossed over, and whooped everyone's asses, that Dead Man hid inside the dead body of Sea King, and was trapped.  Constantine removes all the evil energy trapped inside the body, but also puts on a lock of his own, continuing to trap Dead Man inside.  For finally having a body, Dead Man isn't to pleased about.  Let's hope that Constantine has a plan up his sleeve.  In the end we go back to Phantom Stranger who appears to have actually been a damn Judas, and partnered up with Blight.  Say it ain't so!   Say it ain't so.  Well there you have it.  Come back next week for the continuation in Phantom Stranger #15.

Bits and Pieces:

Seems like Forever Evil: Blight is still struggling, but I can dig where they're going.  It's a slow burn, that I hope will be worth the wait in the end, and finally it feels more like the rest of the Forever Evil events with the inclusion of Sea King, so there's that.  I'm really just digging this rag tag team, and hope that they continue to be part of the JLD when all this is over.  So go check it out, and get your Blight on.


Aquaman #26 Review

Written by: Jeff Parker
Art by: Paul Pelletier and Netho Diaz
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: December 31, 2013

Up, Up...and Underwater

Aquaman has been one of the biggest successes of the New 52.  I know you've heard it before, but Geoff Johns took a character known as the butt of many a joke and turned him into a cool badass. Well, Geoff Johns has left the ocean and in dives Jeff Parker.  I love Jeff Parker's work on Batman '66, but I have to admit I was a little concerned.  It's basically my stupidity I guess, thinking just because a guy works on a campy little digital title that he can't move to one of my favorite monthly books.  He has moved in and I am very glad to say that the book barely misses a beat.  Parker continues the political intrigue that made the title so good and adds some well placed humour as well.

How do you top Aquaman #25 and Geoff Johns' run in general?  Jeff Parker does the smart thing and doesn't try too.  He just picks up and runs with it.  Arthur is still struggling with the responsibilities of being the King of Atlantis and the tension his love of the Surface World and his Queen, Mera are bringing.  There are strong undercurrents (sorry!) of treason among his top aides, but unfortunately he is too busy to actually deal with them.

When he is not dealing with underwater lava vents he has to help defeat a monster straight out of Pacific Rim.  It is huge, ugly and has a hidden secret.  That secret leads to the cliffhanger that is a real cool mystery I want to know more

Paul Pelletier's art is the bridge between the old run and Jeff Parker's beginning and it is as good as always.  Aquaman looks strong and Mera looks hot.  I'm sold.  Netho Diaz helps out and does a pretty good job of mimicking Pelletier's style.

Bits and Pieces:

Jeff Parker begins his Aquaman run on issue #26 and it's a success.  He continues the political intrigue that has made the book so good with the bonus of humour that adds a nice little touch.  It is a new reader friendly story that ends with a mysterious cliffhanger.  I hate to use bad puns, but I'm hooked all over again.


Batwoman #26 Review

Written by: Marc Andreyko
Art by: Jeremy Haun
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: December 31, 2013

 Is there something you can share with the rest of us, Amazing Larry?!

Batwoman and Batman finish wait, what the heck happened?  Batwoman #26 does not wrap up the last arc from issue #24 (remember, issue #25 was a Zero Year issue).  It seems that that story will not end until Batwoman Annual #1 in April.  Oh well, the turmoil surrounding this book has been well documented so a little unresolved loose ends are the last thing we should worry about.  In fact, Marc Andreyko gives us a new arc that is reader friendly and pretty good to boot.

Like I said, this issue is a good jumping in point for new readers. The gang's all here and Andreyko gets everyone up to speed pretty quick.  Kate and Maggie are at a swank affair with an old friend so as they catch up, so does the reader.  There is even a pointed comment on Kate and Maggie's wedding controversy that made me smile.  Also, any book that mentions Pee Wee's Big Adventure gets bonus points from me.

Seeing Kate in her private life is always nice, but the book is called "Batwoman" and things heat up when she dons her costume along with Bette.  I really like the interaction between the two, but unfortunately it is short lived as the new villain starts kicking both their asses.  The villain is still a mystery, but he (or she?) can definitely hold their own.  The issue ends with a classic cliffhanger with everything falling apart for Kate.  I can't wait for next month.

In my book, Jeremy Haun has established himself as the Batwoman artist.  The book looks great as he weaves deftly between Kate's personal and crime fighting life.  Haun's art fits perfectly in the world Andreyko is writing and isn't that the best compliment you can give?

Bits and Pieces:

Batwoman #26 is a great jumping on point for new readers even if long time readers may get annoyed by the unresolved arc still dangling over Gotham.  After last month's Villains Month issue, Andreyko and Haun get to properly introduce themselves to Batwoman readers and it is a welcome hello.  Forget the crazy news surrounding the book over the past months and just start reading it.  Highly recommended.


Monday, December 30, 2013

Adventures of Superman #36 Review

Written by: Peter Milligan
Art by: Agustin Padilla
Cover Price: $0.99
Release Date: December 30, 2013

The Demolisher Part 3 of 3

I have enjoyed the first two installments of Peter Milligan's Demolisher arc.  To me, it has been a response to anyone (including DC) who thinks that Superman is behind the times and needs to become more gritty and violent.  The Demolisher is the answer to these critics, a dark and violent Superman who seems to take pleasure in not just stopping villains, but maiming and maybe even killing them.  I was hoping part 3 of the arc would answer some dangling questions...why is the Demolisher taking over Superman and when will the citizens of Metropolis cry out for it's favorite superhero to return to action?  Unfortunately, this issue doesn't answer these and presents a whole slew of other issues.

The issue picks up where the last left off, The Demolisher is doing what he does to the Farrell Power Station, meaning he is demolishing it.  At the last second, Superman takes over and uses his powers to consume the destruction and rebuild the power plant.  No harm no foul?  At this point it still seems as if the Demolisher is a split personality of Superman that he can't control.  However, after this incident he seems to just decide not to be the Demolisher anymore.  That's it.  No split personality, no alien presence in his dark Demolisher armour (which I was hoping for), nothing.  Just Superman deciding to be Superman again.  I cry shenanigans.  I know the solicits for a comic are misleading, but even that hints at Superman needing a plan to "defeat his new alter ego".  I guess the plan was just deciding not to be him anymore.  Oh well.

However, the citizens of Metropolis still call out to the Demolisher to deal with the newly escaped Toymaker.  Don't worry that they are all scared of him to the point of children having nightmares, the guy gets the job done.  So what is Superman to do?  He dresses up as the Demolisher, pushes people around and robs a bank.  When the City calls for Superman to end the Demolisher, he makes up a story about a fight in which the Demolisher kills himself in space so no one can prove it's a lie.  That's how Superman solves his problems, right?  Lying?  Shenanigans again.

Adventures of Superman #36 is an awful end to what was a promising arc.  The idea of Superman battling his inner darkness is great, Peter Milligan just ended it in a way that made me mad at Superman, not glad he was back.  I really wish I could recommend this issue since I liked the first two parts, but I can't.  Unlike Superman, I won't lie...I hated it.


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Green Lantern: New Guardians #26 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written By: Justin Jordan
Art By: Brad Walker, Geraldo Borges
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: December 18, 2013

Confusion Strikes Again!

Last month I had one of the hardest times reviewing a book, since I started this little labor of love.  Who knew that this issue would be even harder.  Oh god.  See last issue Kyle, Carol and the Templar Guardians found themselves on a paradise planet called, Exuras.  We found out through the course of that book that the people of Exuras has what I'd refer to as a quantum mirror.  This mirror allowed them to go to a twin universe where they could make bad things happen there, and in return the opposite would happen on their side.  Still following?  So at the end of last issue, the doomed parallel world crossed through the quantum mirror looking to take back their future.  Alright I've had to read this issue a few times, and I will very generally give you the gist of whats going on.  Because frankly I don't want to get anything wrong, because of my lack of understanding.  So here we go.

Explain It!:

The alternate Exurans come through the quantum mirror and they want blood.  Now dig this if you can.  I explained a bit of this in last issue, but I'm going to lay this down for everyone who didn't read last issue, and is too lazy to go back and read my review.  This planet has a technology known as a intelligent structure, that doesn't allow harm to come to it's people.  But the bad guys have harnessed this technology only for themselves.  So that means all our heroes can be hurt, but the planet will create a shield for the antagonists.  So that means in the grand scheme that Kyle can't unload his power on them as much as he would like to, because if the structure has to be there constantly saving the bad guy, then it won't be somewhere else, and bad shit could happen.  God this is a weird concept to convey.  I would really like to know how Jordan wrote his script so Walker knew what the hell he was talking about.  Or maybe it was a intense phone call where after the conversation ended Walker just looked out the window, and went "woah".  

So Kyle is fighting the leader of the insurgents, and Carol is trying to get all the bystanders to safety.  But while this is all going on a funny thing happens.  The people of the doomed Exuras find that they have demonized their counter selves, and can't continue this battle knowing that they'd be killing people.  Just people.  The people of Exuras realize how wrong they've been in stealing their doppleganger's futures.  Kyle demands that the paradise side of Exuras do what they can to make the other half better, and once each side is in balance, they are to destroy the quantum mirror.  In the end our heroes leave a little worse for wear.  Carol is upset at Kyle for interfering with these people and telling them how to live their lives, and the Templar Guardians finally know that Kyle doesn't remember anything from his time inside the source wall, and they end the issue saying that "they are coming, and he is not ready".

Bits and Pieces:

All I can say is that New Guardians has certainly taken a different direction.  It exudes the sci fi ideas, and concepts you'd expect from a intergalactic cop story, but doesn't convey them well enough for the reader to get behind what they're doing.  I spent almost the entire time when reading this story confused, and a lot of the other time angry that I wasn't getting everything they were selling.  Maybe it's just me, maybe it's not.  All in all if you undertake this story line in New Guardians be prepared to read it a couple of times.


Batman Beyond 2.0 #10 Review

Written by: Kyle Higgins
Art by: Thony Silas
Cover Price: $0.99
Release Date: December 21, 2013

The Bat Men Part 2 of 7: Great Expectations

Terry tries to deal with regular life including a former love who may be trying to change her life.  Barbara Gordon deals with her own reunion and it could spell disaster for the entire city.  Then, to continue the whole reunion theme, the reader is reunited with the biggest Bat of all.

Kyle Higgins gives us a bit of a setup issue, but that doesn't mean it's not good.  On the contrary, it is really good.  The themes of growth, change and reunion are explored with the main characters facing the issues that go with them.  Terry is trying to keep up with his growing responsabilities and the return of a former flame/foe who may or may not have changed.  Barbara Gordon has an unwelcomed reunion with Kirk Langstrom who hasn't changed much (except, you know, changing into a Man-Bat) and it looks like Terry will have to fight Kirk with someone with a a past history with both of them.  Like I said, it is a setup issue, but I really love everything it sets up.

Thony Silas' art is superb as usual.  He really gets to show his chops with the slower pace and more varied cast this issue.  His art has always been an homage to the past Batman Beyond and the Batman: TAS which means it's awesome.

Kile Higgins and Thony Silas continue the quality with Batman Beyond 2.0 #10.  Though it's a setup issue, what it sets up is awesome.  The character growth is great and the final page sets up some real excitement in the near future.  The Bat Men is really coming together to be a fun arc.