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– by Joseph Jammer Medina

COMIC BOOK REVIEWS: DC COMICS ROUND UP WEEK 09-21-2016

DC Comics brings us a rebirthed TRINITY story line starring the big three of the DC Universe-Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman! Although this will be unlike any other “meeting” story between these icons that we’ve seen before. This week also brings us a few stellar books in the Rebirth line up along with solo Raven series (for all you Teen Titans fans).

AQUAMAN #7

STORY: Dan Abnett ART: Scot Eaton, Wayne Faucher

REVIEW: Arthur is still an outlaw according to the US, he has to contend with all the problems Atlantis is currently facing while trying to discover who is framing his nation for the attacks on the surface world (Hint hint, it’s NEMO now run by Black Manta). All in all it’s safe to say it isn’t easy being King.  I think that’s the main purpose Dan Abnett is trying to convey here, somewhat like Ta-Nehisi Coates is doing with Black Panther over at Marvel. Arthur’s life is about to get a heck of a lot harder with Black Manta running the evil organization seemingly hell bent on destroying Manta. Which is dumb since Manta has done all he could to destroy Arthur, and still seemed unsatisfied. In fact, this series is kind of dumb. But hey, it’s Aquaman so who cares?

Score: C+

BATMAN #7

STORY: Tom King, Steve Orlando ART: Riley Rossmo COLORS: Ivan Plascencia

Review: I thought I was going to really dislike this upcoming storyline (and still not happy it’s a big old cross over only 7 issues into the Rebirth…grr) but I’m strangely (see what I did there) like it! The crazy grotesque creatures illustrated by Rossmo are truly fantastic and horrifying. King and Orlando’s plot moves along at a lighting pace, while still perfectly setting up all the players in the game. This will let each subsequent book have better control over where and what their character is doing. If you haven’t picked up any of the new Batman related titles yet, you can definitely start up here. You might be a little lost, but the story does a good job filling in any major gaps (the death of Tim Drake, The Gothams, Batwoman’s team over in Detective Comics, etc). Do yourself a favor and check this series out.

Score:  

CYBORG #1

STORY: John Semper Jr ART: Paul Pelletier, Scott Hanna, Tony Kordos COLORS: Guy Major

REVIEW: So the official Cyborg issue 1 is here and guess what? It’s still boring. Yup, pretty much just a continuously flow from the previous issue with the same lame standard superhero comic book dialogue and villains. First issue and I’m dropping it. Unless someone comes along and says “oh wow you’re missing out on this great series” then it’s just another generic Cyborg book like all the others and will fail like all the others. I think myself and any other reader can give DC 100 different ways to make this character better but editorial seems stuck on keeping Vic Stone as boring and plain as possible. Sorry John Semper Jr, you’re writing just isn’t cutting it. Not helping is the good, but far from stand out illustrations from Paul Pelletier. I’m just tired of dull, repeat, boring stories.

Score: C

GREEN ARROW #7

STORY: Benjamin Percy ART: Stephen Byrne

REVIEW: What I love about this issue is the past story Benjamin Percy is crafting showing the early team up between Emiko and her brother Oliver. It brings a call back to the “activist” within the heart of Green Arrow as he takes down some loggers who have decided to cut down a forest in retaliation for the more environment friendly thinking ways of the city. This juxtaposed with the modern day story of how Emiko literally fighting for her and her mother’s life is really cool. We get the clock king storymixed in to really drive home that the immature self-centered Emiko from the past, is not the same girl we see today. Artist Stephen Bryne rocks another issue, and some of his subtle changes in body language from past to present help really give a distinct feel between the two time periods. Green Arrow truly is one of the best books to come out of the DC Rebirth, if you’re not reading it you seriously are missing out!

Score: A

GREEN LANTERNS #7

STORY: Sam Humphries ART: Ronan Cliquet COLORS: Blond

REVIEW: Sam Humphries gives us a “just another day in the life” type story here, Jessica Cruz spending some time with Simon Baz’s family prepping for the arrival of his very stern mother. Jessica has to deal with her anxiety, while Simon works through his insecurities of never being “enough” for his mother. Humphries does this pretty well using the convention of Ma’Amoul which is a small shortbread patries typically filled with dates, pistachios or walnuts. A very popular treat in Lebanon, which is where Simon’s family originates.  The big moral of the story here is Simon wants the cookies to be perfect (IE: he wants to be perfect) so his mom will love them (IE: will respect and love him) and Jessica finds that she and overcome her fear and anxiety when others need her (meaning maybe she can overcome it completely). It was a fun quaint story, that is mostly highlighted by the very nice artwork of Ronan Cliquet. The series has yet to really stand out, but it’s far from bad. The big surprise was that it seems the alien race The Dominators are heading to earth, and as their name implies they aren’t exactly friendly. I’m not sure if we’ve seen this race before in New 52 or in any major capacity so it will be a fun treat to watch Simon and Jessica handle these galactic threats.

Score: B

JUSTICE LEAGUE #5

STORY: Bryant Hitch ART: TONY DANIELS, SANDU FLOREA COLORS: Tomey Morey

REVIEW: Oh please tell me now that this nonsense story seems to be over, Hitch will either make a better Justice League book or a new writer is taking over. The only redeemable aspect of this nonsense story was Tony Daniels coming back on art. Seriously, anyone reading this review-Just skip this title. It’s not worth wasting your time on.

Score: C-

NIGHTWING #5

STORY: Tim Seeley, Steve Orlando ART: Roge Antonia, Chris Sotomayor, Carlos Mangual

REVIEW: Picking up right where Batman #7 left off, the issue does focus a bit more on Nightwing (naturally) but still captures the bigger picture as well. Gotham is besieged by these creatures, and Bruce wants Nightwing to investigate theirorigin. We get the typically “you don’t trust us” “yes I do, just do as I say” “No you don’t!” dialogue that happens between Batman and his allies, but once that shtick is over, Nightwing gets down to some investigating and learns a few troubling bits of information. Roge Antonie and company keep a similar look and vibe presented in Batman #7 (while keeping their own unique twist) which I appreciated a lot. Tim Seeley and Orlando worked well together developing this story as it seems all the writers have been able to make their series work with this big event. I will be looking forward to Grayson getting back on his own when this crossover ends though.

Score: B+

RAVEN #1

STORY: Marv Wolfman ART: Alisson Borges COLORS: Blond

REVIEW: So this takes place after the last issue of Teen Titans and the upcoming Rebirth issue. Marv Wolfman is a legend, but I don’t really think he gets “teens”. I’ve seen some chatter on the web with review sites saying how well this teen book is written, but as someone who remembers being a teen, and knows teachers who work with teens; this does NOT feel like a teen book. It’s kind of a standard “this is what every writer thinks teens will say and do” type of story. It’s not bad, but it’s not exactly honest.  Raven is living with her super nice seemingly ultra-Christian family, and attempting to fit in at school. Obviously this all is awkward and of course goes wrong when it seems her demonic siblings (not real siblings) are potentially coming after her (In the name of her demon father Trigon). The story plays out like any other current Superhero Teen storyline with “how will I balance my schooling, family life AND being a Superhero?!!”. Don’t get me wrong, Marv Wolfman is a great writer, Alisson Borges’s line work is beautiful especially with Blond on colors. This just isn’t that interesting of a story or book, so much so I’m not really sure where it’s going to go. Was anyone really craving a Raven solo series? I guess if you were, definitely pick it up, if not this will easily be skippable.

Score: B-

SUPERMAN #7

STORY: Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason ART: Jorge Jimenez, Alejandro Sanchez

REVIEW: THIS! This is the pick of the week for me! It’s a beautiful, fun, story really striking home how Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason just GET these characters. This is the Superman that DC Comics needs. From beginning to end we see how Superman juggles being a Superhero and a family man. He does it so well, and Jon and Lois Kent are both written perfectly. If you read 1 Superman series, make it Superman (but also read Action Comics as that’s pretty good too!). Jorge Jimenez and Alejandro Sanchez make a simple evening at the fair, come across beautiful and fun! Vibrant colors and great expressions on all the characters allowed me to enjoy every page. I haven’t enjoyed reading Superman like this in a very long time!

Score: A

TRINITY #1

STORY: Francis Manapul ART: Francis Manapul

REVIEW: Francis Manapul is an amazing artist, as a writer he’s kind of hit or miss. DC Comics entrusted him to give us the latest telling of the big meeting between the iconic three. This is less a first time meet up, and more the first real “sit down” discussion that the Superman (pre Flashpoint) has had with Batman and Wonder Woman. Interestingly Manapul addresses events currently taking place in Wonder Woman’s series (with Cheetah and being in Africa), while not referencing any events from the Superman or Batman series. Manapul also makes it a point to bring up the potentially awkward situation of Diana being around Clark (quick recap: In New 52 universe Wonder Woman and Superman were a couple). This was also addressed by the two in a recent Action Comics issue, so bringing it up again here felt a bit strange. Still, the real purpose of this book was that Lois feels Clark is too defensive about his personal life, and he needs to bring down some of his “walls” to learn to trust the heroes of this world. For the most part, the story is fine if a bit uneventful and slightly cringes worthy representations of the characters. Will this stand out as a “must read” installment into DC Rebirth or even these characters? Probably not, but for the art and decent story telling it’s worth taking a gander at.

Score: B

 

That’s it for now, stay tuned for next week’s DC Comics Reviews! Any books you think should be reviewed? Got a favorite for DC not listed here? Sound off in the comments below!

-Jeremy Scully

follow me on twitter @LRM_JEREMY

Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.