COMIC BOOK REVIEWS: DC COMICS ROUND UP WEEK 10/12/2016
A little late this time around, but never forgotten! This week I take a quick look at the developing stories from DC’s Rebirth line up. While not a huge week for story development, we do get to wrap up a few plots and open the doors to a few more!
ACTION COMICS #965
STORY: Dan Jurgens ART: Stephen Segovia, Art Thibert, Arif Prianto, Dave Sharpe
Review: So with Superman seemingly unable to prove anything nefarious about this new Clark Kent, it’s up to Lois to try to figure out what’s going on! To do that she pretends to the Lois Lane of New 52 Universe, and as expected things don’t go completely as planned. Jurgens continues to do an excellent job here with how he handles the characters. Everyone feels right, in that their motivations, manner of speech and actions all ring true to what made these characters iconic in the first place! Mix with the impressive art team on board, and Action Comics continues to be a big hit!
ALL-STAR BATMAN #3
STORY: Scott Snyder ART: John Romita Jr. , Declan Shalvey, Danny Miki, Dean White, Steve Wands, Jordie Bellaire
REVIEW: So we continue the journey with Batman and Two-Face as they head to a mysterius “safe house” which will contain the cure to what ails Harvey. I guess Batman has discovered the cure for insanity, but only specifically to Harvey’s case? I mean we know it isn’t fixing Harvey’s face because that’s been done a bunch of times and never works. My guess is the cure is a McGuffin and this is more or less Snyder getting to throw a bunch of villains at Batman. I’ll still say this is some of Romita Jr best artwork in a long time (maybe since his Spider-Man days), and but what I really want is backup story artist Declan Shalvey to just take over the book entirely. Someone get him on a regular Batman book immediately! The backup story here continues with Duke’s learning from Bruce on how to be a better decoy…err sidekick! Not the best Batman book out there, but still enjoyable.
BATGIRL AND THE BIRDS OF PREY #3
STORY: Julie Benson, Shawna Benson ART: Claire Roe, Roge Antonio, Allen Passalaqua, Deron Bennett
REVIEW: As the birds get closer to zeroing in on who the new evil Oracle is, they need to contend with the Snake Crew! (I dunno if that’s their real name or not I just made that up) Fenice, the big bad Mafia boss who wants other mob boss Santo dead has sent the Snake Crew to grab him by any means necessary! So the Birds of Prey of course will stop it, unfortunately they don’t all see eye to eye on how to handle the situation and some serious infighting happens as well! This is where the Benson sisters shine, their story plots are good but their character interactions are fantastic! The little joking jabs between the ladies, the awkward glances between characters (of course that also gives credit to Claire Roe!) are really what sells this book for me. The plot is a bit muddled at the moment, but nothing unreadable, and truly serves the purpose of keeping this team together as well as giving a big introduction to the revamped Huntress character. If you enjoy Batgirl or the previous Gail Simone Birds of Prey, definitely check this new series out.
STORY: Christopher Priest ART: Joe Bennett, Mark Morales, Jeromy Cox, Willie Shubert
REVIEW: Its road trip time for Slade and Rose, as the father daughter assassin team head to Gotham to find out who wants Rose dead! Slade knows he’s gonna have to contend with Gothams protector, Batman, once he gets there and he’s got a plan set! The nice part here is between some action moments there’s some downtime and its filled with insight into Slade’s way of thinking and exactlythe type of relationship Slade has with his daughter. It’s a much better side to Slade then we’ve seen in a long time and Priest is really making this potentially the definitive Deathstroke book. I truly hope he can stay on for an entire run, with Bennett on art duties as this has to be the best Deathstroke has looked and sounded in a long time (sorry Tony Daniels, you’re art is amazing your stories were not). With the downtime over, we get a fun narrative detailing Slade’s view of the psychological chess game he and Batman play out, with a bit of a twist at the end not many Dark Knight fans will see coming!
DETECTIVE COMICS #942
STORY: James Tynion IV, Steve Orlando ART: Andy macdonald, John Rauch, Marilyn Patrizio
REVIEW: So this is the big epic conclusion to the Night of the Monster Men story that’s been crossing over between this series, Batman and Nightwing. Batman leaves Batwoman to rally the troops for a last stand against the gian Kaiju flesh undead monster attacking the city and destroying powerlines, while he goes off to face against Hugo Strange! How does the Bat team fight this monster? While summong mechazords and forming the Ultra Batman! No, J/K. Instead the they all jump into giant laser cannons which are hidden inside various towers in Gotham which light up with the team member’s unique symbols. Cause, ya know that’s much less ridiculous. Anyway, the team blasts the monster but Nightwing comes up with a crazy plan for how to really stop it. It’s a plan that is only partially conveyed to the reader, and then we just gotta go with it. Meanwhile Batman has to stop Hugo strange who reveals he wants to be Batman (he’d be so much better at it, I mean look at all his brilliant planning thus far?!) Batman has to find a way to stop him because if he touches Strange, the specially made Batsuit he has on will explode! How does Batman stop him? Well it’s partial cool, partial stupid. So you decide ! Honestly, it was a cool idea from Steve Orlando, but in the end the whole storyline was a bit of a bust for me. Hopefully we just don’t go the route of Giant Undead Flesh Monsters anymore and stick to the core Batman villains acting the way they should, which I think is going to happen once Bruce heads off to deal with Bane in Santa Prisca and Pyscho-Pirate. I can’t say much about the art here, it’s not bad but far from some of the issues that have come out during Rebirth thus far for Batman. Macdonald is ok, but this book really needs to get Eddy Barrows back on board, or someone of that caliber.
DOOM PATROL #2
STORY: Gerard Way ART: Nick Derington, Tamra Bonvillain
REVIEW: So, I still kind of have no idea what the hell is going on in this series. I’m thinking we are getting an introduction to Negative Man. No literally there is a guy who suddenly seems to be possed, drestroys some Russian dolls ( Matroyshka Dolls for you uncultured fools!) screams for Larry Trainor, then gets two seemingly rival gang members to fued after stirring up some negative energy. You got the Lexicon dude who speaks like a bad highschool poet wannabe student, and some big beefy dude that looks like he jumped out of a The Dark Knight Returns story. The two break free of their sudden hatred for each other and instead choose to beat up on Larry (the guy who’s posssed). This gets cops and EMTs on the way, guess who the EMTs are? Yup our heroine Casey Brinke! Casey just left her apartment where new roommate Terry None (the one who blew up Casey’s last roommate) has reassembled Cliff Steele, minus his brain which is on the couch getting licked by Casey’s cat. Before Casey can asses the situation she and EMT partner Sam care called to deal with the Larry situation. They convince the cops to let them take Larry, and get Larry into their ambulance by promising him cold fruit. Larry screams on the way there he needs Casey and Sam to argue to feed his need for negative energy, then vomits black shit on himself. The story gets wackier and wackier and longtime Doom Patrol fans will enjoy the return of Flex Mentallo, and Danny Land! For me, this might be too history driven and too much attempting to really be a “unique” take on the characters. Maybe I will wait until I can read uninterrupted a few issues back to back. For now, if you’re a classic Doom Patrol fan of the days of Morrison’s run then you’ll probably love this series.
STORY: Joshua Williamson ART: Carmine Di Giandomenico, Ivan Plascencia, Steve Wands
REVIEW: Flash needs to stop his one time partner and friend August (now Godspeed) from killing all the inmates at Iron Heights, especially Zoom! August believes he’s doing Barry a favor by doing this, and of course Barry is like “uhh, no dude, that’s just crazy!” (note: not an actual quote from the book). The problem is Godspeed is just too fast for Barry, thankfully newly donned hero Wally West (the current new 52 version) comes in and to aid Barry. The two figure out a way to try and stop Godspeed. In truth, the climactic moment is a bit of a letdown. Barry does his typical digs down deep to muster up the speed to and aggression to stop Godspeed. Williamson does drop a few more hints about returning to the Dr. Manhattan/DC Rebirth Special storyline which is nice, but we quickly transition to Wally and Barry finally getting down to training. I wonder how long this budding team up will last with Wally currently serving in Teen Titans, also when will we get the big meet up between all the Flashes (Flashi? Flashs’ ? I dunno). Regardless I’m kind of glad this Godspeed storyline is finished and hope Williamson digs deep to pull off a more interesting story for Barry that doesn’t involve other speedsters. I think the other aspect for why this issue (the big climax!) felt like a letdown is the art by Di Giandomenico. Normally the dude has killed it on art duty, but this time everything seemed less detailed, and heavily reliant on the color work of Plascencia. Maybe Carmine had to rush on this one, but for the ending of a major storyline I expected more. I guess I will wait and see what this team has in store for Flash next before deciding if I want to keep up with the series.
HAL JORDAN AND THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS #6
STORY: Robert Venditti ART: Rafa Sandoval, Jordi Tarragona, Tomeu Morey
REVIEW: Hal Jordan is a badass! That’s what this issue should be called. Essentially Hal shows up ready to throw down and while he was bested last time, even Yellow Lantern rings at 200% can’t stop Hal Jordan now! He just can’t be beaten! Until ultra Sinestro shows up! He’s got the power of the true fear powering him, and he will give Jordan the beating of a life time! Maybe, I dunno stayed tuned for next issue. Oh yeah, the GL corps are on the way and they’ll get to WarWorld Eventually, and uhh stop some loose Yellow Lanterns I guess. I’m not really sure what purpose the returning GLs played yet, but so far they’ve done wonderful at filling in pages between Hal beating up bad guys! Honestly, with Rafa Sandoval drawing, I’d probably just read Stewart and Kilowag having tea and crumpets. Also when did Arkhillo get his tongue back?
THE LOST BOYS #1
STORY: Tim Seeley ART: Scott Godlewski, Trish Mulvihill, Clem Robins
REVIEW: Did you see the Lost Boys movie? Good, this is the new sequel (I guess you can discredit those other two movies like pretty 99% of the world did). I think DC just really needed to give Tim Seeley more work, to justify his probably asking price (salary). I guess simply writing Nightwing isn’t enough, so they were like “hey we got this license for the Lost Boys franchise, let’s do something with it. Tim Seeley, you’ve written horror before right? Good enough! You’re on it!”. Now I’m sure Tim Seely watched the original movie back when he was a kid, and decided he’d write this story off his fond memory of how that movie was, as oppose to how the movie really is. The characters you know and love are back in a way. Sam Emerson is working in a comic book shop, trying to sell off his self-published comic which details the adventures of the Frog brothers from the movie. He calls it Reign of the Frogs (fun note, Wildstorm put out a book with the same name which was meant to serve as a prequel to the second Lost Boys film). Michael Emerson is working an old folks home, washing old people feet, and getting asked about his “new” (NEW?!) girlfriend Star. She’s hiding something from him, what we will have to find out! Next up we get the vampire killing Frog Brothers! In an awkward training session with their Grandpa learning to be true vampire hunters so they can join his super secret vampire hunting society. Why is this odd? Well if you do remember the film A) The name Emerson comes from his MARRIED daughter Lucy, so unless she chose to keep her maiden name this is weird, and B) In what way was it ever established the Grandpa was some super vampire hunting guru? So Tim Seeley is definitely taking some liberties here with characters, back stories and so forth. All of this is set up for a big Vampire attack towards the end of the book, and a few potential “oh wow” reveal moments on the last pages. Bottom line if you were a big time fan of the series, you’ll probably enjoy this. If you’re a vampire fan, eh, maybe. If you had no idea about the movie or the franchise or care about vampires, then yeah skip it obviously. I know I will be going forward!
NEW SUPER-MAN #4
STORY: Gene Luen Yang ART: Viktor Bogdanovic, Richard Friend
REVIEW: If there is one new original series to come from the Rebirth line up that I’d say is a definitely HIT, it would be New Super-Man! Gene Yang is an awesome writer, and Viktor Bogdanovic has a unique style that slightly resembles some of the Greg Cappullo’s work. I’m a huge fan of these characters, and the nice mixture of humor and action Yang displays here. We get some very minor insights into the communistic stronghold of the Chinese government, without it being too much political commentary. This time the Chinese Justice League must face off against the Chinese Freedom Fighters (see, that’s your political tones right there)! Things start off bad for our heroes (are they that? It’s a fun questioned posed in this issue finally) but quickly turn around. A few plot twists later, we get an ending with a big reveal (that honestly though I sort of saw coming a mile away) which will weigh heavily on Kenan Kong, The Chinese Superman! While the whole science concept behind how Kenan becoming Superman is pretty dumb, everything else has been spot on awesome! I really want a Fat Bat-Man series now! If you aren’t reading it, start up ASAP and you’ll get the joke and probably agree with me!
RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS #3
STORY: Scott Lobdell ART: Dexer Soy, Veronica Gandini, Taylor Esposito
REVIEW: So far so good with this series! Where I felt Lobdell just wasn’t finding a way to make his New 52 run anything memorable, he seems much more comfortable this time around. Will this eventual team of Artemis, Red Hood and Bizarro be the right combination? Who knows! As long as we don’t deal with other worldly shadow ninjas. I’m digging the inclusion of Black Mask, and kind of like the idea that character is back to being more than just a random Mafia guy but someone who has big plans and seems a head of the game. Is he on to Red Hood? Is Sionis manipulating him, just as Jason thinks he might be manipulating Sionis? Getting some more insight into Jason’s thinking including his reason for wanting to show pity and friendship to Bizarro was a nice touch too. Where this story is going I have no idea but I’m guessing it will need to come to a big conclusion soon (hopefully not dragged out until issue 6). Dexter Soy continues to deliver some beautiful artwork, and I remain uber jelous of Scott Lodbell and the artist he’s gotten to work with in his career! Seriously, the first time around was Ken Rocafort and now Dexter Soy! Next thing you know Tyler Kirkham will be on the book next (please please please!) While not the most amazing book, Red Hood and the Outlaws continues to be consistent fun read, and remains on my recommend list. Also, I’m sure everyone sees what’s going here right? It’s called “The Dark Trinity” and has Red Hood, Artemis and Bizarro….so yeah.
SUICIDE SQUAD #4
STORY: Rob Williams ART: Jim Lee, Gary Frank, Scott Williams, Sandra Hope, Jonathan Glapion, Trevor Scott, Brad Anderson
REVIEW: So the team wraps up its first mission! Done. Ok just kidding, there’s more to it than that. They need to figure out how to stop a rampaging Zod, who’s disintergrated Captain Boomerang, contend with a Russian Suicide Squad (yeah those Ruskies got a version too! Damn commie bastards!) while figuring out an exit strategy! How can they do it all? Well in a very nice dues ex machina style from new teammate Hack! All the crazy intense moments get wrapped up pretty neatly by the end of the last few pages. It’s a bit of a letdown considering how insane everything was for the past three issues. Still I’ve got such low expectations for this series after the terrible writing by Rob Williams that I’m just going with it. Lee makes everything look cool, including somehow a believable scenario where Croc can start munching on a powered up Zod’s arm (yeah that happened and didn’t end with Croc’s head splitting in two). The back upstory with art by Gary Frank is a cool Harley Quinn centric tale with her teaming up alongside Flagg to dispose of some Joker gas. Of course things go wrong and we see where Harley’s loyalty truly lay. I’m not sure I’m digging this split story telling as already the main story feels forced and flawed, the absence of pages just feels like it detracts from either story. Still, it’s Jim Lee and mindless action so I might keep up with the series.
STORY: Steve Orlando ART: Brian Ching, Mike Atiyeh, Steve Wands
REVIEW: So, I finally caught an episode of Supergirl the tv series! It was the season 2 opener (mainly due to the introduction of Superman on the show). So I can see very much so the comparisons between this new series and the TV series. Kara’s mentality is similar as is her situation with the DEO, but obviously there are some still differences. Here, we get a continuation from an older storyline in the previous Volume of Supergirl (her New 52 run) where her father is actually the Cyborg Superman. Except he’s not really evil, he was being manipulated by Brainiac! Now he’s in full control over his mechanical self and wants to bring Argo City (an off shoot city from Krypton) back to life! But are his motivations truly benevolent and altruistic? Well Supergirl doesn’t buy it! Some fighting ensues, and maybe just maybe this “freed” Hank Henshaw is telling the truth! Stay tuned! While enjoying the intriguing story, be sure to be wowed by artist Brian Ching who really drawing a fun book here! I love his take on the characters, and how they interact with each other. The facial expressions are excellent, even the body language tells a lot! I was hesitant at first about this series but I’m definitely warming up to it now, let’s see for how long!
STORY: Phil Jimenez ART: Emanuela Lupacchino, Ray McCarthy, Hi-Fi
REVIEW: Lana Lang aka Superwoman! And Steel continue to try and take down a scared and rampaging Atomic Skull which is pretty important considering he’s a living nuclear reactor. When he’s subdued and calmed down, he reveals that he and other inmates at Stryker Island (a Prison facility run and owned by Lex Luthor for Super Villains) has been mistreating the inmates in severe ways. John Henry (Steel) Thinks that’s horrible, Lana doesn’t seem too bothered by it. She’s got other problems to worry about; like her powers might be killing her and the horror of seeing both Superman (of new 52) and Lois Lane (see issue 1 co-Superwoman) die horribly in front of her. Will she suffer the same fate? Meanwhile we learn Lex’s sister Lena is still alive (so many Ls!!) and has him trapped. She’s going to show the world what a truly evil Luthor can do! She’s got Bizarro style clones of Ultrawoman from the Crime Syndicate (an evil version of Wonder Woman from a bad dimension…yeah it’s a long story) and she also has the classic green and purple super suit, and standard Luthor bald head to go with it! All of these elements let the reader know Lena means business! Lex is powerless to stop her trapped in a containment field leaving him as crippled as he left Lena (according to her, but pfft what does she know?!). So nothing big or shocking here as this would be “filler episode” of a TV show that gives some backstory and exposition to move the plot along. Still, it’s a fine read with Lupacchino delivering some really sweet artwork! The series is definitely worth checking out, and can’t ever hurt to have more strong (yet naturally flawed) female heroes out there!
WONDER WOMAN #8
STORY: Greg Rucka ART: Bilquis Evely, Romulo Fajardo Jr, Jodi Wynne
REVIEW: Continuing the switching up storylines between issues, Rucka catches us up on the history of classic Wonder Woman villain (and recent ally) Cheetah! Barbara Minerva did not have it easy growing up (as most villains) but she overcame much adversity to follow her passion and dream of learning about the mythical Amazons! That’s pretty much what you’re getting here this time around. It’s obviously Cheetah will be playing a bigger role in the early days of Diana, not to mention the current role in the “modern” story. So while most of this issue is dedicated to just the lengths Barbara will go through along with her never dying convictions, we still need to wait to get to her actual transformation into Cheetah. I’m guessing that will be coming sometime next issue (well issue 10 I guess due to the switch ups). We already know pretty much all that happened, so I’m not entirely sure what actually seeing it unfold will do, but it’s Greg Rucka so he could have all the characters sipping tea and eating crumpets and I’ll still read it! While Nicola Scott was absent from this issue, Bilquis Evely did a fine job filling in! I wouldn’t mind a short stint with a returning Cliff Chang at some point either! For now, Wonder Woman continues to be one of the stand out series from Rebirth with very good reason! Don’t believe me? Go check it out!
That wraps up this past weeks DC Comics reviews! I'll try to get week 10-18-2016 up faster! What books are you still reading? Anything you've let go of or are looking forward to? Sound off in the comments below!
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