COMIC BOOK REVIEWS: DC COMICS ROUND UP WEEK 11-02-2016
After a brief hiatus from reviewing the great books of DC Comics I hop back and see what the current state of various series are. Officially moved from “I kind of care” to “I don’t care at all” are Cyborg, Justice League, Blue Beetle, Doom Patrol, Catwoman: Election Night and probably a few others soon. So the review list gets shorter! I am casually keeping up with these titles so if anyone has questions or thoughts feel free to sound off in the comments below and I’m more than happy to engage in discussion!
STORY: Dan Abnett ART: Brad Walker, Andrew Hennessy, Gabe Eltaeb
REVIEW: Mera is brought before the widowhood and a prophesy is revealed that at some point in the future Mera will become insane with grief after Arthur befalls an untimely end, and thus ushers in the end of the world. Question to anyone who cares, has there ever been a prophesy in a comic that was good? Like “hey one day you will become the queen of the world and usher in a grand paradise and everyone will love it and no one will oppose! Good job!” Anyway, Abnett mostly focuses on Mera wanting to do all she can to ignore this prophesy (because that always turns out well) while expanding more on Black Manta and by default NERO’s plan to kill Arthur (who we all believe to be dead at this point). Overall not a terrible issue, but mostly set up for future stories. Brad Walker is still the best artist to touch Aquaman thus far in this run, and it would be great if he could be the consistent artist on board.
STORY: Tom King ART: Mikel Janin, June Chung, Clayton Cowles
REVIEW: Last issue we had a pretty interesting setup for Batman’s rogues gallery/suicide squad type team to infiltrate Bane’s compound in Santa Prisca. This time, while Janin’s art is beyond amazing, the story King tells kind of falls flat. It’s mostly a narrative via a randomly written letter by Catwoman to Batman, while Batman himself does a crazy infiltration missing via driving a plane right into Santa Prisca. There is a moment where he’s captured and Bane (now without Venom) breaks Batman’s back anway, but that doesn’t really hold Bruce down for long, as after being thrown in a water filled prison cell, Batman simply re-breaks his back putting it into place. Cause ya know, as we’ve learned from Chris Nolan’s Dark Knight Rises, the best way to fix a broken spinal column is simple to just snap back to where it was. SCIENCE! Stupid moment aside, the plot works and I’m guessing well see exactly what the team can do next issue.
SCORE: B- (That back breaking scene was pretty stupid)
DEATH OF HAWKMAN #2
STORY: Marc Andreyko ART: Aaron Lopresti, Livesay, Blond, Josh Reed
REVIEW: So the Rann/Thangarian war is kind of happening now in this post NEW 52 world (Rebirth world, blah whatever). But what I don’t get and I don’t remember this happening in the Savage Hawkman series, is Carter coming to terms with beingThanagarian Police officer (harkening back to Katar Hols origins in a previous Hawkman series before Flash point). So now I’m just more confused than ever on Hawkman (see my history of the DC universe article for further reading into why Hawkman is just a mess). My hope here is that Andreyko really does just kill Hawkman. I want everything about one of his origins dead. Either he’s Carter Hall and he’s from earth, a guy who discovers Nth Metal, but he’s also the reincarnated version of an ancient Egyptian Priest, or some new twist on what Nth Metal is, and we just lose the reincarnation angle. I dunno, there are a lot of routes to take but something needs to be done to reset this character and stop the nonsense. Right now he’s just another super aggressive alpha male character that has become stale and boring. Adam Strange is what really drives this story and I’m sure it will be “nice cop” “angry cop” type of a team up when the two investigate just who is behind instigating a interplanetary war. Andreyko and Lopresti are a good team all on their own, and are making what should be a terrible book pretty enjoyable, that said this is still not that great a story, and easily forgettable unless you happen to be a diehard Hawkman fan.
GREEN ARROW #10
STORY: Ben Percy ART: Juan Ferryra, Nate Piekos
REVIEW: I’ve said it a bunch of times already, but seriously if you told me back in January that Green Arrow was going to be one of my favorite books, I’d have punched you in the face! Kicked you down the stairs, doused you in gasoline and set you on fire. I might have anger issues. I’d also feel serious regret about it, because a few months later you would have been totally right! From the get-go Ben Percy (along with some seriously great artist, notably Juan Ferryra) has been giving a really cool GA story! It meshes aspects of what allows the TV show ARROW to work so well, while keeping true to the pre-flashpoint persona of Oliver all the while still keeping within New 52 continuity! It’s what every other book should be accomplishing (and some do, some don’t). This story Oliver, Diggle and Dinah infiltrate a speeding train which apparently is holding a super-secret peace meeting between various diplomats. Of course someone wants this all ruined, and the GA team wind up in the middle of everything as it goes wrong (just when they were about to stop it too!). The pacing works well here, the art is phenomenal, and the dialogue is crisp! Not much to complain about, so ifyou’re only getting a few books make sure GA is one of them!
GREEN LANTERNS #10
STORY: Sam Humphries ART: Eduardo Pansica, Julio Ferreira, Blond, Dave Sharpe
REVIEW: The Phantom Ring! By the time this is over everyone is gonna want it! But who should have it? And at what costs will anyone be willing to go to get it! Honestly I’m digging this story, and kind of wish Humphries opened up with this instead of the go nowhere Red Lanterns storyline. The concept if you haven’t been keeping up is, an old renegade Guardian has created a ring that is connected to no specific emotional spectrum. Meaning, anyone can wield it, and can call upon any of the various ring power sources. Green Lantern wannabe Frank Laminski wants it after being manipulated by Volthoom the first Green Lantern (which still doesn’t make sense because isn’t he the being trapped within the “Power Ring” from the evil earth that I guess was destroyed or released when Jessica Cruz became a real Green Lantenr?). There are some nice subtle hints about how the power of the Phantom Ring is appealing to anyone including our two resident GLs. Who will get to wear the ONE RING! Pick up the issue and find out! Not only will get you a cool story by Humphries but Pansica is crushing it on the art. Each page looks fantastic! Green Lanterns started off weak but has definitely begun picking up steam and seems set on a strong course!
MIDNIGHT & APOLLO #2
STORY: Steve Orlando ART: Fernando Blanco, Romulo Fajardo Jr, Josh Reed
REVIEW: I gotta admit, I’m a bit torn on Steve Orlando as a writer. His Monster Men storyline that went alongside the Batman writers was decent but felt a bit flat over all, his Supergirl is weak to me, and now Midnighter and Apollo just seems boring. A lot of cool stuff is happening visually thanks to a hell of a creative team, but the end results and the movements of the story are just blah. It looks like we will be having a sort of “Dante’s Inferno” style of a story, as Midnighter will need to travel to Hell to save the soul of Apollo. It was cool seeing Neron and reinforcing that these two will remain in the DCU while the rest of the Wildstorm Universe gets their own imprint. How long I will keep up with this series remains to be seen as for now it’s 50/50 in holding my interest.
STORY: Tim Seeley ART: Javier Fernandez, Chris Sotomayor, Carlos M Mangual
REVIEW: We’ve come to the conclusion of the Rise of the Raptor storyline, although it wasn’t much of a rise by the time everything is said and done. We get a loose reason for why Raptor has been obsessed with Dick for so long, and his hatred for Bruce/Batman. It’s a bit on the nose, but whatever the story came and went. Was this an amazing storyarc? Meh, it had some ups and downs but remained consistent and interesting enough. I’m glad it’s over and would love to get back to the Nightwing of the Chuck Dixon era, where he was handling being Dick Grayson and Nightwing, taking down some unique villains and working in areas that no one else really seemed to care about. Javier Fernandez delivers some strong art here, and each action panel is well thought out. There isn’t much in the way of set up, so next issue might even be a good jumping on point for new readers, for casual readers you’ll need to start back from Rebirth to really get fully up to speed. Is it worth though? Sure, why not. Nightwing is one of my favorite characters in the DCU so to me it definitely is, but I’d like a call back to some of the more classic storytelling that we’ve seen from this character.
STORY: Peter J Tomasi, Patrick Gleason ART: Patrick Gleason, Mick Gray, John Kalisz, Rob Leigh
REVIEW: After Jon Kent once again loses some control of his powers, he finds himself getting ambushed and abducted! But not by any threat (well not an major threat), but by none other than Damien Wayne! See Damien Wayne thinks Jon is a reckless moron with powers, and he’s gonna analyze and do what he has to neutralize the threat of Jonathan. Of course that doesn’t go well with Batman who didn’t authorize any of it, but before Bats can do or say anything, big angry daddy Supes comes blasting in looking to rip everyone a new one (shades of Injustice?). When it’s all said and done, misunderstandings and concerns are aired, resolved, and all of this will be leading towards the upcoming Superboy/Robin series. So for now, enjoy the early days of the next generations “World’s Finest”.
SHADE THE CHANGING GIRL #2
STORY: Cecil Castelluci ART: Marley Zarcone, Ande Parks, Kelly Fitzpatrick
REVIEW: This book is weird. It knows it’s weird and does a semi decent job of getting readers to understand what is shown and what the words are saying doesn’t always exists within the same page. If that statement sounds confusing, then you’re ready to read this book, or maybe not ready to read this book. Essentially the “Shade Jacket” or a madness jacket exists on some other world in a museum. One of the alien night guard’s girlfriend steals and wears the jacket which sends their soul down to earth into the body of a comatose female named Megan Boyer (all in issue 1, where we also learn in her life before the coma, Megan was NOT a nice person and possibly was murdered by fellow classmates because of how mean she was). This issue has Megan (for now let’s call her Shade) adjusting to the life of a normal earth girl. Unlike Doom Patrol which is all over the place story wise and pacing wise, Shade actually has a pretty decent formula and when you accept the weird you can get more into the story. Marley Zarcone’s art is pretty trippy, and reading the book is definitely meant to give the sense of an “acid trip” or some 70s psycadelic vibe. The series might not be for everyone but I’d say give issue 1 and 2 a shot and go from there.
That’s it for this week’s reviews. I did read, but didn’t want to bother commenting a few of the other series from DC Comics but as mentioned above if you really want to know about a particular issue let me know in the comments and I’ll give my thoughts!