COMIC BOOK REVIEWS: DC ROUND UP WEEK 07-20-2016
After a two week absence I return to see what the current state of DC’s Rebirth is in! How are the Gotham Siblings doing? Are they evil yet? What’s going on with Aquaman and the anti-Atlantism? Are those two silly Lanterns still squabbling over inane stuff? Well read on to find out all about the wonderful world of DC Comics!
STORY: Dan Abnett ART: Philippe Briones COLORS: Gabe Eltaeb
Review: So for some reason, even though Arthur painfully has put together this Atlantean Embassy, even though he’s saved the world (including America) countless times and has proven himself a hero, even though he is a US Citizen, And even though Black Manta is also an American and blatantly guilty over the explosion at the Atlantean Embassy, we are to believe that everyone is like “well F*! You Arthur, you’re a villain! And we can’t trust you!”. Look I get it, it’s needed for the story and it isn’t easy making interesting, but I’m just not buying it. It’s a bit of a “blah” story from a very talented writer and I had bigger hopes for this book. Philippe Briones and Gabe Eltaeb bring some excellent artwork to help make it all look great, but in the end this is a dull storyline that I hope gets some new life and energy mixed in soon.
Bat Girl and the Birds of Prey: Rebirth #1
STORY: Julie Benson, Shawna Benson ART: Claire Roe COLORS: Allen Passalaqua
Review: Barbara Gordon is finally getting comfortable being back in the role of Batgirl, kicking ass and taking names. She’s still haunted by aspects of her past (yes Killing Joke did happen), but it doesn’t have the hold over it once did. The problem with the past though is, no matter how much you might come to terms with it, somehow it always finds a way to come back at you. For Barbara, that means someone posing as Oracle and assisting criminals! Needing some extra help to track down who’s behind it all, Batgirl enlists the help of Black Canary to reform their Birds of Prey team! (Although a Bat isn’t really a bird…) With things starting to look like better, a new wrench is thrown in as Helena Bertinelli aka The Huntress (aka the once leader of Spyral-See Grayson series) is after the only man who can tell the Birds of Prey about the imposter Oracle. What happens when all three ladies wind up in the same spot? Well go read and find out! After the very hit or miss previous Batgirl series, I have high hopes for this Rebirth with the Benson Sisters (of CW The 100 fame) taking over writing duties. The dialogue is Sharpe, the plot moves, and everyone more or less “feels” like how they should on the page. Claire Roe and Allen Passalaqua (say that ten times fast!) deliver on the art end in spades, making this potentially a must read series.
STORY: Tom King ART: David Finch, Danny Miki COLORS: Jordie Bellaire
Review: the cover is a bit deceptive, so don’t be fooled. This is not an issue about Batman fighting The Gothams. Itis an origin story for The Gothams! We learn via a disguised Bruce (good old Matches Malone) that the super heroic dup grew up in very ordinary simple and nice lives. Gotham was inspired by Batman due to action done early in the hero’s life, which in turn inspired his sister to take up his cause. It’s hinted that at some point when the two were overseas they got their powers, potentially tied to some sort of costly augmentation. It’s an interesting plot point that maybe, just maybe these two new heroes are actually what they appear as, and not some sort of creatures of ill intent designed by Hugo Strange. Tom King is definitely bringing a bit of homage to Matt Wagner’s Monster Men storyline here, but so much is different it’s hard to “predict” where anything might go involving any of the characters. I look forward to seeing what path these two super powered beings take, and if they will end up evil or staying on the side of angels. Making it all seem so awesome is David Finch’s Pencils (with Miki on inks) along with Jordie Bellaires beautiful color work. I’ve never been a fan of Finch’s writing, but damn can the guy draw Batman! I did want Mikel Janin on the book, but having Finch has been equally awesome. This is a very strong creative team on a series that been full steam ahead since launch, with no signs of slowing down anytime soon!
Green Arrow #3
STORY: Benjamin Percy ART: Juan Ferreyra
Review: So I’m not sure if its permanent or not, but no Otto Schmidt on issue 3?! That was a fast change. Don’t get me wrong, Juan Ferreyra is excellent! I loved Colder, and really want him to draw a Bat book so I can see his Joker! He’s awesome, and he does an amazing job on this issue. It’s just I was getting used to Otto Schmidt and enjoying his work on the series. However, Percy is still here and keeping up with his interesting take on the emerald archer. Ollie is believed dead, seemingly broke, and needs to find out how everything went downhill so fast! All of it revolves around the Ninth Circle, which isn’t just some criminal organization but seemingly a criminal financial institution (think of the bad bank guy from Despicable Me). While all the action and intrigue has been awesome, I was hoping from Percy a bit less “Bad ass fighting” and a little more of the social justice aspect of the character. Maybe once this is all resolved, the story can start learning more towards that aspect of storytelling.
Green Lanterns #3
STORY: Sam Humphries ART: Tom Derenick, Robson Rocha, Jack Herbert, Neil Edwards, Tom Palmer, Jay Leisten, Keith Champagne. COLORS: Hi-Fi
Review: Think enough artists had their hand in this issue? The sad part is how noticeable it is. While none of the art is “bad” it doesn’t really blend well together. Hopefully Robson is just back as the sole penciler for issue #4. As for the plot, Humphries has essentially a full blown Red Lantern Invasion going on (none of the other heroes in the world seem to mind all that much, I mean it’s only like 4k people infected with Rage, and a huge spire dedicated to hate being erected on the earth) and we only have two heroes who can stop it! Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz, Earth’s Green Lanterns. They still don’t get a long, they still have lots of insecurities, and they still are really great characters! The problem is, that while Jessica is interesting and going through some major character development, she’s still kind of useless over all. Hopefully through this event, Humphries can forge some backbone and purpose into the character so she’s not so over shadowed by the louder and more dynamic Simon Baz. With the way the storyline is going though, I’m a little lost to see how Humphries will develop a coherent less hokey way for the GLs to put an end to the Red Lantern invasion. One way I think would be very interesting (and hinted at in this issue) could be to potentially remove the Rage from Atrocitus! No idea if that’s how this will go, but that would be really cool.
Hellblazer: Rebirth #1
STORY: Simon Oliver ART: Moritat COLORS: Andre Szymanowicz
Review: Confession, I read almost none of the new 52 Constantine or Hellblazer series. That could be why I was a little lost on the recap in the beginning of this issue, but it did enough of a job to fill me in and I know enough about the character that over all I good to go once the plot picked up. That’s the fun aspect of Simon Oliver’s story telling here. You don’t really need to know that much backstory on John Constantine, as the exposition is revealed organically and the character is just fun to read. If you are looking for a Hellblazer that reads more like the TV version, then this is the book for you. This is Constantine back in London, and back to his daredevil ways of messing with magic, taking risks, being a selfish prick, but still somehow managing to be a good guy when it’s all done. The humor is great, the tone is just the right mix of silly and serious, and Moritat’s artwork works very well with this type of setting. Just how far will Constantine go to manipulate events and people to get what he wants, as he dangerously walks the line between cretin and hero!? Hopefully Oliver will keep us all on our toes wondering just what The Hellbazer’s intentions are going forward!
Justice League #1
STORY: Bryan Hitch ART: Tony Daniels, Sandu Florea COLORS: Tomeu Morey
Review: So I wasn’t around to review the Rebirth issue, but I am here now! What’s going on with Justice League?!! Bryan Hitch is writing, Tony Daniels is doing the art! Tomeu Morey on colors?!! And yet this book is just BLAAAAAH! Oh its more alien creatures, oh its some earth quakes, oh its “other” Superman flying around doing good and helping. Ok? When Johns rebooted the series for New 52, we had him and Jim Lee introducing this team for the first time in a huge! Way with Darkseid! Now, I’m not saying this issue is crap or even bad, if it was almost any other book I’d say it was really good, but this is Justice League! This is the premiere team of the DCU and this is an all-star creative team. I just expect more from everyone involved and this story isn’t remotely interesting to me. It’s only been two issues (I’m counting Rebirth!) so there is plenty of room for this to pick up, but I don’ have my hopes very high anymore.
STORY: Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason ART: Jorge Jimenez
Review: Tomasi and Gleason are kicking butt on in this book! They brought back the Eradicator! That is just awesome! I love the new twist to the character’s history, and the potential threat/ally situation he can have with Clark. I really hope it’s resolved and we actually get either a New Hybrid Eradicator (similar to pre-new-52) or some unique new twist. Until then, I eagerly await Jon Kent’s battle, as what Eradicator does here in this issue, definitely has pissed off the young Kryptonian Hybrid! I’m also glad the writing team is addressing the inconsistent appearance of Jon’s powers and what that means for his future. Jorge Jimenez makes all of this possible, with his near cinematic artwork. Reading the pages feels like I’m watching an anime action film (but not cheesey anime). Jimenez captures shadows perfectly, and uses them to give some great expressions on our characters. This is really shaping up to be an amazing series!
There ya have it folks, some of the top DC books! What were your top picks of the week? Have a favorite series? Sound off in the comments section!
The Comic Book Guy!
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