Archive for July, 2012

Red Hood and the Outlaws #11 review

Friday, July 20th, 2012

Red Hood, Roy Harper, and Starfire pick up their adventures in space, as they make their way to Tamaran.  Our heroes must make some tough decisions: Will they protect Tamaran?  Will Roy and Koriandr ever get together?  What will Mr. Hood do about Isabel?  Find out some of these answers and more in the review below.

Scott Lobdell handles this genre flipping comic quite well. Gone is the thought-to-be oversexed female hero, and arriving is the feminist space warrior Starfire!  Coming with her on this odyssey are two people who know less about the universe than they do their own Earth.  The three heroes find themselves in a fight that none of them want to be in, while they question whether or not they should be warring against the alien planet they are about to visit.  These emotions play out nicely nicely in the narrative, especially when it comes down to the last splash-page.

Kenneth Rocafort plays out the panels quite well in this issue.  His designs for each character have always worked, but it’s his crazy interchanging page constructions that keep the narrative pumping along nicely.  His unique look takes full advantage of every narrative twist and turn the writer has given him.  There’s no shortchanging him, he has a very stylized design that carries over to characters that are not quite center-stage yet.

All in all the book stays true to its core even as it shifts focus away from Jason Todd.  As the series continues to evolve past its own beginnings this title in the New 52 continues to impress.



Nightwing #11 review

Friday, July 20th, 2012

Last we left Nightwing he was at the perils of Paragon, will he be able to escape in time to stop his villainous plan?  Find out below.

The arc continues, and the battle is extended.  This isn’t the end of Mr. Grayson’s war against the Republic of Tomorrow, and it’s a smart decision that creates suspense for the reader.  You find yourself wondering when the group will strike next, as our detective finds more reasons to investigate them further.

Kyle Higgins does a fantastic job with this script. After having the hero suffer the wounds of battle (in usual fashion for Dick) he escapes just in the nick of time.  Following that he moves into researching what Detective Nie has on him and later our hero’s plan for a new revitalized Amusement Mile doesn’t go so well.  In the end, the puzzle pieces in the story come together in an interesting way, that honestly still leaves me guessing about what’s coming next.

Andres Guinaldo fills in for Eddy Barrows, and he does a very nice job staying true to the series design of the character while also taking his own spin on it.  He should be the permanent back-up artist because he understands the Eddy Barrows mindset well enough that when he sits down and creates the world of Gotham City he nails it.  A nice two-page spread comes to mind that perfectly illustrates his skills, specifically with action sequences.

As this next arc comes together, Nightwing continues to keep me on my toes as I tend to never know what will come next.



Links to older reviews

Friday, July 20th, 2012

Batman #11

Detective Comics #11

Batman #11 review

Monday, July 16th, 2012

Batman #11 concludes the climactic “Night of the Owls” story Scott Snyder has been telling with a lot of grace and bravado. He had quite an exciting tale to tell, and concludes the story with many questions still remaining.

As this issue opens, the new Owlman or Lincoln March is in the heat of battle with Bruce. They discuss their possible brotherhood as they continue to pull punches at one another. Unfortunately for Bruce, when he tries to knock him out a window, March has a jetpack. Bruce launches his grappling hook onto the back of it. However, Owlman directs it towards a building causing Bruce to crash. Bruce doesn’t give up though. As Bruce gets knocked around again, Owlman tries to escape on a nearby airplane. Bruce hangs onto it as he struggles to defeat his foe. As Bruce’s suit loses power, he begins to fall from the plane realizing what he can do for the lack of power. As he crashes from gliding down, Owlman picks up Bruce as he continues his evil monologue. As the building they’re in is set to blow, Bruce runs out of it before it blows up. Dick then comes to speak to Bruce where Bruce updates Dick about what concluded that night. Their relationship for the damage it endured recently is healed.

The backup deals with Jarvis Pennyworth and the taunts he received by the Court of Owls. He begins to recount the events that lead to the supposed death of Thomas Wayne Jr. albeit while having his son Alfred being threatened by the Court. As Jarvis is about to be killed, the note he was going to give Alfred warning him of what is to come is burned as one of the Owls finishes Jarvis off. The issue concludes with Alfred and Bruce at Jarvis’ grave concluding Bruce will find out the truth of Lincoln March/Thomas Wayne Jr./Owlman in time.

In the main story, Scott Snyder offers a solid conclusion. He concludes the Court story he has been telling but leaves many questions left unanswered. This leads me to think we will see the return of the Court down the road of his Batman run. Greg Capullo offers his best work on the series. From the Gotham skyline to a battered Bruce being held up by Owlman, Capullo gets to do it all in this issue. Now, I want to know what Joker will be like in the next main arc.

In the backup, Snyder and James Tynion IV does a nice job of finishing up the story. They conclude Jarvis’ story but also give us a bookmark final real ending to the whole Court saga. Rafael Albuquerque deserves more work on the series, and hopefully gets more because his rendering of Batman stories is quite excellent. He has a tone to his art that defines everything he draws. Hopefully, another storyline akin to this comes soon.


Detective Comics #11 review

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

Detective Comics continues to be one of the best books on the shelves the first week of every month. Tony Daniel’s narrative continues this month with Bruce’s struggle against Mr. Toxic.

Bruce finds himself face to face with the villain as the issue begins. He quickly makes use of an electromagnetic pulse to get the evildoer off his back. Bruce notes the weight of the villain as the two pull punches as one another. He also notes it could be the weight going against him. As the fight comes to an end, Bruce discovers Marder’s face in the helmet of Mr. Toxic. He is astonished because he thought the trapped man was actually Marder, and tries to save that man but the machine overloads killing him instantly. As Bruce wakes up from the explosion, he discovers the trapped Marder is dead, and Lucius tells all to evacuate the building. Quickly, the scene out of The Dark Knight replays itself. With Alfred’s help, Bruce escapes using what seems to be skyhook giving a nod to the aforementioned film. As Bruce returns to the cave, he and Alfred clean the radiation off of Bruce. He takes a shower, and makes his return to Wayne Enterprises the next day. He inquires about the incident, and finds out that it might be espionage. He finds out it is linked to a scientist who vanished named Dr. Smart. As Bruce exit the building, there is a man watching him. They speak, and Bruce finds out he is actually Dr. Smart. Bruce starts to inquire about Marder’s death, and finds out it’s actually a bunch of carbon copies of the real Marder. He’s skeptical but it makes sense to him that he found Marder in the Mr. Toxic suit. Suddenly, we get a scene detailing Smart’s analysis of the situation, and we see a mysterious connection between the clones and the real Marder/Mr. Toxic. Toxic even says if Marder dies, he dies which adds credence to the possibility. Gordon and Batman meet to analyze the situation. As he analyzes the scene, he sees it more and more to be fact but some of the DNA starts to liquefy causing Batman to be engulfed in it. The backup finds Two-Face face-to-face with Sterano. Gunfire immediately breaks out. He tries to arrest Harvey under citizen’s arrest, and Harvey responds he doesn’t have the authority to do that. There are yells to call the police as Harvey is shot, and the men save his life wrapping him in bandages. He lies there until he wakes up, and walks away.

Tony Daniel continues to hammer out a good main narrative. His characterizations are dead on, and he definitely knows the story he wants to tell. On the art side, Julio Ferreiera and Eduardo Pansica fill in for Ed Benes this issue, and hammer out some great art staying true to the style of Daniel and Benes.

On the backup side, Tony Daniel’s Two-Face story ends with a simple ending: him walking away. Daniel walks away on a high note writing wise, and knows how to resolve it even though the possibility of Harvey being DA again made me hopeful. Szymon Kudranski again does a marvelous job illustrating with his film-noirish/horror sensibilities. He matches Daniel note-for-note with the story beats.

Both teams on these stories do an excellent job, and hopefully the main narrative has more in store next issue!!


More links to old reviews

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

Batman Beyond Unlimited #5-

Batman Incorporated #2-

Batman Incorporated #2 review

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

The origin of Talia al Ghul has never been touched upon directly in any Batman comic up to this point. It has only tried to shed light on few details over time. However for the first time, Batman Incorporated is the comic that reveals the past of the daughter of Ra’s al Ghul.

The issue begins at a concert where Ra’s al Ghul and Melisande, Talia’s mother, meet. They discuss the millions starving in Africa, and the imperial aristocracy of Africa. He tells her the whole system is corrupt, and the children of tomorrow need the two. This leads to Melisande going through child labor, and having Talia. The next part revolves between Ra’s in the mountains with baby Talia and Talia herself confronting her father. Ra’s shows the young child the mountains telling her the world will be her’s one day. Ra’s congratulates Talia on the Dark Knight never seeing her coming. She replies most underestimate her, and discusses where the imagery and symbolism her organization has comes from. Ra’s says he will not allow her war with Batman to continue, and then the comic moves to the young Talia growing up. She trains with ninjas, and suffers her first taste of what the Lazarus Fever can do to someone including her father. Talia makes clear Ra’s never gave her the things she actually wanted; only the things he perceived she wanted. She was a horse, education in chemistry, and a hot air balloon. She eventually slips away one day, and goes to a fortuneteller. She explains the stars and astrology, and begins Talia’s education in the symbolism that would define her campaign against the Batman. She tells Talia of Medusa, and hints that she, herself, might be Talia. However, Ubu then strikes the woman down after she tells Talia that to survive in this world she must appear helpless. Talia then appears to be doing ballet as Ra’s and Ubu watch. Next, Talia is given her own secret headquarters underneath London. However, men threaten them in there, and the three fight back. One day, Talia gets angry at her father, and questions him greatly. However, he remarks that her mother has always been dead. Talia is next seen having been at a college in what seems to be Egypt, and she is walking with men who attempt to formally kidnap her. They are a part of the League of Assassins who has declared their independence. Talia and Dr. Daark (who kidnaps her) discuss herself and her father, and then he takes her with him. However, she is rescued by Batman, and then Talia moves back to her first meeting Batman. She reminisces about her testing him. After Ra’s and Bruce fight, Talia and Bruce have sex after he realizes she poisoned him. Damian is then shown training along with Talia’s alliance with different men in the International Super Crime Community. The flashback concludes with Batman: The Black Glove and Batman and Son being referenced. Talia leaves her father in suspense as she almost has her henchman hurt him. She also says before that Damian is just a pawn.

Grant Morrison writes one giant flashback throughout the story. He gives the reader a definitive version of whom and what Talia was, and how it all defined her up to the current day. Along with her relationship with Ra’s, Morrison remains one of the best writers of the Batman mythos ever. With his partner in crime Chris Burnham, things couldn’t be better. Burnham is giving us the best work of his career, and defines every character with nicely-detailed art. Hopefully, Morrison keeps the surprises in store……


Batman Beyond Unlimited #5 review

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

After one issue off, I am back to reviewing Batman Beyond Unlimited. Each month it gets better, and despite one downfall, this month does not let up especially in the Beyond story.

The Beyond story is perhaps my favorite of the three as it seems to be akin in style to the Justice League Unlimited episode “Epilogue.” It begins with a man reflecting on his past. He recalls his great-grand uncle who was a desperate man. He had to make desperate decisions in his life such as killing two people that haunted him for the rest of his life. The man reflecting is Jake, and he is disappointed at his spiral to the bottom. He makes clear he has sinned like his relative, and he cannot confess to a church he does not believe in. He recalls how he was a security guard for Wayne-Powers, and then moved up to the “Quiet Squad” under the great Mr. Fix.  He then recalls what happened to one of Warren McGinnis’ friends at work. Warren was Terry’s dad, and what Fix hired Jake to do was unbearable on his soul. The “Quiet Squad” was hired to break into Warren’s home, and ransack the place. Unfortunately, Warren is home, and is not too receptive to the likes of Mr. Fix’s questions. Jake is then given the command that would forever change the life of Terry McGinnis. He was told to murder Warren. Afterwards, Jake gets a “bump” in his check for what is called “hazard pay.” He also has trouble not watching the news coverage, and feeling depressed for what he did to two young boys and a committed wife. He recalls how his life took quite a fall as he began drinking more and becoming less reliable at work. As Terry took the role of Batman, Jake recalls how Powers was exposed to nerve-gas, and all the while, how Jake wanted Terry to give him the beating he deserved. Jake recalled how he just fell further and further down the class system as he lost his job as a result of Powers and Fix going missing with the new management of WP firing the “Quiet Squad” after finding out about them. When Jake finally found his house being robbed one night, he decided enough was enough; it was time to take back his life. He got rid of them, and realized he still had something to offer. He could be something different than his uncle. He didn’t have to be the great grandnephew of Joe Chill. Instead, he could be a hero.

The next story answers questions Batman Beyond fans have had for a while. Mainly, what happened between JLU and BB. Adam Strange brings John and Shayera up to speed about Thanagar and its alliance with Rannia after the Gordanians took over Thanagar. However, after Hawkman’s dark side The Shadow Thief began to wreak havoc between the alliance, Hawkman decides to sacrifice himself. Not long after do the heroes realize that Hawkman’s death didn’t guarantee the death of The Shadow Thief. In him not doing, he kills Vixen. Warhawk continues his recollection of his past by stating his father John’s loss of love and the rage he felt as a result. As The Shadow Thief returns to cause trouble for John, John loses his ring when he begins to lose willpower letting rage determine his decisions. The Guardians decide this is not right, and they rid John of his ring. They also decide to stop protecting Space Sector 2814 because they determine humans to be an anger-prone species, and they decide to reexamine Earth. What happens next is the burial of Vixen in her native African village of Zambesi.  The native burial rites were followed, and John and Shayera spent more time than they originally planned together eventually having Warhawk. Warhawk recalls how he was brought up in both Earth and Thanagarian cultures and histories, and eventually went back to free Thanagar. Even though it took him awhile to be accepted as he is only part Thanagarian, he eventually made his way back to Earth where he found himself among old friends and a Justice League familiar to those who raised him.

Superman Beyond continues with a very familiar scenario from the past episodes of the story. It begins with Superman continuing to wonder about his position of the world. As a result of many of his friends and family having died out, he does not feel the world has much of a need for him. He then enters into a very familiar scenario fighting alongside the new Metropolis Police Force. They end up taking the creatures down, and Superman realizes they have similar attributes but he has the heat vision they do not. He then comes to the conclusion it’s a decoy. We then see some sort of robot hacking into computers for data. However, then its revealed Luthor’s supposed daughter is actually behind it. As Superman comes and defeats her robot, he tries to reason with her as the robot is broadcasting the girl. Unfortunately, a bomb is attached to the robot, and it blows. Superman speaks with one of the normal cops who questions Superman’s assumption Luthor’s behind it. However, he makes clear the girl’s access to LexCorp technology and the police nanotech as well is dangerous. We then go back to the girl who is trying to get into a club. She electrocutes both men who try to stop her. As she enters, she speaks with a Mr. Stone. She wants to form an alliance with him. However, it’s revealed that man Is Solomon Grundy.

Batman Beyond continues to have no faults. Adam Beechen has an extremely potent vision for the story he wants to tell, and spun one of the best Batman Beyond tales to date with “Legends of The Dark Knight: Jake.” Norm Breyfogle continues to pound out great sequential art fitting Beechen’s narrative like a glove. Going into “10,000 Clowns,” and future arcs, I hope we see more of Jake Chill, a new hero (I hope) who is likely to mess with the status quo of Terry and Bruce’s lives.

Justice League Beyond does a nice job finishing up the two-part Warhawk narrative which was awesome. Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs do a nice job creating a compelling origin for Warhawk, and expanding upon the animated series threads. My only issue is the reliance on flashback which seems to populate the narrative. I would like to see different ways of handling that. The art continues to be first rate with the two writers doing an excellent job playing the story out in panels. I am left a little saddened that we did not see the main JLB narrative as it seems to be gone from the book this month. Despite that, I know based on the cover to next month’s issue, we will see a return of it.

Superman Beyond’s narrative comes to a headways as the conflict between Superman and the young Ms. Luthor becomes clearer. JT Krul does a fine job of continuing Superman’s dilemma with the world he finds himself in. Unfortunately, I find some of the dialogue and scenarios Superman finds himself in a bit repetitive. That being said, I understand his building of the relationship between Superman and the police. My other problem is with the motivation behind Ms. Luthor. I tend to wonder why she jumps to stealing the data, and automatically becoming a bad girl. She was already a bad girl but her transformation into the villain she is now I feel could be better explained. However, I think we will see more of that as the future issues are unveiled. Yes, she was brainwashed by the real Luthor a bit but does she not have her own thoughts….. Another positive for the story is Howard Porter’s very detailed art. He creates a very detailed future Metropolis and future Superman which works quite well for Krul’s emphasis on psychology and relationships in the story. Together, I hope to have more answers to this story, and will not totally fault the story for not providing answers right from the get-go. They need to play out some more threads for the next month.