Category Archives: Comics Reviews
We are finally here, the end of the Wanted arc for Batgirl which put Barbara through some of her most trying moments in life. Having killed her monster of a brother, then gone up against the psychopathic Ventriloquist and then on the run from the Gotham Police for her brother’s murder, Barbara has gone through the lowest of low moments, emotionally speaking. The interruption of the Zero Year issue last month by Marguerite Bennett was extremely frustrating since otherwise #25 would have ended this fantastic story arc, something I’d really been looking forward to. But no matter, it came out this week and it left me completely amazed.
I’m really sad that this arc is over. It was a short arc, as such things go, but by god, Gail Simone did some of her best writing in this arc, especially where Barbara herself as a character is concerned, let alone her father Commissioner Gordon. There are a lot of things that made this issue amazing, such as the art by Daniel Sampere, Steve Wands, Blond and Jonathan Glapion, or the mind-blowing cover by Alex Garner. Everything was pretty much pitch-perfect here.
Superhero team-up books are quite fun because of the diversity they have to offer in terms of characters and their backhistories. Whether you talk about an X-Men book or an Avengers book or a Justice League book or whatever, team books bring together the best and the brightest and do some fun things with them. Of course, the experience itself is subjective and some team books can be terrible, but I’ve generally enjoyed them as starting points. And that’s what Valiant Comics’ Unity #1 did for me last month, and what I hoped Unity #2 would do this month.
Which it does. Aplenty. After all the momentous events of the previous issue, we are in for a real treat this week as well as Matt Kindt and Doug Braithwaite return for another excellent issue. The first issue served as a really good introduction to various high-profile characters of the Valiant universe. That’s where the second issue comes in to build on everything that has already happened and move the story forward significantly. I definitely enjoyed the new issue, more than the previous one I should point out.
This month, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s big-arc on Batman continues with the sixth installment of the Zero Year plotline that last month extended to several other titles as well and gave us a crossection of what was happening in the city at this time from the perspective of the other heroes, many of whom were basically just beginning to reinvent themselves as vigilantes out for justice on the streets, for one reason or another. Last month’s issues of Batman was actually quite disappointing for me, in many respects, and I was somewhat apprehensive about this issue.
I needn’t have been though, because Scott and Greg come back into this week’s release with a bang. I’m not really sure what last month’s issue was, just a blip on the radar perhaps, but I’m happy to say that this one is a true Scott/Greg issue, what they’ve been giving us since the New 52 launched. This issue was a damn fun read, despite from all the serious stuff that happened here, and all the big revelations (of sorts) that were to be had. This is the kind of stories that I want these two guys to tell, because they are good at this kind of stuff.
After a 2-week delay (might be as much as 3), Geoff Johns’ Justice League #25 finally hit stands this week. As the overlord of all of the Forever Evil titles and controlling the core story of this mega-event, Geoff Johns has been doing great on his most high-profile New 52 book and the new issue is more of the same. If the art on Forever Evil itself could be much better, then that mini-series too could be really good. Thankfully, this is where we get Justice League to plug in all the gaps, where Geoff can let loose with all his crazy ideas and come out with something really good.
Despite what it shows on the cover (another misleading Forever Evil cover by the way), Justice League #25 really is about Geoff exploring the backhistory of Owlman, who is the Earth 3 evil version of Batman. And other than Owlman, we also get to see Dick Grayson through Owlman’s eyes, which was pretty neatly handled. Sadly, Ivan Reis & Co. are not on the art duties on this issue, and we have Doug Mahnke & Co. stepping up to the table, but that ends up benefiting the title rather than taking away from it. And in the end, this proves to be another great issue of Justice League from Geoff and team.
First off, apologies to everyone who was waiting for this review to up yesterday, as expected. I ended up going to a cousin’s birthday party in the evening and that took up a huge chunk of my reading time. And when I sat down to read the issues again for the review, I was just way too tired and kept dozing off in the middle. So once again, apologies.
Now, for the review. Given the immense proliferation of Batman-related titles in the New 52, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s run is the only one I stuck with when I begin reading comics again last year. It was a maze of titles and I was unsure what to pick up. Recently, my fellow The Founding Fields reviewer Bane of Kings was talking quite highly about John Layman’s run on the title so I decided to pick it up from its fourth volume arc, starting on the special #19 issue which commemorates what would have been the 900th issue of Detective Comics had DC not renumbered their titles for the New 52.
And I found that I quite enjoyed these issues. Layman’s writing is fantastic, easily a match for Snyder’s and the same can be said for Fabok’s art, which is just as good as Capullo’s but is stylistically different. Whether its the special, or the conclusion of the Emperor Penguin saga or the League of Assassins one-shot or the three-issue arc with the villain Wrath, I enjoyed both the writing and the artwork. Fabok is already a favourite and now I’m a Layman fan as well.
Note: Some minor spoilers for the backups are mentioned in this review.
After the success of Matt Forbeck’s 12-issue run on the title, IDW launched a new phase of Magic the Gathering comics in October with Planeswalker Dack Fayden under the pen of new writer Jason Ciaramella and series veteran Martin Coccolo. The first issue was quite a fun read, largely in part because it kept the same tone and momentum as Matt’s own issues, which I loved, and I was quite looking forward to the second installment last month. But, for whatever reason the issue was delayed and it comes out today (still a few hours to go for US readers).
The second issue unfortunately suffers from a sophomore slump. Where the first issue was planes-jumping high adventure and Dack’s typical madcap heist story, the second issue doesn’t really offer anything interesting. There is a distinct lack of story progression here and I found that I didn’t like it as much as I liked the first issue. The artwork is still brilliant but the writing definitely lets it down.
If you’ve been reading your Marvel comics this year then you know that this was Marvel’s biggest year in quite a while, what with all the different events and major crossovers going on. I touched on this last night in my review of Jonathan Hickman’s 6-issue Infinity event. The next big phase for the Marvel universe involves the Inhumanity event, which is jumping off the events that happened in Infinity with the Terrigen bomb exploding at the moment that the Inhumans’ city Attilan was destroyed. The fallout of the bomb has spread all over the world, awakening powers and mutations in people everywhere. And that’s what the next big event is going to be about, all these newly-minted super-powered people adjusting and adapting to their powers.
Last week Marvel released a one-shot called Inhumanity which is a big tease leading up to the main event itself. There are going to be a lot of such one-shots until the event kicks off and Matt Fraction and Olivier Coipel have been given charge of leading the brigade and getting the Marvel fanbase interested in what’s happening next. Since this event is a spin-off of Infinity, we see a fair bit of recap here, as well as some big truths are offered up about the Marvel universe, truths that have been kept a secret all this time. It was a fairly decent issue, definitely among Fraction and Coipel’s better issues, and I have to say that I’m very curious about it all.
Marvel recently relaunched its Marvel Knights brand of comics, with Matt Kindt’s Spider-Man and Brahm Revel’s X-Men. The latter is the only of the two that I have taken any interest in, and the first issue launched last month proved to be quite a decent opening issue that tells a low-key, low-stakes story where the focus is on the characters first and the action second. Like I remarked in my review for it, the current crop of X-Men books all seem to be focused on telling the grand stories that affect absolutely everything and Marvel Knights: X-Men fills a niche in the opposite side of the spectrum.
The first issue set the stage for all the characters and it gave us an intro to the primary characters: Wolverine, Kitty and Rogue, as they set out for a small town somewhere in West Virginia where Rachel has seen visions of a mutant kid being murdered in cold blood. The story wasn’t all that dark per se but it did have a pretty serious message to it, and the message was that the X-Men protect their own, even when that person is not actually a part of the team. Revel worked in some really interesting commentary from all the characters and that was part of the reason I liked it so much. The second issue proves to be more of the same.
If you are following my comics reviews since last year, then you know that I’ve read very few Spider-Man comics and that they’ve been all over the place. Bendis’ second run on Ultimate Comics Spider-Man with Peter Parker, his 5-issue mini-series involving Peter and Mike Morales, Dan Slott’s The Amazing Spider-Man #648-651 and then his Superior Spider-Man Volume 1. Extremely limited reading by all accounts. As such, as far as the comics are concerned, I don’t really have that much of an attachment to Peter Parker as the Spider-Man.
And yet, reading this new issue for the discontinued The Amazing Spider-Man series made me feel really nostalgic. Perhaps its because I watched The Amazing Spider-Man with Andrew Garfield in the lead role just last week or that I saw the trailer for the sequel last night. Or maybe its because reading Slott’s Superior Spider-Man Volume 1 made me feel really emotional for Peter. Could be any of those I suppose, but this story was quite touching despite its very simplistic nature. And that, most of all, is the strength of it.