Thursday, June 4, 2009

Comic Book Reviews - 6/3/2009

Welcome to this week’s reviews which also mark my 100th post since starting this blog. Thanks to everyone who checks it out and I am always up for suggestions on making it better and more interesting. On to this week’s comics.

What happened? Well...(here we go again)...Damien spouts some cool lines, like “Crime is doomed”, Superman plays tour guide, Human Flame fights Heatwave in a fireworks factory (obviously, that does not turn out well), Deadshot is not good with women, Atomic Robo teaches us about the Lightning Gun and Seaguy is...well...nuts. And I did finally buy boards. Thanks to Stephen for the reminder...and for reading my blog :-) Click below for the reviews :

Pick of the Week

Batman and Robin #1
Story by Grant Morrison
Art by Frank Quitely

So here we have Morrison’s return to the Batman title, and I for one am very happy. This issue sets up Dick Grayson’s first week in the new Batman cowl and it’s not an altogether smooth start for him. Although he does have a sweet-ass flying Batmobile to go with his headstrong little sidekick.

Let’s start with the art. I typically am not a fan of Frank Quitely’s art at all. I feel that his characters are all stunted and squish-faced, and the women he draws look like hell. This is still sort of the case here, but for some reason it doesn’t bother me nearly as much. I did really enjoy the integration of the sound effects into the art and the cutaway view of Dick’s swingin’ downtown Batcave was a nice touch. New Batmobile? Two thumbs up. It’s an out-there design that is over the top and I dig it. New costumes for Dick and Damien? Meh. Damien’s is not bad, but Dick’s just seems too blah for him. He went from the bright and bold Robin costume to the sleek Nightwing costume (I’m forgetting about the disco Nightwing costume) and then to this blah costume? Oh well. There are two excellent splash pages he gives us here. The first is the scene of the Batmobile flying alongside Toad’s car in the tunnel; the second is when they are testing the “Para-Capes” by jumping out of the hovering Batmobile with a backdrop of the Bat-Signal shining in the sky.

As I said, Morrison is back on writing and the issue is a good one. Dick is in his first week of being Batman and he still has his doubts. Damien, the new Robin, is eager to take over for his biological father Bruce Wayne, and brings this up whenever he can. Although I have disliked the Damien character before, he’s well written here as the eager young protégé who thinks he’s better than the guy who has done this much longer.

The introduction of the ultra-creepy villain Professor Pyg is handled well too. I know he had an appearance in Batman #666 when future Damien is wearing the cowl but we didn’t know much about him. Here we see he is a “perfectionist” who rewards those that try to run from him by turning them into Dollotrons, mindless, deformed lackeys who do his bidding. You can just hear him going through that horrifying final scene with a voice that is as calm and steeled as any serial killer in the movies.

A nice surprise at the end comes in the form of a Geoff Johns style “Here’s what’s coming” page. There are four panels that I will detail below :

1. Damien looks like he’s quitting as Robin and storming out. I would expect this to happen every few issues due to his attitude and temper, so no big surprise.
2. Someone (hopefully Jason Todd) in a costume that integrates the classic Red Hood motif of the domed red helmet while adding a red skull on his chest wielding pistols. In the shadow behind him is a sidekick I’m assuming is the daughter of the mafia guy that Pyg just mutilated on the last page. I mean, why focus on her so heavily, and her hair is pretty unique.
3. Dick fighting Batwoman at a Lazarus Pit while Batman (Bruce Wayne?) rises from the dead. Hopefully a Lazarus Pit is NOT how they bring Bruce back, but I think this will just be a tease because that is either not Batman’s body that was buried or it’s missing something due to the Omega Sanction like his life force or soul or something.
4. Dr. Hurt is back and dangling the keys to Wayne Manor. Maybe we’ll get some explanation as to who he actually is.

All in all, a very enjoyable issue and my Pick of the Week. I can’t wait until the next one and I’m glad to see Batman is back and on track.

The Rest

Final Crisis Aftermath : Run! #2
Story by Matthew Sturges
Art by Freddie E. Williams II

Puppies thrown off balconies, invoking Jeebus’ name, cars blowing up, and two guys whose schtick is flame-based weaponry fighting it out in a fireworks factory….welcome to issue #2 of Run! And that’s just the beginning, because it moves on to include some exceptional obscure villains and a surgery scene that will make you wince in pain. The term “roller-coaster ride” is used way too often in describing stories but this one earns the title without doubt. I’m hoping that the new and improved Human Flame gets to hang around for a while because I’m really beginning to love to hate this character.

Favorite Line – Doctor Milo “…and you can’t move because I injected you with a neurotoxin before I started. I can’t have you flailing around on me while I’m trying to solder something to your liver, can I?”

Superman : World of New Krypton #4
Story by James Robinson & Greg Rucka
Art by Pete Woods

Have I mentioned before how much it annoys me when a cover advertises something cool and then it never happens inside? Well, if not, it does. And it happened here. If you…ummm, judge a book by it’s cover in this case, you would think “Hal Jordan of the Green Lantern Corps VS Kal-El of the New Kryptonian Military in a vicious battle to prove who is strongest!!!!!” But instead, they sort of talk to each other and Kal acts as a tour guide. Beyond that, the issue was decent. The Green Lantern Corps appearance just seems to be tied on though because of the current popularity of GL in order to sell more books.

Secret Six #10
Story by Gail Simone
Art by Nicola Scott

Once again, Bane steals this book and Deadshot comes in a close second. This marks the start of a new story arc after a few “done in one” stories for the Secret Six crew. This one seems to be big into human trafficking and some sort of artifact that is being described as “the beast that will remove all doubt” while the bad guys are “recreating God’s will”.

Deadshot has serious female problems in this issue as he can’t stay focused since his current love interest Jeanette is not wearing underwear, and the lackey (possibly an Amazon) for the baddies is hanging him over a cliff.

Seriously, this is a fantastic and consistent book by Simone and Scott that everyone who has even the slightest bit of dark humor should be reading. Great stuff!

Atomic Robo : Shadow From Beyond Time #2
Story by Brian Clevinger
Art by Scott Wegener

I’ve spoken so many times on how hilarious this title is. Instead of reviewing the entire issue, which is basically a chase through New York after an inter-dimensional Cthulu-esque being, I’ll give you one scene between Robo and Charles Fort :

Atomic Robo (grabbing a handful of rifles) : These are Lightning Guns. They collect electric charges from the air and boost them to obscenely dangerous levels through an even more dangerous process. Nothing unusual.

Charles Fort : I say, a portable Wardenclyffe! (Nikola Tesla’s power transference tower)

Atomic Robo (showing off the controls) : Yeah. Just whatever you do, don’t move that dial past five. Or to five. Or near five, really. In fact, set the dial to one and forget it’s there.

Charles Fort : Is this entirely safe?

Atomic Robo : No. Not even a little.

Great stuff every month from the team of Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener.

Seaguy : The Slaves of Mickey Eye #3
Story by Grant Morrison
Art by Cameron Stewart

A lot happens in this final issue, but I’m not sure what exactly happened. I can tell that it’s a happy ending, but I’m not exactly sure why. I am definitely going to have to re-read the 3 issue series again to attempt to get some more answers. I’m not saying that it’s bad, Seaguy brought a smile to my face after each issue, I’m just saying that it’s pretty insane.

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