Monday, November 18, 2013

New Comic Reviews – Releases for 11/6 & 11/13

This was a light week for me (actually a light 2 weeks) but what I did read was, for the most part, pretty solid.  So what happened?  Well…..Lex Luthor shows off his mad origami skills, Batman joins the hot rod set, Einstein wields a chainsaw, Captain Cold returns to normal, and Earth-2 Superman shows his disdain for magic.

Want more?  Click below for reviews (spoiler warning)


Batman #25
Story by Scott Snyder
Art by Greg Capullo

This was not my first choice for Pick of the Week, and it wasn’t until I put this comic down and re-read all of the Zero Year issues again (in one sitting) that I decided to make it the pick.  When I first read it, I felt like I was missing something big and I think the problem was that the Villains Month issues broke up the momentum of a great run that was building towards something interesting.

The further adventures of Batman in his first year continue to build as he faces off against his second big foe, the Riddler.  We also get to see his first attempt at a Batmobile which, at first, seemed ridiculous and out of left field but when I went back and read the previous issues again I saw that it’s based on a car that Thomas Wayne was working on when Bruce was a kid.  And, to be fair, it has a Bat-themed hood ornament which is completely bad-ass.

In interviews, Snyder has said that the Zero Year story will be in 3 acts and the second act is off to a great start.  Capullo’s art is still stunning and has not disappointed once since the beginning of his run with Snyder.  Batman continues to be one of the few shining stars in the post-Flashpoint DC Universe (Wonder Woman being the other consistent one) and it’s nice to see a reboot title that is actually doing what it set out to do : modernize a classic character, pay homage to the original stories and change them just enough to keep it interesting for the old and new readers alike.


Manhattan Projects #16
Story by Jonathan Hickman
Art by Nick Pitarra

Manhattan Projects has been an amazing series since the beginning, but every so often they have a fill-in issue that is serviceable.  Usually this seems to be due to a fill-in issue that is setting up for something coming later.  This was that issue.  Now, a so-so issue of Manhattan Projects is still pretty awesome but the bar is set so high that it works against itself.

We are treated to a chainsaw-wielding Albert Einstein (with E=MC2 written on the blade) teaming up with a ray gun toting Richard Feynman while exploring different realities but the rest of the issue is kind of treading water until we get to the next big clash between these super-intelligent scientists and their military bosses.

If you haven’t read Manhattan Projects yet….what are you waiting for?  It is an amazing alternate history story with great action, drama, adventure and intrigue.  Easily some of Hickman’s best work overall.

Forever Evil #3
Story by Geoff Johns
Art by David Finch

Like Two-Face, who does not appear in this issue, I’m of two minds about Forever Evil. 

The Harvey Dent side of me enjoys the story here.  It’s a throwback to old school “everything goes wrong” comics as the Crime Syndicate continues their takeover of our Earth.  We also learn what actually happened to the Justice League when the Syndicate showed up and Batman finally sees that they are holding Nightwing hostage….and he does not take kindly to that.  The interaction between Luthor and Bizarro is fun without the ever-annoying Bizarro-speak that causes me to dislike the character, and Johns undid one of the dumber aspects of the New 52….Captain Cold’s superpowers.

To go off on a tangent here, the Rogues’ getting superpowers was one of the main reasons that I dropped the Flash book.  These guys should be regular humans with crazy technology.  It’s what makes them kind of likeable.  Yes they’re bad guys, but they have a sense of honor and they are always getting short-shafted due to the fact that they are regular guys fighting against gods.  Anyway this gets undone, at least as far as Captain Cold is concerned. Back to this book….

The Two-Face side of me is massively disappointed by the art.  I feel like I used to be a fan of David Finch but this book looks sloppy.  I can’t put my finger on it but it’s all over the place.  The two page spread of Firestorm is pretty awesome, but the rest is sketchy (and not in a good way).

Forever Evil is not even halfway to the end yet but I think I’ll stick with it due to the story.  Hopefully the art improves but if the story stays solid, I can deal with that.  If I stuck through the horrific fill-in artists on Grant Morrison’s New X-Men run then I can stick through this.

Earth 2 #17
Story by Tom Taylor
Art by Nicola Scott

The first 16 issues of Earth 2 have been a fun ride thanks to James Robinson’s impressive world-building and Nicola Scott’s amazing artwork.  It’s difficult to take a pantheon of beloved characters and change them to work in a different reality.  When the announcement came that Robinson was leaving the title (and as it turns out, DC altogether) I was hesitant to continue with the book, but he left on such a crazy cliffhanger that I wanted to see what the new writer could do with it.

Tom Taylor has some experience with alternate reality DC heroes since he has been writing the video game tie-in book Injustice: Gods Among Us, and he does a seamless job here continuing Robinson’s story.

Earth-2 evil Superman continues his rampage and shows us that Earth 2 is still not a great place to be.  After defeating the World Army quickly, he heads off to go toe to toe with Dr. Fate who thinks that magic will defeat this twisted Man of Steel.  This does not go well for Fate who gets viciously beaten all while the Earth 2 Batman (identity still a mystery but probably Jason Todd) sneaks in to a military facility to free an army of super-villains.

Nicola Scott’s art remains solid and the story continues on as an interesting and fun reboot of the DC universe in a completely new way.  I’m on for the near future and hopefully Taylor can continue to weave the magic that Robinson started.  Although, evil Superman doesn't like magic….so, keep it low key.


Superman Unchained #4
Story by Scott Snyder
Art by Jim Lee

The math on this book seems like it would work.  Scott Snyder + Jim Lee + Superman should equal a great book.  The first 2 issues were enjoyable and actually gave us a Superman that was what the character should be.  Then came the delays, and at this point I just don’t care enough about the book to keep going.  I may come back and check it out once a year full of issues have been published, but major delays really throw me off.  Dropped for now.


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