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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Reviews

batman and robin 16

Batman and Robin Issue #16

Written by: Grant Morrison

Art by: Cameron Stewart and Frazer Irving

Well, the moment has finally arrived: the culmination of Grant Morrison’s 4 year run of Batman comics. From Batman and Son to The Black Glove and R.I.P. and Batman and Robin, this has been an epic in the making.

This issue wraps up multiple storylines, and ends with a bomb that sets up Batman stories for years to come. We finally learn the secrets of Dr. Hurt, and see what the Joker is really capable of. Bruce Wayne returns and Professor Pyg gets his comeuppance. There is so much momentum that I didn’t slow down reading until I reached the very last page, which even though I knew about Batman, Inc., still managed to surprise me by completely changing who Bruce Wayne is publicly.

The art was as beautiful as usual, with both Frazer Irving (whom I really like, despite some weird faces sometimes) and Cameron Stewart doing what they do best: dynamic and exciting layouts, pencils and inks (in favor of complete candor, I will say that Jaclyn really dislikes Frazer Irving’s art, so a full issue of Cameron Stewart would have been better for her).

Reading this issue felt like completing a puzzle. All the pieces fit together and I really understand what Grant Morrison is doing with this character. He is changing Batman, making him modern, less angry and honestly, more exciting to read. I am looking forward to two weeks from now, when the return of Bruce Wayne is complete and the new chapter, Batman Inc., begins.

 

Brightest Day 13

Brightest Day Issue #13

Written by: Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi

Art by: Ivan Reis, Ardian Syaf, and Joe Prado

My, how the tables have turned, in my head that is. I swore up and down that I would never be interested in the Hawkman/Hawkgirl story. My introduction and only experience with them up to this point was in the recent Justice League series (pre-Blackest Night). Carter seemed bullheaded and macho, and I really liked Kendra but couldn’t understand the conflict for her between Carter and Roy. So when they killed her during Blackest Night in order to bring Shiera back, I was more than a little pissed. Like Roy really needed one more thing to push him over the edge.

But this issue of Brightest Day was enlightening about their origins and their curse. The reincarnated love story that seemed so blah previously was given depth and heart. It didn’t hurt that Shiera proved herself to be a hard-core bad ass, and the double page spread of Carter flying to save her was gorgeous.

Needless to say, I found this story intriguing and then was doubly rewarded with a little bit of Dove and Boston Brand AND a little taste of what’s coming up next. I do so love any trip to Zamaron!

Buffy 38

Buffy Season 8 Issue #38

Written by: Joss Whedon and Scott Allie

Art by: Georges Jeanty

Will it never end?!?!?!? Tune in next month for what will hopefully be the conclusion of this travesty.

 

Mystery Society 4

Mystery Society Issue #4

Written by: Steve Niles

Art by: Fiona Staples

Mystery Society is a new cool little series by Steve Niles, who is mostly known for his horror comics, like 30 Days of Night and Criminal Macabre (both with the awesome Ben Templesmith), but this is a lot lighter and a lot of fun. The story of Nick Hammond and his wife Anastasia is so tongue and cheek, while at the same time remaining engaging and mystifying. Also, Jules Verne’s Brain and Secret Skull are some of the best new characters I’ve read this year. I hope this comic continues past issue #5.

 

secret six 27

Secret Six Issue #27

Written by: Gail Simone

Art by: J. Calafiore

Okay, I’m pretty indifferent to the main story of this arc, but honestly this is one series where the story doesn’t matter so much for me. I don’t care about the missions as long as I get some ridiculous dialogue and hilarious bits of art, oh and don’t forget Amanda Waller kicking serious ass! This issue has it all, Deadshot’s cutesy pandering to Jeannette (I’m surprised she didn’t maim him), Catman as the Warlord of Shamballah (can you say He-Man? Brilliant!), and more Scandal/Bane drama (at least they’re consistent). But Ragdoll and King Shark stole the show. Who knew that King Shark would be the perfect counterpart to Ragdoll’s kooky, creepy, adorableness? Keep ‘em coming Gail!

Ragdoll Quote of the Month: “Do you know, I think I got a rash from that shark fellow!”

 

superboy 1

Superboy Issue #1

Written by: Jeff Lemire

Art by: Pier Gallo

In our household we were fans of Geoff Johns and Francis Manupal’s run on Adventure Comics starring Conner Kent. It had all the great beginnings for a wonderful series, all of which were abandoned when the creative team changed after seven issues. Now, Jeff Lemire has picked up the reins and gotten this story back on track, and the future is looking good.

This issue was a good starting off point, introducing both new and old characters and their relationships to Conner. First, the Phantom Stranger arrives and prophesizes a lot of stuff that will no doubt happen in the coming months. It’s also cool that they are using Lex Luthor’s niece, Lori, who was one of the more interesting parts of the Johns/Manupal run. Then, we meet Simon Valentine, Conner’s mad scientist best friend in Smallville. Simon is a very interesting character, because he is basically the Sebastian Ives of this series. Ives is Tim Drake’s best friend, who continually pops up throughout the entire run of Robin. Actually, this series is reminiscent of Robin, with its teenage protagonist juggling school, friends, and superheroics.

Anyway, back to the story, the main plot deals with an attack on Smallville by everyone’s favorite power sucker, Parasite. It was really interesting how the town becomes a character when Conner is more concerned with damaging the street than he is about Parasite.

I think that this series has a lot of potential, with a strong base to build from and an exciting new writer that really seems to have a great plan for the coming months. Good stuff.

 

oracle

Bruce Wayne the Road Home: Oracle

Written by: Marc Andreyko

Art by: Agustin Padilla

Although, these issues of Bruce Wayne the Road Home actually came out last week, it seemed wrong not to finish what we started. So here goes…

I had no doubt that I would enjoy the Oracle one-shot. I really started the comic journey reading Birds of Prey so Babs and Dinah are my staples in the DC universe. If they’re in it, I’ll read it. Anyway, back to the issue, which was more Vicki Vale protecting…gross. However, instead the regular Birds line-up we were given a fun new team-up of Hawk, Dove, Manhunter, Ragman, and Batgirl (Stephanie Brown can be added to that earlier group of staples). I know nothing of Ragman, but it didn’t matter as his job was completely action based in this context.

There is also a really well written flashback about Bruce’s role in Barbara’s transition from Batgirl to Oracle after she’s paralyzed. Bruce and Babs have such a unique relationship as she’s the only one of the Bat Family who doesn’t have severe daddy issues. Who would with Commissioner Gordon as a father? But Bruce plays a very relevant part in her life because of her experiences as Batgirl and the fact that in actuality Oracle has just as many resources as Bruce and wields a great deal of power within the superhero community.

Side note: Manhunter really needs her own series.  That is all.

 

Ra's al Ghul

Bruce Wayne the Road Home: Ra’s al Ghul

Written by: Fabian Nicieza

Art by: Scott McDaniel and Andy Owens

Oh Scott McDaniel why do you torment me so? The cartoony art aside, this issue was almost spot on with what I expected. Fabian did surprise me with the Vicki Vale inner monologue analyzing her motives and the end got a little schticky, but this issue did its job. Paul wins this round…stupid Vicki Vale will be part of Batman Inc.…oh good.

 

And that my friends is the end of Bruce Wayne the Road Home. Did it make me excited for the beginning of Batman Inc.? Not as much as the last pages of Batman and Robin this month (brilliant!). But it was a fun story with some memorable moments. I’m not sorry Bruce Wayne is back and coming from me, that’s saying something.

5 comments:

Erin said...

So...do you know if and how they are going to collect all the Batman stuff? I would love to read it, but back issues are not really what I want to try to deal with. Any thoughts?

Erin

Jac and Paul Zappone said...

Definitely. The first volume of Batman and Robin is already out in graphic form and Bruce Wayne the Road Home is scheduled for next July. If you let me know where you want to start in continuity, I can send you a list of what to read.

Erin said...

Well...I missed the death of Batman entirely...as a matter of fact, the last Bat-anything I read was Cacophany (any thoughts on that, by the way?). So I guess I probably need to start at the beginning of the whole Morrison run?

Jac and Paul Zappone said...

I haven't read Cacophony, but I did read the pseudo-sequel The Widening Gyre, which was good...eventually. Anyway, I made a list below of the stuff, starting with the beginning if Morrison's to get you up to date. There's some more stuff in between, and if you're interested in that there's a pretty comprehensive Wikipedia list at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Batman_comics

1.Batman and Son
2. The Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul
3. The Black Glove
4. Batman R.I.P.
5. Battle for the Cowl
6. Batman and Robin vol. 1, Batman Reborn
7. Batman: Long Shadows
8. Batman: Arkham Reborn
9. Batman and Robin vol.2: Batman vs. Robin
10. Batman: Life After Death
11. Batman: Time and Batman
12. Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne
13. Batman and Robin vol. 3 (when it comes out)
14. Bruce Wayne: The Road Home (when it comes out)

Erin said...

Wow. This is going to take some time! I love it.

Thanks guys!

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