DC New 52 – One Sentence Reviews, Part 23

Having recovered from the medication-induced frenzy of giving practically everything a four or higher last week, I’ve turned the spotlight on this week’s New 52 comics.

As usual, each comic is scored out of five and at the end I have a cumulative leader board to show which are consistently excellent, which are on the rise, and which are circling the drain (excluding reviewed one-shots and mini-series). 

Warning, there could be spoilers ahead (although I try to avoid them).

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DC New 52 – One Sentence Reviews, Part 15

Having become a dad for the second time 11 days ago and spending a lot of time trying to make sure my two-and-a-half-year-old son doesn’t feel like his parents have just upgraded and don’t love him anymore, time for comics has been extremely limited … kind of like sleep.

So that’s my excuse for this being a few days late, and a forewarning that Part 16 is likely to be late too.

Without further ado here are some one sentence reviews.

Each comic is scored out of five and at the end I have a cumulative leader board (averaging the scores of each title) to show which are consistently excellent, which are on the rise, and which are circling the drain.

I have also reviewed the mini-series and one-shot issues (although I almost left out Batman – Leviathan Strikes! since it is set outside the New 52 continuity) but they aren’t included in the leaderboard.

Warning, there could be spoilers ahead (although I try to avoid them).

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Retrospective: Teen Titans vol 3 (part 7)

Looking into issue 50-54.  Issue 50 is a collaboration between McKeever, Johns, Wolfman, and Dezago.  This is also Johns’ last work on Teen Titans and after this issue, McKeever takes over by himself for a while.

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NewU Reviews: Week 3 of the DC Relaunch

Batman #1

We’ve now seen most of the DC Relaunch, gotten a pretty good idea of what’s being offered.  We’re seen the good sides (some excellent creative teams, diversity of characters and genres) and the bad sides (some fairly sexist portrayals of women, very few books aimed at younger readers), and gotten to sample a bit of everything.  Just like the last two weeks, I’m going to provide short reviews for each of this week’s books, give some super meaningful awards like Must Read Book of the Week, and then clue you all in on what I’ll be following next week.  Read on…

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Review: Blue Beetle #1

I held off on writing this review for I initially didn’t know what I wanted to say about this first issue and my only prior knowledge of this character was from his run in the Teen Titans, which wasn’t long.  So I guess I’m coming into this one with mostly a new reader perspective…

SPOILER WARNING!

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Blue Beetle TV Show

By now, many comic fans have heard the news – Geoff Johns announced on Twitter (and was backed up by Cully Hamner and others) that DC is trying to develop a live-action BLUE BEETLE TV show, and they have the test images to prove it.  Now, as Johns assures us, this is in no way a done deal.  These images aren’t final, no real casting has been done – it’s purely in theory mode.

But given that Blue Beetle was, for its 3 year run, consistently one of the strongest titles published by any company, this is worth getting excited about.  If you want to see more images, or read Johns’ full announcement, head on over to Superhero Hype

– Cal Cleary

Review: Blue Beetle: Boundaries

blue-beetle

Under the pen of John Rogers, Blue Beetle quickly became THE super hero title on the shelves, at least in the hearts of critics and a small-but-loyal fanbase. No other title could match it in terms of the supporting cast, the dialogue, or the sheer sense of fun that never was never condescending and in no way sacrificing the build-up to its epic tone.  When it was announced that Rogers was leaving, fans were worried that it would devolve into gimmick and fridging.  First came the gimmick, with the all-Spanish issue that was still surprisingly pretty natural, and then, worries mounted – the writer behind the infamous Amazons Attack! was taking over.  However, he left after a pair of surprisingly heartfelt issues, bringing on Matthew Sturges.

Boundaries collects the bulk of Sturges’ run, and despite the fact that it deals with illegal immigration, it is a surprisingly solid follow-up to Rogers’ beloved run, hardly missing a beat when it comes to the kind of clever adventures and solid character moments fans have come to expect.  Sturges smartly decides against coming to any sort of moralistic resolution on the issue of illegal immigration, opting instead to bring up the vast complexities of the issue and allow the reader to make his own judgment while the action and dialogue continue on as usual.  Despite dealing with Issues, it isn’t an afterschool special.  It’s just an action comic about a teenage boy saving the world… WITH SCIENCE!

The art is largely by series regular Rafael Albuquerque, who has spent the whole series improving, and when they do bring in a replacement (Coejho) for two of the middle issues of the arc, his style fits well with the series as a whole.  Both artists are a little cartoony and a little too broad at times, but both artists capture the El Paso heat, the fluidity of the action sequences, and more – though neither manages to capture the fear and poverty of the worst parts of Mexico, and neither manages to instill any semblance of menace in the villains of the book.  

Blue Beetle is not a complex book, and never aspires to be so. Better yet, it deals with traditional superheroics without the wink and the nod, the ironic air of superiority that most ‘fun’ comics have.  The series started off slowly, but it built fast, and Boundaries should reassure the fans who weren’t on the monthly that Sturges was an excellent choice to send Jaime off in style.

Grade: A-

Review: Batman: The Brave and the Bold Episode #1

I didn’t plan to do this. This is the first non-comic thing I’ve ever written about here, but I just liked it so much! From what I’ve heard and read, this show is already getting trashed before the first episode even aired. I suppose I don’t blame people much. It is a bit odd to see the darkest Batman ever on screen and then follow with a zany Adam West-style Batman. But despite all the negativity, I decided to catch the first episode and I was pleasantly surprised.

As I mentioned and as you’ve probably heard or gathered from the pic above, this is a very Silver Age Adam West kiddie show. But what’s wrong with that? So Batman isn’t dark boo hoo! This episode was fun! Batman is voiced by Diedrich Bader. You may remember him as this guy from Office Space:

And Blue Beetle, Batman’s PIC in this episode, is voiced by Will Friedle. You may remember him as this guy:

Ok, so what was in this episode? Well, in the beginning (Sounds biblical), Batman and Green Arrow (Old-school Robin Hood) team up to fight the Clock King (Again, very old-school). After some action we get a cool title sequence that features some retro-sounding music and also gives us some clues for the future. Looks like Bats will team up with heroes like Etrigan, Deadman, Guy Gardner, Plastic Man, Jonah Hex, and is that Kamandi??!! Awesome! Oh and I guess they’ll fight baddies like Sinestro, Gorilla Grodd, Ocean Master, and Bronze Tiger! This episode is called “the RISE of the BLUE BEETLE!” which leads us to the main event with Blue Beetle (Jamie Reyes). Bats and Blue need to go off to space. There they find some alien dudes in trouble and have to fight Kanjar Ro!

So, I had a hell of a good time watching this. Perhaps, some of the elements you might find wince-inducing are the ones that I thoroughly enjoyed! I liked Batman in space because when was the last time you saw that? I enjoyed seeing the Clock King, especially since this one had a clock for a face, two henchman named Tick and Tock, and a German accent! I loved watching Robin Hood Green Arrow incapacitate his foes with the plunger arrow or the incredibly awesome boxing glove arrow. And what about lame villains like Kanjar Ro? But how often do you see Kanjar Ro? I’m sure there are even some hardcore fanboys who don’t know who Kanjar Ro is. And don’t worry. We’ll get some awesome villains soon like the few I mentioned earlier.

I thought Diedrich Bader did a fine job as the Dark Knight. Yes I know he isn’t Kevin Conroy, but Bader is decent replacement especially since this is a more comedic version. This leads to another layer of excellence, the humor! There were at least five times when I laughed out loud. I might have laughed even more if I was ten. Oh and don’t worry, the action is handled well too. Plenty of space fighting to go around and this is the version of Batman where his utility belt contains everything, so you can expect some awesome from that.

So please, don’t listen to the haters! This show is great if you have kids. Even if you’re a little more experienced, give it a try. This was definitely a good start.

Mini-Reviews: SeventhSoldier

 

All-Star Superman #10

“Neverending”

All-Star Superman is a strange amalgamation of Silver Age bizarreness with Modern Age art and storytelling conventions.  It proves that things like ‘power level’ don’t get in the way of a good story, because, believe me: Superman is at his absolutely most powerful here.  

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