DC New 52 – One Sentence Reviews, Part 19

Between work, delayed comic deliveries, an understandably demanding five-week-old daughter and my almost three-year-old son thinking my tablet PC (on which I read the comics I don’t collect in hard copy) is exclusively his for the purpose of playing Angry Birds – my New 52 One Sentence Reviews are becoming increasingly late.

I apologise, but am stubbornly committed to continuing my series and I know that, because of the leaderboard, dropping the ball just once means the whole thing is over red rover.

So, better late than never (like Justice League #5, I guess) … here are last week’s reviews.

Each comic is scored out of five and at the end I have a cumulative leaderboard to show which are consistently excellent, which are on the rise, and which are circling the drain.

I have also reviewed the mini-series issues but they aren’t included in the leaderboard.

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

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4 DC reviews in 5 or less sentences each.

Sorry on the lack of full reviews, and lack of images even in this post.  I just want to get in a few reviews here, but don’t have the energy with the holiday hustle to do a full review for each comic.  So instead I’ll be doing short paragraph reviews for the following issue 4s: Batman, Birds of Prey, Green Lantern Corps, and Nightwing.

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DC New 52 – One Sentence Reviews, Part 7

Once again, I provide one sentence reviews of each ongoing title released this week.  They are 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.

While I’ve been reviewing other limited series, I have chosen to not review Batman Odyssey Vol. 2 #1, as I didn’t read Vol. 1 and from what I’ve read on the internet, I wouldn’t be able to make heads or tails of it.

There could be spoilers ahead (although I try to avoid them).

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Foilball’s Review Roundup #60 – 5 Books I’ve Enjoyed Since The Move And Some Other Stuff…

Secret Six #2 (*****)

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Who doesn’t love this book? Kudos to Simone for seeing something cool in a character (Bane) that most of us wrote off years ago.

Detective Comics #849 (****1/2)

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Morrison’s Batman, while epic and enjoyable is a complete mess compare to Dini’s run on this book. Seriously, if you’re looking for great, straight up Batman stories, this is for you. And! This Hush arc is the best yet. I don’t think any write has ever really justified Batman’s rage as well as Dini has. Fucking brilliant!

Wonder Woman #25 (****)

wonder-woman-25

Gail Simone writes the best Wonder Woman ever, which makes me really sad, because as cool as it is to have an awesome WW for a change, I hate that it just proves that men can’t write her. It’s as sexist as saying that only men can write Superman, which, I’m not sure can be proved either way since men are the only ones who ever GET to write Superman. Sigh.

Green Lantern Corps #29 (****)

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I think my enjoyment of this book is based solely on whether or not Gleason is doing the art. Well, he did the art for this issue and I loved it.

Eternals #5 (****)

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It’s getting good, guys! I love how the old dude was indifferent to the kid and then he got to know him and some atrophied sense of parenting manifested and he got all invested in the kid and then the kid goes bad and he’s all sad but because he acted like such a jerk at the start his daughter doesn’t believe him when he tells her how sorry he is… AWESOME!

(Run-ons can be fun!)

Some Other Stuff:
• No Hero #1 (***): More of the same? Is Ellis repeating himself?
• Green Lantern #35 (***): This was not a satisfactory ending. At all.
• The Invincible Iron Man #6 (***): Fine, the fight was cool but the end didn’t punch me in the gut. Punch me in the gut, FRACTION!!!
• Fables #77 (***1/2): I liked this, it’s a fine start to the post-war era of Fables. I especially liked the letter in the middle of the book from Bill Willingham. That was definitely what the doctor ordered. I was thinking about dropping the book, but Bill has convinced me to stick around. Good show.
• Robin #177 (***1/2): I mean, this would be cooler if we RIP was over already, as it stands, I just can’t get into it. I need context, damn it.

Two Weeks of Reviews

Final Crisis: Revelations #3

 

Outside of Superman Beyond, Revelations is easily the strongest of the Final Crisis minis, and this issue keeps it coming hard.  We further see the damage done by the release of the Anti-Life Equation as Gotham is under siege by the Dark Faith – and among the mindless ranks of Anti-Life laying siege to the city is Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, Bane, and Jim Gordon.

Things are bad in Gotham, and they get worse as we learn that the Radiant and the Spectre seem powerless in the face of Anti-Life…and as Cain comes calling.  The description sounds epic, but in fact, this is a deeply personal series.  Originally intended to be a ‘street level’ view of the Crisis, it quickly grew up and realized that, in the best books, there is no ‘street level’ and ‘cosmic’, there’s just a battle for the hearts and souls of mankind.

This book demonstrates that point excellently.  While there is the massive threat of Cain and his faith, perhaps the bigger problem is that of the three heroes, only The Question seems to have any answers, and their biggest gun, The Spectre, is paralyzed by rage and hate.  It’s a deeply personal book, a great reward to old fans of the characters, and an energetic and entertaining tie-in to Final Crisis.

Grade: A-

Secret Six #2

The first issue of Secret Six was an undeniable success.  This issue follows it up well, but isn’t quite as strong.  The Six are well under way in their mission, breaking into Alcatraz to free Tarantula, as Catman and Batman have a long-overdue confrontation…and enigmatic crime boss Junior lays an insane bounty on the heads of the Six.

The action was quite well done in this issue as Nicola Scott proves to be an undeniably effective artist on the title, but every panel of action is another panel we aren’t getting the Six’s twisted sense of humor.  Still, the action and the character pieces are well-balanced, and two issues in, the series remains strong.  Here’s to hoping the Six stick around.

Grade: B+

Wonder Woman #25

If you told me to choose a single word to define Gail’s run on Wonder Woman thus far, it would be ‘confused’.  Then I would hit you, because defining a year’s worth of comics in multiple arcs in a word is an absurd proposition, and you’re an idiot for asking me to do so.

That said, if nothing else, this issue fits that single word.  The Queen of Fables makes for a compelling villain and Gail obviously enjoys writing her, but I can’t help but feel that this arc would’ve greatly benefited from an extra issue, largely because, while the character moments are spot-on, the action is cluttered and hurried.

Still, any comic with lines like…

“Oh, go cook me a couple of orphans in a pie, you empty suitcase.”

and

“Please feel free to direct all your attorneys to my associates.

            “Where we will promptly consume them.”

“Where they will promptly consume them, precisely.”

can’t be all bad, can it?  Once again, the issue is filled with rock solid character moments held back by a slightly cluttered plotting and art.

Next issue, as a public service announcement, marks the beginning of the Rise of the Olympian storyline, kicking off Wonder Woman’s ‘event’ if I recall correctly.

(edit: it reads MUCH better the second time, in my opinion – Chang’s art, while gorgeous on many pages, detracted from some of the action scenes for me, but once beyond that, the book is definitely B+ worthy)

Grade: B

Green Lantern Corps #29

This issue kicks off the War of Light for the Green Lantern Corps title as we begin to meet the Zamorans – and as they go off recruiting.  Given that it kicks off the build-up to next years Big Event, it’s a little surprising as to just how little happens in the issue.

We see some fall-out from the attacks of the Quintet, but given that the Quintet was built up and taken down in two issues, it feels a little hollow.  Meanwhile, the scene with Mongul was tacky and the recruitment of Miri to the Zamorans wasn’t particularly well-handled, either.  Again and again, I can’t help but feel that they’re trying to do too much too quickly.  This title needs some room to breathe, and it isn’t getting it.

Perfectly average.  It doesn’t do a lot right, but it doesn’t do anything particularly wrong, either.

Grade: C

Vixen: Return of the Lion

 

 

Vixen: Return of the Lion is written by G. Willow Wilson, the scribe behind the current Air and the recent Cairo gets a mainstream gig here working on Vixen, one of the current line-up of the JLA.  In it, Vixen comes face-to-face with Intergang’s operations as she learns that they may have had a hand in the death of her family, all those years ago.

Very little happens in this issue – Vixen goes home, finds them terrorized by a gang, fights.  It’s a simple, but solid opener, and it’s helped along by the fact that the art, by Cafu, is absolutely fantastic.  The action shots, the character design, everything is extraordinarily well-handled. The story may be simple, but the art is fantastic.

Grade: B

The Immortal Iron Fist: Orson Randall and the Death Queen of California

 

This has already been reviewed fairly competently by others, but I had to throw my hat in the ring for a moment.  The art is fantastic – while the action scenes aren’t quite Aja good (what action scenes are?), it’s still stylistically excellent – and the story, while at least a smidge misogynistic, is faithful to noir conventions while remaining a bizarre occult martial arts masterpiece.  If you haven’t been reading any of the Immortal Iron Fist books, you’re doing it wrong.

And would it be inappropriate to ask why we haven’t had an Orson Randall card in VS yet?  

Grade: A

Foilball’s Review Roundup #54 – The Final Bits… of AWESOME!

Billy Batson and The Magic of Shazam! #2 (****1/2)

This is one of my favorite new books and I don’t care that I’m just about 20 years past the target demographic. This comic rocks. It’s better than 90% of the “adult” super heroes comics being published today and here’s why: 1) It’s super fun. 2) The art is Amazo-ing. I love the whole “unfinished sketch/storyboard/panels within panels thing Mike Kunkel has going on. It’s brilliant! 3) It’s fricking cheap! $2.25! Who cares if the paper isn’t glossy!?! It’s $2.25! 4) OH! And every issue has a section in the back that’s in code and you have to use “The Monster Society Code” to break it! FUN!!! 5) And for those interested in continuity, this book is a direct sequel to last year’s Shazam!: The Monster Society of Evil mini series by Jeff Smith. I loved that book, but I have to admit, Mike Kunkel’s Shazam is miles better. No lie. Apparently, Kunkel used to do a little book called Hero Bear that I’d heard of but never read and consequently missed the boat on. Totally feel like an idiot. So, if you like fun and great art, give this book a try. If you don’t like it, then you, sir, have no taste.

Fables #75 (****)

Ah, this really hit the spot. Finally. This is the type of Fables war story I’ve been waiting for. Huge epic battles combined with intimate character moments. It took him 75 issues, but Willingham finally forced me to care about Prince Charming! And the art was also superb. Mark Buckingham grinds out another fabulous issue. What an underrated talent that guy is, right? This isn’t the final issue of the series, but it could easily have been so. My only complaint is that I kind of wish Boy Blue and Bigby had died. Boy Blue’s charm has been running thin as of late and I’m sick and tired of the “all-powerful” Bigby wolf. Like, the guy isn’t God, or Jesus, or Moses even. Get over yourself, you hairy monster.

Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #1 (****)

Sometimes, and I may get blasted for this, but sometimes I can’t take George Perez pencils. They just… bother me. His layouts are busy and a lot of his faces start repeating. BLAH. What I’m trying to say is that this time I enjoyed his art. It was still uber-busy, of course, but somehow Geoff Johns expert dialoguing mitigated the groan factor. As far as this being a Final Crisis tie-in, I don’t know. How does this story fit exactly? Isn’t Superman zooming through the Multiverse at this point in the FC plot? And what does the Legion have to do with anything? This mini, unlike Revelations, feels like it could’ve been just as well served without the FC banner. Could I be missing the obvious link to FC? Maybe. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Green Lantern Corps #28 (***1/2)

I really want to love this issue, and this arc in general, but the art is just SOOOOO pedestrian. Boring. It feels like fill-in art on some crappy mid-90’s Marvel book. I really like this Sixth Sense character though. I bet Johns and Tomasi are gonna get a ton of mileage out of him once “Blackest Night” starts.

Spawn #182 (****)

Again, WHY? Why are they changing directions? YET! AGAIN! When the story has been so good lately! ARRGH! Admittedly, this issue was a bit of a dip in quality, mostly due to the extraneous amounts of exposition… but… it was still better than 90% of the first 100 issues. At what point do I finally cut my losses and break up with Spawn? Is it time? Yes, I think it is.