Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Week in Comics 4/25/12

Yet again this week's column is brought to you by illness. I'm pretty sure some type of supervillain has engineered a virus to make me cough a lot. I seem to be beating it, but the fact that I stopped typing that sentence in order to cough is telling me I'm not. As always, SPOILERS FOR THIS WEEK'S COMICS.

All-Star Western v3 #8
By Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti, Moritat and Justin Scherberger
     I have been sitting here for a while, and I got nothing. I enjoyed the issue, backup and all, but I can not put what I liked about it into words. It's the same thing I've liked about the other issues, minus Gotham.

Batman: The Dark Knight v2 #8
By Joe Harris and Ed Benes (Cover has different credits, so who knows. I'm gonna use the inside)
     Looking at Joe Harris' comic work I really haven't read to much of his. Which leads me to be unsure if this issue was bad because of the writing or because Joe Harris was stuck ending a story written by David Finch.
     Either way, I really didn't feel the change in writer much in terms of style. It definitely felt like it was a last minute wrap up of whatever was going on before. The reveal at the end of the last issue doesn't come up at all, so it'll be interesting to see if Gregg Hurwitz picks up any of those plot lines when he takes over with #10.
     The art on this issue felt really rushed. Ed Benes isn't the greatest artist in the world, but he can definitely do better. Things just looked off. That combined with some seriously DARK inks by Rob Hunter and Jack Purcell makes for a weird looking comic. The fact that there's two inkers makes me wonder if Rob went first with some heavy ink and then Jack went over that with even more.
     Hopefully this issue marks the end of an era. Next issue is Judd Winick/Court of Owls and after that is the writer of Penguin: Pain and Prejudice, which I really enjoyed. I look forward to some not bad comics in the future. Now if only someone could get Daniel off 'Tec.

The Flash v4 #8
By Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato 
     This issue reminded me a lot of Swamp Thing a few months ago. It was a whole lot of explaining and great visuals and not much more. Once again, that isn't really a complaint. I like learning about the world and mechanics of things in comics a lot. This issue did that well. As well as tossing in some interesting stuff with the guy in the Speed Force and glimpses to life back in Central City. I think a good comic can spend an issue explaining something without talking down or being boring, and this did that.

I, Vampire #8
By Joshua Hale Fialkov and Andrea Sorrentino
     The final part of the JLD crossover. This really didn't feel like an ending. The whole thing is kind of conveniently erased from the rest of the DCU's minds (which makes me wonder if Batman will build a vampire tracking satellite now) and left hanging. It seems like this big story is continuing next month, but without the title of the crossover. It'll be interesting to see what happens with the changing team on JLD in the next new issues.

Justice League Dark #8
By Peter Milligan and David Sampere 
     Part 3 of the crossover with I, Vampire. Most of this issue was spent with the various members of the JLD admitting they were defeated. Not much happened. It feels like there was two plot points that had to get across and somehow that was stretched into 20+ pages.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Week in Comics 4/18/12

This week's column is brought to you by illness. Illness, for when you need to cough up gross stuff from your lungs. Other than that, this will be the first week in my new Justice Leagueless world. I can't wait to not review that comic. Anyway, if these reviews seem shorter or badly put together, I am blaming that squarely on my illness. I would make a joke about an influenza variant cover for this column, but the concept is as far as I have been able to get with that joke. As always SPOILERS FOR THIS WEEK'S COMICS.

Batman v2 #8
By Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo
Backup by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV and Rafael Albuquerque
     I'm having a hard time coming up with things to say about this issue. It was lots of sweet fights and setup for the big stuff next month. It read pretty quick even with the backup, which was more an extension of the main story with a different artist than a second feature. Which, with Rafael Albuquerque on art, was awesome. I wish there was more of this comic out already.

Birds of Prey v3 #8
By Duane Swierczynski and Jesus Saiz
     Finally starting to get some answers about the whole murder thing. I really hope this adds up to more than I think it's going to. So far, I haven't really felt the impact of that plot point. I don't know who Black Canary's husband is, so the mystery surrounding the murder is more of a "who is that guy?" And less of a "why did she kill him?"
     It's not like murder would be that big of a deal considering the events of the last issue. Which I really feel like should have been addressed in this one. It seems like the Choke storyline has been dropped on a cliffhanger for some spy plot that related to Canary's husband. Maybe they'll be connected down the line, but it feels like the last arc was unfinished.

Catwoman v4 #8
By Judd Winick and Adriana Melo
     For the first half of this issue I was thinking that this story wasn't going anywhere. It felt like filler. For the next fourth I thought maybe we were seeing the plot for the next arc, and then suddenly it was court of owls time. While I'm all for setting up Night of the Owls, the way it was brought in makes me think it's interrupting a story. There'll be one issue about owls and then back to the case of the missing hookers. I guess the court could be taking the hookers for some reason, but I doubt it.
     The art on this issue was pretty hit and miss for me. It's a bit too crosshatchey and I think it kind of clashed with Morey's coloring. It seemed like the pencils/inks were fighting with the coloring over who gets to shade what. It ends up being a mix of color and texture shading with really dark crosshatching that I think looks pretty strange at times.

Nightwing v3 #8
By Kyle Higgins and Eddy Barrows
     This issue was seriously good. I really hope more books explore the backstory of the Talons like this one did. I'm a total sucker for Gotham history as previous reviews have shown, so I was excited to see stuff from Gates of Gotham come up. There was a bit less sense of interruption in this issue, despite acknowledging the interruption. It felt a bit more organic in the story, although this whole "Dick Grayson Murderer?" plot line is taking forever.

Wonder Woman v4 #8
Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chang
     Why doesn't Wonder Woman wear sweet-ass armor all the time? Also, the art was great amazing in this issue. If this review seems lacking it's because I almost blacked out I was just coughing so hard and I think I need to lay down.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Week in Comics 4/11/12

Lately I've been on an obsessive compulsive tear and have spent days organizing my collection of comics. This has led to a lot of things in my life taking a back seat, podcasting included, but nothing will stop the Week in Comics train. As always, SPOILERS FOR THIS WEEK'S COMICS

Batgirl v4 #8
By Gail Simone, Adrian Syaf, Alitha Martinez and Vicente Cifuentes
     I need to take this in stages, because I can't handle all the things wrong here all at once.
     First, the James Jr stuff. I just don't get the logic behind this. There is no way this story can live up to Snyder's Detective run. It was new and interesting because James Jr hadn't been talked about since Year One. He was mysterious from an in story and meta-story standpoint. Now, we've seen him, we know what he is all, and all from less than a year ago. Adding more explanation to his backstory doesn't help the whole creepy serial killer vibe. I don't think he is a one shot character, but come on.
     Second, Barbara Sr. So, by this point I am fairly sure that they are saying Babs isn't Jim Gordon's Neice. Which is already stupid and really feels like a pointless retcon. Kids can become attached to their step-parents. It happened with Jim Gordon. Oh wait, now it didn't. Then you add that Barbara Sr is now a red head for no reason, and that she left Jim because of James Jr. I just don't see the point. All this is adding up to is some bullshit melodrama that has zero impact.
     These don't feel like retcons to simplify, or to remove unpopular and unused sections of continuity, it feels like change for the sake of change. All it does is remove any connection to the history of these characters. I now haven't read the stories that these emotional reactions are based on. I spend more time thinking about what they changed than what's happening. That isn't the good kind of change.
     I don't want to talk about this issue anymore, so here are some other things I was planning to mention: Too many artists = inconsistent art. Bad dialog. Villains are still totally lame.

Batman and Robin v2 #8
By Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason
     The first half of this issue was strange. The dialog felt off. It was unnatural and overwritten. Then, the second half of the issue toned that down a lot and had some pretty good Father/Son moments. I like the way the relationship between Bruce and Damian is working out. It gives Bruce a way to talk about his problems and not just shut off. This issue drew a few parallels between Damian and Jason, and I can definitely see that. It kind of feels like Bruce is taking what he learned from dealing with Jason and trying to do better with his son. It'll be interesting to see where this series goes from here. It could easily fall into being formulaic, but I hope it doesn't.

Batwoman #8
By J.H. Williams III, W. Haden Blackman and Amy Reeder
     It's hard to come up with more to say about this issue than I have of previous issues in this arc. The jumping all around seems unnecessary and kind of gimmicky. It really seems like Reeder is being forced into doing interesting layouts, and on a few pages it just doesn't go well. I still really like this series, and I hope it gets back to something closer to the first arc.

Demon Knights #8
By Paul Cornell, Bernard Chang and Diogenes Neves
     I'm glad we're getting more backstory of the world now that the first arc is over. This is a comic that definitely needs exploring. I haven't read a lot about the magic characters and I can't really think of any story I've read in the DCU that takes place in this era. Even when Batman was hopping through time he skipped right over it.
     Having the same story told by Xanadu and Etrigan was a great idea. For how silly and action packed this book is, it really seems like Cornell knows what he's doing. There's an underlying smartness under the sheen of comedy. It's just a joy to read every week.

Frankenstein Agent of SHADE #8
By Jeff Lemire and Alberto Ponticelli 
     This has a very different sillyness to it than Demon Knights. This issue was a pretty serious story, and was all played very straight, but it's still about a Frankenstein. It was pulled off well though. I never felt like the drama of the story was taken away from by the characters involved in it.
     The art seemed a little odd in this issue. I'm not sure if I just didn't notice some strange proportions because there was planets full of monsters, or if there was actually some change in the art this time. I really wish I was more versed in art so I had the words to describe my issues with it. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Week in Comics 4/4/12

I really can't think of anything to say at this part, so I'm going to just skip all that other nonsense that no one reads and say SPOILERS FOR THIS WEEK'S COMICS.

Animal Man v2 #8
By Jeff Lemire, Steve Pugh and Travel Foreman
     I'm not sure if it's because I am really excited to read each issue, or they actually are light on content, but I always feel like Animal Man is a quick read. I tend to just devouring pages wanting to see what happens, so I  end up wishing there was more at the end. It's a pretty weak complaint, but I can't really find much to complain about in this book. Animal Man is consistently one of the better comics I read each month.

Batwing #8
By Judd Winick and Dustin Nguyen
     I'm not sure I should be happy or disappointed that I called the twist in this issue months ago. I think the brutal amount of foreshadowing took any possibility of an emotional hit or surprise in this issue. It'll be interesting to see if they do anything more with the characters, since they didn't show a body and no one stays dead in comics. I am still interested in the Kingdom, the way things turned out only made me want to know more, so I hope they explore that.
     This is an odd complaint, but this issue seemed really Batman heavy. I know Batwing is a bat-family title, and this part of the story was in Gotham, but I don't really feel like it was necessary. Batwing could have pretty easily done all the work and just had Batman show up to give a speech about what it means to be a hero, and it would have worked fine. It kind of seems like an attempt to get people reading, which isn't a bad idea, but maybe show what makes Batwing cool instead of having Nightwing, Robin and Batman do all the work.

Detective Comics v2 #8
By Tony Daniel and Szymon Kudranski
     This book is already off to a bad start with being $4. I want to hate on this series every week, and I feel pretty obligated to read 'Tec since I've read most of v1, but charging more for something I hate is rough. Add on top of that the backup artist being one I don't really like and you have me unsure if I am going to read this series any longer. I can't even believe that a big Batman fan like myself would be dropping Detective Comics. That has to be a sign for exactly how terrible this is.
     Maybe the New 52 has built my expectations up, but I expect plot points to come up from previous issues. I'm not against more compressed storytelling, but I feel like there has been no closure on anything that's happened. And the story has just moved on to some other boring, badly written story. I had to reread the opening to this because I assumed it connected to the previous Penguin story in some way. Maybe explore that instead of rehashing the children-of-villains crap that was going on pre-Flashpoint.

Swamp Thing v5 #8
By Scott Snyder, Yanick Paquette and Marco Rudy
     Early issues of this series were pretty dialog heavy and more about explaining the general rules of the character and some of it's history. While I appreciate those issues, I was glad to see a move toward more story and less exposition in the series. I fell like this issue back slid a bit. Most of the pages are dedicated to Alec explaining what it's like to be Swamp Thing. Which is an interesting thing to explore, but I think it could have been layered over more fighting or something to make me feel like I wasn't just reading a book with pretty pictures.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Detective Comics #50

Cover: Bob Kane

The Case of the Three Devils
Writing: Bill Finger
Pencils: Bob Kane
Inks: Jerry Robinson and George Roussos
Letters: George Roussos

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If you enjoy this show please check out Tom vs The DCU, who was a big inspiration