Saturday, July 28, 2012

Week in Comics 7/25/12

It's been a long time since I didn't read comics right on Wednesday. A combination of not feeling like it, friends coming over/going to friends and dealing with some SERIOUS BUSINESS ADULT STUFF has pushed back my reading. BUT NO LONGER! Time to buckle down, be disappointed that Batman Inc didn't come out, and drop SPOILERS FOR THIS WEEK'S COMICS.

All-Star Western v3 #11
By Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti and Moritat
Backup by Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti and Scott Kolins
     It's pretty great to see two of the larger evil societies of Gotham interact. I really like the idea of a war between the Crime Bible and Court of Owls. I feel like this series will be able to pull it off well since there it's kind of on it's own little island in terms of continuity. It's heavily tied into the Bat books, but it seems like there is plenty of room to explore. That, combined with a great creative team, always makes this book a good read. Although, rarely do I feel it's worth an extra dollar for the backup. Unless it adds to, or is involved in, the plot I'm rarely interested. The Nighthawk and Cinnamon backups did a solid job of it, with the characters appearing in the main story and expanded upon in the backups.

Batman: The Dark Knight v2 #11
By Gregg Hurwitz and David Finch
     I don't think I can do this series anymore. I really thought it would take a turn once Hurwitz picked up as writer, but it's just not much better. There's really strange elements like Scarecrows new origin and the moment with Thomas Wayne seeming disappointed that his child would be afraid of things. And then there is all these little changes to appease the movie/game crowd that didn't feel organic. It was just like "hey remember how the scarecrow in Batman: Arkham Asylum had syringe gloves?" even though this scarecrow has little else in common. And then the whole Commissioner Gordon being being kidnapped, and a kid who is traumatized helping out, is giving me Daniel's Detective Comics flashbacks. Which is not a good thing to have. As insane it would have sounded to me a year ago, I have dropped 2 Batman titles and a Batgirl title. Thankfully there's more out there, which there isn't for some characters I like. 

The Flash v4 #11
By Francis Manapul, Brian Buccellato and Marcus To 
     This is another one of those series I have trouble getting my thoughts into words for. It's a good comic, I like reading it every month, but I dunno. There is nothing that really stands out inside. There is no little things that bother me, no little things that really get my attention. It's just a comic that I enjoy. Solid writing, solid art. Maybe I don't know enough about the flash to really catch things, positive or negative, the way I can with the Bat books, and there isn't any really controversial or crazy things happening in each issue. I feel like I'll need to revisit it at some point and read all the issues in one sitting, hopefully revealing some larger trend or idea. As it stands, I enjoy it and then forget until the next one comes out.

I, Vampire #11
By Joshua Hale Fialkov and Andrea Sorrentino 
     This comic contains the line "So... Zombie Vampire Vampire Hunters?" I don't know what more you need. I've talked a lot about Demon Knights and Frankenstein being fun, and that's what this comic has become. What once was a pretty dour start that had Batman punching vampires for some reason has become a massively insane horror B movie that is a super fun ride. Although, we'll see how that goes when Stormwatch shows up. I haven't been keeping up with the new stuff, but the old Stormwatch was not what I'd call a fun comic.

Justice League Dark #11
By Jeff Lemire and Mikel Janin 
     I think my favorite thing about this series, besides John Constantine, is that it explores the magic side of the DCU. It's a section that doesn't get a ton of attention, but has really interesting characters and concepts. All-Star Western is trying to do a similar thing to this series, but less effectively. JLD has a team of characters that can rotate around a bit and is pulling other characters out of the vaults to use for story arcs. I like this approach a lot more than trying to give people a new character every few months in a back-up.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Week in Comics 7/18/12

I finally, through spending too much money and convincing roommates, have an internet connection that can stay up for longer than 10 minutes. Added bonus: it can load things while it's up. So now I can drop all sorts of SPOILERS FOR THIS WEEK'S COMICS.

Batwoman #11
By J.H. Williams III, W. Haden Blackman, Trevor McCarthy and Pere Perez
     All I can really say about this arc ending is "Finally." Before this arc Batwoman was my favorite comic coming out, right up there with Snyder's Batman. But, this arc was just sub par. Now that it's over, I can look back and see that there was no reason at all to have the timeline jumbled. It didn't serve the narrative and didn't lead to any shocking reveals that could've only been done with mixed chronology.
     There wasn't much to the plot in the first place. I feel like I need to reread the arc just to make sure that the plot was totally average. The best parts were the character stuff where no one was wearing a costume. The hospital scenes could've been a lot more dramatic if they took up a whole issue, instead of being mixed in. I would have liked to see the desperation that Colonel Kane was feeling in talking to an unconscious relative. The rest of the plot was an interesting idea that lacked execution. A shadowy organization that uses superstition and myth to gain literal power sounds pretty cool. Instead of Batwoman investigating and taking down that group we got a whole bunch of failed dramatic twists and double crosses that amounted to the villain from Inspector Gadget showing up in the last panel.

Birds of Prey v3 #11
By Duane Swierczynski, Travel Foreman and Timothy Green II
     This issue was... interesting. It's definitely got me wanting to see what happens next, but more out of a sense of "how badly will this arc play out" than hope. So far it seems very out of character for most of the BoP to be blackmailed into following Ivy's plans. Probably, they are just playing along and the ending is a misdirect, but I still get the feeling of wrongness from the way things are going down. Also, the art is not great. Foreman needs to be on something weird, and I am not a fan of Green from what I saw in this issue.

Catwoman v4 #11
By Judd Winick and Adriana Melo 
     I feel like this was a really short. So my review will be too. This plot is ok, and I hope it goes somewhere better. The art is not great. Lots of banging going down in this series.

Nightwing v3 #11
By Kyle Higgins and Andres Guinaldo 
     Seems like a whole lot of Bat-related comics are having shadowy organizations. Maybe those are the stories that should be saved for later rather than having them compared to all the Court of Owls stuff. I am glad to see this story, which has taken almost a year, to be lumbering toward some resolution. I can forgive Batman, Animal Man and Swamp Thing for having massive stories that are slow builds, because they actually feel/felt like they are going somewhere to do something big. Nightwing has felt like it didn't know what it wanted to do, so it bounced around and took to long to really go anywhere.

Wonder Woman v4 #11
By Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chang
     After the last few issues this felt relatively normal. Sure crazy Greek gods are talking to each other, but it felt a lot more like a normal issue of a superhero book. Little bit of character stuff, some bad guys show up, something is lost, villains talk about their plan, heroes show up on the last page. Not to say any of this is a bad thing, but it was a bit strange to read after the really insane Hades stuff.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Week in Comics 7/11/12

I don't know what's up with the internet here, but it better cut that shit out. I am really not enjoying the added time i get to sit here and watch comics load. Anyway, SPOILERS FOR THIS WEEK'S COMICS

Batman v2 #11
By Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo
Backup by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV and Rafael Albuquerque
     This issue has to be up there with one of the longest villain monologues in history. I'm not sure if that's a bad thing. I really don't see another way the full story could've been brought about in 1-2 issues without March just blabbing nonstop. The info was interesting, and the poetic, tragic way March described his childhood definitely game some insight into his character.
     The whole issue felt anticlimactic. I know there isn't much closure in ongoing comics, but at the end everything is just left hanging. The Court of Owls are still out there and March is missing. There was no moment I really felt that solidified the end of this arc. As cliche as it is, it would've been nice to see someone end up in Arkham, only to escape later. Maybe a blow to the court that sees them nearly destroyed, only to become a threat again in the future.
      Now that the 11 month long story is over, I can look back on it and see that the whole ending was a bit underwhelming to me. The early parts when Batman was investigating the court and was trapped in the maze were fantastic and really got me excited for the storyline. Night of the Owls was interesting and I liked that the court was trying to exert their dominance, really showing that neither side had truly understood the other. Then the Lincoln March stuff happened and it felt like an entirely different story. All that intrigue was replaced by a shock revelation that I knew was going to be left hanging, but I hoped wouldn't. What was Batman vs the Illuminati became Batman vs another crazy supervillain. And by the end Bruce just mentions that he is still tracking down the court, when that is the stuff I really wanted to see.

Batman and Robin v2 #11
By Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason
     This Damian storyline where he is defeating all the other Robins is fantastic. I wish the entire plot of this arc was just Damian going around trying to best other heroes. I would read the hell out of that. It's fun, which isn't something you hear about Bat-books very much anymore.
      But then you get tot he other plot, and it's almost fun. The idea of all these people who were damaged by Batman in hilarious ways is solidly fun, but then its mixed with this deadly serious, no fun type of villain who has flesh melting off of him. It doesn't work together. It ends up taking the fun out of the fun and the seriousness out of the seriousness.

Demon Knights #11
By Paul Cornell, Diogenes Neves and Robson Rocha
     I always have trouble coming up with things to say about this series and Frankenstein. They are just so absolutely different from anything else I read. I can say that this issue strengthened my belief that Al Jabr is Ra's Al Ghul, and thus this series is somehow Batman related. And that I am always excited to read the next one.

Frankenstein: Agent of SHADE #11
By Matt Kindt and Alberto Ponticelli 
     I have spent a good 20 minutes trying to get this comic to load, so fuck it. It was probaby good.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Week in Comics 7/4/12

AMERICA Also, SPOILERS FOR THIS WEEKS COMICS

Animal Man v2 #11
By Jeff Lemire and Alberto Ponticelli
     I am not a huge fan of Buddy's new powers. In previous issues I enjoyed that there were art hints at what animals Animal Man was tapping into. Now though, it looks weird. For some reason seeing a half-man half-rhino is off-putting. And not in the creepy way that has been used to great effect in this series. It just looks bad to me. The Bird form wasn't as weird but the rhino and the cheetah definitely had me looking at the panels funny.

Batwing #11
By Judd Winick and Marcus To
     I'm glad to see Batwing getting back to his roots, as it were. I am a lot more interested in the idea of a Batman who has to deal with an entirely different kind of criminal. Batwing's setting led him to deal with dictators and guerrilla types, which is something that Batman hasn't really touched on. But then Batwing carted off to Gotham and dealt with the same type of stuff as everyone else, and it was a bit boring. He felt under utilized. I am hoping this issue is showing the true direction the book will take and not setting up a plot that will be dealt with by globetrotting and fighting organized crime.

Earth 2 #3
By James Robinson and Nicola Scott
     Wait, what? Ok, so Green Lantern is an agent of the Green? Like the Swamp Thing Green? But on earth two the Rot or Black is actually the Gray? And it's Solomon Grundy who is now smart, not huge and in bondage gear? It seems like all the dumb parts of this comic are packed into the Green Lantern sections. I'm fairly interested in Jay Garrick and Hawkgirl stuff, but Alan Scott is just a bundle of insane plots and stupid ideas.

Swamp Thing v5 #11
By Scott Snyder and Marco Rudy
     The best part of this issue was the promise that the Swamp Thing/Animal Man team-up will FINALLY happen next month. Just in time to get delayed by a #0 issue the month after that. A full year is a looong time to wait for a story that really didn't feel like it needed a year on either series that are going to be in this crossover. I do like the idea of these crossover stories being limited to the "line" that the stories are in. The Culling ran though the Young Justice line. Night of the Owls in the Batman line. And now this though the Dark line. I am still excited for this story even with a full year of waiting, but it better be worth it.