Huge set of reviews here folks! I’ve got plenty more stuff I’m reading, but boy, having a third kid under the age of 4 really takes away most of your time. I’m struggling to read all this stuff, let alone write about it. Anyway, hope you enjoy!
Batman #703 – Written by Fabian Nicieza and Artwork by Cliff Richards. A Fabian Nicieza issue of Batman! Boy, does that have me stoked, but Fabian has always been one of my favorite writers. He doesn’t do anything that takes your breath away, but just tells good, solid, interesting stories. This is the story of Batman losing track of a new Getaway Genius and trying to track this one down. Of course, Batman doesn’t know it isn’t the original (or does he?) and trying to figure out how to do so. Well, it also appears that Vicki Vale is getting inside info on where the Genius will strike next. So Dick Grayson confronts her about the Batman insinuations she has been making recently, trying to expose who Batman and Robin really are. So there’s some build-up for another big plot down the road. This is one of those self-contained issues where you read the whole story and you’re pretty much done. But it’s a really fun story and these are the kind of stories I really enjoy as well. The artwork doesn’t do much for me. The facials are pretty good, but Cliff Richards’ style just leaves me cold. But the story made up for it and the art wasn’t terrible, just not my cup of tea. This is worth picking up if you’re looking for a comic that you can pick-up and read just to test it out this month.
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #2 of 4 – Written by Allan Heinberg and Penciled by Jim Cheung. The supposed spiritual heirs of Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver are a part of the Young Avengers. Wiccan and Speed. They are on a quest to try and find the Scarlet Witch to help Wiccan maintain control of his powers. However, Magneto also has the same idea. In this issue, we have a run-in with the New Avengers who believe Magneto is up to no good. Throw in a guest appearance of Quicksilver and this issue is really pretty interesting. I managed to completely miss the first issue and I’m kind of sorry I did. I really like Jim Cheung’s artwork and the big Avengers fight scene is great. So the art really adds to this issue. I think, overall, this is an outstanding issue with a purpose. I’m actually very interested to see what happens next. This could be a great mini-series! Check it out!
The Amazing Spider-Man #641 – Written by Joe Quesada and art by Paolo Rivera and also Joe Quesada, Danny Miki, and Richard Isanove. So we reach the final installment of “One Moment In Time” storyline. We see what finally happened to drive the relationship apart in this alternate reality. Well, let me just say this. This is the most piss poor excuse for a Spider-Man story ever. Joe hinted that it was a story to bring Mary Jane and Peter back together, but instead, it’s to drive the final wedge into their relationship so that it’s finally over and he can probably get rid of MJ. The only good thing from this run is that Paolo Rivera is a pretty decent artist. Quesada’s artwork has been terrible and he’s really just become a hack. I’m so glad he’s done with the series now so that we can get back to some real stories. I was excited about this story at first, but man, he took it in a different direction than anyone expected and gave us a very forgettable story. It wasn’t interesting at all. The drama was pretty non-existent. I guess when you’re the Editor in Chief you can push crap out the door and people will tell you it is good. Hear that Didio and your terrible Outsiders issues? But anyway, don’t pick this up, don’t waste your time, Quesada shows that he doesn’t connect with the Spider-Man audience.
Batman and Robin #14 – Written by Grant Morrison and Artwork by Frazier Irving. This is part two of “Batman and Robin Must Die!” and as bizarre and macabre as it is, a wild and fascinating romp. Robin attempts to take out the Joker, but alas, it was a set-up by the Joker the whole time. Commissioner Gordon is kidnapped by Pyg’s piglike perps of putridness. I don’t want to give too much away, but darn is it a wild one folks. The story flows very fast and reaches a heart pounding pace as the good guys try to outwit the bad guys who are all but stepping on each other. The artwork in this issue grew on me a bit. Once again, not a style I liked, but it does portray the rather nightmarish images in a realistic sort of way. At times, it’s like an insane hallucination frame-by-frame. As much as I didn’t like it last issue, to me, with Grant Morrison’s crazy writing style, yeah, the art fits. I’m not crazy about it, but it has a noir feel which I think is really some of the stylization that we’re going for here. Overall, this issue a roaring romp of a good time, so pick it up!
Secret Six #25 – Written by Gail Simone and Art by J. Calafiore. So we throw out the storyline from the last issue because apparently it was just a weird thing they decided to do. So we have our two Secret Six teams out there on their own missions and their paths are about to cross. Bane and Jeanette are leading up a team that now includes King Shark, Giganta, Lady Vic and Dwarfstar. Catman’s team consists of Scandal Savage, Ragdoll, Deadshot and Black Alice. What’s this? You didn’t know there were two teams either? Well join the club, because apparently they don’t like each other. I guess there was something that went on awhile back that happened but it didn’t, but now it did, or… ok… this issue has some great moments, but it is a giant WTF moment. I have no idea what missions these teams are on, why they’re on them or anything. I’m completely lost for a second issue in a row. At least the previous issue some things made sense if we’re just playing pretend in that one. This however… just ugh! I love Calafiore’s artwork and he has some key facial expressions that he hits dead on in here. It is as twisted as always, but also a chaotic mess that leaves you tapping out waiting for some sort of logical explanation. Poor storytelling and mass confusion makes this a must miss.
Shadowland #3 – Written by Andy Diggle and Pencils by Billy Tan. The third issue of the soon to be epic. We get a better glimpse at what Daredevil is truly becoming in this issue as we see things spiraling out of control. The heroes are turned back and have to make decisions on what to do. The Punisher returns in his normal form again and Ghost Rider is fully back in business. The return of the Punisher to his normal form isn’t even recognized or mentioned by the other heroes. Not even a “I thought you were dead!” Nope, just, “hey Pun, how you doing. Shoot anyone lately?” Tarantula shows deepening concern for affairs here. Moon Knight is taking on a more active role. There’s some good spots, but I just don’t get the Punisher part. Maybe they’ll retcon his death. This IS Marvel after all and they can do that. The artwork is pretty decent and is really matching moodiness, but it was a tad brighter overall this issue. Another really solid issue with one huge gap in logic, but still a good series to read as Matt Murdock’s decent into madness continues.
Batgirl #14 – Written by Bryan Q. Miller and Penciled by Lee Garbett. In this issue, Supergirl drops in for a guest appearance and wants to hang with our Batgirl, Stephanie Brown, for a day of fun. What starts as a day of fun quickly goes awry due to a messed up science experiment (do science experiments ever go right in comics?) and we have carnage on our hands. The experiment manages to create 24 vampires that the girls have to kill. It’s a crazy and fun romp with some witty zingers and just hilarious dialogue. Whoever Bryan Q. Miller is, he does some darned good work. Yeah, the story itself is kind of weak, but it’s made up for by the characters cutting loose and having fun. It doesn’t take itself seriously, so that helps. I’ve liked this Batgirl the best so far, plus her costume is probably the best designed one I’ve seen. Overall, she’s been a great character and her series has been pretty decent. The artwork by Garbett is great. He even captures great eye-rolling moments, and captures a great image of a vampire riding a Segue scooter that made me about die laughing. Awesome job, pick up this campy but fun issue of Batgirl and have some great laughs.
Teen Titans #86 – Written by Felicia D. Henderson and Penciled by Jose Luis. Well, we continue from last issue and the Wyld creature or whatever it is. It possesses Miss Martian and is attempting to kill off Raven. So we see the whole Titans team trying to take care of business and rescue her. I’m not exactly sure what all is going on in this issue, but it has some moments. Garth’s overzealousness to rescue Raven shines through as we know about his feelings for her. Wonder Girl and Superboy continue their romance (yawn already) and the only character that I really like, Kid Flash has like one line I think. But anyway, this story does show that this comic can and may be turning around. We then have the Coven of Three back-up feature. Written by Rex Ogle and Art by Ted Naifeh. I’m not big on this whole Coven of Three, but I was a tad surprised with this one. Enchantress isn’t quite like I remember her either, but that’s ok. So our heroes (?) are trying to find their three avatars to supposedly fend off impending doom. So the search begins to find them, but just when everything looks good, things go awry. But it has an interesting surprise at the end that got a chuckle out of me. A mostly “meh” issue, but nothing deplorable, just slightly below average, certainly not worth rushing out to get.
Daredevil #510 – Written by Andy Diggle and Anthony Johnston and Art by Marco Checchetto. Foggy Nelson and Dakota North try to play it safe and fail miserably. Meanwhile the city is going crazy and insane things are happening. Tarantula falls even further from grace and questions the unhinged and possessed Murdock. The artwork here is fantastic and really captures the essence of everything going on. It’s kept dark enough, but it isn’t quite the sketchy art in the last few issues and that’s ok, because this works. I love this story as Daredevil is one bad brother who is hell-bent on his style of justice and nothing else will do. However, I just feel like we all know how this one ends. He’ll be exorcised and then run off for a year or something because he feels bad for all that he’s done, yadda yadda. But they could surprise me and Diggle would be just the kind of guy who would throw you a curveball and set you down swinging. But this issue is excellent. One of the best issues yet! If you haven’t been reading the Shadowland stuff, this is the issue to buy and buy now!