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Posts Tagged ‘Batman’

Batman Incorporated (2012) #1

July 31, 2012 Leave a comment

June 10, 2012

Title: Leviathan Part One: Demon Star

Writer: Grant Morrison
Art:
Chris Burnham
Letters:
Patrick Brosseau
Colors:
Nathan Fairbairn
Cover Art:
Chris Burnham
Editor:
Mike Marts
Publisher:
DC Comics

Returning for what promises to be the finale of his Batman run, Grant Morrison kicks off the second volume of Batman Incorporated with a pretty startling story. Talia Head’s Leviathan is growing in power, attacking on several fronts, targeting members of Batman, Inc. and bringing the conflict straight to the doorstep of the Dark Knight.

This issue is surprising on several fronts. Morrison has wasted absolutely no time getting into the heat of the moment, starting us in the midst of the action with several attacks already executed and several battles already over and done. The energy here is about as high as it’s ever been during Morrison’s tenure with the Bat.

This is a New 52 title, but aside from a few cosmetic changes it doesn’t appear that Morrison has been forced to make too many concessions for the sake of setting it in the changed world. Bruce and Damian are still Batman and Robin, Dick was Batman for a time in the not-too-distant past, and the assorted members of Batman, Inc. are virtually untouched… even Batwing, who now stars in his own solo title. This is basically a good thing. Morrison had quite a momentum built up, and the lapse since the previous Leviathan Strikes one-shot may actually have served to help keep the pace brisk. The differences in the New 52 have all been suitably explored in the other titles and there’s no pressure to do so here.

Chris Burnham came into the previous series rather late in the game, but he’s making it is how. His style is influenced somewhat by frequent Morrison collaborator Frank Quitely, but not so much as to deem him a copycat. He’s drawing a classic Batman and a strong Damian, with the more monstrous characters depicted in a fashion that feels very consistent with what’s been done in the past.

The end of this issue, of course, is the real shocker, and if it were anybody but Morrison behind the wheel I’d be virtually certain there’s a stunt in the works to reverse what we seem to see on the last page. There still could be, of course, Morrison could be playing his own game, but from him it does feel more organic and less forced than it would be in many titles.

All in all, this issue stands as a fine beginning to a final act.

Rating: 8/10

DC: The New Frontier #3

July 17, 2012 Leave a comment

March 13, 2004

Quick Rating: Good
Title: The Brave and the Bold

As the Challengers of the Unknown are born, Hal Jordan finds a new purpose.

Writer/Artist: Darwyn Cooke
Colors: Dave Stewart
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Editor: Mark Chiarello
Cover Art: Darwyn Cooke
Publisher: DC Comics

The various plotlines woven into the first two issues of The New Frontier finally start to converge, albeit tangentially, in this issue. Four brave men band together as the Challengers of the Unknown. Meanwhile, J’onn J’onzz finds his secret jeopardized and Hal Jordan signs up with Ferris Aircraft, unaware of the fate that awaits him.

Darwyn Cooke’s story gets a bit more interesting this issue as some of the various plotlines from the first two issues begin to connect. He has done a good job generating a feel for the silver age incarnations of these characters, with the exception of the “big three” of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, each of whom seems like more of a holdover of their golden age selves and who are, in fact, painted as something of an “old guard” in this series. Cooke also adds in a new character in this issue, a black man who sets out to take revenge on white supremacists that assaulted him. The story isn’t entirely original, of course, but I find myself curious about it mostly because, DC geek that I am, I can’t seem to figure out what character he is supposed to be a corollary for.

If there’s any problem with this book, it’s that so much of it seems like retreaded territory. While the classic versions of the characters are welcome, the red scare story and the reactionary Commie-hunter story are both somewhat worn out, and Cooke’s storyline doesn’t feel like it’s adding much to it, at least not yet.

As usual, his artwork is fantastic. Cooke’s iconic style is absolutely perfect for an old-fashioned comic book story, or a story that tries to take old fashioned elements and cast them in a new light. He draws the best classic versions of Superman and Batman that I’ve seen since the creators themselves put down their pencils, and the otherworldly form he gives the Martian Manhunter is spot-on.

So far, this series is more remarkable for the artwork than the storyline, but the storyline is okay. And it’s still got plenty to potential to grow – Cooke just needs to find the new paths that are available with such great source material and stop going down the old ones so much.

Rating: 7/10

Earth 2 #1

May 15, 2012 Leave a comment

May 6, 2012, 2012

Title: The Price of Victory

On Earth 2, a different trinity of heroes fights… but what happens if they fall?

Writer: James Robinson
Pencils:
Nicola Scott
Inks:
Trevor Scott
Colors:
Alex Sinclair
Letters:
Dezi Sienty
Cover Art:
Ivan Reis, Joe Prado & Rod Reis
Editor:
Pat McCallum
Publisher:
DC Comics

The Multiverse is back with this new title, the first book set in a world outside of the universe of the New 52. Five years ago, the Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman of another universe fought fiercely to save their world from an invasion by Steppenwolf and his Parademons. The world survived, but at an incredible price.

This issue is a lot of set-up, but it’s the most action-packed set-up you could possibly ask for. It’s clear that the classic DC trinity, although they’re in center stage here, will not be the stars of this title. Their appearance, in fact, is mostly here to set up the return of some other classic characters, albeit in new forms. It works nicely for that. This is the sort of all-out war you probably couldn’t get away with on “New Earth” (or whatever they’re calling the universe of the New 52 these days). Plenty of devastation, plenty of death, too much to deal with in 50 or so titles linked together in a single, current continuity. But as this book takes place on an alternate universe, and there are no other books set there (Worlds’ Finest is a spin-off, but that’s not quite the same thing) James Robinson could theoretically have a pretty free hand to go nuts, make major changes, and drastically alter the world as the story dictates. He’s done it before, but in things like The Golden Age. I’m really looking forward to seeing what he does with a book like this on an ongoing basis.

I’ve been a fan of Nicola Scott for some time now, but with Trevor Scott and Alex Sinclair joining her on the art for this book, we’re seeing some of the greatest work she’s ever done. The battle scenes here are incredible, and she gives us depictions of DC’s three biggest guns that look very familiar, but just different enough that we accept them as alternate versions of the characters.

This first issue was great, even if it felt more like a “zero” issue. It doesn’t really matter that much what the number is, though. It’s a fine way to start, and I can’t wait to see where this newer universe is going to take us.

Rating: 9/10

JLA #107

April 10, 2012 Leave a comment

November 8, 2004

Quick Rating: Good
Title: Maintenance Day (Syndicate Rules Part One)

The Justice League is taking a day for general maintenance, unaware of a growing threat from another world.

Writer: Kurt Busiek
Pencils: Ron Garney
Inks: Dan Green
Colors: David Baron
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Editor: Mike Carlin
Cover Art: Ron Garney
Publisher: DC Comics

I’m a little biased here, I’ll admit that up front. New writer Kurt Busiek is one of my favorite scribes working in comics today, and moreso, this is a title in serious need of improvement. The book hasn’t been good on a consistent basis since Mark Waid’s all-too-short tenure ended nearly 40 issues ago.

As the issue opens, the JLA is basically spending the day doing preventative maintenance. Several of them are keeping their eyes on the Cosmic Egg that contains a new universe ready to hatch. (This egg, of course, was a leftover from Busiek’s JLA/Avengers crossover, although he has to be careful never to mention any copyrighted properties of that other publisher by name.) As they do that, Martian Manhunter and The Flash do their regular sweep of various contacts around the globe, making sure no crisis demand their attention, and pay a visit to an old menace they have in containment.

Right off the bat Busiek is doing one of the things I think he, along with writers like Waid and Geoff Johns, do incredibly well. He picks up on the history of the League, tapping into old stories to create the new. Some readers may find things a bit daunting, but the particular threat that occupies our two heroes this issue (although not the main threat of this story arc) is one even I was unfamiliar with, but Busiek gives us everything we need to know to comprehend the story.

Ron Garney’s art is usually very good, but it appears somewhat unfinished here. Just as the last six issues, released biweekly, looked as though he rather raced through them, so did this first issue with his new writer. There’s nothing really bad about the artwork, but it’s not as strong as anyone who has seen his Captain America run knows he’s capable of. It’s possible he just needs time to rest and then get back onto a normal monthly schedule.

After a truly abysmal last story arc (which, admittedly, started with a strong first issue then spiraled into cliché and tedium), this issue is a breath of fresh air. Busiek has said he wants to join the small club of writers who has had long tenures writing both the Justice League and the Avengers. Hopefully this issue is just the start of great things to come.

Rating: 7/10

Batman (2011 Series) #2

January 31, 2012 1 comment

November 6, 2011

Title: Trust Fall

Writer: Scott Snyder
Pencils:
Greg Capullo
Inks:
Jonathan Glapion
Colorist:
FCO
Letterer:
Jimmy Betancourt
Cover Artist:
Greg Capullo
Editor:
Mike Marts
Publisher:
DC Comics

The mysterious Court of Owls is slaughtering people across Gotham City, and Bruce Wayne may be their next target. The one thing they didn’t count on, however, is that Gotham is Bruce’s city… and nobody can take that away from him. The greatest Batman stories have always treated Gotham City as an actual character, as a part of the cast. It’s been a long time since anybody has done it as effectively as Scott Snyder is doing in this story. Snyder’s Gotham City truly feels like a presence, an entity determined to protect Bruce Wayne as fiercely has he is determined to defend her I turn. The Court of Owls plays into the history of Bruce and Gotham (which, truly, is one and the same) just brilliantly. Nightwing shows up as well, partially to address the surprise ending we got last issue, but more importantly to represent the rest of the Batman family. It feels as though there’s a continuity here. Even though only one of his sons is actually a Wayne by blood, all of them have become part of this marvelous symbiotic relationship that makes one of the richest environment in comic books. Greg Capullo’s years on Spawn are serving him well here, mixing in dashes of both horror and noir stylings into what is, at its essence, a superhero story. Together, this creative team is already well on their way to giving us what may be a legendary run on Batman.

Rating: 9/10

Batman: The Brave and the Bold #12

December 23, 2011 Leave a comment

December 23, 2009

Batman: The Brave and the Bold #12 (DC Comics/Johnny DC)
By Landry Q. Walker & Eric Jones

Batman is looking forward to a nice, relaxing Christmas of busting the Calendar Man in comission of his latest goofy plot, but the destruction of the world has a way of ruining a hero’s yuletide plans. Batman is whisked away from Earth to Rann where he has to join forces with Adam Strange to save not just Earth, but the entire universe from a mad Psion. Walker and Jones have, as usual, put together a highly entertaining comic. The story and art are sharp, they’ve got some of the most entertaining sound effects I’ve ever seen, and the climax of the story is rather surprising. They manage to work in a rather unusual Christmas twist that works pretty well in the context of the “Brave and the Bold” universe. This issue was an awful lot of fun.
Rating: 8/10

Catwoman (2002 Series) #34

December 14, 2011 Leave a comment

August 22, 2004

Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: Cold Hard Facts (War Games Act One Part Seven)

The Gang War threatens to engulf Gotham’s East End… and Catwoman’s not going to let that happen.

Writer: Ed Brubaker
Pencils: Paul Gulacy
Inks: Jimmy Palmiotti
Colors: Laurie Kronenberg
Letters: Clem Robins
Editor: Matt Idelson
Cover Art: Paul Gulacy & Jimmy Palmiotti
Publisher: DC Comics

“War Games” continues to impress with this issue, a major one in the storyline that again succeeds in telling part of the overall whole without losing the individual feel of the title. When the Gang War spreads to Gotham City’s East End, Catwoman’s area of town, she takes it upon herself to put the soldiers down before any innocent people get hurt. You see a lot of Catwoman’s methods in this issue, including a more brutal handling of some of the mobsters than Batman would likely approve of, plus a rundown of the rules by which she runs her section of town.

There are two more major sequences in the book – Catwoman speaks to Leslie Thompkins, the doctor who took Bruce Wayne in after his parents were murdered, and is astonished to find she blames herself for the violence engulfing the city. Leslie isn’t the only one carrying around culpability, though, and the end of this issue answers some of the major questions that have been shadowing this storyline since day one.

Gulacy’s artwork is in top form this issue, including a great car chase/shootout scene at the very beginning that works very well to show how tough a contender Catwoman really is. He does have some problems with scenes of Catwoman and an unexpected companion at the end once the two of them are out of their masks – he does a very good job of them in costume, posing, choreographing, but once the masks are off the faces are a bit too angular, too pointed, and don’t look quite natural.

Overall, a fine issue, and an important one. If you’re getting all of the War Games chapters, this issue will be waiting for you anyway. If you’re only planning to get some of the crossovers, though, rest assured, you need this issue. With the exception of last week’s Robin, it’s the biggest one yet.

Rating: 8/10