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Posts Tagged ‘The New 52’

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

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

Stormwatch (2011 Series) #4

February 21, 2012 Leave a comment

December 17, 2011

Title: The Dark Side Part Four

Writer: Paul Cornell
Art:
Miguel Sepulveda
Colorist:
Alex Sinclair
Letterer:
Rob Leigh
Cover Artist:
Miguel Sepulveda & Alex Sinclair
Editor:
Pat McCallum
Publisher:
DC Comics

A monster has fallen to Earth from the moon and absorbed the Stormwatch team. On the outside, Apollo and Midnighter are left to face the creature, while the team inside struggles for freedom. Some interesting stuff in this issue. Paul Cornell begins the hinting at the future that readers already know is waiting for Apollo and Midnighter, while showing off the rather strange abilities some of the characters have. All of the heroes are used well, here, particularly Apollo and Jack Hawksmoor, whose basic premise (being the “God of Cities”) makes him a far more interesting character than I would have expected. He’s the sort of character that can be really handy to explore a universe, and with the New 52 being so relatively uncharted, there’s a lot of potential here for him to do exactly that.

I like the artwork here a lot. Miguel Sepulveda can do sci-fi action really well, and Alex Sinclair’s work on the colors is outstanding. He does a few different effects here, but doesn’t take it overboard. The last page in particular really stands out – a very nice piece of work.

I’m sorry to hear Cornell will be leaving this book after the first story arc. He’s given it a solid start. But whoever takes over, I hope they can keep it going strong.

Rating: 7/10

Justice League Dark #2

February 14, 2012 Leave a comment

November 6, 2011

Title: In the Dark Part Two: Dark Matter

Writer: Peter Milligan
Art:
Mikel Janin
Colorist:
Ulises Arreola
Letterer:
Rob Leigh
Cover Artist:
Ryan Sook
Editor:
Rex Ogle
Publisher:
DC Comics

The Enchantress is growing more unhinged, her power more unchecked, and Zatanna know she’s going to have to draw together a team to fight back. Across America, though, the likes of Constantine and Shade the Changing Man are dealing with issues of their own. The book is coming together slowly, but not in a bad way. Like a lot of team books, this first story arc feels like it’s all about bringing the group together for the first time. We see their connections here to Zatanna, we see why they may be needed, and the slow convergence is entertaining to me. The big surprise is just how big a role Dove seems to be playing in the book. Considering her relationship with Deadman, I expected her to show up once in a while, but this issue really makes it feel as though she’s going to be a regular cast member, which would be just fine by me. In addition to a good story, the artwork by Mikel Janin is nothing short of gorgeous. His ability to blend superhero characters with a book that feels like high fantasy is absolutely uncanny, and his faces are very expressive and energetic, telling the story of the characters’ emotions as neatly as the speech balloons convey their words. The “Dark” corner of the New 52 has really turned out to be one of its finest.

Rating: 8/10

Flash (2011 Series) #2

February 7, 2012 Leave a comment

November 6, 2011

Title: Think Fast

Writers: Francis Manapul & Brian Buccellato
Art:
Francis Manapul
Colorist:
Brian Buccellato
Letterer:
Sal Cipriano
Cover Artist:
Francis Manapul
Editor:
Brian Cunningham
Publisher:
DC Comics

Barry Allen has a friend in trouble… or so he thought. As it turns out, his buddy isn’t too bad at taking care of himself. But the adventure leads him to look at his powers a whole new way. He can move fast, that much is clear… but what about thinking fast? Very early in the run, and we already seen Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato making a clear effort to innovate with this title. Barry has one of the most potentially versatile super powers on the planet, but very few writers have really explored the potential of what a man can do with super-speed. Even Mark Waid’s legendary run, which established the Speed Force in the first place, wasn’t so much about the applications of super-speed. The idea of speeding up Barry’s brain is a clever one, and the way it’s depicted here works very well. While neither Manapul nor Buccellato have a long pedigree as writers, putting artists on the storytelling end of this comic book is really working out well, allowing them to develop innovative visuals that match the clever stories. It works very well.

Rating: 9/10

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

Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #2

January 24, 2012 Leave a comment

October 31, 2011

Title: War of the Monsters Part 2: The Dissection of Nina Mazursky

Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist:
Alberto Ponticelli
Colorist:
Jose Villarrubia
Letterer:
Pat Brosseau
Cover Artist:
J.G. Jones & Hi-Fi
Editor:
Joey Cavalieri
Publisher:
DC Comics

On the latest adventure of the agents of SHADE, gill-creature Nina Mazursky is forced to confront her own origins… and the ramifications of experiments she left behind a long time ago. This is one of the books from the New 52 that has turned out to be a total pleasure to read from the outset. Jeff Lemire has created a cast of characters that work perfectly together, a superhero team made up of the Universal Studios Monsters, fighting the sort of horrible creatures that only a monster can take down. I’m surprised at just how quickly Lemire is digging into the personal histories of the characters, though. Although he’s more than proven himself the sort of writer who loves character work, I was prepared for an all-action first arc, with the more personal stuff coming in later. The way he’s found to piece them together makes for an entertaining comic book that plays right into his strengths. The artwork isn’t bad – Alberto Ponticelli’s style feels very right for a monster-focused book such as this one, although I don’t think it would work as well on a more standard superhero title. But then, that’s kind of the point, I suppose. Regardless, it’s an exciting comic that makes me glad that DC has found room for different kinds of stories in the New 52.

Rating: 8/10