Sunday, October 22, 2017

Green Arrow #33 - A Review

Fresh off of his victory over The Ninth Circle and the battle to save Gotham City from an invasion from The Dark Multiverse, Oliver Queen has come home. Seattle hardly feels like home, however, still being called Star City and still being ruled by a corrupt elite.

Despite this, Green Arrow's spirits are high, though his alter ego is about to go on trial for murder and the discovery of the alleged victim, alive and well among the slaves of The Ninth Circle, isn't quite the game-changer he'd hoped for. He still has the love of a good woman, Dinah Lance, who moved Heaven and Earth to help save his city in his absence. Yet bad women are moving against Oliver Queen as well, with the assassin Shado having been hired to bring down Green Arrow and another unexpected woman from Oliver's past about to reenter his life...

Green Arrow #33 is about as perfect an entry-point into the world of Oliver Queen as one could hope for. Benjamin Percy's script primarily concerns itself with reestablishing the status quo after Green Arrow's extended road-trip and setting the stage for the battle to come. Though light on action, this issue is full of gripping drama and great character moments. The best involve Oliver Queen's reunion with Dinah Lance and further cement Percy's status as one of the few Green Arrow writers in decades who truly understand how both characters should be written.

This issue marks Jamal Campbell's premiere on Green Arrow and it is an impressive one. Since the beginning of Rebirth, this series has benefited from some amazing artists who handled every aspect of the artwork - pencils, inks and colors. Campbell proves his worth to stand among them with every fantastic page of this issue.

The Final Analysis: 10 out of 10.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Aquaman #29 - A Review

As Dolphin tries to convince a despondent Arthur to continue to fight for the people of Atlantis, other heroes work to save their nation from the excesses of King Rath. Vulko, one-time adviser to the last Queen of Atlantis, scours the ghost-haunted archives for a weapon that might stand against the artifacts Rath has accumulated. Meanwhile, Mera and Garth (now called Tempest) struggle to breach the magical barriers that surround Atlantis.

It is good to see Dan Abnett take an issue to focus on the supporting cast of Atlantean heroes. Garth and Vulko haven't gotten any time in this book since DC Rebirth began (Indeed, I'm not sure if Garth has appeared in Aquaman at any point since The New 52 started!) and are given some much needed definition. Indeed, we learn more about Garth here than we have in Abnett's Titans title.

What can I say about Stjepan Sejic's artwork I haven't already? I find myself unable to say anything beyond the artwork is gorgeous and that Atlantis has never looked better. Then again, perhaps that's all I need to say.

The Final Analysis: 10 out of 10.

Injustice 2 #28 (Digital Edition) - A Review

With the American government in shambles and Jefferson Pierce (a.k.a. Black Lightining) now President of the United States in the wake of Aqualad's terrorist attack on Ra's Al Ghul, a newly formed Congress is out for answers  Someone must pay for the crime and their first target is Batman, whom they know was working in secret with the President and may have wished a more agreeable partner in building a better world. What follows may be the greatest trial Bruce Wayne has ever faced in every sense of the word.

Reading Injustice 2 #28, I'm unsure which aspect of the comic is greater - the story by Tom Taylor which raises an interesting point about how Batman's actions may be sending him down the same slippery slope of idealism as Superman (a point that never rang true in the original games) or the artwork by Daniel Sampere, Juan Albarran and Rex Lokus, which looks fantastic and is full of wonderful little moments such as a tribute to the opening of the original Batman: The Animated Series cartoon. In the end, it doesn't matter. This is a great comic any way you slice it and a good jumping-on point if, for some reason, you don't wish to start this series from the beginning.

The Final Analysis: 10 out of 10.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Batman: The Drowned #1 - A Review

The Dark Knights continue their assault on Earth 0, as Aquaman and Mera face off against The Drowned. Hailing from Earth -11, this Batman is a Batwoman. Fearful of the potential threat posed by the metahumans of her Earth, she set about killing them all. This led to her ultimately transforming herself into a water-breathing monstrosity in order to wage a one-woman war on Atlantis itself!

With this issue, the novelty of the various Dark Nights specials is beginning to wear thin. Dan Abnett weaves a great story and The Drowned is easily the most unique of the various dark dimension Dark Knights to date. Unfortunately, the plot is exactly the same as most of the other specials, with a flashback detailing the background of The Knight in question, a battle in the present against their Justice League counterpart and Dr. Fate showing up at the end to spirit the hero away when the Evil Batman proves to be too much for them. It's still a good read but one feels it could have been great.

The artwork is similarly conflicted. There's two great art teams at work here, though their styles are so different as to completely wreck the visual flow of the book. It would have been better to have one artist but everything looks good in spite of that.

The Final Analysis: 7 out of 10. It's good but it could have been better.

Titans #16 - A Review

Wally West is dead, having seemingly stopped his own heart to save his friends! Now, as the other Wally West races to his side, feeling a disturbance in The Speed Force, the rest of the Titans must face Psimon and the approaching evil he claims Lilith Clay is responsible for summoning...

In the past, I've complemented Titans for being amazingly accessible to new readers. I can't do that this month. Indeed, I had to reread the issue several times to figure out what was going on myself. Part of the problem is Brett Booth's page layouts are confusing. Worse yet, some of the forced poses he places the characters in look goofy as all get out. The "berserk" Donna Troy is particularly egregious.

In the end, I think it says a lot that this issue hypes the appearance of "the other Wally West" on the cover and that the issue synopsis focused on that aspect of the story despite it only taking up four pages of the issue. Most of the book is devoted to a nonsensical battle which introduces too much and haphazardly ends one of the book's major subplots in a way that doesn't pay off well at all. Maybe Dan Abnett can salvage this next month but it's not looking likely.

The Final Analysis: 3 out of 10.