Comic Book reviews for the week of 11/3/13

Welcome everyone to my Comic Book Reviews for this week. I welcome comments on any of the reviews I write here. This week is very different for me. I don’t normally spend a lot of time reading DC books. I’m not sure why but I have always enjoyed Marvel books a bit more. This week I only have two Marvel books and the majority of what I’m reading is DC this week.

A number of months ago DC began a story arc that examined the origin of Batman. They called it Batman Zero year. It was so well received that DC has created a Zero year book for a bunch of their titles. Most of what you’ll read in this blog reviews those books. However, I’m going to start with my Marvel reads.

The first book I read this week is Mighty Avengers 003. As many of you have read in my past reviews, I think this book has to the potential to be one of the best books in the Marvel Universe. A lot of this has to do with the pencil work of Greg Land. The detail in each of his drawing is leaps and bounds above most artists. That coupled with Frank D’Armata’s coloring makes for an intriguing book to look at and the writing is usually matching in quality.

As we saw in one of the other chapters of Infinity, Thanos has sent his minions to numerous cities in hopes of destroying earth. In New York, a Octopus-Like creature called Shuma-Gorath has come out of the ground and has attacked the Mighty Avengers. In addition, Doctor Strange continues to be controlled by The Ebony Maw.

The best part of this issue was the arrival of The Blue Marvel. The worst part: what I called the Oscar speech given at the end. When you read the last two or three pages imagine dramatic music playing in the background. I’m going to give this book an A-. With the exception of the speech at the end, this was a very enjoyable book

The second book I read this week was Amazing X-men 001. Prior to saying anything about this book, I need to ask one very simple question: Why does Marvel need another X-men comic?

I picked up this book because of the promise of the return of Nightcrawler. I was first introduced to this character by watching the X-men cartoon while I was in college. I found it intriguing that Marvel chose to have a character that had openly Christian beliefs. In some ways , that makes Nightcrawler one of the more intriguing characters in the Marvel universe. But did that warrant needing a new book?

I’m not sure I loved this book. It’s not that the book was bad, it was that I found the writing a bit disjointed. The book starts with Nightcrawler but transfers to a “Saved by the Bell” episode of the X-men. Again, you will need to read the book to fully understand but it seems that this book was trying to read like a sitcom. I understand that this was an introduction to a 5-part story but I can only hope it gets better . I’m giving this book a weak B.

Green Lantern #25 begins where Lights Out Chapter 5 left off. At the end of that story arc we found that a few of the current Green lanterns are abandoning their rings because they believe that any use of the rings could deplete the emotional spectrum. In order to keep the Corps going, Hal Jordan( who doesn’t know Kyle Ranier is not dead), comes up with a solution to keeping the corps going and preserving the emotional spectrum. Without giving anything away Carol Ferris is not happy with the solution.

Because revealing anything more about the plot would cause you to know too much and ruin the book for my readers, I want to talk about the art in this book. I’ve come to enjoy this book and been relatively impressed with the artwork. However,this week the artwork in this book is just not as impressive as usual. In addition, the idea that Hal Jordan has to regulate the emotional spectrum seems unenforcable. While I don’t think this was a bad issue, it wasn’t my favorite. I’m giving this issue a B.

Superman Unchained 4 is the next chapter in what may be one of the best, yet most frustrating, titles on the market. There is nothing about this book to be upset with except that the release dates are very sporadic and the plot is interrupted by the fact that you really have to go back and read past issues to keep up with what is happening here. What you need to know in this issue is that a villain named Ascension caused a plane to crash with Lois Lane on it and Superman is nowhere in sight. Jimmy Olsen is being held captive by Lex Luthor and Supernan is fighting Ascension’s robots. While all three of these things may seem like spoilers each of these instances have plenty more details to them that I am not revealing.

In this issue, Scott Williams draws artwork that rivals that of Greg Land. It is simply astounding and even the frames in the beginning that seem to be poorly drawn are explained as time goes on so that the artwork is always appropriate. The writing is also excellent. Lex Luthor is awesome as a villain that plays opposite a Dudley Do-Right hero in Jimmy Olsen. There is nothing about this book, except for its lack of consistency in release dates, to complain about. That is the only reason I’m not giving this book an A+. A-

Batman Superman 5 did something I’ve not seen before. The book was written so you had to read it across the page instead of from top to bottom. I guess I should have noticed it from the cover but I didn’t catch it until I opened it to the first page. While the gimmick works in this issue, I wouldn’t want to read each comic this way. The only question with the format was why did it need to be read that way?

There are things about this issue I liked and things I wasn’t that thrilled about. I’ll start with what I liked. In previous issues the artwork was obscure and it was difficult for me to enjoy it because every issue looked like I was watching the book through the lens of a lava lamp. Not anymore. I’m fact, I was very impressed with the imagery. There were a few times where it was a little hard to follow, but, for the most part it was excellent. What I didn’t like: how the Toymaster was written. When I read a comic book I want to like the bad guy. I want to be able to revel in the fact that the bad guy is deliciously bad. In this issue all I saw was a petulant child. There was nothing fun about him. The dilemma in the story was interesting enough, and the cliffhanger was too but I’m not loving this issue’s villain. I’m giving this book a B+.

The Movement #6 is one of those comics you want to love but end up liking. The basic problem with the book is that the book has dropped us into a conflict and has introduced us to characters but we don’t know anything more than they come from a poor part of town and each has unique powers. But beyond that there has been no major character development. This issue took some strides toward rectifying that but it still has a long way to go.

This book deals with the aftermath of The Movement allowing their prisoners to go free. It also focuses on the Cornea Killer and the tricks he has up his sleeve. And lastly vVirtue gets to be a priest.

I didn’t think the book was necessarily bad. The art is fine and the writing is getting there. What the writers have not figured out yet is how to add depth to a story about children trying to be heroes. B-

Forever Evil #3
is a continuation of the storyline where the evil counterparts of today’s heroes have come through Pandora’s box from Earth 3 and destroyed the different Justice League teams. In the last issue we learned that Batman is alive. In this issue we learn that one of his friends is in danger and he plans on helping. We also learn more about which villains are rising against the earth thirders.

Although I don’t know a lot about the characters in the DC universe, I have read enough of Green Lantern to know that anything Geoff Johns puts his name on is great. The writing is great and the art is also impressive. A.

Green Arrow #25 Zero Year. I picked up this book because it was a Zero Year book but also because I watch Arrow on TV and was told the show and the book don’t line up. But as I was reading this comic I was surprised that the book( with some subtle differences) seemed to try to line up with the show more than I had heard.

There are things I love about this book and things I absolutely hated. What I loved about the book was that it picks up where Batman Zero year left off. The Riddler has caused a city wide blackout in Gotham and bad guys are popping up everywhere. Oliver Queen has returned to Seattle and learns his mother has left for Gotham to help the residents during the blackout. He goes after her. That is the extent of the plot I’ll reveal here.

The book does a very good job of linking it to Batman and it also does a great job of beginning to set up the relationship between Green Arrow and Batman

My issue with this book is with the art. The art in this book is too experimental. Especially the scenes in Gotham. It was distracting and actually took away from my enjoyment of the book. I’m also not a big fan of the format of telling too distinct stories that could be intertwined. This was a interesting book but not my favorite. B.

I have mixed feelings about Superman Action Comics #25 Zero Year. While there really isn’t anything much to criticize about this book, I’m not sure I like the rewrite of Superman’s back story. I was always lead to believe that Clark Kent was raised to be a good man. That he was unselfish. That’s not the brash, selfish character that was represented here. And as much as I know this is a rewrite, there’s something nice about knowing that some of our heroes remain heroic. I’m still giving this an A- but I’ve grown tired of the insistence on killing our heroes( if only figuratively).

Batman Detective Comics #25. This is another Zero Year book and start where the others started, during a Superstorm in Gotham. This was an excellent book that tells the story of Comissioner Gordon before he became the head of the Gotham Police Department. This is a superbly written story that in hope will only get better. The art is great and the flashlight story is fun to read. This is an A+ book

Batwing #25 Zero year. I don’t know if I’d have written this book this way. The book tells of two young kids( one who becomes batwing) and another who becomes a villain because he is bullied. Here is my problem with the book. There is no doubt in my mind that bullying can lead to villainy but sometimes these stories add to the problem rather than subtract from it. Stories like these can lead to stereotypes but it can also give permission to people who are bullied to feel like lashing out is justifiable.

It was an ok book. B-

The last book I read was Protectors,Inc. #1. This book is an Joe’s Comic( a division of Image Comics) and it has an interesting premise. During WWII something feel from the sky that caused one of the soldiers to become a Superhero. In the United States heroes began popping up everywhere but instead of working as heroes they act as corporation and make appearances to drum up tourism for the area they are in.

The only downside to this first issue is that it doesn’t do a good job telling it’s reader where the comic is headed. Everything else is good about it. It’s gritty but it’s not overwhelmingly graphic. I’ll probably read a second issue to see where it’s headed. I’m giving this issue a B.

That’s my reviews for this week. Next week is a larger week. I’ll try to have things up by Saturday


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