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Action Comics #15 Review — December 8, 2012

Action Comics #15 Review

Action Comics #15 is just a fantastic comic book that is full of all things that makes the comic book medium special. Sometimes you have to be a patient reader when reading some of Grant Morrison’s work, and here all the long term readers are being rewarded for their patience. Many questions that I have had throughout Action Comics were not only answered, but tied into the main plot in an interesting way.

The last issue ended with the “Little Man” revealing his identity as Vyndktvx, an evil imp from the 5th dimension. This issue we learn the back story of Vyndktvx, what is his motives and how they tie in with Mrs. N, Mxyzptlk, and Superman. The best part of this issue is how there are three separate timelines occurring simultaneously. Morrison does an excellent job providing smooth transitions from the past, present, and future. The way Vyndktvx has been portrayed as such an unlikeable villain. This is really great textbook storytelling from Grant. He has built this villain from essentially the first issue whom as been meddling in Clark’s life, so as a reader I just can’t for the hero to overcome the villain in the finale.

The backup stories in the past few issues has been exceptionally well compared to the those at the beginning of this series. This backup feature from Sholly Fisch is must read material. Once again he is working with artist Chris Sprouse to tell the origin Mxyzptlk. This story fits so well with the main title, at first, I didn’t realise that there was a change in the stories. Sprouse’s pencils combined with colourist Jordie Bellaire deliver great artwork. The bright colours and crisp lines make the perfectly suited style for the 5th dimension world. It’s good to read superhero stories that do not have to be excessively dark and violent to be successful. Morrison is showing us how superheroes can just be fun and entertaining. Overall I have to give this issue a 10/10. Morrison have been doing such fantastic job with this series. Every issue keeps getting better than the last; I can’t wait for the next issue.

POTD #14: The New Man of Steel Poster — December 4, 2012
Batman Incorporated #5 Review — December 1, 2012

Batman Incorporated #5 Review

Batman Incorporated #5 was a really great issue. In fact, I thought it was probably the best issue of Batman Inc. so far. Which is great since I find myself thinking that after every issue every month. This month, Morrison takes us back to alternate future of Gotham City that we first saw in Batman #666. In this world Gotham has become a literal Hell on Earth as Bruce’s son Damian wears the cowl as The Dark Knight.

After the defeat of Leviathan’s henchmen in Gotham, Bruce reveals to Damian that the only way to end the war between him and Talia is for Damian to return to his mother. Damian of course opposes Bruce’s decision, so Bruce goes on to explain the vision that he saw while he was stuck in time during the events of the Batman and Robin/ The Return of Bruce. We fast-forward to the future with Damian as Batman trying to stop the spread of a Joker toxin that is turning the citizens of Gotham into Joker zombies. What also makes this issue great is not just the story itself, but the references to previous Batman stories from Morrison’s run including those before like The Killing Joke. One of my favourite aspects about Morrison Batman stories for the past six years is how he uses all of Batman’s seventy-three-year history to make one conglomerate Batman story where everything is in continuity. This issue also features the return of one of my favourite Batman villains Dr. Hurt. Hurt doesn’t do a lot in the issue, but just seeing him and his sinister grin again was really a treat for this story and his appearance overall made it feel more complete.

Chris Burnham’s art is absolutely perfect for this issue. Everything is gritty, violent, and disturbing which is what the future Gotham is all about. However, there were some scenes that were a little too over the top in violence. Sometimes less is more, and there were some moments that didn’t have to be so explicit and could have left to the readers imagination. The only other negative thing I could say about this issue is if you are not familiar with the Batman stories before the DC relaunch than there are many cool moments that you will likely miss and thus hinder your enjoyment of the comic.

There are questions answered Batman Inc. #5, but at the same time builds more and more anticipation of what’s going to come next. Batman Inc. has become my favourite Batman comic out right now. Morrison and Burnham really delivered this month; I can only see this series getting better. I give this a 9.5/10.

Steed and Mrs. Peel #3 Review — November 27, 2012

Steed and Mrs. Peel #3 Review

This issue continues from the last with Emma under the control of the new Hellfire Club and Steed in a struggle to save his partner. Fans of the TV series might remember part of this story from a black and white episode of the Avengers called “A Touch of Brimstone” when Emma is brainwashed by the Hellfire Club and is named the Queen of Sin. Steed finds a way to break her free, then a battle between two of the world’s greatest spies and the Hellfire Club emerges. Steed and Peel discover that the nuclear attack that hit London was a hoax and the Hellfire Club goal was to used it to take control of London. Another plus with this issue is how unlikeable the villains are depicted. While reading this issue I kept waiting for Steed and Peel to get their revenge on the arrogant new Hellfire Club. Sometimes it’s good to have clear-cut bad guys versus good guys in a story.

Waid and Monroe do an excellent job capturing the relationship between Steed and Peel with the dialogue. Although they are not a couple, there is a very subtle romantic atmosphere surrounding the two that really pays tribute to the television series. Will Sliney’s art may not be what many would consider great, but it certainly is different from other artist out there. The flat, two-dimensional characters give the book a retro look which I really like and thinks it fits well with this type of story. My only complaint is I would like for him to capture the look of the actors from the original series more often, but that’s just a nitpick.

For someone who almost stopped reading this comic after the first issue, I am really surprised at how much I have enjoyed it. I give this a 9/10. Steed and Mrs. Peel have certainly become series added to my pull list.

Steed and Mrs. Peel #2 Review — November 4, 2012

Steed and Mrs. Peel #2 Review

The Avengers are back, the original Avengers that is, from the 1960’s British television series. Mark Waid and Caleb Monroe’s re imagining of the popular spy-fi series continues in another fun issue surrounded by the mystery and threat of the new Hellfire Club.

The club is interrogating each person in attempt to get them to submit their loyalty in hopes it possibly being able to erase the effects of the nuclear attack. The story of this issue is Steed, and Mrs. Peel investigating the validity of the Hellfire Clubs claims. The story flows like a detective comic and as I read this issue, I was trying to piece together the hints given in this issue and the previous two. I always enjoy comics that not only entertain you, but makes you think.

The art in this issue is really not anything special. There are some panels where Steed and Peel resemble Patrick Macnee and Diana Rigg, but I did wish the art was mote consistent. It really gives off the impression that this issue was rushed which is contrast to last month’s issue where the art looked tighter and clean. The one thing that Sliney does capture well is the body gestures of the characters. For example, the way Steed stands and holds his umbrella is a mirror image of Patrick Macnee’s character.

It is a tough task translating one form of media from another, but Waid and Monroe have been doing a fantastic job so far. It is little weird having to read a story or the course of several months versus running through an episode in about an hour; however, this is an advantage to the writers because they can slow things down and thoroughly put out better stories. I would recommend watching a couple of episodes for those not familiar to the series since there are many homages to the show that wouldn’t be understood. But, if you are a fan of The Avengers or just looking for something different to read, I highly suggest that you give this book a shot. I give it an 8/10.

The Manhattan Projects #7 Review — November 3, 2012

The Manhattan Projects #7 Review

Jonathan Hickman’s surreal take on the world’s greatest research programmer continues. I was saddened after the end of his FF run last month. But, this series is increasingly becoming one of my favourite comics each passing month. In this issue, Hickman takes us into the psychology of his distinct group of characters.

Our story begins with Unstinov and Von Braun discussing the possibility of forming union between the both sides that neither of there represented countries know about. Von Braun reveals that is main goal is to protect the human race from possible alien threats. This is the result from back in issue #5 Van Braun’s men caused the genocide of an entire extraterrestrial race. The entire issue is centered around the meeting so there is a lot of talking heads and less action. But, this in no way hinders the enjoyment of the book since there is plenty of plot development going on. The issue ends with Einstein revealing his reason for working on the project which gives him a more heroic role that hasn’t been seen so far. Nick Pitarra’s art fits so well this series to the point where I can’t imagine any other artist on this book. I love the way he depicts facial expression. It gives every character not only a distinct look, but also personality. His attention to detail really made me think of Frank Quietly’s work.

I am also enjoying how diverse Hickman has made every character. There are no two characters that acts alike or even have the same goals or ideas. Every character stands out on there own; which is great. Sometimes when you are reading titles with multiple main characters the writer will sometimes use the same voice, however that is not the case here.This also adds to the irony of comic series since all these characters are believed to working together. At the same time they are working against each other to accomplish their own goals. I had problems with the timeline of the events because the story jumps back from two moments in time. It’s confusing at times figuring out the timeline of all of the events since there are scenes happening post World War II. Along with having both Truman and Roosevelt as the presidents of the United States. I mentioned in my last review how there aren’t many if any likeable characters in this series so far. But, now I have to take back that statement. Some of these characters like President Truman are so wacky and absurd that you can’t help but like them.

Really a great issue. I give it a 9/10. Everything Hickman has been building so far is starting to take shape. If you are a Jonathan Hickman fan, or looking for something outside of the uniform superhero genre you should for sure give this series a try.

Batman Incorporated #4 Review — October 26, 2012

Batman Incorporated #4 Review

Now that the DC zero issues are over, all our favourite comics can go back to their regularly scheduled craziness. This issue picks up from last issues cliffhanger with Matches Malone within the jaws of Leviathan. Before Batman meets his doom, he finds a way to escape and is helped by the entire Batman Inc. team which leads to a fun action filled battle between them and Leviathan. Morrison mixes horror and comedy themes in an interesting way, and it certainly gives this issue a different vibe from the other Batman titles on the market. Reading the dialogue and the way characters are portrayed makes the Batman Inc. series feel as if it is in a separate universe from Scott Snyder’s. This is a more experienced, more confident version of Batman that we remember before the new 52 relaunch.

Also, we learn the secret identity of Wingman, which was teased back in Batman Inc. #6 (Vol. 1) as someone from Batman’s past whose identity he had to protect. His identity is someone you’ve probably already guessed, still it does add another interesting element to strengthen the story. Morrison has been the best in at writing this character so I’m really excited to see what he’s got planned.

Something else I noticed was the scene with Talia and the Heretic standing before a theater called the Monarch. In last years Batman Inc.: Leviathan Strikes, they’re standing before the same theater. However, this time the sign says it will be opening in three days and will have a Zorro restaurant. In Batman’s origin, Zorro was the film that he saw the night is parents were killed. Morrison is known from putting so much detail in his stories and I am curious to find out what he is planning. Next month, Morrison is going back to the apocalyptic world from Batman #666 where Damien is the Batman in the future. Which by the way was a really cool story. Really fun issue. I would recommend rereading issue #3 beforehand so everything is fresh in your mind. I give it an 8/10.