Review from 6-26-13

Larfleeze #1

Continuing from the Threshold backups, Larfleeze has his own series and it’s hilarious. Larfleeze and Stargrave are drifting towards their death when Larfleeze decides to regale Stargrave with his origin story. The self-important story contrasts with the more depressing and presumably realistic childhood and life in slavery. The immortal Larfleeze is able to escape slavery, avoid the manhunters, and find the orange light of avarice over the course of billions of years. With the tale finished a dog appears from the creation point trying to eat Larfleeze, but he is able to burst out from the inside only to find a giant and angry Laord of the Hunt appearing from the creation point. The final page teases a revolt of the Orange Lanterns. The outrageous personality of Larfleeze is hilarious and I’m on board.

5/5

Batman/Superman #1

The art of Jae Lee does an amazing job of capturing the tone of Gotham and as seen when a young Clark rescues Lana’s cat he draws a great Smallville too. After stopping a bully, Clark sees through Bruce’s disguise to ask for a reaction to the deaths of Wayne Enterprise employees. Bruce ignores him, but as Batman he goes to Metropolis to the home of an employee who is being attacked by a possessed Catwoman. The employee, Mangubat, sees Batman as another villain and when Superman arrives he also sees Batman as a threat. As Batman and Superman fight the thing possessing Catwoman leaves her body and she doesn’t know how she got to Metropolis. The thing appears to be connected to Apokolips because a boom takes Batman and Superman to Earth 2. Superman meets a different Batman and after a fight Jonathan Kent appears. The contrast between Batman and Superman was awesome. I look forward to seeing their relationship evolve.

5/5

Green Team #2

There are some cool things here like the used Batmobile, but I don’t like any of the characters so I’m not really rooting for any of them. The trillionaire aspects of these spoiled characters has been more annoying than fun. Larfleeze looks like a more fun series and Young Avengers has better teen relations to this doesn’t fill any niche for me. At least the art is nice.

2/5

Superman #21

The queen of HIVE wants to harness the power of Hector Hammond to power their goal of holistic integration. Agents of HIVE infiltrate STAR labs to capture Hammond and escape through the sewer, but with a misstep a wire shorts out the machine keeping Hammond in his comatose state. While the is happening Clark is researching the motivations of the Senator who questioned Superman a while back. With Hammond out of his coma he invades the minds of all of Metropolis, but Superman is safe because of Orion’s safeguards. Now Hammond is free and doesn’t look too happy with HIVE. Superman might realize why Senator Hume is a Xenophobe, but it would nice to know the highlights of his file. It will be interesting to see if Superman can do anything to stop Hammond even with his mental blocks. The art is awesome; the tech of HIVE really plays up what I like best from Rocafort.

3/5

Flash #21

Barry chases Kid Flash around the world while Kid Flash tries to shake him by tossing aside priceless art, kicking up sand, and doing a terrible job of blending in. When they make contact Barry glimpses the future that Kid Flash comes from discovering that their powers don’t work in the same way. Kid Flash pushes too hard and reaches escape velocity, about 33 times the speed of sound, before Barry saves him. Iris wants Daniel to forgive their father. Barry doesn’t forget his date with Patty. Sprint gets murdered by the Reverse Flash. It might have been a good idea for Barry to protect the people in danger before going on his date, but he has his priorities. The art in this series is fantastic. I loved all the different backgrounds as they raced around the world. I didn’t appreciate the bratty tone of Kid Flash in the place of his usual fun characterization.

4/5

Aquaman #21

Arthur attacks one of Scavenger’s subs, but he isn’t aboard. Arthur then goes to visit the Atlantean recovering from the wounds from Scavenger’s operation. While in the medical wing Aquaman learns that that Mera was taken to the Bermuda Triangle and goes to save her. At the same time Arthur leaves, Murk’s group leaves to rescue Orm. Mera is in Xebel with the dead king hot on her heels. Before Mera can learn more of the history of the conflict between Xebel and Atlantis the dead king arrives and freezes them all. Aquaman arrives soon after to confront the first king of Atlantis. While the main players are away, Scavenger arrives with a fleet of subs in the middle of Atlantis. So much stuff is going on in this issue and I love how it is all weaving together into a pretty epic problem for Aquaman. Most of the threads feel like a middle chapter, but they are all told clearly. The reveal that Scavenger has plans much greater than his name suggests is an awesome development and really raised the stakes without feeling unearned.

4/5

Justice League Dark #21

Madame Xanadu sees a future where she has found love with Boston Brand, but everyone they know has been destroyed by a victorious Doctor Destiny. In the penthouse of Mystery Deadman frees Swamp Thing and takes control of the house’s soul. Frankenstein is subdued by N’aal and some fire bugs before Flash arrives to help him. Xanadu is tired of Destiny threatening her friends so she skips the magic and goes straight to punching him out. With Swampy holding him down, Xanadu cuts the Dreamstone from Destiny’s chest. Scared of the horrible futures she sees, Xanadu decides that she must walk the world alone if she is to keep it safe. It was unfortunate that Destiny didn’t have much more than mind games up his sleeve to protect himself. While Flash had some concerns about how well he fits in with the freaks, he still seemed out of place in this story. As always the mystical art was great.

4/5

Justice League #21

After over a year with this Shazam backup it finishes with a very satisfying conclusion. Black Adam is holding Billy’s brothers and sisters ransom for Billy’s powers, but instead of giving his power to Adam he gives the power to his family. They knock out Adam and begin to save the people from Mr. Bryer who is possessed by the seven sins. When Billy gives some of his power to Tawny he has spread himself and everyone’s powers begin to fade. Billy challenges Adam to fight without powers because he doesn’t see how Adam could call himself a hero when he would kill a kid. After transforming to him old self, Adam fades to dust because his real body has aged so much. Without Adam the sins are able to run free. Dr. Sivana returns to where Adam found the Rock of Eternity to find Mr. Mind waiting for him. I love the journey that Billy has had from the total prick to a hero that decides he wants to stay living with his new family. There are so many great moments from “Get him?” to the look that Billy and Freddy share when the school was destroyed. His personality isn’t unrecognizable as he tells Darla that Santa isn’t real, but he is a much more lovable prick.

5/5

Justice League of America #5

Martian Manhunter was impersonating Catwoman when she was shot and when he learns enough of their plan he attacks with the real Catwoman. Together they take on Signalman, Blockbuster, Copperhead, and the Secret Society’s apparent leader. While this is going on Green Arrow confronts professor Ivo as the rest of the team battles his robots. Stargirl, recruited to take out Cyborg, is able to really mess up the robots with her staff. Green Arrow discovers that the house is powered by Chronos by harvesting his temporal energy. Back at headquarters Waller sees that Dr. Light has gained his power over light. Brett Booth’s art does a good job, but I feel like he was a better fit on the more kinetic Nightwing. The tension is building so well with the mystery of the society’s leader and what Waller hopes to accomplish.

4/5

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Review from 6-19-13

Vibe #5

Gypsy and Vibe are on the run from ARGUS when Waller sends in the Suicide Squad to capture them. Vibe is able to take out Crowbar, but Deadshot is able to knock him out before he can recover from the blast. Harley isn’t fooled when Gypsy disguises herself as King Shark. Dante goes to meet Cisco, but since he was captured and put into the circus Vibe isn’t able to meet him. Gypsy reveals that she was trapped on this dimension because of an angry stepmother leaving her behind though her father is still looking for her. Now that Vibe is trapped in the Circus, Waller needs to find a replacement for his spot on the JLA. Waller completely turning against Vibe is a bold direction for the series and I wonder where this will take his series and his involvement with the JLA through Trinity War. I really like how the art shows his powers and his viewing of what appears to be the multiverse.

4/5

Animal Man #21

Buddy decides that he needs to take his mind off of Cliff so he goes off as Animal Man to try and solve a string of petnappings. Buddy takes the toy of a woman’s cat and uses that connection to find a warehouse that is filled with animals that have been killed horribly in a surgical manner. His connection to the red makes him feel the animal’s pain and he is attacked by one of the splinterfolk who gets away. Buddy tries to chase it down, but he is ambushed by paparazzi. While this is going on Maxine goes into the Red to begin searching for Cliff with the totems’ blessing. Buddy’s search with the social media integration was unique and worked with the story, but Maxine fell flat for me. She had different artist and her characterization as such a young child is inconsistent.

4/5

Batman and Batgirl #21

I recently dropped Batgirl because I wasn’t liking the story going on there so it was disappointing that this ties so close into what is happening there. It was a huge disconnect for me that Barbara has taken the bat symbol off her costume, but she still offers to become Robin. I’m enjoying the normal Batman in Detective much more than the crazy angry Batman in this series. I understand where the anger is coming from, but I wish this could have been more of a team up and less of a monologue and shouting match.

2/5

Batwoman #21

It is odd timing to have this Killer Croc story so close to Villain’s Month, but if I can get more stories like this then I can’t wait for September. Waylon has woken up from his transformation into the hydra to find himself among other weres, including Claire, a woman he falls for, that want him to be their leader. They want him to kill Batwoman to avenge the death of Abbot. When Waylon attacks Batwoman she is joined by Maggie and Firehawk. Waylon realizes that the heroes all have allies so he could never be safe from vengeance if he could kill Batwoman so he returns to be with Claire. I enjoyed seeing how Waylon doesn’t like losing control and killing, but because of the way he looks it is expected of him and he can’t stop himself. The art was weird but great.

5/5

Red Hood #21

Jason has abandoned Roy and Kori, but now he is being chased by a band of assassins including Jade, Lady Shiva, and Bronze Tiger. With teleportation magic Jason is taken to the home of the League of Assassins where it is revealed that he has been chosen to lead them against the Untitled. Roy on the other hand has been approached by the Untitled to help break the seals that keep them from entering the home of the League of Assassins. Kori doesn’t want to help the evil Untitled in any way so she goes to find Essence to learn more about what they should do. I’m really enjoying the stories of Roy and Jason and look forward to seeing more of the League of Assassins. The art gives me some mixed feelings. The League’s base looked awesome and the fight in the forest was awesome, but there was only one panel where I liked how Starfire was drawn. Jason’s mind wipe has made for a compelling story so far and I look forward to seeing how it resolves.

4/5

Supergirl #21

After saying goodbye to Siobahn, Kara bounces from Earth to cruise through space when she receives a distress signal sent from a planet being attacked by a giant robot. The entire distress call is a rouse to bring Kara to the planet and seduces her. With the power of memories the planet can recreate planets that have died. Cyborg Superman, who has been running the show, arrives to let Kara know that Krypton could be recreated with her help. Mahmud Asrar isn’t on art this issue, but Diogenes Neves does a great job. I loved Supergirl saving the day from a giant robot and how she wanted to help the people rebuild after they were so appreciative. The story of Val-Ro was a nice memory from Krypton. I hope Kara can resist doing anything too rash attempting to recreate a shadow of Krypton so soon after the lesson of H’el.

5/5

Wonder Woman #21

The First Born and Cassandra threaten the group of Lennox, Hera, Zola and Zeke, but Wonder Woman quickly arrives to defend them. After they take out the First Born he is able to shake it off and starts to turn the tide until Orion booms in to kick some ass. The group is booming away from the fight when the First Born is able to keep the tube from closing so Lennox jumps off their ride to knock him off while the others escape to New Genesis. The art is amazing throughout including the great effects in the boomtube and an awesome New Genesis. Each character was able to shine from Orion’s nicknames to Hera’s love for her child. I’d been down on this title while the buildup for this conflict had been happening, but it looks to be on the top of its game again.

5/5

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Review from 6-12-13

Superman Unchained #1

There are satellites falling to Earth after a computer virus knocked them out of orbit so Superman saves astronauts and prevents them from landing where they could cause casualties. He believes that Lex was behind the virus, but has no way to prove it. Clark talks to Jimmy and Lois who tells him that he got his story wrong and that a satellite was knocked off course that Clark knows he didn’t move. A military submarine tries to destroy the satellite, but Superman sees a handprint on it before they arrive. General Lane isn’t afraid of Superman because the US has their own Superman working behind the scenes. The backup shows a person without eyes fished out the sea demanding to see Lois Lane. I liked the scene with Clark talking to Lois and Jimmy the most. My biggest problem is that I don’t care about this unnamed atomic superman. It was a boring end to the issue. With the great team I had higher hopes for the opening, but this was still a good start.

4/5

Constantine #4

After a restless night John goes out to visit all his friends at the suggestion of Dotty. Thugs working for Papa Midnite capture John because he stole a powerful artifact that John thought was too powerful to handle. Midnite shows that he can handle himself with the tortured Cold Flame cultist’s bodies. John prepared to meet Midnite during his restless night so he was able to leave after warning Midnite not to fight the Cold Flame alone. John visits Zatanna to warn her about the new Sargon and she tells John about her visions of a coming war of superheroes. John then beats up a thug hired by Sargon in an alley. The alley fight seems to have been predicted by a parrot at Dotty’s and that same parrot gives more hints about the war. I love John’s voice in this book and the art is awesome. I hope that the Trinity War tie-in only enhances the story.

5/5

Katana #5

I don’t know why I’ve kept buying this series. There are always flashes of a fun book, but it has never lived up to that possibility. The fight with Swagger was boring and I couldn’t tell that she had been stabbed until I read the dialogue. The normal art isn’t great, but the artist switch was even worse.

1/5

Worlds’ Finest #13

Starr Industries was taken over by Holt Industries and Huntress and Powergirl want to know how that happened. They are interrupted by a giant dog from Apokolips that fights Powergirl to a standstill. They retreat to a safe house, but the dog quickly finds them again. Huntress is finally able to stop it with downed power cables and a big shock. Desaad made another monster to send after them. I enjoy the relationship between Huntress and Powergirl, but their conflict doesn’t interest me. I’m bored by the Starr industries problem and I wish they could conclude their search for a way back home.

3/5

Batman #21

Zero Year begins with a destroyed Gotham and we go farther back in time to see what went wrong. Bruce is saving executives from the Red Hood Gang. He hasn’t revealed himself to Gotham since he has returned, but his uncle Phillip Kane finds him outside his Crime Alley base. Kane wants Bruce to lead the family company, but Bruce refuses so Edward Nygma believes that Bruce must be killed. There are also scenes where a young Bruce talks to his father about why he loves the city. The art is awesome and there are clues for Bruce’s future including the giant penny and the Robin symbol. The backup shows that Bruce learned to drive from a criminal in Rio before leaving him to the police. I came in to this issue excited to see how Bruce became Batman, but now I’m even more excited to see his first adventure as well.

5/5

Nightwing #21

Several years ago in Chicago there was a mask killer and the night that Slipshift became active again he was murdered in his home. Nightwing breaks out of the backdraft case after putting out the fire with a capsule from his belt. The police arrive, but Dick is able to quickly take them out and still prevent Prankster from getting away. Prankster is able to find where Zucco has been living so Nightwing goes to find him. Zucco has gone out of town with his family so the house is empty when Dick arrives. Brett Booth is a great fit for this title and I can’t wait to learn more about Chicago’s history with masks and how that connects with the situation today.

4/5

Suicide Squad #21

Harley shanks the Unknown Soldier with her new knife and runs to find Waller. She frees Deadshot and begins to psychoanalyze Waller’s fear of superheroes. Deadshot and the Soldier meet for a vicious fight in the hall before James Jr. knock out Deadshot. With Harley’s knife to Waller’s neck, they negotiate a firm timetable for service on the Suicide Squad. A new mission shows the team working to take down a hulking monster with Cheetah a new team member. The tight action scenes in the halls of Belle Reve were gripping and I think that Harley has really improved these last two issues.

5/5

Superboy #21

Doctor Psycho maps out psychic activity in the city to find HIVE’s targets before they strike which leads him to a girl Sarah and the psychic monster Decay. Decay is able to attack Psycho’s projection so Superboy and Krypto go with Psycho to find Sarah in person. She explains that Decay appeared when HIVE was experimenting on Sarah and she was able to escape. When Decay appears again to attack Psycho deduces that Decay is being projected by Sarah when she is afraid. Psycho is able to put her into a comforting dream state so she can be cared for and the team goes to intercept HIVE before they can damage anyone else. I like the threat of HIVE that is making Superboy team up with an untrustworthy partner in Doctor Psycho, but it is unfortunate that two art teams are required.

3/5

Demon Knights #21

Jason and Savage travel through Merlin’s portal to find the Holy Grail and where they arrive is a stash of vicious giants. Jason switches places with Etrigan who decides not to fight the giants, but when he returns to hell Jason is still there because he has threatened Lucifer with the Grail’s power. Jason returns to the rest of the group without Etrigan and Savage has been beaten by the giants. While Jason was away Ex and Ystin reconcile their differences and kiss. Jason’s scheming in Hell is the most entertaining part of this story while I’m not invested in the reconciliation of Ystin and Ex. I hope that Horsewoman can contribute more before the series ends. I don’t love the art, especially Ystin, but it is consistently good.

4/5

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Review from 6-5-13

Phantom Stranger #9

With Zatanna’s help the Stanger visits a sort of hell where rhyming Etrigan awaits with Sin Eater. The Stranger discovers the Stark family suffering and bargains to take their place if they will be set free. He is even prepared to sacrifice his love for the Starks just as Sin Eater’s love was stolen. Because of his noble sacrifice the Starks are in heaven and Phillip appears ready to go get them. I didn’t feel like Etrigan was used well here and the Sin Eater as a character isn’t as cool as his origin reveal was last issue. The flashback structure wasn’t as clear as I’d have liked.

3/5

Earth2 #13

As Captain Steel prepares to investigate the fire pit in Rio de Janeiro, Commander Khan tells the origin of the World Army’s first wonder. Hank had brittle bones, but his father bonded metal to his body giving him super strength and an affinity for machinery. Captain Steel reveals to inventor Jim Lockhart before his mission that his life has been consumed with apathy. Hawkgirl is still investigating Sam’s death when the new Batman helps her to dispatch of Apokolips rat riders before giving her a cryptic clue about the assassin Kanto and disappearing. At the end of the issue Captain Steel returns from the fire pit warning of a Red Lantern that could kill the planet. The art in this issue was great at showing off Captain Steel as a powerful and stoic figure so the dramatic defeated look at the end really excites me for what could be inside the pit. I just wish we could have seen inside. The Hawkgirl scene didn’t do anything to get me interested in Sam’s death.

4/5

Swamp Thing #21

Deep in the Louisiana swamp, Alec is found by Capucine and two men who want her dead. She is an ancient person who seeks the protection she was promised by a Swamp Thing from long ago. Despite Alec’s attempt to stop her, Capucine swiftly kills the two men. Alec then goes into the Green to see the promise that the old avatar had given to followers of the Green. While in the Green they are attacked by seeder who appears to be draining their energy. Before Alec decides what to do with Capucine he goes to deal with Seeder in Scotland. The old timey Swampy was pretty cool. I like the art and I look forward to seeing the conflict with Seeder.

4/5

Green Lantern #21

Robert Venditti has taken control of Green Lantern, and now Hal has taken the lead of the Corps. The new Guardians are leaving to go on explore the universe with Kyle and Hal is one of the most veteran Green Lanterns. On Earth, Carroll is separating from Hal because she is tired of giving him just one more chance. Just before Larfleeze attacks Oa, Hal releases a huge batch of rings to find new recruits, but the first ones to arrive aren’t physically intimidating and want to go back home. A flash-forward finds these recruits with Hal, John, and Salaak fighting against Relic without a way to charge their dying rings. The flash-forward was handled better than most because it was far enough away that we didn’t pass that time in this issue. I enjoyed the art of this issue, and Hal’s character shined through, especially when he decides to fly before he crawls by releasing the rings. This issue was an awesome jumping on point. I can’t wait to see what comes next.

5/5

Green Arrow #21

There are arrow totems and mythology galore in this issue. The info dump of weapon clans and totems of enlightenment was interesting, but I think that John Butcher has the right idea when he spits after calling himself enlightened. I’m excited that this gives Oliver a goal and I like the attitude he ends with, but the vision quest could have been toned down a couple levels.

3/5

Detective Comics #21

Wayne Manor is the site of a meeting with a foreign Prime Minister because of the security that is available there. Harper Row is suspicious of a mysterious woman waiting around the tower and follows the woman up the tower without any of the tools she used to fight crime. Alfred notifies Batman of the situation who promptly flies his plane through the building. Harper escapes with Batman’s distraction and shines a spotlight onto the woman who has transformed into a shadowy assassin. She is Mio, a woman Bruce met while training and she was sent by Ra’s al Ghul. In the backup Man-Bat, Kirk Langstrom, fears that he can’t remember what he does when he transforms. It’s nice to see that Harper is available for the other writers to use while Zero Year goes on in the Batman title. It was nice to see that the events of the zero issue are being used this far down the road. I hope that the Man-Bat mystery is deeper than his wife continuing to transform as well.

4/5

Action Comics #21

Superman is losing the battle against the Hybrid when he takes the fight underwater where the Hybrid can’t maintain its form. Dr. Veritas wants Superman to retreat while the Hybrid is weakened by a Red Son imitation, but Superman won’t leave until the job is done. Lex Luthor interrupts their communication to attack Superman and confess his involvement in creating the Hybrid. Lois and Jimmy and near enough to hear Lex confess, but Lois dropped her recording device into the sewer during the fight. As the story ends there is a nice Clark and Lois scene where Clark returns her damaged phone before she goes out with her boyfriend. The backup shows how Lara reacts to a coup attempt on Krypton. Both features had amazing art. This awesome arc is so bittersweet because while it was awesome it could have been even better if Andy Diggle didn’t leave before he finished. I can’t get enough of these World of Krypton backups.

5/5

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Review of May 2013

Best books of the Month

There were 9 books that I gave a 5/5 this month; Animal Man, Green Arrow, Detective Comics, Phantom Stranger, Suicide Squad, Constantine, Nightwing, Supergirl, and Earth2’s Annual. The new Suicide Squad team really knocked it out of the park with their debut. The writing transition in Supergirl was practically seamless and I look forward to seeing where the new direction goes. With Constantine going three for three on 5/5 ratings it is safe to say it is firmly in my top tier. While the Justice League books didn’t make it here this month I’m still excited for Trinity War. The reveal that Atom is a double agent for the JLA almost pushed Justice League up all on its own because it made me so pumped. I was happy that Sword of Sorcery got a big issue to wrap their story.

Disappointing Books of the Month

Aquaman’s interlude issue was given the only 1/5 this month. Three books were given a 2/5 this month; Batwing, Catwoman, and Batman Inc. While I came at them from different perspectives, I was really disappointed with the interlude quality. Although it’s a guess, I assume that these interludes were either buying for busy creative teams or filling in a space to prepare for Villain’s month’s interruption, but either way I hope it allows the issues of the proper story are improved from this month’s misstep. The concept of a gang war in Catwoman sounds awesome, but I’m very afraid that the execution won’t meet my expectations. I wish that the debut issues of Green Team and The Movement had done a better job of hooking me.

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Review from 5-29-13

Justice League of America #4

With Catwoman captured by the Secret Society, the rest of the JLA is on a mission to rescue her with the help of Doctor Light who is able to locate her with the signal coins used by the Society. The invisible jet reimagining is pretty cool. This issue leaves with all kinds of cliffhangers that I can’t wait to see resolved with Dr. Light’s lab exploding, Catwoman shot in the head, and all of the JLA except for Stargirl defeated. Shaggy Man could have used more explanation. The Martian Manhunter backup does a great job of showing the loss and pain he experienced with the death of his people. This issue set a potentially cool next issue but didn’t do enough alone.

4/5

Catwoman Annual #1

Penguin’s desire to control the crime in Gotham has made him set his eyes on Catwoman, a rogue agent who needs to be controlled. When Catwoman doesn’t fold to Penguin’s demands he sends long range rockets after her, but with the help of a friend Catwoman is able to send the rockets back at Penguin. To fight against Penguin, Catwoman joins with a gang from the Badlands to take him down. There are many scenes with the police agents on the case, but there isn’t much payoff. One of this issue’s problems was that it felt like it could have been shorted to the length of a regular issue. The art looked good.

3/5

Red Hood Annual #1

The outlaws are back on their island hideout when they are visited by Cheshire and Green Arrow. There are many flashback scenes that flash out the relationship between Roy and Oliver spread through the issue. Roy helped build weapons for Oliver, but when Oliver refused to let Roy into the field their trust eroded. Without his memories, the trust between Jason and Roy has similarly been evaporated. With the addition of Starfire not revealing her secrets, Roy is losing his connection to his closest friends. Even with an antitoxin it seems like Roy should have felt harsher effects from Cheshire’s ten different poisons. It doesn’t often bother me when female characters are overly sexualized, but the panty shots and distracting poses of Cheshire were very annoying.

3/5

Earth2 Annual #1

Most of the issue revolves around Captain Atom’s search for Henri Roy and flashback that show his formation as a hero. Nobody has been able to explain how he got powers and he has survivor’s guilt from being the only one to survive a nuclear explosion. The art is great as Al chases down Roy and crushes his robot into the ground. The other parts of the issue function as a prologue to the next arc by introducing the players for the coming war. Captain Steel going into a fire pit sounds pretty dangerous. It’ll be exciting to see who is in the heroes initiative. The mysterious new Batman is working to discover the plan of the Assassin of Apokolips and will be tracking down Hawkgirl. Fury has caught up with Mister Miracle and Big Barda. The ability of James Robinson to craft this entire world with a huge cast of characters is what I love about this book. I can’t wait to see where all these threads take the book in the coming months.

5/5

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Review from 5-22-13

Green Team #1

Mo meets Commodore and the rest of the Green Team at a poxpo in New York. I like the way Ig Guara draws the characters and that is crucial for this issue because there isn’t much going on with only one sustained setting. Commodore’s super suit doesn’t look too interesting, but he hasn’t done more than put it on so far. This issue was able to set up the characters and a source for science fiction level weaponry, but I hope future issues have fun adventures after they get out their current mess.

3/5

Batman Inc #11

I got this issue because it is a standalone interlude from the ongoing story so I knew what I was buying. Continuing from Batwing, I haven’t been able to get into the international Bat family. While I was apathetic about Jiro, I actively dislike the motorcycle villains. Lady Tiger Fist looked pretty hilarious, but the Internet 3.0 trap didn’t interest me. Between this and Batwing I don’t anticipate buying more books with International Batmen.

2/5

Aquaman #20

With two of the Others dead there are powerful artifacts without owners. Sky, a native American shaman who talks with the dead. There were a lot of things in this issue that I had problems with, but one that stands out the most is the lazy way that Ya’Wara is convinced that Sky can speak with the dead. I have no problem with her being a lesbian in a vacuum, but it goes against her characterization from the Others arc. Even if Geoff Johns created her as a lesbian there could have been many more creative ways that Kahina could have contacted Sky. Also, having Aquaman just say that he doesn’t want to ask for the Justice League doesn’t do anything to make the Others unique. Their usage should have a motivation beyond stories that aren’t important enough for the Justice League.

1/5

Flash #20

I don’t know why it took me so long to pick up this series, but I’m on board now. This issue was a great jumping on point because everything that happened before was explained so well. The biggest draw though is the art. I look forward to seeing where this series goes.

4/5

Justice League #20

In the short time that Rhonda Pineda, the Atom, has been a part of the Justice League she has been consistently awesome. The twist that she is an agent of the JLA is a huge twist that makes me even more excited for Trinity War. The boxes Batman has to take out the Justice League are also exciting. The three different art teams on this issue unfortunately struggled to keep up with the story. It wasn’t bad, but I switching artists during a story is really annoying. I wish more was shown of Martian Manhunter’s psychic battle with Despero or at least something that sounds cooler than reversing synapses. The Shazam story is interesting, but it has dragged a bit so I’m excited to see the conclusion.

4/5

Justice League Dark #20

The Speed Force might be a bit magical in nature so Flash isn't the most illogical character to guest star in JLD, but the way he is a perfect solution wasn't executed as well as I’d hoped. The worst part is that the lovers of Madame Xanadu’s past weren't seen at all. John looks to be a power player in the Trinity War with his fragments able to freeze Flash in his tracks. John’s personality is still really awesome when he patronizingly calls the team kiddies throwing a temper tantrum. Doctor Destiny is quite menacing, but I wish his motivation hinted at some more. The art continues to be awesome.

4/5

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Review from 5-15-13

Vibe #4

Cisco is worried that ARGUS might not really be the good guys so he researches their black ops past, but before he can decide how to react he is called into action to track down Gypsy. She is quickly found with Vibe’s senses, but before she is taken captive again Vibe separates himself and Gypsy to learn about why ARGUS wants her captured. With Vibe going rogue to help Gypsy, Amanda Waller gets the Suicide Squad on the line to capture Vibe. While it is unfortunate that Gypsy was being held against her will, I don’t have any other reason to care about her fate yet.

3/5

Sword of Sorcery #8

Eclipso is at the gate of House Amethyst as Amy’s friends gather for their last stand. As Amy fights Eclipso, Preet is able to steal the Black Diamond with some nice use of his power of disguise. I liked how Amy’s mother and aunt could put aside their differences to work together in a time of crisis. With the full power of her house Amy is able to overpower Eclipso, but I didn’t quite get why she became the catalyst. As the series ends, good has triumphed, but they need to find the Black Diamond again. That the next Eclipse is in five months seems quite specific, possibly hinting at when we could see these characters again. I liked the world building and small character moments of this series more than the large battle, but I look forward to seeing Amy again.

4/5

Supergirl #20

With two identical Karas from different dimensions, Supergirl’s home, Sanctuary, has gone haywire to destroy the threat of a clone. Continuing the trend of everything going wrong, Sanctuary has decided that Supergirl is the clone and should be destroyed. As Sanctuary asks Kara to follow the blue lights to the matter-reduction facility there is a strong GLADOS vibe. The verbal attacks from Sanctuary are just as biting as the physical as Supergirl is told she is just a bitter shadow of Powergirl that was betrayed by the only man she has loved. With some strategic thinking and the help of Powergirl, Supergirl is able to destroy Sanctuary, her last connection to Krypton. As Supergirl recharges with the Sun’s rays she just wants to remember Krypton. I enjoyed how funny this issue was while also showing differences between Supergirl and Powergirl. I loved the art my Mahmud Asrar.

5/5

Catwoman #20

I don’t like too much magic in Catwoman stories, and this fight with a demons fits squarely in that category. The basic concept and powers of the demon inside a Penguin thug was presented clearly enough, but it wasn’t a story that I cared about. The longer arc stories of Penguin taking a cut of Catwoman’s pay and a potential gang war were much more interesting. If there aren’t any more demons in the coming conflict between Catwoman and Penguin I could be very interested in the future, but this issue wasn’t for me.

2/5

Wonder Woman #20

Apollo is beginning his enlightened reign by sending Artemis to kill Zola’s son Zeke. Wonder Woman takes the fight with Artemis above the street while Zola, Hera, and Lennox run away with Zeke. With some great lasso skills, Wonder Woman drops Artemis to the ground, but Ares stops her from continuing the fight to warn her that the others are in danger. That danger is met in the form of the First Born and his companion, Lennox’s sister. I liked the verbal sparring between Posiedon and Apollo on Olympus. I look forward to seeing what Lennox can unleash in a fight against the gods.

4/5

Batwoman #20

Agent Chase recounts how she led a team against a Religion of Crime base to find intel on Batwoman when she found the sarcophagus holding Elizabeth. The mission was intense and highlighted how determined Chase was to uncover Batwoman’s identity. Before going any farther in negotiations, Kate demands to see Elizabeth. In exchange for releasing her sister and releasing her from the DEO, Batwoman agrees to turn over Batman to Bones. When Kate returns home she is confronted by her entire family who all heard the entire meeting. They are all going to work together to free Elizabeth.

4/5

Red Hood #20

Jason has had his mind erased by S’aru and Roy is pissed off. Seeing the painful memories of Jason, there is a lot that both Jason and the reader would want to forget. The most interesting memory is the time Jason spent with the League of Assassins learning to kill before returning to Gotham as Red Hood. Tynion also writes in a change that Starfire is repressing her memories because they are so painful for her to remember. Pointing out this change is a start, but it need further exploration to have any payoff.

3/5

Nightwing #20

After escaping the police chase, Dick arrives home to the apartment he is renting, but before he can get any sleep the previous roommate returns unexpectedly. She knows enough about computer security to open the possibility that she is the Prankster. Tony Zucco is still believed to be dead by the rest of Chicago except for the mayor who is protecting him. Commissioner Gordon was Nightwing’s tip to find Johnny Spade who I have enjoyed and hope to see more of during Dick’s stay in Chicago. When Nightwing finds the Prankster using Johnny’s tip he is again torturing a bad dude. The mechanics of the Prankster’s hack could have been explained a bit better, but I like how unique it feels. I feel like Brett Booth’s art style is a great fit for this book and really enjoyed the kinetic feel.

5/5

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Review from 5-8-13

Justice League of America #3

Stargirl learns that Amanda Waller is using her as a public facing puppet for the JLA using her father as blackmail. The rest of the JLA fight Ivo robots of the trinity with some cool moves and funny lines from Catwoman. The blurry photos that Vibe takes aren’t used consistently enough, sometimes only he can’t be seen, but here it hides everyone in the area. Also, Waller has that photo of Vibe or her cork board. Catwoman doesn’t seem to have escaped from the same place that she did in her series. The backup shows that when Martian Manhunter looked into Catwoman she was able to look into him. I really like these looks into Manhunter’s life on Mars.

4/5

Constantine #3

John arrives in London where a curse is causing the city to try and kill him, a good reason the series will use to not return for a while. A snare takes John and his friend to an alternate dimension where the Riddling Butcher tortures those who have been ensnared. John realizes that the Butcher is also trapped so cuts a deal for their release in return for freeing the Butcher. My favorite thing about Constantine is that, as soon as he meets this monster, John starts thinking about how it can be used to his advantage. Mister E and Sargon are torturing an old man when John arrives and after stalling the Butcher comes free from its prison to destroy the Croydon lens, which happens to be the man’s eyes. After being chased by the Cult of the Cold Flame for so long, John decides to take the fight to them.

5/5

Katana #4

The ghosts inside Katana’s sword scatter after it shattered. Among them was a dragon the Killer Croc followed away. The Creeper, who goes to possess the body of Jack Ryder. Also, the ghost of a small girl cuts up the girl with super tattoos. Katana can’t sleep without her Soultaker that held her husband, whose ghost told her to move on. Katana sets off to repair her sword, but the Creeper wants to stop her in case that would trap him in her sword again. I enjoy the art and content of the story, but the cuts between scenes feel too disconnected.

3/5

Superboy #20

This debut issue by Justin Jordan could have been great, but with four different artists clashing this didn’t live up to the script’s potential. I really enjoy the voice of Superboy with many great lines that made me laugh and connect with his emotions. The story is set up as a flashback, but so little is revealed about the situation of that time beyond power loss that it didn’t bother me like it often does. The art went from good to great, but then went really bad for four of the last five pages. Changing the art in the middle of a fight scene should never happen. I still liked the issue and look forward to this new direction, but having consistent art is this book’s highest priority.

4/5

Suicide Squad #20

I got back on this title with this new creative team and they didn’t disappoint. Patrick Zircher’s art captures the tone of the book, especially the brutality of the Unknown Soldier as he destroys Voltaic. Through the analysis of James Gordon Junior, Ales Kot shows his interpretation of each character that really has me excited for his future plans. A large amount of this issue could have been stale exposition by Amanda Waller, but the art is able to tell the story along with the dialog in a way that enhances the tension and excitement. I look forward to the interaction between James and Amanda since she might not be the most twisted person in the room.

5/5

Deathstroke #20

Evil Jericho is controlling Majestic so Terra, Rose, and Deathstroke fight together to knock him out. Rose having a power-dampening ability isn’t something I’m familiar with and felt tacked on for this fight to make sense. Slade killing his sons and losing his wife was pretty intense, but the green eyed ARGUS recovery team member ensures that Jericho will make a comeback. Overall I’m not a fan of Jericho and he is even worse as a villain so I hope he doesn’t return too soon. As a series finale I wish that it was clearer on the fate of Terra and Rose who came here as their series ended. With Majestic under the control of ARGUS I imagine he will return to the spotlight fairly soon.

3/5

Demon Knights #20

After fighting off the Vampire army, the Demon Knights plot a course to find the Holy Grail. They believe it is on a hidden island, and when they arrive a giant squid attacks them. The fight was fun, but not great enough as the central conflict of the issue. It is disappointing that Bernard Chang has left the book because there was a noticeable drop in quality, especially in facial expressions. Ystin’s condition with the vampire bite, but not turning into a vampire yet is too unclear for it to be driving their exploration. There were some nice character interactions, but not enough to make up for all the other problems.

3/5

Batman and Red Hood #20

Carrie Kelly drops by to find out where Damian has gone, but instead of letting her know that he has died, Bruce claims he is away at boarding school. Jason and Bruce go to fight mercenaries who came after Damian when the bounty was placed on his head. Bruce takes Jason so that he can ask about how he came back to life where he died to spark Jason’s memory. Bruce is really a total ass about it because Jason doesn’t want to think about the worst day of his life and they fight. It is really annoying that this came out after Red Hood 19 because this issue explains Jason’s motivation. Two-Face is teased on the last page without any context. Jason fighting with Bruce is fun, but this doesn’t have an unexpected twist like Frankenstein from last issue to make it very interesting.

3/5

Batman #20

Clayface is attacking Bruce Wayne to draw out Batman so that nothing will stand in the way of his extortion business. Batman fights Clayface in a biohazard style batsuit, but eventually Clayface breaks the mask to find that Batman is Bruce Wayne. Batman set a trap that holds Clayface because he can no longer become his true self, Basil Karlo. The takeaway point of this short arc is Bruce not losing himself because of Damian’s death like he did with Jason, but this Bruce doesn’t fit with the crazy Bruce in the Batman and series. I didn’t enjoy the magic backup.

3/5

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Review from 5-1-13

The Movement #1

As a first issue this did not sell me on the series. While most of the main characters were introduced with their name and basic power, the focus of this issue was more focused on pitching the setting instead of the team. This setting of coral city with horrible cops is not initially appealing to me so if it continues to be the major focus I won’t stick around too long. The powers of the team members are currently split between boring and confusing. At first glance, which is all this issue provides, Tremor and Katharsis appear to be ghetto clones of Terra and Hawkgirl. The apparent team leader, Virtue, claims to ride emotion, while Mouse controls rats. These powers seem pretty weird, but with Simone’s track record on Secret Six I’ll give this team one more shot.

3/5

Phantom Stranger #8

After being speared by the Question and Dr. Thirteen, the dying Phantom Stranger has landed on the doorstep of the Justice League Dark. I enjoyed most of the art in this issue, but the Sin Eater design wasn’t working for me. Nightmare Nurse’s nod to Apollo, currently in Wonder Woman, gave a nice nod to the rest of the universe. I really love the way this issue gives Phantom Stranger agency in his fate while also shedding light on his love for the family he is trying to rescue. I’ve really started to enjoy this title a lot in recent issues. I hope that Trinity War will see a sales boost that lasts while not derailing the fun.

5/5

Earth2 #12

This is the final issue of the Tower of Fate arc, finishing the conflict between Wotan and Doctor Fate for now at least. It starts in the middle of a fight in the skies of Boston before going back to where the last issue left off. This seems to admit that where the characters left off last issue was pretty boring so it was decided that skipping ahead to the cool stuff would work better. This is effective in starting off with an awesome fight splash page, but the boring setup to the fight still needs to be addressed. I mentioned the awesome splash at the start, but the great art doesn’t stop there. Nicola Scott really does a great Doctor Fate. He has had an entire arc devoted to him so I expect he will stick around. I didn’t always like the journey, but I’m really looking forward to exploring where this group has arrived.

4/5

Aquaman #19

There are a ton of separate storylines going on this issue. Right now I’m trusting the Geoff Johns will bring them all together in a satisfying arc, but the next issue, out later this month, will have a fill in creative team and disconnected story. Topo looks like an interesting creature, but I have no idea how he will be used later. Orm seems like a cool guy and I’d like to know more about how Tula and Murk plan to rescue him with Swatt. It appears that the Scavenger has moved from Atlantean weapons to Atlantean organs. The Mera story is especially disconnected. I like what’s going on, but some dots need to start connecting.

4/5

Batwing #20

The art was pretty good, but the story fell flat for me. The banter between Bruce and Luke didn’t do anything for me. Lion-Mane and his warrior brides were not compelling villains.

2/5

Detective Comics #20

I really loved this Ogilvy arc of a henchman in Gotham with ambitions of making it to the top of the food chain. Cobblepot was also able to shine as he works to get back what he lost. Ogilvy’s change to Emperor Blackgate mirrors his rise by taking down the top dog and leaves him in an interesting place for future stories if he were to return.

5/5

Green Arrow #20

This issue was a lot of fun to read with the exciting fight scene and tense bomb defusing. The art made the arrow battle easy to follow and I thought the rain was done well. The supporting characters add some nice flavor, especially when Naomi hugs Oliver. With Komodo only a small player in this Clan of the Arrow, I’m excited to see the larger scope that Jeff Lemire has planned.

5/5

Animal Man #20

The conclusion of Red Thunder, Buddy’s hit movie, is the main feature of this issue. I love to art from John Paul Leon. This sets up Buddy’s nomination for a best actor award that will force him into the spotlight during the worst time in his life. While this issue could be ignored as filler, it tells a great story that mirrors a path Buddy’s life could go with fame. Jeff Lemire could have just told readers that Buddy made a famous movie, but I love the way he shows instead of telling.

5/5

Swamp Thing #20

The rot isn’t a force of evil; Anton used his avatar powers to use the rot for evil. In the same way, the green isn’t a force of good; Alec tries to use his power for good. With Alec out of control because of Scarecrow’s fear toxin, the green is unleashed of Metropolis. The green’s power could be used for evil as quickly as the rot. Alec doesn’t know if he will always be able to hold back the green’s destructive power since he is no longer human. Superman connects Swamp Thing to the rest of the DC universe, but I wasn’t too excited by his appearance. With Superman leaving the picture I’m excited to see where Swampy goes next.

4/5

Action Comics #20

The virus the Lex infected Superman with has separated from Superman’s body, but it is evolving with hybrid Kryptonian DNA. Superman is weakened fighting the hybrid the first time, but now he has to save Metropolis while Lex watches his creation cause destruction. With Superman on the ropes, Lex plans to come and save the day. In the World of Krypton backup, Jor-El is so busy with science that he misses an attack against the Science Council. The art is both features is great.

4/5

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