Review of April 2013

With final exams and a summer job I fell behind, but I should catch up quickly.

Best books of the Month

There were 10 books that I gave a 5/5 this month; Phantom Stranger, Animal Man, Swamp Thing, Green Arrow, Constantine, Demon Knights, Vibe, Nightwing, Justice League, and Justice League Dark. The new books on this list from last month are Phantom Stranger, Vibe, and Nightwing. Nightwing and Vibe had creative changes on art and writing respectively and I think they can maintain their quality. Phantom Stranger changes from awesome to boring even within issues so I don’t know what to expect each month.

Disappointing Books of the Month

Luckily I didn’t feel any book deserved a 1/5. The two books I gave a 2/5 were Deathstroke and Batgirl. Deathstroke has been cancelled so his proper adventures have stopped to tie his ending in with Team 7. It is unfortunate that the book doesn’t get to go out at its best since it had gotten so great with the new direction, but the sales couldn’t rebound in time. I wonder if this will be seen as proof that a villain can’t carry a solo series. With so many hints pointing to a villain’s month it will be interesting to see if any are so successful as to warrant an ongoing. While Batgirl was pretty good before Death of the Family and I enjoyed the Ray Fawkes issue, I haven’t enjoyed the recent Gail Simone issues enough to jump into another arc at the moment.

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Review from 4-24-13

Superman #19

The Sunturians look pretty cool and I wouldn’t have minded spending more of the issue on their plans for Metropolis because the house warming party Superman was running late for bored me the entire time. The guest appearance of Orion looks interesting, but I did not enjoy the mind control party. While I love the art of Kenneth Rocafort, his style is so much more enjoyable on Sunturians and STAR Labs.

3/5

I, Vampire #19

Andrea Sorrentino is back to show Mary’s origin as a vampire, and it’s awesome. A majority of the issue is spent wrapping up each characters fate with the series ending, but the meat shows the night Andrew returned to Mary. Her motivation was horrible and showed that it isn’t becoming a vampire that makes a person evil.

4/5

Justice League Dark #19

The team is split up after the events on Epoch, but when the Cult of the Cold Flame attacks Constantine, the team rallies at Madame Xanadu’s. Constantine needs help finding the House of Mystery from Swamp Thing’s ability to look through the Green. Back in issue 14 part of the team explored the House of Mystery’s horrors, but now those horrors have escaped into the world where the team is confronted with their worst nightmares. Xanadu being confronted by her old lovers stood out, especially because of her portrayal in Demon Knights. I’m not familiar with Doctor Destiny, but he looks awesome, and the Dreamstone is a cool artifact. I miss Zatanna, but this was a fun issue that makes me want to see more.

5/5

Katana #3

The story of this book is pretty cool and the art is improving each issue, but the story telling gives me some problems. I understand what happens in this issue, but it took multiple readings to find out how events were related. The biggest confusion was keeping track of Two Pins, his nickname, by following his tattoo. He doesn’t have a distinct look beyond his kris, which isn’t pointed out until his last appearance. I like the manipulation by Killer Croc and the twist that he sword is possessed by The Creeper instead of her husband could be interesting.

3/5

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Review from 4-17-13

Justice League #19

An intruder to the Batcave takes out Jason and Alfred before going to a secret level to grab some kryptonite from Batman’s anti-Justice League suitcases. While Cyborg may believe the intruder is human, I am betting on the Martian Manhunter until evidence proves otherwise. Atom’s Ape-Orc battle looks pretty intense and playing till 10am helps me relate to her. I’m really enjoying how Geoff Johns has given her so much personality this quickly. The outside perspective of Firestorm talking to himself is a nice way to show how Atom sees him. Superman and Wonder Woman in Kahndaq puts the Justice League on course to collide with Shazam and Black Adam. The backup gives hints of Mary Marvel and shows the origin of Black Adam. I’m still very excited for the future of this book.

5/5

Wonder Woman #19

I loved the start of this series because of the Game of Thrones style conflict for Zeus’ abandoned throne. The downtime naming Zola’s baby has a nice line from Orion, but the mortal Hera and fatherly War don’t interest me. The kiss between Orion and Wonder Woman was a great scene for them and I hope Orion can cool off to return quickly. The manipulation of the First Born by Hades and Poseidon was what I’d been waiting for, but man that took a long time. Apollo and Moon make a great team. The art is alright, but I just keep waiting for Cliff Chiang to return.

4/5

Supergirl #19

Supergirl’s kryptonite poison is affecting Powergirl. Powergirl comes to resuce Supergirl leading to an amazing page of their shared history. I love the way they blend together. The fight with Appex was cool and I look forward to more Lex involvement. The Sanctuary attack doesn’t seem to make sense yet, but hopefully the cliffhanger is explained next issue. I love the art of Asrar. It might have made me mad that Powergirl gets her costume back in Supergirl instead of her own series, but I’m not reading Worlds’ Finest so I’ll survive.

4/5

Red Hood #19

The story gets off on the wrong foot with a reference to a book yet to be released to explain why Jason is leaving. The way most faces are drawn bothers me which isn’t helped by the frequent tight shots. The dinosaur fight was disappointing. Roy is never shown firing an arrow or reaching for a new arrow, but dinosaurs still fall over filled with arrows in the face. Also, I’m not familiar with Starfire shooting black beams. I liked how Roy had to fight his demons to rescue Jason, but the art will need to take a step up for me to enjoy the new direction.

3/5

Nightwing #19

Dick has moved out to Chicago to find Tony Zucco, but he’ll have a hard time operating as Nightwing because his new home is aggressively against all masked vigilantes. Dick contacts an information dealer and gambler, Johnny Spade, to get help finding Zucco. Spade is in the middle of a deal with Hutchinson and Mali where you discover that he doesn’t sell information, but instead he bets the information you want from him against something that he wants to know from you. He proposes trading information on Zucco for Nightwing’s name, but a helicopter full of police arrives to break up the meeting. Zucco is working for the Chicago mayor. The Prankster is introduced as a character that punishes evil people. This issue did a great job setting up the new status quo. I really enjoy the art and feel like the style is a nice match for the book’s tone.

5/5

Batwoman #19

Cam’s history as the daughter of a wannabe superhero fleshes out her character and motivation in joining the D.E.O. The effects of Kate’s life as Batwoman aren’t helping her romantic life with Mags being affected by a Scarecrow toxin. Katherine Kane demands that Jacob let her help and comfort Bette. The annotated fight scene was a cool idea, but it was too cluttered for me to get a flow of fight. I missed the tracker Bette placed on Kate initially, but I’ll be interested in where that leads. While Kate doesn’t want to work with Batman, she won’t give up his identity to Bones. His threats against her dad don’t have enough leverage, but he has an ace up his sleeve with the reveal of Beth. Trevor McCarthy’s art has been very nice considering the big shoes that he’s filling.

4/5

Catwoman #19

Steve Trevor and the JLA plan to have Catwoman taken to Arkham so that she can be recruited into the Society of Supervillains. The interactions between Catwoman and Arkham, who wants to cure her dual personality syndrome, were my favorite scenes in the issue. The diagnosis makes logical sense and nobody, including Catwoman, wants to hear they are crazy, she just has fun stealing. My biggest problem with the issue is how Vortex skips one night of pills and brings down the entire Asylum. Catwoman talked him into skipping the pills, but this was so crucial to the story that the conversation shouldn’t have happened between panels. Also, if skipping his pills will bring down the Asylum, there should be care taken to see he actually takes them, or maybe give the medicine through a shot or other method. The art wasn’t great, but it didn’t detract from the story for me.

3/5

DCU Presents #19

Beowulf spins out of the Sword of Sorcery backups to star in his own full issue. The Puca shape shifts into the forms of the Justice League expecting to be worshipped as a god. It pleads with Beowulf that they could rule the age of heroes, but Beowulf chops it in half. The scientist following Beowulf, Gwendolyn, sends him back where he came from, but she tags along to learn from the mistakes of his future.

4/5

Sword of Sorcery #7

Eclipso visits house Onyx where he gets his first batch of recruits, but Lady Akikra escapes. He then attacks house Diamond where the eldest son, Zushan, surrenders after Eclipso kills his father. Zushan tries to kill his brother, Hadran, but Lady Akikra arrives to save him. While this is happening Amaya and company learn the history of Elipso. House Amethyst is attacked with a huge battle coming next month. The art is awesome. I strongly dislike the Stalker backup.

4/5

Vibe #3

Waller is sending Vibe on a test run against Kid Flash to learn more about Vibe and the speed force. When they touch Vibe gets a glimpse of Kid Flash’s past, our future, seeing that he is from Earth and not another dimension. Waller observing his mission and having a psych file for his performance in morally trying circumstances is pretty great. The relationship between Cisco and Dante is a great and believable sibling relationship. The cliffhangers of Gypsy escaping along with the mystery arrival have me pumped for the next issue.

5/5

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Review from 4-10-13

Batman #19

The art of Greg Capullo is awesome and I’m happy he’ back, but the story isn’t holding its weight. Scott Snyder’s Batman has been great with long arcs, but this shorter story doesn’t give itself room to breathe. Clayface has evolved to copy another person’s DNA perfectly, but there isn’t any drama since he’s always impersonating the next person. While the meet up with Superman was hinted at briefly it is a weird backup story with a magic threat causing Superman to act like he’s never seen magic before even though he already knows it is a weakness. It could have been nice to see Clark comfort Bruce after Damian’s death, but this monster doesn’t do it for me.

3/5

Batman and Red Robin #19

In an unexpected turn the denial phase of Bruce’s grief leads him to kidnap Frankenstein to find out what makes him tick. While Red Robin makes an appearance as the title suggests, he only arrives in time to spoil the party. The dark tone goes well with Frank, especially before he is abducted and fighting some gross monsters. Carrie Kelly’s introduction is interesting, but there isn’t enough to get a feel for where her story is going. Given the arc she is being introduced in though she might help Bruce overcome his grief in a way the Bat family can’t.

4/5

Batgirl #19

First off, Alysia was a boring character before this issue and after that confession is still a boring character. Giving her(?) a label doesn’t make her an interesting character by itself. The characterization of James Jr. is conflicting and confuses his motivation. I do enjoy the art, but this story is not good.

2/5

Deathstroke #19

This issue has a lot of its backstory in Ravagers and Team 7, but there are quick recaps that helped me out since I’ve stopped reading those books. Some quick research shows that Slade’s family has appeared before in this volume, but it was when I wasn’t reading. I know their basic story and it looks like this is evil Jericho. I’m much less familiar with Majestic, but Superman clone looks to be enough to get by with this story. There doesn’t appear to be a reason that Majestic can instantly be controlled while Lynch, Rose, and Slade are immune. This issue sadly felt like a middle chapter where I didn’t get the introduction.

2/5

Demon Knights #19

Vandal Savage is prepared to attack a helpless Etrigan, but he is convinced to help because he will have a hard time indulging his desires in a world filled with vampires. Cain and his army attack the beach of Themyscira, but wait for night to fall before attacking the city giving the Demon Knights time to cross the ocean. Lucifer is impressed by Jason’s resolve to stay in Hell to punish Etrigan, but makes him restore Etrigan because of the threat of Cain whose vampire undead have no need for hell. The Amazons and Demon Knights defeat the vampire threat, but not before Ystin is bitten by Cain to fulfill a prophecy required to find the Holy Grail. Bernard Chang’s art is awesome and will be missed.

5/5

Constantine #2

After a kidnapping, John is faced with Mister E who demands the Needle John sacrificed Chris to retrieve. John loses the needle, but is able to get away to the temple where the dial is housed. The Spectre is waiting to judge John for the innocent lives he sacrificed instead of himself. John points out that nobody is doing a better job so the Spectre lets him continue the fight. I really enjoy the coloring in this issue as well as the unusual angles of the frames. The characterization of magic as an addictive drug that feels great while destroying Johns life is fascinating.

5/5

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Review from 4-3-13

Green Arrow #19

Magus is playing mind games with Oliver in Black Mesa and just like Oliver, I want answers. Aside from a break where Komodo’s daughter threatens Naomi the issue is a great extended fight scene. The two pages where Komodo tells Oliver how he killed his dad stands out as an amazing reveal that is given extra punch with the bold art. The color work is great in the way the helicopter spotlight and explosions light up scenes. While light on story this issue had great kinetic energy pushing through the entire fight.

5/5

Animal Man #19

Cliff’s funeral is very sad. The relationship between Socks and Maxine is a highlight of this series. Her room with all the stuffed animals is pretty great. Buddy’s anger with the Red was well deserved and I’m glad they severed his connection so the story can move forward. The art does an amazing job at capturing the pain of Buddy and Ellen.

5/5

Swamp Thing #19

With the Rot defeated Swampy has taken up his mission as avatar of the Green to maintain the Green’s balance no matter the consequences for people. With the death of his human body Swampy is having a hard time acknowledging that he is just a plant in the same way he used to be. Scarecrows break-in and their conversation that follows is entertaining especially as Scarecrow tries all his sprays while his mask slowly chokes him. The raging plant life in metropolis that starts when Swampy is incapacitated is interesting in its unknown origin. The way Superman watches as his city is attacked is a bit confusing. The new artist on the series isn’t as creative, but it is still very nice work with cool touches like the cactus as Swampy walks through the desert. I’m even more excited by the books change of pace from the Rot conflict and can’t wait to see where it goes.

5/5

Batwing #19

Most of this issue centers around David deciding that he wants to stop being Batwing and wrapping up his story. I follow the basics of the story, but I don’t know what David plans beyond becoming a vigilante no longer associated with Batman. The idea of Luke Fox, a genius cage fighter, as a new Batwing with a high tech suit sounds cool. Sadly this issue didn’t show how Luke’s adventure’s will feel, but I’ll give it one more shot to see where it is going.

3/5

Detective Comics #19

This is one monster sized issue with five different chapters. Of these chapters the Bane chapter sticks out like a sore thumb as a prologue for upcoming events in Talon which I dropped recently. The main feature plugs the events in other books, but those were single pages that at least attempted to be relevant to the story. I enjoy the way The 900 is a standalone story that is weaved into the ongoing arc. In Birth of a Family the Child Bats are super creepy and show that the doctor wasn’t the nicest guy before he transformed. The Birdwatching story with Mr. Combustible was fun but fairly predictable and made me very interested in what Ogilvy was doing at STAR Labs. Through a Blue Lens gave the interesting perspective of Gotham’s police force in a crisis. The divide between Bat lovers and haters is fascinating. Overall this was a fun issue with a cool story.

4/5

Action Comics #19

Clark and Lois have some great chemistry, but before anything can happen Superman has to go stop weapons smugglers. The giant mechs are cool and it helps that each uses unique weapons to fix up the fight. This was the general pitch from the ad that ran in every book before this released so while it was nice it wasn’t at all surprising. When the story shifted to Lex I was fascinated by the dynamic he had with the captive psychoanalyst Dr. Lagarde. The image of Lex in his best mad genius pose lit by a green glow really got me pumped for his plans to unfold. It is too bad that Andy Diggle left the series and I hope that Tony Daniel can capture Lex’s psychotic megalomaniac personality.

4/5

Earth2 #11

Jay Garrick may underestimate himself as his mother believes, but that doesn’t stop him from being a hero and inspiring others. The demon that guards the tower is probably the only thing not explained to death in this issue, but it’s drawn as a powerful threat that Jay might normally run away from, but instead he faces it down to give Khalid enough time to have a nice long conversation with Fate. The backstory of Wotan shows why it wants to destroy Fate, but more of its past lives would have been less boring than a static conversation with Ms. Garrick. The seeds that are planted for future worldwide conflict with Steppenwolf and Fury against Mr. Miracle and Big Barda sound pretty sweet. The art is still killing it.

4/5

Phantom Stranger #7

I find the first five pages of this comic to be almost unbearably boring, but after that struggle it’s an awesome issue. Jack Ryder is a cool character here and I didn’t even know he was ever anything more than a TV personality during my first read. The giant monster rampaging through Metropolis looks ridiculous in all the right ways so much so that I might check out Challengers of the Unknown if they fight monsters like that. The way Jack counts on the Stranger to save his life only to be let down felt more impactful than other betrayals of Raven and the Spectre. The cold way the Question orchestrates the backstabbing of the Stranger was great and I can’t wait to see more. The art in the series has taken a major leap up in quality. While I wanted to hate this issue at the start, there was a great turnaround to make this an awesome story.

5/5

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Review of March 2013

Best books of the month

There were 12 books that I gave a 5/5 this month; Animal Man, Swamp Thing, Green Arrow, Detective Comics, Deathstroke, Demon Knights, Justice League, Red Hood, Batwoman, Justice League of America, Constantine, and Justice League Dark. Half of these books weren’t on top last month. These are Animal Man, Swamp Thing, Deathstroke, Red Hood, Constantine, and Justice League Dark. I really love all of the Justice League books right now which makes me optimistic for the Trinity War since Geoff Johns and Jeff Lemire are firing on cylinders in the League titles.

Disappointing Books of the Month

Luckily I didn’t feel any book deserved a 1/5. Three books were given a 2/5; Birds of Prey, Phantom Stranger, and I, Vampire. The Question appears to be back next month in Phantom Stranger so I’ll give it another shot since he was a standout in earlier issues. Even though I really enjoy Amethyst I couldn’t attach myself to the characters in Birds of Prey in the same way so my run with Chrsty Marx will end with Sword of Sorcery #8. Next month is the last issue of I, Vampire and I still want to see how it ends despite the drop in quality. The world building has been the best part of Earth2, aside from the art, but right now too much space is focusing on explaining Dr. Fate’s origin. I liked the way Flash got his powers and could use them right away and Hawkgirl’s source of power has only been hinted at so much more. Wonder Woman needs a compelling villain, such as Apollo, to keep my attention. If Kenneth Rocafort is still off of Superman then I’ll wait for him to return.

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Review from 3-27-13

Justice League Dark #18

This issue ends the current death of magic arc with a great conclusion. After jumping from an exploding building Frank wrecks the Epoch soldier and his bike. I love the magic effects of Zatanna protecting Tim and Tim destroying the aircraft. The characterization of Tim as he loses his desire to fight when Zatanna leaves is believable. It makes sense that he wouldn’t have the bloodthirsty rage of the magical creatures he commands. Seeing all sides, it wasn’t a surprise that Jack Hunter was a mage, but the giant magic laser was still pretty epic. As the magical creatures bow before the Hunters it is clear that Jack will fit well as their leader. At the end when John accepts Steve’s threat I’d never been more excited for the future of this series.

5/5

I, Vampire #18

I agree with Constantine, it is a good time to bounce from this book. Tig turning into Lilith didn’t make sense, but Mary coming from…somewhere, is just confusing. I’d probably like the art more if I wasn’t comparing it to Sorrentino, but I am, so I want better.

2/5

Superman #18

This issue was broken into three different beats with two Superman stories and an Orion story that was pretty dumb to be labeled prologue and epilogue 2. Despite the label I liked how the Orion story gave him as much if not more characterization than his arc with Wonder Woman. The first Superman story is frustrating with the lack of diplomacy that Superman uses here. I enjoyed Cat’s proposal for clarkcatropolis a lot and hope she keeps up the work. The Hector Hammond reveal shouldn’t be labeled an epilogue, especially since the there is a second one. The separate nature of the short stories is frustrating and I hope they come together quickly.

3/5

Aquaman #18

Mera can’t catch a break. While Arthur is down in Atlantis she is getting arrested until a creepy old king demands to be taken to her home. I really enjoy the look of Atlantis so other underwater cities sound promising. Murk seems ready for treason and if Arthur can’t save Orm’s life Tula looks ready to join him. Vulko looks so sad in his chains, but he seems too clever to be without a plan. I really enjoy how well this issue sets up the new status quo in Atlantis, but Mera struggling alone with life on the surface is too boring.

4/5

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Review from 3-20-13

Constantine #1

Constantine is on his way home when a young magician, Chris, who can’t control his power, comes to him for help. Chris has a vision that locates three pieces of a magic compass that can locate other magic artifacts. Sargon the Sorceress of the Cult of the Cold Flame arrives and kills Chris while demanding the compass needle from John who is able to escape. I really enjoy the way this issue is able to clearly setup its purpose and get into some exciting action. The setup that John plans to keep others from getting too powerful by empowering himself is sounds like it will make for some great adventures. I think this rough Constantine fits his tone better than the cleaner look from JLD.

5/5

Justice League of America #2

The recruitment of Scarecrow into the super-villain society was enlightening. It is crazy how Waller demands her new Justice League goes through a trial by fire against an unknown enemy. The team meeting showed some cool character moments that are promising for this team going forward. Green Arrow really wants to be on a team to contribute for the greater good so I’m interested to see if he can get on the team. The robot trinity looks great. The Martian Manhunter backup is a cool way to spotlight his contributions. I really enjoy the art, but Catwoman’s cleavage is a bit silly. I’m excited for some fighting next issue.

5/5

Vibe #2

This issue reuses a lot of Vibe’s beats from the first two issue of JLA. I didn’t enjoy the negativity in the conversations between Vibe and his brother. The breacher was interesting, but a bit underdeveloped. I’m not sure if Gypsy is supposed to be an alien or from an alternate dimension. It is unfortunate that the tease of Darkseid’s daughter isn’t mentioned. A fight with Kid Flash sounds like it could be a fun issue. The art isn’t bad, but I don’t love it. I probably would like this issue more if I hadn’t just finished JLA.

3/5

Sword of Sorcery #6

Amaya finishes a day of training and takes an Amethyst back to storage where she meets Preet who has broken in to steal turquoises that can fuel his new power. She is able to convince him that he should stick around and consider being lord of house turquoise. Constantine meets with Eclipso and sends him on a one way trip to Nilaa by tricking Amy. As soon as he arrives, Eclipso starts killing. I like Eclipso’s connection to Nilaa and he feels like a much better villain here than his time in Team 7. The art is awesome. I hate the Stalker backup.

4/5

DCU Presents #18

After a quick recap of Kory’s childhood we learn that she is now on a gigantic slave ship. She is living in a village of peaceful slaves that have been able to avoid conflict, but Kory wants bring them along as she fights for her freedom. The contrast between Kory and the other slaves she lives is a nice way to highlight her refusal to stand down and accept her circumstances. The last page with Fangfeng from last month’s Arsenal issue was really confusing. Sword-fighting Kory is cool, but I loved her attack on the small slave ship.

4/5

Birds of Prey #18

Mr. Freeze interrogates a Talon with some backup, but he can’t get any information so he decides to attack the Talon who has joined the Birds of Prey. I enjoy Amethyst which is why I gave Christy Marx’s first issue on this title a chance, but I didn’t get excited about what was happening. It doesn’t help that they are about to cross over with Talon which I’ve decided to drop.

2/5

Batwoman #18

Kate and Bette attack Mr. Freeze so that Kate can get his tech for the DEO, but Bette doesn’t know that hidden motivation. Both girls have their own radio communication with Jacob for Bette and agent Chase for Kate. Batman arrives with suspicions that Batwoman is working for the DEO. It’s funny that agent Chase starts off the issue with a burn on Bette, but in her meeting with Bones she notes her rapid improvement. The confrontation between Jacob and his wife was amazing, and Maggie was great looking for a super home. The supporting characters are what make this book so amazing. Trevor McCarthy is the artist this arc and does a great job especially considering the size of the shoes he stepped into.

5/5

Nightwing #18

With everything taken from him followed by the death of a brother, Dick is having a really bad time. He moves forward without holding onto relics from his past. The dealer auction was pretty weird, but I liked that he didn’t need to save the costume. The twist with Tony Zucco is a great motivation to move to Chicago and sets up a promising arc.

4/5

Red Hood #18

As Jason heals, he fights the demons in his soul while Bruce waits by his side. Alfred is great and I love the way the flashbacks are placed behind Bruce waiting all night with Jason. The art is awesome. The connection between his training with the All-Caste and Batman gives awesome insight into Jason’s motivations.

5/5

Wonder Woman #18

I’m glad that Wonder Woman has finally gotten Zola’s baby back because I didn’t find Hermes believable as a villain. The first born is still too separated from Wonder Woman for my liking. I wish Cliff Chiang was the artist more often.

3/5

Supergirl #18

The most disappointing thing about this issue is the incorrect credits on the cover advertising the regular team when neither is in the book. The secret behind Lex’s ability to learn about what’s happening in the outside world is revealed to be a tech hub in his brain. This is pretty cool though I doubt it would require solar power, but I could see it needing to be outside to link up with some sort of satellite. Supergirl is still suffering from kryptonite poisoning and is captured by a group of soldiers. Karen is suffering from some link with Kara. The highlight of this issue is definitely Lex and his team that he meets in his hub.

4/5

Justice League #18

The Justice League is expanding with the help of Cyborg’s Grid. This Grid is a cool idea in its purpose and utility of filtering data based on super-humans. The meeting and conflict with Platinum showed nice insights to the different heroes relationship with the Justice League such as Black Lightning wanting to focus on the smaller scale issues at the school with Blue Devil. I’m really interested to find out who stole the Justice League data. My guess is Black Canary since she had a page to herself at the start, but wasn’t featured in the fight. The debut of the new Atom was pretty sweet after she had been helping for a while in the background. I’m glad the Shazam backup is ending soon. The story is cool, but it has been too long in chunks that are a bit small.

5/5

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Review from 3-13-13

Batman #18

After the death of Damian, Batman has been fighting bad guys without stopping to channel his sadness into anger. Harper comes back into the picture because she is scared that Batman is slipping. Harper’s father is a small time criminal that wasn’t there for the family when her mom died so Harper had to stay strong for her brother. Batman needs to stay strong in that same way for Gotham. The backup continues the story directly so the artist shift was jarring. I liked the Becky Cloonan Harper more than this issue’s.

4/5

Batgirl #18

The building Batgirl is in collapses and the surrounding people of Gotham go through the rubble to find her. After patching herself up she makes the decision to go after the cop killing Firebug before James Jr. who has been targeting their mother. The way James acts as an omniscient narrator has been very creepy these two issues and I hope that we learn how he knows exactly what Barbara is doing in her car. The way the last page subtly shows that James is across the street from Barbara is great.

4/5

Demon Knights #18

After years of torture and mind games at the hand of Vandal Savage, Jason has become irrational and pissed that Xanadue makes out with him as well as Etrigan. After Etrigan is summoned they catch them up on the vampire situation and hurry on to Themyscira. With the help of what is left of the shore guard they all take down a pack of vampires. Ex catches up with the other Amazons before Vandal Savage arrives ready for a fight. Cain and his army are sighted just off the shore ready to invade Themyscira. Jason’s visit to hell looks very promising.

5/5

Deathstroke #18

Tomo wants to lead his clan of ninja into the future of superheroes so he took the first step by roiding up and becoming a bit of a cyborg. Slade prides himself in that he never fails a contract because he has honor. The way he risks his life to seal a deal is a great way to show that he is more that an evil villain and build empathy. I really enjoy the creativity and energy that goes into crafting the fight scenes.

5/5

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Review from 3-6-13

Superman #17

This issue marks the conclusion for H’el on Earth, but it feels like there are still so many consequences that needs to be addressed. The Oracle that has slowly made its way towards Earth greets Superman with flashes of images from Krypton including the pods of Superman and Supergirl. As H’el chats with Supergirl, Superboy is able to channel his powers on part of H’els ship, but that was H’els plan so it sucks to be Superboy. Superman punches H’el so hard that Batman felt it in space. Supergirl has been the only character with a real arc throughout this entire crossover. After learning about the consequences of H’els plan she realizes that you can’t risk the lives of an entire planet on a prayer. With a piece on kryptonite she is able to shank H’els heart. H’el couldn’t be stopped by Earth shaking punches, but he was blinded by love for Kara just like she was blinded by hope that Krypton could be saved. With the epilogue showing H’el traveling back in time I was left wondering what had just happened instead of excited to see what happens next. I’m still a huge fan of Kenneth Rocafort’s art.

3/5

Phantom Stranger #6

After a promising issue with the Question and Spectre a boring detour to Las Vegas stopped all the momentum in its tracks. The Stranger talks with Trigon’s sons about Raven, the Stranger’s family, and other stuff. The issue was basically just one long conversation that I couldn’t stand to read twice. It turns out Deadman was there as a ghost lie detector, but he doesn’t add any fun. The art was pretty good, but when you’re just drawing people playing cards it’s hard to make it engaging.

2/5

Earth2 #10

Wotan and Khalid take turns talking about Nabu’s helmet until Wotan sends them into the Tower of Fate. It was cool to see Jay defending his mom, but the start was really slow to get going. Alan fights Chinese gangsters who might have been behind Sam’s death. Hawkgirl seems to spend her spare time fighting leftover parademons. In the tower Jay and Khalid find an imaginatively named Great Beast. The pacing might have been better if they fought the beast before walking and talking around the tower. The art is fantastic and I enjoyed the short prologue of Kendra and Khalid in Egypt.

3/5

Detective Comics #18

After the events at Arkham, Batman is getting the inmates under control and Penguin walks away since blame couldn’t stick on him. Ogilvy keeps his cool while Penguin starts to freak out as he realizes that he is losing everything he cares about. Batman interrupts the party as Penguin starts shooting up his own casino. Like other famous organized crime bosses major crimes won’t stick on Penguin, but Batman caught him accessing a secret weapon store on tape.

With the commotion at Arkham, Zsasz was able to escape. Ogilvy was able to direct Zsasz’s killing spree by promising revenge against the Joker. The ending reveal is very exciting. The art was great and I really love the way the backups are used to add to the story.

5/5

Green Arrow #18

Oliver’s new foe, Komodo, gets some spotlight showing off his corporate takeover of Queen Industries along with a look at his bloodthirsty daughter. Jax and Naomi, the supporting characters who appeared to die last issue, are being held by Komodo, but he only needs one alive to track Oliver so Jax bites the arrow. Oliver doesn’t want to be saved by his new JLA team, but he doesn’t mind revealing his identity to a former employee named Fyff when he still needs backup. In a secret room off of Emerson’s office, Oliver learns that the Island connects his father, Emerson, and apparently Komodo. The falling cliff hanger isn’t exciting since the entire issue is a flashback from Black Mesa. I love the art of Andrea Sorrentino on this series with the helicopter in the window really standing out near the end of this issue. Last month he colored his own art very well, but with Marcelo Maiolo coming on it has leaped to another level. I really enjoy Komodo’s red against Oliver’s green, especially when he is shooting green targets in his meeting

5/5.

Swamp Thing #18

This is a beautiful end to the run of Scott Snyder and Yanick Paquette. Swampy has to kill Abby to take away Anton’s power as Rot avatar. The scene as Abby dies, with her white flowers and the pain on Swampy’s face, is beautiful and sad at the same time. Instead of hulking out like Anton, Abby’s Rot power allows her to shoot some devastating energy beams. When Abby brings their bodies to bury in the swamp and they embrace in fire it was beautiful. Just in case I wasn’t clear, this issue is beautiful.

5/5

Animal Man #18

Buddy gets spit out of the Rot and immediately starts tracking his family down to save them. Maxine is about to sacrifice herself to the hunters when Buddy arrives to save the day. Maxine is an amazing little girl. As soon as she sees her dad she gives the hunter a huge Red slap to stun him. When William manipulates the Rot in Ellen, Maxine punches his lights out with a satisfying THWACK. After Maxine removes the Rot infecting Socks he teachers her to use that technique to eliminate the Hunters. This is easily a top scene in the series as Maxine controls her power enough to destroy bring back the humans who had been the hunters. I love the concentration on her face and the pure red eyes. Her jacket is alright, but I agree that she should get an Animal Girl costume. The apparent death of Cliff is a real punch in the gut. Maxine may be exhausted from her battle with the hunters, but I’ll hold out hope that she’ll be able to save Cliff. The art was awesome, especially when Maxine destroys the rot, but I hope we go an arc or three without any more rot monsters with Abby on her throne.

5/5

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