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Wonder Woman #27 [Review]

Rise of the Olympian part 2: A Sense of Loss

Writer: Gail Simone
Penciller: Aron Lopresti
Inker: Matt Ryan
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Associate Editor: Sean Ryan
Editor: Matt Idelson
Cover: Aaron Lopresti & Hi-Fi (variant by Frank Quiety [sic])
Publisher: DC Comics

This issue opens on Donna Troy communicating with Wonder Girl about what she’s likely to find as she heads toward the scene of destruction Wonder Woman was last seen at. Warning Cassie about the need to mourn AFTER what needs done is done, we see the girl’s reaction as Donna continues toward her destination…where Wonder Woman is alive, but horribly beaten, anxious as her lasso’s been taken from her. We see others’ reaction to events, even as the creature that did this to Wonder Woman returns to the Secret Society [of Supervillains?] HQ. The creature is known as Genocide, and insists the lasso be made a part of it. Meanwhile, Zeus calls some of his people “home,” while Genocide faces the Justice League.

All told, I have no real problem with any of the art in this issue. In fact, it’s really quite good on the whole. There’s a slight bit of “shiny-ness” to certain parts that seem to me would probably work better without coming across that way–but then, I’m not the artist, and I assume there’s supposed to be something there that would reflect light that way. The characters are distinct and recognizeable, and you could do so much worse!

The story here is what surprises me. I can’t really put my finger on what it is exactly, only its effect: I’m actually interested in a Wonder Woman story. I was interested in the concept of a new character that was to be “Wonder Woman’s ‘Doomsday,'” and when I discovered I’d actually missed the first chapter, made a point of snagging issue 26 along with this one. For the first time in several years–moreso than merely enjoying an issue, I’m interested/engaged enough that I wish the next issue would be due out this coming week! Simone seems to have a good handle on this character and her supporting cast (and I’ll admit I think it’s cool that a woman is writing the character).

I’m unsure as to who the Olympian in the story’s title is–Diana? Genocide? Someone else?–but to be honest, that doesn’t bother me at all. If you’re not already picking this book up, and you can locate the first issue of the arc, this is a decent point to jump in.

Recommended–at least consider the collected volume if you’re not interested in the singles.

Story: 8.5/10
Art: 7/10
Whole: 8/10

Batman #683 [Review]

Batman: What the Butler Saw

Writer: Grant Morrison
Penciller: Lee Garbett
Inker: Trevor Scott
Colorist: Guy Major
Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher
Asst. Editor: Janelle Siegel
Editor: Mike Marts
Cover: Alex Ross (variant by Tony Daniel)
Publisher: DC Comics

DC could really benefit from a “previously” page. I know I say that quite a bit, but it’s something that–especially in the contemporary written-for-the-collection environment–just seems so very practical that I still don’t quite “get” why they haven’t followed Marvel’s example in this.

This issue resumes the journey to certain points throughout the history of Batman as the imprisoned Batman struggles against his Apokaliptian foes. As the struggle climaxes, we see what’s been happening in this post-RIP story–and also get clarification as to what DID happen at the end of RIP.

While I’m not that familiar with Garbett’s art–nor is he Tony Daniel–the art works here, and being the same as the previous issue feels less a departure than continuation with the “new” or “different” art team’s style. This isn’t the greatest art I’ve ever seen, but it is far better than a lot of what can be found in certain other comics.

Having had a couple weeks to cool after the disappointment of RIP’s conclusion, this feels slightly less the trainwreck I declared the previous issue, though this issue holds a similar disappointment as we now have to follow Batman into Final Crisis for his story (and presumably for whatever has led to the RIP arcs in Robin and Nightwing as well as the upcoming Battle for the Cowl and whatnot).

The writing is also slightly less frustrating here–where the previous issue was choppy and lacked context, this issue actually reveals what is going on, which provides perfect context for the choppiness, and shows that Morrison is perfectly able to deliver short stories with payoff instead of dragging stuff across numerous issues.

I wouldn’t recommend this as a jump-on point, though if you’re following Final Crisis and want more of what happen(s/ed) to Batman after that early issue he was taken off the board in, this arc’s for you–it is, after all, marked with “Final Crisis” on its cover.

The cover is another fine image from Alex Ross…and another that I feel is quite poster-worthy.

Story: 7/10
Art: 7/10
Whole: 7/10

Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! [Review]

Words, Pics, Heart: Mike Kunkel
Letters: Steve Wands
Assoc. Editor: Adam Schlagman
Editor: Jann Jones
Cover: Mike Kunkel
Publisher: Johnny DC (DC Comics)

This issue picks up with Billy–as Captain Marvel–sitting around ready to play hookey from school. Mary convinces him to go in due to identy and detention issues. While serving detention, Billy helps some other kids stuck in detention before Theo Adam strikes, still seeking the magic word to transform himself back into Black Adam. As a dangerous schoolyard-bullying act plays out, Mary innocently slips, and we’re reintroduced to Captain Marvel’s nemesis, Black Adam.

The story here is at once fairly complex and yet quite simplistic. In other words, kids or adults ought to be able to enjoy this…better yet, adults oughtta be able to enjoy sharing this reading experience with their kid(s).

The art has a simplistic style to it while conveying a good deal of emotion–and motion. Visually and story-wise, this feels like it ought to be serving as the comic-book counterpart to an animated series. And while I never really cared for the anime-styled Teen Titans show, a Shazam/Captain Marvel animated series would thrill be quite a bit.

This is definitely a good series for the younger crowd, yet should be fairly enjoyable to older readers. I’m actually enjoying this book more than many other “regular” DC titles these days. And in this day ‘n age, you simply cannot beat the price, either!

We do get a “to be continued” on this issue, but on the whole it’s quite a good read, with plenty of dialogue TO read and numerous panels per page rather than constant splash pages and few panels per page.

Taken seperately I my not generally like the story or art as much…but taken on the whole, I really enjoy this. The book is more than its individual parts. Very much recommended!

Story: 8/10
Art: 8/10
Whole: 8.5/10

Spawn #187 [Review]

Endgame part three

Writers: Todd McFarlane, Brian Holguin
Pencils: Whilce Portacio
Digital Inks: Todd McFarlane
Color: Jin Han
Lettering: Tom Orzechowski
Editor: Todd McFarlane
Cover Artists: Whilce Portacio, Jin Han
Publisher: Image Comics

This sets a new record for me, as the first time I have ever bought three consecutive issues of this title. While the previous couple issues weren’t bad despite my lack of context and knowing who characters are (helped by recognizing the Clown/Violator character), it’s starting to wear a bit thin with this third issue of the arc.

The issue opens on a reporter pressing his boss’s buttons as he seeks a promotion; we then see that patient that woke upon Al Simmons’ death terrorized by a super-powered/supernatural bounty hunter…as outside people speculate what the green flash was that was seen as others wonder if explosions in the hospital are terrorist-related.

The story–as said–is starting to wear a bit thin…I’m not a huge fan of long periods reading a comic without knowing/recalling characters’ names. I do hope there’s more development soon that draws me in, as this issue feels the weakest of these three that I’ve read this time checking in on the title.

Visually, nothing all that new to say–the style works well with the narrative, having a linework that fits the supernatural nature of parts of the story without losing its “grittiness.”

All in all a decent issue–I’ll give a couple more before I drop this again, as I’m interested conceptually at where this title can go and how a new Spawn might emerge from all this.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t feel quite strong enough to justify recommending staying on-board/jumping in if you’re not otherwise interested. If the story’s not grabbing you, no need to bother here; if it’s got your interest, this issue does keep things moving forward somewhat, just not in leaps and bounds.

Story: 7/10
Art: 8/10
Whole: 7.5/10

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