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Booster Gold #21 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Booster Gold
Story:
3.5/5
Art:
4/5

Blue Beetle

Story (Blue Beetle): 3.5/5
Art (Blue Beetle): 3.5/5

Overall: 4/5

Red Robin #1 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Story: 3.5/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

Batman #687 [Review]

A Battle Within: an epilogue to Battle for the Cowl

Writer: Judd Winick
Penciller: Ed Benes
Inker: Rob Hunter
Colors: Ian Hannin & JD Smith
Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher
Assistant Editor: Janelle Siegel
Editor: Mike Marts
Cover: Tony Daniel, Sandu Florea (variant by JG Jones)
Publisher: DC Comics

Though this issue boasts the Batman: Reborn banner at the top of its cover, it actually ought to be labelled with the Battle for the Cowl logo, the word “epilogue” clearly spelled out beneath. Though this issue takes place after the events of the Battle for the Cowl mini, it’s not all that firmly set into the territory of this new Batman: Reborn “era.”

We open on a flashback of Bruce and Dick, then move into Dick and Damian, juxtaposing the two relationships. We also see Alfred reacting to changes, as well as Dick and Tim having words over Damian’s new role as Robin (reminds me just a bit of things during the early issues of KnightQuest: The Crusade back in 1993). We also get to see Dick in action, having accepted the need for a Batman while still struggling to embrace the cowl. Damian shows his brashness, and Dick–as Batman–reveals himself to the city as he shows up to face the Scarecrow.

The story is fairly straightforward. It’s not all that moving exactly–I definitely wish that Final Crisis had not had the epilogue it did–better to have been left guessing at the truly definitively final fat of Bruce to make this stuff more moving and impactful. It is nice, however, to see some of these moments happening given how entirely RUSHED the ending of Battle for the Cowl felt.

The art’s quite high-end…it’s good to get Benes’ art again on something I’m reading; I’ve enjoyed his work pretty much since I first started recognizing it in particular.

As an epilogue story, this will probably be more enjoyable/fitting for longer-time readers (particularly those who followed the Battle for the Cowl stuff in any form). The next issue I believe will kick off the action within the new status quo, and so will probably be a better jumping-on point for new readers.

Not a bad issue, but nothing to get terribly excited over.

Story: 7.5/10
Art: 8.5/10
Whole: 8/10

The Flash: Rebirth #3 [Review]

Rearview Mirrors

Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Ethan Van Sciver
Colorist: Brian Miller
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Assistant Editor: Chris Conroy
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Cover: Ethan Van Sciver, Alex Sinclair (variant by Van Sciver & Brian Miller)
Publisher: DC Comics

The “Rebirth” bit is losing its shine with me here. While expectations have been that the trumpeted return of Barry Allen is the focus of this series–that he’d be restored as Hal Jordan was to Green Lantern in that title’s “Rebirth” mini–my expectations are steadily dropping.

This issue sees reaction to Barry apparently interacting with the speed force in such a way that others tapping into it are dying as his body seeks more and more speed power, in an almost vampiric sorta way. While everyone else hustles to figure a way to separate Barry from the speed force–sure, he’d lose the speed, but at least he’d be ALIVE–Barry determines to go his on sacrificial course…one that puts him back in the familiar role of essentially racing Superman. The issue’s ending puts Barry face to face with who the villain of the piece likely is, in a way that also reminds me very much of the Green Lantern: Rebirth series.

The story, somehow–perhaps I just don’t want to like it–seems one of the weakest I can think of from Johns. While I’d known Kyle as Green Lantern longer than Hal, I’d still known Hal as Green Lantern first. However, the first real exposure I had to the Flash, it was Wally–and in restrospect, had BEEN Wally for bout 3 years before I owned my first comic. While the situation presented in this story is mildly interesting, I do not find Barry himself interesting…certainly not the way I did Hal. And I make the comparisons given the creative team and the title of this series–obviously meant to BE compared to GL:R.

The art by Van Sciver–ESPECIALLY the cover–is top-notch; I really can’t complain about it. Much as Van Sciver brought in the glowing/projected imagery for the GLs of the Lantern logo, he brings that to bear on the Flash with the lightning. Not that it’s original, but something about it really pops.

As a whole, this is a higher quality book than the first couple issues of the post-Bart-as-Flash title that I actually read. It’s not bad for those new to the Flash family of characters (I am myself learning more of the character grouping than I’d known of them prior), so overall accessible to new readers. It’s just lacking a certain excitement and enjoyment factor. With Green Lantern, it felt like the return/rebirth of Hal Jordan mattered. With Barry…it feels like we’re looking for a reason FOR his return to matter.

Story: 7/10
Art: 9/10
Whole: 8/10

Action Comics #878 [Review]

The Sleepers Part 4

Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Diego Olmos
Colorist: Rod Reis
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Asst. Editor: Wil Moss
Editor: Matt Idelson
Cover: Andrew Robinson
Publisher: DC Comics

This issue finds a couple of the “Sleepers” (the ones Nightwing and Flamebird are after) house-jacking (cuz hey, they’re Kryptonian and powerful…so let’s go that step above and beyond car-jacking). Lois and Thara talk a bit as Thara explains a bit about her relationship with Chris (K’riss to her). General Lane reacts to recent goings-on and continues to show questionable judgement. Nightwing and Flamebird find themselves back in action (no pun intended) and before long come across an ambush that may or may not pose a significant threat to them.

This issue continues to hold plenty of promise, though the execution is definitely flawed. I’m not all that engaged with the characters, nor do I particularly like them. The abnormally-fast-aging thing with Chris isn’t all that original to me (and I enjoyed the dynamic of him being a much younger child in Clark/Lois’ life, but as a semi-adult super-being…he’s just not that interesting). The story is decent, but not wonderful.

The art’s also in the good-but-not-spectacular sorta category. It fits the story and conveys what needs to be gotten across.

This remains an ok title, and mostly lives up to its name. It’s just not the most engaging, enjoyable thing you’ll find out there these days.

Story: 7/10
Art: 6.5/10
Whole: 7/10

Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! #5 [Review]

Mr. WHo? Mr. Atom!

Written By: Art Baltazar & Franco
Drawn By: Byron Vaughns
Inks: Ken Branch
Colors: David Tanguay
Letters: [no credit given]
Asst. Editor: Simona Martore
Editor: Dan Didio
Cover: Mike Kunkel
Publisher: Johnny DC (DC Comics)

This issue, just by not being by Kunkel seems to lose some of its magic. It’s still a solid, fun issue…but for one thing, it felt like I just sped right throughout in about half the time it’s taken on previous issues. While I don’t have the prior issues onhand for immediate comparison, I think a large difference is in panel size and action–the panels seem larger than I remembered for this series, and far more open with less action…almost as if the previous issues were super-compressed compared to this issue’s “standard” sort of appearance.

Billy and Mary battle a giant robot. That’s really the main plot here. Familiar elements are present–the kids’ living situation, Billy’s job, etc. The story’s fairly simple without being overly simplistic. The visual tone remains kid-friendly (as it should, given it’s part of the kids’ line). The art is also quite reminiscent of Kunkel’s…while the interior is not Kunkel’s, it does not seem all that far off from Kunkel’s cover image.

If you’ve enjoyed this book thus far, this issue is a bit of a step down from what it was…but it’s still a good book, and much more enjoyable than a lot of fare out there. With Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade done with, I daresay this is my favorite of the Johnny-DC line. We do have a “To Be Continued” on this issue…but it seems more one of those ominous “Not the End” types, not so much a “the-hero’s-in-danger” cliffhanger. As such…this makes for a fine one-off issue….from introducing the main characters and their status quo, introducing the threat, dealing with the threat, and winding down on the action, you needn’t have read prior issues to enjoy this, nor does it make one anxious for the next issue.

Recommended.

Story: 7.5/10
Art: 7.5/10
Whole: 7.5/10

Green Lantern Corps #37 [Review]

Emerald Eclipse part five

Story & Words: Peter J. Tomasi
Penciller: Patrick Gleason
Inkers: Rebecca Buchman & Tom Nguyen
Colorists: Randy Mayor & Gabe Eltaeb
Letterer: Steve Wands
Editor: Adam Schlagman
Cover: Gleason, Buchman & Mayor
Publisher: DC Comics

Sodam Yat uses his Ion powers to transform Daxam’s sun into a yellow sun, thus granting all the Daxamites super-powers so that they can fight back against their oppressors. Meanwhile on Oa, the Lanterns continue battling the excaped sciencell prisoners, with some fairly unlikely alliances forged in the midst of battle. Finally, Scar throws off pretense and sets into motion what she’s been building toward for awhile now.

All in all, a decent issue story-wise. It’s cool to see what the GLs are doing all over the place and not just one or two specific GLs on a single planet. We get to see Yat continue to do spectacular things worthy of the tremendous power he harbors..and the fact of his doing it fits perfectly with a cosmic-level book such as this. Seeing things deteriorate on Oa adds a bit of desperation to things–again giving cause to wonder how the GLs are going to fare against the Black Lanterns soon to rise if they’re having this much trouble now without the Black Lanterns invading/attacking.

As usual–such that I feel completely repetetive even talking of it–the art is not at all to my tastes, and is a serious detraction to the book. I’m sure the style has its place, but for this reader at least, its place is not this book.

Given the story elements, I do recommend this issue for those already following the book and/or following everything related to Blackest Night. It’s not a great jumping-on point in and of itself, though if one wants to jump in amidst the ongoing action, this isn’t a horrible point to do so, either. Still…let’s just get to the “main event,” now, can we? I’m almost ready to just dive on in, and let a “flashback story” fill the gap later.

Story: 7.5/10
Art: 6/10
Whole: 6.5/10

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