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Faces of Evil: Deathstroke #1 [Review]

Quick Rating: Very Good
Story Title: Faces of Evil: Deathstroke

After suffering a humiliating defeat, Deathstroke takes stock of his life and makes plans for moving forward.

facesofevildeathstroke001 Writer: David Hine
Penciller: Georges Jeanty
Inker: Mark McKenna
Colorist: Jo Smith
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Assistant Editor: Janelle Siegel
Editor: Michael Marts
Cover: Ladronn
Publisher: DC Comics

Last I recall seeing Deathstroke was in the Last Will and Testament special last Fall, when Deathstroke was defeated in combat by Geoforce. After that humiliating defeat, Deathstroke has had some time to recover, and to take stock of his life. This issue opens with him in the hospital–where those attending to him marvel at his very survival. Once he’s awake, Deathstroke arranges a meeting with his daughter, and the two deal with "family issues" they have with one another. Finally, we see Deathstroke beginning to set up what may be his new status quo.

Hine seems to get this character quite well. The story here is believeable and well within what I’d expect of the character despite my limited exposure to him. We have a man who’s been pushed to his limit and forced to reassess what he is going to do with his life. We get to see him contemplative and in action, see what makes him very dangerous.

The art is solid, too. No complaints here–everything’s nice and clear, with no problems following the action. There’s a slight change in the coloring for a flashback scene that sets that sequence apart from the rest of the issue–gives it a bit of a surreal effect without going hokey or cheesey on us.

Next to Meltzer‘s writing of this character in Identity Crisis and Last Will, this has to be the best depiction I’ve seen of Deathstroke. This issue is–at standard cover price, even!–well worth snagging if you’ve any interest in Deathstroke. And if you’ve never dealt with the character before, you could probably still quite enjoy this issue, as it deals with the here-and-now of the title character as he prepares for what he is going to do moving forward from here.

Ratings:

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

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Battle for the Cowl: Commissioner Gordon #1 [Review]

A Cold Day in Hell

Written by: Royal McGraw
Art by: Tom Mandrake
Colors by: Guy Major
Letters by: Sal Cipriano
Asst. Edited by: Harvey Richards
Edited by: Michael Siglain
Cover: Ladronn
Publisher: DC Comics

I came on way late with GOtham Central back in the day, though after reading the first hardcover realized it should have been tops on my list years earlier. Given the nature of that title, I had high hopes for this issue…hopes that weren’t entirely realized, but not really dashed, either.

We begin with Gordon prisoner of one of Batman’s foes, before flashing back a bit to show us how it is that he came to be in this position. It’s not long before Gordonrealizes that his confrontation with this foe comes down to just them–Batman’s “dead,” after all–and we see James Gordon the cop here, not just a figure calling in Batman with a spotlight on top of a building.

The story’s fairly straightforward here; nothing spectacular. But we do get a look at Gordon and how the GCPD is faring without Batman in town. This doesn’t strike me as a definitive Gordon story–but it’s nothing that seems to really counter anything that’s come before. In fact, it seems to affirm many of the elements of the Batman “universe” I enjoy.

The art’s pretty good, and fits the story. I particularly liked that it managed to in a few particular panels take my mind exactly where I think it was supposed to, invoking other comics and even the Batman animated series from the 1990s (a series that absolutely cannot be ignored in the staging of this issue).

All in all, this was a solid issue, but not really integral to anything. It’s a nice look at supporting elements, but it doesn’t seem likely to inform events of the core mini. Well worth it if you’re a fan of the character or want to see the wider scope of the Batman/Gotham “universe” but not something you’d need if you’re just along for the core Battle for the Cowl series.

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

Faces of Evil: Deathstroke #1 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Action Comics #873 [Review]

New Krypton part ten: Birth of a Nation

Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Pete Woods, Renato Guedes & Wilson Magalhaes
Colorist: Brad Anderson & David Curiel
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Asst. Editor: Wil Moss
Editor: Matt Idelson
Cover: Ladronn
Publisher: DC Comics

New Krypton the crossover/mega-arc concludes here, but the story is far from over.

The issue opens with the world reacting to Supergirl’s punch at Superman in the previous chapter, with General Lane and Luthor politicking over Doomsday’s for-now dead body. Some Kandorians are fighting the Justice Society and Green Lanterns (with a few other heroes), before a Superman Returns style solution is implemented that then takes on a Counter-Earth feel. We’re then treated to several prologue scenes to close out the issue.

The art on this issue isn’t bad, but for the most part is not all that appealing to me. It gets across what’s going on visually, but leaves me missing Gary Frank’s art, particularly at the way Superman himself looks.

The story is a definite let-down. While this is supposedly the “conclusion” to this epic, I’m left at the end feeling like we’ve had a whole bunch of filler leading to this issue, just to kick off some outside mini-series. There’s been a lot of potential built up that doesn’t get resolved and seems to fizzle out, and just results in a hearty disappointment. As a Faces of Evil issue, supposedly we get a story from Luthor’s point of view. However, Luthor is really only on the first two pages as a pawn to General Lane. This isn’t the writer’s fault–this issue has no business being included in the Faces of Evil stunt.

All in all, what began as a very interesting premise with loads of potential comes down to this issue and a completely anti-climactic conclusion. Recommended only if you’ve been following the story thus far; otherwise, you’ll be just as well served finding spoilers online and spending your money elsewhere. If you want a story from Luthor’s point of view and how he interacts with Superman, I’ll recommend the Lex Luthor: Man of Steel mini-series from several years back.

Story: 7/10
Art: 6/10
Whole: 6.5/10

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