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General Mills Presents: Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice #3 [Review]

generalmillspresents_batmanvsuperman0003Picture Proof

Writer: Marguerite Bennett
Artist: Marcus To
Colorist: Irma Kniivila
Letterer: Deron Bennett
Cover Artists: Gary Frank and Rod Reis
Assistant Editor: Brittany Holzherr
Editor: Alex Antone
Art Director: Larry Berry
Cover Date: N/A (found in cereal boxes in March 2016)
Cover Price: Free

While it’ll probably bite me on the next issue, I enjoyed this issue more than the previous two, suggesting that each issue is better than the previous. Whether that’s relational or incidental, I’m not sure…but it works for me!

This issue shows us Emily, a young student who happens to witness Batman in action, stopping some thieves and stolen discs…though her friends at school don’t believe her. “Pictures or it didn’t happen!” and all that. Having noticed a disc that fell to the side, she returns to the scene later, anticipating Batman would as well (a bit convenient) and sure enough, he does…and this time she gets a photo of him. When she’s at school again, she continues to be teased for believing in this bat-man…and later at home wonders to herself why she didn’t just show the photo. Seeing a distinctive shadow, she finds that Batman’s shown up to pay a visit–letting her know that he knows about the photo, but that he’s not going to take it from her…he trusts her (to do the right thing). And she does–she realizes that part of the effectiveness of Batman is criminals not believing he’s truly human. She tears up the photo, opting to let Batman remain a legend rather than drag him into reality.

By comparison to the first two issues of this General Mills Presents series, this is a fantastic issue and I thoroughly enjoyed it. That the main protagonist is likely a quarter-century my junior does not stand out to me as much here as in the prior issues. This one struck me very much as something that would work as an episode of the 1990s Batman: The Animated Series, reminding me a lot of the “I’ve Got Batman in My Basement” episode from that series. Something about that makes this more believable to me, even though we don’t get any kind of internal dialogue from Batman (and that’s something I only just noticed with this issue: none of these are from Superman or Batman’s point of view…they’re all from a kid’s point of view, likely to identify more with the reading audience of the issues!)

I’m not particularly familiar with Marguerite Bennett offhand by name…her name looks familiar to me, but that doesn’t mean an accurate memory on my part, and I’m also unfamiliar with Marcus To and Irma Kniivila. In some ways, I think that’s to the benefit of this issue…I wasn’t trying to be familiar with other work, had no prior expectations to set me up for disappointment, and thus it allowed me to read this the way I ORIGINALLY read comics when I was first introduced to them: by character/what’s on the page, and no real notion of the people who actually wrote or drew or otherwise were part of the creation of a given issue.

As said, this story reminded me of that BTAS episode, and works very well for me as a one-off story. It’s not beholden to anything…not continued from or continued into anything else (even prior issues of this mini-series), and though 20 pages is far too short a span to really get to know any of the characters, there’s just enough there to appreciate Emily’s plight, to identify with her and her friends, and to hint at the benevolence of Batman (he seeks to inspire fear in criminals, not random children). There’s a lot to be pulled “between the panels” in analyzing the issue, but ultimately, I simply ENJOYED reading this, and in the end, that’s what reading a comic’s supposed to be about.

I was neither impressed nor disappointed in the art…but it definitely lands on the higher side than low, for me. From the narration boxes to flying through several pages pretty quickly, this had a definite visual “feel” of a modern comic, and I definitely liked that the Batman we see here looks a lot more like what I’d expect of a comic book Batman than it did some “adaptation” of a live action version.

Of the three issues in this series that I’ve read so far, this is my favorite, and certainly worth checking out if you get a chance (without spending much or going significantly out of your way in order to do so).

Red Robin #9 [Review]

Quick Rating: Solid
Story Title: Collision (part one of four)

Beginning with apprehending a Killer Moth, Tim reacquaints himself with Gotham before retribution from Ra’s al Ghul begins…

redrobin009 Writer: Christopher Yost
Penciller: Marcus To
Inker: Ray McCarthy
Colorist: Guy Major
Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Assistant Editor: Janelle Siegel
Editor: Mike Marts
Cover: To & McCarthy
Published by: DC Comics

I’ve long been a fan of Tim Drake, and until the One Year Later break and price hike several years ago had followed the character since long before he even had his own series. And though I read a handful of issues toward the end of that series, and the previous 8 in this series…Red Robin #9 is maybe the first issue that has felt like there’s still that same character to be read that was in Robin.

We begin a new 4-parter in this issue. Tim reacquaints himself with Gotham, takes down someone in a Firefly costume (as the costume and person behind the name changes so much), has a moment with Connor (Superboy), catches up with new love-interest Tam Fox, and we see Vicki Vale prying into "Bruce"’s life. When Ra’s al Ghul ruins Tim’s good moment, Tim puts everything else aside to turn for help–pride be darned–and finds someone in the Batcave he had not at all expected.

The art for the issue’s good…my main complaint is that I still don’t like the Red Robin cowl–but I do like the way Tim himself is depicted. The visuals actually look like I’d expect for a comic, which is a definite plus; nothing that’ll blow one away with awesomeness, but significantly better than a lot of art in comics out there.

The story is decent–something about it leaves me wondering how firm a direction there is for this book. In a way, we have Tim–less than a year in–feeling much like the star of the 180-some issue Robin series, and quite unlike the dark, brooding character that began this current Red Robin series…almost like the primary difference is the costume instead of an attitude or specific story/character direction.

At the same time, it’s refreshing to see that a story doesn’t have to be exactly stretched or compressed to six issues for a "graphic novel" collected format–four-parters are ok, too. What’s rather frustrating, is that the four-parter this issue begins appears to continue directly into Batgirl #8…which is, for me, an entirely unplanned-for purchase, to say nothing of the fact that Batgirl #7 isn’t even out yet, I’m told. The cover has zero indication of any crossover…just a fairly "generic" or "iconic" shot of Red Robin, where I would expect a story continuing into another title would have something on the cover to indicate the crossover.

While one would not have the context of the "Eurotrip" and the setup of things from Tim getting on the bad side of Ra’s al Ghul and his League of Assassins, this isn’t the most horrible point to jump on the title. Still, the issue’s fairly standard, and not much here to truly draw someone in outta nowhere if they’ve not already been "on the fence."

Ratings:

Story: 3/5
Art: 3.5/5
Overall: 3/5

Red Robin #9 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Story: 3/5
Art: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

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