Skitch’s Mini Reviews – Week of November 2, 2011
by Michael "Skitch" Maillaro on November 9, 2011

So, what did Skitch read this week? Here goes:

Detective Comics #3: This Dollmaker arc is stretching a little long, but I still think it’s been a really solid story so far. Yeah, yeah, Batman is far better, but to be fair, Batman is one of the best books DC is putting out right now. Tec continues to feature solid storytelling, lots of surprise twists, and a new villain that I really want to know more about. I just hope that for a change DC manages to keep a new Bat-villain around and relevant. Too often, DC seems to fall back to the classic villains and not let the new villains do all that much. Personally, I have seen enough Joker or Riddler stories to last me a lifetime.

Green Arrow #3: I really think this arc was a lot of fun. I know a lot of people seemed to hate it, but I thought it was a great way to introduce this new version of Green Arrow, and it also played with an idea that I can really see happening if superpowered beings existed with Youtube-generated celebrities, and teenage angst causing people to cheer against heroes. So while a lot of people are counting down the days until JT Krul is off this book, I definitely do not agree.

Stormwatch #3 :I have to admit, I am not always sure what the hell is going on in Stormwatch, but it’s always entertaining and always makes me anxiously want the next issue. The moon attacks the Earth, a lost city in America, Martian Manhunter moonlighting. I don’t even have a handle on the whole Stormwatch team yet, but I still love them. That said, Jack Hawksmoor has been one of my favorite characters since Ellis’s Stormwatch run, and he is definitely continuing that here. It has been an absolutely insane book!!

Batman Arkham Unhinged #3: All in all, these three issues were about as unmemorable as you can imagine. It was kind of cool to see how Two-Face and Catwoman ended up in Arkham City, but it was just drawn out and pretty generic. This is a real shame, since the mini-series and other digital stories set between Arkham Asylum and Arkham City were really good.

The 99: Beginning: Ever since AK Comics’ short-lived run in America, I have been curious to see more Middle Eastern comic companies looking to make a go at it. I have been following The 99 for a while, and when they made this 71 page special edition freely available on their website and Comixology, I had to check it out.

To be honest, this comic suffered a bit from Secret Files and Origin syndrome. They are trying to introduce a lot of characters and ideas, and the dialogue feels very hamfisted to try and get as much in as possible. That said, a lot of the characters sounded pretty cool, and I will definitely be trying out the series (especially since Fabian Nicieza co-write them) over the next few weeks (time and money depending). For two bucks an issue (and the issues seem to be 40 pages each), you can’t go wrong.

Static Shock #2: While I did enjoy the first issue of Static Shock quite a bit, the second issue was much better. The revelation about Static’s “sisters” surprised me. I had assumed that some kind of accident had happened to his sisters and that is what caused them to leave Dakota, but what actually happened caught me by surprised=. The new villains introduced are great, and I love seeing Static’s powers expanding.

One thing I want to make sure I mention. Naming Static’s High School after Dwayne McDuffie was a great touch. I also liked the touch about Static looking for gang members as informants as it really ties in nicely to some of the things that happened in the early issues of his original series. I wonder if Static is still a “Bang Baby.” I also wonder if he still knows Superman’s secret identity.

Justice League International #2: It’s not often you see a superhero group make a retreat! That actually was a really cool moment in this issue. I still think JLI is having a little trouble finding it’s footing…if you think about it, at the moment it is the only “fully formed Justice League” team we get to read about, and while I enjoy this comic, I really am hoping that it can step its game up a little more. It’s not in any danger of my dropping it, but at the same time, it’s not likely to make my top ten favorite Relaunch titles either.

Action Comics #2: It’s really never good when the most enjoyment I got out of a comic was pointing to the cameos. STEEL! METALLO! To be honest, Action Comics really is fine, but there just isn’t anything all that groundbreaking going on here. I’d definitely rather the hype and attention go to Superman, which really is a great comic.  Action is just above average.

Hawk & Dove #2 : Hawk and Dove’s second issue was good, though I didn’t really feel all that hooked by it yet. I do think Liefeld’s art is great here, but Gates just isn’t quite grabbing my attention yet. The “other avatars” are a really cool idea, but we need to learn more about them and soon.

OMAC #2: This has easily been the surprise book of Relaunch for me. If my “week 1 day of release purchases” weren’t already so packed, I would actually be buying this day of release. DiDio and Giffen really are creating something great here. A very old school feeling comic with some new sensibilities and style.  This issue was basically just a big old fashioned brawl, and I loved every minute of it. I am really looking forward to the crossover with Frankenstein!

Swamp Thing #2: While I do think Animal Man got to the action much quicker, I am still enjoying Swamp Thing for the most part. I do think a lot of the first two issues could have been combined into one comic, but I liked learning about The Other, and this book has set up some great parallels with Animal Man (which is one of my favorite Relaunch titles). Scott Snyder has been great on Batman, so I am really expecting Swamp Thing to be great too once it really gets going.

Batwing #2: Another book that was a huge improvement over the first issue. Batwing is really finding its footing quickly, and he’s definitely becoming my favorite “new” character of Relaunch. Yeah, yeah, I know he appeared in Batman Inc, but I never read that book so he’s new to me.

Winick really has done a great job populating this book’s universe. Massacre is one scary villain, and The Kingdom seem like interesting characters. I am really hoping we get more of their story…maybe even a Kingdom mini-series. I would definitely buy that!

And before I forget, Ben Oliver is the superstar of Relaunch to me. His art is just gorgeous!!

I, Vampire #1: I was back and forth about reading this comic, but after seeing some of the reviews, I figured why not. I did think that some of the narrative seemed hard to follow, but the basic storyline seemed to be really cool, and I loved that these were more gritty vampires than we have seen lately in movies and TV (curse you Twilight and True Blood).

I definitely am looking forward to reading the second issue, and I do think its great to see DC expanding outside of superheroes (though this story is definitely set in the DC Universe). Really all of their Dark books have been pretty damn good so far.



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