Kevin's Super Saturday Reviews

Thunderbolts #103
Marvel Comics
Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Artist: Tom Grummett

This is another issue of Thunderbolts that feels like Thunderbolts! There’s scheming, tension with the super-human community at large, excellent jokes, nostalgia for sixties Marvel, great art, and plenty of action and surprises. While this book had been floundering, with many plot developments making zero sense and characters killed off by their teammates, it has begun to interact more with the established Marvel Universe (i.e. Civil War) and the turnaround couldn’t be more drastic. Between Zemo’s newest stunt to seize power, the possible upheaval/betrayal of the T’bolts last leader, and the up-and-coming members finally getting some spotlight (Blizzard, Smuggler, Radioactive Man, Joystick) this is a fun to read straightforward book again. And, like any good issue of this title, the last page shocker makes the month wait for the next installment a little bit of torture.

Score: A

52 Week Six
DC Comics
Writers: Johns, Rucka, Waid, Morrison
Artist: Giffen and Bennett

Who took my normal issue of 52 and substituted it for an issue of Checkmate? The hallmarks of that nascent series are as present as the trademark hooks of 52 were absent. There was political wrangling aplenty, heroes fighting each other, spying, and double-dealing throughout the issue. There were no check-ins with anyone except Booster Gold, T.O. Morrow, and Black Adam. That means no fun with The Question, Montoya, Ralph Dibny, or Steel… at all. And while the post-Infinite Crisis political scene is important enough to merit attention, the complete absence of half the leads in an ensemble book isn’t worth it. This week’s chapter wasn’t boring, it just didn’t sit well with the others. That’s probably to be expected periodically in a tale with this level of scope, but that doesn’t make it any more palatable. And again, other than a great illustration of the original Tim Drake Robin togs, the back-up history feature is a waste of paper.

Score: C

Checkmate #3
DC Comics
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Cliff Richards

Hey didn’t I just review this? No, but this book has many similarities with its predecessor. They both take place mainly in China with the occasional US interlude. They both involve China’s man-made meta-humans. They both feature lying, politics, covert schemes, and each has at least one Green Lantern. But here, Checkmate is deliberately staging an infiltration instead of responding to a changing geo-political scene. The art of this book suffers in comparison to 52, with the occasional continuity gaffe and lazy depiction of the cast, but there was a guest penciller, so perhaps time was a factor. Overall, this book delivered the story one might expect given the last few issues, only with sub-par art. That’s a lot better than having one concept hijack an entire installment.

Score: B

Green Arrow #63
DC Comics
Writer: Judd Winick
Artist: Scott McDaniel

This month’s issue gives readers closure on GA’s first OYL operation (the successful ensnarement of Deathstroke the Terminator), hints at more OYL back story for Ollie, and ends with a horror/action cliché. It’s not a particularly novel effort, but it is a fun read. Finding out where Ollie got the capital to essentially buy off a city government as well as build a giant reinforced glue pit was nice, and should lessen if not silence the crowd of doubters screaming about how out of character GA has been behaving. Ollie’s done a lot in the OYL interim, and while Winick has chosen to slowly reveal things instead of shocking readers all at once, the approach is equally valid if a bit frustrating. The art is suited to the urban action the plot requires, and other than a minor coloring gaffe (someone forgot to paint in Ollie’s mask in one panel) it’s the kind of kinetic fun readers have come to expect from Scott McDaniel.

Score: B

Green Lantern Corps #1
DC Comics
Writer: Dave Gibbons
Artist: Patrick Gleason

Oh, FINALLY, there’s a new Guy-centric Green Lantern book. Lots of sarcastic dialogue, outer space action, Corps bureaucracy, and aliens aplenty fill this issue. Even those GL fans who dislike Guy Gardner (poor deluded souls) can occupy themselves with subplots involving the Rann-Thanagar bickering GL’s and Korugar’s newest heir to the “cursed” post of ringslinger. It’s a lot packed into a very well illustrated issue, and if subsequent chapters are as interesting and action-packed, this may just become the GL book to read over Ion or Green Lantern.

Score: A