Blackest Night: Batman #3 (Tomasi, Syaf/DC Comics/$2.99):
I would say I enjoyed this, but after reading the final issue and looking at the total story it is somewhat diminished by the foolish antics and theatrics of the Black Lantern Graysons and Drakes. Fueled by emotion I think they could have done something much more interesting and clever then re-enacting their deaths in zombified form. That point, made it hard for me to believe the dialogue for Tim especially and then Dick as he look into hi “fathers” eyes (now pupil-less) and can hear his breath (zombies breathe?). Over all the tone of the series was somewhat that of a Twilight Zone with some blood then the super-hero horror evident in most of the BN series. I did enjoy the characters interactions, the use of Deadman and the Demon being forced into the fray..but overall it wasn’t as good a finale as I would have liked. The art was ok. Syaf tells Tomasi’s story. But the craftsmanship is inconsistent. Stylistically Syaf has not settled yet, so some panels are sloppy or derivative of other artists and other show moments of artistic brilliance and nice panel sequences. My big problem with the art is the muted colors, I get that there is purposely a lot of grayish tones, but the whole issue lacks pop without adding any dimension to the story. And to be honest I am not sure why Batman’s colors are this drab gray with a greyer cowl when on the cover and elsewhere his cowl is obviously blue with a solid grey body suit. Not to mention Dick’s costume on the cover is completely different then the interior. Covers traditionally can vary and have nothing to do with the interiors. But I think for me I prefer when the editorial team exerts some control other then accepting a cover from a big name artist and saying thanks. Some what disappointed, I am glad this is over. And Tomasi, one of my favorite writers can move on to something else.
6 out of 10
Absolution #2 (Gage and Viacava/Avatar/$3.99):
I think everyone should be reading this comic. It’s terrific. From the giddy-up Christos Gage has a game plan and flawlessly executes it on every page. Even giving new readers a synopsis of the series big idea in the first few pages and seamlessly melding it into the issue. Basically a super-powered cop isn’t going to let criminal scum get away with it any more and is living a double life as vigilante hidden from his life as cop and boy friend. Gage’s economy of dialogue and pacing are second to none, and really does a great job introducing you to characters and the scenes without over doing it with unneeded detail. The art by Viacava is very good. He really uses a page well and does very nice storytelling. Gage’s economy of scripting is so good because Viacava does such an amazing job telling you what needs to be said with pictures. He does very nice action and backgrounds, and even seems to be channeling Ditko in some seems, especially in one scene of the main character traveling over the city. I think the only issue with the art is the inking, but that can due with speed. Much of the line weights are the same, I think with a little more craftsmanship in the ink work and this Viacava guy would be up there with some of the best storytellers like Cully Hamner. This is a very strong book that is written very well.
8.5 out of 10
“Help me I am stuck in a face!!!!”
Green Lantern Corps #41 (Tomasi, Gleason/DC Comics/$2.99):
From the cover I knew this was going to be an amazing issue. On Oa the clash between the Green and Black Lanterns peaks. Tomasi moves us from scene to scene at a dizzying pace as Kyle, Guy, Kilowog and other struggle to face their past, and the seemingly invincibility of the Black Lanterns at the same time while trying to save the wounded. I think Tomasi did an amazing job scripting the emotional struggle in many scene particularly Arisia and Kilowog’s parts. The entire issue is a great fun ride, and the ending as the Black Lantern children descend on Oa it gets really creepy. The art is stunning. Gleason seems to have taken a major evolutionary step forward here in his craft. Not only does he show us he can handle a huge cast in action, but throw the proverbial kitchen sink of poses, emotion and drama at you at the same time. I was stunned at the opening sequence in the infirmary. Beautifully detailed, and then again wowed by the power of the last several pages. Even with different inkers styles the pages stay consistently beautiful. I think outside of Doug Mahnke, Patrick Gleason is the only guy that can handle the visceral combat, carnage and drama at this level. Quite frankly the art this issue is awesome. And GLC remains one of the strongest books put out on a monthly basis.
8.5 out of 10
Incredible Hercules #136 (Pak, Van Lente, Brown/Marvel Comics/$2.99):
This was a laugh out loud issue. Hercules has been consistently great since it first rolled out from World War Hulk. Pak and Van Lente’s vision of the mythic, chauvinistic, loyal, brave and buffoonish hero has been perfection. This issue was great. Thor pretending to be Hercules vs. Herc pretending to be Thor in a “clash of titans” to save Asgard from the trickery of Malekith the dark elf. And in doing so manage to teach teen-Zeus a lesson of Hercules heroic nature. The battle was fun and furious and it’s always great when the Hero gets some..again. the art is wonderful. Cartoony yet captures the fantasy aspect very well. Brown draws a great female dark elf, great action and is magnificently handles the comic emotion, facial expressions and character nuance. Buy this comic.
9 out of 10
Adventure Comics #3 (Johns & Manapul, Henry/DC Comics/$3.99):
Bravo to Johns and Manapul for producing, executing and imagining such an amazing comic. Starting out in class in Smallville with what I am guessing what will become Conner’s Lex Luthor. Nice touch with “Lori” and keeping the Legion in the mix. And building on Conner trying to come to grips with his identity to a great emotional and deep dialogue between best friends in Paris. The interaction between Conner and Tim (Red Robin) was amazing character building stuff. I also enjoyed Johns use of Final Crisis continuity and giving Robin the Mother Box. I assume that will become important in the future. The ending was also great. Obviously Lex isn’t one to let HIS son be. Manapul’s art? I don’t know what to say. It’s not only beautiful, but really powerful. He really does an amazing job and really delivers on these characters. The painterly coloring style really adds nice impressionistic elements. Especially in the backgrounds and establishing shots. And Manapul is the Superboy artist as far as I am concerned. It almost looks like the characters are stylized off of the old Battle of the Planets cartoon. The Legion of Super-heroes was also fun. I enjoy the shorts, and really liked the interaction between Sun-boy and Polar-boy. The art by Clayton Henry is perfect and clean just like the Legion should be. I cannot wait for a Legion on going. Another great book by Johns with stunning art by Manapul. Definitely a must read.
9 out of 10
Secret Six #14 (Simone & Scott, Rodriguez/DC Comics/$2.99):
Great finale to a fun arc. Looks like the team manages to pull it together defeat mythic evil (Grendal) with the help of Wonder Woman, who does her breaking necks thing, free the Amazons and leave Evil island in the hands of repentant slavers. Great action, great dialogue and lots of interesting delivery this issue. I love the bits with Scandal and Bane especially Grendal giving us the little history lesson and also Deadshot saving Jeanette and Catman from the ghurka wielding unkillable Amazon. It is great that this book has so many interesting twists and a status quo I didn’t see coming. Simone has done wonders building these characters and really made me like Bane. Imagine that Bane is the most interesting character of all. The art by Nicola Scott is perfect for this book. Her ability to tell the story and handle the violence and action in this series is awesome to behold. It has been great seeing her tackle Wonder Woman too. The fill in art by Rodriguez was also very nice. I thought it was Oscar Jimemez for a second there. The colors remain somewhat dark, but it manages to work considering the tone of the book. This book is beyond recommended I DEMAND you pick it up.
9 out of 10
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