Comic Book Reviews 06-22-16

Review Scale:

A+: Classic comic book material. Belongs next to your copy of The Notebook and The Joy of Cooking.
A: Would definitely recommend to all comic book readers. Even more so to fans of the genre or characters
B: Enjoyable read. Fans of the genre or characters will especially like.
C: Non-essential read. Can be enjoyable for fans of the genre or characters, but likely for only one or two events in the books.
D: Unenjoyable book. Read at your own risk. Might find satisfaction if major flaws are overlooked.
F: Please don’t buy this book. Donate your money to a local comic book writer’s workshop instead to inspire future generations to write something better than this trash.

Pick of the Week:

detective comics 935 potw

Detective Comics #935 – A
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Eddy Barrows
Colorist: Adriano Lucas

Everything about this new Detective Comics feels like the greatness of the Grant Morrison-era Batman. Maybe not in terms of writing (nobody can mindf*ck a mind quite like Morrison), but in theme and in art. I was a bit skeptical of the idea that Batman and Batwoman would be leading a platoon of teenage heroes at first, but that all went away when Red Robin revealed the Danger Mud Room – X-Men, eat your heart out. Oh man, and that Red Robin-Spoiler relationship? Hell yes. Even Batwoman, who is consistently the red-headed stepchild – yes, please stab me for that pun – is playing a great role as an squad leader here. Plus, we haven’t really even tapped into who this “other” Batman is. Could this be another incarnation of pre-New52 Red Hood? Or even an Arkham Knight crossover? Who knows? Out of all the Rebirth titles, this is the one I’m most personally invested in, and has the potential to have the best opening arc. – Sherif

Other Comic Book Reviews:

DC Comic Book Reviews:

Aquaman: Rebirth #1 – A-
Writer: Dan Abnett
Artist: Brad Walker and Andrew Hennessey
Colorist: Gabe Eltaeb

This first issue opens with with a beautiful cover that showcases the Aquaman family, including his arch-foes Ocean Master and Black Manta. The picturesque background and elegant framing welcome us into the dual world of Aquaman. Inside, we find Arthur (Aquaman) and Mera preparing for a press conference and meeting with representatives from the world’s government agencies. Summing up Arthur’s intentions perfectly, Mera says “You are a man of two worlds and you want them to unite.” As King of Atlantis, Arthur is making every effort to help two distinctly different worlds—surface and undersea—come together and find what they have in common. This backdrop seems a particularly fitting story device that feels symbolic of the divide we see in our own (real) world, whether it’s due to political differences, ideological differences, cultural differences, or interpretations of laws and rights. Aquaman says “The end of fear begins in this building.” Mera as ambassador takes a similar tactic, but makes it more personal as she mingles with those present. All the while, it feels predictable that something is going to go wrong here where all the best plans have been lain. And while this is delivered with a twist, it’s only slightly surprising to find out who the threat is and how far he or she is willing to go to humiliate Arthur. As the threat is exposed, the issue quickly races to its conclusion, and it will be interesting to see what develops in the next few issues. I’m also looking forward to Garth and Tula reappearing, since they are teased on the cover of this issue. All in all, it’s good comics fare, and Abnett is staying true to motivations of these characters with a long history. From a writing standpoint, this issue is quite a bit better than Aquaman: Rebirth #1, as it doesn’t get weighed down with exposition. Likewise, Walker and Hennessey’s art is beautiful with deliberate strokes, while Eltaeb’s coloring illuminates the story and keeps a simple rendering to the art. This book is off to an auspicious start, and I will be back for issue #2. – Travis

Justice League #52 – B-
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Artist: Tom Grummett
Colorist: Dave Eltaeb

Oddly enough, this book takes place before the newest Action Comics reboot two weeks ago, making for some awkward timing. It doesn’t necessarily make the book worse, but it loses a lot of the momentum that it would have carried over into Action Comics more naturally. The idea of Lex carrying the mantle of Superman is one that really plays with people’s heartstrings. While he’s obviously arrogant and manipulative, his own monologues tell us that he’s trying in earnest. Walking away from absolute power in Apokolips couldn’t have been easy, and the heroes on Earth aren’t making him question his decision any less. There’s hope for Lex Luthor yet. It’s a good way to close out the New52 run, but I wouldn’t preferred to see it happen earlier to coincide with Rebirth better. – Sherif

Flash #1 – C+
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Carmine Di Giandomenico
Colorist: Ivan Plascencia

This issue of The Flash really took me off-guard. From the get-go, it felt like a new origin story. A majority of the other Rebirth books have focused on reengaging experienced readers – hell, even the Flash: Rebirth special was a necessary read in order to understand what the hell is going on with Wally West. It seemed like an odd angle to focus on retelling Barry’s origin, one we’ve heard sooo many times throughout the years. By the issue’s end, though, it becomes apparent that the story being told isn’t Barry’s; it’s the story of the other Flash (or soon to be Flashes!) being created. I’m liking where the story is going, having built a decent backstory for the new speedster. – Sherif

Wonder Woman #1 – C+
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Liam Sharp
Colorist: Laura Martin

With Greg Rucka taking back over writing duties on Wonder Woman, there’s big expectations coming from fans. The Rebirth issue of Wonder Woman offered little to no explanation of what the hell is going on in Diana’s mind, and this issue is really no different. There is some mischief going on in Man’s World with warlords in Steve Trevor’s section of the story, and a familiar face makes her Rebirth debut – albeit with a much different face than we remember. I haven’t written this series off; I actually enjoy it – especially the art team, but it needs a bit of a kick in the pants to get it in gear. – Sherif

Action Comics #958 – C
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Artist: Patrick Zircher
Colorist: Ulises Arreola

After a very surprising return to action for Superman, this haphazardly thrown together book adds a lot of confusion to what is going on in Metropolis. The “old” (pre-New52) Superman is back, but there’s also a random Clark Kent thrown in there. Doomsday is back, and that’s about all we get out of this – other than the fact that there is some ominous figure pulling the strings behind the scenes. The pencilwork here is honestly really poor, especially when given multiple splash pages to focus on, but colorist Ulises Arreola still makes the pages pop. I’m sure there is story coming, but this single issue is too jumbled to warrant any cohesive plot. Don’t give up hope yet, but I’m wary that this may be a trend in DC’s Rebirth – a model that Marvel has seen their books suffer for following. – Sherif

IDW Publishing Comic Book Reviews:

X-Files #3 – B
Writer: Joe Harris
Artist: Matthew Dow Smith

This issue of X-Files is a direct continuation of issue #2 and seems to be part of a much larger story that may span a couple more issues or at least one. The story focuses on a case in Mexico where a ton of people are ending up dead in what is initially thought to be drug crimes. But when a pair of children get involved with some supernatural aspects of these deaths, Mulder and Scully investigate to find that these deaths may have been from a demon-like monster the kids may be controlling. With the brother missing and the sister in custody, Mulder goes to find the boy while Scully investigate the victims of the murders. It definitely has a lot more of a feel of the TV show to me than pretty much all of the Season 11 issues, but still hoping to see some familiar faces pop up that may give me hope to the physical Season 11 they have been hinting at ever since the special event series aired this year. – Jacob

TMNT: Bebop & Rocksteady Destroy Everything #4 – B-
Writers: Ben Bates, Dustin Weaver
Artists: Dustin Weaver, Nick Pitarra, Ben Tisma, Damian Couceiro, Pablo Tunica, Tadd Galusha, Aaron Conley, Ryan Browne

Things are getting more and more confusing each issue, but am sure it will wrap up nicely come next week. In the mean time, I am still cross-eyed at everything that went on this issue and the past 3; time travel get awfully confusing, but even more so when time streams mix together – we see upwards of 6-8 Bebops and Rocksteadys at a time. Even with all the confusion comes an entertaining story and one that is fairly entertaining throughout. I am absolutely astounded at the amount of artists deployed for a single issue that this series has, but in my opinion this issue been the worst case of art not mixing well within the issue. There were some pretty drastic changes in style of not just the art but characters, which led to more confusion. However, it also helped distinguish which timelines were which, despite all of them intermingling at one point or another. Overall, this series is fun, fast-paced, and quite a journey, one that is both incredible and infuriating to TMNT fans and their sanity. – Jacob

Marvel Comic Book Reviews:

The Mighty Thor #8 – A
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Russell Dauterman

Finally, a story that is immensly enjoyable from this series! It may be because I really didn’t like the Vikings story of Thor and Loki much that has me so excited to get back to what this series is about, but I think it is more along the lines of that this issue touched on nearly every point I have wanted addressed in this series. The story arc introduced here definitely seems like the series is taking a turn in the right direction – one I will thoroughly enjoy and I could not be happier with how this issue was done both in writing and art. I have wanted for quite some time for this series to reach the potential I knew it always had and with this story I am sure Jason Aaron will prove he is perfect for this series and always has been. – Jacob

Deadpool v Gambit #1 – B
Writers: Ben Acker, Ben Blacker
Artist: Danilo Beyruth 

Another Deadpool vs series and yet another series I have no idea why the “versus” part is included… Sure thing it will likely turn sideways on Gambit and Deadpool and cause a rivalry of sorts, but it has always bothered me when I read a vs. story only to find out that the only issue where they are versus each other is the last few pages of the last issue. Besides that annoying point, this series will definitely still be fun, mostly because Gambit has needed a constant presence in a series for a while. It is a typical story for these two of how they swindled others and end up getting swindled themselves in a very Dirty Rotten Scoundrels type of story. With these two, though, I imagine this sort of stuff happens almost daily and it is nice to see in finally in print with them together! – Jacob

Civil War II: Choosing Sides #1 – B-
Nick Fury: Declan Shalvey (W/A), Jordie Bellaire (C)
Night Thrasher: Brandon Easton (W), Paul Davidson (A), Andre Crossley (C)
Damage Control: Chad Bowers & Chris Sims (W), Leonardo Romero (A), Miroslaw Mrva (C)

Normally, the multiple stories in one issue angle isn’t too attractive to me, with the books not having sufficient space to tell any kind of significant story. In the space of Civil War II, though, it works out quite well. Instead of spanning a dozen spin-off titles like the first Civil War did, it seems a better idea to tell little stories like this to see where everybody falls in the ranks. Nick Fury’s story was my favorite, injecting him into the normal Marvel U for the first time ever and really letting us see him in action in ways that 67 year old Sam Jackson never could. Night Thrasher, a wildly underserved character gets a little spotlight in his own book. The weakest of the three stories was the “Damage Control” one. Damage Control is a neat idea, but it’s better served in cartoons (like their appearance in Ultimate Spider-Man), not in the same issue where Nick Fury was just cappin’ dudes in the head. – Sherif

Power Man and Iron Fist #5 – C+
Writer: David Walker
Artist: Flaviano
Colorist: John Rauch

The fiddle-faddling filler in this issue was more fillerific than any filler issue I’ve ever read. Being a filler issue doesn’t make it intrinsically bad, but there is most definitely a Saturday morning cartoon feel to this. Twenty pages of multiple accounts of the same story end in a “thumbs-up, everybody’s happy now” cheesefest. For whatever it’s worth, the writing is witty and the art is still very eye-catching and expressive. What I’m trying to figure out is if this book is going to be a sort of campy buddy cop story or if I should be expecting something with more layers. Til then, I’ll keep going through these easily digestible books. – Sherif

Rocket Raccoon and Groot #6 – C
Writer: Skottie Young
Artist: Brett Bean

Another one-shot story for the favorite Guardians duo and yet another rather disappointing adventure. I was a HUGE fan of both the Rocket Raccoon and the Groot series as both really delved into the characters and gave a character that yells, “BLAM! Murdered you!” quite a bit of heart and feeling behind him and those words. Unfortunately, when the two met up for a joint series (Although both former series had both in them), it seems to have lost a lot of this feeling and is more about putting these two into wacky, fun, kid-like adventures with an adult twist. To me, it is just a bit disheartening in knowing the talent of Skottie Young’s writing from the first Rocket Raccoon series, and even I Hate Fairyland. So when I see the quality of the book going down and it becoming one of my least looked-forward to series, it kind of bums me out. Since I know the potential of this series, I will continue reading, but I really hope something comes up to give this series the kick in the pants only Rocket could give himself. – Jacob

Panel Surfing:

That about wraps it up for our reviews this week! Look for next week’s previews coming soon. Any comic books you didn’t see reviewed that you want reviewed? Any grades you didn’t agree on? Let us know in the comments!

All images taken credited to their respective publishers and creators; thanks to all the for putting out great books!

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