Once again I force my unsolicited opinion on comic books upon you in this week’s 3-2-1 Comics! Apologies all around friends, yesterday was a busy one so I didn’t get a chance to put this week’s comic reviews out until now. Cheers!
3 – DC Comics
Batwoman #13– Writer: J.H. Williams III, W. Hayden Blackman Artist: J.H. Williams III
Batwoman is a book that consistently gives you bang for your buck. It’s packed with beautiful artwork and twice the story than most books; it can’t be simply read and absorbed in a quick flip-through. J.H. Williams III is such an excellent visual storyteller, and the scripting done by himself and W. Hayden Blackman is so thought out that its as malleable to read as the double-page-artwork is to take in. #13 continues the latest storyline where Batwoman teams up with Wonder Woman to confront the god Medusa. This book really gets into the head of Wonder Woman, and characterizes Diana far better than Justice League does, and in some ways better than her own title. The pacing of this book is excellent and the clashing internal monologues remind me of the early (good) days of Jeph Loeb’s Superman/Batman. Greg Rucka created Kate Kane as Batwoman, but the strength of the character and her series has always been due to J.H. Williams III’s pencils. Since Rucka left the character, J.H. Williams and W. Hayden Blackman have not lost the heart of the heroine or the allure of her book.
Final Grade ★★★★★ 5/5 Stars
Justice League #13– Writer: Geoff Johns Artist: Tony Daniel
My cousin’s reaction to Justice League #13: “I feel like Johns is just chilling until Trinity War;” well said Zach. The issue picks up where we left off before zero month: the kiss! Love it or hate it, this relationship/don’t call it a relationship will somehow sew the seeds of Trinity War: DC’s next big event. The issue deals with the heroes’ reactions to that kiss as well as the hunt for Wonder Woman’s frenemy The Cheetah. The issue was pretty standard fare, also devoting some time for interaction between Cyborg and The Flash (who seemed a little more Wally West than Barry Allen for some reason.) Tony Daniel is pencilling this short Cheetah arc, much to my dismay. Though I thoroughly enjoyed his moody/zany pencils on Batman R.I.P., Daniel has lost his touch in recent years. In Justice League #13 all of his characters are stocky and wide-faced, and the bland colors by Tomeu Morey doesn’t do the overall art any favors. The Shazaam-less backup story was expendable, but I will give props to artist Brad Walker, who has a knack for expressive facial features. Thankfully there’s just one more Cheetah issue then it’s time for the Aquaman crossover “The Throne of Atlantis” with new Justice League artist Ivan Reis. Bring it on.
Final Grade: ★★★½ 3.5/5 Stars
Wonder Woman #13– Writer: Brian Azzarello Artist: Tony Akins, Dan Green
Brian Azzarello officially kicks off his second year on Wonder Woman, revealing the new status-quo of gods and mortals since issue #12. I like how Azzarello has given Diana her own little ensemble, especially now that it includes the former goddess that killed her mother: Hera. Similarly it is always a treat to see the gods on Olympus interact in a similar fashion to a family of spoiled aristocrats. I was disappointed to see that Cliff Chiang’s pencils were missing this month, but understudy Tony Akins is improving, with better defined and shaped characters. Though it could benefit from a quicker pace and clearer vision, Azzarello always has a plan with his stories, and we all will stayed tuned to see what that is. Like most readers out there, I am also curious to see how our frosty friend Orion of the New Gods fits into this all…
Finale Grade: ★★★★ 4/5 Stars
2 – Marvel Comics
Ultimate Comics Iron Man #1– Writer: Nathan Edmonson Artist: Matteo Buffagni
There were slim pickings for me this week from Marvel, so I thought a new #1 might be the best route. Unfortunately, Ultimate Comics Iron Man #1 isn’t anything we haven’t seen before. Here we have Tony Stark on top of the world per usual, and an unseen enemy (The Mandarin) attacking him and his resources from the shadows. It is too thematically similar to Matt Fraction’s The Invincible Iron Man to be ignored. I could go on a tirade about what the Ultimate Comics line should be like, but instead I will simply say that I miss the bulky Iron Man armor that Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch introduced back in 2002’s The Ultimates. Matteo Buffagni’s pencils evoke a cleaner cut Dustin Nguyen style that enhances the flashback scenes with Tony and love interest Josey. Overall I wasn’t impressed by this issue, but it wasn’t an awful read by any means.
Final Grade: ★★★ 3/5 Stars
AVX Consequences #2– Writer: Kieron Gillen Artist: Steve Kurth
AvX Consequences is the latest of Marvel’s post-event mini-series (much like last year’s Fear Itself: The Fearless.) The book isn’t exactly necessary, but it serves as an epilogue for those X-fans out there who want some closure on AvX (do those people exist?) Barring the last several pages, the issue is merely a long conversation between Wolverine and the recently incarcerated Cyclops on the goings-on of AvX. I can’t stress enough how much I dislike the portrayal of Cyclops through the entirety of AvX. He is not painted as a man who recognizes that he became obsessed with power and lost control, but rather as a fanatic zealot who believes that his crimes were just and his death would make him a martyr. Steve Kurth’s artwork only bolsters the negative depiction, having a roid-rage Wolverine tower over a skinny whelp of Scott Summers. The issue wasn’t merely a throwaway however, which is a plus. But I am looking forward to the (hopefully) eventual rehab of Cyclops down the road.
Final Grade: ★★½ 2.5/5 Stars
1 – Image
The Walking Dead #103 – Writer: Robert Kirkman and Artist: Charlie Adlard
The Walking Dead has been slightly boring in recent memory. I nearly dropped the book altogether, but told myself to hold on until #100, where Robert Kirkman teased big things coming the survivors’ way. “Something to Fear,” the series’ latest arc confirmed Kirkman’s words and validated readers’ patience. After the brutal murder of a beloved character in #100, our usually feisty group of survivors rolls over and accepts defeat at the hand of Negan and his group of followers. But Rick has a plan, because Rick ALWAYS has a plan! There’s a lot of tension and shock amongst the group who see their fearless leader seemingly call it quits and surrender, all rendered to dramatic effect by Charlie Adlard. “Something to Fear” definitely stirs up memories of the most vicious antagonist of The Walking Dead: The Governor (who will also be on the TV series’ third season.) Here’s hoping the body count stays lower this time around.
Final Grade: ★★★★ 4/5 Stars
Next week should be better Marvel week for me with Amazing Spider-Man and The Invincible Iron Man finale. And of course my favorite: Batman Incorporated! Peace be with you.