Behold, the latest change-up to my constantly shifting 3-2-1 Comics! Now with BIGGER PICTURES!
3 – DC Comics
Batman Incorporated #4– Writer: Grant Morrison Artist: Chris Burnham
Batman Incorporated #4 starts off where #3 left us before all the zero month mess started – damn you zero month! Batman (in his Matches Malone persona) is under attack by the League of Assassins and Batman Inc. along with Damian’s new identity Redbird arrive to help him. It’s a fairly quick-paced battle that’s over before it’s started, and Morrison reveals the mysterious identity of the new Wingman. This was a good issue but not a fantastic one. Chris Burnham’s pencils have been improving on the series (Leviathan Strikes! being a high point) but this issue highlighted some of the artist’s faults, with a shaky look to the overall action and a curiously Asian-looking cast of characters. It was fun to see the whole team in action, along with pre-New 52 characters like Merlyn and Sportsmaster, but this issue felt like it reached its conclusion too quickly.
Final Grade ★★★★4/5 Stars
I will admit that I’m a Lobdell hater, but I couldn’t pass up the much-hyped issue where Clark Kent quits the Daily Planet could I? This month’s Superman covers The Man of Steel testing his powers, quitting his job and sets up events for Lobdell’s upcoming crossover “H’el on Earth” (Ugh.) Clark quits the Daily Planet to stand up for the integrity of journalism, which is a believable Clark Kent move. What is not like Clark Kent (or Superman) is the dialogue and thought bubbles that Lobdell puts forward. The superfluous thoughts that go through Clark’s head and the banter that Superman has during the fight reads like Spider-Man (the worst parts of Spider-Man.) Kenneth Rocafort’s art is ugly man, just ugly. I’ve got nothing else to say about that.
Final Grade: ★★½ 2.5/5 Stars
This issue marks the second appearance of ex-Talon Calvin Rose, whose origin was told in last month’s Talon #0. We see him returning to Gotham City for the first time to investigate if The Court of Owls is actually gone after tangling with Batman. Though Scott Snyder is really only a co-plotter, you can tell that James Tynion IV has learned the ropes from the guy. Its the attention to details about city landmarks and the history they contain that has Snyder’s fingerprints all over it. Guillem March does a good job pencilling close-up action, but when it comes to a broader, more distant angle he loses his focus and things become a little blurry. The “first” issue is a pretty standard setup for where the story will lead and what Calvin’s mission will be. After Snyder’s story of the Court of Owls in Batman, it feels like the faceless organization have lost their teeth. Hopefully Tynion IV can bring the mystery back to the Court.
Final Grade: ★★★½ 3.5/5 Stars
2 – Marvel Comics
Matt Fraction and Larroca started their run on The Invincible Iron Man in 2008, and today it has come to an end. #527 serves more as an epilogue than a finale, since Tony Stark beat the bad guy (The Mandarin) in the previous issue. The issue ties up loose ends by from the past few months via character interaction and conversation, which has always been Fraction and Larroca’s strong suit on this book. I’ve been disappointed by the past year of this book, and though this finale wasn’t amazing it was satisfying in its’ own way. Fraction doesn’t pretend to have the final word on Iron Man, which is a smart choice. The character will live on and changes will be made from Fraction’s take, especially with the dawn of Marvel NOW! The finale of The Invincible Iron Man instead reaffirms that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Especially for comic books.
Final Grade ★★★★4/5 Stars
The exploits of our Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man leave me with nothing but boredom these days. It’s not that the stories are awful, but they are mediocre as hell. This week sees the second part of “The Danger Zone,” where Peter Parker’s spider sense is all out of whack while he is being held hostage by Hobgoblin and The Kingpin. The two villains want Spider-Man to deliver a briefcase in exchange for Peter Parker’s life, but Peter Parker IS Spider-Man! What ever shall he do!?! Plots like this along with the gratuitous exposition via thought bubbles are tropes of the 60s that are better left in a time capsule. Giuseppe Camuncoli does an adequate job at the pencils, though I couldn’t easily tell the difference between the two Hobgoblins in their fight, which I could not care less about.
Final Grade: ★★★ 3/5 Stars
1 – Image
Invincible was a hell of a comic when it began, but lately has been spinning its wheels with its star character sidelined and focusing WAY too much time on a subplot involving ensemble members Robot and Monster Girl. Thankfully, this issue wraps up that story and spends a decent amount of time with the former Invincible and currently infirmed Mark Grayson. The hero has seemingly lost his powers, and Kirkman decides to spend only a minimal amount of time exploring how this has affected him. Ryan Ottley does the majority of the pencil work, with his sharply detailed figures that outshine Corey Walker’s pale and less defined ones. Similar to The Walking Dead, Robert Kirkman has been teasing that a big death is going to take place in Invincible 100. Horrible things are coming to Invincible, though maybe that’s a good thing for us.
Final Grade: ★★★★ 3/5 Stars