Happy Thanksgiving! Eat turkey, drink beer and most importantly, read my comic reviews in this week’s 3-2-1 Comics! Cheers!
3 – DC Comics
Batwoman #14 – Writer: J.H. Williams III, W. Haden Blackman Artist: J.H. Williams III
I could say that I am tired of singing Batwoman‘s praises, but I’m not! This is the book that DC Comics should be most proud of; it’s a creative, visual and social achievement for comic books. The issue begins with a slower-paced scene that sets the stage and the stakes for the next level of Batwoman and Wonder Woman’s alliance to take down Medusa. The book quickly launches into a theater of mayhem in Gotham City that you wouldn’t expect this soon in the story. J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman give every character in the book their own distinct voice and narrative style. Batwoman and Wonder Woman are posed as the new Batman/Superman team-up, but that really undersells the complexities of each woman presented here. Williams pushes the medium every issue he pencils, with unique approaches to the double-page spread, which this issue is of course full of. Buy this book. DO IT.
Final Grade: ★★★★★ 5/5
Justice League #14 –
Writer: Geoff Johns Artist: Tony Daniel, Gary Frank (backup)
The second and final chapter of Geoff Johns and Tony Daniel’s story “The Secret of The Cheetah” fares better than the first (not that that’s hard to do.) The first half of the issue is dedicated to the (thankfully) quick resolution of “Cheetah Superman,” as well as the eponymous Cheetah’s secret, while the latter half deals with the League’s new power couple, Superman and Wonder Woman. Johns focuses in on Wonder Woman’s resolve to save everyone, a view that Superman knows far too well. I hate ragging on a particular creative style, but Tony Daniel is not cutting the mustard for me ladies and gents. In some instances his character work shows real heart and emotion, while in others they are rigid and awkward. Since he’s no longer pulling double duties of writer/artist on Detective Comics, it’s disappointing that his art isn’t more consistent. After a month’s reprieve, Johns and Gary Frank continue their Shazam! backup story, this time centering mainly on Black Adam and Dr. Sivana, with a brief cameo of the newly powered Billy Batson. Honestly I would read a whole Big-style series of Billy pretending to be a grown-up. Phenomenal pencils by Gary Frank per usual – Johns and Frank need to launch a Shazam! monthly title stat. Shazam! makes up for Daniel’s lackluster art in Justice League.
Final Grade: ★★★★4/5
Wonder Woman #14– Writer: Brian Azzarello Artist: Tony Akins, Dan Green, Rick Burchett
Brian Azzarello’s epic poem approach to Wonder Woman continues this month with more of Zeus’ children coming out of the woodwork and maybe a Fourth World sighting. Wonder Woman seeks another ally in her quest to recover Zola’s kidnapped child, and we learn a little bit more about that giant brain-eating caveman in Antarctica. Tony Akins does the art layouts, with Dan Green and Rick Burchett finishing them, and it actually doesn’t look that bad. Most of the characters remain consistent from page to page and from past issues. The problem with Wonder Woman #14 is one that Azzarello has had from the start: too much back story. There is way too much time spent on recapping what we’ve already seen and giving us more origin stories instead of moving the plot forward.
Final Grade: ★★★3/5
2– Marvel Comics
Captain America #1 – Writer: Rick Remender Artist: John Romita Jr.
It’s a new era of Captain America, with current Marvel powerhouse Rick Remender taking the reigns after Ed Brubaker’s eight-year run. The series opens with a flashback of a young Steve Rogers hiding under the kitchen table as his father beats his mother, who encourages him to persevere and “stand up.” We are then taken to present day, where Remender thrusts Cap’s personal life into an interesting direction, before tossing him out of our universe entirely. John Romita Jr.’s cursory style might be well-suited for a Captain America story that is based in another universe, but Klaus Janson’s inking makes the art look unfinished. This is not the espionage-based Captain America of recent memory, but will more likely explore the more fantastical elements of the character’s history. The first issue isn’t amazing, but knowing Remender’s penchant for long-term planning he probably has something up his sleeve for Steve.
Final Grade: ★★★½ 3.5/5
Iron Man #2– Writer: Kieron Gillen Artist: Greg Land
The second issue of Kieron Gillen’s new Iron Man is a welcome change from the conventional approach of last issue. Tony Stark is still on the hunt to collect and destroy stray pieces of Extremis tech, this time taking him to Latverian neighbor Symkaria. Gillen creates a new team of armored warriors called The Circle, whose M.O. is inspired by King Arthur and The Knights of The Round Table. Iron Man enters into an armor duel with The Circle, whose tech is designed by yet another villain/woman scorned from Tony’s past. Greg Land’s characters look too similar, with the faces of Tony and Arthur looking indiscernible give or take some facial hair. The combination of the colors of Iron Man and The Circle’s armor dulled down things a bit as well. With excessive monologues and a lackluster resolution Iron Man #2 is only slightly better than #1.
Final Grade: ★★★ 3/5
1 – Image Comics
Clone #1 – Writer: David Schulner Artist: Jose Juan Ryp
David Schulner has never written a comic book. His television writing credits include Desperate Housewives and not-so-successful series like The Event, Kings and Miss Match. His freshman comic book Clone comes approved from Image Comics superstar Robert Kirkman, which is high praise indeed. The first issue of the series wastes little time with exposition but instead hits the ground running, with the main character Luke being thrust in the middle of a situation that he doesn’t completely understand. Jose Juan Ryp’s artwork is mediocre with ugly characters that all seem to have spots resembling snake skin for some reason. As any comic book fan will attest to, clones are a tricky subject to cover. Given time, Clone might surprise and become Image’s latest hit. For now however, it’s just an average first issue with an interesting premise.
Final Grade: ★★★ 3/5