I’m Sara, I’ll be one of your comic book reviewers for as long as you’ll have me (or I take over the world, I hear that takes a lot of effort).
My favorite super power is telekinesis, favorite DC character Ambush Bug.
This weeks bag of books was a mixed bag, so something for everyone! (though I do repeat the comment very 90’s like 3 times)
Words: Marguerite Bennett
Pictures: Fernando Blanco, John Rauch
Dear readers, I must admit to you I am an unabashed lover of the work of J. H. Williams III. He took the Batwoman book and took it to strange, horrible and wondrous places. I’m so glad to see the book is still playing with art and words in such a fabulously fascinating way.
We return to Kate Kane’s (Batwoman’s) adventure through her own mind already in progress. Both her and Colony (her before now unknown brother) are trying to defeat the Scarecrow and the toxin he has injected in them.
We mostly only see it from Kate’s perspective (Colony’s seeing the world as a video game, hopefully 1ups and heath packs exist) and all this family drama is bringing us back to Wonderland again (history between Kate and her sister was steeped in it).
I appreciate the touches this team put in. The stylish work in page and panel design as seen on pages 15-17 when it goes full dreamscape. The continuously evolving monstrosity that is the scarecrow chasing after them is a gorgeously gruesome monster. When in page 20’s recap it pulls the feel and visual techniques of the eras that storyline lived in, pre company wide reboot be damned.
And the growth of Kate as a character, a brother is not something she would seek or ask for but damn it bad guys you can only psychologically attack the hero so many times before they refuse to take it anymore. Remember – drug trips in the Batman universe share the same properties as lucid dreams, and what an amazingly powerful monster you can become if only you claw back the power of your dream.
There’s also evil secret bad guy organization that set this all up because blah blah “we want to shape Kate to our cult-y cause”. It serves it’s purpose, but meh. Maybe they’ll be more interesting when not in same issue as a mindscape spinning out of control. My suggestion definitely read, go back and for fun read back issues again.
The Demon: Hell is Earth #1
Words: Andrew Constant
Pictures: Brad Walker, Andrew Hennessy, Chris Sotomayor
This book is so fun!
Ok, maybe not everyone is gonna hang with a book where first page a little girl goes from smiling to being engulfed in flames within 3 panels, but this is a part of the 6 issue miniseries-es DC is trying more experimental storylines on (think a Vertigo Elseworlds and you’re there).
So the set up is Jason Blood has gone all old Ash Williams and has moved as far away from everything (Death Valley is pretty far) and is trying to to drink his demon away.
But that effort’s a moot point when your demon can talk back, is real and Etrigan.
As much as Etrigan mocks and tortures him, the world isn’t going to let his retirement stand.
The girl Jason/Etrigan keep dreaming of (Alicia) is on her way to them with her family because she’s also dreaming of him.
I’m sorry, what family plans their vacation around their child’s dream except in movies/books?
Sorry, sorry suspension of disbelief for story purposes. Madame Xanadu is having her best badass road trip montage because she can see the dreams Jason/Etrigan and Alicia are sharing. There’s also stock army dude who sold his soul and sets a missile off course (did Jason own or rent?)
Xanadu is too late (it’s the first issue, was gonna happen), Jason is nuked, the family gets nuked and it turns them into overly-huggly smoke demons (more frightening than it sounds) and Etrigan finally out is so happy he rhymes.
I hope the book keeps it’s focus on the interplaying relationship between Jason and Etrigan.
Constant keeps it snappy, funny but real – like a married couple that knows where all their spouse’s buttons are. Looking forward to read the next issue, Jason’s just realizing the upper hand of being inside of the demon’s head. So much payback trolling to come.
Green Lanterns #35
Words: Tim Seeley
Pictures: Carlo Barberi, Matt Santorelli, Ulises Arreola
We get to learn a new word for alien genitalia in this issue. (Did not think I’d be writing that sentence first week on the job). The story is better than passable, but doesn’t actually kick in till the 11th page.
Our Green Lantern, Jessica Cruz, while trying to ask for a promotion at her (I’m guessing) minimum wage job is interrupted by a large angry, pointy, armed alien demanding a duel.
Another Lantern, Simon has his intergalactic one night stand interrupted with a call to be Jessica’s backup. There’s a mysterious murder on Ungara that’ll probably come back later. There ya go, skip to 2nd to last panel of page 10 and read from there.
This is where it’s worth paying some attention, the “banter” in the fight is now more important than the actions and it becomes Law and Order: Sciencells.
The alien brute (Bolphunga) had a horrible time in jail when admittedly through his own stupidity (don’t drink when you’re trying to keep secrets kids!) he revealed how much of a phony he was and got his butt handed to him on the regular. But when a mysterious “I’ll make all your problems go away” offer gets him out in exchange for a favor later (later being immediately after, it’s comics) and that’s why Bolpunga needs Jessica’s help!
The art, is very 90’s – passable but anything not armor is skin tight. Though there were some fun facial expressions nothing popped.
Justice League #33
Words: Joshua Williamson
Pictures: Tyler Kirkham, Mikel Janin, Arif Prianto, Jeromy Cox
I don’t think the Justice League cartoon and Teen Titans ever had a crossover – but it would feel a lot like this issue they had.
Cyborg’s our perspective character. Everybody (The Dark Knights, Motherbox, a mysterious yet familiarly shaped light creature) wants something from Vic when he’s looking for any way to turn this around, he’s literally being pulled in all directions! (that’s a joke and correct use of literally, the laughing Judge Death-looking Batman is tearing his body apart)
Can Vic find the “right” answer under such circumstances and the strength of character to go through with it? Will it involve the strength of friendship, a theme song and a joke even more groan worthy than the one I just made?
Answering the last sentence yes, yes, yes. There’s character introspection, a moment of awesomeness, and humanity all in your silly action comic.
If I graded in points (I don’t) I would deduct one for the clumsy folding of computer assets into the book. Page 4 has young Vic watching a tv, on it I thought was maybe a computer game or animation.
Recolored photos of real human beings doesn’t mesh well in a drawn environment, without establishing it’s the kind of book that would dabble metaphysically (Promethea, Shade the Changing Girl) it takes me out.
Words: Tim Seeley
Pictures : Javier Fernandez, Chris Sotomayor
Nightwing’s got the problem of not being a local. Not that Dick can do much about it, can’t help where you come from but some nights it’s a barrier that gets in the way – with fists there are so many fists.
I know I mentioned 90’s in a not so good way in another book this week, this one has the 90’s feel in a way I dig.
It’s subdued tones, small scenes and rough almost pencil lines where the action doesn’t need detail. It’s a story to tell a human tale of a little burg with little money and the fear of larger (criminal) communities swooping in and taking it all away from those living in Blüdhaven.
This is as much a motivation chapter as a punch punch one, kinda Sopranos like.
Little bits of laugh, little bits of touching, lots of murder-death-kill.
Need one more reason to read the book – there’s a gorilla AND a cowboy.
Super Sons #10
Words: Peter J. Tomasi
Pictures: Jose Luís, Scott Hanna
This is a cute book. If you are not a person who enjoys cute books no need to read this further, look to my review of The Demon: Hell is Earth.
There’s pros and cons to a book like this – it reads like a sitcom.
Kids speak a little too old for their age, everyone is more gregarious than you’re used to and all the colors are bold and bright.
But my dudes this is the book’s style, it uses words like intermezzo with flair, it has promise to be a deeper pool than it looks like. (I hope, I hope)
Jon (Clark’s Son) and Damian (Bruce’s kid) are at the end of their summer training arc. Jon can now fly and Damian has a closer relationship with him.
The scene on top of the truck’s cab where they share the experience of pretending to fly is very sweet (but for the love of criminy, people do not try that at home! So dangerous! Bruce you were driving the truck at the time and Clark you were in the passenger seat – bad parents! No biscuit for you!)
The kids want to go farther, stop bigger crimes etc. and the dads want to give them more freedom but make sure they grow up responsible with enriching experiences. If they had see the scene within the intermezzo (oh hai, haven’t I seen you in Batman #666?) they’d double down their efforts but I’m sure that will com into play when Tomasi is good and ready.
A deal is struck and only Damian is unhappy, but is he ever really happy?
Words: Patrick Gleason, Peter J. Tomasi
Pictures: Stephen Segovia, Travis Moore, Art Thibert
The wacky adventures of Superman and Lex!
Ok, not exactly, but it feels like it at the start. They cooperate long enough to escape armed Apokoliptian citizenry who juuuust want Superman to sit on Darkseid’s throne. (no biggie right? How could that go badly?)
Jon is lost in Apokolips, making this the worst bring your kid to work day recorded.
But fret not, Jon saves the lives of some giant dogs and has made a pack of instant friends! (best day now?)
There’s other parties who don’t like them messing the status quo with all this “hope” the populace is starting to feel.
Granny Goodness, who wants the throne; Kalibak, who hasn’t lost faith that if they dig far enough down he’ll hear a tiny voice from the planet’s core yelling “i’mnotdead!”
Don’t you hate when plans fold over plans, one interrupting another?
All the pieces are in place now, all out fight incoming!
Words: Rob Williams
Pictures: V Ken Marion, Sandu Florea, Dinei Ribeiro
Oh Circe, you claim to be so old and wise, how do you not know the villain monologue is such a killer flaw.
This book is so pulpy, even if you’re reading it digitally.
Not a judgement or a bad thing pulp is a fun way to tell a story. But I’m coming in at the last reel of the movie my friends, and I KNOW I’d have enjoyed this more if I’d read it from the start, and I’ll correct that after the fact (hold me to it!)
Circe’s holding Superman, Wonder Woman, Deadman and Zatanna over a pit that will give her their power and do very unpleasant things to them too. No one but her is surprised when her secret lair is broken into at the last minute by Batman’s rescue force
A third person shout of “Circe shall have her SOUL!!” counterbalanced with the hero’s “No one dies today”.
It’s a conclusion chapter, there’s fighting big cheesy powers are secondary to friendship kinda fighting.
Big bombastic exciting, not a chapter to jump in on – but who does that (uncomfortable laugh)
The art feels 90’s Wildstorm-y, it’s appropriate for the material but I’d ask the artist to put more care into how layers of clothing envelop a form (for a panel on page 5 Constantine is burst-out-of-his-clothes buff).
Wonder Woman Conan #3
Words: Gail Simone
Pictures: Aaron Lopresti, Matt Ryan, Wendy Broome
Wonder Woman Conan (I’m sure there should be some punctuation between the names) is one of the 6 part miniseries DC is having the best of times playing with.
The past in it is presented as a yarn, a storybook because why not have fun with it?
In the end is it not a light trip of a what-if that don’t worry about things like history, cannon, or movie versions.
Do I even need to state that Gail Simone writes well? She has children talking in old tyme-y speak and I didn’t question it for a moment.
Yanna and Conan meet up again at the time of the next clan meeting, they’re twelve now and noticing each other as “girl” and “boy” for the first time.
It’s damn sweet and the extra effort with corresponding borders for all flashbacks ranks it up to enchanted.
But then we’re thrown back to the present. It’s slave ship, sharks and savage deaths. The scene is exciting, action well plotted but the quiet after I’d say is the superior scene. This is a Conan who speaks, and well – not a Schwarzenegger-ian brute. (There’s fighting after that again too, don’t worry this is half a Conan book!)
A lot of background is displayed here, it’s the technique done well of inform a character to teach the audience. They give a storyline reason for Yanna’s mindwipe when immortals the Corvidae are introduced, and I’m good with the explanation. The art is joyful, the writing is fun, I hope they animate this after the run’s over.