Welcome to Graphic Breakdown.
It’s May! It’s almost summer! Things are changing here with a new format starting next week!
Life is exciting! Let’s get started!
Written by Tom King
Illustrated by Tony S. Daniel
This is a really exciting comic book to be reading. Tom King has elevated his writing and has made the last year’s worth of storylines compelling. It’s the one title I can think of that is a must read.
That’s because King is taking us into new territory. The impending wedding between Batman and Catwoman is the focus for sure. But King makes it about something deeper. He takes these classic characters and spins them in unexpected ways. This issue is no different.
This is part two of the most recent storyline called “The Gift.” The story takes place in a reality where Bruce Wayne’s parents are still alive. This reality was perpetrated by Booster Gold as a sort of gift to Batman. Yet, the gift is turning out to be a curse.
In the issue, Booster Gold busts out Catwoman to help him fix things.
They team up. Catwoman needs a costume. And she gets one. The cool thing is, is that it’s the Michelle Pfeiffer version costume from Batman Returns! It’s ideas and like this that make King’s Batman run stand out.
This issue leads to a hell of a conclusion. It’s not a “shocking” one per se, but it is powerful. The reason is, King makes us care about the characters in this alternative reality and because of that, the ending has great impact.
I can’t say enough about Tony S. Daniel on the art duties here. He can do a hell of an action scene for sure. But nowadays, Daniel can also make the quiet moments sing. He’s at the peak of his talents.
And that’s what is great here. We are seeing two creators working together at the top of their game. The issue moves King’s story along yet again and make for a nice bite of a very satisfying meal overall.
Written by Christopher Priest
Illustrated by Carlo Pagulayan
Christopher Priest has been killing it on this title since the very beginning. With this book’s latest six part storyline, he ups his game. This storyline has Batman fighting against Deathstroke and it’s glorious! I have been enjoying this very much.
So this is part two. It’s starts off with Slade Wilson and Wintergreen on a personal flight. They are blown out of the sky and land in a desert. The whole affair seems to be done by Batman.
You see, Batman got something in the mail that says that Damian may not be his son. He actually may be Deathstroke’s son! This leads Batman onto a quest to find out the truth.
So, Slade is in the desert and he finds himself up against Batman. But is it Batman? And what role does Talia Al Ghul play in all of this?
Priest keeps the story moving and the reader guessing. There are a few twists here that I just loved. It made the whole thing very exciting.
The dialogue is also great. Seeing Robin say “Batman is not a hugger” made me laugh out loud. He takes these characters and makes them human and I just love that.
The art is very good. What I like about this book is that even if a different artist draws a book, it’s not a huge difference from the month before. Pagulayan, however, has been here since the beginning and he is rocking it on this storyline.
Deathstroke is one of my top of the pile reads every time it comes out. It’s an intriguing book that surprises and entertains on a high level. This is another great chapter in this series.
Bombshells United #17
Written by Marguerite Bennett
Illustrated by Siya Oum
This book has been fairly decent since the very beginning. Each issue is full of just fun and adventure. Nothing more than that. Marguerite Bennett writes a decent enough book that is appealing to all audiences, male or female.
Here, we are faced with the beginning of the end! That that means is all out war! An invasion from space causes a lot of trouble.
The Bombshells must unite to save everyone and everything!
Bennett keeps the story moving. It gets a little bit trippy at times. A big battle scene here involves the Joker and Parallax from Green Lantern.
But is it really them?
Or is it someone pretending to be them? And what purpose do they serve?
Bennett keeps you guessing.
The characters here are okay. While I am happy they show a lesbian couple here, I wish they were better developed. It feels a little forced. A lot of the characters feels like they are all just “surface.”
The art is really great. Oum is one of my favorite artists out there right now. The work Oum does here is great(as well as Lola X, check it out!)
All in all, this is a decent book. You do wish it was a bit deeper but that’s okay. Not everything can be.
Harley Loves Joker #1
Written by Paul Dini
Illustrated by Bret Blevins
Man, I didn’t want to read this book.
I had had my full of Harley Quinn stories. She’s completely overextended and overexposed much like Wolverine was in the 1990’s.
So, why would anyone want to read this book? Enough is enough, right?
Well, I’m happy to report that this is pretty entertaining. They put the right creative team on it and I very much had a good time reading it.
As soon as I saw that it was Paul Dini who wrote this I sat up. Dini is one of Harley Quinn’s creators and he has a handle on her like none other. When you add Bret Blevins to the mix, I’m immediately drawn in to read it.
This is a wrap up to the storyline that was a backup tale in Harley’s books last year. It starts off with the Joker sleeping and Harley jumping around crazily. It’s a nice introduction to the storyline.
There seems to be a new villain on the loose called the Grisson. She is another female villain. And in the story we learn that Harley was involved in the Grisson’s creation! All this, and the Grisson wants to join the Joker’s gang. What is Harley going to do?
The story is meant to be fun. Dini just runs with it. It’s crazy but it’s a lot less annoying than most out the Harley Quinn output of the last few years. Dini knows this character but makes her feel fresh.
The art by Bret Blevins is wonderful. I’ve always liked Blevins ever since Sleepwalker years ago. He has a nice flair for comic book art that is very appealing. I always love when he’s on a book, which is more and more rare these days.
This is only a two part series. I liked it and will read the whole thing. It’s a lot more fun than any Harley Quinn book I’ve read in a while. And that’s a good thing.
Written by Ben Percy
Illustrated by Chris Mooneyham
Well, this is a nice surprise!
Nightwing has been floundering as a title since the Rebirth happened.
Now, with Ben Percy at the helm, this book may have the shot in the arm we have been waiting for! He also is working with a damn fine artist in this issue as well.
This is part one of the storyline “The Bleeding Edge.” Percy wastes no time getting the action going. The opening scene is a daring subway rescue that artist Mooneyham draws beautifully. The pacing and line work are perfect here.
Check it out for an example for how a good creative team can make good comics.
Then, Dick Grayson stumbles upon a mystery.
One of those nasty technologists comes to town. And this guy has got a plan in his head.
Apparently, he wants to make a holographic, interconnected city where everyone is an individual and also part of a larger network. Basically, he wants to make the internet a real thing! But this technologist has made a mistake.
That mistake is doing it on Nightwing’s turf! This plot is great. It allows us to see Dick’s detective skills as well as his fighting skills. And Percy uses both here like an expert. Within 11 pages, I was hooked.
The art perfectly compliments the story. Mooneyham is a star and I hope he has a good long run with Percy, just based on the work in this one issue.
Nightwing is a title that should be up there with Batman in terms of quality. It hasn’t been. However, with this dynamic new creative team it may have a shot. It’s quite the turnaround.
Shade the Changing Woman #3
Written by Cecil Castellucci
Illustrated by Marley Zarcone
Is there a more emotionally resonant book on the stands?
I’d be hard pressed to find one. This book has been a delight since the beginning and each new issue is a wonderful treat.
In this issue, Shade has to separate her head from her heart. So she has to do it literally. No, I’m serious. In the opening scene she has her actual heart in her hand and throws it to the stars.
The heart however, comes back and whacks her in the face. It seems it’s not that easy for her to get rid of it as she thought. She then locks it away and buries it. Yes, literally again.
Castellucci makes it work wonderfully however with Zarcone and the pages and their layouts hit the reader in an emotional way.
In another story plot, River gets caught up with an anti-alien league. They aren’t a happy group and they might be the wrong people to be with.
All of this leads to a shocking ending that will stun a few readers. It stunned me a little as well. I can predict a lot of plots but this one? Not at all.
That’s due to the writing being so strong. Castellucci picked up eight from the last series and went deeper than before. It’s pretty incredible.
The artwork by Zarcone is tops too. The panel layouts get more and more creative. The artwork within those panels is wonderfully bizarre too.
The whole thing adds up to an experience unlike any other conic book out there. It’s at once compelling and emotional and intriguing. And I can’t get enough of it. This is a great book indeed.