Tag Archives: Dick Grayson

Detective Comics #877: Review!

29 May

You know, it’s not too often that I read a comic twice.  Sure, I may go back and re-read issues a year or so later, but when I get a comic I usually read it once, put it in a pile, eventually bag & board it, and set it away in a box.  The only comic I consistently read twice is The Walking Dead.  Well, Scott Snyder and Jock are knocking it out with Detective Comics and caused me to read it twice.

Snyder’s first stint on Detective with Jock was pretty cool, but by now you can tell he’s gotten a handle on the characters.  His voice for Dick is unique but totally fits the character.  I never knew a monologue about Roadrunners could be so damn interesting!  Like the criminals in Gotham, this comic is opening up and setting a menacing tone without being afraid to try new things.  There are some outlandish premises but Snyder reals them in and makes them feel real almost noir.  The dialogue between characters is spot on and thrilling (I loved the banter and playfulness between Dick and Tim).  I feel myself hanging onto every word.  Most of the time when I read comics I do not ascribe a voice to the characters – it’s just one flat monotone voice for everyone – but Snyder is creating voices in my head and that is amazing to me.

Jock’s artwork has also become more detailed and a little less scratchy.  You can tell he’s experimenting a little and the comic is all the better for it.  His designs and characters are dynamic and engrossing.  There is so much movement and flow between panels; they do not feel stagnant or posed.  Basically, Jock makes Snyder’s writing come to life, and you can tell their collaboration is organic and it really pays off.  One person that needs to get a lot of credit is David Baron.  His coloring adds so much mood to Jock’s already thrilling art.  From stark reds to rain blues and then to murky greens, he really adds a lot to the overall feel of the comic.

Detective Comics is by far one of – if not – the best superhero comic DC is producing right now.

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Red Robin #23: Review!

12 May

This comic just got really good.  Alright, alright… it was already pretty darn good, but the stakes have been upped in this issue.  There are all of these threads that are culminating into the Assassin’s tournament, and I’m in on the ride.

The comic starts off with a brief update in Tim’s civilian life and relationship with Bruce and then it hits the ground running with Tim meeting up with Lynx again.  She is clearly becoming his Catwoman, and I really enjoy how its a relationship based upon lust rather than actual feeling because it represents Tim not fully growing up yet.  He had something relatively stable with Stephanie for awhile, but now he is doing something rather unexpected for someone who is ridiculously meticulous with his planning.  Plus, I’m surprised that they didn’t chip a tooth or something at a certain point.

Basically, the comic comes around to the Assassin’s tournament by Tim recognizing something’s going on and reacting early to it.  This issue feels like a lead up, but it still leaves you relatively satisfied in terms of story.

Marcus To and Ray McCarthy’s art is highly underrated.  They are a great team.  I really enjoy that To’s characters are never overly-muscled or heavy-breasted.  In a world of superheroes – they look a little bit more realistic.  I especially enjoy their version of Dick’s Batman where he is trim like an acrobat but still highly powerful.  Plus, there is a brief bit where Dick’s freefall mirrors her freefall in the recent Detective Comics.  Completely unplanned but still interesting.

Overall, this book has great things going for it and does not cease to entertain.

Also, I was a little hesitant to DC bringing the letter pages back because such mainstream publishers usually do not print criticisms.  Instead, they wet their own pallet with positive, glowing reviews.  This is sort of happening, but there are some minute criticisms and fan-to-fan combat going on.  So, it seems like DC is trying to include in its two pages of fan letters some discussion rather than just glowing review masturbation.

Detective Comics #873: Review!

26 Jan

Scott Snyder and Jock have made Detective Comics a must-read series.  What’s even more impressive?  He did it in three issues.  Hell, I was hooked even after the first issue (#871).

Sure, my one criticism from the first issue was that the story was moving too fast, and it does.  But, somehow, there is so much frenetic energy crammed into the first part and the third part of the arc that it makes up for being a little jumpy.  Some other commentator’s criticism of the second part of the arc was that it actually went too slow and that it was all just lead up to 873 which I can understand, but I thought that was probably the best issue of the three.

Nevertheless, let’s just focus on this one.

Dick Grayson, now Batman (of Gotham City), discovers that there’s an underground cadre of Gotham elite who like to go to auctions for super villain stuff.  Dick interrupted this process last issue as they were selling off the crowbar that beat Jason Todd to death.  Sure, he was in disguise, but they figured it out.  So, in the end, Dick got poisoned and had to escape quickly.  We find out through pieces that he was saved by Tim Drake and that Barbara Gordon nursed him as he recovered from the toxic gas.  Dick fights through his fragile state and goes after The Dealer (the one in charge of the auctions).

What will probably be an underrated part of the comic is Snyder’s ability to nail the relationship between Barbara and Dick even through a freaky dream sequence.  It’s this humanism that really grounds the story even when it gets all sorts of crazy.  And boy, does it get awesome-crazy (as opposed to crazy-awesome which just isn’t good enough).

Who better to capture that “frenetic energy” mentioned earlier than Jock?  He makes it such a lively book full of action and expression.  Truly, words cannot fully capture the wonderful impact he makes on the book.  It’s phenomenal.

This is a series that is definitely worth checking out, and it gets back to the basics of being an action, adventure, and detective comic.  How appropriate.

Detective Comics #871: Review!

2 Dec

Let me give a brief summary of a story – not particularly the story in the book:

Ooohhh look, it’s snowing in Tacoma
Ooohhh shit, people in Washington don’t know a goddamn thing about driving in the snow
Ooohhh goddamn, MY COMICS WERE DELAYED BY A WEEK

So, if it seems like I’m riding on the bootheels of other reviewers… well, it’s because my comic shop had some big D-leighs.

Onto the story – the comic book variety:

Scott Snyder rocks it out of the park on this issue on writing duties.  There are some neat quips, some history, and some very interesting things going on in the issue.  In interviews he said that he was bringing the “detective” back into comics, and I do believe he is.  There’s a fair amount of talkie-talkie in the issue, but, hey, that’s how I like (love) my comics.  Action is overrated unless it’s absolutely necessary.  In reality, fight scenes would probably not last 10 pages of doohickey fighting.  I like it fast and brutal to reflect reality.  So, when there’s action, it’s barely seen.  There’s just a bunch of investigating and character development WHICH I LOVE.

Of particular interest was the back-up which almost flowed perfectly with the ending of the main feature.  I am more than okay with paying $3.99 for an issue with so much detail and effort PLUS a back-up.  And the back-up is really good with some relevance to the main feature.  Sure, the writing (overall) falls onto some common plot tropes, but, overall, it didn’t come off as preachy nor predictable.  And, as a good sign of the comic, I want the next issue.

I have to admit that my first experience with Jock was when he did the slasher or whatever thing when Batwoman was rocking the title.  I really have enjoyed him ever since.  And, I have to say, this go-around he seems even better than before.  His lines are very expressive and dirty just like the noir-ish feel the comic needs.  His Batman is near perfection.

On top of that, Francesco Francavilla brings a whole new game to the back-up feature.  This feature reads like a dark and gritty detective tale that will definitely be haunting.  In the midst of it, you get Francavilla’s art which is phenomenal.  In fact, it reminded me of an indie comic.  For awhile, I sort of forgot that the characters have ties to superheroes.  The coloring is fantastic.

But two issues with the comic are: 1.) Bat-Taser in your finger glove… nah… I just can’t believe that 2.) I feel like this storyline could easily be drawn out to 5 issues rather than 3.  It’s moving just a little bit too fast for my tastes.  I’d really like to know more of the details… but, then again, that’s sort of what the detective genre is all about.

Batman: The Return – Review

19 Nov

This comic started out really neat.  I mean, you get to see bats fighting! Bats!  That’s right, bats in a Batman comic!  Hurrah!  This lovely lead-in to the main feature balanced pretty well.  And then, onto the main feature, we get Bruce Wayne back at his old tricks BUT BIGGER.

Now, this section seemed a bit rushed especially since I figured Bruce’s briefing of the Bat Family would last a bit longer with Red Robin at least getting a few good lines.  Nevertheless, this was about Bruce.  Except, then it went to Bruce and Damian in ridiculous robot costumes.  I couldn’t tell if they were inside the robot or outside or whatever until a decent amount into the scene.  A nearly forgettable character is introduced along with the criminal organization that will face off against Batman Inc.  I’m intrigued but not overly excited.

I suppose my biggest complaint was all of the unnecessary extra content.  It basically goes “oooh… here’s the original pencils!  Now, here are the inked pencils!  Oh, new designs!  Golly gee this is fantastic!  Let’s throw in some of the finalized scripts!  Yipee!”  Now, I’m not going to complain and be like “hey, you should have offered me more pages of art!”  But, at the very least, they could have offered some of the bonus material on their The Source website, cut it out of the comic, and raised the price down a dollar.  That would have made me much more pleased.

Nevertheless, the comic itself was decent, and it functions as a good kickoff to the new era of Batman.

A whole new slew of comic reevus

9 Jun

Well, I didn’t get comics for a month or so… There was a lot waiting for me.

Unfortunately, I forgot to pick up Grizzly Shark and Sea Bear, Return of Bruce Wayne #2, and my LCS still hasn’t received Tales of the TMNT #69.

Overall, I was fairly pleased with my pulls, and I even went out on a limb and bought some Marvel which was, surprisingly, really good.

So, let’s start it off with the bad and move towards the awesome:

Green Lantern #54:

It’s really unfortunate that most of these scenes in this book were sort of seen in others (mostly Brightest Day), and I’m a little tired of Green Lantern.  Honestly, this book is testing my patience.  It looks pretty and Doug Mahnke does his best with trying to make the Star Sapphire costume look not so slutty, but I feel like Geoff Johns is just trying to outdo himself with the next big, cosmic event.  Therefore, character studies are shot down for a rather boring plot.  And Lobo, seriously?  I’m giving this comic three more tries.  If it fails twice in those three times, then it’s out.

The best part of this comic, though, was Dex-Star (the Red Lantern Cat) kicking some ass.

Batgirl #11:

I’ll begin this by mentioning that there isn’t anything inherently wrong with this issue.  I feel like Bryan Q. Miller is doing a knockout job developing a voice for Stephanie.  Sure, Lee Garbett & Pere Perez’s pencils sort of make Stephanie’s boobs fluctuate size on a nearly frame by frame basis, but the art’s overall good.  Everyone’s doing a good job.  My problem is that the comic is doing things that have been done before.  Sure, these are all sort of training exercises for Stephanie, but the stakes are obvious and I don’t feel like there’s any real big threat.  The Calculator is nice, but that’s more so Barbara’s villain.  Is Stephanie going to get any of her own.

As far as dream sequences go, this was one of the more interesting ones out of the thousands out there in comic land.

Girl Comics #2:

I feel like this comic should be longer than it is.  I feel like there should be more stories in it.  Hell, I’m being charged $5 goddamn dollars for it, I might as well get some more stories.  Plus, what’s up with the shipping delay?

Alright, refocus on what’s actually here in the comic.  Unfortunately, it was hit and miss.  I enjoyed the intro again even if it felt like I was rereading the intro from before (I really liked the variation of She-Hulk’s costume).  The Inhumans was kinda bleh.  However, I really liked the hairdressing story because it didn’t really feel like it was shoving the issue of “hey, girls like to get their hair done!” but more so a thing that they do that shows a different aspect of their lives.  I liked the art and coloring on the “Do You Ever?” story even if the script was a bit lacking.  The two page spread of MJ searching for another superhero boyfriend was delightfully taking stabs at the machismo behind many male superheroes which made me pretty giddy.  The Dr. Strange story was a major disappointment.  I just did not understand what was going on.

So, overall, okay, but nothing major.

Batman #700(!):

Alright, I had to dish out the $5 on this landmark issue.  I figured it would probably not be that great, but, strangely, I found it to be pretty gosh darn good.  Now, let me preface it with me walking home 3 and a half miles in the rain worrying about my comics getting wet.  Then, it began pouring – like Puget Sound every day in February pouring – and I sought refuge.  Enter coffee shop and a warm chai.

I opened it up, and found this time-spanning narrative not confusing but, despite being defined by time periods, timeless.  Grant Morrison hit the mark on portraying that, no matter what, there will always be a need for a Batman in comics/the comic world.  Naturally, Frank Quitely’s frenetic energy in his section made a major impression.  It was unfortunate that he couldn’t finish the whole “Today” section.  I feel like they could have simply put a “Tonight” label after the switch to slightly differentiate between the artists and acknowledge the change up.

Now, I’m not a fan of Damien becoming Batman in the future.  Particularly because I think the transition would be too easy for the character… and I don’t like his batsuit.  So, that part was kinda “hmm meh” for me.  However, 2-Face-2 was hilarious as was the final joke.

The “And Tomorrow” section was genius showing off all the different Batmen that have come, gone, or will pass.  I really like the Full masked, silver-emblazoned one.

Overall, this is a pretty good story for a Batman fan with a little bit for everyone.  Sometimes, it didn’t hit the mark.  When it did, though, it was lovely.

Heralds #s 1 & 2:

After reading Kelly Thompson’s review of Her-alds, I decided to give it a try.  And, honestly, I am so glad I did.

Some Superheroes who just all happen to be women get together through an interesting means, and then, all of a sudden, a clones (of scientists and historical figures creating some funny moments with Einstein and later Hitler), Dinosaur, chaotic thing happens.  They bond together over fighting and then come together in the second issue over Frankie Raye and how she plays in the overall importance of recent events.

The art on these issues is amazing.  Some commentators (anonymous comments on other people’s reviews) have said that the art style is too indie or doesn’t differentiate between the women.  I would have to counter this by stating that I am not familiar in any depth with the majority of these characters, and I could tell them apart through facial differences.  Plus, I really like the slim, short-haired She-Hulk.  I mean, she’s lean but with lots of muscle.  Who’s to say the Gamma radiation has to make her bulky just to give her immense strength?

At times, the plot can be a little overwhelming and the dialogue quick, but another read through brings along more enjoyment.  Trust me, the first read is still just as good as you’re briskly trying to read what’s next.  This got me to chuckle aloud, which, as said numerous times before, is a hard thing to do.  Check out the Thompson review to see some pages from the actual book to see the interior art.

Red Robin #13:

Tim Drake-Wayne.  Marriage fake.  Identity.  New duds.  Checklists.  Hard Decisions.  Worth it?

I know that this comic is worth it.  You barely have to be knowledgeable about Tim Drake or this series to still really enjoy it, and the twist is wonderful.  God, I love this comic (and the writer switch – Fabian Nicieza who’s written Tim Drake before – hardly altered anything; a nice transition).

Invincible #72:

Within the Invincible Universe, I feel like Kirkman is at his best with writing violence.  I believe this also probably gives Ryan Ottley much more to play around with.  Anyone noticed the similar attacks Conquest utilizes?  Come on, the frames are nearly the same.

This issue completely surprised me in a good way.  The melodrama’s out of the way, and now it’s just super hard hitting and awesome.  I never knew breathing could be so great!

The Walking Dead #72:

God, does Kirkman know how to nail that final page for every issue.  I mean, it also works really fluidly during the trades, too.  Still, I just love it.

This issue focuses pretty heavy on the adjustment process with emphasis on Michonne, Andrea, and Glenn.  Um, yeah… mostly my favorite characters.  It’s nice to not see any zombies for a bit; although, I’m sure that will change next issue.  This is just such a consistently great comic.

Wait… what happened? New comics…

18 Apr

I just spent a considerable amount of thought power writing my review of Kick-Ass, and now I just feel like bitching about something.  What better way to get my need for bitching about something than the slew of goddamn awful comics that came out in the last two weeks!?

Brightest Day #0:

Wow… I’m pretty sure DC just lost me as a customer of Brightest Day (excluding the first issue to get the last promotional ring) with this trite shit.  Honestly, I felt like I was looking at the solicitations for the next three months in comic form.  This was purely a promotional stunt and it made me feel pretty fucked over, honestly.

First up, the art is mediocre.  I can’t completely blame this on Fernando Pasarin because he also happened to have six (SIX!!!!) inkers on his work.  Way to piss all over making the art look continuous and flowing.  Nevertheless, Pasarin still had pretty bad facial expressions and ruined the refreshing portrayal of Mera (along with the writers… which is a little weird since Johns penned both) by Ivan Reis in Blackest Night.

Despite not actually knowing why Deadman’s still wearing his costume but just wearing a trench coat to cover it, the first 6 pages of the comic are the best because I like slow pacing to comics… and birds… Anyway, it’s all downhill from there as we cut instantly to the typical “hot naked woman waking up from bed to find that the husband is gone and she goes out to find him for some more nookie” scene.  How many times have I seen this?  Oh, I don’t know, somewhere up there in the couple hundreds.  Mera is no longer the strong, badass character, and now she relies fully on the man in the relationship.  She has gone from D-line to A/B-line back to about roughly C-line.  Seriously, covering up her naked, smiling body with bubbles as she dives into the ocean and still somehow manages to have an extraordinary amount of cleavage!? How the fuck is that possible?

A couple of not interesting things, then Maxwell Lord’s thing which was actually pretty badass.  Then we go to mars and see basically the most times J’onn J’onzz has ever smiled in about 4 pages.  Some more shit.  Some shitty shit.

THEN STAR CITY’S DESTRUCTION BEING IN THE SHAPE OF A STAR AND TURNING INTO A FUCKING FOREST.  Fucking dumb.  Fuck!  Ooh, and some even more Sinestro on top of that.  Then some more T & A and posed pictures for little boys to jack off to in the previews section.

Honestly, this hurt really bad.

I like how Boston Brand is the main character.  I don’t like how out of 3600 sectors the only ones revived were from 2814 (earth, basically) after so much death in Blackest Night.  I don’t like what’s happening.  Blackest Night was decent.  This is shit.

Invincible Returns:

How about we call this: A bunch of reasons why Invincible shouldn’t kill any more and why Cecil is a manipulating bastard and Atom Eve is still pregnant (surprise!) and let’s change back into an older costume!

Invincible is usually fairly reliable to land in the 3-5 star range, but this little reason gathering before Invincible enters the long-awaited Viltrumite War with a really bad recap back up was pretty damn awful.  There was just soooooo much text, and the action sequence thrown in was completely stilted and awkward.  There really was no furthering of the plot here and it just gave us more of what we already knew as regular readers.  In that sense, this would probably be considered a jumping on point for the series.  However, I would definitely not start reading Invincible based after this book.  It’s terrible and pretty, “hey, remember how awesome that was!?… well, something else awesome and surprising is going to happen… buy our book!”

Egh.  At least it had better, more original art than Brightest Day.

The Flash #1:

I bought this so I could get the Flash Ring which actually fit way better than any of the Corps rings.  Anyway, I won’t be being the second issue.  This comic, along with Flash Rebirth, still does not make a very convincing argument for the need to bring Barry Allen back.  Nevertheless, I’ve accepted the fact and moved on.  The problem with this issue is that the writing is really, really, really fucking bad.  I think Geoff Johns was probably sleeping and his drool wrote out this and he decided it would be great and thanks drool.  The only thing holding this issue up is Francis Manapul’s art.  Even then, though, I have some problems.  All of his faces sort of look the same after awhile unless they’re a main, main character or are of a different age range.  I like the clean, refreshing, and younger appeal of the new Barry Allen and what not, but there are some problems.  Nevertheless, Manapul brings a light to this comic that is missing in the writing and really knows how to portray speed in an interesting way.  I’m quite a big fan of the single page spread directly before the silent pacing page then the 2 page reveal of time-travel.  He’s running through traffic and has to jump up in order to miss getting hit by a car and I love his facial expression afterward.  It’s a really well designed page.

What really made me upset, though?  It was the two page teaser for next year’s Flash-event that Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert are doing.  Frankly, it looks really dumb, and the only reason I might read it is because of the White Lantern involved.  Otherwise, it just looks like a time-travel clusterfuck and nothing really fresh or new.

Batgirl #9:

A decent set-up issue for another storyline with good work on writing and pencilling duties.  Some really good work on characterization.  Nothing special, though, and that was my main problem with it.  Once again, Barbara Gordon’s hair as the strange capacity to change length and style on a whim.  They are creating a nice niche for Stephanie in Gotham that I’m appreciating.  However, a flood?  Hasn’t Gotham had enough natural disasters?  Why are people still living there?

Red Robin #11:

You know? Ra’s Al Ghul is such a badass.  This comic continues Ra’s targeting everyone who ever mattered to Bruce Wayne and Tim Drake-Wayne to get back at Tim for his betrayal.  Things continue to build in this issue (I actually thought this was the conclusion to the storyline, but I’m actually pretty glad for another issue) and my only problems were some coloring errors and Vicki Vale somehow being able to take out some League of Assassin trained ninjas.  So, some uncharacteristic things.  I enjoyed the quick face off between Tim and Damien which was lovely illustration.  Once again, torture comes up as an issue in this one, and it’s very interesting.  I really believe Marcus To is going to be great and I’m glad he’s on this book.  Like Batgirl, though, nothing extraordinary.  The comic is still a little messy, but with some cleaning up on both sides of the spectrum, it really could be great.

Batman and Robin #11:

I couldn’t find the awful Frank Quitely cover that the main comic was printed with because it’s bad.  You know? I’m glad this comic is only $2.99.  Otherwise, I wouldn’t buy it.  Morrison does provide a strong amount of twists and turns in this comic, but a dollar more just wouldn’t be worth it.  I really enjoy Andy Clarke’s visual style because it’s so distinctive within comics (despite it resembling a modern take on the many block prints of the early 20th and late 19th century).  Nevertheless, I really don’t like his design of Talia Al Ghul.  Morrison’s brief description countering claims of the even more expansive cavework underneath the mansion after the earthquake a couple years before is a little frustrating.  Well, his work with batman is a little frustrating.  Yet, he somehow manages to make it entertaining.  So, kudos for that.

Nothing extraordinary… and a lot of bad… and I need to go and eat.