Speedy Comic Reviews from Jan 30, 2013

Scarlet Betch does a great job previewing comics every week, but there are plenty more worthwile comics that need some love. I'm going to try to do a weekly review of some of my favorites from each week. This is a BIG week for comics so I may hold on some reviews until next week. It's also a GOOD week for comics - any week with Hawkeye is a good week! Why are you still reading this? Go buy it - go, GO!

Aquaman #16
DC Comics - Written by Geoff Johns, Art by Paul Pelletier

I used to be a huge Geoff Johns fan. His runs on the Flash and Green Lantern got me back into comics.  Unfortunately, I think he's simply stretched too thin now.  When the new Justice League of America title is released later this month, he'll be writing three major titles in addition to his role as DC's Chief Creative Officer.  Including this month's Aquaman, his books have become the equivalent of a summer movie popcorn flick - all action and special effects with little character development or emotional depth.  This story continues the Throne of Atlantis storyline, in which Aquaman's brother Orm attacks the eastern seaboard of the United States in retribution for a perceived attack on Atlantis.  There are a few good character beats, but most of the story feels pretty empty.  Paul Pelletier's artwork is of inconsistent quality.  I get the sense he spent a lot of time on certain big splash panels like the awesome two-page spread of The Trench while neglecting others.  Most of the underwater sequence is poorly executed, including the inking by Sean Parsons.  Overall score: 6.5  Disappointing.

Batman and Robin Annual #1
DC Comics - Written by Peter J. Tomasi, Art by Ardian Syaf, Cover by Andy Kubert

The Bat-Brat Rises!  I LOVED this story.  Existing outside of the current Batman Death of the Family continuity, this standalone story is incredibly humorous and even more noteworthy, incredibly charming and touching. While I started off very dubious of Damian Wayne (Really?  ANOTHER Robin?!), I've become a big fan of the snarky little shit.  He's way too smart for his own good, he's an incredible fighter, has major attitude, but also has a very tender and vulnerable core to him.  Peter Tomasi nails every one of Damian's attributes in this story in which Damian sends Bruce on a quest to reconnect with his parents while he assumes the role of Batman for a few days to prove himself to his father.  I can't say enough good things about this issue.  I literally went "Awwwww..." at several points in the story because I found it so touching.  Some may find it saccharine, but I ate it up.  Overall score:  9.4  Must Buy!

The Flash #16
DC Comics - Written by Francis Manapul & Brian Buccellato, Art by Franics Manapul

Sigh.... I'm a big Flash fan, but I continue to be disappointed by this title. The art is consistently fantastic, including Brian Buccellato's beautiful coloring, but the story is a mess. There are simply too many plot threads in one story. We have the main story with The Flash confronting Gorilla Grodd who's taken over Central City. We also have two subplots and two flashbacks. Compared to Mark Waid's and Geoff Johns' runs on The Flash, there's a distinct lack of character. Everyone's just... bland. Last month, I felt like nothing happened, and this month, there's too much going on, which makes for a convoluted cluster. Overall score: 6.0 Meh.


Hawkguy! Err.... Hawkeye #7
Marvel Comics - Written by Matt Fraction, Art by Steve Lieber & Jesse Hamm, Cover by David Aja

This is one of the best new titles from 2012 - also one of my favorite titles from last year. Nearly every issue, including this one, is a stand alone story, so jump right in! Here's the premise - It's Hawkeye on his days off from the Avengers, and it's awesome. You actually get two Hawkeyes for the price of one - Clint Barton (aka sexy Jeremy Renner from the Avengers movie) and Kate Bishop, his protegé/partner. In this issue, they have separate, but intertwined Hurricane Sandy tales in the New York City area. As I have come to expect from this series, there is a lot of humor throughout the issue, including the running in-joke of Hawkeye being miscalled Hawkguy. It also has a lot of heart in both stories. While it doesn't feature interior artwork by the ususal artist David Aja, the guest artists met the time-sensitive deadlines of this unplanned issue and complement the story nicely. P.S. If my review hasn't already inspired you to buy this issue, Matt Fraction has pledged to donate his royalties to Hurricane Sandy relief, making this a 9.0 Must Buy! 

(I got my images from the Midtown Comics website - it looks like they're already sold out, New Yorkers!)

Mara #2
Image Comics - Written by Brian Wood, Art by Ming Doyle

It's a comic about superstar volleyball lesbians! What?! Yeah, I know that sounds kind of ridiculous, but it's great, and it's so much more than just that. In the first issue, we're introduced to a satirical vision of the future where the title character is a rockstar of a volleyball player with multi-million dollar endorsements, a penthouse, and the perfect life. It all comes crashing down around her when she exhibits special powers on global tv, broadcast to millions, and is accused of cheating. The second issue picks up where the first left off. One can't help but draw comparisons to Lance Armstrong with the disillusion we all felt when he was stripped of his titles. Wood's story is strong and sucks you in as Mara struggles with her powers and her loss of trust, including from her teammate and best friend (lover?), Ingrid. The mystery escalates with a "WTF" cliffhanger. Overall score: 8.8 Great!


Superior Spider-Man #2
Marvel Comics - Written by Dan Slott, Art by Ryan Stegman

In case you're not caught up from the big reveal of the sold-out Amazing Spider-Man #698, here's what you need to know (SPOILERS). Otto Octavius switched bodies with Peter Parker, and Peter Parker died while in Doc Ock's body. This new title is all about Otto Octavius proving he can be a better (Superior) Spider-Man than Peter Parker ever was! But!... Peter's still around, with his consciousness still in his old body, unbeknownst to Doc Ock. Kind of sounds like a bad soap opera, doesn't it? Actually... it's pretty great. This issue is all about Otto trying to woo Mary Jane, while Peter gets to watch. It's pretty great seeing the egotistical super-villain in Peter Parker's body. It's a funny, non-annoying version of Spider-Man 3. The best part is seeing Peter's omnipresent "ghost" always watching and commenting on what's going on. The contrast in body language and speech between the two makes for a humorous and great character piece. Overal score 8.2 Great!

So, that's it for this week!  What do you think?  Do you like this blog?  Do you agree with my reviews?  Chime in below... Let's get some conversation going in this community!