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Tales of the TMNT #55 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Adventure Comics #0 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #3 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Ender’s Shadow: Battle School #2 [Review]

Creative Director & Executive Director: Orson Scott Card
Script: Mike Carey
Art: Sebastian Fiumara
Color Art: Giulia Brusco
Lettering: Cory Petit
Story Consultant: Jake Black
Cover: Timothy Green II
Publisher: Marvel Comics

This issue picks up at and follows Bean through his time with Sister Carlotta as he learns from her and eventually seeks to learn more about where he himself came from. By issue’s end, we see Bean about to leave for Battle School to face his future.

Where with the previous issue I had not read the novel and thus had no pre-conceived notions or expectations, I have since read the novel this is based on, and had very high expectations for this issue.

The story seems quite accurate, though obviously a good deal is lost for lack of thought balloons and internal narration. Some of the art provides a bit of nearly cinematic symbolism as we follow Bean, which gives us an idea of what he’s thinking.

The art itself is good, though doesn’t quite fit the visuals I formed as I read the novel (and the first issue’s art did not insinuate itself into my mind enough to hold as I read the novel). There is a nice consistency in style, and does not seem bad; it is just what it is.

All in all, a solid issue, though two issues in and not even to Battle School, I wonder how rushed the rest of this story is going to feel.

Worth getting if you’re a fan of the Ender-verse stuff; having now read the novel (inspired BY the first issue to pick that up in the first place), I think this is a strong adaptation…it just suffers as any adaptation does by not BEING the source material.

Story: 7/10
Art: 7/10
Whole: 7/10

Batman: The Brave and the Bold #1 [Review]

The Panic of the Composite Creature

Writer: Matt Wayne
Penciller: Andy Suriano
Inker: Dan Davis
Colorist: Heroic Age
Letterer: Randy Gentile
Editor: Rachel Cluckstern
Cover: James Tucker
Publisher: Johnny DC / DC Comics

I decided to pick this issue up, having enjoyed the last several Johnny DC books I’ve tried. Unfortunately, I found myself somewhat disappointed with what I got in this issue.

The issue opens at the tail-end of an adventure shared by Batman and Aquaman, before Batman learns of a monster tearing apart London. Joined by Power Girl, he faces this composite creature, formed from civilians in a several-block radius of one of Luthor’s devices. The story resolves in a fitting manner for the style, and leaves things ready for the next issue.

The art seems to be a mix of classic Batman from the silver age, the Super-Friends cartooney-style, and a hint of the Adam West Batman. Of course I assume it’s also inspired by the cartoon this series is based on, but not yet having seen an episode of that, I reference what I know. The style works, as it lacks the dark, grim, and gritty style that would likely be fairly inappropriate for kids and hams up the almost cheery, lighter style that could draw the younger crowd in while not traumatizing them if they move on to the mainstream DC version.

The story is simplistic, but that’s me as an adult pushing 30. I’m sure it’s well within range of appropriateness for the target audience of this book. Simplistic though it may be, it is not unenjoyable–just slightly cheesey/hokey…but I expect that going in. My main complaint with the issue is the lack of Blue Beetle and so little of Aquaman.

If you’re looking for a “fun” version of Batman, this seems a good one to go with–plus you’ll have other familiar characters along for the ride. I would be curious as to kids’ reaction to this issue, as it seems perfectly appropriate for the younger crowd–I just can’t speak to their actual enjoyment.

Story: 7/10
Art: 7/10
Whole: 7/10

Batman #685 [Review]

Catspaw

Writer: Paul Dini
Penciller: Dustin Nguyen
Inker: Derek Fridolfs
Colors: Guy Major
Letters: John J. Hill
Asst. Editor: Janelle Siegel
Editor: Mike Marts
Cover: Alex Ross
Publisher: DC Comics

Having thrown a wrench into Hush’s plans, Catwoman gains some small measure of revenge on the man who so horribly wronged her recently. However, in her own machinations she has need of the man who would impersonate Bruce Wayne. After explaining to Hush what role he’ll play, we see the plan set in motion, but with a nice twist at the end that is very fitting.

Dini’s story continues here, in the conclusion of another two-parter begun in Detective and concluded in Batman. This filler has much more significance, though, while also nicely playing with the Faces of Evil theme, and in a post-Batman Batman world. Nothing bad to say about the writing.

I’m not a huge fan of Nguyen’s style on the art, but it works here, and has a good consistency to it. It doesn’t blow me away, but it fits with the story and isn’t bad.

All in all, a solid issue that seems to set the stage for Hush’s status quo of present.

Worthwhile, but probably not essential.

Story: 8/10
Art: 7/10
Whole: 7.5/10

Justice Society of America #23 [Review]

Between a Rock and a Hard Place part one: The Power of Shazam

Story: Geoff Johns & Jerry Ordway
Pencil art: Jerry Ordway
Ink art: Bob Wiacek
Colors: Hi-Fi
Letters: Rob Leigh
Assistant Editor: Harvey Richards
Editor: Michael Siglain
Cover: Alex Ross (variant by Jerry Ordway)
Publisher: DC Comics

Having survived the Gog ordeal, the team finds itself picking up the pieces left behind. We see Hawkman reprimanded for initiating a divide in the team, as well as seeing where several of the characters are at present, post-Gog. The latter part of the issue focuses on the Marvel family in its current incarnation, and sees Isis returned to her husband a changed woman, and the stage set for much trouble to come.

Given the emphasis on the Marvel family, it’s great to see Ordway involved with the writing alongside regular series writer Johns. Together, they compose a story that is quite compelling and interesting–and despite coming off a year-long saga, this issue is fresh and interesting, dealing with ramifications while also ramping up the new story in a great blend of the two points. Though I’ve not read The Trials of Shazam nor The Power of Shazam, I have no real trouble following along–and am actually interested just from this issue in tracking those down to read.

The art is quite good…I enjoy it in and of itself, as well as for the fact that Ordway’s had a significant hand in the Marvel family in earlier stories and thus is a very appropriate artist to take things on now.

As the first issue in a new arc, this is a great point to jump on to check this series out…and honestly, if you’re not reading this series, you should be. If you enjoyed Black Adam in 52 or elsewhere the last few years, and have any interest in the character, this is not an issue to skip.

Story: 9/10
Art: 9/10
Whole: 9/10

Wonder Woman #28 [Review]

Rise of the Olympian part three: Blood of the Stag

Writer: Gail Simone
Penciller: Aaron Lopresti
Inker: Matt Ryan
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Letterer: Steve Wands
Associate Editor: Sean Ryan
Editor: Matt Idelson
Cover: Aaron Lopresti & Hi-Fi (variant by Cary Nord & Hi-Fi)
Publisher: DC Comics

Having been badly hurt in combat with Genocide, Wonder Woman–Diana–has to face Tom in her weakened state, armored up for a battle she feels she must face as her own responsibility. As the JLA doesn’t fare well against Genocide, Wonder Woman, Donna Troy, and Wonder Girl (re)join the battle. Meanwhile, Zeus & co. set their own plans into motion.

I’m still not all that familiar with Wonder Woman, having gotten in only at the very end of the last series, and not really jumping into this series until a month ago. However, I’m finding the basic story easy to follow, and the depiction of the characters to be quite well-done for what little I know of them–and at the least, they’re interesting and I’m still hooked, wanting to know more. Simone seems to be breathing life into a character that often has not seemed all that important nor complex…showing that she really is important and does have complexity.

The art is good, and I have no complaints with it, really. It has a classic sorta look to it, somehow reminding me just a bit of the late 1980s series, while maintaining its feel as a current, contemporary style.

This is only my third issue of this round of following the character, but I’m following along just fine. If you can locate the first couple chapters of this story, it’s well worth jumping on-board for! If you’ve read those issues, this issue gives no reason to stop. My only real complaint with the issue is a quibble at most–Cheetah doesn’t play a large role nor is she the focal point of the issue despite the Faces of Evil focus.

Very much recommended.

Story: 8/10
Art: 8.5/10
Whole: 8.5/10

Superman #684 [Review]

The Mind of Rudy Jones

Writer: James Robinson
Artist: Jesus Merino
Colorist: David Curiel
Letterer: John J. Hill
Asst. Editor: Wil Moss
Editor: Matt Idelson
Cover: Alex Ross
Publisher: DC Comics

This issue works quite well with DC’s Faces of Evil concept. The Parasite is the focal point going in, and we see how much trouble he causes upon release from the Phantom Zone. After that battle, we see the Guardian unmask to his coworkers with the Science Police, Nightwing and Flamebird share a moment with Jay Garrick, and finally Superman visits New Krypton where his aunt reveals something quite disturbing to him.

I’m not quite sure about the green “triangle number” 12 on this cover (I don’t remember an 11, and thought New Krypton was over with as far as the official titled story). That said, this story provides some nice epilogue-type material to that story, showing that just because the official arc is over, the events unleashed don’t tie up so nice-and-neat. Given that, I have no real problem with the story, and it’s really actually nice seeing stuff continue/build from the previous story instead of simply starting fresh as if everything’s always simply been the way it is and no reference to a previous arc.

The art is pretty good, though nothing spectacular. I realize here that compared to the previous issue’s artist, I really like this art, and it depicts the characters in a style that fits what I expect visually.

This issue seems to be a middle-ground issue, not really kicking off a new arc, but not completely belonging with the previous. While much of its content would be far more appreciated with having read New Krypton already, one could probably enjoy this issue fairly well without that context.

All in all a good issue, worth reading if you’re interested in current goings-on in the Superman family of books.

Story: 8/10
Art: 7/10
Whole: 7.5/10

Final Crisis: Revelations #5 [Review]

Final Crisis: Revelations part five

Writer: Greg Rucka
Pencils: Philip Tan
Inks: Jonathan Glapion
Colors: Nei Ruffino
Lettering: John J. Hill
Associate Editor: Adam Schlagman
Editor: Eddie Berganza
Covers: Tan, Glapion & Ruffino
Publisher: DC Comics

As the Radiant fades, Renee and the Huntress decide to make their stand against Cain (Vandal Savage). While they fight Anti-Life posessed Gothamites, Crispus Allen finds that he is dead again, and faced with a “choice” of involvement with the Spectre. Taking a huge risk and willing to sacrifice all, Renee’s gambit pays off, with deep ramifications.

I have no complaints with the art on this issue–it fits perfectly with the story, with some very nice panels that particularly stand out–particularly Crispus and the Spear. I wouldn’t suggest picking this up for the art alone…but the art is definitely a bonus point to the issue’s story.

The story comes to a rather satisfactory conclusion. With forces like Cain and the Spectre at odds, and the introduction/development of the Radiant character, and stuff that’s apparently been built up since 52 with Renee as the new Question and Crispus as the Spectre’s host since Infinite Crisis, this has made for a great ride that moves these stories forward and really serves to cap stuff off, solidifying characters’ places in the DCU.

As a mini-series, it would seem pointless to jump in with a 5th/final issue–if you’ve already been following the series, don’t skip this issue. If you missed the series, this one is certainly worth getting as a collected volume! (This series FELT to me like it has more importance for its characters than the core Final Crisis series did for the DCU as a whole.)

Very much recommended.

Story: 8/10
Art: 8.5/10
Whole: 8/10

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