Hello faithful readers! GL Gent is back this week for another round of reviews. I have finished my finals and am raring to go. I was pumped to review Justice League of America for everyone this week but evidently that one is not being released until later. I am replacing that choice with this week’s issue of Aquaman. Coming to you this week I will be reviewing Aquaman #19, Batwing #20, and Shadowman #0. Don’t forget to follow the Comic Gents on Twitter, both myself (@GL_Gent92) and DC Gent (@dc_gent).
Author: Geoff Johns
Penciller: Paul Pelletier
Inker: Sean Parsons
This issue continues with the Death of a King story line. Arthur is continuing his chase after the Scavenger who holds Atlantean weaponry that he is trying to prevent from making it to the surface world. Meanwhile, Tula and Murk are continuing their quest to free Orm from the surface world’s custody before he faces the death sentence. They take refuge in the abode of Swatt who seems to be an Atlantean that cannot breathe underwater and makes frequent trips to the surface. While Arthur and the Drift are chasing down the submarines operating under the Scavenger’s control, one explodes and they find an Atlantean on an operating table in the other. Mera also is a captive of an old former king of Atlantis who is plotting his own schemes. On the way, she finds a man named Nereus who claims she is his wife. What could all these things mean for the future? This is only the second issue in the Death of a King story line and it has been teased that we will see the return of The Others in the next issue. If Johns continues to do what he does best, this story line could be promising. As it stands though, I felt this was sort of a slow issue and it was being used to set the pins up to knock them down later. As always though, the art of this book continues to amaze. The image of Topo, a big, Cthulu-looking undersea monster was truly awesome.
Authors: Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray
Artists: Eduardo Pansica & Júlio Ferreira
This has probably been one of the best Batwing issues of the New 52 so far. Way to go creative team. Anyway, to continue, Luke Fox has taken the mantle and become the second Batwing for the New 52. The costume changes are completely astounding. I love it. I love the new attitude of confidence and sarcasm he is bringing to the character. It really lightens the mood of the comic because David Zavimbe was way too serious. The comic begins with Luke facing the Marabunta soldiers that dress up as ants to do their evil deeds. He defeats them and takes Lady Marabunta to interrogate her using a derivative of the Scarecrow toxin, which I thought was extremely intelligent. All along the way he has Batman leading him and telling him what to do. Batman reveals that Luke was passed over for the role of Batwing in favor of David because Batman still has his doubts about Luke. One of the main factors that would have hindered Luke from working with Batman, Inc. is his father. Lucius Fox is a hard working strict man that works for Wayne Enterprises and though he may not go about it in the best way, he wants the best for his children, especially his only son Luke. Luke doesn’t let his father stop him and creates a false story about seeing the world after his early graduation from college. This leads him to the big baddie. I believe Lion Mane is one of the most badass villains I have seen so far. I don’t even know what his plans are but the artists really blew it out of the water. I mean who thinks of doing a lion centaur?!? That was awesome. This creative team has really set themselves up for what promises to be a great comic. Let’s hope it stays that way.
Author: Justin Jordan
Artists: Roberto De La Torre and Mico Suayan with Lewis LaRosa and Neil Edwards
Color Art: David Baron
I have been wondering since I began reading Shadowman why Master Darque was so powerful and where he came from. Lucky for me and anyone else that was wondering it, Shadowman #0 delivers in the wonderful way it has been delivering since the series started. Master Darque was born in Louisiana in 1812 and he had a twin. Their birth names were Nicodemo and Sandria. Their father taught them the Art from an early age. While studying one day, Nicodemo made Sandria’s rabbit explode because she wasn’t studying. He tried to bring it back but their father reveals that once something is dead, it cannot be brought back to its original form. He told them that there is a way to learn that though at the Lyceum. This is the source of all of the Art and the place where one can truly learn to control all aspects of it. The twins promise to help their father reach this place together. They had the grand veves drawn on them to better connect to each other and their gifts and on their 18th birthday, they were ready. During the ceremony, they realize their father was just betraying them to get to Lyceum himself using them as the necessary sacrifice as with all thing in the Art. Nicodemo stops him by drawing all the life force from everything around him and restores his sister to a shell of what she formerly was. That is when she knew how truly powerful he was. Shadowman was thrown at me as a bit of a surprise and I have loved every minute of it. I can’t wait to see more struggles between Shadowman and the Abettors against Master Darque as they try to keep him from crossing the Deadside into the world of the living. The art is dark and edgy making it the perfect iteration of Shadowman and this world. It is highly recommended that you read this series.
Writer: Gail Simone
Penciller: Freddie Williams II
I can’t understand why DC wasn’t promoting The Movement very much for the past few months, because I feel like this first issue of the series is one of the strongest first issues I’ve read since the beginning of the New 52. I guess there’s something to be said for letting quality work stand on its own, but since this book isn’t titled Batman Presents: Superman and the Movement, I think it needs (and most definitely deserves) more publicity. But that’s enough of an introduction, let’s get into the issue itself.
The concept of The Movement echoes sentiments of political unrest without choosing a side between the left or the right, and for that I applaud Simone. Instead of being a story about Occupy or a Tea Party fever dream, Simone presents us with a story about a “movement” that anyone and everyone can get behind: fighting back against oppression. What I really enjoyed about this first issue is that The Movement (as the actual movement is known) isn’t composed of only metahumans, but features normal, everyday people as the majority of the group. This aspect of the group is vital, because it means it isn’t a bunch of super-powered teens abusing their powers, but rather its normal people, rallying behind heroes, standing up for what is right. That being said, I loved the metahumans introduced in this issue. In one issue, I already care about Burden (a kid who is either has schizophrenia or is literally possessed) and his past, and want to see him fight to regain control of himself and his powers. Another standout is Virtue, an “emotion rider” that shows promise as a steadfast leader. But outside of The Movement itself, I actually found myself caring about someone they’re fighting against. The captain of the police force proves himself to be an enemy of corruption as well, but also someone who believes in doing his job and protecting his city the only way he knows how. I think its a testament to Simone’s writing skills that with one issue, I already feel attached to members on both sides of the conflict.
On the art side of things, Williams provides some truly stunning scenes. Of particular note are the opening scene, in which dozens of Movement members stop some dirty cops from engaging in sexual harassment of a minor, and the scene in which Burden enters the church. The opening scene in the alleyway is drawn in such a way as to demonstrate the true power of The Movement without having to use any actual “powers,” but instead relying on a truly intimidating presence. And Burden’s “transformation” in the church…completely haunting.
Simone’s and Williams’ The Movement is on pace to be a new favorite of mine within the New 52, and comics in general. Hopefully this title will get the attention and recognition it deserves so that we’ll get a long and stunning run from this creative team.
Greetings and Salutations you wonderful comic enthusiasts! This is the GL Gent. I hope your lives have been riddled with good fortune and Hakuna Matata (it means “no worries”). I myself have been winding down the school year with final exams coming up this week and am now procrastinating in order to bring you the reviews you so rightfully deserve and seek for the comics we all love and cherish. I have chosen to review Deadpool #8, Justice League Dark #19, and Teen Titans #19 this week. Have fun and enjoy. Don’t forget to follow The Comic Gents on Twitter. We are @dc_gent and @GL_Gent92. Oh yeah…..*SPOILERS*.
Authors: Brian Posehn & Gerry Duggan
Artist: Mike Hawthorne
Colorist: Val Staples
And Deadpool is back ladies and gentlemen. I have to admit that I had mixed feelings about the print of the lost issue from the 80s. I felt like it was thrown in as if it was unplanned and a bit of a publicity stunt especially after the cliffhanger from Issue #6. This is not so. Deadpool picks up with Agent Preston trapped in Deadpool’s chaotic, childlike mind with doors marked “Spanking.” Deadpool wants to kill Gorman and get paid for the work he did with this nation’s undead Presidents but he is once again approached by Vetis from the 80s issue. Vetis was not satisfied with the work Deadpool did with Iron Man so he gives Deadpool a choice. Kill 5 of the 6 people that asked Vetis for power or he will kill them all and one of them just happens to be Deadpool’s bumbling necromancer buddy Michael. Agent Preston sees this as an opportunity to retrieve a body to live in while they figure out how to bring her back but when she sees what Deadpool has to do, her conscience kicks in. Riddled with great comedy and a well drawn world to inhabit thanks to this wondrous creative team, Deadpool continues to please. This is definitely a comic worth reading. I know I said I would be more of a critic in my last post but I honestly find no faults in this comic.
Justice League Dark #19
Authors: Jeff Lemire & Ray Fawkes
Layout and Cover: Mikel Janin
Finisher: Vicente Cifuentes
Welcome to the next segment of our story that follows the goings on in Epoch. This was a pulse pounding issue from start to finish with some guests stars in the form of Swamp Thing and very briefly the Flash. Trinity War inches ever closer and from the words of a particular antagonist at the end of the issue, this is a pivotal point in the coming war. The start of this story begins with Constantine being attacked by The Cult of the Cold Flame, which if you read his solo title, you would know they have been causing him a tad bit of trouble. While Constantine was being attacked, Steve Trevor had a little meeting with Boston Brand a.k.a Deadman to offer him a little spot on the Justice League of America in return for some spy work on the JLD. During the attack, the psychic link with The House of Mystery was severed and if they don’t get it back under Constantine’s control within 24 hours, the link will be permanently severed and the horrors of the House will be unleashed in the world. Then to make matters worse, the team is separated and forced to face down nightmares of their own design. As they have done since their takeover on the comic, this creative team continues to amaze. The visuals continue to be stunning and the story and dialog is in top form. Well done JLD creative team, well done indeed.
Teen Titans #19
Plot: Scott Lobdell
Dialog: Scott Lobdell & Tony Bedard
Penciller: Eddy Barrows
Inks: Eber Ferreira
I really do want to like this series. I truly try. Admittedly, this was by far one of the best issues of Teen Titans yet. I love Scott Lobdell. I love the art and dialog. I love the characters. I fear that if the story doesn’t come together so they can have a decent run, they could very well face the chopping block. This issue opens with the Titans at each other’s throats (some of them literally). Red Robin is still suffering and being a dick from his tussle with the Joker and Cassie has had enough of it. She wants some explanation. Red Robin retorts with the assertion that they are basically his slaves because he saved their lives. I think that might have been a step too far. Suddenly, Trigon invades Times Square and Cassie senses him. Trigon starts to speak to Psimon, the mysterious boy who has been killing people with his mind, to requisition him with tempting him with telling of how powerful he is. The Titans arrive to save the day. During the fight, Raven shows up with Beast Boy at her command and we get a glimpse into the past of a few of the Titans. Honestly, I need some confirmation of what the hell is going on and have a story developed that doesn’t rely on one or two pages from issues that I can’t even remember the numbers of in the middle of stories that were holding my attention at the time. I think that is the main point of suffering this comic faces because everything else is great about it.
Let’s hear it everybody because GL Gent is here again! How has everyone been? Good? Great? Wonderful? Glad to hear it. Well, this week since my colleague, DC Gent, took great pleasure in stealing the review of Red Hood and the Oulaws from me, I have chosen to review Justice League #19, Justice League of America’s Vibe #3, and Nova #3. I also feel like I have been giving out way too many 5/5 so I am going to start being a bit harsh in my judgments. Enjoy and feel free to comment. Do I really need to say *SPOILERS*?
Cover of Justice League #19
Justice League #19
Author: Geoff Johns
Penciller: Ivan Reis
Inkers: Joe Prado, Oclair Albert, and Johnathan Glapion
Shazam! Chapter #11
Author: Geoff Johns
Artist: Gary Frank
So, Batman is losing it if that wasn’t obvious already. Now, I may be wrong in assuming the assailant that broke into the Batcave, took out Alfred and Red Hood, got passed the security features including a retinal scan, and stole the contingency measure for Superman was Batman but I digress. The art team has done wonders for this issue and I have always enjoyed the art of this comic. Amazing doesn’t even touch upon how well the art was put together. This issue has provided quite a few insights for me that proved interesting. We all know that Batman has a plan for any of the Justice League in case they go out of line, or at least you would if you had seen the animated movie Doom. With the addition of these new members, I couldn’t help but think: Does Batman have a plan for every hero or just the ones in the Justice League? This makes the Atom, Firestorm, and Element Woman’s roles extremely important if he doesn’t. By the way, I couldn’t help but notice a lack of Element Woman. I also think the Atom is proving to be a fun character with her online conquests, but is she going to stay that size all the time? Anyway, this issue provided for some big reveals for the team and the implications of their actions. Will Superman and Wonder Woman’s relationship last? Will Batman allow it to continue? Should the Justice League violate the boundaries of sovereign nations just to fight for peace and justice? You could always play Injustice: Gods Among Us for the answer to that question. Johns is really moving forward with the conflict these heroes must face if they are going to work together. He does well to reveal how some of the members feel about their actions.
Finally, for this issue, we have the Shazam! chapter 11 back up. Alright, Johns really makes this hero into someone easily relatable. I have a general knowledge of Shazam and his power set and Johns has brought this hero that has always been near the background of the DC Universe for me to the forefront. Johns has introduced me to new concepts and story that have been exceptional and he has done so in the skillful way that he adds to his comics. I have to say that because Billy Batson is a child, it really puts a hindrance on the abilities he has been given. He doesn’t think about his actions and puts the ones he loves in danger. He doesn’t realize just how dangerous Black Adam is. He didn’t listen to Francesca when she was trying to help him. He is going to have problems if he doesn’t realize what he is doing and soon. This has been a great issue and I believe it deserves the rating I have given it.
Cover of Justice League of America’s Vibe #3
Justice League of America’s Vibe #3
Author: Sterling Gates
Pencillers: Pete Woods and Fabiano Neves
Inkers: Sean Parsons and Fabiano Neves
ARGUS is really starting to piss me off. This issue focuses around one of the main reasons Vibe was recruited into the JLA. He is the answer to ARGUS’s “problem” of The Flash being what has been alluded to as one of the most powerful metahumans to be born. I am glad that Cisco is starting to become curious about this governmental agency’s agenda seeing as they have been lying to him every chance they’ve been able. I really wish people would stop underestimating him though including himself. I understand self doubt but if the creative team creates this as a staple of his personality, I might start become depressed reading his stories. He is an interesting character but I want more. It was interesting to pit him against Kid Flash and see small parts of Kid Flash’s past. I wonder if they will be answering the question of who that surprise cliffhanger character at the end of the issue was soon. That gave me a decent surprise. This was a good issue but there weren’t many wow factors. I think the creative team is pretty stable with art, dialogue, and story but they need to bring it a little more to impress me.
Cover of Nova #3
Author: Jeph Loeb
Penciller: Ed McGuinness
Inker: Dexter Vines
Colorist: Marte Garcia
So Nova is a completely new character for me. The most interaction I have had with this character is “oh look at that page in the Marvel Encyclopedia, it says…..Nova…..cool.” Sam is a young man whose father, Jesse, was in the Nova Corps and, from what I gather, one of the best. Problem is Jesse has disappeared after being a less than stellar father to Sam and his sister. Jesse trusted Rocket Raccoon and Gamora to give Sam his Nova helmet so Sam could come to the aid of Earth. After putting on the helmet, Sam is given a message from his father confirming that all the stories he told them were true and away to the moon Sam goes. He meets the Watcher who gives him a message of a giant space armada heading to Earth. Upon his return, he runs into the two Guardians of the Galaxy. They begrudgingly take it upon themselves to train Sam to face the dreaded Chitauri. This creative team is putting this kid through all kinds of hell already. I feel bad for the kid. This comic has been fast paced and a fun read. As always, it has a trademark of wit and sarcasm that I have come to expect from Marvel works. The art has been one of the best examples of art the Marvel staff has in my opinion. It has been near the level of Mark Bagley good. I have enjoyed reading this comic and I recommend picking it up. I can’t wait to see what storylines will come up later.
Writer: James Tynion IV
Penciller: Julius Gopez
James Tynion IV steps into the writer’s chair for this title with this issue, following a fantastic and emotional issue from Scott Lobdell. And based on the quality oozing out of this book, I feel comfortable saying that this will be a smooth creative transition that will lead into an epic run.
We pick up after events we haven’t seen yet (but will be seeing next month in Batman and Red Hood #20), focusing on Jason venturing into the Acres of All on his own while seemingly leaving Kori and Roy without a trail to follow. I love that Tynion is picking up on the All-Caste story Lobdell seeded into his issues early in his run, because I don’t think they were ever fully realized. Essence and Ducra are such interesting characters, so I’m glad that it looks like we’ll be seeing them fleshed out in the coming issues. And while I’m talking about the Acres of All, Gopez’s art for the scenes taking place there are breathtaking. I’m still missing Rocafort’s art on this title, but I think Gopez will be able to capture that same gritty/rough feel.
My favorite aspect of this issue is how Tynion seems to have a solid handle on how to write Roy Harper. He seems to effortlessly capture the cocktail of sarcasm, cynicism, self-deprecation and loyalty that makes Roy Harper who he is. These traits can be hard to pull off without making Roy seem like a jerk, but throughout the issue you only ever get the sense that Roy truly cares about Jason and Kori, but uses his sarcasm as a mask. Essence also allows us to see into Roy’s subconscious while he tries to accept the darkness within him, and based on the teases we see there I believe that Tynion will be building towards some really interesting plot points in the future that are related to Roy’s past. I guess these aspects are what I’m most excited about for Tynion’s run on this title; the potential to learn more about what makes these characters tick, while at the same time delving into how close their relationships have become.
Throughout this review, I’m sure I’ve mentioned the word “building” several times, and that is primarily because this is a setup issue. But it is without a doubt a setup issue done right. It looks like we’ll be seeing a more emotional and relationship focused take on these characters with this run, and I have every confidence in Tynion’s ability to accurately capture them and present them to the readers. That’s not to say I’m expecting less action though. On the contrary, if Tynion’s run on Talon is any indication, we can expect some bombastic action to accompany the pathos, and that has me extremely excited.
The excellent Month of Tynion continues, and I’m sure his hot streak will continue well into his obvious future in this industry.
GL_Gent, here. I am back for another set of reviews for this week’s comics from the DC and Marvel Universes. This week I have chosen to review Green Lantern Corps #19, Constantine #2, and Uncanny X-Men #4. Hope you enjoy! Oh yeah…*SPOILERS*…
Cover of Green Lantern Corps #19
Green Lantern Corps #19
Author: Peter J. Tomasi
Penciller: Frenando Pasarin
Inker: Scott Hanna
If anyone didn’t know, this is part 10 of Wrath of the First Lantern. I had high hopes for this event because in my opinion, Rise of the Third Army ended on a “Wait…..what?” note. I felt like each comic in that event served to continue the story that was there. This event however has had a few issues that have served almost no purpose at all. This was one of those issues. I do love Peter J. Tomasi. He has done great work on this comic so far, but everyone seems to be waiting for Geoff Johns’ epic finale in next month’s Green Lantern to actually do anything with the comic. This issue only did one thing in my eyes: rallied the corps. I would have to say giving it anywhere near a three was generous. Its saving grace was the art by the team of Pasarin and Hanna. I really appreciate their style and stark colorings. I feel like they created this awesome antagonist in the form of Volthoom and just stuck him doing one singular thing. He should have been wreaking much more havoc but instead he takes his time using his almighty reality bending powers just to drain the different corps members and put them in agonizing situations just to end in issue #20 of Green Lantern. Then, Mogo shows up and for some odd reason he seems to be more powerful than Volthoom. I couldn’t wrap my head around that one. I understand he is a planet but once again REALITY BENDING POWERS! I hope the next issue is mind blowing because if not, this event has disappointed me.
Cover of Constantine #2
Authors: Jeff Lemire & Ray Fawkes
Artist: Renato Guedes
And the fight continues against the Cult of the Cold Flame in Constantine #2. Constantine is on a quest to find the pieces of the mystical Croydon’s Compass. I love the character Constantine. He is a great anti-hero. Lemire and Fawkes have also done a great job expressing this crass, sarcastic mage. I love the idea that they have created about the bounds of magic and how it takes sacrifice to become powerful. What proved interesting to me though was his conversation with The Spectre. Constantine is known to be a conniving little son of a bitch as seen through the issues of Justice League Dark. I like though that he couldn’t lie to the Spectre and say that the weight of those sacrifices didn’t take their toll. He had to make these sacrifices because who else will. Mister E could also see the guilt in his soul. I think the art is very well done in this comic. It provides the sense of edge that I believe this character and subject needs. It wouldn’t be very impressive if it wasn’t edgy. I mean come on, this is magic and mysticism here, not ponies and rainbows. I am excited to see how this comic will continue to grow and wow me in the future. Keep on chugging Lemire, Fawkes, and Guedes. You have my attention.
Cover of Uncanny X-Men #4
Uncanny X-Men #4
Author: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Chris Bachalo
And once again Bendis leaves nothing whatsoever to question. Praise be to Bendis for he is the righteous warrior of Marvel’s pen. Back to the serious part, though. This has been fun reading these X-Men comics. I always loved the X-Men as a team and when I learned what the comic was really about going back to its roots, it made me appreciate it more. Once again, Bendis infuses the necessary comedy to make these characters more relatable even though, we as readers could never imagine what these characters are truly going through. He is ushering these new mutants in with style as well. He clearly portrays the struggles of being a mutant in a world where everyone hates mutants. Damn this prejudice. They’re just jealous they don’t have bad ass gold ball spawning powers…….yeah….I like what he did with those creepy Stepford Sister triplets finding out about Emma’s powers. *shudder* Sorry they give me the creeps. I liked how Chris Bachalo portrayed this with the characters being the only ones in color. And of course Bendis had to throw in that “What The Fuck” moment with the happenings to Magik or, as she is known by her human name, Illyana. This has been a great read and I always look forward to more Brian Michael Bendis.
Full Spoilers Below
Written by: Geoff Johns
Art by: Szymon Kudranski (Pencils and Ink), Adrian Syaf (Pencils), and Mark Irwin (Ink)
So here we are at the penultimate chapter of Geoff Johns’ epic run on the Green Lantern title, and you can really feel the significance of the issue. We get a hero dying, a planet exploding, and the return of Sinestro the Fear Lantern. But plot points aside, how much did I enjoy the issue?
I need to preface the rest of this review by saying that I have not read the entire nine years of Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern tale, so when Korugar is destroyed at the hands of the First Lantern, I didn’t feel an immediate emotional impact from the event. However, through an excellent storytelling, particularly on the part of the pencillers, once I saw tears falling from Sinestro’s eyes, I was instantly able to empathize with him. This was his home, and despite his less-than-ideal means in the past, all Sinestro ever wanted was to protect it. The creative team was able to overcome my lack of pre-New 52 history with the title using some emotional artwork and great scene-framing, and for that I applaud everyone involved.
Over in the world of the dead, we pick up where we left off last issue with Hal preparing himself to leap off a cliff to kill himself, thus allowing him to (hopefully) harness the power of the Black Ring and escape. Johns actually succeeded in faking me out, as I was convinced at the end of last issue he would jump, but throughout this issue and Tomar Re’s monologue I thought Hal had reconsidered. Then he jumps, landing such that a pool of blood forms around him. I don’t know whose artistic choice it was to make this Dead World’s color palate be strictly monochrome with heavy shadowing, but I think it was a stroke of brilliance that really sets the tone for the scenes, and in conjugation with the emotionally-heavy image of Hal dying it makes the reader feel the impact even more.
With the end of the issue, we see Sinestro at the end of his rope and willing to do anything to have his revenge. This is when he’s once again presented with his old friend, the Yellow Lantern, and consequently, this is the moment I got extremely excited for the conclusion to his event. I’ve been wanting to see Sinestro wield the power of fear for almost two years now, and I can’t wait to see how this plays out. Add that to Hal potentially becoming a Black Lantern, albeit for a short time, and you’ve got a definitive recipe for an epic conclusion.
However, I couldn’t help but feel like this issue was lacking a “wow-factor,” that something special that leaves me stunned. And because of that, I’ll dock it half a point. But I know Johns won’t let me down for his last issue on the title, so do yourself a favor and don’t miss it.
– DC Gent
Good Morning, Afternoon, or Evening (whichever applies)!
GL Gent here! This will be my first written/typed review as we return to the normal format of my friend, DC Gent’s, blog. I am excited to be continuing this blog with my friend and I will try to contain my sarcastic comments and be as professional as possible (TRY…). I have been hearing some good things about some of this week’s comics and am anxious to read them. This week I have chosen to review Swamp Thing #19, Phantom Stranger #7, and Superior Spiderman #7. So without further ado…here are my thoughts on these comics for this week. Oh and if you didn’t know….*Spoiler Alert*……
Swamp Thing #19
Author: Charles Soule
With Scott Snyder and Yanick Paquette gone, I am saddened. This quickly became one of my favorite comics and the creative team did extremely well with it during their run, but fear not folks! Charles Soule and Kano have stepped up to the plate and started strong. Soule weaves a wonderful dialogue that really delves the reader into what the Green means to Swamp Thing and how he feels while in communication with it. I feel torn even calling him Swamp Thing because he struggles with his identity now that he is totally made of the Green. I think this creative team actually made Swamp Thing more of a badass than he was. This team really capitalizes on just how powerful Swamp Thing can be through their intense visuals and intense yet sometimes flippant dialogue. I am also happy to see that he is becoming more involved in the larger DC Universe with the inclusion of Scarecrow, who if you read Justice League of America #2, was getting into some interesting evil storylines that will be developing further later. I also think Kano did well in representing Swamp Thing in relation to the environment he was in, such as making him a cactus while in the desert. I believe this creative team is putting a large focus on the Green and Swamp Thing’s interactions with the Green, which I think is one of the most interesting relationships of the DC Universe and that excites me. Overall, this was a great issue and even if you are sad and a little angry that Snyder and Paquette left, don’t let it detract you from this great comic.
Phantom Stranger #7
Authors: Dan Didio (Plot) & J.M. Dematteis (Script)
Artists: Zander Cannon (Layout), Gene Ha (Pencil/Inks), & Andrew Pepoy (Inks)
This comic has been going back and forth for me from the beginning. Some weeks it is great. Some weeks it feels like it is just trying to keep going. This week I feel like it was somewhere in between. This is quite a creative team and I feel that since they have all been together, the comic has been improving. I feel like the Jack Ryder story was a bit of an interruption though the Stranger was doing what his master commands and that is his purpose on this Earth. I felt like it was an abrupt interruption to him looking for his family. The art serves a good purpose in grounding this character. The Stranger seems to be quite a powerful force that is trapped on the human plane. The art seems to ground him in this trapped realism and I believe it adds to his character. I am excited to see what is in store for the future because the last pages give quite the confrontation with The Question. I feel like the Ryder story was a bit of an injection that didn’t really serve to push the story much farther forward but hopefully there will be something later to tie back to this. I will give this comic a 4/5 this week just because I felt like there could have been more here.
Superior Spiderman #7
Author: Dan Slott
Artist: Humberto Ramos
And now, I will give some of my love to Marvel with Superior Spiderman #7. I have been pretty vocal about this if you were tuning into the short run of our podcast, but Spiderman is one of my favorite Marvel heroes. I have been a bit hesitant of Otto hijacking Peter’s body. It seems though that slowly Peter has been making some headway towards getting his body back. This issue made some major leaps in this respect and it made me happy to see this. This issue is the second issue showing the Avengers noticing something is wrong. It is obvious that Otto has messed up and gone crazy town banana pants. He is hurting lesser villains and even a relatively harmless vigilante in the form of Cardiac. He has killed and the Avengers will be having none of that. They call him in and shit goes down. I have been very happy with Ramos’ depiction of Spidey and the art has been very solid and compelling. He has been doing a great job on this series. This issue has made some pretty decent developments and has set up for a huge confrontation in the next issue. We will have to wait until next time to see how it plays out.
Full Spoilers Below
With this historic issue of the title (900th issue!), we’re treated to a multitude of stories that all serve to advance the plot in both this title and the Bat-line as a whole. Four of the stories in this oversized issue are written by John Layman (Chew), with the fifth story written by up-and-coming writer James Tynion IV (Talon, The Eighth Seal).
The first of Layman’s stories in this issue continues directly from the cliffhanger in the last issue, in which we see Ogilvy/Emperor Penguin coerce Zzasz into killing his next victim with a special knife coated with contagious Man-bat serum. Zzasz follows through with his mission unleashing the Man-bat airborne pathogen on Gotham City, with only Batman to prevent it from spreading. Why only Batman you ask? Oh, that’s right, his family doesn’t trust him anymore after the events of the epic “Death of the Family.” I love seeing continuity among the line, so it was great to see Layman follow up on these events and show that nobody is speaking to Bruce; Dick even leaves town in the midst of the attack to handle his own business. I also enjoyed the way this story concluded, with Dr. Langstrom (creator of the Man-bat serum) sacrificing himself to save Gotham, turning himself into a Man-bat in the process. It really made me feel connected to Langstrom as a character, and it shows that sometimes Gotham’s citizens can be as heroic as their resident vigilantes. Hopefully we see more from Langstrom down the line.
Layman’s other stories in the issue focused on tangential events to the Man-bat swarm of Gotham’s 900 block. One of them focuses on Langstrom’s wife, becoming a Man-bat herself to be reunited with her husband again. Another focuses on GCPD cops’ reactions to working in a city with a prolific vigilante like Batman. This story brings back Officer Strode from Tynion’s backup in issue #12 of the series, which you may remember as the one featuring the creepy talking Joker-face, and it was great to see her still sticking to her guns (being a “Bat-lover”) despite the adversity from her fellow officers. Last but not least, Layman presents us with a story about Emperor Penguin’s henchmen and their actions during the Man-bat attack. This story revealed that the Man-bats were simply a distraction for his henchmen to steal millions of dollars and for Ogilvy himself to make a mysterious trip to S.T.A.R. Labs. Not only that, but we get to see the original Penguin begin his strike back against Ogilvy, and I know Layman will not disappoint in providing the epic confrontation between them that is sure to come.
Tynion’s backup was one of my favorite parts of the issue for several reasons. The most superficial reason is simply that Bane is my favorite of Batman’s rogues, so seeing him in any capacity is enough to get me excited. But throw in the fact that this story served as a prologue to an upcoming arc in Talon, a book I am enjoying immensely, then that’s just bonus points. I also would like to point out the genius plot point Tynion implicated in with this story: the Court of Owls has been helping Bruce takedown his villains all these years simply because they don’t want them damaging the city either! If Bruce or Calvin does eventually succeed in shutting down the court for good, Batman may not be as effective as he once was, and that would lead to some excellent story potential.
Finally, I would be remiss to not mention the stellar art in this issue, especially that of Jason Fabok. The way he draws the musculature of heroes and incorporates shadows into the scene has quickly enabled him to become a favorite artist of mine.
With all that gushing fanboy excitement said, it should be obvious how much I enjoyed the issue. But if not, I’ll quantify my love of it for you.
– DC Gent