IV-Blog Page 2014

New comics this week! Though as a heads up (due to budgeting) I’m switching the comic reviews to bi-weekly. I’ll try to come up with a separate segment to fill in that blank space. But for now, let’s look at Batgirl # 36, Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spider-Man # 7, and All Fall Down TPB.

Batgirl # 36

Writers: Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher

Artist: Babs Tarr

Colors: Maris Wicks

Letters: Jared K. Fletcher

Cover: Cameron Stewart

*Variant Cover by Cliff Chiang shown*

When I look at the sea of bleak, grim and darkness DC Comic’s books are at the moment, I am still perplexed and loving the new direction Stewart and Fletcher have taken Bargirl. This story is so much brighter, upbeat, and cheerful. It almost reminds me of (dare I say it) the Pre-New 52 era of DC Comics.  However, I will admit some people may be turned off by the jarring differences between the last run of Batgirl (which was just as bleak, twisted and dark like the other books out there), but if you’re looking for breath of fresh air, this Batgirl series is what you’re looking for!

The story picks up with Babs trying to deal with recovering data vital to her college proposal after her laptop is wiped, and dealing with a pair of deranged twins named the Jawbreakers who seem to be cosplaying as villains from an old anime Babs watched as a kid, with a violent and dangerous amount of realism. In-between all that She’s dealing with a rather hostile figure who’s seemingly stealing her identity online, even screwing with her ability to investigate crimes.

The writing for this series is very in the now. Stewart and Fletcher knows what’s going on in our generation’s circles.  Last issue was focusing on social media culture in Burnside and Gotham, and this issue actually touched upon the Anime fandom of Gotham. Being a fan of anime and manga, it was a treat to see it showcased in a realistic fashion (instead of used to mock a geeky character, as I’ve come to expect).  It is also humorous to see them writing Babs as someone who grew up on silly butchered 90s anime like some of us did, as one of her favorite shows as a kid is revealed to be a gender-bent homage to Astro Boy named Atomina (Science Battle Hero Nuclea, as an anime vendor is quick to point out was its true name “before it was butchered for American TV.”)

I’ve also enjoyed this series’ focus on Bab’s wits and smarts over using gadgets to get out of a situation. It’s played up to serious levels, as revealed last issue, that Bab’s entire arsenal burned up in a fire (and for whatever reason, isn’t calling up Bruce for some replacements),  so aside from slowly getting her arsenal rebuilt when she can, she has to rely both on her acrobatics, and her mind. Such as when she was facing off against the Jaw Breakers, she flashbacks to the episode of Atomina that had the titular character fighting the actual versions of the twins. From that flashback she was able to realize that the twins are staying absolutely in-character, and in turn left them prone to a weakness they had in the show.

The artwork by Babs Tarr continues to be fantastic. It’s such a lively and cute cartoony style with a hint of anime influence.  Some people might be turned off by this, but for me, who has gotten sick of almost every book having the same near-photo realistic perfect anatomy art style, this art (much like the book’s writing) is a breath of fresh air, and it fits the brighter and upbeat writing style.

Thankfully, I can say This new Batgirl series isn’t lightning in a bottle, and it’s shaping up to be a fun and optimistic ride, something that’s been PAINFULLY missing from the bleak and dark setting the DC Universe has become at the moment.  The writing is clever and fun, the artwork is full of energy and hope, and I can honestly say this was the first New 52 Book in a long time to actually get me excited for DC.

Rating:

Story: 5/5

Art: 5/5

Characters: 5/5

Overall: 5/5

Recommendation: A must-read! I will say those who were following the original run of Batgirl may find the shift in tone jarring, but for those looking for a breath of fun and upbeat fresh air in a DC book, this new Batgirl run is for you.

Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spider-Man # 7

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist: David Marquez

Colors: Justin Ponsor

Letters: VC’s Cory Petit

Cover: David Marquez with Justin Ponsor

Once again a pulse-pounding issue with the final battle between Miles and a revived Peter against Norman Osborn/The Green Goblin, and rather shocking reveal.

Although this was mostly a “fight” issue, the writing was still brilliant. Miles’ dialogue against Osborn was so full of wit and sarcasm that honestly made him his own snarker instead of sounding like Peter’s brand of snark.  It is quite a treat to see how much Miles has grown from the reluctant kid he was when he started out as Spider-Man, to his own version of the real deal. Even Peter and Maria Hill point this out as he’s dealing with Osborn one-on-one before Peter jumps in to even things out (and I should point out that the Ultimate Universe’ s version of the Green Goblin is a serious Hulk-level threat).

We also get some development on Katie Bishop (Mile’s probably soon-to-be ex-girlfriend), whom Miles revealed his secret identity to several issues ago. It was only one page, but that one page blew me away. Not going to spoil but suffice to say…Miles really should have listened to Ganke.  What this means for Miles down the line, we’ll see soon enough.

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: David Marquez has some of the best art in the business.  It was showcased once again this issue with the conclusion to Miles, Peter, and Osborn’s knock-down, drag out fight. Honestly it was one of the best illustrated comic book battles this year (of the books I’ve read). However, while Marquez’s artwork is phenomenal, he needs to work on his panel layouts a bit.  Sometimes he’ll make a 2-page spread read left to right on BOTH pages, instead of the typical layout of left to right then down per-page. This can get rather confusing when you don’t notice this on one of his spreads.

A thrilling conclusion to the Return of Osborn arc, which leaves with a lot of shocking twists that have me pumped for the next arc of this amazing series.

Rating:

Story: 4/5

Art: 5/5

Characters: 4/5

Overall: 4.5/5

Recommendation: A must-read for all Spider-Man fans! Miles has grown as his own character, and deserves all the support he can get.

All Fall Down

Writer: Casey Jones

Art: Jason Reeves, Cirque Studios, Gian Fernando, Anvit, Pericles Junior, Barnaby Bagenda, Al Jerek Torrijas

Letters: Andrew Diroll-Black

This was a unique graphic novel  that came out in 2011 with an interesting premise that, sadly, doesn’t execute it that well. The story takes place in a world of superhero and supervillains-and the day they begin falling from the sky.  On that day thirteen year old Sophie Mitchell developed her siphoning powers, and accidentally stole the powers of every single superhuman on Earth, leaving many to die, be maimed, or fates much worse than those. As she’s trained to be the last superhero, the now-depowered heroes must come to grips with their loss, as it explores many of their ways of coping with it, for good or bad.

This book had a promising premise: a look at the five stages of loss from the eyes of superheroes that lost what made them “super.” Sadly, it does not execute this concept that well. The problem is that there were far too many characters and not enough pages to go around for any proper development from all of them. Honestly this book feels like it needed a second volume to give everyone their proper fifteen minutes over the rushed ending this mini-series ended up having.  This is best showcased part-way into the story when Sophie (now known as Siphon) is arrested and brought to trial for the manslaughter of all of the superheroes she accidentally killed when she took their powers. The “trial” is quick and revealed to be a show for the public to show she is not above the law, as she’s pled guilty by her lawyer and then given a presidential pardon. That’s the last we hear of the problem. We never get to see how the de-powered heroes or loved ones who lost a superhero loved one react to her, outside of the character of Pronto (a former super-speed hero who lost his speed (and his legs) due to Siphon, and his degrading sanity as he wishes to get his powers back-by any means necessary.

Out of all the characters, I would have to say my favorite was an artificial intelligence that a former super-genius made as a precaution to if he ever lost his genius, which he did. He was witty, and made some surprisingly good points when he (inevitably) goes rogue, all for the sake of his creator.

This comic has several different artists…and honestly none of them are very good save for Cirque Studios and Pericles Junior.  There’s also a serious issue with inconstancy between the artists, especially in the form of the main character Sophie/Siphon.  She’s supposed to be thirteen years old (and she looks it in the first issue) but in every other issue she’s in she’s drawn as either a developing fourteen year old, or a very well-developed fifteen/sixteen year old. I should point out that the course of the series runs roughly a few months.

All Fall Down was a promising graphic novel, but ends up falling behind due to too many characters and not enough plot for them, and varying ranges of bad artwork. It caught my attention, but ultimately failed to deliver in my opinion.

Rating:

Story: 2/5

Art: 3/5

Characters: 2/5

Overall: 2.5/5

Recommendation: If you can get it on sale I would say give it a try for yourself. It has an interesting premise, but sadly fails to execute it properly.

And that’s it for this week. Let me know what you guys think, I always love hearing from ya!