Comic Review Title

 

After a long hiatus, the comic review blog is back! And boy do we have some weird ones to review this week as we look at Batgirl # 42, We stand On Guard # 1-2, and Godzilla in Hell # 1.

Batgirl # 42

Writers: Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher

Artist: Babs Tarr. Jake Wyatt & Michek Lacombe (Breakdowns)

Colors: Serge Lapointe

Letters: Cameron Stewart

Been awhile since I talked about Batgirl, but like I said long ago, the series has flourished under Stewart and Fletcher’s tenure, and being one of the VERY few lighthearted yet adult superhero books at DC right now. It’s fun, engaging, and fresh. Even if this issue is trying to current events in the main Batman series, it is written in a very fun and engaging way instead of feeling like  a mandated crossover. For those not caught up with what’s going on in the Batman mythos right now I’ll catch you up to speed, but beware of spoilers:

To sum it up, Batman is apparently dead (again), and Commissioner Jim Gordon has become the new Batman, with funding from Powers International (yes, the same shady Powers family from Batman Beyond) who have given him a high-tech power armor suit that looks like Batman and Robocop made a baby and painted it blue. Only problem is that Powers International wants Jim-Batman to arrest all of Batman’s former allies, and get them off the street, believing only sanctioned officers should fight crime. Jim-Batman doesn’t believe in this, but he has to if he wants to remain Batman, and he knows (because this is Gotham) Powers can get their own hand-picked thug with a badge, so Jim is stuck doing what he can as the new privately funded Batman.

This, of course causes problems between him and Batgirl (who is her daughter). In between that they’re also trying to recapture Superman villain Livewire. Overall the story was really engaging, father and daughter forced against each other (even if Jim is still ignorant to the fact her daughter runs around in bat ears). Despite that, the story is written very lively and full of humor, while not enough to detract from the serious moments of them taking on Livewire. I know some fans are annoyed that one of Superman’s few notable supervillains is getting poached as a Batgirl villain, but I have to say Livewire works really well as an enemy for Babs who, until Gail Simone’s previous run with her, had little to no rogues gallery of her own.

The art as usual is fantastic, a very energetic and manga-inspired style that fits well with the lighthearted and fun tone of the series. In addition, I’m not sure if Livewire has shown up elsewhere in the New 52 before this issue, but I REALLY hope they keep the design Babs Tarr came up with for her in this comic because I love her wild punk girl look!

Overall, a great read with a good story, fantastic art, and as I said one of the few non-depressing or grimdark comics at DC right now, which we need much more of.

Rating:

Story: 5/5

Characters: 5/5

Art: 5/5

Overall: 5/5

Recommendation: Support the HELL out of this comic!

We Stand on Guard # 1-2

Writer: Brian K. Vaughan

Artist: Steve Skroce

Colors: Matt Hollingsworth

Letters: Fonografiks

Ever wonder what would happen if America invaded Canada with giant robots? Well this is the comic for you! Despite that silly description, We Stand On Guard is a dark sci-fi story and not for the faint of heart. It contains a lot of blood, violence, and some nudity, so not safe for your kids.

This new comic series from Image is set in the far future where a far more villainous America (retitled the American Federation) invades Canada for currently unknown reasons, and kill many in their initial bombardment, including main character Amber. Cut several years later to a hardened  adult Amber trying to survive in the Canadian wilderness when she encounters the ragtag Canadian rebel group the Two-Four. After fighting a giant Gorilla-themed American mech (and losing one of their own) they invite Amber into the group, though with suspicion.

The story’s world building has been great, but unfortunately that’s been focused on so much these first two issues that character building has taken a backseat. Right now the characters have been cookie-cutter archetypes with little development. Amber so far has just been the bitter vengeful protagonist with nothing beyond her sarcastic wit and her violent hatred of Americans, and the members of the Two-Four have just been every untrusting, scrappy rebel group in fiction.

Also, a bit of warning, if you’re one of those uber-patriotic “support our troops or go to hell,” types who get hostile to any negative portrayal of our armed forces in fictional media, you’re probably not going to enjoy this book. Vaughan doesn’t jerk the reader around with any hints of “there’s two sides to these forces good and bad” stuff, no, Vaughan has written a very clear case of good vs evil with this story, at least that’s how the first two issues play out. So far, the American forces have been shown to be bullies, murderers, and utter bastards. Amber’s disdain for Americans is wholly justified in this story so far, but how badly her upbringing in post-invasion Canada was to have her mercilessly gun down a captured American mech pilot with almost no regret remains to be seen.

The artwork for this comic fits perfectly. The colors and landscapes are dirty and grimy, fitting the bleak war-time tone of the story, but the lines are clean and well-drawn, and every character has their own distinct look to differentiate them (which is really good due to the lack of current character development as mentioned above). And the mech and robot designs are amazing. They’re very original and eye catching but still fit the bleak, dirty war tone.

Overall, a promising new series with a lot of world building but not developing the characters enough, but it has my interest enough to see where this goes.

Rating:

Story: 4/5

Characters: 2/5

Art: 4/5

Overall: 4/5

Recommendation: A fun read for those looking for something darker and involving mecha, but caution if you don’t like bloody or overly violent comics or find negative portrayals of the US Army as “offensive.”

Godzilla in Hell # 1

Writer & Artist: James Stokoe

Well…Still deciding how the heck I review this bizarre entity. You read that right, this story is literally Godzilla in Hell. Some warnings before I start:

  1. You are not going to like this if you’re not a Godzilla fan
  2. This comic almost entirely free of dialogue
  3. Things are going to get weird.

So yeah, the “story” begins with Godzilla seriously plummeting into Hell. There’s not backstory, no explanation for why the big G is in Hell or who (or what) killed him, the only dialogue we get is the Title “Godzilla in Hell” as Godzilla falls past them into his damnation, and then a giant pillar that appears with the iconic phrase “Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here.” But Godzilla, being the King of Monsters and F*** Yous decides not to take his eternal damnation lying down, and Atomic Breaths that sign into rubble and enters the Circle of Hell known as “Lust.” This so far is pretty much the story, Godzilla fighting his way through Hell, tearing demons a new one as he stomps through its many circles. All together he fights a tentacle demon hiding in what looked like a nuclear facility, passed through a storm made up of millions of suffering humans flying and flaying about, and a demon pretending to be a fellow member of the Big G’s specifies and tries to eat him. Godzilla curbstomps all of them and then falls into the next Circle of Hell.

Like I said, you are NOT going to like or “get” this book unless you’re a serious Godzilla fan. The writing style is bizarre since there’s no dialogue and ultimately everything is up for interpretation, as theres many hints that Godzilla is facing his own personal hell as the place seems to be shifting to match his life, such as the nuclear facility showing up in Lust for some odd reason. Where this story is going beyond “Godzilla fights demons while traversing Hell” is beyond me but it has me hooked.

The art for this was amazing, Stokoe really paints a disturbing yet simplistic Hell, and his demon designs are amazingly original and creepy. Godzilla himself is drawn with a lot of detail and surprisingly a lot of emotion in his often expressionless face.

Overall, a very weird but intriguing story that has me eagerly waiting for Issue 2, but again you’re probably not going to like this if you’re not a fan of Godzilla.

Rating:

Story: ?

Characters: ?

Art: 5/5

Overall: 4/5

Recommendation: A very odd but fun read for Godzilla fans and those looking for something different.

 

And that’s it for this week! Its good to be back guys, and check in next week for new comic reviews!