Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Evil Comes in a Tiny Package

Evil Is A Living Jigsaw Puzzle
Review of Detective Comics #3
By: Andrew Hines

     When the citizens of Gotham are threatened, their Dark Knight is the one and only defense they have.

     With the Dollmaker having made Commissioner Jim Gordon a target and now gunning for the Caped Crusader, this is an intense issue that only leads to more questions.  The Dark Knight tries to narrow down the identity of the Dollmaker as time runs out for the Commissioner.  We see Batman in a rare scene pushed to both his physical and mental limits.

     As the artist and scribe for the new Detective Comics, Tony S. Daniel is a great talent.  While he does balance the two fairly well, there is always the risk of putting too much effort into one and neglecting the other.  Thankfully it hasn't happened yet.  This story has more twists than a birthday party full of ballon animal, which works in its favor.  The illustrations are great, from the perspectives of characters, backgrounds and visual effects.  It's on par with Jim Lee's Batman: Dark Knight that runs on a timeline of maybe a year later.  Sorry, it's sort of hard to keep these things straight.  Any way you slice it, Daniel is kicking some serious tail in this series.  I'm starting to wonder if there's an endgame or if he's just winging it.  If he is, it's the best BS-ing I've ever seen.  I'm looking forward to where Daniel takes us and just who the Dollmaker gets his orders from.

     Bravo, Mr. Daniel.  You've bumped yourself up to an 8.9 out of 10.

Cover art of Detective Comics #3:

Interior art of Detective Comics #3:

Monday, November 7, 2011

Still Off-"Planet"

Still Off-"Planet"
Review of Action Comics #3
By: Andrew Hines

     How is it possible that in 73 years of Action Comics (which have just started over), not one person in Metropolis has figured out that Clark Kent is really just Superman with glasses?

     Well, this may be the day that someone finally does.  It will be taken care of in this issue, though not broadcast.*  We'll see some interesting things in this issue that take Clark Kent from being a low-level reporter at the Daily Star to possibly on the staff of the Daily Planet.  Not only is that yet to occur, but there is a strong anti-Superman sentiment in Metropolis as well.  Clark is being hounded by police for his writing at the newspaper and there is a new threat to the survival of Earth.  Basically, what I'm saying is there's plenty of reason to read this.  The only thing we're unclear on at this point is the new vilain(s).  It's either Brainiac or Metallo, maybe both.

     With Grant Morrison's writing, as usual, we see the perfect blend of comic book life and reality.  Seeing both the super and the man at once is a rare thing when dealing with the Man of Steel.  We see the broad strokes and fine lines that make up Morrison's stellar vision of the comics he pens.  Morrison is a man with a rare gift for writing realistic comics.  Not only is the story contemporary in nearly every sense, but there are enough twists to fit three chapters of a proper novel.  There are introductions of two villains and a new look at Kal-El's home world of Krypton shown in a rather intriguing way.

     Rags Morales matches Morrison's words with the strokes of his pencil.  He is proving why he has stayed in the business for more than 20 years.  Morales is the first artist I've seen who has been able to actually make Superman and Clark Kent look the same and yet alarmingly different.  I guess that makes artists like Mr Morales the answer to my question.

     Morrison and Morales have so far made the perfect team to tackle one of the crown jewels of DC Comics.  These two have earned them a 9.5 out of 10.

*     If you want to see what happens when people try to broadcast the identity of a superhero, look up Irredeemable Vol. 1 by Mark Waid.

Cover for Action Comics #2:

Greater Than Ion

Becoming Greater Than Ion
Review of Green Lantern: New Guardians
By: Andrew Hines

     Anyone who has kept up with Kyle Rayner's career as a Green Lantern knows that the title is an awfully bold statement, and yet I stand by it.

     With all of the Lantern rings offering Kyle Rayner membership into their respective corps', big things are happening.  Not everyone wants Kyle to have the rings.  In fact there only seems to be one Lantern who is on his side at this point, the Blue Lantern of Hope, Saint Walker.  Seeking the wisdom and guidance of Earth-friendly Guardian, Ganthet, they are in for a rude awakening.  By the end of the issue there will be a new breed of Lantern for the Big Bads of the universe to deal with.

     Tony Bedard writes a wonderful follow-up to an above average first issue.  He continues where the first left off and leads to wonderful possibilities.  There is plenty of drama because it brings so many personalities together in such a confined space.  To see these corps working together would be enough to send numerous shivers down the collective spines of geeks everywhere.  The ending to this one will leave you wanting much more.

     Tyler Kirkham is just as good on this one as he was on the first.  While a few close-ups and head shots are more detailed than they were last time, the overall is basically on par with the premier issue.  Characters like Bleez of the Red Lanterns and Arkillo of the Sinestro Corps are immensely fear-inspiring and the Star Sapphire formerly known as Fatality commands respect just by her appearance.  Kirkham has given form to the emotional spectrum in his treatment of the various Lanterns.  Well done sir, I am very much looking forward to more artwork.

     With pretty good writing and art, New Guardians #2 is worthy of 8.8 out 10.

Cover art of Green Lantern: New Guardians -

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Aquaman vs Aqua...things

Aquaman vs Aqua...things
Review of Aquman #2
By: Andrew Hines

     I know what you're thinking; It's Aquaman, what's the worst thing he could be going up against, an angry swarm of Sea Monkeys?

     As an answer to the question, enter the Trench.  This race of deep sea predators look like the love child of a deep-sea angler fish and the Predator.  Add to that the voracious tendencies of a piranha, and you've pretty much got the best and worst sea monsters ever.  Forget the Kraken, the giant squid or the Leviathan.  Moby Dick and Jaws are just more food to these guys.  I've got a strong feeling that these guys will be around for a while.

     Geoff Johns hits another home run with Aquaman #2.  Not only do we see a new view of Aquaman and more of his personality, but we get a good look at Mera as well.  Once again misunderstood and underrated by the general populace, he finally has a fan who has recruited him.  We get to see some more information from his past and a tease of a possible new villain.  It is apparent that Mera is far more vicious than Arthur might ever be.  So thank you for that Mr Johns.  Geeks everywhere need another firey red-head to rally behind.

     Ivan Reis' art is just phenomenal.  From the cover image to the final page, we see nothing short of amazing work.  I'm hard pressed to find anything wrong with any panel.  I'm not used to seeing Aquaman as a badass, but Mr Reis may have changed that.  No longer "the other Namor," his new look comes across as the underdog you love to root for.  Again, Mera is exactly what I've wanted to see in DC for a long time.  Now that we finally have the perfect template for her, I suspect we'll be seeing quite a bit more.

     Geoff and Ivan are a perfect team. Sorry Mr Lee, but you may have met your match. This gets a 9.5 out of 10.

Cover of Aquaman #2:

Interior page of Aquaman #2: