RAPID FIRE REVIEWS #2

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Batman Beyond #2
Writer- Dan Jurgens
Art- Bernard Chang
Colors- Marcelo Maiolo
Letters-Travis Lanham
Publisher- DC Comics

The story of just how the Joker died is covered in this issue as the villain, Terminal; does his best to try to revive the clown prince of crime, meanwhile Terry and the rest of the gang help him go undercover to break inside Terminal’s compound.

Final Thoughts: The plot thickens, but there wasn’t much here to begin with. Just get to the good part and bring the Joker back! It’s time for future Batman to go toe to toe with the Bruce’s worst enemy.

Final Score- 3 Stars

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Cyborg #5
Writer- John Semper Jr.
Art- Allan Jefferson and Derec Donovan
Inks: Scott Hana, Derec Donovan
Colors- Guy Major
Letters- Rob Leigh
Publisher- DC Comics

In the current political climate I have come to expect more from a comic that features an African-American character. The social climate is ripe for some real deep commentary, instead we are hit the standard notes of a rough neighborhood. Gangbangers, prostitutes, bad cops, and none of it is focused enough to any of the modern-day injustices that the Black community is facing daily.

And let’s not forget to mention the jarring change in art half way through the issue. The change in style and substance was so jolting I thought maybe I had missed a page and wondered my way into a bad back-up story. Nope.

Final Thoughts: This book has a lot of untapped potential; instead it’s bogged down in the traditional approach of a hero in the hood. It’s just too bad.

Final Grade- 2 stars

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Green Lanterns #11
Writer- Sam Humphries
Art- Robson Rocha
Inks- Jay Leisten, Cam Smith
Colors- Blond
Letters- Dave Sharpe
Publisher- DC Comics

This entire issue is spent chasing down Frank Laminski, an average con man, who has gotten his hands on what he thinks is a real Green Lantern ring, thanks to the lies of Valthoom. Simon and Jessica track him down in the Heartlands of Kansas where Frank saves a young boy from a tornado. The remainder of the issue is devoted to the question of what denotes a hero. Is it actions, words, legacy…etc?

Final Thoughts: The art is sharp in this title and it’s a quick read, but in the end this book just feels like filler waiting to get to the main plot.

Final Grade: 3 Stars

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Harley Quinn #8
Writer- Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner
Art- Chad Hardin, Andrew Robinson and Bret Blevins
Colors- Hi-Fi and Andrew Robinson
Letters- Dave Sharpe
Publisher- DC Comics

Harley and Ivy go on vacation … to a nudist colony. Read for yourself all the creative ways artist Chad Hardin uses objects to cover naughty bits, laugh at all the lame word play, marvel at how a dildo is labeled by DC editorial as shampoo, and walk away confident in the fact that Harley and Ivy had a wild week of lesbian sex. (I may have made that last one up, but dammit it was HEAVILY implied)

Final Thoughts- If you’re going to go with a story like this then save it for an Elseworld’s series or a Vertigo book. I know that Palmiotti and Conner think that they are being clever, but it the whole thing came off as the same gag we all saw in the original Austin Powers movie … Twenty years ago. If you’re going to take the audiences there then have the stones to go all the way.

Final Grade- 3 Stars

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The Mighty Thor #13
Writer- Jason Aaron
Art- Steve Epting
Colors- Frank Martin
Letters- VC’s Joe Sabino
Publisher- Marvel

Thor and her group of rebels from the ten realms are preparing to take the fight to the evil elf, Malekith. This comic reads like an old heist movie with a fantasy twist. Every member of the group has their own talent or purpose, each character gets their own moment to shine. But by the end of the issue when the operation goes south and the baddies are revealed … that’s just when the story is getting good.

Final Thoughts: Steve Epting is filling in on the art chores for this installment and his work looks amazing as ever. There is also the punch to the gut that the very first panel provides as we watch Jane having her hair cut off, preparing for cancer treatment. It is a stiff reminder of just what awaits this woman ever time she has to put down the magical hammer. Good Stuff.

Final Grade: 4 Stars

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The Black Monday Murders #4
Story: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Tomm Coker
Colors: Michael Garland
Letters: Rus Wooton
Publisher: Image

This series carries a high bar of entry for new readers; this one is best joined from the beginning. As with most of Hickman’s work, the multiple characters and convoluted plotting are too tangled to mess with by joining in the middle of the story. It’s best to wait until this series is collected in a trade or go back and pick this up from the beginning.

As for this issue there is the death of a Rothschild, an alien, and multiple families coming together to pay their respects. It would be impossible to explain beyond that.

Final Thoughts: New readers beware!

Final Grade- 3 ½ stars

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Godzilla: Rage Across Time #5
Story: Jay Fotos and Jeff Zornow
Art: Jeff Zornow
Colors: Jay Fotos
Letters: Chris Mowry
Publisher: IDW

IF the title on this series is not enough of a giveaway then allow me to cut to the chase. Its Godzilla lost in time; at least I’m guessing that’s what came before, in this issue its Godzilla fighting the rest of the monster cast from the Godzilla films in the age of the dinosaurs. This comic is all action; in fact there are a total of four pages with any story or dialogue on them.

It’s the end of the story that threw me. As Godzilla and the rest of the creatures are in the middle of an all-out brawl a U.F.O.’s show up and wipes out everyone, Godzilla even seems to die as he is plunged in lava. Out steps an alien and two cavemen… well, you are just going to have to read it to believe it.

Final Thoughts- I guess if you like Godzilla and action than this is the comic for you!

Final Grade: 2 Stars

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Usagi Yojimbo #159

Story and Art: Stan Sakai

The lasting charm of Usagi is the simple elegance in which the story and art come together to tell powerful stories that would often take multiple issues in the hands of lesser creators. In this tale Usagi stumbles across the body of a dead samurai in the forest. A frightened child is discovered to be hidden in the brush nearby. As Usagi takes the young girl back to a nearby village, a plot of deceit, murder and treachery unfurl. By the end of the issue justice is served to the killers of the girl’s father and Usagi is left to continue his wondering of the countryside as a Ronin.

Final Thoughts: A complex tale told in simple terms with a style and flair that escapes most mainstream books.

Final Grade: 4 Stars

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Ninjak #21
Story: Matt Kindt
Art: Khari Evans, Andres Guinaldo, Eric Nguyen
Colors: Ulises Arreola, Chris Sotomayor
Letters: Dave Sharpe
Publisher: Valiant

So you know you’re a badass ninja when you go toe to toe with towering angels made of fire and you outsmart them. This is the conclusion to the story line that teams up Ninjak with the Eternal Warrior. The two are finally able to put a stop to the evil machinations of Silk. –Did I mention giant flaming angels?

This comic feels rushed at points, the story seems tight and concise in areas, but feels like it’s stalling in others. I don’t know if this was a rush job to meet a deadline or if editors had to trim bits out, but the comic is fun if you like stories that involve time travel and alternate dimensions.

Final Thoughts- While this is a fun read the issue does feel like a slapped together conclusion.

Final Grade: 3 ½ stars

 

 

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