Comic Book Reviews — Frank’s Haul 11/27/2013

The Walking Dead #117

All Out War, Chapter 3

Writer: Robert Kirkman
Art by: Charlie Adlard

Things are going well for Rick and his army, but let’s not count Negan out just yet. While people on both sides figure out how to deal with Holly’s surprise move at the end of #116, Rick continues to move forward with his assault. Robert Kirkman delivered yet another thrilling installment to All Out War that will continue to leave readers salivating for me.

This book did many things right but the two that I enjoyed the most were seeing Rick on the offensive and Negan on the defensive. While I was worried in the last issue that Rick was letting his emotions get the better of him yet again, he seemed very level headed here. Every decision he made was thought out and preemptive. It’s taken over 100 issues to get this character to this point and I absolutely think it’s starting to pay off. In contrast, Negan seems to have been caught completely off guard because all his moves are defensive and almost desperate. Still, there is a moment in this book that does a great job at showing him to be both a monster and moral guy. It’s an interesting aspect of the character that leaves you unsure of how much you should dislike him.

So far, the only thing that worries me about this arc is things seem to be going a little too well for Rick. We’re only 2 parts into this 12 part story so anything can happen. Negan is still a very dangerous man, so it’s been a challenge to get excited for Rick. As one of the biggest events to hit this title in a long time, I fully expect everything to turn around at the end. That’s definitely worth getting excited for.

If you’re reading this review, hopefully it means you are following the book. If not, you should be because something big is on the horizon. I predict that one of two things will happen: either Rick will be killed or he will defeat Negan but become him in the process. Kind of hope I’m wrong about both, but those would certainly be two outcomes that would shake up the title. Given how this war kicked off in issue 100, I’m sure I’m not alone in continuing to expect big things from The Walking Dead.

Review score: 6 (of 7)


The Flash #25

Starting Line

Writer: Francis Manapul & Brian Buccellato
Art by: Chris Sprouse (pencils), Brian Buccellato (colors)

The Flash don’t need no powers to save people. As a Zero Year tie-in, Barry had no speed force to call upon to help the Gotham PD. Instead, he meets a special character for the first time and we get a glimpse into his heroic beginnings. Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato say farewell to The Flash in a book that does an excellent job at wrapping up their run and set up a story for their next project.

Barry Allen was just Barry Allen in this story. He has yet to become The Flash, but he still acts like you’d expect him to act. In one particular scene, he rushes into a burning building to save people. It’s a bit of a hero cliché but it works. Having him in Gotham was also great for the character because it showed the difference between not only him and Gotham PD, but also Central and Gotham City. Whereas Barry wants to save everyone, the Gotham PD have resigned to their city being infected with violence and only try to save those that can be saved.

Two things about this book that I didn’t particularly like: the art and Iris West. At times, the art was fine but it’s going to be a rough transition to a new creative team because seeing Manapul and Buccellato’s name on the cover but not their art inside was a bit jarring. I found myself comparing the two styles and as a result didn’t like Chris Sprouse’s pencils even though Buccellato still did the coloring. Also, it felt like Iris was thrown into this story. Her reason for being in Gotham weren’t entirely believable. This is evident even more in the moments she and Barry spend together near the end. It felt rushed. Not the team’s best character development.

Despite the complaints, this was still an excellent book and a nice send off for the creators as they begin work on Detective Comics. Being a “Zero Year” tie-in you might be apprehensive to pick this one up in case it disappoints. Thankfully, this book doesn’t. In fact, Batman doesn’t even appear in its pages. This is good because the story stayed focused on Barry and showed readers he’s a hero even without the speed force.

Review score: 6 (of 7)


Justice League Dark #25 

The Rebirth of Evil

Writer: J.M. DeMatteis
Art by: Mikel Janin

Saving the Justice League Dark team means evil must die. Still in the fallout after Trinity War, John Constantine continues to search for his team. He finds two unlikely allies and they’re lead to a resolution you may have seen at the ends of recent Trinity of Sin: Pandora and Trinity of Sin: The Phantom Stranger books. J.M. DeMatteis produced another excellent book that highlights what Constantine is willing to do to get what he wants.

Seeing Nightmare Nurse and Swamp Thing together with Constantine was enjoyable. Both know exactly what kind of man Constantine is but know that he’s their best bet at fixing the world. So they tolerate working with him. So, it’s basically like his previous team members. Having these two with him is great because Constantine tends to be more evil when he’s on his own. So this is a great team up for all three.

The only real complaint about this book is the ending was already spoiled. If you’ve been reading Trinity of Sin: Pandora and Trinity of Sin: The Phantom Stranger, then you knew what was going to happen at the end of this book. But, I suppose it couldn’t be helped because had this come out first then the endings of the other two would have been spoiled. Still, it’s a minor complaint because seeing what lead Constantine to that moment was certainly worth it.

Justice League Dark continues to be amazing, even without Lemire. DeMatteis has been doing a phenomenal job on Trinity of Sin: The Phantom Stranger and that excellence is already transferring to this book. Be sure to pick it up if you’re a fan of either. You won’t be disappointed.

Review score: 6 (of 7)


Frank Fuentes

Frank is a self admitted DC fanboy living in Seattle, WA. He's currently a Computer Science student with aspirations of working in the game industry one day. When he's not writing reviews for the site, he spends his free time absorbed in all kinds of geekery: video games, comic books & technology. For more of his geekery, follow him on Twitter (@cizco) or visit his site at

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