Comic Book Reviews – Frank’s Haul 6/19/2013

Batwoman #21
Writer: J.H. Williams, III
Art by: Francesco Francavilla

Villain month comes early to Batwoman! In issue 21, readers find out what became of Killer Croc following the battle with Medusa. Taken in by a small community of beast-people, Killer Croc is to become their new leader. First, he must avenge their previous leader’s death by killing Batwoman. This book does an excellent job humanizing a villain while incorporating some “Sweet Tooth” like elements in the art style.

It’s great to see Batwoman take a break for an issue and focus on a villain. J.H. Williams III did such an amazing job writing the story from Croc’s point of view that Batwoman comes off slightly as the bad guy. He feels at home with the beast-people. One of which is his girlfriend and soon to be mother of his child. So his motivations for going after Batwoman are entirely realistic. Though it seemed a bit out of character that both Batwoman and Maggie Sawyer were so surprised by the attack. They should have known they were being watched.

The book’s art may cause some polarizing feelings among readers. On the surface, it does an admirable job fitting into the style of the series but the colors should be more vivid and the lines cleaner. A deeper look will show that the creators may have picked this style specifically to give it a “Sweet Tooth” vibe. The beast-people, the messy lines and lack of detail are all particular to that series. Taking this into account, it’s easy to forgive the fact that this book fails to meet the high art expectations for this series.

Taking a break from Batwoman’s mission to unmask Batman lead to an enjoyable villain-focused book. Killer Croc is a character that has been depicted in this series as a mindless monster but as a sympathetic one in Red Hood and the Outlaws. The retreading in this book helps to reconcile the different depictions of the character. As this book was merely an interlude, readers should continue to pick up this series to find out what happens next.

Review Score: 5  (out of 7) 

Ultimate Comics Spider-man #24
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art by: David Marquez

The Cloak and Dagger backstory featured in this story was so well written readers might forget it’s suppose to be a Spider-man book. A simple dinner with his father is interrupted by an encounter with Gwen Stacey and super-powered battle right outside the restaurant. Miles refuses to get involved because he vowed to never again be Spider-man after the death of his mother. This leaves superhero duo Cloak and Dagger to cause a lot of damage while trying to apprehend Bombshell.

Each issue of this series reminds readers that their $3.99 was well spent. The circumstances of Cloak and Dagger’s (Ty Johnson and Tandy Bowen) meeting and how they become superheroes can be described as a teen romance movie that gets hit by the Marvel train. That’s a compliment. In two pages, Brian Michael Bendis introduces new characters, makes them likable and then “kills” them off right before they leave for Prom. Meanwhile, Miles is hiding in the restaurant hoping Gwen doesn’t reveal his secret identity to his anti-superhero-father. He may believe he is keeping people safe by not being Spider-man, but how many lives could he had saved in the year since his mother’s death? How much damage to the restaurant could have been avoided had he just went out to help? Eventually, Miles will realize the world is better with him as Spider-man.

Like him or not, Bendis consistently delivers the same high quality with each issue of the series. Next month may see Miles finally coming to terms with his destiny as Spider-man. Readers who are not already reading this series might want to ask themselves, “why the swear word not?”

Review Score: 7 (out of 7)

Red Hood and the Outlaws #21
Writer: James Tynion IV
Art by: Al Barrionuevo

Flip past the cover and try not to think of Ghostrider. The Red Hood, Jason Todd continues his exodus from Roy and Kori atop a fiery red motorcycle. The new direction for the Outlaw trio that started in Red Hood and the Outlaws Annual #1 continues to drive an axe between the team.

James Tynion has been doing a great job shaking up the trio’s relationship. Roy –looking like a superhero trucker–  is having the hardest time dealing with Jason’s decision to leave the group. He refuses to accept that it was Jason’s choice to have his memories wiped. Consequently, his therapy sessions with Hugo Strange may not be going anywhere. Kori learns that Strange wants the bounty on their heads and has orchestrated some dangerous plans to obtain it. When she tells Roy, he still goes off in search of Jason. This was the final nail in the coffin for Kori and she says her goodbye. The bonds between the trio are now more broken than before.

With Roy going off with The Untitled and Jason taken by the League of Assassins, Tynion has put pieces in place for an exciting confrontation between the two. There’s also the questions of how Jason will react now that he’s returned to where he was reborn and whether he will become the new leader of the League. Readers should continue to hold onto this comic because it’s only getting better.

Review Score: 5 (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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