Comic Book Reviews – Frank’s Haul 7/17/13

Justice League of America #6

Writer: Geoff Johns & Jeff Lemire

Art by: Doug Mahnke, Christian Alamy

Part 2 of Trinity War may not be as visually stunning as the first, but Geoff Johns and Jeff Lemire deliver a focused story that will excite readers nonetheless. Following the shocking death of Doctor Light, the two Justice League teams are in a heated battle to subdue each other. Refusing to believe that Superman is a murderer, Wonder Woman begins looking for Pandora. Her search leads her to the Justice League Dark.

Superman’s response to Doctor’s Light death was perfect. It unhinged him. For a moment, readers are reminded about how powerful he is which adds much more weight to Waller’s concern about the team being “uncontrollable”. However, even that remains doubtful because locking up Superman was his own idea. Everyone else remains in shock and deals with it in their own way. Wonder Woman goes looking for Pandora, the Atom feels guilty, Green Arrow and Simon Baz believe information is being kept form them, Batman stands guard over his friend and Waller prepares for the worst case scenario. These are all great reactions. While this issue lacked the pace and action of the previous, it was smart of Johns and Lemire to slow down and deal with this. Superman killed someone and that’s a very big deal.

The way the Justice League Dark was finally brought into the story was one of this book’s best moments. It was handled organically. Since Pandora’s box is a magical object and not created by the Gods, Wonder Woman had to request the help of the only team who deals with magic. Naturally, their leader is wary of Wonder Woman, but it’s likely he will help since Madame Xanadu’s supposed death is somehow tied to what’s happening to Superman.

Following the phenomenal art of the last issue is no easy task. Doug Mahnke did a decent job, but the change in art is very jarring. His art lacked the detail necessary to convey the shock and disbelief in the character’s faces. Also, he uses a lot of close up shots. It makes sense to do this to better show character emotions, but he may be doing this to avoid drawing backgrounds. There are very few in this entire story and what is shown is flat and bland. Colors are done by Gabe Eltaeb and Nathan Eyring but they don’t help add anything more to the art.

Artwork aside, there are still plenty of reasons to enjoy this book and Trinity War. Now that most of the characters have been pulled into the story, the action can continue. If The Question knows who really killed Doctor Light, that may be the second mystery solved. The first –who are the members of the Secret Society– was just solved. Readers may not recognize them all, but it will be interesting to finally discover what they are planning. Trinity War continues in Justice League Dark #22.

Review Score: 6 (of 7)

 

All-New X-Men #14

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Art by: Stuart Immonen and Marte Gracia

Brian Michael Bendis brings Mystique’s scheming to a close in another beautiful issue that has begun to crack around the dialogue. In a throw down between the young X-men, Mystique and Lady Mastermind, the former come out as the winners.

There wasn’t much character development in this issue. However, Bendis may be overusing the clever dialogue to the point that all the characters are starting to be indistinguishable. Jean Grey’s comments to Wolverine on page 11 is the perfect example of this. Then, the brotherly moment between Havoc and Cyclops on page 16 appeared forced. Hopefully Bendis uses this more sparingly and organically in the future.

Overall, the best moment in this issue was near the end when Iceman throws a snowball at Thor. It’s completely unexpected. The shock and embarrassment reflected on Iceman’s face afterward is comedic gold. Stuart Immonen’s art completely sells the joke. While this issue has a few dialogue flaws, it’s still a highly enjoyable read. Readers who have been enjoying it don’t need to be reminded to pick up the next issue. Judging from the cover art alone, more surprises are coming.

Review Score: 6 (of 7)

 

Batwoman #22

Writer: J.H. Williams III & W. Haden Blackman

Art by: Trevor McCarthy and Guy Major

Batwoman continues her mission to uncover Batman’s identity to save her family. She tracks down the one man who has beaten him: Bane. Meanwhile, Bette trains to go on her own mission to save Batwoman’s sister Beth. J. H. Williams III and W. Halden Blackman continue to amaze readers by leading Batwoman into a confrontation with The Dark Knight.

This issue finally puts some much needed focus on Bette. She has come a long way from her near death injury and it’s great to see her as a formidable fighter. It’s also refreshing to see both women working together and separately on their own missions. One may be the sidekick, but she’s just as talented as the other. Although it’s never mentioned that Batwoman is aware of what Batte is doing. If not, this could not only jeopardize her plans to defeat Batman, but destroy their relationship.

Two of the highlights from this issue include Batwoman’s new weapon and the conversations with some of Batman’s locked up villains. Her Python Coil is a highly effective and dangerous weapon that exemplifies the difference between the kind of crime fighters she and Batman are. Seeing villains like the Black Mask is a pleasant surprise. He is the primary antagonist of the upcoming Batman: Arkham Origins video game so hopefully he is used again. He could be utilized in any of the Bat family of books, but it might make for an interesting story to see him paired against Batwoman.

Williams and Blackman have been doing a wonderful job at steering this series in the right direction. As countless other writers have proven before, it’s not easy to write strong female characters, but they do it successfully every month. Readers should definitely continue to buy this series to find out how Batwoman saves her family and escapes the influence of the D.E.O.

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 Francizco.com.

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