Writer: Paul Cornell
Artist: Kenneth Rocafort & Axel Giminez
Company: DC Comics
A "Reign of Doomsday" issue that induces head scratching. Paul Cornell has fast become a favorite writer of mine, putting forth things like Captain Britain & the MI13 and his original run on Action Comics that focused on Lex Luthor, but not even his talents can make this story do anything more than make you go, "meh." I do think that the small tid-bits that are added, a new version of Doomsday that actually feels remorse and a few moments where the characters use their powers in clever ways, make the pain more tolerable but the action here just isn't exciting. The art for the issue is
good on its own. Both convey the grandness that the story is striving to show, but where it breaks down is that there are two different styles at work here from two different artists. They don't mesh, which in turn creates a disjointed vibe that's hard to overcome. Kenneth Rocafort's work though is quite spectacular, and seeing it here makes me excited for Red Robin and the Outsiders when it launches in a few months.
Batman Gates of Gotham #2
Artist: Trevor McCarthy
Company: DC Comics
Still chugging along at a great pace. Higgins and Snyder are doing a fantastic job of not only writing a cool action piece, but they are wonderfully bringing the past of Gotham to life as well. Their story is smart, fresh, and enthralling in several different ways. One of the best is their character interaction. Seeing Damian and Cassandra Cain being paired up and seeing the sparks fly as they clash is both hilarious and really true to the characters. Trevor McCarthy continues to impress as well. His version of The Penguin, super short and all schnoz may in fact be my favorite iteration of the character. More than that, McCarthy's Bachalo-esque style breathes easy on the page. It is slick and flashy, but it tells the story so well. The one issue that I do have with this book is the font choice, as the cursive is extremely difficult to read at times, but other than that, Gates of Gotham continues to impress.
Writer: Mike Costa
Artist: Antonio Fuso
Company: IDW Publishing
Months back, if you had told me that one of the G.I. Joe books would make the character of Serpentor cool, I probably would have laughed and said, "Not a chance." Mike Costa has proven me wrong as Serpentor takes center stage in this issue. We've seen him throughout Cobra actually, and the idea of a motivational speaker/messiah is such an interesting take on him and it's leading into some great stories as we see him more. Slowly but surely, panel by panel, we're getting a more in depth look at what makes him tick and it's rather fascinating. Still, this being a Joe book, you can't ignore the action. Fuso doesn't, as he knows how to illustrate engaging scenes that feel tense and harrowing and immediately scream big budget affair. I was particularly happy to see Croc Master, one of those strange and wacky Cobra characters, used so well. I love the redesign for the character, both in look and feel. Cobra continues to be on point.
Writer: James Patrick
Artist: Agustin Padilla
Company: DC Comics
Well, it seems that early on in Oliver Queen's career, to understand the inner workings of what arrows do to a human body, a medical school allowed Queen to perform a bit of target practice on some cadavers. That's how this issue opens up, well, with the added bonus of an abortion clinic being bombed. Pretty gruesome stuff, honestly. Still, Green Arrow has often skewed into dark places, so it's not completely out of the realm. Still, Patrick's opening doesn't hit the mark for me, though the second half of the book, where we see Oliver being asked to transport a terrorist does. Patrick has a knack for writing action that's well paced and fun. Seeing GA take on jet-pack wearing thugs while he stands atop a moving truck is the type of thing that's cool to see, as is using the environment around the characters to tell a greater story. Patrick does this, as does he show that Green Arrow is a hero. I don't care for his current history, but it's nice to see the heroic side of him show up again. Padilla is finding his voice. His action is solid and exciting, but there are a few expositions panels that feel awkward. All in all, a rocky start, but there are some good moments to be found in this one.
Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Artist: Leandro Fernandez
Company: Marvel Comics
A comic that stars both Nate Grey and The Sugar Man...Say it ain't so? Still, DnA do the impossible and make a more than enjoyable comic that happens to have these Age of Apocalypse stragglers in it. It's all about the details and the way things are handled. The way that Sugar Man is portrayed is actually rather intriguing. Stranded and going out of his mind a bit, he has been gathering M-Day children with the promise of giving them back their powers. The price however is steep, as they must help him find a way back to his own reality. Enter the New Mutants. This issue is a lot of build-up and talking, but it's all needed and doesn't feel like filler. I also love seeing the New Mutants deal with the Marvel Universe. Sometimes it seems that the X-World is often put into a pocket dimension where nothing else that's going on in the Marvel U seems to matter. DnA show that it does. Also, having an extremely talented artist like Leandro (Punisher Max) Fernandez handling the visuals adds a punch or two as well. Every scene is layered and detailed in his heavy lined style and it's gorgeous. I remain entranced in all things DnA.
Writer: Chuck Dixon
Artist: Robert Atkins
Company: IDW Publishing
Though the other Joe titles are great, Snake Eyes is in fact the best of them. Dixon's action and story simply grab you by the scruff of the neck and drag you into a land called Awesome. It's a mythical place, one that sees Snake Eyes as not a layabout ninja, but one where he's the headstrong dude kicking, shooting, and jumping into HISS tanks to take the fight to Cobra. This issue starts exactly where we left off, with Alpine, Helix and Snake taking on a Cobra stronghold built into the side of the mountain. Dixon takes it seriously and adds a lot of realism to the affair with how dangerous a mission it is and how the adverse conditions factor into the success. Atkins is super solid on the art. The detail that he brings out in each character adds so much to the story and that he doesn't disregard the backgrounds and instead makes them just as detailed really engages the reader. A blast, especially if you're a fan of Snake Eyes or ninjas in general.