Friday, August 31, 2012

Week in Review 8/31/12: Part 2

Batman Incorporated #3
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Chris Burnham
Company: DC Comics
Well, when it was announced that Morrison was leaving the Batman books, I was sad, but he's had a hell of a run, really. This third issue, delayed by DC, is just another swanky piece of a tapestry of evil, ingenuity, and brilliant storytelling. With every issue, Morrison gives fans things that they didn't even know they wanted. More Matches Malone? Heck yes! An odd reference to Hitman era character Bueno Excellente? Right over there. It's cool, because he's not only doing these fun nods, but he also forwards the story of Batman versus Leviathan. Burnham doesn't know how to do wrong at this
point. He transfers the insanity of Morrison's written words into a visual medium with deft and ability. He draws Bat-Cows, match strikes, and a new costume for everyone's favorite obnoxious kid, Damian Wayne without missing a beat. Plus, it looks beautiful and conveys a great sense of energy for the always entertaining fisticuffs. So yes, if you've been enjoying Batman Inc., this is more of the same. But brilliant none-the-less.

Gambit #2
Writer: James Asmus
Artist: Clay Mann
Company: Marvel Comics
A little bit of Ocean's 11, a little bit of Cajun charm...That's what this Gambit mini seems to be going for. Well, that and a story that's peppered with a few explosions and broken skylights. Asmus is creating a great little caper for our Ragin' Cajun to run around in, one with a great supporting cast of likable criminals, femme-fatales, and a mystery that begs to be answered. Truth be told, Gambit works much better as a thief than he does as an X-Man. He just does. Clay Mann, who's worked on X-Men before, turns in some solid work. It doesn't crackle with cool or anything, but the action is clear and exciting. What is more impressive are his backgrounds. He puts thought into them and lays them down with just the right amount of detail. I also am always happy to see an artist get the realistic things, things like cars and guns and the stuff that we see on a day to day basis in our regular lives, right in the comics. There's a car chase scene in this one, and the way he portrays Gambit maneuvering the vehicle worked extremely well. So yes, if Gambit is a favorite character of yours or if you feel the need for a bit of thievery in your life, this is a good book to give a shot.

Aquaman #12
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Ivan Reis
Company: DC Comics
What happens when Aquaman cries? Well, we'll find out soon enough. Still, that's just a bit of silliness and doesn't quite pertain to the issue at hand. This issue, which sees Arthur push away his friends so he can go after his arch-nemesis Black Manta, is chock full of traditional superhero comic tropes. Power, Responsibility, Secrets, I Did it to Protect You...Yup, Johns and Co. have most of those covered with a few more thrown in for good measure. They also have a bit of bloodshed to toss into the blender. The one thing that I will say that goes in this book's favor, is that the dialogue still feels imbued with heart. It feels real and that's a huge driving force for its success. It probably doesn't hurt that Reis' art is a force to be reckoned with. His action is ACTION and works on every level that it should. His character design and the huge underwater temples and expanses that he creates (and destroys) keep the reader's eyes glued to the page. Aquaman has dropped a bit from where it started, but there's still something here. I wish that Johns was staying on the book longer, as without him, I fear for the book's continued existence. 

Wonder Woman #12
Writer: Brian Azzarello
Artist: Cliff Chiang
Company: DC Comics
Okay, I've been behind in Wonder Woman...And now, I'm kicking myself for it. This was a great capper to the story that's been going on since the very first issue. Usually, when stories go on that long, I tend to tune out and not care, but with this one, every issue brings something new and different to the table. This issue, which sees Diana take her attackers head on, sans bracelets, and a betrayal that I never even saw coming. All of this, stride for stride, is beautifully rendered by Cliff Chiang. The distinct and slightly off-kilter lines that he uses adds that not of this world sensibility, this strange yet alluring feeling, to everything. He also just draws some kick ass action sequences that bristle with character and power. Yes, besides Suicide Squad & Batman Inc., Wonder Woman is probably my favorite DC book. Azzarello never does what I expect and while there is darkness in this book (which I know the changes to Diana were not everyone's favorite), there is light and love and compassion as well. Diana is a hero and Azzarello doesn't change that, we just see it from a different vantage point. And then there's that final page and the prospect of something New. Awesome stuff.

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