Dark Knight 3: The Master Race #1
Written by Frank Miller & Brain Azzarelo, Art by Any Kubert
What can I say about a book that I have been waiting for since I first read The Dark Knight? The first comic that broadened my understanding of the medium? I can say that it is but a taste of what we are in store for.
Picking up sometime after the events of The Dark Knight: Strikes Back, The Dark Knight: The Master Race will give new readers an insight into the world that they are about to travel through and readers who have read the previous stories will feel at ease with the direction this story seems to be taking.
The tone is not quite the same as the original The Dark Knight, at least in the writing style. It could just be me being nostalgic, but I feel like it’s written closer to modern comics in style, unlike the original which was in a league of its own. But it is written well, with talking head panels and nice transitions through the Miller-verse, from Gotham to the Themyscira and the Fortress of Solitude.
The violence is amped up, as should be expected from writers like Azzarelo and Miller. To see the Batman pummelling her enemies in such a violent fashion is both refreshing and horrifying, and yes, I did say “her”.
The flipside to this coin is the journey of Lara Kent, the daughter of Wonder Woman and Superman. This young woman is on a journey of discovery, and I see her working with the new Batman, but that is just speculation. In a lot of ways, I feel this could be more Lara’s story then Carrie Kelly’s.
The art style is very similar in tone to the original book. Kubert does a great job mimicking the original Miller art style while putting his own flavour on the page. For me, this is a vast improvement over The Dark Knight Strikes Back. Its cleaner art with a larger focus on character detail. I think this is the sequel that we hoped Strikes Back would be, and I am certainly looking forward to more from this new series.
Dark Knight Universe Presents: The Atom #1
Written By Frank Miller and Brian Azzarello, Art By Frank Miller
So in each issue of The Dark Knight: The Master Race is a mini comic set in The Dark Knight Universe. I’m not sure if they are going to do this with every mini comic. But as far as The Atom goes, it helps provide more background for The Master Race.
Just like the writing in the main title, this book is written well and fits in well within the universe that Azzarello and Miller are building. There’s also some commentary from the Atom on what it means to be a superhero, and how he differed from Batman.
The artwork from Miller is also quite proficient and not what I was expecting. I felt Miller was more suited to writing, especially after The Dark Knight Strikes Back. But the artwork is pretty decent and Alex Sinclair’s colours really work in the book’s favour. So as a nice little tie-in, it works and I look forward to seeing what other artists and writers bring to their mini comics in the future.
New Suicide Squad #14
Written By Sean Ryan, Art by Philippe Briones
The only thing that saves this issue for me is when the Squad realise that the bombs in their necks have been turned off and the Squad proceeds to beat the hell out of Waller. Waller had this coming for some time and it was good to see the Squad get a few hits on their oppressor.
The rest of the book, however, was a non-story. Nothing is developed except for the conclusion to this issue. With a cast of characters like the Suicide Squad, you need to be doing more with them, especially if the film proves to be a success later next year.
The artwork in this issue is very hit and miss; at times great care was taken to craft the panels. Then other panels look far less detailed and even the characters themselves look bored. It seems strange to me to put so much work into one panel but not the other.
So this issue was really a waste of time. Hopefully the story gets back on track with issue 15.
Plot by Tony S Daniel & James Bonny, Script Art by Tyler Kirkman
Kirkman’s art has improved over last issue, and I am very much looking forward to the next. It seems Kirkman has to draw the characters a couple of times before he gets it just right. The last time I looked at his work, there were definite improvements to be made in regards to the perspective and anatomy to some characters.
This issue has corrected some of those problems for me and it’s really cool to see an artist find his feet like this. His Snakebite character design is really something special and shows a level of craft that I really appreciate, so on the art alone, this issue’s is worth your money.
The same cannot be said for the writing, though. It would seem that Tony S. Daniel is moving on to other projects and isn’t even completing whole plots anymore. Instead those duties mostly fall to James Bonny, who isn’t up to scratch in this issue.
The main issue here lies with the exposition-laden dialogue. Snakebite introduces himself in a very cheesy monologue, which can be summed up as, “I was given a serum made from snake venom, and now I am snake man, muahahaha.” That crap might have played out well in the 70’s, but not anymore.
Deathstroke’s dialogue also needs a rework. The character needs to be edgy and intimidating. At the moment, he just comes off as whiney.
So, if you can stomach bad writing and just enjoy some great art, then this won’t be a waste of cash for you.
Ms Marvel #1
Written by Willow Wilson, Art by Takeshi Miyazawa
So this was my first issue of Ms Marvel. Going into this book, I was kind of concerned. Everyone loves it, everyone praises it, what if I was the jerk reviewer who didn’t? There’s always one, right? Well, thankfully that jerk is not me.
Ms Marvel resonates with a younger me. She reminds me of discovering the world and the people around me. But that’s just a small part of the story. The next step of Kamala Khan’s journey is now dealing with her newfound popularity as a super hero and public figure.
When she finds that her image may be exploited by a corrupt organisation, she wonders if her newfound popularity is a determent to being a hero, while at the same time coming to terms with the idea that her choices and goals in life can and will conflict with her friends, family and who she loves. The writing is quick to the point, has a strong message and I can’t recommend this book enough for all readers of comics. Here’s the good stuff.
Miyazawa’s art is a nice compliment to the writing. It reminds me of the classic run of Ultimate Spider-Man. Great character expressions, plenty of action and a kind of sketchiness to the backgrounds that make the characters more pronounced, and drawing focus.
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #1
Written by Brandon Montclare & Amy Reeder, Art By Natacha Bustos
Now this is a fun all-ages book that I think everyone could enjoy. A lot of pre-reviews have described it as Pixar-ish. But I don’t really get that vibe from this book. Certainly it’s intended for younger audiences but it feels more like a young Spider-man tale then a Pixar film.
The writing is nice and concise setting up the world without forcing tons of exposition at the reader. Any author who does that wins instant points with me.
Our young protagonist Lunella has a lot of room to grow and that will make the series worthwhile. Although she is very intelligent, she’s missing friends and enjoying the simpler things in life. It will be interesting watching her development over the course of the series and expand her understanding of the world beyond science. Devil Dinosaur, who is literally a T-Rex, will be her bridge to that.
The artwork is gorgeous as well. It’s colourful with simple designs that children will really latch onto. The real love has been poured into Lunella and Devil Dinosaur. You can tell that Natacha Bustos really loves working with these characters and it’s paid off in spades.
All-New Wolverine #2
Written by Tom Taylor, Art by David Lopez & David Navarrot
I think I’m really going to love this run of Wolverine. Laura is a little bit more stable than Wolverine but still has his presence and gravity. So she feels like Wolverine, and that would be the hardest challenge to overcome. Taylor nails it.
Wolverine is no one’s fool in this issue and continues to look at all the angels of the situation without jumping to any conclusions. It’s also important to note that Wolverine is a pacifist and wants to deal with the details and try to talk her way out of a problem first before resorting to the old snikt snikt, but don’t fear, violence junkies, there is still plenty of snikt snikt to go around.
Wolverine speaks with her clones for the first time and you would be forgiven if you get an Orphan Black feel from the story so far. It’s interesting watching Wolverine try to probe Alchemax for answers and trying to negotiate with her violent probed clones. I’m curious to see where this leads for Wolverine’s development.
It’s also interesting to note that the events of the past two issues are affecting Wolverine on a personal level, but she’s yet to deal with her feelings openly and it’s affecting her relationship with Angel. This is probably the curse of Wolverine when it comes to having relationships with other people.
The artwork is not really want I want in a Wolverine book. It not bad, just a little soft around the edges. The costume and the action scenes make up for the lack of detail though, and it just means that this book is a nine, not a ten.
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