Comic Book Reviews – End 2015

The Modern Meltdown Episode 50 – 2015 In Review And Drinking!
January 2, 2016
The Modern Meltdown Episode 51 – Awesome Games Done Quick 2016
January 8, 2016

CoverJustice League #46

Written By Geoff Johns, Art by Francis Manapul

This issue is all about setting up conflict, which means the overall narrative of the story takes a hit and causes the story to slow down to a crawl. The Justice League has been turned into gods but we still don’t know what that means, and after two issues of set up, it’s time that we get into the heart of the story.

I’m hoping the we can start to move forward next issue and learn the true ramifications for the Justice League’s actions. I think that if you read the tie-in books, you’ll probably have a better grasp of what’s going down in this issue. But you shouldn’t have to read tie-ins to understand the main series.

The writing is still crafted well and I really do like the European art style. That’s why it’s a shame that Justice League is becoming one of my least-loved books.

*

CoverThe Dark Knight III: The Master Race #2

Written By Frank Miller and Brian Azzarelo, Art by Andy Kubert

If issue 1 was all about build up then issue 2 is all payoff. Although I know all the players in this story, I find myself not really knowing them at all in the context of this story, and that is the pull of this book. Why is Carrie Kelly getting herself captured? Where is Bruce Wayne? What does Lara Kent (Supergirl) want from the resurrection of Kandor?

To read a comic these days and not know how the story will develop is something I cherish in a medium that has become predictable. Miller and Azzarelo’s story has a clear destination that it’s leading to, but all the twists and turns are keeping me excited and invested in this story.

Kubert also continues his fine work and only improves upon issue 1.

*

CoverDark Knight Universe Presents: Wonder Woman #1

Written by Frank Miller and Brain Azzarelo, Art by Eduardo Risso

Thankfully, these mini comics are proving not to be a simple cash grab but an interesting look into the background of The Dark Knight III. In keeping with the previous mini comic, this issue provides insight into Wonder Woman and her interactions with her daughter Lara Kent (Supergirl).

It’s interesting to watch Wonder Woman describe her place in her world and try to bring out the Amazon in her daughter. It’s during their exchange that we get more of an insight into their relationship and the clash of cultures, as Lara identifies herself as Kryptonian rather than Amazonian.

The art work mirrors Frank Miller’s style, which annoys me because I think the artist should be more of himself or herself into the art, rather than mimic Miller’s style. I was looking forward to seeing different art styles playing in the Dark Knight Returns sandbox. I don’t want to see an older style mimicked for the sake of nostalgia.

*

CoverBatman #47 

Written by Scott Snyder, Art by Greg Capullo

This issue has a lot going for it. Now, I’ve said a lot about how much I love the creative team, so let’s put that aside for a moment and focus on a few plot points.

Batman #47 concludes the first act of our story. Gordon has his first victory, even though it’s quickly dismissed by the resurgence of the villain. This is an important moment for the character because it’s starting to solidify the justification for Gordon taking up the mantle in the first place.

A confrontation between Bruce and Duke (Robin) leads to Bruce beginning to recall his former life as Batman, and the story concludes with a twist so spinetingling that this reviewer couldn’t help but smile after he put the book down. *hint hint*

It’s great to see the quality story telling from Snyder continue so strongly, with Capullo’s art making his words dance. It’s no wonder that these guys are the most praised in comics right now.

*

CoverConstantine #7

Written by James Tynion 4 and Ming Doyle, Art by Brian Level &Riley Rossmo

The Swamp Thing guest stars in the latest issue of Constantine and it’s always good to see this team back together. They’re like the Batman and Robin of the Occult World, and with trees coming to life and murdering horny teenagers, who else would come calling to a Master of the Dark Arts?

This issue appears to be the last of the standalone adventures that Constantine has been engaged in. While this story is passable, it probably suffered from all the seed planting—no pun intended—that is happening to set up the larger story.

The artwork here continues to impress especially when it comes to the swamp thing. Although this was more of a filler issue I am curious about what is being set up in the long term.

*

CoverNew Suicide Squad #15 

Written by Sean Ryan, Art by Phillipe Briones

Yay, this is the exposition issue! The villain sits down with Waller and in great detail, taking up many pages, explains her evil plan. The idea of corporate America owning the government is interesting, but the way it’s presented in this book is so “by the numbers” that it’s ultimately a drudge to chew through.

I said a few issues ago that this book needs to pick up its socks and get on with the business of telling a story. It’s yet to do that, and I don’t think it’s capable of it. This series desperately needs either a new writer or far less editorial interference.

If this series can’t turn things around, it will be going off this reviewer’s order list and no doubt yours as well.

*

CoverDeathstroke #13

Written by Tony S. Daniel & James Bonny, Art by Paolo Pantalena

It seemed like we were going to be stuck in Belle Reve prison forever, but we are finally moving out of that setting with new questions about the mysterious figure pulling all the strings and keeping Deathstroke’s daughter Rose hostage.

This series gets props for doing what Suicide Squad can’t, and that’s drop story clues that hint at a larger conspiracy that our central character is caught up in. Throw in plenty of action and you have a decent thriller series that may be too superficial at the time but has enough story to pull you through.

Another nice addition this issue was art by Paolo Pantalena. His style is taking cues from previous artist Tyler Kirkman. In my opinion, Pantalena’s art style and character design is better than Kirkman’s, as is his perspective when it comes to character anatomy.

Deathstroke, at the very least, is entertaining on a superficial level, but I suspect the storyline could become more involved in the next few issues.

* * *

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