Comic Reviews 6/15/16

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Patsy Walker, AKA Hellcat #7

Patsy and Jessica Jones team up to get dig up some dirt on Hedy that would invalidate her copyright, and Patsy does a book signing to strengthen her own case.

Jessica is a great guest hero in this issue, and her being there also gives an excuse for this book’s best visual gag which involves her husband, Luke Cage discovering something in the bookshop many of the series’ characters work at.

The regular art team is back on this issue, with their thick outlines, saturated colors, and sudden shifts to a more chibi style for beat emphasis.

 

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Spidey #7

After a week of beating up bad guys and getting beaten up by Flash Thompson, Spidey teams up with Black Panther to stop some smugglers.

This series has been pretty heavy on inner monologue, and this issue especially so, but it’s use here is played with and commented on as one of Spidey’s character quirks, and is the basis of a couple good jokes.

My one nitpick with this issue is that Black Panther doesn’t look as cool in the interiors as he does on the excellent cover. His head’s too big and he looks too…soft or something.

 

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Amazing Spider-Man #14

Regent takes down the Avengers one-by-one, using each of their powers to defeat the next. Meanwhile, Peter and Tony Stark continue their search for the kidnapped Miles.

After their ridiculous scuffle in the last issue, Spider-Man and Iron Man finally learn to tolerate working with each-other, and even start to team up against the story’s actual villain – Regent. But my favorite part of this issue is the small amount of dialogue between Peter and MJ that manages to carry the entire weight of their relationship to each-other in the smallest interactions – their emotional history is made clear in every line, both written and drawn. Small things like them not looking at each-other when speaking to each-other goes a long way.

 

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Civil War II #2

Tony kidnaps Ulysses, starting a war between himself and the Inhumans, and to keep things from escalating, the Ultimates step in to get the boy back.

Aside from throwing a curveball into the presumed hero-vs-hero fight at the core of this event, this issue has no forward momentum; hell, it might have backwards momentum! If anything, the one important plot beat in this issue starts us from scratch all over again!

Counting issue #0, we’re three issues into Civil War II and nothing of note has happened. If this event gets an extension like Secret Wars did, I might drop Marvel events altogether. I mean, DC has done objectively worse events, but at least each issue feels like something happens.

 

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Justice League #51

Written by Dan Abnett, and leading right into Titans: Rebirth #1, this issue feels a bit out of its time.

The story takes place right after the first arc of The New 52’s Justice League, and Batman decides to bring Dick Greyson on the League’s next mission – the investigation of mysterious events and intruders in Metropolis. The League is hesitant to bring a child on what would be a world-threatening mission, but over the course of the issue, Robin shows them exactly why Batman trusts him.

If you’re a fan of Robin like I am, this single-shot story will likely win you over. Watching Dick Greyson come into his own, not just alongside Batman, but the entire Justice League is entertaining in the same way Morrison’s run on JLA is for anyone who wondered what Batman contributed to a team of the most powerful people on Earth. And aside from seeing how competent Robin is, we get to see through Robin a fine example of the League’s abilities to adapt to and deal with new and weird dangers.

 

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Titans: Rebirth #1

The next stop of Wally West’s “remember me” tour finds him breaking into (presumably) Nightwing’s apartment in order to reunite with his former Teen Titans. Lucky for him, they’re all home together, but unfortunately, they don’t recognize him just by sight, so there’s some fighting.

For a book that has to reestablish five different relationships, and start a new plot, Titans #1 does admirably. The whole thing plays out as a flashback-montage, and the “fight” has no stakes, but it lays the groundwork for the rest of the series.

Like a lot of these Rebirth titles, if you’re already caught up with these things, it’s skippable; but if you need a reminder, it’s here.

 

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Superman #1

First, I want to say how much I love the size of the S-shield on this Superman’s chest. It’s HUGE! I love it. I’m an S-man – the bigger the better.

We open, for the second or third time now, with this Clark promising to take over as this world’s Superman, are treated to a really cool spread of him doing Superman things, and spend the rest of the issue on Clark, Lois, and their son, Jon’s new farm. After a fire, Clark has to rebuild the barn, and meanwhile, an over-excited Jon accidently uses his powers, resulting in a small tragedy. Even worse for Jon, he was seen by the blond neighbor moppet.

This arc is called The Son of Superman, so more of a focus on Jon is expected, and really, I’m excited for it. Superheroes being dads is one of those things that I always like seeing, and this looks like it could be a great example of that. I can only hope that we see Clark talk to Bruce about super-parenting tips.

 

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Green Arrow #1

This feels like a step back after the incredible Rebirth issue, taking away a lot of the fun and the charm that one had.

It starts on a high note, with Green Arrow, Black Canary, and GA’s sister, Emi, working together to take down a group of the underground men from kidnapping more homeless, and finding out that Queen Industries is somehow tied up in their scheme. This part is great, basically continuing everything the Rebirth issue set up.

Things go wrong the next day when Black Canary, seemingly out of nowhere, decides she needs some space – taking her out of the book, and leaving Ollie alone to investigate corruption at Queen Industries. It’s here the book loses all joy, ending on a very New 52 type dreary note.

I can only hope that this book finds its center again in the next issue.

 

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Batman #1

This is an incredible first issue, and I am super excited to see where it goes. Congratulations Tom King. To talk about this issue, I’m going to have to spoil things – but it’s a first issue, so they really hardly count.

The genius of this issue lies in juxtaposition. The entire plot of the issue is Batman having to save a falling plane – a classic Superman scenario. But where this would take Superman maybe half a page to get under control, it takes Batman and his allies the whole issue, and Batman doesn’t even expect to come out of it alive. And then, after all this effort, after all the close calls, the issue ends with Batman and the plane being saved by two new heroes – Gotham and Gotham Girl – who swoop in like Superman to save the day. The threat of this issue isn’t Batman being beaten, it’s him being outclassed.

This issue is genius, and it’s one of those stories that takes advantage of the sorts of things fans like to talk about, “Why doesn’t Superman or someone else take care of Gotham’s problems?” to actually tell what’s looking to be a compelling Batman story that will finally answer why only Batman can protect Gotham.

 

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Clean Room #9

If you haven’t been reading Clean Room to this point, the first page of this issue would tell you almost everything you’d need to know about its tone. Astrid Mueller lies dying, the skin of her face sliced down the middle and peeled-back, spilling out all sorts of viscera onto the rest of the page. It’s gruesome, good stuff.

But that’s not the literal plot of this issue – or at least how most of the other characters perceive it. Astrid is dying, after being shot by her brother in the last issue, and is undergoing emergency surgery inside the Clean Room, accompanied by Killian, Chloe, and one of the demons that Chloe sneaked into the Room. Astrid’s only chance is for Chloe to convince the demon to remove the bullet from Astrid, and convince Killian and Astrid that that’s a good idea.

Besides gruesome, the book manages to have its lighter moments. The demon, Sparks, is a classic Gail Simone character in the mold of Ragdoll or her other sillier characters with funny speech quirks; and it’s clear that Killian genuinely loves Astrid. And that occasional lightness makes the horror that much darker.

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