Comic Reviews 2/8/17 – DC and Image

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Justice League of America #1: Rebirth

It’s a DC team book #1, so you know what you’re getting. A quick montage of putting the team together. It begins with Batman and Killer Frost, and those two quickly recruit Black Canary, Lobo, Ryan Choi, the Ray, and Vixen to become the new Justice League of America.

So, we get a short scene introducing each character as they’re brought on board. Black Canary starts off fighting Killer Frost before Batman steps in to tell her they’re all on the same side; Black Canary picks up Lobo during a barfight at an alien bar; Lobo and Batman find Ryan Choi where they were expecting Ray Palmer, but Batman is convinced to let another inexperienced young-person put his life on the line; Ryan convinced Ray that two inexperienced crime-fighters are better than one; and Batman tells Vixen that she’ll be the keystone holding this new team together.

The biggest question I’m having with this series one issue in has to do with Lobo’s involvement. Batman keeps on repeating that he wants this new team to be mortal and human – not gods like the Justice League – so why recruit a nigh-indestructible alien? Especially one who seems to undermine everyone else at every opportunity?

 

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Wonder Woman #16

Six months into her career, and Wonder Woman has become a world-wide celebrity, which has made her a few critic as well. One of those critics is Veronica Gale, who runs a military tech company currently working on Cyberwalker – some sort of weapon involving uploading the user’s mind to a robot body. And when Greek Gods Phobos and Deimos soul-nap Veronica’s daughter, she’s forced to use the experimental Cyberwalker to help them get into Diana’s mind.

Coming off the Wonder Woman Year One arc, this arc starts off more with a villain origin story for Veronica Gale. This is her – as the Joker might put it – “one bad day.” It works as well as it does because, even though Veronica does come off as cold, she’s not unsympathetic. This is mostly because we’re largely introduced to her through Adrienne, her friend and programmer who starts of the issue by fangirling over Wonder Woman. Veronica doesn’t share her friend’s enthusiasm, but as a military contractor, her skepticism of Wonder Woman’s message of love and peace is understandable. And when her daughter, and later Adrianne, are put in harm’s way, that coldness melts away incredibly quickly. She’s sympathetic because it’s clear she does have sympathy for others – just not all others.

We end this issue sympathizing for Veronica’s losses, but fearful of how they will cause her to lash out and become a villain later in the story. This is how you do villain origins. And besides all that, Wonder Woman fights and tries to befriend a Chimera; that’s just the cherry on top of this issue!

 

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The Flash #16

The Rogues have beaten the Flash. They’ve pulled off one last heist – their biggest yet – and disappeared without a trace. For Flash to have any hope of capturing the Rogues, he’s gonna have to think like a Rogue, specifically Heatwave.

I don’t think I’ve ever read an issue of The Flash that starts off so low, but with some help from Iris, Flash picks himself back up after missing the Rogues. The last act of this issue is balanced on (an admittedly small) twist, but needless to say, it results in one heck of a triumphant double-page splashes of Flash taking on the Rogues.

Only thing this arc feels like its missing is some Kid Flash.

 

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All-Star Batman #7

Batman thought that he had prevented Mr. Freeze from unleashing an ancient bacteria into the world, but some of it slipped through and has started an outbreak in Washington. Batman turns to Poison Ivy, asking her to help synthesize a cure from a similarly ancient tree; but Batman is also being hunted by a mysterious high-tech strike team.

Tula Lotay is now a major blip on my radar. I’m a big fan of the chalky texture of her lines, and how her colors look more like layers filtered over the line-work than like they were filled in between black and white. And that subtle map overlay over the early pages of Ivy driving through the desert is perfection.

And, while not as formally novel as last issue, Snyder isn’t slouching either; finding a new way to illustrate Ivy’s powers of manipulation through syntax, and introducing a mysterious countdown through the issue – the importance of which – reveals itself as it gets closer to zero.

 

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Green Valley #5

The Knights of Kelodia fight off the dragons – which are raptors; and then they confront the wizard (who is definitely a time-traveler), again.

The majority of this issue is a fight scene between knights and dinosaurs, which is…I mean, who can complain about that, really? It’s one part Jurassic Park and one part Turok, and there’s even some good character moments within the fighting. Bertwald continues to throw the entirety of himself into battle, while Ralphus fights with a bit more strategy and Gulliver cowers.

The ending also provides a couple of really meaty cliffhangers for the second half of this series. Solid stuff here.

 

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The Wicked + The Divine #26

We open with Baal, Amaterasu, and Persephone fighting off the Great Darkness in a straight-up superhero fight-scene. There are neon whips and eye-lasers and lighting bolts and all of that. It’s awesome. The sort of stuff that reminds you that the Pantheon aren’t just pop-stars, they’re actually Gods.

After that, the Pantheon holds a council over what they should be doing now that they don’t have a leader. Should they focus their efforts on pushing back the darkness, do more research into everything Ananke kept secret, or just do whatever they feel like? If the first half of this issue is about battling outside forces, the back half is definitely about infighting among the Pantheon, and shows that they’re just as vicious to each-other. And Persephone’s true allegiances are still the book’s biggest mystery.

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