RSS

Arkham Manor (2014) #3

Arkham Manor #3 Cover Art

Arkham Manor #3 Cover Art

Cold Comfort

A third disappointment from Arkham Manor. In this issue, we watch Jack Shaw (Bruce Wayne) prowl through the guts of the former Wayne Manor searching for the killer he believes is Victor Zsasz–a missing manor guest. I have to give Crystal a lot of credit here, because the art is pretty good despite pages of actionless exposition.

There are four major reveals in this issue and almost all of them fall flat. The first is when the newest victim, previously foreshadowed Seth, falls in a convinient sink hole while being transferred to an ambulance. This, of course, sets off Seth’s paranoia about being buried alive earned from being trapped under the wreckage of the previous Arkham. If Seth wasn’t so heavy-hadedly blessed in the previous issues, this might have been interesting, but at this point I’m expecting far more and am left wanting.

The second major plot device is that Zsasz isn’t the killer, rather he is boarded up, half-alive in the bowels of Arkham Manor, presumably by the real murderer. I’m not a Batman fanboy, so any excitement I was supposed to feel at Zsasz’s name is lost on me, and any excitement I might have gained from that subtle-as-a-rock plot twist is erased by Shaw muses that Zsasz “might not be the killer after all” just two pages earlier.

Finally we have the dual reveal of the identity of the mute newcommer guest and the surprise reveal of the orderlies secret identity. This might have worked as the orderly is Batman’s inside contact. Unfortunately, we have been waiting for the identity of the wheelchair-bound mute for two issues now, and so the evokes feelings of “finally” rather then “aha!” when Clayface makes his appearance. Railroading that turn with Joker’s unmasking as the orderly doesn’t do much to improve things.

Overall, this issue took a predictable, heavy-handed turn into same-old batspace resulting in “Batman vs Joker and Clayface”; 2/5, this will be my last issue.

 

Posted by on January 15, 2015 in Comics

Leave a comment

Tags: , , ,

Roche Limit #1

Roche Limit #1 Cover Art

Roche Limit #1 Cover Art

Roche Limit tells the story of the first human colony off earth–Roche Limit–built inside a rocky dwarf planet called Dispater. Unlike classic sci-fi, Roche Limit does not become a well-adjusted society dedicated to the furthering of human endeavors, but instead becomes a microcosm of the expected human experience. The rich have staked out their region of Roche Limit, and left the rest to become a crime lord controlled cesspool of poverty.

Ferrier does a great job of telling a story already in progress, while giving us glimpses of the detailed world he has created. Issue #1 introduces Sonya, and ex-cop who has arrived on Roche Limit looking for her dissapeared sister. She is reluctantly aided by Alex Ford after her blunt investigation tactics find her on the wrong side of Mr. Moscow–a presumed crime lord.

The first issue is all introduction with very little depth added to the story, so there isn’t really much to talk about other than the story is interesting and shows promise. Boyd’s art adds tension and texture to Ferrier’s somewhat flat prose, and stylistically transitions between flashback, present time, and hallucination. Overall, I like where this title is headed and eagerly await #2, 4/5.

 

Posted by on January 14, 2015 in Comics

Leave a comment

Tags: , , ,

Comic Day, 2015 #2

Today was a big day with a large number of recurring titles:

  • Avengers (2013) #34.2
  • Avengers (2013) #40
  • Captain Marvel (2014) #11
  • Collider / FBP (2013) #17
  • Copperhead (2014) #5
  • Deadpool (2013) #40
  • Guardians 3000 (2014) #4

Along with several titles my LCS restocked their back issue boxes:

  • Captain Marvel (2012) #12
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2013) #11
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2013) #14
  • Thor, God of Thunder (2013) #8
 

Posted by on January 14, 2015 in Comics

Leave a comment

Tags:

Arkham Manor (2014) #2

Arkham Manor #2 Cover Art

Arkham Manor #2 Cover Art

A Home for the Criminally Insane, Volume 2

As I said in my review of Issue #1, I had high hopes for #2. Hopes that were not met. I was hooked by the idea of having Batman / Wayne try to perform his mission without the benefits either identity give him. Instead of working from within the system, we see “Jack Shaw” almost immediately break out of his cell and assault two guards on his way to apprehend a murderer.

The issue tells the story of Wayne’s first day and night in Arkham Manor under the alias of Jack Shaw. We are introduced (read: foreshadowing) to a disturbed inmate named Seth, and a unnamed mute inmate who has Wayne and his outside contact frightened. But neither of those two get any more character development than that, just slightly more than the token group session with some of Batman’s more famous adversaries (with Mr. Freeze teleconferencing in from the freezer). After some occupational therapy of painting the manor walls, Shaw sees a neighboring prisoner under attack from the unknown murder, at which point he makes his escape and assault. Predictably, he fails, and is suspected of being the murderer himself.

Now, I understand the immediacy in the plot and I don’t think that what happens is wrong, I’m just not interested in that story. Overall 3/5, I’ll give it another issue.

 

Posted by on January 13, 2015 in Comics

Leave a comment

Tags: , , ,

Copperhead #1

Copperhead #1 Cover Art

Copperhead #1 Cover Art

As soon as I saw the cover art for Copperhead #1, I was interested. As soon as I read the preview, I was excited. Copperhead promised to be Sci-Fi the way it should be done: as a backdrop to an otherwise normal human story.

Issues #1 doesn’t pull any punches. In the first six pages we get a rapid-fire look at Clara Bronson, the new Sheriff in Copperhead. She’s a single mother, she recently had to move for unknown but serious reasons, she has an absentee or deceased husband she still loves, she’s world-weary, she doesn’t care for male chauvinism or male heroics, and she can kick some ass.

The rest of the issue doesn’t slow down, and Faerber does a great job of showing us an interesting, alien world that works surprisingly like ours. The detailed backgrounds, both in the narrative and in Godlewski’s panels, teases but leaves us wanting more. The issue covers a domestic disturbance, and later an unsolved multiple homicide at the same residence, two kids looking for a missing dog in the dangerous badlands, an over-eager mining tycoon looking to get the new sheriff on his side, and ends with a single shot of a dark, armed stranger.

Copperhead lived up to, and surpassed my hopes. A western sci-fi in similar flavor to Firefly, with interesting characters in unique situations, a detailed world with a deep backstory, and most importantly real human problems. I can’t wait for the next issue, 5/5.

 

Posted by on January 12, 2015 in Comics

Leave a comment

Tags: , , ,

Gotham Academy #1

Gotham Academy #1 Cover Art

Gotham Academy #1 Cover Art

Welcome to Gotham Academy

Gotham Academy is another one of the few DC titles that I was looking forward to. Much like Arkham Manor, I was excited by the possibility of a new, interesting story set in a familiar setting. Unlike Arkham Manor, Gotham Academy actually shows promise.

Cloonan tells the story of Olive Silverlock, a second year student at Gotham Academy and her acquaintances. Issue #1 starts on the first day of her second term, and it doesn’t start well. Cloonan hints at some plot points I assume she will unfold later with references to an eventful summer and the estrangement of her (ex?) boyfriend. Complicating things is her ex’s little sister, “Maps” Mizoguchi, who obviously idolizes Olive.

Cloonan and Fletcher both show their skill in this issue, weaving a story and artwork around and between facts and ideas that the reader knows are important, but never quite nail them down. In media res is hard to do, and so far, Cloonan has done it well. After finishing this issue, I feel like I know just enough about Gotham Academy and Olive to know that I know nothing, and eagerly await the next installment, 4/5.

 

Posted by on January 11, 2015 in Comics

Leave a comment

Tags: , , ,

Arkham Manor (2014) #1

Arkham Manor #1 Cover Art

Arkham Manor #1 Cover Art

A Home for the Criminally Insane, Volume 1

I am generally not a fan of DC Comics; I’m dissatisfied with how they treat their properties, and find the titles to be a bit too on the nose. Debuting side-by-side with another Gotham title, Gotham Academy, Arkham Manor promises to be an interesting spin on the Batman universe, promising enough for me to try this #1.

I was hoping, like Gotham Academy that Batman would have very little page time in Arkham Manor. I was interested mostly if DC and Duggan (whom I love from Deadpool) could find a dramatic angle inside Gotham without resorting to the well-traveled stable of superheros. Issue #1 disappointed me in this respect, but also earned itself a second chance.

The story follows the aftermath of the collapse of the Arkham Asylum–Gotham’s iconic institution. With nowhere to house the mentally needy and criminally insane, the city appropriates Wayne Manor from the bankrupt Bruce as the new Arkham Manor. Wayne, of course, allows this to happen, for the good of Gotham, but soon discovers some terror in the Manor that is torturing and killing its residents. The issue ends with Batman/Wayne assuming a recently deceased man’s identity and allowing himself to be committed inside his old home, and the new Arkham.

Although I was disappointed by the major role to be played by Wayne, I do like the idea of stripping him of his freedom and placing him in a situation where his memories and formative years are played against his need to remain anonymous. I have said many times that the interesting thing about super heroes is not their powers, or really, anything related to their super-ness, but how they repress that side of themselves to operate in society. Arkham Manor looks to be a similar idea, but instead forcing Batman’s identity to die so that Batman’s mission may continue.

Overall, 4/5, with hope for issue #2.

 

Posted by on January 10, 2015 in Comics

Leave a comment

Tags: , , ,

Squirrel Girl (2015) #1

Squirrel Girl #1 Cover Art

Squirrel Girl #1 Cover Art

Well that was… interesting.

When I picked up Squirrel Girl #1, I wasn’t expecting a serious, drama-filled title with deep and meaningful characters. I was looking for a lighthearted romp with some endearing moments and great comedy (see: Deadpool), and that is almost exactly what I got.

North’s Squirrel Girl lives up to her name. She is flighty, impulsive, self-confident, and has the attention span of, well, a squirrel. Issue #1 shows her arriving at college for the first time, and attempting to keep her secret identity secret (note the moving box labeled “Nuts: Misc” might give that away). Henderson’s art matches the story well with bold, unfettered panels. The story is fairly predictable with all the expected gags: getting caught talking to Tippy-Toe in Northeastern Squirrelese, and unexpected, misunderstood villain on school grounds, the abrasive-yet-somehow-endearing roommate with oddly similar hobbies and animal fixations. All these add up to an issue that was entertaining, but failed to impress me really at all.

Overall I enjoyed the read enough to give issue #2 a try, but there is currently nothing holding this title’s spot on my pull list. 3/5.

 

Posted by on January 9, 2015 in Comics

Leave a comment

Tags: , , ,

Ant-Man (2015) #1

Ant-Man #1 Cover Art

Ant-Man #1 Cover Art

First issues always fill me with a bit of nervous excitement. Choosing to walk out with a new #1 is quite a gamble, especially with monthly titles. It means committing a portion of my monthly comic budget in exchange for something of unknown quality for the foreseeable future. A budget portion which will not be available for other titles. My obsessive and collecting personality almost guarantees that mediocre titles will remain on my pull list. For all that, Ant-Man seemed like a safe bet. Marvel is quite competent at producing safe, commercially-viable products with just the right mix of humor and drama. With a title like Ant-Man, soon to become a major feature, the content of the book will probably be well controlled and thoroughly vetted.

I was deliciously wrong. Nick Spencer has written a story that almost completely ignores the super-hero aspect of Scott Lang’s secret identity to focus on the day-to-day hardships of being a father to a separated daughter yet still manages to keep my attention the whole way through. The drama in Ant-Man #1 is the best kind of super-hero drama–how hard it is to be the mundane person–which happens to also be the riskiest type of drama.

Ant-Man #1 takes us through a brief back story of Scott Lang, a history of crime, penance, rebirth, and hard choices. Mostly Scott’s difficulties center around his daughter, Cassie, Scott sees very little but obviously loves very much. Woven through this tale is the immediate problem of finding a job–with a less-than-stellar resume–so that he can earn more visitation time with his family. The comic felt surprisingly long and full of information, but never got stale, boring, or exposition-heavy. Ramon Rosanas does an excellent job of illustrating each page simply and clearly, while leaving plenty of detail for the interesting bits. I appreciate the straightforward panel layout–clever art structure is usually just a crutch for an otherwise mediocre title.

Overall, I’m glad I picked up Ant-Man, and I look forward to next month’s issue. (4/5)

 

Posted by on January 8, 2015 in Comics

Leave a comment

Tags: , , ,

Comic Day, 2015 #1

The first comic day of 2015 brings me a few recurring titles:

  • God Hates Astronauts (2014) #5
  • Hawkeye vs. Deadpool (2014) #4/4
  • Roche Limit (2014) #4

Two new possible pulls

I also discovered a back issue that I have been looking for, which I always prefer to buy locally but can’t always find:

  • Brides of Helheim (2014) #3, from December 10
 

Posted by on January 7, 2015 in Comics

Leave a comment

Tags: