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Archive for February, 2013

Batman #17

Reviewed By: Eden Zacarias

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Greg Capullo
Colorist: FCO Plascencia
Inker: Jonathan Glapion
Genre: Comic Book
MSRP: $3.99 USA
Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: Available Now

Without spoiling the surprises or the “big reveal” that the conclusion of a decent story arc helmed, of course, by the brilliant Scott Snyder and talented artist Greg Capullo, I’ll go into the reasons why the Death in the Family is an enjoyable albeit not a game-changing story arc. With Batman #17, the story closes in a deliciously twisted and entertaining manner that only a villain like the Joker could bring to table in the Death of the Family storyline.

Even before The New 52 event, Batman and the Joker have had a long history that has seen these two opponents clashing in a battle that is both physical and psychological. The relationship between them runs deeper than any wound inflicted by their confrontations. However, this time might seem a little different as the Joker has turned his attention on the ones that the Dark Knight has come to see as his “family.” We all know that when the Clown Prince of Crime sets his sights on his latest victims he goes to great lengths to make sure the punchline of his twisted joke kills.

So what happens in Batman #17 is the outcome of the Joker’s killer joke as he unveils to Batman his psychotic version of a family dinner. Tied back in their seats with bloody bandages covering their faces are Bruce‘s extended Bat-family who had fallen prey to the Joker who tells Batman that if he got out of his seat it would trigger an incendiary trap that would prove fatal to the dinner guests who have been doused with gasoline.

Oh yeah, there’s also a diabolically twisted version of Alfred Pennyworth who was affected by a new kind of toxin the Joker has discovered and – to his maniacal glee – has used to transform the Wayne Estate’s butler into a freaky man-servant for the Joker. Leave it to Greg Capullo to turn Alfred into a demented-looking and menacing version of the kindly father-figure.

As I said in the beginning of the review, I will not spoil what happens but I will say that Batman manages to break free and chase the Joker in the confines of the Bat Cave only to come face-to-face with his old foe. Yes, physical blows are given and taken but the real damage comes in a psychological manner that finds the Joker facing the truth about not only himself but Batman as well.

The result is a fascinating verbal exchange that Scott Snyder conceives that makes this issue worth picking up alone. Sure, it doesn’t reveal anything too shocking and those expecting Batman to expose the Joker’s true identity will be disappointed. The words spoken here does reveal something even more important, which leads up to an even more intriguing final bit that Bruce mentions to Alfred.

I should also say that Snyder’s Joker is absolutely sick and twisted and we get that with this story as well as this final issue.

As a fan of Scott Snyder’s work, I found the last issue of this story arc to simply entertain without doing anything that will leave Batman fans completely surprised. I didn’t expect anyone to die, of course, but I wish there was more to the ending than what the epilogue exposes. How could it all lead up to a confrontation we have seen many times before in other Batman titles?

Of course, it’s hard to complain when the best parts of the story are complimented by Greg Capullo’s pencils. Without a doubt, he easily makes every page a visual delight that will have you staring at each panel, especially the scenes during the dinner that involve a freaky kitten and the Joker’s new toxin. Even the Joker’s gruesome face-mask is awesome. We tend to praise Capullo’s work often on this site and if you pick up this book you will see exactly why he’s such a fan favorite.

Batman #17 is a truly entertaining and the verbal sparring by Batman and the Joker is worth the price of admission alone. Will the finale of this story blow you away with a game-changing event or even end with a horrific death? No, but what it will do is give Batman fans yet another story arc that has Batman and the Joker redefining the relationship between them and why the Caped Crusader can’t come to kill his foe. It’s a good story well worth picking up.


COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN

STORY: B+
In this final chapter of a most interesting saga, the Joker reveals his utterly twisted final plan in the form of a not-so-inviting family dinner with all the players in great danger. However, it is Batman who turns the tables on the Clown Prince of Crime in an unforgettable confrontation that speaks volumes of their relationship.

ART: A+
Batman fans rejoiced the fact that Greg Capullo is working on this title and the result is a Batman book that is easily the most spectacular-looking visuals. With flawless coloring by Plascencia and perfect inking by Glapion and we have a book you won’t stop staring at from start to finish.

OVERALL: B+
An engaging conclusion to the Death of the Family event, Batman #17 says a lot about the relationship between a hero and his family as well as the villain whose connection to said hero is a deep one. While a part of me wishes the story ended differently, it’s hard to complain when the rest of the story is this compelling and way too much fun despite not doing anything too dramatic. Batman fans, you do not want to miss this story arc.

Review copy provided by DC Comics

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GreenArrow #17

Reviewed By: Emma Coverdale

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Andrea Sorrentino
Colorist: Andrea Sorrentino and Hi-Fi
Inker: Andrea Sorrentino
Genre: Comic Book
MSRP: $2.99 USA
Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: Available Now

Admittedly, I have been looking forward to The New 52 version of Green Arrow. In fact, I was optimistic that he would finally get a series that showcases his strengths and weaknesses in a way that would breathe new life to this familiar hero. We’re talking a series with a fresh new start worthy of DC Comic’s crime fighting archer and member of the Justice League.

Sadly, Green Arrow’s new beginning fell short in many ways but devoted fans (like myself) held on in hopes that the series would eventually get better. Then came the announcement that the series would get a new creative team that would finally turn things around for the better and this was good news indeed. With  “Sweet Tooth” author Jeff Lemire penning the story and Andrea Sorrentino handling the art, this new team takes aim but does it hit the target?

Before I answer that question, let’s get to Green Arrow #17’s actual story that begins in a scorching wasteland. A lone figure comes into frame and it is clear it is none other than Oliver Queen who informs us that he has lost everything. We fast-forward three weeks earlier as Oliver pushes his way into Queen Industries’ main offices looking for Emerson … than man who currently runs Queen’s family business.

As it turns out, Queen Industries has been sold to a rival corporation and Ollie is obviously angry with Emerson who allowed this to happen. Emerson has been expecting Oliver to show up and points to the fact that Ollie is nothing more than a man-child who needs to realize his true potential. In fact, he seems to know something else … something that points to Oliver Queen’s real destiny.

However, before Emerson can go into details, he is brought down by an arrow that seems to be familiar to Oliver. Suddenly, Emerson goes flinging out the window as security officers enter to find Oliver Queen standing over said window. This looks suspicious and Oliver knows it as he has no choice but to fight his way out of the building. His only real choice is to get to Q-Core to get to his gear and costume only for the unthinkable to happen to the only two friends he has left.

Thankfully, he is able to turn to a safe house where he not only manages to get to his gear but is also confronted by a mystery attacker who seems to know who he is as well as his secret identity. As a twist of fate, the attacker also happens to be a talented archer who happens to possess all of the Green Arrow’s various arrow attachments and his bow.

Introduced as Komodo, the villain archer is a worthy adversary who is a step ahead of the Green Arrow and is far more skilled in combat than Ollie. The battle quickly turns one-sided but when things are about to go really sour for our hero a mystery man jumps into the battle. This newcomer also seems to know the Green Arrow as well as the truth of Oliver Queen’s real destiny.

Jeff Lemire opens up new possibilities that point to a new direction that actually works despite the hero-loses-all-to-discover-his-true-potential-to-regain-what-he-lost theme. It’s been done before and in the pages of a Green Arrow book to boot but Lemire has always been the kind of writer who never fails to surprise his readers. His talents clearly make this issue an interesting read that gives Green Arrow fans hope that things can only get better with Lemire at the helm.

As far as the artwork is concerned, Andrea Sorrentino (whose work in “I, Vampire” gave it its exceptional visual style) finally makes Oliver Queen and his alter ego look natural. Sure, I miss the moustache but at least he doesn’t look like a macho version of Justin Beiber like in the first issue. Sorrentino’s artistic style is both unique and gorgeous with perfect coloring and realistic expressions on the faces of the characters. Whatever happens, Sorrentino should officially stay on as Green Arrow’s main artist.

In my opinion, Green Arrow #17 is the series’ actual new beginning as the new team of Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino aim high and hits the target just right. While the theme has been done before, knowing Jeff Lemire we can come to expect exciting developments with each new issue and adding Sorrentino’s artwork we have ourselves a Green Arrow book we should have gotten in the first place. This is a real Must Have for any Green Arrow fans.


COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN

STORY: B+
Without a moment’s notice, Oliver Queen’s life is about to take a most interesting yet disastrous turn as a mysterious attacker targets Queen and his alter ego, the Green Arrow. As he loses everything and those he had called allies, the Green Arrow comes face-to-face with a new foe who seems to know all about him.

ART: A
Andrea Sorrentino’s art is expressive, unique and brings us a Green Arrow who is fit for the modern age  and whose physical presence feels far more real than past versions. Without a doubt, Sorrentino’s talents will not go unnoticed by Green Arrow fans and comic book collectors everywhere.

OVERALL: B+
With Jeff Lemire handling the story and Andrea Sorrentino bringing his distinctive visuals to this book, Green Arrow is just starting to get  interesting and – as we can see from this 17th issue – push our hero into familiar if not promising territory. For those who lost faith in this series, rejoice, this new direction is shaping out to be exactly what the Green Arrow deserves.

Review copy provided by DC Comics

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JusticeLeague Vol2

Reviewed By: Evelyn Finch

Publisher
: DC Comics
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Jim Lee, Carlos D’Anda, Gene Ha, Ivan Reis, David Fich & Ethan Van Sciver, Scott Williams
Colorist: Alex Sinclair, Gabe Eltaeb, Tony Avina, Sonia Oback, Art Lyon, Pete Pantazis & Hi-FI
Genre: Graphic Novel (Hardcover)
MSRP: $24.99 USA
Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: Available Now

Leave it to Geoff Johns and Jim Lee to jump at a chance to take a familiar cast of characters and breathe new life into this legendary team. What we have now is The New 52 take on the Justice League and judging by the overwhelmingly positive reaction to Volume 1 you can bet that Johns and Lee have outdone themselves. So you can imagine how much I have been anticipating the arrival of the second volume and I should say that Volume 2 The Villain’s Journey of the Justice League does not disappoint in the very least.

That’s no surprise, really, seeing as the talent involved managed to show us – with a mere six issues – that this new team of heroes offer a number of possibilities that could only spell a compelling tale that can only get more interesting.

Covering issues 7-12, Volume 2’s story takes place a year after the seven heroes that make up the Justice League went up against the threat that was Darkseid and his invading minions. Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman, Batman, Cyborg and the Green Lantern quickly become seen as saviors by the entire world as well as Gods thanks to a book written by a best-selling author named David Graves. On top of that, they have A.R.G.U.S. backing them up with Colonel Steve Trevor as their official liaison.

Much has happened in one year as the Justice League has taken on a number of foes … many of them very familiar whether it’s going up against the menace that is the Talon or a villain known as Spore. With the tactical genius of Batman, the group has learned how to fight as a team and play off each another’s strengths. Some things still remain the same such as The Flash and the Green Lantern still pissing Batman off but now the Dark Knight has gained a close friend and ally in Superman.

Despite being seen as close friends, however, the truth is that each member of the League have much to learn about their personal lives. The Flash and Green Lantern are surprised to learn that Superman has an alter ego who happens to be a journalist or that The Flash has a girlfriend or even that Cyborg knows everyone’s credit score among other private details.

Meanwhile, we learn that Colonel Trevor has problems of his own with the press hounding him about his relationship with Wonder Woman as members of Congress put pressure on him to not only allow them to see what is inside the League’s home base known as the Watchtower but also have the team be open to the idea of adding a new teammate. Trevor believes that Congress is trying to plant a spy with this supposed new teammate and knows the Justice League is definitely not open to a new member after an unfortunate incident with the Martian Manhunter.

Speaking of a new teammate, the hero who sees himself as the prime candidate to join the League is none other than the Green Arrow. He manages to show up in time to lend an intrusive hand as the Justice League takes on their enemies but neither one really wants a man like him on the team. The Green Arrow is a stubborn fellow who will stop at nothing to join the team but his persistence leads to an offer from Colonel Trevor himself.

However, the real trouble arises when famed author David Graves – who is dying from an unusual illness – takes the life of his acting physician. It’s clear that he blames the Justice League for his illness as well as the death of his family. So he turns to a power that changes everything for him and with this new power he sets out to use it to show the world that the Justice League aren’t as Godly as he first thought.

The best part is that Graves doesn’t turn out to be a random villain that came out of some cookie-cutter. He has a legitimate reason for hating and attacking the Justice League thus making him a compelling and tragic figure. His first target is none other than Colonel Trevor who he sees as one of many of the League’s weaknesses. Trevor, who is nursing the wound that Wonder Woman left behind, find himself in danger as Graves uses him as something of a hostage.

Meanwhile, the Justice League sets out to rescue him but not before Wonder Woman – in a massive emotional meltdown – manages to give the public a glimpse that they can fell apart just like regular humans. In fact, Wonder Woman is caught smacking the Green Lantern around. Things go sour when they finally do confront Graves who shows them all their Achilles ’ heel.

Without a doubt, David Graves as a villain has proven to the very man who will end up changing the Justice League for good. Whether this means the addition of new members or a fight for leadership (Aquaman has so been looking to take charge), we have yet to see but trust me when I say that Geoff Johns continues to keep us wanting more. On top of that there’s the famous and very surprising kiss between Wonder Woman and somebody that isn’t Steve Trevor.

On the visual side, Jim Lee still makes the Justice League look good and just about every panel seems to leap off the pages. Unlike the first volume, however, there’s a prologue drawn by Gene Ha and a chapter with the art of Carlos D’Anda with Ivan Reis and Joe Prado that isn’t bad at all.

In the end, Volume 2 The Villain’s Journey is a collection that makes up an epic story that doesn’t fail to keep Justice League fans new and old on the edge of their seats. Geoff Johns and Jim Lee continue to be the team that makes this series such a treat to pick up and if you managed to miss these key issues then this hardcover collection definitely should be among your collection.


COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN

STORY: A
A year has passed since the formation of the Justice League and their battle with Darkseid and Colonel Steve Trevor finds himself answering to a congressional hearing regarding the team’s God-like status among the public. However, a new threat rears its ugly face in the form of a man who knows much about the Justice League … including their weaknesses. Meanwhile, a hotshot hero calling himself the Green Arrow will stop at nothing to become a member of the team.

ART: A+
A collection of artists lends a hand in making Volume 2 a visually-pleasing hardcover volume whether it’s Gene Ha’s pencils or that of the talented Carlos D’Anda. Jim Lee fans will have nothing to complain about, though, because he continues to make Justice League an artistic treat for the eyes.

OVERALL: A
Thanks to the brilliant writing by Geoff Johns as well as the talents of a great cast of artists led by the always amazing Jim Lee, Volume 2 of the Justice League continues to impress and make this series one that never ceases to surprise. Add a new kind of villain and the promise of a change in the team’s roster and you have a story and series that is just too good to pass up.

Review copy provided by DC Comics

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