The Haul: Where would you prefer to live? Century City, Gotham or Asgard?

I’ve decided to change the schedule for these reviews. Rather than 6pm Fridays, they’ll be up by 6pm Sundays. This gives me time to actually read all of my comics (some weeks I get quite a few as you may have noticed) and actually write a half-decent review. So, yeah, Sundays 6pm Australian EST for these reviews.

Halcyon #1

Halcyon #1
Guggenheim, Butters, Bodenheim, Englert
[Image]

A new series which was promoted as Utopian before the name was changed to Halcyon, the series deals with a concept which has been done at least once before, but again in a new way. We’re presented with a cast of completely new heroes, rather than a Kingdom Come-like usage of well-known heroes in the future, and by the end of the issue we realize that our heroes have essentially won their war on crime and a few of them are scared of the idea of going ‘out of business’. The characters are clearly built to fill certain archetypes, with Sabre being your non-superpowered vigilante type (Batman/Rorschach etc.) and ‘World’s Greatest Hero’ Zenith (Superman etc.). There is enough personality with them to see future issues expand upon them, but at present they are a little flat. I like the way the big concept the series uses is handled; it doesn’t feel like a Mark Millar book where he shoves it in your face. It’s dealt with properly without being patronizing to the reader. I’ll definitely stick with this series for a few more issues to see how it goes.

Birds of Prey #6Birds of Prey #6
Simone, Lee, Melo, Purcell, Mayer
[DC Comics]

This series has been a bit hit and miss for me. The first arc was rather dull and I got little out of it, which is surprising because I am a fan of Gail Simone’s writing on a number of titles. With this second arc however the series is picking up a bit, which may be a bias on my part because I like Huntress and she’s getting more of the spotlight now. In this issue, Black Canary is forced into a fight with Lady Shiva by the White Canary, who is holding Sin hostage. But Huntress decides to challenge Lady Shiva, one of the most powerful martial artists in the DCU, in Dinah’s place. It becomes a really interesting story and the fight was really great, particularly focussing on Huntress’ desperation against a foe far out of her league. We also get a little bit more of Hawk and Dove, but they still don’t feel like part of the team and like they’re just involved for the sake of the ‘Brightest Day’ banner. As for the art, it’s fine. That’s all I can really say, it’s nothing too memorable but you won’t hate it either. I’m hoping Birds of Prey continues to improve like it has with these past two issues.

Knight and Squire #2Knight and Squire #2
Cornell, Broxton, Major
[DC Comics]

I still got a laugh out of this second issue, but most of it was impenetrable really. I just lack too much of the cultural knowledge required to get through the book, and even with the explanation at the back (parts of which I knew, but only realized upon reading it) doesn’t quite impart enough knowledge to understand all the humor. The story has Knight and Squire fighting ‘the Morris Men’, who are interested in the occult, and uncovering the ‘return’ of an enemy they’ve apparently beaten before. At the start of the issue we get to see inside Knight’s castle and there’s some cool stuff like the motorcycles resembling chess piece knights. And the ‘Organ Grinder’ villain gave me a chuckle. But really I can’t recommend this book, as much as I want to, because it’s just so inaccessible at times. The first issue didn’t have too many issues, but there were some things, but this issue expands on the cultural division and while British readers will probably enjoy it, Australian and perhaps moreso American readers will struggle.

Batgirl #15Batgirl #15
Miller, Nguyen, Fridolfs, Major
[DC Comics]

The first few pages of this are pure genius, with Miller’s humorous dialogue and Nguyen’s adorable chibi-like art being the highlight of the issue (this being the first Nguyen Batgirl story). These pages are a summary of the Bat-family from Batgirl’s point-of-view with that cheeky, almost childish tone that Miller has built for Stephanie. The rest of the issue feels, to be honest, a little too much like the past arc of Batgirl. While there’s nothing wrong with this, as I enjoyed that too, I expected bigger changes than what we’ve seen so far. In particular, Bruce’s return seems to have done basically nothing for Batgirl’s continuity. More than that though, Nguyen’s art for the majority of the issue seems to be drawing a lot from the previous art and it felt weird to look at it. I was expecting it to look different, but it looks too similar. It’s off-putting. It might be the inking or the colors, or both, causing this, but it just surprised me to see Nguyen’s art look like this. Regardless, some will like the consistency, and the story is great and will be a treat for continued readers. The series is generally new reader friendly too, so jumping on at #14 or #15 will work fine.

Red Robin #17Red Robin #17
Nicieza, To, McCarthy, Major
[DC Comics]

Extreme bias warning. I love Tim Drake. He and Batman (Bruce) are my favourite characters, and I’d be willing to say I like Tim more than Bruce. So yeah, when Fabian puts out yet another issue like the previous lot, you know I’m not going to change my opinion. That opinion being that this is the book I most look forward to each month because it is all of the awesome. I have no doubt that other Tim fans feel the same, and I have no doubt that Fabian realizes just how much he’s catering to us but I don’t care. Keep catering Fabian. Anyway, this issue features the return of Cassandra Cain, former Batgirl, during Tim’s trip to Hong Kong to verify Lynx’s story. Cassandra is cool and while I love Stephanie Brown as Batgirl, Cassandra’s presence has been missed. We also get a lot of parallels drawn between Red Robin’s relationship with Lynx to Batman’s relationship with Catwoman, which is just one more great comparison to put on the pile. We’ve also got more of Red Robin’s network expansion, and a sly little comment to Bruce about how he thought of ‘Batman Incorporated’ first. But the highlight of this issue is the humongous ‘AAAAAAAWWW!!!’ moment with the splash page with fatherly hugging. It’s seriously one of my favourite moments in all of comics now.

Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #6Return of Bruce Wayne #6 (of 6)
Morrison, Garbett, Perez, Sicat, Wong
[DC Comics]

So. Last issue. It contains all of the plot. We have Bruce basically saving everyone (including himself) on his own by gaining knowledge of the universe for all of time by fusing his body to a funny looking robot from vanishing point. BASICALLY. The Time Masters do pretty much nothing except nearly kill themselves (which is still better than whatever they’re doing in their book). Then we’ve got the Justice League, with Red Robin leading the way and attempting to save Bruce from the Omega nonsense upon his return. While I’ve been critical of this series, this issue is probably the best, although had the plot been stretched throughout the entire series I’d have probably not enjoyed it all more. There’s some cool Grant Morrison-crazy time travel with ontological paradoxes and cosmic revelation. But there is one big problem I have with the issue: the THIRD time Bruce finds out about Damian being Robin (chronologically the first, and also the SECOND time Grant Morrison has written it, the other being in Batman and Robin #16). The issue does suggest Bruce loses his memory at some point, so it can be forgiven, but I still disliked it. As a whole, the series has been a disappointment, but it’s had it’s good moments too.

Green Hornet #9Green Hornet #9
Smith, Hester, Lau, Nunes
[Dynamite]

Another one of my favourite reads, I thoroughly recommend this series. That said, this issue was one of the weakest, possibly due to being the penultimate issue of Kevin Smith’s run on the title, meaning that there’s a lot of build-up to the finale. Although, the issue is definitely not bad. Far from it in fact, with some cool stuff like missiles and Green Hornet firing a machine gun from on top of Black Beauty at a jet. And of course there’s the awesomely lame ending with Green Hornet and Kato facing self-sacrifice to avoid crashing Black Beauty into an orphanage. Honestly the ending felt incredibly forced and silly, but I’ll go along with it. Art as always is the highlight of the book, with Jonathan Lau’s pencils being stunning as always, and the color work by Ivan Nunes, which I’ve not stupidly not mentioned previously, is amazing.  While it’s a little late to jump onto this arc now, the first trade ‘Sins of the Father’ has been released, and the second ‘Wearing o’ the Green’ should follow not long after issue #10.

Invaders Now #3Invaders Now #3 (of 5)
Ross, Gage, Reis, Andrade
[Marvel]

The Invaders are just one of those teams that I enjoy more on concept than execution, along with the Legion of Superheroes and even the Teen Titans usually. For the Invaders, they’ve been gone or separated for a long time, but events have conspired to bring them back together. Regular Marvel readers would know of Steve Rogers, Bucky (who is the current Captain America) and Namor, but the rest of the Invaders may be less familiar, with the Golden Age Vision particularly being out of continuity and reader-consciousness for many years. The team fought the Nazis in World War II, and beyond that you don’t really need much prior knowledge to read the series, with the first issue bringing you up to speed. However, three issues in and I’m uncertain that I like the series. Gage’s writing, although interesting enough, seems quite clunky, with dialogue that tries a little too hard to be funny and awesome, with banter that comes off as lame. The characters don’t quite feel right, and aren’t quite making decisions reflective of their personalities. On the plus side though, the art is fantastic. It’s not quite enough to sell the series in this case though. As I said, if you’re interested enough in the concept of a World War II era super-team fighting in the modern world, you should get the series, but don’t raise your hopes too high because not everything works as well as you’d expect.

Oh and I got some Thor books. You should read Thor. Especially Matt Fraction’s Thor. That is all.

-Brad

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About Brad
I am the Captain of the Starship Lollipants from the planet Buttermonkey, setting off on a wild adventure to discover some stuff and probably receive psychiatric assistance. Oh look, a butterfly made of peanuts. OM NOM NOM.

One Response to The Haul: Where would you prefer to live? Century City, Gotham or Asgard?

  1. Pingback: The Haul: Where would you prefer to live? Century City, Gotham or … | Bat Fin

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