Review Roundup for the Week of December 20th
This week, we are going to try something different. Instead of one big review, we are going to take a look at a few books and provide you with a need to know score and quick rundown (sorry, they all contain spoilers). There may be more detailed reviews of select titles at a later date (We’re looking at you Metal #4), but for now, we want to get info into your hands. Please leave us some feedback about how you feel about our review formats by leaving a comment on our Facebook page, send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or messaging any of us directly. The format we’ll follow will be as follows:
Book Title and Number(Story Arc Name)
Without further ado, here we go!
Dark Nights: Metal #4
Man, this story just gets more wild and crazy with each passing issue. The heroes are searching for Nth metal and split off and the groupings are great. Wonder Woman, Dr. Fate, and Kendra Saunders (formerly Hawkgirl). Aquaman and Deathstroke. Green Lantern, Mr. Terrific, and Plastic Egg. Flash and Cyborg. Batman tries to rescue Superman from being the battery that powers the rift Barbatos is trying to forge so he can flood the dark multiverse into the one occupied by our heroes. Batman and Superman are rescued by Dream who tries to help them find a way to stop Barbatos. The heroes not successful at all. On Thanagar Prime, Green Lantern’s team comes across Starro, leading to their capture. Kendra becomes Lady Blackhawk and is teamed with Black Adam, who has cut a deal with Barbatos. We also learn that Vandal Savage has cut a deal as well. Our aged Batman and Superman go to the Forge to create a weapon powerful enough to stop Barbatos. The forge has gone fully dark and they are met by a dragon sized Carter Hall. This series is incredible.
Story – Layered, complex, subverts expectations. 10/10
Art – Probably the best art of the week. Just incredible. 10/10
Continuity/Character Consistency – The only bit of faltering here. The characterization is spot on, but it’s so difficult to see where this fits into regular continuity. 7/10
Twist Factor – Betrayals and traps are rampant in this volume. Are there more in store perhaps from Deathstroke? 8/10
Final Score – We’re just going to call this the DC book of the week. 9/10
The Mighty Thor #702 (The Death of The Mighty Thor: The Last Days of the Goddess of Thunder)
Jane begins the story by telling us all of the places she should be and the things that she should be doing, notably getting her cancer treatment. Instead, she’s arm wrestling Hercules to secure his support in the War of the Realms, which gets interrupted by the Odinson. He interrupts to relay information about the War Thor aka Volstagg who is clinging to life after his battle with the Mangog (the sum hatred of a billion billion souls slaughtered by the Norse gods). Odinson tries to convince her to go for her treatment, but instead, she throws away Mjolnir and calls out Odin who has done nothing as the War of Realms has raged. It almost begins a revolution until Odin appears followed by Lady Freya. The end of the book finds Jane on the ground (passed out or possibly dead) and Heimdall set to face off against the Mangog.
Story – Jason Aaron has made this book a must read. It is a grand epic. 9/10
Art – Another excellent entry this week. It shows the splendor of Asgard as well as the strength of Thor, yet the sickness of Jane. 9/10
Continuity/Character Consistency – Every character is so meticulously planned and is given the perfect amount of attention. They all behave perfectly given each set of circumstances. 10/10
Twist Factor – Based on her health and the name of the story, we know Jane will die. But this story seems like it will claim several important supporting characters – and already has. 9/10
Final Score – Here’s your Marvel book of the week. 9/10
Batman #37 (Double Date)
Picking up where the last issue left off, Batman and Superman take their significant others on a double date at Gotham County Fair on Super Hero night. They all wind up switching clothes/costumes, which adds so much unexpected humor for a Batman book. There is some natural trash talk between Bruce and Clark at the batting cages, while Lois and Selena bond. This book was full of fun and heart, while never feeling out of place. It also ends in a pitch perfect way.
Story – The story dealt with the fallout from the previous 4 months of story and it feels so at home. 9/10
Art – Excellent art. May have been the best of the week if not for Metal. 9/10
Continuity/Character Consistency – This book may have been the best representation of who these characters are, specifically Batman and Superman. 10/10
Twist Factor – The relationship between Selena and Lois. I’ve never seen anything like this around these 2 iconic characters and it’s an absolute delight. 9/10
Final Score – Excellence all around on this book continues. 9/10
Marvel 2-in-1 #1 (Fate of the Four part 1)
Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm. Half of the Fantastic Four, a book which has not existed for a few years now. This brand-new book centers on these two and their relationship since the other half of the Fantastic Four left us at the end of Secret Wars. The big brother/little brother relationship is on full display with these two at each other’s throats at points and at other times, they are in full avoidance. This comes fully into play when they are forced to accept the high probability that Reed and Sue are gone. It’s revealed that Johnny is losing his powers and is struggling to accept it. The issue ends with Ben telling Johnny that Reed and Sue may still be alive while being watched by a familiar figure. I did as much as I could to keep this spoiler free, please read this book.
Story – Just an excellent start to what could be a monthly stalwart, especially since we’re currently without Marvel’s First Family. 9/10
Art – The art in this book is legendary and perfectly fits the tone. 9/10
Continuity/Character Consistency – This could be the beginning of the revival of the FF, so characterization is key and luckily for us, Chip Zdarsky nails it. 9/10
Twist Factor – A couple of amazing flashback sequences, coupled with guest sequences. 8/10
Final Score – Add it to your pull list now. 9/10
Venom #159 (Venom, Inc. part 3)
The issue opens with Eddie Brock on a park bench being upset over losing the symbiote and Spider-Man and Anti-Venom (Flash Thompson) fighting a gang of Symbiotes, including the Scorpion, who is also a former Venom host. Brock wanders out onto the streets attempting to reconnect with the Venom symbiote. Flash frees Black Cat from control of Lee Price and his mini-symbiotes. The issue ends with Brock getting the Venom symbiote back while Spidey and Flash get captured.
Story – Seems to be attempting to set up a new Kingpin with these symbiotes, but doesn’t feel like it should be a crossover event, despite the lasting effects. Story almost seems to wander without getting to the point. 6/10
Art – Character designs look really cool, especially the symbiotes. Really disliked the Black Cat design though. 8/10
Continuity/Character Consistency – Characters behave like you would expect and fits into continuity nicely due to the crossover. 8/10
Twist Factor – Flash and Spidey. I’ve always loved that interaction, especially when both have powers. 7/10
Final Score – Solid book, but with 3 parts left, I’m hoping it gets to the point soon. May suggest waiting for the trade when all is said and done. 7/10
Justice League #35 (The People vs. Justice League, pt 2: Swarm)
This story is a continuation of a story that asks, what happens when Batman runs the team and makes a critical error that causes someone to lose their life. A terrorist killed a nun using Wonder Woman’s sword in the previous issue, which causes some tension between Bruce and Diana. This issue sees the Justice League battle Swarm, and ends with a viral video hitting the news showing the nun’s death, with a news headline implying that the Justice League may be to blame.
Story – This story is slow building and the payoff is yet to be clear. 6/10
Art – Character designs are a little off compared to the solo books and can be jarring at times. 6/10
Continuity/Character Consistency – The DC continuity is a little off right now, with Metal and Doomsday Clock running at the same time and this story does nothing to clear that up. 6/10
Twist Factor – An exchange between Glenn Gammeron and Cyborg. We’ll leave it at that. Clearly the best moment in the book. 9/10
Final Score – Hopefully we see where this is going in the next issue. 7/10
Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #298 (Most Wanted)
The issue picks up with Pete in custody, being interrogated by law enforcement about the location of Spider-Man. He’s rescued by his potential sister, Teresa, and the Human Torch. He escapes just in time to battle the Vulture and Whiplash who work for the Tinkerer and are hunting Spidey’s sister for data being stored in her bloodstream. As things start to look really bad, we get a guest appearance (and save) from Wakanda’s own Black Panther. He offers Teresa permanent residence in Wakanda, just as Vulture calls the Tinkerer to send everyone after them. Additionally, J. Jonah Jameson (who knows Spidey’s true identity) tracks down the Shocker and convinces him to take him to the Tinkerer. This book speeds towards issue #300 with development after development.
Story – Puts Peter on the run while enriching his supporting cast. Meaningful Developments. 9/10
Art – Art varies too much in this issue to be a strength, which feels strange about any book at least partially illustrated by Andy Kubert. 6/10
Continuity/Character Consistency – Exactly what you need out of a Spider-Man book: fun and changes continuity. 8/10
Twist Factor – Guest appearances really made this issue pop. 9/10
Final Score – Very good book. Perfect companion to Amazing Spider-Man. 8/10