Review Roundup for Week of January 3rd
Exciting week, with new series and continuing series. There are links to full reviews of the two books of the week. Please let us know what you’d like us to review by leaving a comment on our Facebook page, send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or messaging any of us directly. Keep in mind that the format we’ll follow will be as follows:
Book Title and Number(Story Arc Name)*
*Denotes Book of the Week
Here we go!
Batman #38 (The Origin of Bruce Wayne)
This was a heartbreaking story. It mainly focuses on Bruce, yet it focuses on Batman’s ability to be a detective. There is a well-off child, named Matthew, who has lost his parents in a similar manner to Bruce, except it looks like they’ve been killed by the serial killer Zsasz, who is locked up at Arkham. After determining that Zsasz was framed, Batman finds more bodies that seem to indicate Two-Face, and Bruce talks to Matthew who is distraught. Bruce goes over the details with a sleeping Selina and then investigates the Two-Face lead. He finds Matthew’s butler who seems to take responsibility due to the money. While eating dinner with Selina, he realizes that it’s all a bit childish and finds Matthew. At this point it’s revealed that Matthew has been behind it all because he wanted to be Bruce. He is mentally ill and has carved the names of Thomas and Martha into his face. The last 2 panels of this book are especially heartbreaking.
Story – Full of mystery, self-contained story that provides another look at how Bruce could have turned out. 8/10
Art – While not the prototypical look you may prefer from a Batman book, it’s very good. Excellent use of shading and shadows. 7/10
Continuity/Character Consistency – Luckily it’s a one issue story, but it really dives into who Bruce is and could have been. 7/10
Twist Factor – The mystery and the last two panels of the issue. 8/10
Final Score – 7.5
Batman and the Signal #1 (of 3) (Gotham By Day pt 1: Morning)*
Duke Thomas adjusts to his role as the newest member of the Bat family, particularly by being the first one of them to operate in the light of day. The city is not quite acclimated to having a hero operating during the day. We get a glimpse of Commissioner Gordon during the daytime interacting with a detective. We also see what Duke’s life is like outside of the Bat life. He gets a new base of operations from Batman, who is minimally in this book. Then he falls into a trap set for him by some characters who may or may not have a connection to Duke. Check out our full review here.
Story – Great introduction to a character finding their place in the Gotham hero scene. 8/10
Art – Excellent action pieces, character/costume designs, and power manifestations. 8/10
Continuity/Character Consistency – A lot is happening in the DCU, so it’s hard to place exactly when this is happening. Batman also comes off as more of a proud parent rather than a hardened mentor, which is an interesting change. 7/10
Twist Factor – Knowing that Batman designed someone’s HQ. What secrets does that thing hold? I bet it’s awesome. 8/10
Final Score – DC Book of the Week. 8/10
Batman The White Knight #4 (of 8)
The story puts Napier’s endgame more into play in this issue. He’s put work into turning Gotham, the GCPD, and Nightwing & Batgirl all against Batman. He aims to take the Batman Devastation Fund which totals about $3 Million into the GCPD. He wants to outfit them with Batman level tech and give the vigilantes a badge and have them work with the GCPD as well as keep their secret identities. Meanwhile, Harley and Jack are capitalizing on Jack’s sanity and discovering their love for each other. The issue transitions to Gordon, along with the GCPD, turning on Batman and it seems like Nightwing and Batgirl will shortly do the same. It ends with the other Harley who has now taken on the mantle of Joker, digging into files from the GCPD that show the Fries family shaking hands with the Wayne family, which likely spells trouble.
Story – This continues to be interesting and makes me curious to see where the whole thing is heading. 7/10
Art – The art has had a consistent, gritty style that has made it fun to look at. 7/10
Continuity/Character Consistency – Make no mistake, this is Napier’s story and makes him the hero, but Batman isn’t really a Villain. However, Batman’s stubbornness is spot on. 8/10
Twist Factor – The Joker and Harley relationship finally turns and is no longer a twisted, abusive relationship. 8/10
Final Score – 7.5
Justice League #36 (The People Vs. Justice League pt 3)
There has been something bothering me about this story, and I finally realized what it is in this issue. They use a Law & Order style to tell the story and I’m not a huge fan of Law & Order. That said, this story took a bit of a step forward in this issue. It opens in congress with a congresswoman pointedly expressing concerns about the League to Superman. Then she’s seemingly murdered by Batman who validates her concern by teleporting away. Bruce is seen talking to Nightwing about their role in the world. Bruce explains that it’s not going to get better for them and teleports to the Watchtower. Part of the League is trying to avert an international incident, yet they don’t have full information and cause more panic. Cyborg finds the transporter signal that the Batman impersonator has used and Batman goes after him alone. Bruce goes in undercover and falls into a trap. We learn that it’s not actually Bruce, but Simon the Green Lantern who gets trapped by the Batman imposter, who has been listening in.
Story – As previously stated, I’m not a fan of the style of story telling used. Still not exactly sure where this is going or how it’s going to play out, but it feels like something big is coming. 7/10
Art – Art is better in this issue. Some of the characters look kind of shiny, but the facial work is really good. 7/10
Continuity/Character Consistency – Fits with the Doomsday Clock timeline which is a year in advance of most stories. Certain characters developing certain feelings about their purpose, makes perfect sense 8/10
Twist Factor – The potential Doomsday Clock connection. Gotham has turned on Batman there and this looks like it could be the start of it all. 8/10
Final Score – 7.5
Phoenix Resurrection #2 (of 5) (All Lesser Birds)*
The X-Men are at a decided disadvantage in this entry. They are low on psychics and are dealing with a massive psychic problem. We get closer to Jean in the world that she’s in and as strange as it is it seems to be connected to the rest of the world. The X-Men split into groups again and one group does battle with an old foe who, like foes in the previous issue, mysteriously disappear. This all seems to be affecting Jean as well. Check out our full review here.
Story – Answers some questions, but leaves others unanswered. Creates other questions as well, namely about Jean’s situation. 7/10
Art – Art on this book is good, particularly the coloring. The X-Men are a vibrant franchise and should always look like it, which they do here. 8/10
Continuity/Character Consistency – Continuity is muddy here between this book and the regular X books, which is bothersome. Jean is not quite her normal confident self, so hopefully that changes soon. 7/10
Twist Factor – Beast has the line of the issue when Cerebro goes haywire. 9/10
Final Score – Marvel book of the week here. 8/10
Superman #38 (Super Sons of Tomorrow pt 4: Into the Light)
Although it’s a Superman book, this story barely involves him, but instead focuses on his son. The race is on to find Damian and Jon and Aqualad, Starfire, and Kid Flash are hot on the trail and discover an underwater base where Damian and Jon are holed up. They fight assuming the worst until Aqualad gets everyone to realize they’re on the same side. Meanwhile, the future Conner, Cassie and Bart are travelling back holding Tim’s time displaced hand. In order to keep Raven, Beast Boy, and Savior from finding them, Robin and Superboy are both knocked out and taken to the Fortress of Solitude where they discover a trapped Superman. Then we see Jon’s power unleashed and his emotional state draws Raven to them. Superman confronts Savior as Jon’s flare grows to a point where it gets to be dangerous. Connor, Cassie, and Bart arrive just in time to help save Jon. Savior directs the blast toward himself and he seems to slip into the timestream/multiverse.
Story – A lot of moving parts for this story and still has one more entry. Interested to see how it all wraps up. 8/10
Art – Generally has a consistent feel, but at some points the faces aren’t as strong as others. 7/10
Continuity/Character Consistency – The biggest characters in this story are fairly new ones and time displaced ones who all react in ways that are generally consistent. 7/10
Twist Factor – Final mystery - What was Tim Drake/Savior’s plan all along? Does he now have powers? 7/10
Final Score – 7/10
X-Men Gold #18 (The Negative Zone War pt 4)
Kitty and the X-Men pick up where they left off and fight a god called the Scythian in the Negative Zone. Old Man Logan fights Kologoth, who he kills as the X-Men fall back. They find out that the Scythian was only stopped before by ancient, extinct magic. This all leads to an incredible action sequence that leads to the X-Men hooking the Scythian to a spacecraft and dragging him into a vortex in space. The craft loses power and the issue ends with the craft crashing back onto the planet.
Story – Cool story with good moments for all team members, but there were some pacing issues. 6/10
Art – The art in this book is very good. Face work, action shots and more really sell this book. 7/10
Continuity/Character Consistency – The characters stay true to who they are, yet this is confusing due to the fact that this team is currently investigating psychic phenomenons in Phoenix Resurrection. 6/10
Twist Factor – The action set starting from the moment Kitty jumps off of the hangar. 8/10
Final Score – 7/10