Comic Reviews April ’12 Part 1

One might notice that I tend to rate comics rather highly. That is because I only buy stuff I like, so nearly every thing I review is from a series I like. If a series consistently is of a quality that I would rate a C or lower, the odds are good I will not be buying it for much longer. On with the reviews.

  • Action Comics 8:  Morrison and Morales first arc finally comes to an end. This has been a bumpy start to the new Superman, but it been mostly good. This issue is probably the best since the first. Superman stops Brainiac, of course, and there is plenty of great moments for nearly the entire supporting cast. Morales’s art is the best its been on this title in this issue too. All in all just a great comic. A-
  • Animal Man 8:Animal Man continues to be completely amazing. Jeff Lemire is amazing, and Pugh’s art is almost as good as Foreman’s was. Maxine shows more of her new powers and after an issue off the terror ratchets back up again. I still don’t quite understand how a family/horror comic works, but it definitely does. A
  • Batgirl 8: Gail Simone seems to be nearly done wallowing in the aftermath of Alan Moore’s thoroughly mediocre Killing Joke, finally done dealing with its ramifications on Babs and there are signs of moving on. For this series so far Simone has seemed determined to make Babs’ return from as painful for readers as it was for the character, but anytime the focus goes elsewhere Simone is at her usual high quality. There are some good scenes between Barbara and her mother, and the return of a great new villain. This issue is mostly good. B-
  • Batman and Robin 8:  This has been the secret best Batman book of the relaunch. Batman gets all the accolades, but B&R has been just as good. Here we get the aftermath of Damian killing Nobody at the end of last issue, and amazingly it is intelligent and reasoned rather than loud and melodramatic. This is a quiet, recovery issue where we see that the realtionship between Bruce and Damian may be strained, but it isn’t broken and neither is either of them. Plus, Pat Gleason continues to be awesome. B
  • Batwoman 8:  The second arc of this series has not been anywhere near as good as the previous one. Partially it is the loss of JH Williams III on art, part it the scattered nature of the story it is trying to tell. I applaud Williams and Blackman trying to push themselves, but so far I would classify this as a failure. Reeder recently left the book due to creative differences, and I can’t say I’m sad to see her go. Her art is normally great, but here it has been inconsistent and kind of bad at times. I’ve read some reviews that blame it on the inker, but whatever it is, the art just doesn’t look as good as it should. C
  • Frankenstein Agent of SHADE 8:  I really do not likes Wong’s inks over Ponticelli’s pencils. Instead of looking distinct and scratchy, it merely looks bad. The story here is much more personal than anything in this series so far. Frank and Lady Frank go on the hunt for their child, who they presumed dead but is actually missing. We get to see what drove the wedge between Frankenstein and his Bride, as well as see the manipulations of Father Time start to turn on him. Frankenstein is just a great character. This is a great book. A
  • Green Arrow 8:  Another issue that is interesting if not particularly good. The big problem here is the art, which occasionally looks really good but often fails to tell the story effectively. It took me several reads to parse some of the pages. There is a lot of weird going on here, with hive-mind triplicates and genetic experiment and a midget with a sniper rifle. I’m sticking around for at least a few more issue to see how this turns out, but I don’t think I could recommend this with any conviction. C
  • Green Lantern 8:  I enjoyed the first arc of the relaunched Green Lantern, but this issue feels like the first time Johns has been on track since before Blackest Night. We are finally getting some answers about the Indigo Tribe, plus Hal actually uses his ring to make some constructs. Mahnke’s is great as always. I thought Johns might be running out of steam on this title, but now I think he is back on track. B+
  • Justice League International 8:  I still really like Lopresti’s art. It has a simply a good, classic superhero look. Too bad the story here is just so painful. There are a few nice character moments here, like the little bit between Guy and Ice, but mostly it is stupidity on top of gruesome stupidity. It is lingering on the desperate, “look at how extreme we are” blowing up of the whole team while setting up a cliché new bad guy and adding in pointless new teammates. Other than the nice art, JLI is an insultingly bad book. D
  • Kirby Genesis 6:  The only flaw in this issue is that it has been too long since the previous one. This series gets better and better. At first the sheer number of heroes and monsters popping up can seem bewildering, but other than some clearly defined major players, the rest are just there to show that this is a world gone made with crazy awesome ideas. The tenous alliance of villains is showing cracks, but they may have already won. Which of course they haven’t, but those are the stakes we are playing at here. The fact that these are largely Kirby’s rejected ideas just shows how many awesome stories he had to tell. A
  • Mega Man 12:  I love this series so much. This issue manages to cover the entire Wily’s Castle section of Mega Man 2. It is non-stop action that can’t help but put a smile on the face of anyone who is familiar with the game. It manages to tell a story that anyone can understand while also tossing out some nods to old school Mega Man fans. I especially love Guts Man angrily taking down the Guts Tank and Mega Man learning how great Metal Blades are. This is pure fun. A
  • Men Of War 8:  If this is a preview of what Frankenstein is going to be like when Matt Kindt takes over for Lemire, then I think the book is in good hands. This issue is downright manic. For better or worse this feels like 2 or 3 issues worth of story crammed into one. Frankenstein and GI Robot have a fairly generic superhero team-up, they meet and fight then join forces to take down a larger threat, but it is set against the backdrop of WWII. The only problem is that it is jittery, trying to cram so much in that it just jumps from scene to scene. Still, it is a hoot. B
  • Saga 2:  I’m not quite as sold on this as the rest of the comics reading world seems to be. I like it, but I don’t love it. Some of it feels like it is trying too hard to be clever. Again, though, I do like it. There is good chemistry between the two lead characters and as goofy as the names for the bounty hunters are, they are interesting at first glance. Still, this issue feels far too brief. It is over almost as soon as it starts. I’m still on board, probably for the long haul if Saga gels into a consistent tone. B
  • The Shade 7 (of 12):  James Robinson has been at his best with this series and he continues to be. The Shade allows him to let is sometimes verbose writing go, as it fits with the character. This is probably the weakest issue of the series so far; it is a bit unclear as to how exactly things go down at the end. Or maybe its just been too long since I read the last issue and I do not quite remember what was going on. Either way, it is still enthralling, if a bit foggy. A-
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