Quick Comic Book Reviews – Week of August 12, 2015

DC Comics – Batman #43 – Art by Greg Capullo & Danny Miki

With the two big comic book companies releasing their two biggest comic books, I’ve decided to give you the first of many Quick Comic Book Reviews. This week it’s all about Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo’s Batman and Jonathan Hickman & Esad Ribic’s Secret Wars. Though the reviews won’t spoil the single issues, already known facts from the series can be spoiled. Continue reading “Quick Comic Book Reviews – Week of August 12, 2015”

REVIEW: Batman (Vol. 2) #40

By Writer Scott Snyder & Artist Greg Capullo – DC Comics

The following is a full written review of Batman (Vol. 2) #40 – Written by Scott Snyder, with art by Greg Capullo – Release: April 29th 2015.

This is it. Endgame’s final chapter. One of the sad things about the business of journalism is that some sites chose to reveal spoilers from the next issue online – and that sparked a debate. Some may have an idea of what’s about to happen going in, but I’m glad to say that this issue works. This comic book review is spoiler free – rejoice. Continue reading “REVIEW: Batman (Vol. 2) #40”

REVIEW: Batman (Vol. 2) #39

Batman #39 Cover by Greg Capullo, FCO Plascencia & Danny Miki

The following is a full written review of Batman (Vol. 2) #39 – Written by Scott Snyder, with art by Greg Capullo – Release: February 25th 2015.

The Endgame story of the New 52 Batman-run has been extremely entertaining, and we’re almost at the very end of it. Last month’s issue was great, and today we’ll go into Endgame Part 5 – as Batman seeks out a group from his past to clear his head, and make him understand just what the Joker is up to.

Let’s talk about the cover. I really like it this month. I wasn’t a big fan of the cover in #38, but I like the Joker-centric cover for #39. The chair of victims is extremely morbid, and befitting of the situation the Joker is in. Some may argue that this is another cover that is too simplistic, with not enough going on in the background – but I think that’s a very subjective issue to have with a comic book cover.

Warning – the following plot-summary contains spoilers.

Endgame Part 5 opens with the Caped Crusader having a chat with the Court of Owls, looking for their cooperation in finding this Dionesium and finding answers. Sadly, they refuse to cooperate – and an ancient Talon attacks The Dark Knight. He asks if the Talon remembers the Pale Man being around 400 years ago. We are not explicitly told the answer at this point. At this point we learn that the Joker has infiltrated the armory, and Alfred has taken him on – but is unsuccesful and his right hand is cut off. The World’s Greatest Detective finds out that the only way to get a cure, is to retrieve it from the Joker’s spine, and he seeks out help from the Bat-family…. and the antagonists of Gotham. As Wayne’s plan is set in motion, the A-Story for Batman #39 concludes.

If there’s one thing I didn’t like about the issue, it is how suddenly it ends. Just like that. Sure, I get that there’s one more issue – but for a monthly series, this issue isn’t really chock-full of things we’ll remember, and answers we need. We don’t get the answer about the Pale Man, we don’t see Alfred following his encounter with the Joker, and the story ends just before ‘the big bang’ of Endgame. This isn’t a filler story, this is an important one, but we find no answers in Batman #39.

The artwork in Batman #39’s A-story is spot-on as always. This issue is very graphic, there’s a lot of blood – and it’s not for everyone – but darn it, Capullo and the rest of the art team just does a perfect job once again. I would like to mention how perfect the final image in the A-story is. The Joker looks very much like Two-face here. See how on one side his hair is perfect, his face is clean – but on the other side his hair is gone, and his face looks rotten. Perhaps this is a hint. Perhaps the Joker is rotting right before our eyes – and maybe, just maybe, he eyed this as his very last trick. Maybe he knows that he, the Pale Man, is about to die, maybe that’s why he’s going all out this time.

The B-Story The Last Smile by James Tynion IV & Dustin Nguyen is very interesting. The Doctor we’ve been following tells the inmates the story she’s uncovered. The man she thinks the Joker is – a mere mortal. The convicts don’t like the sound of that. Then our Doctor meets the Joker who reveals he had let her to the story – a story designed by him. Fake. As the convicts break through, she is gifted with a gun and six bullets – as the Joker wanders off. The Joker had fabricated her story. And we don’t know who he is.

The artwork of the B-story is actually very good – probably the best it’s been in the Endgame B-stories. I only thought the Joker wasn’t as scary as he should be, but all in all the artwork was great in the B-story.

Final Grade: B+ – Beautiful artwork is the key for Batman #39, and some might argue that the A-story is too secretive. We don’t learn anything new, really, and the concluding part of Endgame will reveal all. The B-story is excellent, the best B-story yet. For full list of Comic Book Review grades go here.

I’m Jeffrey Rex

REVIEW: Batman (Vol. 2) #38

Batman (Vol. 2) #38 – Cover by Greg Capullo, FCO Plascencia & Danny Miki

The following is a full written review of Batman (Vol. 2) #38 – Written by Scott Snyder, with art by Greg Capullo – Release: January 28th 2015.

The New 52 version of Batman is currently doing Scott Snyder’s Endgame storyline. This issue is part 4 of the storyline revolving around a toxin being released by Batman’s greatest foe. Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s run on Batman singlehandedly made me read DC again, and it’s my very favorite DC comic book-series of all-time.

Warning – the following brief plot-summary might contain spoilers.

Endgame Part 4 opens with the Caped Crusader going across town, in search for Jim Gordon – who we last saw staring down, and even gunning down, The Joker one-on-one. As the toxin takes hold of Gordon the Dark Knight is almost blindsided, but, thankfully, Julia Pennyworth shoots a couple of tranquilizers into Gordon’s neck. The World’s Greatest Detective consults with Dick ‘Birdwatcher’ Grayson – trying to figure out what exactly is in the toxin. They eventually decide on a specific Doctor. The Doctor reveals that he believes in the stories we’ve heard – that the Joker is superhuman, or rather, (greek-) God-like. I’ll leave here, so that the very final pages aren’t spoiled – but I’ll say this – Snyder masterfully ties the story into his very beginning with Batman… The greater history of Gotham.

It’s very difficult to critique the story in a Snyder comic book, and the only little note I have is that the dialogue seemed way too fabricated when Dr. Dekker calmly chats about greek Gods ‘outside’. Which isn’t to say that I disliked the dialogue, I loved it – but I don’t think it worked right in that moment. The thing is – Snyder’s one of my favorite comic book writers, and even in what may be interpreted as a filler-issue his story is captivating.

Capullo is equally great, I’ve grown accustomed to his style – and his last page is so strong, so good. Kudos, as well, to FCO Plascencia – in my opinion one of his better issues. I loved the colouring.

While I usually like the stories by James Tynion IV, I wasn’t fascinated by the back-up story this month. I think my biggest problem here is that the art was too different from the rest of the issue. Sam Keith definitely has his art-style, but I’ve grown accustomed to Capullo’s style, and Keith’s doesn’t come close to his. Not saying it’s worse, I’m just not a fan of the art-style by Sam Keith. You win some, you lose some.

Final Grade: B+ – Another great story by Scott Snyder featuring Capullo’s amazing art-style, and equally fantastic colouring by FCO Plascencia. Some might call this a filler-issue, but it’s perfect in keeping with the lore of Snyder’s Batman-story. The back-up story is fine, but the art-style will be polarizing. For full list of Comic Book Review grades go here.

– I’m Jeffrey Rex.