Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Quick Reviews: Batman and Robin, Red Robin, The Atom, Sweet Tooth, Tom Strong, Orc Stain

Haven't had much time to write reviews lately, so here are some quick comments on the books I bought last week.

by Grant Morrison and Frazer Irving.

This issue was the best and most fun the series has been since the first arc (with art by Frank Quitely). The first three or four pages are shocking and amazing. The scene between Damian and the Joker is another highlight. All the loose threads from the beginning of the series (and some from Morrison's previous work on Batman) are coming together brilliantly. This arc is going to be very exciting, and it all culminates with the return of Bruce Wayne, probably in issue 15 or 16. Don't miss it.

by Fabian Nicieza, Marcus To and Ray McCarthy.

I can't get enough of Marcus To's art. This issue is mostly about Tim and Damian fighting, and as much as I'd like to see these two get along, Fabian Nicieza handles the characterization really well, making both of their motivations believable and somehow making us sympathize with both. The question everybody is asking is whether Tim has become too much like Bruce. I don't think this book gives us an answer yet, as I'm sure we haven't seen all the repercussions of Tim's "hit list" plan yet. Another solid issue.

by Jeff Lemire, Mahmud Asrar, John Dell.

I probably shouldn't have bought this because (a) I don't really care about Brightest Day and (b) I don't really care about the Atom. But I do care about Jeff Lemire, and I was curious enough about his transition to mainstream super-hero comics at DC to check it out. It's not a bad book, but unless you're following the bigger story of Brightest Day or are a big fan of this particular character, there isn't really a whole lot to recommend here. Although this is a one-shot, it's not a self-contained story but rather the prologue to the story that will continue as a back-up feature in the next few issues of Adventure Comics. I haven't quite decided yet whether I'm interested enough to keep following, although the fact that Adventure has Paul Levitz writing the Legion as the main feature is certainly an added selling point. We'll see.

by Jeff Lemire.

This is more like it! This is the conclusion of the "In Captivity" story line and probably the last of the flashback issues filling in the gaps about Jepperd's background from before he met Gus. What's amazing is that by the end of the first arc, Jeppard was pretty much revealed to be a "bad guy," but now that we better understand where he's coming from, his motivations don't seem so selfish and what seemed like immoral actions before now need to be reinterpreted and seem to fall in a much greyer area. There's so much more to say about all this, but I'm going to save it for a longer review of the full series up to now that I plan to write soon. This is probably one of the best ongoing series out there at the moment.

by Peter Hogan, Chris Sprouse and Karl Story.

I feel pretty much the same way about this as I did about the first issue. I think the art is brilliant, but I don't feel too invested in the story. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I'm not familiar with the character, but I'm still kind of waiting for things to really take off. I was surprised to see Tom go back into the past so soon. I thought most of the issue would take place in the alternate timeline where Nazis have taken over the world, with Tom fighting the robots of doom promised in the title, trying to find a way to go back and fix history. But instead, a few pages in this issue, he's conveniently handed a time machine and goes back to enlist the help of his younger self to set things right. I kind of hate this type of story, but trying to keep an open mind here. It's still early in the mini-series, but I hope things get more interesting.

by James Stokoe.

This came out a while ago, but the store had sold out so I had to re-order it. I've got issue #3, and #4 comes out this week. Unfortunately, I still haven't been able to get my hands on #2, which screws up my reading plans. This opening issue was amazing and everything I'd hoped it would be – insane art, lots of penises, sex on hallucinogenic drugs, and lots of weird looking creatures. The best part is definitely the bear-safe-cracking scene, which reminds me of Aeon Flux in the way it mixes bizarre puzzle-like technology and biology. This comic book is pure joy.


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