by Heath Corson, Gustavo Duarte, Bill Sienkiewicz (DC Comics)
Me am not entertained. While aimed at a younger demographic, the nostalgic artwork and humorous one-liners provide enough content to attract an older crowd, with subtle nods to the much larger (if not darker) DC universe. Paired with a style that is reminiscent of both Berkeley Breathed and Calvin & Hobbes, artists Gustavo Duarte (Monsters and Other Stories) and Bill Sienkiewicz (New Mutants) bring life to a cute little story perfect for the Sunday Funnies (if they still make those).
The kitschy take on a difficult character works well, thanks to “wordzman” Heath Corson finding the inner Felix Unger and Oscar Madison in Jimmy Olsen and Bizarro, respectively. Bake for about 20 pages and voila! Take Planes, Trains & Automobiles, add the essence of Bill Watterson, mix with a pinch of Neil Simon and stir in a touch of Bloom County… Uh, WHAT?!?!
– Ryan Ford
Green Lantern #41
by Robert Venditti, Billy Tan, Mark Irwin (DC Comics)
Green Lantern #41 takes place some time after Hal Jordan’s Corps abandonment. How long you ask? Eehh, however long it takes to grow a sweet ’80s metal hairstyle. I love how Hal grew out his hair like he just don’t care, but his face is still smooth as a baby. Prepubescence in the front, PARTY IN THE BACK!
But I digress. Hal’s back with a cool new Slytherin robe over the most generic looking white jumpsuit ever designed. And you can only bother him to wear his mask on splash pages and comic book covers. The only thing more generic than the jumpsuit is the set up to this story arc. Han Solo– err, sorry, Hal Jordan is saving innocent aliens from other tough guy aliens and uses a crazy, destructive plan to get off-planet, while still giving us cool one-liners. What a wild-card! Okay, one more gripe about the design: Did we just go with the first draft on the tough bad guy for this issue? He’s literally a red dude with horns. And the guy we saved? Blue guy with blue outfit. It’s like we’re not even trying anymore. Overall, it’s a poor start, but it’s got potential! I am digging the Ship A.I.’s bitchy personality. It’s the newest thing about this new direction, and it gave me flashbacks to another amazing GL character that started out as a ship’s AI. Oh, Aya, from The Animated Series, we miss you so much… Yeah, I know they already named this ship Darlene! A guy can dream can’t he!?
– Gabe Carrasco
Action Comics #41
by Greg Pak, Aaron Kuder (DC Comics)
I’ve been reading Superman comics for a long time — longer than anyone should likely admit. I’ve read it all. Then, I read it again. I stopped reading for several years when Superman started dancing the electric slide, but I came back and I read the back issues. I dreaded this post-Convergence moment. It’s not because I disagreed with what Lois did. I usually try to avoid spoilers, but I don’t care: Lois wrote the Superman story: she told the world he is Clark Kent. I like that. I’m a journalist, not because I’m preaching to you, the congregation; for 10 years I was a mild-mannered reporter for great daily newspapers. Lois did what any good reporter would do when they had a story they could confirm. I agree with the decision that character made. I dreaded what was going to come after.
Then … Then, with a knot in my stomach, I opened Action Comics #41 and I was delighted. From the get-go, I hated the superflare. It’s dumb. I still think it’s dumb. But, I like this story. Greg Pak (Batman/Superman, Planet Hulk) and Aaron Kuder (Green Lantern: New Guardians) deliver. The world has turned on Superman, and isn’t that the case in our world too. If you’re a Superman fan, you always have to justify yourself. This stupid Batman vs. Superman movie just makes me cringe because every Marvel fan I know tells me how they hate DC — except for Batman.
When Superman burst onto the pages in June 1938, the cover of Action Comics #1 depicted men fleeing in terror of the sheer sight of Superman. Action Comics #41 Volume 2, returns to that in a way. It’s fitting. Our world doesn’t want Superman. We don’t want someone reminding us that we are all making the wrong decisions. We crown the wrong people heroes. Superman’s power grew with America and the two became synonymous. I hate that too. But the story to come will absolutely put Superman at odds with the police. This isn’t John Byrne’s deputized Superman of 1986. He’s a man on the run. His identity is exposed. His powers are diminished. And, he’s still doing the right thing. He’s charging into danger without a thought of himself, but while thinking about everyone else.
– Matt McGrath
by Dan Jurgens, Corin Howell (DC Comics)
Bat-mite #1, written by Dan Jurgens, with art from Corin Howell (Transformers: Windblade), is absolutely adorable comic fun. There is nothing deep happening here, folks; just an art style that reminds me of very mid-90’s after school cartoon– which I very much enjoy. It speaks heavily to the inner-child I have that begs me to watch more Tiny-Toons.
This story starts as Bat-mite angers three creepy, but enthusiastic, people in hoods from his dimension and is banished to live amongst the full size heroes. He calls Batman his sidekick, which we know isn’t a smart thing. In this adventure Bat-mite’s adversary is Doc Trauma who creeps me out thoroughly! The whole thing reads like an episode of Animaniacs, so quite obviously.. I love it. If you’re looking for a light, easy, fun read, this is it!
– Jimmy Cupp
Justice League #41
by Geoff Johns, Jason Fabok (DC Comics)
Justice League #41 is the newest chapter in the League’s ongoing struggle with the demonic despot from Apokolips, Darkseid. The story in two concurrent parts, one on Apokolips and the other on Earth. The Apokolips portion is told from the perspective of Scott Free, a.k.a. Mister Miracle, The New Gods’ resident escape artist. Scott internally monologues some familiar storypoints. Among them are the exchange that led to his being on Apokolips as a child, his hatred for both Darkseid and New Genesis — for leaving him to Darkseid — and his plans to end Darkseid. Meanwhile, the League is investigating the appearance of a series of Boom Tubes all over the U.S. and how they coincide with the grizzly deaths of a number of women. The one thing these woman have in common: They are all named Myrina Black. Add some Apokoliptian assassins and a beefed up Amazon with connections to Wonder Woman, and you’ve got yourself a pretty cool story.
Said story would be courtesy of DC’s “ Scripter Supreme”, Mister Geoff Johns. Everything this guy writes, from Aquaman to Green Lantern to The Flash, is GOLD in my book and this first chapter of “The Darkseid War” just ups his already impeccable resume. I also enjoyed the art of Jason Fabok (Detective Comics). While I’m not familiar with his artwork, one sequence in this book features the strangest Boom Tube appearance I’ve ever seen in a comic. I loved the details of the bowels of Apokolips as Mister Miracle makes his way through. Also, the almost shadowy appearance of Darkseid makes this well-established villain look even more sinister.
– JaDarrell Belser
Omega Men #1
by Tom King, Barnaby Bagenda (DC Comics)
Simply put, this comic is beautiful. The painterly feel to the art is just clean enough for details, but just murky enough for the tone. The repetitive grid pattern used for the panels make this entire issue feel cinematic. From the first page, we can hear the “VROOO” of the engine roar, and the soldier practice this new, foreign language. Cutting the credits in every few panels is simply genius, and I can still hear these effects over the pitch black “DC COMICS PRESENTS” panel.
Tom (Grayson) King‘s story is a little difficult to follow for a first read through, but Barnaby Bagenda‘s (A1, All Fall Down) art — and the ending payoff — makes you want to read through it again anyway. So far, The Omega Men feels almost like a more violent version of Guardians of the Galaxy, and even though I only have a small taste of the cast’s personalities, I’m completely in. I don’t know why they’ve done what they’ve done to Kyle Rayner, but I can’t help but trust them, and in the end root for them.
– Gabe Carrasco
Batman Beyond #1
by Dan Jurgens, Bernard Chang (DC Comics)
New Gotham, New Future, New Batman Beyond! In Terry’s absence, none other than Tim Drake has taken up the mantle as the Batman of the Future. Picking up post Futures End, Drake is in all unfamiliar territory. Having to deal with both this new world, and the emotions and feelings of those who don’t quite take too well to his acquiring of the Bat-mantle, especially those who were close to Terry.
There’s a few plot points that feel a bit overly formulaic and a decent amount of set up. The story by Dan Jurgens (Bat-Mite, up above) throws in a lot of cool nods to various DC lore (I’m sure the leveled New York will remind plenty of Kamandi); and, overall, it gives things a fresh twist to a familiar book. Bernard Chang’s (Green Lantern Corps) art hits all the right marks and his action panels will have you re-reading them out of pure joy. While not a perfect issue, it is a promising start to what could evolve into a great series.
– Dana Keels
Broken World #1
by Frank J. Barbiere, Christopher Peterson (BOOM! Studios)
Intriguing is how I would describe this new series from BOOM! Studios. This first issue of Broken World, penned with the swift hand of Frank J. Barbiere (Solar: Man of the Atom, Avengers World) and sketched adroitly by Christopher Peterson (Mayday), doesn’t dive deep into the story, but gives us a glimpse into protagonist Elena’s life and apparent trouble with trying to leave earth before it hits the fan. Why is she prevented from leaving? What will happen when the Asteroid hits earth? Where will the people who do get to leave end up going?
Those are questions we will learn the answers to in future issues; yet for now we are left on the edge of our seat wondering until the next comic hits the stands. With a story this intriguing, you can count on this “Saint” to check out the next issh to see where things lead and if questions are answered. They better.
– Patrick Obloy
Dead Drop #2
by Ales Kot and Adam Gorham (Valiant Entertainment)
When I read the first issue of Dead Drop, I wasn’t sure how I would feel about the series. It kind of seemed to come out of nowhere and I was decently confused. Then I read more about it and realized that it was bringing together multiple Valiant regulars, a new one showing up in each issue and I started to worry that this was Valiant’s answer to all of the events going on with DC and Marvel and whatnot. But I decided to give the second issue a chance because I like Valiant and I like Ales Kot, so why not. And guess what, I loved it!! The second issue of Dead Drop‘s protagonist is Archer. Which is fantastic. It was fun to see him attempting a mission all on his lonesome, without the help of Archer, Quantum, Woody, or even the goat. That poor kid can never seem to catch a break and despite his most valiant efforts (get it? Valiant efforts?) he still ends up in the most unfortunate situations – in this case in a kiddie pool at a crashed birthday party in his boxers.
Archer’s difficulties are offset by the beautiful art in this issue. Gorham has a gift for showing movement, from a car weaving through traffic to Archer clinging to the side of a subway car to virus carriers jumping over a fence, every line is drawn with purpose and energy. And Jiminy Jumbo Cricket, the colors are so warm and vibrant and full of texture. They give the book a classic, old timey feel as the paper looks yellowed and well loved, but not in an overly obnoxious way. Overall, this book is just gorgeous.
I’m a little disappointed that I’m still totally confused by the story. We don’t have much more information on where the virus originated or what it’s for or who the people setting up the dead drops are, hence the four stars instead of five, but this issue was such an enjoyable read that I’ve decided to give this series a try!
Green Arrow #41
by Ben Percy, Patrick Zircher, and Gabe Eltaeb (DC Comics)
Oliver Queen is back! Well, not the goatee-bearing, wisecracking crusader against social injustices, but a version that is actually readable compared to what readers had to deal with just prior to Convergence. Writer Ben Percy (Detective Comics) and Patrick Zircher (The New 52: Futures End) have made Green Arrow effectively a horror title with nightbirds, wart-ladies, and creepily pale villains. This first issue sets up a mystery that looks to be a slow burn reveal.
Fret not fun lovers. The book may be Wytches than Action Comics, but Percy has managed to slip a little of Ollie’s trademark wit into the book. Even better, Percy has sent off Felicity Smoak and brought Emiko back into the fold, and she is not happy with how prepubescent boys act in school. Don’t worry Emiko, you aren’t the only one to contemplate murder after an unwelcome Snapchat – but don’t act on that urge!
Patrick Zircher and Gabe Eltaeb bring their A-game. Much of the issue is spent setting the tone and reintroducing readers to the cast, but the moments they get to stretch their muscles are equal parts disturbing and joyful. The redesigned Green Arrow costume is a satisfying blend of classic Green Arrow while incorporating modern sensibilities, and it looks very good in action. Despite its darker tone, Oliver Queen’s future hasn’t looked this bright in quite a while.
– Daniel Gehen