Justice League: No Justice #1
DC Comics Writers Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Joshua Williamson, Artist Francis Manapul, Colorist Hi-Fi, Letterer AndWorld Design
Spinning out of the Dark Metal series leads into this mini series that will relaunch the Justice League series gets off to a so-so start. The good news is that you thankfully didn’t need to read the whole Dark Metal fiesta. This first issue really struggles with exposition and that is where the story tends to drag while your reading it. While I understand that you have to set things up the writers should have tried to keep things moving along better. I will give the three writers props for not being able to tell who wrote what and while I want overwhelmed with this first outing it did read seamlessly abet a bit boring. I think the problem that plagues this and other “event” series is that the story is one that you have read a million times before. There is a new threat that only changing the Justice League teams to combat this threat including both heroes and villains. Of course you have to throw in a behind the scenes monkey wrench to put up a hurdle in Brainiac plan to save the universe. Stop me if you have heard this before and that is where the book struggles. Unless you have never read comics before you have read this story over and over and with three writers doing this I would have hoped that they would have been able to come up with something more original but it’s truly a by the numbers affair here. On the plus side Manapul’s artwork is nice and has some nice iconic visual moments and is able to handle the large cast with ease. But in the end nice artwork is only able to do so much for a mediocre story.
Is this book worth your time and money? It’s not the worst comic I have ever read but with event comics I always hope that there will be one that will be original and good. Sadly this one goes through the all too familiar story tropes. If your willing to forgive the average story then you might want to pick this up but in the end it’s just to average for me. I might. Give the second issue a chance but it’s really iffy at best after this outing.
Barrier #1 & 2
Image Comics Winter Brian K. Vaughn, Artist Marcos Martin, Muntsa Vicente
The new mini series from Vaughn and Martin of the smash comic The Private Eye graphic novel bring a really amazing story that has some unique twist and turns in these first two issues. If you were lucky enough to get the first issue on Free Comic Book Day then your already know what we already knew. I will say that there is a good reason to pick up the first issue because the cover and paper is better stock than the FCBD one. While the story at first seems familiar Vaughn as usual takes a simple story in a wholly amazing new way and one of the more unusual twist has a bilingual story. Part of the story is in Spanish and at first I felt lost not knowing what some of the characters are saying but in a way once I finished the second issue, I found that not knowing what the translation of the Spanish dialog actually works in the stories favor because the other main character is unable to understand him either. I will not ruin any of the story here but the twist that he throws into the story is literally out of this world and is going to be very interesting to see where the story goes. I love that Vaughn and Martin have a way of making a story that you thing is going to be one thing and then taking it in a whole different direction. It catches the reader off guard but in a really good way. As with The Private Eye Barrier is presented in landscape form with the artwork that gives the book a great feel and that is what can make comic books so great. It allows Martin to give the book a great cinematic look and feel that gives the book that much more heft and scope that you rarely see in comics today. While this book has been available online this physical version is a real treat and as far as I’m concerned is the best way to read and experience this story.
Is this book worth your time and money? I have to give props to Vaughn, Martin and Image for brining this wonderful comic to print. They have given the physical book great cardstock covers and nice quality paper. This is a book that should and need to be read as a physical comic. You are able to savor both the story and artwork by taking your time to let it all soak in. The only minor gripe that I would have wished that it would have been bound on the left side instead of as a regular comic book. I would have much preferred to read it that way but it’s by no means fatal. They have crafted a both epic and intimate story here and I cant wait to see how it comes together in the end. Just a FYI this book will not be reprinted as a collection so make sure that you pick this weekly series up as soon as they come out otherwise you will miss this great comic book. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Marvel Comics Writer Gail Simone, Artist David Baldeon, Colorist Jesus Aburtov, Letterer Clayton Cowles
I was very impressed with the first issue of this book and thankfully Simone keeps the momentum going in this second outing. I think that the thing that has really impressed me with this comic is that the subtle and well thought out story that she is crafting here. I love that she is telling a nice dramatic story that does have the superhero action but that is not what the book is about. She puts everything in this book including some wonderful sly humor that gives the book a nice different feel and adds greatly to its reading enjoyment. She also doesn’t overplay the story and understands that the story is not a huge epic fest but makes sure that it’s a simply enjoyable read and that is it’s best asset. Throwing in many other characters from the Marvel universe is giving this book some great icing on the cake. Baldeon continues to impress with his artwork on the book and while I love his big action scenes, it’s the smaller more dramatic elements in the story is where he really shines. He really captures the subtle emotions that Simone puts into the script and he is one of the big reasons why this book is working so well. They are truly complementing each other.
Is this book worth your time and money? I have really fallen in love with this book and might be one of Simone’s best stories that she has written to date. She puts a little of everything into this book and that is why its working so well. She is able to turn the story on a dime and capture the dramatic emotion that is a challenge in the superhero realm and she has delivered this one perfectly. When you throw in Baldeon’s spot on artwork and you have a real winner here. I honestly didn’t expect to fall in love with this book as much as I have. VERY RECOMMENDED!
Image Comics Writers Brenden Fletcher & Karl Kerschl, Artist Karl Kerschl, Msassyk, Letterer Aditya Bidikar
I was intrigued with the first issue of this series and this second issue goes deeper and is in this for the long haul. This second issue will not blow you away but it’s not supposed to either. After reading this second issue I can see that Fletcher and Kerschl are telling a long game story here. That can be a bit of a struggle for the monthly series because there are many layers that they are peeling away here and how the mysteries are unfolding with the story. While the reader has an idea of what is going on as we see with this second issue there are a lot of chess moves that are sure to keep the reader guessing what has happened and what will happen as the story unfolds. What I do like with the story is how it washes over you and that is hard to pull off in comics and Fletcher and Kerschl do it with ease here. They go for a more nuance way of telling the story then being big and brash and that is the books best asset. Simply put this comic is gorgeous and Kerschl delivers some of the most beautiful artwork going today. One of the reasons that its working so well is the marriage of Kerschl’s line work and Msassyk’s color work really transport you to this vast and intriguing world that they have created. There are many times where there is no dialog but lots of story and the artwork delivers these perfectly.
Is this book worth your time and money? I am really enjoying this book but I hate to say it but I thing that this story might be better served reading it in one sitting. Some comics just work better that way and after reading this second issue, I think that this might be the case for this one. It’s not to say that my enjoyment of this story is diminished in any way and for some a monthly comic might work for them. Either way the comic is solid and worth reading either way.
Batman White Knight #5-8
DC Comics Writer and Artist Sean Murphy, Colorist Matt Hollingsworth, Letterer Todd Klein
While I have not been reviewing this comic for the past few issue but with the final chapter this week I must put this book down as one of the best Batman stories of all time. Murphy has crafted an epic tail but the main reason it worked so well is that he made sure that the story never lost it’s emotional core and that is why it worked perfectly. It seems that nearly everyone has written a Batman story over the years but Murphy has found a new way to tell a story about not only Batman but Gotham itself. He was able to squeeze in nearly every character in Gotham with both heroes and villains and yet it never felt cramped or overstuffed. The series has had a great reading flow that worked both as a monthly but even better as a whole. What has made this story so great has been the emotion depths that he infused into each character that even the ones that have very small roles in the bigger story. It has been the drama that has driven this story so well and has captured the classic tragic villain aspect to be one of the strongest elements of this book. While this maybe an “Elsewhere” story Murphy strongly relies on the rich history of the Batman mythologies and weaves them into the story that was a great treat for the old school Batman readers but works just as well for new readers. The one thing that I never expected out of this book was the emotional rollercoaster ride that Murphy delivers and yes I actually cried towards the end of the last issue because of the emotional investment in both the story and the history that as a long time comic book reader has with these characters. The script was only one of the facets of this book and the other is Murphy the artist that brought this amazing story to life with such visual care that made this book such an emotional story. He is one of those rare artists that is able to shift in and out of gears between drama, humor and action with such ease that gives the reader a visceral reading experience that your rarely see in the mainstream. It’s one thing to have gorgeous artwork but having a strong colorist and letterer to back you up is hard to pull off perfectly but luckily he had Hollingsworth and Klein there to round out the perfect Batman story.
Is this book worth your time and money? There have been many great Batman stories over the years but Murphy has done one for the ages here. He respected the characters and that is one of the big reasons why this story was so good. He never went for the cheap or easy way to tell this story he let it unfold and wash over you and shook you to your emotional core. This book is proof that there are still great superhero stories to tell and this is one of the best. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!