Thursday, February 27, 2014

Arrow Season 2, Episode 14 review

If you saw, this episode, you know there's A LOT to discuss here.

This show just keeps getting better and more interesting, so check out my audio for my thoughts on this week's episode.

The most epic handshake EVER

Comic Book Reviews: Ms. Marvel #1 and Red Sonja #1

I've got some back issues to discuss!

Ms. Marvel's debut this month was highly talked about, and though I gave my brief thoughts on it, I thought it'd be good to give a full review in the audio.

Also there is a review of Issue #1 of Red Sonja by Gail Simone. I've heard so many good things about the title, and since there was a $1 reprint available, I figured I'd give it a shot.

If you want the reviews (as well as a note about my upcoming 200th blog post), check the audio. If not, here are the scores for these issues.

Red Sonja - 8.2/10
Ms. Marvel - 8.9/10

Comic Book Reviews: Samurai Jack #5 and Blue Beetle #21

The few direct showdowns between Jack and Aku in the show were some of the best choreographed fight scenes in the history of animation. So with the conclusion to the Threads of Time arc, the IDW Samurai Jack comic had a lot to live up to.

What we got was a rare fight that lived up to the hype.

Book of the Month for February
I think what really made this issue successful is that the series had initially been called a 5-issue mini-series, so part of me was curious to see if they'd really go through with Jack's ultimate victory. It led to an increased level of suspense the entire time.

The art for this issue was expertly done, although I would have loved to see a series of panels showing Aku's shape-shifts.

The story isn't much more than a fight scene, but given that we've waited the full series, years of hiatus and this whole arc for a showdown like this, I'd say it lives up to the hype and more.

I do think the conflicted choice they tried to give for Jack wasn't much of a choice, but nonetheless, it gave Jack one of his most badass moments. (And considering the tease for next month, he needed to be at his maximum level of badassery to keep up with his "partner.")

Honestly, this is a must-buy for anyone who wants to see a great fight in comic form or is just a person who followed Samurai Jack's show years ago. This is a title that needs to get big because it is great stuff.

I am granting it my Book of the Month status with a 9.5/10. Really, it'd be hard to compete with this issue with any storyline. Great stuff.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Comic Book Reviews: Batman & (Two-Face) #27-28 and Blue Beetle #20

A couple months back, I promised I'd review the end of the the "Batman & ..." arc with Two-Face's origin. Today, I fulfill that promise!

Overall, it was a solid read with a lot to discuss. There will be spoilers in the audio, so if you wanted to read it yourself, you'll need to take my word for it that it's legitimately a solid story. If I didn't feel like the title was in a holding pattern until a new Robin comes along, I'd still have it on my pull list.

In any case, this audio has reviews of Issues #27 and #28 as well as a review of the pretty lackluster Blue Beetle #20.

Here are my B&R scores, though:

Issue #27 - 8.5/10
Issue #28 - 9.4/10

Comic Book Reviews: Batman '66 #8 and Birds of Prey #28

Batman '66 has been one of DC's best reads every month since it came out. Thanks to its ability to tie back into the original Adam West program, it's allowed for a campy, Silver Age Batman that isn't present anywhere else in the comic world.

But one thing the show had that only occasionally comes up in the comic so far is the appearance of TV-specific villains like Louie the Lilac or King Tut. While I'm still awaiting the arrival of Louie, King Tut finally debuted in this comic here in Issue #8.

Meanwhile, in the New 52, Birds of Prey had its official tie-in to Gothtopia and Black Canary is having her first encounter with the League of Assassins. The tie-in works around the main Layman "Detective" plot well and has me legitimately interested in seeing its conclusion next month.

My full reviews are in the audio, but here are my scores:

Batman '66 #8 - 9.0 (The plot makes no sense in the realm of its world, but geez, this was fun!

Birds of Prey #28 - 8.0 (A good tie-in that advances its own plot while filling some plot holes in the main Gothtopia story.)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Comic Book Reviews: Batman #28, Nightwing #28 and Blue Beetle #19

Greg Capullo, to his credit, is very meticulous about his artwork. He has made sure that every issue of Batman he's worked on so far has looked nothing short of brilliant.

Unfortunately, that can be a time-consuming process, so Capullo's work on the final act in "Zero Year" has been delayed a month. Luckily, thanks to the help of James Tynion IV (as a co-writer) and Dustin Nguyen as an artist, Scott Snyder was able to do a Batman #28 issue that still served a purpose.

The issue is a one-shot set a little past the midway point of Batman: Eternal, the new upcoming weekly Bat-title. So basically this is a spoiler-filled issue for what the Batman Universe will look like in a few months.

Overall, the voice is still there of Batman and Harper Row (who is now called Bluebird in this issue) and Catwoman is back to being a straight-up villain like in the 1960s (which truly excites me). I can honestly say I'm excited for Eternal after this. Now I may actually have to consider buying the title and committing to the 52 issues.

The main spoiler is, well, Spoiler. That's right! Stephanie Brown has finally returned to the DC Universe, and even though she's only in one panel, it's awesome to see the former Robin and Batgirl being used again. With any luck, people will respond well to her and we'll be seeing Steph in a permanent title after Eternal.

Anyway, there isn't much to say regarding the quality since I have no real context as to the plot. But I'll give it 8/10. It's good and definitely worth the price of admission, but if you don't plan to follow the weekly title, it may be hard to recommend it.

Nightwing, on the other hand, has very little future left in the title. The book ends with Issue #30 in April, and it's clear that Kyle Higgins is trying to end the title by rounding out as many storylines as he can.

After the little girl who is friends with Dick's roommate found out his identity, I had no idea what they'd do with it, but they found an interesting route by having her become orphaned by Victor Zsasz and leaving Dick to stop her efforts to track him down.

Meanwhile, Sonia Branch returns and she formally apologizes to Dick. The two finally get a degree of closure in their lives, and I think it was well-done.

The problem is that there just isn't enough time to round everything out in my view. Remember, there are still people with vendettas against superheroes and I have no idea how the plan would work to put that plot into the last two issues, especially since the last issue will have a guest writer.

It also didn't help that scenes seemed to end way too abruptly and had no real connection to the main narrative. I think only one of the first 10 pages involved the main story.

There's still solid work here, but it's definitely being dragged down. I'm giving it a flat 7/10.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Comic Book Reviews: Action Comics #28, Green Arrow #28 and Blue Beetle #18

I'm going to give text reviews to Action Comics and Green Arrow because, honestly, half the audio review is devoted to the awesomeness that was Blue Beetle #18. (Seriously, track down this issue.)

Really, do I need to say more?

Best current title this week I've read.
Honestly, had it not been for Blue Beetle, Green Arrow #28 would easily be the best thing I read in the past week. It deals with the fallout of Oliver discovering that his dad A) is still alive and B) orchestrated his time on the island so that he'd be ready for the Outsiders War.

This chapter in the Outsiders War focuses mostly on how Robert Queen made this happen and Ollie's reaction to it. (I feel this isn't a big spoiler: He doesn't react well to it.) There is also a pair of fight sequences with people from the Spear Clan, who seemed to be in charge but have now been tossed aside by a revolt among the Outsiders.

The art in this issue is epic, using a panel style in which the negatives of the image show through large red words in order to disorient the reader. Andrea Sorrentino's style is certainly jarring at first, but it grows on a person the longer they see it.

Jeff Lemire has crafted an excellent story here, and with it only being halfway over, there's a lot of fighting to go. Not to mention there's still villains lurking in the actual city, and it's up to Oliver's intelligence gatherers and Diggle to stop them.

Oh, and on one final note: DIGGLE! Final score: 9.25/10.

Geoff Johns: You have a tough act
to follow.
Action Comics was a strong issue in its own right. It just so happens that it's got a high bar to meet.

Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder have made the story and art come together brilliantly during this arc. While I do at times think Kuder's style of drawing jawlines doesn't work, it's never super distracting. And Pak has the idealism of Superman's voice down pat.

This is an incredible Lana Lang, who is proving to be hilarious and perfectly able to switch from being amused by her old friend Clark to being amazed by his work as Superman.

The two really feel like they have a long-standing history together, and I think that's what's really carrying the title.

Don't get me wrong: the action sequences, the Ghost Soldier and the entire underground world that's been created are great. But it would just be a solid action story without Clark and Lana being so cohesive.

Overall, I gave the title an 8.75/10.

Comic Book Reviews: Detective Comics #28 and Green Hornet #9

John Layman is one issue away from leaving Detective Comics, and Mark Waid's Green Hornet saga is now three-fourths of the way done. So this blog may as well be nicknamed the "outgoing writer" post.

The second part of the Gothtopia arc was largely Batman escaping from Arkham using the tricks he set in place in the second Batman Annual. It's yet another way John Layman has attempted to give a semblance of connectivity to this Batman Universe.

The art is solid, although with Jason Fabok not doing this issue, the art kind of felt like an attempt to be a lookalike. It was solid but not as great as it had been.

The story has a fairly large hole in that no one outside Gotham really seems to have noticed the city's acting oddly, but outside of that, a lot of good stuff is in place here.

I gave Detective Comics #28 a 7.5/10. It's definitely good and many will find it to be worthwhile, but for $4 people may want a little better.

Green Hornet was a solid read, although I wound up getting lost a few times because it was referencing past issues that were nearly a year ago. The scattered production schedule of this title is making my ability to review it much lower.

The art is solid, but there are some panels that just look ridiculous. Nonetheless, I could tell what they were trying to accomplish and Mark Waid's storytelling carries the book through.

I gave the book a 7.1/10 because I can objectively tell it's good. It's biggest problem is that it feels so disjointed because it takes too long to get out.

I'd actually suggest that people who haven't been following the title just wait until the trade so they can read the story in one shot.

As for those who have been reading it, I'd buy it since at this point I'm just curious how it will end in three issues.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Arrow Season 2, Episode 13 review

I cannot BELIEVE that there's a two-week break for Arrow after this episode!

Well, a lot happened this go-around. Take a listen to my thoughts on "Heir to the Demon" and get hyped for next episode.

Yeah, this dynamic is going to be interesting next episode.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Comic Book Reviews: Blue Beetle #14-17

My reviews of the Blue Beetle comics have been behind for a month, but it's time to get caught up! Take a listen to my January Beetle reviews: