Monday, February 11, 2013

Upon Review

Geez, it's hard coming up with titles for review posts. Calling them "Reviews" seems so ordinary, so boring. Ah well.

Batwoman 15-16
Aside from the coordinated covers, matching colors and general design elements for the continuing story, they couldn't be more different. Issue 15 has very little of the book's lead character, with Batwoman appearing on the first and last pages only.  In between, Trevor McCarthy's art is a major change from that of J.H. Williams III. The story focuses on Det. Maggie Sawyer, showing what's been happening in Gotham City while Batwoman and Wonder Woman were off doing their thing in the more mystical realm. In the concrete plane, the kids are still missing and parents are freaking out, not trusting the police to rescue them.The look is dark and not as detailed as usual and reads like a stream of consciousness as Maggie seems to be suffering from a head injury or something that has her disoriented and confused.

Issue 16 is a back to normal, with J.J. Williams III's lush layouts and 2-page spreads as Batwoman and Wonder Woman return to Gotham to continue the battle. And unlike the previous issue and the norm, the ad pages -- all in-house -- are relegated to the back, after the story, to not break up the flow of the story and the luscious art. If only that were the norm. The story will continue, but we got one neat bit here: the return of Betty in costume, facing her fear of the thing that gutted her. Next issue should be great.

Mara 1-2
In this DC New 52 world, I'm trying to branch out more in my comics reading and this new series from Image (by Brian Wood, Ming Doyle, and Jordie Bellaire) seemed worth trying. I wish I could say I love it. Or that I hate it. But sadly, I'm ambivalent about the thing. There's some narration that's of the infodump variety that doesn't really explain anything or make the world seem anything special other than a marginal extension of life right now. But my main problem with it is that it took two issues to tell an amount of story that could easily have been condensed into one and read just fine and be more involving. If I hadn't gotten both issues at the same time two Wednesdays ago, I might not have picked up issue 2 after reading issue 1. I'll stick with it for now because issue 2 ended with some promise of interesting things to come, but I'm not bowled over about this story of athletes chosen as children and trained from a very young age to win.

Mara is a superstar volleyball player who is experiencing odd behaviors that threaten her standing and endorsements. Why this needed two issues to explain is beyond me, and maybe the character development was supposed to be more involving, but I don't care much for her and her problems yet, so I'm reserving judgment until I read at least the next issue. As for the art, it's nice enough, a bit spare, but nothing that really grabbed me. The characters aren't all that distinguishable. While the art isn't making up for the uninspired storytelling, it's not turning me off, either. As I said earlier, the whole enterprise has left me feeling ambivalent.


  1. Lush is an excellent description of the artwork in Batwoman. It's been an interesting ride so far, and I enjoyed the Maggie Sawyer issue, simply because it was a bit different. Kate and Wonder Woman have been doing quite well together, I think.

    Haven't picked up Mara yet.

    1. Yeah, I like Kate with Diana. They make a good team.