Thursday, July 11, 2013

This Week's Reviews

It's always nice to review comics right after I read them and during the same week they're released. Yay, me!

World's Finest 14
Despite having never much liked anything involved with the New Gods, except for Big Barda when she appeared in Birds of Prey, I'm still enjoying this book, mainly for the friendship of Helena and Kara. Robson Rocha does a decent job on the pencils, with Wayne Faucher inking, but I prefer Ryan Sook's cover art. I wish he'd done the interior art.

Nightwing 22
Dick's quest to nab Zucco has proven, so far, more entertaining than I'd thought. I wasn't completely convinced bringing back the dead killer of Dick's parents was the best of ideas, but it was an intriguing way to bring Dick to a new locale, Chicago, and introduce some new characters, which might be temporary or maybe longterm; that remains to be seen. But having Zucco hiding in plain sight, so to speak, in a new identity, with a new family, has put a nice spin on what could have been a simple story of good guy vs bad guy. Zucco might be living a double life, as he had in Gotham when he was also a family man, but bringing him down now will have repercussions for his young children. And the addition of the unhinged Prankster running amok, ready to destroy the city in order to bring down the corrupt mayor, with Dick's own guilt for letting the Prankster go, adds up to a nuanced tale, even with the inevitable fights and explosions. Kyle Higgins has a nice feel for my favorite member of the Bat Clan. And Will Conrad provides some of my favorite Nightwing art. I hope he sticks with the book for some time to come. His faces are so natural, so real. I'm not well versed in the subtleties of graphic storytelling, ie the panel breakdowns and that sort of thing, but for me, the art seems to flow very nicely.

Hawkeye 12
If anyone had told me a Marvel comic would be in my Top 5 comics, I'd've been shocked. Sure, I read a few Marvels back in the '70s, and the un-costumed Wolverine run was pretty damn excellent from a while back, but none of them were as great as Matt Fraction's Hawkeye. I know the character only from the Avengers movie, so this is very fresh for me. I have no trouble following things. The simple storytelling, both with text and art, including the minimalist palette (and what a great choice that was), makes for a compelling read. So much is conveyed with so little, and I do appreciate the little summaries on the first page. This issue deals with the brother I didn't know Clint has. The story is mainly a flashback to their time growing up in an abusive home, and the present side of the story reveals much of Barney Barton's pugnacious personality. Also nice was seeing pizza dog, aka Lucky, back with Clint. This comic reads nothing like a typical superhero comic and in this case, that's a good thing.

Jennifer Blood 29
Now that I'm completely caught up with this title -- and that was an effort, given how tall the stack was, what with the regular issues and the Year One issues -- I'll be posting reviews of the current issues. In many ways, Jennifer Fellowes, aka Jennifer Blood, aka Jessica Blute, is like Dexter Morgan of the books and TV show, and now, comics. She kills. A lot. Daughter of a mobster who was killed by his own morally bankrupt mobster brothers, Jennifer as an adult enacted revenge by undergoing years of training, then slaying her uncles in rather violent and gross ways. And that should have been the end of it. She'd planned to go back to her simple life as suburban wife to Andy and mom to Alice and Mark, except for a few loose ends. Mainly a witness or two, who needed eliminating. And then there was the matter of her diary. When her hubby found it, well, he became another complication.

Jennifer has killed a lot of people to protect her secret, but unfortunately, unlike Dexter, Jennifer was brought to justice, sent to prison. Now, people who want her to be prey in a human hunting game have broken her out. But at a meeting in a diner, she ended up killing them. Which brings us to this issue, with Jennifer holed up in the diner with hostages, and surrounded by a SWAT squad, cops, and the FBI. But Jennifer is not one to be captured easily and she's still the smartest one in the room, or in the vicinity. How she outsmarts everyone is what keeps this story moving forward, and the surprise identity of the criminal brought in to consult should keep the story interesting. I have no idea where this book is going, which is half the fun. Nor have I decided if Jennifer is worth rooting for. Dexter has his code of killing, though he has made mistakes. Jennifer is even less self-aware than Dexter. She's managed to justify to herself every killing, yet she's killed many innocents. But with so many other characters, especially the men (mostly in the earlier issues) written as idiots, it's sometimes hard to blame her. In any case, this is not a comic of heroes and villains but of very flawed characters stuck together in a realm of violence. I don't think I want to look too closely at why I like it. ;)

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