So, do to various things this weekend, I was not able to finish this week's stack. I might try to get in some more reviews tomorrow, but here are a couple for today.
Beware the Batman #5
Story: Mike W. Barr
Art: Dario Brizuela
Oh, Beware the Batman... Just as it was hitting it's stride on TV, it gets cancelled, and the DVD that had the two unaired episodes left it on a cliffhanger. But even with that, there were two issues of the comic left, and this was the first one of those. It's a great little comic for many reasons, but the first thing that grabbed my attention about it was that it is written by Mike W. Barr. I've written about Barr's run on Detective Comics before, and once I finally dig out the rest of the issues from the move, I plan to talk about his tremendous Maze Agency. He's one of the best writers for a good mystery, and this issue is exactly that, a fun play fair mystery (for those unfamiliar with the term, a play fair mystery is one where the clues are laid out and you can figure out whodunnit). The plot involves someone posing as Katana, a character Barr created for Batman and the Outsiders, and killing people. We are presented with three suspects, and while Batman goes to hunt down Tobias Whale, gangster, Katana investigates the suspects. After a well orchestrated action sequence, Batman deduces the identity of the killer. I won't give away who or how he figured it out, but it makes perfect sense. This is a fun comics, and shows what this series could have been if it weren't cut tragically short.
Story: Ed Brisson
Art: Johnnie Christmas
Sheltered has been building slowly over the course of its seven issues so far in the best possible way. After killing their parents, the kids in a survivalist encampment have been degenerating into a Lord of the Flies-esque community. After last issue, when adults arrived and the kids went off half cocked and started shooting, things are happening fast. Lucas, the leader of the community, is doing his best to maintain control. The hunt through the forest for the one adult who managed to escape the shooting is drawn beautifully. It's an intense sequence, and brutal; artist Johnnie Christmas keeps the sequence intense with shadows and you feel sympathetic for both the poor schmuck who is being chased through the woods by automatic weapon wielding kids, and for the kids themselves when things start going south for them. Meanwhile, back in Safe Haven, Victoria, the series protagonist, finally escapes the bunker that she was imprisoned in a few issues back and goes out to have words with Lucas. The character development on the series principal characters is continuing really well, and the supporting cast is feeling more fleshed out with each issue. The high concept of this series and writer Ed Brisson are what got me to try it out, and while it isn't one of those major Image releases, the ones that get all the press, it should be; it's a quality comic getting better with each issue.