Monday, April 7, 2014

Reviews of Comics from Wednesday 4/2

Detective Comics #30
Story: Brian Buccellato & Francis Manapul 
Art: Francis Manapul

Detective Comics has had the most creative teams of any of the core Batman comics since the New 52 began. I really enjoyed the last team of John Layman and Jason Fabok, but when I heard the creative team on the (to me) surprise hit title, The Flash, Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul, were coming on, I was excited, and the book has definitely lived up to that excitement. The first issue is dense, introducing a lot of new characters and concepts, and really setting up what I assume is at least their first arc, if not the themes and characters of their run. We don't get any supervillains in issue, just Batman fighting some street level thugs, although one is addressed as The Squid. This could be a completely new character, despite the name that connects him to a Gotham mobster from the 80s. We also meet Elena and Annie Aguila. Elena is a self made woman who is trying to help Gotham's East End revive, and Annie is her sarcastic, extreme sports motocross driving daughter. Elena is clever, and is able to push all the right buttons to get Bruce to side with her plans. One of the buttons she pushes is mentioning Bruce's son. Damian's death is not public knowledge, and so this is a different blow than she intended. With the return of Jason Todd, Batman lost one of the tragedies that defined nearly twenty years of his character; Damian's death returns that tragedy, and amps it up since Damian was Bruce's biological son. There's also a thread introduced involving a crooked councilman, and the mention of a new drug called Icarus. While the issue might sound busy, it all plays well together and feels like different aspects of one story that we haven't seen how all the pieces fit together. The art is astounding as ever, Manapul is, for my money, DC's top artist right now, with a sense of motion that worked perfectly for The Flash. I wasn't sure how his style would work in Gotham, but it is a home run. The art is gorgeous, and Batman's combat flows. The motor cross scenes are also astounding. And his character beats are equally lovely; the expression on Bruce's face when Elena mentions Damian is heartbreaking. I think that this run is going to live up to the name of the series, playing a long running mystery for Batman to solve; I like it when Detective Comics lives up to its name.

She-Hulk #3
Story: Charles Soule
Art: Javier Pulido

Ok, three issues in I can safely say that She-Hulk has become my favorite comic currently published by Marvel Comics. I love my dark, serious comics (I'm a Batman fan after all), but I also like a comic that has a sense of humor while still taking the world it exists in seriously, and this volume of She-Hulk does exactly that. The issue picks up pretty much where the last issue left off, with Kristoff, son of Dr. Doom, asking Jen (She-Hulk) Walters to represent him in seeking asylum in the USA. Jen gets to spend some time with Kristoff, who carries himself with the air of one who was raised by a megalomaniacal- mad scientist- sorcerer- dictator. From the moment Jen and Kristoff head to the courthouse, we get a scene out of a classic comedy, with Dr. Doom sending his Doombots to find ways to stop Kristoff from making it to the courthouse by the five o'clock deadline. Jen smashes them, steals a Fantasticar from her former Fantastic Four teammates, and even sets up a decoy. Soule does a great job of showing that Jen thinks with her brain as much as her fists, one of the things that separates her from her more famous green-skinned cousin. Pulido does a great job of showing Jen bulking up in combat; I forget that despite being big, she can get much bigger when the need arises. There's also some fun images panels dealing with Kristoff's chauffeur turning out to be a Doombot and Jen smashing it; Pulido makes what could be simple little thing into a great sight gag. The issue ends reinforcing the idea that when Jen takes on a client she will do the best she can for them, even if that puts her in the cross-hairs of a major bad guy. Looks like Jen's off to Latveria, and I have a feeling Doc Doom might regret getting involved in this one.

No comments: