Alex Lynch Reviews: THE FLASH #23.2, JLA #23.2, JUSTICE LEAGUE #23.2 & More! [Part 2]
In my final batch for DC Comics reviews this week, we take a look at Justice League #23.2/Lobo, FBP #3, JLA #23.2/Killer Frost, Batman And Robin #23.2/Court Of Owls, Detective Comics #23.2/Harley Quinn and more! SPOILERS! Ahead!
FBP: Federal Bureau Of Physics #3
Two weeks ago, I reviewed FBP #2 saying that it’s a great new book and would be a perfect basis for a television show, but do I feel the same way after the third issue? Why yes, I indeed do. This issue focused more on the bubbleverse and the theory behind inserting objects into it that could…disrupt the bubbleverse.
After the last issue’s stunning cliffhanger of Jay seemingly turning his back on his partner, Adam Hardy, and shooting a bullet straight into his face, the bubbleverse shows off its effects and shoots the bullet all around, eventually penetrating Jay’s arm. Now, with Jay on the hunt for FBP Officer Adam Hardy, he must carry out his mission of retrieving those stuck inside the bubbleverse. What I really liked about this issue is that Jay is more developed and there’s lots of action, but in our real world, we see two scientists talking about and discovering a new theory; placing items inside the bubbleverse that could react to that world, and in this case, those items are bombs, which Adam sequentially places along the bubbleverse.
Why? That’s answered in the book, so I won’t quite tell you why, but it leads to another fantastic cliffhanger. I really enjoy this series because it has a unique concept. I love police dramas and this puts a new twist on it those. The art by Robbi Rodriguez is once again fantastic and he definitely knows where to put the emphasis of detail on certain panels. It’s simplistic and stylistic and very coherent and helps the comic tell the story it needs to. This issue also ends on another major cliffhanger, but instead of two weeks, we have to wait a whole month for another issue of FBP. Simon Oliver is putting this book off to a fantastic start and I can’t wait to see what happens when the universe/world is expanded even more and we learn more about the capabilities of bubbleverses and physics. Overall, read this book.
4 out of 5!
The Flash 23.2 – Reverse Flash
In this issue, we get to see the origins of the new Reverse Flash after the original was killed during the events of Flashpoint. This new Reverse Flash – Daniel West – is actually very fleshed out with a very good origin and motive. However, my only gripe with it is that the way Reverse Flash got his powers sucks and is slightly unbelievable. Nevertheless, the story that Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato tell in this book is fantastic and even though I haven’t read the New 52 version of The Flash (I only read a select few titles) I think it’s time that I jump on. The story starts out with Daniel West visiting his father who, let’s just say, never received any “Best Dad” mugs while raising his kids.
Daniel was abused and was imprisoned multiple times, but always sought to help his sister, Iris. The book is full of beautiful colors and full-page spreads thanks to Buccellato (colors) and Scott Hepburn (pencils). These awe-inspiring pages are the only reason to care about Daniel’s questionable transformation into the Reverse Flash. Also, in the double-page spread, it’s noted that Daniel saw all of the people who were once infused with the Speed Force. In this glimpse, we see a few people but we also see The Flash, who isn’t unmasked.
Why did the Speed Force choose to show a costumed Flash instead of Barry Allen? It’s questionable as well. Eventually, we see how Daniel West was arrested in the first place and how it ties into The Flash #0, and then we get a look at his early childhood. I sort-of felt that this book’s events were told in the wrong order which ultimately sort-of hurt the pace of the book but it was still a well-told story with an awesome cliffhanger that’ll be continued in The Flash #24.
4 out of 5!
Justice League Of America 7.2 – Killer Frost
I have never given two f**ks about Killer Frost in the past. I was very confused as to why she would be included in Injustice: Gods Among Us over other “cold” villains (especially considering that Mr. Freeze is almost non-existent in that universe) so DC Comics finally gave me a reason to care about Caitlin Snow/Killer Frost. This issue was fantastic and Sterling Gates should be praised to hell for it. It has suspense, tragedy, humor and the pro/antagonist is quite developed. We begin with Caitlin Snow arriving at an S.T.A.R Labs outpost which is very snowy. This scene immediately gave me a reminder of John Carpenter’s THE THING, and thereon I knew I wasn’t wrong.
Caitlin is very beautiful, charming and young and has everything going for her. She’s like an amalgam of Stephanie Brown and Barbara Gordon (Oracle). Eventually, Caitlin discovers the work of the scientist who tragically/accidentally died in the cold before her and vows to continue it despite the other workers saying it’s hopeless. However, the machine starts to work and an unexpected event happens which causes her to be trapped inside upon its launch so Caitlin executes one last attempt to sabotage the machine which in turn does save her but turns her into a cold-hearted (literally) person. Her accident doesn’t make her evil or twisted, it makes her desperate. Her body is now isn’t quite transformed, it can just withstand the extremely cold that it’s now permanently set at. So now, she seeks warmth. She’s desperate for it and her body has a craving for it and as she stated that her first thoughts were primal, she immediately started sucking the warmth from each of the scientists in the outpost. This made for a cool horror-esque sequence.
Then we get to the one part of the book that felt rushed and I didn’t like. Caitlin leaves the outpost and claims she walked miles to another who then took her in and flew her back to society. It seemed somewhat rushed and I would've liked some more explanation. Regardless, Caitlin returns home and witnesses the spectacle of Firestorm, who contains a special sort of energy that warms her back to normal again. There’s an amazing 3 panel sequence here where she’s blasted by Firestorm and turned back into Caitlin again for a moment, and she relishes that moment. She’s completely happy just before she’s turned back into ice again. It’s a tragic, but character-defining sequence. The issue then ties into Forever Evil and shows the Crime Syndicate’s conference where they claim the Justice League is dead…so where does that leave Caitlin?
This issue was absolutely fantastic and I loved it and you should check it out. Much like Cyborg Superman last week, I think this is the breakout hit.
4 Out Of 5!
Batman: The Dark Knight 23.2 – Mr Freeze
Now this book I actually really liked because it comes from the creative team of Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti with wonderful art by Jason Masters. It harkens back to the origins of Mr. Freeze that we previously saw in Batman Annual #1 and puts another layer on top of it that makes this new version all-the-more sinister. Yes, Nora wasn’t his wife and Batman stripped that devoting away but in this issue Mr. Freeze has something else to obsess over, a new family.
While entrapped in Arkham, a newspaper is slipped under Victor’s door revealing that his father, who left him decades ago, met a woman and started a new Fries family many years ago. In jail, Victor tells his shrink that he’s incurable and just wants to tell this new family that he is related to them, so he starts to send letters but receives no responses.
Now, with the Justice League dead and the Crime Syndicate destroying prisons, Mr. Freeze is let loose. I enjoyed this story because Gray and Palmiotti make Victor Fries very sinister, but with a motive. He’s searching for the family he never really had or met and he just wants to…preserve…them because he has the need to love. I actually enjoy this New 52 version of Mr. Freeze very much despite Batman: The Animated Series reinventing him. The art, including the bloody scenes, was absolutely fantastic and did nothing but wonders for the story being told. I especially enjoyed the panel layouts, as well. If you’re a fan of the new Mr. Freeze, this one is a certain buy because it explores another layer of this character’s villainy and ends on a highly disturbing note.
4 Out Of 5!
Batman and Robin 23.2 – Court Of Owls
With Gotham gone to hell, what’s left of the Court Of Owls is struggling. There’s no order in Gotham, just lots of chaos and the Court cannot continue their operations unless they awaken the first. This story follows a Court member and his young daughter as he tells her some frightening tales from the Court’s past, and that’s why I loved this book – it’s frightening.
James Tynion IV opens the book with a suspenseful sequence of a father knowing that his time has come as the Court is near, but even little hope left he scrambles to get his wife and child out of the house and away from Gotham but ultimately, he fails. After this scene, I knew I was in for a treat. Each story about the Court was more interesting than the last and the lines drawn by the fantastic Jorge Lucas give the book the old-school feel it desires to be and perfectly parallels the story it tells. The deal is then sealed by absolutely stunning colors by Dave McCaig.
My only concern about this book is whether or not it actually ties into a story in Batman and Robin or Talon. I fell behind on Talon pretty early on due to budgetary issues but I loved the Batman Beyond vibe I received from it. Even though the book said it will be continued in the pages of Talon, I didn’t feel like the cliffhanger was large enough for me to get onboard with reading the book again. However, if you’re a fan of the Court Of Owls from Scott Snyder’s Batman, you’ll definitely want to check this out as well.
3.5 Out Of 5!
Justice League 23.3 – Lobo
Now, I’m a Lobo fan. Granted, I haven’t read many comics featuring the character but I do love the character and I’ve always been a fan of him in his mainstream media appearances, especially Justice League and Superman: The Animated Series. He’s a great character and his design is badass, so when I saw the cover of the comic I was pumped only to open the pages and see…this isn’t Lobo at all. This is a redesign of the character that is slimmer and much, much more handsome sporting an Elvis Presley-esque haircut. Now, since I’m not completely close-minded like most comic fans, I decided to give this new chap a chance to be likeable and I’m actually glad I did.
Not only is this new Lobo still a bounty-hunter, but he’s badass and he kills without mercy and hangs out in alien clubs and collects bounties, which in turn, gave me an awesome Mass Effect vibe. He’s funny just like the old Lobo and he has his own personality. Even his arsenals of weapons are awesome which include devastating energy swords. In regards to the comic itself, it was an awesome quick story that defined who this new character is. It set in stone that he cares more about the bounty than anything else. The artwork by Ben Oliver and Cliff Richards sets an immediate tone and the best part about it is the character’s facial expressions especially in a certain “get back in the case” scene.
4 Out Of 5!
Superman 23.2 - Brainiac
As a guy who fell in love with the Justice League Unlimited version of Brainiac, I always found it hard to accept other versions because that was the first time I was saturated with the character. Eventually, I went to comics to read more on the character and found Geoff John’s Superman: Brainiac to be a defining story for the character and Superman as well. Regardless, I actually liked this origin for Brainiac because it’s somewhat of a reversed version of Jor-El.
This version of Brainiac has a name, a family and a home world. He found out that his planet would soon be destroyed and pitched to the counsel that he could save it after being arrested for experimenting on his son. Eventually, he was exiled, but because he created the planet’s programming, he was able to redesign himself and his ship. Tony Bedard tells Brainiac’s origin through narration of a drone as they are “collecting” another world that is soon to be destroyed. It’s a great story and it has some interesting twists and I can’t wait for more of this version of the character. In a way, Brainiac actually succeeds in saving a portion of his planet but bottling it up and keeping it preserved, but it wouldn’t matter anyway since the homeworld hates his guts. The story isn’t the only thing to like about the book, as Pascal Alixe’s lines are absolutely magnificently detailed and fantasticly escorted by Hi-Fi’s abstract colors.
What I didn’t like about the book was the narration. I thought there was too much of it and often times there were huge blocks of text covering the page especially with the blue bubbles and giant letters. Also, despite the art being fantastic, there’s almost no sense of movement or expression in some panels so it’s slightly inconsistent in that sense, but if you’re a fan of Brainiac or want to know more, this is the book to get.
3 Out Of 5!
Detective Comics 23.2 – Harley Quinn
I feel so bad writing this review because the book is somewhat really bad. I’m a huge Harley fan and have been for quite a long time and this book sort-of insulted me. For the first few pages I was into the story it was telling. However, by the end, I was incredibly sad. I had heard that Harley lost her comedic touch in Suicide Squad, but I didn’t think it was this bad. The Harley character we knew and loved has actually disappeared, so that’s why I’m hugely excited for Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner’s Harley Quinn solo book because it seems to be bringing the character back to the roots that Paul Dini intended when he created her twenty years ago for Batman: The Animated Series.
Harley didn’t have any purpose at the Forever Evil meeting so she returns to Gotham to cause some chaos and reminisce on her past. I was open to this peek into her childhood and how she became a therapist and got a job at Arkham Asylum because she wanted a tougher challenge but after that it all goes downhill. How does she get close to the patients? She dresses up as an inmate by dying her hair and wearing makeup, which apparently to Arkham Asylum, is okay because they don’t check who you are. How do they put her back in the proper cell? Do they ever wonder how a clown-looking woman appeared? It somewhat implied that Batman just drops off crazies at the Asylum and lets them lock ‘em up. Also, the reason she snapped and flings with The Joker is because the Arkham Asylum boss fires her because she was masquerading as a patient, not because The Joker twisted and demented her mind. Although, she did join up with him and caused chaos after that. We then cut to a montage where Harley, seemingly deluded and demented, kills random girls on the street and city just to steal their clothes, which eventually make up Harley’s costume. Yes, people in Gotham wear long-legged red and blue tube socks, red and blue shorts, red and blue corsets and more. I don’t like this Harley Quinn at all. She’s a mindless, killing machine with no Joker to guide her. She deserves to be on Dexter’s table. Oh, and did I tell you that Harley hatches a plan that destroys an entire police station and kills dozens of children for no reason? Yeah. At least the art was decent
2 Out Of 5
Teen Titans 23.1 – Trigon
You know, I was a fan of the Teen Titans cartoons but not the comics. I don’t know what it is that keeps me away from them, but I’ve never read them. I barely know Trigon as a character in the comics but I always thought his design was awesome. All I knew is that he was Raven’s father. Anyway, this story didn’t appeal to me in the slightest but the book was actually decently well told.
The story told is how Trigon became full-evil and how he eventually spread his evil among the universes and planets. How? He finds the “perfect” specimen and impregnates her, which I found kind of silly considering they actually showed a giant demon having sex with a small human woman. It was kind of disturbing. There’s not much for me to say about this book, but the ending is quite an interesting cliffhanger. I’m not sure where it’s going because I don’t actually read Teen Titans and didn’t know Raven was in the New 52, but the artwork in this book was above-average so I’ll give it that.
3 Out Of 5!
Green Lantern 23.2 – Mongul
Sigh, I’ll be completely honest here. I found this book completely boring and predictable with a messy story. Yes, I know who Mongul is, yes I know how he relates to the Green Lantern Corps but I don’t know why they choose to write this story. It has almost absolutely no ties to Forever Evil. Does it tie-in to Lights Out? No idea, since there was no sort of “to be continued” caption at the end, but this story’s artwork didn’t help it either. Panel transitions were hard to follow and the progression wasn’t clear. It seemed some important actions were skipped, but regardless, this story pretty much served no purpose. It really didn’t evolve Mongul as a character and certainly didn’t reflect on the events of Forever Evil or Trinity War, so that’s why I really didn’t like it. I apologize for not liking the story, but it didn’t do anything for me and I was struggling to finish it.
1 Out Of 5
I hope you enjoy my reviews and perspectives!
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