staypuffed Reviews BATMAN #24, JUSTICE LEAGUE 3000 #1 & JUSTICE LEAGUE #25
Some big DC titles have hit the shelves, and staypuffed's here to offer a verdict! This week, the Dark Knight takes a turn for the grotesque, Owlman's shocking origin is revealed and the Justice League of the future take flight.
PICK OF THE WEEK: BATMAN #26
DC COMICS / WRITER Scott Snyder ART Greg Capullo (pencils) Danny Miki (inks) FCO Plascencia (colours)
For the past two years, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo have enthralled, shocked and surprised us with a much needed rejuvenation of the flagship Batman title. Now at the mid-point of Zero Year, their Dark Knight origin redux, with Gotham shut into complete darkness by the Riddler two issues ago, it’s clear that this isn’t Year One all over again like many thought. If it wasn’t already clear months ago.
This chapter sees Batman go up against an old foe, Dr. Death, as he horrifyingly murders Wayne Enterprises employees. Despite the big “Batman” slapped on the cover, however, there’s not a lot of the Caped Crusader here; as with much of this arc, Snyder sticks with the younger, cockier Bruce Wayne as we see the Bat-verse get redefined more and more. We get insight into Bruce’s feelings towards Jim Gordon, freaky hallucinations and not one single mention of the Riddler. It’s definitely not what you expected.
As with The Court of Owls and Death of the Family, the story has taken a turn for the twisted and grotesque, giving Capullo, Danny Miki and FCO Plascencia another chance to shine. The rich colour pallet of the last few issues returns, but things turn creepier as the action ramps up. By this point, it’s difficult to come up with new things to say about this fantastic art team. While it’s not the highlight of Zero Year, this issue is another strong one.
VERDICT: ★★★★ (Awesome)
JUSTICE LEAGUE 3000 #1
DC COMICS / WRITERS Keith Giffen & JM DeMatteis ART Howard Porter (pencils & inks) Hi-Fi (colours)
Worlds of the future and alternate realities are by no means a new comic book staple, but DC have taken a crack at envisioning the 31st century. Right off the bat, we know what sort of a world we’re in - one that seemed to be heading down a utopian track, before it’s all brought to its knees by “the five”.
And then there’s the Justice League of the future, cloned using old DNA, with tensions rising. This is a very different Justice League to what we’ve seen, be it from the New 52 or before the relaunch. Superman’s an egotistical jerk, Batman a man without drive, Wonder Woman a bloodthirsty bizarro, the Flash a hero so powerful he might die any second, and Green Lantern is... well, a guy with Green Lantern powers. The team dynamic is very off-putting; gone are the days of X-Men-like bickering and friction, now there are serious death threats. Characterisation is, honestly, quite poor.
While writers Keith Giffen and JM DeMatteis lay the mystery as to the League and their creation on a little thick, the art is great. Howard Porter’s detailed blend of gritty and sci-fi is well-done, and the scenery is fascinating. While the facial expressions look rough occasionally, these resigns are quite fascinating. While entertaining, I can’t say I liked this issue. I’ll definitely keep an eye out for it in the coming months (plus the price tag’s smaller than most), but the team needs to work better for this comic to work better.
VERDICT: ★★★ (Good)
JUSTICE LEAGUE #25
DC COMICS / WRITER Geoff Johns ART Doug Mahnke (pencils & inks) Christian Alamy, Mark Irwin & Keith Champagne (inks) Gabe Eltaeb, Tony Avina & Rod Reis (colours)
Forever Evil has been an interesting time for DC. When it turned out the apparently massive event, Trinity War, was just a lead-in to the actual event, it was a disappointment - but Geoff Johns has, so far, delivered with the main title and, surprisingly, the tie-ins. To get the full Forever Evil experience, you have to be reading Justice League. And it’s a cracker.
Following on from his Ultraman origin in Justice League #24, Johns presents his version of Earth-3’s Owlman, the alternate version of Batman. The chilling sight of Thomas Wayne Jr. gunning down his parents and brother, Bruce, is no doubt something many wanted to see. But that darkly backwards spin isn’t the last of it - Owlman is taking on organised crime in Gotham, and it’s scary to see him work. We also, finally, see the Owlman/Dick Grayson relationship develop, and it adds another layer to John’s Crime Syndicate.
While the spectacular cover by Ivan Reis overshadows the interiors, Doug Mahnke’s art is still solid. A frequent collaborator on Johns, recently on Justice League of America and Green Lantern, Makhne has got plenty of dynamic panels and spreads to impress, but there’s no denying the issue could have benefited from a boost of Reis’ artwork. But if you can’t wait for the next installment of DC’s world-shattering event, this is a great way to immerse yourself into the world. Plus, there's another great origin in there, and it's a treat.
VERDICT: ★★★ 1/2 (Great)
Also out this week is Superman/Wonder Woman #3, Green Lantern Corps #26, Nightwing #26 and Justice League of America #10. Be sure to hit the thumbs up if you enjoyed my reviews!
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