Since Blogger did their maintenance thingy a day ago that wiped out my Moon Knight review, I'm reposting it again together with my thoughts on the surprisingly-good video-game prequel Batman: Arkham City # 1.
Before you click ok the jumpie link down there, let me note that the titles are rated by the number of stars I give them, with 5 stars being the highest. That means if a title gets a rare 5 stars, then that should be really m'effin good!
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Alex Maleev
Published by Marvel Comics
What if Batman is suffering from a multiple-personality disorder?
That’s Moon Knight in a nutshell.
And this enigmatic and intriguing character gets another relaunch, -in an attempt by Marvel to reintroduce and revitalize the mercenary-turned-hero/Avenger - with the superstar team of Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev leading the way. Did they make this debut issue spectacular enough though?
As a standard for most number ones, Marc Spector’s origin into becoming the white-cloaked hero is cleverly shown in a form of a “Hollywood” style trailer, so new readers would get an idea on just how the hell he came to be.
Now Bendis doesn't delve into that much though, as he quickly jumps into delivering the main plot of his story – one that shows Wolverine, Spidey and Captain America (primarily) informing Marc of an unknown threat that looks to get a hold of his new home town (Los Angeles, CA) and that he has to become Moon Knight to stop this mysterious villain from succeeding. Marc happily obliges, and we get a full two page spread Moon Knight about to embark on his mission. Yay!
The events that follow include MK busting a business deal of sorts between the yet-to-be-named kingpin’s cohorts and the formidable Mr. Hyde, highlighted by Hyde vs MK action-scenes that proved just what kind of a hero MK is: he cares about stopping evil and that he would fight and grit his teeth out until he wins, even it means doing it without his mask on. Maleev illustrates these scenes very well, though that’s about it when it comes it his work in this issue.
His art was lackluster, very much loose, and ridiculously sketchy. The colors didn’t help either and we’re just not clicking with one another. This resulted to some screwed up pages where I just didn’t understand what was happening anymore. Page 28 is a clear example of that. Tried to read it repeatedly hoping to find some Easter egg cue or what, but to no avail. It’s just not the Alex Maleev that is known for the photo-realistic quality of his illustrations. He also “recycled” some panels towards the last pages as well, a technique which I am not a very big fan of.
Moon Knight # 1 has its disappointments, but I felt that this was still a good first issue over all. Bendis’ straightforward and fast paced storytelling paired with his mystery boss theory gives me a reason to pick up the next one, a good sign that this series might not be as predictable compared to other titles.
Batman: Arkham City #1
Written by Paul Dini
Art by Carlos D'Anda
Published by DC Comics
Finally, the much-awaited prequel tie-in to the upcoming video game sequel Batman: Arkham City is here and truth be told, I was surprised on how Paul Dini was able to pull off a very entertaining story for both fans of the genre, considering that this was specifically created for backstory purposes.
We get an explosive opening with Batman punching the teeth out of a Titan-roided Joker which basically is the last scene of Batman: Arkham Asylum. Dini then moves on and was quick to tackle aftermath of the prison riot and follows it up with his own plot concerning the creation of Arkham City. Things quickly fall to pieces though as two no-name but Titan-injected criminals spoiled the fun and serve as catalysts for a bigger scheme manipulated by one familiar “four-eyed” foe.
Only problem I had were the last pages wherein Paul Dini used too much monologue to kind of “summarize” the events right after the stones crumble. I think it was an attempt to update readers right away but I felt that it was too much of an “information overload” of sorts. No biggie though.
I like D’Anda’s art on this one as his lines are clear and crisp, and he really stayed true to the video-game designs (most specifically his take on the Batmobile) in order to cater to its hardcore fans. He did very well in terms of making dynamic action-sequences too which is one of the many highlights of this book and is certainly one that speaks about D’Anda’s overall ability. Hopefully, DC would bring this guy’s explosive art style over to one of their main Batman books.
So despite the small flaw at the end for Dini, Arkham City # 1 is a very promising start for this 5-issue miniseries and one that any casual comic book fan or even a die-hard Batman video-game fan would love. One of the many comic books this week that is worth your every penny.
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