Search This Blog

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Latest Comic Book Reviews (06.09.2011) - New Avengers (vol 2) #13 | Batman Arkham City #2 | Ghost Rider 0.1

Three times the charm with with three impressive comic book issues from the Big Two. 

Brian Michael Bendis wraps up his current New Avengers arc, Paul Dini looks to continue his streak of brilliance in Batman Arkham City, while a different Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider shows up in Marvel's latest point-one issue courtesy of scribe Rob Williams.

All of my reviews after the cut. 

New Avengers (vol 2)  #13
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Mike Deodato and Howard Chaykin
Published by Marvel Comics

The  Mockingbird / Nick Fury past-present saga finally concludes, and its a good ending, filled with a whole lot of mystery.

Bendis' ties up all the Fury flashbacks that we've seen with the present time very smoothly, starting with a Spidey reveal that concerns a secret formula that Superia and her henchmen used in their first encounter. He follows this up with another predictable, but necessary battle between the NA and Superia.

By putting the Avengers to another firefight while using the mysterious Victoria Hand as his main vehicle, Bendis successfully maintained the unpredictability of this series, which is honestly the best thing going right now. He also creates a couple of good tense and emotional moments between our heroes,  especially where they helplessly watch a dying Bobbi (Mockingbird) on the hospital bed (with Hawkeye at his emotional high).

Superia's identity is still not revealed and she takes a step back during the ensuing fight with the New Avengers, but by the end of the book Bendis puts her on the spotlight again, giving a hint that this cunning doctor is cooking something more sinister than just creating some super-powered formula - that is somehow connected with Nick Fury's past. 

And by the end of the issue, Bendis treats us to another surprising (quite) development, with Mockingbird's eyes wide open once more, but at the same time, telling us that she could no longer be the same. 

Deodato's art is fantastic in this issue due to his great use of shadows and a bit of airbrush effects as shown in the explosive fight scenes. His panels for the interrogation scenes is one that is worth noting for he was able to deliver the emotion needed for every character. 

Can't say much about flaws, but I could point out some recycled panels with no changes in expressions, and the fact that Bendis left Spider-Woman almost speechless and acting more of just a background filler doing almost nothing. 

Overall, this is a great solid issue by Bendis and Deodato, capitalizing on what plays together with the series' strengths.


Batman: Arkham City #2
Written by Paul Dini
Art by Carlos D'Anda
Published by DC Comics

Batman relies on his hunch and begins his search on the true identity of Gotham's mayor, while a familiar clown escapes, and becomes Arkham City's first resident. 

Dini picked up where he left off from the spectacular first issue, this time utilizing some good 'ol detective Batman schemes. His writing is straight-forward with just the right amount of pacing, that makes his story more engaging as you read it.

He finally reveals Doctor Strange here but more of just a teaser in a short scene, and puts more emphasis on the Joker's escape via Harley Quinn beating up a couple of stupid and easy to beat prisoner guards - which leads to a another nice and explosive Batman-hunting-Joker sequence. In its entirety, Dini didn't rush too much with his storytelling and just let everything unfold naturally, unlike his last pages in Arkham City #1.

Carlos D'Anda continues his great work on this book, giving us more of his detailed art style when it comes to illustrating machines and vehicles, while staying dynamic and avoiding use of recycled panels.

Thanks to the magnificent colors of Gabe Eltaeb, the panel showing Batman using his high-tech cowl to detect hidden locks and items is looked superb, staying true to the video game's version of the Caped Crusader's stealth moves and use of gadgetry. Real sweet.

Fans of the video game and of the first issue will be glad that the Dini and D'Anda connection is clicking, - sticking to what works and what the fans want - and this latest issue is a testament of that.

And though the villains are a bit predictable, this is still one comic book series that anybody should not miss.


Ghost Rider 0.1
Written by Rob Williams
Art by Matthew Clark and Sean Parsons
Published by Marvel Comics

Johnny Blaze's new adventure is previewed in this surprisingly good point-one Marvel issue as our favorite flaming and bony-assed Spirit of Vengeance. And this my friends, is the best 0.1 issue I have read so far - even better than Alpha Flight. 0.1

Ghost Rider's origins are very well explained through a series of engaging, smart-ass monologues by Williams, and that includes Johnny's deal with Mephisto, his bond with Zaratos, and how he became the flaming-bone entity that he is.  

Blaze even goes on to say how he actually hates being screwed time and time again, and loathes himself for being the Ghost Rider despite the powers he possess. This gives readers a very clear introduction of the character, which will be the base of the stories that will follow.

And this is where a lot of the point-one of number zero issues fail a lot of times, for they tend to forget the main goal of having a pre-number one issue: which is to INTRODUCE the character to both old and new readers. And Williams is 100% successful in doing just that. 

Clark does a superb job of penciling, able to create a distinguishable difference between the human Johnny Blaze and his other skull-ish persona. Though his style is not really over-the-top great, it fits the book due to his ability to give a detailed, photo realistic effect on his work, as evidenced by his use of a closer-to-reality illustration for Blaze's motorcycle. 

Parsons' colors mixes well with the art, making it more alive and scorching with fire.

With that said, the only flaw I could see is cliffhanger ending of this issue - which might be a bit surprising, or should I say... could be a turn off  for some long time fans - due to William's decision to put a whole new spin to Blaze and his Ghost Rider persona. 

But changes aside, the ending and the whole issue was really good and that is enough reason for me to follow this new Rider series. 


No comments:

Post a Comment