October 25, 2010

Crisis of Infinite Reviews 10/20/10

It is another great week in the world of DC comics. There are two one-shots from the Bruce Wayne: The Road Home series and a great start to a new arc in Green Lantern Corps. Plus, I’ve got an information filled issue of Batman Beyond, a thrilling journey on Mars, and an exciting chapter in the brilliant series, Batman and Robin.

Minor spoilers ahead!

Batman and Robin #15
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Frazer Irving
Cover Artist: Frank Quitely
Publisher: DC

The end is near, the end of Grant Morrison’s run that is, and everything is coming together perfectly in his penultimate issue on this title. The issue starts off with one of the best Joker scenes ever, in my opinion. After drugging and kidnapping Robin in the last issue, Joker, the wild card Hurt completely underestimated, sends Damian on the path towards the ultimate showdown. It is here that the arc’s previous cliffhangers all collide and grow into something much greater. It would be cruel to divulge much further into the brilliance of this issue, because it’s truly best read firsthand.
That being said, I thought this issue was all kinds of awesome. The Joker’s role in this entire story has been great. Morrison has done a great job of bringing this psychotically logical, unpredictable, perfectly written Joker into this epic tale. The precise preparations by Dick and Damian, though I’m inclined to believe it’s more Dick than Damian, show just how well the two have become acclimated to one another over the span of the series. The artwork, by Frazer Irving, which I have not particularly cared for, worked out fantastically in this issue. From the very first page to the very last page, Irving’s art does an impeccable job of personifying the surreal, creepy world that Morrison has created. 5/5

Batman Beyond #5
Writer: Adam Beechen
Artist(s): Ryan Benjamin and John Stanisci
Cover Artist: Dustin Nguyen
Publisher: DC

When this mini-series began I thought it was great, however as the issues progressed, it began faltering. This issue reveals a lot, practically everything actually. The issue begins with Terry McGinnis being left for dead by “Hush,” who revealed himself to be Dick Grayson, gasp. Catwoman arrives on scene and after it is revealed who she is, she patches Terry enough to get him home. Meanwhile, Dr. Reid is being hunted down by Amanda Waller’s goons and is saved by, you guessed it, Dick Grayson. The good doctor explains that Cadmus labs created a clone of Dick with the intent of having a replacement Batman, but unfortunately the clone escaped. This news came a little too late, as the clone is gearing up to blow up Gotham.
This issue was filled to the brim with information that may have been better suited had it been spread out more. When it was revealed in the last issue that the masked villain was Dick Grayson, my initial thought was, well that’s a bit far-fetched. It seems my diagnosis was a tad premature. Personally, I thought the villain was Jason Todd from the beginning, which may have influenced my displeasure with this clone plot. Aside from that, the issue was fairly decent. The Bruce-Terry scene was nice, and the new Catwoman is a great addition the cast. However, I am not exactly sold on this universe’s Dick Grayson being the polar opposite of the “real” Dick. 3/5

Brightest Day #12
Writer(s): Geoff Johns and Peter J. Tomasi
Artist(s): Patrick Gleason, Scott Clark, Ivan Reis, and Joe Prado
Cover Artist: David Finch
Publisher: DC

If Martian Manhunter is your hero, this is the issue for you. Other than a brief look into what Boston Brand and Dove have been doing lately, and a short stop at the adventures of Firestorm and Deathstorm, the rest of the issue gave us a look at J’onn J’onnz’s trip to Mars and his meeting with D’kay D’razz, the other green Martian. From the very beginning, D’kay comes off as a little off in the mind, and that only continues to be apparent as the issue progresses.
The artwork in this issue enhances the story far beyond the capabilities of text alone. The depiction of D’kay in her fluid,  grotesque appearance really enhances the horrific experience J’onnz is forced to endure, which, it turns out, is awesome for us readers. The appearance of Boston Brand was a welcome one, considering he’s got, arguably, the biggest role in Brightest Day. It will be interesting to see if future issues are handled in this same manner. 4/5

Bruce Wayne: The Road Home – Catwoman
Writer: Derek Fridolfs
Artist(s): Peter Nguyen and Stan Winn
Cover Artist: Shane Davis
Publisher: DC

If there was ever to be the perfect love for Bruce, it would be Selina Kyle, or at least that’s what I’d like to have happen. My opinion aside, the two have been on a roller coaster ride of emotion for as long as I can remember. This all lead up to Bruce’s declaration of his love for Selina, in Heart of Hush, only to presumably die, in Final Crisis. This issue follows Selina on her journey to uncover what Vicki Vale knows, while being tested by Bruce. With a little meddling on Bruce’s part, Selina is able to infiltrate and obtain the bulk of Vale’s information on the Bat-family and Gotham’s seediest villains.
I thought that this was a decent issue, not the best of the series of one-shots. The issue definitely had some good things going for it, particularly showing the depth of Selina’s character. The inner struggle between doing good and doing bad makes Selina a very relatable character, in my opinion, which makes her likeable. The Vicki Vale portion of this issue didn’t evolve all that much, and while the presence of Ivy and Harley was most likely to tie this back to Gotham City Sirens, it really didn’t connect that well. Bruce’s almost random decision to reveal himself to different characters seems just as odd in this situation as it did in the Batman and Robin one-shot. The art was a saving point in this issue; it was well executed and it looked great. 3/5

Bruce Wayne: The Road Home – Commissioner Gordon
Writer: Adam Beechen
Artist: Szymon Kudranski
Cover Artist: Shane Davis
Publisher: DC

Bruce’s return not only affects the superhero community and his family, but naturally it would affect his strongest non-superhero ally. This issue follows the same layout the other Road Home books have been following. Bruce, in the guise of a masked vigilante, watches over, tests, and in some cases protects his former allies. In this issue, Gotham P.D. is told that Vicki Vale has been making all the wrong enemies and as a result is a target. Unfortunately, the Penguin, some hired goons, and a dirty cop leave Gordon and company trapped. Thankfully, Bruce arrives just in time to save the day, which I’m sure Gordon is used to.
The art in this issue perfectly brings Gotham to life, which is perfect, because if there was ever anyone who had as much a claim to Gotham it would be Gordon. The art is dark, grim, grungy, basically everything you would associate with Gotham, and that only enhances the overall story. The story does a great job of playing out the relationship that Bruce and Gordon share, while also depicting just how similarly dedicated Gordon is at keeping Gotham safe. 3.5/5

Green Lantern Corps #53
Writer: Tony Bedard
Artist(s): Tyler Kirkham and Batt
Cover Artist(s): Tyler Kirkham, Batt, and Niel Ruffino
Publisher: DC

This issue marks the start of Bedard’s second arc, and I’d say that he is perfectly settled here. This issue focuses almost completely on the Green Lanterns Kyle Rayner and Soranik. We start off with Soranik and Kyle doing good deeds at different parts of the universe, when Kyle is attacked by a Qwardian, named the Weaponer, who made Sinestro’s original ring. The Weaponer was looking for Soranik, who arrives just in time to get kidnapped and used as bait. Kyle is left to contact Sinestro in order to rescue his girlfriend.
While this issue certainly wasn’t filled with shocking revelations and breathtaking imagery, it was a very good start to the new arc. The current direction of the plot, if handled well, can turn out to be an interesting story. This issue is the first of Kirkham and Batt’s run on this title; the art looked great in this issue and will hopefully continue to enhance the title as the arc progresses. 3.5/5

Arnab Pradhan



  1. I still cannot stand Irving’s art, but I enjoyed the rest of Batman and Robin. And I’m really liking all of the Road Home issues even if I don’t quite understand why Bruce is revealing himself to only certain people (although let’s be honest, everyone knows). I still get the feeling we’re getting things out of order, and not because Morrison wants it that way but because DC is releasing things on an odd schedule.

    I’m still very much over Brightest Day as a whole, but the Deathstorm thing I thought was interesting. I don’t care for Martian Manhunter at all.

    I thought this week’s GLC wasn’t exactly a strong point, but it wasn’t bad. Just sort of there.

  2. Irving’s art isn’t one of my favs either and I was a little annoyed that he took over for this series. I just don’t think it fits here but hey, that’s just my opinion. I’m so far behind on my GL, BD, and B&R titles though 🙁

  3. WHAT!?

    You guys are all nuts. Irving’s art is awesome in this run. It fits with the weird mood of the whole arc. I’m lovin’ it.

  4. just because he has weird and moody art doesn’t mean that it’s gonna fit with a weird and moody story. I’m just not a fan of his style.

  5. @Mattie- It’s not just a feeling, we are getting things out of order. To be fair though, I’m pretty sure it’s not DC’s fault. I’d say it was more on the creative team’s fault on being late (read Morrison.) ROBW was supposed to end September, but here it is in October and there’s still one more issue left. Of course, with issues as awesome as Batman and Robin #15, who can be angry.

    Deathstorm and Boston Brand (though he’s been missing for a while) are my favorite parts of Brightest Day (the title not the event.)
    For the most part I agree with you about GLC. But as a new reader to the series it had a whole mess of stuff I hadn’t known, (like where Sinestro got his ring or that Soranik is Sinestro’s daughter) which kept things interesting.

    @Everyone- Believe me, after seeing Irving’s art in ROBW I was displeased to find out he was taking over for this arc of Batman & Robin. And for the most part I wasn’t ecstatic during the run. It was really this issue that changed everything for me. I thought the art really enhanced the story in ways that a more traditional, non drug-induced-like art style could not.

  6. Anisa

    I’m not a fan of Irving’s art either but I think that it really worked for this story line. He portrayed the hysteria really well. Batman and Robin was a great read this week.

    D’kay is a freak of nature. I mean how creepy was everything she did in this issue.

    Green Lantern Corps was great too. I did not know that Soranik is Sinestro’s daughter, you learn something new every day. 🙂

  7. Billy

    It sounds like Morrison is really on point with B & R.

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