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December 14, 2010

Crisis of Infinite Reviews 12/08/10

Happy Holidays all! I have a really good set of books for you this week. They range from a DC Holiday book, to a Batman Annual part one, another great Red Robin, and issues two for both Superboy and T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents.

Minor spoilers ahead!

DCU Holiday Special 2010
Writer(s): Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning, Seth Albano, Tony Bedard, Joey Cavalieri, Kevin Grevioux, and Dara Naraghi
Artist(s): Renato Arlem, Roberto Castro, Richard & Tanya Horie, Carlo Soriano, and more
Cover Artist: Matt Haley
Publisher: DC

With the holiday season already upon us, the DCU Holiday Special brings you six stories that celebrate diversity. While certainly not perfect, each of the six stories is a very good read. The first story, which followed Anthro and his family on the Winter Solstice, did an excellent job of representing the importance of family. Jonah Hex, in helping a young boy, unwittingly was part of a twist to the traditional Hanukkah story. Green Lantern John Stewart helped a newbie Green Lantern in learning the importance of cultural diversity. Superman’s story was meant to remind us all of the importance of the heroes who existed without any super powers. The Legion were a part of a future where everyone celebrated Holiday, a day set out for a unified celebration. And even the Spectre found himself partaking in the holiday season. Overall, it was just a nice set of fun holiday stories. 4/5

Detective Comics Annual #12

Writer(s): David Hine, Brad Desnoyer, and Kyle Higgins
Artist(s): Agustin Padilla, Lee Ferguson, Trevor McCarthy, and Ryan Winn
Cover Artist: Stanley Lau
Publisher: DC

This issue is laid out with one main story and two back-up stories at the the end. The main story takes place in Paris, where Bruce Wayne is on business attempting to persuade the head of the Police Nationale in Paris to allow Batman to create a stronghold in the city. The story plays out with both Batmen racing to prevent the latest of a string of murders, in order to prove their worth to the head of Police. The first back-up story follows Renee Montoya, who makes a cameo in the main story, on her journey to Nanda Parbatt, where she wishes to find out how to lose the Mark of Cain. The second story is the introduction origin to Paris’s parkour vigilante, Nightrunner. This story chronicles a young man’s journey from a world of violence to rescuing people from harm’s way.
Overall I thought the issue was done very well. This was one of the first times we’ve seen Bruce and Dick work together as the Batmen since Bruce’s return, and it’s good to see they are as effective as ever. The story is interesting and a tie into everything Bat-related since going public. Between the two back-up stories, I thought the writing was well done for Montoya’s story, although the art felt inconsistent. Nightrunner’s origin story was decent, though I can’t imagine what role he can effectively play after this story. 4/5

Red Robin #18
Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Artist(s): Marcus To and Ray McCarthy
Cover Artist(s): Marcus To and Ray McCarthy
Publisher: DC

Tim’s list has brought him to Moscow, where unfortunately he not only has a criminal to worry about, but the local metahuman police to worry about as well. Though he does inform Red Star of his arrival, Red Robin is still a fairly unwelcome hero. That being said, Tim has a plan for almost every circumstance and is able to use those skills to his advantage, especially while dealing with a rogue female vigilante. Unfortunately, just as Red Robin is about to uncover Red Star’s true intentions, he, Tam, and Lonnie collapse.
With this issue, Bruce’s return seems to have finally settled and life progresses on track for Tim. Nicieza’s depiction of Tim, during his run, has been fantastic. He’s brilliant, a great tactician, a method character, but he’s not a pompous ass. His relationship with Tam continues to grow with every issue, which I think is great. In my opinion it’s always good to see the superhero aspect as well as the everyday life aspect to the character, which I think is done consistently well. 4/5

Superboy #2

Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Pier Gallo
Cover Artist: Phil Noto
Publisher: DC

With the teaser in the last issue, it should not have been a surprise to see Poison Ivy grace the mundane life that is Smallville. The eco-friendly villainess convinces Superboy to assist her in stopping a threat she claims is harming the plants. After rejecting help from Simon, Superboy’s self-proclaimed sidekick, Superboy goes off with Ivy only to find out she’s been lying to him. Meanwhile, Simon, ignoring Superboy’s orders, splices some of Parasite’s cells with frogs and creates an energy draining frog army. The two boys encounter some alien technology that explodes and leaves remains that contain ancient glyphs.
This was a good issue that had some great parts in it. The relationship that is being built between Conner and Simon is an interesting one, given Simon is meant to be Superboy’s greatest ally and enemy. The direction of the story feels like it is just a small part to a much larger whole, however I feel that the connections aren’t as strong as they could be. The artwork continues to be inconsistent. While some characters look great, like the creepy characters at the end, others feel flat and awkward at times, like Poison Ivy. Overall a good second issue, though it could have been better. 3.5/5

T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #2
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist(s): CAFU, Bit, and ChrisCross
Cover Artist: Gary Frank
Publisher: DC

After getting a glimpse of the new team in the previous issue, we get a much more in depth look into our first hero this week. Henry, the new Lightning, is an accomplished runner who is faced with drug allegations that have turned his world upside down. When he is propositioned to become a hero and to just run he agrees, unaware of what this truly means. When he runs using the power of the suit, he sees visions of his life visibly shortening, a side effect to the powers. The issue also portrays interaction between Colleen and Toby, who have recently become colleagues.
After a very strong start, this issue maintains that momentum and level of quality. Spencer does an excellent job of panning out why Henry would take on the job. The scenes where Henry is running and visibly experiences his life shortening are great stuff. His newly acquired powers will eventually kill him, we know this, but even then the manner in which that is depicted is still shocking. The relationship that is building between Colleen and Toby, reluctantly on Colleen’s part, is great. They are both unique characters and have a subtle but strong presence. Overall this is a fantastic issue, and from what I can gather from the two issues, this will be a great series. 4/5

Be sure to check out previous editions of Crisis of Infinite Reviews by clicking here!

Arnab Pradhan
arnab@comicattack.net

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