January 18, 2011

Crisis of Infinite Reviews 1/12/11

Welcome to DC review Tuesday! I’ve got a bundle of great books with awesome covers for you this week.

Minor spoilers ahead!

Batman and Robin #19
Writer: Paul Cornell
Artist(s): Scott McDaniel and Rob Hunter
Cover Artist(s): Patrick Gleason and Gene Ha
Publisher: DC
The bizarre tale of Absence comes to an end in this issue. Furious as a result of her presumed death, Absence sets out to teach Batman and Robin a lesson, rather than to outright attack them. Characterized as a tortured soul, Absence’s slightly psychotic actions systematically trick and trap the Dynamic Duo, without ever actually intending to do them harm. After attempting to pit Batman and Robin against one another, the troubled Absence reveals her actual plans and escapes by pretending to commit suicide.
What worked great about this arc was the straight forward manner in which everything was presented. The pacing felt intentional and was executed well; the story didn’t feel like it was ever drawn out needlessly. Coming out of the arc, Gotham now has one creepy, maniacal villainess, and it only took three issues to effectively introduce her as a memorable character. 3.5/5

Batgirl #17
Writer: Bryan Q. Miller
Artist: Pere Perez
Cover Artist: Dustin Nguyen
Publisher: DC

Stephanie Brown has just received her first mission as a part of Batman Inc., but unfortunately for her, this causes her to cross paths with Damian. The two are both attempting to solve the case of the missing children. Realizing that working together would be far easier than fighting, the pair decides to use each other to accomplish their goals. While Stephanie scans the security cameras, Damian goes undercover as a kid on a field trip.
The two lead strikingly different lives, as is portrayed in the very beginning with Stephanie oversleeping while Damian has been regulating his sleep to be more like Bruce. The back and forth bickering between the two characters is what makes this issue great. With the criminals being simple kidnappers in this issue, the relationship between the two is the main focus of the issue. And seeing into the mind of Stephanie, we see that behind her remarks is a sense of concern for the boy, who doesn’t really know what it means to be a kid. After not having read Batgirl for a couple of issues, I thought that this issue was really good. 4/5

Birds of Prey #8
Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Guillem March
Cover Artist: Stanley Lau
Publisher: DC

Oracle’s attempt to redefine herself continues in the second part of “The Death of Oracle.” The bulk of this issue takes place in a local strip bar, with Oracle and the Calculator looking on from their headquarters. Sticking to the plan that Oracle created, Dove claims to be Oracle, while Huntress and Lady B clear the place of any lingering civilians. Meanwhile, Black Canary faces off against Bolt, Mammoth, and Mortis, who has the power to make you face your regrets. Batman, watching on from Oracle’s headquarters, offers to step in, but Oracle asks him to let her team do this on their own and has him do something else for her. In a flash, things start to fall apart for Oracle as Black Canary is tagged by Mortis, leaving her in a trance, while Dove is led away by the villains.
With such a large cast it’s sometimes hard to effectively use each character to their fullest potential. In this case, Simone does a fantastic job of spreading things out throughout the book. Bruce’s relationship with Oracle has always been strong, so it was nice to see this friendship utilized with Batman going along with Oracle’s wishes, no questions asked. Bringing up Oracle’s manipulation of Calculator’s mind and her desire to fix things herself is a strong representation of the character. Eight issues in, however, and I still am not clear as to what role Hawk is playing in this series. Other than that, this was a really strong issue. Guillem March did an excellent job on the interior art, and the cover looks fantastic. 3.5/5

Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #6
Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Artist(s): Fernando Pasarin and Cam Smith
Cover Artist(s): Rudolfo Migliari and Felipe Massafera
Publisher: DC

At the end of the last issue, Guy’s secrets came pouring out of him like lava from a volcano. Enraged with being left in the dark, Green Lanterns Kilowog and Arisia abandon Guy, leaving him with just Bleez for backup. The two arrive at the plane Kralok, which has an army of guards surrounding the planet. In a blazing display of her power, Bleez kills them all in mere seconds. Meanwhile, on a planet not too far away, Sodam Yat is seen floating in the air radiating energy with his power levels exceeding three times the normal levels of a Lantern ring. Back on the planet Kralok, Guy and Bleez come face to face with Zardor, a powerful telepath using other telepaths to increase his own strength.
This was a good issue. We finally get the full extent of Guy’s pact with Atrocitus and Ganthet, including the fact that Krona is the hooded figure collecting the entities. It will be interesting to see how this plays out, now that Krona has revealed himself in Green Lantern. I doubt Hal will be pleased to know that Guy and Ganthet both knew of Krona’s intentions from the beginning. Also, as more time passes the Red Lanterns are proving themselves to be not only useful, but very powerful creatures. This series especially feels like a prelude to the upcoming War of the Green Lanterns event. It will be interesting to see what role the immensely powerful Sodam Yat plays (or has already played) in the coming war. 4/5

Red Robin #19
Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Artist(s): Marcus To and Ray McCarthy
Cover Artist(s): Marcus To and Ray McCarthy
Publisher: DC

The last we saw of our hero, he was being knocked out, along with some of his friends. Tim wakes up in this strange world where nothing is as it seems, and the only answers he is able to get come in the form of the Riddler’s riddles. Once he finds Anarky and Promise, Tim learns that he is in the Unternet, a place where anything is possible. It turns out that after the Unternet was corrupted by Darkseid, the villains used it to act out their fantasies. However, the heroes of this realm had the same abilities to harness this power, they just needed the proper motivation. Anarchy volunteers to maintain contact with the real world and this world in order to clean up the Unternet.
I thought that this issue was fantastic on a couple of levels. The writing, for one, was exceptionally strong. The concept was complex, the manner in which everything played out is complex, but by the end every little piece of the puzzle falls into place, leaving you more than satisfied. Also, even in the midst of Tim’s growth as a character and all this seriousness, Nicieza is able to bring in a nice touch of humor that perfectly suits the series. The art in this issue is great, as I’ve come to expect. Marcus To does a great job of creating a distinctly different world in the land of the Unternet that enhances the overall experience. 4.5/5

T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #3
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist(s): CAFU, Bit, and Howard Chaykin
Cover Artist(s): Chris Sprouse, Karl Story, and Guy Major
Publisher: DC

With each issue now, we are being introduced to a different member of the team. This issue spotlights NoMan, a very blue individual who was one of the members of the original team. Through the use of some fancy science and an army of clone bodies, NoMan is practically immortal, because when he is killed his consciousness transfers to a different body. Through the use of some excellent flashbacks, we learn that the more he transfers from clone to clone, he loses more and more of his humanity.
This issue was fantastic. The way that the story plays out works well in two ways. The back story to the character NoMan is done so well, that by the end it’s hard not to feel for this sad character who has become nothing more than thoughts in a vessel. At the same time, this issue is building up to the action in the present day, which is interesting for a completely different reason. Coupled with some really great art, this book is a must read title. 4.5/5

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

Arnab Pradhan


One Comment

  1. Billy

    Wow, sounds like a great stack of books!

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