As all the pieces to the puzzle start filling in, Batman and Gordon find themselves in strikingly different, yet equally dangerous positions. The Dollmaker, whose identity we became privy to last issue, goes all out as he pits Batman against his Joker-doll army. While Batman succeeds in escaping his puppet master, the Dollmaker and his family are able to slither out of captivity. Meanwhile, Gordon has Olivia to deal with, who happens to be just a little girl, with borderline psychopathic tendencies. As creepy, and frankly disgusting, as the Dollmaker is, Olivia is hands down the most frightening character of this opening story. Tony Daniel’s story continues to get better with every issue. The plot seems to be more focused, the dialog is improving, and all around it’s becoming an improved read, which is saying something, because I’ve always enjoyed his writing. Likewise, his art continues to impress. While he’s at his finest drawing action scenes, he does a fantastic job at illustrating simple conversations with subtle touches in the character’s expressions that enhance the whole scene. Florea’s inks and Morey’s colors do a remarkable job at capturing the tone of the story and the artistic direction of the art. 4/5
Four issues in and we already have a new writer. I haven’t been keeping track of all of DC’s books, but a drastic change in the creative team after only 4 issues, 3 really, doesn’t really bode well for the series. In this case, I didn’t think the series had found stable footing before the change, and I’m still not sold after the first issue with Giffen taking over. There are some aspects to this new story that I have been thoroughly enjoying. Q-Core, and all that entails, including new technology, new armor, and a surprisingly humorous duo (Jax and Naomi) watching over him, have really helped keep this series interesting. Jax and Naomi specifically are a nice addition, especially because I haven’t heard a single word about whether Connor and Mia even exist in this new universe. There are problems with this issue, however. The “business” portions of this book tend to bore me. The way it played out in this issue, with his assistant, was done well enough, but overall they’ve accomplished little and have done little more than to make Ollie seem negligent and lazy. The art looks great; Jurgens and Perez paired with Horie make for a really strong artistic team, as is apparent in the striking action scenes. Hopefully the story will pick up and provide for something a bit more exciting. 3.5/5
Another issue, another success. Scott Snyder writes a terrific horror story from the very first pages of this issue. Within those pages, Snyder sets a steep, uphill battle for Alec Holland as we see just what this boy, William, is capable of doing. I think it’s fascinating that their powers almost feed off of each other’s, but in a complete opposite manner, in which one is weakened when the other is strong. It will be really interesting to find out how this will affect Alec’s transformation into the Swamp Thing. Though, to be honest, I’m not particularly looking forward to that as the Swamp Thing creeps me out. Specifically when the story goes into its sexual relations, gross. We get a ton of more information through Alec’s connection to the green. I realize that there are some people who find this story to be moving too slow, but as a newcomer into the Swamp Thing world, I think it’s moving at a perfect pace. It’s not going too fast or too slow, and there’s a nice balance between action and information. If it were to progress too much faster, I imagine I’d be terribly confused. Marco Rudy filled in for Paquette, giving him a well deserved break, and he does a stellar job. His layouts look absolutely fantastic, his line work is clean, his facial expressions are spot on. I can’t say his art made me forget all about Paquette, who I think is perfectly suited for this series, but it certainly didn’t make me miss it. 4.5/5
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