The amazing adventures of Aquaman, as it should be called, continue in another great issue of this series. Aquaman finds himself stranded in the middle of a desert, miles away from any significant body of water, and time is running out. Geoff Johns proves that what he does best is write solo titles, with a supporting cast. Aquaman is exciting; it’s filled with action, while also having a substantial story. The character’s interaction with the outside world as well as his interaction with his inner circle makes for some very compelling writing. Even when Johns is writing the supporting cast, specifically Mera, the story continues to be exciting. The pacing of this issue, even as it transitions from the past to the present, is well done. In stark contrast, Johns’s pacing in Justice League is quite amateurish in comparison to this well thought out and well planned book. Ivan Reis’s art is as great in this issue as it’s ever been. To be quite honest, I am most impressed by the entire art team’s ability to make the water look as celestial and powerful as they do. This is a fantastic read with art that is of equal stature. The two work well with one another, without ever overpowering the other. 4.5/5
I said it in my last review, this series reads and feels like a video game. I am now also going to say, that I am officially on board with that. In the past couple of years, the bulk of the Batman writers have focused on Batman’s superior intellect, his ability to rationalize and plan ahead, which I think is fantastic reading. However, I think that tends to make people forget that Bruce Wayne is in fact one of, if not the, most skilled martial artists in the DC universe: his hand to hand combat skills are matched by few. This series is putting the focus on Batman’s athletic prowess, his ability to fight his way out of any situation, and I think it’s necessary to establish that Batman isn’t all brains. There is a reason he is feared by the masses and this is it. After a fairly long departure, Scarecrow has returned to Gotham and he’s devised a new plan to deal with Batman. The guest appearances also continue with the Man of Steel himself coming to Batman’s aide. Like in almost all comic book situations, helping another hero out is never as simple as it may seem. While the story is very simple and straightforward, the art really helps to sell this action filled, fast paced book. 3.5/5
If there was one major problem I found regarding the previous incarnation of The Flash about Barry, it would be just that – it was all about Barry. Four men have held the title Flash, while a handful of others supported those men, and I felt they were all neglected. While we haven’t seen or heard from the other Flashes, what we have received is an abundance of scenes with his supporting cast. From Iris, to Patty, to the rogues, we’re getting a look at the whole Flash world and that, for me at least, makes for a much more interesting story. This issue brings to end, or at least brings close to an end, the first arc. It’s actually a tad unclear whether or not the story is over, because of the way it ended. The ending is a little ambiguous, which actually works well with the overall story. It builds a nice sort of tension without becoming tedious. The art, as we’ve now come to expect, is fantastic. Manapul’s art is fantastically illustrated. His Flash is remarkably dynamic, considering he’s a two dimensional drawing. Buccellato’s colors work in tandem with Manapul’s art. The naturally appropriate use of washes and vibrant colors make for an amazing artistic experience. 4/5
Geoff Johns is doing a terrible job handling the amount of characters this book has. Instead of a team, we essentially get a two to three character story every issue, while the others hide behind some rubble. His transitions from one scene to another are choppy, which is especially noticeable when switching from one location to another, or one character to another. The biggest problem of this issue can be summed up in one word: Batman. Geoff Johns, as I’ve long feared, can’t write the character. In fact, I’ll go as far to say that this is the most ridiculous scene I’ve ever read involving Batman. In no world, regardless of who’s trying to destroy it, would Batman reveal to a complete stranger who his secret identity is. To emphasize just how much of a stranger Hal Jordan is, consider this: the “Justice League” doesn’t even exist yet, in fact by my count it’s been less than a day since Batman first met Hal Jordan. To make matters worse, after pulling off his mask and sharing his secret with Hal, Batman runs off without putting his mask back on. Really, Geoff Johns? The greatest detective on Earth, who up until yesterday was believed to be a myth even by the other superheroes, is going to run around in broad daylight without a mask on? C’mon!
And then there was the art. It would be prudent of me to mention at this point, that this book was a week late. What happened to being on time, DC? I guess when you’re Johns and Lee, that doesn’t really matter. Here’s the kicker: the art in this book was not up to the standards of previous issues. The backgrounds were sloppy, the detail was lacking, the characters looked off. The Flash, if possible, looked slower than I’ve ever seen, Darkseid has no emotions whatsoever, even when he’s supposed to be angry, while Wonder Woman and Aquaman, who I’m pretty sure are there just to look pretty and be our eye candy, look terrible. 1.5/5
If you want to read a team book done right, look no further. The story? Superboy’s job is to take down and bring in Wonder Girl, but the Teen Titans are there to stop him. It’s a simple enough premise, but the outcome is absolutely fantastic. Scott Lobdell gives us an excellent look into this team he’s built, giving us insight into the characters’ intellects, strengths, and knowledge of their own powers. We’re starting to see Wonder Girl’s intelligence shine through her gruff attitude, and Bunker’s powers get a bit of a spotlight and he’s kind of an all around awesome character. The badass moment of the issue has to go to Tim/Red Robin, who pretty much single-handedly takes down Superboy, and he would have succeeded, had he not tried to enlighten the poor fool. The only complaint I have about this series, is an admittedly personal quirk that the creative team couldn’t really fix. I thought Tim, Conner, and Bart had an amazing friendship akin to Dick’s friendship with Roy and Wally. As such, I find it disconcerting to read them act and react as strangers would. On the other hand, I am really enjoying what Lobdell is doing with Wonder Girl, Solstice, and Bunker. He’s really brought some life into Wonder Girl and Solstice; one had become a little boring in recent years, and the latter was a little too over the top when she was introduced. Bunker is easily one of my favorite new characters in the new DC. Booth, Rapmund, and Dalhouse continue doing a remarkable job with the art. The characters have a lot of youthful exuberance that perfectly reflects the way they are written. 4.5/5
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