February 15, 2011

Crisis of Infinite Reviews 02/09/11

Hey guys! There’s an excellent batch of books here this week. For the most part the writing was strong in all the books this week, while the art was hit or miss depending on the book.

Batman and Robin #20
Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Artist(s): Patrick Gleason and Mick Gray
Cover Artist: Patrick Gleason
Publisher: DC

Months after their initial scheduled appearance, Tomasi and Gleason have arrived at the helm of Batman and Robin. The issue starts off with a great couple of first pages depicting a quiet night at Wayne Manor with all the Wayne boys home, out of costume, watching The Mark of Zorro. Quickly, though, the peaceful night at home gives way to crime fighting and publicity stunts. Unfortunately in Gotham the two are rarely far from one another, as an angel-winged man falls from the sky landing mere feet from the mayor and celebrities. While working the case, Batman and Robin are attacked by a crazed Man-Bat, who leads them to a flurry of illuminated bats.
This was a pretty good issue. I thought it started out really strong, with an excellent portrayal of the Robins of past and present; Tomasi did a good job in capturing each of their personalities. The rest of the book, which plays out as a murder mystery, is just that: a mystery. Since it’s the first book in the arc very little has been established. So while the story looks promising, it will depend on the next two books to determine how successful it is. 3.5/5

Birds of Prey #9
Gail Simone
Artist: Inaki Miranda
Cover Artist: Stanley Lau
Publisher: DC

The “Death of Oracle” continues in this issue. The issue starts with Black Canary facing past memories and regrets; the likes of her father’s death, Roy’s fall from grace, and her divorce from Ollie. Meanwhile, the rest of the Birds of Prey, sans Hawk, are en route to Calculator, as his prisoners. Oracle, whose plans are being rushed, gets Black Canary to safety, before she, Hawk, and Batman set out to complete the mission.
Regarding the story, I think that this issue was fairly decent. The overall plot is interesting and for the most part it’s playing out in an intriguing manner. The bus scene where Huntress narrates while Lady Blackhawk acts is great fun. Other than writing Batman (Bruce) a little weird, in my opinion, Simone’s doing a great job with the story. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the art. This is the third chapter of this arc and it is also the third artist of the arc. Sadly, the art is a detriment to the issue. The art is inconsistent, appears unfinished in certain areas, and is an overall mess. 2.5/5

Flash #9
Writer: Geoff Johns
Francis Manapul
Cover Artist: Francis Manapul
Publisher: DC

After two books focusing on two of the Flash’s rogues, issue #9 launches us of into Flashpoint,” which, in case you hadn’t heard, is the next big Flash/DC event. The issues starts off with Hot Pursuit ripping through time and space, arriving in Central City. As he races to refuel and find Barry Allen, we pan across town where Barry is called in to work on a Saturday. He’s called in, it turns out, because of the death of an aged man in an Elongated Man’s costume. Having to deal with work, as well as the repercussions of Mirror Monarch’s Mirror, Barry continues to avoid the rest of the Flash family, including Wally, who has been notably absent since Barry’s return. Before much could be accomplished, Barry is interrupted by Hot Pursuit who not only warns him of impending doom, but reveals himself to be, well, that would just spoil it for you.
Overall I thought it was a decent issue. Considering it’s the prelude to the big event, not much was expected to happen. Flashpoint, from what I’ve gathered, sounds like it might be an interesting read. It will be interesting to see how important the aged hero’s death will be in the overall story. Hot Pursuit’s identity, regardless of the ridiculous superhero name, was a surprise, which in the age of the internet is a welcome surprise. On a personal note, I do hope there is an explanation as to why Wally has been absent for months, though I won’t be holding my breath. 3/5

Green Lantern Emerald Warriors #7
Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Artist(s): Fernando Pasarin and Cam Smith
Cover Artist(s): Rudolfo Migliari and Felipe Massafera
Publisher: DC

On the other side of the universe, the War of the Green Lanterns” begins to come about just as predicted by Guy. When last we left this book, Guy had been abandoned by fellow Lanterns Arisia and Kilowog. Sodam Yat, who had been given a special lantern ring that slowly drains the Green Lantern’s energy, attacks Guy after being mind controlled. Guy is able to free himself, with a little help from Bleez, and the two separate the telepaths from the mind hive, thus weakening the villain.
This was a fantastic issue. Tomasi does such an excellent job with the pacing of the book, incorporating excellent fight sequences along with necessary minimal dialog, that I was left wanting more at the end. Pasarin’s art in this book was absolutely great, including some scenes that were so gross you couldn’t look away. I get the feeling that this book isn’t as widely read or publicized as its sister series, but it should be. 4/5

Red Robin #20
Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Artist(s): Marcus To and Ray McCarthy
Cover Artist(s): Marcus To, Ray McCarthy, and Brian Bucalletto
Publisher: DC

This issue marks the beginning of a crossover with Teen Titans. It starts off with Red Robin battling Catman, of the Secret Six, who had been hired by Mikalek in an attempt to regain access to the Unternet. In order to escape, Catman uses Tam Fox’s phone to hand her over to Calculator (yes, he’s in this book, too). Tim reaches her apartment in time to see it blow up; luckily she had not been home at the time. Deducing that the shooter was a robot Calculator, Tim locates dozens of robot Calculators and decides to call in backup. Enter the Teen Titans. After catching up with his old team, Tim quickly falls into the leadership position and they head off to take on Calculator.
On a monthly basis this book continues to produce quality writing and art. From the chase scene in the beginning to the reunion of friends, Marcus To does an incredible job with the art. His fight scenes present a dynamic sense of movement and flow, while he is also capable of capturing emotions with the same ease. Nicieza, who might have been expecting some new readers with the crossover, took some time explaining back story in this issue. For the usual readers, it was probably more text than they are used to, but I think it was handled fairly well. The reunion scene was just perfect. The underlying tension smoothed over with humor was portrayed great in both the writing and the art. 4.5/5

T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #4

Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist(s): CAFU, Bit, and George Perez
Cover Artist(s): Ethan Van Sciver and Scott Hanna
Publisher: DC

Following in the same lines as the previous two issues, this book focuses on introducing one of the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, Dynamo. The flashback sales pitch goes as expected, when you have a cocky hunk and a pretty lady, oh and Toby, too. We shift over to the present time where nothing is going as expected. After NoMan got captured in the last issue, it was time to send in the reinforcements, also known as Dynamo. He rams his way through the outer defenses, however he gets blasted from behind by an unlikely fellow.
Overall I thought this issue was great, much like the rest of series. The writing is exceptional, the dialog is witty and smart. Toby’s sales pitch is all kinds of fun and really showcased how great of a salesman he was. The reveal at the end wasn’t really the surprise I think it was meant to be, at least not if you’d been paying attention. The art continues to impress in this book, including the short bit by George Perez. 4.5/5

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

Arnab Pradhan



  1. portland

    The death of Oracle arc is the biggest farce ever. A huge tease and thankfully didn’t end with the death of the namesake character. If Gail Simone is reduced to doing stunts like these to save a book she has had many years experience writing, there really isn’t any hope for this book is there? Sales are higher and not dropping as fast as Secret Six which apparently is a better written book. But people aren’t buying it. Only a handful of hardcore fans who post to comic book review websites. Bob Harras also had it in for Simone while she worked at Marvel and ousted her. She probably will be ousted from DC and returning to Marvel soon. Deadpool 2012 anyone?

  2. I am so SICK of the Calculator. Seriously. Get rid of that guy already! And BoP needs a regular artist who can (somehow) imitate Benes.

    And Green Lantern Emerald Warriors is my favorite Lantern book.

  3. @portland – I’m not sure I understand your problem with the current arc in Birds of Prey. As Andy mentioned, I too am sick of the Calculator, who I feel has no reason to be featured in two different books. But that aside I’ve enjoyed the Birds of Prey arc. From the onset, the arc hasn’t been about killing Oracle. It has been about her going back to being just a whisper in the wind, a rumor amongst villains without proof of a physical body. If only they could nab a regular artist.

    @Andy – At this point, I’d just like a consistent artist on BoP. I thought Guillem March did a great job in the last issue and then they gave us this.
    Green Lantern Emerald Warriors is a great Lantern book, maybe even my favorite too. Guy’s a beast.

  4. Anisa

    T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents was awesome! I agree with you about the writing and the art. I can’t wait to see what that ending is about.

    Red Robin was fun and I love the artwork.

    I think Green Lantern Emerald Warriors is my favorite Lantern book too. Guy’s really kinda awesome.

  5. Why is Calculator still alive and allowed to run amok in the pages of ANY book?

  6. Billy

    Good reviews man!

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