Comic – Green Arrow vol4: The Kill Machine: A

green arrow vol4A
After the lack-luster first volume, I had given up on Green Arrow, especially with how many good New 52 comics were flying around. But I was assured that after this latest team change, including Jeff Lemire, it has improved substantially. And it certainly delivered on that assurance. It rebooted his lame sidekicks, included some proper villains, and restyled Green Arrow with a more mysterious, driven nature, and not just as a lesser batman. The excellent art also greatly aided the comic’s return to my good graces.

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Comic – Earth 2 vol2: The Tower of Fate: B

EARTH2_vol2B

The dialog in this book is painful. There was definitely some throbbing in my temple as I read it. It’s like middle school fanfiction you’d find on some internet forum. But the story works just fine, and there are some great moments when no one is talking. Also, Doctor Fate was one of my favorites from back when JSA was still a thing, so I was looking forward to his return, which didn’t disappoint.

Comic – Swamp Thing vol2: Family Tree: A-

swamp thing vol2A-

After all the emotion of the first volume, it’s nice to watch some Swamp Thing brawling. And his design is awesome. I love how he shifts and grows based on the situation and his mood. And his foes are great too, like something out of Hellboy or the horror comics of the 70’s. And like the first volume, I appreciate the continued use of unique layouts and their allusion to Moore’s 90’s series. I could’ve skipped the #0 and the Swamp Thing Annual stories included in this volume, not because they were poorly done, but because they jarringly altered the flow of the narrative, and that they weren’t consistent with the style.

Comic – Shazam vol1: B

shazam vol1B

Every single thing I knew about Shazam was jammed into this opening collection, Dr. Sivana, The Seven Deadly Sins, Mary Marvel and Marvel Jr. Even Tawny the Tiger! And that overflowing inclusion is the heart of it’s problems, feeling too busy for anything to shine especially the Seven Deadly sins. It introduces two of them individually and then just decides that’s boring and has the rest just show up without any explanation, and merge Captain-Planet-style into a big monster. (Though, admittedly, I did like said monster.) But Black Adam is awesome as always, and the art works well enough.

Comic – Injustice: Gods Among Us vol1: B+

injustice
B+
The main goal of this series seems to be an attempt at shocking deaths, and it scores about a 50% success rate in this regard. A few are quite well conceived, and some feel like deliberate attempts to come up with the dumbest deaths possible. Superman’s fall is decently explained, but it still feels forced, much like Hal Jordan’s infamous Parallax-possessed killing spree. The art is mostly satisfactory, excepting a few truly awful facial expressions. Elseworlds stories are usually fun, and Injustice presents a dystopia worthy of exploring, even if at times the pathfinding can get tedious.

Comic – Demon Knights vol1: Seven Against the Dark: D+

demon knights vol1
D+
This comic overflows with horrendous dialog, which can happen when you have too many characters, and definitely will happen when you have them constantly attempt to talk in modern slang (such has having them say “dung” as an exclamatory curse word. A half-dozen increasingly painful times). Also, there are dinosaurs in it. Which is cool because dinosaurs, but also dumb because medieval dinosaurs? The plot is full of incomprehensible twists and awful inconsistency. The “inventor” character creates catapults which amaze everyone, but the giant mechanical dragons (that exist solely because the creators wanted some giant mechanical dragons) surprise no one.

Comic – Batman: The Black Mirror: A-

batman black mirrorA-
It’s a bit weird reading non-Bruce-Wayne Batman. Weird, though not wrong. The story weaves many of the elements used by the better bat-tales. Awesome locations (including an underwater lair with carnivorous sea creatures and a criminal auction house selling supervillain memorabilia), a detective story focused on crapping all over the Gordon family, and an appropriately philosophic appearance by the joker are all steps in the right direction. But at times things feel a little forced and some of the dialog could’ve used some work. And without Bruce’s brooding obsessiveness, these noir stories lose much of their appeal.