Comic Book Review: Superman (2016) #10

Official site is http://www.dccomics.com/comics/superman-2016/superman-10

For years now, DC Comics has tried to reproduce the youthfulness and success of the old Teen Titans stories with debatable results. In my opinion, the primary attraction towards those stories was watching a group of teenage, sidekicks as they come of age and try to fulfill their potential. The Teen Titans was a superhero story for teenage readers to relate to. Reading Superman #10 then, was in many ways a revelation. For the first time in a long time, I got that same feeling I had when I read the old Teen Titans books. I felt that youthfulness of young heroes trying to grow up and be heroes while having fun at the same time.

In this book, Damian Wayne, the current Robin finally meets with the new Superboy, the son of the new Superman, and fisticuffs and hilarity ensue. What’s striking is how Superboy and Robin are very clearly characterized. Superboy is a humble, good natured little boy raised by loving parents who’ve tried to teach him responsibility. Robin has spent the majority of his young life training with ninja assassins and Batman. Robin’s even died and come back to life already. Robin is also incredibly arrogant and condescending; he’s a little jerk.

It’s surprising then, how much chemistry the two characters have. They don’t really get along right now, and yet it’s not hard to see how they would. There’s a camaraderie in their childishness and it’s tons of fun to watch. In fact, this new Superboy and Robin could easily form the core of a new generation of Teen Titans and spawn a whole host of stories I would love to read. I hope you’re listening DC, these two characters need their own book and maybe a few more young superheroes to join their team.

In regards to the art, anyone whose been following DC Comics should be familiar with Tomasi’s style. It’s cartoony and fluid, which perfectly suits this book.

Score: 7/10 A fun starting point to what will hopefully be a whole bunch of stories starring Robin and Superboy.

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Comic Book Review: The Walking Dead #160

Official site is https://imagecomics.com/comics/releases/the-walking-dead-160

The Walking Dead comic book is really boring. It feels like all the excitement was sucked out of this book and regurgitated in the television show. It definitely feels like Kirkman’s attention is focused there.

I remember when I first started reading this series. Every subsequent arc brought something new and unforeseeable. It showed you the depths of human depravity. Deeper and deeper the hole of depression and hopelessness went, and the deeper the sadness of the narrative, the stronger the core characters became.

This is what I felt until the television show came out. Now the book feels like a shell of it’s former self. There are too many characters, to the point where the deaths of main characters don’t really feel all that sad anymore. There was also this sense of isolation and impending doom that wasn’t there before. Now Rick and crew are part of a big, new world with lots of neighbors and allies. It’s just… not horror anymore. It’s not a psychological exploration of the human condition. It feels more like Kirkman is simply testing ideas here that he can use in his television show, which just depresses me.

Which leads me to the following conclusion: Kirkman should end the Walking Dead comic book. He won’t, because the comic book cross promotes with the television show, but he should. He recently announced that he was ending his book, Invincible, because the story had run its course. He had told all the stories he wanted to tell and there wasn’t much else to add. Which is great. It feels like the Walking Dead is in the same situation. He should just end the book and focus of television.

Oh, and if you need a synopsis of the story, Rick’s army is fighting the Whisperers and the Whisperers attack a city. That’s about it.

Score: 5/10 This story arc lacks the weight of past story arcs. This book feels like a book that has gone beyond its expiration date.

Comic Book Review: The Unworthy Thor (2016) #1

Official site is http://marvel.com/comics/issue/61718/the_unworthy_thor_2016_1

Coipel and Thor, together again. Coipel is one of those artists that if I see a book by them on the shelf, I’ll just buy it. It doesn’t even matter what it is. Seeing him draw Thor, one of the best series that he’s ever been on, is just a cherry on top.

In this first issue, we find Thor fighting to reclaim his power. Thor is no longer worthy to carry Mjolnir and without that hammer, he posses but a fraction of the power he once had. Futher, the way that Thor became unworthy also seems to have affected him psychologically, weakening him both in physical power and in mental fortitude. Thor is now a weak man. He still has the strength of an Asgardian, but he is no longer the unstoppable force he once was.

This all started back in Original Sin. Nick Fury whispered something in Thor’s ear, thus making him unworthy of wielding the hammer Mjolnir. Readers have waited years, but Marvel has yet to reveal what was actually said. One of the key draws of this series is that maybe we will finally find out what Fury said and what took away Thor’s powers.

Score: 6/10 Coipel’s art needs no explanation. It’s great. I’m really looking forward to Jason Aaron revealing what Fury said and hopefully a big reveal further exploring and redefining the character of Thor.

 

Comic Book Review: Batman (2016) #10

Official site is http://www.dccomics.com/comics/batman-2016/batman-10

I think a lot of people forget that a big aspect of the Batman is that he is a leader. His books are often times a team book. He leads the Justice League, he leads the Bat Family, and in this issue, he leads a team of bad guys.

It’s a necessary aspect for the evolution of Batman. So many stories have explored Bruce Wayne, so much so that they we’ve had to tell and retell his past over and over again. The allies and villains then, are essential in continuing that narrative and the exploration of Batman’s world.

In this issue, Batman has assembled a squad of bad guys from Arkham Asylum in hopes of breaking into Bane’s prison and kidnapping Psycho Pirate. Psycho Pirate seems to be the only person who can help Gotham Girl, another new ally in Batman’s world.

The most interesting part for me are the hints dropped on what made Catwoman the most dangerous villain in Arkham Asylum. Apparently, she killed 237 terrorists in cold blood, earning her a death sentence by lethal injection. Batman intervenes and recruits her to his team, but it still isn’t fully explained how she came to be a mass murderer. I’m looking forward to that reveal.

Score: 5/10 An interesting, though unoriginal Batman story. Batman’s had many, many teams in the past and the dynamics involved in this team have yet to be fully explored. The most attractive aspect of this story is the possibility of Batman having his own suicide squad.

Comic Book Review: Suicide Squad (2016) #5

The official site is http://www.dccomics.com/comics/suicide-squad-2016/suicide-squad-5

After reading through five issues of this new series, there is really only one reason to pick this series up: Jim Lee’s art. That’s it. Jim Lee stars as the penciler in this new series and he does exactly as great a job as you’d expect from him.

I guess you could also pick up the book if you like the Suicide Squad. I imagine most people will pick it up after watching the movie. A substantial number of readers may just be Harley Quinn fans as well. But mostly, it’s for Jim Lee.

Score: 3.5/10 The story is meh. Jim Lee’s art is as good as always.