BATGIRL #19/ Written by HOPE LARSON/ Pencils by CHRIS WILDGOOSE/ Inks by JOSE MARZAN JR./ Colors by MAT LOPES/ Letters by DERON BENNETT/ Published by DC COMICS
Review by MATT MORRISON
A massive and unexpected blizzard leaves all of Gotham City snowbound and turns The Penguin, who owns several badly needed snowplows, into an unexpected hero. Batgirl smells something fishy (besides The Penguin’s breath) and starts investigating how the American Weather Administration failed to see the storm coming. While the classic Green Arrow fan in me enjoys a good poking of the fat-cats, Larson’s script verges into O’Neilian levels of preachiness. Mention is made of a climate-change denying bureaucrat running the government agency in charge of monitoring dangerous weather activity into the ground, but this has nothing to do with the plot beyond explaining why there’s only one IT person working to prevent the AWA’s computers from being hacked. That, coupled with the cowboy-themed, anti-science, anti-regulation group SPUR (Stockmen Pursuing Unbound Republic), will send conservative comic readers everywhere crying back to their Chuck Dixon collections. Amusing as that thought is, Larson is a far better writer than this and capable of addressing these issues with far greater subtlety. The artwork for the issue is great, however, with Wildgoose, Marzan Jr. and Lopes doing their usual stellar job on the pencils, inks and colors. The only sore point is Larson’s script, which would be quite enjoyable if it weren’t for the political non sequiturs grinding the story to a halt.
DETECTIVE COMICS #973/ Written by JAMES TYNION IV/ Art by JESUS MERINO/ Colors by JASON WRIGHT/ Letters by SAL CIPRIANO/ Published by DC COMICS
Review by MATT MORRISON
Clayface is on a rampage and the protesters organized by The First Victim are in his path. The Gotham Knights will have an unexpected ally in helping to save the city from The Victim Syndicate, but will it be enough to save their out-of-control ally? James Tynion’s action-packed script pushes the story toward an amazing conclusion. The art, unfortunately, does not match the script. Between Jason Wright’s odd choice of bright colors and Jesus Merino using thick inks to outline his pencils but hardly any inks at all for shading, the artwork for this issue looks oddly off-putting. Somehow, it looks far brighter than any Batman comic should and yet the individual line-work seems oddly over-emphasized. Merino also has an unfortunate tendency to draw certain characters with the same face and hair to the point that the only way to tell Orphan apart from Doctor October is the white streak in Doctor October’s hair.
INJUSTICE 2 #42/ Written by TOM TAYLOR/ Art by DANIEL SAMPERE/ Colors by REX LOKUS/ Letters by WES ABBOTT/ Published by DC COMICS
Newly returned to Gorilla City after a journey to Khandaq, Damian Wayne has ill news regarding a proposed alliance between his allies and Black Adam. The news gets worse, however, as Gorilla Grodd chooses this moment to stage a revolution of his own. There is a scene in this issue which had me laughing harder than any comic I’ve read in recent memory. Don’t worry – I won’t spoil the gag. Suffice it to say that this book and its creative team find new ways for me to be astonished every single week and I love this book for that as much as I love its novel (and sometimes incredibly deviated) takes on some of DC Comics most beloved characters.
RAVEN: DAUGHTER OF DARKNESS #1/ Written by MARV WOLFMAN/ Art by POP MHAN/ Colors by LOVERN KINDZIERSKI/ Letters by SAIDA TEMOFONTE/ Published by DC COMICS
Review by MATT MORRISON
Rachel Roth is a typical teenage girl in most respects – moody, secretive and concerned about fitting in. But unlike most teenage girls, Rachel has good reason to feel like an outsider. She’s the daughter of a demon, a powerful magician and some kind of superhero. She is Raven. Those who only know Raven from the cartoons or from the classic Teen Titans comics can both approach this series on equal footing. Written by legendary writer Marv Wolfman, the old master updates Raven’s character for the modern age wonderfully, giving Raven more of a character and personality than she had in his original Titans run. There’s a brilliant conceit here in giving Raven a secret identity that emphasizes her lacking any frame of reference to how human society works. Her few friends just treat her like a sheltered home-school kid raised by overly religious parents who is just now getting out of the house, which is not far from the truth ironically enough. Pop Mhan’s artwork falters a bit in how unevenly applied the inks are but this is still a solid first issue that all of Raven’s fans will appreciate.
THE RUFF AND REDDY SHOW #4/ Written by HOWARD CHAYKIN/ Art & Colors by MAC REY/ Letters by KEN BRUZENAH/ Published by DC COMICS
Review by ROY BUCKINGHAM
Loosely based on Hanna Barbera’s first television series Ruff and Reddy, The Ruff and Reddy Show is a dark look at Hollywood today. It is a world where nostalgia is milked for all it can be and women are stomped upon by men who use them to climb a ladder to success. It’s a place where enemies make the strangest bedfellows, fame is fleeting and no one can be trusted. It’s cynical yet darkly hilarious. The story is great, but the artwork is jarring and unsettling. While this fits the tone of the story, it is still harsh on the eyes. Still, this series is worth a look for the story alone.