BATGIRL & THE BIRDS OF PREY #20/ Story by JULIE BENSON & SHAWNA BENSON/ Art by ROGE ANTONIO/ Colors by MARCELO MAIOLO/ Letters by SAIDA TEMOFONTE/Published by DC COMICS
Review by MATT MORRISON
Tensions build between The Birds of Prey in the wake of their hacker friend Gus’ death, as all of their secrets are exposed to one another. For Helena “The Huntress” Bertinelli, that secret is that she’s been visiting her crime-boss mother in prison and has been called to act as a character witness at her parole hearing. That leads to big trouble for The Birds as Helena’s investigation into the crooked judge handling her mom’s trial leads to another attack by the robotic assassin called Burnrate!
Batgirl & The Birds of Prey will be coming to a close soon and it is clear that this Full Circle arc is giving each of The Birds a moment in the spotlight before they come together again for the series conclusion. Last month’s issue centered on Batgirl. This month focuses on Huntress. The Benson sisters’ scripts are as strong as ever. Unfortunately, the erratic artwork of Roge Antonio that drove away many readers is still here as well. There is a rushed jerkiness to Antonio’s work this month, particularly in the action sequences where Huntress fights Burnrate on her motorcycle. Marcelo Maiolo’s colors are somewhat better, but they’re still paint on a broken-down car.
DETECTIVE COMICS #976/ Story by JAMES TYNION IV/ Art by JAVIER FERNANDEZ/ Colors by JOHN KALISZ / Letters by SAL CIPRIANO/Published by DC COMICS
Review by MATT MORRISON
The death of Clayface at Batwoman’s hand dealt a tremendous blow to Tim Drake’s experimental Gotham Knights concept. Now, Batman is ready to kill the plan himself, despite Red Robin’s objections. Meanwhile, Batwoman and her new allies in The Colony take steps to bring more of Batman’s allies into their fold.
While not as friendly to new readers as his previous opening issues for new story lines on Detective Comics, this first chapter of Batman: Eternal continues to develop James Tynion IV’s understated redevelopment of the Batman Family for the Rebirth era. Tynion took on a taxing task, bringing characters like Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown back into the modern era, but he made it look easy and continues to do so. The artwork for this issue, sadly, is rather difficult to work through, with Javier Fernadez’s artwork alternating between being too heavily inked and too sketchy – often on the same page! Established fans of the series will be able to middle through this issue, but newcomers would do better to check out the first volume – Rise Of The Batmen.
ETERNITY GIRL #1/ Story by MAGDALENE VISAGGIO/ Art by SONNY LIEW/ Colors by CHRIS CHUCKRY/ Letters by TODD KLEIN/Published by DC COMICS
Review by ROY BUCKINGHAM
What if the classic MTV character Daria was suddenly gifted with the ability to be an immortal elemental who can shape-shift and destroy worlds as if it were not a thing? That is the basic idea of Eternity Girl. The creation of Magdalene Visaggio, Sonny Liew and Chris Chuckery, this series finds Caroline Sharp (AKA Chrysalis) in therapy and coping with her past, the decisions that disrupted her life and left her unable to go back to her job at Alpha 13. The ghosts of her past haunt her… tempt her… and seduce her to destroy the universe in exchange for finding peace in death. A trippy, dark vision that explores PTSD in a twisted way as well as how some people cannot handle power. It is worth a peek.
INJUSTICE 2 #49/ Story by TOM TAYLOR/ Pencils by DANIEL SAMPERE / Inks by JUAN ALBARRAN/ Colors by REX LOKUS/ Letters by WES ABBOTT/Published by DC COMICS
Review by MATT MORRISON
Amazo is defeated but the battle is far from over. As two teams of heroes tend to the wounded – both in spirit and in body – the traitors to Ra’s Al Ghul make a desperate rush for freedom from Gorilla City. Despite being largely devoted to action, Tom Taylor‘s script still has the time for the little character moments that are his bread and butter. I particularly liked the brief awkward scene between Wonder Girl and Wonder Woman. The artwork of Daniel Sampere, Juan Albarran, Rex Lokus and Wes Abbott remains amazing. This book is one of DC Comics’ most unappreciated treasures!
STAR WARS: THRAWN #2 (of 6)/ Written by JODY HOUSER/ Art by LUKE ROSS/ Colors by NOLAN WOODARD/ Letters by VC’s CLAYTON COWLES/Published by MARVEL COMICS
Review by SARAH MORAN
The first issue of Star Wars: Thrawn was a fantastic introduction to a character who looms very large throughout Star Wars fandom. First introduced decades ago in the Expanded Universe and then re-introduced in this Disney-era of the franchise, Thrawn is a fascinating and unique villain. Pragmatic and calculating, he isn’t one to fly in to a rage like Vader or be consumed by ego like Tarkin. Thrawn #1 easily conveys this while also showing him as not quite the fully-formed Grand Admiral he’ll grow to be. However, issue #2 lacks a bit of the punch its first issue has.
Houser has a wonderful grasp of the character and the dialogue is pitch perfect. The artwork from Ross and Woodard is equally as good, with great expressions and bold colors. All that remains the same in Thrawn #2, but the story at hand in this issue isn’t as interesting as Thrawn’s first experiences with the Empire. That’s a minor complaint, truly, because Thrawn still gets to show off how clever he is and get the upper hand on pirates and fellow Imperials alike. There are also a few neat nods to larger Star Wars lore – like a secret and expensive project the Empire is working on (read: the Death Star) – as well as some foreshadowing with the Tarkin name-dropping. Thrawn’s aide, Ensign Vanto, remains a most intriguing character and it’s still hard to tell just how loyal he’ll remain. All in all, Star Wars: Thrawn remains a great mini and one of the strongest Marvel has produced since regaining the Star Wars license.
TITANS #21/ Story by DAN ABNETT/ Pencils by PAUL PELLETIER/ Inks by ANDREW HENNESSY/ Colors by ADRIANO LUCAS/ Letters by JOSH REED & CARLOS M. MANGUAL/Published by DC COMICS
Review by MATT MORRISON
The Titans may be separated by order of the Justice League, but Roy Harper can’t stop trying to be a hero. When Donna Troy becomes concerned that Roy may be about to cross a line in his investigations of a drug cartel or may have gone back to using, she sends Dick Grayson and Wally West to check on him. Unfortunately, Roy saw this coming and has been thinking about how to beat a speedster and Batman’s sidekick on their own terms…
I’m usually not a fan of comics which pit heroes against heroes, but Dan Abnett writes a great one here. Roy Harper was poorly served by his revamp in The New 52’s Red Hood and The Outlaws series and has only recently begun to recover thanks to Benjamin Percy’s efforts in Green Arrow. Abnett’s script here further affirms Roy Harper’s place among The World’s Finest Heroes. Ably illustrated by Paul Pelletier, Andre Hennessy and Adriano Lucas, this is another solid issue of one of DC Comics most underrated titles.