BATGIRL & THE BIRDS OF PREY#22/ 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
With Huntress in the clutches of The Calculator and his team, Batgirl and Black Canary must risk everything to save their friend, as Calculator continues to seek an answer to the question – Who Is Oracle?
With this final issue, Batgirl & The Birds of Prey ends as it lived – a book with a fantastic story that was ill-served by incomplete art. Roge Antonio’s artwork is limited in how many facial expressions are shown and completely loses any sense of scope past the middle distance. This might not be such a big problem if the inking were consistent and the colors by Marcelo Maiolo didn’t leave everything looking washed out. Thankfully, fans of The Benson Sisters’ writing can look forward to their taking over Green Arrow in two months time. As it stands, there’s no reason to pick this issue up unless you’ve already been enduring the artwork for the sake of the story so far.
BATMAN: WHITE KNIGHT #8/ Story and Art by SEAN MURPHY/ Colors by MATT HOLLINGSWORTH/ Letters by TODD KLEIN/ Published by DC COMICS
Review by MATT MORRISON
The Joker is back in the driver’s seat of Jack Napier’s body, but he’s willing to play ball with Batman in the war against Neo Joker… for now. Whoever survives the battle to come, Gotham City will never be the same again!
There is little I can say that I haven’t already said in previous reviews. Suffice it to say that Sean Murphy brings his epic tale to a proper conclusion. I’ll leave you to discover what that entails and encourage you to pick up the upcoming collection of this series if you haven’t been reading it.
DETECTIVE COMICS #980/ Written by JAMES TYNION IV/ Pencils by SCOT EATON/ Inks by WAYNE FAUCHER/ Colors by JOHN KALISZ & ALLEN PASSALAQUA/ Letters by SAL CIPRIANO/ Published by DC COMICS
Review by SARAH MORAN
There are only two issues left in James Tynion IV’s tremendous run on Detective Comics, and in this penultimate installment, Tynion lets loose with a big surprise that’s sure to please longtime Bat-Family fans.
What is really going on with the DC Universe in Rebirth and the missing years (as well as whose responsible for stealing them) remains a mystery, but the glimpse of an alternate timeline’s future that Brother Eye gives to Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain is a pleasant shock, that’s for sure. I won’t spoil it here (though the cover does include a hint) but it’s the kind of wink to fans and longtime readers that not only hints at some bigger mystery, but suggests that the post-Crisis, pre-New 52 universe isn’t forgotten.
From that moment, Steph is able to secure the Bat-Family a win and it seems likely they’ll be successful in saving Tim from his OMAC fate (as if there was ever any doubt). But what this also demonstrates is how well Tynion understands and appreciates each member of the Bat-Family and their relationships to each other. It’s a family book, and people will do anything to help their family.
Detective Comics #980 brings in Scott Eaton on pencils and Wayne Faucher on inks, and while it’s a competent art job, the pair are only serviceable when compared to previous art teams. Again, Detective is a bi-monthly release so their schedules are hectic; the problem is, here it really shows. Batwoman in particular strikes a few odd poses and faces are sometimes out of whack. This is a demanding issue, for sure, and it should be need noted that come the big ending, Eaton and Faucher do deliver some striking panels. John Kalisz – who’s joined here by Allen Passalaqua – continues to gives the book vibrant and rich coloring, lifting the artwork up when it’s a bit sub par.
Detective Comics is clearly the beating heart of Rebirth, keeping focus on its family while also teasing the greater mystery of the DC Universe as a whole. This issues’ art falters, but it never completely fails the compelling story. Bring on the Batmen Eternal finale!
THE FLASH #46/ Story by JOSHUA WILLIAMSON/ Art by SCOTT KOLINS/ Colors by LUIS GUERRERO/ Letters by STEVE WANDS/ Published by DC COMICS
Review by MATT MORRISON
As Wally West is plagued by visions of a world that no longer exists, an unseen enemy from his past plots his destruction and that of his mentor Barry Allen! Like Wally, he too is a refugee from the world before Flashpoint. He is Hunter Zolomon – The Reverse Flash known as Zoom!
Williamson’s script does a fantastic job unraveling the rather lengthy history of Hunter Zolomon for the benefit of new readers. There’s also some interesting parallels between the backgrounds of the characters, with Barry Allen and Hunter Zolomon both being lawmen inspired by their fathers’ criminal pasts. Wally and Eobard Thawne are also compared for their worship of Barry Allen and because they were both plagued by visions of the timeline they knew before Flashpoint.
Scott Kolins, who drew much of Geoff Johns’ run on The Flash that introduced Zoom, proves the perfect artistic partner to Williamson’s script. The artwork suffers somewhat from the inks being a bit thin and the colors being a bit bright. Still, this is a solid issue that sets the stage for Flash War well enough.
STAR WARS: THRAWN #4/ Based on the novel Thrawn by TIMOTHY ZAHN/ Written by JODY HOUSER/ Art by LUKE ROSS/ Colors by NOLAN WOODARD/ Letters by VC’s CLAYTON COWLES & TRAVIS LANHAM/ Published by MARVEL COMICS
Review by SARAH MORAN
Thrawn is a fantastic Star Wars mini-series, dissecting the psyche of one of the most fascinating villains in the franchise. Thrawn’s keen intellect and the ways he uses it to outsmart his enemies and fellow Imperials alike is the real draw of this book. And Thrawn #4 certainly has this – in spades, actually – but it also gets bogged down by treading similar ground.
Thrawn’s given a near-impossible assignment which he completes in his own logical if unsympathetic manner, and he earns himself more praise, a promotion to Captain, and command of the Star Destroyer, Chimera. That’s all well and necessary for advancing the plot, but this progression is beginning to feel a little monotonous, with previous issues having followed a similar trajectory. This makes it a bit of a relief when Thrawn’s advancement to Admiral is handled in a single page collage, but also a little baffling this promotion gets a single page where prior promotions are earned over the bulk of an issue. (Perhaps that is how it’s handle in the novel, too?)
For all that it feels like Thrawn is spinning its wheels in this issue, the book remains one of best looking and most consistently good-looking of Marvel’s Star Wars line. Ross and Woodard have captured the likeness of these characters perfectly, mirroring both real actors and designs from the animated series quite well. Still, needing to remain consistent with the overall design of the Star Wars universe doesn’t appear to restrict them creatively; as demonstrated by that absolutely stunning page of Thrawn’s rise to Admiral.
This series remains one of the best, but Thrawn #4 is a dull entry. While it still looks fantastic, the story here is one we’ve seen before and that results in the issue dragging more than usual.
Buy these comics digitally or from your local comic book store!