X-MEN: RED #4, HARLEY LOVES JOKER #2 & MORE! [Mini-Reviews]

Harley Loves Joker #2 Cover
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HARLEY LOVES JOKER #2/ Story by PAUL DINI/ Art by BRET BLEVINS/ Colors by ALEX SINCLAIR/ Letters by DAVE SHARPE/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

With The Joker partnering up with The Grison – a weasel-woman hybrid with a tie to Dr. Harleen Quinzel’s past – Harley Quinn is ready to pack up and move on… right up until Mistah J. reveals it’s all a prank to get his revenge on the rival gangster. Unfortunately, this comes after Harley has set them all up for a fall! Hilarity ensues as Harley tries to save her Puddin’ from the cops, The Bat and a gang of vicious contractors!

It’s hard to go wrong when Paul Dini writes Harley Quinn and The Joker and the story here perfectly captures the spirit of the original Animated Series. Despite this, Dini takes the time to examine Harley with a bit of seriousness and seems to weigh in on the idea of Harley as a codependent character. While what he does here is unlikely to settle the debate, it’s still nice to see that he takes the discussion seriously and does address it in his own wacky way.

The artwork by Bret Blevins and Alex Sinclair does a fair job of aping Bruce Timm’s designs. There’s a few oddities here and there – The design for The Grison often looks like a half-complete pencil sketch, for instance – but the glitches are few and far between.  All in all, this is one comic sure to please Harley Quinn fans and anyone who loved Batman: TAS.

 

Injuistice 2 #58 Cover
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INJUSTICE 2 #58/ Story by TOM TAYLOR/ Pencils by BRUNO REDONDO/ Inks by JUAN ALBARRAN/ Colors by J. NANJAN/ Letters by WES ABBOTT/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Jaime Reyes is in the clutches of Lobo, en route to whoever put a bounty on The Blue Beetle. Thankfully, The Titans are aware of the situation. Unfortunately, in lieu of a better plan, they’re dependent on Booster Gold to help them steal a space plane from Batman.

There’s so much about this issue that his hilarious and I can’t describe a tenth of of it for fear of spoiling the fun. I will say that the best bit involves Catwoman and her response to someone else stealing from Batman.

Suffice it to say that Bruno Redondo draws many things that are as funny as Tom Taylor’s dialogue and this is one of the funniest things I’ve read in some time.

 

Quicksilver No Surrender #1 Cover
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QUICKSILVER: NO SURRENDER#1/ Story by SALADIN AHMED/ Art by ERIC NGUYEN/ Colors by RICO RENZI/ Letters by VC’S CLAYTON COWLES/ Published by MARVEL COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

He’s the fastest man alive but now his life is at a a standstill. Pietro Maximoff is trapped going faster than the world around him. Worst yet, there’s something else in the world between seconds with him. Something that looks just like him that is trying to kill people!

There’s nothing in Quicksilver: No Surrender that hasn’t been done before and done better in various The Flash comics. The only thing that has ever distinguished Quicksilver from his Distinguished Counterpart has been his bad attitude and too little of this book is dedicated to that. Ironically, it’s Saladin Ahmed’s efforts to avoid Quicksilver’s complicated backstory that rob this book of any angle of interest and leave Pietro largely undefined.

The artwork is similarly muted, thanks to a stylistic choice to render the frozen world without color. While this does help to emphasize the inks and pencils of Eric Nguyen’s artwork, it just leaves the issue looking half-finished or like Quicksilver has become trapped in a Manga. Later issues may help to better define Pietero’s character, but this issue leaves new readers with little reason to stick around and find out.

 

X-Men Red #4 Cover
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X-MEN RED #4/ Story by TOM TAYLOR/ Art by MAHMUD ASRAR/ Colors by RAIN BEREDO/ Letters by VC’S CORY PETIT/ Published by MARVEL COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

When a new breed of Sentinel that can reprogram anyone into a soldier of the anti-Mutant agenda takes over the mind of Storm, every mutant in Wakanda is placed in danger. Even if Jean Grey and her new team of X-Men can save them, can they save Ororo too?

Tom Taylor has neatly updated the idea of Sentinels for the Information Age, turning social media and nanites into the twin weapons of the new anti-Mutant agenda. It’s a frightening conceit ripped from today’s headlines and Taylor continues the tradition of using the X-Men as a metaphor for modern-day civil rights battles beautifully.

Mahmud Asrar’s artwork seems a bit over-inked at times, but the action sequences of this book are clearly laid out and well-blocked. There’s also some fantastic full-page panels, such as the mutant Gentle’s attempt to shield Storm from her own attempts to kill herself. It’s an impressive image, though it I recall correctly Storm’s mutation protects her from lighting strikes.

This is one X-Men book sure to appeal to everyone – even those like me who don’t much care for X-Men.

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About Matt Morrison

Matt "Starman" Morrison is The Grand Exalted High Macha of Raspur - a non-existent but real-sounding country. He has been writing about comics since before the word "blogging" was coined. He enjoys acting, role-playing, movie-riffing and sarcasm. You can follow his adventures on Twitter, @GeekyGeekyWays.

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