CATWOMAN #1 & MORE! [Mini-Reviews]

Catwoman #1 Cover

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CATWOMAN #1/ Story and Art by JOELLE JONES/ Colors by LAURA ALLRED/ Letters by JOSH REED/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Selina Kyle is hitting the streets, looking for a literal copycat that is pulling robberies while dressed like her and bringing the police down on her head.

Thankfully, the cover of this issue warns you that you should read Batman #50 first, as the two books are linked. Ironic given that this series is meant to be a fresh start for Selina and an entry point for new readers.

Once we are past that unfortunate hiccup and the need to reconcile everything that came before, Joelle Jones swings into high gear and the pacing of the story does not let up for a moment. Like riding a roller-coaster while blindfolded, you can sense the motion of things even if you’re unsure of what’s going on. The artwork is equally engaging, with Jones delivering her usual stellar work and Laura Allred providing the perfect finishes. The lettering by Josh Reed is also impressive, with a first panel balloon placement that perfectly sets the tone for everything that follows.

It is unfortunate that this book will probably be passed over by those who fear its tie-in to Batman #50 is a cheap marketing ploy. This book is the real deal and one that should be well worth reading for a long time to come.

 

Deadpool #2 Cover

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DEADPOOL #2/ Story by SKOTTIE YOUNG/ Art by NIC KLEIN/ Letters by JEFF ECKLEBERRY/ Published by MARVEL COMICS

Review by ROY BUCKINGHAM

Much to the dismay of the entire Marvel Universe, Deadpool has the only weapon that can destroy a gigantic vomit-producing alien being, who is set on making Earth into his new breeding grounds. Naturally, Deadpool is not ready to just hand it over to the heroes, after being denounced by them in the past. Instead, he wants them to hire him to deal with the alien, since he is now working as a mercenary out of a shopping mall.

In-between banter about Hugh Grant movies and jokes at the expense of Ready Player One, this issue carries-on with the type of humor and action one would expect in a Deadpool comic.  The jokes Skottie Young places in the script, as well as the storytelling, hit more often than they miss. Some of the best moments on both fronts comes from the interplay between Deadpool and his new girl Friday, Negasonic Teenage Warhead. It is a neat twist on the classic comedy trope of the boss and the assistant who hates their boss that works on many levels, especially with how sassy NTW can be.

That said, I do find the artwork of Nick Klein questionable, at best. The general look is often inconsistent and, in some cases, awkward. There is, for instance, one panel where it looks like a wide-mouthed Captain America is eating an invisible foot-long sandwich. Still, the story is good enough that I can ignore the flaws in the artwork.

 

Green Arrow #42 Cover

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GREEN ARROW #42/ Story by MAIRGHREAD SCOTT/ Pencils by MATTHEW CLARK/ Inks by SEAN PARSONS/ Colors by JASON WRIGHT/ Letters by DERON BENNETT/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Trapped in the sewers under a super-max metahuman prison, Green Arrow must hunt down the escaped Parasite. Yet the real enemy responsible for the metahuman’s rampage may be something Oliver Queen can’t fight with a bow and arrows.

As much as I enjoyed Benjamin Percy’s run on Green Arrow, he didn’t truly tackle any topical political issues beyond a veiled reference to the Standing Rock oil pipeline controversy. By contrast, Mairghread Scott doesn’t pull any punches with this story, which offers a surprisingly realistic look at how prison reform might work in the DC Comics Universe. Or not work, as the case may be.

The artwork by Matthew Clark, Sean Parsons, Jason Wright and Deron Bennett is of equally high quality. The entire production runs like a fine-oiled machine and there’s not a single negative thing I can think to speak of regarding their work.

While this issue is sure to send those who whine about politics in their comics screaming to their Twitter accounts Green Arrow #42 offers a serious look at a real problem without pretending to offer any easy solutions or an enemy that can be beaten into submission. What’s most amazing is it does it in a way that is balanced and nuanced, defying the usual cliches that sneak into stories like this.

 

Justice League #3 Cover

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JUSTICE LEAGUE #3/ Story by SCOTT SNYDER/ Art by JORGE JIMENEZ/ Colors by ALEJANDRO SANCHEZ/ Letters by TOM NAPOLITANO/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

As John Stewart falls prey to a corrupting power long hidden away from the universe and turns upon his allies, Superman, Batman, Hawkgirl and Martian Manhunter must face a different enemy within as they continue to investigate The Totality.

I suspect this series will defy easy summation the longer it goes on. Certainly Scott Snyder continues to pack it with high concept after high concept, such as an emotional spectrum based on repressed emotions, that produces invisible light. Oh, and it’s all generated by a sentient star that devours planets to form a phantom galaxy.

Somehow, Jorge Jimenez and Alejandro Sanchez manage to bring all this insanity to life with a vivid sense of detail that beggars belief. Despite some lengthy dialogues, Tom Napolitano manages to keep the original artwork largely unblocked by word balloons.

All in all, Justice League continues to exceed expectations. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I for one love this high-concept prog-rock album of a book.

 

Man of Steel #6 Cover

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MAN OF STEEL #6/ Story by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS/ Art by JASON FABOK/ Colors by ALEX SINCLAIR/ Letters by JOSH REED/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

The fate of Lois Lane and Jonathan Kent is revealed, as Superman must stop Rogol Zaar from destroying the Earth in his bid to remove all things Kryptonian from the universe.

The one good thing about this issue is the artwork by Jason Fakok and Alex Sinclair. Fabok is one of the most underrated artists in the business and it is astounding how much line work he can put into a panel without losing any sense of clarity. Sinclair makes everything as bright and colorful as it should be in a Superman story.

Unfortunately, the story of Man of Steel #6 is Brian Michael Bendis at his most insufferable. The “mystery” of Jon and Lois is revealed in a hurried information dump that reveals the whole storyline to be much ado about nothing. Rogol Zaar is defeated in perhaps the most anti-climactic fashion possible, short of him declaring “I have to go. My home planet needs me.” And the whole thing ends with a cliff-hanger that offers no excitement because we know the shocking revelation revealed is a blatant lie.

I’ll probably read the upcoming Superman and Action Comics series out of morbid curiosity and my sense of duty as a critic to see how this all finally pays out. That being said, I wouldn’t pay money for this book and neither should you.

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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