THE FLASH #50, PLASTIC MAN #2, & MORE! [Mini-Reviews]

Detective Comics #984 Cover

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DETECTIVE COMICS #984/ Story by BRYAN HILL/ Pencils by MIGUEL MENDONCA/ Inks by DIANA EGEA/ Colors by ADRIANO LUCAS/ Letters by SAL CIPRIANO/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

John Lennon once sang “Instant Karma’s gonna get you,” but now a new villain called Karma is out to get Orphan and Batman’s other partners in crime-fighting. Can Black Lightning lend a hand in dealing with this new menace? And how will he respond when Batman finally explains why he wanted to recruit Jefferson Pierce to lead a new team for him?

I had been worried when James Tynion IV left this series last month. With this issue of Detective Comics, the fears that this book wouldn’t be worth reading anymore are gone. Ryan Hill is spinning a wonderful story and this issue ends on one heck of a stunning page. The artwork by Miguel Mendonca and Diana Egea is equally impressive, with some astounding action sequences and vibrant colors by Adriano Lucas. This is still the best Batman book on the market, for my money.

 

Doctor Who: The Road To The Thirteenth Doctor - The Tenth Doctor #1 Cover

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DOCTOR WHO: THE ROAD TO THE THIRTEENTH DOCTOR #1 – THE TENTH DOCTOR/ Stories by JAMES PEATY & JODY HAUSER/ Art by IOLANDA ZANFARDINO & RACHAEL STOTT/ Colors by DIJJO LIMA & ENRICA ANGIOLINI/ Letters by RICHARD STARKINGS & COMICRAFT’S JIMMY BETANCOURT/  Published by TITAN COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

A stalled spaceship. A crew in danger. Horrible monsters that defy all logic. Sounds like it’s time for The Doctor to make a house call. Meanwhile, at an earlier point in The Doctor’s personal history, something strange happens while he’s in the middle of trying to outwit an army of clockwork robots…

I fear I’ll have to warn all but the most devout of Whovians away from this issue, and indeed this mini-series. The plain truth is that the greater part of this book is devoted to a Tenth Doctor story by James Peaty titled The Ghost Ship and it is as painfully dull as the title suggests. I will go so far as to say that it is perhaps the most utterly generic and horribly boring Doctor Who story I’ve had the misfortune to experience in any medium.

The Doctor’s companions, Gabby and Cindy, lack their usual personalities from the Tenth Doctor monthly series and the artwork is as bland as the writing. The design for the monsters was stolen from Watchmen (Think Dr. Manhattan’s incomplete form as he was trying to regrow a body), the coloration has Gabby rendered with a far darker skin-tone than normal and Iolanda Zanfardino can’t seem to draw any woman with long-hair unless she’s throwing her head back as if posing for a camera.

The only thing that redeems this book at all is the back-up story by Jody Hauser, Rachael Stott and Enrica Angiolini. This depicts the Tenth Doctor in an off-panel moment from the classic story The Girl In The Fireplace and actually seems to have something happen which relates to The Thirteenth Doctor. It’s a short scene, but it is well-written, well-depicted and bodes well for the upcoming Thirteenth Doctor comic.

Madame de Pompadour once said that one can tolerate a world of demons for the sake of an angel. Personally, I would not recommend tolerating the horrendously awful main story of this comic for the sake of the brilliant back-up.

 

The Flash #50 Cover

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THE FLASH #50/ Story by JOSHUA WILLIAMSON/ Art by HOWARD PORTER/ Colors by HI-FI/ Letters by STEVE WANDS/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Hunter Zolomon (a.k.a. Zoom) has tapped into The Speed Force and powers beyond. With the cosmos going crazy, can Barry Allen and Wally West join together to stop him from altering their pasts? And even if they stop him, will the world remain unchanged?

There’s some small irony that, with all the big on-going events right now that are claiming to change the DC Comics Universe forever, some of the biggest changes are quietly occurring here in the pages of The Flash.  Joshua Williamson has made this book one to read, even ignoring the cosmic implications. You truly care about these characters outside of the action of the story, which is fantastic. Howard Porter’s artwork looks a little awkwardly posed at points but the artwork always conveys a sense of motion and it is never dull.

As the final chapter of Flash War, this isn’t an ideal entry point into the series. For those who are already running alongside Barry Allen, however, this is a fantastic issue and worthy conclusion to the saga so far.

 

Hawkman #2 Cover

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HAWKMAN #2/ Story by ROBERT VENDITTI/Pencils by BRYAN HITCH/ Inks by BRYAN HITCH, ANDREW CURRIE & DANIEL HENRIQUES/ Colors by JEREMIAH SKIPPER/ Letters by STARKINGS & COMICRAFT/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Carter Hall’s search for answers regarding the reasons for his continual reincarnation lead him to The British Museum and an exhibit of artifacts from his life as the Egyptian Prince Khufu. They also lead to an unexpected trip through time!

I’m not sure what to expect from this series after two issues and I love the fact that Robert Venditti is capable of surprising me in these days of endless previews and spoilers and the predictable recycling of numerous stories. The only real fault this book has is the inking, which is somewhst inconsistent thanks to the presence of three inkers. Still, this is a solid book that is redefining one of DC Comics’ most underrated heroes.

 

Injustice 2 #66 Cover

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INJUSTICE 2 #66/ Story by TOM TAYLOR/ Art by XERMANICO/ Colors by J. NANJAN/ Letters by WES ABBOTT/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Only Blue Beetle and Booster Gold are available to stop a Red Lantern-empowered Starro The Conqueror from destroying Earth. Thankfully, the New God Metron has told Blue Beetle that he holds the key to defeating Starro. Unfortunately, Jamie Reyes has no idea what to do!

I can’t say anything about this story beyond the fact that Tom Taylor has done it again, perfectly mixing comedy and pathos in equal measure. If you’re a Blue and Gold fan of any stripe, you’ll want to check this issue out. Xermanico illustrates the story with the appropriate sense of gravity and the colors by J. Nanjan match the tone of the tale. A must-read issue of a must-read series.

 

Plastic Man #2 Cover

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PLASTIC MAN #2/ Story by GAIL SIMONE/ Art by ADRIANA MELO/ Colors by KELLY FITZPATRICK/ Letters by SIMON BOWLAND/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Eel O’Brien hasn’t been doing the superhero thing long but he’s already screwed it up royally. Bad enough he walked into a set-up and is now wanted by the cops in his superhero identity. Now he’s also revealed his secret identity to two of his employees and gotten an innocent kid in trouble. Oh, and Batman is hunting him. Can Eel overcome his fears and become the hero a hostage child needs? Or, failing that, can he confront Batman without peeing his stretch pants?

I’d give this book a solid 5 for 5 for the final page alone but the whole darn book is just that good as well. Gail Simone, Adriano Melo, Kelly Fitzpatrick and Simon Bowland have perfectly captured the anarchic spirit of Jack Cole’s original Plastic Man comics and neatly updated their sheer insanity for the modern day. In a better world, this would be a monthly series rather than a mini-series. Still, we can hope this leads to something bigger, right?

 

Superman #1 Cover

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SUPERMAN #1/ Story by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS/ Pencils by IVAN REIS/ Inks by JOE PRADO/ Colors by ALEX SINCLAIR/ Letters by JOSH REED/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

With his wife and son somewhere out in space and any means of communicating with them destroyed along with The Fortress of Solitude and The Bottle City of Kandor, Superman is feeling lonely and depressed. Worse yet, he’s left pondering his father Jor-El’s comment that he should be guiding the destiny of the world rather than merely stopping criminals and natural disasters. It’s an idea that Martian Manhunter agrees with, but any thoughts of changing the world will have to wait in the face of a new disaster…

There are moments of Superman #1 that are good. These are the flashbacks showing Clark Kent interacting with Lois Lane and Jonathan Kent and the running gag of Superman having to break off conversations to deal with a number of increasingly improbable disasters. The rest of the book is just odd, with Martian Manhunter out of character (assuming that IS really J’onn J’onzz) and a sudden cliffhanger that was seemingly thrown in because otherwise there would barely be any action in the book. The artwork by Ivan Reis, Joe Prado and Alex Sinclair is fantastic but it’s a pretty paint-job on a story that is anything but super.

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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