DAREDEVIL #1 AND MORE! [Mini-Reviews]

Batman #64 CoverBATMAN #64/ Script by JOSHUA WILLIAMSON/ Art by GUILLEM MARCH/ Colors by TOMEU MOREY/ Letters by STEVE WANDS/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

An attack on The Flash Museum brings The Dark Knight Detective and The Fastest Man Alive together. Batman knows the culprit but has no idea as to a motive. And neither of them know the puppet master pulling the strings…

As much as I’ve loved Williamson’s work on The Flash, even he can’t make me care about the trappings of Tom King’s Batman run. It’s not precisely clear how this is meant to tie into Heroes In Crisis apart from one flashback scene. I suspect this may make more sense in one collection, like most of Tom King’s work.

At least the action sequences in this issue are thrilling enough though one wishes we got to see more of the Justice League fighting an entire league of Amazo robots. Guillem March does a good job blocking these scenes, but some of his poses are a bit forced and his Batman is almost comically over-muscled. Still, the colors by Tomeu Morey are well chosen and the general flow of the book is good. Ultimately, this is an inoffensive but ultimately forgettable issue.

 

Conan The Barbarian #3 CoverCONAN THE BARBARIAN #3/ Story by JASON AARON/ Art by MAHMUD ASRAR/ Colors by MATTHEW WILSON/ Letters by VC’S TRAVIS LANHAM/ Published by MARVEL COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

When a man steals gold in Nemedia, he hangs on the cliffs of Red Tree Hill. Countless thieves have met their end dancing the hempen jig before being cut down to the delight of the starving dogs waiting below. And now Conan of Cimmeria goes to join their number…

It is to Jason Aaron’s credit that he can wring such drama out of a story involving Conan’s execution when we know that he’s going to get out of this mess somehow. It’s seeing precisely how he escapes that brings life to this issue along with a small amount of the dark comedy that Robert E. Howard snuck into his Conan stories. Ably illustrated by Mahmur Asrar and Matthew Wilson, the artwork is as big and bold as Conan himself. This is a Conan comic for the ages, by Crom!

5-5

 

Daredevil #1 CoverDAREDEVIL #1/ Script by CHIP ZDARSKY/ Art by MARCO CHECCHETTO / Colors by SUNNY GHO/ Letters by VC’S CLAYTON COWLES/ Published by MARVEL COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

It’s been one week since Matt Murdock got out of the hospital and he’s itching to show Hell’s Kitchen that Daredevil is back. Unfortunately, with Wilson Fisk now mayor of New York City and the cops having orders to bring in any costumed crime-fighter they catch on the street, it’s never been more dangerous to be a vigilante. But what is that to a Man Without Fear?

It’s been some time since I’ve read Daredevil, but I’ve heard enough to know that things got rather complicated over the past few years. Chip Zdarsky doesn’t bother explaining much of this history, instead revealing everything we need to know about Matt Murdock through one internal monologue, a few flashbacks and Matt’s actions throughout the issue. So even if you’ve never read Daredevil or seen the show, you’ll quickly come to appreciate how devil-may-care Matt Murdock is when it comes to physical relationships and fighting the good fight.

Marco Checcchetto proves a good partner for Zdarsky, perfectly capturing the darkness of Matthew’s inner world and the grittiness of Hell’s Kitchen. Sunny Gho’s finishes are perfect, adding a suitable level of shade to everything in the color art. The only sour note is that Checchetto draws two characters who are meant to be police detectives in dress uniforms, like they were beat cops.

If you haven’t been reading Daredevil, this new issue is a fine place to start. Zdarksy’s story is accessible and the artwork by Checchetto and Gho proved a perfect match to the aesthetic of Hell’s Kitchen. In short, this is a damned good comic.

4-5

 

Female Furies #1 CoverFEMALE FURIES #1/ Story by CECIL CASTELLUCCI/ Art by ADRIANA MELO/ Colors by HI-FI/ Letters by CARLOS M. MANGUAL/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Life is hard on the alien world of Apokolips and doubly so if you are a woman. Thus the Female Furies were forged to become the strongest, fastest, stealthiest and most cunning warriors to come from Granny Goodness’ orphanages. Today they hold a unique place of honor among Darkseid’s legions, but it was not always so. Here now is the untold tale of how the most evil women among the New Gods proved their worth.

Jack Kirby was ahead of his time when it came to creating female characters who were just as powerful as the men. The Female Furies of the New Gods are a prime example of this and the idea of a comic based around the team fighting the sexism of Darkseid’s other forces is in keeping with the ideals of the Fourth World. Sadly, Cecil Castellucci’s execution leaves a lot to be desired and if he is aiming for a satirical take on the New Gods he does not go far enough.

It is believable that Granny Goodness and her girls would be mocked by the likes of Glorious Godfrey and Desaad. It is not believable that their test to prove their worth should involve an evening gown competition and bake-off. Or that, if it did, there would not be late-night poisoning and sudden stabbings in the dark in retaliation. A larger problem is that the script assumes the reader is already familiar with all these characters and does little to develop any of them.

It’s a crying shame the story is so flat because the artwork is gorgeous. Adriana Melo, while not an adherent of Jack Kirby’s style, boasts a similarly bold aesthetic that has the same sense of scope that the New Gods demand. Hi-Fi’s colors are equally well suited to this sort of story, but it’s a bit of a waste given the actual story. Fourth World fans will enjoy this series, but few others will.

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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