BATMAN: CURSE OF THE WHITE KNIGHT #3 & MORE! [Mini-Reviews]

Action Comics #1015 CoverACTION COMICS #1015/ Script by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS/ Art by SZYMON KUDRANSKI/ Colors by BRAD ANDERSON/ Letters by DAVE SHARPE/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Remember Naomi, the heroine of her own break-out series?  You don’t?! Well, luckily this whole issue is about how awesome she is and how she impresses Superman and Batman with how awesome she is. And it’s a good thing Naomi is so awesome, because The Red Cloud – an awesome new villain, who is now even more awesome since Lex Luthor upgraded her powers – is out to kill Superman,. Will Naomi be able to prove how awesome she is by saving Superman?

Honestly, I only decided to review this issue because of the ludicrous cover with Batman’s o-face. I was not disappointed, as the interior proved to be equally ludicrous and everything I have come to expect of Brian Michael Bendis during his time at DC, with the end of the issue setting up a battle between Bendis’ new Mary Sue villain and his Mary Sue hero. Trite and overwritten, the only saving grace of this issue is Szymon Kurdanski’s excellent artwork and Brad Anderson’s colors.

2-5

 

Batman Curse Of The White Knight #3 CoverBATMAN: CURSE OF THE WHITE KNIGHT #3/ Script & Art by SEAN MURPHY/ Colors by MATT HOLLINGSWORTH/ Letters by ANDWORLD DESIGN/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Batman turns to a most unlikely ally in his quest to research the secret of his family’s connection to the foundation of Gotham City and why a mysterious man in red armor now seems to be hunting him alongside The Joker. Meanwhile, the out-going Commissioner Gordon names his successor, as dark forces move to make sure Gordon’s retirement is a short one.

If it weren’t for Harleen, this comic might have had the best Harley Quinn dialogue of the week. As it stands, it is to Murphy’s credit that he can take one of the oldest cliches in comedy – the pregnant woman making threats of violence as she goes into labor – and put a new spin on it.

Unsurprisingly, Sean Murphy’s sequel to White Knight is proving to be the equal of the original now that the story is starting to move and the artwork by Murphy and colors by Matt Hollingsworth are both also as impressive as ever. This is another solid issue of a great mini-series and if there’s any justice in this world, we’ll soon see Sean Murphy writing a monthly Batman comic in 2020.

5-5

 

Detective Comics #1012 CoverDETECTIVE COMICS #1012/ Script by PETER J. TOMASI/ Pencils by DOUG MAHNKE/ Inks by JAIME MENDOZA/ Colors by DAVID BARON/ Letters by ROB LEIGH/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Armed with enhancements to his technology (courtesy of Lex Luthor), Mr. Freeze finally has the means to save his wife’s life. Yet being a man of science (and unwilling to trust Luthor completely), he wants to test the cure Luthor provided before he uses it on his beloved Nora. Thus begins a series of kidnappings, as Mr. Freeze starts abducting women who might serve as the ideal test subjects…

Tomasi’s story is standard stuff for a Mr. Freeze tale, but the excellent execution takes it far beyond its classic premise. That, coupled with some short but fun character-building scenes between Bruce and Alfred and Batman and Harvey Bullock, adds a level of complexity that makes this issue into something special.

Add in the finely detailed pencils of Doug Mahnke and the thick inks employed by Jaime Mendoza and you have one comic that looks as good as it reads. The colors and letters are also worthy of praise. If you haven’t been reading Detective Comics, you’ve been missing out on a wonderful series that is, for what my money is worth, the best of the regularly published Batman books and this issue is a great place to start seeing what you’ve been missing.

5-5

 

Shazam #7 CoverSHAZAM #7/ Script by GEOFF JOHNS/ Art by DALE EAGLESHAM & SCOTT KOLINS/ Colors by MICHAEL ATIYEH/ Letters by ROB LEIGH/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Billy and Mary are free of the Funlands, but their siblings are still scattered around the rest of the magical realms. Unfortunately, their foster parents want an explanation for where everyone has been and a familiar face from Billy’s past just came back into his life…

Johns’ writing is as strong as ever but the continually delays on this comic are killing the momentum of what could have been one of DC Comics’ strongest titles following the release of the Shazam! movie. A larger problem is that the two artists on this issue are both incredibly talented yet they have completely uncomplimentary styles and no effort was made to split the art duties between them in a way that shifted their pages between the various settings of the story.

This results in some massive visual discontinuity when Kolins takes over where Eaglesham left off, and the Darklands suddenly aren’t as dark, owing to Kolins trademark lighter inks. This, in turn, further alters the appearance of Michael Atiyeh’s colors. While this isn’t enough to kill the comic, it is a minor thing that could have been addressed far better. As it is, this is still a solid series, but I do wish it’s release schedule was more reliable and that it retained a single artist.

4-5

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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