THE FLASH #80 & MORE! [Mini-Reviews]

Age of Conan Valeria #3 CoverAGE OF CONAN: VALERIA #3/ Script by MEREDITH FINCH/ Art by ANEKE/ Colors by ANDY TROY/ Letters by VC’S TRAVIS LANHAM/ Published by MARVEL COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Taking refuge in a Mitran temple, Valeria cannot rest despite her wounded state while her brother’s killer roams free. But when the temple is attacked, will Valeria be able to help defend the peaceful monks who helped her in her moment of need?

Aneke’s artwork continues to impress, showing the same skill and craft seen during her brief run on Red Sonja. Unfortunately, Meredeith Finch’s script stalls a bit this month and the story seems like it is treading water. This is still an action-packed that does much to develop one of Robert E. Howard’s most amazing heroines and differentiate her from the thief of the same name from the movies most audiences are more familiar with. That being said, this chapter doesn’t feel wholly necessary, as technically proficient as the creators are.

4-5

 

Detective Comics #1013 coverDETECTIVE COMICS #1013/ Script by PETER J. TOMASI/ Pencils by DOUG MAHNKE/ Inks by KEITH CHAMPAGNE & CHRISTIAN ALAMY/ Colors by DAVID BARON/ Letters by ROB LEIGH/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Batman is hot on Mr. Freeze’s trail, having stumbled across a team of his henchmen trying to abduct one of the test-subjects Freeze created to test the cure for his beloved wife, Nora. Freeze is well-prepared for Batman’s arrival, having anticipated his plans might be discovered, but the Dark Knight has some new tricks of his own for fighting Freeze.

Mr. Freeze has never been one of my favorite villains, but Tomasi spins a thrilling tale with many surprises as he and Batman engage in what is ultimately a battle of wits. Yes, there’s car-chases and high-tech weapons, but the true battle is cerebral in nature. I also like the way Tomasi writes Alfred and how Bruce employs him in his plan here.

As for the art, Doug Mahnke delivers his usual high-caliber job on the pencils and I wouldn’t have known that two inkers had worked on this book had the credits not noted it. The colors are fantastic too. All in all, this remains the best bimonthly Batman book on the stands.

5-5

 

Doctor Doom #1 CoverDOCTOR DOOM #1/ Script by CHRISTOPHER CANTWELL/ Art by SALVADOR LARROCA/ Colors by GURU-EFX/ Letters by VC’S CORY PETIT/ Published by MARVEL COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Sorcerer. Scientist. World Leader. Hero. Many are the hats that are worn by Victor Von Doom, but America’s so-called geniuses refuse to believe Doom’s prediction that Reed Richards’ and Tony Stark’s plan to open a  black hole on the moon will result in a galactic disaster. Still, Doom is content to wait for disaster to strike and clean up their messes, as per usual. Unfortunately, someone took control of Latveria’s defenses and framed Doom for an attack upon their moon base. With the nations of the world now ready to retaliate against Latveria and the world’s greatest secret agents and assassins hunting him, Doom will face the ultimate challenge as he strives to clear his name, save his people and bring the true villains to justice.

It is all too rare these days that Doctor Doom is written with the charm and poise the character should possess or that Doom is considered in his role as a politician who must deal with matters of state as often as he does the Fantastic Four. Christopher Cantwell not only manages this but he also sets up a brilliant conceit that thrusts Doom into a role rarely seen – an innocent man trying to do right by his people. Throw in some gorgeous artwork by Salvador Larroca with amazing colors by Guru-eFX and you have a damn fine comic. Doom himself could not have crafted so worth an epic of Doom’s adventures.

5-5

 

The Flash #80 CoverTHE FLASH #80/ Script by JOSHUA WILLIAMSON/ Art by SCOTT KOLINS/ Colors by LUIS GUERRERO/ Letters by STEVE WANDS/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Hunter Zolomon (aka Zoom) has returned and he’s after the three new Force-wielders, whose powers are destroying the Speed Force. Ironically, his biggest problem isn’t Barry Allen, who has been slowing down steadily ever since the Strength Force, Sage Force and Still Force were revealed, but the Black Flash, who seeks to destroy the new champions of the three other forces before Zoom can steal their powers. And in the background, the Rogues are planning a vicious comeback with the enhanced powers granted them by Lex Luthor.

The Year of the Villain logo on the cover is somewhat misleading, as the Rogues are barely in this issue and they have nothing to do with the main story. Such has been the case for the past few weeks but at least this time we get to see Kid Flash and the Flash of China encounter the villains. The true focus of the issue is on Zoom vs. Barry Allen, but Williamson does a fair job of balancing the subplots.

Scott Kolins artwork looks as amazing as ever, but I think Luis Guerrero’s colors are a bit bright for this story. The comic looks washed-out at times, despite Kolins’ inks being thicker than usual this time around and the shading of the finished artwork looking amazing. Unfortunately, the artwork can’t help the fact that this issue is largely inaccessible to new readers, despite being the first part of a new storyline. Still, fans of Williamson’s run on The Flash will love it.

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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