THE FLASH #82 & MORE! [Mini-Reviews]

Catalyst Prime Seven Days #2 CoverCATALYST PRIME: SEVEN DAYS #2/ Script by GAIL SIMONE/ Pencils by JOSE LUIS/ Inks by JONAS TRINIDADE/ Colors by MICHELLE MADSEN/ Letters by SAIDA TEMOFONTE/ Published by LION FORGE COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

With aliens invading and a declaration that humanity has one week to get their affairs in order before mass extinction, the reactions are as wild as they are varied. As one group tries to arrange a new beginning for humanity elsewhere in the universe, a group of young heroes try to take the fight to the invaders.

Again, I find myself thinking of The Final Night while reading Catalyst Prime: Seven Days. I mean that comparison to be complementary, as both stories are nominally centered around an event where the heroes can’t save the world and the focus is more upon how people react in the face of death than people in tights punching each other. Of course with Gail Simone writing, you’re going to get both the thoughtful analysis AND the punching. The artwork by Jose Luis, Jonas Trinidade and Michelle Madsen perfectly conveys both the epic scope of the story and the down-to-earth moments of people being people. A thoughtful story more focused on the people in costumes than the costumes themselves, this is one to pick-up.

5-5

 

Detective Comics #1015 CoverDETECTIVE COMICS #1015/ Script by PETER J. TOMASI/ Pencils by DOUG MAHNKE & JOSE LUIS/ Inks by CHRISTIAN ALAMY, KEITH CHAMPAGNE, MARK IRWIN & MATT SANTORELLI/ Colors by DAVID BARON/ Letters by ROB LEIGH/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

With his wife Nora revived and empowered by the same chemicals that altered his physiology, Victor Fries should be the happiest man in the world. But there is trouble in paradise, as Batman and his allies continue to struggle to save the victims of Fries’ upgraded cryonic weaponry.

With this story, Peter Tomasi has tapped into the same magic as the Batman: The Animated Series episode “Heart of Ice,” finding ways to make both Mr. and Mrs. Freeze into sympathetic characters, even as they cross some rather monstrous lines. The art teams are top notch and blend together so seamlessly I wouldn’t have believed this book had two pencilers and four inkers if I didn’t have the title page to tell me otherwise. Still the best of the main Batman comics by a wide margin.

5-5

 

The Flash #82 CoverTHE FLASH #82/ Script by JOSHUA WILLIAMSON/ Pencils by RAFA SANDOVAL/ Inks by JORDI TARRAGONA & RAFA SANDOVAL/ Colors by ARIF PRIANTO/ Letters by STEVE WANDS/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Central City is now the domain of King Cold and the rest of his Rogues. But uneasy lies the head that wears the crown and Len Snart isn’t resting on his laurels. Not with his sister still missing and a resistance of depowered speedsters still standing against him. And then there’s that one big question on the lips of the repressed – where is The Flash?

After months of teasing with the covers, we finally find ourselves in a good ol’-fashioned Rogues vs. The Flash story… minus The Flash. The sudden time jump in this issue is a bit jarring, but Williamson’s script brings us back to speed on the new status quo quickly enough and the artwork is top-notch. While I’m still cold to King Cold’s costume design, I will give Rafa Sandoval credit for making the character look distinctly like Captain Cold while giving him a more regal aspect as befits his newfound status as a royal. The colors by Arif Prinanto are also notable, bringing surprising depth out of a limited palette of blues, whites and greys.

The only problem is it’s still unclear just how much time has passed since the last issue and how what Captain Cold has done jibes with the rest of the Year of the Villain timeline. Taken on its own terms, however, this story is a fascinating study of Len Snart’s character and a great issue for new readers to start with.

5-5

 

Savage Sword of Conan #11 CoverSAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN #11/ Script by ROY THOMAS/ Pencils by ALAN DAVIS/ Inks by CAM SMITH/ Colors by CHRIS SOTOMAYOR/ Letters by VC’S TRAVIS LANHAM/ Published by MARVEL COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Beaten and left for dead by the followers of the Afghuli bandit Pakim, Conan is in less dire straits than his employers, who are now hostages of Pakim and his unwilling guides to a magical artifact of great power. Can Conan recover his strength enough to deal with the treacherous Pakim and face the secret of the Dark Cavern?

Dark Cavern, Dark Crystal is a Conan comic of the old school, with Conan facing ludicrous odds against monstrous men and overgrown animals. Doubtlessly fans of Roy Thomas won’t care that much of this story seems derivative, as the old master can still spin a Conan tale like no one else. Alan Davis is likewise competent in his rendering of artwork, though there is often little relation between Thomas’ text and Davis pencils. For instance, Conan doesn’t look all that sickly in the book’s final action sequence, despite speaking of “a terrible cold run up my blade and into me” after stabbing one of the monsters. Despite not quite living up to the promise of its first chapter, old-school Conan fans will love this one.

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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