Review Round-Up: Hulk, Wonder Woman

Posted: November 26, 2012 in DC, Marvel, Reviews
Tags: , , ,

Comic Critique is back! I hope you missed us. Here are my reviews from last week. Let us know what you think. Enjoy!
By Alex Headley

Indestructible Hulk #1
Property of Marvel Comics.

Indestructible Hulk 1
Hulk’s Marvel Now! debut lives up to the hype. Mark Waid and Leinil Yu really knock it out of the park with issue 1, delivering a new status quo with a fresh take on the Hulk/Banner dynamic. It feels
like a natural development for the character and gives Hulk a context for membership in the Avengers and for any future team-ups. Banner and Hulk feel like they live in the Marvel U more than ever. Everything feels very connected and intertwined. At the same time, Waid keeps it approachable, this issue could almost take place in the Marvel Movie Universe. Coulson and Maria Hill are there and SHIELD has the everepresent quality established in the films. The Bruce Banner on display here reminds me of Mark Ruffalo’s portrayal in the Avengers as well. Reserved, caring, and wildly intelligent with just a bit of an edge. An anger ready to spill over at any moment. Yu’s use of the ticking clock is a great way to illustrate the tension and fear that Banner’s presence brings into a room. It’s very cinematic. The issue is primarily setup and exposition but Waid’s dialogue makes it work and Yu does a great job selling the tension and emotions on display. It’s probably his best work at Marvel. When the action does pick up, it doesn’t disappoint. Hulk does indeed get to smash and we get a fun look at an underused villain that helps drive another theme. The classic science gone bad tale is a classic in Marvel. It’s what started the Hulk and now it seems that’s exactly what the Hulk and Bruce will find themselves combating with the help of SHIELD.

Justice League 14
The current Justice League story arc is intriguing. Establishing villains and a dynamic to the team is a good direction for the title. And the emergence of classic villains like Cheetah is good. The character is more interesting than ever here, her ties to magic making her very dangerous in a DCU that is increasingly defined by mystical forces (a point driven home by the backup feature starring Black Adam ). Overall, this was a great issue. I particularly like how the team catches the Cheetah( Aquaman!). Where things fall a little flat is the art. Tony Daniel does great when the fists and fur are flying but his style is less interesting in the quiet moments. Clark and Diana’s relationship is developing organically and I genuinely enjoyed the back and forth dialogue between the two but Daniel just doesn’t sell it for me. His panel composition, the colors, the framing is all great but the emotion just isn’t there. But that doesn’t ruin a good story and I’m happy to follow the Justice League into their first big event “Throne of Atlantis” next month.

Wonder Woman and Batwoman prepare to take on Medusa in Batwoman 14.
Property of DC Comics.

Batwoman 14
Batwoman continues to be one of the best books in the New 52. The current arc sees Kate Kane teaming up with Wonder Woman to take on a mythical army. Everything about this issue is great. The art is as beautiful as ever and the characters really shine here. I love the interplay between the two heroines. Watching them react to each other is a delight.
Wonder Woman’s respect for Batwoman helps elevate a previously isolated character. Likewise, Batwoman’s awe and admiration for Diana is believable and funny. That bit of fun is welcome in a book that is dripping with menace and darkness. A meditation on the pains of immortality and the difficult choices faced by the pair. J. H Willaims and Haden Blackman share writing and artistic credit and both continue to impress. This is a gorgeous book with intelligent layouts that take full advantage of the medium. These guys understand that comics allow for some unique visual effects and use that to move the story forward and provide depth to the proceedings. This series has been great from number 1 and that doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon.

Nightwing 14
Lots of exposition, bad pacing, poor dialogue and a lame introduction to a classic villain do not make a good comic. Nightwing 14 hits all those points and more, failing to entertain. The return of Lady Shiva should have been interesting but this encounter lacked any tension or drama. This issue really seemed to be going through the motions. Part of the problem is the rush to tie into Death of the Family- events have a way of ruining in progress stories- but surely this could have been done better. The Shiva story could have been pushed back to accommodate instead of squeezing everything in like this. Still, some of the subplots are interesting and I’m interested to see what the Joker has planned for Dick. Hopefully the quality will pick up for Nightwing because he is definitely one of my favorite characters in comics and one of DC’s higher profile books.

Wonder Woman 14
Brian Azarello has me excited about what’s coming. The tease p the New Gods in this issue is great and really gives the ongoing story new weight. But the meat of the book is Wonder Woman’s interaction with her sister Siracca. Azzarello’s Wonder Woman is at once kind and powerful. Her attitudes feel very classic and I am loving the new cast introduced throughout the series so far. This book is a major success story for a character that has failed to find an audience for decades. The emphasis on mythology and the addition of a static supporting cast and world finally gives Diana her own little family on par with Superman or Batman. My only issue with 14 is the sharing of art duties. Cliff Chiang has been incredible on this series and the back up artist, fails to impress. It isn’t bad, it just doesn’t hold up to Chiang’s pages and it breaks the mood a bit. Art swapping aside, Wonder Woman continues to excite. I’m ready for the return of the New Gods and the continuing conflict between Zeus’s many children.

  1. raheadley says:

    Very good write up. I’m glad to hear Hulk is evolving. It was a good origin and a good Frakenstein monster setup for many years, but for me Hulk has always been one dimensional. Hulk Smash. With Banners intellect now involved it can open up so much more. I’m very curious to see where this goes.

    I really need to get caught up on my JLA. It sounds like the series is really developing well.

    Keep up the great reviews!

  2. timsbrannan says:

    Awesome. I love this new run of Batwoman and I have been looking forward to her team up with Wonder Woman.

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