Review Round-Up: Meeting the FF, Batman Inc. looks into the future, Flash fights Gorillas

Posted: November 29, 2012 in DC, Marvel, Reviews
Tags: , , , ,

By Alex Headley

Marvel Now! FF #1 cover. Property of Marvel Comics.

FF #1

FF manages to keep all the charm of Fraction’s sister series, Fantastic Four. The two books are so intertwined it’s almost the same story. Like Fantastic Four before it, FF is mostly set up for what’s to come but it has a lot of heart and humor. The real star of the show is Scott Lang, the Ant-Man as Reed convinced him to lead the Future Foundation in his absence. Marvel’s first family is taking a four minute vacation out of known space and time. It’s just four minutes (supposedly) but hey, this is the Marvel U and some whacky things can happen in four minutes. So Ant-Man, She-Hulk, Medusa and Johnny Storm’s girlfriend will protect the universe while Reed and the gang are away. This issue introduces to the new FF and to the children of the Future Foundation. The set up is fast and fun and should provide a working knowledge of the characters for anyone that is unfamiliar. The little interactions between characters are just great. Ben and She-Hulk sparring, Medusa and Sue Storm sharing a drink over New York, Reed and Scott talking about science and big Marvel goings-on and Johnny generally Johnny with his pink haired girlfriend. Everyone’s personality really shines through in a big way. Fraction’s dialogue is a big part of that but what really hits home is in Mike Allred’s pencils and his wife Laura Allred’s colors. The art in this book is just fantastic. It feels at once fresh and classic with a big of a Jack Kirby appeal to it. The colors are vibrant and full of life and there is a real sense of motion and emotion in every panel. I could go on and on about the Allred’s work here but to keep things short; it just works and I think it will become an iconic style for comics. I can’t wait to pick up issue 2 of FF next month and see just how much can happen in four minutes.

Batman Incorporated #5

The cover to Batman Inc. #5 starring Damian Wayne as Batman. Property of DC Comics

Grant Morrison has done some crazy stuff with Batman over the last several years but I think his biggest impact on the character has been Damian Wayne and Batman Inc. #5 is all about Damian. We’ve glimpsed the dark and gritty future of Damian Batman before in Batman #666 before the New 52 hit. Things are even gloomier this time around as the Joker has infected the entirety of Gotham with a maddening disease. Somehow, Batman Inc. must stop this future from ever coming to pass and if you read last issue, you know Damian isn’t so happy about that. Damian has really come to be a great character both in Morrison’s work on Batman Inc. and the first volume of Batman and Robin and in the current volume of Batman and Robin with Tomasi. He’s a bit of a brat but when written well is a very sympathetic character. Batman Inc. itself continues to be a fun concept and although we don’t see much of the supporting cast in this issue, last month’s all out brawl with Leviathan forces in Gotham gave us a glimpse of each one. This week’s cliffhanger puts much of that cast, including my favorites Knight and Squire, in a great deal of danger. Chris Burnham continues to do an excellent job with the art in the series. This one is more straight forward than most of his work but the action is exciting and the scenery is beautiful. But his biggest accomplishment here is the creepy factor. The Joker zombies present in this book are terrifying and the little things in each panel really drive that home. Burnham doesn’t spell it all out for you but lets the atmosphere really sink in.  A couple panels with a future Barbara Gordon are particularly chilling. Morrison obviously has big things planned for Batman Inc. before his departure from mainstream comics and I couldn’t be more excited for it.

 

Justice League Dark #14

Justice League Dark has become an important book. Magic is a big part of the new DCU and Constantine, the team’s leader, seems to be at the center of it all. There is one panel in this issue that has some big clues for what is coming up in the next year or so of comics. Jeff Lemire’s wrapped up his first big story arc in last month’s Justice League Dark Annual #1 and this week we get a little time to breathe and meet some of the more obscure cast. The focus here is largely on Black Orchid, Amethyst and Frankenstein as they explore the House of Mysteries. Lemire obviously had fun with the idea as we are treating to room after room in the haunted place of power that Constantine calls home. I love Frankenstein in the DCU and I’m happy he seems to be getting a new home in JLD after his book is cancelled. Lemire was writing his series before so it seems like a natural shift for the character, even if that means getting less of the crazy fun of S.H.A.D.E. This is mostly a one and done story, but it’s also building to the next arc titled “The Death of Magic”. The JLD readies to track down Zatanna and Timothy Hunter-both of which mysteriously disappeared in last month’s issue-but when the Phantom Stranger shows up, you know something is going to go wrong. It looks like Justice League Dark will play a huge role in the upcoming Trinity War crossover. I’m looking forward to what happens next.

 

Aquaman #14

Aquaman #14 is one of the slowest entries in the series so far as it’s mostly set up for the next issue of Justice League. The Throne of Atlantis even starts in Justice League 15 and promises a full scale invasion of the surface world by an Atlantean army. We do get a glimpse of some important stuff here. In true Geoff Johns fashion, there are lots of secrets and hints about what’s to come in this issue. Black Manta’ use of the word ‘we’ and his totally badass encounter with Amanda Waller. Aquaman’s conversation with his brother Orm, the current king of Atlantis and some more history on the underwater kingdom are all tantalizing. Hopefully it will all play out in a satisfying way next month. I’m glad Aquaman is getting an event crossing over with the rest of the DCU. The last arc, while great, was a little isolated and I think Arthur should be a big player. The series current artist, Pete Woods, does a decent job of mimicking regular penciller Ivan Reis. The art is good but I’m just not a fan of using a back up artist to mimic a more famous guys’ style. If you have to replace the artist at least let the new guy stand on his own. The figure work is a little loose here but the atmosphere and backdrops are gorgeous. The stormy sea and the depths of the ocean look great but Aquaman himself looks a little off and Orm, whose face is perpetually bathed in shadow, just blends in with the scenery. Still, this is a good entry in a great series leading into what will hopefully be a big, fun event.

 

Flash #14

Pages like this one make the Flash on of the most visually appealing books on the market. Property of DC Comics.

Flash #14 continues the struggle with Grodd and his army of Gorillas. I’ve mentioned before that there is just a bit too much going on at once in the book right now and this issue doesn’t change that. I had almost forgotten that Iris West and some civilians were still trapped in the Speed Force. The introduction of Solovar only muddies things further here. Still the core conflict, Flash’s fight with Grodd and the Rogue’s attempt to repel the Gorillas is exciting. As always, Francis Manapul and Brain Buccellato’s art is a thing of beauty. The Flash has never looked so good. The lightning when he and Grodd run, the wind when Turbine does his thing and the ice when Captain Cold gets busy bring a lot of dynamic visuals to the proceedings, each with a distinct feel and personality. The scenes with the Rogues are especially great. The team has used scenery to title the story in every issue of the series and looking for that “DC Comics Presents The Flash” in the background has become a lot of fun. Sometimes it’s written in ice, sometimes in fire or lighting but it’s always cool to see. Flash is a truly innovative book when it comes to the graphic side of things and an example of using the same guy for story and art can work to a book’s advantage.

 

Advertisements
Comments
  1. I love JL Dark. I have been buying them, but I have not read past issue 7 yet. SO I need to get caught up.

    BTW, I featured your blog today on mine. Hope it gets you some eyeballs!
    http://timbrannan.blogspot.com/2012/11/tbbyanr-two-new-blogs.html

  2. raheadley says:

    So glad to see Scott Lang in the FF. His Ant-Man portrayal is one thing that pulled me back into comics about a decade ago.

  3. wwayne says:

    The Flash will always have a special spot in my heart, because he appeared in one of my favorite comic books ever (http://www.dccomics.com/graphic-novels/titans-vol-3-fractured).
    For a complete list of my favorite comic books, http://thedynamicbuzz.com/2012/11/12/preview-batgirl-14/#comments.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s