Friday, November 8, 2013

Gordon's 99 Problems: Weekly Comic Review - 11/06/13

Wednesday has come and gone, which means that some amazing comics have been read. This week was quite large for my pull list. I got and read 5 amazing comics and can not wait to tell you about them:

Forever Evil #3 (DC) Writer: Geoff Johns, Artist: David Finch.

Crime Syndicate: (From Left to Right) Owlman, Deathstorm,
Johnny Quick, Power Ring, Ultraman, Superwoman, and a
deceased Sea King.
For those following the aftermath of the big DC event: Trinity War which brought the arrival of (my favorite villain team) Crime Syndicate, you will be happy with this issue. It explains how three justice league teams (Justice League, Justice League of America, & Justice League Dark) were all quickly defeated and it chronicles the beginning of a team of villains led by Lex Luthor (and Batman?) to fight the CS. While that is the basic plot, the comic itself is really starting to spotlight the villains of the DCU and what drives them. For some, the disappearance/defeat of the Justice League teams is not a blessing but a curse, either because they did not personally defeat their hero counter-part and/or they have been replaced by the CS. For this reason, the villains at this point are really more anti-heroes and one's that become easier and easier to identify with and understand. For this reason, this book feels like it is just getting better and better with each issue.

I give this comic an 8 out of 10. 
I recommend this to any DC fan or those that want to see some compelling villain stories. 

Trillium #4 (Vertigo) Writer & Artist: Jeff Lemire

Jeff Lemire is not only a great storyteller but also a great artist. Trillium #4 continues the time-travel story that focuses on William, a WWI vet that is exploring the Amazon in the 1920's, and Nika, a botanist from the year 3797 where humanity has dwindled to a mere 5,000. William and Nika meet through a mysterious temple that exists in the heart of the Amazon and on a distant moon in the future. Through this temple the two meet in the heart of some desperate time. 

This issue continued to ratchet up the action, especially since Williams brother accidentally went through the temple into the future. So now Nika is in 1921 with William and William's brother is in a hostel environment in the year 3797. Lemire is starting to explore the tension that the two main characters are feeling and how they are trying to help each other out, both logistically and emotionally. There was a touching moment in this comic where the two had a close moment, these was soon followed by a surprise ending which leaves the reader wonder what the next issue will have in store. (Here is a link to a four page preview for the issue)

I give this comic an 8 out of 10. 
I recommend this to any Lemire fans and those that are looking for a time-travel love story (really). 

Detective Comics #25 - Zero Year Tie-In (DC) Writer: John Layman. Artist: Jason Fabok
I love this cover because it reflects the story well.

Gordon being a Bad-Ass like usual
Layman is no stranger to detective stories. Not only has he been writing Detective comics for several issues now, but his creator-owned hit, Chew, also features a detective. This issue does not feature the Dark Knight's detective skills but rather focuses solely on Lt. Gordon. This extra long issue is a Zero Year tie-in so it takes place during the huge power black-out that The Riddler causes and follows Gordon fighting against corruption in Gotham and in the GCPD. It also showcases the first time Batman interacted with Gordon. This is a great moment that I really enjoyed because, for me, it strengthen the unique connection they share.

I felt like Layman's writing really fit Gordon's voice and his determination to fight corruption. This issue especially showed how Gordon emulates the vigilant spirit within his own sphere, in this way it showed how close Batman and Gordon are in ideology. Fabok is a great artist and his pencil work here brings to life a kick-ass Lt. Gordon. For a tie-in issue (which are usually sub-par) it was really good because this did not feel like an afterthought. This is an issues that truly broadens the Zero Year story. As a Zero Year issue is also had some great easter eggs and foreshadowing. There was reference to Black Mask and (my favorite part) you got to see a young, non-drunk, skinny Bollock! Great characterization of Gordon and good look into a different aspect of Zero Year. 

I give this issue an 8.9 out of 10. 
I recommend this to fans following Zero Year, who love Gordon, and fans of Layman.

Spider-Man: 99 Problems #2 (Marvel Knights Series) (Marvel) Writer: Matt Kindt, Artist:Marco Rudy.

For those that are against the recent Spidey-Ock itineration of Spider-Man that Marvel is publishing, then this book for you. As a Marvel Knights series it takes place outside the regular Marvel continuity ("regular" seems like stretch to call what Marvel passes for continuity but that is another blog post). The plot, so far, is that Peter is drawn into an elaborate trap, drugged, and now has to fight 99 villains. The first issue highlighted monster-type villains (like Werewolk, Mobiues, etc) and this issue takes place in an airplane filled with Shocker, Sandman, Hydro-man, and Mysterio. 

Matt Kindt is a great writer and brings to life this psychedelic tale that is intermixed with the standard Parker humor and Parker intellect. While the writing is superb, the real star of the issue is Marco Rudy on art. The panel (or lack thereof) design can be described as psychedelic, organic, creative, and diverse. The art is beautifully varied, from fine pencil work to water color painting, to airplane-type instruction manuals scattered throughout the comic. On top of the amazing art, Rudy brings an innovative panel flow. At a glance it looks like it could be hard to read but the flow of the comic is surprisingly intuitive and engrossing. It reminds me of JH Williams III and the flow he brings to a comics (esp. Sandman Overture). From the story to the art, this is hands-down the best comic I read all week. 

This is one of the many two-page spreads that grace the pages of this comic.
I easily give this comic a 9.5 out of 10. 
I recommend this to any Peter Parker fans, Matt Kindt fans, or anyone that likes to read comics while under the influence (just joking...kinda). 

Catalyst Comix #5 (Dark Horse) Writer: Joe Casey, Artists: 
Great Paul Pope cover
Catalyst Comix is a unique comic experience that Joe Casey and Dark Horse are reviving. In short, it is a 9 issue miniseries in which every issue has three rotating stories. All the stories are written by Casey but each one is drawn by a different artist. The three stories all take place in the same universe and it seems that at some future point they will converge.

The main story, which focuses on Amazing Grace (see above picture), was the best of the three by leaps and bounds. It progressed the ongoing story of a strange visitor and his intentions. It created suspense and anticipation for the next issue. The second story, which focuses on the team - Agents of Change, was so short that its hard to call it even a story. The third story, which focuses on the solo hero Frank Wells, a.k.a. Titian, was ok but it was hard to piece together with the larger story being told. All in all this issue seemed rudderless. I have no clue where it is going, Casey is rather vague with the characters and their history and hence I don't really care about the characters or the world they inhabit. I'm not sure if I will continue to buy this series.

I give this comic a 4.5 out of 10. 
I recommend only to those that are faithfully committed to the Catalyst series. All others, just look at the amazing cover and move along. 

Do you agree? Disagree? What did you love or hate about these comics? 
What comics do you read and why?

Let us know down below in the comments section. 

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