Batman #48 by Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo

Batman #48 by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo

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Two words can summarize the latest issue of Scott Snyder’s current ongoing Batman story – “HOLY CRAP!”

 

I hadn’t planned on writing a review post of this one… but it left me reeling to the point where I have to at least give it a quick write up. Prior to this issue, the previous high point in the Mr. Bloom story arc was without question Issue #44 (also my favorite single issue of 2015). That issue, however, was set apart in the timeline so it can be classified slightly differently from the other entries regardless of relevance. Now, with the release of #48, we have two highpoints in this new era of the Dark Knight.

 

It is very hard to say anything about Batman #48 without spoilers. I don’t think I would have enjoyed the read quite as much if I’d gone into it with any knowledge apart from what I’d gathered reading the preceding issues. To prove it’s worth your attention, I’ll try to highlight my favorite points in vague-ish bullet points:

 

  • Having a core villain portrayed as any level of sympathetic character is a difficult task that this issue executes wonderfully.
  • Bloom is creepy as hell. He’s like an abstract painting of the unholy lovechild created by blending Gotham’s worst.
  • The punches come quick and then ending leaves you drooling for more.
  • I suspect Scott Snyder sold his soul to the devil. How else can he be involved in so many great stories?
  • Greg Capullo’s style brings impact and life to moments that could be easily forgotten in the hands of a lesser artist.
  • Knowing the finale (issue #50) is so close seriously heightens the tension.

 

My rating of Batman #48 is 9 out of 10. If you’re not reading this, YOU SHOULD BE. It doesn’t get much better.

9 out of 10

SUPERMAN: AMERICAN ALIEN #1

SUPERMAN: AMERICAN ALIEN #1 by Max Landis & Nick Dragotta

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This title is an example of why I’m so partial to DC Comics…. once again they have taken a character that is universally known/established and find a way to make it feel fresh.

SUPERMAN: AMERICAN ALIEN #1, written by Max Landis and illustrated by Nick Dragotta, doesn’t try to reimagine or embellish the Man of Steel. Instead, we are treated to a step back when Superman was nothing more than a kid trying to wrap his mind around how extraordinary he is/will be. This issue deals with Clark Kent’s initial gravity-defying exploits which are visually cemented through impressive artwork. It is all approached in a way that has me very excited for the remaining six issues and what super power will be covered next.

Another factor I really enjoyed is how Ma and Pa Kent are almost as much of a focus as young Clark. Jonathan Kent was especially effective as he wrestled with the proper way to guide his adopted son. This is the second story I’ve read in 2015 that hit me on a deeper level as a father (the first being the phenomenal WYTCHES by Scott Snyder).

Comics are my favorite medium because they possess the power to entertain, dazzle, amuse, or move. They resonate with an audience in ways as versatile and varied as the people reading it.

My rating of SUPERMAN: AMERICAN ALIEN #1 is 9 out of 10.

9 out of 10

Keep it up, DC Comics. Storylines like this are what make you great.

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK: Volume 1 by Peter Milligan & Mikel Janin

Justice League Dark Vol. 1: In the Dark by Peter Milligan & Mikel Janin

I had really, really high hopes for this series. Prior to this I hadn’t read anything written by Peter Milligan or illustrated by Mikel Janin, so I didn’t know what to expect from them. My anticipation, however, came entirely from fascination of the Justice League Dark concept. I’m sorry to say I felt rather unfulfilled after completing Volume 1.

The art is great and writing is just fine. I think the problem is that there is a lot of material crammed into only 144 pages. Story lines with the regular Justice League can get away with this because the core characters are about as developed as a character can get. You’re already invested in the key players before cracking the first page. Without having to worry about much character development, authors/artists can run with a central story line while giving it proper treatment. This wasn’t the case here yet it was still approached as if the characters had the same status.

Justice League Dark struggled with character investment because the characters are largely obscure. I’ve seen all of them at some point in other JLA books; some come up way more than others. Zatanna is a solid player who pops up frequently in JLA books and shows like Young Justice and Justice League Unlimited. Deadman was familiar only because I’d recently read the Darkest Night/Brightest Day books. Constantine is the strongest of the lot by far. HELLBLAZER is a worthy favorite series for the charming “old sod” even after decades. I still hold a grudge against NBC for cheating John Constantine out of what he deserved and hope his coming appearance on Arrow turns into something more frequent.

Constantine was too much of a minor player in this volume. Sure it wouldn’t have been fair for it to focus on him, however, he deserved to be featured more than Shade the Changing Man. If given the chance, I’d read an entire volume that primarily focused on Zatanna and Constantine because chemistry between the two is strong enough to carry the book.

I still like the concept of Justice League Dark but don’t feel compelled to seek out Volume 2. If I stumble across it in my regular used book store visits then I’ll grab it, otherwise I think I’ll pass. It wasn’t a bad book… but I wouldn’t call it a good one. In rating I feel Constantine and Zatanna earn an entire point each.

My rating of JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK Vol. 1: In the Dark is a disappointed 5.5 out of 10.

5 out of 10

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