Comic Reviews for 12-21-11

Written on Thu, Dec 22, 2011 by Kyle posted by kyle

Reminder: The Unshaven grading system puts each book into one of 3 categories. ‘Buy It’, ‘Borrow It’ and ‘Pass It’.

Spoilers ahead


Avengers #20

This issue is mostly a setup issue but we do get some action towards the end. I complained about the last issue being the same ending as the end of Kelly Sue Deconnick’s Osborn series but this time it was different. Rather than just confronting the Avengers with how his rights as an American were trampled Norman Osborn positioned a hologram of himself to throw the same accusations at the Avengers. Instead of turning himself in he used this opportunity to tell the world through the assembled press that he and his own Avengers would be out saving people from real threats.

This sets in motion Osborn’s real plan of dividing and conquering. Captain America splits up the team to go searching in different places Osborn might be hiding. This itself isn’t anything new but it gives us some exciting looking fights that get started. With the help of a former S.H.I.E.L.D. engineer with samples of nearly every heroes DNA we see traps involving hulks that can stick to walls, an army of Wasp fighters and a quinjet being chased by a giant robot.

Best of all, in my opinion we see Madam Hydra get that Octopus removed from her head. While I loved Jonathan Hickman’s Secret Warriors series this was the weirdest redesign I’ve ever seen and I’m glad it was addressed and resolved with a great moment of frank dialogue from Bendis.

Grade Borrow It


Ultimate Spiderman #5

It took Peter Parker about 4 story arc before Nick Fury got involved with him. It took Miles Morales 5 issues. The issue picks back up with Spider Woman (who you should remember was cloned from Peter Parker) asking Miles (in a paid for Spiderman costume) what the hell he thinks he’s doing. After being webbed down Miles is able to knock himself out and is taken to S.H.I.E.L.D. custody to be questioned. It’s immediately obvious that Nick Fury already knows everything about him and blood results confirm that Miles’ powers are of similar origin as Peter’s.

It wouldn’t be a Spiderman comic if a classic villain, like say Electro, didn’t escape custody while Miles is in the building. This brings up my one problem with the issue. After fighting his way through S.H.I.E.L.D. guards, Hawkeye, Spider Woman and Iron it all comes down to Miles hitting Electro with some heavy crates to stop him. This impresses Nick Fury enough to give Miles a single chance to try and do this on his own. While there are still no webs we do see Spiderwoman give Miles the suit that’s been in so many images.

Grade Borrow It


Batman #4

This issue we explore more of the history of the Court of Owls. It all ties into Gotham’s history, there’s even an old nursery rhyme about the court watching and leaving signs and acting as some kind of boogey man for the people of Gotham. There’s also a story Bruce Wayne tells Dick that he began searching for the Court of Owls after the death of his parents. Bruce was unable to believe some random mugger was responsible for his parents demise and went out on his own finding what he believed was proof but finding only dead ends. In the end he gave up and accepted there was no court. He even admitted to looking into it again years later but never finding anything suggesting they existed.

This definitely puts a distinction a distinction between Batman before and after the New 52. Comparing this against how Grant Morrison has written batman you can definitely see a difference of ability level. Morrison wrote Batman as a nearly unbeatable champion, and Snyder has written a story where a secret society dating back to the 1800’s has secret controlled Gotham from under Bruce’s nose through his entire career. Part of me wants to think Batman’s become less capable with how he is now, but the more optimistic part remembers that time has been set. Bruce has only been doing this for a handful of years and it’s not totally unbelievable this could happen to a less experienced Batman.

Grade Buy It


Catwoman #4

There have been a lot of comments about this series just being cheesecake and an excuse to give some fanboys some T&A and I can understand why when you look at the first issue. I would challenge anyone who still feels that way to read this issue and say the same thing again. This issue addresses what’s happened to Selina in this first arc. She’s seen what repercussions her actions can have on those she cares for. She’s been reckless and paid for it. I like to think we are seeing a story  parallel to what is also going on in Batman, in the sense that we have a much less experienced Catwoman now. She is a capable thief, but without the years of experience we once saw she is now back in the learning stage.

This issue draws the last arc to a close with a fitting epilogue in the first half and move on to establish the next in the second half. We see Selina setting up informants who don’t know who she really is and manipulating those she dislikes to get what she wants rather than going to anyone she could trust. She even walks away from someone who could be a reliable ally from her past to avoid any chance of bringing trouble into their life. There’s an old saying about seduction and shame going hand in hand, it seems like a theme we might see a lot in this series which leads me to think there’s been a lot of planning and plotting put in place by Judd Winnick.

Grade Buy it


Justice League #4

As optimistic as I was when Justice League started I find myself becoming less enthusiastic about reading it. All the elements are there. The art is good, if occasionally too much and the writing is okay most of the time with a few bright spots to keep things interesting. Something about the overall package just doesn’t pull me in like I’d hoped. I just feel like this is a story I’ve seen before. While that is often the case with most stories anyone out of college is likely to encounter (especially someone who devours stories like me) the key is to have something different in each. Yes it’s a story about an alien race attacking Earth to take its resources and move on. Yes a small band of unlikely strangers are brought together by fate to stop it. So what’s different this time? It’s not that it’s Darkseid behind it, it’s not that a the world is at stake, I just don’t see what makes this story so different from when I’ve seen this kind of thing before.

The issue starts with Cyborg assimilating technology at a fast enough rate to learn how to move and operate like a person in armor while Aquaman decides he’s going to lead the justice league if no one else is. The Aquaman pages seem like they are trying too hard to show that Aquaman really deserves to be on the team, we even have Hal Jordan go from not even knowing who Aquaman is to accusing him of only being able to talk to fish with no other powers. How do you accuse a hero you know nothing about of only having a single power set?

Things pick up once Cyborg assimilates a Mother Box, which shouldn’t be that possible considering that now means Cyborg can open a Boomtube whenever he wants now. This all leads up to Darkseid in his redesigned armor dropping right in the middle of our newly made Justice League. Next issue might prove more interesting  but more than anything it seems the real goal of Justice League is to remind us the heroes are no longer the powerhouses they once were, except Aquaman who is a total badass and doesn’t just talk to fish.

Grade Borrow It

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