Reviews by J.T. Johnson
This is the first edition of The Geekly DC Review where I take a look at multiple titles from DC Comics. I’m playing a little catch-up this week as I’m also reviewing older issues of “Wonder Woman” and “Teen Titans” that came out before this past week. Some of my reviews will be longer and others will be shorter, depending on what I have to say about certain issues.
I grew up as a DC Comics kid and now I’m a DC Comics adult! I want to share that love through this article and the idea is to have a new article up every Sunday. I hope you enjoy!
“Detective Comics” #986
‘On the Outside’ Part 4
WRITER: Bryan Hill
ARTIST: Philippe Briones
When writer Bryan Hill started on “Detective Comics”, I enjoyed the team-up that he formed between Batman and Black Lightning. My only real problem with the story was that of the villain, Karma. He’s a bit of a cookie-cutter villain with no real development, but with this issue, he shows just how much of a threat he can be.
Karma has taken a group of children hostage and wired them all to a bomb. Batman engages Karma while Orphan and Black Lightning try to deal with the bomb. The issue is almost nothing but non-stop action and Hill does a great job finding his footing with this issue. It is also helped by Philippe Briones’ outstanding art and the action leaps off the page.
I do hope that the team-up between Batman and Black Lightning with a supporting cast that includes Orphan and Batgirl continues. If future issues are this good, then I’m definitely on board!
‘The Unity Saga’ Part 2
WRITER: Brian Michael Bendis
ARTIST: Ivan Reis
Brian Michael Bendis continues to impress me with his Superman stories. In this issue, Superman must deal with the fact that the entire planet Earth has been trapped in the Phantom Zone. He summons the Justice League, but they are quickly succumbing to the fact that the planet can’t remain stable for long in the Zone.
Meanwhile, Rogol Zaar, the main antagonist from Bendis’ miniseries “The Man of Steel”, returns and sees that Earth is in the Zone with him. He plans to attack Earth again for another crack at Superman but first, he plans to raise an army that is teased for the next issue.
What I like about this issue is that Bendis has set up a story that is epic and it is most definitely a job for Superman. The art is fantastic which is unsurprising considering that Bendis has the always dependable Ivan Reis backing him up. My only real criticism of this issue is that the perspective of the story unexpectedly switches from Superman to Rogol and that threw me out of the story briefly.
Despite the shift, though, this issue was still a lot of fun as Bendis continues to make his mark with the Man of Steel!
“Wonder Woman” #52
‘The Enemy of Both Sides’ Part 1
WRITER: Steve Orlando
Gods are wanting to go to war and a former Themysciran is trapped in a strange temple. Aztek is the one to get the visions and decides to seek out Wonder Woman’s help. The trapped Amazon is Diana’s aunt Atalanta and Wonder Woman knows that they also need the help of the perpetually angry Artemis. Thankfully, Artemis also wants to free Atalanta and they end up at the Smoking Mirrors temple, a strange place that doesn’t obey the normal laws of physics.
The writing of the issue is solid, but it is a little bogged down by the amount of exposition that it needs to give in order to set up the new arc. Still, this was a fun book featuring yet another cool team-up as we see the differences between Wonder Woman, Aztek and Artemis. I will admit, though, that I’m not really that familiar with Artemis, so all I can say is that she is kind of annoying as the “I hate everything” character.
The artwork by ACO is decent, but when they get to the Smoking Mirrors temple, I wish that ACO had made the layouts a little more easy to follow. I know that things are supposed to be strange in this labyrinth, but I was tired just trying to figure out what was going on in certain panels.
Despite the confusing layouts, though, I like the team that was formed in this issue and I’m looking forward to seeing where they go next now that the story has been established.
‘The Killers of Krypton’ Part 1
WRITER: Marc Andreyko
ARTIST: Kevin Maguire
After the events of “The Man of Steel”, Supergirl wants to find out if anyone else helped Rogol Zaar when he destroyed Krypton. She is filled with rage now that she knows someone was behind Krypton’s destruction. After all, as she points out to Clark Kent, he was raised as a child of Earth with only a concept of what Krypton was.
Kara, however, actually had a life on Krypton and has plenty of memories of her home world. The only problem with this issue is that the drama is undercut by moments where Supergirl suddenly gets all bubbly, especially when Clark sends Krypto to keep her company as she decides to head out into the cosmos to find Krypton’s killers.
Another problem I had was that this issue’s art was far too cartoony for the more dramatic story that Andreyko is trying to tell here. While the art doesn’t completely kill the book, it did take me out from time to time. I’m still interested in this story, but I do hope that the writing and the art improves to match the story idea being presented.
“The Flash” #52
‘Grips of Strength’ Part 1
WRITER: Joshua Williams
ARTIST: Christian Duce
Barry Allen has recently discovered that there are other Forces other than the Speed Force, such as the Still and Strong Forces. The Flash wants to investigate these Forces, but he doesn’t know where to begin. First, though, he has to deal with a couple of villains that have come to kidnap the Trickster, a villain that is acting as a witness for misconduct that has been going on in Iron Heights prison.
Soon, Flash is helped by Commander Cold but the Trickster gets away before getting sucked into the ground. From that point on, Flash and Cold begin to work together to examine and investigate the new Forces.
Williams does a good job at setting up Flash’s new arc and the book is filled with action. The art from Christian Duce is really well done. There is an interesting mystery behind the new Forces that the Flash is examining and I can’t wait to see what answers he will find.
‘Copycats’ Part 2
WRITER AND ART: Joëlle Jones
Catwoman kicks some ass at the beginning of the second issue of her latest title and I couldn’t be more bored. While Selina is still trying to find out who hired a bunch of copycats that dressed up as her, she is still just a depressing woman feeling bad about the fact that she called off her wedding with Batman. The artwork by writer Joëlle is also mediocre and uninspiring.
This is easily the worst book I read this week. One way to improve the story is to stop focusing on how bad she feels about leaving Batman at the alter. Also, please go ahead and clarify what the villains are trying to do because right now, I don’t care about the mysterious lady who is trying to do… something.
I’m sticking with the title, but this is definitely a second strike for a book that isn’t all that impressive on any level.
“Teen Titans” #20
‘Set It Off’ Part 1
WRITER: Adam Glass
ARTIST: Bernard Chang
Damien Wayne has assembled a newer, deadlier and crazier team in order to re-establish the Teen Titans. I mean, when you have Lobo’s daughter on the team, you know you’re in for some crazy shit. The issue is action packed and acts more as an introduction to the new team.
It also sets up Damien’s plans and those plans have certain moral questions. Damien is done putting up with criminals lightly. I really enjoyed this issue as Damien not only introduced the newest members of the team, but there is also plenty of action as they work together to take down Brother Blood.
Bernard Chang’s artwork also matches the grittier tone of the book, but like the story itself, it never loses a sense of fun that the Teen Titans should have. This was one solid book and I can’t wait to read what’s next!
“Suicide Squad” #45
‘Sink Atlantis’ Part 1
WRITER: Rob Williams
PENCILS: José Luís
This issue of “Suicide Squad” begins the ‘Sink Atlantis’ crossover storyline and it is set to continue in “Aquaman” #39. Due to the events of “Dark Nights: Metal”, Atlantis has risen from the oceans and has become a land based nation. This doesn’t sit well with certain elements of the U.S. government and they’ve ordered Amanda Waller to send in Task Force X to sink Atlantis.
The issue is mostly just set up for the story and there is not a whole lot of action. Yet, Williams managed to keep me engaged with the story as I learned about the current status of the Suicide Squad and the details of their new mission. We also learn that it is Mera’s coronation day as she is officially crowned Queen of Atlantis. The issue does end with one hell of a cliffhanger, leaving me waiting patiently for “Aquaman” #39.