Overall score: 5/10
It’s hard to write a review for DC right now. When it comes to writing, I like to take everything in to consideration. Where is this book going? What has happened prior? What is each individual character’s back story and are they portrayed properly? Who knows what is going to still be relevant in the DCNU, but I hope nothing from this TITANS book is. Before I get into gruesome detail, let me start out by saying Eric Wallace is an excellent writer, if you get a chance read his FINAL CRISIS: INK AFTERMATH. I know little about the man outside of him, being fairly new to the industry, and my excitement for his Mr. Terrific book.
TITANS is everything you should expect out of a great villain comic book. It’s gritty, gruesome and you find yourself rooting for the bad guys at times you know you shouldn’t be. Fabrizio Fiorentino’s art is outstanding and fresh, the coloring explodes out from the pages with beauty and the writing is great for the most part. Deathstroke is written perfectly, Osiris and Isis are excellent and the Tattooed Man is always interesting. The problem is Eric Wallace got dealt a pretty crap hand with two characters in particular, Arsenal and Jade. Being that Arsenal is one of my favorite DC characters, I will do my best to remain unbiased. Recently, Arsenal has been put through the ringer thanks to James Robinson. His daughter was killed, his arm was ripped off, and he’s back doing drugs. It’s clear Eric Wallace has no idea what to do with this character. Arsenal has become Slade’s poor behaved lapdog, begging for his drugs when they’re together and plotting his demise when they’re apart. Roy and Jade have become a sort of Bonnie and Clyde spiraling out of control and becoming so obscure I no longer see them as real people. Maybe that was Wallace’s intention, but for a team of villains, that leaves the Tattooed Man as the only character with a slight connection to his humanity. I love the Tattooed Man, but in this issue his dialogue with Vixen was so inconsistent, I have no idea what stance either of them took in this argument.
The book ends with the beginning of a crossover that will take place in the TITANS ANUAL that comes out next month. I have no idea if this will be the last issue of TITANS or if Wallace will be able to fix things up before the post Flashpoint world. All I know, as my review most likely shows, I am very conflicted and confused about this issue, as well as this whole run on TITANS.
1. Paneling 7
2. Writing 9
3. Dialogue 10
4. Editing 8
5. Art and Writing 10
6. Illustration 8
7. Inking and Coloring 8
8. Cover 10
70/80 = 87.5/100 = 8.75/10
Seriously, why aren’t you reading BATGIRL? This series would be the most fun comic DC puts out there if it wasn’t for Booster Gold, of course. Bryan Q. Miller has flawlessly helped bring Stephanie Brown back to the character she was destined to be. Steph has gone through some hard times, her father is The Cluemaster (Where has he been?), she had a baby (People tend to forget about that!), she also singlehandedly started the largest gang war in Gotham City’s history, then was tortured and nearly killed by Black Mask (Never receiving a proper memorial for her time as Robin.) She has not led an easy life.
The storyline in BATGIRL is excellent, simple, and keeps the reader enthralled and entertained. The main Reaper storyline going on right now seems pretty average, evil hooded mystery man sends out super-powered lackeys to collect artifacts and samples for some grand scheme. Key word is sounds average, but Miller manages to make even a cliché storyline fun and entertaining. His dialogue is so witty, and I find myself laughing out loud or trying to supress giggles like a fool. Now I don’t want to spoil anything, but all I’ll say is this: the Wendy side story is excellent, I am so glad Wendy and Marvin were brought in to the DC Universe and are being portrayed so well. I am looking forward to see if Miller touches on those aspects from Stephanie’s past that I mentioned before.
The art is good and compliments the writing and action perfectly, although I have some issues with the paneling. Most comics, especially in the DC Universe, have a very set way their panels are organized. A couple of panels a page and a couple one page splashes, honestly it gets boring. I look at paneling like cinematography and I immediately get torn out of the book when I see that boring, overused format. That assessment on paneling in no way affects my view on the artwork. Pere Perez may be the name on the cover, but I am a little confused as it says inside the book that Dustin Nguyen did both the cover and interior artwork. The cover is fantastic, Nguyen’s cover work always blows me away and this is a masterpiece. I would love to see this as an actual stained glass mosaic. The interior artwork is great as well, there is something in Nguyen’s facial features that is very real, the emotions in the character’s eyes blow me away.
BATGIRL is one of my top ten books and #21 does not fail to impress. I can’t think of many other comics that are comparable outside of Booster Gold and Amazing Spider-Man, but if you’re a fan of Veronica Mars, Buffy The Vampire Slayer or pretty much anything by Joss Whedon you will adore BATGIRL.
Jeff Lemire’s SUPERBOY is a fantastic series! SUPERBOY continues the story laid down by Geoff Johns and Francis Manapaul from their Adventure Comics run. Lemire’s story structure is wonderful, there is always a sense of mystery and it is very rare to be able to guess what happens next. Although, to my dismay, issue seven is a very straightforward “Kryptonian Gone Power Mad” tale.
As soon as you turn to the first page, the paneling jumps right out at you, and that doesn’t change throughout the whole issue. It is stunning and cinematic to the very end. The inking and coloring is hardly consistent, but that is done intentionally. It wonderfully reflects the emotions of the characters and the alternate worlds. Lemire’s storytelling and dialogue are consistently good, albeit a little too classy sometimes for a clone that lived in Hawaii for most of his life. I understand Connor has become a little uptight and brooding, but I don’t see Ma Kent harassing him to be so proper.
Although this comic is wonderful, there is one big issue I have…the editing. It is very hard to keep a consistent storyline, especially for a character who is in three major books (Teen Titans, Reign of The Doomsdays and his own ongoing). That is handled gracefully by both the editor and the writer. What I do fault, and I know it’s silly but it took me right out of the book, is how they handled Superboy in space. Oh god, I’m going to sound like such a fan boy. Superman holds his breath before space travel. I assume Connor has to the same. At first it’s fine, he’s communicating telepathically with Psionic Lad, makes sense it’s a comic book, I suspend belief. It all goes wrong when Superboy punches a hole in this spaceship and begins conversing with Psionic Lad normally! It was just explained that they had to converse telepathically, and now they are inside and it’s all of a sudden okay to speak?? There is a gaping hole that leads to the vacuum of space in the hull behind Connor!
That being said, SUPERBOY is a wonderful series. It has an awesome feeling of mystery that is comparable to The Twilight Zone. If you aren’t reading it, you should be. While you’re at it pick up Jeff Lemire’s Sweet Tooth and Geoff Johns’ run on Adventure Comics.
BATMAN BEYOND # 5
I remember how excited I was waking up every Saturday morning to watch Batman Beyond and Superman cartoons. Adam Beechen’s BATMAN BEYOND not only manages to reignite that excitement, it progresses Terry McGinnis’ story forward for an older audience. Issue five begins a new story arc featuring Paxton Power’s return to the universe. Previously, in the cartoon, Paxton betrayed his father, Derek (The villain Blight), by revealing his father’s condition on Television and also to Wayne/Powers Shareholders.
The editing has been exceptional in BATMAN BEYOND! It keeps up with the constantly changing past and brings in characters from both the DC Universe and the cartoon worlds with their original story lines intact. The writing and dialogue are both great; it captures the cartoon perfectly and it’s always fun reading how cold old man Bruce can be. The art is the only shortcoming. It is not in any way bad; it’s just average. It doesn’t stand out. The inking is average as well, although, the lines in people’s faces jump right out at you, taking away from the panel itself. Overall BATMAN BEYOND is definitely worth picking up if you were a fan of the cartoon series. If not, however, watch the series before reading. This comic jumps right into the action and leaves you little back story outside of passing conversation.