Friday, 20 January 2012

Issue 15: Hmmmm.... needs more Batman.

Eeek, a too long hiatus this month, and I’m afraid we’re a little lower on content than we should be.  Not that we haven’t been reading a lot, but it’s been a busy month in each of our lives.  Until we hire a blog-writing droid you’ll have to accept our human reasons for shunning the burger a little.

This week DC announced their “second wave” for the 52.  This involves giving six titles the arse and replacing them with six new titles.  Sadly, O.M.A.C. is a title I’ll have to say goodbye to, while  Hawk & Dove also gets the chop (I think we were the only two people in Melbourne that didn’t completely hate it).  Liefeld haters shouldn’t throw a party yet though, as DC has confirmed he’ll head up three unannounced projects in the future.  Personally we think his style is pretty sweet.  You draw better if you disagree.  Send it to us via the facebook group.  We promise we’ll judge it fairly.  Bet we get sent fuck all.
The other four titles are Blackhawks (we’ll live), Men Of War (liked it but ended up dropping it), Mister Terrific (likewise) and Static Shock (one of the shittest pieces of shitty shit ever).  These are to be replaced by Batman Incorporated, Earth 2, World’s Finest, Dial H, The Ravagers and G.I. Combat.  Check our source story here for more details.  This will bring the number of core Batman titles to five, or fifty if you simply count the books Bats appears in.  We’ll be picking up the lot and reviewing each one when they drop in May.

Amazing Spider-Man #675   Many comic book fans have those one or two titles they’ll buy by default.  It doesn’t matter who’s working on it or where the story’s at, but more about either the collector angle, or that it’s close to the heart.  Amazing Spidey is one of mine.  I had a few issues as a small kid, and I’ve collected it on and off over the years.  At the moment it’s far from it’s best but it is what it is, and for me that’s still entertaining enough.  Amazing Spider-Man has been a book Marvel are happy to frequently change artists for, and I happily accept the look of the book constantly changing.  Italian artist Giuseppe Camuncoli pencilled this issue, and while his work’s not bad I don’t think he’s right for Spidey simply because the action doesn’t leap off the page like Spidey should.  But there’s another reason why the artwork here lacks vitality, and that’s the colouring.  Just take a look at the washed out colours here, then compare them to Avenging Spider-Man.  Would Marvel do this deliberately so that the casual reader comparing the two would buy the latter this month?  Who knows, but with The Amazing Spider-Man being the title of this year’s fast approaching movie I’ll bet bright, colourful splash pages will make a return before long.  -Jem

The Incredible Hulk #3   Marc Silvestri is moving on from The Incredible Hulk after this issue, but not before winning me over in a big way.  In a very short time Silvestri’s Hulk has become my all time favourite look for the character, and I’ll likely follow him to his next endeavour (which despite frantic googling I am unable to discover).  The thin lined style and swift strokes present beautiful detail for both expression and all-out action scenes.  Anyone who draws Hulk needs to convey the brute strength of the character and make it believable, and Silvestri seemingly does this naturally and without effort.  The story arc isn’t done with though, as Hulk does battle with Banner’s mutant warthog brothers before vowing to take revenge and face Banner’s island of freaks head on.  Next issue sees another Image founder Whilce Portacio on pencils, which should continue to do the book justice.  –Jem

Batman and Robin #2  The cover to this issue annoyed me initially, as what took me a while to realise was the Batmobile, seemed to resemble a giant pig’s head or some similar porcine beast.  Then it grew on me until I now find it almost classic!  I love Damien’s pose through the red tinted glass, showing his unrestrained excitement at whatever destination he and Batman are speeding towards.  As Jem noted in issue #1, this will definitely be Damien’s book, and primarily Batman’s constant need to keep him in check, with more than a little help from a terrifically written Alfred along the way.  The art is pleasing so far, with very fine lined pencils and inks to match. The book opens with great scenes of Robin training with the total intensity and focus that makes him who he is.  Page 9 is a splash page with Batman and Robin launching into the back of a truck to take out a weapon shipment and its delivering henchmen.  A swift fight scene showing Robin’s newly learnt forced restraint is integral to the plot.  The henchmen are left hanging from a street pole, awaiting collection from the Gotham Police, when our new, still as yet unnamed villain arrives in the shadows.
Henchman: “...blood’s rushing to my head...”
SLIIIKKK  (Throats are slashed with his bladed gloves)
Villain: “Not anymore”.
Cut to Robin doing more training, straight after patrol, and Alfred expressing his concerns at this behaviour along with fatherhood advice to Bruce.  A foreboding spread of panels follows: As Bruce heads away, calling over his shoulder to Damien to get some rest, the stoic faced 10 year old snatches a bat out of the air, crushes it in his hand, looks at the dead creature impassively, and throws it down into the depths of the Batcave.  Alfred watches, hidden in the shadows; the look on his face one of fear and concern for this latest Robin. The book is nicely end capped with a civilian garbed Bruce buying a dog for Damien as a gift for not killing people!  The villain, also sans costume, casually arrives and becomes identified to us as Morgan, Bruce addressing him as such. Engaging in an intriguing conversation, we learn in the final four pages that this character has killed one of Batman’s agents in Batman Inc., and has some connection to “Ducard”, who I only know from the Batman Begins movie.  I think this character will definitely be challenging Batman’s non-lethal methods and this is a great set up for the rest of the arc.  Looking forward to more. -Ty      

Thanks kids.  Next week I'll be catching up on The Flash, along with one or two others.  Cheers.  -Jem

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