Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Legacy Short: Comic Book Reviews for 6/10/09

My review for Green Lantern Corps #37 is up on Rokk's Comic Book Revolution right now and my review for Amazing Spider-Man #597 will be up tomorrow morning at the Revolution. All right enough self promoting time to get the rest of the weeks reviews:

Batman #687

Creative Team
Writer: Judd Winick
Artist: Ed Benes
Inker: Rob Hunter
Colorist: Ian Hannin & JD Smith

Story – A Battle Within

It may be because I set my expectations very, very low due to the disappointing Battle for the Cowl and Winick not writing anything of note since Under the Hood but I actually enjoyed this issue. This was probably Winick's best written issue in a long time. Batman #687 had all the emotion that Battle for the Cowl severely lacked.

The opening with the flashback to the original Dynamic Duo were we see Dick, as Robin, make a surprise attack on Bruce was a good start to the issue and showed that Winnick does have a very good understanding of both Bruce and Dick's character. And I was surprised that he was able to make that good writing continue throughout the issue. I really liked the Dick and Alfred scene
where Alfred told Dick not to let the DCU heroes make Bruce/Batman's death into a parade. It was a very well written scene and showed that Winick can poke fun at past stories (i.e. Death of Superman) without making it seem to obvious or cheesy.

The one thing I did not get is that from how this issue ended it seems that Dick's first appearance as Batman actually happens not to long after Battle for the Cowl which does not follow Morrison's Batman and Robin #1 were Batman and Robin have not been seen for months. I guess Winnick did not get Morrison's note about this.

Issue Rating
7.7/10 – Winick provided a solid start to his new run on Batman and handled Dick and Alfred's emotions towards the loss of Bruce very well.
Art: 8.5/10 – Ed Benes did a very good job with the artwork. Though there were a couple panels that looked a bit odd, but overall some solid artwork.
Overall: 8.1/10 – Batman #687 does a nice job giving us all the emotional aspect that Battle of the Cowl lacked. Hopefully Winick and new artist for the next issue, and personal favorite of mine, Mark Bagley can continue this good start into the next issue of Batman.

Flash: Rebirth #3

Creative Team
Geoff Johns
Artist: Ethan van Scriver
Colorist: Brian Miller & HI-FI

Story – Rearview Mirrors

When I first read Flash: Rebirth #3 I was actually impressed that the paced picked up and thought Johns finally decided to actually tell us a story. But after reading it a second times, and couple more times after that, I realized that this third issue of Barry's return was just as slow and dragging as the previous two. It wasn't until the last three pages that I felt that we were finally getting to the actual story behind this mini-series about the return of Barry Allen.

For the most part almost all the dialogue felt like it was the same dialogue from the first two issues. The only part of Johns' script for issue #3 that I really enjoyed was Barry's analysis of Wally, Bart, and Jay and the beginning scene with Jesse. But it is too bad the rest of the dialogue of this issue wasn't that good.

The worst part of what Johns is doing with Flash: Rebirth is that he is writing this mini-series for its eventual trade release. And Johns' is not even trying to hide the fact as he is just stalling for time and I now understand why this Johns needed a 6th issue for the series as he has been stalling for time to get us to the bulk of the story. In truth the people that will most enjoy this series are probably the big time Flash fans, Barry Allen specifically, more than for people like me who is interested in the character(s) but hasn't followed the series and character(s) on a consistent basis.

Issue Rating
Story: 4.1/10 – This issue felt like Johns was just recycling old dialogue from the first two issues and it was not until the last three pages were Johns finally decided to start the actual story.
Art: 9.2/10 – Ethan van Scriver's artwork continues to be one of the only positive things about this series.
Overall: 6.65/10 – Flash: Rebirth #3 was another disappointing issue, but since I am already half way through the series I am going to stick this series out to the end and hope Johns can stop dragging the story out.

Red Robin #1

Creative Team
Writer: Craig Yost
Artist: Ramon Bachs
Colorist: Guy Major

Story – The Grail Part One

While DC tried to make it a big secret who would be Red Robin, it seemed as the mystery of who was Red Robin was only in Didio and DC's head. It was obvious from the start that Tim would become Red Robin. But with this first issue of Tim Drake's, or should I say Tim Wayne, new direction is a mix bag for me. And it was not just the writing but also the art was a mixed bag as Bachs had his good and bad moments with his art.

Even though Dick Grayson is my favorite Robin, and one of my favorite comic characters, I have actually grown up with Tim as my Robin since I started reading comics. And in this new direction it seems that Yost and DC have decided to take a lot of Tim's personality and make him into another Jason Todd with his new attitude. Now I don't think that Yost will make Tim as extreme, or as badly written, as Jason is but it didn't feel like I was reading the same Tim from my childhood to just a few months ago.

The only thing that Yost has kept from Tim's previous portrayals is his determination. Yost did a fine job showing that Tim is still a very determined guy and it is that determination that makes him a very good hero.

Also I did like the flashback to Tim disproving Dick making Damien the new Robin. I especially liked the little banter between Tim and Damien. It actually felt like an argument between a middle child and the youngest child with the oldest child, Dick, having to break up their fight.

Still I found the logic that Tim used to believe that Bruce is alive to have come out of left field and hopefully Yost will elaborate on why Tim believes Bruce is alive than just having a feeling that it is true. Though I am guessing that Ra's Al Ghul has something to do with it and will be the one manipulating Tim into believing it to be true by leaving him clues to make believe it.

Issue Rating
Story: 6/10 – Yost provide some good dialogue. Still Yost has a ways to go before he can convince me that this is a good new direction for Tim.
Art: 5.4/10 – Bachs and Major provided okay artwork that felt rushed except when Tim was wearing his Red Robin costume.
Overall: 5.7/10 – Red Robin #1 was a questionable start to this new series. Hopefully Yost and Bachs can provide us a much better second issue next month.