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Giant-Size Graphic Breakdown: ‘Mister Miracle’ #1, ‘Black’ #1-6, ‘Surfside Girls’ & More!

Welcome back to Graphic Breakdown!

It’s a hell of a week for Comics! Let’s get started with one of the best new releases of the year!

 

Mister Miracle #1
Written by Tom King 
Illustrated by Mitch Gerads
Published by DC Comics

I’ll come right out and say it: I’ve never been a fan of the New Gods. It just never appealed to me on any level. I HAVE enjoyed some of the Mister Miracle comic books.

The character of Scott Free is great. The concept of him being the greatest escape artist who ever lived is very appealing. Nobody has ever really done anything with that concept that’s been amazing.

Until now.

King has written a comic book for our times. The high concept is that Scott Free has pulled off every trick except one: Escape death. Can he pull this off?

The opening few pages ask that question in a very unique and fascinating way. Then things really take off.

There are also hints about Darkseid doing something here that is strangely compelling.

King and Gerads work so well in this comic. They have the perfect collaboration. Gerads especially has a fantastic art style that just works extremely well here. Its fun. Its weird. The only downside of this book is that we won’t be getting the second volume of the Sheriff of Babylon sooner. A small price to pay. This is excellent.

RATING: A

 

Detective Comics #962
Written by James Tynion IV
Illustrated by Alvaro Martinez
Published by DC Comics

Man, the art on this issue was very good.

The first few pages hooked me instantly. Martinez has never been a top tier comic artist in my eyes but here he soars. He cuts loose and makes the story eye popping visually. The story isn’t half bad either.

This is the final chapter of the “Intelligence” storyline. Tynion does a great job writing a satisfying conclusion.

The Order of St. Dumas are replacing Azrael and are about to purify the sick city of Gotham. Only one hero can stop them. You guessed it: Batman. Tynion keeps the plot running and it’s an action packed conclusion.

The ending left me a little cold. I felt it was done before. Not only that, I felt it was stronger when it was done before. Still, this is a good issue overall and worthy to be in your collection.

RATING: B+

 

The Flash #28
Written by Joshua Williamson
Illustrated by Carmine Di Giandomenico
Published by DC Comics

“If you wanna race, Flash, all you have to do is ask!”

That’s a bit of dialogue that starts the plot going on this book. It’s said by a guy on a super powered motorcycle.

Of course, from that very instant, I was hooked. The rest of the book was pretty damn awesome as well.

Barry is back in Central City as the Negative Flash! This is pretty entertaining and nuts. He’s got powers that aren’t working well and his attitude just sucks. He goes around doing what the Flash usually does but in a new stupid way. I loved it. I hope the Negative Flash never goes away.

Carmine Di Giandomenico kills it on art. I’m glad he’s back on this title. His work really makes the Flash soar and I love it. I hope he sticks with this title for years to come.

RATING: B+

 

Teen Titans #14
Written by Dan Abnett
Illustrated by Brett Booth
Published by DC Comics

This is a solid book from month to month as well. I wasn’t sure at the beginning how it would hold up, but it’s actually a nice read. Abnett writes truly accessible scripts and Booth’s art is quite fetching.

This issue, however, things get shaken up.

There is a traitor in the Titans’ midst!

Nightwing thinks he knows who it is. Some of the others do not agree with him. This leads to some internal conflict. (I especially liked the little confrontation being Nightwing and Aqualad in the beginning.)

The revelation was a bit of surprise for me. I didn’t see it coming. That’s a testament to the strength of Abnett’s writing.

Give this a shot if you haven’t read it. Its exciting where it’s going.

RATING: B+

 

Jack Kirby 100: The Newsboy Legion / Boy Commandos Special #1
Written and Illustrated by Howard Chaykin
Published by DC Comics

Howard Chaykin has been making the rounds lately.

First is his controversial Image book, The Divided States of America, and now this wonderful title. He’s amazing. One is a hard adult book. This is more fun and light, and he makes it a joy.

Chaykin takes two of Jack Kirby’s goofiest creations and makes something really wonderful with them.

The Boy Commandos end up in New York City chasing a secret Nazi Axis Agent. Who do they meet while they are there? The Newsboy Legion! It’s their turf after all.

Chaykin takes these two creations and makes them relevant and viable.

The writing and art are both fantastic. It’s amazing. Chaykin has been around for years in this business. Yet, he is at the top of his game. Kudos to him and make sure to pick up this excellent book!

RATING: A

 

Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #13
Written by Julie and Shawna Benson
Illustrated by Roge Antonio
Published by DC Comics

This book goes along at its usual mundane pace. I read this book every month hoping it gets more exciting.

It never does, but it’s solid enough to justify its existence. I just wish it was more interesting than this.

This is the finale of the “Source Code” storyline. Oracle’s past has caught up with the rest of the Birds of Prey. They all spend the issue dealing with the fallout.

What a pal.

The question they all have to deal with how ever is if Oracle will have a place on the team when it’s all over.

Antonio handles the art in his usual standard way. This was overall an okay presentation. Yet again. Let’s hope the Bensons ratchet it up a notch. It certainly could stand a little more excitement.

RATING: C+

 

New Superman #14
Written by Gene Luen Yang
Illustrated by Billy Tan
Published by DC Comics

Shanghai is under siege in the second part of the “Shanghai Under Siege” storyline. It’s a wacky and wild time and I can’t get enough.

Yang started off this title with a whimper but now it’s damn exciting.

Emperor Superman is destroying the city of Shanghai! It’s up to Kenan to stop him! He has help from the Justice League of China but will it be too little, too late?

There is also a victim of the fighting, one you wouldn’t expect.

The writing is wacky. The art is especially good. What more do you need? Pick this title up and give it a chance!

RATING: B

 

Suicide Squad #23
Written by Rob Williams
Illustrated by Gus Vasquez
Published by DC Comics

Suicide Squad continues its nutty run with this issue, the third part of the “Kill Your Darlings” storyline.

How is it? It’s perfectly nuts and that’s how I love my Suicide Squad for sure!

Amanda Waller has gone rogue! She put an order in for Task Force X to take out the Justice League. It leads to an issue full of fighting. It’s awesome.

The whole thing leads to one of the funniest Batman moments not the last page. Maybe we weren’t supposed to laugh. I found it funny.

The art by Vasquez is perfectly fine. It’s not the most dynamic but it does he job.

The whole thing works well enough. It’s another bananas issue. I love those.

RATING: B

 

Red Hood and the Outlaws #13
Written by Scott Lobdell
Illustrated by Dexter Soy
Published by DC Comics

Speaking of bananas, here comes the latest issue of Red Hood and the Outlaws! I

t’s a storyline that stars Bizarro so you just know it’s going to be nuts. And it is for sure.

But it’s entertaining as hell. The first four pages are especially great featuring a cartoony, almost “Muppet Babies” versions of the JLA.

Bizarro’s life is in jeopardy! So Red Hood and Artemis turn to the only person who can possibly help him.

That person is the crazy Lex Luthor who is also Bizarro’s creator. But does Luthor have an ulterior motive?

Of course he does! He’s Lex Luthor!

Lobdell keeps the writing tight. You may know where it’s going but it’s never boring. The art by Soy is excellent. This is the most underrated DC book on the stands. Pick it up. Well worth your time.

RATING: B+

 

Justice League/Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #5
Written by Tom Taylor
Illusrated by Stephen Byrne
Published by DC Comics and BOOM! Studios

This is another issue of this crossover. I’m not the biggest fan of it but I can see how it is appealing to some. The Justice League and the Power Rangers meet up and a semi good time ensues!

In this issue, the two teams arrive in the Power Rangers home dimension. There, they try to save Angel Grove. They are also trying to save the Earth. Can they do both in time?

The writing is okay. It’s pretty silly. The art by Byrne is the real star. He should work on other titles besides this. This is a good time for those interested. Pick it up if you are. If not? Wait until Byrne gets to be a superstar on another book.

RATING: B

 

Black #1-6
Written by Kwanza Osajyefo
Illustrated by Jamal Igle
Published by Black Mask Studios

Black Mask Studios continues with their excellent comic book line with this new title.

I loved this right off the bat. It has strong writing with sharp art and storytelling that all make this a worthwhile read.

The star of the book is Kareem Jenkins who is racially profiled by police and then gunned down. Instead of dying, Kareem gets up. He then learns he is one of the black people with superpowers.

He has to decide to keep it secret or just blow the whole thing wide open. The answers are surprising.

Black asks a lot of questions that are racially charged. Osajyefo does a great job with the writing. He makes it topical but not pretentious. The story moves and it’s not too on the nose.

The art by Igle is great as well. This was a Kickstarter book that hit its goal and got picked up by Black Mask. That’s a good thing. Every comic book fan…heck, any fan of a good story should read this book!

RATING: A

 

God County TPB
Written by Donny Cates
Illustrated by Geoff Shaw
Published by Image Comics

God Country is a book I’ve been hearing about but never had a chance to pick up until now.

I’ve read some of the other books by Donny Cates. It was okay at best. Here, he really soars as a writer and has found a heck of an outlet for his talent.

The book follows Emmett Quinlan, an elder man who has lost his wife. Emmett is also suffering from dementia. He is a burden on his family and even the police who have to deal with him regularly. Then, one day, a tornado ravages the entire town. Emmett is then reborn by grabbing the sword at the center of the storm. He is then forced to fight the demons with the sword and defend the universe.

This is an enjoyable book. Cates knows this book is his shot and he takes it and runs with glee. Shaw is one of the most underrated artists out there. He excels in the art department here. I waited awhile to pick this up and I’m glad I did. This was awesome.

RATING: A

 

The Namesake TPB
Written by Steve Orlando
Illustrated by Jakub Rebelka
Published by BOOM! Studios

Steve Orlando is quite a name in comics these days. He deserves it. He’s a good writer with a lot of flair.

This book is no different. I wasn’t sure what to expect but it’s a real page turner. Orlando keeps it lively with every page and every panel.

Every seven years, a supernatural parallel world called Ektae aligns itself with Earth, bringing magic and mayhem. Jordan Molossus was born on Ektae but he was abandoned on earth. He wants nothing to do with Ektae either.

One day, two magical Urns end up on his doorstep. He then has one week to take the Urns to Ektae and spread the ashes.

Along the way, Jordan has to uncover the mystery of why his parents orphaned him. Orlando keeps the story based in emotions and it’s wonderful. The art compliments the writing perfectly. This is a great package. Pick it up.

RATING: A

 

Surfside Girls: The Secret of Danger Point TPB
Written and Illustrated by Kim Dwinell
Published Top Shelf Productions

This is quite a wonderful all ages book. Writer and artist Kim Dwinell has created something unique in the marketplace. She is a former surfer and this is her first book. It’s also incredibly wonderful and a perfect summer read.

Dwinell takes us to the town of Surfside. Things are getting weird in this town. Samantha and her friend Jade are coming of age and discovering boys. They are growing apart.

Then, Samantha swims into underwater cave. She starts to see ghosts and strange creatures. She then needs Jade’s help to solve the mystery and save their town.

Dwinell has a breezy writing style that you can’t help but love. The art is simple yet effective. This is a book anyone of any age can read at anytime.

It does something not a lot of Graphic Novels can do: it’s smart, funny and it’s timeless.

RATING: A

 

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