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Graphic Breakdown: High Grades For The Man of Steel, The Caped Crusader and The King of The Seven Seas

Welcome back to Graphic Breakdown!

Man, I get so excited when I get the DC books each week. They’re doing a great job. Here we go for this week’s reviews.

 

All Star Batman #11
Written by Scott Snyder
Illustrated by Rafael Albuquerque

So the rather unfortunate news came down the pike this week that All Star Batman will be ending. That’s a shame as it’s been a real amazing run thus far. Sure, Snyder said he will do the stories elsewhere in a new format. That being said, this has been a strong title from the onset and I will miss it.

Enough sadness! This is another good issue. It’s part two of the storyline “The First Ally.” Batman is in Miami and he’s in a race against time. He has to stop another murder. Snyder keeps the pace exciting. By taking Batman out of his element, Snyder has found new dimensions for the character. It’s brilliant.

Albuquerque does an amazing job on the art too. He’s truly the most underrated artists working. He illustrates Batman’s struggle and his emotions quite well. He and Snyder work so well together, its like watching a good band play.

Pick this up. I’m a sad it’s going away, but it looks to be going out on a high note.

RATING: A

 

Aquaman #25
Written by Dan Abnett
Illustrated by Stjepan Sejic

Many longtime readers of this column will probably remember my biggest problem with the Aquaman title: the inconsistent art.

That may be coming to an end in this issue with the arrival of the excellent Stjepan Sejic. Sejic infuses the title with lively art. Finally, we are getting somewhere. I hope he sticks around for a long time.

Dan Abnett is no slouch either writing this title!

Aquaman has been removed from his throne. The people from Atlantis have gone nuts. The police in Atlantis have been taken over by terrorists! Aquaman has been relegated to the slums of Atlantis.

And he must rise to take on King Rath and take back Atlantis.

This may turn out to be the best Aquaman storyline in years, maybe ever. It’s bold and new. Everything about it is exciting. Every panel just got more and more exciting. You have to read it. If they can keep it going, it could be a classic.

RATING: A

 

The Wild Storm #5
Written by Warren Ellis
Illustrated by Jon Davis-Hunt

Man, Warren Ellis and Jon Davis-Hunt have been killing it on this title. Issue after issue, Ellis gives us the Wildstorm Universe from a completely new perspective.

His secret?

Make the characters unique and real. He does just that. It’s something you can’t take your eyes off of.

Michael Cray (remember Deathblow?) is a dying assassin. He has been put on one last job to kill Angela Spica. This leads to chaos, and a lot of destruction. This issue also shows that the ancient war may still be going on…and it may take a dark turn that nobody was expecting

Ellis does a great job writing this book. Davis-Hunt is a powerhouse of an artist. He makes the wildest idea come to life on the page. He’s brilliant.

The ending of this book makes me wish I could read the entire story right now. I’ll be patient though. It’s worth waiting for.

RATING: A

 

Nightwing #23
Written by Tim Seeley
Illustrated by Marcus To

I do enjoy Marcus To on the art on this title. He elevates the story on this issue to seem better than it is. It’s full of energy and style and I love it.

The problem for me is Tim Seeley. He’s a capable writer who I feel is phoning it in.

There is an all out gang war in this issue and it’s not very interesting. There is also a “big reveal” about Blockbuster that isn’t terribly exciting either. The writing is just Ho-hum. I wish it could be better.

That’s really the problem. I wish the whole series could be better. And it can.

Give Seeley a rest. Recharge the old batteries. And let’s get a direction going on this book with a new writer.

RATING: C

 

Superman #25
Written by Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason
Illustrated by Doug Mahke and Patrick Gleason

The “Black Dawn” storyline has been truly incredible.

Bringing in Manchester Black as the villain is a stroke of genius. The writing team of Tomasi and Gleason really have pushed the storylines to be strong on this book and it’s example of making an old character feel new.
This is the extra sized finale to the storyline.

Watching Superman fight against Superboy in this issue was nuts. The whole issue was entertaining. The conclusion was even very satisfying…which doesn’t always happen.

The art by both Mahnke and Gleason is great.

It’s been a entertaining first twenty five issues in one year…let’s hope the next twenty five are as good if not better.

RATING: A-

 

Trinity #10
Written and Illustrated by Francis Manapul

This is one of the weaker titles in the DC line currently.

I think if Manapul just did that art and not the writing, it could be pretty good. That’s not the case here as much as I wish it could be.

This is part two of the storyline “All Along The Watchtower.”

The Justice League Watchtower is hurdling towards Earth. The Justice League is infected!

What choices will they make to save the Earth?

Surprisingly, it’s not as entertaining as you might think.

The story beats are rather dull and the pacing isn’t great. Maybe this will improve. I’m not very hopeful right now.

RATING: C

 

Batman #25
Written by Tom King
Illustrated by Mikel Janin

Oh, this is good. This is very, very good. Maybe Tom King finally has figured out how to crack writing Batman. This is the best issue he has done in a lackluster first twenty four issues.

Maybe it’s because King has more creative compatibility with artist Mikel Janin. Janin pencils and inks this book and it’s the best artwork this title has seen thus far. The David Finch work has grown tired for me. Put Janin on this book full time.

The opening sequence at the comedy club is priceless. Then the entire issue focuses on the Joker and the Riddler and the two challenging each other. You don’t even see Batman until the end.

King and Janin have finally given us something that could actually be great.

If they can pull it off it’d be a top tier book again. This issue feels like they might be able to.

RATING : A-

 

Super Sons #5
Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Illustrated by Jorge Jimenez

I’m not the biggest fan of this title. Tomasi isn’t a bad writer but this series needs a little spark to make it work.

It doesn’t quite have that and I’m sad about that.

Superboy and Damian Robin have just finished battling Kid Amazo. The fight leaves their friendship and partnership in ruins. This leads to a fight between the two in the Batcave.

It’s not as cool as one would hope.

The art by Jimenez doesn’t help matters. It’s clunky and the storytelling isn’t so good.

This title should be more fun to read. Sadly, it’s not.

RATING: C+

 

 

Wonder Woman/Tasmanian Devil Special #1
Written by Tony Bedard
Illustrated by Barry Kitson

What in the holy hell is this?

So, I guess they decided to have two characters who have nothing to do with each other meet up. It’s totally weird.

It has some decent art, but I lost interest about a quarter of the way through.

So, Wonder Woman fights the Tasmanian Devil from the Looney Tunes universe.

That’s basically it.

The whole thing to me just felt forced and I couldn’t get into it.

The art by Kitson is decent enough. Kitson used to be better than he is presently. Maybe he’s just phoning it on or this is all he can get.

This is a lackluster effort overall I have to say.

RATING: C-

 

Lobo/Road Runner Special #1
Written by Bill Morrison
Illustrated by Kelley Jones

This comic by contrast to the last review, was completely awesome. That has to do with the creative team.

Bill Morrison is an awesomely fun writer and it shows on every page. This is a much better fit of two characters and a better use of the reader’s time.

Wile E. Coyote has had it with the Road Runner. He decides to go hire Lobo to finally rid himself of his nemesis. Lobo comes to Earth to do just that! This leads to all sorts of craziness. I enjoyed it.

I especially liked Jones on the art. It’s good to see him do something lighter. He always does these “mood pieces” that are all very good…but this time he seems to find his joy on something outside of his usual toolbox.

This is some good stuff.

RATING: B+

 

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