Tag Archives: DCcomics

Action Comics #1033 Review


Review by Andy Flood

Written by:
Phillip Kennedy Johnson (Superman),
Becky Cloonan & Michael W. Conrad (Midnighter)
Art: Daniel Sampere (Superman), Michael Avon Oeming (Midnighter)
Colours: Adriano Lucas (Superman), Taki Soma (Midnighter)
Letters: Dave Sharpe (Superman & Midnighter)
Published 27/7/21Published by DC Comics

The first notable thing when picking up this issue is the new logo.  It’s been overhauled by Darran Robinson, who has done a great job of encapsulating (in his words) 82 years of history.  It’s a logo with a modern feel which still manages to echo ages past.  The cover title ‘Under Siege’ refers to some of the story to follow and pairs well with further clues reflected in the excellent cover art.

The cover is handled on this occasion by the team of Daniel Sampere (also interior artist) and Alejandro Sanchez (colours).  We have Superman in a determined pose, framed by Thao-La and a great depiction of Lois channeling strong ‘Ripley from Aliens’ vibes (foreshadowing a great scene she has later in the book).  All this is set against the backdrop of Atlantean preparations for war.  Anyone who has been reading thus far will know by now that tensions are mounting.  It’s another great cover for this run, promising a good read.

And it’s no empty promise; there’s a lot to take in during this issue, with events moving pretty quickly.  ‘Warworld Rising Part 4’ opens with scenes of espionage, as we witness two high-tech camouflaged figures infiltrate the crashed alien ship held by the Atlanteans.  It’s a really atmospheric sequence, which leads us headlong into a face-off now made considerably worse.  As the Justice League debate events and the best course of action (in itself making for some very cool pages), Jon and Lois are meanwhile trying their best to accommodate the refugee Thao-la as she struggles to adjust to her new situation.  Tensions soon escalate even further, as the surface forces of Earth and the Atlanteans teeter on the brink of war and the Warzoon attack Thao-La at the behest of Mongul and his cronies.

If this sounds like too much to take in, fear not; Phillip Kennedy Johnson has done a fine job of making sure we are never lost, instead providing us with a truly enjoyable thrill ride.  He delivers on the promises of both the cover and events of preceding issues while keeping multiple plates spinning in truly entertaining fashion.  The dialogue is superb throughout, often being highly emotive, and we are with both him and the characters every step of the way until the closing panel.

Daniel Sampere’s art is, once again, just what the book needs.  He gives us dynamic action, imposing superheroes and dark, mysterious bad guys.  He etches lines of tension into the character’s faces, and draws us further into the drama unfolding.  There are numerous occasions throughout this issue where a feeling of Sampere’s original pencils shine through, something I personally love to see, as the shading lines and contours are further enhanced by subsequent inks and colours.

And what colours they are!  Once again, Adriano Lucas treats us to hugely atmospheric palettes, always giving us a firm sense of place and expanding our levels of excitement.  The colours are bright and dynamic and support the story perfectly.

We have more excellent colours from Taki Soma as we move on to the Midnighter story in this issue.  Her choices are always fresh, and support Michael Avon Oeming’s  striking art in a hugely complimentary fashion.  The writing duo of Becky Cloonan and Michael W. Conrad have written a story which showcases the strengths of the medium.  It’s high concept and has a touch of the bizarre yet the creative team work together so well that it entertains and impresses each and every time.

The pairing of Midnighter and Mister Miracle works very well here and introduces a comedic element that plays well through their dialogue as the action unfolds.  It’s another jam packed instalment, and the creative team here ensure that every panel pops and every line engages.  This Midnighter run feels very new and fresh and serves as a great companion piece to the lead story.

Dave Sharpe letters both stories again and, as ever, his work is clean, clear and well considered.  It really makes a difference when a comic is as easy to read as it is to look at or scan over.  Thank you, Mr. Sharpe!


Verdict

Everything about issue #1033 of Action Comics impresses, from cover to closing page.  We have two excellent companion titles to enjoy and are spoilt by a wealth of great art and storytelling.  It’s one of those comics which has you reading along thinking, “what happens next?” while feeling no small dose of excitement.  If you haven’t done so already, give Action Comics a try.  There’s a lot to like here.


(Suggested ages 13+ by DC)

Review by Andy Flood, 02/08/21


Throwback Review – Silver Age DC Classics: Adventure Comics #247

Review By Andy Flood


Written by:
Otto Binder (Superboy)
Ed Herron (Green Arrow)
Jack Miller (Aquaman)
Art:
Al Plastino (Superboy)
George Papp (Green Arrow)
Ramona Fradon (Aquaman)
DC ComicsApril 1992



Originally released in 1958, Adventure Comics #247 is packed with three stories, each featuring a well known DC character.  Re-released here as part of the ‘Silver Age DC Classics’ series in 1992, this is a really attractive prospect for any fan of DC or indeed, comics in general.

The original cover was by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye and shows Superboy seemingly facing the judgement of ‘The Legion of Super-Heroes’.  Depending on the reader’s age, it’s either deeply nostalgic or else curious to see art in this style; very evocative of the era and full of elements rarely used today.  Everything from the lettering and logo through to the colours and line work are different and hint at just some of the allure of these older comics.

There was often some form of teaser or ‘pitch’ on the cover, sometimes plucked from the pages within, other times featuring headline hyperbole designed to pull the reader in.  There’s a sense of fun and a feeling of incredulity brought by the dialogue on this cover and, if you want to know whether Cosmic Boy is actually serious, you clearly need to read the story within!

The lead story is notable for being the first appearance of ‘The Legion of Super-Heroes’, comprised here of Cosmic Boy, Lightning Boy and Saturn Girl, along with cameos from un-named members of the legion who would pique the curiosity of readers back in the ‘50s

It’s a great story, full of the optimistic futurism which was prevalent during the time of writing.  We see rocket ships, jet packs and gleaming utopian cityscapes as Superboy is transported to the 30th century!  There he faces the trials of ‘The Legion’ as they attempt to assess his worthiness for inclusion in their club.  Exactly how they go about all this might be seen to be morally dubious but seeing Superboy’s powers pitched against inventive use of other singular super-powers makes for great entertainment.

We then go on to join Green Arrow as he faces ‘The 13 Superstition Arrows’, along with his trusty sidekick Speedy.  This is obviously a much earlier incarnation of Green Arrow and perhaps seems comical when compared to his more modern counterpart.  However, this is an inventive and fun yarn, with lovely art and dramatic writing typical of the age.  Current fans might get a kick from seeing Green Arrow in his early ‘classic’ form; there’s lots to enjoy and some familiar elements that remain through to today’s version.

Our second backup story features Aquaman in ‘Aquaman’s Super Sea-Squad’.  This wild ride reads almost more like one of the war comics of the ‘40s, featuring as it does several military elements.  That’s not to say that it’s not fun; despite the threat of subaquatic nuclear disaster, this remains a remarkably light hearted and thrilling read.  Will Aquaman make it on time? Will the denizens of the deep help him in his impossible task?  Will he pause to paint a nuke green?  Well, yes, as it happens.

As if these three wonderful short stories weren’t enough, we are treated to brief letters or essays from DC creators working on later iterations of the Legion, giving their perspective as they look back on this classic issue.  It’s an interesting read, and highlights the value of these early titles.


Verdict

There’s something special about picking up an old or vintage comic.  It looks different, smells different (yes, I’m weird) and certainly feels different when you read it.  There’s a magic to it which is very specific to almost any comic prior to the year 2000.  Perhaps it’s the small ads offering x-ray vision for $3.25, or a ‘master kung-fu in a week!’ scheme.  But more likely, it is the imaginative stories, focused purely on providing fun, excitement and entertainment – all things which this issue brings in spades.  Suspend your disbelief at the door and treat yourself to almost any vintage title.  Judge a book by its cover and, chances are, you’ll be glad you did.


Review by Andy Flood, 20/7/21


Batman #110 Review


Writer: James Tynion IV

Art: Jorge Jimenez (“The Cowardly Lot Part Five”) and Ricardo Lopez Ortiz (“Ghost-Maker Chapter 4”)

Colours: Tomeu Morey (“The Cowardly Lot Part Five”) and Romulo Fajardo Jr. (“Ghost-Maker Chapter 4”)

Published by DC Comics Released: 06/07/21

Review by Bryan Lomax


I stated in my review for the previous issue that I came into James Tynion’s story, “The Cowardly Lot”, somewhat late, but that I filled in the blanks with a quick search on the internet. Since then, I have gone back and read issue #106-#107, and I would highly recommend everyone doing the same if you haven’t already. Issue #107, in particular, really tells us who the character of Miracle Molly is, and what she stands for, in a way that makes me care for whether or not she will get out of the predicament we find her in by the end of issue #110. It also dives deep into the main themes of Tynion’s overarching story, adding more weight to events that happen in the current issue.

That theme is fear or, more to the point, societal fear. Tynion is asking, “where does that fear come from, why do we allow ourselves to be held prisoner by it and who stands to gain something from it?” The Scarecrow is obviously the perfect villain from Batman’s rogues gallery with which to explore that theme. But it’s still unclear as to where he fits into it all. Is he being used or is he the mastermind behind all that is happening in Gotham?

Then we have Simon Saint and his Peace Keeper program. Saint represents a threat that uses fear to achieve an agenda. And, while that agenda may ultimately be based on noble ideals, it’s execution reveals a complete lack of trust in the people it would supposedly serve. It is therefore no more than a vain attempt at making a play for power and control, marking Saint out as a true villain.

We have former Arkham security guard, Sean Mahoney, who takes up the frontman position of Saint’s Peace Keeper force. He represents much of what so many people today fear, particularly in the US, as their country becomes more and more divided, seemingly heading towards totalitarianism. If Gotham was to embrace Saint’s Peace Keepers then it might as well change its name to Mega City One.

The scary thing about Miracle Molly and the Unsanity Collective is that everything they say about the definitions of “sane” and “insane” and who gets to decide upon them makes for quite a convincing argument. The greatest system of control, Tynion argues, is fear and we are all caught up in it. But those who do not fear anything, such as Ghost-Maker, are labelled as psychopaths, even though, as this story shows, they might be the only ones we can count on to release us from our own prisons of fear.

These are the things I find myself thinking about as I read this issue, which is all down to the excellent story telling from Tynion. And once again I have to say that I’m really loving the artwork by Jorge Jaminez and the beautifully rich colours by Tomeu Morey.

I’m still not quite as keen on the artwork for the “Ghost-Maker” origin story, now in its fourth chapter, which kind of feels like Tynion is setting up a rogues gallery for his creation, that he can then use as a starting point, should the character get his own series. Beyond that there’s not much to complain about and I eagerly await the next issue.


Verdict –

The pairing of artist, Jorge Jimenez, with colourist, Tomeu Morey, works wonders in bringing Tynion’s compelling study on societal fear to life.


Review by Bryan Lomax, 17/07/21


Harley Quinn #1 Review

Writer: Stephanie Phillips
Art: Riley Rossmo
Colours: Ivan Plascencia
Letters: Deron Bennett
Released: 23/03/21

Published by DC Comics

Reviewed By Bryan Lomax


The first story, “Welcome Home”, in Harley Quinn’s new solo series, from writer Stephanie Phillips, offers a fresh take on the character. With the recent movie, Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn, a film which I actually really loved, having been helmed by a female director, it’s nice to see DC Comics following suit, allowing one of their most beloved female characters to be tackled from a female perspective.

Phillips does an incredible job of showing us a complicated, multi-faceted character, that has too often been played for laughs at the expense of some real depth. Here, she is angry, smart, compassionate, violent and, yes, funny.

There isn’t much story to speak of within these pages if I’m being honest. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing at this point. Phillips just takes the time to set the scene, show us where Harley is at in her life right now, and give us a sense of her place within Batman’s world going forward.

She is a character trying to make amends for her past sins and, as Harley herself points out during one specific moment, “Everyone does love a good transformation story”. And seeing such a flawed character striving to earn redemption is definitely the kind of story I am drawn to.

The artwork by Riley Rossmo will take some getting used to for me. It’s not the kind of work that I usually go for, with exaggerated features, which often feel as though you have entered somebody’s fever dream. However, it is entirely in keeping with the character of such an often unreliable narrator as Harley.

We are introduced to a character, named Kevin, who could very well go on to become Harley’s side-kick. I can certainly see the potential there and there is something endearing about Harley taking someone under her wing who may just be crazier than she is.


Verdict:

A suitably chaotic first issue in this solo series for fan favorite Harley Quinn.


Review by Bryan Lomax, 16/07/21