Friday, September 30, 2011

Batman The Dark Knight #1 review, I Vampire #1 review, The Fury of Firestorm #1 review

Comic Book Wednesday

Issue #20

(Part Three)

Wait, it isn't Wednesday anymore?

Not gonna bore you with a prelude. Let's get right down to it.

Batman: The Dark Knight #1

Knight Terrors

Story by David Finch & Paul Jenkins

Written by Paul Jenkins

Pencils by David Finch

DC Comics

Batman: The Dark Knight wasn’t bad. With Batman operating in Gotham again in the main title, the whole “the only Batman comic with Batman in Gotham!” angle doesn’t work anymore, making the existence of this book slightly redundant. But I’m not going to complain about more Bat-books, because BATMAN #1 is the best of the New 52, BATMAN & ROBIN #1 is up there as well, and DETECTIVE COMICS #1 was pretty damn strong too. I loved the first run of THE DARK KNIGHT comics when David Finch was on both script and art, so I figured I’d give this a shot.

It doesn’t live up to the intriguing start to the first run, nor does it stand up very well to the other Bat-books. It’s perfectly competent as a comic when taken out of context of those, but standing next to those titans leaves this book slightly in their shadows. There is a bunch of Batman’s internal monologue about fear and how Batman never exhibits fear (which is very much Green Lantern’s shtick, to the point where Geoff Johns once said that the reason Bats doesn’t like Hal is because Hal’s has conquered fear and Batman uses it as a tool), a charity dinner, a confrontation with a member of the Gotham PD internal affairs department, Bruce flirting with a girl with a body like Starfire, and a mass breakout at Arkham that leads to Batman kicking some baddie ass.

Batman somehow knows instantly that Two Face is behind it and (SPOILER ALERT:) apprehends the villain of auld. The final shocker of a reveal is that Two Face is all Bane-ed out with muscles. And he says that Batman can call him “One Face” now. The final page was underwhelming and strange, as was Batman’s instantaneous realization that, because Two Face wasn’t in plain sight, he had to be responsible. And One Face? Not following. I’m sticking it out with this series because I enjoyed the first few issues of the previous run a lot, so I’m hoping this can rise to the occasion.

I, Vampire #1

Tainted Love

Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov

Art by Andrea Sorrentino

DC Comics

I’m not tired of vampires.

I just thought I’d put that out there. I think it’s such an unfair generalization when someone says that they’re tired of a certain genre or a certain type of story. Yes, it’s true, there has been an insane amount of vampire fiction since Twilight, and yes, a lot of it is dumbed down and romanced up. But I can watch or read BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER or ANGEL any day. I can watch TRUE BLOOD or read the comic, mostly because I’d gobble up anything Alan Ball puts out. I’m eager to read AMERICAN VAMPIRE. I think that avoiding reading something just because it involves a creature that has been the subject of a lot of oversaturation recently is a bit silly, and that what I’ve seen in a lot of reviews for this book. I think that the concept of vampires trying to survive and thrive in a universe run by “masked men and aliens” is a brilliant one.

But let’s be honest. It took a lot for a book to get on my pull list this month, especially if I never heard of it before. I bought I, VAMPIRE because of the cover. Don’t judge me. I’m a big big fan of Jenny Frison’s work. She’s done two of my favorite series, ANGEL and HACK/SLASH (my first published comic, ANGEL: YEARBOOK, has a wonderful cover by Jenny), and she’s easily one of the best artists working in comics. Just look at that cover.

The comic itself was entertaining as well. It was disorienting, though, as I couldn’t tell which scenes were the flashbacks and which were the present until the end. I had to read through it again, and everything fell into place. There doesn’t seem to be much of a statement made by the dichotomy of these scenes from different timelines being mashed together, so it seems sort of like the comic is non-linear for the sake of being non-linear. The story itself is mostly intriguing, and sets up a war that “Mary, Queen of Blood” is waging against humans and superheroes, and how her ex-lover and sire (I think… right?) Andrew plans on stopping her. After one last night of vampirey love, of course.

While the vampires sometimes seem like tamer versions of Angel and Drusilla, which is likely because we’ve not yet get to know them sufficiently enough to judge in this issue, there are winning lines of dialogue that make this book worth the read. When Mary says, “Evil? That’s how you see me?” Andrew replies, “When you opened your eyes for the first time, you started screaming about feasting on blood and taking over the world. That’s pretty evil, no?”

It’s a strange one in the New 52, but I think that the stellar concept and the phemomenal covers will win over new readers.

The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men #1

God Particle

Story by Ethan Van Sciver & Gail Simone

Written by Gail Simone

Art by Yildiray Cinar

DC Comics

This was a goodun. It’s interesting, because, at its core, it’s a classic clash between a jock and a nerd. The clash extends into race issues, posing questions that will leave people thinking about some pretty important stuff, which is a great thing. What I found most interesting, though, is how the jock comes off as the most sympathetic character in the book. Well, besides the poor family that gets massacred in the beginning, because that was just tragic. But of the main characters, I felt for Ronnie, the star quarterback most, even though there is very little I could identify with him. He’s an excellent football player, he’s aware and slightly bothered by his lack of book smarts, and when the other lead character, Jason, bizarrely changes the school paper interview he conducts with Ronnie into a race issue, Ronnie is left pondering the issue. He goes to his mother and asks why they don’t have any black friends.

Meanwhile, Jason is the nerd… who I would normally identify with. He ends up turning the article into a slam piece against Ronnie, who it seems he had intended to hate from the beginning. What the comic is effective in doing is showing us the thought processes of these two guys and how their inability to communicate with or understand each other leads to a conflict. I thought that was great. The book ends up with the two of them tied together as one being, Fury, after an explosive incident involving the lead characters and a group of murderers. It’s going to interesting seeing the mechanics of how these two incredibly different, inherently flawed people work together as one creature.

LATER: The survivors. A list of New 52 books I'll be picking up next month.

AN ANNOUNCEMENT: A comic that I'm writing just got solicited. Announcement coming here soon!

NEXT WEEK: Action Comics #2, Batwing #2, Detective Comics #2, Penguin: Pain and Prejudice #1, Supernatural #1.

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