Comic Reviews of the Week: 3/31/2010

8 04 2010

Freddie’s Pick:

Green Hornet #2

While most people were picking up the Blackest Night finale last week, I was content with the two, less hyped books in my pull list. (Detective Comics #863 and Green Hornet #2) I was completely ready to be amazed by the former and disappointed by the latter. To my surprise, the complete opposite happened. The finale of Greg Rucka’s “Cutter” arc left me with the impression it was missing an unknown, yet crucial element, while the second issue of Kevin Smith’s Green Hornet (based of his unproduced screenplay) not only entertained me, but also impressed me.

While I have never seen more than a few random clips from the Green Hornet TV show on YouTube, Smith makes the characters in the comic easy to understand and identify with. In case you’re as unfamiliar with The Green Hornet as I was: The Green Hornet (Britt Reid) was a masked crimefighter in Century City. Now, he’s just the Owner/Publisher of The Sentinel Newspaper. Back in his crime fighting days, Reid had a masked Asian manservant/sidekick named Kato. (awesome right?) Reid now has a son named, Britt Reid, Jr. Junior has no ambition, his girlfriend just broke up with him, and he thinks that his dad has wasted his life. (i.e. nowhere to go but up)

After all the pesky exposition in this issue, we get to see an epic ninja fight at the Reid estate. It’s not clearly explained why the ninjas drop in, but it could have something to do with Hirohito Juuma (a dead yakuza boss’ son) showing up in Century City. We also get to see the first appearance of the mysterious, female Kato. This issue is a definite improvement over the first. The dialogue is less clunky and Jonathan Lau’s art is much more fluid.

If you’ve become less interested in Kevin Smith’s comics recently, I’d say give this one a shot. It looks like the book is starting to get its footing, after the unsteady first issue. To Smith’s credit, so far, there have not been any dick, fart, or weed jokes in this book. Which, more than likely, won’t be the case with the upcoming film adaptation that’s being written by the guys behind Superbad and Pineapple Express. The publisher, Dynamite Comics, has stated that something huge is going to happen in issue three, so don’t hesitate to get on board with this series.  Even people who are completely unfamiliar with the story of the Green Hornet will find something to enjoy in this exciting ten part series.

Art’s Pick:

Detective Comics 863

As you can tell already from Freddie’s review, it was slim pickens in comics this past week. And even though I managed to read a bit more than Fred I still had a problem on my hands…

Which book do I spotlight today?

I couldn’t review the “Holy shit, holy shit, did you see that **SPOILER ALERT**?” penultimate issue of the Luna Brothers The Sword for obvious reasons. Nor could I talk about the “Once 24 ends, FOX should option this.” series GI Joe: Cobra II #3 if you haven’t read the first two issues (or for the first volume for that matter). And I wasn’t even gonna try to weigh in on the clusterfuck that was Blackest Night #8, so that only leaves us with this week’s review of Detective.

This issue of DC #863 ends the three-part Cutter arc with Batwoman (and Batman, conversely) defeating the villain of the week, the strange return of Flamebird (unless she’s hanging out with Tim Drake or joining the cast of Birds of Prey in the next six weeks I really don’t care), and another chapter with the Question plotline (that honestly, I haven’t cared about since Huntress showed up). So if you haven’t been following this arc let me better sum it up for you.

Batwoman (and conversely Batman – the story takes place in two different time-lines, much like the 5th Season of LOST – more on that later) is on the hunt for Cutter, a serial-killer who’s terrorizing young women. And in this final issue, both of our heroes head off to stop the killer.

…And that’s pretty much it.

Obviously other stuff happens, like the compare & contrast with Batman/Batwoman that I mentioned earlier, which seemed like such a great idea ’til you realized that it keeps going on and it won’t stop.

Stylistically, I get it. But for three issues? It’s a one-shot concept at best. At least that way you’ll gloss over the fact that the Batman half of the story knocks down the character a couple pegs and really doesn’t do Kate Kane any favors putting her back under the shadow of The Dark Knight.

Sure it was cool seeing the Red/Blue double-paged spreads when the Bats were out on the prowl, but going from three different artists, the brilliant J.H. Williams the III’s cover, to the current artist Jock, to fill-in artist Scott Kolins was disjointed at best, and atrocious at worse. And that’s ultimately the problem with this. Because you see, Detective Comics – Rucka or no Rucka – is essentially a paint-by-numbers storybook, but is now (it was anyway) drawn by the second coming of Michelangelo, and when you take that aspect away…well, you lose something great. (And I say this as a fan of Jock’s work on The Losers.)

To me, this felt like one big ploy to bring back Flamebird back into the limelight, which if that was the plan then there’s only three directions that can go in, and I just mentioned two of them earlier. [ Bette rekindling her relationship with Red Robin or hoping onto Birds of Prey] The 3rd one would most likely be some sort of a new team-up book in the same vein as Batman & Robin.

So as an actual arc, I’d have to skip it. I only hope Rucka has one more great arc up his sleeve before he goes.

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8 04 2010
BATVILLAINS from AZ

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