Sept 18 Comic Week in Review

Pablo Gunner reviewed some of the DC villain books of the week. Find out what he had to say about them. Check out these reviews of SWAMP THING #23.1 ARCANE, FLASH #23.3 ROGUES, BATMAN & ROBIN #23.3 RA’S AL GHUL, BATMAN #23.3 PENGUIN, ACTION COMICS #23.3 LEX LUTHOR.
Writer: Charles Soule, Artist: Raymund Bermudez
It starts with Lex Luthor getting out of prison. For a reason unbeknownst to me one side of his face is horribly scarred. If he had hair he would actually look more like Two-Face. His getting out of prison seemed to be handled legally unlike most of the NEW52 villains which have been broken out of prison by the Crime Syndicate. When questioned how he got out of prison he pretty much just said and I paraphrase, “oh you know how these things go, just some legal mumbo jumbo." What kind of explanation is that? Anyway it was funny how Lex is such an egomaniac that he thought Superman would show up upon his release and throughout the book. Luthor had heard that Superman had been dealt with but he didn't believe it for a second so he created a plan that would put Superman in the place that he'd have to show up if he was still around. Its obvious he will be a major player in the Forever Evil storyline especially considering he's on the front cover of the first issue but it wasn’t made clear in any way in this issue. The art was pretty solid as has been the case with most of these villains books. This was definitely a Forever Evil tie-in villain book but isn’t much as a stand alone story and doesn’t add much to the Action Comics title and didn’t do much for Forever Evil as a tie-in either.
Verdict: weak BUY
Writer: Frank Tieri, Artist: Christian Duce
For me what this book did best was establish the new status quo of Oswald Cobblepot in the Bat universe especially in consideration to Detective Comics. I haven’t read Detective Comics in a while but last I read his empire was being usurped from him. This book made it very obvious that situation has hardened Oswald Cobblepot. Whereas in the past it seems he doesn’t like to get his hands dirty that has changed. Not only does he get his hands dirty but he relishes it. It starts with Penguin observing some magicians cheating his casino. They clown on him so he shows them who’s boss. Then a certain politician decides he wants to shut Penguin and his casino down. Then he does some Godfather type stuff to Gotham’s mayor to advise him otherwise. It was some pretty cold stuff. The art was really good. Nothing too spectacular but consistent with the art from other Bat books like Detective Comics. Its doesn’t seem like a Forever Evil tie-in but it’s a pretty decent one-shot.

Writer: James Tynion IV, Artist: Jorge Lucas
I don’t know much about Ra’s Al Ghul other than what I have learned through the animated Batman series and the Batman: Arkham City video game. To me this was an interesting and fresh take on the Batman villain. The issue started with a pretty good and engaging hook. A crusader shows up at a castle tower to defeat this “demon” only to find Ra’s Al Ghul rising from his water grave, the Lazarus Pit. From there it jumps forward in time. The Secret Society sends an ambassador to recruit Ra’s. This emissary tries to charm and impress Al Ghul with his level of knowledge of him and his league of assassins. Ra’s enjoys hearing about himself so he welcomes the notion but decides to test the diplomats  skills in a sword fight. Ra’s Al Ghul rejects his offer, defeat the emissary in battle, and makes it quite clear that he bends his knee to no one. Ra’s Al Ghul will always only have one objective and that it to conquer the world on his own terms, in his own way, and on his own time. The book spans ages as the narrative talks of Ra’s through different eras. Each time period varied in artistic style even if only slightly. The art blew me away. When an artist can do different styles that always impresses me and it didn’t fail to do so in this issue. For once the writing seemed almost or as good as the art in this villain book.
Verdict: BUY

Writer: Brian Buccellato, Artist: Patrick Zircher
I haven’t read this title in a while because I decided to switch to reading it in trade and yet I didn’t feel lost at all. This book did what most of the DC villain books of this month have failed to do. This issue adds to the ongoing title, has a solid NEW52 origin story, and is also a great tie-in to Forever Evil. The art is darker than what this title usually is but it worked for the story that they are telling in this issue. It started with the Rogues about to break Trickster out of prison and then jumps a little while back to when they were doing a job together. It had a well done recap of the Rogues NEW52 origin story. I already have a good idea of who the Rogues are because I have read the first and second trades of the NEW52 Flash book. Of all the villains the Rogues were probably most in need of a revamp. Everything in this issue perfectly explains the level of depth of these character and their association with each other. All I have to say is that the Secret Society better watch out because you don’t mess with the Rogues or their city.

Writer: Charles Soule, Artist: Jesus Saiz
This book was somewhat of a letdown. Its written by the Swamp Thing ongoing title writer but not by the writer that wrote about Arcane and Rotworld. I thought this would have been an origin story about Anton Arcane. Instead it was about what he's up to now and his own personal hell. His niece Abigail Arcane, which is the now avatar of the Rot, shows up to torment him, only now she wants something from him, information. She requests that he tell her about her mother. Arcane tells Abigail this story about her mother but in the end you find out that wasn’t even her birth mother that he was talking about. It felt like a waste of time. The only purpose this issue served was to tease that Arcane is coming back. Honestly if I see Arcane in Swamp Thing again it’ll bee too soon. I got enough of him and Rotworld from the last run. The art seemed fitting for the book. It was very bright and colorful for a book with Arcane in it but it made sense and worked. Still everything that I was hoping to get out of this issue was nonexistent.
Verdict: PASS

You can pick up these comics at Age Of ComicsKaboom Test Labs, or
 Twin Suns Comics & Games

We’re having a live streaming event friday, September 27 at 5-6PM MST for Comicast #100. We’ll be replying to any questions, comments, or shout outs, and giving away a crap ton of digital comic codes. Be there or be a parallelogram.


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