DC Comics Countdown – Week of October 19, 2016 Reviews

Every week on Frontline LIVE the crew laughs about how many books I read each week. I read every DC Comic every week. I can not possibly write full reviews, or shoot full video reviews for each and every book, so I decided to go with mini reviews for them!

AQUAMAN #9
Title: A League Of His Own
Written By: Dan Abnett
Pencils By: Scot Eaton
Inks By: Wayne Faucher
Colors By: Gabe Eltaeb
Letters By: Pat Brosseau

What They Say: “UNSTOPPABLE” part two! In the shocking conclusion to this story, the unstoppable juggernaut carves a new path toward Aquaman’s hometown of Amnesty Bay. So far, Arthur’s attempts to halt the creature have been fruitless, but to save his friends and neighbors, the sea king must do the unthinkable.

What I Say: Aquaman is one of the most consistently well don series from DC Rebirth, and it was that way since the final days of the New 52/DC You era. This role Arthur has take really pushes him as a leader. He isn’t just a king in name now, but in action as well, being diplomatic, it shows you who this man is, and he isn’t jsut the guy that talks to fish. I also love how we see his pride come into play here, and we also got to see that he is also a tactician which is what a Commander In Chief should be.

The art here was beautiful, from the under the sea, to the land every scene grabbed you and through into the worlds of Aquaman.

Overall I say if you never thought of Aquaman as anything but the punchline, or thought that only Geoff Johns can write him as anything but that, check this out this is the superior version of Aquaman.

BATMAN #9
Title: I Am Suicide
Written By: Tom King
Art By: Mikel Janin
Colors By: June Chung
Letters By: Clayton Cowles

What They Say: “I Am Suicide” part one! Batman has always been crazy…but this? This is suicide! In order to retrieve Psycho-Pirate and save Gotham Girl, Batman must recruit a team from Amanda Waller to break into the most impenetrable prison in the world and steal from one of the Dark Knight’s greatest foes…Bane. The next great Batman story begins here!

What I Say: This story has a nice start up. The crossover took some umph out of the series, but this issue brings it back. This is why I liked that first arc, King really delves into psyches, and he also gives us this journey. I like the team gathered, and that they went with the classic Ventriloquist. The mystery of who that last member of the team had me intrigued, I kept going through his rogues gallery wondering who it could be that was that dangerous, and I was not expecting Catwoman, or that body count she has.

Mikel Janin does a great job with the art. DC did a great job on the rotating artist on this book, with Janin and Finch, their styles really blend well. The two of them really play well with the darker art style that fits with Batman.

Overall I can not wait to see where this story leads. I know King will give us these twists and turns that will keep me anticipating the next issue.

CAVE CARSON HAS A CYBERNETIC EYE #1
Title: Part One: Going Underground
Written By: Gerard Way and Jon Rivera
Art By: Michael Avon Oeming
Colors By: Nick Filardi
Letters By: Clem Robins

What They Say: Cave Carson has done it all: survived countless adventures below the Earth’s surface, met the love of his life, and gotten a cybernetic eye…somehow. After he and his wife, Eileen, sent their only daughter Chloe off to college, Cave was ready to become just another mundane member of the surface world. That is, until Eileen got sick. Newly widowed, Cave tries to piece his life back together when a knock on the door of his secret underground lab pulls him back into a past that he and Eileen thought they had left buried deep within the Earth.

Adding to his troubles, Cave must determine if his recent hallucinations and visions are the work of his mind or his mysterious cybernetic eye. (Spoiler: It’s the eye.)

Written by Gerard Way (DOOM PATROL, Umbrella Academy) and Jon Rivera (Heartbreak), and illustrated by Michael Avon Oeming (Powers), this is an absurdist action-adventure story unlike any other!

What I Say: This was a really surprising read. The Young Animal line is a bit trippy, the books are a little out there, the concepts are a little wild, and this is no exception, but I think it is more grounded than the previous two series so far. This is really about this guy with a cybernetic eye, and this mystery of why is he seeing these phantoms. My one problem would be that it isn’t that new reader friendly. Not everyone is like me, and has read about this character in the past, and as a first issue I felt like this paid more respect to a reader like me than that new reader.

The art was really good. It fits with the tone of the book, a bit off the straight and narrow, but perfectly marrying the tone of the story with this classic, spy/cop feel from like the early days of comics.

Overall this is the best of the Young Animal line so far and I am looking forward to finding out more about the Cave Carson, his Cybernetic Eye, his daughter and this mystery.

CYBORG #3
Title: The Immitation of Life Part Three: Nightmare
Written By: John Semper Jr.
Art By: Will Conrad
Colors By: Ivan Nunes
Letters By: Rob Leigh

What They Say: “THE IMITATION OF LIFE” part four! The lives of Vic Stone and the S.T.A.R. Labs crew are thrown into chaos following an assault by a twisted mechanical menace that believes it’s Cyborg’s true father!

What I Say: This is the best issue of the series so far. I love psychological stories, the ones that delve deep into the psyche of a character a vulnerability that we rarely see in them, and this was that issue for Victor Stone. It also gave us some mysteries with this girl who says she was his girlfriend, but they broke up when Vic said he was in love with someone else, and that his father locked his memories from him.

The art here really stepped up the game showing us Vic transforming from Cyborg to Victor Stone was nice, very well done. The surroundings were also a nice touch gave the city a life of its own.

Overall this was a solid read and I am finally starting to connect to Cyborg again.

DARK KNIGHT III: THE MASTER RACE #6
Title: Book Six
Written By: Frank Miller and Brian Azzarello
Pencils By: Andy Kubert
Art By: Klaus Janson
Colors By: Brad Anderson
Letters By: Clem Johnson

What They Say: Is Gotham City ready for a new Batgirl?!

What I Say: Everytime this comes out I say to myself, “wow this is still out”. I honestly forget that it is still going on, which is a bad thing. I am not looking forward to this story. I have said it before the Dark Knight was a good story, and it should have been left as that a stand-alone story.

The art here really does a great job going with the art of the other two books, which makes this really great unified feel when you have them all together.

Overall, I just want more, or just leave this world alone.

GREEN ARROW #9
Title: Island of Scars
Written By: Benjamin Percy
Art By: Stephen Byrne
Colors By: Stephen Byrne
Letters By: Nate Piekos of BAMBOT

What They Say: “ISLAND OF SCARS” part two! Lost and alone on a remote island, John Diggle finds a secret facility manufacturing illegal narcotics, and an eccentric drug king who’ll stop at nothing to protect his empire. Where are Green Arrow and Black Canary, and will they reunite with Diggle before it’s too late?

What I Say: The story itself was ok, but nothing has lived up to the potential the Rebirth issue showed so far. I think there is a major flaw in the premise behind this series. During the big Rebirth reveal Percy said he was bringing back the classic Green Arrow back, and mentioned his goatee as a selling point as well as his relationship with  Dinah. The flaw is that is not what makes Green Arrow. There is a whole slew of things, like he is street level. He is a left-wing liberal. He is the man of the people who fights for the little guy. He is a modern day Robin Hood. Go with that! Right now honestly Robyn Hood from Zenscope is more Green Arrow than Green Arrow is. Get rid of this supernatural nonsense stories. Bring him to STAR CITY. Set up an Arrow Bunker. Give him Team Arrow, Dinah, Roy, Connor, Mia, you can add in Diggle, and even Felicity as new members I don’t care but get the HEART of Ollie back in there.

The art is really solid here. I would love to see this in the setting and situations I posted above.

Overall, this is a nice first step, but you have been shooting suction cup arrows. Load that quiver and shoot something real.

GREEN LANTERNS #9
Title: The Phantom Lantern: Prologue
Written By: Sam Humphries
Pencils By: Robson Rocha
Ins By: Jay Leisten
Colors By: Blond
Letters By: Dave Sharpe

What They Say: “THE PHANTOM RING” part one! Uncover the mystery of the powerful Phantom Ring that forced a Guardian of the Universe to hide away in the deepest recess of space. Will Simon and Jessica be able to prevent a universe of power-hungry invaders from claiming the new ring for their own?

What I Say: This was a really nice story. I loved the set up Humphries did for the Phantom Lantern. We meet the guy Frank Laminski, he is kind of a darker version of Hal Jordan. He is a test pilot, but unlike Hal he has fear, he flinched during a big test, and was saved by Hal. Then we see him becoming obsessed with the GLC especially as more of them pop up on Earth with John, Guy, and Kyle. He does anything he can to earn it including dressing up in a green mask and fighting crime, getting beat up bad, and almost gets a ring. A ring comes tells him he is worthy, then says it was an error and leaves. I loved that scene and the emotion, especially since we see that he knows either Simon Baz or Jessica Cruz got it.

Art here is solid I love the way Robson Rocha really plays with Hal’s counterpart here, painting a darker version of Hal Jordan’s classic origin.

Overall, this issue was the first time since the Phantom Ring appeared that I am honestly totally looking forward to it. I want to see Hal finally have a complete dark opposite,a nd maybe the First Lantern, Valthoom could be the Phantom Lantern’s “Guardian”.

HAREY QUINN #6
Title: Undercover Punker Part 2: The Skull Bags Big Snag
Written By: Jimmy Palmiotti & Amanda Connor
Art By: John Timms
Flashback Art By: Jill Thompson (Pages 12-15)
Colors By: Alex Sinclair
Flashback Colors By: Jill Thompson (Pages 12-15)
Letters By: Dave Sharpe

What They Say: “EAT TO THIS BEAT” part two! Harley’s carving her way through the rock underground of New York City, looking for the brutal criminals who hurt someone she cared about…unfortunately for Harley, one of the crooks in question has fallen in mad love with her.

What I Say:Harley has become the new Deadpool to me. I can be entertained by her once in a while, but not on a regular basis. I really am tired of the poo flinging, and it is even worst here. Harley actually reaches into her bag grabs handfuls and throws it. The positive side was I loved the flashback with Dr. Quinzel’s session with Joker in Arkham.

The art is pretty solid here. I like how they went with two different artist for the present and flashbacks stories. The flashbacks had a very classic Harley vibe to it.

Overall, again I like Harley in moderation, I just want more of the Classic Harley and not the poo flinging Harley.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #7

Title: State of Fears Part Two
Written By: Bryan Hitch
Pencils By: Jesus Merino
Inks By: Andy Owens
Colors By: Adriano Lucas
Letters By: Richard Starkings + Comicraft

What They Say: “STATE OF FEAR” part two! In the conclusion to this story, a new threat that manipulates the fears of its victims has turned the Justice League against each other, and only heroes trained to overcome fear—Green Lanterns Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz—can save Earth’s greatest heroes from themselves!

What I Say: This was one of the best issues I have read of Justice League since Rebirth. I felt that we got some great character moments here. This story wasn’t about the invasion (even though that was kind of in it) it was more about exploring what the League’s fears are. I also have to say I loved the connection between Aquaman and Wonder Woman, that was very classic DC! I am also glad that Superman and Batman are working through this together, and figuring things out.

The art here is solid. Jesus Merino does a great job on all of the characters I felt like he really made each character and scene shine.

Overall, this is a big move in the right direction exploring the characters, and not focusing on the big bad as much.

NIGHTWING #7
Title: Rise of Raptor Part One
Written By: Tim Seeley
Art By: Javier Fernadez
Colors By: Chris Sotomayor
Letters By: Carlos M. Mangual

What They Say: “RISE OF RAPTOR” part one! The Parliament of Owls wasn’t brought to justice like Raptor promised Nightwing—it was eliminated! Raptor’s methods have crossed the line and Nightwing goes to apprehend him. Upon his arrival he discovers Raptor’s true intentions and obsessions…

What I Say: This is the first time since he was introduced that I was interested in Raptor, now I want to know more about him. His connection to Dick Grayson, and more so Dick’s Mother has me very intrigued! It was also interesting to see how he is very much a Dick Grayson opposite, but he is also a Batman opposite as he obviously has the fighting and the detective skills that rivals that of the Dark Knight himself, and you have to admire that ballsy move kidnapping Bruce Wayne.

The art here seems to have improved, but still has a bit too dark of a tone to it. I want more light in Nightwing’s life he is not Batman.

Overall this is a big move in the right direction for Nightwing. I think I can see why he would leave and head off to Bludhaven.

RAVEN #2
Title: The White Carnival Part Two: The Fear Within
Written By: Marv Wolfman
Art By: Alison Borges
Colors By: Blond
Letters By: A Larger World

What They Say: “White Carnival” part two! As Raven settles into her new life in San Francisco, one of her classmates goes missing. Then another. When Raven begins to investigate, she is shocked to learn that disappearances have been happening all over the city…and now it’s up to her to discover the truth!  

What I Say: This is more like the Raven I know. This issue delves deep into Raven as we spend most of the universe in her head seeing how she thinks about thing, but we still get a lot of the other characters. We even get introduced to this new character ANTT who I am interested in and want to know more about. The mystery of what is going on at this carnival has me wanting more. Who could rip Raven’s Soulself from her?!

The art here was beautiful. I loved how Borges does Raven herself as Rachel and her friends, they all have their own styles which I think a teen book needs. The only bad thing is not Borges fault since it is the design of the feather-faced Raven.

Overall this is another great issue, I hope Wolfman really creates a way for Rachel to go back to a more classic Raven look instead of the bird face one.

SUICIDE SQUAD: MOST WANTED – EL DIABLO & KILLER CROC #3
Title: Knightfall
Written By: Jai Nitz
Art By: Cliff Richards
Colors By: Hi-Fi
Letters By: Josh Reed

KILLER CROC 
Title: Where The Wild Things Are
Written By: Christopher Sebela
Art By: Brian Level
Colors By: Beth Sotelo
Letters By: A Larger World

What They Say: The new miniseries continues with Killer Croc! Double-crossed by his friends, El Diablo is saved from capture by the mysterious heroine known as Azucar, who convinces the skeptical Chato Santana to accompany her to Gotham City to unravel the mystery that has put him in the crosshairs of both Checkmate and the Suicide Squad. But can they survive against those two super-teams as well as Gotham City’s greatest villains and its most notorious hero? And in the first chapter of a two-part Killer Croc tale written by Chris Sebela (alumnus of DC’s Writers Workshop program), Croc takes off on a solo mission to an island inhabited by mindless monsters, which makes him the brainiest of the bunch! But can he find the line between humanity and monstrosity before all-out war erupts?

What I Say: The El Diablo story was AWESOME! I love what they are doing with this little known character. He is so interesting this is how you really capitalize on the success of a movie, by highlighting the big breakout character. I also love that they brought in one of my favorite, but scarcely used Batman villains, Sin Tzu. Croc’s story was entertaining as well, but I feel empty because it just ends, the second stories do not continue. I always feel like I read a part one of a story and never will get the second issue.

The art in both stories was really well done. I loved the use of colors in them. For Diablo I loved the skulls when he was with the girl and for Croc, I really loved the designs for the animals very classic.

Overall, these are great books, but the second stories should have a clear ending not these open endings.

SUPERMAN #9
Title: Escape From Dinosaur Island
Written By: Peter J. Tomasi & Patrick Gleason
Art By: Doug Mahnke
Inks By: Jaime Mendoza & Trevor Scott
Colors By: Wil Quintana
Letters By: Rob Leigh

What They Say: “RETURN TO DINOSAUR ISLAND” part two! Trapped on a strange island removed from time, Superman and Son encounter a lone survivor from the past. He may hold the key to their escape, but first they must survive the other denizens of the Island.

What I Say: I am LOVING Superman so much right now!HE is going on these fun adventures with Jon and at the same time building up this bigger mystery. This issue really does seem to be building up that bigger mystery of the DCU, but doesn’t lose that heart of Clark and Jon. We have this father and son adventure that hits home when Jonathan gets scared that he may never see his mom again. I wonder if the mysterious person at the end is Mr. Oz, or if it is someone new? Either way someone is watching them and the bigger mystery continues to build.

The art here is very classic Superman. But the part that really sells me on it is the emotional scenes. I loved seeing Jon’s eyes well up with tears was heartbreaking.

Overall the Superman books are killing it and I love that it seems that he is such a major part of the bigger DCU Rebirth mystery/plot.

TRINITY #2
Title: Better Together Part Two: Smallville
Written By: Francis Manpul
Art By: Francis Manapul
Colors By: Francis Manapul
Letters By: Steve Wands

What They Say: “BETTER TOGETHER” part two! Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman have uncovered a window into their very souls: and the power of temptation proves to be stronger than any villain they could battle! The bonds of friendship and trust between the most formidable heroes on the planet will be tested to their breaking point, with the lives of innocents hanging in the balance!

What I Say: This story is sooooo good! I loved the heart of it, it is a father son story. This story really hits me right in the heart. I lost my father and I wouldn’t know what I would do if I was in Superman’s boots seeing my father again, but I loved what he said to him about all young Clark needs is time with his dad. Man Manapul you can hit the heart, and hit is hard.

The art here was so perfect. I liked Manapul’s art in the Flash, but this is the book that Manapul was made to draw. I loved each and every page and want posters for so many of them.

Overall, this is one of the best Rebirth books and it is only two issues in. If you are weary because of previous books with the Trinity or different pairings of them, this book feels liek the best of Superman Batman with the addition of Wonder Woman who is an equal part.

WACKY RACELAND #5
Title: The Butcher Shop Part One: Revelations
Written By: Ken Pontac
Art By: Leonardo Manco
Colors By: Marianna Sanzone
Letters By: Sal Cipriano

What They Say: A bad batch of mutated mushrooms sends our antiheroes on a white-knuckle trip down memory lane. Flashes of repressed recollections bubble to the surface of the Racers’ fevered brains, and these tantalizing tidbits suggest a single point of origin: a high-tech facility from hell known as the Butcher Shop! Against the advice of the omnipresent Announcer, the Racers roar towards the facility. But will they find answers…or death?

What I Say: I grew up on Hanna-Barbera, and enjoyed Wacky Raceland the cartoon, but I can not say that too much about the comic. While all of the new Hanna-Barbera line are departures from what we watched growing up, since they have a lot of those books out there still that tell those stories, but this was the biggest departure for me, and that is something as one is a post apocalyptic Scooby-Doo.

The art here was very muddy and dirty, but it feels like it belongs with this world, in this story, so it was well done as it married the story.

Overall, I feel this is the weakest of the Hanna-Barbera line and just not exactly my thing, but it is a cool melding of Wacky Raceland and Mad Max.

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