Hobby Hole: Nov. 13, 2013 Comic Book Reviews

Batman no. 25 by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo | DC | $4.99

On the surface, this issue was really great, and most reviews I've read today reflect that. The plot has great depth, there are surprises around most every page flip, and there are hints that Snyder is building at something greater involving Tokyo and the Moon. Whatever that is.

But, as a new Batman reader as of the New 52, I almost feel left out. I have almost zero relation to Lucius Fox, knowing him basically as Morgan Freeman, and, if the issue's antagonist was meant to be exciting or surprising, it was lost on me. What worked, like the scene involving Jim Gordon, worked really well, but the issue seemed overly long (and pricey!) for very little forward momentum.

The art in particular bothered me, as while Cappulo's refined panel structure has worked incredibly well in past issues, consolidating action to such tight, macro panels took away from the work. As with last issue, I appreciate the hidden bats, and the expanded color palette was great, but it's just not working for me.

Hobby Hole score: 7.4

Constantine no. 8 by Ray Fawkes and Aco | DC | $2.99

I have no idea what happened in this issue, which also happens to be my last of the series (at least until the Blight crossover is complete). 

Truly, the art was nothing but impossible to follow. I dare you to accurately describe was occurs during the opening fight scene. It was chaotic, poorly laid out and far from finely tuned, as though it were pulled together last minute. 

Perhaps it's not the artist's fault completely. Maybe he had some difficulty with the story, which was just as difficult to understand. I simply have no clue what Constantine's motivations are now, which is odd given this technically takes place several month's ago when compared to the Justice League titles. But, you know, I don't care. Moving on.

Hobby Hole score: 4.8/Bad

Justice League of America no. 9 by Matt Kindt and Tom Derenick | DC | $3.99

What a weird issue. 

I think the distaste I held while reading was due mostly to the art, which was vastly different from previous issues. It was far more stylistic, with varying degrees of strengths, at times channeling artists like Chris Bachalo while at others more like something I'd get for free out of a cereal box. It truly never worked, and only came off more odd as a continuation of last issue's arc. Perhaps if the artists had swapped perspectives between the story's two main characters, it would have worked better, but as it stands, it was terribly disconcerting.

Then again, the writing didn't help either, with most seemingly retreading ground passed in the previous issue. Also, the, I suppose, climax made zero sense. Minor spoilers, but the crux centered on Stargirl's young age but... isn't Shazam younger? How's that work?

Hobby Hole score: 6.8/Meh
Previous issue's score: 8.0/Great

Manhattan Projects no. 16 by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra | Image | $3.50

After the last few issues proved somewhat lackluster, this sixteenth outing reminded me just why this book is in my top five every month, particularly in regard to the writing, which has been either extremely on-the-nose are overly vague of late, but strikes a fine balance here.

The book manages this by offering multiple layers, exploring Einstein and Feynman at one point with no apparent lead-in outside of previous issues but masterfully bringing it back together at the story's end, while the scientists begin to turn on each other and we get some... well... rather disturbing detail concerning one member's... enhancements?

Pitarra was also in top form after drawing almost nothing but Oppenheimers last issue. I particularly enjoyed the monster-of-the-month's design in the aforementioned side-story, which recalled some of the fantastic imagery from the series' start.

I had one question leaving this book, though: where the Hell is Laika?

Hobby Hole score: 8.9/Great

Three no. 2 by Kieron Gillen and Jordie Bellaire | Image | $2.99

Keiron Gillen mentioned at the end of Three's first issue that he wrote this as a response to the inaccuracies of Frank Miller's 300 and it's absolutely clear now. Because, unlike 300, this book is severely lacking in the fun department. Also, it's horribly unmemorable. I can still picture those opening pages from 300 after reading it only once several years back, while I cannot recall, at all, any of the main character's names from Three. Really, the book is confusing, slow and boring, and I won't be picking it up any further after this.

Man, this was a harsh week for comics.

Hobby Hole score: 4.1