Hobby Hole: Nov. 6, 2013 Comic Book Reviews

Forever Evil no. 3 by Geoff Johns and David Finch | DC | $3.99

Just about halfway through the series, and pretty much all momentum was stolen from Forever Evil this issue. Half of it seemed focused on undoing the modern (read: New 52) mythology of Captain Cold, while another portion centered on the battle between Ultraman and Black Adam. 

Question for those who haven't read the latest issue of Justice League: did that battle make sense? The lack of editorial direction in the book (something that has been overexposed in recent series) makes it seem like the story will be, and has been, one somewhat difficult to follow, especially given the checklist at the rear. Whatever happened to containing a storyline to one specific book?

Finch's art should come as no surprise by now, as he manages to both over and underwhelm. Specifically, an early double page splash demonstrates his scope and abilities, while later conversations between Luthor and most any other character were stiff and lacking in any semblance of emotion. Still, the art was serviceable for the story and, despite a few hiccups throughout regarding consistency, rather enjoyable.

Hobby Hole score: 7.9/Alright
Previous issue's score: 8.3/Great

Ghosted no. 5 by Joshua Williamson and Goran Sudzuka | Image | $2.99

By design, Ghosted is old-fashioned in nature, harking to similar forebears as Ocean's Eleven and similar heist stories. However, while in past issues this has been one of the series' greatest strengths, the unnatural, stiff presentation boils to a head in this sixth outing.

While I enjoyed the overall concept behind the issue, both as a standalone and as a conclusion to the opening arc, it seemed almost rushed, and if not that, poorly executed. Too many plot points were expounded upon this issue with little development, with one particularly felt as out of left-field, it's payoff notwithstanding.

The art was up to par with previous issues, offering a pleasant atmosphere in keeping with the overall feel of the writing. However, the book's "ending" came a few pages before the last page, with the final couple seemingly drawn by another artist. I checked the credits, and it appears to all be drawn by Sudzuka, but the loose definition on characters' faces, as well as the twisted proportions to their overall framework, seemed to indicate it was from another artist--one not nearly as instantly appreciated.

Hobby Hole score: 7.8

Green Arrow no. 25 by Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino | DC | $3.99

This was the first issue of Green Arrow to be completely sold out by the time I got to my LCS. I wish I could say that was because of the issue's quality rather than the Zero Year tie-in, but I, and likely you as well, know how comic collectors work. 

Not that this book wasn't good. In fact, it was rather enjoyable, particularly in regard to the art. Sorrentino manages to downplay his standard extravagance, offering traditional panel structures before suddenly transitioning to the expected effect shots, which stood out far more than usual, especially with the added effects of switching between Batman and Green Arrow perspectives and colors. The art in the backup wasn't as well-defined, though given how overly different it was in style, it would be hard pressed to. Though remarkably dissimilar, however, it served the storyline well and never appeared overly frustrating.

The writing wasn't nearly as strong as the art, as the Zero Year connection seemed rather forced. I also wonder if the issue would make sense for those reading the series in trade form rather than issue to issue. Even though I read it in the latter format, I still had difficulty understanding the transition, especially given I don't want the Arrow television series, which this issue (and the one before it, as well as the character Diggle) heavily borrows from. The backup in particular was hard to swallow given I had no previous relationship with Diggle, who apparently has been present in Green Arrow's life from the very present. Hopefully, his introduction grows more natural in future issues.

Hobby Hole score: 7.9/Alright
Previous issue's score: 8.4/Great

Swamp Thing no. 25 by Charles Soule and Jesus Saiz | DC | $2.99

After the near perfection of the second annual last week, I imagined this issue would never live up to the same strength, especially given the reaction I had to the last proper issue a few weeks earlier. Yet Soule continues to surprise, and delivers a resoundingly fascinating take on the Green yet again. 

But I will say this. The Green are fuckers.

That out of the way, I wonder if the book's current direction, coupled with the ongoing conflict in Animal Man, will lead to another all-out war between the three factions, perhaps from a remarkably different angle? Since that was delved into so heavily only recently, I'm doubtful, but with the Green's undecided on its choice of Avatar and the same mostly said for the Red, could there be anything but all out war?

My flourishing love affair with Soule's work aside, Saiz's art deserves special mention. From the fine details of Swamp Thing's intimidation tactic, to the rendering of multiple bodies and birth of a Swamp Thing from the most unlikely of places, the pages simply bled with ingenuity. My personal favorite was the redesign of Mato Grasso, which, while hugely effective, could be easily overlooked.

Hobby Hole score: 9.5/Fantastic
Previous issue's score: 7.2/Alright

Trillium no. 4 by Jeff Lemire | DC | $2.99

For me, this was the weakest issue of Jeff Lemire's maxi-series to date. Truly, the most thought-provoking moment was its end, which only served to startle and confuse me, leading to a quick Google search that alleviated my fears. Still, the remainder proved lackluster and offered far more questions than I anticipated while building upon the ending from last issue.

Thinking back on it now, I believe this issue's plot points could have been offered in a much more satisfactory manner in only a handful of pages; however, Lemire's art and layout seemed strengthened with this more standardized outing. One moment, in which the same panel was repeated one page after another, translations the only difference, was particularly memorable.

Hobby Hole score: 7.6/Alright
Previous issue's score: 8.0/Great

Uber no. 7 by Kieron Gillen and Caanan White | Avatar | $3.99

It's hard to tell you what happened this issue. While no. 6 was filled with exciting panoramas and a great dose of historical fiction, this issue seemed to stumble under its own weight, collapsing amidst predestined dates and fictional accounts of battles never before considered.

What may have bothered me the most were the dates, though, as I'm having difficulty following the storyline issue to issue. Are the segments meant to be flash forwards and backwards? Was the beginning of this issue meant to take place prior to the battle last issue and far before that of this one? If so, as it seemed, the timeline made little sense, and only served to confuse me. 

This wasn't the only point of confusion, as the art continued to flounder in regard to the differences between American and Japanese forces. Even the skin color choice seemed similar, the only tangible difference the various uniform designs. That led to some confusion is one character's undeveloped motivations, which came as a complete surprise, and not in a good way. Perhaps the mini-arc would have been better if given a few issues' breathing room, but as it stands, it's conclusion was incredibly lackluster.

Hobby Hole score:6.7/Meh
Previous issue's score: 8.0/Great