Hobby Hole: Feb. 12, 2014 Comic Reviews

All-New X-Factor no. 3 by Peter David and Carmine Di Giandomenico | Marvel | $3.99

I was still a little iffy about this series after last issue, given the first two were simply the group's "origin," but I genuinely enjoyed this latest addition. It was brimming with subtlety and David's particular blend of charisma, and while I didn't read the Gambit series this builds upon, I never felt lost despite a surprising lack of overbearing exposition. More writers need to learn how to handle such nuances as well as David.

The art, unfortunately, wasn't as strong as the writing, especially in regard to characters' anatomy. One thought I had early in the issue sums it up: "The cat looks like an angry monkey." The base designs, while eclectic, are also proving extremely difficult to comprehend. It may be due to a lack of shadows and could be fixed with some different coloring techniques, but as it is, it doesn't work.

Hobby Hole score: 8.4/Great
Previous issue's score: 8.2/Great

Batman no. 28 by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV and Dustin Nguyen | DC | $3.99

As a Batman issue in the midst of "Zero Year," this interim look at Batman: Eternal simply doesn't work; however, as an ad for the upcoming weekly, it performs remarkably well, as I'm far more interested in the series than I was before.

It's still doubtful I'll pick up Eternal, as Batman remains the only title in the Bat family I purchase, and that's solely because of the excellent Snyder/Capullo dynamic. And while Snyder has his hand in this issue, the writing is noticeably weaker, such as the "gulp" moment that should have been handled exclusively by the art. Unfortunately, while the pencils were fine in and the new character designs were top-notch, Nguyen is no Capullo, and such nuance is simply lacking. 

Given this issue was in media res, the characters tended to talk around important matters, and the entire plot seemed to hinge on the final reveal. It truly read as a book meant for weekly installments rather than the meaty substance I've been used to in the ongoing series. Next month's return to "Zero Year" can't come quickly enough.

Hobby Hole score: 7.2/Alright
Previous issue's score: 8.7/Great

Justice League 3000 no. 3 by Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis and Howard Porter | DC | $2.99

This issue is basically Justice League meets Escape From New York, and for me, that concept is almost a guaranteed win. Yet while this book was light on the action compared to the first two (especially the last), its tame exposition was exceptionally well-handled, despite the ongoing reliance on the "mystery" behind the League's reappearance, which, frankly, I could care less about.

Porter really stepped it up this issue, as well, with some fantastic character designs and highly-detailed spreads. Also, though I'm fairly positive it wasn't intentional, I got a rather pleasant laugh during the first spread, wherein I believed a rat was speaking Batman's line. I really don't know why I found that as funny as I did as it was assuredly a slight design flaw, but, truly, I laughed out loud for a good couple of seconds.

Hobby Hole score: 9.1/Fantastic
Previous issue's score: 8.4/Great

Justice League of America no. 12 by Matt Kindt, Eddy Barrows, Tom Derenick and R.B. Silva | DC | $3.99

I've never read a Martian Manhunter solo story outside those found in this series and the Justice League backups, so I'm not sure if its simply the character or Kindt who I need to ask to simply shut up.

That may sound harsh, but several issues into the "Forever Evil" crossover, how many times have we now heard of Stargirl's innocence and her ability to save the day? We've had this point driven into our skulls over and over (Manhunter actually narrates this twice this issue alone). This series only continues to churn and demand readers fork over $3.99 until its thankfully upcoming end, which cannot come quickly enough.

What salvaged this issue, like those previous, was the art team, which serviced this unforgiving plot and what seems like a somewhat hurried schedule to create a dynamic issue. Though the styles don't blend as well as in the past few, and some of the action is a tad difficult to follow, it makes the read slightly less painful.

Hobby Hole score: 6.7/Meh
Previous issue's score: 7.6/Alright

She-Hulk no. 1 by Charles Soule and Javier Pulido | Marvel | $2.99

It should come as no surprise Hawkeye is one of my favorite current ongoing titles, so when early reviews and press coverage billed this series as an equivalent for She-Hulk, I grew immediately interested. Thankfully, the book lives up to the praise and the era of non-super heroic superheroes continues strongly.

Soule writes Jennifer and the other characters, along with the general plot, masterfully, and his summation of Tony Stark's business continuity was nothing short of brilliant. Is all of the information accurate as it pertains to legal terms? I don't know, though I'd take a guess it is, given Soule's profession, and that, honestly, makes it even better.

The art is not quite Allred, not quite Aja, but Pulido finds his own enjoyable niche somewhere between. Jennifer's slight redesign, which makes her appear slightly more feminine in the face, is also pleasant, though I enjoyed Allred's version from FF; however, something about her eyes bothered me. It was almost as if they were... crossed? I don't know. Maybe I'll learn to live with it, maybe it'll change, but either way, I'm sure I'll be content.

Hobby Hole score: 9.3/Fantastic