May 14, 2014 Comic Reviews

As I pulled the rechargeable AAA batteries out of my keyboard tonight, plugging them into the wall in hopes they'd charge fast enough for me to be able to post these reviews tonight, I decided I'd had enough and ordered a wired, Microsoft ergonomic keyboard. This should change everything....

Justice League United no. 1 by Jeff Lemire, Mike McKone and Marcelo Maiolo | DC | $3.99

This is not a first issue. Why it was ever billed as such simply baffles me. If you hadn’t picked up the true premiere last month, you would be completely and utterly lost.

That said, I enjoyed this issue more than the first, though it generally boils down to a “monster of the month” plot. The characterization between Green Arrow and Animal Man (informing what was also seen in Future’s End below) simply won me over with its innate humor and childish play. Stargirl and Martian Manhunter’s relationship failed to evoke the same response; however; the extended and pointless arc involving the two characters at the end of Justice League America truly harmed my perception of them.

Thankfully, McKone’s pencils livened up the scenes as the nameless threat shifted forms practically panel-to-panel, allowing him to spread his wings a bit. While the distant portrayals of the protagonists were offputting, the designs completely made up for this fact.

One page, unfortunately, took me out of the story as it was beyond difficult to follow and, even after a few reads, I still couldn’t grasp the overall direction of the panels. Maiolo’s colors continue to highlight certain notes and while that’s welcome, it doesn’t mesh as well as it does with Andrea Sorrentino’s linework in Green Arrow.

Hobby Hole score: 8.1/Great
Previous issue's score: 7.8/Alright

The New 52: Future’s End no. 2 by Brian Azzarello, Jeff Lemire, Dan Jurgens, Keith Giffen, Jesus Merino and Hi-Fi | DC | $2.99

Comic readers are an apparently fickle bunch. When I see so many detractors lampooning this book simply for the fact it’s a dark imagining of the New 52 five years into the future, I’m reminded of the complaints these same critics threw at DC when they removed Superman’s Quailman underwear.

Relax, people. Read the book, or don’t.

Me, I enjoyed this comic, even more than the first issue, likely because of a heavy influence or hand from Lemire, as two of his darling characters—Green Arrow and Animal Man—shared the spotlight in the wake of the former’s demise. As Tom Brevoort would agree, this is character death done right.

Outside of that plot, which was a good half of the book, the ongoing ramblings of Firestorm’s halves devolved into more ceaseless whimpering, and the Mr. Terrific (a character I’ve never followed) section was entirely grating—by design, though, from what I understood of the book. These both diminished what could have been a greater whole.

Merino’s work serviced the storyline, but didn’t offer anything of its own that could be called memorable—which, of course, is both good and bad. The spread of Ollie’s funeral was handled well, though the decision to show it only from afar left it not as impactful as it could have been otherwise.

Hobby Hole score: 7.9/Alright
Previous issue's score: 7.8/Alright

Uber no. 13 by Kieron Gillen, Gabriel Andrade and Digikore Studios | Avatar | $3.99

Though she’s hardly appeared in the book compared to most of the other protagonists, Maria is by far my favorite character and any chance to dip back into her story is welcomed.

This issue, I believe, was the perfect way to do so.

Not only does it touch upon the other prisoners released earlier in the series, it also offers additional, and much-needed, characterization, blends outright horror (both overt and subtle in nature) with superb action and humor, and offers us a completely different outlook on the phenomenon of the tanks. The story also, thankfully, had zero typos as far as I could tell. If present, they certainly weren’t as problematic as those found in the few issues prior.

Gillen’s script is underlined by Andrade’s work, who, like last issue, seems to have a firm grasp on the characters and their powers. He also knows a thing or two about splendid layouts, as the story utilizes the art above all else to drive the plot, with the two merging rather eloquently along two distinct, yet parallel, tales. It’s one of the finer books in the series and, if you hadn’t jumped aboard yet, a perfect way to step in to Uber.

Hobby Hole score: 9.4/Fantastic
Previous issue's score: 8.7/Great