August 13, 2014 Comic Reviews

Batman no. 34 by Scott Snyder, Gerry Duggan, Matteo Scalera, Lee Loughridge and Steve Wands | DC | $3.99

After a couple sprawling epics to redefine Batman for the New 52, it's nice to have another standalone issue of the character's titular series. It is, however, unfortunate that the regular team of Snyder and Greg Capullo don't bring this to us, with the issue instead helmed by Duggan and Scalera.

It's certainly not a bad thing, though, as Duggan more than handles the story, which is relatively simple overall, but delivered with pizazz and ambiance, catching readers up to the events in Batman: Eternal fairly easily and without much over-used exposition. Though Batman may sound a little different (a little lighter) compared to the usual fare, it's a nice interlude before the next expansive arc coming in October. 

Scalera, who was my favorite part of Black Science, is a nice change as well, though the book looks more like Detective Comics than Batman in that it comes off a bit more indie than usual. His art is especially strong when the main character is not the focus, or when he's relegated to the shadows, with the introductory spread one of the weaker shots overall. I did love that establishing shot of the bat-cave, though. Man, was that pretty.

Hobby Hole score: 8.2/Great
Previous issue's score: 9.9/Fantastic

Zero no. 10 by Ales Kot, Michael Gaydos, Jordie Bellaire and Clayton Cowles | Image | $2.99

Some comics revel in their exposition and captions, but not Zero. Zero instead revels in its minimalism, with page after page of complete silence that depends on the art to build the atmosphere and bring us up to speed with Edward's current status after the horrific revelations of the last issue. 

One of my favorite issues of this series had very, very little dialogue, and while this one is great, it falls a little short of that precedent. It does so because, while that last one stood on its own ground, this issue seems to depend more on others within the series, and must be taken alongside those in order to be appreciated. 

Gaydos was a beauty, though, offering exceptional splash pages and spreads of little detail but incredible feeling, like a distant picture of a barren mountainside. It's the multi-panel pages where he truly mastered, though, the simple nine-panel elegance reminiscent of such classics as Watchmen and perfectly fitting this series' atmosphere.

Hobby Hole score: 8.4/Great
Previous issue's score: 9.6/Fantastic