August 6, 2014 Comic Reviews

This week, noted below, I dropped Justice League 3000. Along with that, I also dropped Justice League, Justice League United and Ghosted. It was just their time.

Grayson no. 2 by Tim Seeley, Tom King, Mike Janin, Guillermo Ortego, Juan Castro, Jeremy Cox and Carlos M. Mangual | DC | $2.99

An extremely odd, almost plot-breaking ending capped off the hodgepodge of surrealistic concepts that was this second outing for Grayson. Far from moving the plot forward, this seemingly one-and-done issue threw characters at a wall of emotions and developments, hoping at least one would stick. Unfortunately, very few did.

Despite the clean details of Janin, Ortego and Castro's work, and the added depth and design of Cox’s colors, I simply have no idea what’s going on in the bulk of this world. Why the faux-Batman is up in arms over Dick, why that Hood guy is missing fingers, why the guy with the swirling face is doing what he’s doing, etc. all need to be answered somewhere, and soon. I get the concept behind in medias res, but this is to an absurd degree and makes it extremely difficult for newcomers to grasp.

Though this series shows promise, if not a (albeit mild) willingness to veer from form, I don’t think it will be something I pick up again come next month.

Hobby Hole score: 7.3/Alright
Previous issue's score: 8.4/Great

Green Arrow no. 34 by Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino, Marcelo Maiolo and Rob Leigh | DC | $2.99

Though Sorrentino typically makes the pages of Green Arrow (and I, Vampire before this) shine, and manages to do so almost for the entirety of this issue alongside Maiolo, there was one thing that completely took me out of the story: Naomi’s face.

It looked like a line was missing from her nose in a few panels, as though her nostrils simply grew out of a hulking mass sticking out between her cheeks. Maiolo did what he could, obviously, and excelled in more than a few panels throughout to deliver some of the most consistent work on the title, but Naomi’s appearances left me wanting every time.

Though the team will deliver a final issue next month for the “Future’s End” event, this is generally the end of the storyline that began with issue 17, and just as that start, this is an incredibly strong finish, particularly the last two pages. Dragon proved to be somewhat underwhelming and anticlimactic, though, bested as he was in a fashion that, based on his “powers,” should have been easily blocked. I had higher hopes considering the buildup to this final battle.

Hobby Hole score: 8.6/Great
Previous issue's score: 8.4/Great

Iron Fist: The Living Weapon no. 5 by Kaare Kyle Andrews and VC's Joe Caramagna | Marvel | $3.99


Did I miss something on the reporter? Isn’t that the same woman who, in the first issue, was shocked and impressed by Danny’s mastery of kung-fu? Now, all of a sudden, she can do that? While she may have, and likely has, been playing a bit of cat-and-mouse, that development came out of left field and felt unearned.

The rest of the developments, though? Wow. This book is seriously a whole lot of fun and unrelenting energy, and though sometimes the art tends not to be the clearest (as in the above scene’s pivotal cutaway), the seamless merging of that with the captions and dialogue is a true sight to behold.

Hobby Holy score: 9.3/Fantastic
Previous issue's score: 9.2/Fantastic

Justice League 3000 no. 9 by Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, Howard Porter, Hi-Fi and Taylor Esposito | DC | $2.99

As with most other issues in this series, the latest in Justice League 3000 is merely alright—you know, kind of bland, mediocre and over-explanatory. Yet it’s full of incredible potential and boasts some fantastic concepts, the way the book’s unending plots and surprisingly idiotic characters are portrayed lacking the necessary hook capable of capitalizing on that potential.

The separation of storylines this issue by artists was another weak point, and while I’m almost hesitant to say alternating between the two would have been better, I think it would have been. Other recent books that did so read fairly well, especially those that relegated the change to shifts in settings or characters.

All that is to say this will be my final issue of the series, pending an upcoming cancellation, after which I may pick up the last couple simply to close out the plotlines. It’s not a terrible series by far—it’s just not barking up the right tree here.

Note: The above is not the cover on the issue, but the one noted on DC's site.

Hobby Hole score: 7.1/Alright
Previous issue's score: 5.9/Forgettable

She-Hulk no. 7 by Charles Soule, Javier Pulido, Muntsa Vicente and VC's Clayton Cowles | Marvel | $2.99

An ant is not three centimeters tall.

That odd inconsistency in the dialogue aside, this was a fun, cute one-off story the likes of which initially kicked the series into gear, and while it was fun to go after the Blue File for a few issues, this kind of self-contained plot is more than welcome and refreshing in this day of never-ending threads. Of course, the main development was further tension between Jennifer and Hellcat, the other interactions and characters (especially Pym) coming off a bit flat while pushed to the sidelines.

It’s great to have Pulido back, the clean lines and expansive layouts almost calming compared to the hectic pencils of the last two issues. While the jumping remains an odd visualization, and the repetitive nature of a series of panels near the start seemed almost lazy and not complementary to the plot, overall Pulido makes for a better reading experience. Hopefully, there won't be any further unfortunate disappearing acts.

Hobby Hole score: 8.2/Great
Previous issue's score: 4.5/Bad

Swamp Thing no. 34 by Charles Soule, Javier Pina, Matthew Wilson and Travis Lanham | DC | $2.99

This issue calls to mind a question I’ve had for some time that (possibly) could be answered with a Google dive I’ve no true interest to complete: who decides where the page flips are within a comic? Because one page and reveal within this issue certainly should have been after one, and is spoiled somewhat for lack of better placement.

It’s unfortunate, really, as the design is rather horrific and unlike anything we’ve seen in Soule’s run. Its monstrous form is also handily drawn by Pina, who, though perhaps not as strong as Jesus Saiz (who provides the cover), delivers with perfect layouts and great pencils, particularly during the combat.

The ending came out of nowhere, as though it were tacked on at the last minute, and I think the comic would have been stronger without it, especially if it had ended on the enfeebling development from the page prior. For how manipulative Wolf and Weeds were, their ending was simply… well, terrible. That is, great to read, but terrible for them.

Poor things really got screwed, didn’t they?

Hobby Holy score: 9.0/Fantastic
Previous issue's score: 8.6/Great

Uber no. 16 by Kieron Gillen, Daniel Gete, Digikore Studios and Kurt Hathaway | Avatar | $3.99

After reading Gillen’s author notes on this particular issue, I’m extremely glad he opted to end the issue on something at least remotely resembling a positive note.

Because, wow, was that a depressing issue. Gillen really just keeps piling it on to the Allies and, frankly, the way things have been going, it’s getting hard to see a way for them to come out on top in this war. It’ll be interesting to see how he handles the upcoming Manhattan Project arc, as that was a major turning point in the real-life events, but could play out tremendously differently here.

You know, though the character designs continue to differentiate the various combatants, and Gete’s pencils combined with Digikore’s superb coloring work never make it difficult to the distinguish which is which, the variations have grown almost out of control of late. I’m hopeful there will be an updated listing of the classes soon, as the one found in the FCBD issue back in May is frightfully lacking now.

Hobby Hole score: 8.3/Great
Previous issue's score: 9.0/Fantastic