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Lestat's Comic Book Review Round-Up Week 2

Week 2, January 2019

Epic battles feature in my second round-up of comic books

My second Comic Book Review Round-Up was a much better experience than the first. It’s been an epic week of battles between the good and evil on-page. Some heroes triumphed, others continue to battle another day. I’m really glad that the majority of the art was par for the course and none of the material was overly regressive or problematic (not any more than usual, anyway).

This week’s quick-fire reviews include DC Comics’ Nightwing, Batman, and the new Young Justice comic by Brian Michael Bendis. We also bid farewell to Iceman’s solo series, while enjoying a grand showdown between the X-Men and X-Man in Uncanny X-Men. And finally, if you’re a tabletop gaming fan, then you should be getting into Image Comics series, DIE.

"Nightwing #56"

The Scarecrow has unleashed his toxins on Blüdhaven and gathered an army of fearless warriors around him. The new superheroes of the city, the Nightwings, are not prepared to battle a supervillain and their inexperience shows. Thankfully for them, there’s another hero around the corner to help them.

Oh wow! I loved this issue, it was so much fun. The expositional narration is still jarring to read and I’m not sure why the editors haven’t eschewed that yet, but I am surprised at how easily Ric Grayson and the team of Nightwings are working in the series. People are understandably still upset about the erasure of Dick Grayson, and the hope is that DC will soon move past this stunt. I don’t mind this story, but that’s because I expect it all to end soon. I do wish the art was better in this series—the current style simply doesn’t work for a Nightwing comic book. When will that change?

"Young Justice #1"

Tim Drake in "Young Justice #1" (Credit: DC Comics)

There is a lot of Young Justice content floating about now that the long-awaited third season has arrived. Fans of the show are ecstatic, understandably so. This new comic series doesn’t directly tie-in with the series, it’s more of a return to the original comic series from 2011. Having said that, I’m sure the two streams will cross eventually.

As a comic, this first issue was frenetic and manic. I couldn’t make heads nor tails of what was going on for the most part. It’s all action and rapid-fire banter—what it’s missing is any emotion at all. But then again, that can be fun if only the on-page action was a bit clearer. The denouement more than makes up for the mania beforehand, suggesting the characters have been sucked into disparate new situations. How will they get out of it, we’ll have to wait and find out in the next issue. Not that I’m complaining—Tim Drake is back in the comics game, and I’m here for it!

"Batman #62"

Batman and Professor Pyg in "Batman #62" (Credit: DC Comics)

This started off promising plenty and then dwindled. As has been the case with most of the Batman issues since the Bat-Cat run. I think we all easily fell in love with the idea of Batman being in love, and it’s been hard for everybody—the creators and fans alike—to get back in the groove ever since then.

I loved the eerie art in this issue, especially how accurately artist Mitch Gerads captures Batman’s point of view. Everything feels slightly off-kilter and in the end we realise why. The climactic reveal feels like a cop-out, but here’s hoping it leads to something far more exciting.

Admittedly, Tom King has a writing style that can work, but sometimes it becomes tedious. There’s a monotony in repeating the same dialogues over and over again, unless they are repeated in different circumstances—for the most part in King’s recent work, it feels like the dialogue is there as a filler rather than to continue the narrative. Where is Batman headed now? Honestly, I have no idea, but I’m looking forward to sticking by the Caped Crusader.

"DIE #2"

What is fantasy and what is reality? These are some of the questions that Dominic Ash and his friends are pondering while trapped inside the world of the DIE realm. What should have been a fun night celebrating his joint birthday with best friend Solomon turned into a nightmare more than 25 years ago.

The second issue of this Image Comics series was quite a daunting read. If you’re unfamiliar with tabletop gaming, most of the lingo will confuse you. But the interpersonal interactions still have me hooked. While Ash is given the majority of the characterisation, we get an inkling of who the other characters are and what all these people’s struggles continue to be. It’s quite a gripping read, and I’m really looking forward to getting into the heart of this series.

"Uncanny X-Men #9"

Jean Grey and the X-Men (Credit: Marvel Comics)

Whoa! That was too much. Nate Grey/ X-Man has taken over Legion’s body and is wreaking havoc on the planet. No one can get through to him, not even his own mother, Jean Grey. It’s a scary time to be anybody, and Nate unleashes all hell on those around him.

I am pleasantly surprised at how much I’m enjoying Uncanny X-Men. I was unsure of it at the start, but it’s improved exponentially mostly because the focus has become balanced between the new and old guards.

We’ve reached a crescendo in this series but there’s still plenty more issues to go. Where do the writers take the series from here? The X-Men, as many as possible, have all banded together to defeat Nate and his Horsemen, but I honestly can’t see a way out for them. Nate is super-powerful, and with Legion’s abilities added on… That’s a combination that would make Apocalypse tremble, if he paid attention long enough to feel anything at all. 

"Iceman #5"

How has this series already ended? It’s too soon. I never thought I’d love Bobby "Iceman" Drake this much, but who wouldn’t? He’s fun and funny, and in this final issue, writer Sina Grace really embodies everything we love about Bobby without drowning his characterisation under too many dad-jokes.

Bobby battles Mister Sinister while Emma Frost, Bishop, and the Morlocks fight for survival at the mutant pride parade. The awesome Shade, a mutant drag queen, also shows up to the party, so it’s a win-win all round.

I’m going to miss this solo series a lot. It’s hard to get representative entertainment media, but hopefully Marvel takes this as a sign that inclusive storytelling is what most people want and Bobby gets more days in the sunlight in the other X-Men titles that are concurrently running.  

Conclusion

Hope you enjoyed this week’s Comic Book Review Round-Up as much as I did. For longer reviews of some of these titles, you can head over to my profile page. Let me know which comic books you’ve been reading and if there are any titles you would like to see reviewed in my weekly Round-Ups.

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