The Verdict #45



Detective Comics #983 (DC Comics)

I love when rising star writers get a big break, and I don’t think there’s a bigger break than Detective Comics. Bryan Hill joins the book with Miguel Mendonca, Diana Egea, and Adriano Lucas for this new arc. It literally starts with a bang.

A young Batman fan is murdered in front of the Signal in an explosion. Duke is severely injured in the blast, and Batman realizes it’s time to do something he’s been planning for a while- forming a team that works on “the outside.” To do this, he needs a leader, and he recruits Jefferson Pierce, Black Lightning. Meanwhile, the attacker reveals that he knows who Batman is under the mask, and he’s coming after those he loves…

Hill is telling two stories here. The first is the obvious one from the arc’s title and the dialogue hints- the official formation of the Outsiders. The second is a much more personal story for Batman. In this issue he balances it well. The only hitch is why THIS incident is the one that pushes Batman towards forming the Outsiders. His motivations are a bit unclear, but it mostly works. His Batman is really well written though, and he keeps the Bat-family style of James Tynion’s run present as well.

The art team does a great job. Mendonca and Egea’s line art is stylistically similar to the art team from the recent past of the title, easing us a bit into the shifts in story. Their action is very solid, with a lot of visceral impact in their visuals. One of the best pages of the story is Alfred operating on Duke, which had to be tough to put on the page, but it works. Lucas’s color art is fantastic as well, with some smart shifts in palates depending on setting, and some great effects with Black Lightning’s powers.

Any Batman fan afraid of the changes on this title shouldn’t be. This title continues to be a lot of fun. Pick it up.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

The Verdict: Buy



Bloodstrike #23 (Image Comics)

Michael Fiffe is a talent I’ve enjoyed, but I haven’t ever sat down and read one of his books. This was an exciting read for me then.

Tag is trying to unwind in the wake of all Bloodstrike has been going through. In the course of it, she discovers one of her favorite clubs is the home of a serial killer. Meanwhile, one of her former conquests is infected with a terrible disease, and a private investigator tries to hunt down a monster who’s killed several mutilated girls. Naturally it all comes together in a fiery conclusion.

Though the issue gets off to a slightly confusing start, Fiffe brings it all together quickly, and suddenly it clicks. Once it got to the point that all the pieces fit together, I reread the issue and it worked even better. That really shows how great of a storyteller Fiffe is. Fiffe’s art is the perfect medium for the story as well. He evokes Rob Liefeld’s style, while sticking with his own distinct style. It’s gorgeous, violent, and just great.

I’m definitely disappointed that this is such a short series, but it’s well worth checking out. It’s a love letter to 90’s comics in the best way.

Rating: 9 out of 10

The Verdict: Buy



Fathom #1 (Aspen Comics)

It’s great to see Michael Turner’s signature creation continuing, and with new creative team Ron Marz, Siya Oum and Peter Steigerwald this is an issue worth celebrating.

A government safe house is attacked and Finn is kidnapped. Since he’s Aspen Matthews’ brother, naturally the government wants to protect her as well. However, it just sets Aspen on a path to save him.

Marz instantly sets up a fun status quo for this volume. Hostile governments in a cold war fits with the long-time premise of the series, and this just deepens that here. His depiction of Aspen is bold and strong in all the right ways.

Oum is a worthy addition to the artistic legacy of Fathom. She drew the issue opening fight scene just as well as Aspen’s awe-inspiring entrance to the issue. One thing I loved was a brief moment with a sea turtle that looked just perfect. Aspen putting on her coral-inspired armor was another great highlight. Steigerwald’s color art is stellar, with very natural palates. In a few places it’s just stunning.

Aspen books have long been underrated, and this is a great jumping on point to try it out.

Rating: 8 out of 10

The Verdict: buy



Regular Show: 25 Years Later #1 (BOOM! Studios/KaBOOM!)

The whole “Old Man ____” genre has been remarkably popular in comics for a longer time, especially after the seminal Old Man Logan from Marvel. It’s almost become a cliche. But for Regular Show? That’s a pretty fun take on it.

Obviously, it’s 25 years later. Mordecai and Rigby are… pretty much exactly the same, except they have kids now. Sure, they’re more responsible, but overall, they’re still the same guys are heart. Yearning for one more adventure, they explore a strange part of town, and find themselves in a magical street, and face to face with bizarre creatures. Naturally, this goes even more horribly wrong.

Christopher Hastings nails the classic structure of Regular Show so well, as well as the characters. Every episode started with mundane hijinks that go horribly and fantastically wrong, and that’s just what Chris does. He also captures the characters’ voices so well. They are grown and matured but they’re still the same.

Anna Johnstone and Joana Lafuente doe a fantastic job on the art. The characters are on-model, but Anna makes them her own. She also designs some very fun fantastic creatures. Joana’s color art is a great addition, capturing the feel of the show in a great style.

Regular Show fans should absolutely check this out.

Rating: 7 out of 10

The Verdict: Buy



Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #20 (Marvel Comics)

Jody Houser and new artist Scott Koblish continue the alternate reality adventures of the Spider-Man family in a really fun issue here.

Annie Parker is having nightmares of someone attacking innocent bystanders. When she sees the same events trending on social media, she begins to panic. Meanwhile, Peter recruits Wolverine to help him look into it, and discovers that the attacker smells incredibly similar to Annie. Father and daughter launch their own investigations into who or what the other spider-person is, and who’s behind it!

Jody’s script is still a lot of fun. She’s really made the Parkers her own. She does a great job with two different POV characters, inhabiting Peter and Annie’s thoughts really well. The conversation between Logan and Peter after their costumed hijinks is extremely well done too- one of my favorite interactions between the two in recent memory.

Scott Koblish’s second issue of the series is a lot of fun. He jumps in as if he’s always been there. His takes on Annie- both as a civilian and as Spiderling- are both a lot of fun, and makes her feel like a gawky teenager. He also has a great grasp on body language. Ruth Redmond’s colors are bright and poppy, which goes so well with Scott’s art.

I think this series is flying under a lot of radars, but it’s a very fun Spidey title.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

The Verdict: Buy



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