Review: Black Widow: The Finely Woven Thread

Black Widow, Vol. 1: The Finely Woven ThreadBlack Widow, Vol. 1: The Finely Woven Thread by Nathan Edmondson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Nathan Edmondson has probably created my favorite “version” of Natasha Romanov with Black Widow: The Finely Woven Thread. The espionage angle really appealed to me. I have always enjoyed stories about clever spooks and deadly assassins and Nate definitely put aspects of both types into this one. Natasha comes across as a no nonsense, professional that is focused on whatever the job at hand is. She won’t allow herself to have a life outside of the mission and keeps most people at arms-length in order to do so. I think Edmondson does a good job at showing what life for someone like Natasha might really be like. How being unable to put down roots, have lasting relationships, or allowing anyone else to get to know you would effect a person. It’s all part of her self-inflicted penance for past sins. She sort of reminds me of Ennis’s Punisher in that regard. It’s similar to Frank’s strict, single-minded focus on the mission and allowing himself little else. Natasha’s reaction to Hawkeye’s brief cameo is evidence of this.


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Review: Batman/Superman, Vol. 1: Cross World by Greg Pak

Batman/Superman, Vol. 1: Cross WorldBatman/Superman, Vol. 1: Cross World by Greg Pak

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

2.5 stars

In the world of graphic novels, art can make or break a story.
It plays a huge role in not only telling the story, but setting the mood. When you have an artist and a writer who are in sync, it’s a thing of beauty.
And that’s what makes this one so difficult for me to review.
Jae Lee’s art is phenomenal. Visually, this is one of the most stunning comic books I’ve ever read. To say it’s hauntingly beautiful wouldn’t be an overstatement.
I hated it.
To me, it looked like it belonged in a fairytale retelling, not a capes and tights story.
Having young Superman wear jeans instead of tights, isn’t a new concept. It was done in Action Comics, Vol. 1: Superman and the Men of Steel to give him a fresh/tougher look.


And in that one I think it worked.
In this? Not so much.
He looked like a little boy with high water pants on.


I know I’m going to catch shit for this, but as much as I loved the art, I thought it was wasted on this title. It was like seeing a fabulous dress on Sylvester Stallone. The dress might be lovely, but if you drape it over Rambo, it’s gonna looks stupid.
Does that make sense?

As for the story itself?
Alternate Earths collide!
The plot basically runs along the lines of DARKSEID IS COMING!, but nobody on either Earth knows who the hell that is, and they’re too busy squabbling to find out.
Our Superman and Batman (who don’t know each other yet) are transported by a ‘trickster god’ to Earth 2, where they meet up with their older counterparts. These guys have a different history than our Bruce and Clark. Having met when they were children, they’ve formed a solid friendship with each other over the years, while our guys are still spitting and clawing at each other.

*insert fight scenes*

There’s a way to stop Darkseid, but (according to the trickster) only one Earth can do it. Whoever is willing to ‘grasp the power’, or something. The older S&B want to destroy the dangerous weapon, while the younger guys think they should hang onto it…just in case.

*insert more fight scenes

Of course, if you’ve read Earth 2, Vol. 1: The Gathering, then you already know how well the other guys’ strategy worked.

Having a young Batman and Superman giving each other the fish-eye, plus an older version showing how deep the bond of their friendship really runs?
It should have been an easy win-win!
It wasn’t.
Something was just off about the whole thing. I don’t think I can really even put my finger on it in a coherent way. It wasn’t a total loss, but it wasn’t all that great, either.

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Katana, vol. 1: Soultaker

Katana, Vol. 1: SoultakerKatana, Vol. 1: Soultaker by Ann Nocenti
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Good grief, this was awful. In every possible way. The plot is vague and never even remotely satisfying. Katana’s goals change every issue, and her personality and voice are weirdly inconsistent. She can go from formal and morose to casual and flippant, from one word balloon to the next. Not that either mode is particularly well written. Aside from the plot being a total mess, the ideas are also pretty bad. The Creeper as Japanese demon (with a conveniently English name, whatever) just doesn’t work, and that ribbon sword is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen. Oh, and the whole thing ends on a cliffhanger, because it got put out of its misery canceled.

And the art is just so, so bad. Don’t be fooled by the covers, because they’re actually pretty good. But the art inside the book… God. Over the course of a few pages, Katana can go from pretty to “Dear God, what is that thing?” That probably has something to do with the fact that this book, over the course of ten issues, had (brace for it) a combined total of fifteen artists. One issue had three pencillers, and another had four different inkers. No, there was no apparent deliberate artistic choice to do so. I guess nobody wanted to work on this book for that long.

After ten issues, DC finally put this series out of its misery. Thank God. I have no idea why DC labeled this trade volume one, because surely they don’t think anyone is going to want to tackle this character again anytime soon? Judging by this, that’s probably a good thing.

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