Review: Batman: Faces

Batman: FacesBatman: Faces by Matt Wagner

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wagner’s freshman stab at the Dark Knight still held up pretty well for me after this reread. Hard to believe I bought this off the stands almost 25 years ago.

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Two-Face takes center stage in this encounter that is set early in Batman’s career. Wagner’s Dent certainly seems a little more unhinged than some future incarnations of the character. He really comes off as pretty fuckin nuts in this one. That worked for me. His anger at his recent disfigurement, bizarre motives, and obsession with the freaks he now collects and surrounds himself with in this tale produced an interesting take on Ole’Harvey.
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Review: Thor Epic Collection: The Mighty Thor – by Tom DeFalco

Thor Epic Collection: War of the PantheonsThor Epic Collection: War of the Pantheons by Tom DeFalco
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a classic collection of Thor stories, coming just after the Epic Simonson run. (1987 era) Thor has his beard, new Armour Suit, and many things ahead of him. Finding that he’s recovered after the warriors three make him get a shave, he returns to his original appearance.
We get a lot of interesting stuff here:

The disbanded Avengers, upon Thor’s return.

The introduction of Eric Masterson.

The return of Odin after his battle with the Fire Demon Surtur.

Hardly any Loki, but near the end.

The Celtic Gods.

Oh, and one tiny little thing that doesn’t really matter too much…

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Only Steve Rogers lifting Mjolnir! Woot. (FYI That’s Steve as ‘The Captain’ while John Walker was Captain America, which is interesting, because his suit here looks a lot like the USAgent costume that Walker would take on permanently after Rogers returned to being Cap.)

We also have a future version of Thor lifting Mjolnir, but that’s not as awesome.

4 stars for the classic moment alone, and some cool stuff. De Falco is a bit too wordy, and Walt did a better job, but it’s not terrible.


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Review: Age of Ulton Companion, by Various Artists (including Rick Remender and Mark Waid)

Age of Ultron CompanionAge of Ultron Companion by Marvel Comics
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Another book where I have like no context, except that I know who Ultron is, and what he likes to do.

This book is like one of those packs of 10 mini boxes of cereal you used to eat on vacation as a kid; there’s a lot of Corn Flakes and Bran Flakes and Rice Krispies, but not enough Fruit Loops or Corn Pops, and Frosted Flakes taste shitty after the first few bites.

That’s what this is, a grab bag, some good, some not, and some meh-ish.

The Uncanny Avengers one (Remender of course) is interesting, the FF is a rehash for me (Matt Fraction, but still powerful in its own way) and then theres some Superior Spider Man, Wolvie and the X, and Mark Waid closes the volume with a story about Ultron’s daddy; Hank Pym.

The Waid story might have the most lasting value; pretty much it explains how his parents weren’t all that supportive, wanting practicality, and it was his grandma Pym who encouraged him to think outside the norms…so far in fact, that it was a Catch-22, because Ultron happens, and he reveals how he solved that, but also the last panel is a truly terrifying vision of what Pym’s renewed confidence will lead to.

Waid uses the book to paint the layers of Pym’s psyche, and reveal why he might be the most dangerous man in the Marvel U.

Other high points: Ultron outthinking Otto-Spidey; Captain Marvel going out in a blaze of glory, and alternative reality Havok being martyred.

It was interesting, and for each bite that tasted like filler and horse-meat byproduct, there was just enough tasty gluctose-fructose corn syrup-y Red #6 goodness.


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