Batman, Vol.1: The Court of Owls by Scott Snyder

Batman, Vol. 1: The Court of OwlsBatman, Vol. 1: The Court of Owls by Scott Snyder
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


In keeping with our buddyread theme, I’d say this one is like pancakes…the first two are really great, but by the fifth one you’re just wondering what you saw in it…

You know, for a long time, I never understood why Bats was called the greatest detective, because I’ve never actually seen him…detecting.
Never fear, Snyder is here to fix that problem! 
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Review: The Flash Season Zero by Andrew Kreisberg, Phil Hester (Illustrations), Marcus To (Illustrations)

The Flash Season ZeroThe Flash Season Zero by Andrew Kreisberg
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

I’m a HUGE fan of the tv show, so that may have some bearing on my rating, but I don’t think so. This was a pretty decent collection of Television Flash stories. Obviously, this is not going to match up with what is going on in the real Flash comics, nor should it. This is strictly for CW fans who want a bit more of their Barry.

OhmyGodIlovethiskid!

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Anyway, most of the time I find these sort of tv spin-offs annoying and horribly cheesy. But (again, perhaps due to my love of the show) this time around I was fairly pleased with the graphic novelization of the show.

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This give a teeny background origin blurb, and then moves on to tell a group of very loosely connected stories about the Flash’s life in Central City.

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The art is sort of all over the place, and although I liked some of it better than others, none of it
WOWed
me. However, I did like the art with cleaner lines more than the chunky/clunky stuff.

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I was happy to see that they didn’t recap last season’s episodes, and instead came up with all new stories to tell, featuring (mostly) all new villains.

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Some of these guys I’d never even heard of, so I was thinking maybe there are a few new creations in this. But it’s also likely that I don’t know every single villain in Barry’s rogue gallery, so it’s quite possible that these might ring a bell to some of you hardcore Flash fans out there.

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I think I should mention that there is an issue with Felicity Smoak for all of you Arrowheads out there…

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One of my favorite issues was the one with Amanda Waller & the Suicide Squad. Of course, this does not have the same cast as the movie, so don’t go into it expecting to see Harley Quinn. Sorry! Instead you’ve got Deadshot, Boomerang, Cupid, and King Shark.

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Oh…and the Suicide Squad issue also includes another Arrow Crossover.

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All in all, not a bad volume for fans. If you like the show, then this might tide you over till the new episodes come out!

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I received a digital copy from Netgalley & the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Review: Batman: Eternal, Vol. 2 by Scott Snyder

Batman: Eternal, Vol. 2Batman: Eternal, Vol. 2 by Scott Snyder

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

For pure high octane fun Batman Eternal packs a pretty good punch. Plenty of crazy storylines weaving in and out, plenty of insane villains wreaking havoc, and plenty of the Bat-family heroes taking a stand against evil.

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It wasn’t until the very last page of this volume that I sort of took a step back and went..
The FUCK is this shit!?

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I’m not saying that this was bad, or that I didn’t enjoy it, but I was pretty annoyed with the ending of this one. And, yeah, I know it’s not The End, but…
Hmmm. I don’t think I’m saying this right. I guess what’s bothering me is that I just felt like I’d already read this story somewhere before. Did this feel regurgitated to anyone else? Anyone?
I mean, first of all, Hush is the Secret Villain behind a far-reaching conspiracy…
I know that’s been done before.
Is concocting needlessly elaborate schemes now considered Tommy Elliot’s superpower? Is it?!

Shhhh. Hush.
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And, second…

WARNING: SPOILER ALERT!

Ok. And, second…
I’m not sure if Bruce has ever lost control of Wayne Enterprises before, but plenty of other superheroes have lost their companies, so (combined with Hush’s wash-rinse-repeat storyline) it didn’t feel like it was anything new or fresh.
After I finished, I felt a bit like a deflated balloon.
That’s it?

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BUT.
Before I got to the end, I was really entertained with all of the different threads of this volume.

Stephanie Brown’s Spoiler comeback was quite a lot of fun to read about. I’m not saying that there weren’t holes in this plot, but it was entertaining, nonetheless.

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And Catwoman! There can never be enough Catwoman in a Batman title, as far as I’m concerned. I love to watch these two do their little dance…

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Most of you already know that what happens –> here Crime lord? Am I saying that right? It sounds so cheesy…
Anyway, bad stuff happens to an innocent ‘someone‘ in this volume, and Selina decides that instead of trying to take the bad guys out, she should just take them over. There was a preview of her new title in the back of my copy, and it looks kinda cool.

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Alfred & his daughter both play a big role here.
Al gets jacked up by Hush, and his daughter finds out that he was keeping a few secrets from her…

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After a meet-cute with Batman, she reluctantly takes over as Penny-Two and becomes Bruce’s eyes and ears in the Batcave.
Also, Alfred gets to kick some undead ass with Bane in Arkham Asylum!
Shhh. Go with it…

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Lots of other stuff happening, as well. Batwing & Spectre get dibs on the paranormal angle, Batgirl & Red Hood do a little angry team-up, and Harper & Red Robin are getting closer to finding {insert random evil dude}.
It’s a Bat-family reunion!

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Well, not everyone shows up, of course.
Grayson is still playing dead/James Bonding it up over at Spyral, and Jim Gordon is still rotting in jail. Speaking of Gordon, his former protege, Bard, is still running around fucking up Gotham’s infrastructure as per Eliot’s instructions.
I was actually kinda hoping Barbara would have dropped him off that roof.

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Ok. I think overall this was fun, even if it was a bit unwieldy. Sure, some of it feels like old food that was scraped off and re-plated, but certain foods re-heat well enough. Volume 2 wasn’t as good as next day pizza, but it’s also not a total loss…like leftover nachos.
It seems like some important things are happening in this title that are going to affect the Batverse, so if you’re interested in keeping up with the current goings-on, this is probably a must-read. However, it’s super readable, especially if you’re willing to overlook a few of the nuttier aspects.

Thanks to NetGalley & the publisher for a digital review copy.

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Review: Batman/Superman, Vol. 3: Second Chance by Greg Pak, Jae Lee (Illustrations)

Batman/Superman, Vol. 3: Second ChanceBatman/Superman, Vol. 3: Second Chance by Greg Pak

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

 

3.5 stars

I don’t know if it was because I expected to not like this or what, but this volume didn’t disappoint me as much as the other two. The stories weren’t connected at all, or if they were, only loosely. And instead of growling at each other, they were back to being friends. So…a bit more fun.

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That’s not to say this was perfect.
The first issue was some weird story about a spaceship full of microscopic aliens that Batman accidentally sucked up his nose. Ray Palmer (The Atom), who is a scientist working for S.H.A.D.E (Frankenstein’s old organization), shrinks himself and Superman down, and they take a trip inside Batman to save the day.
I shit you not!

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Doomed crossover event.
Already read it, so nothing new there.
Batman, Wonder Woman, Steel, & even Krypto search through the Phantom Zone for a cure for Superman. It’s good stuff, but it won’t make much sense unless you’ve already read Superman: Doomed.

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Second Chance is the next up, and it takes place on Earth 2. That wacky little chaos demon from before is back, and it gives them a chance to change the lives of their counterparts on the alternate Earth.

{Spoilery things happen}

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Then the demon makes a deal with some giant devil-thing, who lives in a devil-dimension. They erase both of their memories, and shoot them back on to Earth…naked.
*cough*
Things get a bit mixed up, and the boys sort of end up with the wrong women.
So to speak…

Clark falls into Selina’s lap, and (of course) she can’t resist playing a few tricks on the Man of Steel.

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Meanwhile, Lois partners up with Bruce, and brings out his flirty side.

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Eventually, the boys shape up, fight back, remember who they are, and (naturally) save the day.
The End.

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Review: Detective Comics, Vol. 6: Icarus (Detective Comics Vol. II #6) by Francis Manapul

Detective Comics, Vol. 6: IcarusDetective Comics, Vol. 6: Icarus by Francis Manapul

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

Icarus is basically where we learn that Drugs are bad, M’kay…

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Honestly, I’m just not a big fan of the Batman fights Drug Dealers stories, so right away this one lost big points with me. And it’s not because I think a crack pipe make you looks more distinguished, or that giving $5 blowjobs behind a dumpster is classy.
It’s just… Well, I was a child during the 80’s, and I was literally saturated with cheesy anti-drug propaganda.
I’m full! Seriously.
No thank you, Nana. I don’t want another helping. Please, for the love of God, don’t put any more on my plate, woman!

But for some reason, it seems like it’s mandated that superheroes fight the evil drug lords every now and then. And who knows? Maybe Manapul is the sacrificial lamb who drew the short straw a few months ago?
*sigh*
Or perhaps he really thought this was a groundbreaking story…

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But.
Unbelievably, once you scrape all of the cheese off of the top, this has a decent Batman story underneath it.
Icarus ain’t what your granny used to get high, kids (so you can stop rummaging around in her medicine cabinet), ’cause this shit is da bomb!
Literally.
Like, your insides will catch on fire, and you’ll explode.

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A woman who wants to help change Gotham is found dead of an overdoes on Bruce Wayne’s front steps. Naturally, he becomes a prime suspect in her death, and Harvey Bullock is determined to bring him down. Of course, he also wants a piece of Batman, and with Gordon behind bars, there’s no one to reign in Bullock’s distrust of the Dark Knight.
Believe it or not, the Harvey/Batman showdown was actually pretty good!

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This is a Bullock-heavy volume, and you kind of get a better peek at the man who was constantly at Gordon’s side for all of these years. Manapul does an excellent job with this character, and I enjoyed reading more about the different aspects of his personality.

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Ok, now let’s talk about the real star of the show.
The art.
It is honestly one of the best things about this volume. Beautiful!

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The colors, the expressions, and even the page layouts were just fantastic. I can’t say enough how much I visually loved the way this was put together.

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There’s an issue at the end called Chaos Theory that ties together random events from the volume, and puts everything in a new light. It was very well done, and centers on Batman helping a young mentally challenged boy who is being abused & neglected by his father. Unbeknownst to Bruce, this ends up being a pivot point for the entire plot.

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In the end, I’d say this is not required reading, but it turned out to be an impressively decent Batman story. I waffled between 3 and 4 stars for quite a while, and I’m leaning closer to 4 the more I think about it.
However, I’m just so biased against the anti-drug stuff that I don’t think I can actually stomach giving a full 4 to anything with that as the underlying plot.

Thanks to NetGalley & the publishers for a digital copy to review.

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Review: Batman, Vol. 6: Graveyard Shift by Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo (Illustrations)

Batman, Vol. 6: Graveyard ShiftBatman, Vol. 6: Graveyard Shift by Scott Snyder

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

I would have preferred a long story arc, but dreams don’t always come true. This is a bunch of leftover stories from random times and places.
Yeah, I know Suck it up, Buttercup!
I will say that they were all consistently good, even if the timelines were all over the map.

It starts off with a prequel to Zero Year that was maybe not necessary, but interesting anyway. It showed Bruce trying to clean up the city before he put on the mask.

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Also included was a look at Tim, Jason, Dick, & Barbara’s first peek at the Batsymbol in the sky, which coincided with (varying degrees of) turning points in their lives.

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Harper (Bluebird) and her brother Cullen feature in this one twice. The first time Harper is determined to help Batman deal with his rage after Damien’s death.

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I’m not sure how much I’m actually enjoying this Death of Damien storyline. It rankles my nerves a bit, and I wish they’d just dip his ass in a Lazarus pit already and be done with it. It’s a personal preference, but I just don’t like watching the writers try to decide how Batman should act while in the throes of grief over his dead child.
There was this story on the news the other day about this woman who lost everything because she started smoking crack. Turns out, her kid had died a few years beforehand. Now, I don’t think smoking crack is a good idea under any circumstances, but she gets a pass in my book. If there was ever one excuse to be a crackhead, that’s the one.
My point is, I just don’t enjoy the dead kid angle. I believe the writers are trying to convey Bruce’s deep emotions, but (to me) it feels hollow and cheap.
And the longer it drags out, the more annoyed I get.

Love this piece of art, though.
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In the issue called Ghost Lights, Superman pops in to check on Bruce, and they end up taking on an evil spirit who has been summoned by some stupid kids.

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I enjoyed the Superman/Batman team-up. Always nice to see those two together!

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Clayface shows up in this sucker and makes quite an impression. Snyder played up how dangerous a villain he could be if he totally went off the rails.
I thoroughly enjoyed this story!

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The story set in Arkham with the character
Anchoress
was a bit of an iffy one for me. It was different enough to keep me interested, though.
It’s basically a tale about a not-bad-but-bad-anyway nutter in the loony bin.

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Creepy serial killer tale ahead! Unless it somehow plays into the Joker mythos, this one is a throwaway. Again, not bad storytelling, but I’m burned out on the subject matter. I simply prefer Batman to take on ‘villains’ and not real-life psychos.
*shrugs*

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The last one is a tie-in with the Batman Eternal stuff.
Spoiler below!

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Get it?! Spoiler?
{insert knee-slapping here}
Hyuck, hyuck!

*cough*
Yes, so…anyway. It’s a random collection of stories, but it’s a solid random collection of stories. I think this volume is a nice addition to Snyder’s Batman run.

Big thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for giving me a digital copy to read and review.

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Review: Fantastic Four, Vol. 1: The Fall of the Fantastic Four by James Robinson, Leonard Kirk (Illustrator)

Fantastic Four, Vol. 1: The Fall of the Fantastic FourFantastic Four, Vol. 1: The Fall of the Fantastic Four by James Robinson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

Warning: If you are NOT up to date, there may be SPOILERS

I recently finished up Volume 1 of The Amazing Spider-man The Parker Luck, and Johnny Storm showed up to give Pete some advice. Since Peter has only recently reemerged as the dominate personality in his body, he had no idea that Johnny was de-powered.
And, quite frankly, neither did I.
Now, I’d love to say I read this specifically to find out how it happened, but I actually just lucked into it. It was, however, the highlight of this book for me. Not that how he lost his powers was all that amazing, but it felt good to be in the loop for once!
So, if you were wondering where to find that story, it’s in this one.

Anyway, poor Johnny.
Flame off.

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It appears as though someone is perhaps out to tarnish the Fantastic Four’s image, and break apart their family.
Monsters from other dimensions break out of the Baxter Building and wreak havoc on Manhattan causing loss of life and millions in damage.
And (for once) it seems like the idiot keeping the giant portals in his house is actually going to be held responsible for the damage. Go figure, right?

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Jennifer/She-Hulk represents the FF in the courtroom drama, and I won’t spoil the ending, but there’s lots of
EMOTIONS!
flying around at the end. Decent stuff, all of it.

Hey, did you know that Dr. Doom is now Uncle Doom?
Personally, I was unaware of this. But apparently Valeria is living with him in Latveria, where she has some sort of deal going with him. He is going to try to ‘be good’, and she gets some space from her parents who did something to let her down.
I need to go back and read some of the older titles to see what happened.
I still say she’s a creepy little thing, but I’m also insanely curious as to what her father lied to her about!


I can see the DEVIL in her eyes!

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All in all, this was one of the more interesting installments of the FF that I’ve read. But I’ll admit I haven’t finished out Hickman’s run, and I know that he’s a fan favorite for this title. I’ll get to it eventually, though.

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Review: Chew, Vol. 1: Taster’s Choice by John Layman

Chew, Vol. 1: Taster's ChoiceChew, Vol. 1: Taster’s Choice by John Layman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

 

Hmmmm.
After the first few pages I thought I was going to have to reach out and cyber-smack Mike, Gavin, and ‘kris for suggesting I read this…but it sort of grew on me.

Disclaimer:
I don’t mind violence or gore in the books I read, but I also have this thing about putting gross stuff in my mouth. Call it a phobia if you want, but just the thought of anything icky coming near my mouth makes me gag and heave.
Take food, for example.
I constantly sniff any food that I think might be even a little bit iffy. Then I make my husband sniff it. And usually even if he says it smells fine, I end up throwing it out. Because…who cares what he thinks? Once I think it it may be tainted, it’s got to go.
It’s Mentally Tainted Food, therefore, I can’t eat it.
Also, I thought Chew was just a clever title. I ordered it from my library on the above mentioned recommendations of FRIENDS, and didn’t bother reading the blurb. My bad.

So.
Bird Flu has made chicken into the new moonshine. Which, once I realized what was going on, was pretty darn funny.
I mean, bootleg poultry? That’s hilarious!
And the new FDA is like the FBI, CIA, and NSA all rolled into one. Forget Homeland Security, if you want to be where the action is, you join the Food and Drug Administration.
Bad-ass health inspectors? Bwahahahha!
And Tony Chu (get it, Chew? Har!) is one of the guys who puts his life on the line everyday to keep the world safe from contraband chicken.
His partner ends up getting hit in the head with a meat cleaver in the first few pages, and to catch the bad guy…Tony eats a portion of one of his minions.
Don’t worry, it makes more sense in the book.
When he’s found at the scene cannibalizing the guy who split his partner’s skull open, he gets fired and institutionalized.
Because that’s NASTY!
The End.

Ok, no.
That’s not what happened. That’s just how my gag reflex rationalized the scene.
What actually happened was that it put Tony on the radar of another government group that utilizes people with his skill.
His skill is to be able to get a clairvoyant reading off of anything he ingests.
Even veggies.
And if he had only eaten vegetables throughout the book, I and my stomach would have been much happier…thank you very much.
But he didn’t.
He ended up (reluctantly) eating all kinds of horrifying things in order to solve his cases.
That vacuum-sealed dog almost did me in…

*GAK GAK GAK*

Again. Thank you for that, guys.

Here the thing, I honestly got interested in what was happening to the entire cast of wacky characters. I was so nauseated, but I couldn’t stop reading!
And then they left me with a cliffhanger!
So. When I recuperate, I’ll read the next volume.

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Review: Uncanny X-Men, Vol. 3: The Good, The Bad, The Inhuman by Brian Michael Bendis, Chris Bachalo (Illustrator), Kris Anka (Illustrator)

Uncanny X-Men, Vol. 3: The Good, The Bad, The InhumanUncanny X-Men, Vol. 3: The Good, The Bad, The Inhuman by Brian Michael Bendis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

I liked it, but there was a lot of just…weird stuff going on. Maybe not weird so much, as multiple stories that all felt important and disjointed at the same time. Ugh. Sorry, I’m not sure that makes sense.

Scott is such a dick.
After a kid fucks up on a mission (nothing malicious, by the way), Scott tosses him out on the street. Well, back at his home. But how safe is that, really?
I have a feeling this decision did not endear him to the other teens, and somehow this will come back to bite him in the ass.

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Magneto goes on a trip to Madripoor, and finds out who is behind the surge in the mutant population there. Then he goes bat-shit crazy and tries to kill off some old friends.
So. Yeah, I guess he’s getting his own title now.

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Kitty sticks her hand through Scott’s head, threatens to end him, cries about the loss of Xavier, and then they hug it out.

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Emma takes one of the mutant kids under her wing, and teaches him the importance of his (uncool/lame) powers. I can’t remember his name, but he’s the one that turns into other people, you know?

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Ok, I like the art, but it can get a little crazy, and that makes it hard to understand what’s going on in the panels. It’s not ugly, just…too much? Sometimes. Most of the time it’s great, but then it gets all nutty.
Ack! I’m just not explaining any of this very well.
The story was good, but it felt kinda schizo and all over the place, too.
I’m still looking forward to reading the next volume, though.

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Review: Superman, Vol. 4: Psi War by Scott Lobdell, Kenneth Rocafort (Illustrations), Aaron Kuder (Illustrations)

Superman, Vol. 4: Psi WarSuperman, Vol. 4: Psi War by Scott Lobdell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

Warning: There may be spoilers in this review!
*snort*
As if anyone actually reads this title anymore…

I am so shocked that I didn’t hate this! Just, well, shocked!
Now, maybe I’m rating this higher than it deserves because it vastly exceeded my expectations for a Superman title lately, so feel free to take this with a grain of salt.

So what went right for me this time around?
Well, for starters, my biggest complaint with the recent direction of the Superman comics had been the way they were stressing the importance of his Kryptonian family, while Ma and Pa Kent were collecting worms six feet under.
This isn’t Detective Comics, you know?
Batman’s secret identity is Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent’s secret identity is Superman. Do you see the difference?
This time around, I saw more Clark than I have in a while.

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Another bonus for me was Kenneth Rocafort’s artwork. I absolutely love the way he draws Superman! My only complaint was that he didn’t draw every issue, but I’ll take what I can get.
I’d like all my comic book fangirl friends (the ones who keep telling me that I’m crazy for putting Supes on my Book Boyfriend list) to take a look at this please…
Yes, that means you, Kat!

*ahem*
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It’s also worth it to see Diana and Lois meet for the first time at Ms. Lane’s housewarming party.

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And even though I’ve been enjoying the whole Power Couple thing, I know that underneath it all, there’s only one woman for Clark. Unfortunately, poor Kent is stuck firmly in the friend zone.
Which makes Lois’ (and everyone else’s) reaction to Wonder Woman even better.

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Ok, this volume isn’t without its problems, and I guess now is as good a time as any to discuss them.
First, it seems to be kind of long and meandering. I mean, it all ties up in the end, but it takes a while to get there.
As the title suggests, this is all about psionic battles, and everyone knows that Superman is nearly invincible to everything except magic and mental attacks.
Well, hey! The good news is, there are plenty of bad guys in Superman’s rogue gallery to choose from. The bad news is, they couldn’t seem to pick just one.
Hector Hammond, the H.I.V.E. Queen, Pysycho Pirate *smothers laughter*, and even Brainiac (kind of) shows up in this thing.
Brainiac doesn’t technically fight, but he was the one who got the ball rolling, so to speak.
At any rate, it made the story seems to drag on and on.
Superman beats the bad guy, only to find another one waiting in the wings. He fights that one, and by the time they’re done, the first villain has recovered enough to start causing problems again.
I did like how Lobdell used the narrator, though. Nice touch!
Turning Lois into this, however, was not a nice touch:

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No, she doesn’t stay that way. And, yes, I like that she isn’t being portrayed as the Damsel in Distress.
But come on! Turning her into a superhero so she could ‘save’ Superman didn’t sit right with me.
*sniff, sniff* Something smells like pandering…
Lois can be smart, tough, and capable without powers. Don’t go there, authors!
Think: Batman! Hawkeye! Iron Man! Huntress! Black Widow! Green Arrow! Catwoman! Punisher!
It can be done, so do it.

So, I disliked the villains somewhat, and felt like the plot could have been streamlined a bit.
However, I enjoyed Rocafort’s incredible art, and thought that Lobdell was actually bringing the characters back to where they need to be for fans to fall in love with them again.
Not perfection, but way better than my low expectations were anticipating!

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