Friday, February 17, 2012

Stryder's Favourite Comics - Release Date 2/15/2012 PART I

This week there were SEVEN comic books from the New 52 that I wanted to read.  That's a lot of text in one post here on Fruitless Pursuits, particularly when I'm doing an overview this month too.  Therefore, after careful consideration taking actual MINUTES out of my day, I decided to split this week into two posts!!

For your ADD-Enhanced reading pleasure, here are the first four books, all set in everyone's favourite urban nightmare, Gotham City.  First up:

Batman #6 - The Court of Owls is in session!  Poor Batman has been wandering through their nefarious maze all last issue until he was stabbed through the back by their enigmatic enforcer, Talon.  This issue Talon is waiting to finish the job and kill the Bat!

Batman is broken, battered, bruised, drugged, hallucinating, bleeding to death and seemingly defeated before the council, whom his drug-addled mind sees as owlish monsters.  However, Talon may have made one little mistake in his fight with Batman...could it be enough to give Bruce the chance he needs?  Read the issue and find out!  This epic tale isn't finished yet!  It may never be! 

Overall Run: 

-Great dynamic artwork and  story-boarding give what is arguably DC's biggest book a great look and feel.  Truly some of their greatest work!
-Amazing, in-depth plot that gives us a whole new facet of the Batman's universe which feels both fresh and timeless.  Weaving ancient secrets with modern Gotham in an ingenious way that will echo throughout Batman's history.  Instant Classic! 
-Special mention to the "maze" issue #5 for using clever printing techniques to make me feel just as lost as Batman!  I've never seen this done and it rose the level of the whole run for me! 

-Hmmm.  The only thing I can think of is that it seems odd that this whole Court of Owls thing was able to exist under Batman's radar for so long.  I have faith that this will be explained soon, however. 

Score:  5 out of 5 Beat-down vigilantes!  This is a new standard that other comics can be held up to!  Excellent work!!!

More from Gotham City after the JUMP!

Birds of Prey #6 - Starling's got a mad on this month after being mind controlled and shot twice last issue.  Now it's time to take the fight back to "Choke", the mysterious and so-far unrevealed villain behind all of these stealthy, nursery-rhyme spouting mind-controlled zombie-assassins!  To do this, the Birds capture and deprogram one of the assassins from issue number 1 and get him on their side.  The idea is to use him as a plant to get Choke to reveal himself.  Does it work? a way...they may have got more than they bargained for...

This issue really focused on Black Canary and Starling, as do most, I guess.  I am starting to find it odd that Batgirl's joined the team but done and said very little, and I still don't really know why Katana or Poison Ivy want to help.  Sure, we've been given reasons, but they don't really investigate the underlining motivations.  I'm hoping we get more character development soon.  Otherwise, the mystery and storytelling of this issue were good, as they have been all along in this book! 

Overall Run: 

-Well thought out and deep plot that ties in a lot of elements well
-intriguing and mysterious characters keep me coming back for more

-lack of deep character development makes it hard to understand why these women all want to work together in the first place
-large number of main and supporting characters sometimes makes this book a little confusing.  I find myself flipping backwards going "wait, what??" more often than in other comics.

Score:  3.5 out of 5 Stealthy mind-controlled minions!  Solid book overall!

Catwoman #6 - Oh Selina.  Poor, poor Selina.  I wonder how much it says about me that I am strongly attracted to female characters in the midst of insane turmoil and distress?  At least I can rest easy in that part of the attraction is a woman strong enough to pull herself out of her own mess!  If any woman is that strong, Catwoman is she!!!!

Things keep going from bad to worse for Selina, who accidentally stole way too much dirty money from some very dirty cops last issue.  This issue, those cops, their enforcer, and even the Batman confront her about her mistake.  Selina didn't want this trouble, she doesn't need this trouble, and it's about time for her to put her foot (paw?) down!  There's a reason this issue is very aptly titled "Welcome to the Hard Way".

I don't want to get too spoilery, but the confrontation between Batman and Catwoman near the end of this issue is both very intense and somewhat heart-rending.  Batman is right but cruel and Catwoman is tough and defensive but also surprisingly vulnerable.  The result is one of my favourite moments, not just in this book, but in any comic, ever!  Even Batman doesn't always know the right thing to do.  Great read!!

Oh and by the way, doesn't that cover art just rock?  I want a poster... 

Overall Run: 

-Great, great artwork, especially in facial expression, really make the characters in this book come alive!
-A tough and mature plot-line but one with a lot of heart and humanity behind it.  Catwoman truly makes you want to root for her, albeit reluctantly at times

-Controversy over the scanty outfits and sexual content sensationalizes and takes away from the great plot and art of this series.

Score:  4 out of 5 hungry kitty cats!  A surprisingly good read!

Nightwing #6 - Dick Grayson is still hanging around the circus where his parents died, the circus that he now inexplicably owns, the circus...of MYSTERY!!!!  He's been hanging around for 6 issues now, trying to figure out why people think he's a killer, why someone killed the old man who owned the circus, and how come that cute red-head keeps flirting with him but then shutting him down when things start to get interesting (HINT - she's one of the BAD GUYS!).  World's Greatest Detective Nightwing is NOT!

Look, I like this book.  It's entertaining.  It's well written.  It's a poignant tale of betrayal and family and loss.  It also has some of the funniest and most awkward (in a good way) moments.  However it's set in a circus where an old man tells secrets and then dies.  Things are hidden in floor-boards.  I feel like it's an epic Scooby-Doo mystery!  Because of this I'm thankful they've returned to Gotham this issue and the secret is almost revealed!  I think we'll finally solve everything by issue 7 and maybe we can move on to stopping
 non-acrobat-related criminals...

Just a note about this month's cover...check out the thugs Nightwing is beating up.  I see a little Punisher, a little Captain America, a little Spider-Man and a little Ghost Rider!  Someone trying to say something? Cute...I like it! 

Overall Run: 

-I never knew as much about Dick Grayson as I'm learning now, regarding his background and the time before he became Robin - it's making me care more for him as a character
-This is one of the funnier DC books.  "Can't say he hasn't got a type!"  Funniest line in comics!!

-The initial plot of the book tries for epic but veers into over-long and silly
-Nightwing is supposed to be almost as good or as good as Batman.  Why is he having so much trouble with this?  Tim "Red Robin" Drake would have cracked the whole thing in half an hour and then went out drinking with Wonder Girl.... 

Score:  3 out of 5 untrustworthy circus folk.  It's got a lot of potential, just needs to move on...

So that's it for Gotham City this week, but not for the DC 'Verse!  Stay tuned in a day or two for Wonder Woman, Supergirl and the surprisingly entertaining Red Hood and the Outlaws!  CYOTFS!

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