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Home  >  Features  >  Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: August 10, 2016

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Geoff takes a look at a new batch of first issues, this time it's THE BLACK MONDAY MURDERS #1, ALL STAR BATMAN #1, DEATHSTROKE: REBIRTH #1, SUPERWOMAN #1, and RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS #1!

 

 

THE BLACK MONDAY MURDERS #1 (Image Comics)-

5.0 Stars

After the climactic end to his amazing Avengers run Jonathan Hickman headed to Image Comics and this week sees the release of the first issue of his new creator owned series, THE BLACK MONDAY MURDERS #1. This over sized issue clocks in at 52 pages and it is dense with story telling and world building. There is no hope of a brief summary of what you will find in this issue but it is mainly focused on the occult surrounding the corrupt and entrenched banking giants of our times. Beginning with the great crash of 1929 and following through to the modern day the Caina bank is ruled by a 4 families who have made some kind of arcane deal with an otherworldly power to maintain power and riches. The plot thickens with a ritualistic murder and a detective on the case who also dabbles in the occult. This issue is all set up and fans will known that Hickman writes for the long game so pay attention to the details and soak in the extra material and background information that is provided. The art by Tomm Coker is a dark and sinister as the tone of the book with a color palette that changes depending on whether the part you are reading is set in 1929 or the current year. I really enjoyed this title even though I have absolutely no idea where it is heading. Like I said, Hickman is a master at long format storytelling and with this stand out introduction to his newest idea I am definitely along for the ride and if you like your real world stories mixed with a dash of the occult you should check it out as well.

 

ALL STAR BATMAN #1 (DC Comics)-

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One of the most anticipated books from DC Comics Rebirth event is ALL STAR BATMAN #1 from Scott Snyder and John Romita Jr. and it has finally arrived this week. Snyder's run on Batman will most likely be remembered as the best comic to come out of the New 52 and now he is back with an even larger sandbox to explore Batman as a character. First and foremost it must be noted that this book has a very different tone than Batman. This series is much more bombastic and instantly moves Batman out of Gotham City and sets him up against a plethora of villains from his rogues gallery. Two Face must be moved to upstate New York and Batman is the only one to get him there safely but there is always a catch. He has promised millions of dollars to anyone who will set him free, villains and everyday people alike. Within moments Batman is under attack from Firefly, Killer moth, the Gentlemen Ghost, and even the local residents of the nearby town. Snyder has written a Batman that is more chatty than before and the action is over the top. Whether this will resonate with readers remains to be seen, I for one prefer the darker more somber Batman but there is no denying the fun in this issue. The pencils by John Romita Jr. will be as polarizing for fans as they always have been. One cannot argue the extent of his talent but his style does not always fit the books he has drawn. I found it off putting in Superman yet a perfect fit for Kick-Ass. In ALL STAR BATMAN #1 he is doing some of his best work especially paired with inker Danny Miki. His lines are more solid and thick and this has helped define the edges of his art and make everything easier to see and follow. This is a good start to a fun comic though I admit it is not exactly what I hoped it would be. If the dour tone of the New 52 Batman run was a bit off for you then this is exactly the comic you have been looking for as it brings Batman out of the shadows and onto a road trip of villains in the bright of day.

 

DEATHSTROKE: REBIRTH #1 (DC Comics)-

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DC Comics is back with what seems to the the third attempt in as many years to give Slade Wilson his own book in this weeks DEATHSTROKE: REBIRTH #1. Written by Christopher Priest with art by Carlos Pagulayan and Jason Paz, Deathstroke remains ruthless character with shifting allegiances and unpredictable ethics. I felt that this was a mess of a comic that jumped back and forth between so many time periods, settings, and characters that I really have no idea of the story it was trying to tell. We get a look at the past with Grant and Joey being begrudgingly saved by an abusive Slade and a mission in the present with Deathstroke assisting an African warlord. After the jump of the title page we then shift to another mission in pursuit of Clock King with ramifications leading back to the question of whether or not Slade actually has any attachment to his sons. None of it flows, the transitions are jarring, and the reveal at the end falls completely flat. Beyond that, there is absolutely nothing redeemable about this character or why readers, especially new readers, should care about his fate. Beyond his role in rigged elections and religious genocide he is also an abusive father and all around spiteful person. Even when the action kicks in why would we root for him. He is not a character like the Punisher who at least uses extreme violence in the name of his own warped sense of justice, he is just a flat out villain and villains with no reason to root for them do not make interesting characters. The art is good so at least the book is pretty to look at but this is the worst thing to come out of Rebirth yet. I would advise all but true fans of Deathstroke to pass on this book and go watch season two of Arrow instead if they want an interesting story focused on Slade Wilson.

 

SUPERWOMAN #1 (DC Comics)-

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Phil Jimenez is back at DC Comics and he is both writing and drawing their latest entry into the Superman family, SUPERWOMAN #1. Lois Lane absorbed some of the energy given off during the death of the New 52 Superman and now possesses most of his powers. While she has the strength, speed, and gifts of Superman she has no idea how to control it or put it to proper use and thus turns to Lana Lang for help. Their dynamic is the best part of this book by far and I wish there was more of it. Lana and Lois do not like each other but they are bonded via their relationship with the deceased Superman and they know that they need to work together to preserve his legacy. Lana is acting like a coach for Lois and in many ways this is a continuation of her role in Greg Pak's Action Comics run. Unfortunately the rest of the book is not nearly as strong. Lois is forced into action as crisis strikes and Superman stand in Lex Luthor is powerless to help. The art for the action in these scenes is really good but it all feels very by the numbers and in the end it did not make for a very fun read. Another problem is that the Superman world is so crowded now and this book introduces us to two new Superwomen as it is revealed that Lana has gained powers as well. That makes a total of seven characters in the DC Universe with Superman powers and it is just too much. If this book continues to focus on the captivating relationship between Lana and Lois then I think it will have a future and it will offer something different to readers but if it devolves into another super person punching out bad guys attacking Metropolis then it will have a short future. I do think it is worth checking out, at least give the first issue a shot to see some great art from Jimenez and great banter between two long time Superman love interests.

 

RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS #1 (DC Comics)-

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After a rather lackluster Rebirth issue I am happy to say that RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS #1 from DC Comics was a beautifully drawn and well told surprise. Jason Todd's fake attack on the mayor has given him access to the underworld of Gotham City and now he faces the difficult task of operating as a rogue agent while still adhering to his promise to Batman to not take lives. A reunion with Ma Gunn sets Jason on the path of one of the most violent villains in Gotham, the notorious Black Mask. The first thing readers will notice is that Scott Lobdell has taken a slightly different tone with regards to who Jason Todd is and how he interacts with both Villains and Bruce Wayne. While before he has been extremely defiant and rash this new Jason feels more focused and determined. Lobdell has matured the character and for me it is a welcome change. The real stand out in this issue is the art by Dexter Soy. These pages are absolutely beautiful and worth the price of admission on their own. The detail in the pencil work and the way the panels are arranged is nothing short of fantastic and the coloring by Veronica Gandini is used remarkably well especially in the flashbacks and scenes of violence. Lobdell has not always been the strongest scriptwriter but with the art doing most of the heavy lifting in this issue it is not a problem. The comic ends with a great cliffhanger when Jason comes face to face with Artemis and I have to pick up issue number two to see how that encounter plays out. I really did like this issue but then again I felt the start of the New 52 run of Red Hood was good as well and that book quickly deteriorated in quality. Here is to hoping Lobdell as a solid arc for Jason Todd already planned out and that Dexter Soy can remain on art for as long as possible. Go check this book out because even if the script does not grab you I promise you will be flipping through it multiple times to soak in the gorgeous artwork.

 

Don't just take our word for it. Grab the books yourself and let us know what you think!

 

More Reviews on MightyVille:

Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: August 03, 2016

Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: July 27, 2016

Number 1 Bullets Comic Reviews: July 20, 2016

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