Thursday, July 18, 2013

Guest Reviews: @DCComics Teen Titans #16, Batwing #17, & Detective Comics #17

Teen Titans #16 CoverBatwing #17 CoverDetective Comics #17 Cover

Here are today's "Guest Reviews" by Jeremy Sims from Batwatch. Included are DC's; Teen Titans #16, Batwing #17, & Detective Comics #17. I have also added my rating after each review. If you have any questions about my rating or want to discuss anything just leave me a comment.

See the Review Rating Overview page for more information on how I rate each comic.

Teen Titans #16 - Gotham Runs Red!


A “DEATH OF THE FAMILY” tie-in!


Our heroes learn a lesson they’ll never forget as Arsenal takes control in Red Robin’s absence!


Mirroring the events of RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS #16, Jason Todd and Tim Drake must rely on each other to survive The Joker’s attack!


Plus: It’s the return of Raven!


Preview



Gotham Runs Red!


RHATO #16 was a massive disappointment with a story which completely skipped the plot of Red Hood and Red Robin to focus instead on Roy Harper and the Teen Titans. Presumably, Teen Titans will be focused purely on the Reds which would mitigate some of these annoyed feelings of mine. I've already read a preview for this issue, and I am actually a little excited because in the preview, Tim was presented as analyzing the situation in a fashion reminiscent of his pre-52 personality. Could this be the return of a Tim Drake which is not an unholy abomination, or does Lobdell once more make me hate my favorite character?

In this issue, Joker manipulates Red Robin and Red Hood into playing his game by putting their fathers' lives on the line.

Ready? Fight!

I've been so frustrated with the way that Scott Lobdell has changed Red Robin that at times I do not want to give him credit when he does something well, but in all fairness to Mr. Lobdell, I have to admit this issue was really cool. (caveats and exceptions to be provided later)

As I hoped, Red Robin and Red Hood take center stage in this issue, and we get to see these two characters who have never had much interaction play off each other in a really interesting way. Jason acts pretty typical to what we have come to expect through Red Hood and the Outlaws, but Tim actually shines in this issue for the first time since the DCNU began. From page one, Red Robin is analyzing his surroundings while pretending to be unconscious, and throughout the entire issue, he remains cool, calculating, and intelligent. He still had a little bit of an ego that would have been out of place with his DCU incarnation, but for all those Tim Drake fans who have been longing for a return of the classic version, this will satisfy you better than anything else that has been offered. I just want to know how he can be the man with the plan in this issue, yet he seems so incompetent while leading his own team.

Read the rest of Jeremy Sims' Review on Batwatch

My Rating


Cover & Solicit - 4/5
Art, Colors & Inking - 5/5
Layout & Flow - 4/5
Story - 4/5
Verdict - 4.3



Batwing #17 - The Dying Breath


“BATWING: ENEMY OF THE STATE” continues!


Batwing learns the hard way that you can’t bring justice to a country that doesn’t want it!


Plus: Batwing battles the Sky Pirate!


Preview



The Dying Breath


I'm sad to learn that Fabian Nicieza will be leaving Batwing because I've had high hopes for his work on this series. Last issue was a great intro to his first real arc on Batwing which delved into the political realities of The Democratic Republic of the Congo while still delivering a kick butt superhero story. David arrested and charged a rich man's son for murder, and because of that, David has few allies either on or off the force and it appears he will draw some serious fire for his actions. Does this next chapter continue the positive trend in Batwing writing, or does Batwing fail to deliver?

In this issue, Batwing faces a armored behemoth whose weapons dwarf his own, the rich man tries to uncover Batwing's secret identity, and David loses his last ally on the police force.

Bat Droppings

Yeah, so I'm too tired to organize my thoughts clearly, so I'm just going to throw them out as they come to me.

I really enjoyed the visual designs in this issue especially relating to Sky Pirate. His asymmetrical mask especially intrigued me. The concept behind Sky Pirate is pretty cool too. There are modern day pirates, so why not a super villain pirate? Its a somewhat fresh concept which seems to take SHIELD's helicarrier design and combined it with a technologically advanced pirate ship manned with extraordinarily intelligent pirates.

Read the rest of Jeremy Sims' Review on Batwatch

My Rating


Cover & Solicit - 4/5
Art, Colors & Inking - 4/5
Layout & Flow - 4/5
Story - 3/5
Verdict - 3.6



Detective Comics #17 - The Pursuit of Happiness; Doctor's Orders


The repercussions of “DEATH OF THE FAMILY” spread as Batman tracks down the League of Smiles, a criminal group of psychotic killers that worship The Joker!


Deadly new villains are introduced—and you won’t believe their horrific ties to Arkham Asylum!


Plus: In the backup story, learn the secrets behind The League of Smiles’ beginnings!


Preview



The Pursuit of Happiness


John Layman has delivered some excellent stories for his four issues of Detective thus far. I was a little disappointed in the Death of the Family issues because they broke the narrative flow of the Emperor Penguin story, but it is pretty clear this was an editorial mandate, so I can hardly fault Layman for it. Even so, last issue introduced the Joker worshiping League of Smiles which was plenty entertaining in its own right and scores major points for breaking from the traditional Death of the Family mold. The last panel of the main story left us with a mysterious new character (with a wicked cool design to boot) Merrymaker. Does Merrymaker add a little joy to this Batman fan's life, or does his title boast a greater feat than this new villain can deliver?

In this issue, Bruce tries to stop the Merrymaker before he builds a bigger body count.

John Layman Strikes Again!

I have to say, I'm a sucker for Layman's portrayal of the Dark Knight. He really shares my vision of the character which is manifested in all sorts of little ways. Bruce is direct and uncompromising in his conversation with Bullock in this issue, yet he doesn't go out of his way to be dick. Bruce's actions feel very carefully planned out as he strikes carefully and lures people into a certain position before fighting, yet he is not perfect in combat or his detective skills managing to take a few blows and overlook some clues at first glance. Batman is brutal, yet his inner monologue reveals some wry pleasure in his work. I love Bruce's thoughts as a criminal gets beaten by his fellow thugs. “Had I not intervened, I have no doubt that he would have been beaten to death in fifteen seconds. I allow them to beat him for ten.” Great stuff.

Read the rest of Jeremy Sims' Review on Batwatch

My Rating


Cover & Solicit - 4/5
Art, Colors & Inking - 4/5
Layout & Flow - 4/5
Story - 4/5
Verdict - 4


Pre-Order Joker Death of the Family HC (Save 20%)
Purchase Batwing #17
Purchase Detective Comics #17
Purchase Detective Comics #17 (Combo Pack)
Jeremy Sims is a blogger at https://batwatch.squarespace.com/ and a comic book reviewer at Comic Vine. The use of this review has been authorized by the original author.
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