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@BatWatcher Reviews: @DCComics Birds of Prey #19, Catwoman #19, Nightwing #19, Red Hood and the Outlaws #19


Here are today's "Guest Reviews" by Jeremy Sims from Batwatch. Included are DC's; Birds of Prey #19, Catwoman #19, Nightwing #19, and Red Hood and the Outlaws #19. 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.



Birds of Prey #19 - A Cold Day in Hell


There is a traitor on the team—so who is the member that threatens to tear the Birds of Prey apart?


Preview



Attacked and Betrayed... by Mr. Freeze and One of Their Own... Starling!


I have mixed feeling preparing to read this book. On one hand, it's been bad for months, and the new writer Christy Marx (former writer of Epic's The Sisterhood of Steel and current writer of Birds of Prey and Sword of Sorcery) does not inspire much hope that she will revive the series. On the other hand, it is difficult to imagine this issue possibly being worse than this week's Catwoman, and in comparison to that, Black Canary's foolish bumbling might seem charming and astute.

Still, I'm not feeling much in the way of high hopes. Mr. Freeze is the baddie, and he simply does not seem like a credible threat. Even a team carrying this much incompetence should be able to take out Freeze by virtue of their powerset and numbers alone. I am somewhat interested in seeing how Starling betrays the team if that is indeed what happens as is hinted on the cover and by all indications of the story thus far. Starling is by far the best member of the cast, and I would think she would be sticking around, but Swierczynski (former writer of Cable and Birds of Prey and current writer of Valiant's Bloodshot, IDW's Judge Dredd and Dark Horse's X) did write Poison Ivy off the team who was the only other interesting character, so maybe DC has just lost all sense of sanity.

Does this issue prove to be a cold day in Hell or a fun breezy jog with the Birds?

In this issue, the Birds prepare to take on Mr. Freeze at the secret base of the Court of Owls.

I Did Not Expect That

Much to my surprise, this issue threw me for several loops. Every time I thought I knew where the story was going, it took an unexpected turn, and I love that. I truly believed this series was going to stay as predictable and dull as possible, but it appears that Marx might just surprise me by being an extremely talented writer.

Do not let me oversell it. None of the reveals in this issue were jaw dropping, but starting with Strix's emotional breakdown, I suddenly realized things were not going as I'd imagined. Having Strix act as nothing more than a rabid animal who attacks everyone foolish enough to try to pet her or, you know, look at her...did not do much to make Strix a lovable addition to the cast, but show this immortal assassin have an emotional breakdown? Okay, now I'm interested.

Read the rest of Jeremy Sims' review on Batwatch

My Rating


Cover & Solicit - 4/5
Art, Colors & Inking - 4/5
Layout & Flow - 5/5
Story - 4/5
Verdict - 4.1



Catwoman #19 - Slam


Catwoman needs help—but what is the only place the Justice League of America can take her?


Preview



Captured by the Justice League of America... And Sent to Arkham!


Oh, Selina. How the mighty have fallen. You were once the ultimate adventurer. You were once a proud antihero. You are now a flighty, senseless creature who is difficult to enjoy on any level, but I'm trying to enjoy you. I really am. I just wish your writer would get off the drugs and pay you some respect. I've already seen enough from the preview to know this issue will probably be another stinker, but I'm willing for you to impress me. Please surprise me, Selina. I know there is a great character in there somewhere.

Is this the kind of cat you want to curl up in your lap and warm your heart, or is this just a mad feline who pees on the carpet and shreds the couch?

In this issue, the JLA take Catwoman to Arkham because either Nocenti or some editor thought it sounded like a way cool idea, man.

Duuuuuude...

Dude, this issue is like so amazing. Like, the things that happen are just soooooo cool, and the colors are kinda colorful. They're not like super colors, but more like mega colors, but it's subtle...like the rain.

Catwoman totally goes to Arkham, and it's a major trip man, but it's not like what is seems. It's one of those conspiracies because the governmental Man is like telling her she has to. She just wants to know her name, right? She just wants to know who she is because she's totally like got this person who is her who is somewhere else, so she's working with the Man, man, and it's like a major bummer because these fascists superhero pigs throw her in jail, man. Major bummer.

But Catwoman's cool because she's like totally in control. She knows things and stuff, but she's just like watching while she's in the prison, man. It's like her eyes are open. Not just open, but reeeeally open, and she sees all this stuff that just blends in with the fascist states of oppression, man. It doesn't make sense.

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 - 3/5
Verdict - 3.9



Nightwing #19 - Second City


“Death of the Family” is over, but the laughs continue to plague Nightwing. But it can't be him—can it?


Preview



Enter... The Prankster!


It's time for some Bat Family goodness, or at least I hope that's what we have in store with this month's Nightwing. The last issue left us with the massive cliffhanger when it was revealed that Anthony Zucco, the man who killed Dick Grayson's parents, is still alive and operating in Chicago. Kyle Higgins has already leaked lots of hints as to what's to come in Dick's adventures in the Windy City, and I haven't heard a bad note yet. Brett Booth (former artist on Wildstorm series Backlash and current penciler for Detective Comics and cover artist for Earth 2, Vibe and Superboy) is adding his smooth and spectacular art style to the book, and Nightwing gets a brand new (to him) villain in the form of Prankster who will apparently become a significant threat, so I'm geared up and ready for this issue.

Does all of this promise send Grayson flying to new heights, or is this one flight of fancy that needs to be grounded?

In this issue, Nightwing makes some friends, makes some enemies and meets at least one crazy person in Chicago.

Brett Booth FTW!

I know I'm totally sucking up to Brett Booth at the moment, but his work on this title is pretty much everything I hoped it would be. Nightwing's movements look as beautiful as they have ever been portrayed, Brett's sleek style does indeed fit the tone of the book, every image does a great job of conveying the story, faces are expressive and distinctive and even the panel layout is fresh keeping readers on their toes during fight scenes and conveying the chaos of the moment. The colorist, Andrew Dalhouse, (former colorist for Boom's Irredeemable and Teen Titans and current colorist for Detective Comics, Nightwing, Threshold and Fairest and cover artist for Earth 2 and Justice League) also does a great job giving the entire issue a vibrant feel which compliments Booth's pencils perfectly.

The only flaw I saw was that Nightwing causes something to explode at one point to give himself some cover for an escape, and I could not at first decipher what he hit to cause the rupture/explosion. It took me about four times viewing the scene until I finally made sense of it. Beyond that, this issue was a sight to behold if you like Brett Booth's style.

Read the rest of Jeremy Sims' review on Batwatch

My Rating


Cover & Solicit - 4/5
Art, Colors & Inking - 4/5
Layout & Flow - 5/5
Story - 4/5
Verdict - 4.1


Red Hood and the Outlaws #19 - Communion


What horrors lie beneath the mask of the Red Hood?


Preview



If There's a Future for Jason Todd... He'll Have to Erase His Past!


I'm really nervous about this issue. Despite my hatred for his work on Teen Titans, I really enjoyed Scott Lobdell's (former writer of Uncanny X-Men and current writer for Teen Titans, Superboy and Superman) work on Red Hood and the Outlaws, and he gave the book a unique tone between comedy, blood thirsty action, and sentimentality that will probably prove difficult to recapture, but it's out with the old and in with the new as James Tynion IV (current writer of Talon, Red Hood and the Outlaws, Batman and Detective Comics) takes over writing duties and Julius Gopez (former cover artist for Devil's Due's Dragons of Spring Dawning and penciler of The Ravagers and current artist for Red Hood and the Outlaws) on the art. If it were just any old writer taking over, I probably would not be so concerned about the issue, but I really love Tynion's work on Talon, Batman and Detective Comics, and I really do not want to see one of my favorite writers lay an egg. Also, Tynion follows BatWatch, and I really do not want to have to say I think his issue sucked. However, I always try to call a spade a spade, and the preview for this issue was rather meh worthy with at least one bad line of dialogue and art which just was not working for me, so again I say, I'm a bit nervous.

Does this issue force me to talk smack about a writer I thought I could trust, or does James Tynion prove me to be a fool for doubting his mad skills?

In this issue, Arsenal and Starfire go looking for Jason at the Acres of All.

The Missing Chapter

Almost this entire issue was hampered and nearly ruined by the fact that we are missing crucial information. It feels like we are coming in after having missed an issue or two, and in fact, that is exactly the case since this issue clearly depends on events from Batman and... #20 which has not yet been released. I do not mind playing catch up when I have missed a few issues, but to make me scramble to understand the story when I'm current reading about a quarter for the DCNU including every Bat Family title kin of burns much like when I am scheduled for a Doctor's appointment at nine-fifteen, and they make me sit around until nine-fifty to see the doctor. My reaction is the same in both cases. Shouldn't you have had this worked out before I arrived?

To be fair, the piecing the past together as you go approach can sometimes be fun. Heck, it's the entire premise of the immensely popular The Hangover series, but the approach did not strike me as fun in this issue. For one thing, I was not expecting to have to play catchup. For another, there were basically no clues as to what was really happening in the entire first half of the issue which made it little more than a series of pointless scenes. I didn't have much grasp on what was happening other than that the Outlaws were looking for Jason, and though I've now put some of the pieces together, I still don't have much of a clue about the big picture at work.

Read the rest of Jeremy Sims' review on Batwatch

My Rating


Cover & Solicit - 4/5
Art, Colors & Inking - 3/5
Layout & Flow - 4/5
Story - 3/5
Verdict - 3.3


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Jeremy Sims is a blogger at https://batwatch.squarespace.com/ and a comic book reviewer at Comic Vine. The use of these reviews has been authorized by the original author.

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