Quick Hits: Reviews of Batman Inc. #5, FF #2 and more…

Batman Inc. #5

Batman Inc. #5: One story ends and another begins in this week’s Batman Inc. #5 from Grant Morrison and Yanick Paquette. Or maybe a couple different stories end, and some advance their middles a little bit more… I don’t know. One definitely starts, though! For a book pitched as more of a swashbuckling adventure starring the Dark Knight, Batman Inc. has proven just as labyrinthine as Morrison’s previous work with the character, though in perhaps a deceptive way. Inc. #5 teases us with a little more information about Batman’s new major bad guy, but mostly it deals with Bruce Wayne, El Gaucho, Batwoman and an English hero named the Hood taking down Scorpiana and investigating the wicked Doctor Deadalus, the two villains from this series’ last arc. It’s a dense book, action-packed with a fantastic mystery, and Paquette’s art is solid. I think my favorite thing about Batman Inc. so far is how it’s truly become a team book that features other interesting heroes just as much as Bruce Wayne — Batwoman and Gaucho are officially tops in my book of ’60s slang. A-
Review by Rebel Rikki

FF #2: Well, if you thought that certain people weren’t going to be happy with Dr. Doom jumping on board with the Future Foundation, you were probably right. Ben Grimm and Sue Storm seem to have some issues with this as well as with the new dynamic that Peter Parker and his large brain bring… suddenly the nerds outnumber the muscle. But things really aren’t as they seem as Jonathan Hickman one-ups himself… compared to last month’s cliffhanger the way this issue ends will really make your jaw drop. I read some reviews of issue #1 where some people didn’t think that Steve Epting’s artwork suited the tone of the book… I think those people judged what the “tone” of the book way too early as his style suits this issue to a T, especially with the bombshell we get at the end. This book is very quickly moving to the top of my reading pile… and after only two issues as well! A
Review by Spaceman Spiff

Captain America #617: Finally, a $3.99 comic from Marvel that gives you your money’s worth. No crappy backup stories that you’d skip over anyways, but a full, extra-sized issue that all deals with the same story. Sure Brubaker splits it up a bit into three different sections with different artistic teams, but they all tied together closely and it make for a much more satisfying purchase than previous issues, or say the Avengers comics with their insipid “Oral History of the Avengers” backup features. Enough ranting… how was the issue? Great! Brubaker keeps the pressure on Bucky Barnes as he’s imprisoned in a Russian gulag as Sharon Carter and the Black Widow try to get to the bottom of his imprisonment and Steve Rogers makes a startling discovery in Washington D.C. that could blow the case wide open. Great art all around as well. Super heroes meets espionage done right. A-
Review by Spaceman Spiff

Flash #11: Has it really come to this? Has a comic book about the Fastest Man Alive really dedicated nearly half its pages to a family intervention? Yes. In Flash #11, Iris Allen, Wally West, Bart Allen and Jay Garrick have a nice sit-down with Barry (the Flash) to tell him he’s shirking his familial duties and getting lost in his job. It’s a painfully manufactured scene which further drags down a book that’s been mostly lackluster for months. The stuff around it is okay, kind of… we learn that Bart Allen’s the key to some kind of temporal disturbance involved in the upcoming Flashpoint, and the Reverse Flash makes his return in a pretty surprising way, but overall this comic’s just become unpleasant to read. Usually this series’ biggest strength lies in artist Francis Manapul, but he turned pencilling duties over to Scott Kolins this time out. Kolins is okay, but he can’t save this comic from being seriously weak. I’m glad Flash has only one more issue before Flashpoint cancels it… I only have to give $3 more to get to the end. D
Review by Rebel Rikki

RASL #10: This is a series that begs to be read in one sitting. And that fact that it only comes out four times a year—in theory—hurts the experience just a bit in my opinion. Honestly, I can’t remember what happened in the last issue, I seem to remember a weird little girl and talk of Nikolai Tesla, and that makes it really hard to jump into a new issue. Especially when the series deals with so many alternate realities. That being said, I think when this all wraps up—apparantly around issue 15 or 16—I think it is going to be a very satisfying read, not on the epic scale of Bone, but still another bright spot in Jeff Smith’s career. So what happens in this issue? Rob jumps across realities again, meets a pimp and seems something in a bar that probably can’t be good. B-
Review by Spaceman Spiff

Secret Avengers #12/12.1: I’m not crazy about Marvel releasing two Secret Avengers books on the same day. That pain’s dulled a little, though, by the fact that both these issues are quite good. Issue #12 wraps up a spotlight on rogue agent John Steele; Steve Rogers takes a trip into his subconscious to find out what twisted him into an evil SOB in the final days of World War II. Meanwhile, #12.1 provides a jumping-on point for new readers with a story about some leaked government secrets that could mean death for United States allies and informants around the globe. Issue #12.1 also welcomes the book’s new creative team of Nick Spencer (Morning Glories) and Scott Eaton (X-Men). Though I’m sorry to say goodbye to Ed Brubaker and Mike Deodato (who left a few issues ago), truthfully I think Spencer and Eaton give us one of the best Secret Avengers books since the first issue. Spencer really seems to have a handle on the political intrigue that Brubaker brought up and swiftly dropped in his year on the title, and Eaton’s a solid artist through and through. I found myself wishing the scenario they’d established in #12.1 could play out over a few issues, but I guess that would defeat the point of having a jumping-on issue. As a result, #12.1′s hurt a little by a too-quick conclusion, but otherwise it’s a solid, solid read. Issue #12′s pretty good, too, though I do wonder why Brubaker left the book on what’s basically a flashback story. #12: B / #12.1: A-
Review by Rebel Rikki

tags: batman inc., captain america, ed brubaker, fantastic four, ff, flash, geoff johns, grant morrison, jeff smith, nick spencer, rasl, scott eaton, scott kolins, secret avengers, yanick paquette

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