Quick Hits: Reviews of Batwoman #4, Deathstroke #4 and Green Lantern #4

Batwoman #4

Batwoman #4: It seems almost unbelievable, but I think Batwoman #4 is the best-looking issue of this series yet. Artist J.H. Williams III continues to top himself with inventive layouts and beautiful images, in this issue incorporating faux-photographic collages into a few pages to keep readers informed of several continuing storylines simultaneously. I don’t think any single comics artist tells stories better using page and panel composition than Williams. Speaking of that story, Williams and co-writer W. Haden Blackman bring a bunch of plots to a boil here — Batwoman gets close to tracking down the mysterious Weeping Woman, Flamebird learns she’s not as equipped to fight crime as she thinks, Kate and Maggie advance their romantic relationship and, most surprisingly, DEO Agent Chase makes a breakthrough in her Batwoman investigation that promises to burst Kate Kane’s world wide open. I know it seems like a cop-out that I give this book an A every month, but I really don’t know how it can get any better, so I’m going to do it again. A

Deathstroke #4: What a tremendous first page — we open on a maximum security prison with Slade Wilson in metal chains, flanked by heavily armed prison guards, grinning, with a banner at the top reading “Time’s Up.” This static, full-page composition packs itself rife with potential energy; if you’ve read the last three issues of this series, you know the action’s about to break wide open. The rest of the issue doesn’t disappoint, as Deathstroke gets down to the business of murder-for-hire and investigating a trap laid for him back in issue #1. I didn’t anticipate it being so much fun to follow a villain’s adventures through the DC Universe, but writer Kyle Higgins has made this book a really exciting, action-packed exercise in ethical abandon. As a result, I really look forward to popping this bad boy open every month. That’s helped by Joe Bennett’s pencils, which are strong and consistent throughout. Issue #4 gives us some serious hints to the identity of Deathstroke’s long-term antagonist, and I’m really fascinated by the reveal. If I have one complaint, it’s that this issue tries to do too much: a prison break, storming the Blackhawks’ military compound and furthering Slade’s investigation is an awful lot to cram in 20 pages, and none of the plots seem to develop as well as they could. Still, I very much look forward to next month’s exorbitantly violent outing. B+

Green Lantern #4: Hal Jordan and Sinestro continue their attempts to free the latter’s homeworld from the Yellow Lantern Corps’ enslavement, but both soon find themselves the prisoners of Sinestro’s former soldiers. Two things about this issue really mark it as exceptional to me. First there’s the art by Doug Mahnke, who — and I’ve said this before — does some really amazing stuff with the numerous alien members who make up the Sinestro Corps. A two-page sequence in this issue featuring the wonderful creation of Yellow Lantern torture expert Professor Insidd is particularly inspired, and Geoff Johns must have had an awful lot of fun writing his dialog (“I suppose a beam will come out of there and make my brain explode, hm? Not when your pain levels are at sixteen hegatox!”). More substantially, though, this issue explores a plot point that’s been lingering for the last four months — if Sinestro can use his power to manifest a Green Lantern ring for Hal, why can’t he make a whole bunch of green rings for his allies? I think this is a fascinating new addition to a Green Lantern’s power set, and I’m really happy to see it covered here. The only thing that tarnishes this issue, in my opinion, is a fairly silly last-page cliffhanger that will clearly be resolved rather empty-headedly in the opening pages of Green Lantern #5. A-

tags: batwoman, deathstroke, green lantern

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