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Cyclops #6 – Review

By: John Layman (story), Javier Garrón (art), Chris Sotomayor (colors)

The Story: It’s not how much you scan; it’s the scan you use.

The Review: Six issues in, and we have a completely different creative team on the series. I don’t like it. I highly doubt this is the case, but I still have this vague feeling that we were tricked somehow. True, I have a soft spot for Cyclops as a character, but mostly I came aboard out of faith for Greg Rucka’s writing and Russell Dauterman’s art, and now it looks like I’ll be getting neither. No offense to Layman or Garrón, but this isn’t what I signed up for.

These changes only exacerbate the general haphazardness that’s been part of the title since day one. When we opened on Scott aboard his dad’s ship and received an introduction to all the Starjammers, it was natural to think we had a team book that happened to feature a leading X-Man. But then Rucka threw us for a loop by sending Scott and Chris on a father-son road trip through the universe, which basically lasted for a montage before turning into a castaway tale for the next three issues. Returning us to the Starjammers now feels like Layman hit the reset button, taking us back to issue one.
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She-Hulk #9 – Review

By: Charles Soule (story), Javier Pulido (art), Muntsa Vicente (colors)

The Story: Forget Pistorius. This is the trial of the century.

The Review: As some of you may know, I just graduated law school, which hardly makes me an expert on all things legal, but which at least has given me enough experience to see how accurate legal fiction is. Now, Soule is a full-fledged attorney with a good amount of actual practice behind him, so on paper, there’s no reason to think I’d ever catch him making mistakes in portraying the art and craft of lawyering. That doesn’t mean I won’t try, however; that’s the ego of a lawyer for you.

But first, let’s talk about the actual story in the issue. Of course, we’re all curious to know what kind of crime someone would try to pin on the impeccable Steve Rogers, and Soule delivers a decent one that even manages to fit with the ex-Captain’s character. [Spoiler alert!] It’s actually not that difficult to imagine a young, self-righteous Steve unintentionally provoking a thug into killing his pal, although it makes Steve look a lot more like a moron than a murderer.
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Bodies #4 – Review

By: Si Spencer (story), Meghan Hetrick, Dean Ornston, Tula Lotay, Phil Winslade (art), Lee Loughridge (colors)

The Story: Never accept an offer in a back alley and beware the full moon.

The Review: Another trademark of a detective story is the treacherous insider—because solving cases isn’t hard enough without someone you trust selling you out. Gumshoes are by tradition solitary people, and these betrayals only seem to further emphasize their loneliness. This is an important point for Bodies, in which most of our detectives are already outsiders. With so few allies, the loss of even one has that much more emotional impact.

Maybe all this talk is a bit premature. Although Edmond gets caught in a pretty damning position by his fellow constables, it’s not clear whether it’s his co-inspector who set him up. Indeed, it’s Edmond who takes the risk of hanging around Longharvest and catching the attention of another “mandrake,” though it’s worth noting that moments earlier, he came on way too strong in protesting his co-inspector’s indifference to the Longharvest murders.
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Catwoman #35 – Review

By: Genevieve Valentine (story), Garry Brown (art), Lee Loughridge (colors)

The Story: Selina exchanges the catsuit for a power suit.

The Review: I’ve always taken issue with the idea of Batman and Catwoman as a couple. Her attraction to him, I get; nearly every woman, man, and child harbors a little crush on the Dark Knight. But it’s never been convincingly brought home to me why he would love her beyond all the other eligible women in his life. Yeah, she’s sexy, and she’s got the bad girl thing going on, but are we to understand the goddam Batman’s ideal woman is exposed cleavage on damaged goods?

Obviously, there has to be something more to Selina Kyle than that, otherwise so many writers wouldn’t insist on pairing Bruce with her. But we were never going to discover her hidden appeal as long as she restricted herself to thievery and the occasional good deed. Making her the head of a major crime family, however, just might force her to reveal those sides to her that perhaps Bruce has seen all along.
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The Wicked + The Divine #5 – Review

By: Kieron Gillen (story), Jamie McKelvie (art), Matthew Wilson (colors)

The Story: The devil loses her head.

The Review: When Luci decided to do as T.I. says and live her life, mortal imprisonment and divine admonishments be damned, it was pretty clear there’d be consequences. It may be her nature to rebel, but it’s also her fate to pay for it. Maybe this is the difference Ananke was referring to in #4. The other gods exist at the top of their respective mythologies; Lucifer is the doomed thorn in a greater God’s side. She exists more to draw glory away from others than to take it for herself.

[Major spoiler alert!] So perhaps it’s not terribly surprising that she meets her end by Ananke’s hands—well, fingers—this issue. In fact, it’s not surprising at all, given her determination never to go back to custody and the Pantheon’s equal determination to ensure she does for their own survival. Between two convictions of equal weight, the one with the greater power wins, and Luci is fighting on her own here. The only surprise is how quickly the end comes; Luci’s freedom lasts only long enough for her to get a coffee and have a few smokes. It’s the very definition of a bad bargain.
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Superman #35 – Review

By: Geoff Johns (story), John Romita Jr. (pencils), Klaus Janson (inks), Laura Martin (colors)

The Story: Neil decides there is a better place than home.

The Review: One of Superman’s most frustrating habits is the way he always manage to skirt tough questions. There’s no end to the stories that place him in a difficult moral dilemma; it’s just that somehow, he uses his powers to save the day and eventually the dilemma and its consequences slip away. It’s why his (involuntary) murder of Dr. Light has received scant mention since Forever Evil took over, and why you can already feel his Doomsday period fading in everyone’s memories.

If that doesn’t happen, the writers can usually manage to trick their way out of putting Clark in a dicey situation in the first place. Last issue, when Neil lost his cool, killing a mind-controlled innocent used as the Machinist’s decoy, it seemed like Clark had some sweaty decisions to make. He’s spared by the concededly good point that a device that can crack into Neil’s skull will pretty much kill your average human, meaning Neil only blasted the walking dead. It’s stuff like this that removes the tension from Superman stories.
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Arkham Manor #1 – Review

By: Gerry Duggan (story), Shawn Crystal (art), Dave McCaig (colors)

The Story: Well, there goes the neighborhood…

The Review: I don’t know what the official line for this Renaissance of Bat-titles is, but it can’t be far off from the mark that each is aiming for a very different kind of Bat-title. In other words, no more of just Batman prowling around, whipping various lunatics into submission with a growl and a Batarang. Gotham Academy
and the new direction for Batgirl
definitely fit the bill, but it’s harder to see how Arkham Manor thinks outside the box for most of its first issue.

Part of its problem is that Arkham Manor takes place in the ambiguous continuity of Batman Eternal, and so resembles more of an Elseworld than anything else. We’re talking about a premise that depends on Bruce somehow losing his family fortune and the destruction of Arkham Asylum, events that are never further explained in the issue except to say they happened. This is a disservice to anyone not reading Futures End, a barrier Duggan could have avoided simply by offering a little more context.
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