Biting Off More Than We Can Chew… – Electric Warriors #3 Review

Electric Warriors 3 coverA state of post-flu weakness – light-headed, enervated, lacking appetite, gullible – might actually be the ideal condition in which to read a Steve Orlando comic. Too feeble to rant and rail against the excesses of the script, one tends to just let the story flow on, absently noting its inconsistencies and heavy-handedness while not being able to summon up even the smallest shred of indignation about how silly it all is. And so it has been with Electric Warriors 3. Last month’s cliffhanger is about to be resolved. And a couple of significant mysteries are about to be revealed. (The mysteries themselves, that is – any explanation of them is some way off yet.) Buckle up, pilgrims! It’s going to be a ludicrous – and curiously chewy – ride…

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Peacemaker – Wonder Woman #55 Review

Wonder Woman 55 coverI must confess that Steve Orlando’s short run (which ends this issue) on this title has been less terrible than I’d expected. While a number of problems that are pronounced enough in the writer’s work to earn the adjective ‘Orlando-esque’ have persisted, there has nevertheless been a thematic coherency to the five issues that has been very welcome – namely a clear focus on Wonder Woman’s compassion and peace-making, on her dignity and moral strength. This continues with the current issue which, while by no means perfect, manages to leave this reader at least with a rather pleasant feeling of satisfaction.

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Smouldering – Martian Manhunter 2 Review

Martian Manhunter 2 coverDC’s second twelve-issue series in a row featuring characters whose initials are ‘MM’ trundles on this week. After a quite frankly bizarre first issue which mixed noirish sensibilities with an (at times very) intimate look at pre-catastrophe Martian society, will things settle down this issue or will the madness keep on coming? There’s only one way to find out…

(This review first appeared on the Weird Science DC Comics website.)

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Ding-Dong In The Desert – Wonder Woman #54 Review

Wonder Woman 54 alt cover

Jenny Frison’s covers are one of the highlights of the Wonder Woman book. Just. Awesome.

So, Wonder Woman, eh? I’ve been a Wonder Woman reader and fan for a lot of my life and it’s always an honour and a privilege to read and review her adventures. The last couple of issues have seen Diana team up with Artemis and the new Aztek in order to free her aunt Atalanta from the clutches of Tezcatlipoca, the Shadow God and sworn enemy of Aztek and the now-defunct Q-Foundation. While the art for those two issues (by Aco) was astonishing and there were some rather nice ideas thrown into the mix, it’s safe to say that the story’s resolution, depending as it did on a somewhat hackneyed ‘let’s-all-band-together’ Maguffin and a typically Orlando-esque quantity of technobabble (“I’m hacking a weapon from a higher plane of existence and hoping I don’t lose my mind, okay?” – Hmmm. Passive-aggressive technobabble at that), left much to be desired. It’s a good job, then, that this issue the creative team lowers its sights a little and decides to tell us a tale that’s more grounded in political reality.

Let’s find out how they get on…

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Electric Warriors #2 – Review

Electric Warriors 2 coverLast issue’s opening instalment in this limited series set in the 27th century was as perfect a display of writer Steve Orlando’s strengths and weaknesses as one could wish for: intriguing background conveyed through dialogue that is invariably being shouted out during some kind of combat; non-infodump dialogue marinated in a sauce equal parts silliness, melodrama and social justice posturing; judicious plundering of the more obscure corners of the DC Universe; and, dammit, despite all that, some hints that there might be a story here worth reading. Having spent last issue setting up the basic premise of this series, it’s now time for some serious action. Let’s see if Orlando and artist Travel Foreman deliver, eh?

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Martian Manhunter #1 (2019) – Review

Martian Manhunter 1When hearing the words ‘Martian Manhunter’, which three words first spring to your mind? Fire? Shape-changing? Invisibility? For me, it’s probably: strength, dignity and Oreos. But that’s probably just me. I’ve always had a soft spot for J’onn J’onnz. His tenure as a member of various incarnations of the Justice League in the 80s and early 90s included some of that team’s stint in Detroit and the extraordinarily fun Giffen/DeMatteis run. Throughout, the character possessed the kind of dry, understated wit that was tailor-made for a teenage me who had just discovered sarcasm and was exploring the possibilities offered by sardonic irony. (And, yes, I was mostly insufferable to be around back then…) The question, I suppose, is what kind of Martian Manhunter am I going to find in this series? Well, we’re not going to find out if we just hang around in the introduction all day, are we?

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Low Expectations – The Unexpected #5 Review

The Unexpected 5 - coverLurching from one stale encounter to another with all the grace of a 65 year old on their way home from a night on the town two months after a hip replacement operation, The Unexpected has been one of the most sense-bereft comics I’ve read this century. Featuring admittedly potentially interesting characters Neon and Firebrand and their quest for… something to do with the wildly dangerous and profoundly unstable Nth Metal Isotope that improbably came into existence at the end of issue 1 just when the pair of them needed something to do, this series has become a manic travelogue of the DC universe. We’ve had Slaughter Swamp and Blackhawk Island. In issue 3 it was Monster Valley; in issue 4 it was Gotham. (No sign of Batman. Mind you, Neon and Firebrand did arrive during the day…) This time around it’s the Bavarian Alps and Castle Frankenstein where awaits Hawkman. Who might, to be fair, actually know something about the incredibly dangerous Nth metal isotope which has existed for four issues and still hasn’t exploded yet.

One can but hope. Here’s a review of issue 5, people!

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Shock and Awe – Electric Warriors #1 Review

Electric Warriors 1 coverWell, I’ve been wanting something like this for a while. For too long, the Rebirth of DC has seemed to me to have a fairly narrow focus on a relatively small core of characters and the more obscure corners of the DC Universe have remained unexplored. But, no longer! Unlike the Electric Warrior title of the late 80s, Electric Warriors is in continuity and might end up bridging the gap between the DC Universe of the present and its curiously Legion of Superheroes-empty far future. Crikey! Buckle up, pilgrims. It’s going to be a bumpy ride…

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The Shadow/Batman #3 – Review

The Shadow - Batman 3 coverDespite the odd bit of wonky storytelling, the ongoing exploration of the relationship between DC’s most iconic non-powered hero and the pulp giant on which his character is based continues to be an engrossing and, more often than not, entertaining read. In the first series featuring Batman and The Shadow, we saw the pair in Gotham and the mythical environs of Shamba-La. In this, the third issue of their second adventure, we see them in the setting of the boardroom of Wayne Enterprises as they try to make a dent in the nefarious vast criminal empire of the Silent Seven (or, if we’re being honest, two). Batman and The Shadow as vigilantes of the stock market? Alright, then…

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The Shadow/Batman #2 – Review

the-shadow-batman-2-cover-e1553342442420.jpgMy review for the first issue of this Dynamite/DC series ended with a forlorn hope for better things. After an initial issue that attempted to hook me with action and mystery, but instead only managed to alienate me with a confusing in media res opening and dialogue from the Melodrama 101 handbook, I must confess my expectations for this issue were on the low side. Imagine my surprise, then, when this afternoon I read a comic book that not only was reasonably easy to follow but also delivered a bona fide emotional punch to the gut. Yeah, I know. Let me tell you all about it…

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