Tagged: Steve Orlando

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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Gotham By Daylight – The Unexpected #4 Review

The Unexpected 4 coverIt’s that time of the month again. I’d like to say that the arrival of The Unexpected is… unexpected. But it isn’t. I’d also like to say that my unanticipated enthusiasm for the title that started with issue 1 and quickly faded with the subsequent two issues has been magically rekindled and that issue 4 is exciting, intriguing and, perhaps most important of all, coherent. But it isn’t. So, in an attempt to provide something genuinely unexpected for those hardy readers who have stuck with the series up to now, I’m going to present this review as an inner (now outer, I suppose) dialogue between the naïve somewhat innocent me who kind of likes Orlando and can see what he’s trying to do and the cynical more analytical me who thinks that it’s no good having grand ideas if you can’t execute them properly and that Orlando’s hackery is a stain on the collective good name of DC Comics (not that, at this point in their history, it’s otherwise exactly spotless). If nothing else, it should at least provide an interesting insight into the tortured divided soul of this long-time comic book fan and sometime reviewer.

Here we go…

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Monstrous – The Unexpected #3 Review

The Unexpected 3 coverI liked the first issue of this New Age of Heroes title, but the moment Steve Orlando has to start explaining things is the moment nonsense begins to swarm like flies on a dog turd and so it proved last issue which, shorn of original artist Ryan Sook’s vibrant visuals, was nowhere near as entertaining. Orlando’s penchant for throwing in obscure continuity references into his stories is quickly becoming legendary in these parts. Will Orlando manage to restrain this instinct and tell a coherent story? You know the drill…

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Getting Familiar – The Unexpected #2 Review

the-unexpected-2-cover.jpgThis series surprised me last month. That first issue was a rip-roaring full tilt ride into multidimensional madness and it was populated by a range of interesting new characters who, although they spoke with the overblown idiom of most Steve Orlando creations, nevertheless managed to intrigue the hell out of me. That half of them were dead by the end of the issue seemed to me to be a bold statement of intent from the creative team. Put bluntly, these guys are not messing around. The question is… where do we go from here? For once, I have no actual idea. And I kind of like that. Buckle up then, pilgrims. It’s going to be a bumpy ride. Probably…

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The Unexpected #1 – Review

The Unexpected 1The Unexpected? Hmmm… It’s difficult not to allow one’s prior experiences with a writer or artist to affect your expectations when their name appears on the front of a new book. Steve Orlando has some strengths (his imagination appears to be appropriately large and insane for a comic book writer, for a start), but it’s safe to say that I’ve tended to feel his weaknesses outweigh them. So what should I expect from The Unexpected? A plot driven by melodramatically delivered infodumps and glaring non-sequiturs? Cack-handed dialogue that would make Edward (“It was a dark and stormy night…”) Bulwer-Lytton blush all the way down to his bushy sideburns? Or will the unexpected really happen and Orlando deliver a ‘new age of heroes’ book that thrills, intrigues and hooks the reader just like comic books should? You know, there really is only one way to find out…

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