Saturday, August 16, 2008

Final Final Crisis Comic Book Reviews for 08/13/08

I didn't have the time to write up reviews for all of the comic books released this week in the usual Wednesday and Thursday timeslots, but I haven't forgotten about these other comics either.

As such, here are the remaining reviews from this week, including reviews of Atomic Robo, The Walking Dead and more.

Written by Brian Clevinger
Art by Scott Wegener

The first Atomic Robo mini-series was one of my favourite minis last year and it dominated every Moments of the Week on the weeks it came out. I even spotlighted the series in my first contest and have had nothing but good things to say about it.

So, why, then, is this review so late after it came out? It's not because it wasn't a good issue, but, with such lofty expectations after the first series, I was a little disappointed at just how average this issue was.

This second outing ignores most of the events of the first issue and dives right into a flashback tail to WWII, which has lots of potential for fun nazi jokes, similar to the first series' first issue.

However, that's where the similarities ended with the humourous debut of the first mini. Dogs of War forgoes the things I loved about the first series - mainly the humour and dialogue - and focuses primarily on an action oriented infiltration story where Robo is sent to destroy some hi-tech robotic walker tanks the Germans have been using.

Don't get me wrong, I don't regret this purchase and will gleefully await the next issue, but, at the same time, Clevinger and Wegener set the bar pretty high in the first series and I'm measuring the success of this issue against those. For this issue to spend the first several pages with generic WWII action shots of people storming the beach and planes flying overhead and then finish up with Robo just blowing up cannonfodder nazi with the odd quip didn't cut it for me.

Verdict - Check It. Fairly standard action story with few of the trademark quips and humour from the first series. However, the backup was a little closer to the original series, but is far too short to really make the issue a Must Read. With most of the setup done, things should quickly return to form with the next issue.

Written by Fabian Nicieza
Art by Kevin Maguire

Okay, it's official, DC needs to put Fabian and Maguire on Batman Confidential permanently. Even with how much I enjoyed the first several issues of this arc, this issue still managed to top the best of those and I can see this arc being in contention for some kind of award at the end of the year, even if I have to make up one to contain how awesome this storyline has been.

Aspiring artists, take note of Maguire's work here. I swear, this issue alone has every possible human expression you could ever need perfectly depicted and each one helps make Fabian's tight script and hilarious dialogue pop from the page.

It seems the addition of Batman to this Catwoman / Batgirl teamup has only served to continue the feud these girls have with each other, this time adding their relationships with and currying of favour with Batman to the mix.

This issue also saw the introduction of one of Batman's rogues gallery, the Riddler, as the Russian's cryptographer who is being paid to transcribe Gordan's secret notebook, which has case files and dirt on the Russian's operations. It was a great use of the Riddler and didn't come off as forced either.

Verdict - Must Read. With Fabian and Maguire at the helm, Batman Confidential is the best Batman book on the market right now and it's both easily accessible and amazingly entertaining at the same time.

Written by Robert Kirkman
Art by Charlie Adlard

As you saw in yesterday's Moments of the Week, Rick clearly survived his gunshot wound from a few issues back. However, the poor guy can't catch a break and the strain of this post-Zombie Apocalypse world and the death of his wife and newborn baby have clearly driven Rick a little nuts.

What starts off as a rather slow paced issue, which some may prematurely judge as being filler, sees Rick receiving a phone call at the place he is staying. The caller claims they are a group that was just calling people randomly hoping someone is out there and would answer.

Sounds a little convenient and unbelievable? Well, it is. By the end of the issue, the caller reveals herself as Lori, Rick's dead wife, and Rick quickly stumbles over to the wall and finds the phone isn't even plugged in or working.

Needless to say, the guy has lost it, but he's got his wits about him enough to hide the fact from his son and play the mysterious callers off as crazy people as they pack up and prepare to move on to a new location. But, before he leaves, Rick packs the phone up in his bag, hidden from his son, and I assume this is so he can "call" his wife later on.

Verdict - Must Read.
While the story is a bit slow, it was a powerful ending that I should have seen coming and I fear for the future of Rick after seeing how far he's fallen. None of this insanity stuff was writtin in my Zombie Apocalypse manual, so I can see how it's caught Rick off guard.

Written by Gail Simone
Art by Aaron Lopresti and Matt Ryan

While looking over the reviews already written this week, I could have sworn I wrote this review already, but it was nowhere to be found.

Wrapping up the Ends of the Earth storyline, Gail Simone ties together many of the dangling plots left in this story and gives us some great Wonder Woman characterization wrapped up in her fight with this so-called devil.

While the plot isn't all that important, it was definitely a fun ride. While it jumped from place to place and world to world with little explanation, much like a certain other DC event, Simone's story maintained the fantasy aspect of the plot as we visited these mythical worlds and tracked down some great new (I believe these characters are new to DC) characters in the form of Beowulf and Claw, both whom appear to be set to become the groan-inducing Manazons (if I'm reading my allusions right with Wonder Woman claiming they'd make perfect Amazons if they were women).

I can't believe it, but Simone actually made me like Donna Troy again.  
Also, I think this type of story worked out perfectly because it was Wonder Woman. Put Superman or some other character in this same situation and I don't think I would have enjoyed this nearly as much.

Finally, I can't believe it, but Simone actually made me like Donna Troy again. After Countdown, I just assumed she might never be likeable again, but Simone worked wonders with her here and the scene with Agent Tresser was light hearted enough to counter balance the fight with the devil plot that flowed through the rest of the book.

Verdict - Check It. I really enjoyed it, but I think this storyarc fell short of the opening arc by Simone. I can't believe I'm still reading Wonder Woman after all these months, though, so it has to be something special for that to happen.

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Andrenn said...

From how the reviews go, I'll probably pick the up collection of this arc of Batman Confidential.

Eric said...

I got Atomic Robo and like you was underwhelmed but I still enjoyed it.

mrpeepants said...

the walking dead ish was awesome. totally agree with what you said. it was subtle and still the good ol walking dead disturbing. really shows the shit rick has been thru.

Morewood said...

Claw and Beowulf are both existing DC Characters - Claw had a minor revival in a poor Wildstorm series last year or maybe the year before - but I don't think Beowulf has been around in 20+ years.

I think Simone's now rivalling Morrison for dredging up and revitalising old, forgotten or unwanted characters with this and Secret Six.

Anonymous said...

Aw heck guys, it's called a "set up" issue. They're kind of required when telling a multi-issue story arc. LOL

It can't all be bad Stephen Hawkings jokes and giant ants.

Well, it could, but Brian and I would want to claw our eyes out if we had to do wall-to-wall slap-stick.

Seriously though, you guys have all been wonderful to us, and we're trying to be wonderful right back at you. Hang in there. I think that when you see all the parts of this story put together you will enjoy it a lot more.

Yes the pacing is slower, (partially because so many people cried about it being too fast last time), but next issue is virtually nothing but Robo punching shit and being his snarky self.

PS: the "boring" soldiers end up playing a part in Robo's story. Hence, making you read through my version of Saving Private Ryan in 2.1.

Keep the reviews and critiques coming! Team Robo loves The Weekly Crisis.

-Scott W.

Kirk Warren said...

Hey Scott, thanks for taking the time to comment.

I realize the issue was mostly setup for the new story and understand why it had to be like this, but I wasn't trying to have the review come off like it was a bad issue or anything either.

It's biggest problem was that it wasn't volume 1, similar to how much of the follow up to Green Lantern's Sinestro Corps War's problems stem from the fact it's not Sinestro Corps War 2 or a direct continuation of that incredible storyline.

The way I look at this issue is that it is a setup issue, as you say, and very similar to Atomic Robo #5, which was mostly setting up that final battle with Helsingard for issue 6. It's essential to the story, but, judged against previous issues, as I did with this current issue, it fell a little short of the bar you guys set for yourselves.

That said, an average issue of Atomic Robo is better than 90% o the stuff on the shelves, so I'm not really knocking you for it either.

Anonymous said...

Just wait until you see the Atomic Robo-Sinestro Corp Pot Luck Punch Fest.

We're going to redefine the industry with that one.

Like you said, this is the #5 of last volume, in a way.

-Scott W.

Johnny B said...

If you want to know about DC's version of Beowulf, may I humbly direct you here, here, and here. Cheers!

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