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Ceej Says… The Good, The Bad and The Pretty (24th July 2013)

After two weeks away due to some Glasgow Comic Con mania and a family holiday, I have returned to a pull list of biblical proportions that I’ve been doing my best to plough through. This week saw some exciting titles hit the shelves, including part three of The Trinity War, the start of a new Superior Spider-Man arc, and a Kate Bishop-centred Hawkeye Annual, to name but a few.

So without any further ado, let’s get this long-overdue show on the road, with…


“The Good.”

Batman/Superman #2 (DC Comics)

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Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Jae Lee

Review: As crisp as Greg Pak’s writing has been throughout the first two issues of this new title, this is a book that belongs primarily to the artistic genius of both Jae Lee and colourist June Chung. The book truly is a thing of beauty, with creative panel layouts, stunningly detailed characters and a sinister, macabre style that’s unlike anything else on the shelves right now.

There’s a lot going on with the story as well though, and despite what on paper could be a bit of a messy idea, Pak manages to keep everything flowing extremely well. The work he does with the inner monologue of all four (!) of the main characters is near-flawless, and manages to convey both the differences and the similarities between the different protagonists.

When I initially heard this title was being released, I was expecting another cookie cutter Batman and Superman story that would either be vaguely interesting (at best) or insultingly vapid (at worst). What we’ve been given instead is a beautifully individual book, in both its visual and literary style, and one that manages to revisit “old” ground in an extremely fresh and interesting way.

And while this title is likely to start doing extremely well with the announcement of a certain upcoming DC movie, it should not be viewed as a cash-in in any way, shape or form. This is a book that revels in its individuality and creativity, and is well worth a look for any fan of either of the titular characters (or of comics in general, for that matter).

Rating: 9/10.

Honourable Mentions: Justice League Dark #22 (DC Comics) pushed the Infinity War storyline on at a frantic pace, and it’s going to be interesting to see how things play out in the second half of the arc as the different groups pursue their individual goals. Hawkeye Annual #1 (Marvel Comics) didn’t quite hit the near-flawless level of the main title, but still provided a sharply-written insight into the life and personality of the ‘other’ Hawkeye.


“The Bad.”

Talon #10 (DC Comics)

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Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist(s):
Miguel Sepulveda, Szymon Kudranski

Review: I’ve made no secret of my love of James Tynion IV’s Talon in the past, and have urged as many people as I can to give the series a try. And while that’s definitely a decision I stand by, this latest arc does seem to have fallen more than a little flat, with this issue being a prime example of that.

By having him turned into a near-indestructible Talon, Calvin Rose has been stripped of a large amount of his natural charm, and the uncertainty of his previous ‘missions’ is sorely lacking here. As a result, his ongoing battle against Bane’s henchmen feels dull and inevitable, and all sense of peril or drama has been stripped away as a result. That said, the sections of the comic that focus on Casey and her attempts to escape the clutches of the Court are a definite step in the right direction, and I’m still absolutely loving the Butcher as side-villain.

The artwork is a little uneven in places, as Sepulveda and Kudranski struggle to fill the shoes of Guillem March in recreating the kinetic sense of urgency in the action scenes. Their styles also don’t seem particularly well matched to one another, which makes the transition between artists more jarring that it had to be.

One of the other major problems I have with this arc is the fact that Bane himself seems to have been moved more into the background than I would have liked. His neck-snapping introduction gave me high hopes for things to come, but to this point the writing has focused more on his lieutenants, with ‘Wolf Spider’ taking the bulk of the focus this time around. Hopefully this can be remedied in the remaining portion of the arc, and with Bane set to lead his troops in an assault on Gotham, it looks hopeful that will indeed happen.

So what we have here is a solid title that has lost some of its early momentum with a slightly unfocused arc that – thus far – has failed to deliver on its strong potential. I have high hopes that things can be turned around before too long though, as Tynion’s track record on this title has been absolutely superb. Fingers crossed this happens sooner rather than later, though.

Rating: 6/10.

(Dis)Honourable Mentions: Nothing else bad this week, thankfully.


“The Pretty.”

The Flash #22 (DC Comics)

Cover by Francis Manapul. Click to enlarge.

Cover by Francis Manapul. Click to enlarge.

Not a title I’ve read much of (outside the first couple of issues), but an absolutely stunning cover from Manapul with the shadowy ‘Reverse Flash’ serving as an ominous presence in the otherwise blindingly colourful cover. An eye-catching, attention-grabbing piece of work, and a worthy winner of the ‘Pretty’ title this week.


And that, as they say, is that. Let me know what you guys thought, and what you enjoyed (and didn’t enjoy) from this week’s comic crop.

And don’t forget to tune in again next Saturday. Same Ceej time, same Ceej channel!

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