This week was fairly light on releases, but the conclusion of Batman: Europa and the continuation of Vertigo’s Unfollow was enough to keep things interesting.
It is typical for a small release like this to be followed up by some major events and the return of Bruce Wayne as Batman in his monthly comic is just that. To say that Batman: Europa and Dark Knight III have been excellent hold overs is a bit of an understatement when you consider the quality of those books, but having the Dark Knight we all know back in his regular book will be a sight for sore eyes. It’s not that Jim Gordon’s turn as Batman hasn’t been incredibly fun, it’s more that this storyline with Bruce Wayne was reaching its breaking point and this will be a well-timed return for the Caped Crusader.
Without further ado, here are the comic book reviews for comics released on February 3, 2016:
Batman: Europa #4 – Grade: 6.2
This story has been building every issue towards who gave Batman and Joker a disease that would inevitably kill them, which means it need to pay off in a big way if you are going to spend that much time building the mystery. Without spoiling the issue, this villain was the most out-of-left-field choice to go with and it let a lot of air out of the story when the big bad was officially revealed. While we got a fresh dynamic as Batman and the Joker had to work together, the audience is treated to another diatribe about their poisonous, yet symbiotic relationship.
That being said, the art done by Giuseppe Camuncoli and Gerald Parel is absolutely stunning and the hyper-realism really pulls you into every page. Their touch is a welcome change of pace from most comics and it would be nice to see them paired up together on a more regular basis.
Swamp Thing #2 – Grade: 8.0
The Swamp Thing revival started strong and ended with a surprising cliffhanger with the main character being basically sliced in half. The book doesn’t shy away from the fact that Swamp Thing is in fact human and it is nice to see the character have the opportunity to show a little bit of humor now and again. Len Wein has a good balance going through these first two issues and it’s interesting to see this book become its own genre. The only trouble with this issue is the simple resolution as the perfect character came along to help defeat the villain.
The Sherriff of Babylon #3 – Grade: 6.8
This book is unique in that it has no real fantastical elements to it, but the dramatic gravitas has solely carried each issue so far. This issue just didn’t seem to hit the mark though as the story traveled around quite a bit and the events seemed a little more disjointed than they usually are. The artistic style of Mitch Gerads is continually a perfect match for the gritty-military feel that Vertigo is searching for in this book. The Sherriff of Babylon #3 is more than likely a speed bump in what has otherwise been a phenomenal story.
Unfollow #4 – Grade: 9.5
If you have not had the opportunity to read Unfollow yet, you are missing one of the most influential, current and entertaining stories of the past few years. The levity of the situation is made apparent each week while being perfectly balanced with the inherent severity and danger. Each week it is clear why after the first issue was released, Unfollow was optioned to become a television show on ABC. While trying to carefully avoid spoilers, the 140 lucky winners of a tech-genius’ fortune have arrived on his private island and are immediately thrown into a firestorm of consequences. The though put into every character in this book is mind-boggling with the detail going as far as to paint a picture in your head about what the character’s pasts may have been like.
Bonus Reviews from Last Week’s Releases:
Suicide Squad Most Wanted: Deadshot and Katana #1 – Grade: 8.4
Upon first glance, it’s clear that any story that will be following these two stalwarts of the Suicide Squad will be devilishly entertaining. Both characters are considered diametrically opposed to good, but at the same time they have each been prone to random acts of heroism as it so happens.
The first issue is literally split down the middle with separate stories about both Deadshot and Katana with both Task Force X members dealing with situations that will take them far off of the reservation. Despite being entirely separate, both stories actually feel incredibly connected in both tone and pace.
Superman #48 – Grade: 9.2
This issue asks if the Man of Steel can return to his all-powerful self by means of his only weakness, kryptonite. So the question is: will both Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne be returning to their true heroic forms at the exact same time? The smart bet is that some good old-fashioned synergy would probably bring the World’s Finest to back to full strength in the comics just in time for the release of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice in theaters.
Nevertheless, this issue continues the gritty nature of down-powered Clark Kent and his newly-revived quest to get those aforementioned powers back. The dynamic between Clark Kent and Steve Trevor, otherwise known as Wonder Woman’s ex-boyfriends, is reason enough to check this one out.