Sunday, April 26, 2009

Rack Review: 4/22/09

Detective Comics #853

In the unfathomably confusing and mysterious epic that was FINAL CRISIS, Grant Morrison capitalized on some things that he had promised, especially with the BATMAN RIP arc. One being, he killed Batman. Yeah, caught one of Darkseid's Omega Beam to the head. Dead instantly, not a pretty sight. Though, it ended with a rather ambiguous shot of, presumably, Bruce Wayne drawing on cave walls, thousands of years in the past.

So in the vacant titles of Batman and Detective Comics, we have been given a surreal and touching look at the Dark Knight's heroic past. In this second and final part of the WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE CAPED CRUSADER? story, Neil Gaiman (writer of Vertigo flagship SANDMAN) crafts a moving masterpiece our retrospection and introspection.

Where the first chapter left off with different version of Batman's death being told by his enemies and friends alike - all at his funeral - this chapter picks up with other heroes paying their last respects. Presenting Batman through the ages, Gaiman pulls at the heart strings of fanboys like me with heart wrenching delicacy. I have to say that Andy Kubert's work really shines through when presenting each character from each different era. Together, Gaiman and Kubert hit their stride and without giving too much away, deliver an instant classic that will surely be placed next to Alan Moore's Superman Farewell story WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE MAN OF TOMORROW? The last three pages are fantastic and are worth the price alone.
Score: A

Supergirl #40

Ever since Sterling Gates has taken over SUPERGIRL, I have eagerly anticipated each issue that has come out. Supergirl has always been a thorn in my side as a Superman fan (as is Krypto the dog). I never took her seriously or even gave her much thought until Geoff Johns' BRAINIAC storyline in ACTION COMICS, albeit it was a small role. Suddenly, I felt for her, cared about her and soon found myself welcoming her as one of the books I read every month! Somehow when I read Supergirl I feel like the world of Superman is bigger. Probably because in Action Comics and Superman, the title hero is the biggest of them all. With Supergirl there is room to breath and stretch and get ready, especially with the grove Gates is hitting.

Supergirl #40 in particular is wonderfully enjoyable due in part to the lighter mood it seems to take. I hate to use the word swashbuckling but the fight scenes with Reactron were extremely fun to read and had a very humorous sense of timing. Gates is crafting a fitting mystery in the WHO IS SUPERWOMAN storyline and this issue is by far the best yet. Its jam packed with action, twists and turns, and an ending you won't see coming. Please, do yourself a favor and check this book out. Score: B +

The Walking Dead #60

Each issue of THE WALKING DEAD is like a piece of a TV show, the months in between are the commercials. There are never splash pages with the title and creators - Kirkman you rock! It picks up where the last issue (commercial break) left off eventually building and building to a cliff hanger. It is also a series not afraid to change things. The characters 5 years ago are recognizable to the characters they are now. The main character is missing his frickin hand! Issue 60 furthers the concept of these zombie "herds" we've been told about. At first it sounds a little silly but Adlard's chillingly epic work here drives home the gravitas of this phenomenon. Basically, what is one big chase scene, becomes a desperate race for the survivor's lives while Kirkman peppers it with his soap opera character decision making that I enjoy so much. The only problem, like with LOST, I have been spoiled with big twists and holy sh!t moments. Still, 60 is a milestone for the series that maintains such a high level of quality and entertainment. Score: B

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