COMICS: Reviews For Select Week Four Villains Month Titles

COMICS: Reviews For Select Week Four Villains Month Titles

This week I review Bane, Doomsday, Secret Society, and Joker's Daughter. Read on to see what I thought of each.

Review Opinion
By EricJoseph - Sep 26, 2013 04:09 PM EST
Filed Under: DC Comics

BATMAN #23.4: BANE by Peter Tomasi and Graham Nolan

The first thing you'll notice about Bane, if you haven't previously followed him in recent issues of Talon, is that he's taken on a more militaristic look. It's an amalgam of the classic Bane and what you saw in The Dark Knight Rises. I'm glad he's not a complete clone of his movie's counterpart because while it's okay to take inspiration from movies, they shouldn't dictate the direction of comic books. (I'm looking at you, Marvel.) He has a little bit more purpose and drive than before, but it's still more toward the classic take. I still hear a Hispanic accent in my head when I read the character's dialogue.

The comic is set in the here and now and is a lead-in to Forever Evil: Arkham War. They do briefly touch on his ongoing feud with the Court of Owls from Talon, but you don't have to read that title to enjoy this. Some of the story is told via narration from a guerilla's lips and does confirm Knightfall happened in The New 52. (Some people tend to overlook or forget that it was also previously mentioned when Bane showed up in Batman: The Dark Knight when Paul Jenkins and David Finch were on the book.) Granted the narrative wasn't quite as engaging as I'd hoped, but there are certainly worse comics to be had this week. Graham Nolan was a pretty good fit for the artist because it kind of had a '90s feel. It just felt quite appropriate since this particular villain was a creation of that decade.

If you plan to read Forever Evil: Arkham War, which kicks off next month, I really think you should buy this because it's a prelude to it. Last week, Scarecrow's side of the prelude was told as he leads the Arkham side of the conflict and here you will see the beginnings of Bane's command of the Blackgate side. And yes, you do get insight from Bane as to why he wants inmates of Blackgate as opposed to residents of Arkham. Score: 7/10.

BATMAN/ SUPERMAN #3.1: DOOMSDAY by Greg Pak and Brett Booth

This tale centered on Doomsday is set entirely on Krypton. Unfortunately, no origin for the beast is given, but you do see that he has a history with the House of El. Much of this book is told as Lara recounts her encounter with the monster. Another part focuses on a very young Kara as she overhears the story and then we have story time with Zor-El. He clues his daughter in on a Kryptonian prophecy that gives us our first glimpse at The New 52 Death of Superman. In fact, he seems to own a Kryptonian copy of Superman #75. Now, I remember that Grant Morrison briefly touched on Superman dying at some point in the character's five year crime fighting career. However, since Doomsday is just now appearing in The New 52, I'm wondering if this book is foreshadowing a retelling of Death of Superman that is yet to come. The prophecy recreates some familiar images and shows Superman in a suit that is a hybrid of his Godfall costume and the one from the Man of Steel film. I'm fairly certain that those threads are contained to the prophecy, so don't expect a wardrobe change soon.

Zod also factors heavily into this story. There is a moment that establishes a sentimental connection between he and Doomsday and I'm wondering if we'll see an interpretation of the beast that is more like the one on Smallville. For those unfamiliar, Smallville's Doomsday was a clone son of Zod. It was actually pretty cool. I don't think this Doomsday will have a human side, but I won't be surprised if the clone son that mutated horribly angle is retained. Considering that these two characters are the villains for the upcoming Superman/ Wonder Woman title, I think this book is a must read for anyone that plans on buying the new series. Granted, this one-shot is written by Greg Pak of Batman/ Superman and he could have upcoming plans for those characters, but I think it's worth pointing out that fact.

Before I close this review, I must mention the gorgeous art of Brett Booth. While Pak does well in the writing department, Booth's art steals the show. He vaguely reminds me of Michael Turner and I'm glad he's risen to the upper echelon of artists at DC. If you haven't heard, he'll be the artist for Batman/ Superman starting with issue number five and rotate arcs with Jae Lee. I recommend that you sample this work. Score: 7.5/10.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #23.4: SECRET SOCIETY by Geoff Johns, Sterling Gates, and Szymon Kudranski

To call this book Secret Society is a bit misleading because it actually centers on The Outsider and Owlman. This was solicited months in advance, so releasing a cover that features other villains and not the Crime Syndicate to avoid spoilers was kind of a smart move. However, that sure didn't stop DC from completely spoiling the arrival of the Crime Syndicate a full month before Trinity War concluded.

To get back on topic, I really enjoyed this not only as an Owlman story, but as a person that likes tales of alternate universes. If you're in the same boat as me, pick this up because it's my favorite book this week. Other than Outsider/ Alfred Pennyworth and Owlman/ Thomas Wayne Jr. (Earth 3 Bruce is briefly mentioned), this Earth's Joker appears as well. He's kind of an anti-hero, but still pretty psychotic. Dick Grayson/ Talon plays a role that I won't spoil and this gives you insight as to why Owlman has some kind of senitmentality toward Dick Grayson/ Nightwing. Many questions are also raised that will likely be answered in Forever Evil. I just hope that we get some backstory for Ultraman soon.

Kudranski is an appropriate choice for artist here given his recent history of working on Batman books. I wonder how many buckets of ink he goes through. Considering that Geoff Johns co-wrote this, you probably had an inkling that this is a must read if you're following Forever Evil. It absolutely is. Score: 8/10.

BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT #23.4: JOKER'S DAUGHTER by Ann Nocenti and Georges Jeanty

I had to break my self-imposed Ann Nocenti embargo when purchasing this one. I'll flat out tell you right now that this is easily the worst book of Villains Month. The first few pages were actually alright, but it's all downhill from there. The dialogue is pretty poor and at times downright painful. If you've read any of Nocenti's Catwoman run, you'll know what I'm talking about. It's just a mess of a story and isn't even that interesting. She had some kind of half-baked idea to make the character a feminist anti-hero for goth girls and it doesn't work at all. On the flip side, this was probably some 14 year old goth girl's equivalent of what The Killing Joke was to the rest of us.

I guess I should mention that this girl technically isn't the spawn of The Joker. Her name is Duela, but she's not from an alternate Earth this time around. Don't be surprised if it eventually comes out that this is The New 52 version of Stephanie Brown. In fact, she starts out in a costume VERY similar to The Spoiler and looks like Stephanie in flashbacks. If it is indeed her, this is sure to infuriate all twelve of Stephanie Brown's fans.

It's very rare that I can recommend a book this bad, but there are three reasons I will. 1) You want to own what may be a significant piece of Batman villain lore in The New 52, like me. 2) You don't want a gap in your Batman: The Dark Knight collection or bought every villain book this month. 3) You're collecting Catwoman and are masochistic enough to follow this character into Catwoman #24. Score: 2/10

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oxnardmontalvo742 - 9/30/2013, 3:08 PM
I did enjoy banes issue and I'm so glad he's not the giant spike collar wearing goon he was in his first appearance, but I think he does his back breaker too much it doesn't feel special anymore.
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