Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Artists: Dustin Nguyen (The Veil), Guillem March (Vicki Vale), ChrisCross (Stephanie Brown), Jamie McKelvie (Leslie Thompkins), and Alex Konat and Mark McKenna (Harvey Bullock)
Story – Gotham Gazette: Batman Dead?
With this issue we officially kick off Battle for the Cowl. And all I can say is that I was a bit underwhelmed. Nothing against this story but this one-shot would have been much better served if it came out the same week as or after Battle for the Cowl #1. The only thing that we get out of this issue is that Gotham City has gone to hell without Batman around. But this is something that is not new since the past few issues of Batman, Detective Comics, Nightwing, and Robin have all explored this aspect of Gotham without Batman. At this point I am already set for Battle for the Cowl to begin since we already had type of story told. Also after the Batman and Detective Comics two-part issue that involved The Veil I still don’t find the character anymore interesting than she was in that story.
Still I’ll give Fabian Nicieza credit for giving a sense of were Vicky Vale, Stephenie Brown, Leslie Thompkins, and Harvey Bullock some of the spotlight as they will probably only be playing minor to no role in Battle for the Cowl. Nicieza has a nice grasp of how each character feels after all the events they been individually involved in and how each character seems to have hit crossroad in each of their careers. The only thing I found annoying is that I would have like to see Leslie Thompkins reapperance happen in another story that happened after Battle for the Cowl instead of a short appearance in this comic.
On the art side we had one artist doing one characters story each and as always a artist by committee never works and this issue is no different. While each artist did a nice job with their part of the story they were given to draw once it is all put together the art styles of each artist does not blend well for a single issue. Though I’ll say each artist was able to convey the dark and chaotic setting of Gotham without Batman. The only exception being Guilliem March who drew the Vicky Vale story was a bit to bright and colorful for the type of story being told here that the beginnning of the issue felt more like a scene from the Daily Planet than a Gotham City newspaper company.
Story: 6/10 – Nicieza did an good job showing how Gotham looks without Batman but the timing of this issue keeps it from being as good as it should be.
Art: 6.7/10 – Each artist did a fine job illustrating their segment of the story but when put together the different art style do not mix well with each other.
Overall: 6.35/10 – Timing aside this issue might have work better if we also had some more cameos from other major players for Battle for the Cowl since this was the first title that is a part of the event.
Writer: Sean McKeever
Artist: Joe Bennett
Inker: Jack Jadson
Colorist: JD Smith
Story – One Second to Midnight
It may be because I have lowered my expectations of getting anything great from most team books, outside of Guardians of Galaxy, especially when it comes to the recent portrayal of the Titans franchise but I actually enjoyed this issue for what it is: one big battle sequence with little substance. Most of my enjoyment from this issue, and this whole series, has been Ravager as she continues to be the most interesting Titan, even if she is not officially on the team, right now. It was good to see her finally take down the Clock King and get her revenge for being used. Though I don’t know how I feel about the Terror Titans still being around since I find all the members to be one-note villains and would have like to see Ravager cut loose and killed each one of them.
From the looks of the final pages of this issue and the cover for the next issue of Teen Titans it looks like Miss Martian, Aquagirl, and Static are going to be on the team. Maybe with the addition of those characters we will get some interesting character interactions which is something Teen Titans has been missing for a while.
Story: 6.8/10 – McKeever did nothing special but it got the job done as this series is now over.
Art: 7.8/10 – Bennett did a good job with his artwork and was the only highlight of this mini-series as he provided plenty of nice action sequences
Overall: 7.2/10 – I can only recommend this series for long time Titan fans who have been reading the current titles. Just don’t come in expecting much from this story or else you’ll be disappointed.
Writer: Christos Gage
Artist: Mario Alberti
Story – The Mutant Hunter
Even though the last issue was the weakest issue in this mini-series this still has been a well told story that has explored various periods of the X-Men and Spider-Man’s history. Christos Gage has done a great job capturing Spider-Man and the X-Men through the various eras and the changes each character has gone through since the start of their superhero careers.
I found myself smiling as Cyclops and the rest of the X-Men joked about how Wolverine has spent a lot of time with Spider-Man since they are both part of the New Avengers. It’s just funny seeing how Wolverine gets defensive about it since it is known that he usually appears in about half of Marvel’s titles right now.
The plot of Mr. Sinester creating his own mutant hunting clone using the DNA of Kraven and combining it with the original X-Men is nothing we haven’t seen before in comics but like any good comic writer Gage was able to take this story and pack it with some great dialogue and action. Gage keep this issue on a nice flow as Spider-Man and the X-Men realized that they were not just fighting a Kraven clone called Xraven but also themselves as the Xraven used all of the original X-Men’s powers with great proficiency.
Even though Gage did a great job with all of the dialogue it was Mario Alberti’s artwork that is the real star of this mini-series. Alberti, like Marcos Martin, has done an excellent job with his artwork having a Jack Kriby feel to it. All of the artwork in this issue has a lot of energy with plenty of detail that at times while reading the issue I would just look at Alberti’s artwork as the X-Men and Spider-Man try and fight off Xraven.
Story: 8.3/10 – Gage does a great job packing mixing this issue with plenty of good dialogue and action.
Art: 9/10 -Alberti provides this issue with plenty of great artwork that I hope we get to see him get a run on Amazing Spider-Man, X-Men, or any other Marvel title.
Overall: 8.65/10 – If your a Spider-Man or X-Men fan I highly recommend you get this mini-series when it comes out in trade paperback as you will enjoy all the reference to the various stories in both franchises history.