Happy Monday! It’s once again time to start the week off with a look back at some of the comic book releases of the past week. This time around I am going to be taking a look at how things went in Batman/Catwoman #8 and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #122. These are two comic books I’m invested in for different reasons. Let’s see how these comic books turned out.
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Liam Sharp
Story Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
The Good: The deeper we get into Batman/Catwoman series the more problematic the three time period narrative structure Tom King has chosen is showing itself to be. The only thing that saves the overall narrative of the story in Batman/Catwoman #8 is the fact it finally feels we are moving somewhere with the story between Phantasm and Joker. We have been treading water for so long that seeing them together in scenes was refreshing as it did signal we are getting actual progressing to one of the major parts in the story.
While Liam Sharp’s art style is very different from the visual presentation Clayton Mann established for Batman/Catwoman it still worked. I particularly appreciated how Sharp made sure to adjust the presentation of the characters that make up the three time periods. The way Sharp draws the scenes Joker and Phantasm are in particular stood out as something you would get from a horror film. The haunting nature of their scenes together elevated what took place between Joker and Phantasm.
The Bad: The deeper we get into Batman/Catwoman the clearer it is that King never structured this series to be read monthly. This entire series reads like we are just getting piece meals of three different stories. There is never a feeling that we get a satisfying chapter that draws greater interest to any of the three different time periods. Rather Batman/Catwoman was always meant to be read as an oversized trade paperback. No other format would make this series a satisfying reading experience and Batman/Catwoman #8 is yet another example of that.
In particular, what we get from all three time periods is Batman, Catwoman, future Helena Wayne as Batwoman, and future Commissioner Dick Grayson going around in circles. King attempts to have these character make grand gestures or speeches but they are nothing that illuminates what is going on in any of the three time periods. Instead it is just more back-and-forth between characters that have been doing nothing more than talking about what is the right thing to do. Eight issues in we should see these characters make meaningful steps forward to what the three time periods mission statements are supposed to be.
This is especially problematic with Batman and Catwoman in the present and past scenes. The characters haven’t done anything to make you connect deeper to how everything comes back to the situation with Phantasm and Joker. They are so concerned about how they look to each both Batman and Catwoman come across as incredibly unlikable.
Overall: For all the style Liam Sharp artwork brings to the story it cannot overcome the big problems that continues to exist with Batman/Catwoman. The only thing that saves Batman/Catwoman #8 is that we finally get some movement with the story between Joker and Phantasm. But even then Tom King’s choice to split the narrative between three time periods makes it feel like we are still going around in circles with all the characters involved.
Story Consultants: Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz
Writer: Sophie Campbell
Artist: Jodi Nishijima
Colorist: Ronda Pattison
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
The Good: Sophie Campbell has really gotten a hang of telling quick stories to build out a greater ongoing narrative. That is best shown with how Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #122 accomplishes multiple things all in one complete story. For one we get even more develops around Old Hob’s place in the series. Even as he was dealt with and locked up in the previous issue his entire presence causes major problems for the Turtles and their allies. That makes the payoff with his escape and where Old Hob’s ends up by the end of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #122 create even greater intrigue for this series.
At the same time, Campbell is able to provide a lot of great character work for the large cast in this series. Campbell understands how to best develop characters through different pairings that bring out the Turtles and everyone else’s personalities best. It makes the Halloween set-up even more fun as we get to see everyone having fun, even though it only lasts a short period.
Jodi Nishijima art style is a great fit for this series. Nishijima’s style is very similar to the one Campbell established early on in her run when she was handling the writing and artwork. It has an animated feel that brings out the different personalities of Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, Donatello, Jennika, and other characters very well. Nishijima also gets across how big of a deal Old Hob’s escape at the end of the issue is.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: The Halloween setting was a refreshing change of pace after everything that took place between the Turtles and Old Hob. Sophie Campbell and Jodi Nishijima maximize the set-up to highlight the different dynamics between all the characters in this series. At the same time, we a big cliffhanger involving Old Hob that drives greater intrigue in what will happen next in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
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