Monday Morning Comic Book Reviews: Week Of 5/12/21

There are a ton of comic books to be excited for. The industry has been extremely strong with so many veteran and new talent working to create fun, new stories to enjoy. Because of that I want to make sure we are still cover them so you know what we think of series we may not review with our full spoiler format. For the first week of the new review round-up I am going to be spotlighting Batman: Urban Legends #3, Black Cat #6, The Joker #3, Mighty Morphin #7, Silk #3, and Wonder Woman #772.

You can check out our full reviews with spoiler synopsis by clicking the following links: Giant-Size Amazing Spider-Man: King’s Ransom #1, Justice League: Last Ride #1, and X-Corp #1.

Batman: Urban Legends #3 CoverBATMAN: URBAN LEGENDS #3

Creative Team

Writers: Chip Zdarsky (Red Hood & Batman “Cheer”); Che Grayson (Lady Shiva “Death Wish”); Brandon Thomas (The Outsides “The Caretaker); Matthew Rosenberg (Grifter “The Long Con”)

Artists: Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira, Marcus To, and Jesus Merino (Red Hood & Batman); Alberto Jimenez Alburquerque (Lady Shiva “Death Wish”); Max Dunbar (The Outsides “The Caretaker); Ryan Benjamin (Grifter “The Long Con”)

Colorists: Adriano Lucas (Red Hood & Batman); David Barron (Lady Shiva “Death Wish”); Luis Guerrero (The Outsides “The Caretaker); Antonio Fabela (Grifter “The Long Con”)

Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10

The Good: The main story around Batman and Red Hood continues to be the standout in Batman: Urban Legends. Chip Zdarsky has done a good job using the ideological differences between the former partners be the avenue of exploring how different Bruce’s relationship is with Jason compared to his other proteges. With Jason we continue to see how while he is committed to saving people his own way that he understands that he is pushing the limits of how much rope Bruce, Barbara, and the rest of the Batman Family will give him. How that leads into a confrontation with Mr. Freeze shows how Jason as Red Hood is starting to let some overthinking cloud his thinking.

Che Grayson and Alberto Jimenez Alburquerque’s Lady Shiva story in Batman: Urban Legends #3 worked well to bring the character back into the fold. For a long time Lady Shiva has been used as a stepping stone for other fighters in the DC Universe to go up against. Resetting the character a bit by exploring her motivation and relationship with Cassandra Cain positioned her well to have a major role in a future storyline.

With so both the Red Hood and Lady Shiva stories being driven by dialogue it was nice to balance it out with the more action heavy nature of The Outsiders story. Brandon Thomas and Max Dunbar understand how to pack in as much action and character work as possible for a team story. Black Lightning and Katana’s dynamic stand out as they continue to push each other to be better. This leads to a better dynamic when they are working as The Outsiders with Metamorpho as you understand the teamwork between the trio is this team’s strength.

The Bad: The Grifter story in Batman: Urban Legends is the only story that keeps being hit or miss. There is just something about The Grifter character that I am just not connecting. Especially compared to the arcs we see Red Hood, Shiva, and The Outsiders go through it just seems like this series is still not finding the best way to explore The Grifter with what is going on in Gotham City. The Grifter’s dynamic with Batman also just does not work as well as we see with Red Hood and Shiva in the earlier stories of Batman: Urban Legends #3.

Overall: Batman: Urban Legends #3 further solidifies this series as one of the best comic books in Infinite Frontier. The continuing story of Jason Todd finding what is next for himself as Red Hood and the story reintroducing Lady Shiva to the Batman Universe the standout stories.

Black Cat #6 CoverBLACK CAT #6

Creative Team

Writer: Jed MacKay

Artist: Michael Dowling

Colorist: Brian Reber

Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10

The Good: When Jed MacKay’s Black Cat is at its best it is when we see the weight of her actions being shown to us as Felicia Hardy continues to balance between light and dark. Black Cat #6 spotlights this with how we see Felicia getting eternal life because of her mentor, Fox’s, actions leading to New York City to possibly be destroyed. How this forces Felicia to make difficult decisions from lying to Spider-Man to seeking out Odessa Drake.

Michael Dowling’s artwork nicely put over how mix Felicia was emotionally having to deal with the consequences of the spot Fox put her in. The art really got across how hard Felicia is now going to be working to make things right.

The Bad: Given what is going on and what Black Cat did to get to this point it is odd that we aren’t seeing her try to bring in characters like Dr. Strange to help out. Going straight to Odessa didn’t work as well because we’ve seen how she isn’t the only character that Black Cat has been crossing paths with. It would’ve made some of the other heists that Black Cat and her crew went through more of a full circle thing if we saw her try to first recruit Dr. Strange and the Fantastic Four to help before going to Odessa.

Overall: Black Cat #7 goes all in with the supernatural nature of this series. Not all of it works but Jed MacKay continues to excel at developing Felicia Hardy as someone who continues to grow as she is placed in a difficult spot by her mentor. Hopefully we can wrap up this arc up soon so we can see how these decisions impact Felicia in stories involving different characters.

The Joker #3 CoverTHE JOKER #3

Creative Team

Writer: James Tynion IV

Artist: Guillem March

Colorist: Arif Prianto

Story Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10

The Good: Barbara Gordon has been the standout Batman Family in the Infinite Frontier era. Returning to being active as Oracle has made her ever present in all of the Batman titles as she is the one others turn to for help. The Joker #3 is another example of this as we see Barbara actively investigating Cressida, who we know is part of the Court Of Owls, with some help from Cassandra Cain’s Orphan.

Guillem March’s artwork is as consistent as ever. His artwork is at its best when drawing Joker and Vengeance, the daughter of Bane. The Joker looks fittingly insane whenever he is on screen. And the way he draws Vengeance gives her the same intimidating aura that Bane had when he was around. Which builds greater anticipation for when we see her bust some heads when she gets her hands on her targets.

The Bad: The Joker #3 is where you can see how there might not be a lot of legs to the narrative of this series being driven by the Joker. You lose a lot of what makes Joker a special character and villain when he remains the constant focus. He is a special attraction villain who is best when positioned as the endgame boss. Being around as much as he is just makes him more of a cartoon character than a big threat. Which may be what Tynion is going for with this version of Joker but it just does not work as intended.

Because of this Jim Gordon’s arc is not as strong as it was set up to be in the first two issues of this series. We go from how heavy of a decision it is for Jim to accept Cressida’s contract to kill Joker to him just going along with Joker. This turn so early on into the story just further drives home that this series would be better as a mini-series because we are starting to get a lot of material that comes across as a way to stretch things out for an ongoing series.

Overall: The Joker is starting to lose some steam with some questionable decisions being made for both Jim Gordon and Joker’s characters. Luckily there is some good characterization for Barbara Gordon’s character and Vengeance, the daughter of Bane, that save The Joker #3 from being a complete miss.

Mighty Morphin #7 CoverMIGHTY MORPHIN #7

Creative Team

Writer: Ryan Parrott

Artist: Marco Renna

Colorists: Walter Baiamonte, Katia Ranalli, and Sara Antonellini

Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10

The Good: Ryan Parrott is going all out exploring Zordon’s history as a Guardian of Eltar. This previously unexplored part of Zordon’s character has shown how there is wealth of story in how so much in the Power Ranger Universe is connected to the past. It’s expanded on the idea of the Power Rangers being more than just Earth’s protectors.

Exploring Zordon’s past and Eltar’s current status quo has also helped elevate the threat that Lord Zedd is to the universe. Even with the present-day story taking place in the islolated Angel Grove you get how the fight between the Power Rangers and Lord Zedd has a lot at stake for the universe. The greater power that Lord Zedd showed forced the Power Rangers to go with unconventional ways of fighting as they infiltrate the taken over Angel Grove.

This led to some interesting decisions made, particularly when it came to Grace Sterling and Promethea being major wild cards as they are now working with Lord Zedd. The reason for this turn added to how unpredictable things are with this storyline. Which gives greater reason why the Power Rangers take so many high risks.

Marco Renna’s artwork also delivers fun animated artwork that has been the style the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers have had since BOOM! Studios started these comics. The characters all look dynamic, thanks to the bright colors used by Walter Baiamonte, Katia Ranalli, and Sara Antonellini. It makes every character pop even when we are in the middle of dialogue heavy scenes.

The Bad: While the twist of Promethea working with Lord Zedd inside the bubble around Angel Grove it did not help Matthew Cook’s character. Outside of the surprise of Matthew turning out to be the new Green Ranger there is nothing much to his character besides that. He is just coming across as a generic character that makes you think any other classic non-Power Ranger character in the franchise history could’ve been placed in his role and nothing would change in the story.

Overall: The scale of the story presented in Mighty Morphin #7 continues to grow even bigger than before. Diving deeper into Zordon’s history pre-Mighty Morphin Power Rangers has made everything going on with Lord Zedd come across as exploring new territory for the franchise. It all creates a fun mystery around what the endgame for what is happening in Mighty Morphin is going to be.

Silk #3 CoverSILK #3

Creative Team

Writer: Maurene Goo

Artist: Takeshi Miyazawa

Colorist: Ian Herring

Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

The Good: Maurene Goo has captured the multiple facets of Cindy Moon’s life in and out of being Silk extremely well. Things aren’t as simple as just seeing Cindy go to work and as Silk. That is where having a strong supporting cast really benefits a series. Each interaction Cindy has, from her psychiatrist to J. Jonah Jameson, each have a sense of importance to the character arc this series has placed Silk on. This makes the way Cindy deals with Saya Ishii a rewarding development because of the character work preceding this meeting.

Going with a classic dastardly villain route for Saya Ishii works for the character. Silk is still a relatively new hero who is slowly having her rogues gallery being built out. Adding in a villain like Saya Ishii who has ties with Silvermane, a classic Spider-Man villain, further builds out the world around Silk.

Takeshi Miyazawa does such a good job balancing the grounded and mystical aspects of Silk #3. Even when you think having a giant mystical cat creature walking around in a grounded business setting it just does. It all looks like it is part of the same world. Which shows the reader how Silk is a hero that doesn’t just battle the normal villain. In many ways it reminds me a lot of the art style we see from mangas.

The Bad: Nothing.

Overall: Maurene Goo and Takeshi Miyazawa optimize the amount of time they are given to showcase the multiple layers of Cindy Moon’s character in Silk #3. Each interaction in this issue provides a different look at who Cindy is and how the world around her is being built out. The ending of Silk #3 provides the needed hook to begin the second half of this series on a strong note.

Wonder Woman #772 CoverWONDER WOMAN #772

Creative Team

Writers: Michael W. Conrad and Becky Cloonan (Afterworlds); Jordie Bellaire (Youna Diana)

Artists: Travis Moore (Afterworlds); Paulina Ganucheau (Young Diana)

Colorists: Tamra Bonvillain (Afterworlds); Kendall Goode (Young Diana)

Story Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of10

The Good: Finally getting into why Wonder Woman has found herself in Asgard and what is at stake because of this was what the “Afterworlds” story arc needed. Bringing in Deadman to explain to Wonder Woman that she shouldn’t be there and that Olympus needs her made this story much more serious. Even if we don’t have all the information for why this happened it at least opens things up for Wonder Woman’s actions to have.

The Young Diana back-up story has been getting better with each chapter we get. Jordie Bellaire’s writing combined with the wonderful artwork by Paulina Ganucheau compliment each other well. This Diana is younger and rebellious. At the same time, she does show respect to her mentor, even if she can’t control Diana’s search for an adventure.

The Bad: There’s something about this entire story that feels like it has run its course. Though I appreciate the pace being quick for “Afterworlds” we just have not spent enough time to care for this version of Asgard. The same goes for the characters of Siegfried, Thor, and Odin. Each of these characters are just shells of characters we’ve seen before. There is nothing that speaks to how these are fully realized characters.

This leads into the whole mystery around the Valkyries of this version of Asgard just falling flat. Even with the talk of Ragnarok what is actually at stake doesn’t come across in the pages of Wonder Woman #772. Having a greater connection between Ragnarok and the regular DC Universe where Wonder Woman is from would improve so much of this story.

Overall: There are some good ideas when it comes to the story of “Afterworlds,” unfortunately it doesn’t come together in the way it should. Luckily we have the back-up story to help lift up Wonder Woman #772 with a fun story featuring the adventures of Young Diana to enjoy in its pure fun.

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