Monday Morning Comic Book Reviews: Week Of 5/19/21

Happy Monday! To kick off the new week with a fresh batch of reviews. This week I’ll be covering Catwoman #31, Fantastic Four: Life Story #1, The Mighty Valkyries #2, and The Next Batman: Second Son Chapter 12.

Along with the reviews below you can check out our full reviews with spoiler synopsis by clicking the following links: Amazing Spider-Man #66, Nightwing #80, and Wonder Girl #1.


Creative Team

Writer: Ram V

Artist: Fernando Blanco

Colorist: Jordie Bellaire

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: The balance between Selina Kyle and Catwoman is something that Ram V seamlessly works with. Both sides of the character work well so that when she has her work to do she understands exactly what needs to be done by both Selina and Catwoman. We see that once again with Catwoman #31 as Selina is able to save Poison Ivy from being stuck as a lab experiment. Fernando Blanco’s artwork helps all of this out as he balances out how differently Selina and Catwoman act depending on who she is interacting with.

It’s also fun to see how Selina is continuing to develop her dynamic with Shoes, who we recently learned in one of the stories that took place in DC Festival of Heroes: The Asian Superhero Celebration #1 is Lian Harper with amnesia. Selina is used the mission to save Poison Ivy as another way to give Shoes experience on the field and how to use social skills to complement their costumed identity work. It further establishes how Selina and Shoes are building a real Batman and Robin dynamic.

The integration of the greater story with Simon Saint that is being built out in other Batman books works well. We dive deeper into how Simon Saint is aiming to have his Magistrate program become the dominant power in Gotham City. How exactly this forces Catwoman to get more involved in the greater things going on in Gotham City will be interesting to see play out.

The Bad: Nothing.

Overall: Catwoman #31 is another strong issue as Ram V builds strong argument for this series being one of the best that DC Comics is publishing. The dynamic between Selina Kyle and Shoes continues to be a standout as they are creating their own Dynamic Duo-type relationship. Now with Poison Ivy in the mix it’ll be interesting what plans Ram V has planned next.


Creative Team

Writer: Mark Russell

Artist: Sean Izaakse

Colorist: Nolan Woodard

Story Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 4.5 Night Girls out of 10

The Good: The first half of Fantastic Four: Life Story #1 captures the spirit of what made Spider-Man: Life Story such a big success. Starting out by spending time building up to the big moment that Reed Richards, Sue Storm, Johnny Storm, and Ben Grimm received their powers gave us a chance to learn who each character is in 1961. This creates a foundation to understand them as individuals and how the founding of the Fantastic Four impacts them differently.

Sean Izaakse also does solid job capturing the energy of a story that takes place throughout the 1960s. Little things such as the style of clothing and cars being driven hit on what the 1960s aesthetic was. Izaakse art also captures the epic scope of Galactus, with the character truly coming across as larger than life, as he should be. The size of Galactus made Reed Richards reaction after learning about the eater of worlds stand out even more.

The Bad: The second half of Fantastic Four: Life Story #1 is where this debut issue falls apart. After spending the first 14 pages on the Fantastic Four’s origin story in 1961 Russell proceeds to rush through the rest of the decade to make sure the issue ended on 1969. That led to all the major Fantastic Four moments from Reed and Sue’s marriage to all the villains the Fantastic Four fight fall flat. There is no connection to this because of how rushed all these events are. It actually made the life changing events that the Fantastic Four go through not appear as big deals.

Johnny Storm’s character also gets almost no development time. The bulk of this issue is dedicated to Reed Richards and Ben Grimm. And Sue, thanks to sharing scenes with Reed, gets a few brief scenes that develop her character’s voice. Johnny on the other hand is nothing more than a minor supporting character. Which is a shame since we are introduced to Johnny as a young teen in 1961 and end with him being in his mid-twenties by 1969. The growth that would normally go along with this period in a person’s life is non-existent for Johnny.

Overall: Fantastic Four: Life Story #1 started out strong but quickly got lost with how much of Marvel’s First Family was packed into the entire decade that was the 1960s. The second half of this issue suffered from rushing through a lot of plot beats, causing most character moments to fall flat. Hopefully the pacing is something Mark Russell is able to fix in all future issues of Fantastic Four: Life Story.


Creative Team

Writer: Jason Aaron (Jane Foster Story); Torunn Gronbekk (Jane Foster & Runa Stories)

Artist: Mattia De Iulis (Jane Foster Story); Erica D’urso (Runa Story)

Colorist: Marcio Menyz (Runa Story)

Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

The Good: Jason Aaron and Torunn Gronbekk continue to excel in developing the greater mythology around the Thor franchise with The Mighty Valkyries #2. The conversation with Jane Foster’s Valkyrie and Managarmr does a great job building a story that is unique to these characters while sticking to what we know of Asgard’s mythology. The way Aaron and Torunn work in Sergei Kravinoff’s Kraven the Hunter builds hype for how Jane Foster’s Valkyrie will have to deal with this Spider-Man villain.

Runa’s Valkyrie story, while questionable placement in the issue, works well to add more of the classic Marvel cosmic element to this series. Runa is more of the classic warrior fans know the Valkyries to be as she is all about getting the job done. How that works into the cosmic setting she is in helps to further differentiate her from Jane Foster. Which makes Erica D’urso’s artwork so fitting for the setting as it is a colorful setting we are in with Runa.

Mattia De Iulis artwork was once again absolutely gorgeous. The Jane Foster story comes across as more of folklore tale being told because of Iulis artwork. This helps elevate how Aaron and Torunn are diving further into greater mythological elements in this story.

The Bad: The choice of having Runa’s story right in the middle of The Mighty Valkyries #2 rather than as a back-up like in the first issue hurt the flow of the story. While Erica D’urso’s artwork is solid she does not match what Matia De Iulis style is. When the shift happens between stories it throws you off as the reader. It would’ve been better if Runa’s story was once again treated as a back-up story and we don’t have Runa’s Valkyrie brought into Jane Foster’s story in the second half of the series to tie everything together.

Overall: The individual Valkyrie stories that Jane Foster and Runa take their own interesting turns in The Mighty Valkyries #2. Jane Foster’s story in particular is engrosses you with how Jason Aaron and Torunn Gronbekk build out the mythology they are working with in that story. This made the awkward placement of Runa’s story in the middle of this issue rather than a back-up be a bit jarring. It didn’t impact the quality of the story but did hurt the flow Aaron and Gronbekk were going for.


Creative Team

Writer: John Ridley

Artist: Travel Foreman

Inker: Norm Rapmund

Colorist: Rex Lokus

Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

The Good: Jace Fox’s journey to become the next Dark Knight completes another major chapter as we see another instance of events in Future State being fast tracked. With Jace Fox discovering the ties between Bruce Wayne, the Fox Family, and Batman to end The Next Batman: Second Son Chapter 12 we are going down an unknown path. The way it was done opens the door for a whole new future for Jace that could take a turn for him becoming a Dark Knight much sooner than we saw happen.

As much as The Next Batman: Second Son was about establishing Jace Fox in the present the most intriguing part of this series was how the entire Fox Family was being developed. This final chapter further pushes the entire Fox Family to evolve and become a bigger part of Gotham City’s future. The obvious one that gets a good amount of development is Lucius Fox’s growing business relationship with Simon Saint. Ridley did a very good job at making the conversation between Lucius and Simon have a game changing gravity to it as things in Gotham City are changing.

While her appearance was short Tiffany Fox being shown training stood out as she is now in position for a future we haven’t seen before. The way things are going it won’t be surprising if we see Tiffany Fox become a big in one of the Batman Family titles in the future.

The Bad: Like other Digital First titles that DC Comics has released the last year The Next Batman: Second Son Chapter 12 dealt with problems of the structure of the comic book itself being built to read in this format. This entire series was built with single issue physical comic releases in mind and then broken up into the Digital First structure. This caused the flow of the story in how the issue is read to not be optimized for the format. Because of that I wish hat DC Comics would just use the typical page structure of comic books even if that means that the individual chapters don’t have the required 23 page count of a comic book since this is a digital release.

Overall: The Next Batman: Second Son Chapter 12 ends by further pushing Jace Fox along the road to embrace his destiny as the next Dark Knight. The way things end create a lot of questions for not just Jace’s future but also that of the entire Fox Family. That in turn creates a lot of intrigue in how the Fox Family will be developed in all the Batman Family titles moving forward.

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