Happy Monday! With the start of another week I got a fresh batch of reviews for some of the comics released this past week. This week’s reviews include Black Widow #1, I Am Batman #1, and Justice League: Last Ride #5.
In case you missed it, reviews with full spoiler synopsis were posted for Batman: Urban Legends #7, Titans United #1, and X-Men: The Trial Of Magneto #2. I also did a full breakdown of DC Comics December 2021 solicitations and Marvel’s December 2021 solicitations.
Writer: Kelly Thompson
Artist: Rafael De Latorre
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: With the set up of the new organization that Natasha Romanoff has created with Yelena Belova out of the way Kelly Thompson moves things forward with Black Widow #11. Moving forward means digging further into the spy side of Black Widow as we see Natasha go on a mission that reminds you she is the James Bond of the Marvel Universe. Her new mission taking her to a fancy party discover what the latest villains that join her growing rogues gallery in the form of Liv and Lars, also known as The Twins, was fun to see play out. Having Yelena be part of the mission added to how Thompson is really nailing the dynamic between these two as partners and sisters.
In the middle of all that Thompson also starts integrating both Anya Corazon, aka Spider-Girl, and Lucy Nguyen, who now has an official superhero name of Marygold. Given the recent experience they had defeating the Apogee we see Lucy has built up a lot of confidence with her powers. And as you can expect from someone of her age that leads to Lucy becoming overconfident. Thompson address this by having Anya remind Lucy she has a long way to go by showing her powers and experience as Spider-Girl during a quick sparring match. The scenes are quick but work well to establish how both Anya and Lucy will work as Natasha and Yelena’s first proteges in this series.
Rafael De Latorre takes on the full art responsibilities for Black Widow #11 and he does not miss a beat. He does a great job with once again showcasing one of the strengths of this series being its sense of motion during the action scenes. He also does well to make sure every character’s personalities, powers, and skills are properly showcased during various character moments that enhance Thompson’s writing.
The Bad: Nothing
Overall: Month in, month out Black Widow has been shown to be one of Marvel’s best titles with every new issue released. Black Widow #11 is yet further proof of this as Kelly Thompson and Rafael De Latorre move the series forward with the new vision Natasha Romanoff has for her future. If you aren’t reading this series than I highly recommend remedying that by picking up this latest issue asap.
Writer: John Ridley
Artist: Oliver Coipel
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
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: I Am Batman #1 is a jarring reading experience after reading both The Next Batman: Second Son series and the I Am Batman #0 prelude issue. On the good side of things John Ridley does a really great job establishing how Jace Fox is setting his own path as Batman. Similar to Terry McGinnis, Jace isn’t going to be directly going to be another Bruce Wayne under the cape and cowl. Trying to be Bruce as Batman, even though he does not know the identity of the original Batman, would go against who he is and his own background.
Establishing that quickly makes Jace’s as Batman feel new beyond it being someone else as the Dark Knight. You get the vibe that we are in an new age with a Batman who isn’t battling some inner demons that push others away. Instead Jace actively works with others, both as Jace Fox and Batman.
Another good move that is done by Ridley with I Am Batman #1 is make the world of this series be something different from the current DC Universe or the one we saw in Future State. Creating a new beginning for Jace and Gotham City makes exploring the world something you are immediately invested in. There are enough differences to make you wonder what exactly has been going on and what Jace will be taking on as the new Batman protecting Gotham City.
The artwork by Oliver Coipel further drives home how this world around Jace Fox as being multi-layered as Ridley presented in the writing. The way different scenes are structured whether we get Jace Fox or the character as Batman makes the reading experience much better. It gives you the idea that there is a lot going on in this version of Gotham City beyond just the crime Jace will tackle as Batman.
The Bad: The one misstep that I Am Batman #1 has is with the continuity. The writing itself seems to be confused with what is part of this version of Gotham City. There are elements of the current DC Universe but it is established that Bruce’s Batman has been missing for six years. Even the way Jace dismisses Batman as being a legend is odd given how Batman was publicly known in Gotham City, especially during the Batman Family vs Magistrate period. Clearing up these continuity problems with whatever universe I Am Batman is trying to establish will greatly help the reading experience of this series.
Overall: I Am Batman #1 is a good start to a series that is already standing out even among all the Batman titles that are currently available. John Ridley and Oliver Coipel work well together to make the world around Jace Fox as Batman something that is his own. Addressing the continuity problems that do pop up in this issue will strengthen the foundation that was created by I Am Batman #1.
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Miguel Mendonca
Colorist: Enrica Angiolini
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: After all the build up of what the universe of Justice League: Last Ride is we finally get into the action. And Justice League: Last Ride #5 does not disappoint in this aspect of the story. Both the present and past scenes are filled with action that provide even greater weight to what the Justice League are dealing with in both timelines. It does really remind you of how the Justice League is a series where you should expect the biggest action possible in any DC Comics series.
In the middle of all that Zdarsky progresses both narratives of Justice League: Last Ride. On the Lobo front that is taking place in the present day we see how the crimes the villain committed have serious ramifications to the DC Universe. The inclusion of Mongul, Brainiac, Cyborg Superman, Manhunters, and other bounty hunters adds to how massive of an event Lobo has created due to his actions.
How the events in the past with the major battle between the Justice League and Darkseid played out further played into the complex nature of this version of the DC Universe. Darkseid is presented as an unstoppable force with his actions on Oa leading to a lot of questions for the present day of this DC Universe.
The artwork by Miguel Mendonca worked to get over the large scale of events that we see take place in Justice League: Last Ride #5. All of the different battles each member of the Justice League are a part of showcase why they are the heavy hitters of the DC Universe. The same goes for the villains used. Darkseid, Mongul, Brainiac, and others are positioned as being a major threat individually so when some of them attack the Justice League on multiple fronts the intensity of the fights increase.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Justice League: Last Ride #5 is an example of how the franchise itself is a big event. Everything that goes down in this issue comes across as big as any Crisis-level battle you see. Both the heroes and villains are presented as heavy hitters. Which all works to put over how big of deal the story built around Lobo’s actions is to this version of the DC Universe. With how things end in this issue there are a lot more questions to be answered that will have you coming back to see how Justice League: Last Ride concludes.
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