Friday, April 12, 2024

Review: Superman '78: The Metal Curtain

Superman '78: The Metal Curtain, the sequel to the brilliant Superman '78 miniseries from a couple years ago, seems like the idea was to take the basic premise of "what if Superman IV The Quest For Peace was more of a Cold War era action-adventure of America vs the USSR?". There is a Soviet Metallo instead of Nuclear Man.  It also incorporate aspects from the first miniseries, like Jor-El and Lara being alive in the bottle city of Kandor, and some modern DC continuity such as Lois' father being an Army general, and still works in Gene Hackman's version of Luthor.  With such an agenda, somehow writer Robert Venditti pulls it off and proves that he should be the head writer on the main Superman titles.

But where this sequel falters a little is in the art. Gavin Guidry replaces Wilfredo Torres, and while Gavin does a good job, his art can be rough at times, not as polished as Torres. Some panels border on caricature art like you would find in Mad Magazine.  Most panels capture the likenesses of the actors, but there are quite a few panels where the likenesses aren't there, and it is generic superhero faces.

Even so, this is an excellent miniseries, even if both the script and art a bit more workman like than the predecessor.  It earns a B+.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Review: Shazam #10

Issue 10 starts a new arc and introduces a new writer, Josie Campbell.  After Mark Waid's underwhelming and disappointing run, one would hope Campbell would be an upgrade. But it's not to be. This issue reads like a Disney Channel sit-com from the early 2000s.

The plot deals with the foster family moving into the new house Zeus magically created for them in the previous arc.  Only Billy and Mary find out it has multiple portals to different realms, and hi-jinx ensue. Also, Freddy gets his driver's license and buys a van (but not a Winnebago), and Billy and the Captain continue to develop different personalities.  There is a mistake where Billy says Shazam to Mary but does not change. The artwork by  Emanuella Luppacchino and Mike Norton is good, and has an animated quality to it. Despite the new creative team, it's still more of the same from this series.  I am officially predicting this series will be cancelled before its 25th issue, unless DC can find a writer that really gets Captain Marvel. This issue earns a C-.

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Review: Batman '89: Echoes #2

Issue 2 opens with the revelation that Bruce is on an undercover mission, with the assistance of Drake Winston. Bruce is impersonating the Firefly, intentionally getting caught, so that he can be sent to Hugo Strange.  He gets sidetracked by getting Jonathan Crane assigned to his case instead.  Harleen Quinzel finds out about the capture of the Firefly and wants him to be the focus of the first episode of her new weekly TV show about the criminally insane.  There is a nod to Lewis Wilson, Tim Burton himself makes a cameo as an inmate, Jess Ventura's guard from Batman & Robin, and a character named Maynard who may actually be Edward Nigma, and looks like Martin Short.

Where as the first miniseries had the first few issues with no plot advancement, this issue has a lot of plot advancement and sub plots.  So far, writer Sam Hamm is delivering the goods, and Joe Quinones' art work is also top notch, although the main cover featuring Batgirl is either a spoiler for what is to come, or meant to be the cover of a future issue mistakenly assigned to issue 2.  This issue earns another B+.

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Review: Shazam #9

Issue 9 feels like a fill in issue, with no real connection to the previous issues.  And ironically, its one of the best issues so far in an otherwise underwhelming run.  Both the story, by Mark Waid, and art, by Emanuela Lupacchino, have a distinct, classic, 1970s-80s DC team up flavor. 

The Creeper is the special guest hero, and despite this, the Captain gets far more panel time than most of the previous issues, where those needless Flashpoint kids suck up all the spotlight.  

Jack Ryder, the Creeper's true identity, and a TV journalist, invites aspiring podcaster Billy Batson on his show.  Ryder has deduced Billy is the Captain and asks him to help on a case where the Shadow Thief has nefarious plans for a speeding passenger train. 

One of Waid's better efforts and the art is great, also. I hope we get more done-in-one team up issues like this.  I'd love to see the Captain team up with Plastic Man.  And a team up with Power Girl. This issue earns a B.

Friday, February 9, 2024

Review: Shazam #8

This series... I just don't know.  This issue continues from the last issue, focuses on the alien dinosaurs and the fight between the Captain and Black Adam, but it just seems like a bad Saturday morning cartoon. There's one moment where writer Mark Waid leads us to think he may be getting rid of the Flashpoint kids and foster parents (which would be very welcome) but it's all a swerve only to be magically solved by the end of the issue.  The only good thing about this issue is that Goran Suzuka is back on art duties.  This issue earns a D for script, a B for art, averaging to a C.