Shazam! #3 – Tim Sheridan, Writer; Clayton Henry, Artist; Marcelo Maiolo, Colorist
Ray – 6/10
Ray: There is a lot going on in this series, but it collapses under its ambition pretty often. The reveal that Dane is actually the son of Lucifer was a huge reveal and brought a significant Vertigo element to the book. The two make their escape and descend deeper into hell, where they meet the duplicitous Neron. Neron’s always been a favorite of mine—a sadistic trickster demon who never lives up to his bargains. The segments where he taunts the boys and manipulates their desperation are strong, but too often he descends into a sniveling whiner. Raven shows up near the end to remind us of the stakes—mainly, that Freddie is dying in a matter of days from an unspecified degenerative condition. I still hate this subplot and consider it a blatant example of using disabled characters as props/stakes. The cliffhanger is intriguing, but this series is tearing down way too much from the previous run.
Batman: The Adventures Continue Season Two #4 – Alan Burnett, Paul Dini, Writers; Jordan Gibson, Artist; Monica Kubina, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: With Jordan Gibson jumping on art this issue, we get a story that does some things that the series wouldn’t be able to do in an all-ages cartoon. We’ve got gunplay, hard-boiled noir action—plus some unambiguous LGBT representation! That’s right, it’s a Renee Montoya spotlight, as the by-the-book cop gets a commendation—and gets on the wrong side of Rupert Thorne. The ruthless mafioso, seeking a political comeback after the death of Hamilton Hill, has employed a new villain named The Muscle to get his revenge on Montoya for ruining one of his drug labs. Muscle is essentially just a more competent Bane without the drug addiction, and they even look the same. Probably the weakest foe of the series so far, but this issue feels a lot like an episode of the original series—right down to some clever use of Bruce Wayne’s secret identity, and some great snark from Alfred.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.