Arkham City: The Order of the World #5 – Dan Watters, Writer; Dani, Artist; Dave Stewart, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: Since the start, this book has had some fascinating things to say about mental health in Gotham—a subject with a lot of room for exploration, given that Arkham Asylum seems to create more villains than it fixes. This issue quickly reveals the identity of the main villain of the series, an obscure Gotham rogue whose powers are actually brilliantly suited for the task at hand. The scenes where the “Ghost” visits other former Arkham and recruits them are brilliantly tense, as are the scenes where Dr. Joy tries to keep the odd couple of Nocturna and Doctor Phosphorous from slipping completely into madness in their twisted slice of domesticity. The arrival of Azrael doesn’t add too much besides an elaborate fight scene, but the Ten-Eyed Man remains the most fascinating rogue in this series, and his escape segment is brilliantly creepy. The cliffhanger, however, leaves me a little dubious—with only one issue to go, the addition of this very odd new villain as a major player could go either way.
One-Star Squadron #3 – Mark Russell, Writer; Steve Lieber, Artist; Dave Stewart, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: Mark Russell’s writing often treads the line between sharply satiric and a bit too cruel, and this issue often plays with that line in the same issue. After two issues of focusing on Red Tornado’s field office of the company, we finally meet the tech bros behind the company—and they’re as awful as you’d expect. A guest appearance by Superman makes me think that just like Garth Ennis, Russell has a pretty great handle on DC’s most wholesome hero. Red Tornado continues to be the heart of the series, and the scenes with his family and with Gangbuster are probably the issue’s best. But for every one of those scenes, there’s something like the hero who abandons people mid-rescue for a gig, or Power Girl’s relentlessly cruel characterization. Like many of Russell’s works, he does a great job of getting his point about the world across. I’m not sure this one quite gets the characters it’s using to tell it, though.
Suicide Squad #12 – Robbie Thompson/Dennis Hopeless, Writers; Eduardo Pansica/Julio Ferreira, Dexter Soy, Artists; Marcelo Maiolo, Colorist
Ray – 7/10
Ray: This series is getting a total overhaul in the coming months, with a new co-writer and a major crossover. But first, it’s finally here—the showdown between two different Suicide Squads. Amanda Waller’s ruthless, dimension-invading gang of criminals has been tearing through the multiverse, but now Rick Flag and his own band of mercenaries are ready to make their move. This one-year anniversary issue has a lot of action, including a stunning reveal of a major player from another world, but it suffers from most of the characters being fairly flat. It is satisfying to see a particularly vile character meet their end, but the problem is that Amanda Waller here is as villainized as she’s ever been. It’s almost cartoonish at points, and makes it hard to invest in this book after reading runs where she’s a much more subtle, clever character. We’ll see how things play out when we head to the crossover with The Flash and Teen Titans Academy.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.