Arkham City: The Order of the World #6 – Dan Watters, Writer; Dani, Artist; Dave Stewart, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: The creative team of Dan Watters and Dani has tried to pack a lot of story into this oddball horror series, and that continues with this final issue. With only twenty pages to go, we find ourselves in a completely new setting—a twisted asylum located in a slaughterhouse and run by Professor Pyg. Dr. Joy, taken hostage by him, is now forced to serve as doctor and carry out his strange treatments—which largely consist of indulging the delusions of the Arkham escapees and giving them ways to act them out. But there’s one bigger problem—Azrael, who has been caged for weeks and is about to be released to complete his own treatment—despite it being clear that he’s going to kill everyone when he comes out. The art is brilliant and this issue has a great sense of tension to it, but some of the characterization—especially of Azrael—seems a little spotty. But it’s hard not to get pulled in as this series rockets towards its tragic conclusion.
Justice League #73 – Brian Michael Bendis, Writer; Szymon Kudranski, Emanuela Lupacchino/Wade Von Grawbadger/Scott Hanna, Artists; Hi-Fi, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: The penultimate issue of Bendis’ Justice League is one of the quintessential Bendis comics. It has a world-shattering threat—and the response is a lot of talking. That’s not to say it doesn’t work, as Bendis makes clever use of the character of Zatanna in particular as she faces off against the lost Lord of Chaos Xanadoth. This villain has been teased for a long time, but now she steps into center stage in the body of Black Adam, and both Zatanna and Madame Xanadu are no match for her. The decision to end the Justice League Dark backup before the end of the run makes sense, since this final arc is essentially a fusion between the two books and features Doctor Fate in particularly very heavily. Where it falls a little flat is in how much exposition it has to do. The summoning of a major character who mostly appears off-screen is an interesting twist, but the involvement of Naomi remains a mystery—and the outcome of her role in this issue shouldn’t have been spoiled on the cover. A decent penultimate issue, but Bendis still has a lot to tie up.
One-Star Squadron #4 – Mark Russell, Writer; Steve Lieber, Artist; Dave Stewart, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: How entertaining can a book about superhero business dealings be? Under the pen of Mark Russell, pretty interesting. This is a series that’s all about how capitalism and monetization can take something pure—saving lives as a superhero—and enmesh it with things that are anything but. As the story opens, Red Tornado has been tasked with firing half the staff to cut costs and make the business more appealing for a sale. Additionally, the book’s villain, the manipulative Power Girl (who really isn’t written accurately, but that’s part of Russell’s style at times) has been let go—but that just leaves all the onus of the decisions on Reddy. His struggle with how to handle this task is actually really well done, and comes to an emotional climax when he makes a stand. But there’s more to it than that—including a dark twist for Gangbuster, whose mental illness escalates, and a shocking cliffhanger ending. It’s overall a solid issue, although it feels more like Russell riffing on tech issues than telling an actual story with these characters.
Static: Season One #6 – Vita Ayala, Writer; Nikolas Draper-Ivey, Artist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: It’s the end of the road for the first of the three Milestone relaunches, but the Season One on the title offers the promise of more. This series has very much been a trial by fire for Virgil Hawkins, putting him up against some rogue Bang Babies including his arch-enemy Hotstreak and some particularly ruthless government agents. This issue finds him cornered in the secret prison, facing off against a group of his fellow metas who have been turned—but he takes a different path to trying to save them from themselves and neutralize the government threat. The first half of the issue moves fast with a literally explosive finish, but the best scenes in the story are the quiet moments in the epilogue. Ayala has done a great job of setting up the network of family and friends that makes Static’s mission possible, the social climate is only getting more tense, and a terrifying page hints at the arrival of Static’s deadliest enemy. Bring on season two.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.