Wonder Woman: Evolution #5 – Stephanie Phillips, Writer; Mike Hawthorne, Penciller; Adriano Di Benedetto, Inker; Jordie Bellaire, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: This has been an intriguing series, sending Diana through one trial and illusion after another as these mysterious Gods use her to determine humanity’s worthiness. Sometimes it feels like the plot doesn’t advance much, but the story is impressive enough and the visuals are brilliant, so it easily holds my interest. That’s the case for this issue, which finds Diana captured and back on Themyscira after last issue’s brutal battle with the Justice League. It soon becomes clear that this isn’t Diana’s Themyscira, though—Hippolyta is a cruel warrior who views Diana as a failure for her inability to rule Man’s World. She puts her on “trial” by making her fight a massive sea monster—with stunning visuals from Mike Hawthorne—but plans to betray her should she survive. Visions of a younger version of Diana, along with a mysterious observer who makes herself clear in the cliffhanger, hint at what’s going on behind the scenes. Overall, it’s another strong issue as we peel back the layers of Diana’s trials a little more.
Justice League #74 – Brian Michael Bendis, Writer; Szymon Kudranski, Emanuela Lupacchino/Wade Von Grawbadger, Artists; Hi-Fi, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: Brian Michael Bendis wraps up his Justice League run this issue, and it’s been an odd one. The threat of the villain Xanadoth has been brewing since his Superman run several years ago, but was largely dropped from the narrative. So the final arc focusing on her threw me a bit. There is also a very heavy Justice League Dark element here, with John Constantine and Madame Xanadu featuring heavily in the final issue alongside Naomi and Black Adam. The traditional Leaguers, actually, are only present in a major way in a cheerful wrap-up segment in the final few pages, but the bulk of the issue is done by Szymon Kudranski with a very creepy vibe. He’s a legendary DC artist on horror comics and his skill is top-notch. Overall, the story is strong and clears up some interesting stuff about Naomi’s backstory, but it feels like a bit of an anticlimax. It’ll be interesting to see how much of this plays into the conclusion of the ongoing Justice League vs. Legion of Super-Heroes miniseries.
Titans United #7 – Cavan Scott, Writer; Daniel HDR, Jose Luis/Jinas Trindade, Artists; Rex Lokus, Colorist
Ray – 7.5/10
Ray: It’s pretty impressive just how much Cavan Scott has managed to pack into one miniseries, but ambition doesn’t always make for a strong comic. With only one issue to go, we’ve got a secondary alien invasion following up on Blackfire’s plot, a plague of random civilians winding up with unpredictable powers that were taken from the Titans, and a break-in at Cadmus. None of these plots are exactly bad, but they still don’t feel like they all fit together tonally. Many characters switch sides, including former main antagonist Blackfire, and the final battle barely has any time for the actual main villains of the Citadel. Despite that, this comic remains pretty entertaining for one main reason—any plot issues are easy to overlook when the team banter feels genuine. These characters do feel more like the classic Titans than any book we’ve had in a while, so on that alone it shows some potential.
Robins #5 – Tim Seeley, Writer; Baldemar Rivas, Artist; Romulo Fajardo Jr, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: Tim Seeley has been slowly unwrapping an intriguing mystery over the course of this digital-first series, but he’s played with format in some intriguing ways that can compromise the pacing. For one thing, we’ve got only one issue after this one—and we still know virtually nothing about the mysterious Jenny Wren, the villain of this series and possibly Batman’s first Robin. The ending of this issue hints that we’re going to get those answers as Batman investigates the mysterious case of Cormac Dodge, but most of the issue is devoted to—very well-done—alternate realities where the various Robins are shown what their lives could have been if they went down a different path. Dick embraces his life as Agent 37, but potentially loses his one mind. Damian chases entitlement as a monk, but struggles to put his violent past behind him. Jason works as a race car driver, but struggles with his own dark instincts. And Steph leads the Teen Titans as Spoiler—but her old resentments keep creeping up. All four are fascinating realities I’d love to see explored, but in some ways this series feels like a speedrun.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.