I Am Batman #10 – John Ridley, Writer; Christian Duce, Artist; Rex Lokus, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: It feels like this title is headed for something big soon, with a Dark Crisis tie-in on the horizon and Jace Fox possibly teed up as the next Batman. But for now, he has to survive his first real supervillain. The deranged artist serial killer Manray has targeted the Mayor as his next victim, although the Mayor insists he hasn’t committed the crimes that would get him marked. As Jace tries to work with the police and the shady Mayor, a group of vigilante officers plans to target the villain and assassinate him rather than bring him in alive. It leads to a genuinely brutal final showdown at City Hall, as the villain once again proves he might be something other than human. Overall, this issue works better than the last few because of a feeling of real stakes. Jace still feels a bit like a supporting character in his own book—he became Batman so quickly that he doesn’t feel fully established—but there’s real potential here.
Blood Syndicate: Season One #2 – Geoffrey Thorne, Writer; Chriscross/Juan Castro, Artists; Wil Quintana, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: Of all the Wildstorm titles, this one is definitely the slowest burn two issues in. Superheroes and villains are on the fringes, of course, but this is ultimately a story of two men returning from war and finding themselves in another one. This issue focuses heavily on Hannibal, the serious Muslim convert who found himself in the war in the middle of a traumatic event. His return is a lot more bumpy than his friend’s, as he attempts to meet with his estranged father and gets rejected for converting away from Christianity. Things don’t go much better with his ex, who is hesitant to let him back into their son’s life. So he’s at loose ends—and finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time when gang leader Holocaust makes his move and causes a massive fire. So the stakes are definitely raised this issue, but this story sort of feels disconnected from the Wildstorm universe as a whole—maybe by design.
Future State: Gotham #14 – Dennis Culver, Writer; Geoffo, Artist
Ray – 7.5/10
Ray: This series has always been a little loopy, but I never expected it to go quite as crazy as this issue does—in what I’m calling “The Night of a Million Batmen.” Last issue’s cliffhanger revealed that Damian was back from his hunt for Bruce—and completely insane, operating as Batman 666 complete with unholy weaponry. The arrival of a killer Batman throws the city into disarray, and Dick—now addled by the drug Brane—demands Jace give up the Bat-suit and turn the legacy over to him. At the same time, Hush puts on one of his many false faces and attempts to impersonate Batman himself, while the aged Bruce Wayne teams up with Talia to try to get his son back. It’s ridiculous, but it’s also fun and chaotic. Dennis Culver clearly gets what comic he’s writing and knows that very little matters here in the big scheme of things. This might not make 100% sense, but I definitely enjoyed the ride.
Naomi: Season Two #4 – Brian Michael Bendis/David F. Walker, Writers; Jamal Campbell, Artist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: We’re two-thirds of the way through this long-awaited second series, and it feels like the plot is finally getting started. This issue is nicely tense, as a wounded Dee crash-lands on Earth at the brink of death after an ill-fated attempt to take the fight back to Naomi’s world. As Naomi scrambles to save his life and get him to a JL medical facility, we get some nice glimpses back home as Naomi’s parents come to terms with what their daughter is turning into—an A-list hero. This is the first issue with a real sense of scale to it, and once Dee explains what happened to him back on the other world, this issue steps up in a big way. There are several double-paged spreads this issue that push Jamal Campbell’s art to a stunning level, and the cliffhanger is a lot to resolve in only two pages. I could have done without the stock plot of a disgruntled townsperson trying to get Naomi thrown out, but he’s been outclassed by the end of the issue.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.