Nubia, Queen of the Amazons #2 – Stephanie Williams, Writer; Alitha Martinez, Penciller; Mark Morales, John Livesay, Inkers; Alex Guimaraes, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: For a second issue, it’s surprising how this issue sort of pulls back on the gas and lets the story breathe. Nubia is unconscious after passing out while fighting a mysterious landslide in Brazil, and while the Amazons gather by her hospital bed to wait for news, much of the issue takes place in flashbacks. Set in ancient Algeria, it focuses on a young warrior princess named Zahavah who may be a young Nubia. Wanting to defend her kingdom but being expected by her father to rule it instead, she chafes against her role, spars with her best friend, and in general lives her life—but if this is what we think it is, we know some dark days and shocking twists are coming. A subplot towards the end after Nubia awakes where giant robot scorpions attack the hospital seems to come out of nowhere, but a swerve in the final page hints at tying the two plots together—although the larger narrative is still keeping us at arm’s length.
Batman Beyond: Neo-Year #4 – Jackson Lanzing/Collin Kelly, Writers; Max Dunbar, Artist; Romulo Fajardo Jr, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: As we pass the halfway point of this miniseries, it continues to be a highly entertaining, fast-paced sci-fi thriller. After a tense intro segment as Gotham stalks an old man that it claims to have poisoned, Terry is confronted by a massive sword-wielding warrior only known as the Sword of Gotham. This powerful adversary is cloaked in holographic light and has no problem getting through its defenses, and Terry barely escapes with his life—until he lures it out into the open, ambushes it, and exposes the shocking secret under the armor. As it becomes clear just how deep Gotham’s clutches go, he seeks out the help of his new frenemy Officer Boonma, but their reunion is brief before the action explodes again. What works best this issue is Terry’s narration, as he continues to grapple with the loss of Bruce and tries to figure out what kind of Batman he’s going to be. The plot isn’t as compelling yet, but the character work is top-notch.
Multiversity: Teen Justice #2 – Danny Lore/Ivan Cohen, Writers; Marco Failla, Artist; Enrica Eren Angiolini, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: I said that the first issue might be the best Teen Titans book to come along in years, and I haven’t seen anything to change that in this issue—but I kind of wonder why this issue feels so little like a team. All the storylines are compelling, but they do feel a little disparate at times. After last issue’s reveal of Sinestra as the mastermind behind the Church of Blood, Troy and Raven have taken it upon themselves to infiltrate the cult—with potentially deadly consequences for one of them. Meanwhile, Klarienne and her mentor Zatara get deeper into a magical threat, while Supergirl, Robin, Aquagirl, and Kid Quick do some training—until a sudden disaster in Zandia pulls them into a genuinely horrific villainous plot reminiscent of a recent movie. This is a fast-paced comic with a big cast, so everyone is sort of competing for page time. However, I already like just about every gender-flipped hero in this book, and that goes a long way to getting me invested in a team.
Suicide Squad: Blaze #3 – Simon Spurrier, Writer; Aaron Campbell, Artist; Jordie Bellaire, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: This Black Label series, like so many others, has seen delays along the way. But it’s pretty clear that there’s an enormous amount of detail going into the art on this final apocalyptic installment. The Blaze Squad is down to three now, their powers continuing to increase and their lifespans getting ever shorter as the mysterious super-killer continues to terrorize the world. We finally find out what this killer is and what drives him—and it’s a genuinely disturbing tale of alien happenstance and human corruption, a bit reminiscent of the Flashpoint Superman but so much worse. The story gets a little wordy as it winds down, grounding itself in the thoughts of one slightly annoying man. It’s also really clearly out of continuity towards the end, more so than your average Black Label series. But it’s gritty, brutal, and the art is absolutely brilliant—ultimately turning into a story with shades of classics like Miracleman with a DC/Suicide Squad twist.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.