I Am Batman #11 – John Ridley, Writer; Christian Duce, Tom Derenick, Artists; Rex Lokus, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: After a high-octane arc that pitted Jace Fox against his first supervillain, the women take the lead this issue—particularly Renee Montoya, who is in the city to interview for the job of Police Commissioner, a step up from Gotham. While I’m not sure she’s going to become a regular in the title yet, she has a lot of ties—few of them friendly—to Chubbs and Whitaker, and also has an interest in the new Batman. After wounding a fellow officer to prevent him from murdering the captured villain last issue, Chubbs is in the line of fire—with her own officers attempting to set her and her partner up to die at one point. It leads to a fiery confrontation that shows Ridley’s writing at its best—as does the more low-key subplot involving why Tiffany Fox seems to be so full of frustration lately. I’m not sure what the next big plot here is, especially with a Dark Crisis tie-in coming, but Ridley is doing some good work building his cast.
Wonder Woman #789 – Michael W. Conrad/Becky Cloonan, Jordie Bellaire, Writers; Emanuela Lupacchino/Wade Von Grawbadger, Eduardo Pansica/Julio Ferreira, Paulina Ganucheau, Artists; Tamra Bonvillain, Kendall Goode, Colorists
Ray – 7/10
Ray: Coming off a series of very strong arcs, this title continues to lose momentum with an arc that pits Diana against several of her arch-enemies—including MRAs. The overall ideas are fine, but the writing is rather over the top as Dr. Psycho continues to turn most of society against Diana. It does seem a little out of his power level, so this issue introduces another rogue—Dolos, the Duke of Deception, a fairly obscure villain from the earliest days of Diana’s comics who has only appeared fitfully since. As Diana battles against illusions, other villains target her three closest allies. The story is fine, but Dr. Psycho’s constant mugging and arguing with his mysterious masters drags the tone down quite a bit, and it seems like just about everyone in the book seems out of their depths at the moment.
The backup, however, continues to be strong. After last issue’s escapade with Antiope left Diana with a telltale mark on her hair, Hippolyta seeks guidance on her troubled relationships with both her sister and her daughter. It’s very well-written, the art is gorgeous, but the cliffhanger makes all the clearer that telling any story in eight-to-ten-page fragments can be tricky for the writer.
Naomi: Season Two #5 – Brian Michael Bendis/David F. Walker, Writers; Jamal Campbell, Artist
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: It’s the penultimate issue of the second volume of Naomi, and things continue to move fast as we get into the last act. Led by the ruthless Zumbado, a collective of super-criminals have invaded from her world looking to claim this Earth as their own. Bendis and Walker do some great things with the impact of a supervillain war coming to a small town for the first time, and the battle scenes are spectacular. There are some nicely quiet moments amid the explosions, such as the way Naomi’s father attempts to protect her, but the best scenes of the issue are in the flashbacks as Naomi discovers the true extent of her powers with the Justice League. One scene where she catches Superman in a quiet, reflective moment is especially powerful. It’s one of the best issues of the run—the main problem is that with only one issue to go and no word on a volume three, it’s hard to know how this will play out as a larger story. This series might be served better by moving to an OGN format.
Future State: Gotham #15 – Dennis Culver, Writer; Giannis Milonogiannis, Artist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: The war of the Batmen continues this issue, as the real Bruce Wayne returns and teams up with Talia to hunt down the possessed Damian Wayne—who has been conned into working with Hush. An attack by Jason Todd, who believes his father is still Hush in disguise and wants to bring him in for the Magistrate, only escalates things. Damian here is still sort of a one-note character, easily manipulated and addled due to his exposure to the demons of Hell. On the other hand, Dick Grayson has become a more nuanced antagonist. His mind affected by the mysterious drug Brane, he seems to have become convinced that he is the only one who can be Batman, and is willing to take down his former allies to accomplish it. No one in this series is particularly likable, but almost everyone has their own honorable agenda to some degree—which makes this coming family feud all the more tragic.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.