DC vs. Vampires #10 – James Tynion VI/Matthew Rosenberg, Writers; Otto Schmidt, Artist
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: As the final battle looms, this issue keeps most of the cast far apart from each other. The most significant plotline involves the vampire Damian Wayne leading a small team of survivors including Harley and Batwoman into Gotham, where Punchline has taken command of the underground and has loyalty to no one. Supergirl only appears briefly this issue, as the young savior barely survives last month’s close call, but the issue has a clever way of explaining how she avoided drowning. Unusual uses of water seems to be an odd theme this issue, as the prison camp segment involving Green Arrow, Grifter, and a vampire Hawkman has another unexpected guest-star who gets summoned in a hilarious way. The ending reveals the secret weapon of the heroes, as they finally start evening the odds. This is a bit of a breather issue, but it does feel like the next two issues are going to deliver.
DC Mech #4 – Kenny Porter, Writer; Baldemar Rivas, Artist; Mike Spicer, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: At the halfway point, this issue is sort of a quiet one without as many space mech battles—but that suits it just fine. Last issue saw Kal-El’s gambit fail as his mech crashed and he barely survived—landing just outside of Smallville, Kansas. Now he’s being looked after by the elderly childless couple the Kents, while anti-alien sentiment in the town rises to a fever pitch. While the homemade hillbilly mechs that show up later in the issue feel a little silly, it’s great to see another unique take on the Kents and their seemingly boundless ability to find and protect young people who need them, just like in Dark Knights of Steel. We also learn a little more about the origins of Wally and Bruce in this issue, as Lex Luthor gets ready to make his final gambit to become Earth’s savior—even if he needs to put it in more danger to do so. This is a slight AU, but a fun one that’s rising far above its basic idea thanks to strong execution.
Deathstroke Inc. #14 – Ed Brisson, Writer; Dexter Soy, Artist; Veronica Gandini, Colorist
Ray – 7/10
Ray: The latest chapter of Deathstroke’s origin story finds him taking a contract he would do for free—hunting down the doctor who experimented on him way back in the day. But there’s a wrinkle along the way—three other super-soldiers, straight out of the 1990s, have been hired as well—and they’re looking to kill anyone who gets in the way. The bulk of this issue is just a bloody battle between these rival forces there for the same goal, and to no one’s surprise Slade gets the better of the no-name goons. Things pick up a little towards the end, as Slade finally finds his target and makes a choice that quite nicely illustrates his unique worldview. There are some nicely brutal moments in this issue, and some good action scenes, but overall this issue doesn’t really advance the story too much. This whole arc has mostly felt like it’s covering things we already know.
DC Horror Presents Sgt. Rock vs. the Army of the Dead #2 – Bruce Campbell, Writer; Eduardo Risso, Artist; Kristian Rossi, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: The first issue of this oddball series made clear that we weren’t really dealing with zombies—the undead Nazis in this series were the product of twisted resurrection experiments, more out of Frankenstein than The Walking Dead. The darkly comic opening in which a group of zombie soldiers have a gory drinking night sets the absurdist tone nicely, but things are much more dire for Sgt. Rock and his crew. As they encounter more and more undead soldiers, they barely escape with their lives and trace the source to Hitler’s doctor. As they try to nab this high-profile target, they’re ambushed by a deadly mob of the undead, leading to a showdown in a burning building as we discover exactly how much punishment these zombie goons can truly endure. Campbell continues to surprise in terms of how good he is at writing comic scripts, although I don’t know how much story there is in this concept beyond the excellent, gruesome art.
Batman: Beyond the White Knight #6 – Sean Murphy, Writer/Artist; Dave Stewart, Colorist
Ray – 7/10
Ray: One of the oddest things about this series is how drastically it rewrites the history of Batman and his proteges, such as the apparent change that Jason Todd was Robin before Dick Grayson in this continuity. This issue is mostly about Bruce and his sons, with Terry McGinnis not appearing in this issue. While Jason and his protege Gan find themselves under assault by Dick Grayson’s private authorities, Bruce is dealing with a thorny situation of his own—a midnight tryst with Harley Quinn that was initiated by the part of Joker still lurking in Bruce’s mind. Combine all that with the transformation of Derek Powers into Blight and a coup by Dick’s ruthless second-in-command Captain Flint, and you have a recipe for a completely chaotic comic that seems to end with a surprising death. Overall, the action is great but this is lacking something to make it feel like a truly compelling alternate world.
Batman: The Audio Adventures #2 – Dennis McNicholas, Writer; Anthony Marques, Penciller; J. Bone, Inker; Dave Stewart, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: This universe seems to exist somewhere in a strange limbo between Batman ‘66, Batman the Animated Series, and the Batman we know best. The whole city has a strange, pulpy retro vibe to it, but the stakes are much higher and its villains play for keeps. The main plot this issue involves Batman meeting a cult of masked warriors who are seeking the sword of King Scimitar—seemingly to turn over to Ra’s Al Ghul. There’s a twist to this, but the new origin given to Ra’s here is intriguing, tying him into one of the worst plagues in human history. Killer Croc, meanwhile, is in a completely different story as his mysterious young friend leads him on a surreal tour under Gotham filled with colorful illusions. Another major Bat-villain makes his debut in the cliffhanger, as this series continues to be intrigued. However, the colorful stylings don’t exactly match up with the tone of the audio drama to my eye.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.