Punchline: The Gotham Game #2 – Tini & Blake Howard, Writers; Gleb Melnikov, Will Robson, Artists; Luis Guerrero, Colorist
Ray – 7/10
Ray: Punchline is by far the most popular character to come out of DC in recent years, but is she a lead character? This series so far is sending mixed signals. Without other characters to bounce off, Punchline is all chaos and violence and very little else. We see her take over Gotham’s drug scene, force retired criminals out of retirement to help her, and declare war on Gotham’s queenpin Eiko Hasigawa for no other reason than she wants things and doesn’t care who she has to kill to get her way. Batman guest-stars in this issue, being pulled into the fray by her reign of terror, but he comes off surprisingly inept against her chaotic attacks. It looks and reads fine, but it lacks a hook, and the most interesting part of the issue is the return of Bluff and his manipulations of Cullen Row. Harper and Cullen were really the core of the previous Punchline story, and I’m not sure there’s a suitable equivalent here.
Deathstroke Inc. #15 – Ed Brisson, Writer; Dexter Soy, Artist; Veronica Gandini, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: This title wraps up with this issue, although in many ways its main narrative ended with Shadow War and this Deathstroke: Year One story has been a completely different book. It’s a compelling read, showing how Slade goes from being an ordinary soldier to the monster he is today. Last issue saw Slade and Wintergreen being captured by their rival assassin, the last of a slew of genetically-enhanced killers. It’s not a surprise that this ’90s-inspired villain is a paper tiger, and when he pushes Slade too far, he meets a horrible end and Slade heads off for a showdown with the man who hired them both. However, while these scenes are good, it’s the final scenes with Adeline and the rest of Slade’s family that really sells this issue. We see how Slade is slowly becoming a series of masks, a man without anything human at his core, and he can take on any of them—even the mask of a decent husband and father. Of course, we all know the truth, and that creeping horror is what makes this issue work.
DC Horror Presents Sgt. Rock vs. the Army of the Dead #3 – Bruce Campbell, Writer; Eduardo Risso, Artist; Kristian Rossi, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: Campbell and Risso’s strange history-horror hybrid hits the halfway point, and with it the heroes start to turn the tide on the Nazis. Hitler’s doctor and the mastermind behind the zombie project is in their sights, but to get there they’ll have to make their way through enemy territory, breach a fortress—and take on a platoon of undead soldiers. The zombies—who really function more like ghouls or “Frankensteins” more than anything—don’t play the biggest role this issue, but they’re used effectively. The pulpy war comic feel here is what really works, and the prelude hints at something even more ridiculous to come—Hitler and Eva Braun themselves may be undead and using the same treatment, and they may be turning themselves into zombies from their increased doses. This is a fun comic, one that never quite feels like horror, but that’s something Campbell is familiar with in his most famous franchise.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.