Greetings, 'Rama readers! Ready for your weekly helping of Rapid-Fire Reviews? Then get ready for the quick draw with the Best Shots team, as Aaron Duran takes the lead with Batgirl #0...Batwoman #0 (Published by DC Comics; Review by Aaron Duran; 'Rama Rating: 8 out of 10): It's not easy balancing character history with compelling storytelling. Batwoman #0 is no exception. There is little to this issue that fans of Kate Kane don't already know. Indeed, the bulk of this title simply provides a condensed retelling of her pre-New 52 story, . Still Williams and Blackman are able to capture strong emotions through Kate's issue-long monologue to her father. Visually, Williams plays homage to artist David Mazzucchelli, while keeping his own style and striking color palette intact. Your enjoyment of this issue will wholly depend on your wants from a #0 issue. If you want hints and seeds of stories to come, Batwoman #0 will leave you wanting. Me? Any chance to get inside Kate Kane's head is time well spent. Daredevil #18 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by David Pepose; 'Rama Rating: 7 out of 10): Is Matt Murdock crazy? With this book double-shipping, it feels a little early for Mark Waid to be tapping this well of negativity for Daredevil, although I give him props for at least making Matt's reactions seem human and even soulful. Waid's new, rough-edged dynamic between Foggy and Matt is refreshing if a little contrived, as the Man Without Fear begins to doubt his very senses. Artist Chris Samnee makes every page a clean swing of storytelling, although he doesn't seem to get those home run action sequences like he did in his last arc. This story has some potential — and keep in mind that Waid and Samnee inject a ton of humanity into this book, which makes it very easy to resonate with this book — but it's lacking the heat we've seen in this duo's earlier work.
Wonder Woman #0 (Published by DC Comics; Review by Vanessa Gabriel; 'Rama Rating: 7 out of 10): Apart from the obligatory and limiting layout of the cover, Wonder Woman #0 is a breathtakingly beautiful issue. Cliff Chiang's expressiveness and Matt Wilson's warm colors bring the action and emotion of this story to life exquisitely. Brian Azzarello flashes back to an adolescent Diana unaware of her true origin, and shunned by her peers for who they all believe her to be. More determined than ever to prove herself, Diana faces trials presented to her with fierce bravery and exceptional conviction. It is clear that these moments will define the woman that she becomes. Within the limited scope of this one issue, Azzarello tells an engaging story and authentically builds the character. Wonder Woman #0 is a nostalgic and endearing glimpse into the youth of Diana of Themyscira. I enjoyed it.
Lil' Depressed Boy #13 (Published by Image Comics; Review by Jake Baumgart; 'Rama Rating: 7 out of 10): What might be the real hook of Lil’ Depressed Boy is the relationship that the character has with fans that are just like him. LDB isn’t a relatable everyman, he is a certain man; almost an archetype that you have to be "in the club" to relate to. He wears his membership on his shirts. This isn’t his downfall but his appeal. It might be cliché, but comic fans like the inside jokes and references. They might relate, better than anyone, to being the underdog in situations and finding solace in art like LDB does. S. Steven Struble and Sina Grace give their audience a story that, although not for everyone, is still one of us.
Justice League #0 (Published by DC Comics; Review by Jake Baumgart; 'Rama Rating: 10 out of 10): If you were curious about Captain Marvel and Shazam this is the issue for you. If you weren’t? This is still the issue for you. Geoff Johns does such an amazing job flipping the script from the unnaturally pure Billy Batson to the little snot that is New 52 Billy. It’s not a ploy to bring in the next generation, it’s great story telling that makes the reader laugh, relate and cheer for the unlikely boy hero. If that wasn’t enough, Gary Frank is the perfect partner in crime. It doesn’t seem like anyone would have been able to nail Cap’s acting the way Frank does. He captures the essence of the little boy in a Superman’s body.
Spider-Men #5 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by Aaron Duran; 'Rama Rating: 5 out of 10): Spider-Men started incredibly strong, but after three issues, Bendis' story lacked focus. Apart from a few powerful character moments, the story itself fell short. Issue #5 reads as an extension of that. Mysterio has won, but he's Mysterio. Off to the Ultimate Universe to gloat. Miles, Peter, and the Scoobs are waiting. It's a fun confrontation, if only for the banter between Peter and Miles as they take him down. Pichelli's art is as wonderful as ever, but she has little opportunity to showcase her talents in this issue. There will likely be some lasting repercussions from this mini-event. But in the end, all we wanted was Miles and Peter hanging out. Great as those moments are, it's hard to justify the whole book around them.
Nightwing #0; Published by DC Comics; Review by Erika D. Peterman; ’Rama Rating: 7 out of 10: While there isn’t anything revelatory in this origin story, writers Tom DeFalco and Kyle Higgins turn in a solid Dick Grayson 101 that establishes the contrast between him and the man who changed the course of his life. There are some effective character moments, most notably the brief tough/tender interaction between Dick and his parents on the day they died. Even though we know how the Flying Graysons’ story ends, those scenes heighten the impact of the tragedy under the Haly’s Circus big top. The rest of Nightwing #0 is a bit of a blur, as it quickly covers Dick’s hunt for the man responsible for his parents’ deaths, his connection to Bruce Wayne/Batman and, finally, his transformation into Robin. (Snazzy new costume, by the way.) That’s an awful lot of ground to cover in one issue, and the narrative begins to feel rushed as a result. Eddy Barrows’ action scenes are always well executed, and he does such a good job of incorporating Dick’s signature acrobatic skills into the proceedings. It isn't necessary to read this comic, but Nightwing #0 does get the job done in helping to define the character and his approach to heroism.
The Pound #1 (Published by IDW Publishing; Review by Aaron Duran; 'Rama Rating: 7 out of 10): The cover sets the tone. A creature with a proper beer gut, clutching a bat, and sporting an awesome “get off of my lawn” face. Writer Stephen Nilson brings the reader in mid scene as Scottie and Howie are forced to open their own animal control agency after budget cuts hose their jobs. I wish Nilson had stuck with his main characters doing what they do (and all the crazy that comes with the supernatural), as the over-arcing story is less interesting. Ibrahim Moustafa's art is a strong debut. His lines have a good weight and sense of presence on the page. In addition, his characters are very expressive which allows for a stronger connection with the reader. The Pound is a fun debut with lots of potential.
Birds of Prey #0 (Published by DC Comics; Review by Jake Baumgart; 'Rama Rating: 7 out of 10): What more can a fan want out of a solid #0 issue like this? Duane Swierczynski really nails the story elements all the way around. The pacing, although fast, managed to feel organic. I didn’t matter that the highlights weren’t the plot points, it’s the characterization of Dinah Lance and her team. The typical “heroes meet, fight each other, then unite” arch never felt heavy-handed. It made sense because he led the characters into that direction first. Romano Molenaar turns in some great work here as well. Although it had its cheesecake moments, Molenaar is able to interpret these characters and turn out something awesome on the page.
Young Justice #20 (Published by DC Comics; Review by Jake Baumgart; 'Rama Rating: 7 out of 10): Does the regular have you frustrated? Fans looking for a more traditional version of their favorite young superheroes should definitely be reading Young Justice. Although it’s a book geared towards much younger readers (think preteens and kids), there is still the core of this fan favorite characters. The history is a little warped compared to their original iterations, but the story still feels organic. Greg Weismen gets these characters but keeps the book breezy and accessible for young readers; they aren’t steeped in back history. Artist Christopher Jones is able to make the book like and actual comic and not swapped-out screenshots. If you’re a hardcore sidekick fan, this might be the book for you! Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!
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