Our fearless leader is still out among the cosmos today, and multiple members of the team are on route to a busy convention weekend, but we still have a handful of pellet-sized reviews for you here, starting with Wonder Woman #32 from Aaron Duran.
Wonder Woman #32 (Published by DC Comics; Review by Aaron Duran; 'Rama Rating: 7 out of 10):The pending conflict between the remaining gods of Olympus and the First Born draws closer as the Amazons stand with those they left for dead under Azzarellos original arc. Wonder Woman #32 shows Azzarellos gift for the long game, but in the process, keeps losing the title character in her own book. It's true, Diana has some moments that are cheer worthy. But when you're honest and realize she could be replaced with any strong character in the book, then the title is lacking. Goran Sudzuka's art brings a nice sense of movement to the comic, but considering the books deals with gods and war, there is a strange lack of scope. Still, when paired with Matthew Wilson and his very smart color palate, you do have a Wonder Woman that is visually pleasing. This is still a well crafted comic with a compelling story and good art, but it's also still a comic where the Queen of Themyscira is a supporting role.
Original Sin #4 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by Rob McMonigal; 'Rama Rating: 1 out of 10): A bunch of Marvel characters who should know better are being led by the nose in an uninspired issue with recycled ideas that could have been covered in about three pages. Character death has less credibility than the Daily Bugle in the Marvel U, so the drama of Nick Fury’s death is non-existent, we all know what’s coming, and the feeling of “get on with it already” pervades the narrative. Jason Aaron’s quips fall flat, as their tone undercuts the seriousness of the matter at hand, putting the script at odds with the lackluster plot. Even Mike Deodato’s art doesn’t have its usual life, as his hyper-detailed work is buried under oppressive colors by Frank Martin. Unfortunately, Original Sin is anything but, and is best avoided.
Batman and Ra's al Ghul #32 (Published by DC Comics; Review by Aaron Duran; 'Rama Rating: 6 out of 10): The Hunt for Robin has paired the Dark Knight with all manner of friend and foe and with Batman and Robin #32 it all comes to a head, pun not intended. Peter Tomasi has done a compelling job of balancing Bruce's sadness over the loss of his son with Batman's need for righteous vengeance against Ra's. Still, this “final” chapter reads as unfinished. Which I know is a staple of the genre, but the twist at the end feels just a bit egregious. Even if it's interesting. Patrick Gleason is always an artist of extremes. His panel design and character composition evokes a strong emotional content. In this issue however, his skills are a little wasted on tight and close action scenes that do not play to his strengths. The conflict merely becomes lost in shades of green and black. A strong arc that simply misses it's target.
Punisher #7 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by Rob McMonigal; 'Rama Rating: 6 out of 10): A wounded animal is often more dangerous, as the men who capture Frank Castle soon discover in an issue that has a good handle on the Punisher character but doesn’t do anything new. The problem with the Punisher is that it’s very difficult to make your story stand out. While there’s nothing wrong with Kevin Maurer and Nathan Edmondson’s plot here (Frank is captured at a weak moment, then inevitably busts out after being tortured), it’s just a variation on a theme. Carmen Carnero and Terry Pallot do a great job showing Punisher’s pain without turning it into torture porn, and their layouts pick key moments of action for the reader. This is a solid Punisher comic, but anyone looking for more will be disappointed.
Sex Criminals #6 (Published by Image Comics; Review by Forrest C. Helvie; 'Rama Rating: 8 out of 10): Jon and Suzie are back after having escaped from the sex police, but in the wake of their sexcapades, the reality of daily life begins to settle in. Issue #6 isn't the most dynamic from a plot standpoint, but it does provide valuable depth to the characters interpersonal dynamics. Although he uses a slightly more cartoonish style, Zdarsky really has a handle on getting the reader to see the effects of John's depression and anxiety, which stood out even further given the smart color choices that reinforced the heavy, defeated feeling emanating from Jon. This issue may not garner Fraction as many laughs as what readers encountered in the first arc, but he is definitely touching on some really thoughtful and interesting topics that many readers will no doubt appreciate.