Greetings, 'Rama readers! Your friendly neighborhood Best Shots team is at it again, with this week's edition of our Rapid-Fire Reviews! So let's move fast with the latest releases, as we take a look at Gotham City's last stand over in Batman Incorporated...
Batman Incorporated #6 (Published by DC Comics; Review by David Pepose; 'Rama Rating: 7 out of 10): What's the problem with stakes? They're all relative — so for most superhero comics, Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham's Batman Incorporated would be a slam-dunk. But after last month's dystopian future, this issue actually feels like a breather, more of a buildup towards a harder hitting climax. With body counts and a squadron of Kingdom Come Robo-bats to the secret origin of Alfred the Cat, there are a lot of moments designed to elicit fan reaction, and those do deliver. Chris Burnham meanwhile brings the fluidity and stylishness of Frank Quitely, but his work does get derailed a bit by some mismatched fill-in work by Andres Guinaldo. There's little wrong with Morrison unraveling the mystery behind Leviathan — with lethal results — but there is an energy lacking that keeps this comic from its usual lofty heights. Hellboy in Hell #2 (Published by Dark Horse Comics; Review by Edward Kaye; ’Rama Rating: 10 out of 10): Hellboy descends deeper into the bowels of Hell to the great city of Pandemonium, where a throne and a crown are are waiting for him to begin his reign. After the excitement of the debut issue, Mignola slows down the pace a bit to take the opportunity to lay down some plot threads and set the scene for the rest of the series. It’s a brooding and moody issue, featuring some fantastic scenes, foremost of which is Hellboy receiving a vision of his own birth and the moment he was bonded to the Right Hand of Doom. Mignola’s artwork brings the story to life in stunning detail, with his minimalist linework and his bold, heavy blacks. Every page is a joy to behold. New Avengers #1 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by Edward Kaye; ’Rama Rating: 4 out of 10): Hickman’s high-concept and cerebral approach to storytelling usually yields fantastic results. However, here, this approach falls flat on its face, providing a messy and confusing story that is not at all new-reader friendly. Without reading the solicitation text, one would be hard pressed to figure out what this story is about. What’s more, new readers will be coming to this to see the New Avengers, instead they get a Black Panther comic, featuring a cameo by the Illuminati. This brings up the question, if Marvel NOW! stories are supposed to be fresh and current, why are we dredging up old storylines from Brian Michael Bendis’s time on the title? Steve Epting’s artwork is the comic’s saving grace, with eye-catching and dynamic visuals that breath life into scenes.
Teen Titans #15 (Published by DC Comics; Review by Aaron Duran; 'Rama Rating: 6 out of 10): Behold the power of "Death of the Family," as it compels me to buy books long off my pull list, such as Teen Titans #15. The Joker's plan to use Tim's almost Bruce-like compulsion for control against the Titans is an interesting concept. While Lobdell's plot is okay, it's Nicieza's sharp dialogue that really sells the issue. Brett Booth's art is a bit dramatic for my tastes, as everyone is always in some form of epic heroic pose. That's all well and good when the scene allows, but on every other page, it becomes a bit tedious. Still, if you miss some of that old-school internal monologuing from Tim Drake, Teen Titans #15 is an OK, if uneven, inclusion in an otherwise tight mini-event.
Morbius, The Living Vampire #1 (Published by Marvel Comics; Review by Aaron Duran; 'Rama Rating: 5 out of 10): I am such a sucker for Marvel's '70s-era weirdness, and Morbius, The Living Vampire is at the top of that list. Enjoying his Image work, I was quite excited to read Joe Keatinge's take on Morbius. Sadly, there is little in this issue that matches my enthusiasm for the character or title. Too much time gets spent on reminding the reader that Morbius isn't your typical vampire. Richard Elson's art is simply passable. He gets the job done, but there is little passion behind the pencils. Morbius is such a classic example of Marvel's bizarre approach to both science and the supernatural, that he needs a team that's ready to go a little crazy. Both Keatinge and Elson play it way too safe to make a compelling read.
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #2 (Published by IDW; Review by Amanda McDonald; 'Rama Rating: 9 out of 10): This second issue of pop culture favorite My Little Pony keeps up the momentum of the fun debut, adding in a mountain adventure with a toy obsessed cave troll named Jim. Katie Cook's writing channels the ponies' established voices with an extra dash of her wit, while Andy Price's art and visual jokes make the book a treat on a second and even third read through. Don't mistake this book for being aimed at just the youngest readers; the level of panel construction and amount of dialogue solidly place it into the all-ages category. A recap or character page would be a welcome addition to those unfamiliar with the show, but anypony can jump in (hooves first!) and enjoy Cook and Price's talented take on the MLP world.
Adventure Time with Fionna and Cake (Published by BOOM! Studios; Review by Pierce Lydon; 'Rama Rating: 8 out of 10): Ice King should be proud. His fan fiction is an actual comic book! Written and illustrated by Adventure Time storyboard revisionist and character designer Natasha Allegri, Adventure Time with Fionna and Cake follows the continuity established in the gender-swapped episode of the show. This book is infused with the same kind of whimsy that typifies the Pendleton Ward-iverse and Allegri is a perfect fit, blending the weird and wonderful to great effect. Britt Wilson’s lettering deserves a mention as well. It varies in size and shape in ways that we’re more accustomed to seeing in storybooks but it fits the tone of the franchise well. All in all, another quality entry in BOOM!’s Adventure Time catalog that stays true to the source while forging ahead with fun stories.
Star Trek #16 (Published by IDW Publishing; Review by Aaron Duran; 'Rama Rating: 2 out of 10): So, this issue happened. In terms of story, Star Trek #16 is definitely fun, but it's executed with such haphazard writing and lack of attention to detail that it makes it almost unreadable. You'll find no bigger fan of IDW's Star Trek series than this reviewer, but there is no way around it, this is a sloppy comic. Littered with wholly unbelievable plot twists and convenient coincidences, it's hard to not roll your eyes at this one. Combine that with obvious photo referencing from a completely wrong Star Trek series and you've got one mess of a book. It is really hard to write about, because until this arc, Star Trek from IDW has been darn near perfect. Here's hoping for redemption in issue #17. Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!