Best Shots Comic Book Reviews: BATMAN #33, AVENGERS 100th ANNIVERSARY, VELVET #6, More

Batman #33
Credit: DC Comics
Credit: DC Comics

Batman #33
Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Greg Capullo, Danny Miki and FCO Plascencia
Lettering by Steve Wands Published by DC Comics
Review by Forrest C. Helvie
'Rama Rating: 9 out of 10

With one giant-sized issue, Batman's year-long "Zero Year" arc draws to a close. The final questions posed to readers, however, are whether or not Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Danny Miki, and FCO Plascencia have been able to reinvent the wheel for a new generation, and will this re-imagining of Batman's origins stand the test of time.

Readers last left Batman facing the Riddler in another battle of wits, but this time with the aim to save the city from being potentially wiped from the map by a pair of incoming fighter jets. In this final exchange, one can't help but walk away wondering whether or not Nygma actually gets the best of Batman as he puts forward a final riddle that even Batman cannot not solve. Capullo really shines in this scene with his depiction of Riddler, who drips with hubris and an ever-increasingly frustrated Batman - all of which helps sell the moment. It's an important one, too, as it provides readers with an opportunity to see the Batman's intellect at work.

Some might look at this issue as a less-than-positive portrayal of Batman, where he is no longer able to use his mind to solve a problem and must therefore resort to physicality to win the day. However, Batman's appeal has often resulted from his ability to be both the "world's greatest detective" and a "Dark Knight" – a balance of mind and body. Throughout this issue, we see the all-too-human Batman put both his mind and body on the line, and his solution to the Riddler's schemes is one that still demonstrates his knowledge of the past and his ability to apply this information to cut to the chase. Additionally, Snyder has to "fast-forward" through this game of 12 riddles to avoid losing momentum, so it works from a pragmatic standpoint as well. We get the point that we're seeing the best and brightest duel it out without having to go through the whole game.

At the same time, we see Lucius Fox and Jim Gordon continuing to forge ahead with shutting down the Riddler's control over the communications systems. Although these secondary characters only operate in the background, they serve an important purpose of showing how it is that Batman, Wayne Industries, and the Gotham City Police Department would enjoy such a close relationship in the years to follow. This strange relationship and understanding makes sense because of scenes like this.

Most notable in this issue, however, are the number of scenarios Snyder creates where the symbolism runs high and readers step deep into the mythical nature of Batman. In one instance, Batman usurps the Riddler as the "source of power" in Gotham, forced to subject himself to a literally electrifying demise in order to resurrect his home and become its savior. If we understand Batman to be more than a man – an iconic Bat-Christ – then this is the bridge Snyder is creating from man to myth, which Plascencia's colors vividly highlight throughout this scene. Later, Capullo, Miki and Plascencia create an absolutely haunting and poignant scene with Alfred having successfully resuscitated Batman under a spotlight, which leans heavily upon the tragic scene Frank Miller created with a young, broken boy mourning his dead parents in the same city. Only now, Bruce emerges whole and victorious as the Batman. Once again the image of death and rebirth come alive.

What's important though, is that this Batman is far from perfect as seen throughout the entire Zero Year story arc and within this issue. What may surprise many readers is the scene the team creates where a young Bruce undergoes what is often seen as an extreme form of therapy as a last resort to dealing with his feelings of grief and depression over the loss of his parents. Bruce tells Alfred he was searching for a means to "clean the slate" without having to confront the source of his pain. That's an important lesson for him to learn, which earlier issues of the "Zero Year" story showed: Bruce learning how to cope and rebuild himself. It's a small element to this story, but it underscores the intent of this creative team to conduct a full out deconstruction and reconstruction of Bruce Wayne and Batman for a contemporary reading audience. That necessitates playing into contemporary expectations for realistic, psychologically grounded motivations for characters, and while I don't want to make assumptions about creator intentions, it seems to be what this creative team was aiming to accomplish.

The epilogue of this issue, featuring Bruce's childhood friend Julie Madison, plays upon an old episode of Batman: The Animated Series. It's with no small amount of heartbreak that we see Alfred's imagined life for Bruce as a father and new patriarch of the Wayne family, as both he and we come to realize that this will never be. Few Christ-figures transcend their mortal selves to become mythic icons while still enjoying domestic bliss. Miki's light hand on the inks combined with Plascencia's warm color palette reflects the vibrancy of Alfred's wishful fantasy. Capullo and company deserve much credit in this regard as their ability to carry the emotional weight of these moments in each panel towards the end is what will helps readers feel the significance of Snyder's words.

There is no doubt that Batman #33 ends the "Zero Year" storyline with a mix of action-packed sequences with some complex storytelling and character development – a hallmark of this team's run on the series. Ultimately, the intent doesn't seem to be one of reinventing the wheel but digging deeper into the ambiguities about how it came into being and providing this generation with a Batman it can call its own.

Credit: DC Comics

100th Anniversary Special: The Avengers #1
Written and Illustrated by James Stokoe
Published by Marvel Comics
Review by Justin Partridge, III
‘Rama Rating: 9 out of 10

James Stokoe is an artist’s artist. For years, he has dazzled audiences and colleagues alike with his intricate and gorgeous covers and interiors. No matter how many times you read a work by Stokoe, you are sure to find some new, insane detail that you hadn’t realized was there before. So it is only natural that Marvel handed him a 100th Anniversary issue, and of course James Stokoe ran away screaming with it. 100th Anniversary Special: The Avengers #1 is a simple A-to-B Avengers plot, presented in a way that makes it look more like an episode of SuperJail! than a standard comic book. Stokoe writes and draws with enthusiasm and gusto, treating this one-shot like the latest issue amid thousands and packing the pages with dizzying visuals from the start. These 100th Anniversary issues haven’t exactly been blowing the roof off for fans, but James Stokoe and 100th Anniversary Special: The Avengers #1 may be the skull shattering finale to make them all worth it.

This 100th anniversary one-shot picks up after the event of the non-existent Avengers title of the future. The Badoon Empire has sought to subjugate the Earth with bio-weapons, which now coat the surface of the planet like living algae, as well as casting North America and much of the future Avengers into the Negative Zone. It is up to current Avengers Rogue, Dr. Strange (on his 13th reincarnation), and Beta Ray Bill to keep the peace until Tony Stark, now simply a brain in a jar connected to Stark Tower and hundreds of mini-Iron Man units, can find a solution to their Badoon problem. James Stokoe treats this one-shot like business as usual in terms of an Avengers title. His one-shot drops us in the middle of this new Avengers paradigm with only a hilariously wacky "previously on" page to guide us, but it really doesn’t matter. Stokoe isn’t concerned with canon so he makes his own, which he drops winking references to throughout with cheeky editor’s notes that reference books that don’t exist in the present day, like Under-Hulk Adventures #33.

While this alternative canon is fun enough, Stokoe never lets himself get bogged down in his own in-jokes and tells a pretty straightforward Avengers tale amid the chaos of the future he envisions. As the Avengers and Agents of P.E.A.C.E. look to clean up the Badoon funk that covers their streets, they are attacked by Mole Man the Third and his forces of New Subterranea. Stokoe proves here that even the classics are still effective when used properly as the Moloids and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes tussle amid trippy color palettes and jam-packed pages. Ending this battle with not defeat, but a Doctor Strange-enchanted compromise, James Stokoe not only has a ton of fun imagining what an Avengers title would look like in the future, but also never loses sight of what makes the Avengers a team that people will want to read 100 years into the future; Optimism.

While 100th Anniversary Special: The Avengers #1 reads like Avengers tales of old, I can promise that it doesn’t look anything like you or I have ever seen. Stokoe’s manga-influenced style drips from each page as small, tightly packed details and insane colors choices permeate throughout the issue, making it one of Marvel’s most stylish and off-the-wall issues in recent memory. Stokoe makes each landscape feel like it is breathing as the Badoon bio-weapons turn the streets into what can only be explained as an alien coral reef. Entire buildings are swallowed by thick, colorful growths and the concrete of the streets can no longer be recognized. Stokoe doesn’t stop with the backgrounds and surroundings though, his characters, though established Marvel characters, don’t look much like the heroes we recognize. Dr. Strange is now clad in a samurai-like armor complete with a cyberpunk mohawk and pointed beard, while Rogue has taken up a more futurist version of her classic '90s costume, leather jacket and all. To actually try to recount every single visual detail from this comic would be folly; it would also fail to do justice to how amazing this comic looks. James Stokoe stocks 100th Anniversary Special: The Avengers #1 with enough visual dynamite to power an entire ongoing series. Stokoe wows you early and never lets up, making this one-shot more than worth your time and money.

The 100th Anniversary gambit has been a very ambitious one for Marvel, one that mostly has disappointed readers and critics alike. You would never think that as you read James Stokoe’s Avengers #1. Stokoe handles the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes with am insane confidence that is heightened by the powerful visuals that make up this one-shot. James Stokoe may have been one of those dark horse indie creators that readers never thought would get a shot to handle the A-list characters of Marvel’s premier teams, but 100th Anniversary Special: The Avengers #1 shows that Stokoe has been playing in his own league for years, and he is more than a match for these characters. This one-shot is a stunning display of a creator’s talent and we should count our blessings that we have artists like Stokoe lurking in the wings of comics, ready to swoop in and smash conventions at will.

Credit: DC Comics

Wonder Woman #33
Written by Brian Azzarello
Art by Cliff Chiang and Matthew Wilson
Lettering by Jared K. Fletcher
Published by DC Comics
Review by Brendan McGuirk
'Rama Rating: 9 out of 10

Some men just don't know what to do with a Wonder Woman.

Do they worship her? Lust for her? Follow her into battle, or raise arms against her?

Cliff Chiang and Brian Azzarello are weaving loose plot threads with thematic ones as they wind down their New 52 Wonder Woman saga. The lasso may be Wonder Woman's most powerful weapon, but in this issue it is she who is bound - captive to the menacing First Born son, the demigod ascended to Olympus's throne whose cruelty and thirst for destruction has made him Diana's pinnacle foil throughout this series.

Their antagonism is comprehensive; he is a raging, petty creature with loyalty to nothing but his own entitled ambition, she is a leader who has graciously accepted increased responsibilities out of dutiful allegiance. In the absence of Zeus, he has divided to conquer the pantheon, basically by himself, through brute force and intimidation. She, meanwhile, has built community: with strangers with weird customs from faraway lands, like Orion, New Genesis's fiery but loyal Dog of War; with the warring siblings she never knew she had, whose divine talents turn every trivial dealing into a chess match and whose agendas are forever opaque; with the lady-Amazons and their heretofore unknown dude-Amazon counterparts; and at the heart of everything, with Hera and Zola, Zeus' spurned wife and the mistress he knocked-up, whose friendship blossomed despite all odds. The strength of her convictions has inspired unity among those in her company, even when things are most dire. “Your sisters, gods and allies, fighting your battles. It must pain you,” the First Son asks in this issue to the Amazonian princess turned Goddess of War, as he forces her to watch them die helplessly.

“Wrong,” she replies, “It makes me proud.”

This iteration of Wonder Woman will be missed when it is gone. In a day and age when the comics community has begun reconciling its relationship with its portrayal of buxom female superheroes with the relationship and moral obligation it has to the young girls looking up to them, Cliff Chiang's clean, powerful rendition of Diana and her world of Amazons and Greek deities has been... well, a godsend. The portrayal of the heavily-female-centric world of this series is never exploitative, despite characters consistently being beautiful and distinguished, its representation of diverse body types, postures, and personalities made this a title that was making good on its promise to readers, women and men alike. Structurally, narratively, and visually, this was the Wonder Woman title fans deserved. Matthew Wilson's palette for this issue was burnt, and the backdrop of deep pinks and oranges made Diana's blue eyes and tiara (and, y'know, black-but-blue hair) pop, setting her against the world she's mired in.

Someday, we won't have to have any more conversations about what to do about Wonder Woman. Why she's not better respected, or a bigger seller, or a bigger “star.” Her blockbuster movie will come, eventually. Female creators will get their turn to tell their stories through her, eventually. The world will catch up eventually, so until then we can just be inspired by the way Wonder Woman unites us, even through conflict.

Credit: Image Comics

Velvet #6
Written by Ed Brubaker
Art by Steve Epting and Elizabeth Breitweiser
Lettering by Chris Eliopoulos
Published by Image Comics
Review by Justin Partridge, III
‘Rama Rating: 10 out of 10

Ed Brubaker is a master of all sorts of genres. He has delivered breathlessly exciting superhero tales, bone-chilling thrillers, and two-fisted noir all with relative ease. With VelvetVelvet #6, the opening issue into the title’s second arc, Brubaker and his incredible art team downshifts from the quick yet methodically paced chase film action of the opening arc to a more measured and character-centric pace, adding new depths to Velvet Templeton and her dangerous world. Velvet #6 swaps the Ian Fleming like globe trotting narrative to a more street level Graham Greene approach to the title and this issue is all the stronger for it.

Velvet #6 opens with a quick yet telling look at Velvet’s path to demotion, as she viciously attacks and kills her partner’s driver after he makes an ill-timed crack about her husband. Brubaker then quickly shifts back to 1973, as Velvet slips back into London in search for answers. This flashback to Velvet’s past is much more than just a framing device to illustrate Velvet’s effectiveness in the field or to finally show readers what exactly happened to get her sat behind a desk during her prime. Brubaker uses this and a few other scenes throughout Issue #6 to peel back Velvet’s layers just a bit, finally giving readers more of an insight into her as a person and field agent. Ed Brubaker has always had an uncanny knack for delivering engaging protagonists, but Velvet Templeton may be the one with the most moving parts yet. She is ruthless, calculating, sentimental, cunning, and a hell of a lot of fun to read about month after month. These quick glimpses into her past allow the reader to look past her cold exterior to see the woman underneath, blood on her hands and all.

As we learn more about Velvet, we learn just a bit more about her investigation with teasing bits of exposition peppered throughout Velvet #6. After the shocking revelations of the last arc, we see Velvet and the title itself gain a pointed direction. While in the first arc, Velvet was largely working blind, trying to suss out every bit of information that she can. Now, armed with everything learned from last arc, Velvet now has a list of names and a solid goal to work toward. In Velvet #6 we see Velvet take to the streets of her home with razor-sharp precision. She knows exactly who to see and who to enlist toward her goal. Brubaker, ever the writer respectful of the genre, spreads Velvet’s pitch perfect narration over these scenes like a master as she hops from contact to contact gaining more information and weaponry barreling toward a bloody conclusion. I mentioned Graham Greene above and it is easy to see why while reading Velvet #6. Velvet trudges through the seedy underbelly of London and has gathered a small network of allies in her time in the field just like a Greene protagonist. If you are looking for grounded, enthralling classic spy drama, you don’t have to look further than Velvet #6

As Brubaker delivers script after script of solid drama and characterization, Steve Epting and Elizabeth Breitweiser are at the top of their game with Velvet #6. Epting’s emotive and energetic character work is on full display here as per usual, but it is Elizabeth Breitweiser who steals this sixth issue and runs away into the inky black night with it. Her London is rendered with hazy, far-off purples and neon pinks that shine through the city’s Red Light District. Tone is so important with a book like this, as it could easily dissolve into You Only Live Twice-esque hysterics, yet Breitweiser never once lets the book feel anything less than a perfectly rendered spy thriller. Her colors have impressed consistently since the title’s debut, but Velvet #6 may be her best work on the title to date.

Spy fiction, once thought a dying genre, is one that takes a delicate hand to do well. With so many spy stories of recent years relying on sci-fi like technology or dizzying set pieces, Velvet stands apart as a solidly entertaining throwback to the nickel novels of old. Ed Brubaker, Steve Epting, and Elizabeth Breitweiser have given us a character and title unafraid to take the methodical pace of older spy fiction and translate it beautifully into the medium of comics. Velvet #6 takes the already engaging titular character and presents her as a directed force of vengeance shaped by the mistakes and lies of her past, making her a living, breathing, and compelling protagonist. Velvet has been this good from the start and from the looks of Issue #6, it won’t stop being this good for a long while.

Credit: Marvel Comics

Storm #1
Written by Greg Pak
Art by Victor Ibanez and Ruth Redmond
Lettering by Cory Petit
Published by Marvel Comics
Review by George Marston
'Rama Rating: 6 out of 10

Marvel Comics seems to have mastered diversity - at least as a buzzword.

It's impossible to ignore the press the publisher has gotten in recent days regarding changes to some of its most longstanding characters in pursuit of a cultural zeitgeist that is crying out for more women and people of color in media - a zeitgeist that's not going away any time soon. In other words, this is the perfect time to debut the first ongoing solo title for Storm, who is, undoubtedly, one of Marvel's most well-liked and underused characters, and one of the characters most suited to capture that zeitgeist. Greg Pak's script has a taut handle on Ororo Munroe as a woman conflicted, pulled in several directions by the clash of her heart and mind, and artist Victor Ibanez remembers that she's not an old matron, but something of a young firebrand, capturing her poise and power with aplomb. So why doesn't Storm #1 feel like a home run?

For starters, while Pak finds Storm's voice with ease, he has a much harder time pinning down her identity. While Pak finds thematic pay dirt in painting Storm as a woman caught between two opposing sides of herself, he spends too much time focused on the circumstances that are splitting Ororo's attention without exploring the effect it has on her as a character. This leaves Storm to be defined by those around her; an unsettling effect given how effusively she pronounces herself "Goddess," "mutant," "princess," "headmistress," and so on. This identity crisis seems aiming to play counterpoint to the similar definition that's going on in Marvel's other recent mutant-centric solo book Magneto, but whereas the master of magnetism is given the chance to redefine himself by striking out on his own, the X-Men's windriding mistress of the elements is left to be pulled in too many directions, allowing Hank McCoy and the unfortunately nicknamed "Creep" to rattle her sense of self.

Storm hasn't been a skittish ingénue since her earliest days on the X-Men. Even then, she was possessed of a confidence befitting a young woman who had learned to survive on the mean streets of Cairo before finding her strength as the "Goddess" of her ancestral tribe. So, it seems a little disingenuous that a young, addled mutant could so easily rattle her sense of self simply by throwing around such a cliché as calling Ororo a "sellout" for putting the global mutant cause above the needs of her native Africa. Pak does illustrate the dynamic nicely, showcasing Storm's ongoing inner debate about whether she belongs at home in the sky, or with her boots on the ground. But too often, the book becomes mired in Ororo's role as headmistress of the Jean Grey School, or in its cozy metaphor for Uganda's ongoing anti-homosexual legislation in the form of an African country where mutants are not welcome. That Storm commits to a binary solution to her problem is disappointing, given that she is a gifted and capable leader, and her possible directives - both too simple, given the complexity of the trouble at hand - are simply given to her by others.

Fortunately, Victor Ibanez's art provides something of a bright spot to Storm #1, relying on solid layouts with solidly contrasting inks, and a take on Storm that does not forget the character's relative youth, nor sacrifices her strong bearing. Unfortunately, even Ibanez's art is not without its issues. Some of them aren't even really his fault. For example, Storm's costume is a mess. This iteration of her uniform has never been particularly compelling, but it's almost never looked less effective. Despite Ibanez's grasp on Ororo's mannerisms and energy, he simply cannot make such a dismal outfit pop off the page. For someone who throws around lightning bolts with ease, there is very little electricity in Storm's wardrobe, diminishing her role as this book's lead. Colorist Ruth Redmond does little favors herself, leaving the characters looking drab and flat, and failing to provide a dynamic counterpoint to Ibanez's solid sense of black and white.

For all its potential, Storm #1 shows a book that has a long way to go. While the goal may be to define its heroine as an individual, the book itself also needs to capture an identity. Storm #1 feels more like a one-shot than the launch of a solo book, and while Marvel has recently focused on launching new titles - especially those featuring established characters - with done-in-one tales, Storm #1 feels like less of a mission statement than a half-hearted attempt. Storm fails to commit to its authority or its activism, finding itself caught between the two, and leaving one of Marvel's biggest untapped assets still wanting more.

Credit: DC Comics

Star Spangled War Stories #1
Written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray
Art by Scott Hampton
Lettering by Rob Leigh
Published by DC Comics
Review by David Pepose
'Rama Rating: 8 out of 10

Judging by the blood-drenched cartoon zombie on its cover, Star Spangled War Stories is a bit of an odd duck. It's not a book that easily fits into a box - indeed, after reading it, I'm surprised it even got made at all. It's simultaneously all the things you would expect a comic featuring "G.I. Zombie" to entail... and none of it.

And believe me when I say no one is more surprised than me about good it is.

While the slapstick of Harley Quinn might be selling like crazy for Jimmy Palmiotti, he and Justin Gray's Star Spangled War Stories reminds me a bit more of their more serious, more deliberate work on Jonah Hex. Star Spangled War Stories almost exclusively zigs where you'd expect it to zag - indeed, it's barely a war comic. Instead, it's more like a military investigation, like NCIS but with a coat of dirt. There's also a comparison to True Detective that can be made here, as Palmiotti and Gray create a surprisingly compelling dynamic between G.I. and his living partner, Carmen. Without being burdened by capes, tights and onerous backstory - and the expectations that come with them - Palmiotti and Gray instead are able to go do their own thing, to let this story breathe organically.

Well, breathe as well as a zombie can, anyway.

The characters and their setup are what make this first issue so effective and entertaining. At first, there's almost a Bendis-style flavor to Palmiotti and Gray's writing, as they introduce the tough-as-nails Carmen King, fresh from a women's penitentiary and more than willing to throw down with the biker boy lowlifes at Eli's Joint in Nowhere, Mississippi. Sure, there's a little bit that can come across as juvenile - a line where Carmen bets a fellow pool player to "discover on yer own these ain't implants" - but one can also just make the argument that it's Carmen being built up as crass and unsophisticated. Without giving too much away, the writers' introduction of the G.I. Zombie is also a great touch, resulting in some truly unexpected twists. In an industry built on clichés, that's already a good sign.

The artwork by Scott Hampton, on the other hand, does take a little bit of getting used to - but once you do, it makes sense why he'd work on a book like this. Hampton's painterly colors are dark without being oppressive or anemic, and perhaps even more surprising is that he rarely skimps on expressiveness. His style is photorealistic in the style of an Alex Maleev or a David Mack, but he's a lot cleaner with it - there's one panel where Carmen cheerily smiles at the thought of hurting a federal agent that really lights up the page, and his G.I. Zombie looks appropriately horrific - when he goes feral, he almost seems to draw the shadows around him to cover his eyes. That said, the comparatively sedate nature of the script doesn't give Hampton much room to sell the big, evocative comic book shots - the last page feels less like a home-run cliffhanger and more like an abrupt petering out - and occasionally his characters' heads change shapes and sizes from page to page.

One issue this comic has is endemic to the industry as a whole - it ends just as its getting started, spending so much time introducing the characters and their dynamics that they don't really get a chance to start their investigation until the last few pages. The other challenge - I don't say it's a bad thing - this comic will have is marketing. Despite the marketing copy, it's not Walking Dead or Sgt. Rock, it's NCIS meets True Detective, starring a zombie who occasionally goes off the reservation. There are worse high concepts to work with. But while that unpredictability may result in lower sales, it also results in a more surprising, more entertaining read. It's rough and it's crude and it's occasionally quite bloody, but that helps make Star Spangled War Stories a brand-new kind of animal from DC Comics. Count me in for Issue #2.

Credit: Marvel Comics

Daredevil #6
Written by Mark Waid
Art by Javier Rodriguez and Alvaro Lopez
Lettering by Joe Caramagna
Published by Marvel Comics
Review by Lan Pitts
'Rama Rating: 7 out of 10

Being considered an Original Sin tie-in, some readers might be wary of not being able to follow along if they're avoiding it. Well, to them I say you might be delighted in knowing Marvel's current big event is barely touched upon. The latest issue of Daredevil continues on doing its own thing and is pretty much self-contained within its own world. That said, in the overall scheme of things, this issue still feels out of place in the current run.

Probably what also should be mentioned is that there's also hardly a mention of the events of what's been going on in the series itself here - don't expect to see any mention of Foggy or Kristen or anything else. This is simply a Matt Murdock story. That's not essentially a bad thing, per se, but just odd to see writer Mark Waid play down Matt's supporting cast for a change. On the plus side though, Waid has Matt play detective, and I think that makes for a stronger story here as it's more of personal one as well. Speaking of personal matters, Matt's father, Jack Murdock turns out to be a domestic abuser. I wouldn't call this a cheap ploy as much as I would just call it unnecessary, almost bordering another depressing Matt Murdock story.

Waid takes a page out of Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli's playbook and brings back Sister Maggie, aka Margaret Grace Murdock, Matt's mother. She hasn't been a focal point in Matt's life or his ongoing story in quite some time, so her being reintroduced in a way back into the fold is an interesting touch and different from what's been going on. As usual, there's a mystery afoot and when Sister Maggie is sentenced without a trial and being expedited to Wakanda, Matt goes into action. Problem being is that since his disbarring, he has lost a lot of his legal privileges. Then again, that doesn't stop him from getting the job done as Daredevil.

I think the issue's biggest flaws here was the way it was handled at the end. It seemed rushed and Daredevil was thrown out the window alongside the trash. It almost felt too easy for ol Hornhead to get manhandled so easy when in the last issue he was running away from a revamped Leapfrog and handled that with ease. It's hard to pinpoint whether it's Javier Rodriguez's style or just the panel construction in general, but it came across as anticlimactic. The rest of the issue reads great, and Rodriguez has this killer two-page spread with Matt just listening to an entire building trying to get any information. Following Chris Samnee, somebody who has been hailed as the modern day Alex Toth, can't be easy. Rodriguez's style is a bit less animated or cartoony and verges slightly on more of the likes of Greg Capullo and such, with the finer lines and heavier rendering. Rodriguez still nailed the palette here with some a great Daredevil-in-the-rain scene and the nuns marching towards their plane really stood out here.

The thing about Daredevil #6 is that as a Daredevil nut, I liked it, yet it doesn't feel as strong as anything put before it. It's only been six issues (seven if you count the #1.5 issue) since the Marvel NOW! rebranding of the title and it feels like this issue is a mild jab to the shoulder compared to the strong right crosses to the face we've gotten so far. Waid and company haven't explored Matt's relationship with his mother and this could be a great time to do so, giving Waid new territory to explore under his direction, but I felt like this issue lacked the heart of the previous installments. Maybe we can find Matt's pulse next time around.

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