Daily Archives: July 16, 2009

Dead Men Walking

Variant coverBlackest Night #1
Writer: Geoff Johns
Pencils: Ivan Reis
Inks: Oclair Albert
Colors: Alex Sinclair
Letters: Nick J. Napolitano
Cover artists: Reis & Albert/Ethan Van Sciver (variant cover)
Editor: Eddie Berganza
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $3.99 US

Fans of recent Marvel crossover events Civil War and Secret Invasion should enjoy DC’s latest foray into the Big Super-Hero Event because Blackest Night actually has something in common with those other stories. Civil War and Secret Invasion basically saw heroes fighting heroes (or in the case of the latter, heroes fighting doppelgangers of fellow heroes), and those big, flashy physical conflicts seemed to please super-hero genre readers. Blackest Night offers a similar take on the hero-versus-hero concept, pitting the protagonists against undead, corrupted incarnations of fallen friends. Fortunately, Johns delivers an accessible story, and I don’t just mean in terms of plot. Most of this issue is about setting up the emotional resonance of what’s to come, which brings a grounded tone to the cosmic conflict and consequences.

Continue reading… →

Quick Critiques – July 16, 2009

Batman #688 (DC Comics)
by Judd Winick, Mark Bagley & Rob Hunter

Judd Winick, once a star in DC’s stable of writers whose twinkle had faded in many readers’ eyes in recent years, redeems himself with some solid characterization and plotting as he contributes to the new direction for the Batman family of titles. He clearly connects better with Dick Grayson as a chief protagonist than Bruce Wayne, and it’s understandable. He’s has always been portrayed as more grounded than his mentor and more connected to others around him, so he’s much more relatable as a central character. His take on Dick’s transition is different from that offered by writer Grant Morrison in Batman and Robin. While both are logical and make for good reading, they’re not necessarily compatible, so the reader is better off putting one out of his mind while reading the other. His plot about a prominent Batman villain picking up almost immediately about the change in the man behind the mask is also a logical story to tell in the context of the “Batman Reborn” mode, and I’m pleased DC editorial didn’t long at all getting to it.

Those who followed Mark Bagley’s work for DC on the weekly Trinity series might be a little surprised with what they find in this comic book. Obviously, scheduling likely allowed the artist to take a bit more time with this story arc, and it shows with greater attention to detail. Of course, the greater levels of depth and texture might also be attributable to the fact that he’s teamed with a different inker on this project. Bagley’s more conventional approach to super-hero genre art suits the tone of Winick’s script, which is much less avant garde than Morrison’s approach to the same ideas. 7/10

Continue reading… →