Batgirl and the Birds of Prey 1 (September 2016)

Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #1

Well, isn’t Batgirl and the Birds of Prey a bit of a surprise? It’s a Rebirth tie-in so there’s a lot of exposition setting up post-Crisis, post-New 52 Batgirl and Black Canary (and Huntress), but writers Julie Benson and Shawna Benson pace it pretty well. The Barbara Gordon narration is strong. There’s some awkward points–mostly in how it addresses the Killing Joke and the writers kind of swerve, which is okay because this comic is going for fun. It’s got this dark, noirish art from Claire Roe, but it’s a fun book.

I do wish it were twice as long. Black Canary doesn’t show up until the second half or so, doesn’t get her own origin recap, which makes it seem a little unbalanced (especially since Birds of Prey was Canary’s book originally). But she and Babs are great together. Their bickering is fun to see with Batgirl fighting alongside Canary.

And this Canary is still the punk rock New 52 brawler Black Canary, which is still kind of funny to me because it’s too much. They went too far with it, but they’re committed.

Huntress isn’t impressive so far. Huntress hasn’t been impressive since Earth–2, so there’s not much to be said about it. She’s kind of like “Ultimate” Huntress, but the writers do get her setup done fairly well. They’re quick about it. Maybe too quick because then the comic’s over in a few more pages and I really wanted more story. I’m excited to read more of this comic.

CREDITS

Rebirth; writers, Julie Benson and Shawna Benson; artist, Claire Roe; colorist, Allen Passalaqua; letterer, Steve Wands; editors, Dave Wielgosz and Chris Conroy; publisher, DC Comics.

Manifest Destiny 21 (July 2016)

Manifest Destiny #21

Has this arc always had the little year tags to toggle between the flashback and present action? Maybe it did, but I feel like it didn’t, because the transitions were confusing. They’re still confusing, what with the guy in the past having a journal and there’s supposed to be a journal in the present action from Lewis or Clark but Dingess has forgotten about it. But there’s an effort to be less confusing. The effort is nice. It’s a shame it’s still visually confusing; maybe it’s colorist Owen Gieni but the transition from flashback and back is still way too gentle.

That problem isn’t the big one with the arc–or the flashbacks–no, it’s Dingess’s writing. He’s so fixated on the story in the past, he’s ignoring the main characters of the comic book. There’s an infuriating moment this issue where Sacagawea basically offers to go kill all the attacking cyclops bigfoot monsters and she doesn’t get to go. Why? Because Dingess never, ever lets her loose, which is weird–as always–because Sacagawea the warrior was a promise of the first issue.

Then again, Dingess also promised Lewis and Clark would be characters. They’re irrelevant to the comic now. This whole story arc idea, which does package the comic a little better, is making Manifest Destiny irrelevant itself. Sure, Roberts’s art is awesome and the concept is still okay and Dingess does have his moments as a writer, but it’s not adding up to anything.

The issue ends with promise of revelation and thrills next time. Whoopie. They’re never do enough to make up for the book running on fumes.

CREDITS

Sasquatch, Part Three; writer, Chris Dingess; penciller, Matthew Roberts; inkers, Tony Akins and Stefano Gaudiano; colorist, Owen Gieni; letterer, Pat Brosseau; editors, Arielle Basich and Sean Mankiewicz; publisher, Image Comics.

Prophet Earth War 5 (July 2016)

Prophet Earth War #5

This issue of Earth War feels a little like Prophet-lite. At least writers Graham and Roy know where they should be focusing their attention this issue–there’s three plot lines at least, including the tedious Earth War itself–but they don’t have enough space. The story is way too rushed. It’s the Earth War version of a bridging issue. A bunch of fast paced nonsense to move some characters around while doing some expository somewhere else.

And then there’s the art–there are four different artists and no rhyme or reason to what they’re handling. It looks like Prophet art (because it’s by a bunch of great Prophet artists), but not under close inspection. There’s no detail, there’s no joy. Everyone on Earth War is just trying to get it finished, which is unfortunate, because there’s still some great possibilities in the comic.

There’s a page filling backup–I was kind of hoping the issue would keep going to get towards the end of the series faster (the Earth War stuff is really frustrating, Graham and Roy race through it so fast there’s negative personality). As someone how loved nearly every issue of the Prophet series, I just want Earth War to finish without damaging the original’s legacy….

CREDITS

Writers, Brandon Graham and Simon Roy; artists, Graham, Grim Wilkins, Giannis Milonogiannis and Jenna Trost; colorists, Joseph Bergin II, Lin Visel and Graham; letterer, Ariana Maher; back up story, Mike McGhee; publisher, Image Comics.

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