Whew! Been a while but I’m back with a LOT of reviews for this week’s issues! Villains Month has been surprisingly pleasant and I can’t wait to see where Forever Evil takes the DCU! But let’s dive into the reviews . . .
Justice League Dark #23.2: Eclipso
This issue was pretty good. The art was especially pleasing with pencils, inks, and colors by (respectively) Philip Tan, Jason Paz, and Nathan Eyring. The panel layout was sharp and dynamic, adding great dramatic effect when needed. And they didn’t shy away from mixing in sharp outlines to a sketchier feel when called for. Kudos.
The story, written by Dan Didio, was . . . a story. A disgraced scientist gets The Black Diamond in the mail, uses it to unleash Eclipso, and takes revenge on a former business partner. Now, while the drama of the scientist’s past and Eclipso’s origins are cool I just don’t understand how he got the Black Diamond in the mail. This is something that the Demon Kinghts, Team 7, A.R.G.U.S, Catwoman, etc. either had on lock down or tried to destroy. Did he just happen to order it from ancientevilartifacts.com without the government noticing that a civilian was about to gain possession of an ancient evil artifact?
I dunno, I guess my suspension of disbelief has limits. Either way I enjoyed it.
Score: 3 stars outta 5!
Justice League of America #7.2: Killer Frost
Another scientist who becomes a supervillain. Really, how does that happen? Someone graduates college, starts working at a lab, gets nuked, gains superpowers, and then decides to rob bans to pay off student loans? Maybe, I think it’s a sound theory. But the writing/story by Sterling Gates was awesome and the art and colors by Derlis Santacruz and Brett Smith were solid enough.
Anyway, Killer Frost is created when her fellow scientists try to kill her on the orders of the Secret Society. Twist: she doesn’t die, gets ice powers/a hunger for human warmth, and decides to kill them. She then joins the Secret Society, even though they tried to kill her, but she gets to suck the warmth from people AND make a living. So I guess it makes sense. However, this time around she’s given more than just a base motive: She wants to be human again. And Firestorm (The Nuclear Men) almost cured her of her condition once. So she tries to engage him again and again and again just to get a taste of his warmth and try to get her hands on the Nuclear Matrix that gives him his power.
However, with the various Justice Leagues “dead” she can no longer feed off from him and she is pissed. It’s actually pretty cool to see how she depends on the hero and that her story is one of redemption. To her the ends justify the means. She’s not evil for the sake of being evil and this issue makes her a compelling character.
Verdict: 4 stars.
Justice League of America #7.3: Shadow Thief
I’m not sure why but the JLA is getting some GOOD villains. I forget their first but Killer Frost and Shadow Thief are both badass AND interesting characters. Story by Tom DeFalco, art by Chad Hardin, and colors by Chris Sotomayor.
So, Shadow Thief was a spy who discovered an alien plot to wipe out humans (that ended up taking out her mother and brother) and now she uses alien tech (her “shadow skin”) to hunt and kill all aliens on the planet. This includes our dearly beloved Superman.
Why do I find this compelling?! Because she isn’t an actual villain. Kind of. Ish. She’s on a mission and she exists in a world that’s only shades of gray. She knows she’s not good but she’s also not bad. She’s doing what she must to protect the Earth and humans from alien threats. She may see all aliens as untrustworthy and we know there are some in the great and good but her judgment and vision are clouded by mistrust. Even better she acknowledges this but thinks it’s better to be safe than sorry.
I really like this character and I’d love to see more of her. Both with the heroes fighting off an alien invasion and fighting the heroes trying to prevent one.
Verdict: 4 stars!
Justice League #23.3: Dial E
This issue was awful and I don’t wanna talk about it. At all. Really, I could’t stand it and I think it’s stupid and I can’t believe they sullied the pages of Justice League with this drivel.
Batman #23.3: Penguin
I like the Penguin. At the end of the day he is a fat kid who was bullied and is now the leader of one of the biggest crime rings in Gotham City. And this issue is all about that, really. I reads almost like the script to a Jack Nicholson movie (not Batman) except for the use of Venom (the steroidal compound that Bane uses).
Penguin blackmails some politicians, kills some Chris Angel wannabes, and is generally a little mafioso and it’s rather awesome. He’s someone you don’t cross and he’ll get the last word in if it ever happens.
Ruling: 3 stars.
Wonder Woman #23.1: Cheetah
The Cheetah was always lame to me, really. I mean, DC has always player her as Wonder Woman’s greatest enemy but, I mean, c’mon! How is the Cheetah cooler or more of a threat than Ares? Hades? The Olympian gods? Monsters of Greek myth?
However they’ve updated the Cheetah. Tying her into various myths and the Amazons themselves while also giving her a huge buff: she’s as fast as the Flash, super strong, and super bloodthirsty. Her origin story is also revealed and it’s pretty . . . .dark. Think Hunger Games and something else that involves children killing each other. Oh, and a fuck-ton of heart eating. Anyway, the story revolves around Cheetah killing off the loved ones she had prior to her transformation in order to become 0% human and a US Marshal who is hunting her.
It’s an interesting new spin on the character. That, coupled with her previous friendship with Wonder Woman, may make her more of an interesting arch nemesis. Maybe.
Verdict: 3 stars.
Tags: Batman, Cheetah, DC, Dial E, Eclipso, Forever Evil, JL, JLA, JLD, Justice League, Justice League Dark, Justice League of America, Killer Frost, Penguin, Shadow Thief, Trinity War, Villains Month, wonder woman