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Old 12-29-2010, 07:11 PM   #1
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The Mighty Reviews 12/29/10

Wktf’s Reviews

Last reviews of 2010! Happy New Year!!

Batman: The Dark Knight #1
DC Comics
Written by: David Finch
Drawn by: David Finch
Cover by: David Finch
Variant Cover by: Andy Clarke

As you may have guessed from the credits on this issue this production is all Finch, all the time. It’s been a while since I’ve seen Mr. Finch do a full book’s worth of interiors (has he been on a title as a full time artist since Avengers Disassembled?) as, for years, Marvel kept the man plenty busy as their go-to cover artist. When he signed with DC he took also to doing covers primarily until a short back-up Batman story and a post Bruce Wayne-Returns turn with Grant Morrison. But now we have something truly unique. A Finch conceived, plotted and scripted Batman story (oh, yeah, let’s not forget he’s the penciler as well). Having chatted this up a bit with him and his lovely wife, Meredith, at SDCC ’10 I know he was very excited but also justifiably nervous about this high profile endeavor. He believes Batman is his calling and, based on the love he has poured into all his Batman work to date, and certainly evidenced in this inaugural title and issue, he may well be right. Will Batman do the same thing as he did for other previously great artists, such as Tim Sale or Jim Lee, who like Finch made their names long before their Bat-stretches? Time will tell. But, for now, let’s just enjoy this issue for what it is: a real treat.

We are treated to a new character from Bruce Wayne’s childhood, a child turned society girl named Dawn Golden. And Dawn’s gone missing, presumed murdered. Bruce (and yes, thankfully, the Batman of this title is the original) makes it his mission to locate her whereabouts. Slinking across rain drenched roofs and angling himself between lead pipes in the night pitch with only an errant lightning bolt to guide him, Batman remain a weird and ominous avenger in Finch’s hands. And whether it be the rooftops or the grime of Gotham’s alleyways, Finch’s eye and hand for detail make every panel a detailed feast. Playing with light and shadow, Finch shows the dark knight both as costumed hero and otherworldly menace. Even in his confrontation with the beastly Killer Croc and, later, the gruesome Penguin, Finch gives us monster pitted against monster. His take on these creepy villains is as unique as Sale’s and Lee’s, and this issue also serves notice that this title will be giving us fresh and grotesque interpretations of old favorites from Batman’s gallery of rogues.

If there’s any fault to be found here, not too unexpectedly, it’s in the dialogue which (only at times) can feel a bit clunky. Finch as been taking inspiration and guidance from Tony Daniel, an accomplished Batman writer/artist, so I have no doubt his writing chops will only get smoother and more fluent with each passing issue. But, please, this is in no way to say his scripting is in trouble. Far from it. I enjoyed this read as well as his ever awesome art. Yes, good readers, for this stunning debut, Batman: The Dark Knight #1 gets my pick of the week.

Action Comics #896
DC Comics
Written by: Paul Cornell
Drawn by: Pete Woods
Cover by: David Finch (damn, this guy gets around!)

This issue represents Cornell and Woods’ seventh installment of their oh-so-excellent Lex Luthor odyssey. With each issue Lex must match wits and tactics against other super villains from the DCU and, just a few months ago, this team broke some new ground with a stunning issue in which Lex confronted none other than Death! Yes, sister of Sandman. It was a helluva ride and one where we were treated to the rare experience of Lex totally off his game. If you haven’t read that issue I highly recommend picking it up as it may well be the best single comic book issue from one of the major publishers.

Lex continues his trek to gain control of the Black Lantern Power with his android Lois Lane and both his traveling and sleeping companion. The implication is so obviously stark that it’s beyond Freudian. But now he’s confronting the immortal Vandal Savage whom, we learned last issue, has been anticipating this visit from Lex for centuries. Trapped by Savage, Lex calls in his own aces in the hole in the form of The Secret Six. We are shown the offer Lex had previously presented to Vandal’s daughter which Bane refers to as “an outrageous offer. The mere possibility is worth the risk” of going up against Savage to save Lex. In the melee of battle there’s even some Keystone Cops type hilarity as nearly each member of the Six attempts to catch a bouncing detonator which robot-Lois goes on a Terminator type shooting spree.

Cornell gives us an interesting but brief interlude in which Luthor tries to impart some insight and even wisdom to Savage, whose quest for happiness has addled his immortal brain just a bit and provide the ever-manipulative Luthor to press the situation to his advantage. Slick, clever and often humorous writing complement and the clear, thick pencil/ink lines of Wood’s work to deliver a madcap, fast-paced installment that, unfortunately, also serves as a marketing tool to drive readers to The Secret Six’s own title for the conclusion of this arc. While frustrating, that tact doesn’t pull a step from the fun of this story and, hell, the arch-villain pairing promised next issue is enough by itself to pull the reader back. Fortunately, for all of us, we have plenty more reasons to return to this book next month.

Green Lantern #61
DC Comics
Written by: Geoff Johns
Drawn by: Doug Mahnke
Cover by: Gary Frank

Month after month, does it get any better than Green Lantern? I just don’t think so. And this is one of those rare books that excels when the title character ISN’T even in the book! Yep, no GL to be found here. But what we’ve got is an absolutely explosive Red Lantern/Spectre confrontation as the Red Lantern Entity, The Butcher, materialized on Earth to feast on the rage of others. And as the Entity, himself, says, “And I’m hungry.”

I love John’s writing here. The “Apology Not Accepted” line feels almost like pure Schwarzenegger or Mel Gibson from Lethal Weapn, when the just stunningly drawn Butcher takes aim at his human target. And the battle between the Spectre and this creature, as The Spectre seems to be dismembered over and over again before turning his awesome power both on the Butcher and Atrocitus, is just violently satisfying. As is the surprisingly quiet moment between Spectre and Atrocitus as the two debate the nature both of humanity and rage, as well as judgment. This is a pretty powerful moment in a book filled with wild, kinetic violence. And Spectre’s final words to Atrocitus are equally stunning both to the character and to the reader who’s been following this creature lo these many months.

I guess one could simply point to this issue as another Johns/Mahnke masterpiece, and to do so would be right. But if anyone’s looking for an issue to jump on the Green Lantern bandwagon, I highly recommend this issue. You won’t recognize the characters (beyond The Spectre), you’ll wonder where Green Lantern is, and the story will make no sense to you. But, damn, you will be entertained.
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Old 12-30-2010, 02:17 PM   #2
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Kind of weird seeing a all DC reviewed week here in the forum. I think that is a testament to A) Not much Marvel released this week or B) DC is doing a better job with most of it's titles. I'll say B in this case as I feel that is the current truth. Note i said MOST not ALL. Anyway I have to agree with Joe on this issue of GL. Once again another great issue the only thing it was missing was Dex-starr. Also I would recommend the Flash # 8 this week. This title is finally gaining some speed since it is coming out much more regularly. All Geoff Johns , all the time can't go wrong. Looks like i need to check out Finch's batman as well, as I was on the fence about it.
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Old 12-30-2010, 03:57 PM   #3
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One of the most, if not THE most powerful GL issues ever to see print.
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Old 12-30-2010, 06:01 PM   #4
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Heh, Kal, I felt a little wierd posting only DC reviews as well. Given I'm on a break from work this week I had more leisure time to read my full lcs haul before writing reviews. Normally, I just pick the three (unread) I plan to review and then just read 'em and write 'em up.

In this case, I almost wrote on on Iron Man/Thor and on Captain America, but I just decided to sit with my laptop and write about the first three that came into my head. Hence, the three above.
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Old 12-30-2010, 06:19 PM   #5
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Thanks for the great reviews.

Haven't read Green Lantern this week but I did eat up the Finch' crack at Batman. You're right wktf, it was a feast for the eyes and a damn impressive kick-off for Finch. I enjoyed his Batcave the most. That being said, with all the Bat crouching in the rain on rooftop panels, the remembering of the childhood w/ it's long lost kid-friend, the multiple bat villains and their revamped looks...all wrapped around gorgeous art with tons of attention to detail, didn't Batman: The Dark Knight remind you of Hush? It very much did so for me. I'm thinking now, that I just might be tremendously bored with the character. I never see anything I haven't seen done before with the Bat. Loved it, but I yawned a little.
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Old 12-30-2010, 06:36 PM   #6
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I just read Green Lantern #61 and was blown away, i have my book of the year right here. This will be the last book i read this year as it won't get any better than that. Johns and Mahnke both are at the top of their game with this one.

Loved the review Joe!
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Old 12-30-2010, 08:47 PM   #7
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GL #61 was a downright incredible read. Actually #60 was incredible as well! Mahnke's art works so well with the story

Gah! I cant believe I forgot to pick up David Finch's The Dark Knight #1! Will have to pick it up next week
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Old 12-30-2010, 11:19 PM   #8
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Protector, you make an interesting point comparing Finch to Lee and Dark Knight to Hush. I see hat you mean and, for this one issue, I buy what you're selling. however, Finch has stated in the trade press that his take will be Batman's exploration of Gotham's supernatural element. so, I'm thinking this book will deviate down it's own course. We'll have to see. In the mean time, we canagree on what an impressive writing premiere this was!

And, damn, reread GL and that issue just gets better with each read.
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Old 12-30-2010, 11:22 PM   #9
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Maybe Jeff Loeb is ghost writing The Dark Knight…or David Finch is just ripping off Jeff Loeb. I don’t know which is worse.
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Old 12-30-2010, 11:59 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Ryu View Post
Maybe Jeff Loeb is ghost writing The Dark Knight…or David Finch is just ripping off Jeff Loeb. I don’t know which is worse.
Finch's writing already is leaps and bounds better than the drek Loeb's put out in years. To say he's ripping Loeb off is just a misstatement, no offense intended.
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