Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels, Micro-Reviews

A Batgirls #2 Micro-Review – Good Chemistry

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

Batgirls 2, cover, 2022, Jorge CoronaTITLE: Batgirls #2
AUTHORS: Becky Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad
ARTISTS:
Jorge Corona, Sarah Stern (Colorist), Becca Carey (Letterer)

RELEASED: January 11, 2022

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Like issue #1, Batgirls #2 is able to scrape by on the chemistry between its three main characters. There’s definitely life to this book. But it’s lacking in the villain department. It feels like we’re looking at leftovers from the “Fear State” storyline.

Good chemistry can get you far. But at the same time, only so far…

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels, Micro-Reviews

A Batgirls #1 Micro-Review – Outside of Comfort Zones

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

Batgirls 1, cover, 2021, Jorge CoronaTITLE: Batgirls #1
AUTHORS: Becky Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad
ARTISTS: Jorge Corona, Sarah Stern (Colorist), Becca Carey (Letterer)

RELEASED: December 14, 2021

This kind of art on a Batgirl book is a little bit of an acquired taste for me. But I’m thinking all it’ll take is another issue or two for me to get used to it.

There’s a lot to like about Batgirls #1. The chemistry between Barbara Gordon, Cassandra Cain, and Stephanie Brown is fun to read. I also like that, because of the nature of their villain, they have to go low tech. It pushes Babs out of her comfort zone, as does mentoring two young live-in heroes.

Bottom line? Given time, Batgirls could be really good.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels, Micro-Reviews

A Robin 2021 Annual Micro-Review – Robin in Love…or Not?

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

Robin 2021 Annual, Jorge CoronaTITLE: Robin Annual 2021
AUTHOR: Joshua Williamson
ARTISTS: Roger Cruz, Victor Olazaba (Inker), Luis Guerrero (Colorist), Troy Peteri (Letterer). Cover by Jorge Corona & Guerrero.

RELEASED: November 30, 2021

A very well written and drawn, but mostly missable annual that dives into the backstory of some of our supporting characters.

See how it says “Robin in love?!” on the cover? I was hoping this issue would dive head-first into that. Has Damian ever had a love interest? I don’t think he has…

Williamson continues to give Connor Hawke more care and page time than he’s had in decades. Apparently his time with the Justice League is once again canon? I dunno. It’s DC. Check back next week and it might be out of continuity again.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels, Micro-Reviews

A Batman #117 Micro-Review – The End of a Run

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

TITLE: Batman #117
AUTHOR: James Tynion IV, Becky Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad
ARTISTS: Jorge Jimenez, Jorge Corona, Tomeu Morey (Colorist), Sarah Stern (Colorist), Clayton Cowles (Letterer) Becca Carey (Letterer). Variant cover by Jorge Molina.
RELEASED: November 16, 2021

With this being Tynion’s last issue on Batman, I feel pretty confident saying he had a good run. Although, he didn’t end on the strongest note. “Fear State” ran a couple issues too long. But he had a lot of cool ideas, and really did right by Scarecrow. He turned in something to be proud of.

It speaks volumes that the best part of these last few issues of Batman, one of DC’s biggest and most lucrative books, has been the preview content for Batgirls. I’ve got high hopes for that series.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels, Micro-Reviews

A Batman #116 Micro-Review – More Batgirls, Please

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

Batman 116, cover, 2021, Jorge JimenezTITLE: Batman #116
AUTHORS: James Tynion IV, Becky Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad
ARTISTS: Jorge Jimenez, Jorge Corona, Tomeu Morey (Colorist), Sarah Stern (Colorist), Clayton Cowles (Letterer), Becca Carey (Letterer)
RELEASED: November 2, 2021

As was the case last issue, the Batgirls back-up is the highlight here. They might really have something when the ongoing series starts next month.

This extended “Fear State” story Tynion is working on hasn’t become as unwelcome as “City of Bane” became. But if it went on much longer, it would be. Thankfully, next issue is the conclusion. “City of Bane” largely soured me on Tom King’s Batman run as a whole. I’m glad to say that’s not the case with Tynion.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels, Micro-Reviews

A Batman #115 Micro-Review – Batgirls Begin

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

Batman 115, variant cover, Arist Deyen, Jorge MolinaBy Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

TITLE: Batman #115
AUTHORS: James Tynion IV, Becky Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad
ARTISTS: Bengal, Jorge Jimenez, Jorge Corona, Tomeu Morey (Colorist), Sarah Stern, Clayton Cowles (Letterer), Becca Carey (Letterer)
RELEASED: October 19, 2021

The meat of this story is still good. The stuff with Batman, Simon Saint, the Scarecrow, etc. But this stuff with Poison Ivy, Miracle Molly, and what not? Gettin’ a little long in the tooth for me. Still, at least these last couple issues have been light on Harley Quinn…

Another upside? The back-up feature has shifted to a prelude for the upcoming Batgirls series with Barbara Gordon, Stephanie Brown, and Cassandra Cain. It’s got an interesting pseudo Birds of Prey vibe.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels, Micro-Reviews

A Justice League Infinity #2 Micro-Review – Getting Superman Right

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Justice League Infinity 2, cover, 2021, Jorge Corona, Matheus LopezTITLE: Justice League Infinity #2
AUTHOR: J.M. DeMatteis, James Tucker
ARTISTS: Ethen Beavers, Nick Filardi (Colorist), Tom Napolitano (Letterer). Cover by Jorge Corona & Matheus Lopez.
RELEASED: August 3, 2021

The most refreshing thing in the world of comics, to yours truly at least, is when a writer or writers really nail Superman. It’s surprising how few authors in the world can get Superman right.

Thankfully, J.M. DeMatteis and James Tucker are able to do that in Justice League Infinity #2. As the League deals with Overman, an evil version of the Man of Steel, we see the genuine article acting as an agent of peace, understanding, and finding common ground.

I’ve said it a million times: Superman is an idealist. The more writers that understand that, the better.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels, Micro-Reviews

A Robin #4 Micro-Review – Some Time With Grandpa

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Robin 4, cover, 2021, Gleb MelnikovTITLE: Robin #4
AUTHOR: Joshua Williamson
ARTISTS: Jorge Corona, Luis Guerrero (Colorist), Troy Peteri (Letterer). Cover by Gleb Melnikov.
RELEASED: July 27, 2021

Jorge Corona tags in for what winds up being a pretty good looking issue. Still, it takes a hit from a consistency standpoint without Gleb Melnikov.

I can’t say this story was dying for a Ra’s al Ghul appearance. But it gives the story a little extra dimension it wouldn’t have otherwise had. So no harm done. In any event, Damian’s relationship to Ra’s doesn’t get looked at quite as much as his relationship to Talia. So a little time between grandfather and grandson doesn’t necessarily hurt.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels

A Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Annual #1 Review – One Generation’s Garbage…

Mighty Mophin Power Rangers #1 2016TITLE: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Annual #1
AUTHORS: Kyle Higgins, Ross Thibodeaux, Marguerite Bennett, Trey Moore, James Kochalka, Jorge Corona
PENCILLERS: Rod Reis, Rob Guillory, Moore, Kochalka, Corona. Cover by Goni Montes.
PUBLISHER: BOOM! Studios
PRICE: $7.99
RELEASED: August 24, 2016

***Click here for our review of the most recent issue of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.***

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

It’s funny what time reveals. Yesterday, August 28, marked the 23rd anniversary of the premiere of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. I remember being a kid in the early ‘90s and watching an episode of 20/20. They happened to be covering the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers phenomenon. The only con crete detail I recall about the report is that the news personality referred to it as “garbage.”

And yet, we’re still talking about it all these years later. One generation’s garbage is another’s inspiration, as illustrated by the collection of writers and artists brought together for Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Annual #1. This issue gives us six short stories featuring the characters that first graced the small screen more than 20 years ago.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Annual #1, 2016, Goni Montes coverFirst up is series writer Kyle Higgins and artist Rod Reis with “A Week in the Life of…” spotlighting Jason, the Red Ranger. Per the title, we get some snapshots of Jason’s day-to-day life over the course of a week. The balance between the life of a teenager and the life of a hero is what I often find most interesting about these kinds of books. Higgins and Reis put Jason over like a million bucks, showing us just how dedicated he is. Reis nails it from the very first page (shown right) with a shot of the Red Ranger slicing through putties amidst a storm of some kind. Interspersed are inset panels of him at home, at school, and teaching karate class. The next few pages follow suit, and we end on a nice profile shot of Jason. The colors pop, each setting feels distinct, and Reis even gets Austin St. John’s likeness down pretty well. The issue almost peaks early with this one.

Riss Thibodeaux and Rob Guillory then give us a cartoony tale about Bulk & Skull becoming Rangers. In reading the Bulk & Skull portions of this series, I’ve found myself slightly annoyed wishing we could get back to the Rangers. Fittingly enough, that’s how I felt watching the show as a child. In a way that’s a great compliment to what Higgins and the creative team have done with this book. Still, no harm done here. It’s well done for what it is.

DC Bombshells scribe Margeurite Bennett tags in for a story about Trini facing a monster that tries to defend animals from humans. I was consistently impressed by how well some of these writers knew and respected the characters from this low budget kids show. A perfectly in-character Trini makes peace with the monster, convincing it they’re on the same side. Huang Danlan brings a nice Asian influence to things, and colors the story with mostly gentle yellows, pinks, greens, and blues.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Annual #1, 2016, its putty timeTrey Moore of Rachel Rising fame just barely wins the issue, pulling double duty for a take on Goldar’s origin story. His dialogue leaves something to be desired, and he gives Goldar’s brother the rather bland name of Silverback (though in all fairness, the show might have given him a similar name). But the ambition of Moore’s story is so great it almost doesn’t matter, even tying in story elements and characters from Power Rangers Zeo and Power Rangers in Space. We can’t deny Moore knows his Power Rangers.

Conceptually, this origin makes perfect sense for Goldar. We learn he comes from a pack of creatures that value power and strength above all, and he idolizes his older brother Silverback. In the end, Lord Zedd tests his loyalty by pitting his power and strength upbringing against his love for his brother. The end result is what you might expect, and it answers some questions as to how Goldar became so loyal to Zedd, but ended up in Rita’s service. It’s not perfect, but it’s a story to remember.

Next, we go to James Kochalka pulling double duty on a story about a putty patroller  falling in love with Kimberly (first page shown above). Again, not really the type of thing I look for in my superhero books. But there’s something to be said for diversity in a collection like this. It’s utterly skippable compared to its peers. But sure, why not?

Finally, Jorge Corona gives us a story about what the six heroes under the helmets have in common. The story has a nice heart, and Corona gives us some nice art here. At some points, however, his Rangers come out a bit…squiggly. Particularly in a group shot just after the halfway point. On the plus side, he draws a great Megaword.

Rob Guillory, MMPR Annual #1, Bulk & SkullOn cover duty is Goni Montes, whose work on MMPR has been positively iconic. This issue is no different. As far as I’m concerned, the more we see of him, the better.

At $7.99, this issue is a little steep from a price standpoint. But if you’re a Power Rangers geek, it’s worth it. Rarely have the Rangers been treated with such respect and admiration. By no means is it flawless. But its pros far outweigh its cons.

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Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels

A We Are Robin #7 Review – Middle Child Syndrome

We Are Robin #7 coverTITLE: We Are Robin #7
AUTHOR: Lee Bermejo
PENCILLER: Carmine Di Giandomencio. Cover by Jorge Corona.
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASED: December 16, 2015

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

I really wish they’d stop lumping Jason Todd and Tim Drake together. It’s happening in Batman & Robin Eternal, and now it’s happening in Robin War.

I think I get the how and the why of it. Dick Grayson is the original Robin, and Damian Wayne is the current Robin. So Jason and Tim are left in an awkward “middle child” position. There’s not necessarily enough time to focus on them individually while still keeping the plot going, so writers put them together. To an extent that makes sense. They have such conflicting personalities that they work as a bickering duo. But they both have such rich histories that it’s a shame to see them lumped together merely by default. Hell, in this issue they’re lumped together to try and kill each other!

Yes, in part four of Robin War, Red Hood and Red Robin are pitted against each other by the Court of Owls in a fight to the death, in an attempt to decide who the new “Gray Son” is. But Jason and Tim have a few tricks up their sleeves. Meanwhile, Dick Grayson and Batman (Jim Gordon) search for the truth about Councilwoman Noctua, creator of the “Robin Laws.”

We Are Robin #7, Red Robin, Red HoodThe fight between Tim and Jason isn’t anything special, and it more or less goes the way you think it will. You’d think the Court would have had the foresight that two young, athletic guys who aren’t restrained in any way would end up doing what they did. Also, Carmine Di Giandomencio does what I talked about in the Grayson #15 review, and puts facial features on Red Hood’s helmet. That never ceases to be obnoxious.

Sadly, while some of Di Giandomencio’s layouts are interesting, his art doesn’t do it for me here. It’s not that he’s bad at what he does. It’ s more that what he does looks awkward compared to the art we’ve seen in previous installments, particularly Mikel Janin’s work in Grayson. Characters’ faces look awkward at times, as does their body language. This is particularly true when we get to the scene in the prison. There are a few panels where Damian looks more twisted and insane than observant and determined.

The scene with Grayson and Gordon is okay. But there were a couple of things that struck me. On page 3, there are a pair of panels that show Gordon catching a dangling Grayson after he slips climbing up a building. Firstly, I find it odd that Dick would make such a rookie mistake. Secondly, is Gordon strong enough to hold Dick’s entire body weight? My guess would be no.

We Are Robin #7, Dick Grayson, Jim GordonOddly enough, the idea of Gordon, and the entire world knowing Dick Grayson was Robin/Nightwing is taking some getting used to. Until recently, Dick was pretty isolated in the pages of Grayson. But now that he’s moving beyond Spyral, we’re starting to see more ramifications from what happened in Forever Evil. I still don’t quite understand how the world knowing about Dick’s superheroing doesn’t lead back to Bruce Wayne being Batman. If you remember Batman #1, there’s a big portrait of Bruce, Dick, Tim, Damian, and Alfred in Wayne Manor. If you see that painting knowing Dick’s identity, it’s not that hard to put the pieces together, isn’t it? Especially when the general public knows that Bruce has funded Batman’s activities.

In any event, this issue gives us a brief conversation between Dick and Jim about the ethical nature of letting a youngster work with Batman, and how Gordon justified letting it happen. He even has a couple of lines about child soldiers overseas, and boys organizing to fight the Nazis in Poland. My guess is Lee Bermejo put this stuff in to suggest a kind of real-life basis for the Robin concept. It’s an interesting idea, but it doesn’t cast either Dick or Gordon in a different light, or offer any sort of insight. It’s just sort of there in the middle of the issue.

We Are Robin #7, image 3Also, late in the book somebody in the Robin street crew calls Red Robin “the one with the goofy wings.” It’s always cool when the characters say what you’re thinking as a reader. For that matter, something you’ve been thinking since the damn New 52 started…

Sadly, We Are Robin #7 is largely a step down from its predecessors. The various Robins escaping from their cages felt somewhat anticlimactic, though the cliffhanger does succeed in wetting your appetite for the next installment. I can’t say I’ve been overly thrilled with the body of Robin War thus far. There’s been too much emphasis on this “Gray Son” stuff, which I’ve always felt was rather stupid. Gazing at the solicitations for upcoming issues, my hopes aren’t that high. I’m trying to be optimistic that something cool will happen near the finale, as Tom King is writing Robin War #2, and he’s a pretty damn good writer.

Image 1 from gamespot.com. Images 2 and 3 from adventuresinpoortaste.com.

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