Tagged: matteo scalera

Review: Batman Volume 6: Graveyard Shift

51hNXab4FEL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Batman Volume 6: Graveyard Shift

Scott Snyder/Greg Capullo/ Marguerite Bennett/Andy Kubert/James Tynion IV/Alex Maleev/Andy Clarke/Dustin Nguyen/ Wes Craig/Matteo Scalera/Gerry Duggan

DC Comics, $24.99

With the first 5 volumes of the Scott Snyder/Greg Capullo run on Batman, we the reader got a series of cohesive and quite excellent stories by the same team of creators. Those who have been reading the book monthly have had a different experience, as there has been several issues that have interrupted this run with some guest creative teams. Volume 6 is a collection of those issues, which range back to as far back as 2012 and as recent as 2014. Needless to say, this book is a bit disjointed,  with some of the material dated already.

One of the biggest things to occur during the Snyder/Capullo era was the death of Damian Wayne, which occurred over in the Grant Morrison/Chris Burnham Batman Inc. title. With it not happening in Batman proper, trade waiters now finally get to see that event addressed by Snyder and several other creators in a few different stories. The downside of that is that Damian was already revived earlier this year (with an ongoing set to debut soon), so said stories kind of lose their impact. It’s even worse if you’ve only been reading this incarnation in trade, as there’s zero explanation as to how Damian passed. There are also 2 Year Zero-era tales included, which is odd for several reasons. The biggest one being that Year Zero was already collected in Volumes 4 & 5, and would have made more sense being included there than in this volume. Finally, the last story collected is tied into the recently concluded Batman: Eternal, which I feel would have been suited for one of those trades more so than this one.

BM_19_300-005_HD.480x480-75So while this book feels scatterbrained and uneven, it also looks fairly sharp. Greg Capullo is joined by a ton of talented artists. Andy Kubert, Dustin Nguyen, Alex Maleev, Andy Clarke and Matteo Scalera are some of the more notable contributors and while their styles are all wildly different, they all bring their A game. It’s a little jarring to see different artists tackle the Gotham envisioned by Greg Capullo at first, but these veteran artists contributions are great none the less. It helps that Scott Snyder oversees if not straight up writes a lot of the guest stories, so the tone feels consistent throughout the collection.

Joining Snyder on writing duties are two of his former students, James Tynion IV and Marguerite Bennett. The Snyder penned material is obviously the strongest, and Tylion and Bennet aren’t exactly slouches either. Similar to Snyder, both writers mix horror and action scenes well, although none of their dialogue ever hits as hard as Synder’s does. It’s almost a bit of a unfair comparison, as neither of those two have Greg Capullo to work with. The story written by Gerry Duggan is antiquate: not the best Batman story in this volume, but nothing wrong with it, and it looks great. Matteo Scalera was a perfect fit to draw a Batman story, and his stylistic take on the character is fantastic.

Batman Volume 6: The Graveyard Shift is a weird anthology of sorts. The Snyder/Capullo issues are great, and anyone who’s dug their work in the past won’t be disappointed. The other issues require some knowledge of the going-ons in other DC comics, but are enjoyable none the less. It’s not the best collection of Bat-Material in this run, but it’s a fun little collection of stories that will hold you over until Endgame is reprinted. A shame it’s not as accessible as the past collections have, but that’s not really on the creators as it is on whoever decide to collect the book like this.

 

 

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Troy’s Toys, but with Comics: Greenest Wednesday

A butt-ton of books dropped this past week, so let’s get down to business, yes?BlackScience_01_Cover_B

Black Science

Rick Remender/Matteo Scalera/Dean White

Image, 20 pages, $3.50

Black Science is a book I was a little concern going into it, as it came across as a spiritual successor to Fear Agent. FA is a personal favorite of mine, so there was a high expectation to be met. So did it you may be asking yourself? For the most part yes, as Matteo Scalera is no Tony Moore/Jerome Opena yet, but his pulpish visuals do Remender’s script well. It also helps that the “painted art” is by Dean White, who served Remender well back on Uncanny X-Force, and continues to do so here. There’s some fantastic use of shades of black, purple, orange, and blue in this book, and I definitely feel the “punk rock forbidden science” hook. That being said, there’s a case of Fridging (killing off a female character to only advance the plot) early on that kind of rubbed me in the wrong way, especially with all the internet rage over in Uncanny Avengers, also written by Remender. The ending, while a tad predictable when dealing with sci-fi, had a Tim Truman vibe to it that I really dug. Like something out of Vertigo in it’s prime, Black Science is definitely a book worth keeping an eye on.

cache_308_479_0__92_saga16_coverSaga #16

Brian K Vaughn/Fiona Staples

Image, 20 pages, $2.99

Saga, perfect Saga, remains the best. As we come closer to the end of act 3, we finally see things established at the end of act 2 come full circle, making me excited to see how this all wraps up before the brief and painful between volume hiatus. It’s more of the same from BKV and Staples, fleshing out some characters new and old, some world building, and a delightful poke at the spandex books and the folks who read em. And several characters find themselves in odd scenarios, which is all good, surprising no one. Staples continues to be an fantastic artist, and BKV is easily one of the best writers in comics right now.  The end product is at it’s worst great, and at it’s best brillant. Either way, the reader are winners in the end.

Hawkeye_Vol_4_14_TextlessHawkeye #14

Matt Fraction/Annie Wu/Matt Hollingsworth

Marvel, 20 pages, $2.99

Whelp, time to start looking at book written by the DeFractions clan. This month in Hawkeye, we return to the West Coast to check in on Katie-Kate Bishop and Lucky the Pizza Dog. Joining Fraction for her first full issue s Annie Wu, who’s off to a strong start. Wu comes from an animation background, which  shows, as the characters are very expressive in issue #14,  something I’m delighted with. Wu also throws Kate in several super-cute outfits, which I am a fan on. Fraction continues to write the hell out of this book, showing how Kate is similar to the OTHER Hawkeye, often for laughs, other times showing why she stuck around with Clint for so long. It’s an incredibly well executed done in one, proving that Kate Bishop could handle her own on-going series (she lets Clint co-star in this one after all). It’s takes a certain caliber of artist to be able to keep up with David Aja, and Wu  has the chops and the skill to do so.

Avengers-Assemble-21-Cover-e1579Avengers Assemble #21

Kelly Sue Deconnick/Matteo Buffagni/Nolan Woodard

Marvel, 20 pages, $3.99

The last time KSD and Buffagni worked on an issue of AA, I had some harsh words about the art. Skip ahead a few months, and Buffagni’s stepped up his game, delivering one of the best-looking issues of the series since Kelly Sue came aboard. The animated style is clean, fluid and bright, making it a perfect fit for the script, which is great itself. We have Spider-Girl swinging by for a nice team up with the other Spider-themed lady Avengers, and there’s laughs and action aplenty. Plus KSD brings in a female villain from her awesome Osbourne mini series from a few years back, and throws in some baddies from A.I.M. as well, while tying this all into Inhumanity. It’s a surprisingly dense read, ensuring you get your $4 worth from the comic. I really hope the title can stay crossover free for a bit, because it really shines when KSD is allowed to do what she wants with Spider-Woman and her teammates. And with Warren Ellis coming aboard next month, things are only looking better for this title, especially with the art now as good as it is.

Pretty-Deadly-2-CoverPretty Deadly

Kelly Sue Deconnick/Emma Rios/Jordie Bellaire

Image, 20 pages, $3.50

Pretty Deadly, much like Saga, is mature comics done right. Issue 2 shows the reader exactly why this book is titled as such with one of the most bad ass fight scenes this year. Rios and friends deliver an impressive 12 page action piece which is both brutal and beautiful, almost calling out other action comics (no pun intended) out there in a way. Everything from the page layouts to the coloring is fantastic, and it really shows off the strength of this creative team. Not to say KSD doesn’t pull her weight, because she does as she ensures there’s a plethora of quality content crammed in this book from cover to cover. It’s just that this issue is owned by Rios, who does the coolest thing I’ve ever seen with butterflies in a comic.  A step up from a impressive debut issue, Pretty Deadly is the type of comic I hope get an oversized hard cover some day, so that I can drool over the art is a slightly nicer format.

portrait_incredible (3)All New X-men

Brain Michael Bendis/ Brandon Peterson/ Israel Silva

Marvel, 20 pages, $3.99

My biggest problem with this issue is that Kevin Nowlan is only drawing the cover. It’s also my only problem. Well played Marvel.

Fill-in artist can either make or break a book for me. Sometimes they deliver (Daredevil) and sometimes the artist that swings by has the odds stacked against them and they can’t (again, Daredevil). Brandon Peterson, an artist I was actually kind of dreading filling in, make me a believer real quick with this issue.

Israel Silva, the colorist, is probably the real star of this issue. Kitty, Magik and the O5 X-men are in Miami this issue, and Silva’s colors are definitely faithful to the city.  Obviously Peterson gets props as well for capturing the look of Miami with his art, but Silva’s use of neon colors completes the package. It’s a stick looking book, and Bendis’ script plays to strenght of his co-creators. It’s chock full of action too, making up for a relatively slow previous issue, and the last page reveal is great if you don’t pay attention to solicits. It’s another great issue in a strong week for comics.

 

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