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Comic Book Reviews by Ammar Al Subahi


Captain America #7

Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artists: Alan Davis
Inker: Mark Farmer
Colorist: Laura Martin & Larry Molinar

Overall: 3/5

Premise: Cap's body is malfunctioning, so he goes to Beast to perform tests. Meanwhile, the Serpent Squad continues with their raids.

Last issue, Cap got his ass kicked by the Serpent Squad as his body suddenly returned to its original 90-pound weakling state. The Squad fled the scene after giving it to Cap, and this issue Cap tries with the help of Beast from the X-Men to find out exactly what is happening with him.

This issue isn't exactly new reader friendly as it taps in to both older Cap stories and current Secret Avengers stuff (which Cap, Beast, and Sharon are members of). Apparently, Cap's physique acting weird happened just recently in the pages of Secret Avengers, so Beast is checking out if Cap isn't dealing with some after effects of that. Cap also reveals that this has happened to him long before (not sure if that actually happened in some comic or if it is just something made up now). And the "Mad Bomb" the Serpent Squad used last issue is apparently something both Cap and Falcon encountered some time ago. Fortunately, everything is explained within the issue so you shouldn't have any problems following what's going on, although it might be a bit distracting.

Oh, and we get to see Bravo in prison, being up to no good, so expect him to be involved somehow in the future.

Anyhow, I didn't think this issue was so special. A bit too much exposition from the writing side, but it's mostly the art I have issues with. Davis doesn't seem 100%; some awkward poses and such, but what's really killing it for me is the thin coloring. It makes the art look incredibly pale.

Still, an okay issue.

Captain America #8

Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artists: Alan Davis
Inker: Mark Farmer
Colorist: Laura Martin

Overall: 3/5

Premise: Cap and Sharon square off against the Serpent Squad.

This issue starts off where the last ended: with Cap and Sharon cornering the Serpent Squad in their latest riot. Afterwards, Sharon decides to investigate Steve's condition on her own.

This is all very old school classic stuff, and I'm pretty indifferent to it unless it's done in some new and refreshing way (like the first arc). This just doesn't do much for me, but it is by no means bad. It's just not my thing. But I'm definitely interested enough to stick around and see how this goes.

The art has picked up from last issue, but I still think the coloring is too thin and pale sometimes.

Not much more for me to say here, it's an okay issue.

Batman #7

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Greg Capullo
Inker: Jonathan Glapion
Colorist: FCO

Overall: 3.5/5

Premise: Batman learns that the Owl's Court's corruption runs deeper than he first imagined. Meanwhile, the court gears up for war.

So, Batman survives from being trapped beneath the ice. No surprise there. What is surprising though is his savior; a character who comes from out of nowhere. This character that hasn't featured in Batman stories before (I've asked around), but who apparently has history with Batman (and he doesn't seem to like her). The rescue alone, even though expected, felt a little weak on account of being such an anti-climax following from last issue. However, the added inclusion of this totally new character who Batman is supposed to know made me cringe. First time Snyder does that to me, so I'll let it pass for now.

What follows is Batman investigating the corpse of Talon and having a heart to heart with Nightwing, and meanwhile the court prepare for their next step.

This is breather issue, something to let us catch our breath from the intense previous issues that came before, and what will undoubtedly be some pretty intense issues to come in the future. I think it's fine, but since not much happens it is going to affect the score somewhat. The contrasts between Batman and Nightwing portrayed here aren't really anything that haven't already been explored in the Bat mythos before, but Snyder handles it really well.

Art is great, as always. My favourite part is the dream sequence in the beginning. When this art team is done with Batman (God forbid), I'd love to see them tackle a horror book some day. The way they build this eerie atmosphere is pretty much unparalleled from what I see in comics today.

A solid issue.

Detective Comics #8

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Tony Salvador Daniel
Artist: Tony Salvador Daniel (with background assists by Joel Gomez) & Szymon Kudranski
Inker: Sandu Florea
Colorist: Tomeu Morey & John Kalisz

Premise: Two in one! In part one, Scarecrow is on the line and he wants Batman to go fetch something for him... or else! In part two, Two-Face goes looking for a job? What?

First part Batman goes Die Hard 3; Simo-- I mean Scarecrow, is on the phone and wants Batman to locate and take down a criminal gang that's been moving into his turf. And if Batman doesn't comply, well then there's a victim who's going to get hurt. Oh, and he has to finish the job within one hour.

This wasn't that bad at all, actually, but it could have been so much better (I'll get to that part later). For those of you who have been following this series, this issue also ties directly into the back-up story in Detective Comics #5, sadly, to its detriment (patience, young padawan).

This issue introduces Scarecrow's new look, by the way, and I think I actually like it. It's basically the same look as he had in Batman Begins, but with an added trench coat. Trench coats are cool. So, obviously, a (black! So scary!) trenchcoat will make Scarecrow cool, too.

All jokes aside, I don't mind his new look. Sure, it's 'edgy' in that "Guys, you like my Rorschach outfit?" type of way. But you know what? I honestly think it's still better than his Wizard of Oz look.

Second part, though: Two-Face comes back home to his hideout, looking like a complete mess, after... trying to get a job?

Yeah, you read that right. After we see Harvey coming back home, we cut to ten days ago and we find, literally, Harvey trying to strong arm a government official into getting his old job as a district attorney back.

Do I need to say more?

Still, Kudranski makes this at the very least worth looking at (for the art, that is) and effectively reminds us of how he would make such a great fit for this book if it actually lived up to its name "Detective Comics." Great stuff, can't wait to see his Batman since his Two-Face is great.

Look, I've been pretty harsh on this book lately, but seriously, after the last three issues, who wouldn't? And it's especially frustrating to see this book taking such a huge dive in quality when Daniel obviously has very high ambitions for it. It's misstep after misstep, and lately I feel I won't come to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I'm waiting for that sudden turn in quality because sometimes, comic books can turn from shit to gold in just one issue. It does actually happen.

But is this that issue?

No.

Like I said, Daniel obviously has high ambitions for this as a writer, but I'm afraid he's biting off more than he can chew here. So much focus has gone into making this into some type of bigger overarching story, that he's lost sight on the smaller, more important moments.

This issue is a perfect example of that. The premise of the first part is great, and as a stand-alone issue, this could've made for a touching story with a message. I don't want to spoil anything here, but the idea behind Scarecrow's scheme is great. If this was longer, and more thought had been put in to it, the story could've made for a great issue to highlight Batman's intelligence and detective skills. More importantly, the big reveal of the true identity of Scarecrow's "victim" could open up for a discussion about the very complex nature of criminality and its victims.

But no. And I find it quite ironic that Batman himself totally misses the point in the book.

That was the micro-level, and this issue also manages to frustrate me on the macro-level: THIS is supposed to be the pay-off from the back-up feature in DC #5? If this is what we can expect the new Two-Face plotline to culminate in, ridiculous as it already is, then my suggestion is to simply just skip it. Don't bother. Just finish telling us the Joker story and then go ahead and start a new one.

What saves this book from getting a rating of 1 is Kudranski's art, and Scarecrow's cool new trench coat.