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    The Good, The Bad, & The Meh by Alex Correa


    The Good

    Batman and Robin 0 (Peter J. Tomasi & Pat Gleason)

    Pat Gleason's consistently strong pencil work proves month after month that he is one of the most underrated talents at DC Comics. His high octane and intensely detailed panels help create a unique atmosphere unseen in the Bat-books for many years. That's not to say that he should be drawing another book. On the contrary, if not for Gleason's talent, this Batman & Robin series might not be as strong as it currently is. Issue 0 retells Damian Wayne's origin as he was brought up by his very disturbed mother into his current role as a defiant and deadly Robin. It's nothing groundbreaking, to say the least, but visually stunning and perhaps the only reason to pick up this issue.

    Gambit 2 (James Asmus & Clay Mann)

    When you combine crime and espionage with a little bit of the superheroics, you get what is a refreshing and unexpected X-Men spinoff story from the once popular, Gambit. The book works for the same reason that the character originally skyrocketed to popularity in the 90s and that is by returning the character to a place of mystery, swashbuckling adventure and, of course, a deadly romance. It's great to see Gambit out of the X-Men universe for a change... Until an eventual return due to poor sales due to people realizing that stonewash jeans are out of style due to the 90s being over.

    Hawkeye 2 (Matt Fraction & David Aja)

    Best book of the month. An amazing read from top to bottom, even more so for aspiring creators than the casual fan. Every page brings something creative to the table in terms of innovation of the genre. Aja's work in this issue is the very definition of groundbreaking. Not to be missed! (Get it? Hawkeye? Shut up)

    The Bad

    Avengers Assemble 7 (Brian Michael Bendis & Mark Bagley)

    With the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy movie, Marvel is trying to raise awareness of the team by matching them with the hottest comic book property today, the Avengers. Not to mention the hottest comic book writer, Brian Michael Bendis. Add to the mix, one of Marvel's more popular villains, as well as the star of the Avengers movie cameo: Thanos. As expected, the story heavily revolves around the cosmic, which is not Bendis' forte, as he is more used to writing street level crime stories. That's not the only problem with the book as the action is a confusing mess and the characterization is all over the place with almost every character sounding the same (a problem usually found in his regular Avengers books). The only compliment I can give it is that at least it's attempting to make the Guardians a relevant franchise. Here's to Rocket Raccoon.

    Green Lantern Annual 1 (Geoff Johns & Ethan Van Sciver)

    Hey, look! Hal Jordan died again. Maybe. And so did Sinestro! Geoff Johns, in my opinion, used to be a much stronger writer before he started falling into these pit traps that he's created for himself over the years. It could be that he's being stretched out too thin over too many projects but, at the very least, he makes most of his stories fun to read. Except this. Stop killing major characters. Pls.

    Batman 0 (Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo)

    Since the DCNU relaunch last year, it's been Scott Snyder who has had the most success reinventing and reinvigorating characters and franchises (see Swamp Thing and Batman). Can you feel the “but” coming? Okay, here goes: but this issue misses the mark. Issue zero is Snyder's attempt at drumming up interest in his upcoming Joker arc. For some reason, readers get a brand new take on the Red Hood character and a boring subplot featuring Commissioner Gordon (who looks almost exactly like Ned Flanders). Now here's an idea to pique interest in the Joker for the upcoming Joker arc: feature the Joker!

    The Meh

    Avengers versus X-Men 11 (Brian Michael Bendis & Olivier Coipel)

    As with any major crossover event, there is always a call for a fair amount of mindless action that should be offset by a somewhat engaging story. Not too engaging, though. They have to tie the story into about 20 other books in the same month. In a story that revolves around an old fashioned good guy versus good guy scenario, the story should be something a little cleverer than one side fighting the other over one being stronger than the other. There is no real feeling of gravitas that a story featuring the Phoenix force should entail, but rather, readers are left to be distracted by the pretty pictures and a death that will no doubt prove irrelevant in a couple of years (if that).