Comic Book Reviews for March 29, 2017

Hanna-Barbera invades the DC Universe.

It was another big week of comics, as the DC and Hanna-Barbera universes collided, the X-Men and Inhumans began their ResurrXion and the new Power Rangers movie got a graphic novel sequel.

Scroll down to check out our reviews for these and various other new releases, and be sure to let us know your favorite books of the week in the comments below.

Adam Strange/Future Quest Special #1

STL037081

Written by Marc Andreyko, Jeff Parker & Dan DiDio | Drawn by Steve Lieber & Phil Winslade

The first of the DC and Hanna-Barbera crossovers this week is actually the most natural pairing. Adam Strange isn’t too far away from the good-natured and square-jawed heroes from Hanna-Barbera’s cartoons, and it was an inspired choice to pair him up with the characters from Future Quest. Oddly enough, this story appears to be fully in-continuity for both sides, even though that isn’t really necessary to understand the issue. Marc Andreyko and Jeff Parker have a pretty strong handle on these characters, and Steve Lieber’s deceptively simple art style really compliments this tale. This issue is a quick and enjoyable read until it gets to the bizarre backup story with Top Cat and Batman. Artist Phil Winslade does his best to make that backup work, but Top Cat just seems weird when placed next to the Dark Knight. Dan Didio’s story seems to be going for an Astro City-meets-The Shawshank Redemption vibe, but the tone just seems completely off. It’s simply not as fun to read as the lead story, but that’s not enough to drag this issue down too far. -Blair

Final Score:

Batgirl Annual #1

STL037083

Written by Hope Larson & Vita Ayala | Drawn by Inaki Miranda & Eleonora Carlini

This issue features the first team-up between Batgirl and Supergirl in current DC continuity, which is just one more reason why Rebirth needed to happen in the first place. Unfortunately, the main story doesn’t do a whole lot with that dynamic. Their witty banter never quite feels natural, and the plot lacks any real sense of urgency. It doesn’t help that the main story abruptly cuts off midway through the issue, with readers being asked to pick up a future Supergirl comic. Inaki Miranda’s art brings plenty of visual flourish to their team-up, but it can only do so much to prop up an otherwise bland story. The backup story is more successful, mainly because it maintains focus on Babs and her regular supporting cast. Vita Ayala and Eleonora Carlini craft an enjoyable tale that puts the friendship between Babs and Alysia front and center, with the former trying to give the latter the attention she deserves while dealing with the nonstop pressures of her costumed career. There’s plenty of comedy involved in Babs’ increasingly desperate attempts to keep her other life hidden, but the story also serves as a strong testament to their friendship. -Jesse

Final Score:

Booster Gold/The Flintstones Special #1

STL037084

Written by Mark Russell, Booster Gold & Amanda Conner | Drawn by Rick Leonardi & Pier Brito

A more accurate title for this issue might be “Booster Gold, With Special Guest Stars The Flintstones.” Because the truth is that Fred, Barney, and Wilma don’t really play a big part in this one. It’s primarily about Booster Gold’s latest time travel hijinks. Mark Russell’s script isn’t always as funny as it’s trying to be, but some of the gags do land, especially when dealing with Booster’s fellow time travelers. Rick Leonardi shows off what he can do when he’s drawing Booster and the aliens, but it is really strange to see the Flintstones rendered in his style. They just don’t seem like themselves. The backup tale for this one is The Jetsons, by writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner, with artist Pier Brito. Palmiotti and Conner bring some unexpected gravitas to the Jetsons, and they also introduce some interesting notions about the voluntary end of life when technology simply can’t repair a human body any longer. The resolution to that issue isn’t nearly as engaging as the problem itself, but this is the most human that the Jetsons have ever been. Whether that’s enough to get them their own comic series remains to be seen. -Blair

Final Score:

Clean Room #17

STL036839

Written by Gail Simone | Drawn by Walter Geovani

Clean Room is a scary book, that much we know. What makes this book so consistently unsettling is in how the book scares you, as Gail Simone’s horrors never come from the same place twice. Issue #17 is an excellent example of that uncertainty. While much of the read revolves around the horrific imagery and more obvious nastiness we’ve come to expect, Simone also manages to twist the book’s mundane moments into something anything but. For as fantastic as her story is, Simone is using very real fears, biases and judgments as the embers of her flame, the resulting tension getting more and more palpable as the issue progresses. That level of nuance is expertly translated by Walter Geovani, who instills as much dread in a budding mob as he does an otherworldly monster. As psychologically harrowing as it is visually engrossing, this series has really hit its stride. -Jeff

Final Score:

The Dark Knight III: The Master Race #8

STL037191

Written by Frank Miller & Brian Azzarello | Drawn by Andy Kubert & Frank Miller

“It’s becoming more and more common for major event comics at Marvel and DC to receive a last-minute extra issue. It happened with Secret Wars in 2015 and Civil War II in 2016, and now The Dark Knight III is getting in on that action. In every case, the reasoning is the same. The creators realized as they were crafting their superhero epic that they needed more room to give the story the finish it deserved. Time will ultimately tell if that approach was justified here, but it’s hard to ignore the fact that issue #8 feels particularly light on story, even by the book’s usual standard.” -Jesse

Click here to read the entire review!

Final Score:

Green Lantern/Space Ghost Special #1

STL037085

Written by James Tynion IV, Christopher Sebela & Howard Chaykin | Drawn by Ariel Olivetti & Howard Chaykin

“Green Lantern/Space Ghost is easily the most enticing of DC’s four DC/Hanna-Barbera specials on offer this week. That’s both due to the promising superhero pairing and the creative team involved. Nor does this issue disappoint, proving that maybe there’s some long-term mileage to be had out of this particular alliance.” -Author

Click here to read the entire review!

Final Score:

Harley’s Little Black Book #6

STL020675

Written by Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti | Drawn by Simon Bisley

If you’ve ever read the Lobo one-shots and miniseries from the ‘90s, then this installment of Harley’s Little Black Book probably seems very familiar. Simon Bisley comes back to revisit Lobo for this issue, while Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti channel their inner Keith Giffen to replicate the tone of the classic Lobo stories. Given Harley’s taste in men, it actually does make sense that she’d be drawn to Lobo, and their flirtations are fun to read. Bisley’s art is an acquired taste. There are certain pages that work better than others, but Bisley’s characters can be hard to look at over an extended period. There’s just something intentionally grotesque about them. If you can get past that, the issue does have some entertaining moments as Harley Quinn brings her brand of insanity to another corner of the universe before playing Blue Lagoon with the Main Man. It’s not great, but it’s a better than average issue. -Blair

Final Score:

Justice League of America #3

Justice_League_of_America_Vol_5_3

Written by Steve Orlando | Drawn by Diogenes Neves

“Justice League of America had two distinguishing qualities when it first launched early this year. It boasted a strong team dynamic and was bolstered by the always incredible work of Ivan Reis. Sadly, these most recent two issues have shown that there’s not much left once you remove those two pieces from the equation. What began as a promising addition to the Rebirth lineup has quickly lost its footing.” -Jesse

Click here to read the entire review!

Final Score:

The Kamandi Challenge #3

STL036894

Written by Jimmy Palmiotti | Drawn by Amanda Conner

In the early goings of Kamandi Challenge, it was the book’s what-next sense of randomness that provided its immediate appeal. Now that the concept is firmly up and running, what once was surprising is now more or less expected, which makes for a new kind of challenge for the creative teams involved. It’s fortuitous then that this lull is met by Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner, the duo injecting a welcome sense of irreverence to the Challenge formula. Palmiotti leaves no stone unturned or character uneaten in his script, clearly embracing the everything-goes structure the book provides. Conner approaches her art with a similar gusto, pairing her signature expressiveness with a host of hilarious, and at times uncomfortable, visuals. The book’s “wait, there’s more!” structure may eventually peter out in the long run, but for at least one more issue the Kamandi Challenge remains a fast and loose good time. -Jeff Final Score:

Suicide Squad/Banana Splits Special #1

STL037086

Written by Tony Bedard & Mark Russell | Drawn by Ben Caldwell & Howard Porter

For this review, we’re gonna start with the Snagglepuss backup story by Mark Russell and Howard Porter, because that’s the really special part of this issue. In only eight pages, Russell and Porter gave Snagglepuss more life than he’s had in decades. The story re-imagines Snagglepuss as a writer on the verge of being blacklisted in the ‘50s, and he just refuses to take it seriously. Snagglepuss seems a bit like Oscar Wilde here, and it’s a great take on the character. The story even ends on a fairly profound note, and it makes Snagglepuss a viable leading character who could potentially star in his own comic. As for the lead feature…that was a thing that happened. Tony Bedard chooses not to explain how the Banana Splits came to be in the DCU, and it’s probably for the best. It’s absurd and not always funny, but the real comedy finally comes when the Banana Splits show off their violent side before getting recruited to be the new Suicide Squad. Caldwell’s art is pretty charming as it goes from cute animals to comic book violence. But the overall story just doesn’t hold together very well. This joke was worth telling; it just shouldn’t have been a full-length story. If anything, this one should have been the backup tale to Snagglepuss. -Blair

Final Score:

Continues

Related Post

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.