BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY #3
Final Score – 10/10
Arkham City #3 has once again provided an action packed, well written story in its 30 something pages. This issue follows a mysterious thug named Lester Kurtz, who is out to join the Arkham City underground as a common thug for Joker and later Penguin. This allows the issue to give an intimate look into the happenings of Arkham City and the rising tensions of the two main factions that are battling for control.
Issue #3 once again has the excellent characterization that has been prevalent throughout this miniseries. Joker is as funny as ever and Penguin is absolutely ruthless, even when he is not really trying to be. The writing is also really strong with no real contrivances or awkward text that sometimes shows itself in comics. Everything feels natural and flows well. I wish more comics would have this level of excellence.
I am really excited to see where the final 2 issues will go with the story as it leads up to the opening of Arkham City. There are so many unanswered questions and possible ways the story could go at this stage. I want to see what the writers have ultimately planned for the caped crusader as he heads, as evidenced in this issue, into the seedy and tension filled Arkham City that is filled with far more danger than Arkham Asylum ever presented him with. It will be one hell of a ride, I am sure.
THE WALKING DEAD #86
Final Score - 10/10
Kirkman, you have done it once again. You have crafted another masterpiece here in issue #86. This issue is one of the best issues in a long time, and it is certainly the best since the conclusion of “No Way Out”. Issue #86 is all about the survivors this time around, with very few zombies present. And I feel it is stronger because of it.
Everything about this issue is amazing. The dialog is expertly crafted and really serves to pull you into the story and keep your attention throughout the entire issue, especially the conversation between Rick and Andrea. It ranks as one of the best conversation in recent issues and perhaps even the entire series. Besides the writing, the artwork is perfectly executed. So many panels show so much without a word being spoken. They capture the emotion that is meant to be portrayed so well and make it so believable. Though do not discount the ones with words as well because they too capture the emotion perfectly. This issue is Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn at their best and I really hope that his future art in the coming issues will hold up to this benchmark.
My only real complaint with this issue is that Carl’s fate is still up in the air, though this issue has made me less anxious for it to be resolved. This is because Kirkman finally showed some of his reasoning behind having this horrible injury and prolonged ambiguity of Carl’s fate and it is stunning. He has made the wait for the new issues even harder to bear because I want more and right now. Also, he has restored my faith because he has shown that Carl’s injury is more than just a plot point, it is a catalyst. A catalyst for how Rick and crew will continue on in the wake of No Way Out and how the series will continue after many thought, myself included, that perhaps the series had run its course. It certainly has not and I look forward to being there every step of the way.
DC Universe Online Legends #10
Overall Score 9/10
DC Universe Online Legends #10 certainly does not pull any punches. This issue crams a lot of twists into the 30 something pages that encompass it. I swear I did not see some of them coming, and I am really curious to see where they go with them because they have so much potential.
Also, in the issue, I really liked how they brought out some lesser DC villains to fight Superman, even if it was only for a few panels before Lex Luthor double crossed them like usual. Another thing worthy of mention is that the issue briefly touches on the alienation the other heroes felt in the last issue when Superman left them to try to save Lois. When they confront Superman, the tension is high and really makes the few panels that comprise it really stand out. I am hoping to see more tension between the heroes in the next issue as well.
My only real complaint was that issue #10 ended on a cliffhanger that was somewhat weak. While it did make you want to read the next issue, it also was a big disappointment because the issue was leading up to something big, but snatched it away from you before it got there. Kind of like on Deal or No Deal when a commercial break is coming and they add some hype before saying stay tuned. Though the way the issue does it is not as fun. Oh well, we will see what is going to happen next issue.
Deus Ex #5
Overall Score 8.5/10
Deus Ex #5 was better than the previous issue. It had more action, which the Deus Ex series is known for, plus more of the potent dialog that is closer to the game. The flashback that starts the comic is pretty well done and shows more of the past between Adam and Quincy. This serves to show more of why Quincy hates Adam and some of his motivation for the rampage he has been on since this mini-series started. Also, I liked the cliffhanger ending because it makes me want to read the final issue more, though I know that certain people will not die because have been shown in the game already, which kind of cheapens the potential shock value.
Overall, the issue did a decent job, but it still had room for improvement. Let’s see how the final issue turns out.
Batman: Arkham City #2
Issue Score - 9/10
Arkham City #2 splits itself between two plotlines, the grand opening ceremony of Arkham City with Bruce’s subsequent investigation into Mayor Sharp and the Joker’s transport to Arkham City. Of course both the investigation and Joker’s transport do not go as planned. The comic ends on the note that bigger things are in the works that will leave lasting repercussions.
This issue continued the momentum of the first issue and made me constantly want more. The plot overall was well done, though a little predictable, and has made me really look forward to the next issue and eventually the game. The one thing that really made this issue though was the Joker plotline. Everything about it just felt right. All the jokes and one-liners were quite funny, Harley felt like Harley and the conclusion of it made me really want to see what Joker has up his sleeve because now I am questioning who will be the real mastermind at the conclusion of the game. Arkham City has once again amped up the stakes and brought the fuse closer to the metaphorical powder keg that will eventually explode. When the dust settles, Gotham will survive the blast, but things will never again be the same.
DC Universe Online Legends #9
Issue Score: 9/10
Issue #9 focuses mainly on Superman and his devotion to Lois. It all starts with a dream of Lois and him in space on the moon. They are having a romantic time, but Lois’ suit has a tear and the vacuum it creates kills her. Superman wakes up and proceeds for the rest of the issue to try to save Lois. Lex’s plan from the last issue continues, and Superman still has no idea this is all a set up to take him down. Lex brings the Daily Planet bottle back to Earth and restores it. However, this is a distraction and an exobyte bites Superman and may have stolen one of his powers. In Superman’s quest to save Lois, he leaves the other heroes to fight off an army of super villains that Braniac releases. At the end of the comic, Batman calls Superman and upon his arrival it is revealed that because of Superman’s decision to save Lois and leave the heroes to fight without him, J’onn has been drained of all his powers by exobytes that were a part of the attack. The Martian Manhunter is no more. J’onn is completely helpless. Batman gives Superman an ultimatum; he must decide if saving his loved ones or the world is more important.
Issue #9 really reached a new high for this series. The “death” of Lois was excellently done and was quite shocking because of the violent way in which it happened and the fact that there was no hint at all of it coming. It was just a punch in the face and it worked so well. The degradation of Clark’s judgment due to emotions really showed a more human side of him because even the Man of Steel can screw up and despite his best intentions, cannot save everyone. It took him off of his pedestal as an icon and showed him as a man. Furthermore in this issue, I found both Lex’s deception actually working and J’onn’s loss of powers to be completely awesome and unexpected. I really thought that Superman would have seen through Lex’s deception, but he did not due to his clouded judgment. The J’onn situation completely flabbergasted me because in this universe, the Martian Manhunter is no more. Though he is still living, DC has essentially killed him off and really set up the dire situation of Brainiac’s invasion because honestly, Clark and J’onn are the only two heroes that could have a shot at defeating him. With J’onn out of the picture, it is up to Superman alone. I am looking forward to the next issue.
The Walking Dead #85
Issue Score: 9.5/10
Warning! Super, massive spoilers ahead! Read at your own risk if you have not read No Way Out!
Following the victory in the conclusion of No Way Out, the survivors have a new sense of comfort and optimism. They believe that they can survive in their community and that perhaps one day civilization will return. However, not all is bright and sunny. The casualties have piled up from the attack and the dead are mourned by all. Relationships are strained and Rosita leaves Abraham. Carl is still in horrible shape after his injury though still alive. At the conclusion of the issue, Carl coughs and make an unintelligible groan though it is unknown if he is waking up or coming back as a Walker…
Walking Dead #85, the issue that gives me hope and plunges me in utter despair at the same time. The survivors seem as if the society will be just fine and perhaps bring back some sort of normalcy to life one day as long as they can fend off the hordes. I really am hoping for that because I believe that so much can be done with the comic should a human civilization actually survive and be established. However, at the same time, I feel that the journey should continue because there are so many other places the comic could go and situations the survivors can end up in that will be lost if they stay put. We will see where it goes.
Now, for the utter despair. I believe that situations can never return to normal, especially with Carl’s fate. I am still in shock that Kirkman would do such a thing as have Carl get a good portion of his face blown off by a stray bullet. I have grown to love Carl since issue 2 and now I am faced with the possibility that he might be gone really soon. Granted, I am curious to see how Rick could continue on without Carl, seeing that it has been his paramount motivation since issue 1 to find and protect his family at all costs and here we are faced with the fact that his family may actually be completely gone, leaving behind a man who could either be resolved to continue on because that is what his loved ones would have wanted or left devastated and perhaps suicidal because he cannot forgive himself for failing those he held so close. The next issue cannot come soon enough, though I personally feel that I will be left with the same feeling I had when Lori and Judith were gunned down and my heart hit the floor.
Issue Score - 9/10
Mini-Series Score – 9.5/10
The final issue of Infamous concludes the battle between Cole and The Beast, with Cole getting a temporary victory over The Beast by using his lighting storm to shock him and take down the ship that they are fighting inside of. During this battle, Moya is on the ship as well and Cole tries to save her. However, she tells him to forget about her and sacrifices herself so Cole can escape. The true story of what happened in Empire City hits the national news thanks to the reporters that risked everything to get the story. Cole is last seen on the beach with Zeke contemplating if it is all over when he receives a call from Lucy Kuo, a coworker of John’s. She claims they need to talk and so ends the mini-series.
Infamous really went out with a bang in this last issue, which wrapped up the story arc nicely and set up the beginning of Infamous 2. I honestly did not expect the death of Moya. I really thought she would have been an active part of the second game, but her death is fitting because she was the driving force behind the first game and it is time to explore Cole’s new relationships in the new town of New Marais. This mini-series as a whole was quite well done and bridges the two games quite nicely while it expanded upon and answered some of the questions that were left at the end of Infamous 1. Seriously, good job to the creators and I cannot wait to find out what happens to Cole in the new game and what surprises are in store as well.
DC Universe Online Legends #8
Overall Score 9/10
Issue 8 of DCUO Legends follows the present day heroes as they try to find Brainiac. It also focuses on the present day Lex Luthor who, after having a building fall on him, has seen better days. He is augmented and healed by Brainiac though he is now more cyborg than man and ends the comic ready to try to win over the public by trying to make himself a hero and turn the public favor away from Superman.
This issue was pretty good. The pacing was well done and the editing kept the issue flowing without much fluff. The dialog was also pretty well done and never felt forced. I really enjoyed the scene of Braniac about to repair Luthor because of the unstated humor in contained. Luthor freaking out right before he was operated on and Brainiac just being cold and stone faced as Luthor screamed out in pain just seemed really funny to me in an ironic way. Also, I really like the fact that present day Luthor is falling into becoming just a puppet, the same way future Luthor did, all because of his hatred for Superman. For being a man with an over 160 IQ, he is pretty dumb to think that Brainiac only wants to help him get rid of Superman. That is about as likely as Batman killing a person or using a gun. Also, I want to give special mention to the final shot of the comic, which was Luthor holding and looking into the bottle that contains The Daily Planet. It is just such an iconic shot with Luthor appearing God-like while peering at the Daily Planet. I feel it embodies Lex perfectly and provides an excellent scene to end the comic with.
Dues Ex: Human Revolution #4
Overall Score 7.5/10
Deus Ex #4 covers the murder of some important Augmentation scientists that work for Sarif Industries. Adam Jensen and Ms. Sutherland, his makeshift partner, investigate the murders and discover that a person from Adam’s past, Durant, is a key player in them all. The issue ends with Adam rescuing the final scientist, who was taken alive, but is himself captured by Durant.
This issue was ok. The dialog was quite cheesy with tired clichés, but worked well enough. The pacing really did not flow well and while it elaborated more on Sutherland’s back story and had a few good fight scenes, the issue as a whole felt like filler. Especially with the way it ended, which alluded to big things for the next issue. Granted every issue cannot contain bombshells, amazing fight scenes and excellent information, however, it should not move along at a snail’s pace and leave much to be desired, especially when there are only 6 issues in the series. As a whole, I still like the series since it is setting up nicely the war you will be fighting in August when the game is released, but I just wish that every issue proved to be compelling and leave you excited more for the game and the next issue as well. One can dream.