Reviews: JUSTICE LEGUE #60, CATWOMAN #30 & NIGHTWING #79

0
365

JUSTICE LEAGUE #60 Review by Garret Grev

SYNOPSIS: Superman, Batman, Green Arrow, Black Canary, Aquaman, and Hawkgirl join forces with Black Adam to fight an all-new world conqueror! But how do they stop the unstoppable power known as Brutus? Enter new mega-power sensation Naomi, who comes face to face with the League and brings along Queen Hippolyta of the Amazons for a blockbuster battle for the ages-with a last-page cliffhanger that will leave everyone guessing what’s next!

I like what’s going on here. Big team. Big names. New faces. New danger.

Issue two of Prisms picks up right on the heels of Justice League #59. There is a new big bad showing up on the main DC Earth and the team isn’t quite sure what to make of him or his connection to a young girl with a fresh set of superpowers.

You also get an extra helping of Black Adam. It’s hard not to read Adam’s recent portrayals as a bit of “cross-platform synergies” being cooked up in preparation for the new feature motion picture starring the beloved Dwayne Johnson. Black Adam has been (not-so-slowly) drifting into “gruff hero with a heart of gold territory” for several months now and in JL #60 Superman acts as a stand-in for DC editorial to make their intentions known. They, and Superman, want to transition Black Adam into a full member of the Justice League.

From a real deal bad guy perspective, the issue delivers more of the mysterious Brutus. It still doesn’t give away too many of his story details but what we do learn is presented through his interaction with other characters including Black Adam, Hippolyta, and Naomi. He’s something of a powerhouse that comes from another world but one outside of the known multiverse (Batman is able to determine that bit of info through some vague super-sleuthing.) There is some good character work with Brutus feeling no shame in retreating to his poisonous homeworld when he’s outmatched to get better prepared, which is a nice touch. It should be worth noting that from a design and weaponry standpoint Brutus bears a striking resemblance to the combined cinematic representations of Steppenwolf in the Justice League movies. Could this be an alternate world version of Apokolips and its warriors?

Another mystery character is Naomi, a super-powered teen with no use for a secret identity. She’s the sole survivor of her homeworld but shows the same biological readings as Brutus (without any physical resemblance.) I’m not familiar with this character outside of her two appearances in JL but I’m interested enough to want to see more of her.

Pros: Fun story with big action and mystery, new characters with mysterious connections, a fresh (if a bit forced) approach to Black Adam, and great art from David Marquez.

Cons: a bit too much time spent on “future of the league debates” and a league roster size that leaves some characters getting left out

Overall this is a really fun issue and I’m enjoying this run from the new creative team. I look forward to issue #61. If you’re not reading this title currently jump on now! – Garret Grev

GRADE: B+


CATWOMAN #30 by John Funderburg

SYNOPSIS: The Riddler revealed that he knows details about Poison Ivy’s whereabouts. Now, after the Riddler has been gravely wounded, Catwoman brings him to be patched up by Alleytown’s less-than-scrupulous medics. Now on the mend, Riddler points Selina in Ivy’s direction-but is he telling the truth, or wrapping her up in another one of his riddles? Meanwhile, the Penguin’s come to realize that enlisting Father Valley to take out Catwoman may have been a mistake and finds himself asking whether he hired a hitman…or inked a deal with the devil himself.

Getting high on Ivy’s supply!

Selina is tracking down an enigmatic symbol that she believes is tied to a potent drug that’s been making its way onto the streets of Gotham.  But how is this all tied to the disappearance of Poison Ivy?  Meanwhile, Father Valley is proving to Oswald Cobblepot just how little he knows about the man he hired to kill the Cat.  Make no mistake – there will be blood on the streets tonight!

Catwoman is really shaping up to be a great book.  Writer Ram V continues to level up the excitement and intrigue with each issue, and at every turn, this book offers a rich, visceral experience.  He’s balancing a no-nonsense crime story with lively action, and he’s using foundational DC characters in ways I wouldn’t have expected.  If you aren’t getting these individual issues, definitely make sure to pick up the trade when it hits shelves in November.

And again, Fernando Blanco is stepping up in a huge way and crushing the artwork.  This book looks fantastic.  And I’m even more convinced this month that the colorwork by Jordie Bellaire is making a huge difference.  One of the complaints I’d had about this book previously was how flat everything looked, and I now see that this was largely due to who was handling the colors in prior issues.  What a difference Jordie’s contribution makes!

Catwoman #30 is tremendous – it is easily the best entry in Ram V’s Catwoman book to date.  Pick it up. – John Funderberg

GRADE: A


NIGHTWING #79 by James Armstrong

SYNOPSIS: Dick Grayson has inherited Alfred’s fortune, a puppy, and a whole lot of questions. Who is Mayor Zucco, and what is her relation to the man who murdered Dick’s parents? What sinister plans does Blockbuster have for Blüdhaven? What kind of dog food is best for a three-legged puppy? To answer these questions, Dick’s going to need a little help from his friends — past and present.

The second issue in Tom Taylor’s run on Nightwing has Dick Grayson now the guardian of a great fortune as well as guarding Bludhaven.

While Grayson — aided by Barbara Gordon — meditates on what to do with his money, he starts out small: Splurging on an impromptu pizza party for nearby homeless people after being asked for change by a father and son.

It’s a natural Dick Grayson moment as he flys by the seat of his pants and just does the first thing that comes to mind! A very comic-booky moment.

That sums up my take on this issue. NIGHTWING #79 at times feels heartfelt, on the edge of being sappy, but the still luscious pencils, colors, and banter between Dick and Babs keeps you grounded enough to love it.

Plus, if you don’t want to buy NIGHTWING #79 for the story there’s a panel of a shirtless Grayson showing off abs that put Henry Cavill and LEGO Batman to shame.

While we’re still in a holding pattern as to what will go on with incoming Mayor Zucco, we get a new villain in Heartless.

In a very NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN-esque first impression, Heartless fires a weapon at a man that rips out his heart.

Again, this is symbolism that should be sappy but comes across as textbook comic-booky thrills. DC’s most heartfelt — dare I say bleeding heart — hero gets a villain ripping out hearts! What’s not to love?

NIGHTWING #79 keeps up the momentum of the previous issue and introduces a villain who looks worthwhile! – James Armstrong

GRADE: A