6th April 2019
Amazing Spiderman #14 and #15 – Family Ties (2 part Story Arc).
Written by: Nick Spencer
Drawn by: Chris Bachalo
In this two part comic book storyline Spiderman has an unexpected team up with Rhino to take on TaskMaster and Black Ant. With Aunt May caught in the middle.
Nick Spencer and Chris Bachalo prove they can be great fit together in this fast paced and fun storyline.
It can be argued that Nick Spencer can often be a bit too wordy at times in his dialogue, but in these two issues Bachalo is allowed to draw fantastic art that fills the page. The wonderful detail almost feels like they come alive in the way his set is penciled.
The interaction with Aunt May and the consequences of some of the choices made really do leave you excited to turn each page of the issues.
This story doesn’t break new ground and bar the final couple of pages, doesn’t really advance the larger story arcs that are leading to the upcoming Kraven: Hunted story. But what you do have is a fast paced comic that’s got a good mix of serious, witty and overall fun with a great cast.
Writing – 8
Art – 9
Storyline – 8
Overall – 8
Batman Volume 8 – Cold Days (collects Batman #51-56)
Written by: Tom King
Drawn by: Lee Weeks (Cold Days), Tony S. Daniel (Beast of Burden)
More of a graphic novel than a comic book, this one has 2 story arcs. The first 3 issues is the self-titled ‘Cold Days’ and the second is titled Beasts of burden.
Cold Days is probably the weaker of the two storylines. (#51-53) This isn’t to say that this is a bad 3 part story but the Beasts of burden story (#54-56) is a lot stronger and one of the better Batman stories in a long time with very impactful writing.
Cold day’s centres on Bruce Wayne as he is called for jury service to decide with the jury if Mr Freeze is innocent or guilty. This followed Batman beating Mr Freeze violently to obtain clues on Bane, an attack that pushed Batman to almost cross the line from hero to anti hero anger. Batman used excessive force, making the arrest illegal on Freeze and with Bruce on the Jury will he vote innocent or guilty?
Tom King writes a very compelling court case drama and looks at Bruce Wayne, as the man behind the mask while discussing if Batman is truly the saviour of Gotham or does he cause more harm than good.
Ethical code and good vs bad lines are blurred in this engaging story. Tom plays of Bruce’s emotional state and delves into the effect that Selina Kyle leaving Bruce at the alter (or the rooftops to be precise) has had. The script and writing is very impactful and shows the human side of both Bruce and as Batman.
The art by Lee Weeks, while a little too dark is good, though at times it can feel a little unfinished and a little lazy in the distant facial art but the art featuring batman, particularly with Mr Freeze is very strong and moody.
Beasts of burden is a very engaging story featuring the returning villain KGBeast who from the outset has a clear, dangerous agenda of revenge.
From the moment he arrives in America, is passed through passport control, to setting up a sniper in the small flat in one of Gotham’s high rise blocks, the atmosphere and almost bone chilling eeriness really pulls you in and the scenes that follow are very impactful moments that leave ramifications for both Batman and Nightwing. To say more would be a spoiler and I keep my reviews spoiler free but this is one villain who is out for Revenge on Caped Crusader and his Bat Family.
The writing is very engrossing and keeps you reading to the end. The chemistry between Batman and Nightwing is wonderfully written and Tom is clearly having fun writing the main characters in this story and does a great job of delving into the history of the original dynamic duo.
Detailed rich art by Tony S. Daniel is excellent throughout and really captures the essence of the characters with great smooth. Sadly though the drop in paper quality in this volume doesn’t make the colours as vibrant as they could be.
Under the writing skills of Tom King, Batman has been a wonderful and highly recommended read for months but this particular one volume of Batman is certainly one you don’t want to miss! Be sure picking up Batman as it currently one of the best reads on the comic book shelves.
Writing – 8
Art – 7 (Cold Days) 8.5 (Beast of burden)
Story – 7 (Cold Days) 9 (Beast of burden)
Overall – 8.8