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Weekly Comic Book Reviews #7



All the previous weekly comic book reviews can be found here!

Friendship is put to the ultimate test for Batman and The Flash in The Price

Batman #64 and #65 and The Flash #64 and 65 – 4 part crossover event – The Price 

Written by: Joshua Williamson

Drawn by: Rafa Sandoval (The Flash), Gullem March (Batman)

The price is a four part crossover comic book event spanning out of the fallout of issue 1 of Heroes in Crisis, though it isn’t essential you read that first, it does help in adding depth to the already excellent script.

Batman and Flash teamed up last year for a great four part crossover event called ‘The Button’ which was excellent and I’m pleased to say the team have done an even better job of continuing the caped crusader and fastest man alive team up in The Price.

Part 1 is the only weak part of the four part comic book story which is still entertaining but it feel slightly slow paced and does take a while to get to the actual point of the plot. 

When it does though the pace really picks up and The Price turns in to a gripping read with ramifications for both Batman and The Flash and particularly the friendship between them.  I won’t say any more in fear spoilers but this is a story arc that will be mentioned in both the Flash and Batman books in both their upcoming issues and it will be interesting to their character interaction and dynamics work between each other in Justice League.

The story starts with The Flash museum being attacked by Gotham Girl, a new ‘hero’ who Batman had taken under his wing and trained Gotham Girls downside is that the more she uses her powers the more it is killing her.  This left Batman with no choice but for her to no longer use her powers.

Following a stay in Sanctuary (the retreat for troubled heroes and villains), things have taken a sudden turn for the worse for Gotham Girl, following the death of her Brother earlier in the Batman series, she has struggled to come to terms with her loss and also the struggles of no longer being able to use her powers.  Things have now reached breaking point and decides to go back to using her powers but not necessarily for good and acts out irrationally with frustration all the while she is unknowingly being controlled by someone yet to be revealed but is all detailed in the excellent plot with Batman and Flash both being caught in the middle of all it.

Guilt, blame, anger, upset, all play a part in the story of The Price.  Gotham Girl for the death of her Brother, Batman for blaming himself, for not saving her Brother and the losses for those who stayed in Sanctuary and The Flash for the death of a speedster.  

All three collide with emotion and all three intertwine perfectly in such a strong and emotional way with superb dynamics between the cast. 

The story as the title suggests looks at the price of loss, the price that comes with being a hero and the effect it has on others and the price of the toll it causes.

Art is excellent throughout with pencils perfectly drawn page to page (check out the double spread of Batman and Flash near the end of issue 4 for just one of many highlights of the amazing art), the colours and inks really add to the pencils depth and it is a joy to just look at the art throughout each issue with both artists delivering outstanding work. 

This review may be low of plot details but to say more would spoil the script and the story is better served going into this without knowing too much as it adds to the suspense of the read.

A lot happens in these four issues that has a dee and engaging story that is one of the standout reads of the year so far  and if seeing Iris West slap Batman in the face isn’t worthy of your reading well I don’t know what is!

If you’re a fan of the two Heroes or just a fan of comic books in general, I’d say you would not regret this purchase and owe it to yourself to pick this crossover up.  It’s an instant classic with excellent character development for both Batman and Flash, all of which comes… with a price!

Score out of 10:-

Story – 9

Art – 9.5

Overall – 9

The detective work continues at a slow pace in Heroes in Crisis #3

Heroes in Crisis #2 and #3

Written by: Tom King

Drawn by: Clay Mann

Heroes in Crisis continues the major DC comic book event following the events of issue one story opener.

The story as a premise is a very good one with heroes and villains having a sanctuary to go to when they need to talk about their personal struggles, with all the traumas that they deal with on a daily basis and a place to reflect, get help and work through their problems.

The Sanctuary is then attacked by an, as yet, unknown terrorist and leaves death in its wake for multiple DC characters.

Sadly reading these two next issues of the saga felt like a slog, particularly in issue 3.  I felt at the end of both the issues that nothing really had moved along in terms of plot progress and I was left wondering what was actually achieved during these two chapters.

Issue 2 is slightly enjoyable, particularly with Flash confronting Booster Gold and showing a lot vulnerable feelings behind the mask, portraying a lot of pain and emotions in both his words and his actions and it made for a great confrontation.  

I also enjoyed the flash backs of the videos the visitors of Sanctuary made, which do give a good insight as to why they felt the need to check themselves in to Sanctuary.

Harley Quinn continues to be written very blandly and Batman, continues to play detective but sadly continues to come across in a one dimensional way while not really adding to the plot in terms of these two issues.   This is quite surprising considering King writes the main Batman ongoing series.

The art on the flip side continues to be the strongest part of event and Manns work shines throughout both issues, with excellent pencils and excellent detail in the emotion of the cast, especially on the heroes most affected.

This is a 9 part comic book mini-series but I feel up to this point the series would have been better suited to a 5 issue run.  The pace is far too slow and with no significant changes from issue one to issue 3.  The story needs to advance the plot much more than these two issues have, particularly in the third issue which felt more like a filler issue.

For a big DC event such as Heroes in Crisis, which has been heavily hyped the publisher, it’s a shame this comic book is not delivering up to this point in terms of a recommended read.

Score out of 10:-

Story – 4

Art – 9

Overall – 4.5

The future is bright for the heroes of No Road Home

Avengers – No Road Home – 10 issue series

Written By: Al Ewing, Jim Zub, Mark Waid

Drawn by: Paco Medina

Following the success of Avengers: No Surrender the trio of writers who wrote that 10 issue weekly comic book mini-series have reunited a year later to write a follow up and is again in the same 10 issue weekly format.

I did review the first issue in last week’s reviews roundup but here I review the 10 chapter story in its entirety.

The first thing I will say is that despite a few ups and downs along the way the overall arc generally firing on all cylinders all the way through, with a good, tight and neatly contained story, a solid cast and fantastic artwork from beginning to end.

There is some filler along way, mainly with issues six and seven but even those two issues help flesh out the back story of some of the heroes and villains in No Road Home and is still entertaining as part of the overall story.

No road home can be read as standalone arc without prior knowledge required for the previous Avengers books but it does help slightly if you have read the last years 10 issue event Avengers: No Surrender, this helps the story flow better in my opinion.

No road home has a great mix of action, suspense and surprises (with some great cliff hangers between issues), along with just the right amount of comedy added when appropriate.  

Sadly not all the cast are given enough spotlight, while others are slightly overused but this obviously depends on your preference of Marvel characters.  I did find particularly Rocket Racoon was the most under utilised apart from the first and penultimate issue which was a shame.

The ending I found also fell slightly flat and I expected a much bigger and exciting finale than what I read but the epilogue scenes are very nicely handled and despite the main story being resolved, it does create new plots that will be addressed in other Marvel books with Guardians and the Galaxy and newly released Savage Avengers being the main two titles, so check them out if you loved No road home.

Nyx as a main villain was well written and played her part well and was certainly a strong enough choice to act as the main enemy of No road home and the heroes in the book all had their moments to shine, if, as mentioned some were under utilised.

Art wise it was excellent throughout with wonderful visual art and good deep colours that made each page really stand out.  It’s difficult for artists to be so consistent, with such a tight deadline in a weekly format but Medina has done himself proud in pencilling such fantastic art issue to issue.

Overall this comic book was a really enjoyable read, excellent detailed art and a cast who helped make the story as good as it was and I don’t think you can ask for more than that.

Score out of 10:-

Story: 8.5

Art: 9

Overall: 8.5

Spider-Bite – not the debut you’d expect in the heartfelt story of Friendly Neighborhood Spider-man #6

Friendly Neighborhood Spiderman #6

Written by: Tom Taylor

Drawn by: Juann Cabal

This series continues to be one of the best comic books on the stands and this issue is no exception.

The story is once again a standalone story but is written with such strong passion and heart it that any sub plots not addressed really do not matter in this issue as this powerful script really does pull the reader in.

The story is of Spiderman visiting a young child in hospital whose only wish is to be like Spiderman.  What follows is an adventure that will make the hardest person have their heart strings pulled.

To say more would be a spoiler but I can only emphasis that this an amazing issue.  Despite the script not progressing any current storylines or sub plots, it does an wonderful job of seeing Spidey take time out to spend time and have a bond with a young boy whose hero is Spiderman and what it means to have someone to look up to in times of struggle, giving a reason to never give up, pick themselves up when they are down, keep fighting and the difference that belief and hope can make.

The art is very good with clean, crisp, bright art.  It is slightly cartoonish is looks but this is just the style that Cabal goes for and still works really well with sharp detailed panels and overall is visually really good throughout.

This issue is one of reflection and the story stays with you long after you have got done reading the story.  Taylors run on Friendly, continues and this issue goes a long way in clarifying that.

Score out of 10:-

Story – 9

Art – 8.5 

Overall – 9

Thats all for this week. Be sure to come back next week for comic book reviews, including the latest 6 issue story arc in the pages of Uncanny X-Men and more!

Comments, opinions can be added in the feedback below! Bye for now, thwip thwip!