@BatWatcher Reviews: @DCComics Batman and Robin #18, Batwoman #18, Birds of Prey #18

Batman and Robin #18 CoverBatwoman #18 CoverBirds of Prey #18 Cover

Here are today's "Guest Reviews" by Jeremy Sims from Batwatch. Included are DC's; Batman and Robin #18, Batwoman #18, & Birds of Prey #18. I have also added my rating after each review. If you have any questions about my rating or want to discuss anything just leave me a comment.


See the Review Rating Overview page for more information on how I rate each comic.



Batman and Robin #18 - Undone


You dare not miss this issue!


It’s the BATMAN AND ROBIN story of the year!


Preview



Requiem


Everybody get your tissue boxes ready because Peter J. Tomasi (former editor of Hitman and current writer for Batman and Robin and Green Lantern Corps) and Patrick Gleason (former artist for Robin and cover artist for Arkham City: End Game and current penciler for Batman and Robin) are about to unleash some serious emotional devastation on us. The team that has manged to put more heart into their issues than most other Batman series combined will now have the mother of all potential heart breakers, the death of Damian Wayne, the Bat Brat who went from budding psychopath to a hero with a heart. In the wake of Damian being sliced and diced by his own quasi-brother, Tomasi and Gleason have promised a completely silent issue dealing with the loss of Damian and I expect great things. Does this issue deliver a gripping memorial for Damian, or is this just another Batman story with a cheap gimmick?

In this issue, Batman lives in a haze of pain and motion as he strives to accept the death of his son.

Is It Awesome?

Yeah, it's awesome. This is one of those issues where I feel like a lot will be lost if I analyze it too deeply because I do not want to limit the emotional impact of scenes by giving them away early. Also, the story speaks for itself and there is no dialogue to unpack, so this might be a brief review, but I will go ahead an share some thoughts.

The story starts off by digging at your heart, and it does not really let up except for a brief period in the middle where it seems to devolve into a more typical Batman story, yet after finishing the story, I now realize that the brief typical moment was a necessary middle point to reach the emotional impact of the climax. I cannot describe more than that without giving things away.

Also, let me say that the art in this issue is excellent. Even if the images did not go together to tell a story, the individual panels would make it worth buying the comic just for the superb and moody art.

Read the rest of Jeremy Sims' review on Batwatch

My Rating


Cover & Solicit - 4/5
Art, Colors & Inking - 4/5
Layout & Flow - 5/5
Story - 4/5
Verdict - 4.1



Batwoman #18 - This Blood is Thick: Secrets


A new story arc begins here as Batwoman adjusts to her new partner and her new role in the war on crime.


Guest-starring Batman!


Preview



Secrets


Yay, it's Batwoman time. Batwoman has been one of my favorite series of the DCNU. It might even be my very favorite of the bunch. Many things make this issue special since there was a triple surprise at the end of the last issue. The least among them was the revelation that Kate Kane's evil twin sister, Alice, is coming back into play. The most important revelation in the minds of the average Joe is probably Kate revealing her identity and then proposing to her girlfriend, Maggie Sawyer, but I have to say I was even more shocked by the news that Mr. Bones is, if his words are to be trusted, Kate's brother. Granted, this is all a bit soap opera, but I don't care because it's awesome. Will Maggie accept? Is Mr. Bones telling the truth? will Alice come to her senses? I must know!

Also noteworthy, J.H. Williams III (former artist for Promethea, Detective Comics, writer and artist for Batwoman, writer for Legends of the Dark Knight and cover artist for Titans) has stepped off art duties for the series indefinitely so that he can work on the new Sandman series, so we will have to see if artist Trevor McCarthy (former penciler for Nightwing and Batwoman and cover artist for Birds of Prey and current penciler for Batwoman) and Guy Major (former colorist for Robin and Red Robin and current colorist for Batwoman, The Savage Hawkman, and Stormwatch) can fill his massive shoes.

Enough build up, let's read this puppy! Does Batwoman #18 answer all our burning questions or does it leave us out in the cold?

In this issue, Batwoman and Hawkfire go after Mr. Freeze with Jack Kane and Cameron Chase backing them up over com.

Read the rest of Jeremy Sims' review on Batwatch

My Rating


Cover & Solicit - 3/5
Art, Colors & Inking - 5/5
Layout & Flow - 4/5
Story - 4/5
Verdict - 4.1



Birds of Prey #18 - Burning Cold


Mr. Freeze is out of Arkham Asylum and looking for revenge on the Court of Owls! His first target? The newest member of the Birds team, Strix!


And if that wasn’t enough trouble for the girls, this issue introduces The Daughters of the Dawn who are abducting people with super powers…starting with a certain prisoner at Belle Reve!


Preview



Mr. Freeze Demands Vengeance


Birds of Prey has been a very rough book of recent, and by rough, I mean bad. Duane Swierczynski (former writer of Birds of Prey and Cable) has been writing some really bad adventures for the Birds of recent, and I am delighted that the book is finally getting some new talent. However, I'm not sure if Christy Marx (former writer of Epic's The Sisterhood of Steel and current writer of Birds of Prey and Sword of Sorcery) is really the booster shot the Birds need to make them a major player once more. After all, Marx's book Sword of Sorcery, got canceled in nearly record time for the DCNU, so why should we hold our breath that she will be the savior of Birds of Prey? Also, her name is Marx, and people named Marx have a habit of creating horrible things like Socialism and Communism. Does Christy Marx prove to be the best comrade the Birds could ever desire, or does she drop the hammer and sickle on this feeble series?

In this issue, Black Canary further proves her incompetence in leadership while Mr. Freeze targets the Court of Owls.

To Marx or Not To Marx?

The big question of this issue, at least to me, is whether or not Christy Marx is better than Duane Swierczynski, and I am happy to say she is. However, she's not a big step up.

The dialogue feels stronger. All the characters seemed to have distinct voices though there was one line from Starling which struck me as a bit off, but other than that, good stuff. The overall story feels like it actually has a focus. It appears that Mr. Freeze has a definite goal which will be revealed and explained, and though no real mission statement for the team has been given, Marx did spend some more time focusing on the home base and the characters interactions which should hopefully lead to the team developing a real identity and purpose. Marx also acknowledged that Black Canary has pretty well screwed everything up, and it appears as if Dinah might have been given a sort of spiritual guide to help her in her quest to be less incompetent.

On the flip side, Black Canary is still wildly incompetent. She lets her team walk all over her, and I despise that about her. I was hoping that in this issue, she would really put Strix in her place, but no luck on that front. Portraying Strix as a psycho is only making her unlovable in my eyes. The members of Birds of Prey should have been able to deal with Mr. Freeze much more efficiently, and the poor showing just makes the cast look weak. Finally, the call to arms at the end of the issue is quite reminiscent of the general, “Let's kick some butt,” attitude which is the most typical thing that could ever be included in a team superhero book.

Read the rest of Jeremy Sims' review on Batwatch

My Rating


Cover & Solicit - 4/5
Art, Colors & Inking - 4/5
Layout & Flow - 4/5
Story - 3/5
Verdict - 3.6


Purchase Batman and Robin #18
Purchase Batman and Robin #18 (2nd Printing)
Purchase Batwoman #18
Purchase Birds of Prey #18
Jeremy Sims is a blogger at https://batwatch.squarespace.com/ and a comic book reviewer at Comic Vine. The use of these reviews has been authorized by the original author.

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