Batman/Superman Volume 3 Second Chance Review

133819.jpg.maxheight-1500
I said that there wouldn’t be another DC comic review for a bit, but I completely forgot that I had checked this one out. The Batman/Superman series in the New 52 always looked intriguing, but not necessarily in a good way. I really didn’t like the art in the first volume and I always stayed away from the series. It struck me as a random/non canon event that just didn’t look very entertaining. Surprisingly, it seems to actually be treated as canon. This volume actually ended up being pretty good even if it could have been better.

The first few issues are main stand alone stories until the arc begins. One story takes place during the Doomed event as Superman has been infected with the Doomsday virus. Batman, Steel, and Wonder Woman head to the Fortress of Solitude to look for a cure when they find out that Superman’s villains have managed to modify the Phantom Zone and they can actually deal real damage now. Taking them down will be tricky for the three heroes!

Another story had Batman get sick as a microscopic hero died inside of his blood stream and was poisoning him. Superman decided to go along with the Atom inside of Batman to fight off the intruders. Unfortunately, one of the men got past them so a weakened Batman had to deal with him. This was probably the most action packed of the stories and my personal favorite of the adventures. We got a lot of Batman hype and Superman also did a good job during the fight.

Next was the big arc where a cosmic being decided to mess around with Batman and Superman. She decided to get rid of their memories and throw them back onto Earth to see how they reacted. Another cosmic being who rules the dark part of the DC universe captured her, but decided to let the whole situation play out since it was very amusing for him. Batman became a happier version of himself while Superman became the dictator that everyone expected him to be. Yup..another evil Superman story!

Still, it was handled much better than the average one would be. Superman certainly lost his qualms about actually injuring people and destroying them, but he actually felt like a realistic version of himself despite that. If Superman was not a hero, but did whatever he wanted, then this could look a little like how it should. With Catwoman as a bad influence on him, it makes sense that he would make quite a few mistakes and at least he started out by trying to help her fight off giant machines.

Meanwhile, it was probably a little tougher for Batman although his plot was more enjoyable on the whole. He decided that he did want to be a hero, but he’d do it his way. Since he was no longer burdened by the murder of his parents, Batman took on crime with a smile. He even teamed up with Lois Lane for the climax as she became the new Bat Girl. The only unfortunate part was that his Bruce Wayne side kicked in and he actually hung out with the mayor’s wife. That part was really unnecessary and definitely didn’t add anything to the adventure.

One of the weaknesses for the comic was certainly the art. As mentioned earlier, I thought that the artwork for the Atom comic was actually pretty good for the most part although a lot of the faces would be out of proportion and even funny to look at sometimes. The story arc part mainly just had problems with trying to look too live action esque. Similar to the Kingdom Come event from way back when. It just doesn’t work so well for the action scenes and a more cartoony/colorful look just works better. It’s why I like the vibrant style of the New 52 comics so much.

I do find it funny how Batman and Superman are probably portrayed better here than in just about any other New 52 comic that I’ve seen. Superman Unchained is even better if we choose to count that, but otherwise, this was impressive. Even considering that Batman and Superman lost their memories, they were pretty good. Ignoring that one regrettable Batman scene, his new persona was decent and before that he looked perfect. He was able to take on a super villain while barely conscious and at less than half power. Superman looked as heroic as he should and this could have even felt like the Pre 52 hero that we’ve always loved.

The collection was a tad light on action, but we did get a Mongul fight, the Atom battles, and the arc had some battles against the mechs that were after Catwoman. That’s all right though since the writing was pretty good and the comic was interesting. Being interesting is one of the most important parts in a comic collection after all and this one certainly had my attention. Perhaps I’ll check some other Batman/Superman comics at some point. If this series is not currently ongoing, DC needs to add another one since the Batman and Superman team up stories are always a lot of fun. I can’t think of a single pair of superheroes who are more interesting and fun to read about.

As far as plot hax goes, this comic was pretty good. There’s only one part that is guilty of it and that’s the whole plot of the arc. I still say that Superman cannot be mind controlled no matter who is doing it! I have to say that the evil monster who rules everything looked pretty good and that was one time where the gritty art worked quite well. He felt extremely evil and ominous. I don’t recognize the character, but he could make for a great mastermind even if it does seem like he may end up being a little overpowered. I’ll be interested in seeing how his plot continues.

Overall, this comic was a success. It’s too bad that Krypto got poisoned by Superman, but luckily he still held his own as he took down the villains and it was handled as well as that could be handled. The mayor’s wife moments were not handled well though and while Catwoman looked a lot better than usual, I also wouldn’t have minded if she was not here. Although, I like how Superman saw through her attempt to frame Lois Lane immediately even if he didn’t have his memories back. That’s how these things should always go. Between the art and everything else, I’m slightly keeping this comic from the standard 7, but I still recommend it if you’re looking for a good Batman/Superman story. The writing is good and the characters are in character which is always a good thing. Steel and Wonder Woman make for nice guest stars as well and they get their moment to shine. Now, it’s going to be time for a Marvel comic review next!

Overall 6/10

Advertisements

Justice League of America Volume 1 Reveiw

Justice_League_of_America_Vol_3_1
We may have the Justice League and the Justice League Dark, but there’s always room for another group. The main difference is that this group is under government jurisdiction, which makes things intriguing. The cast can be a concern since the main members won’t be able to join, but I can safely say that it is still a good comic.

The plot involves Steve Trevor as Amanda Waller tells him that she’s forming a group. She wants him to lead it and Steve talks a good game, but he is basically forced into leading the group. Amanda has selected each member so that person can theoretically beat their Justice League counterpart. The members are kept in the dark about this of course and the team consists of Martian Manhunter, Stargirl, Catwoman, Green Lantern, (Not Hal of course) Vibe, Hawkman and Katana. The cover already shows Green Arrow so I may as well say that he joins up with them later as well.

The group doesn’t really do a whole lot at first, but they look into stopping the secret society. These guys mean business since even Green Arrow was powerless to stop them. The second half involves the real Justice League as the Trinity Wars kick into high gear as both groups are launched into the fighting. Only one team can walk away from this (maybe) and the stakes have never been higher…..in a while. Meanwhile, Pandora is still around so the adventure could get even more dangerous for the heroes.

Steve Trevor is the leader of the Justice League of America, but he’s definitely no Batman. Batman can fight in hand to hand combat when necessary and he has a lot of gadgets. All Steve has is a long list of witty comebacks at the ready and a good handgun. He gives Catwoman a decent fight, but I’m glad that she defeated him. If a regular guy can defeat a super villain, then there’s no real need for an Anti Justice League group now is there? Steve tries to be a good character, but almost all of his lines are really just bluffs in the end. He always ends up listening to the government at the expense of common sense and he needs to stand up for himself some more. As far as leading the group goes….Steve doesn’t actually give many orders. He mostly just stands around and tries to talk tough. Still, Steve is a good guy despite all of this and he just needs to have more courage to stand up for what he believes in. Once he embraces this, Steve can end up being one of the better GI Joes.

Martian Manhunter is the big hitter for this group. He does pretty well, but I can’t say that he looked like he was anywhere near Superman’s level. We get some flashbacks into his origin, which will likely serve as foreshadowing for a future arc. It was intriguing, but not much has changed from the original origin so it was pretty basic. We met a new villain who I’m sure will be back at some point. The Martian is pretty short and direct in his manner of speaking, which is always good to see. I still can’t say that I’m a huge fan of the fact that he signed up with this counter league to stop the original ones, but I guess that I could say that for all of the members. At least he tried to end things diplomatically.

Katana gets a really small role compared to the other members. It’s easy to forget that she’s even on the team because she only gets a handful of lines. I don’t have much of an opinion on her at this point, but I would say that she’s decent. She’s not really a hero so hopefully these good influences will help her turn over a new leaf. I can’t say that her sword is very impressive as a person either, but all of his lines were off screen so it can be hard to tell for sure how cool he is.

I’ve never really been a fan of Hawkman and I can’t say that he looks too great here either. He seems to be pretty delusional and he overrates his own ability. I don’t really see him standing up to Aquaman at all. Hopefully he comes back to reality soon because he definitely seems like someone that you wouldn’t trust as a fellow hero.

Stargirl seems to be one of the more powerful fighters, but Amanda Waller wants her to stay at the base and act as the team’s PR rep. That doesn’t really fly with Stargirl and she escapes, which is pretty cool. She’s easily one of the most likable members of the group and she even got her town to accept her as a real superhero. It’s a feat that only a few superheroes like Superman and Flash have been able to pull off. Hopefully she gets a good fight in the next volume so we can see what her abilities can really do.

Simon Baz only appears for the latter half of the volume so we don’t see that much of him. He’s definitely no Hal Jordan and he’s a little generic so far. I’m sure that he’ll improve as he gets more screentime and he beats most of the other members. He seems to be pretty experienced after his latest adventure so hopefully he will show this as he gets some action in the future.

Catwoman was definitely not one of my favorite members. Her unnecessary embrace with Steve to steal his wallet and find out about his past was pretty sad. We get her backstory once again so that we can sympathize with the character and also learn about the Martian Manhunter, but it doesn’t really change the fact that her current self isn’t really likable. Catwoman always has the potential to be a good character, but she typically squanders it.

Green Arrow is actually pretty likable and it’s good to see him blackmail the government since they’ve been blackmailing everyone else. He’s definitely a pretty shady hero and he only answers to himself, but it’s an interesting change of pace at this point. The New 52 Arrow is completely different from the Pre 52 one and that’s just fine with me. I may actually prefer this version of the green hero. He definitely doesn’t look very impressive in the fights, but he can’t really be expected to match up against these powerful foes on his own. I’ll admit that his villain costume was pretty simple so I can see why the villains saw through it. At least Green Arrow made for an interesting addition to the team.

Vibe has a lot of room to grow so he has the potential to turn into a good hero. Right now he’s just a little too inexperienced and he doesn’t make the hero calls when necessary. He blindly listens to his superiors when they tell him to blast the Flash even though he didn’t know how it would affect him. Why take the risk when it could have potentially blown him up as with the robots? Vibe just cracked under the pressure and some more experience under his belt should help with that…hopefully!

Batman doesn’t get a huge role in this collection, but it’s good to see him thinking of a way out of this. He tries to help Superman get out of his predicament, but it’s tough without any leads. I have no qualms with his portrayal here. Superman was more on the dicey side since he allowed himself to be locked up. Luckily, the Leaguers are still watching him so the government can’t try anything, but it’s a little too risky if you ask me. Superman’s taking it pretty hard, but he should know that something’s up as he continues to get weaker and weaker. Wonder Woman actually gets most of a comic to herself as she consults the gods, villains, and finally the Justice League Dark to see if she can help Superman. She does a pretty good job although I do agree with the Welder that she didn’t need to be so threatening since they were on good terms. Bringing in the Justice League Dark was a good call….except that they turned out to be a little too unprepared for the battle.

Lex Luther didn’t get a huge role in this one, but it was good to see his portrayal went. Going after the box just to irritate the Justice League was classic and I’ll admit that I was rooting for him. It may have just been a cameo, but it was still good to see. The Flash didn’t really do anything either, but tackling Martian Manhunter was pretty good since traitors needs to be taken out of the fight right away. He may have misread the situation, but he made the hero move. (Although I believe that phasing through people should be a last resort unless they’re super powerful)

Amanda Waller is still a woman who only cares to help the government. She threatens the heroes and makes sure to be as unlikable as she can be throughout the comic. I was rooting for Stargirl to arrest her or to completely ignore Waller’s commands after the threats started coming in. Lucily, Stargirl did rebel, but I would have liked a more direct approach. Amanda always makes for a decent villain, but she’s seriously misguided in her attempts to help humanity.

The plot does jump around a lot in this comic though and you may not be crazy about this if you want to see the whole story. It jumps right into the 2nd or third part of the Trinity War and then jumps to the after effects of the event. That’s because only one issue was really in this series, but it can make for an interesting read in trade paperback form. The Secret Society plot also kind of vanished as the volume went on. I suppose that it could have ended in a way, but it didn’t really feel like an ending.

I have to wonder if Amanda Waller really thought her plan would work since her members are not nearly as powerful as the real league. Hal Jordan is better than Simon Baz in just about every way. The Flash would beat Vibe in his sleep. Batman’s better at hand to hand combat than Catwoman. Wonder Woman vs Katana is a bit of a joke. (No offense to Katana fans of course, but I don’t see her trading blows with Superman) Superman has heat vision to take care of Martian Manhunter. I forgot who Stargirl is a rival of, but let’s say that she loses to Cyborg and Aquaman beats the rest. That sounds about right. Amanda’s plan would not work and I don’t see how she can get past this fact.

DC’s done a really good job with the artwork in just about all of their New 52 comics. This one is no exception and all of the characters are drawn really well and the fights are pretty dynamic. We don’t get a lot of action scenes unfortunately, but we can still see that the art is solid from all of the other scenes. It would be hard for the aer to be even better than this so I’m completely satisfied in this area.

Overall, This was a fun Justice League comic. It’s kind of like watching the B listers instead of the main members, which is always good as a change of pace. I’d say that the only thing that brings down the comic a little is the convoluted timeline and the fact that there are no likable villains. The League needs a serious threat if it wants to establish credibility with the world after all. Some of the members are decent while I don’t really care for the others so it’s a bit of a mixed bag in that area. This comic had the infamous Catwoman getting shot scene that made its rounds on the web a while back, but it’s not that bad. I suppose that direct gunshots aren’t typically shown that often which could be a while, but you should be okay as long as you remember the classic comic book rule about characters who die. If not, it’s easy to skim through that part since there are a lot of panels leading up to it. Personally, I found the Martian Manhunter story worse in that regard since we got classic animal/alien violence that is always sad to see. It’s part of what kept this one from getting an 8 like the classic Justice League stories, but also the fact that we’re missing most of the main members. I recommend checking out this story if you’re a Justice League fan or if you like to read comics with very good art. There’s a decent amount of action and a lot of plot lines are developed that should help you get introduced into the New 52. I just wish that Hal Jordan could have been around to participate in the fights and maybe the Forever Evil tie ins will occur in the next volume.

Overall 7/10

Catwoman vs Elektra


elektra_vs_catwoman_by_ansem3-d4deapw
Catwoman and Elektra are pretty evenly matched and both of them can be lethal in close combat. I would still have to give Elektra the edge because she seems like the better fighter and her twin blades make for very good weapons. They aren’t called twin blades if we’re being technical, but that’s essentially their main function. Catwoman has her whip, but Elektra is skilled enough to dodge the blows and turn things to her advantage. Elektra wins.

Harley Quinn vs Catwoman



Without power ups I’d give this to Catwoman. I’d say she’s just better at hand to hand combat when it comes down to it. Of course the gods gave Harley Quinn a power up back in the day and even gave her a hammer! With all of her abilities increased I think Harley Quinn has the edge. Harley Quinn wins.

Enchantress vs Catwoman




The Enchantress is extremely powerful and has fought against powerful beings like Hulk and Thor! Catwoman may be pretty athletic and an expert at hand to hand combat, but it’s just not enough. One spell from Enchantress and the battle could be over right away. Enchantress rises up the ranks with this win. Enchantress wins.

Batwoman vs Catwoman




Catwoman is back in a pretty close fight against Catwoman. These two are about evenly matched, but Catwoman has more appearances at her disposal. The more comic appearances you’re in, the better chance you have of showing off better hand to hand skills. It could be easy for Catwoman to be surpassed in the future. Catwoman wins.

Wonder Woman vs Catwoman




Catwoman may be a skilled thief, but she can’t take down Wonder Woman in a fight. Wonder Woman’s too fast and too strong to lose to Catwoman. Wonder Woman has beaten far stronger opponents and rises up the ranks with this win. Catwoman takes a drop with this loss, but she’ll be back. Wonder Woman wins.

Black Cat vs Catwoman



Catwoman has agility and speed, but Black Cat is stronger. With her skills Catwoman doesn’t stand a chance. Catwoman never really got any big power ups that could have helped her in this match. Black Cat has matched her skills with Spiderman. Black Cat gets a win and rises for this match. Maybe Catwoman can do the same in the future. Black Cat wins.

Batman vs Catwoman



Catwoman and Batman are both pretty good hand to hand fighters. Of course Batman will always be the superb fighter. His skills have been improved to a degree that he is one of the top hand to hand fighters in all of DC. Catwoman is good, but she’s not That good.

Catwoman has finally back to fight, but sadly for her it was a loss. She’ll be back, as no one stays dead in the blog. Batman will also be back, a couple of times in fact. Batman’s just too popular to go down. You could even argue that he’s the most popular character in all of comics….though you may not want to go that far. Batman wins.

Gon vs Catwoman




Catwoman is one of the weakest Batman villains of all time. She has some hand to hand experience, but it is the experience of defeat. She has a whip, but she gets whipped by it. She has some cats, all of which are stronger than her. Her only hope is to beat Batman the way you beat Captain James T Kirk. Sadly for her Gon is a little boy, and none of her tricks work on him. Gon wins.