Review – Teen Titans Rebirth #6: “The Rise of Aqualad”

  • Writer: Benjamin Percy
  • Artist: Khoi Pham
  • Colorist: Jim Charalampidis
  • Cover Artist: Khoi Pham & Jim Charalampidis

With the Ra’s al ghul event behind them the Teen Titans are on R and R for the moment, but that doesn’t last for long when a mysterious figure beings to make a move against them.

The start of the issue we get a clue of the possible antagonist in the upcoming arc, in Del Sur Penitentiary north of San Francisco there’s a breakout and the unknown jailer escapes by jumping into sea after blowing a hole in the walk of his or her cell, I’m pretty sure the person behind this is the main villain so now its just a matter of time when he or she will reveal themselves.

Majority of the issue focuses on Aqulad’s backstory, while the Titans are dealing with a surprise interview from Bonnie Chung of Kare 7 News which was setup by beast boy, we see Jackson Hyde (Aqulad) in his room playing around with his abilities. His mother enters and schools him about using his powers in the open, she is worried about the danger it’ll cause if the public knew who he was. Like most teenagers with powers he struggles with keeping it a secret from his friends. So one night Aqulad decides to reveal his powers to his friend Kenny thinking that it would matter to him, but Kenny rejects him and ends their friendship immediately.

Meanwhile things pick up back at Titan tower with Bonnie Chung finishing her interview with the Teen Titans and is about to leave but something grabs her and takes her to an underwater prison underneath Alcatraz. With Bonnie Chung missing the Titans jump to action, they search and scout area around Alcatraz and come up with nothing, until Beast Boy encounters King Shark, who was the inmate that was hint to escaped in the beginning of the issue.

Conclusion: This was an opener for the upcoming arc the flow of this issue was a little smoother. Like most arcs reaching its conclusion there’s going to be an issue featuring some down time, where the team or individual is doing non-hero actives. However, we do get an introduction of Aqulad, many fans express their concerns about the arc focusing too much on Damian, but this issue doesn’t, and that’s a good sign for future issues.

Links: Order (Digital)

Release Date: Out Now

Story:★★★½☆ 
Art:★★★★☆ 
Dialog:★★★☆☆ 
Overall:★★★½☆ 

Review – Teen Titans #5: Damian vs Ra’s Al Ghul

  • Writer: Benjamin Percy
  • Artist: Khoi Pham
  • Colorist: Jim Charalampidis
  • Cover Artist:
  • Khoi Pham & Jim Charalampidis

In the last issue, we left off with the Teen Titans finding and breaking Robin (Damian Wayne) free from his cell Ra’s al Ghul’s teen assassins Demon Fist put him in, and like classic Damian fashion he blows off with arrogance, I like that fact that Damian still struggles with his old self, it makes his character more interesting, especially when he and Mara confront each other, that is when you see how much has character has changed from when he first arrived, while Mara looks for her grandfather’s approval Damian sees his grandfather for what he is, and that’s crazy mad man who’s willing to use his own family to achieve his goal, When Ras and Mara are together he shows no empathy towards her.

The Demon Fist on the other hand realize this and start to question everything the League of Assassins has taught them, when Damian and company confront them, he informs them of how they were stolen from their families and raise to serve Ra’s. The members of Demon Fist question Ra’s about what Robin has told them, Ra’s doesn’t deny any of it, instead he has the league of assassins attack them. Together the Teen Titans and Demon Fist take out the League ninjas with no problem, at the same time Damian goes one on one with Ra’s, and actually holds his own against his grandfather, the rest of the Titans jump in to help Damian which causes Ra’s to retreat, throughout the fight Mara seems to be conflicted on what she should do, Damian tries to convince his cousin to come with him and for a second it looked like she would have, but Ra’s al Ghul intervenes and takes Mara with him as he escapes.

When it’s all said, and done the Teen Titans and the members of Demon Fist say their goodbyes to one another and everything seems to be good, but then Batman appears and questions Damian about the events that have just transpired, confuse of his father’s appearance Damian asks his father how did he know where to find him and its hinted that Damián’s pet bat was the reason, the issue ends with Batman asking Damian to return to Gotham with him, but Damian decides to stay and be part of the Teen Titans. In the final panel 3 months has past and we see Damian is standing on top of the Titan Tower alone, that’s until the rest of the team joins him, and together they look over the city of San Francisco

Conclusion: I really enjoy Benjamin Percy’s run with the Teen Titans, there’s a good amount of character disposition and action so far, and with Ra’s al Ghul conflict over I’m looking forward to what’s coming next in future issues

Links: Order (Digital)

Release Date: Out Now

Story:★★★★☆ 
Art:★★★★☆ 
Dialog:★★★★☆ 
Overall:★★★★☆ 

Review – Teen Titans #4: A Trial by Combat

  • Writer: Benjamin Percy
  • Artist: Khoi Pham
  • Colorist: Jim Charalampidis
  • Cover Artist: Jonboy Meyers

In order to save the Teen Titans, Robin returns too Infinity Island with Ra’s al Ghul and the league of assassins. His cousin Mara and the Demon Fist also arrive and she challenges Damian to a trial by combat with the winner taking control of the league, meanwhile the Titans are at odds with Damian’s decision, especially Kid Flash.

Damian has always had a superiority complex towards the Teen Titans so when he sacrificed himself for the team it didn’t come across as a noble gesture to Kid Flash, it just seen like he was saving his own skin. The voice of reason came in this moment was Beast Boy, he reminds the team of Tim Drake’s death and how losing a Robin once again is something the team can’t have happen, so in honor of Tim they agree to go save the new Robin.

Back on the Infinity Island Damian prepares to face Mara in combat, before they start Mara begins to chastise Damian which initiates the fight, Damian displays his superiority in skill to Mara, he easily defeats her but refuses to kill her. This moment of weakness gives Mara a chance to recover and stab Damian in the back.

The Titans on the other hand infiltrate the Island in their attempt to save Robin, at the same time the Demon Fist members lock Damian in a cell and begin to talk about Mara, they know Mara only looks at them as tools not as team, one of the members Stone acknowledges Damian’s sacrifice for his team and states maybe they would be better off with Damian as leader not Mara.

Issue ends with the Titans finding Damian and breaking him out his cell.

Conclusion: Damian has shown a lot of growth as character, the fact that he’s fully committed to the Teen Titans shows this growth. Ra’s al Ghul is doing his best to try and turn Damian against the titans, even Bruce Wayne. Although the Titans don’t see Damian the same way they did Tim Drake, however they do respect him as their leader and as Robin.

Links: Order (Digital)

Release Date: Out Now

Story:★★★★☆ 
Art:★★★★★ 
Dialog:★★★★☆ 
Overall:★★★★☆ 

Swamp Thing gets a makeover from DC

Yanick Pacquette and Scott Snyder have been tinkering in the workshop on Swamp Thing and issue #8 reveals a new shift for our hero in the story. His body design has evolved to incorporate armor, boots wings and even a crown or helmet of sorts. While I do love the cover, some of the illustrations provided from the concept process are simply amazing and shouldn’t be missed. Check out the gallery below for the goods.

Link: DC Comics Blog

Review – Dark Matter #4 – Rebirth 4 of 4

Story: Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie
Art:  Garry Brown
Colors: Ryan Hill
Letters: Richard Starkings and Comicraft
Cover: Garry Brown
Published by: Dark Horse Comics

The final issue of the Rebirth saga is here for Dark Matter, I speculated on the ability to wrap this story up with the expansions going on but I’m happy to say it was a good experience. The Raza sped off to FTL speeds and left the crew behind, Ferrous Corp was closing in with countless soldiers for a wipe out event on the planet and doubt was still in the minds of the crew after discovering their true identities. What would happen? What could happen?

Rebirth 4 of 4 makes good on the developments brought through the 4 part series, giving closure to story gaps that were forming and showing that even without full memory, this group can lay down serious damage in a moments notice. New sides to the crew keep popping up as well, Marcus stands out in the issue as the lone wolf out for self-preservation over all else. Ryo emerges as a hopeful that views the upcoming battle with an optimism of chance and Griffin seems to want redemption for his past and doesn’t mind getting dirty to do it. While we don’t get to know who all of these people really were in their past we get a tease in the final panel that assures it will be handled in the future.

Artistically Dark Matter is a favorite of mine, it’s a new experience and a fresh one at that, the characters are well animated and crisp, the dark ink shadowing has lightened up consistently as the information flowed about the characters. The color and atmosphere and worlds felt like something familiar and yet new, the mining town stepping away from so much of the sci-fi experience with just normal humans running around is a perfect example of this. As a new series it’s a great ride to have the complete issue evolve from one to the next.

Spoilers!

[spoiler show=”Show Issue 4 Spoiler” hide=”Hide Issue 4 Spoiler”]For those wondering, Rebirth is over, but a new adventure begins. The question we have to ask is, who on earth is Jace Corso?[/spoiler]

Release Date: April 11, 2012

Links: Pre-Order | Preview

Story:★★★★☆ 
Art:★★★★½ 
Dialog:★★★★☆ 
Overall:★★★★☆ 

Review – Dark Matter #3 – Rebirth 3 of 4

Story: Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie
Art:  Garry Brown
Colors: Ryan Hill
Letters: Richard Starkings and Comicraft
Cover: Garry Brown
Published by: Dark Horse Comics

Dark Matter issue 3 is here, the crew faces their old identities, a planet on the verge of a showdown with private interests that want to wipe them out and the betrayal to their original mission through all this. It’s a tough battle for them after the last issue, finding out that you’re not nearly as humane as you imagined and instead a record-setting space criminal is pretty troubling, worse is realizing you’re packing enough ammo to level a city. Issue 3 takes them down a path of interaction and coming to grips with this situation, the crew on the planet taking part in humanity again by celebrating with the locals and letting go of the current situation a bit. In space we see Portia struggle with a new problem that has risen up that puts the crew in a bad spot as well and shakes foundation of the new bond we thought they all had.

How Porta takes her situation is a mystery that we’re left to find out in the final book, the crew though prove themselves more than capable as they make their stand to defend the inhabitants of the planet no matter who comes knocking. While their ammo and weapons may be limited it looks like we’re heading into a tough conclusion to this Rebirth story arc with everyone starting to focus on the team. Issue 3 is one of those rare turning points where you really need to read the story to appreciate how quickly they whip development into shape and setup the stage for a showdown.

Dark Matter issue 3 continues to develop in style, the characters after 2 issues are now more honed and coming into their own greater details. The shadows are lifting and we’re getting a greater view of who all of these mercs are. The colors are also lifting in each chapter as every panel seems to bring greater light to the entire situation, it’s an interesting way to assist in building a story without directly writing anything else in.

Release Date: March 14, 2012

Story:★★★★☆ 
Art:★★★★½ 
Dialog:★★★★☆ 
Overall:★★★★☆ 

 

Review – Dark Matter #2 – Rebirth Part 2 of 4

Writer: Joseph Mallozzi, Paul Mullie
Artist: Garry Brown
Colorist: Ryan Hill
Cover Artist: Garry Brown
Published by: Dark Horse Comics

Garry Brown Cover

Stasis has not been kind to our crew in Dark Matter, awakened into turmoil and forced to find their instinctive knowledge or face death the crew raced into action. Issue 2 continues the escape from their mysterious attacker and plans of survival after being confronted with this blank slate. The issue brings a very rough ride for the crew, losing gravity at one point and their comfort as they confront a new world after a high-speed burst.

The issue rushes through in the same speedy pace as issue 1, the chase is on as they strive to escape attackers and find their own histories through the wiped logs of the ship. The art of the pages keeps urgency and the same high contrast styling and pauses as needed when even the crew are caught off guard in new revelations about their erased objectives. If you can’t hold on much longer for spoilers click below.

[spoiler show=”Show Issue 2 Spoilers” hide=”Hide Issue 2 Spoilers”]Soooo you can’t wait for the issue to know what’s really going down?

The crew has managed to evade the attackers, hitting evasive maneuvers and blasting off to mysterious coordinates recovered from the system. In the process of this they learn the destination was their original assignment but have no further details. When arriving to the surface they’re confronted with the locals, a survivalist bunch ready to take on all comers especially as they’re threatened by corporate interests. The great debate strikes the crew to support these crews or not until a mysterious finding shakes their new lives.[/spoiler]

That’s all, and I left out a ton of goodies too!

There’s a certain cinematic or scripted drama to Dark Matter, it moves quickly and honestly feels like a blip in a time as you wait for more. I honestly hope this story can wrap up all the drama before this series is up, it has so much promise and yet it simply teases readers with little bits here and there in each issue. We’ve gone from near destruction in stasis to escape from an unknown enemy to a planet of survivalist  humans and now to the truth about all of the team… well almost all of them.

The art is crisp and clean, it emphasizes speed, stress, awakening without a hurdle, the speed of the strokes translates the urgency or situation with every line, the dialog personalised each character and brought them into their own in this issue. Showing that while they were a team, they’re very different and have their own agendas lingering underneath their amnesia filled awakenings. Anyone that felt hooked by issue 1 will feel the rush return with this installment, the tensions are high and the mysteries just keep getting worse. Who are they, what are they up to, what will they do with this clean slate on their plate, who set them up and who is behind this new pursuit? They’re working on all these questions and it just gets better and better.

If you desperately need a teaser check out Dark Horse Comics for the teaser pages to hold you for now. Alternatively, secure your copy from TFAW before it releases.

Release Date: February 8th, 2012

Story:★★★★☆ 
Art:★★★★★ 
Dialog:★★★★☆ 
Overall:★★★★☆ 

Review: Dark Matter #1 – Rebirth

Story: Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie
Art: Garry Brown
Colors: Ryan Hill
Letters: Richard Starkings and Comicraft
Cover: Garry Brown
Published by: Dark Horse Comics

Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie are back at it, once writers for Stargate, they’re now pushing forward with a new experiment of Dark Matter. Six passengers are in stasis in a bleak ship with their vitals fading and the darkness closing in.  Suddenly a break hits and they’re thrown out of their sleep into the void inside their ship. They not only have to face the unknown of their environment but the mystery of their own past lives as they are clueless to their origins.

The duo creates an air of darkness  that sends a chill down the spine, from the first pages there’s an unsettling feeling on the ship. As new characters are introduced the tension remains as no one knows who they are or where they’re at. In a sense it’s space madness on the verge of release, but instead of keeping it so simple they’ve managed to throw in a few twists. The result of the twists makes memory issues the least of their concern as they plow right into conflict.

The art is solid, Garry Brown delivers a great environment from the start, we get space as a murky void filled with stars, a ship of ambient lights and raw hallways. So often there’s magical lighting everywhere in a ship making it crystal clear, in Dark Matter it’s like riding on the bare minimum to get by. Stylistically the rapid strokes create shadows and depth add to the darkness in the scenes and the tension in the air. The color palette rides with just enough saturation to let the story meld with the art and drive home a great sense of immersion.

Dark Matter touches on paranoia and a massive sense of unknown, anyone who might have questioned if Mallozzi and Mullie had fallen off their game can rest easy. The story delivers and I’m trying so hard not to spoil the goodies within, if you’re unsure I would say check out the preview pages out when they reach Dark Horse Comics for a dose of this new 4 part adventure.

Release date: January 11, 2012

Story:★★★★☆ 
Art:★★★★½ 
Dialog:★★★★☆ 
Overall:★★★★☆