BATMAN #23.2 (DC)
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the Riddler is my favorite villain of all time. This is due to a number of reasons, ranging from something as simple as loving the color green to things more complex such as the character’s personality, motivation and what he actually does in the story. And boy does Riddler have great versions of all three. Riddler’s personality is an identifiable one for sure (at least for me). Someone who grows up a bullied nerd and becomes someone who’s rather smooth or suave in most given situations but has a severe case of OCD and possibly haphephobia ( a fear of being touched). Granted, he’s a psychotic, but is given identifiable personality traits so as not to lose the character’s humanity, which is where Riddler differs from the other bat-rogues. He’s not out to kill (although he does blow a guy’s arm off), rather he just wants to be tested and he wants to prevail over those testing him, namely Batman. I’ve never been a fan of Ray Fawkes’ writing before but he gives us a strong insight into the mind of Riddler as well as the way he interacts with others. He sees others as beneath him, and it fits. We’re also presented the riddles upfront at the beginning, and then these riddles are given answers that are worked into visual cues for how Riddler takes over Wayne Tower. Highlights among them being the one’s with the security card injecting its own code into the system and the electric shock delivered to a security guard. The visual cues are provided by artist Jeremy Haun, whose work seems a little thin and wispy but is highly expressive in most manners. Possibly the best scene he draws involves him putting together Riddler’s outfit and the different elements of each piece of the costume. Overall a stunning issue. -Julien Loeper
BATMAN AND ROBIN #23.2 (DC)
Court Of Owls
The Court of Owls story arc by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo was quite possibly the first biggest story arc of the New 52 (Justice League: Origin doesn’t count) and for the most part, it ran on a high note (last two issues not withstanding) and introduced some intriguing new antagonists in the Court themselves. The Court were hardly ever mentioned again in the main Batman title but got picked up by Snyder’s protégé, James Tynion IV, over in Talon, an ongoing essentially dedicated to a rogue Talon and the mythos of the Court. The villain’s month issue here holds its connective tissue to the Talon series and offers intriguing hints of what’s to come. Tynion IV is good at layering and building towards a mystery that will inevitably head towards a huge showdown, with the mystery of the First Talon taking center stage and what the court plans to during Forever Evil. I was left with a lot more questions than I had answers, and I guess that’s what the point was here, but I felt a tad unsatisfied. The rest of the issue is dedicated to showcasing the brutality and secrecy of the court and how efficient they are with their planning. Unfortunately, most of this isn’t leading anywhere by the looks of it, so it feels more like a montage than a connective story. That being said, there is some incredible art courtesy of Jorge Lucas, whose art is steeped in murky darkness and thick black shadows almost reminiscent of a less cartoonish Mike Mignola. It’s a very haunting and shadowy look, and the horror-movie vibe it gives off is quite effective. Overall, I’d say this issue was a mixed bag. -Julien Loeper
DC UNIVERSE VS. MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE #1 (DC)
The thought of this crossover sounded a bit crazy when I heard of it. I mean, He-Man and Superman duking it out? That sounds a bit strange but the execution seems like it’s going to work out. The story starts off with a mysterious woman on her way to find everyone’s favorite mystical man, John Constantine, and she comes bearing a warning of an ancient dark evil now loose in the realm of Earth. Next they flash to Eternia the mystical home world of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe but it seems as though all is in turmoil as the land has been taken over by Hordak and his mechanical horde so naturally He-Man and his team are working as a guerrilla force to fight back. The part of He-Man’s plan involves them taking out a small force of the Horde to gain information what they do find is a prisoner transport containing none other than Evil-Lyn and it would seem that she has a plan to fix everything although it is a long shot. Meanwhile, back on Earth, Constantine is meeting up with his unknown contact and she is informing him that the ultimate evil of all evil has come, the dark lord known as Skeletor but it seems that John just isn’t buying it until of course the woman reveals herself to be Marlena the warrior queen of Eternia and slams him into a table to get her point across. So now He-Man and his team have decided that the only way to get rid of the mechanical Hordes from Eternia is to actually bring Skeletor back and, while they’re all arguing on whether or not it’s actually a good idea, Evil-Lyn zaps everyone to Earth and that’s where it ends. For a first issue of a crossover comic you can’t really expect much to go down as for this one they cut to the chase real fast and it all makes sense. The art work is awesome and the story seems well developed. Let’s all hope it pans out that way. -Jack Bonilla
FF #11 (Marvel NOW!)
It has almost been a whole year since the Fantastic Four jetted off outside of space/time on their adventure and asked Ant Man, She Hulk, Medusa, and Ms. Thing to watch the kids for four whole minutes. A lot has happened in that time, but issue #11 can be summed up in only one word… Impossible! Staying true to the campiness that has become common fare in the new series of FF from Marvel, issue #11 brings back the looney favorite, The Impossible Man, in all his elastic green glory. In fact the entire impossi-family makes an appearance as Ant Man, She Hulk, Medusa and Ms. Thing hop in the time machine to save the Fantastic Four, only to be nabbed by the Impossible Man. His mission: to beg the Future Foundation to accept his son, Adolf Impossible. He thinks that their school will help him to be come more impossible, at least less “possible”. All he does is read! Matt Fraction and Mike Allred continue to deliver a fun and interesting book. The Fantastic Four series can be a very serious book while the sometimes corniness of FF is a strange relief from a situation that we know could be very serious. Allred’s style is perfect for capturing the antics of the Impossible Family and their mind-bending sense of fun and mischief. All around a recommended romp. – Aaron Clutter
GODZILLA: RULERS OF EARTH #3 (IDW)
Things are getting really interesting, and slightly confusing, with this third issue of the new series. The interesting part pertains to the continued appearances of still more monsters including Manda and Gezora, who as far as I know has never appeared in the ‘Godzilla Universe’ before, but the big debut is the ‘crab’ form of the mega beast Destoroyah who crashes a fan convention of some sort and begins tearing everything apart! The confusing part comes in with the mysterious aliens who use their shape shifting abilities to steal the bits of Godzilla the military was able to retrieve from Hawaii last issue. They are planning to use the genetic material to either create or improve and existing monster to, I think, kill Godzilla. They seem to be planning to use the Big G’s corpse to continue the process. But their exact plan isn’t clear yet but what is crystal clear is they possess the monster Gigan, and he’s really been improved on!
So what’s the end game for these aliens? Not sure, but probably the extinction of the human race (aliens aren’t known for being human friendly in any of the Godzilla realities) but in the mean time we have Godzilla being attacked by… well, we don’t know what attacked him but whatever it was it really does a number on the big guy as we end this issue with him collapsing in Malibu, CA. While on one hand this series is having a bit of a time finding its footing it certainly has a lot of potential and is continuing to build up to something big! -Skott Jimenez
TRANSFORMERS: REGENERATION ONE #94 (IDW)
Things are really getting out of control now! This issue opens with the mad Galvatron attacking Ultra Magnus on Cybertron ranting about the number of times he’s killed Magnus. Problem is, Magnus in this reality has no real idea who or what Galvatron is but that doesn’t mean we don’t get one of the more exciting fights this series has had since it’s return. While Magnus is dealing with at the other Autobots are dealing with the appearance of Warworld, the base of Bludgeon and Soundwave. They launch an all out attack on Cybertron which forces the Autobots to call out the big guns: Omega Supreme!
There is so much action going on in this issue I can’t believe the story lines weren’t tripping over each other but Simon Furman is a genius at giving each line enough screen time but not so much that each one overshadows the next.
Oh, right, I almost forgot: Hot Rod is sent on a quest through time by Primus, this specific story will be continued in the upcoming Transformers: Regeneration One #0 one-shot on sale this week! -Skott Jimenez