There’s a lot to cover on Wednesdays. We should know, as collectively, we read an insane amount of comics. Even with a large review staff, it’s hard to get to everything. With that in mind, we’re back with Wrapping Wednesday, where we look at some of the books we missed in what was another great week of comics.
Let’s get this party started.
Written by Chip Zdarsky
Illustrated by Jorge Jimenez and Belén Ortega
Colored by Tomeu Morey and Luis Guerrero
Lettered by Clayton Cowles
Reviewed by Quinn Tassin
“Batman” #125 is an excellent new start for Bruce Wayne. It’s not that this is an issue that takes some revolutionary steps but that this new creative team clearly gets what makes Batman comics compelling. This issue revisits out all the classics; there’s a gala crashed by villains, someone killing rich Gothamites, a Robin being put in mortal danger, and Batman being framed for murder. There’s a clear love for this character on every page. You can also feel Zdarsky starting to interrogate the character. With every new development, history echos.
The beauty of “Batman” #125 is that it manages to be thoughtful about Gotham and its history while leaning into the tropes that we all know and love. It features serious introspection about the cost of Bruce’s mission while maintaining a sense of fun. The issue is also perfectly paced. It does excellent work at telling a complete, thrilling story with action and pathos to spare, planting the seeds for future developments, and exploring Bruce Wayne as a character.
The artwork here is absolutely incredible. Jimenez is an experienced “Batman” artist but turns in some of his best work here. He does excellent work at keeping a constant sense of motion to the issue and brings particular explosive energy to actions sequences. Morey is an excellent pairing and his colors are crucial to the control of tone in the issue. The easy highlight, both in writing and art, is the gala. More specifically, the moment that strips off his tuxedo jacket and emerges from the crowd wearing his cowl and utility belt with a partially unbuttoned shirt and batarangs between his fingers. The moment is both visually striking and feels like a demonstration of this team’s dedication to get in touch with a more classic Batman feel.
The backup story, starring Catwoman, is solid, if forgettable. Selina Kyle trying to assist in keeping the peace during a raging gang war in Gotham feels right. Looking out for herself and collaborating with some some of the bad guys (for non-nefarious purposes) feels even more right. The Executor is an absolutely charming new character who will surely be a blast to read in the future (it’d be especially fun to see other Bat-family members interact with him) and his mission for Catwoman is both genuinely surprising and immediately exciting. The search for the Penguin’s children is sure to be a rollicking story; plus, given his own feelings about being left behind by Gotham’s elite, there’s probably a lot of emotional material to explore with his own abandoned kids.
Final Verdict: 9.5- A thoughtful, exciting, promising new start for the Caped Crusader
Black Panther #7
Written by John Ridley
Illustrated by Stefano Landini
Colored by Matt Milla
Lettered by VC’s Joe Sabino
Reviewed by Alexander Jones
Watching an outsider challenge the authority of a ruler is always fascinating to watch. Author John Ridley and artist Stefano Landini rise up to the familiar “Black Panther” trope but add enough context to set this new era of “Black Panther” apart from others. T’Challa is in an incredibly vulnerable state in this issue and has been closed off from Wakanda. Ridley has been gearing up to this story across the last half-dozen issues. Ridley is just about to get to the thrilling conclusion of ‘The Long Shadow’ but needs to finish setting up the pieces for a big battle in “Black Panther” #7.
Stefano Landini’s artwork is animated, but very precise. Landini is great at capturing facial details that are perfect for a story packed with this much espionage. Landini’s page layouts are incredibly unconventional and helped me get immersed in the story quickly. When Shuri flies through a barrier with crows, Landini focuses the eye on a large panel with smaller panels to support the additional technology. Shuri has a strong focus in the story and when she butts heads with Akili, Landini changes the structure of the page and tenses up expressions during this heated exchange. One aspect that could have been improved in this issue is the page structure in the cliffhanger. The composition of the page where Shuri and her friends are framed is odd from a design standpoint.Continued below
For an issue centered around building up to a big fight, “Black Panther” #7 is incredibly tense and enjoyable. Ridley’s characterization between T’Challa and Storm breaks the meta-subtext and will enhance your enjoyment of “X-Men Red.” Ridley takes the time to flesh out the current rule of Akili as well. “Black Panther” is not afraid to explore details and show how Akili is having a hard time keeping his grip on the power. Ridley does a great job letting readers know how high the stakes of the story are when Shuri is so desperate to ignite a functioning insurrection. Ridley also continues to utilize the technology of Wakanda in interesting ways using Shuri.
Final Verdict: 8.0 – “Black Panther” #7 transcends familiar storytelling tropes with thrilling elements of espionage.
There’s Something Wrong With Patrick Todd #1
Written by Ed Brisson
Illustrated by Gavin Guidry
Colored by Chris O’Halloran
Lettered by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Reviewed by Alexander Manzo
“There’s Something Wrong With Patrick Todd” debut issue for this new series feels like both a beginning and middle part of something bigger. Ed Brisson gives the audience a teenage character that uses his psychic powers to control people to steal money from banks, but it’s only to pay rent for the small apartment he shares with his mother. Although he is “misusing” his powers by most people’s definition of what is considered “good,” given the clues of lower-income, it does not seem like Patrick Todd is using them for too much of a selfish game. Brisson also gives Patrick a code of justice similar to Dexter by using people that are criminals as pawns in his bank heists. The audience is also given a storyline of a detective noticing a pattern of these criminals committing thefts with no recollection of their actions. Still, this cop isn’t the only antagonist for young Patrick. This debut issue is a quick read that ends with an actual deranged man hunting the protagonist.
Gavin Guidry is the illustrator for this series, and his crisp linework keeps this story grounded and the reader locked in. Patrick’s psychic powers get translated to luminescent eyes that also give off the vibe that he may not be in complete control of either the person or his full potential. While there are no gore or action sequences, there is a moment when the person Patrick had once controlled passes out to what seems like a brain aneurysm that gives the audience an excellent shock to their system. Chris O’Halloran’s colors also help with the vibe of the story arc as it starts bright during the heist and helps lighten the mood with some jokes from Brisson. Then once the second half starts, the tones become a lot darker and fit the mood as the reader begins to understand the reasoning behind his actions and build-up to the final act.
Final Verdict: 8.2 – This issue is a solid hook for a new series that, despite feeling a little short, has plenty of storylines to draw the reader back in for issue two.