There is 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.
Arkham Manor #2
Written by Gerry Duggan
Illustrated by Shawn Crystal
Reviewed by Brian Salvatore
“Arkham Manor,” had it been released at almost any other point in the past year, would have been heralded as a triumph and a surefire success. However, falling in between “Gotham by Midnight,” “Batgirl,” and “Gotham Academy,” as well as being launched six months before “Convergence,” and the book can start to feel a little lost in the shuffle. That is a shame, because Duggan and Crystal are doing something really interesting here. As noted in the book, Batman has often used Matches Malone as his way into the underground, but this is the first time he’s created an alias to infiltrate Arkham – and he realizes how necessary it really is.
By giving Batman almost none of his gadgets, this is the closest to a true ‘detective’ comic we’ve seen from Batman in a very, very long time. Crystal does a really nice job making the manor itself look like a nightmare – which is exactly what it would be for Bruce. His childhood home, taken over by the men and women he’s strived to put away. The issue doesn’t hold too many shocking moments, but it doesn’t need to – it is a fun, unique spin on the Batman mythos, and deserves a better reception than it is getting.
Final Verdict: 7.6 – A solid entry into what, hopefully, isn’t a forgotten series.
Capture Creatures #1
Written by Frank Gibson
Illustrated by Becky Dreistadt
Reviewed by Jess Camacho
“Capture Creatures” takes place in a world that’s been devastated by earthquakes. The people who live here have used science to help rebuild their world. The story focuses on a young teenager named Tamzen. She lives in this region with her dad a scientist and constantly finds her way into trouble. “Capture Creatures” #1 doesn’t really get into the bigger concept until the end and that works against it a bit. You don’t get a real feel for what the series will be going forward. With a concept similar to Pokemon, it was really important for it to come out immediately separating itself from that. Tamzen is a fine character and there’s quite a bit of funny moments from her but ultimately this debut falls a little flat. Dreistadt’s art is quirky and whimsical. It’s almost a combination of “Bee and Puppycat” and “Steven Universe”. All ages is not easy to do and “Capture Creatures” will need to do a bit more to endear itself it adults. The idea is intriguing and Tamzen is adorable so while the first issue isn’t spectacular, I do find myself wanting to come back next month.
Final Verdict: 6.5 – Cute but doesn’t do quite enough in its debut
Written by Genevieve Valentine
Illustrated by Garry Brown
Reviewed by Jess Camacho
“Catwoman” #35 signaled the beginning of a great new chapter for Selina Kyle. The follow up that issue is just as strong with more focus on Selina’s old life and her feelings on leaving it behind. She’s struggling with her identity and now that she’s not wearing a mask she feels even more lost. Valentine is nailing the characterization of Selina Kyle. Selina is lost and unsure but she can’t let anyone else know that. Valentine uses some historical characters as almost a parallel to Selina and it ends up being brilliant. Throwing in the idea that she’s also left a legacy in Gotham City as Catwoman is something unexpected but an idea worth exploring. She has, to me at least, always been a part of the Bat family so her leaving the streets behind does create a void. Brown’s art is dark and moody and pairs up with Valentine’s script in such a perfect way. My only gripe so far is that we really haven’t gotten into the heads of her supporting cast. In a story like this, so reliant on crime families and dynasties, it’s important that the rest of the cast be just as developed. Despite being in a dark place, the future is very bright for this series.Continued below
Final Verdict: 8.0 “Catwoman” continues to be one of the biggest surprises of the year.
Shadow Show #1
Written by Joe Hill and Jason Ciaramella
Illustrated by Charles Paul Wilson III
Reviewed by Brian Salvatore
There are few names in pop culture that get more instant respect from me than Ray Bradbury – his work is unimpeachable, and he is one of the talents that is so unique and stylized to his own idiosyncratic style, that you can tell something is Bradbury from the first few paragraphs. “Shadow Show” is a series of adaptations of short stories written in celebration of Bradbury’s work, and this first issue adapts a Joe Hill story called “By the Silver Water of Lake Champlain.” The story certainly has that Bradbury-esque feel to it, but Hill and adapter Jason Ciaramella bring something else to the proceedings – a certain sadness is present that feels a bit more raw than what Bradbury usually brings.
The art, by C.P. Wilson III, just adds to that melancholy. Wilson is masterful at showing emotion, and not just broad “happy/sad” emotions, but moments of revelry look quite different than a satisfied expression. Everything about the issue, from the first panel to the last, hints at a not-so-happy ending. Even a panel that is full of a toothy smile has an ominous cloud overhead, lurking in the background.
The issue isn’t perfect, however – there is a lot of time spent on small details instead of the mystery at hand, and while that may work well in a short story with a wider span of acceptable space used, it doesn’t work so well in a 20 page comic. That said, this is a moving, heartbreaking, and bittersweet tale of young love, adventure, mystery and tragedy.
Final Verdict: 8.1 – Worthy of the name ‘Bradbury,’ and that is high praise, indeed.