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.
Batman ’66 Meets the Green Hornet #1
Written by Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman
Illustrated by Ty Templeton
Reviewed by Walter Richardson
Batman ’66 started, I believe, when I was in school and was not adding anything new to my pull. Sure, I heard great things about it, but I figured I would check it out later. So, once this new mini started up I figured it was the perfect time… until I remembered it was by a completely different creative team.
This mini’s debut issue doesn’t sizzle in the same way that Parker & Co.’s (supposedly) does. Smith and Garman’s script is charming enough, but not quite engaging. There are some chuckles to be had, but no outright guffaws. The story makes clever use of the usual trappings not only of the television show that is the series’ namesake, but of the comics of the era (when was the last time an out-of-company crossover didn’t involve multiversal shenanigans?). In the end, though, it might not be enough to get anyone who isn’t dying for more ’66 interested.
As he usually is, Templeton is on point from cover to cover. This comic was digital first, and used the “infinity” approach (or whatever we are calling it) of faux animated panels. Often, when this is done, the printed product looks a bit like clip art pasted onto backgrounds, but Templeton is too savvy of an artist for that. The action pops off the page, and the faux retro look is brought to life by the lovely colors of Tony Aviña, resulting in a ’66 Batman that’s just as groovy as Jonathan Case’s. Still, if you aren’t particularly interested in this style of art and aren’t aboard the ’66 hype train, now is not the time to get on.
Final Verdict: 6.0 – Browse
Big Trouble in Little China #1
Written by Eric Powell & John Carpenter
Illustrated by Brian Churilla
Reviewed by Brian Salvatore
In the last year or so, there have been a shocking number of properties brought to comics that would have, even just a year or two ago, been laughed off the shelves. The change has been the care and craft put into these books by their creators. This, my friends, is an example of just that.
John Carpenter is co-writing the story with Eric Powell (“The Goon”), and the two of them together do a really nice job of combining the film’s tone with the strengths of the comic book medium. Almost instantly, Jack gets a demon-gorilla sidekick, who he names Pete, and the story unfolds from there. Familiar faces from the film pop up, but none in such a way that a new reader, who isn’t familiar with the film, couldn’t figure out what is going on from context clues. Although, that begs the question, why read this if you never saw the film?
Brian Churilla does a great job at giving the book almost a The Real Ghostbusters feel, exaggerating everyone’s features just enough to fit the tone the book is striving for, but not so much that they lose tether to the reality of the source material. Powell’s script is a blast, with Jack acting as raconteur throughout, providing that mythical new reader a chance to get to know him a little bit.
The characters are fun enough to anchor a nice, long series, but the question will be: will the fans show up? If they do, this team, along with Carpenter’s guiding hand, should be able to produce some really, really fun stuff.
Final Verdict: 8.0 – Buy
Great Pacific #15
Written by Joe Harris
Illustrated by Martin Morazzo
Reviewed by David Harper
After a series of one-off stories on New Texas, the next big arc starts with a bang, as a new character strides into town and does everything he can to destabilize the careful(ish) ecosystem Chas has built with Little Chief and others on the Great Pacific garbage patch. It’s a strong issue, as Harris and Morazzo do a fantastic job of showing us how New Texas has grown, yet how fragile it continues to be. It’s a house of cards Chas has built, and with this issue, you start to see the beginnings of how he might perform with less than a full deck.
Harris wisely builds this characters out, spidering the storyline out naturally from the relationships that have been established, and showing how they’ve frayed over the span of the series so far. Morazzo’s character work also excels, making moments like Zoe’s pained confession all the more poignant. Morazzo is a wildly underrated artist, not getting a lot of attention for his work overall, but this issue is an excellent showcase for his work on both a small and large scale.
If you’ve been reading Great Pacific so far, this is a really nice issue that builds off of what we’ve seen before. For new readers, probably not so much, but with bold decisions and strong character work from Harris and Morazzo, Great Pacific is an adventure we continue to enjoy following.
Final Verdict: 8.0 – Buy
Tiny Titans: Return to the Treehouse #1
Written by Art Baltazar and Franco
Illustrated by Art Baltazar
Reviewed by Brian Salvatore
I mean no disrespect to anything Art and Franco have done since wrapping up “Tiny Titans,” but opening up this issue, there was only one thing I felt: aw yeah!
This is the playground that these guys feel most at home in, and they slip right back into old habits perfectly, crafting a story that is a kid-appropriate, but smart enough for adults to love as well. Instantly, the cast lets you know that his is far from New 52 appropriate: we get a pair of Brainiacs, we see Aqualad, everyone is being nice to each other, it’s just a joy.
There isn’t too much to say that hasn’t been said hundreds of times about this book, but it is so refreshing and nice to see it back. As a parent, this is one of the first comics I’ve given to my daughter that I felt she really connected with (she called Brainiac 5 cute), and that alone brings me a ton of joy. If I had my druthers, this wouldn’t just be a mini, but we should be thankful we have it back at all.
Final Verdict: 9.0 – Buy!