Saturday, July 7, 2012

Renaldo's Reviews: Batman: Earth One, He-Man, The Cape: 1969

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Batman Earth One –
Gary Frank’s art, when combined with Geoff Johns, usually depicts immeasurable success. Here, while I expected to be wowed a la JMS/Shane Davis, I felt both creators either hustled down or held back on their delivery because it feels a bit lackluster. Maybe if Nolan’s films were absent from my mind, I could see Johns’ book as fashionable but this dark, bleak and dreary output, steeped in reality, seems a bit too

familiar. The story is way different from Goyer/John Nolan’s but the element of darkness and a morbid Wayne seeking revenge…or vengeance…seems repetitive and I was looking for a vastly different iteration of Batman here.  I felt they lost the opportunity to build up a more military-esque Alfred, and at the end, you see that they used this book as a huge setup and big precursor for a sequel, but I shuddered to think that I’ll have to wait a couple years to see them follow up. While Penguin, Gordon, Bullock and other key components are touched nicely upon, along with sweet cameos and relevant easter eggs that add plot threads for the future, not much is rehashed or retooled. The development of the actual serial killer, Barbara Gordon, Alfred’s past links to Thomas, Bruce’s actual training and the dilapidated state of Gotham at present really needed to be fleshed out a lot more. Somehow, I felt Johns tried to cram too much into this book and should have broken it down or left out some more. It felt hurried. The same is my opinion for Franks’ work. His action sequences and Bruce’s charade as playboy feel a bit under-quality although his scenes showing Bruce’s angst and woes are really ones that hit home. He does well to sketch the dread and plight of Bruce but on pivotal fight scenes, he comes a bit short to the page. I think this book should have gone a different route as it felt like a stepsister to the Goyer script of 2005. Overall, not too bad…but disappointing nonetheless. (6/10)
He-Man and the MOTU #1:
Here, I expected James Robinson to give a bit more backdrop into Adam of Eternia’s current predicament. He seems to be amnesiac with random villains being thrown at him. You’d think Skeletor could do much better in silencing this threat before it comes full-circle. This is something I found strange because it seems the villain clearly knew the whereabouts of Adam…so why not endanger and kill him in the onset? Robinson’s script doesn’t offset my concerns as I felt this was DC’s chance to rebuild from scratch what Cartoon Network did years ago. Although cancelled, their reboot was remarkably written. Robinson is iffy here and I’ll give it a twirl next month because I’m a fan of He-Man and Phillip Tan’s work really looks smooth and works well here. (6/10)

The Cape 1969 #1:
Ciaramella and Howard really wowed me by expanding on Joe Hill’s initial idea. Now, Nelson Daniel’s art sparkles here in this origin tale but what irked me was that I got too much backdrop and not an iota of development into the titular tool that this book hinges on – I got nothing thus far on the history of the cloth. I think that if this were not a limited series book, I’d love this issue…but I think that with such a short space of bookage to tell the story, much more could have been condensed. It feels like a rip-off here…content-wise. Though it remains a nice first issue, the relevance to the tale is hard to find as this book could have been 10 pages and should have been rather than 23. (6/10)

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