2.24.10 Reviews (Part 1)

Northlanders #25 (DC/Vertigo): As Brian Wood’s title hits the quarter century mark and enters that elite cadre of Vertigo titles, we’re reminded of his research intense style and flair for dialogue. Northlanders operates ostensibly within its historical trappings, but relies on a modern sensibility to make it more accessible and identifiable with a contemporary audience. We see the sad demise of Thorir as Hilda’s seemingly only ally, the Gunborg/Boris tension intensify, and Gunborg inciting a blitzkrieg style coup d’etat. Leandro Fernandez’s pencils never let up, from the beautiful title page of the icy church steeple where you can feel the chill in Hilda’s bones as she traverses the snow bundled with her daughter, to the battle scenes, particularly those with Boris, which show his impressive acumen with bow and arrow. Northlanders continues to be a surprising title, never about what it obviously looks like it’s going to be about, strong yet subtle writing, and a plethora of artistic talent. Wood’s script is afire with a society collapsing, nearing total disarray. It’s interesting to consider how quickly it’s the internal social issues that can bring a society down, not necessarily an external and easily identifiable threat. Simply look at the actions of Jens and you see how thin the thread is that this civilization is currently hanging by. Grade A.

Batman & Robin #9 (DC): Any issue that opens and deals with the line “How did Batwoman die?” has my attention. It leads right into fantastic interplay between Dick and Cyril about Dick’s time as Robin, “this rough and raucous little demon boy.” I liked Damian’s concern for Alfred, how quickly he deduces what the copy is, and the fact that his actions are confident instead of arrogant, even from a wheelchair. There’s also something about Damian in that sweater that harkens back to a young ward named Richard Grayson. I was immediately reminded of Grant Morrison’s dialogue choices in WE3 when I read likes like "wear r. u, boy wundr?” It all makes me think that this title isn’t intended to function as high drama, there’s no deep meaning, it's not as embedded with industry meta-commentary as G'Mo diehards but-he's-the-"God-Of-All-Comics" would like to believe, it’s just Morrison having fun, playing around with familiar tropes of the Bat Mythos, like a kid in a mud puddle splashing around having the time of his life without a care in the world. And that's fine, we can have fun too. Cameron Stewart nails the odd conglomeration of residual memory shards inhabiting the clone’s mind. The unexpected introduction of Kate’s “…ah… military P.O.C.” was fantastic as he operated with the cold precision of an incident commander already thinking a couple steps ahead. Dick’s arrival toward the end was a little bat ex machina for my taste, but I did enjoy Dick and Kate’s unfolding relationship, as he even manages to flirt (and only we know its in futility) with her in the process. Why he’d suddenly decide to hand this matter over to the Justice League is a speedy resolution that’s not at all organic or logical. I also don’t know how he makes the leap in logic that Tim was right and Bruce is still alive, other than that’s what the larger story calls for. I’ve been quite uncertain about this arc, and even despite some questionable plot hammer-y decisions done for the sake of expediency, I have to admit I had a good time and this kinda’ sold me, at least for now. Grade A-.


At 11:13 AM, Blogger Justin said...

Just a point of clarification to anyone who might take issue with my statement about how Dick made the jump in logic that Bruce wasn't dead because of events in this issue...

Apparently, this clone explains the corpse that Superman found at the end of Final Crisis, which wasn't Bruce's, so he may still be alive. Since I didn't read Final Crisis, I had no way of knowing that.


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