Comic Stash: February 6, 2013

Mini-reviews and ratings of comics released February 6, 2013.

Agree or disagree? Let me know by hitting me up on Twitter or Google+.

Legends of the Dark Knight
5
3 stars
Joshua Hale Fialkov
Phil Hester, Eric Gapstur

A single story issue with a Mickey Spillane style plot involving a private eye in the wrong place at the wrong time witnesses a murder that he then gets framed for. Enter the Batman.

It was a decent story, but it really illustrates my problems with how Batman is portrayed most of the time. He's gone from being the world's greatest detective to a bruiser more interested in beating the crap out of an alleged criminal than finding out the truth.

At least it all works out in the end.

Batman: The Dark Knight
16
2 stars
Gregg Hurwitz
Ethan Van Sciver

I'm lost. What happened to the "Death of the Family" story line? Who is Natalya? I've missed something.

So crimes are committed and the leads point to The Penguin. More or less. Why? Let me quote the Batman...

It's a huge operation. Citywide. Few have that kind of reach. The weaponry's high tech. The kind you could get your flippers on. Plus, some of the kidnappers wear bowler hats. Like your thugs.

Obviously because hats are involved it must be the Penguin. Up until the Penguin points out that others in Gotham like hats. So now it must be the Mad Hatter!

BAH! Back to my previous statement. This is what the world's greatest detective has degraded into?!

Detective Comics
17
2 stars
John Layman
Jason Fabok

Granted, I'm reading these on a sick day from work. It's quite possible that my judgement is being clouded.

Or it's possible that this week's selection of Batman comics stinks.

The MerryMaker turns out to be a stupid character with an overly complicated scheme to accomplish a fairly mundane set of hits. Fortunately, the identity of the MerryMaker is telegraphed from page 1 and the attempted swerve is laughably easy to spot.

If this spoils it for you, I'd apologize except I think you'll thank me in the long run.

Aquaman
16


3 stars
Geoff Johns
Paul Pelletier

Cyborg makes a big decision (I guess), what will become the JLA shows up (I think), Batman and Aquaman make up (more or less) and we find out who has been pulling the strings from behind the scenes.

It surprised me, for what it's worth.

Unfortunately the art was confusing in spots otherwise I'd have ranked it higher.

Shadowman
4
3 stars
Justin Jordan, Patrick Zircher
Patrick Zircher

Issue number 4 appears to finish up the Shadowman origin arc. I'm sure we'll learn more about the character as time goes on, but Jack has assumed the mantle, met his mentors and been introduced to his nemesis, Master Darque. Oh! And we learn that the talking monkey's name is Jaunty and has some familiarity of Darque.

Things should start getting really fun now.

Harbinger
0
4 stars
Joshua Dysart
Mico Suayan, Pere Perez

Largely about Toyo Harada's origins at Hiroshima. One certainly sees how he has come to be motivated to do the things he does. He seems to really want to help the world at large, but goes about it in a way that many would find distasteful. Harada is a character with a strange mix of understanding and ruthlessness.

More great storytelling from the new Valiant crew.

Winter Soldier
15
3 stars
Jason Latour
Nic Klein

New writer, new artist and a new story arc. And I'm not sure what to think about it.

The issue starts... confusingly. On a space station. Involving nobody I recognize.

The story shifts to Bucky with several pages of dialog between him and Nick Fury. It's slow, but I suspect it's a way to get new readers up to speed. As things pick up, it finally get interesting and hints at more of the intrigue we've come to expect from this title.

The artwork has its highs and lows, but overall I feel it fits well.

I had the sinking feeling at one point that this was going to become yet another zombie tale. It doesn't look like that's the case, but fair warning. More zombie nonsense and I'm out.

And finally... where can I get some Hydra brass knuckles?

The Superior Spider-Man
3
4 stars
Dan Slott
Ryan Stegman

Two words. "Spider Signal". Hilarious.

Dan Slott continues to tell new stories with old characters. This is quickly becoming one of my most looked forward to reads.

Avengers
5
3 stars
Jonathan Hickman
Adam Kubert

I'm not familiar with Smasher so this was a good way to get acquainted with this particular Avenger. With art by Adam Kubert (a favorite of mine) this was a pretty good standalone issue.

It also seems that this is the start of the next arc. Something big is coming.