October 21, 2016: Mild Mannered Reviews – Elsewhere in the DCU

With General Zod back in the Phantom Zone after issue #4 of Suicide Squad, we will not be reviewing that title further, unless some other hero or villain from Superman’s corner of the DCU makes an appearance. Here are our reviews for issues #3 and #4, as well as a review for Red Hood & The Outlaws #3, which continues to feature Bizarro.

Mild Mannered Reviews – Other Comic Books

Suicide Squad #4 KindleDownload iBookBuy Now

Suicide Squad #3 and Suicide Squad #4

Scheduled to arrive in stores: September 28 and October 12, 2016

Cover date: December 2016

“The Black Vault” – Part 3 and 4

Writer: Rob William
Penciller: Jim lee
Inker: Scott Williams

Reviewed by: Keith Samra

Click to enlarge

The Suicide Squad engage in battle with General Zod. They rally to find a way to defeat or escape him. They manage to send him back to the Phantom Zone, and then have to deal with the super powered guards in the facility. With the help of Hack, they manage to teleport back to their headquarters. And Amanda Waller then realizes that she now has the Phantom Zone in her possession.

4Story – 4: I combined both issues #3-4 in this review, for no other reason than there is only enough story for one issue, shared between the two. This is no criticism to Rob Williams story, just that these books are very decompressed… Or “paced” in such a way. I’m guessing to help Jim Lee to complete a run for more than 2 issues, to help the book sell better.

There are some great character moments here, and good dialogue, but essentially it’s all a big throw down from the end of issue #2 between Zod and the squad. As I will mention in the art section of my review, there seems to be no point in having a “hulked out” General Zod. Just a bizarre choice.

I have two main issues with these two issues… No pun intended… Honest!

Firstly, we see the death of Captain Boomerang at the end of issue #2, and we are constantly reminded of his incineration at the hands, or rather the eyes of Zod through out both these two issues. It really feels as if it was just done for “shock value,” to remind us, that this is THE SUICIDE SQUAD, meaning they COULD DIE… But we lose a good character like Captain Boomerang, just to give us the “Oh my Gosh, they killed Digger” moment. (Yes, that was a South Park reference). I feel a good villain, especially a prominent Flash villain is lost, with no real ramification. Captain Boomerang has been a staple of this series since the first incarnation of this team in the 80’s. So to just kill him off like that, seemed like a waste. Especially since General Zod will not be sticking around at all.

Which leads me into my second gripe, which is, whats the point of wasting Zod like that? You bring in one of the most dangerous Superman villains ever, and treat him in a manner that the Marvel comics often did when any of their characters tussled with the Hulk. Though let me just say, that Amanda Waller having access to THE or A Phantom Zone projector is quite intriguing. I hope that this will come into play in the future.

Just to finish up on Zod, I didn’t like that Katana was able to cut Zod. You could make the excuse that her sword is magical, or that Zod didn’t have enough solar energy in his cells to make him invulnerable. I just don’t like when other characters can easily hurt a Kryptonian. I’m sure many will agree, it really sucks the big one when Superman is able to be taken down by so many characters in the DCU.

All in all, not a bad couple of issues, but the last 4 issues can easily be adapted in to a 20min animated episode. Much like the Task Force X episode of the Justice League (Unlimited) animated series in season 3.

5Art – 5: I make no excuses, I am a really big Jim Lee fan. Have been since the 90s. So I feel he still has done a great job with both these issues. My biggest and main gripe is the size he has given General Zod. He looks 9ft tall, and pretty much looks like a “hulk”. I don’t understand this particular art choice on Lee’s part, but his art is fairly consistent throughout both issues. And as I mention last review, Lee still has a very 90s strong art style in his costume and character designs. But that looks pretty good on a nostalgic level.

Long time Jim Lee collaborator Scott Williams works his magic on the inks as usual, however on issue #4 he is joined by Sandra Hope, Trevor Scott and Jonathon Glapion, and in a few pages it shows! The art shifts ever so slightly, but enough to make it annoying.

Alex Sinclair is great as usual with his color palette, with help from Hi-Fi. Can’t not give the master colorist a shout out.

5Cover Art – 5: I like the standard covers by Jim Lee. They are very Jim Lee-esque, but what else would you expect from the man. My favorite would have to be #4. I like the pose Harley is in, front and center. Aside from Killer Croc, it’s an all female cover, and I like that they have 3 strong female characters on the squad.

The Lee Bermejo variants are really cool also. He’d be the perfect regular cover artist for this book I feel.
Check out the Mild Mannered Reviews contents page.


Mild Mannered Reviews – Red Hood & The Outlaws #3

Red Hood & The Outlaws #3 Red Hood & The Outlaws #3KindleDownload iBookBuy Now

Red Hood & The Outlaws #3

Scheduled to arrive in stores: October 12, 2016

Cover date: December 2016

“Dark Trinity” – Part 3

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Art: Dexter Soy

Reviewed by: Keith Samra

Click to enlarge

We pick up from the end of the last issue. Artemis and Red Hood discover a Superman clone in the rail car that Black Mask was hi-jacking. They are both knocked out by gas that Black Mask has pumped into the container. Red Hood/Jason wakes some time later at Black Mask’s home. Jason realizes that his cover as a double agent is not blown, and still has Black Mask’s confidence.

Black Mask takes him to the facility where they are holding both Artemis and Bizarro. Artemis tells Jason that she is purposely staying at the facility and not breaking out. In case she comes across what she is ultimately after, also to keep an eye on Black Mask and Bizarro.

Black Mask releases Bizarro from his holding chamber, and flushes out the liquid that is preserving him. Bizarro mutates when he is exposed to the air. At first he finds it hard to breathe and his skin turns white, and he grows a little more in size. The side effects of human technology unable to properly clone Kryptonian physiology.

Jason remembers his own resurrection from the dead at the hands of Talia Al Ghul, in a Lazarus Pit. He forms an unspoken bond with Bizarro.

Knowing that he can’t leave a powerhouse like Bizarro in the hands of someone like Black Mask, Jason talks with Bizarro where he is being held in a cell, close to Artemis. Artemis refers to Bizarro as a monster, only for Bizarro reply that he is not a monster, nor is he Superman… “Me am Bizarro!”

5Story – 5: I absolutely love this book so far. It’s everything I wanted out of a DC ongoing series, without ever realizing that I was missing out on it!

I wanted to see a new version of Bizarro, and not the giant, backwards talking child minded version we were accustomed to. And even though that is what we got, Lobdell has managed to inject new life into the character. I’m sold, and I’m in. I cant wait to see where this series will go next. And I am so looking forward to seeing more of this Bizarro.

Like issue #2 focusing mainly on Artemis, this was a very Bizarro centric issue, which is intertwined in with Jason/Red Hood’s story.

I’m liking the pace that this story is going at so far. I really can’t wait for the next issue. If you are not picking up this book, I urge you to hunt it down and read it. You won’t be disappointed.

5Art – 5: Last review I said that the art in this book is really, good and is a perfect marriage with the writing and tone of this series. That still rings true for this issue. Dexter Soy is a great visual storyteller, and perfect fit for this title.

Soy’s art really sets the mood for this issue, from the first page of Jason from his Robin days looking at the glass case featuring Dick Grayson’s Robin suit, to the following splash page, where we get our first look at Bizarro before he wakes, while still in the glass chamber in the fluid. That face half in shadow, shows the traits that Bizarro is a Superman clone, but also has a darker side to his nature.

The page where Bizarro is released from the chamber and liquid, with Jason remembering his own resurrection in the Lazarus Pit at the hands of Talia, is so well done, it grabs your attention and pulls you right into the story. Not since John Byrne on X-Men: The Dark Phoenix saga, has someone managed to do this trick with the art, and made it work so well.

My absolute favorite image is the splash page where, Jason is holding Bizarro in his arms, after Bizarro mutates into what he looks like, bigger and white skinned. The reflection of the both of them in the liquid from the chamber features a Talia holding a younger resurrected Jason. This is a great bit of storytelling. I would love to own the original art of this page. This page has set up the relationship between Red Hood and Bizarro for the rest of the series. The coloring also perfectly captures the mood. I love it!

Hands down, the art in this book so far has been stellar. One of the best aspects of this book.

5Cover Art – 5: The main covers by Giuseppe Camuncoli and Cam Smith really awesome, as we see Red Hood and Artemis through Bizarro’s eyes. The dialogue between the two is very reminiscent of the “Is she with you?”… “I thought she was with you” line from Batman v Superman.

The variant cover is good, but a little “cartoony”, and I don’t mean in the art style, rather the situation.
Check out the Mild Mannered Reviews contents page.

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kal-bert
Member

One little mistake in Red Hood & Outlaws #3 main cover. Bizarro’s “S” shield is reversed thus when it’s seen reflected the reflection should show the “S” normally (not inverted).
(‘ll add that this Bizarro is suposed to be not just a Superman clone: He is a N52 Superman clone, not pre-flaspoint one (no one knew he existed so no one could clone him). He should wear the N52 suit version, not the Rebirth one. Just for coherence in stories.

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