Wonder Woman and Justice League Dark Witching Hour #1 - DC Comics


It’s Wednesday… New Comic Day!  Find out which comics were pulled from the racks and which make for good reading!

Marvel Comics

Champions #25
Marvel Comics

Writer – Jim Zub
Artists – Sean Izaakse & Max Dunbar
Price – $4.99

This series consistently surprise me with the turns it takes its characters through.

Jim Zub’s characters brim with youthful energy and hope, even when things look dark.  He also balances quiet reverence when one character has to tap into the sentient source of her powers to solve a problem.  Halfway through the story, the Champions are turned into Dungeons & Dragons versions of themselves.  Because of that, you would think that Zub’s dialogue would loosen up.  In actuality, Zub further flexes his writing abilities by making these transformed characters just as entertaining and changes their voices without changing the energy and tenor that each has.

Champions #25 – Marvel Comics

Meanwhile, Sean Izaakse handles the first part of the art duties, before the Champions are transported to the mystical Weirdworld.  He likes to use thin lines with occasional hatching to bring out more detail.  His faces appear a bit pinched, though they do convey the emotion they are supposed to.  I can’t speak to how he handles action since there is none in his section.  Max Dunbar takes over with the Champions in Weirdworld.  His action is very sharp and has a good flow from panel to panel.  Dunbar’s composition is also good and he places characters well.  His expressions can be a bit too lean, though.  Faces can feel too long and his character’s profiles are off in ways hard to describe.  This is a tough nut to crack, but a working comic artist needs to know how to draw a human face.

Champions #25 is a fun book despite its flaws.  This is a book that feels like a What-If storyline, though it is happening in Marvel’s main universe.

Image Comics

Dead Rabbit #1
Image Comics

Writer – Gerry Duggan
Artist – John McCrea
Price – $3.99

The cover and the title made me want to know what was inside.  I’m still processing what is inside.

Gerry Duggan has turned in good work in the larger comic companies.  Here, he has a decent beginning at an original story.  The dialogue of the main character, in narration and active dialogue, is good.  There can be a bit of a problem in that most of the other dialogue comes across flatly.  I am not sure if that is because this is the first time I’m reading it or if the art and story are not meshing as well as they should.  Either way, this comic does not pick up the pace until the last third of the book.  Then it gets better, but it is still a middling pace.

Dead Rabbit #1 – Image Comics

The art by John McCrea is a bit of a problem for me.  His character proportions seem to be a bit all over the place.  I saw one character that seemed pudgy in one panel to be much leaner in the next panel.  The proportions on faces changes just as much.  I think he was more consistent towards the end of the issue on both counts.  Meanwhile, he uses black very effectively to create a noir-ish tone for this comic that fits the theme pretty well.  I see potential here, though that potential is not reached.

This tale of a former robber coming out of retirement has a chance to be Image Comics’ version of Kick-Ass.  I don’t think it has reached that bar, however, there is time for it to get there.

DC Comics

Wonder Woman & Justice League Dark – Witching Hour #1
DC Comics

Writer – James Tynion IV
Artist – Jesus Merino
Price – $4.99

I assumed that this would be the mini-series that would give Wonder Woman a vehicle to be a larger player in DC Comics.  It is not.

James Tynion IV is a writer that is usually very good at laying out a story.  In this case, he fell far short of the mark.  The story insists we should care about what his happening despite coming in after prior events in other DC series.  This feeling is amplified through the story because a lot of exposition is laid out in narrative boxes that sound like a gumshoe detective crying into a bourbon.  The story tries to advance quickly.  The problem is that it feels like the first inklings of a story that could have been laid out in months in the Wonder Woman or Justice League Dark series, and may have very well been.  Meanwhile, we are given a single issue probably to tell more casual readers this event exists while trying to get them to pay $5.00 to learn about it.

Wonder Woman and Justice League Dark Witching Hour #1 – DC Comics

This is another issue where the art is far better than the story in it.  Jesus Merino’s art is well detailed.  His expressions have a lot of depth and he uses good detail for the most part.  He is at his best drawing unusual characters like Man-Bat and Detective Chimp.  These characters have superb detail and can seem disturbingly life-like.  One flaw that did keep cropping up is that the irises of his human characters can seem huge, overpowering the faces of characters like Constantine and Wonder Woman.  If that can be dialed down, Merino’s art can be favorably compared to Mark Bagley.

With a nebulous villain and a mid-story jump-in, this one shot is one you should probably skip.  In fact, other than the sacrifice of a D-list DC heroine and the loss of a number of lesser magic characters, I would say that you won’t miss it if you’re an active reader of Wonder Woman or Justice League Dark.

DC Comics

Nightwing #50
DC Comics

Writer – Benjamin Percy
Artists – Travis Moore, Chris Mooneyham & Klaus Janson
Price – $4.99

Nightwing is the unsung workhorse of the DC Universe.  He has taken over for one of their marquee heroes and helps mentor the next generation.  What happens when he just doesn’t care?

This is the question that Benjamin Percy presents readers in excruciating detail.  With Dick Grayson recovered from a gunshot to the head in the Batman series, Percy makes a character that is relatable and interesting despite a lack of desire to be a superhero.  You would think that a lack of action makes for a boring read in DC’s pantheon, however this makes Dick Grayson more interesting.  This is because Grayson is rediscovering himself while stepping away from everything else.  Percy also deftly handles the small appearances by Batgirl and Batman without making either one steal Grayson’s spotlight.  There is a lot of exposition via narration boxes, although it does not bog down the story.

Nightwing #50 – DC Comics

The main artwork is  by Travis Moore with Chris Mooneyham handling art on frequent flashbacks.  Moore is a good modern artist and is a perfect partner for this tale of growth.  He is one of those rare artists that knows how to use blacks to add to depth without swallowing things in shadow.  His line work is think and he knows how to make the most of small contours to enhance detail.  Mooneyham’s art is more chaotic.  His characters can often seem lean and his lines are thick.  He is comparable to John Romita Jr.’s style, although he does not portray the same heavy feeling and emotion in his scenes.  Klaus Johnson’s work is only in the last few pages, so I am not going to spend time on it.

This over sized issue is a deconstruction of what someone may go through when their past no longer matters.  Consider what the world may look like to someone with the gifts of a superhero, but he has none of the ethical and moral grounding of one anymore.  What does he do with his life?  Would he pick up a mask and fight crime or try to live a life without the drama?  This is an interesting question that is the theme of this issue and the next two going forward.

This comic is a heck of a view of the other side of the superhero coin; the normal man who will just try to live.  It is not as thorough of a deconstruction as Batman: White Knight, however it is an interesting look at what could be from the people he left behind to the people Grayson is now spending time with.  I can already imagine people screaming “NOT MY NIGHTWING!” in their local comic shops.  Meanwhile, I invite you to give this issue a try.  It does not demean what Nightwing means to his family and gives us a look at the man beneath the Bat-Family training.

Which comics are the best you have read?  Let us know in the comments below! Meanwhile, we have added a link to the latest episode of our comic news and reviews podcast, the Part-Time Henchmen!