BATMAN BEYOND / PROWLER / SEVEN TO ETERNITY / DOCTOR STRANGE & THE SORCERERS SUPREME [Reviews]: Future Imperfect.
Having only been familiar with Batman Beyond from the cartoon series, it wasn’t too difficult to dive right into Batman Beyond #1. DC’s Rebirth is continuing its sleek reintroduction of characters, and Batman Beyond just throws the reader right in the thick of it; I must have missed the set-up here (as I didn’t read Batman Beyond Rebirth #1; my bad), as we are thrown into the middle of a showdown between Terry McGillis and the Jokerz, who have half buried the hero in some rubble. This is a Batman who’s off his game, and takes a bit of luck to get out mostly intact. Dan Jurgens‘ (Action Comics) writing is sleek, throwing in just the right amount of exposition; but the art from Ryan Sook, Jeremy Lawson and Tony Avina is very workmanlike, nothing too special or memorable. just…there. Fans of Batman Beyond will no doubt find this a great title, but for those just jumping in, there isn’t much Earth-shattering here. Just going through the motions, it seems. 3/5 Bibles.
Prowler #1 is the origin story of Hobie Brown, former villain turned costumed vigilante and Spider-Man sidekick. Murdered by New Electro and “resurrected” by The Jackal, Prowler now trains a shadow group of reformed bad guys assembled by his benefactor. It all takes place in San Francisco with a cadre of outrageously costumed characters like the clairvoyant Madame Web and nefarious shenanigans both street level and superpowered.
This title ties into the Amazing Spider-Man “Dead No More: Clone Conspiracy” event of dearly departed Spider-Verse characters reappearance, Prowler being one and villain turned humanitarian Jackal hinted as the antagonist. Writer Sean Ryan (Secret Six) and penciler Jamal Campbell (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers) combine their efforts to unveil the mystery of Hobie’s return and Jackal’s ultimate goal. This one is probably more interesting to Spidey fans than casual readers. 3/5 Bibles.
Rick Remender & Jerome Opeña (both Uncanny X-Force) are at it again! World-building in a fantasy magic-infused universe filled with monsters and creatures of all kinds! A large cast of new characters in an alien space, where war has spread and corrupted all who listen to the lies and promises of the God of Whispers. We are immediately thrusted into this story when we meet up with the Osidis family years after they’ve been cursed out and living on a dying farm. Sins of the father have placed all members of this family in constant danger. Things go pear shaped rather quickly. The pacing in the first 2 issues is fast, but the story like the art itself is DENSE. Geeks, you’re definitely getting your $4.00 worth of entertainment. 3.5/5 Bibles.
Vigilante: Southland is a lackluster and dull tale of revenge. Gary Phillips‘ juvenile writing style seems to be aiming at being cliche and yet is executed like a bad love letter to White Men Can’t Jump. Donny has daddy issues that he has to confront since he asks his father to help with the investigation of his recently deceased girlfriend. The action is limited to shooting hoops followed by smoking a joint, which is just as riveting as it sounds. Unless you include the incoherent mess at the beginning of the issue that is some unwanted look at the future. It’s as if DC is trying to capitalize on Marvel’s Nighthawk ending, which coincidentally also revolves around an African American anti-hero, is also only six issues long, and ended the very week Vigilante: Southland began. This all feels so very familiar, which is pitiful since so many titles were rebooted this year alone. 0/5 Bibles.
Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme seems to be a Magnificent Seven approach to magic. From the very first issue, it strikes a really great chord. Wizard Merlin is locked away in a great evil place centuries ago, time-traveling, gathering up the great Sorcerer Supremes from various generations to help him fight it. Writer Robbie Thompson fantastically gives everyone their own voice, setting up some great questions: if one of the Sorcerer Supremes is an older Wiccan, just what happened to Stephen Strange? And seeing a young Ancient One is a nice wink and nod to the fans. Penciler Javier Rodriquez gives us some great art to keep this issue a complete page-turner from start to finish; also, he, along with his inker Álvaro López and colorist Jordie Bellaire, take us on a nice spread of a trippy multiverse where we see Strange and Merlin from babies to skeletons and everything in between. With MCU’s Doctor Strange coming out next week, there is no reason that Marvel isn’t going to make sure that any book with their own Sorcerer Supreme on the cover isn’t going to fire on all cylinders and this one is no different. Pick this one up! 4.75/5 Books of Vishanti.