Paper Plane Reviews

A Book Review Blog

Category: Comic

K-ON! Volume 2 by kakifly

While not as draining as Blood Meridian, I did feel in need of something lighter and fluffier after finishing True Grit, and so I went to the same source as I did for the former novel. K-ON! is pretty much the apex of cute, funny shenanigans with a minimum of plot, so it seemed like the perfect thing to dip into to rest my brain a bit.

With a new volume comes a new character. Azusa Nakano is an aspiring guitar player who decides to join the Pop Music Club after hearing a recording of the club’s first concert. She is particularly keen to meet the lead guitarist of the group, as she was really inspired to meet a musician of such skill. How will she react when she sees how the group truly is?
So the obvious thing to mention is that if you didn’t like the first volume of K-ON! then there is little chance of you enjoying the second, because it’s very much more of the same thing. There’s jokes about how the club seems to be more an excuse to drink tea and eat cake. There’s jokes about the teacher being less mature and weirder than she wants to be. And then there’s Yui’s weird propensity for either excelling or failing spectacularly depending on what it is that she’s concentrating on at that point in time. It feels very comfortable, if that’s what you’re looking for.
The main difference for this volume is the addition of Azusa, a first-year to the main group’s second-years, and she feels like a definite breath of fresh air. She’s kind of a nice foil to both Yui and Mio. With Yui there is a brewing rivalry of sorts, as while Yui is spacey and doesn’t know the specific terms for musical techniques, she does have an uncanny ability to pick them up enviously quick. And with Mio, there seems to be more of a traditional senpai-kohai relationship, except that they’re both so adorably dorky and awkward that it’s an incredibly bumbling example of the relationship. Azusa’s presence does also mean that there are a few more scenes that focus on them practising and performing, which is nice.

All in all, if you weren’t keen on the first volume, this second one provides more of the same. A new character and some additional focus on the musical side of things is nice, but you definitely know what you’re getting when you read K-ON! 4/5

Next review: Demons of the Ocean by Justin Somper

Signing off,
Nisa.

K-ON! Volume 1 by kakifly

After the long and draining read that was Blood Meridian, I was in the mood for something a lot lighter in tone. Enter the first volume of K-ON!, a series that comes highly recommended to me by my husband. Since I like what I’ve seen of the anime adaptation, and I needed something short, sweet and relatively harmless, it seemed like the perfect choice.

K-ON! follows Yui Hirasawa in her first year of high school. When she’s frightened into joining an extracurricular club for fear of becoming a NEET after high school, she joins the Pop Music club, assuming that it will be an easy ride. Unfortunately, her new club members assume that she can play the guitar, an instrument she has never touched in her life. But with determination, she and her new friends may be able to turn this failing club around.
I was after something gentle, and K-ON! certainly delivers on that. There isn’t really much in the way of driven plot, but then that’s pretty much a staple of the slice of life genre. What the genre sacrifices in plot and serious conflict, it makes up for in characters, and K-ON! definitely has that in abundance. So the core of the cast is made up of the four members of the Pop Music club. As mentioned above, there is Yui, the inexperienced main guitarist. She’s sweet and energetic, but nowhere near the brightest bulb in the box. There’s Mio Akiyama, the studious and painfully shy bassist, who more or less has to adopt the straight man role out of the group. Self-appointing herself the new club president, despite having none of the qualifications necessary for such a role, is Ritsu Tainaka, the audacious prankster on drums. And finally, my current favourite, Tsumugi Kotobuki, the wealthy keyboardist who is outwardly the perfect gentle lady, but is more than a little risque in her thoughts. There are also some secondary characters, but the one that stood out most for me was the teacher acting as their club adviser, Sawako Yamanaka. She only agrees to advise the club after they threaten to reveal her past as a member of the Pop Music club during its speed metal period, at which point you realise that her sweet, gentle nature is just a mask for someone mildly terrifying. It’s a beautiful moment.
This volume covers the first year of the club, in which they mainly mess around and treat the clubhouse like a tea-room while Yui tries to get the hang of playing the guitar. It’s cute so far, and I especially like what I’ve seen of them actually playing music, complete with comically terrible lyrics for their first original song. I’m a little sad that it does take a bit of a back-seat to your standard slice-of-life high school stuff, but I’m hoping that it will get a bit more music-focused as Yui and the others get more confident with their instruments.

Very cute and fluffy. Not a great deal of plot, but that’s not really why I picked it up. Will definitely be picking up the next volumes in the future. 4.5/5

Next review: Dead Beat by Jim Butcher

Signing off,
Nisa

Doctor Strange: Season One by Greg Pak & Emma Rios

Doctor Strange: Season One has been sat on my shelf for perhaps longer than it should have. First, I’m pretty sure this was a present, so it’s a bit embarrassing that I’ve left it this long. Second, I have been meaning to look into Doctor Strange comics a bit more ever since watching the film with Benedict Cumberbatch, which even he couldn’t ruin for me.

Doctor Strange: Season One recounts the origins of the eponymous Doctor Strange. When a talented but arrogant surgeon loses the use of his hands after a car accident, he travels to the Himalayas to seek the aid of a sorcerer known as the Ancient One. Whilst training there, he meets and butts heads with a fellow apprentice, a martial artist named Wong. Together they must fight Mordo, a former student turned to evil by the power of the demon Dormammu.
This version of the Doctor Strange origin is decently written, if not exactly hugely original. The story only really starts when Strange arrives at the Ancient One’s mountain home. After the initial confrontation with Mordo, the bulk of the story focusing on Strange and Wong’s rocky enemies-to-friends relationship. While the whole head vs heart thing has been done countless times before, it’s always fun to see when it’s done well. It coincides nicely with Strange’s development into a decent human being too.
The best part of the book though has to be the artwork. Emma Rios has taken what is a decent enough but unremarkable retelling of Doctor Strange’s origin and makes it a wonder to behold. You could really tell that Rios enjoyed the full-page panels full of magical energies and god-heads, because they’re a sight to behold, with such care and detail. The character designs are also interestingly angular, which is kind of unusual considering that a lot of comics aim for clean lines.
The main story is followed by the first chapter of Matt Fraction’s run of The Defenders. It wasn’t bad, per se, but I couldn’t help but feel that it was a bit out of place after the weirdness of Doctor Strange.

A decent enough story elevated by some absolutely top notch art. Certainly enough to make me seek out both more Doctor Strange comics and more works by Emma Rios. The issues of The Defenders tacked on to the end felt more than a little out-of-place though. 3/5

Next review: Introducing Aesthetics: A Graphic Guide by Christopher Kul-Want & Piero

Signing off,
Nisa.

Go Get a Roomie Volume 1 by Chloe C

After a comparatively brainy read, I felt like picking up something a bit quicker and lighter. Go Get a Roomie certainly fit the bill, and it has been so long since I was up-to-date with the webcomic that felt like a nice way to reacquaint myself with the series. 

Go Get a Roomie follows a young woman known only as Roomie, who lives by couch-surfing with friends that she meets at her regular dive, Jo’s Bar. When heading back after a few too many beers, she accidentally finds herself crashing with a lazy introvert named Lillian. Finding Lillian to be unaffected by Roomie’s charms and tendency to initiate physical intimacy, Roomie finds herself confused, but oddly endeared by her strange new roommate. 
I’d forgotten just how meandering Go Get a Roomie was in the early stages of the comic. There are a few extras in this volume, mostly artwork and guest comics, but there was a little tidbit in there stating that Lillian was never intended to be one of the main characters, instead just being another of Roomie’s friends from the bar. It kind of illustrates what I think could put some people off, which is that the plot is obviously written without an overall plan. The first couple chapters in particular can seem disjointed, with some strips feeling episodic even within their own chapter. It does start to feel a bit more coherent, around about the time that the art starts to clean up as well weirdly enough, after Lillian starts accompanying Roomie outside her house though, so if you have the patience you would be rewarded for sticking around. Honestly though, even in the really disjointed stuff at the beginning, there’s a lot of good character work, with the two mains being utterly charming in their own diametrically opposite ways. And it’s kind of nice to see loads of queer characters just kind of doing their thing, whatever that may be, instead of the tired “coming out” stuff that seems to be so prevalent in LGBT narratives. 
A bit disjointed at the start, but definitely worth reading as it has a buttload of charm and humour. Worth it for the abundance of queer characters alone. 3.5/5 
Next review: Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett 
Signing off, 
Nisa. 

Fashion Beast by Alan Moore, Malcolm McLaren, Antony Johnston & Facundo Percio

It’s been quite a while since my last comic, so I fancied something that was a little bit out of left field. In this case, that meant Fashion Beast, mainly because the artwork looked absolutely gorgeous, but also because I have a pretty good record with Alan Moore’s work so far and I was interested to see how one of his lesser known works held up against the hard-hitters that I’d read, like Watchmen or V for Vendetta.

Fashion Beast follows Doll Seguin, an androgynous coat checker barely scraping by at a popular club, decides to take a chance auditioning as a “mannequin” for a world-famous, reclusive fashion designer after losing her job. Making an unexpected impression on the mysterious patron of the House of Celestine, she is initially delighted by the world of glamour that she now inhabits, miles away from anything she could have imagined in the nuclear winter outside. But she soon finds that all is not well, and that the secrets that inspire its head designer to create beautiful clothing could be the very things that tear the fashion House to the ground.
My first reaction to Fashion Beast upon finishing it was a deep breath, because it’s quite a lot to digest over a lunch break. Having thought it over a bit, I find myself puzzling over it. In some ways, I like it and my initial reaction still applies as it tackles a lot of big ideas, like beauty and celebrity culture, the corruption of the creative process, gender identity, the class divide, and mental illness. It mentions on the blurb that Fashion Beast came out of an unproduced film script for a modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast, which would explain how it ends up feeling almost mythic in proportions, despite the comparatively small scale of the plot.
But then you look at some of the individual components and it starts to fall apart a bit. The characters, while vivid, are not for the most part written with much in the way of depth. This can make some of the emotional highs and lows come across a bit flat, as there hasn’t been enough character build-up to warrant the change. The same could be said about the setting, which has an intriguing premise that isn’t built on enough. Throughout the comic, you get glimpses of the outside world through radio segments warning about an impending nuclear winter, but it never seems to actually feel all that imminent. In the sections where the action is cooped up within the fashion house that makes sense, but even in the sections out in the poorest areas of the surrounding city it doesn’t feel any more immediate. If anything, all the talk about a nuclear winter does it make it really obvious that Fashion Beast‘s story was written in the 1980s with the cold war still firmly in place.
The artwork is pretty much perfect though. It manages to combine the glamour of high fashion with the griminess of the surrounding post-nuclear world and somehow manages to make it all look weird and utterly gorgeous. I might have to look out for more of Percio’s work if this is anything to go by.

Fashion Beast is a bit of a strange one. If you read it as a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, then it does work with that kind of fairy tale/mythic tone. If you look at it with more of a critical eye for depth of character and setting, then it may well disappoint you. Probably not Alan Moore’s best, but the potential is definitely there, and I would love to see an expanded version of this if that’s ever considered. 3.5/5

Next review: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Signing off,
Nisa.

Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez

I’ve had the Locke & Key series on my radar for some time, as I am a huge Joe Hill fan. I think I’ve managed to gather the majority of the series, so now the only thing left is to give them a read, starting with Welcome to Lovecraft.

Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft follows the remains of the Locke family after a disturbed student kills their father. They move in with their uncle in his New England mansion, known locally as the Keyhouse. But while they’re only looking to move on with their lives, the house is filled with doors that transform those brave enough to travel through with the right key. And there is a relentless creature who will stop at nothing to gain the power over those doors.
Considering that there was a lot made about the doors themselves, I was kind of expecting to see more of them. But Welcome to Lovecraft is a bit of a slower burn, which seems to be working for this volume at least. The first half alternates the focus on the kids trying to adapt to life without their dad and the traumatic events that led to their move in the first place. The slow familiarisation with the characters really works because by the time things start getting more threatening, the family has moved from generic survivors to characters whose safety I do feel genuinely concerned about. Character-wise, the three that are perhaps most important are the children. The oldest is Tyler, a former friend of the boy that killed his dad, and convinced that he is in some part responsible for the tragedy that occurred. The middle child is Kinsey, who saved her little brother at the time and is now struggling to reintegrate with her peers. Finally there is Bode, the youngest by a fair margin, who seems to be coping the best out of his siblings, but is frustrated that his encounters with the supernatural elements in the house are being written off as worrying signs of emotional instability. That’s one of the things that I really like about how the supernatural stuff is written in. It kind of takes a trope that’s really common with child fantasy protagonists, where the adults are useless and unwilling to believe, and makes it terrifying. I haven’t seen much of the house yet, but I already know that Bode is in way over his head and that’s really unsettling. It’s definitely made me want to read more of the series.
Since this is another comic, I guess that I should spend some time taking about the artwork. I hadn’t heard of Rodriguez before now, but I would be happy to see more of his work following this. It’s perhaps not the prettiest of artwork, but it’s great at evoking atmosphere and character personality, so it does fit the tone of the writing really well. He really doesn’t shy away from the blood and gore either, which works with this kind of horror. Sometimes horror works better without visible gore, but this is not one of those instances, so it was good to see that the visuals haven’t compromised that way.

More of a slow burner than I was initially expecting, but it really works to set up appealing protagonists who I am genuinely concerned for. It doesn’t compromise on the gore, so if you’re squeamish you may want to come prepared. It’s definitely set up a series that I am eager to continue reading. 4.5/5

Next review: The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

Signing off,
Nisa.

Signal to Noise by Neil Gaiman & Dave McKean

I have a feeling that this is the final book from that Humble Bundle that I had, and I’m rather chuffed with how the whole thing came out. I went into Signal to Noise with fairly positive expectations, as I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read of Neil Gaiman’s work thus far and the comics that he’s been involved with usually end up looking weird and beautiful. I couldn’t seem to get a blurb that mentioned anything about the plot itself, only the rave reviews and the fact that there’s a radio drama adaptation, but I’ve gone into a couple other books on this bundle with similarly vague notions of the premise and come out fine. Besides, if it sucked at least it was under 100 pages.

Signal to Noise follows a director in the months after he is diagnosed with cancer. As he refuses treatment for the malignant tumour, he begins work on his final film, the finished product that he doesn’t expect to live to see. As he crafts a story about a village waiting for the apocalypse to come at the stroke of midnight on December 31st, 999 AD, it starts mixing with his thoughts on his own personal, imminent apocalypse.
I kind of regret reading this on a tablet. While my tablet is okay for text, I think I needed to read Signal to Noise as a physical book. Because this is a beautiful comic book, and I don’t think reading it on a tablet did it justice. I want to see the weird, angular depictions of the horsemen in that lovely glossy paper that decent comics are printed on. I want to be able to stare at the pages and really see the transition where the focus on the crowd zooms further and further out until you’re looking at the creases in a man’s palm. Signal to Noise, much like the world cinema films that it seems to be paying tribute to, is one of those pieces that is both beautiful to look at and never seems to stop being interesting in its subject matter. I don’t want to say too much about the plot itself, as it’s more a character piece and it’s an experience that I don’t think I can convey with the sort of grace that it deserves. Just read it.

Signal to Noise is a beautifully weird comic and my only regret is that I didn’t read it as a physical book. It’s the kind of comic book that you show people who try to trivialise the medium as nothing but superhero stories. It’s visually experimental, and would definitely benefit from multiple read-throughs. It certainly feels longer than it’s 80 pages. 5/5

Next review: Locke and Key: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez

Signing off,
Nisa.

Batman: The Dark Knight: Golden Dawn by David Finch & Jason Fabok

It’s been quite a while since I read any comics and am thus quite behind with general lore, but since my sister was kind enough to get me this as a gift, I figured that I could try it and see how well it read. And considering it’s a Batman comic, one of my favourite superheroes growing up, at least it’s a hero that I can try and get invested in again.

Batman is on a new case, looking into the disappearance of beautiful socialite and childhood friend of Bruce Wayne, Dawn Golden. While he soon finds that Killer Croc and the Penguin are involved with her disappearance, there is something stalking the streets of Gotham that is far more dangerous and is inextricably linked to Dawn Golden. Can he find her and unravel the mystery in time to save her?
Golden Dawn just left me so unsatisfied, which is really disappointing considering that I really do like Batman, as well as the fact that it was a gift. So, where to start.
I guess I will start with the fact that despite this apparently being the beginning of the Batman The Dark Knight series, I was left really confused because despite needing a fairly in-depth knowledge of Batman the book doesn’t really try to bring new readers up to speed at all. For me, this was primarily the presence of the character Etrigan. Up until now, I had never come across anything where he was a prominent character, so to just drop him into what I was expecting would be a Batman-only story was most disconcerting. To more DC-savvy readers, his presence might make perfect sense, but to me it was like “and now, a demon in your regularly scheduled Batman comic”. And considering that it turns out that the whole demon thing is really important to the main plot of finding Dawn Golden, it does make proceedings that little bit more confusing. It might just be me though, I can never quite get my head around Batman having magical enemies. I can accept that he lives in a world with magic, but usually that stuff gets sent to characters like Wonder Woman or maybe Zatanna. To put Batman against a demonic cult just seems jarring and inappropriate somehow.
Additionally, I’m not quite sure why the writer thinks that I will be especially concerned about Dawn Golden’s fate. I mean, ignoring the fact that her name is all kinds of awkward and irritating in the light of the comic’s subtitle, there isn’t really anything there to latch onto with her character. They try and raise the stakes by having her be one of Bruce Wayne’s childhood friends, except that there’s only one scene of the two of them as children and all it told me was that she was a sullen girl who loses her friends’ toys. Thrilling stuff. Her secret backstory is told later in one rushed, uninteresting splurge that didn’t really add much to her as a character.
The final thing that bothered me was an art issue. While the general quality was very polished, the artist seems to have an issue when it comes to drawing women. At one point, a woman steals the Batmobile and for several pages I could have sworn that it was Dawn. It was only when Batman found Dawn that I realised my mistake. When your character faces and designs are that indistinguishable from one another, it doesn’t matter how pretty they are because you have just hobbled the clarity of whatever your story-telling is trying to achieve.

Really, this disappoints in pretty much every way. The story is confusing and poorly laid out. It sets Batman against a magical enemy, that still feels jarring to me. The missing woman is so colourless that it is difficult to care about her one way or another. And there is no differentiation between the female characters’ designs, which is just lazy really. 2.5/5

Next review: Stalkers by Paul Finch

Signing off,
Nisa.

Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland

Taking a quick break from books that are university-related, I decided to finally start on my edition of Batman: The Killing Joke. To comic fans, this is probably one of the most famous story-lines to happen in the Batman continuity, with several far-reaching consequences. As you can probably guess, I had high expectations of it. Which is why I’m somewhat confused. 

Following yet another escape from Arkham Asylum (what must their security be like if this is a regular occurrence with almost EVERY Batman villain incarcerated there?) the Joker decides to prove to the world that anyone can become like him if they have just one really bad day. To do this, he kidnaps Commissioner Gordon and subjects him to mental torture. Thus, Batman must confront the Joker before Gordon and his daughter Barbara are harmed any further. 
I expected this to be longer. After hearing so much praise about The Killing Joke, alongside my previous experience of Alan Moore’s work (specifically V for Vendetta and Watchmen), I guess I was expecting a heftier story than the 46 pages that I got. Don’t get me wrong, I knew it wouldn’t be the epics that the previous Alan Moore stuff I read would be, the volume was too slim. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I don’t think it had the same kind of weight to it that I was expecting from all the praise. It’s a good story, don’t get me wrong, it just seems like it could have been fleshed out a bit more; as it is, it doesn’t seem like the Joker really has time to carry out his plan. What he does is dreadful, and I would never wish that on any parent, but it seems odd that he would stop short, as it were. Much as I like Commissioner Gordon and his family, part of me feels that the Joker would continue to torment him and create more misery for Gordon, until he was certain that he’d snapped completely and irreversibly. The other thing that bugged me about this story is the fact that Alan Moore tries to give the Joker a back-story. Much as I am a fan of character back-story as a means of giving said character depth and personality, the Joker is an exception to this; his past is a complete blank and that lack of knowledge just makes him scarier. Giving him a sympathetic back-story just makes him seem less chilling somehow, and I personally don’t think that his version of the one bad day really measures up to his psychosis; as the Joker himself says, “If I’m going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice!”. Maybe if there were several versions of his past that the comic created as possibilities, that I could understand, as it would create more mystery as well as introducing a potential sympathetic element to his character. As is, I like the story in theory, I just can’t help but read it and wish that it had been written with more scope in mind. In terms of an introduction into comics, it is a pretty good place to start, as there isn’t a whole lot in here that isn’t well-known to pop culture at large. 
Despite my misgivings about the execution of the story, there is one reason why I would still wholeheartedly recommend this to new comic readers, other than the ease with which you can understand it: the artwork. The artwork in this is utterly stunning. The Joker in particular is very well drawn, with just the right amount of grotesqueness to his facial features to make him look just fundamentally wrong. The colouring is very good as well, particularly the parts exploring the Joker’s past; much like Schindler’s List, it’s black and white with a splash of colour, a shade of red that just keeps getting brighter as the flashbacks go on. It’s an interesting look to be sure. 
Overall then, this vehicle for the Joker was a tad bit underwhelming. I can see why so many people like it, I just think that there were so many missed opportunities that Alan Moore could have explored further within the narrative. For me, it’s best point is the artwork, which has pretty much guaranteed that I will look out for more of Brian Bolland’s work. I would recommend this if you’re just starting out in comics, as there isn’t really much back-story you need to know beforehand that isn’t already well-known by the general public. 3.5/5 
Next review: Frankenstein (1818 text) by Mary Shelley 
Signing off, 
Nisa. 

Blackest Night by Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis, Oclair Albert & Joe Prado

As you can probably guess, this is a bit of a departure for me. I mean, I do like comic books, but as of yet I haven’t ever managed to collect a series long enough for me to review anything like this. So when my sister decided to lend me her copy of the collected issues of the Green Lantern mini-series Blackest Night, I figured that this would be a good opportunity to try out my reviewing skills on comics. Plus, I think part of me just wants to be like Linkara.

Blackest Night is probably not the best place for me to have started reading within the DC Universe. Don’t get me wrong, my knowledge of comic book lore is surprisingly up to date for someone with little opportunity to read them, mostly down to the aforementioned Linkara, but I can see this being quite confusing for complete newbies. The plot focuses on Hal Jordan, one of the more famous of the Green Lanterns to inhabit Earth (the one that the movie was centred on, if anyone was wondering), as he teams up with various allies and enemies to fight against the threat of the Black Lanterns. For those of you wondering, the basis of the Green Lantern powers is that there are powers based on a range of emotions, each of which can be equated with a colour from the colour spectrum: for example, green is will-power, yellow is fear, red is rage, etc etc; it sounds silly, but the colour spectrum does become important later in the plot. The black lanterns represent and control death, a power that is greater than any one colour on this power spectrum, necessitating the allegiance of all the different coloured Lantern Corps in order to save the universe from dying. If that explanation seems convoluted, then that’s because of the huge amounts of continuity that there is in this comic; my explanation only covered the absolute basics. Other continuity bits include the deaths of various superheroes and supporting characters which are more important in past mini-series (such as the significance of Sue Dibny and Jean Loring in Identity Crisis), the resurrections of characters like Barry Allen/The Flash (Final Crisis/The Flash: Rebirth) and Hal Jordan himself (Emerald Twilight/Zero Hour/Green Lantern: Rebirth), as well as many other minor things. Regardless of the huge amount of continuity that proceeds this, Blackest Night does a reasonable job of bringing the reader up to speed with the main plot threads, although this does occasionally lead to some moments which are obvious exposition dumps, mainly in Hal Jordan’s narrative.
Okay, so I’ve complained a heck of a lot about the sheer amount of past knowledge that is necessary, or at least advisable, to know in order to appreciate this comic, but I haven’t really touched on whether the plot itself is any good. It’s certainly made me more interested in reading more about the Green Lantern Corps. In terms of DC superheroes, I was always more interested in reading mini-series about Batman and the Teen Titans, as they were the stars of the cartoons that I grew up with as a kid; in terms of the other main heroes of the universe, particularly Superman and Wonder Woman, they just seemed a bit too perfect for me to get too interested in them. This comic combated that by giving the Green Lantern more depth and complexity than I had first given him credit for. The comic did two other things that I can recommend it for. First, it talked about something that always bothered me about superheroes: the number of times that some of them have died and come back to life; with the Black Lanterns bringing back dead heroes and villains as the undead, resurrections are brought to the fore and the consequences are more fully explored and exploited. The second thing that the comic did that I particularly liked was the focus on some of the more minor characters in the universe, such as Ray Palmer/The Atom and Jonathan Crane/The Scarecrow as opposed to the main three heavy hitters, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman; it was nice to see the more minor characters have their time to shine, regardless of how short. It even leads to one of my favourite moments, when Scarecrow has been given the power of a yellow ring of fear, which is somehow rather funny.
In terms of visuals, I have no real complaints. The style is clear, with no moments that seemed overly out of proportion or the like. The presence of the colour spectrum is well utilised, with a variety of brightly coloured superhero get-ups contrasting well with the dark greys and blacks of the zombies raised as part of the Black Lantern Corps.

Overall, a solid story with equally solid visuals. I would only recommend it for those with at least some knowledge of recent events in the DC Universe, as those reading a DC comic for the first time will most likely completely lost with the continuity references. 3.5/5

Next review: Life: A User’s Manual by Georges Perec

Signing off,
Nisa.

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