Friday, 16 September 2011

52 New Beginnings - The Edge

reviewed by D Kai Wilson-Viola

All I have to say is wow.

An explosive start to a storyline I think I’m really going to enjoy. That said this one is very confusing – were it something I was looking at buying to read at home, I’d maybe wait for the graphic novel to come out - but I’m really keen to see where this is going. Very fast moving, and most of all, one of the most visually pleasing comics I’ve seen recently – there is a definitive focus on details that really works on both the story and the frame level.

There were a couple of areas that also made me wince – it’s one of those things that I think this comic wins hands down – the action doesn’t feel contrived, but still isn’t – exactly – expected.

The main character is a con artist/delta operator (so the army special services are involved somewhere)/terrorist (that’s explained in the first comic) and he seems to be "acting crazy", though, it turns out the voices in his head are also, kinda, introduced in the first comic. Lots of mystery and lots of action made this comic the first one that I actually felt cheated at ending. I wanted another page or two!
The storyline is something I think is going to develop as the comic proceeds – and unlike the others that I’ve read, this one has the most open questions going into the next comic.

I’m not entirely certain whether all of the open story ideas are going to coalesce into a story or if some of them are just a tease, but that’s OK – there’s enough broad stroke characterisation and hooks in this one to make me want to wait for more of the story, without making me feel like I’m being set up. It’s not just relying on the action, though, there’s plenty of it to hook people and I like that.

reviewed by D Kai Wilson-Viola

I’ve never rolled my eyes when picking up a comic book. Never.

Not till I picked up Deathstroke. Now, bear with me – it is not a bad comic, but wow, he’s got an attitude that just screams off the page at you. That attitude carries on throughout the story – a veil over even his conversations with others.

I’m the first to admit that I know very little about comic books, so I focus on aesthetics, storylines and more, but the overpowering sense of character. Once you got past being slapped in the face with it, was really what made this comic for me.
The artwork is good – crisp, but dark – the colours in a good range for the storyline, which is dark, brooding, with an electric dollop of mad every so often, courtesy of Deathstroke. Lots of red too, in some cases, an entirely red wash for scenes. I think this emphasized the elements of what was going on to about the best effect.

I thought the artwork was actually very good – on par with some of the graphic novels I've enjoyed in the past, like The Dark Tower and The Stand. So it settled quite well with me, even though, let’s face it, Deathstroke is really a bit of a nasty piece of work. He’s not a good guy but at least he’s open about using people. The first comic contains what I considered to be a bit of an unexpected twist, but I’m not sure if that’s because I just don’t know Deathstroke well. He’s not crazy, like Deadpool. In fact, I think he’s a little bit of a psychopath – something, again that came screaming off the page – a well-controlled sociopath that manipulates the situation to complete contracts.

Still, it’s a strong start and I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes.

Suicide Squad
reviewed by Kate Townshend

When faced with a room full of super-villains being tortured, there’s a spectrum of possible reactions from your average reader: disgust, fascination, horror. Luckily, I quite like a bit of darkness in my comics, so the rather disturbing opening to the new DC Suicide Squad is right up my street.

It’s also a clever and effective way of introducing and establishing the motley and deranged individuals who make up the squad without any forced and thus rather pesky exposition. Even for a relative newcomer to the concept, key personalities are quickly distinguishable against a backdrop of slicing and burning and electrocuting. Fun stuff.

Maybe it’s the Firefly theory that torture has a way of allowing you to meet the true heart of a person, but the opening scene also elicits sympathy which is no bad thing when your protagonists are a bunch of semi-psychotics, imprisoned for a variety of crimes against humanity.

And I hate to be predictable, but for me it’s Dr Harley Quinn who is most interesting of all, combining as she does a sense of unbreakable defiance with a damaged, masochistic obsession with her former lover. I’m torn here. On the one hand she’s a strong female character, on the other she’s all about the man in her life. I can feel the feminist part of my brain about to implode under the weight of the contradiction.
But, as with Batgirl, maybe it’s the contradiction that makes the character. Harley is damaged but she also retains a sense of agency and she’s not the only character painted in more than one dimensions. This bodes well for the series.

I’ll be honest, the story is more important to me than the artistic merits of a comic, but it’s worth noting that this one is pretty damn stylish, with thematic content backed up by the look of the pages. Not to mention the fact that there’s an awful lot of cleavage on display on the cover if you’re into that sort of thing...

...which, in this particular context, I’m really not. Poor Harley. It would appear that she is being slowly undressed with each new incarnation. Give it a couple of years and no doubt she’ll be appearing nude on a comic cover near you, legs akimbo.

All joking aside, this kind of thing can quite legitimately be accused of alienating female readers. I’m as fond of breasts as the next person, but that doesn’t mean I want Harley turned into a sex toy enabling a certain lowest common denominator to get their comic and pornography fix simultaneously. Could do better DC, could do better.


  1. Great reviews as always guys! Did you review Frankenstein #1 yet? I had a quick flick though the issue but was undecided based on the art, but I've since read some good reviews for it! Decisions decisions...

    Grifter caught my eye initially because I've got an Original Character with the same name! Here, let me link you up:

    And during an OC event:


  2. Hi Todd,

    Frankenstein Agent Of S.H.A.D.E. #1 is reviewed tomorrow by our very own Reluctnat Geek, Kate Townshend.

    Grifter was created in 1992 by Jim Lee...