Blue Estate‘s second issue changes everything up. Gone is the private investigator. Now the protagonist is Rachel, the Steven Seagal stand-in’s wife. The issue is split between her and her brother.
It’s a fast read–without the narration, it moves speedily.
Osborne does a better job with the brother than the sister. He establishes characters, ground situation, all in dialogue, all without it getting too expository.
For Rachel though, Osborne has secrets and revelations to get through. He handles them all right; he’s keeping secrets not just from the characters, but from the reader as well. The purposeful misdirection is really obvious… especially since he’s willing to do a 180 and reveal other details. Sometimes on the same page.
The book has four artists working on sections. I can usually identify Nathan Fox but the art flows quite nicely together. The changes give the series a fluid feel.
The first issue of Static Shock ends with the titular hero about to be killed by some superhumans on floating mopeds. Unfortunately, I don’t think he’s going to die. Because if he did die, I’d never have to read a third issue of this series.
I’m not even going to talk about the Scott McDaniel art. It’s an easy target—it’s impossible to tell what’s going on and I can’t figure out why the book needs two inkers. They do about the work of a third of a bad inker.
Anyway, skipping McDaniel… the writing is awful. It hurts me to say it, because I like John Rozum’s work usually, but Static Shock is the most incompetently written book in the DC relaunch so far. And there are some really bad titles it’s worse than.
McDaniel and Rozum write a voiceover, not a narration.
It’s indescribably bad; just utter garbage.
What a cool crime comic.
It’s hard to identify who’s responsible for the plot—the book has two story credits and one script credit—but it’s definitely peculiar. The narrator of Blue Estate is a two-bit private investigator. But he’s not a Bogart-type, he’s an overweight TV and action movie geek whose dad runs the police’s major crimes division. So he knows the lingo, knows what’s going on, just doesn’t seem (this issue’s impression suggests) to know what to do about it.
His “case” involves the Russian mob, a closest gay action star (who looks a lot like Steven Seagal) and corrupt cops.
Scriptwriter Andrew Osborne does a great job with the narration; it’s the private investigator standard, but made far more interesting by the speaker not being the standard.
The narrator would be comical, but Osborne and the artists don’t ever let Blue Estate become a joke.
What does Ben Oliver’s art look like without color? I think the colorist adds all the texture to it.
But Batwing does look really slick. It looks very Photoshop, very modern. I don’t know if slick is a compliment. I suppose it’s more of a compliment than anything else I’ll have to say about the comic.
As a Batman in Africa, Batwing is a goofy character. I wish Judd Winick had read Unknown Soldier and ripped it off for this series. Just so the series would have the pretense of being serious.
Instead, Winick does his own thing–Batwing has a cave, an Alfred–but he never explains why this guy is the guy. It’s the first issue; skipping the origin is fine if the reader still gets a recap.
Here, there’s no recap. Winick introduces settings and supporting cast, but these additions don’t reveal anything.
What’s the darn point?
Moench and Alcala wrap up their Beneath adaptation. Moench doesn’t match the off-putting final moment, though he does manage to make the whole thing personal to the characters. It’s much better than the movie; it has great Alcala art and no bad Charlton Heston acting. I just wish Alcala had more interesting subject matter.
The original story–with Ploog art, yay–sort of wraps up the storyline Moench started in the first issue. The human protagonist embraces hatred, which is rather depressing, but it’s also pretty darned cool.
Planet of the Apes is willing to be downbeat, to let the bad guys win. It’s not simplistic, even with goofy theme apes. Moench does go overboard with the dialogue. He writes two Lawgiver speeches and they go on forever in mediocre (at best) parables.
Also in the finale, Moench reveals there were subtle recurring themes throughout.
It’s rather well executed.