From the cover of Nightwing, it looks like DC’s employing everyone in the Rob Liefeld school of not understanding human anatomy. Of course, at least Eddy Barrows gets a little better in the comic itself. Not much, but a little.
The problem with the book isn’t Barrows, of course. It’s Kyle Higgins. He read some Batman comics from the seventies and eighties and he’s regurgitating the Dick Grayson Robin backups and DC’s calling it “new.”
Worse than the predictable plotting is the narration. Higgins’s first person narration for Dick Grayson is badly written, more than a little moronic and also fails to make Dick likable. He seems rather inane from his narration; I don’t think he has a single interesting observation.
Nightwing might be my least favorite DC relaunch book so far. Higgins is trying to turn Dick Grayson into Peter Parker at times. It’s uninspired and just plain dumb.
Arcudi gets to the cliffhanger I imagine readers had been waiting for since the end of the movie. I won’t spoil—which is not to recommend the series, I really can’t with Somerville’s artwork. He ruins the cliffhanger. It looks like something out of a Saturday morning cartoon, not a horror comic.
But Arcudi tries some different things this issue—he’s got third person narration, location tags, and some close third person examining the female doctor. It’s not exactly insightful—she’s got the hots for MacReady (there’s a hilarious line about her not knowing MacReady’s first name—it wasn’t in the movie either). But Arcudi’s trying something with the comic, he’s being ambitious with a licensed property. Doesn’t happen often.
As the series goes, I’m less excited to see how the cliffhanger resolves (since it was inevitable) than to see how Arcudi develops the series in terms of narrative devices.
And so aerialist Boston Brand finds himself leaping from life to life, striving to put wrong right, and hoping each time that his next leap… will be the last.
For the first DC Universe Presents arc—is it just me or would a Superman team-up book make a lot more sense in the DC relaunch, sort of an Ultimate Marvel Team-Up—anyway, it’s Deadman. Except Deadman is now “Quantum Leap” with a ghost. Maybe it’s because there’s a TV show in the works and DC wants to make Deadman really episodic.
Deadman now jumps from person to person, making their lives better. Or something. He’s not sure because he’s supposed to be getting guidance from the god Rama, only she’s too busy for him.
A decent script from Paul Jenkins makes it digestible. Bernard Chang designs some great pages, but his art’s a little broad.
Overall, it balances.
It’s shocking how much better Climate of Fear reads when it’s not about MacReady and Childs (from the movie).
Arcudi continues—for the majority of the issue—his version of The Thing, only in a warm climate with a female scientist as the protagonist. It’s mostly a talking heads book, with the tensions rising among the people as they get more and more scared.
Somerville is still a bad artist, so the book must succeed because of Arcudi’s scripting. He twists the tension tighter and tighter and the explosion, cinematic and bloody, works great.
Even his immediate follow-up is good. But then MacReady comes back into it. Or, actually, doesn’t, because Somerville doesn’t know how to establish the absence of someone in his composition.
Once the confusing moments are aside, the issue has a big chase and then has a big cliffhanger.
Unfortunately, Somerville’s art ruins the cliffhanger’s effectiveness.
Dick Grayson’s a crazy murderer?!? Oh, wait, no.
That pointless cliffhanger aside, Batman isn’t bad. I know Greg Capullo is a name artist and all, but I can’t figure out why. His figures give the impression of being static even when they aren’t.
The issue’s at it’s strongest in odd places. Scott Snyder has recast the Bat-family as the Brady Bunch before Mike met Carol. Dick’s the grown-up sidekick who’s still the best sidekick, Tim’s the ignored one and Damien’s the little wiseacre.
It’s sort of cute. Snyder’s not ambitious at all–his script reads a little like a mix of the Batman movies (all of them) and being sort of cute is about all the mileage the comic’s going to get.
Snyder does nothing to orient new readers; I guess DC knows there really aren’t Batman-readers-to-be out there.
It’s low-end mediocre mainstream stuff.