Old reviews I never posted

When compiling my master list of all the comics reviewed for my blog, I realized I had never posted the following reviews I wrote last October:


LAZARUS #4 (Image, 2013) – The best new series of 2013 (so far) finishes its opening arc, as Forever survives Johanna and Jonah’s assassination attempt, but Johanna manipulates her into believing Jonah was solely responsible. This series is becoming a damning condemnation of corporate capitalism and the concentration of economic power into private hands. Throughout this series, we’ve seen that the Family system benefits no one at all except the very few at the top – there is not even a pretense that prosperity will “trickle down.” And the people at the top are completely undeserving of their incredible degree of privilege. Johanna and Jonah have virtually all the power in the world, but all they care about is getting even more. They have far less humanity than Forever, who is barely human at all. (I’m reminded of Jack in Bioshock, which incidentally is referenced in this issue’s letter column, but to say why would be a spoiler.) But since this is a work of fiction and not real life, I remain hopeful that Forever will realize how thoroughly she’s been manipulated, and that she will be a force for positive change. Grade: A+

SANDMAN #39 (DC, 1992) – I read this issue long ago in trade paperback form but it’s mostly vanished from my memory. “Soft Places” is not Gaiman’s best story from Fables & Reflections (I much prefer “Three Septembers and a January,” the one about Emperor Norton), but it’s reasonably good. There is a guest appearance by Fiddler’s Green, one of the best characters in the series, and some bizarre time paradoxes. John Watkiss is not a great draftsman but his artwork is effectively suited to the story. The fact that this story is about Marco Polo makes it reminiscent of Calvino’s Invisible Cities. In fact, at one point Rustichello says that Marco Polo “went out to all the cities in his [Kublai Khan’s] empire and came home and described them to him,” which makes me wonder whether Gaiman specifically had Invisible Cities in mind when writing this story. Grade: A-

YOUNG JUSTICE #6 (DC, 2011) – This is the best issue of this Young Justice series that I’ve read. Possibly as an homage to a classic issue of the original Young Justice, this issue depicts the characters camping out and sharing their origin stories. Art Baltazar and Franco effectively capture each of the characters’ personalities, especially that of Miss Martian, an awesome character who never got nearly enough exposure in the regular DCU. (Which is a misnomer – the DCAU is much better than the regular DCU and it really ought to be the primary DC universe.) A weird piece of information here is that Miss Martian has twenty-nine siblings; how does that work? Grade: A

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