Comic Book Reviews: 04/16/2014 Batman #30 DC Comics | Scott Snyder | Danny Miki | Greg Capullo Zero Year kicks off its final act, Savage City (that’s right this event story has its own sub-event story). Snyder is able to perfectly frame Batman, Gordon, Alfred and The Riddler within this issue. Each has a moment which defines their character and pushes the story forward. Miki and Capullo continue to be an excellent art duo, mixing the gritty Gotham with a garden landscape seamlessly. The usage of shading/lighting in between scenes makes the city come alive or sets the mood for a scene where the heroes are sneaking. The Riddler is oftentimes a joke villain that Batman defeats on his way to the true boss, but here is proving capable, maniacal and brilliant at every turn. Gordon’s relationship with the Batman is a strength in this storyline and one that is greatly missed amongst the million other sidekicks modern-day Batman has. Now that the ‘origin’ piece of this storyline has been told, Snyder and team are left to their devices to tell a well-crafted excellent Batman story (that just happens to be set during Zero Year). Batman continues to be resourceful, but not overly prepared within these issues. Snyder does a great job framing this issue with subtle wordplay that closes the scene and will have fans excited for the nest installment. Score: 9.5 /10 Superior Spider-Man #31 Marvel | Dan Slott | Christos Gage | Giuseppe Camuncoli Peter Parker returns…and a crap ton of events occur along the way, just to make sure Peter’s life is different for Amazing Spider-Man #1. This issue does its job; closes the chapter on Otto-Spidery and sets up Peter for a new status-quo as he tries to repair the damage Otto did to his life and career. Unfortunately, it all happens very quickly and without much fanfare. Peter beats readers over the head through exposition that he doesn’t know what Otto did while he was in control. Parker is able to quickly undo the Goblin Nation threat which Otto was incapable of countering, which undermines all of Otto’s previous successes. And it wouldn’t’ be a Peter-Spidey comic without a moment of unnecessary guilt. The plot makes decisions which come out of nowhere and has our hero looking like an idiot as he makes poor choices. The reveal of Green Goblin plays out, and is a mixture of what you would expect plus an unnecessary twist that doesn’t carry much weight. The backup to the main story reminds readers, again, that Otto was in control and did damage to Peter’s life. MJ makes a promise which she won’t keep (future solicits already reveal this fact). Camuncoli’s art is a mixed bag from panel to panel and most of it falls flat. This issue was mediocre throughout and the entire storyline feels like a rushed editorial mandate. There are two great character moments between Peter and his two greatest rivals, Green Goblin and J. Jonah Jameson. But they aren’t enough to save the average art, ordinary dialogue and pacing issues. Score: 5.0 /10 Uncanny X-Men #20 Marvel | Brian Michael Bendis | Chris Bachalo This issue pulls together two plot threads perfectly and continues to dangle the third, which will be picked up later. Maria Hill and Cyclops meet face to face (ish) and discuss the current situation regarding the sentinel attacks. Cyclops and Hill are pitch perfect in Bendis’s script which contains great character moments, moves the plot and has humor interjected. Hill is competent and forceful whereas Cyclops continues to be righteous and in control of the situation. In Madipoor, we see Mystique continue her drug trafficking of the Mutant Growth Hormone. This storyline is a slow burn which will probably play out later but doesn’t do much within this individual issue. In this issue a character reminds Cyclops that he is a monster for killing Professor Xavier which is a frustrating reoccurring theme. No one ever blamed Jean Grey for destroying millions when controlled by the Phoenix (and those that did are the villain of the story), but Cyclops is constantly being berated by the same Jean-defenders for being controlled by the Phoenix and killing one guy. Bachalo’s art is great for this issue during the conversational scenes, but completely falls apart during the final action moments. I have no idea what happened within the last page and feel that a different layout or additional dialogue in the script would have helped clarify this situation. It was a poor way to end what was previously a great issue. Score: 7.5 /10 Level Up, Friends!