Friday, October 7, 2011

Rant Review: Huntress #1, Penguin: Pain and Prejudice #1

The DC relaunch isn't just about those shiny new 52 series, as there are several more series launching this month. The first two are rooted in the Batman line, with the long-awaited The Shade maxi-series launching later in the month! You can bet your sweet ass I'll be reviewing that one when the time comes! For now, let's dive into these two!
The Huntress #1
Written by Paul Levitz, Pencilled by Marcus To, Inked by John Dell
First off, let me get this out: Thank Grodd they finally got rid of that horrific Jim Lee-designed stripper outfit the Huntress had been wearing for most of the past 6 years or so! She had also worn a slightly modified, far less ridiculous costume for part of her tenure in Birds of Prey, and the costume she's wearing in this series is much closer to that one.
Now that's out of the way. This new series is written by the Huntress's creator, Paul Levitz. As conceived back in the '70s, the Huntress was Helena Wayne, the daughter of Batman and Catwoman on Earth 2, one of many Earths in the multiverse. After DC streamlined its continuity and got rid of all but one earth-- temporarily, as it turned out-- she became Helena Bertinelli, the vengeful daughter of a former mafia boss who was murdered. This is apparently the same version of the character who exists in the new DCU, and that suits me just fine. (Anyway, for the Earth 2 Huntress fans, there's no reason that version can't still exist in the new Earth 2. This series just doesn't take place on Earth 2.) This issue is mostly setup, as Helena travels to Italy on the trail of large shipments of guns that are being smuggled into Gotham. She aims to cut them off at the source. She stumbles across a nastier aspect of the smuggling business as well, and gains the attention of the appropriately sleazy villain.
Levitz does a good job with the story, keeping things interesting, even though he's really only setting up the next five issues here. Marcus To's art is quite good overall, and there are some very interesting layouts here and there.This series is just revving up, and I intend to stick around for the ride.
My score:

Penguin: Pain and Prejudice #1
Written by Gregg Hurwitz, Art by Szymon Kudranski
It's been quite some time since Oswald Cobblepot had his own series/special/one shot/what have you, and it seems Hurwitz is certainly going to make this one worthwhile. Penguin's origin is retold, and longtime readers have seen much of it before. However, it's all in the presentation, and even the bits we've seen before are nicely fleshed out. There was one moment where a couple of characters seemed incredibly obtuse-- you'll probably know what scene I'm talking about when you get to it-- but it was incidental to the main plot, and doesn't hurt the comic. It just pulled me out of it for a moment.
Kudranski's art is dark and foreboding, and utterly appropriate for this tale. The posture and facial expressions of his characters are excellent, and his art provides very good storytelling all around. His rendition of Batman, in particular, reminds me of Lee Bermejo, and that's high praise indeed. This is a very nice debut issue, and I'm looking forward a great deal to the rest of this series.
My score:


  1. Grabbed both minis and Detective Comics from these latest batches of reviews. Detective Comics is nothing special, but the art is attractive enough and the script was a step up from the stilted wording and overwrought narration in the first issue that I'll see where the arc goes. The cliffhanger didn't thrill me, but I guess we'll see how things play out.

    Both minis were excellent. There's been a lot of talk about how women have portrayed in this relaunch (some points I agree with, some I think are pushing it), and I think this Huntress comic is an example of how it can be done well. I really didn't expect much from the Penguin comic, but I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised with the respect given to the character.

    In other words, I'm pretty much in full agreement on these comics.

  2. I enjoyed Detective a bit more than usual after last week's abysmal Dark Knight. I can't believe the same writer did both TDK and the wonderful DCU Presents. But yeah, Daniel comes off a bit better than usual for the comparison in my mind.
    I was cautiously optimistic about the Penguin series, and it delivered, and then some. His origins haven't been fleshed out as much as characters like Two-Face and the Riddler, so I'm definitely down for what this series is doing.