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Comic Book Reviews: Nightwing, Hulk, Halloween and TMNT

Written by: Ron Bricker

Image CC2K's Tom Sanford breaks down several of this week's Comic Books, spanning multiple universes and several storylines. Excelsior!


Nightwing #141


Writer – Peter J. Tomasi

Pencils – Rags Morales

Inks – Michael Bair

Colorist – Nathan Eyring

Letters – Sal Cipriano

Cover – Morales & Bair

Nightwing is in the 2nd issue of an arc by new writer Peter J. Tomasi. Praise on him is well deserved this month as Dick Grayson sets up camp in Manhattan, trying to hold his own as a resident watchman in the city that never sleeps. Grayson walks with a calm, cool collectiveness that a now grumpy Bruce Wayne doesn't have, charismatically talking up his new job as museum curator and wooing a librarian named Deborah all in a day's work. Things seem to be going great for Dick as he takes care of business, having great relations with other heroes around him including an amusingly quick Superman cameo and a reminiscing sit down with The Flash.

His life seems easier as he enters a controlling stride, with everything going so perfectly that even Batman can't condescend, as much as he seems to want to. All is well for Tomasi in this issue, writing a stylish and graceful story. The relationships between the characters can be silly at times, but it's because everything's going so well for Dick without much room remaining for butting heads or difficult conflict at this stage. The involvement of R'as al Ghul and his daughter Talia remains a mystery, but that doesn't make much difference in terms of where Nightwing stands. Of course, what goes up must come down, however, and you're left with the feeling that the nearly perfect dual life of Dick Grayson can only go on working so well in his favor for so long. With an inner-monologue that rivals any of the best thought process Spider-Man has ever had, it can only be fantastic to see what's going on inside his head during his ups and downs. The writing and overall imagery are in perfect sync here, not showing too much of Manhattan while not delving too deep into Dick's persona all the while.

As a person who hasn't been reading comics regularly for the better part of seven years, this is the only book I've read so far that's made me feel I've picked a great time to return.

4.5 out of 5


Hulk #2

Writer – Jeph Loeb

Pencils – Ed McGuinness

Inks – Dexter Vines

Colorist – Jason Keith

Letters – Comicraft

Cover – McGuinness, Vines, & Keith


Tony Stark is an asshole. Seriously. He's got a golden helicopter thing that cost 2 billion dollars and he can't even just let those around him call it whatever they want. If I were around him, I would call it a 2 billion dollar Macy's Day Parade balloon and make him like it. And I would also call Nick Fury David Hasselhoff.

He goes out of his way to correct Maria Hill, only to have She-Hulk, who doesn't really deserve it, get grabbed out of the helicarrier by the mysterious Red Hulk seconds later. It should've been Iron Man that got grabbed and forced into a confrontation without a doubt, but the world is full of jerks that don't get what they deserve, even in the Marvel Universe. Alas, a high and mighty, holier-than-thou Tony Stark is an entertaining Tony Stark. The book is mostly action this week, with the helicarrier going down courtesy of the aforementioned Red Hulk. No further clues as to his identity are given, other than the fact that Bruce Banner still hasn't appeared, even though Hulk #1 alluded to him being locked away and out of sight in its' final panel.

The focus on the Red Hulk's attack is probably a bit of misdirection. Not much has been shown of Rick Jones, and in this case, not enough. Only so much can be seen and entertaining in Iron Man's rescue of his own ship. Because of this, character development of any kind has also taken a backseat, although it doesn't take much for anyone having read through Civil War to assume the usual about each character, especially and of course Tony. Ed McGuinness pencils a great Hulk, all transformations of any kind looking great. Loeb's writing is taking a backseat to this look, however, and it seems ultimately more important to its disadvantage. Hopefully the story will pick up with something more interesting in its' next issue, instead of more of the same lack of depth that's been seen from most Marvel books.

2.5 out of 5


Halloween: Nightdance #1


Writer – Stefan Hutchinson

Illustrations – Tim Seeley

Colorist – Elizabeth John

Letters – Clem Robbins

The Halloween remake took a deeper and unnecessary look into the mind of Michael Myers, essentially ruining what made one of the best horror films of all time so great with explanation. The remake spawned another look at Halloween in comic form with a 4-part series. Stefan Hutchinson luckily didn't follow the trend that the movie did, focusing on a main character affected by Myers as a force of nature, rather than taking the killer's point-of-view. Lisa is a fragile high school girl, obviously scarred by a run in with Myers earlier in her life. She reminisces and parallels her present day life (or, life in October of 2000) with an event that's never obvious with whether or not it has happened to her (hair color?) The book is maybe a bit too poetically written and vague for its own good, much like the diary of a high school girl similar to the one that it focuses on. It still seems a better undertaking than every Halloween sequel, even for someone like me who thinks H20 was the best sequel in the series. Those of you who enjoy the Thorn Cult mid sequel garbage should probably get a kick out of this regardless, but not without some disappointments for you.

However, those disappointments are big pluses for me. Myers is mostly in the shadowy frames of the book, only showing himself when absolutely necessary and even then remaining a silhouette of sorts. It also pays great attention to detail with glowing pumpkins, cool fall days and rainy nights. It couldn't look better and be more impressive for taking place on or around Halloween, capturing the look and feel of the first movie.

Despite a bit of confusion, the book looks as a Halloween comic should look, and won't disappoint fans of the series, and even film buffs who aren't fans of the sequels can't come away thinking this is terrible. Whether or not that trend will continue for this book, however, remains to be seen.

3.5 out of 5


Tales of TMNT #42


Writer – Dan Berger

Artwork – Jim Lawson

Lettering – Eric Talbot

Cover – Dan Berger and Dave White

Three of the turtles take a back seat this issue as Raphael and Casey Jones investigate a UFO landing together. The story is told in an interrogation of Casey by two mysterious men in black (ha ha) who seem to want him to say something he shouldn't.

Turtles will always be fun. Raphael and Casey Jones' fights with the Iron Giant's bastard cousin are as exciting as they will ever be. The dialogue is contrived yet humorous, referencing the Olsen Twins and Casey Jones' tough New Yorker attitude lamely. I was pleasantly surprised though when he called the robot "numbnuts" in the middle of the book. That speaks volumes, though, about what is and isn't funny. The artwork can be hard to look at in a day and age where everything is so smoothly colored, making you wish you could see the Turtles get an Alex Ross style treatment (in my dreams) but you realize you love those little green fellows and it really doesn't matter how they're depicted, giving them an expansive charm that not many other heroes can have. That having been said, I've never been a huge Raphael fan. I'm a personal party dude so whenever Michaelangelo is absent I'm bummed, and even if it were a showcase of just his hijinks, the team works better as just that, a team. Maybe even a parallel of another turtle's current situation would help make things more entertaining. Unless you're a fan of Raphael specifically you're going to be a bit bored.

The turtles in comic form have seen many ups and downs since their original existence, and seem to be in a fairly good place right now. They still and will always beg for that grit that the original issues had, but it's never abysmal to see the turtles even if that grit isn't around. Even though I didn't care for the issue, it's enough to bring me back for the next to visit everyone's favorite human-turtle hybrids.

3 out of 5