Aaron Ray Jr.'s Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: Batman-News Reviews: 10
6.5Avg. Review Rating

6
Dark Knights of Steel (2021) #7

Jun 7, 2022

Despite the minor hiccups in the storyline and artwork, I still believe Dark Knights of Steel is a fun ride. This particular issue just needed more thought and care overall. I am a firm believer that a good journey is about where you're going, not what's in your cooler. Unfortunately, I have no idea where it is going and can only judge it by where we are right now. Tom Taylor is sidelining his grander plot to set up a future one. It is hard to say if issue #7 turns out to be more important or just ends up a "backdoor pilot for something else.

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7
DC Mech (2022) #1

Jul 26, 2022

Issue one is a seemingly solid introduction to this six-part miniseries. I can feel the love for the mech genre in the artwork and the anime style writing. This issue's biggest hurdle is using two separate flashbacks before starting the present day conflict. Even then the world building seems like justification for the robot-led society. Porter readily admits to being a fan of Gundam, and has mentioned on the Paneloids Podcast, that DC Mechs will explore a xenophobic angle. The first issue doesn't quite get to that story, but I can see the set up.

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6
DC vs. Vampires (2021) #7

Jul 5, 2022

I binge read every issue of DC Vs. Vampires, and issue #7 radically changes the landscape of the series. The first six out of twelve issues may have set up these "dark days of future past, but the second half brings it to life. It is a beautifully designed book, despite the edginess of its apocalyptic makeovers. Coming from someone who thought I, Vampire was one of the most underrated books in the New 52, I think the vampires feel conveniently overpowered but underwritten. There are plenty of questionable choices that I'm still waiting to develop further before criticizing, but for now it is an easy recommendation.

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5
DC vs. Vampires (2021) #8

Aug 2, 2022

A confusing follow up to Hunted, Killers, and All-Out War; DC Vs. Vampires #8 delivers on the little things, but fails at the bigger picture. Eight issues is past the threshold for reasonable doubt, and I am ready to demand more out of the writing. I can't defend how off the rails the narrative is getting by clinging to the things I enjoy about the art and certain characters. The story requires a stronger focus and more relatable themes overall. Tynion IV and Rosenberg should map out the story direction in a cleaner way before they completely loose sight of where it is heading.

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5
DC vs. Vampires: All-Out War (2022) #1

Jul 19, 2022

Reading this tie-in series requires investment in DC vs. Vampires up to this point. Despite the title, this book isn't exactly an "all-out war. All-Out War would rather focus on the lives of those left to fight and survive in the aftermath of war. The theme or artwork may not be enough to win over anyone not buying the narrative. Some may find Deathstroke randomly becoming a disciple of Batman interesting, but it is out of character. Overall, some of these tie-ins are working, and some are struggling to justify their existence. I'm giving All-Out War a chance, and hoping I won't regret it.

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8
DC vs. Vampires: All-Out War (2022) #2

Aug 16, 2022

All-Out War #2 manages to shake things up in the DC Vs. Vampire universe again. It feels more focused and goal oriented than many of the other tie-ins and the main series while retaining some unpredictability. The characters feel sufficiently desperate and damaged. The current pattern of writing makes the book feel like a post-apocalyptic version of The Warriors (1979). In further issues, they could whittle down the team as they try to escape with their lives. None of my small criticisms will bother readers already invested. Nor will the strangely toned backup story really affect enjoyment of the main story.

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8
DCeased: War of the Undead Gods #1

Aug 9, 2022

I think my niche on Batman-News is being the DCU war journalist. Nearly every title I have covered so far has featured some kind of "war. As an newfound expert on war, I think this doesn't do a bad job setting up the potential clash. Instigating a big arc right after a happy ending is a pretty brutal choice, and I am convinced that makes Tom Taylor a sadist. In any case, the artwork is mostly solid, and the story seems to be on the right track. I want to see more war and gods next time, but I cannot undervalue the big beats of character connections.

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6.5
Deathstroke Inc. (2021) #9

May 26, 2022

In isolation this may be the best single issue of Shadow War. It is clean and straight to the point. Bad guy hurt, angry, and ready for war. On the other hand, I expect the inevitable fanboy screeching that is sure to happen anytime Ghostmaker clashes with any fan favorite character. Does his inclusion ruin the story? No, but it doesn't help. Ultimately, it is a perfectly fine read and lead up to Robin #14, where I'm sure some kind of War will begin.

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7
Jurassic League (2022) #4

Aug 11, 2022

Ultimately, Jurassic League manages to keep giving readers a satisfying tongue-and-cheek adventure. Little hints of blood or violence mesh seamlessly with the humorous world. The delightful artwork blooms from page to page. The charm does slightly wear off at times as more complex plots begin to form. Even as the honeymoon concludes, the book still finds sure footing by grounding the characters with moral disagreements. As far as I'm concerned, there is still fun to be had in the Dino World.

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6
Shadow War (2022): Omega #1

May 31, 2022

Shadow War is a pretty messy story with a strangely satisfying third act twist. The long stewing culmination of years of DC stories is Shadow War's best and only card, but may have been played too late. Many of the lead-in and tie-in stories have felt superficial and almost entirely disposable. In conclusion, Shadow War Omega has more good will than I can say for the mixed event as a whole. However, recommending this book depends on your level of investment with the characters involved. If you already were sour on the whole ordeal, this won't change your mind.

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