Jackson Luken's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: Batman-News Reviews: 18
6.2Avg. Review Rating

2
Batman (2016): Faze Clan #1

May 2, 2022

Bereft of any creativity or joy, Batman: FaZe Clan #1 just a hollow corporate shell of a product designed to promote brand awareness. I'm sure you'll be happy to learn that the FaZe/Batman-branded merch that is prominently displayed throughout the comic is available for purchase, but aside from that there is little to be gained here. The plot is a paper thin excuse to showcase how cool FaZe Clan is supposed to be, but just comes off as aggressively insistent. This is an advertisement through and through, but if they were going to charge money for it then they should have at least made it an enjoyable one.

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5
Batman Beyond: Neo-Year #2

May 3, 2022

Batman Beyond: Neo-Year #2 struggles due to not giving enough focus to any of the ideas that it puts forth. Either a high concept science fiction story about an antagonist with a shared consciousness, or a gritty detective story of Terry working in the shadows while the city itself is out to get him could have been really interesting. However, since neither of those premises are given enough space to fully develop, what's left is a story that feels inconsequential.

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6
Batman Beyond: Neo-Year #3

Jun 7, 2022

You can tell the kind of story that Lanzing and Kelly are trying to tell, but they're struggling with the execution. They want to say something meaningful about about how the rich abuse their power for personal gain, but they're written as such caricatures that it loses much of its bite. They want to write a detective story where Terry investigates how to track down the Gotham AI, but he hardly does any investigating and is so passive that plot events need to happen to him. The book is not bad, but it can be frustrating to clearly see the writers' lofty ambitions while failing to live up to them.

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7
Batman Beyond: Neo-Year #4

Jul 5, 2022

This is a well done fight issue that's tense and exciting. It's fun to read a story where it feels like the hero is constantly has their back up against the wall and can barely keep going. The attempt to tie that fight to something deeper is commendable. However, that connection is often tenuous and doesn't always work the way the story wants it to when you step back and think about it.

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8
Batman Beyond: Neo-Year #5

Aug 2, 2022

Batman Beyond: Neo-Year #5 is the best issue of the series yet. It takes the time to slow down from all the action and look at how everyone has been affected by everything that's happened. These moments of introspection allow Terry to grow as a character in meaningful ways, which can be a rarity in a lot of comics. The dark, cramped artwork work alongside the narrative to create an atmosphere that brings emotions to their lowest point in preparation for the big finale.

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7
Batman: The Knight (2022) #4

Apr 23, 2022

What's here is fun and exciting, but feels like a step down from the previous issues due to its lack of novelty. The characters continue to be well written and the art shines in both big action scenes and conveying the subtlety of characters' emotions. I'm invested in seeing where Bruce's journey will take him next. However I hope that this doesn't become just an extended version of the same globetrotting training montage we've already seen so many times before.

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8
Batman: The Knight (2022) #5

May 17, 2022

Bruce learning the spy game is interesting and at times thrilling; it could just use more space to really flesh out the concept.

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7
Batman: The Knight (2022) #6

Jun 21, 2022

Batman: The Knight #6 gives the series a much needed break in the story's pacing to focus on character development, but it's unfortunately cut short to focus on Anton's story. The time spent examining what the "no kill code means for people from different circumstances is the kind of introspective story that I want to see from this series. It's a shame that less than half the issue gets to be about that, while the narrative focuses on a character that often feels like they don't belong.

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8
Batman: The Knight (2022) #7

Jul 19, 2022

Batman: The Knight #7 is a great look into Bruce's first exposure to the world of magic, and his relationship with Zatanna. The book uses magic as a way of examining Bruce's perspective on the world, and how it has left him intractable to anything that he can't control. This is the kind of story that I've been wanting from this series: a character study framed in the context of learning something new about Bruce's life. Aside from a somewhat repetitive tone and art in some parts, this is an excellent origin story.

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6.5
Batman: The Knight (2022) #8

Aug 16, 2022

Batman: The Knight #8 gets far too distracted by all of the disparate plot elements it wants to introduce, causing it to lose focus on Bruce's character development which is what the story was supposed to be about. Anton's return feels like an intrusion as Bruce is forced to constantly think about what he's doing. The story is as well illustrated as always and the brief moments we get to see Bruce grow into Batman are well done, but that is quickly derailed by the introduction of a series main villain that feels unnecessary.

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6
Batman: Urban Legends (2021) #18

Aug 12, 2022

This issue is a mixed bag. We got two different looks at what it's like for a young hero to fill the role of vigilante, an Etrigan story with maybe more action than there was room for, some political commentary, and a bit of Alfred playing detective. While most of the stories aren't anything spectacular, Chris Burnham's opening chapter of The Pennyworth Files was incredible and I look forward to reading more chapters soon.

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9
Catwoman: Lonely City (2021) #1

Apr 29, 2022

Catwoman: Lonely City #1 is one of the best new comics I've read in a long while. It creates an atmosphere of nostalgia and manages to zero in on what people like about Batman comics by exploring a scenario with all of those signature elements taken away. The characterization feels natural and three-dimensional, evoking sympathy when you realize the circumstances the characters have been put into. It's a story of very human struggles set against a backdrop of an exploration of what Gotham is and what it means.

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9
Catwoman: Lonely City (2021) #2

May 30, 2022

It's a funnier story than the first issue, but that in no way takes away from the heartfelt character moments that make everything feel so meaningful. The importance of costumes and what they can mean is a new theme introduced this issue, and it's one that helps really understand the impact a character like Catwoman can have.

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8
Catwoman: Lonely City (2021) #3

Jul 11, 2022

For the most part, Catwoman: Lonely City #3 continues the excellence that the series has held up so far. It further explores Selina's personal feelings towards her relationship with others, and how much she is willing to open herself up to that sort of vulnerability. The issue hits you with emotional despair that makes the stakes feel personal and real. However, the latter half of the story struggles a bit to find ways to get the plot where it needs to be.

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6
Future State: Gotham #13

May 10, 2022

The new direction Future State: Gotham is taking with this issue is interesting, but it stumbles out of the gate. Too many pages are devoted to reprinting older comics, which harms the overall narrative and artistic flow. Once the main plot is able to finally begin, it's filled with enough intrigue and adventure to get you hooked for what comes next. The comic would benefit immensely from actually focusing on that part of the story.

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4
Future State: Gotham #14

Jun 14, 2022

Future State: Gotham has struggled for a while to figure out what it wants to be about, and the seams are starting to show. We've got five different Batmen running around, and the circumstances that get them all in a position to inevitably fight feel manufactured. The characters from the other plot lines show up to remind the reader that they're still here, but otherwise seem to be waiting for something to do. This issue's main goal is mostly to set up for the big battle for the future cowl, so hopefully that payoff will be worth all this.

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3
Future State: Gotham #15

Jul 12, 2022

Future State: Gotham #15 feels like a rushed, sloppy story that puts little effort into its plot, dialog, or art. I know the creative team is capable of putting out better material than this, because the series wasn't always like this. The issue is comprised primarily of characters spouting obligatory one liners as lead-ins to poorly drawn fights and nonsensical shock twists. The sooner this poorly conceived arc ends, the better.

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2
Future State: Gotham #16

Aug 9, 2022

DC recently announced that this series will be ending in October, and it seems that the series is content to simply spin its wheels while we wait for this to be over. All of the criticisms I laid out last month still apply, except they are only getting worse. Future State: Gotham #16 is a poorly drawn, plotted, and scripted comic that relies on cheap attempts at melodrama to cover up for a presentation that has seemingly had little effort put into it.

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