Red Vs. Blue Reviews (formerly One Book, Two Book, Red Book, Blue Book) is a weekly showdown between a Marvel title and a DC title. Your host, Veggieleezy, weighs the pros and cons of each book and crowns a "winner" of the week. Does your favorite take top honors?
Credits & Solicit Info:
Red Book- Captain America #13, 22 pgs. (Ed Brubaker, Patch Zircher, Paul Mounts) Ed Brubaker continues his consistently congratulatory run on the First Avenger's flagship title. Aided by Zircher and Mounts, they are weaving a mystery involving brainwashing and a cape killer. Let the fun begin.
Blue Book- Batman #10, 32 pgs. (Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion) Scott Snyder's "Night of the Owls" seems to be approaching dawn, but there are still some loose threads for the World's Greatest Detective to wind up.
It seemed very fitting to have my returning review be Captain America vs. Batman for several reasons: Two of my favorite characters, two summer blockbuster movies, and two sets of headgear with silly ear thingies. Interestingly enough, both comics have similar stories told within: both are penultimate issues of their arcs, both are gearing up for a big fight, and both have a "Scooby-Doo moment", which I shall explain later. Onward for great justice!
Captain America #13- (Brubaker, Zircher, Mounts)
Pros- One of Brubaker's strengths as a writer is his ability to tell a story, whether it's within a particular issue or over the course of an arc. This issue in particular reminds me of the days before arcs became commonplace. Stories needed to be quick, engaging, tense, and "wrapped up" in 20-odd pages. Brubaker can do that, major props. This issue has good pacing, it has its share of action scenes, and there's tension built for the following issue.
Also, the art fits with the story. Something that I've said time and again is that the art should make sense with the story that's trying to be told. For me, Zircher and Mounts do a good job on the character work. Cap looks the way I personally would like to see him; strong, carries himself with purpose, and ready for action. I like the design they've given to the character Scourge as well. It's fairly reminiscent *spelling?* of the Punisher but pretty much with a hockey mask thrown on. Enough to be villainy, but not enough to be overly goofy.
Cons- As skilled as Mr. Brubaker is at telling a story, this particular issue has some flaws. For me, the story this issue is telling could have been told with any other character aside from Cap if not for some points. One scene with a well-placed shield throw is the only real "Captain America" moment. Everything else feels like a general noir story. Brubaker is good at telling noir, but for me it seems like he got the idea for this story before realizing he could plug Cap into it. Another problem is that without having boned up on your history of Captain America, you're likely to get lost with the characters, like I did.
With regard to the art, something that came to mind was the movie Blade Runner. Bear with me on this. This semester I watched the movie in class. I thought it was good, but one major problem I had with it was that it was too dark. Literally. I could barely see anything. There is a similar issue here. Almost all of the scenes take place in poorly lit areas. It's difficult to see anything going on.
Batman #10- (Snyder, Capullo, Glapion)
Pros- The Night of the Owls arc has been very engaging, at least in my opinion. This issue represents the coming of the end but it doesn't just set up the finale with filler. It actually tells its own story, much like Cap's issue. Another fun note is that there are now some more changes made to Batman's backstory. Take them for what you will, personally I find it a little refreshing to see something new in the tale of Thomas and Martha Wayne. However... Nah, it can wait. My prime point about the writing here is that it not only gives a nice summation of the arc so far, but it still tells its own story. People who hadn't even read any of Batman to this point can pick up here and understand everything that's happened. Snyder is writing a very accessible Batbook here, something that hasn't really been done as far as I know, I admire that greatly.
As for the artwork, I don't think I've ever really had that much of a problem with Capullo and Glapion's work with the Bat. The art is appropriately dark, which fits as Batman is, generally speaking, one of the darkest characters in the DCU, this story is rather dark, and it's Gotham Freaking City. This issue wasn't a particular favorite of mine (I loved the issue where the pages turned upside-down), but it was still pretty darn good-looking. I also adored the nice little touch with the elevator scene. The lady is drawn to actually look like an owl with "talons" and "feathers". Not too subtle, but a clever touch that didn't have to be there.
Cons- And so we come to it finally. One of the few moments in comics that actually made me say "Really? REALLY? I mean, okay, maybe, but REALLY??" Be forewarned, massive spoilers are contained below.
Lincoln March is revealed to be the Talon, and not only that but he's also Bruce Wayne's long-lost brother he didn't know was born. Did you get that? I mean, I guess it makes sense, but for me, really? That's how you're getting out of it? If you paid close enough attention I suppose you could've guessed it, but... And Batman gives his summation while escaping from a net. I mean, really? It's minor and nitpicky, but it's my "job" and this really stuck with me. Oh, and the backup story? THAT'S your explanation for March's name? REALLY? Ugh, let's move on.
No real complaints about the artwork except for a fact that I've noted in a previous review. The character designs are all fairly similar. This probably should've come to mind sooner while reading this issue. It would've probably saved some exasperation (spelling?)
Winner- Batman by a pointy ear.
Review by: Veggieleezy