Reviews of trade paperbacks of comic books (mostly Marvel), along with a few other semi-relevant comments / reviews.

26 August 2016

Vision, v. 1: Little Worse than a Man

Collects: Vision v. 3 #1-6 (2016)

Released: June 2016 (Marvel)

Format: 136 pages / color / $17.99 / ISBN: 9780785196570

What is this?: Vision creates a synthezoid family in his own image, and while they try to assimilate into suburbia, it all goes wrong immediately.

The culprits: Writer Tom King and artist Gabriel Hernandez Walta

Vision, v. 1: Little Worse than a Man is one of the rare dramatic superhero books that lives up to its hype.

The Vision is a synthezoid, an artificial life form. He tried to have a normal family decades ago with the Scarlet Witch. It did not go well, for various complicated and retconny reasons, but that experience makes the Vision one of the superheroes who is best adapted to domesticity. It’s little wonder, then, that in Little Worse he has decided to create a new family, and rather than wander down the biological road again, he has created a family — wife, teenage daughter and son — in his own synthetic image.

Vision, v. 1: Little Worse than a Man coverWhat follows is a fascinating and complicated look at the Vision and whether it’s possible for someone like him to be normal in any way.

The problems that beset the Visions do not feel contrived. An attack by the Grim Reaper is the inciting event of the breakdown of the Visions’ suburban life; given the Reaper’s hatred of Vision — the Vision’s brains patterns are based on Reaper’s brother, Wonder Man, and Reaper believes Vision to be an impostor — his assault is a logical starting point for any title featuring Vision. The rest of the story follows from there, with the goal of normalcy dropped in favor of being a functional family. Each complication in the story is compelling, leaving the reader waiting for the next calamity to befall the protagonists.

Writer Tom King does an excellent job giving each of the Visions a distinct personality and arc. Well, Vin, the son, doesn’t have much of an arc; he ruminates over equality and his own nature in somewhat awkward but not implausible ways, and I don’t believe the one plot-related decision he makes. But Vision, Virginia, and Viv each have their own separate troubles, despite all their similarities. The Vision thinks the situation he has created is controllable, and despite the difficulties, he can make things right. Virginia, his wife, has made decisions calculated to keep her family safe, but they have all gone wrong. Viv, the daughter, comes closest to fitting in because one person values her differences and isn’t intimidated, not because of anything she does.

Striving for normalcy isn’t unusual, but it’s a self-defeating proposition in this case. The Visions themselves make no attempt to disguise their non-organic nature, nor do they attempt to assimilate; they buy a suburban house, go to suburban schools, and imitate suburban domesticity, but that isn’t enough to gain them acceptance. They stick out like walnuts in banana bread, and they are about as welcome. The house tour Virginia gives the neighbors at the beginning of the first issue shows a house filled with exotic memorabilia from the Vision’s life and career: a stringless Wakandan piano, a flying water vase from the planet Zenn-La, an everbloom plant from Wundagore, a lighter used to read a map before D-Day, a gift from Captain America. Extraordinary furnishings of an extraordinary family.

Gabriel Hernandez Walta makes these fantastic artifacts look quite normal. The piano has no expensive fillips (except perhaps for a lid shaped like a panther); the everbloom is a shaggy evergreen, and the lighter is just a dented lighter. The vase is a floating blob, barely recognizable as a vase. Give that the water vase and everbloom are, in essence, useless, this decision to make them look mundane makes sense. Why would anyone want to own these things?

Everything in Walta’s work is muted, partially because of the restrained color palette used by colorist Jordie Bellaire. The restrained artwork — no superhero excesses for Walta — and the washed-out colors help give the book a feeling of a ‘50s sitcom, which goes along with the nuclear family that the Vision has constructed to live in his oversized suburban house. Walta draws Vision’s perfect suburban world — perfect house, perfect teenage kids, and a perfect Martha Stewart housewife, complete with an apron — with little embellishment. Walta and Bellaire’s work cast a pall over the book; it’s not hard to believe that the people in this ostensibly perfect world are all trapped and depressed, and escape is the only way to be happy again. Despite the synthezoids’ blank eyes and robotic features, their emotions — sadness, isolation, confusion — are plain to see, and that’s to Walta’s credit.

Should the Vision and his family try to fit in more? That’s not a question Little Worse tries to answer, unless that answer is found in the racism that surrounds the Visions. Many of their neighbors are uneasy about them because they are different; some of them couch this in a fear that the Visions are “dangerous.” The temptation to make a parallel between white-bread communities fearing “dangerous,” darker-skinned newcomers is obvious, but the locals have a point: the Visions are dangerous, in their way. Still, the community is primed to be fearful of the Visions, or at least to not accept them. A pair of local kids, for instance, spraypaint robot slurs on the Visions’ garage, even though they have to research which obscure slur to use. The local high school’s previous nickname, “Redskins,” operates in two different ways: the word is an insult toward Native Americans, yes, but it also foreshadows the locals having trouble seeing the Visions (who have red “skin”) as humans. Changing the school’s nickname to Patriots doesn’t change perception immediately.

On the other hand, Vision uses his superhero privilege to escape trouble when dealing with authority figures. He tells the principal at his children’s school and a police detective that he has saved the world “37 times,” and when he’s being interviewed by the detective, the specific events are enumerated between panels. (Several are labeled “Ultron — again,” which made me laugh.) The two events feel different; with the principal, Vision is using his heroism to gain equal treatment for himself and his family, but with the detective, he uses it to assert his superiority — somewhere between “I shouldn’t have to answer your questions” to “My life of service should mean you believe me.”

King uses the final issue to discuss the central theme of the book: Can the Vision, a being ruled by logical, programmed responses to the world, create a family and be happy / normal in a human, illogical world? The narration frames this in terms of a computer programming concept, P vs. NP. P is all the problems a computer can solve in a reasonable amount of time, the problems that can be solved with an algorithm or shortcut or program. NP is all the problems that cannot be solved that way. Is the Vision’s quest P or NP? King asks. (He also answers it.) What happens if the Vision decides it’s NP?

It’s an interesting question, although it would have had more of an impact had it been made earlier in the book and not have been fairly convincingly answered. (This is more of a criticism of the trade paperback form; from King’s view, the question is asked halfway through the series.) On the other hand, King also identifies the narrator, who is explaining and answering the P vs. NP question, and it’s possible that we shouldn’t believe the cat-murdering old woman. Despite the omniscient tone of her narration, she doesn’t know everything, but I’m not sure whether King is trying to add a bit of ambiguity to the story. If not, I think making the narrator a character in the story is a bit of a mistake, but I’ll find out only by reading Vision, v. 2: Little Better than a Beast.

And I’m definitely going to do that. I recommend it — and this volume — to readers. It’s one of the rare lessons that despite the huge canvas that superhero comics gives creators, it’s often the smaller stories, the ones with lower but more personal stakes, that are the most satisfying.

Rating: Avengers symbol Avengers symbol Avengers symbol Avengers symbol Avengers symbol (5 of 5)

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20 August 2016

Patsy Walker, a.k.a. Hellcat!, v. 1: Hooked on a Feline

Collects: Patsy Walker, a.k.a. Hellcat #1-6 (2016)

Released: June 2016 (Marvel)

Format: 136 pages / color / $17.99 / ISBN: 9781302900359

What is this?: After being let go from her private investigating job, Patsy Walker (the superhero Hellcat) comes up with a new business idea but has to deal with particularly feckless villains.

The culprits: Writer Kate Leth and artists Brittney L. Williams (#1-5) and Natasha Allegri (#6)

Last week, I praised Squirrel Girl in general and the latest volume of the series, Squirrel, You Really Got Me Now, specifically. This week, I’ll go from one animal-themed Marvel superhero humor book to another …

Patsy Walker, a.k.a. Hellcat!, v. 1: Hooked on a Feline follows Patsy Walker, last seen as She-Hulk’s private investigator in the recent short-lived She-Hulk series. But at the beginning of Feline, She-Hulk has to let Patsy go, and to support herself, Patsy comes up with a new idea: a super-powered temp agency, matching those with powers with jobs that suit those powers.

Patsy Walker, a.k.a. Hellcat!: Hooked on a Feline coverPatsy triumphantly presents at the beginning and end of #1, at least, but we see very little of the execution in the rest of Feline, save for a recommendation to an adversary and a page of bookkeeping in #6. In other words, it takes five issues before she even begins working on her grand plan, and that’s indicative of the book’s level of focus.

Writer Kate Leth makes the wise decision to not get into Patsy’s history as Hellcat, since Hellcat continuity is a bit involved. After all, any story in which you say, “I spent some time dead” will tend to derail the narrative a bit. Leth leaves nothing relevant out and retains enough plot hooks to give herself a lot of potential storylines.

Unfortuately, Leth can’t seem to focus on any idea. As I mentioned, she avoids Patsy’s business idea — the idea presented in literally the series’ first panel — for most of the book. The book’s largest conflict is the decision by her former teen rival, Hedy Wolfe, to reprint the romance comics Patsy’s mother wrote and based on the lives of Patsy and her friends. This should be a story that develops throughout the book, but five issues after the conflict is introduced, I have no idea whether Hedy had any right to reprint the stories without notifying or gaining permission from Patsy. She-Hulk, Patsy’s lawyer, says Hedy doesn’t have a case, but Hedy clearly has a contract — literally, she possesses a piece of paper with “CONTRACT” written across the top of it — that she puts a lot of faith in. Then again, Hedy hires a private investigator (Jessica Jones) to dig up dirt on Patsy, so maybe she realizes her case isn’t so great. The one face-to-face interaction between Patsy and Hedy is a great moment of tension, with Hedy insulting Patsy and Patsy coming up empty in response. The book could have used more close-quarters conflict between the two.

Leth and artists Brittney Williams (#1-5) and Natasha Allegri (#6) are trying for a breezy, fun tone, which explains why the story might lack focus. But for this concept to work, Feline has to be funny, and it just doesn’t.

Take, for instance, issue #2, in which Patsy gets a job working retail — for “research,” she says, although all I can see that she learns is that she’s awful at working retail. She can’t relate to the customers or the merchandise at the hip-but-cheap clothing store she works at; she’s baffled by the garments’ logos and the customers’ reasonable requests. She’s constantly interrupted by friends and enemies, keeping her from getting any work done. Her cluelessness and poor results are frustrating rather than funny. By the end of the issue, I would have preferred to follow the adventures of the supervisor who gave Patsy the firing she so richly deserved.

The closest thread Feline has to an overall arc is the threat of Casiolena, an exiled Asgardian who entices various low-powered superhumans into committing crimes. Casiolena is an ineffectual villain, and that’s supposed to be funny, but she comes across as more petulant than humorous. She wants inspire superhumans to sow chaos, destabilizing New York, but she’s too lazy to do a good job or research the Midgardian quirks she needs to know to be successful. Hellcat and Valkyrie don’t take her seriously, even when Casiolena has captured them both, and the villainess makes unachievable promises to her aspiring minions. As soon as the heroes reveal that Casiolena’s promises can’t be fulfilled, her movement falls apart, and she’s easily captured.

The superhumans who turn to crime at Casiolena’s call aren’t bad people. They’re just … well, maybe they are bad people, in a banal way. They turn to crime as a shortcut to making their lives better, and that’s a horrible choice. None of them seem to be in desperate straits; they appear to prefer to work legitimately, but if legal work is not simple to find, crime’s fine. Patsy goes easy on them, which I don’t mind; the more quickly they get off the page, the more quickly I can forget about them forever.

Well, maybe not all of them — I do like the design of Bailey, a minor adversary who has a handbag of infinite capacity. She looks like a cute witch wearing bike shorts, and while I’m not sure how that fits thematically with “bag of holding,” I’m not the artist! And it’s good that I’m not the artist because I’m bad at drawing.

On the other hand, I’m not fond of Williams’s art, either. In the one opportunity she has to cut loose, the book’s big fight scene in #5, she fails to make an impression. Her tight, careful line and cartoony exaggeration does seem well suited for broad character work, and if the book were funnier, perhaps the art would mesh well with the story. But her detail-oriented art often makes her panels seem to cramped, and I don’t understand her visual vocabulary, at times; for instance, I can’t figure out what it means when Patsy suddenly shrinks to two-thirds size and shows her pointed teeth. (Is she feisty? Angry? Adorable? All of these? What does it mean?) Her Howard the Duck is misshapen, and her Hedy … When she comes to mock Patsy at her retail job, Hedy does not dress in a way that says, “I have room to mock those who work at the mall.” Instead, she looks like she should be picking up the kids at soccer practice in 20 minutes. That’s not how Hedy would dress on her way to insult Patsy.

I won’t discuss Allegre’s art in #6, as it makes me irrationally angry. Let’s just say that any comic that makes Arcade look like a cute teenager and She-Hulk appear unimpressive has a problem.

I do like Williams’s She-Hulk, though: she’s large without being grotesque, physically impressive without losing her attractiveness. The supporting cast and cameos from the rest of the Marvel Universe are the most appealing part of the book, actually; She-Hulk is a great friend to Patsy while being allowed to get angry at her, and the scenes with Howard the Duck (art aside), Dr. Strange, and Jessica Jones are all effective. The scene in which Patsy texts all her female friends, leading them to believe she’s in danger when all she wants is a consolation burger with them after getting fired, is a good illustration of why I would prefer to read about almost anyone in this book other than Patsy: they all excuse her mistake with a shrug. They realize you just have to put up with that nonsense with Patsy, which I do not want to do. She has a good heart, but she’s not that interesting or fun to be around.

And honestly, what kind of person gets a tattoo of themselves? And not a representative one, but a sort of a manga-version of their alter ego? I mean, Alex Rodriguez, who just retired from his baseball career, was seen as a narcissist, but I bet even he did not have a manga-style tattoo of himself in his Yankees uniform.

Rating: Defenders symbol Half Defenders symbol (1.5 of 5)

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12 August 2016

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, v. 3: Squirrel, You Really Got Me Now

Collects: Unbeatable Squirrel Girl v. 2 #1-6 and Howard the Duck v. 5 #6 (2015-6)

Released: May 2016 (Marvel)

Format: 168 pages / color / $17.99 / ISBN: 9780785196266

What is this?:

The culprits: Writer Ryan North, with help from Chip Zdarsky on both #6s, and artist Erica Henderson, with help from Joe Quinones on Howard the Duck #6

I’m a little surprised I haven’t reviewed a volume of Unbeatable Squirrel Girl yet. Let’s rectify that with the most recent release, Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, v. 3: Squirrel, You Really Got Me Now.

Squirrel Girl (Doreen Green) was treated as a joke character for a couple of decades after she was created by Will Murray and Steve Ditko — yes, that Steve Ditko — in 1992 for Marvel Super-Heroes #8. In that issue, she defeated Dr. Doom, whose armor was not, it turns out, “squirrel proof.” When she was used after that, whether as a throwaway character or in the Great Lakes Avengers, the joke was that she could defeat anyone, despite her only real power being to communicate with squirrels. In the past few years, however, she’s been taken more seriously and given her own title and a spot on one of the many Avengers teams.

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl coverIn You Really Got Me Now, that first victory vs. Dr. Doom becomes relevant in issue #2 as Doreen wakes up in 1962. No one but her roommate, Nancy, remembers her; in her attempts to get Tony Stark to rescue her, she runs into Dr. Doom — specifically the one who was just defeated by Squirrel Girl (and tangentially by Iron Man). She manages to convince Doom to take her to rescue Squirrel Girl, threatening that Squirrel Girl could be messing with Doom in the past at that moment.

Nancy preventing heroes from attacking Doom by claiming he’s a really good cosplayer rather than the real Victor von Doom gives you an excellent idea of the kind of book this is. Another joke emblematic of the book’s tone and subject matter: Doom has created his own computer programming language, in which all the commands are variations on the word “Doom.”

The time-travel story plays out like you might expect, and that’s not a bad thing. Doreen is appalled and enchanted, in turns, by the ‘60s; she’s always afraid she or one of her classmates — Doreen discovers a lot of Empire State University computer science students have been sent to the ‘60s — will mess up the timeline, but she’s not afraid to encourage the positive aspects. She hides a message for Nancy in a ridiculous fashion, and of course Nancy finds it immediately, since that’s how things happen in time-travel stories. Plus, there’s a dystopic Doom-future, with Doombots eating hotdogs, walking Doomdogs, and trying not to get pooped on by Doompigeons.

Writer Ryan North and artist Erica Henderson are totally not taking things seriously, decorating the plot with plenty of sly jokes. Henderson has fun with the ludicrous action and Squirrel Girl’s attempts to fit in in the ‘60s. North makes the story as ridiculous as possible; the man responsible for sending all ESU students back in time used his time-travel gun to get rid of all the people who were wrecking the curve in his computer science classes, and Doom is defeated by a pack of Squirrel Girls (caused by using the time-travel device over and over) in much the same way Doom was defeated by squirrels in Squirrel Girl’s first appearance.

In the first issue in the collection, Doreen is embarrassed by her mother telling stories to Nancy (who is enthralled) and later reprograms a Nazi robot. The former makes Doreen relatable in a way that’s unusual in superhero comics — Peter Parker’s never embarrassed by May, is he? — and latter is the kind of thing a heroic computer science student should do.

I mentioned the two issue Squirrel Girl / Howard the Duck crossover in my review of Howard the Duck, v. 1: Duck Hunt. It’s a great melding of two comedy books that are somehow even made better by combining them. Plus it features the Kra-Van, Kraven the Hunter’s customized van with airbrushed art on the side.

It’s hard to imagine Unbeatable Squirrel Girl with an artist other than Thompson. Her art fits the tone of the book perfectly: she doesn’t take the stories too seriously, but she allows the characters to retain their dignity. Even when a joke is at the expense of Dr. Doom, he never looks less than his regal self — not even when he’s being mobbed by Squirrels Girl. Doreen and Nancy look like real people, not the idealized people in superhero comics. (Although I admit one of the ways Nancy looks like a college student is that she has chosen a hair color that doesn’t suit her or her wardrobe very well.)

This opinion might be an outlier, but I think it’s time to discontinue reprinting the letters pages in the trade paperbacks. Their inclusion the first time was cute; the second time it came across as repetitive. In You Really Got Me Now, the cuteness has worn paper thin; there’s only so often I can read letters gushing about how much they like Squirrel Girl and informing the creators about their cosplay and cute kids. Neither costuming nor children appeal to me, really. By all means, Squirrel Girl fans, keep writing in to the comic! But I’m asking collections editor Jennifer Grunwald to please stop including them. Yes, I could skip the letters pages, but I would rather not pay for those pages — not even the miniscule amount of money, space on my bookshelves, or even mass those pages take.

The comments on the bottom of the pages, however, are not growing old. North has a humorous sentence or two on most pages that comment on some aspect of the page — a follow-up joke, development of a throwaway gag, a new throwaway gag. They slow my reading speed, but they are almost always worth it.

I’ve been unusually positive about You Really Got Me Now, and the previous two volumes are as good or even better. I can give Unbeatable Squirrel Girl an unqualified recommendation, provided you aren’t the kind of comics reader who is put out by the Tumblr crowd. (See cosplay comments above.)

Rating: Squirrel Girl symbol Squirrel Girl symbol Squirrel Girl symbol Squirrel Girl symbol Half Squirrel Girl symbol (4.5 of 5)

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06 August 2016


Collects: Bizarro #1-6 (2015-6)

Released: February 2016 (DC)

Format: 144 pages / color / $14.99 / ISBN: 9781401259716

What is this?: Jimmy Olsen takes Bizarro on a road trip so he can abandon Bizarro in Bizarro America (Canada) and write a coffee-table book about the experience.

The culprits: Writer Heath Corson and artist Gustavo Duarte

Despite this being a review of Bizarro, I am not going to write any jokes in Bizarro-speak.

You’re welcome.

Bizarro coverIn Bizarro, Clark Kent prevails upon Jimmy Olsen to take Bizarro from Metropolis to Canada, where Jimmy will abandon him. The road trip, Clark says, could be turned into a nice book — a bestseller, even …

So Jimmy and Bizarro visit a variety of places — Smallville, a ghost town, Branson, Area 51, Las Vegas — on an aimless journey across America. The book starts slowly, seemingly spinning its wheels for the first three issues. Part of the inertia can be traced to the difficulty in getting used Bizarro-speak, and it doesn’t help that not everything can be expressed in a negative and that writer Heath Corson occasionally fumbles Bizarro’s dialogue. (He also gets English wrong occasionally; Zatanna talks about a “mystic portico,” meaning a “shortcut between dimensions,” but a portico is a porch, not a portal.) But the plot, such as it is, isn’t as strong as it could be either.

The first two issues are somewhat aimless, despite a digression in which Jimmy and Bizarro confront a mind-controlling used-car dealer. After picking up a classic car in the aftermath, cities and heroes across DC America make cameos. (The order of these appearances suggests neither Corson nor artist Gustavo Duarte is much bothered by geography.) Issue #3, set in a ghost town — with literal ghosts — introduces major supporting character Chastity Hex, and that story, which takes the entire issue to complete, is a step in the right direction.

It isn’t until #4, when Jimmy becomes a Bizarro and Bizarro turns human after a Zatanna show in Branson goes wrong, that Corson does anything interesting with the characters — anything that couldn’t be done with a generic dumb, strong character and a smarter, powerless sidekick. That issue forces the story to supplement the “wacky” things that happen to the characters with actual character development; even though Jimmy, for instance, doesn’t stop making fun of Bizarro’s intelligence and planning to commercially exploit their time together, he does gain some sympathy for what it must be like to be Bizarro.

The humor in Bizarro is hit and miss, unfortunately. Bizarro, once past Bizarro-speak, is usually funny; I admit I’m a sucker for malapropisms. Jimmy’s irritation at Bizarro’s incompetence also made me laugh, although as a fan of Green Acres and NewsRadio, I have long had a fondness for the one sane person in the middle of an insane cast. And Bizarro wearing a “You have failed this city” shirt in Starling City is hilarious. Other jokes fall flat, though, over and over again. I think the “Best by” date for X-Files references is long past, especially when the jokes don’t go beyond making alien-hunting government agents look like Mulder and Scully. And I’m not sure who is supposed to be amused by calling one of the agents “Chicken Stew” (real name: Stuart Paillard) over the agent’s protests.

Unfortunately, Corson puts a lot of stock in that humor. As I mentioned, characterization languishes for the first half of the book, and although Jimmy bats his eyes at a couple of women, one of which seems to reciprocate, he never gets farther than that. The eventual villain, who pops up unexpectedly in #6, became the villain through an inexplicable heel turn. Colin the Chupacabra, Bizarro’s pet / other sidekick, has a single personality characteristic — irritated hissing — and the revelation of his true identity comes out of nowhere. (To be fair, Colin doesn’t make an especially convincing chupacabra, though.)

The ending, which you can probably guess from what little of the plot I’ve mentioned, boils down to “Friendship is magic.” Jimmy learns not to financially exploit or mock Bizarro, whom he has grown fond of, and Superman teaches Bizarro that leaving Jimmy to die in the desert wasn’t a proportional response to Jimmy being a bad friend. Bizarro and everyone he and Jimmy came across in the series team up to save Jimmy from the subpar villain. The end.

(Sorry to spoil the ending, but if you’re reading Bizarro for the plot … well, you don’t deserve the ending spoiled, but perhaps you could take this as a lesson to realign priorities.)

Duarte’s artwork works well for this story. His artwork is well matched to a comedy, with his cartoony style using broad expressions and movements to get more than a few laughs, but his action scenes are surprisingly well done. Humor and action are hard for artists to pull off simultaneously, but Duarte does it. He also plants a few background jokes into the art.

I’m not fond of the title’s use of guest artists, who contribute a large panel or page to each issue. Some of their styles are jarring compared to Duarte’s work; some of them fit in so well that it’s only rereading the book that I noticed they weren’t by Duarte. These guest artists don’t add much to the story; instead, I think I was supposed to laud the editor for his ability to get artists like Paul Dini, Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon, and Rafael Albuquerque to contribute to this miniseries.

Which brings me to a final note, this one about the reproduction of the book. The Bizarro TPB includes the comic covers, but they aren’t marked as such. You would think, as full-page illustrations, they would be easy to pick out, but some of the guest art pages look exactly like covers, and a few of them fit into the flow of the story as well as a cover illustration does. Would it kill you, DC, to explicitly label the covers as such?

On the other hand, I enjoyed the trade dress on the spine going in the opposite direction than normal DC trades. It’s not as important as the cover thing, but, well, it’s something. (The credits pages also count down the story — issue #1 is labeled as Part 6, #2 as Part 5, etc. This is nice, but again, it’s not so nice as to make me forget it’s hard to tell exactly where those parts begin and end, especially as those title pages come a variable amount of pages after the covers … I think.)

Bizarro is exactly the kind of book you should borrow from the library or a friend … or pick up cheap, if you’re looking for a light read steeped in the DC Universe. Unfortunately, when I read this book, I thought of how it could be better, and I ended up cursing the flaws rather than enjoying its strengths. That’s my fault, but I can’t unsee those flaws now.

Rating: Bizarro symbol Bizarro symbol Half Bizarro symbol (2.5 of 5)

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