Wednesday, July 31, 2013

ANNUAL REVIEWS(Reviews of this weeks annuals)

Batman Annual #2
Though insisting it's a Zero year tie-in, the second Batman annual is actually a stand alone story that takes place in the present. With the exception of one page that takes place in Zero Year (and requires no previous Zero Year knowledge), Batman Annual #2 is a solid story that takes place in Arkham Asylum.
To test out the latest advances in super villain containment technology, Dr.Arkham recruits Batman to try and break out of Arkham Asylum. In the midst of the exercise, Arkham's longest incapacitated inmate, the Anchoress, decides it would be a perfect time to escape and confront the man she blames for her misfortunes


The Anchoress is an interesting villain. Making her debut in the DC Universe, she proves to be quite the challenge for Batman as her abilities are psychological as opposed to physical. You'll learn quite a bit about the new villain, as well as her upbringing and motivation for trying to defeat Batman. Hopefully, we'll see a bit more of The Anchoress in the main title down the road.
This story is written by Margurite Bennett, though Scott Snyder is credited for assisting with the story. The art is provided by Wes Craig, and he does a great job drawing The Anchoress, who looks like a ghostly, haggard 200 year old woman. Whether or not your reading the Batman ongoing right now, the second annual is a good choice if you're looking for a fun Batman story this week.
Superman Annual #2
The second Superman annual focuses on Lois Lane in her investigation pertaining to the Brainiac city-napping that took place earlier in Action Comics. This issue also serves as a setup to the upcoming Psi War arc which will take place in both Action Comics and the Superman ongoing.
After Brainiac shrunk and bottled Metropolis five years ago, a number of citizens mysteriously went missing. Lois, using her natural talent as a journalist, decides to look into this strange occurrence. She learns that these civilians have been chosen by Brainiac to house psionic empowerments for reasons unknown. Unfortunately for Lois, she might have stumbled upon something that may prove too dangerous for her to handle unscathed.
Though in continuity with the Superman books, Scott Lobdel does a great job bringing new readers up to speed with the story. Superman Annual #2 is a prologue to the Psi War arc, so this is also a great jumping on point for readers wanting to start reading Superman or Action Comics. The art by Dan Jurgens is great, and though the story is of the question-and-answer variety, there are more than a few action sequences to keep things visually striking.
This is a good read for Superman fans, as well as those looking to start reading the ongoing Superman titles.
Detective Comics Annual #2
John Layman and Josh Williamson deliver a solid addition to the series with the second annual, chalk full of content including two backup stories. Detective Comics Annual #2 takes place within continuity, though it also serves as a standalone story that Batman fans will be able to enjoy whether they are reading the current titles or not.
Batman is tasked with discovering the identity of a criminal who has been assuming the identities of Gotham citizens. This "Jane Doe" is responsible for multiple murders around Gotham and she's able to mimic body language and voices, all while dressed in the faces of the citizens she's murdered. It's a classic Batman crime story, very fitting for Detective Comics.
Layman and Williamson do a fine job keeping new readers in the loop with the current Detective Comics arc. Editorial notes supply the little info you'll need to enjoy the story, though there really isn't much to know. Thankfully, the issue stands at a fun read on its own.
The creative team has done a great job presenting a grizzly crime tale in Detective Comics Annual #2, and the story is continued in two backups which appear at the end of the issue. They take place during and after the events in the main story, and focus on the affected characters dealing with the aftermath of the story. Welcome additions to the issue.
Bat-fans will want to pick this one up if they enjoy Batman's methodical crime solving methods and a spotlight on the G.C.P.D.

The Flash Annual #2 features two lengthy stories. They take place in Flash continuity, though not necessarily in any current story arc. For that reason, it's a pretty new-reader-friendly read. The first story sees Flash teaming up with Green Lantern for the first time, while the second involves Flash saving a family from a burning building.
Each story features a different creative team, both of which do a great job with their respective additions to The Flash Annual #2. The first, written by Brian Buccellato and drawn by Sami Basri, shows how Flash and Green Lantern met, and the first time they worked together. Half of the story takes place in the past, while the other half takes place in the present. Buccellato does a great job showing the difference five years can make between two friends.
The second story is written by Nicole Dubuc and drawn by Cully Hamner. It's a well written short about Barry's day-to-day life, though the story is a thematic one with a focus on decision making. Neither of these stories require an up-to-date knowledge of either The Flash or Green Lantern ongoing titles, so The Flash Annual #2 is a good choice for readers who are interested in reading The Flash, or for fans already caught up with the series.

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