Comic Reviews: Punk Rock Jesus, Teen Titans, and Morbius!
Sean Murphy, you magnificent bastard. The finale of Punk Rock Jesus does not disappoint, and like all good stories, gives us a satisfying conclusion but also leaves us wanting more. Opening with a shattering revelation in Thomas’ pre-J2 life, we get even more illumination into the backstory of one of the best new characters of the year, which leads to a very heartbreaking moment later in the book when Thomas must question how far he’ll go to protect Chris.
Much of the book plays out in ways that you wouldn’t expect. Those hoping to see Chris and the Flak Jackets take the stage in Jerusalem may be disappointed, but the way it all plays out is much better than I could’ve hoped for. It certainly ups the stakes and shows how easily religion can make fanatics, and give us a chance to see Thomas kick ass and take names. There are huge revelations this issue that I won’t spoil here, but I will say that while you may have been able to predict some aspects of it, you definitely won’t be able to guess all of it.
As always, Murphy’s storytelling is impeccable. In fact, I strongly believe that this issue is his finest work on the title. Not only does he easily stick the landing, but he’s created some sequences here that will stay with me forever. Everything from the art to the story hits perfectly and resonates with you on a personal level, because Murphy took the time to make us care about all of the characters.
Punk Rock Jesus will now go down as one of the top comics I’ll lend out to people who are wondering what to read. It’s smart, heartfelt, and surprisingly moving. Murphy took on themes in this book that others wouldn’t have touched with a ten foot pole and made the story completely engaging and relatable. This was the best miniseries of 2012. Stop what you are doing and buy the issues. Don’t even wait for the hardcover. Get it now.
Red Robin and the Teen Titans finally cross paths with the Joker in Teen Titans #15, a book that’s unfortunately light on the Joker and Tim Drake, and heavy on the other members of the team. Unlike Red Hood and The Outlaws (which ties into this book, and will carry the story from here in it’s next issue), this “Death of the Family” tie in focuses more on Red Robin’s teammates on a mission to find him and less on the Joker’s manipulations of the third Robin. Writer Scott Lobdell (who gets a “dialogue assist” from Fabian Ncieza, whatever that means) focuses too much on the team contacting Batgirl and setting up their searches than on what I really wanted: more Joker.
However, when we do see Mr. J, he’s really awesome. Playing up the fact that he knows all there is to know about the Bat-Family, he even drops that a hint that he knows Tim Drake’s real name. No, not that he’s Tim Drake. He knows that “Tim Drake” is a fake name given to him to protect his family (see Teen Titans #0). Lobdell/Ncieza play up Drake’s disbelief, but having Joker repeat back the thought’s we’re reading from Drake was really fun, and did a very effective job of showing how much power Joker seemingly has in this story.
Brett Booth handles the art, and while he’s great, he’s a little too “clean” for this new version of the Clown Prince Of Crime. Maybe I’m spoiled from seeing Greg Capullo and Patrick Gleason’s horrific clown Leatherface depiction, but there were times where it barely looked like the Joker had rotting flesh attached to his face. While it does contain The Joker, those expecting to see a more Tim Drake-centered issue will be disappointed with this tie-in.
Morbius has a new series! Why? I don’t know. But it’s pretty good, so that’s cool! Right?
Written by Hell Yeah’s Joe Keating, Morbius: The Living Vampire picks up almost exactly where Amazing Spider-Man #699.1 left off a few months ago. Recently escaped from The Raft prison, Morbius is now wandering the streets, trying his best to do good and not drink the blood of innocent people. I was very surprised by Keating’s script, which found a lot of humorous ways to explain Morbius’ powers and motivations in a way that wasn’t tedious or boring. In many ways, it reminded me of Zombieland’s rules of the Zombie Apocalypse, or a supernatural take on Fraction and Aja’s Hawkeye. Richard Elson’s art is very good, and fits the tone of the book perfectly. I’ll have to research him later.
As pleasantly surprised as I was with this book, not a whole lot happens in it. In fact, for a guy who’s a “un-vampire”, he sure does get beat up a lot. If you’re a die hard Morbius fan, or looking for something different, you could do worse this week than picking this guy up.