Tag Archives: Seth Mann

Review: Batman #24

BATMAN #24MINOR SPOILERS BELOW

Batman #24 takes a big breath of fresh air and relaxes after the chaos of I Am Bane, and The Button. These issues are a nice change of pace before large story-line starts, which it will again soon with The War of Jokes and Riddles. Tom King delivers another issue where we get to reflect on all of the chaos, before things inevitably get insane again.

There is some fantastic dialogue between Gotham Girl and Batman in this issue, with her wanting him to show her what to do, and show her the way, but Batman says she needs to find her own path. This makes sense, with what Batman has dealt with in the past, with Jason Todd, and the other young heroes he has trained. He does however give a bit of advice, considering the fact that she is an actual super-powered being, in that she should train to fight without her powers, so she can be prepared in case she loses them. I loved the reflection and fun poking at Superman, with the fact that Batman is just a man, and had to learn how to fight, as opposed to being given powers. The jab at “Up, up, and away!” made me laugh.

Much like Superman #24, this issue also switches the art style between David Finch and Clay Mann, and both are excellent artists. They do different pages throughout the book, and not all of them sequential. I found this worked a little better than in Superman, with how this issue was told, with it going between Batman and Gotham Girl, and Batman and Catwoman. The colors by the great Jordie Bellaire are as good as expected, while the inks by Danny Miki and Seth Mann add to the story in a meaningful way. When the story is showing Gotham Girl going around the city with Batman, the scenes are brighter, and they reflect hope, but when we see Batman with Catwoman, we see deep shadows, as they reflect the darkness to their relationship. When it comes to the Cat, the Bat shows his flaws. He is scared, and isn’t afraid to be himself around her. Selina seems to feel the same way. Their love appears to be real, but inside they both hold a lot of darkness, and the inks show that so well. It is effective storytelling.

The ending of this issue leaves us with a jaw dropping panel that made me both smile and cringe. It looks like we are going to wait awhile to see what the outcome and fallout of this moment is, as The War of Jokes and Riddles begins next.

Story: Tom King Art: David Finch & Clay Mann Inks: Danny Miki & Seth Mann
Colors: Jordie Bellaire Letters: Deron Bennett
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Action Comics #964

Action Comics #964

Written by: Dan Jurgens
Art by: Patrick Zircher
Cover by: Seth Mann, Clay Mann
Variant cover by: Gary Frank

“WHO IS CLARK KENT?” part 2! Superman comes face to face with Clark Kent, and he wants answers! But first the Man of Steel must protect his former alter ego. Clark Kent tells all in this shocking issue! And don’t miss the return of a ghost from Smallville past…

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Review: Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death #1

PIVYCYCLE_Cv1_csFor the first time since her introduction in 1966, the popular Batman villain and sometimes anti-hero Poison Ivy has her own solo series. And writer Amy Chu and artists Clay Mann and Seth Mann take that solo distinction seriously as Ivy becomes increasingly distant from her old friends (especially Harley Quinn) throughout Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death #1 and throws herself into her work at the Gotham Botanical Gardens involving genetic engineering. Poison Ivy is trying to increase the lifespan of human and animals using plants and her own elemental connection to The Green, which may be a reason that she is not interacting with humans as much, with the exception of her co-worker Luisa. The main conflict in Poison Ivy #1 is internal as Ivy tries to balance her human and plant sides, and it reaches a fever pitch in the last few pages, which create the mystery hook for the rest of the miniseries.

I could go either way with the Manns’ art in Poison Ivy #1. Penciler Clay Mann aims at a photorealistic style with his art and succeeds without it looking like it was obviously traced a la Greg Land. Seth Mann uses an extremely clean inking style to draw attention to little details, like the light falling on plants or the background of a biker bar that Harley and Ivy go to after her work day is over. And this semi-painting style works for the slower, more quiet scenes with the help of Ulisses Arreola’s verdant palette, like when Poison Ivy finally gets to unwind, shed the hair tie and lab coat of Dr. Pamela Isley, and just be with her plant babies. There’s something about painted art that creates a feeling of harmony (or fear) of nature with DC’s plant elementals, like Dave McKean’s work on Black Orchid or John Totleben and Stephen Bissette’s Swamp Thing.

However, there’s a reason that McKean has mainly done covers or experimental work, and that Totleben and Bissette did their Swamp Thing interiors in a less representational style. This is because painted, photorealistic art is static and needs some additional storytelling tricks, like quick cuts between panels or an extremely high level of detail, like in Alex Ross’ work on Kingdom Come or Marvels. And every time, the Manns depict action, the story falls flat from the opening scene where Poison Ivy fights diamond thieves in Africa to Harley and Ivy kicking some creepy guys’ asses towards the middle of the comic. Basically, plants come out of the ground in both, and Mann doesn’t distinguish between Ivy’s passionate protection of the “living fossil” in Africa versus the disinterest in picking a fight with random strangers in the bar fight. And the big knock on the art is the lack of emotion in these finely depicted characters for whom cool disinterest seems to be the default expression with the exception of Harley gleefully swinging her hammer, and a close-up on Ivy’s eyes towards the end of the comic.

It’s refreshing that Amy Chu is giving Poison Ivy a kind of redemption arc as she is focusing on her scientific work instead of doing crime or being an eco-terrorist. She also gives Ivy the very relatable problem of loneliness and having difficulty interacting with other people. However, along with being lonely and having trouble fitting in her old friends with her new job and life, Chu makes Ivy kind of a jerk and ruins all the characterization Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner have done with Harley Quinn moving on from the Joker in one mean spirited line of dialogue. This is just to make a point that Ivy is going it alone and comes after the one spot of humor in the book when Ivy shows Harley show one of her new “experiments”. However, the final pages introduce some possible consequences for Ivy’s obsession with her work, but it’s a little too late after this faux pas writing and ending the major relationship in her life.

Unless you’re a huge fan of Poison Ivy and/or annoyed by the character of Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy #1 is worth skipping or trade waiting because its protagonist is less than endearing and her relationship with Harley Quinn is ended in a way that seems rushed and out of character. (There is hope for the pair with a nice panel of Ivy checking her phone for texts from Harley first thing in the morning.) Along with this characterization issue, Clay and Seth Mann’s art would be beautiful as covers or pinups (With the exception of photorealistic Harley Quinn in her roller girl outfit, which is almost as terrifying in an Uncanny Valley way as Alex Ross drawing the Archie gang.), but lacks energy or emotion.

Story: Amy Chu Pencils: Clay Mann Inks: Seth Mann Colors: Ulises Arreola
Story: 5.5 Art: 5 Overall: 5 Recommendation: Pass

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review