Review: DC’s Beach Blanket Bad Guys Summer Special #1

[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]

Writers: Lee Bermejo, Jeff Loveness, Paul Dini, Vita Ayala, Gabriel Hardman and Corinna Bechko, Michael Moreci, Tim Seeley, Shea Fontana, Daniel Kibblesmith, Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing

Artists: Francesco Mattina, David Williams, John Paul Leon, Amancay Nahuelpan, Gabriel Hardman, Max Raynor, Minkyu Jung, Carlos D’anda, Laura Braga, Giuseppe Camuncoli and Cam Smith

Colors: Steve Buccellato, John Paul Leon, June Chung, Matthew Wilson, Paul Mounts, John Kalisz, Luis Guerrero, Arif Prianto, Tomeu Morey

Letters: Tom Napolitano, Carlos M. Mangual, Deron Bennett, Clayton Cowles, Dave Sharpe

 

Summary

Enjoy a super-sized summer comic that features some of the best bad guys in the DC Universe!  Featuring moments like: Joker vs Bizarro, changing a tire for Lex Luthor, Mr. Freeze getting some shaved ice, a rare Cheetah worshiper, Black Manta’s search for treasure in the arctic, Giganta taking down an old bully, some good ol’ Flash and Grodd bonding, Deathstroke meeting a fan, The Penguin getting the girl?, and the Crime Syndicate!

Positives

What a wide range of stories!  I love that there is something for everyone in here. Some stories will make you laugh, others will make you cry, and more will make you turn the page in suspense.  There is a great variety of villains in these stories, and almost every DC hero has a villain represented.  It was truly a great romp through the DC universe.  It must be tough to choose stories when making one of these, and boy did they choose some good ones this time.  There is a great combination of new talent I’ve never seen before with seasoned writers and artists.

I’ll touch on each story briefly, as there are things to like about all of them.  The art in “Worst Finest” is absolutely amazing.  Its a shame Mattina mostly sticks to covers because I have loved everything I have seen from him including this.  What a sinister Joker and a grotesque Bizarro.  I hope to seem him do more in the future.

The Superman story was very interesting because it reminded me of an inversion of Superman #9 by John Byrne.  Instead of Luthor messing with someone in a mundane scenario with evil intentions, however, this time its a Superman fan trying to explain to Luthor why he likes Superman. As the ordinary man drives away, you can tell that these kinds of people torment Luthor at all times.

The Mr. Freeze comic brings a very fun side to one of the most serious characters in the Batman universe, while still keeping Mr. Freeze as a more stoic presence.

The art in the Cheetah story is fantastic.  I couldn’t believe that it was done by a completely new talent.  This seems to be Amancay Nahuelpan’s debut for DC, and I cannot wait to see more.  Luckily, I will not have to wait long, as he is doing Nightwing #48 and Nightwing #49 this September.

I think the Black Manta story was my favorite.  Its a story that explains why some villains are always evil, even if they don’t always show it, while also giving depth to Black Manta and a well-designed original character.  The art was also fantastic.

We haven’t seen a lot of Giganta lately, but I have always loved her as a villain.  This story was a prime example as to why she is a character worth writing.

Grodd has never been my favorite villain, but Seeley does a good job with his one.  The art is great as well.

Can I have two favorites? My other one would definitely be the Deathstroke comic.  Fontana makes a very compelling argument that maybe some people are just born evil.  When the twist came, my jaw dropped, and I was floored by the guts this story had.  Its not really a Deathstroke story at all, rather the story of Katie.

The Penguin story makes you feel sorry for Oswald, and then hate yourself for doing so.  Great writing by Daniel Kibblesmith!

The Crime Syndicate story had some amazing art by Giuseppe Camuncoli and Cam Smith.  It was a great choice to book-end this 80-page monster with great art.

Negatives

Not every story had something to dislike, so I’ll point out some general negatives.  When you get a large book like this one, not all the art is going to be the best, and that is the case here.  Towards the middle of the issue there were some very strange choices made with the art, and it somewhat took me out of the story.

A good comic, no matter how short, always has a purpose.  If a comic doesn’t have something to say or some point to make, it isn’t going to be very good, and that is the case here.  “World’s Finest” and “‘False Idols'” had some of the best art, but really felt very empty to me as stories.

 

Verdict

This is a really fun read and a nice way to take a break from some of the heavier comics with your favorite villains.

 

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Ari Bard

I am currently a Sophomore at Case Western Reserve University studying mechanical engineering. I have been in love with DC since I saw the animated series and movies in the early 2000s. I started reading comics regularly at the start of Rebirth. My favorite character is Martian Manhunter.