Epitomising the notion of DC's "Zero Month", we're taken all the way back to Dick Grayson's origin as Robin. It's pretty much beat for beat everything you'd expect from such a story. No radical reinventions on display here. But even so, a solid retelling of the tale none the less. The only true alterations come in the form of furthering writer Kyle Higgins' running theme of Dick always looking forward, never back. There's a particularly clever scene depicting this, with Dick and a childhood friend racing a train and saving an endangered innocent in the process. The only possible downside is the ghastly revisionist Robin costume. What was once a tunic and pixie boots has become a godawful suit of armour with so many details it must take the artist an hour to simply remember what it looked like in the last panel. The New 52 has been rife with such outfits and sometimes they could do with taking a step back and realising - simpler is better.
8 out of 10
SPIDER-MEN #5 (MARVEL)
In the final issue of this landmark crossover between 616 and Ultimate universes, Peter Parker and Miles Morales team up one last time to take down the dimension-hopping threat of Mysterio. So why does it feel like nothing much actually happened in this mini-series? Over the course of these five issues, conflict has been kept to a minimum, instead being more of a polite meet and greet between the two Spider-Men. Mysterio is so easily defeated in this issue that you can't help but wonder why it took so long in the first place. However, it's not all bad, as the bonding between the two arachnid-themed heroes has been genuinely funny and compelling. While it's not really the 616 Peter's place to give Miles his blessing (what with being in the wrong universe and all), the advice he was relaying was heartfelt and meaningful. Miles has always been lacking in any endorsement from his universe's dead Peter Parker, so it's quite fitting he receives it here. The issue ends on a hell of a cliffhanger, with Peter looking into whether or not the 616 universe has a Miles Morales of it's own. I don't know what it is that he found on that Google search, but I'm sure I'd buy another mini-series to find out!
9 out of 10
STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION - HIVE #1 (IDW)
As a life-long Star Trek fan, the initial news of this mini-series captivated my interest. Unfortunately, the implementation has failed to deliver on every conceivable level. Beginning five hundred years in the future, it's revealed that the Borg have achieved their goal of assimilating the entire galaxy. Yet their quest for perfection has yielded no answers, no resolution, no peace - they're actually quite bored by it. The reassimilated Locutus sets into motion a plan to restore the region to it's former glory and like all good Trek stories - uses time travel to do it. The issue itself features a horrifying scene which can only be described as Picard calling old flame Vash for a booty call, a frankly laughable Data substitute and manages to undo four seasons of character development for a major Voyager cast member (it shouldn't be too hard to guess who - she's on the cover!). Also, if the plot hinges on travelling back in time to stop the total assimilation of the galaxy, who are these new inter-dimensional beings acting as the villain and why should we care about them when all signs point to them being a wild goose chase. When Brannon Braga left the Star Trek franchise behind, that was the best decision anyone could ever have made. Why undo that all these years later?
3 out of 10
THE WALKING DEAD #102 (IMAGE)
Still reeling from the shocking events from issue 100, Rick's group have made their way back home to the Washington compound. Last issue's cliffhanger reveal of Andrea having captured a prisoner would have typically been taken as a rallying cry, especially with this group of characters. However, writer Robert Kirkman expertly turns the dynamic on it's head. Sure having a prisoner is a tactical advantage, but they're up against overwhelming numbers and one man held in a cupboard isn't going to change that. Previously, we would've expected lead character Rick Grimes to take his sweet revenge on the prisoner and set out looking for the villain, but recent events have shaken this once proud man into apathy. Where mere issues before he was offering his military support to a neighbouring community, he's now backed down and is actually conceding to the rebel's demands (or at least we think he is). For a hundred issues, these characters have proudly taken on the world all by themselves. This issue intelligently explores the option of cowardice under such circumstances, as worrying as that may be.
10 out of 10