Source Material: Justice League #15-17, Aquaman #14-16 (2012-2013)
Original Creative Team: Geoff Johns (writer), Ivan Reis (penciller for Justice League), Paul Pelletier (penciller on Aquaman)
Movie Creative Team: Directed by Ethan Spaulding (Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Legend of Korra)
With a strong, unassuming name like Justice League: Throne of Atlantis, you would never guess that this was an Aquaman movie, right? Cringe! Poor Aquaman; after years of riding seahorses and chumming it up with the bottom-feeders, it has become a priority of DC Comics’ head-honcho and Justice League writer Geoff Johns to legitimize the Atlantean. Adapted from the third story arc in the New52 Justice League series, Throne of Atlantis is a serviceable version of the story that really gave Arthur Curry his mainstream love. However, the DC Animated team really plays it safe by relying on the entire cast to tell the story.
In itself, that is not a bad quality. I love that there are several different stories building up. It has been some time since the events of Darkseid’s defeat in Justice League: War transpired, and there was plenty of source material to feed into this new movie. Aside from Aquaman, who was noticeably absent from War, the story focused on: Superman and Wonder Woman’s newly kindled relationship, Cyborg’s acceptance of his new body, and a whole lot of Ocean Master (Aquaman’s brother, Orm) and Black Manta. All interesting storylines in their own right but seem to take too much attention from a movie that is supposed to be centered on Aquaman, which is a shame, because as a character, Arthur Curry is a lot of fun to watch. This version of our Aquaman is completely oblivious to his Atlantean pedigree. He meets his future wife Mera and dons his traditional armor for the first time. So, for a story that is essentially Aquaman’s origin story, neatly tied in a bow, it really shoots itself in the foot – repeatedly.
Let’s be honest – kids don’t read Aquaman by the masses. This film was supposed to be the introduction of Arthur Curry to a new generation of children, but holds itself back from being successful at that. The feature is littered with curse words and is just as brutal as Flashpoint Paradox – that may be attributed to director Ethan Spaulding, who contributed to great American anime Avatar: The Last Airbender (and Korra, too). Honestly, the fight scenes in Atlantis are some of the best I’ve seen in any DC Animated feature. At the same time, though, there are scenes in the movie that take you out of the moment by being too corny. It made it difficult to tell who the target demographic really was for this movie.
The movie isn’t all bad, no sir. The voice cast that DC Animated puts together gets more and more impressive each time. The core team from War is back, with Matt Lanter (Aquaman) and Samuel Witwer (Ocean Master), who coincidentally – or not so coincidentally – voiced Anakin Skywalker and Darth Maul from Star Wars: Clone, respectively, rounding out the already stellar cast. Other nerdoms represented here are Harry Lennix (Dollhouse’s Boyd Langton) as Black Manta and Cedric Yarbrough (The Boondocks’ Tom DuBois. The team has only been together for one movie, and there is already great chemistry. One of the best and most natural scenes was when Nathan Fillion’s Green Lantern gets braggadocios with Jason O’Mara’s Batman, capturing the bad guys without thinking the plan through. It embodied the entire state of the Super Seven, I mean Justice League, up to that point. There are also a couple neat Easter Eggs in there that, ahem, “Steel” the show. I slay myself.
One of the biggest risks Throne of Atlantis takes is toying with Aquaman canon. While War was tweeked just enough to mix things up, Atlantis was completely upheaved in the interest of re-introducing Aquaman to those who had not read about him in the comic books. In the long run, it pays off. Everything is tied up in a neat little bow, and Aquaman somehow becomes the hero. In many ways, it’s just too convenient to be believable. A lot of that is accredited to the fact that Aquaman feels like a side character in his own movie. That’s not to say that the movie is unenjoyable; I thought it was a very enjoyable watch, and the fight scenes here were even better than Son of Batman. However, a lot of the authenticity that made Aquaman an enjoyable character – no, seriously, is parodied even further by the movie’s lack of depth. We all know that Aquaman is nowhere near as cool as Batman, but if you’re going to have the balls to do an Aquaman movie, there’s no half-assing it.
Team effort makes for an adequate mish-mash of an Aquaman origin.
The cast is as strong as ever, and newcomers only improve upon that..
Representation of Source Material
I don’t know this story. Is it even an Aquaman movie?
Continued rugged animation style from JL: War is settling in. Action sequences are top-notch.
Sound Effects and Music
I do remember hearing sounds. Were they good? Sure. I did enjoy the underwater SFX in Atlantis.
I enjoyed the movie for most of the ride, but often questioned what the heck was going on.
Throne of Atlantis was not the Aquaman movie the people wanted, needed nor deserved.
Whether you want to call it creativity or cop-out, there was a lot of tweaking to the source material.
I would give this a second play-through, if only to see the fight scenes.
Getting to know the history behind Aquaman’s most famous villains is the only gem..
IF YOU LIKED THIS, CHECK THESE OUT:
Batman: Brave and the Bold is an animated series in which Aquaman frequents. He may be a goof, but dude knows how to whoop some ass. Check out “Evil Under the Sea,” specifically.
The 2006 pilot for Aquaman (Mercy Reef), a CW series that was never picked up as a series; bad idea or just bad timing? It is available for download on iTunes and starred Justin Hartley.
Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox features an alternate version of Aquaman, one that becomes emperor of the seas, and engages in an apocalyptic war with Wonder Woman.
NEXT FOR DC ANIMATED:
With DC Animated decisive move to include more New52 continuity in their expanding universe, we will journey to a point right after the relaunch with Batman vs. Robin. Last year, we got quite a bit of Batman, but this next one is going to come in with very high expectations. In an unrelated but totally related sequel to Son of Batman, Batman and the newly minted Robin will be going through some growing pains as the new Dynamic Duo. What I am most excited for is the animated debut of The Court of Owls and the Talons. From the previews, it seems as though this will be some weird blend of Batman: Court of Owls and Batman & Robin: Born to Kill, the former of which features a killer who bonds with Damian by appealing to his time in the League of Assassins. Batman vs. Robin debuts on April 14th.
Who doesn’t love a good heist story? This Doctor Who episode, “Time Heist,” is stylistically a lot like the Ocean’s film franchise. In a behind-the-scenes clip during the episode, Jenna-Louise Coleman said it was Oceans Eleven in space. This episode pretty much jumps right into the adventure without much time to realize it started. Clara is about to go on a date, so she refuses to go with The Doctor. It sure seems like Danny Pink is getting set up to be a tragic loss or the reason Clara leaves. She is heading out the door until the Tardis phone rings. Both Clara and the Doctor stop dead in their tracks and ponder who it could be, since very few people in the universe have the Tardis phone number. As the Doctor goes to answer the phone, we are immediately transferred to a dark room where we have Clara, The Doctor, and two unknown people all screaming and holding memory worms.
We then jump right into things as they are given the plans to rob the bank and, alerted, the bank has already sent security to bring them to the incinerator. Quickly, we learn who the other two people are: Sabina and Psi. Saibra, who can change shape, as her face changes right as they let go of the worms. We learn she thinks it is a curse because she changes shape whenever she touches another living being preventing her from having any kind of romantic relationship. Then we have Psi, who is a Cyborg and is also an expert bank robber. We learn he has wiped his mind completely in the past to save his loved ones when he was incarcerated in the past. After the short intros, Psi downloads the heist plans and they run! They make it into the main bank with Saibra help posing as a bank customer and as they are making their way in and whole force of men run out, surrounding a man while a huge alien is escorted in in chains and a straitjacket. Ms. Delphox tells the man his guilt has been detected and as he yells at her that he is innocent she just bats and eye and has the alien, whom she calls The Teller, scan his brain for guilt and since he finds it Ms. Delphox orders his mind wiped, which makes the mans head cave in which for a show that is meant to be able to be watched by children was a bit gruesome.
The team make it past the main room undetected and get into an elevator; it is here where they are detected and find a case filled with a helpful tool put there by the man who orchestrated the whole heist, “The Architect”. They open the case and find an odd tool. The Doctor finally figures out how to use the device and it ends up cutting a hole in the bottom of the elevator then immediately replaces it for an awfully easy escape plan. They continue their way through the bank until they have to pass by a room that has The Teller locked up in a cage. While security is searching the whole bank for them and literally running right by them the team struggle to maintain composure in trying to keep their minds blank so The Teller can’t scan them. As they finally are able to make a run for it Saibra gets caught by The Tellers psychic powers and can’t move. As they discuss how they have no idea how to have her escape the doctor remember these six devices given to the team that seemed small at the time but he figures they are suicide pills basically and throws one to Saibra as she does not want to become like the man who’s head got caved in. Saibra uses it and is immediately disintegrated. As the team makes it to the next room we find it is the hallway leading straight to the vault and in the mean time, Ms. Delphox is tracking the team and decides to let The Teller loose and roam the halls trying to scan and find the last three members of our team.
The conflict between the team starts to really fly here as Clara and Psi cannot believe the Doctor just let Saibra die, helped and now doesn’t seem to care. Psi has a great line against The Doctor saying, “Is that why you call yourself The Doctor huh? Occupational hazards?” Although things get a bit heated, they still have a job to do; since the vault is right there and so are the three of them, the Doctor figures The Teller would be able to detect three minds in one place better than three separate minds. So he and Clara run off leaving Psi to hack into the vault and open it. Psi says he would be happy to be one of The Doctors Occupational hazards and then the Doctor hands him another one of the fancy little suicide pens he gave to Saibra. The Teller ends up finding Clara and trying hard to scan her mind, but she holds on long enough to have Psi finish hacking the vault and have him hatch his own plan to upload the memories of every thief and robber in history which entices The Teller and makes him leave Clara to chase down Psi. Once they meet Psi tells Clara that he must do it because when her life flashes before her eyes she sees family and friends, but he sees nothing and then he injects himself/stabs himself or whatever those suicide things do… (Damn Doctor Who… We just meet these two people and you kill them off right after to make me love them!) The Doctor and Clara hurry to the vault only to find out Psi’s hack didn’t work and that there is one more lock in place. All of a sudden, a solar flare hits the bank, we figure out a whole solar storm is coming, that is when the Doctor realizes they were not sent there to rob a bank but actually sent back in time to fix something at the bank and the only way they could do is during the solar storm because it would lower security to the bank. Then right as this realization comes to fruition the bank vault opens.
The Doctor and Clara look through the vault to find the three different items Psi, Saibra and The Doctor were sent to retrieve. They get to Psi’s first, which is an item to reboot a system and restore all files which would give Psi all his memory’s back. Then they get to Saibra’s item, which is a formula to stabilize her genetics. Then right as they start to head to the private vaults to find the Doctors Item they turn a corner and there stands The Teller. We then flash to Clara and The Doctor, captured by Ms. Delphox, in which she reveals The Teller is the last of his kind. The Doctor argues with Ms. Delphox’s actions and she send them both to the incinerator. But right when we feel all hope is lost one of the guards assures us it isn’t and changes form to reveal it as Saibra and the other guard takes off his helmet and it is Psi! The Atom disintegrators or so the Doctor thought were actually just teleporters which sent them to the ships hull where they find the Tardis and figured a way into the private vault. The team heads out to the final destination and as they enter the vault they find unlimited amounts of treasure from across the galaxy and one woman at a desk – Madame Karabraxos, the owner of the bank. The Doctor threatens her until she turns around to reveal it to be Ms. Delphox. Or rather, Ms. Delphox is just a clone of Madame Karabraxos whom she has killed for letting The Doctor get into the private vault. We then get to the point that the solar storm is going to destroy the bank which makes Karabraxos panic and grab all the treasure she can, The Doctor starts acting a bit silly, telling everyone he hates “The Architect” who orchestrated this and then he figures out he actually is the Architect himself and he sent himself back to rob the bank. While he is going on this tirade, he writes down the Tardis Phone Number and writes, “I am a Time Traveller” on it and give it to Karabraxos, whom then leaves. Everyone now is really confused and asks the Doctor is he remembered why he was there and he says well, there is only one way to remember and the doors open to reveal The Teller. The Doctor want him to scan his thoughts and as The Teller does the Doctor over powers him as he remembers why they are there, which is for The Teller himself because he is not the last of his kind, as Madame Karabraxos had a female of his species locked up.
The team then heads to the Tardis where The Doctor sets both of the alien species free on their homeworld to continue their species. After this we are treated to a happy ending with everyone eating chinese food talking about how awesome the heist was and confirming relationships which are left open for either Psi, or Saibra to return at a later date. We then of course have the Doctor drop off Clara for her date with Danny and as she runs out of the Tardis, the doctor says, “Rob a bank…Rob an entire bank…Some date…” Which leads to some interesting questions of why he cares…
This episode was definitely one that I feel may not count a lot toward the major plot going on this season, despite the Doctor basically thinking he was killing these two people and despite him giving himself the teleporters to begin with. As Clara stated at one point, “He isn’t really like that all the time” and as much as this season had made us question that, this episode showed he still is the hero we know and would more so save a life than spare one for convenience. While this episode was very high quality and a bit more of a smaller stylistic type of episode very much wanting to have The Doctor be the new Frank Sinatra or George Clooney in this sci-fi take on a heist story. I liked The Teller the whole time, but I really liked the idea of having the menacing terrifying creature whom all we see is him destroy actually be the victim and the whole reason they were there. I felt this was a great point because it was more than a heist and more than even a time-travel heist; it was a rescue mission first and foremost.
Overall this episode was somewhere in the middle for me for this season, as it seemed more that Stephen Moffat just wanted to do a heist story more than progress the overall story of Doctor Who, much like last year’s episode a Town Called Mercy where it was just a reason to do a spaghetti western and not much to offer as a good Doctor Who. I would give this episode a good B- mostly because it was a very fun and enjoyable episode, and Doctor Who always makes me fall in love with characters even if they are in only one episode. Only if the story had as much heart as the style I feel this episode would have received a higher score, but at least The Teller is free!
In this consumer-based industry, it can be easy to forget the years of hard work that the people in the business put in. Behind every panel, it takes a skilled writer, artist, inker and colorist to make the product complete. Behind each scene goes hours of preparation. Hush Comics’ weekly article “Respect My Craft” will dive into the history of these comic book and pop culture greats that will hopefully give a new perspective on how the men and women behind the pen (or stylus) contribute to the collective awesome-ness of the nerd world, or at least give you a reason to invest in their work.
Name: George Pérez
Profession: Comic book artist
NotableWork: Wonder Woman V2 (1987-1992), The New Teen Titans (1980-1984), The Avengers (1975-1980)
“While I have enjoyed considerable professional and personal success with both Marvel and DC, it was becoming all too evident that many of the books being produced by both companies seem to be getting more and more corporate driven. Many of the characters I grew up with were turning into strangers whose adventures were determined by factors that had less and less to do with what made a good comic story and more to do with how these properties can be exploited for other purposes.” – George Pérez
The term legend is thrown around a lot in comic books, but trust me when I say that this gentleman, George Pérez, is in that club. A career spanning over forty-years, Pérez has had his hand in just about every corner of DC and Marvel. This forefather’s road to fame wasn’t an overnight one, though. George Pérez comes from humble beginnings; he was born in the Bronx as a second generation (mainland) American, born of blue collar Puerto Ricans, George knew he was going to be an artist from an early age, drawing his own characters and stories since he was five years old.
Pérez is a self-taught student of art, helping him get a position with Marvel Comics as an assistant to Fantastic Four artist Rich Buckler after networking at a convention. At the time of Buckler’s call, Pérez was working as a bank teller (I know how that feels…). He wasn’t handed great projects right away; Pérez had to work his way up to the big titles. He began his career writing a few pages for various small books, and ended up gaining experience from pencilling hand-me-down titles and books that were expected to die soon. Back in the mid-70’s, team books weren’t all the rage like they are today. This stemmed from the fact that artists were not being paid royalties yet (that wouldn’t begin until the early 80’s), so the appeal of making the same amount of money for drawing ten characters just wasn’t there.
Enter George Pérez, the man with the unmatched work ethic. In 1975, he started drawing Avengers and Fantastic Four, both of which he would draw in stints until his departure to DC Comics in 1980. Team books became not just a way to keep work, but turned into a trademark of his. He gained a reputation for doing great group panels, with an unprecedented level of detail – much before the digital age made it a less strenuous process. Pérez insists that he does not have a favorite superhero, which really has drawn him to do more team-oriented books. His ability to fit so much into a panel, and not distract readers’ attention from the story, is a quality that can get lost at times today – thanks to the use of over-scripted scenes.
The role of the penciller isn’t just to draw out the writer’s instructions. Both are on the cover and both are credited as creators because the comic book medium calls for a written story that is built upon the illustrated world the penciller creates – and the colorist and inker accentuate. When Pérez drew Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds with Geoff Johns, who was a huge fan of Pérez, he showed Pérez the amount of scripting that has to go into a “George Pérez panel,” which was a thick stack. Pérez refuted that a script gives him nothing to do, and that the relationship between writer and artist should be a symbiotic one, where they build off each others’ ideas.
Pérez has been the penciller for some of the industry’s most iconic book stories. Among his most renowned work is: Crisis on Infinite Earths, Infinity Gauntlet, War of the Gods and the Wonder Woman reboot. He was also the penciller for the crossover event, JLA/Avengers – which took almost fifteen years to see the light of day. The iconic JLA/Avengers #3 cover is home to a ridiculous amount of DC and Marvel characters in a Who’s Who of superheroes. Pérez’s best working relationship was with Marv Wolfman, with whom he created the Teen Titans, an idea that Pérez was certain would fail. While they struggled to dissociate team from the X-Men, the book was a huge success. The New Teen Titans isn’t the only contribution Pérez has made to comics; he’s also attributed to creating (or co-creating): Cheetah, Deathstroke, Ravager, Cyborg, Raven, Starfire, Nightwing (not Dick Grayson), and a LOT more.
In the New52, Pérez gave his hand at writing Superman after he has promised creative freedom. Unbeknownst to him, his book was slaved to Grant Morrison’s Action Comics. As amazing as Morrison is, he is very vague and not forthcoming when it comes to his approach to writing. Frustrated, Perez was glad to get off the series after the first arc. After leaving his last DC Comics book, World’s Finest, Pérez joined BOOM! Studios, a smaller company, as an exclusive writer and penciller, given actual creative control over his own books. Left on bad terms but harbors no ill will, just didn’t like direction DC & Marvel were going. He is currently happy writing his own creation, Sirens, and touring the country for various cons, where he has a great rapport with fans.
Outside of the comic book work, Pérez has been known to work for organized charities such as: The Charlotte Firefighter’s Burned Children Fund, The Muscular Dystrophy Association, Make-A-Wish, as well as the Florida Hospital Diabetes Association and The Juvenile Diabetes Association. He is a founding member of The Hero Initiative, a non-profit designed to help comic book creators in need.
None of the media in this article belongs to Hush Comics; it all belongs to their respective properties (DC Comics). Join us tomorrow as we continue our countdown to Denver Comic Con with Arrow star, Stephen Amell.
The mythical A+: Classic comic book material. Belongs next to your copy of The Notebookand The Joy of Cooking.
A: Would definitely recommend to all comic book readers. Even more so to fans of the genre or characters
B: Enjoyable read. Fans of the genre or characters will especially like.
C: Non-essential read. Can be enjoyable for fans of the genre or characters, but likely for only one or two events in the books.
D: Unenjoyable book. Read at your own risk. Might find satisfaction if major flaws are overlooked.
F: Please don’t buy this book. Donate your money to a local comic book writer’s workshop instead to inspire future generations to write something better than this trash.
Pick of the Week:
Wonder Woman #28 – A-
This latest arc of Brian Azzarello’s Wonder Woman can be summed up in one word – EPIC. All I’ve ever wanted to see is Zeus’ first born tangle with the interim king of Olympus, Apollo. The use of Greek mythology, both public domain and vastly abundant in characters, has held my interest strongly the entire series. Wonder Woman herself is as bad-ass and beautifully-drawn as ever. The best part about her character in this series is that she isn’t just an inspiration to girls; her strength resonates in women and men alike. There is an epic God of War 3-esque build-up happening for the throne of Olympus, and you can’t help feel bad for First Born. I love this series because it feels so much more like a frozen movie than a book, a uniqueness that has made this a series in a league of its own. – S
Justice League #28 – B+
I don’t know how Geoff Johns did it, but he managed to make the Metal Men cool and modern. Sentient androids created from metal alloys, the Metal Men have been around for over fifty years. This iteration shows them as selfless heroes that Cyborg is trying to recruit to take on the Syndicate. They all play off each other well, and are given personalities that match the alloy; for example, Gold is the flashy self-absorbed one, Mercury is the hot-head, etc. The entire issue is full of silly banter that kind of makes the reader forget that the Justice League arc is smack-dab in the middle of a global takeover. I’m curious to see how Cyborg can rally the Metal Men. Alone, this issue was quite enjoyable, but I’m not too sure that it’s anything more than novelty. – S
Supergirl #28 – C
I won’t lie, this series had me at “hormonal Kyrptonian girl with a Red Lantern ring.” For those of us just joining the show, Supergirl had incorrectly thought that she killed Lobo (not the Bastich we remember, but a new skinner Lobo). As the awakened Lobo tries to calm Kara down, and even get her to join the bounty hunter, which would have made for a great story arc on its own. Supergirl, predictably, reacts to the situation like any hysterical teenager would, by punching and yelling. It’s become a tiresome pattern with her, and I was really hoping for some sort of emotional connection with her transformation, similar to the way they did with Rankorr in Red Lantern #5. But what really annoyed me about the issue is that the whole reveal that we were waiting for doesn’t happen until the very last panel, and that everything leading up to it was filler. Supergirl #28 is a taste of good things to come, but I feel it was introduced pretty poorly. – S
Harley Quinn #3 – C-
There comes a certain time in a new comic book that the novelty wears off and you expect an actual story to form. In Harley Quinn, that point was somewhere around the middle of issue #2. There’s plenty of things happening in this issue, but just like the puppies Harley is caring for, this issue chases its own tail the entire time. I really had high hopes for this series going in, and I still think Harley is capable of carrying her title, but taking a vacation from writing just to put out a throwaway Valentine’s Day issue. I’m not breaking up with Harley Quinn, but we’re definitely on a break. – S
Dark Horse Comics:
Terminator – Enemy of My Enemy #1 – A-
I really enjoyed this book and being a major fan of the films, would have thought it impossible to find a female lead that is more of a bad ass than Sarah Connor. Not only is the new lead more of a bad ass, she is able to go toe to toe with the T-800. That’s pretty much unheard of for any human in the current lore. Not much has been stated about the story other than there is no Kyle Reese and there is a woman the terminator is after. Other than that we are left guessing what is next and why this is happening. I’m not sure if this is supposed to be the same continuity as Sarah Connors story or if it is supposed to be an alternate universe. Either way, this was a very enjoyable first issue; things started off with a bang and it doesn’t seem like it will be slowing down from here on out. – R
Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows #3 – B+
Cry of Shadow’s #3 is everything that should have been issue #1. From first panel to last panel I was completely engaged in the story of CT-5539 aka Hock Malsuum and his connection to Darth Vader. The insight readers receive in issues #1 & #2 verge on being pointless in the context of “The Shrouded Offensive,” the focus of this issue. Hock’s first person narrative does a lot for Cry of Shadows. Anticipation and suspense is really starting to build and for the first time in some months I’m really interested in what will happen next in a Star Wars series. The Vader and Hock dynamic promises to be very different (and more exciting) that the typical Dark Lord-Stromtrooper combo. Next issue is wide open for deeper developments and continued great story telling. Cry of Shadows will definitely be my first read next month! – T
This new resurgence of the X-Files has been quite interesting. Following up January’s Ghostbuster issue (and preceding next month’s Transformers), the TMNT issue has government agents searching for the exploits of the turtles in Northampton as vampires attack. More than anything, it’s nice to see the turtles having fun. The ongoing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series is my favorite out right now, but it’s nice to see them take a break to crack jokes and fight ridiculous bad guys. The art in this issue, which focuses on shading a lot more than the ongoing series, and it’s a nice change of pace. It might be the vampires, but the humor remind me a lot of Joss Whedon’s style. So before I go off on my fanboy fantasy of a Whedon-created TMNT, I will say that this issue was a nice diversion – and an incredibly original idea to use other IDW staples to investigate via X-Files, but not much more. Also, when’s the last time you’ve read the word “Nincompoop” in a comic book? – S
Undertow #1 – C
Image published a new series titled Undertow this week that explores a really neat concept – reverse scuba divers! Fish people from under the sea. Not mermaids and mermen though. These underwater dwellers have two arms, two legs and gills. Not to mention they live in Atlantis! And when a group of these Atlantians get the hankering for adventure they dawn scuba suits filled with water and explore the dry surface shores and landscapes. With the use of flying crafts that accommodate whole cities and other advanced gadgetry the explorers study pre-developed and conscientious humans and other creatures that live off oxygen. The ultimate goal is to find a way or method that will allow the gill-bearing society to also breathe the O2 and “free” themselves. Doesn’t all that sound awesome? I thought so too, until I read the issue. As an engineer by trade, I’m often given a hard time by other coworkers for turning something really simple into something really complex. In that sense – I empathize with Steve Orlando (author) and his intention with this story. For a premier issue, Undertow was overwhelming and downright tiring to read. Plot building content was so scattered and choppy that I was lost before I started. It wasn’t even until the very last panel that I saw a real story begin to develop. I get the feeling that Undertow may be one of those series you wait to buy when it comes out in trade paperback format. We’ll let you know if issue #2 is any better. – S
Daredevil #36 – A-
We’ve made it to the end of this chapter in Daredevil, but don’t be sad, because Marvel is finding it necessary to reboot everything in the line-up to attract new readers. In all honesty, though, this was a great place to wrap up this volume of Daredevil. The fight against the Sons of the Serpents is culminating and there is a definite change about to happen in Matt Murdock’s life. It’s not quite the epic conclusion that I was hoping for, but it was still a great send-off that has Daredevil, as Notorious B.I.G. said, “Going Back to Cali.” Should we be so lucky that Mark Waid continues to write for Daredevil, I will continue to read the book enthusiastically. – S
The Punisher #2 – B+
Another great issue to read for you Punisher fans out there in the world. What I really love about this comic is that it stays true to the character. They don’t try to put some different spin or twist on Frank Castle but rather, he is the same good old bad-ass in boots. With this comic, I can see the story development at just the right pace, and the introduction of some familiar characters gets me really excited to see how this story-line is going to progress. The way the panels are set up and the constant action that is happening, I feel like I’m watching an explosive action movie right before my eyes. Even though there weren’t tons of explosions or crocodiles in this issue, it was still really great to see the action that came in this comic…BOOM Head Shot!! Yeah there some of that in this book. Overall, I am very pleased with how this story is progressing and look forward to reading the next issue. – E
Uncanny X-Men #17 – B+
Yeah, so the next time you decide to go on location, do not visit the Savage Land. The Savage Land is some scary stuff, and that is just where Magik decides to drop off the new rectuits for field training. I do want to ask how Google Maps works out there, but there are more pressing matters at hand. The horrid environment makes for some great humor, as the naivity of the students and some exceptional writing by Brian Michael Bendis creates for some golden moments. The new recruits are becoming highly likable, but Cyclops is eager to let his team know that they are serious about the mission they are embarking. Uncanny X-Men #17was a rapidly-paced issue, which had both positive and negative effect on the reader. This high-octane laugh riot is definitely worth your time and money. – S
Dexter Down Under #1 – B+
My only gripe with this first issue, other than the fact that Dexter doesn’t slab anyone up, is that I cant stop picturing Michael C. Hall every time I look at Dexter’s face. This is a continuation or possibly a shoot off from the books from what I can tell. I won’t be sure until they reveal a little bit more of the story. This is a perfect way for people who want more Dexter after the recent ending of the show. I personally hated the way the last season of Dexter ended so this is a perfect opportunity to get that outta my mind and hopefully leave me with something better to remember. Nothing major happens story-wise which is to be expected but is still a little on the disappointing side just because I am used to at least one thing happening every episode. Being a major fan of Dexter I am looking forward to his first trip down under. – R
Marvel Knights: Hulk #3 – B
I may be a little biased this week, just because I am a big Hulk fan, but I love to see the raw power out of the Hulk and we sure get to see some more of it in this issue. I also like that they dove further into back-story. I will admit that part of this comic had me confused at times, with the progression of events or “memories,” but I’m not too hung up on it. As a Hulk fan, I appreciated this book – even with all the mystery surrounding it. It was flooded with amazing, action-packed panels, and good story-telling. So at a pure minimum, it was great eye-candy. I feel that, with this story, a lot of the pieces are there, and we just need a few more to make the whole puzzle in order to get the full picture. Either way, my confusion did not dictate my enjoyment. I look forward to seeing more out of this book, and I’m sure as it progresses I’ll love it even more. – E
Night of the Living Deadpool #3 – B-
I think Deadpool books get a bit of a break in standards. The stories are never great, but they’re regularly enjoyable. Parody some pop culture, shoot and stab some bad guys and make a lot of jokes in bad taste. Lather, rinse, repeat – Night of the Living Deadpool is no exception. And that’s not entirely a bad thing. There is a lot of entertainment value to this series, from Romero jabs to The Walking Dead Easter eggs. Zombie fans will get a kick out of this books, and Deadpool fans get to see a different spin on zombie Deadpool, as Wade has quite the odd reaction to being bitten. I’m also a huge fan of the return of A.I.M. scientists; I knew they would be the cause of the apocalypse some way or another. I wouldn’t buy into it too hard, but I have gotten a kick out of every issue so far. -S
Amazing X-Men #4 – B-
BAMF! Nightcrawler and the crew are back at it. Azazel is trying to hi-jack the after-life, and only Nightwing and his X-buddies can stop him. Most of this issue focuses on reuniting the team, which is scattered across hell. It all happens a bit too easily, because the gravity of the situation is lost when Nightcrawler is able to just teleport everybody out of danger. Amazing X-Men succeeds when it is able to fall back on the nostalgia of Kurt Wagner, especially with the use of flashbacks and his encounter with Wolverine. It looks like we’re finally gearing up for the battle with Azazel, so I hope the next issue has more to offer. – S
Avengers World #3 – B-
I don’t really know what to say about the story for this book. There is almost too much going on at the moment. The events of last issue went completely unmentioned and we are back to something that was mentioned in the first issue. For some reason, the city of Madripoor is on the head of a giant centurys old dragon flying around the ocean. And to make matters worse, we don’t end this issue knowing any more than we did when it started. All that being said, Shang-chi is a boss and is truly the Master of Kung-Fu. The art is amazing and the action sequences between Shang-chi and Gorgon are awesome. I particularly loved the panels they chose while he was channeling his chi from those before him. I’m still left wondering what the hell is going on and don’t really expect anything to be answered next time either, since there are three groups, it most likely won’t focus on either of the last two issues stories. I’m hoping for a bit more story cohesion in these next few issues because they really do have a great cast to work with and it would be a shame to see that get wasted. – R
New Warriors #1 – B-
Like any new comic that comes out, there is going to have to be some set up in order to get things rolling. What I really liked about this comic is that it successfully introduced the main story-line and the individuals involved with no background needed; it revealed the heroes names, their nicknames, and super-powers. With all that in mind, it is really easy for new readers to focus on the story rather than trying to figure out who everyone is. I believe this book has the potential to be a great read, depending on what happens next. No, there wasn’t a ton of action, more or less just set up for the action that is soon to come. Whatever is about to happen, it was intriguing enough for me to want to come back and read the next issue whenever it may come out. So even though most of the book was just set up for future issues, it was still a nice read and fans of the genre would find enjoyment from it. – E
GPA by Publisher:
DC Comics: 1 A, 2 B’s and 1 C, averaging out to a 3.00
Marvel Comics: 1 A’s and 8 B’s, averaging out to a 3.11
Independents: 1 A, 2 B’s and 1 C earning a 3.00
Funniest Panel of the Week:
Epic Panel of the Week:
Cover Art of the Week:
That about wraps it up for our reviews this week! Look for next week’s previews coming soon. Any comic books you didn’t see reviewed that you want reviewed? Any grades you didn’t agree on? Let us know in the comments!
All images taken from ComiXology app and the credit for them goes to the respective publishers; thanks to IDW Comics, image Comics, Dark Horse, Boom! Studios, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.
Writer: Geoff Johns (Blackest Night & Brightest Day, Flashpoint)
Artist: Jim Lee (Batman: Hush, X-Men: Mutant Genesis, Superman: For Tomorrow)
SCORECARD (each category ranked on a 10-point scale):
Storyline – 8
Art – 10
Captivity and Length – 9
Identity – 7
Use of Medium – 9
Depth – 7
Fluidity – 9
Intrigue/Originality – 8
The Little Things – 9
Overall awesomeness – 8
With the way that DC Comics is rolling out exciting stories with strong, developed characters, it’s easy to forget that less than three years ago, DC relaunched its entire catalog in a brazen attempt to gain more readers. The New 52 term was named after the fifty-two (no, seriously) new series that were launched in September of 2011. The first released and most heavily promoted book in the relaunch was Justice League, and it had a creative team comprised of the two biggest ballers in the entire corporation: Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns and Co-Publisher Jim Lee. DC really rolled out the red carpet for our flagship characters in this first volume, Origins.
Have they got a name? Of course they do, you can call them the SUPER SEVEN!!! This is still very early in the Justice League’s career, so early in fact, that only Flash and Green Lantern have actually met before and people actually believe Batman is still a myth. While the story starts off with a bang, it is very mild compared to the type of major events one would think would have to take place to bring seven of the DC Universe’s greatest heroes together. That is actually a point of contention with me because I would have really liked to see Green Arrow in the league to begin with. While he was at least mentioned by the very end along with Zatanna, one of the most important intial members is completely left out of the picture. Martian Manhunter is nowhere to be seen or heard from in these first six issues, although he does make his debut in Justice League of America as a weaponized response to Superman. I get that they try to have one of each hero archetype involved from the start is more than enough, ignoring an original is a bit ridiculous, especially considering they included Shazam! in the animated adaptation.
Where the book does get it right, however, is in the way they slowly yet awesomely introduce characters one at a time. Each character feels like they were treated fairly with equal time which is no small task considering how few issues they had to work with and the ambitiousness of this particular story. The art by Jim Lee – which really needs no further explanation, but just in case you didn’t already know – is absolutely stunning in every detail. Every page is drawn and colored beautifully; many pages left me staring well after I had read the dialogue. The attention to detail is that immaculate. My only complaint about the art is that Aquaman seems to be the only character that doesn’t match his New 52 reboot design. If people wonder why Aquaman is always getting made fun of, they only need to look at the costume he was given here. It is very hard to take him serious when he has mutton chops and a pearl necklace (like Gangstalicious said, “it’s all about pearl necklaces”) with his trident chained to him with a ridiculously long chain. He basically looks like a frat-boy looking for an S&M party at Red Lobster.
Its not only the art that got this kind of detail either, there are little nods throughout that make it something special for longtime fans of these characters. A little girl calling them the Super Friends or the ever so slight nod towards the Legion of Doom, along with the humor that almost comes effortlessly between the characters. Even though they are meeting for the first time in this book, it feels like they have been fighting evil together for a lifetime.
All this isn’t to say that the book didn’t have its faults, though. While there was an overall cohesiveness that worked really well for the story, it felt at times like there was almost too much going on at once. Since this story was self-contained and didn’t bleed over into any of the main characters solo storys, it felt like a missed opportunity to further explore pieces of the story that were otherwise left out. My main gripe with the story was how we as readers were just thrown directly into the middle of a story with the first panel and never really given much explanation other than Darkseid was coming. Leading up to and even after his arrival, more time is spent on introducing the characters and making sure they get their just due, when it would have been nice to extend the story a few more books and give a more fleshed out story to the reader. The end makes it seem like this is something that may be revisited, but not anytime soon.
Outside of the initial reveals for the characters, there wasn’t very much in the way of character progression. This can be forgiven in this particular instance because it goes along with the major reboot of all the series (which is where most of the character development should go), it just felt like the writers could have used the opportunity as more of a bonding experience then they actually did. I expect from this point forward for the series to build these relationships further and make them a more cohesive unit (We already know Wonder Woman and Supes get busy 😉 ). One of the biggest changes in the characters’ personality is Superman’s disregard for authority. Blue Boy Scout no more, Superman has readily embodied the ethos of the current generation, and a nice touch that has defined his character in the New 52.
Overall, this is an experience that can’t be missed. Even with the minor story and character hiccups, the potential this book has going forward is amazing. With the hint at the Legion of Doom being on the horizon there is the potential to have all sorts of encounters, because not only is this a fresh start for the Justice League, it is also a reboot of their greatest foes. There is also a great opportunity to cultivate relationships that can also be worked into the characters main books as well (Superman/Wonder Woman and Batman/Superman being prime examples but let’s branch out!!). Going forward, I would suggest grabbing Volume Two: The Villain’s Journey, if not for the story, at least for the amazing Jim Lee art. Any fan, casual or long-time will be able to appreciate Origin.
General Reception: It may not have been the reinvention that the Justice League merited, but fans definitely bought into it. While the Geoff Johns/Jim Lee arcs only spanned two volumes, it gave readers like us a whole new universe to go off of. Jim Lee’s art and Alex Sinclair’s coloring are top notch, and you’d be hard-pressed to find anybody who didn’t have nice things to say about this book. It’s a great representation of what the relaunch was supposed to be.
Related Books: Flashpoint offers the same familiar feelings with a new origin twist, albeit much more drastic alterations are made. The new Justice League series is still going strong, as well. The current Forever Evil storyline shows the Justice League putting up with the Crime Syndicate. Final Crisis, also written by Geoff Johns, is a great DC epic with Darkseid as the main villain.
More by the writer: Geoff Johns has had quite the run in the past ten years. Notably, his work on Green Lantern books, everything from The Sinestro Wars leading up to Blackest Night and going all the way to Trinity War, Johns has had the rare pleasure of creating a saga. Before the New 52 reboot, Johns also wrote The Flash’s Rebirth (the return of Barry Allen) and Flashpoint. Recently, he had just left the New 52 Aquaman series after building up some credibility for the character. He is also still writing Justice League as it enters the thick of the Forever Evil arc.
More by the artist: Wanna know more about Jim Lee? Check out our new “Respect My Craft!” article, spotlighting the iconic artist, debuting tomorrow!
*Screenshots taken directly from comic book using Comixology app. Credit to DC Comics for the images.
And that, my friends, is how you wrap up the greatest horror series in comic book history. This was a Locke for pick of the week before it was even announced. Kudos to Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez for an amazing run of almost six years. I won’t judge you if you haven’t read this book, as it’s been critically acclaimed but still very rarely marketed. There are no cliffhangers, monsters or murderers – just closure. It’s a welcome finale when writers are far more concerned with the integrity of the story rather than a spin-off or a mini-series event. As the son of the great Stephen King, Joe Hill has plenty else to look forward to. The only disclaimer I have for this issue is that you must have read the story to understand the gravity or the events of what transpire in the series finale. I know it’s a bummer but you can get started by reading our review of the first volume here.
Harley Quinn #1 (DC Comics) – B+
Written by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, Harley Quinn issue #1 made quite the entrance into her own comic series. Picking up where we left off in issue #0, Harley has packed up all her belongings, at least the ones that were in decent condition after Mr. J blew her stuff up. On her very own Harley, our heroine (to be debated later) is on her way to Coney Island where she has suddenly come into her own property. On her way there, she talks to her beaver (woah, inappropriate) that only she can hear, and rescues an abused dachshund. A girl who likes animals more than people is my kind of girl. The artwork is really amazing. Illustrated by Chad Hardin and colored by Alex Sinclair (Jim Lee’s right-hand man), One of the best panels features Harley pulling up to her new pad. We see all the people of her new hood, including a beggar on the street corner wearing a Guy Fawkes mask and holding a sign that reads “Please help me pay off my student loans. Thanks-V” It’s a nice little nod to the Occupy Movement. The art allows Harley to have a bit of a sexy look to her, but in certain panels we still realize that she is a creepy, crazy clown. She even makes a jab at herself when trying to recreate her Harleen Quinzel look, “That’s what I get for getting an all over bleach job.” Her crazy wit is cute and funny throughout the comic, and we get to see how extreme she can be, especially during roller derby. It looks like this series will be following Harley in her adventures in the big city ala Sex and the City. But we all know Harley is a little less Carrie Bradshaw and a little more Lorena Bobbitt. The only gripe I have with this issue is seeing Harley as such a BA, yet at the end, a dude saves her life. When is Harley gonna be her own woman? Hopefully at some point in this series, Harley will realize how great she is without anyone to save her.
Red Hood and the Outlaws #26 (DC Comics) – C
This issue leads up to the conclusion of the current story arc and while it doesn’t offer anything crazy as far as advancing the plot forward, it does have some incredible artwork throughout. This series has been very hit or miss for me. While I love how awesome Red Hood can be, I personally can’t stand Arsenal as character, and Starfire seems like she should be too powerful for a group such as this. Nothing in 26 issues has changed my opinion of this. I continue to read because of the potential it has to intertwine with Batman; however, since the disassociation with Batman after death of the family, I have been left with a longing for Jason to return to Gotham to dispense his brand of vigilante justice. Only time will tell if this is a book I will continue to read in the future. It definitely has the potential to shine but it will depend entirely on the writers to be able to make it genuinely interesting to read. Perhaps changing the team around wouldn’t be such a bad idea.
Supergirl #26 (DC Comics) – B+
If there was a good point to drop into the middle of this series, issue 26 would be the perfect one to do it. Kara does a little souls searching and while in the middle of that, the issue gives a great summary of the events of the last 25 issues. Sure there are some small things that someone just getting into the series would have to catch up on, but none of it is anything major that can’t be read later. What really makes this issue shine how is the introduction of the most badass bounty hunter in the galaxy. Lobo! While he isn’t given a large amount of time, what time he is given is well utilized and promises to make this current arc one of the best so far. My only complaint with this series thus far is that it requires you to stay current with Superman and Superboy, otherwise you risk missing out on key plot points due to the way the stories intertwine
Teen Titans Go! #1 (DC Comics) – B+
Teen Titans Go! Issue #1 was a pleasant surprise for me. It was clearly intended for the younger audiences, but was packed with witty humor. I found myself laughing out loud at several panels throughout. This issue was broken up into two parts. Part one is the mystery of who is eating Cyborg’s sandwich. The mystery aspect of the story was very cute with Robin taking it upon himself to interrogate the group. Using black and white panels for this section and giving Robin old-timey detective lines worked perfectly. Part two focuses on a bet between Robin, Cyborg and Beast Boy on the mini-golf course. Meanwhile, Raven and Starfire go to the arcade. Raven cleverly uses her levitation powers to get a stuffed toy out of the claw machine. Starfire asks, “But where does the claw come in?” “Beats me.” Raven replies dryly. The wittiness of this issue is what carries it. The dialogue is quick and pokes fun at itself a little. The outcomes of each episode are a little silly, but what else is expected for the teens? Teen Titans Go! is a good read for new and seasoned comic readers.
Wonder Woman #26 (DC Comics) – C
Wonder Womanhas pretty much carried the torch for women in DC Comics for the past few years. Protector, warrior, princess of Olympus – Wonder Woman is by all means a powerhouse. Thanks to some great writing by Brian Azzarello, Wonder Womanhas undergone quite the transition into the fight for Olympus. After a godly issue #23, though, things have quite slowed down. It feels like they’re trying to do too much. There are several different story-lines playing out, and over the span of months, I’m beginning to forget what the big picture actually is. While I’m sure this would read better in a graphic novel format, it’s just too complex of a story to be able to pick up every month. However, don’t let that discount the great character dynamics and fantastic use of Greek mythology; this is still a highly enjoyable book.
All New X-Men #20 (Marvel Comics) – B
Laura Kinney (X-23) is back! She’s popping blades and not taking any lip from anyone! She awakens in the old Weapon X factory, (it’s since been converted to the New Xavier School For the Gifted). Scott and Laura have a heart to Adamantium talk about why the X-Men have time traveled. She explains that she has been tortured for a year and is now being hunted by an anti-mutant group called, The Purifiers. This anti-mutant group is led by William Stryker’s son. Can we say daddy issues? The X-Men gear up and prepare to raid this new threats’ hideout when…
Amazing Spiderman #700.4 (Marvel Comics) – C
Bravo to Pasqual Ferry and Andres Mossa for the cover art. The issue is worth the pick up for that alone. Peter Parker is still in the Kaiser Permanente from hell. He has been admitted to a hospital for criminals. Joe Casey writes some harsh lines about our do-gooder, “Consider his reputation, an anti-hero at best…not exactly Captain America. He would not be missed.” Peter’s identity as Spider-Man has been compromised by the staff and now he is in a fight to get out of there.
Amazing Spiderman #700.5 (Marvel Comics) – D
No rest for the weary. Spider-Man tries to enjoy a nap after a day of crime fighting, and who should come flying through his window? Johnny Storm! Brian Reed writes this issue, Spider-Man and The Human Torch. This issue is a throw-away. The story is rushed, poorly planned and boring. Johnny steals some kind of machine from the Baxter Building that came from future Ben. It will destroy the universe and old flame-boy tries to enlist Spidey to help him get rid of it. The Fantastic Four track him down to retrieve the device. Skip this one and give Superior Spider-Man #24 a shot.
Daredevil #34 (Marvel Comics) – B-
After an odd stint in Stone Hills, Kentucky, Daredevil is back in New York City and back to the main storyline; the Sons of the Serpent, a white supremecy group, have corrupted the justice system and look to be taking the whole city from the inside. This story has been building for about ten issues now, and it finally would seem that Daredevil is gaining momentum against the Serpents. After an empowering speech over the airwaves, Daredevil has gone on the offensive against the Serpents. On display are very run-of-the-mill pages from Mark Waid and Javier Rodriguez. The series has lost a bit of the appeal it had in earlier issues, but it’s still fun to read. With the story, and the series’ run wrapping up in two issues, there’s a lot of ground to cover.
Deadpool #21 (Marvel Comics) – B
So I’ll admit, I got a bit carried away with Deadpool #20, the ridiculous story about battling inter-galactic monsters in Wakanda. I’m not perfect and neither is Deadpool. This issue has us follow our favorite hero as he continues his journey to separate himself from S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Preston, who is sharing space aside the multiple personalities of Wade Wilson. It doesn’t make sense if you haven’t read the whole way through, but having read all the issues, it still doesn’t make sense. As he tries to satisfy Preston by watching Madea he is hunted by S.H.I.E.L.D. mercenaries, an irony that is not lost on me. The issue was thoroughly entertaining and full of hilarity. This is the start of the Deadpool vs. S.H.I.E.L.D arc, so it’s a great time to jump on to watch the Merc With A Mouth take down the system. … at least for a few episodes until they put out another stupid filler issue.
Scarlet Spider #25 (Marvel Comics) – C-
This final issue in the series really brings this particular story arc full circle. What I find the most dissatisfying is that you could have almost replaced this issue with the first one and ended the entire series right there. It basically felt like a carbon copy of the first issue, only Kaine has the chops to go through with actually leaving Houston the first time. The artwork wasn’t anything particularly special but it was not bad by any means. This ending felt a little sloppy but after reading the afterword, I am assured that this isn’t the end for Kaine. This character has great potential if explored properly. I really like the idea of a Peter Parker that is tainted and willing to go places and do things that Peter Parker would never do. It is the perfect opportunity to explore that dark side and while this ending may have been a little disappointing, I am looking forward to the future of Scarlet Spider when he returns in NEW WARRIORS #1.
Superior Spiderman #24 (Marvel Comics) – C+
Oh great, as if Spiderman wasn’t arrogant enough. With the great narcissistic Otto Octavius at the helm of the Venom symbiote, things are not looking so great for those close to him. Really, enough is enough. You can make him an asshole, you can make him break up with MJ, you can even make him dance around like an idiot in Spiderman 3… but you do not get to disrespect sweet ol’ Aunt May; that is off-limits. As Spidey’s ego goes to his head, there are a lot of things set in motion by the police, the Golbin gang and The Avengers. I like where this is going, as it’s obviously time for Peter Parker to come back from oblivion and return to the spotlight. The weekly splurge of Amazing Spiderman hints that a Parker return isn’t far off.
Samurai Jack #3 (IDW Comics) – B
This month’s issue of Samurai Jack was a nice change from there the series could have gone. With the first two issues requiring Jack to defeat an unbeatable foe, I was worried every issue would follow the same script. So far, Issue #3 is my favorite. Jack, still following the magical Threads of Time to rewind history from his enemy Aku, lands in what seems to be Ancient Greece. He meets the warrior of the town, Gloer the Great of Grantus. The alliterative character shows Jack around town. But instead of having to fight Gloer, as was expected, he sees that Gloer’s town has already been demolished by Aku’s terribleness. The series is already a little Mr. Peabody-esque. This issue is Mr. Peabody meets Stepford Wives meets Disney’s Hercules. It’s very cute, but still a great use of medium to provoke some pretty deep thoughts for the intended elementary level reader. I highly recommend picking up this issue for your new little comic book reader.
We join our turtles after the fallout of City Fall as they drive to a Northampton countryside home where April O’Neil’s parents live. The family is in shambles and I can feel Splinter pain as he tries to repair the damage that Shredder and the Foot have wrought upon his family. The issue is divided between the turtles and their family issues and the O’Neils meeting Casey Jones for the first time. Ah, but the plot thickens! Our heroes had an unwelcome guest follow them to Northampton (Although not unwelcome to me, as this is secretly my favorite character in the book). Meanwhile, April finds out that there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to the mutagen, and her parents are the one to tell the secret. Ross Campbell has picked up art duties for the main story after doing a couple of the Micro-Series (Leonardo, Alopex) books. Although I was initially sad to see Mateus Santolouco’s grimy style end with City Fall, Campbell’s art is intrinsically beautiful and fitting of the subject matter. As we build towards another storyline, I was thoroughly pleased with TMNT #29, as it serves as a great jumping-on point for fans new to the series while still reflecting on the events of City Fall.
Black Science #2 (image Comics) – A
The second issue of this deep space thriller, Black Science, opened up the story and explained a lot of character dynamic without giving too much away for what’s to come. It’s a captivating sci-fi tale that mixes a little bit of Mass Effect with an 80’s space thriller twist. What Black Science succeeds at so well is its ability to draw in a reader with it’s amazing character dynamics and between-the-lines story-telling. Two issues in and you already know who you are supposed to like and who you are supposed to loathe. Throw in a well-placed flashback scene and now you’re part of the family. First, mutant frog people and now futuristic Native Americans killing Nazis; this is shaping up to be one special series, and it’s not limited to cliches and superheroes.
Saga #17 (image Comics) – A
“The only journalists that deserve killing are sports writers.” Saga is written too well for me to fully appreciate. It’s filled with literary quips. I feel like it’s written only for English majors or burnt-out authors. Needless to say, it’s brilliant. Issue 17 masks its social and political dogma behind vibrant panels and fashionable sarcasm. We find our two journalists greeted by yet another Freelancer named, The Brand. He enchants them with an Anti-snitching potion (Embargon) to impede them from continuing their story about inter-species love. When Upsher and Doff ask The Brand why their writing is so threatening the response is, “It’s the stories with no sides that worry them.” Saga engages everything is our current social spectrum. Nothing is taboo. Homosexuality, popular media, inter-racial relationships, and child-rearing are all on the table. As readers we are also unclear to Vaughn’s stance on these issues. This is what makes Saga so intriguing.
The Will is still bleeding out after being attacked by a possessed Sophie (slave-girl). Gwendolyn is desperate to find help. She makes her way to D. Oswald Heist’s lighthouse. She arrives after Klara’s attempt to save his life from Prince Robot IV. This week’s issue submerges us deeper into this space-opera and will give you a good giggle and gasp (See Prince Robot’s erotic revelation).
Sex #9 (image Comics) – B
Now we’re talking! There’s been a lot of foreplay leading up to Sex, but it seems that the buttons are finally coming undone. What we are shown is a genuine origin story starring our hero Simon as The Armored Saint and his techie sidekick, Keenan. It really brings the story together and explains a lot in the first eight episodes that didn’t make a whole lot of sense the first time through. Guest artist Morgan Jeske’s art has a very distinct appearance from the rest of the series, and gives the issue a very raw, Dark Knight Returns vibe. And, of course, there is raunchy, gratuitous sex – as is expected when your crime-fighting secret hideout is a whore-house. Here’s to hoping that we get more exciting issues like this and less build-up.
Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows #1 (Dark Horse Comics) – B
Enter Clone Trooper CT5539, after the Clone Wars and after Order 66. One of Jango’s copies has settled down working and living quite unremarkably on what appears to be a desert planet (perhaps Tatooine – some of the best Star Wars stories star there!). By way of true “events,” Cry of Shadows #1 really has none. The pages are filled with narration and storytelling. Flashbacks and imagination dominate. This isn’t a bad thing though! On the contrary, I was able to connect with CT5539 almost immediately because I was reading his inner thoughts. It’s critical to note that the flesh and blood Vader (or should I say, metal and lube-oil) makes no appearance besides what’s being imagined by CT derived from stories told by drunk cantina-goers. Vader remains a fantasy and a symbol in CT’s eyes. The ferocious tales are vividly and beautifully illustrated by Guzan and Atiyeh. It could be my bias, but Vader remains as imposing and awesome as ever. After meandering through post-war life, CT finds a spark and journeys out to see if the stories about Vader are true. What better way to obtain answers than ask the guy yourself?! The build-up is well done in Cry of Shadows #1 and I’m already anxious to see how the real life Vader measures up to the Vader of CT’s dreams and aspirations.
Ghost #1 (Dark Horse Comics) – B-
The series is a continuation of the original 1990’s Ghost series where Elisa, a journalist, uncovers a crazy secret; the Mayor of Chicago is actual a demon in disguise. The possessed mayor banishes Elisa to hell only to have her brought back to the living world in ghost form by two paranormal investigators, Vaughn and Tommy, after which she proceeds to pull the demon from the mayor. That same demon, however, is able to escape and possess a new host – Doctor October. This is essentially where we pick up in Ghost #1. Elisa is still hunting for Doctor October as well as other possessed persons of power in Chi-town. Issue #1 starts out pretty intensely with Elisa kicking serious demon behind on the monorail. There’s lots of plot development in the first issue (as expected) and it makes for a somewhat slow read. Authors Kelly Sue DeConnick and Chris Sebela appear to be working depth into the story and I enjoy the direction its heading. In Elisa’s return for the demon realm, she only partially recovered her memory; this aspect does much to move the story along and kept me engaged. Demon sketch lack originality, but are beautifully grotesque in detail (props to Ryan Sook). Ghost herself is also pretty B.A. She stunts some really cool tricks and maintains a fearless and confident attitude throughout. I’m looking forward to Elisa’s pursuits to purify her city, recover her memory and take on Doctor October!
Funniest Panels of the Week:
Adrian’s nomination for funniest panel of the week from Teen Titans Go! #1.
Panama’s nomination for funniest panel of the week from Amazing Spiderman #700.5.
Robert’s nomination for funniest panel of the week from Supergirl #26.
Sherif’s nomination for funniest panel of the week from Deadpool #21.
Taylors’s nomination for funniest panel of the week from Ghost #1.
Epic Panels of the Week:
Adrian’s nomination for Epic Panel of week from Harley Quinn #1.
Panama’s nomination for Epic Panel of week from Saga #17.
Robert’s nomination for Epic Panel of week from Supergirl #26.
Sherif’s nomination for Epic Panel of week from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #29.
Taylor’s nomination for Epic Panel of week from Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows #1.
Cover Art of the Week:
That about wraps it up for our reviews this week! Look for next week’s previews coming soon. Any comic books you didn’t see reviewed that you want reviewed? Any grades you didn’t agree on? Let us know in the comments!
All images taken from ComiXology app and the credit for them goes to the respective publishers; thanks to IDW Comics, image Comics, Dark Horse, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.
DC has no shortage of stories set in an alternate universe, with most of the play going to Infinite Crisis, Crisis on Infinite Earths, and other Elseworldstories. So when Geoff Johns came out with the Flashpoint arc in 2011, fans were initially skeptical. Not only was Johns trying to reconstruct the DC comic lore, but he was doing it with Flash at the helm. While Barry Allen has been a staple character in the Justice League since his mid-1950’s induction into DC Comics, he remains out of the spotlight. The premise of the Flashpoint storyline is that, in a desperate move to change events in time to save his mother from being murdered, he taps into the Speed Force (it’s a long story; basically, the best way I can describe the Speed Force is an energy that the Flash can pull from to manipulate time… or some crazy shit like that), unknowingly creating a Butterfly Effect, saving his mother but putting himself right in the middle of a world war between Aquaman and Wonder Woman. Flash has found himself in a world without allies and without his powers. It’s a bit far-fetched of a story, but it really works out. So many questions about the DC Universe that begin with “What if” are addressed in the Flashpoint Paradox. What if Hal Jordan never was given a Green Lantern ring? What if Superman’s Kryptonian shuttle passed Smallville and landed in the hands of the government? What if Aquaman and Wonder Woman never got to interact with humanity before their rise to power? Maybe it’s just the fanboy in me, but there’s just something thrilling about not knowing what will happen next – an entire realm of new possible outcomes.
Everything that makes the book work shows up in the film. Foremost, the Flash is an excellent leading character. He’s charismatic, witty and is the one voice of hope in a universe full of darkness. Plus, he can run really fast. But really, it’s Flashpoint Batman that steals the show. Batman (who is not Bruce Wayne in this world) is one of the most rugged and dangerous characters I’ve ever seen. He’s missing the high-tech gadgetry, but he more than makes up for it by being a total badass. Even the President respects his gangster. The rest of the Justice League is also in full effect. Flashpoint Aquaman and Wonder Woman could easily hold their own movie. As the two juggernauts clashed, I almost forgot I was watching a DC Animated movie. Professor Zoom AKA The Reverse Flash AKA… (this could take a while; he has a lot of nicknames) … AKA Thaddeus Thawne plays a crafty villain that is obsessed with bringing down the Flash, even at the expense of destroying the world (Sheesh dude, get a hobby). He presents the perfect match for Flash, as he can manipulate the Speed Force to make it appear that he is going faster or slower. He’s the yin to Flash’s yang and they play off each other well.
The biggest note of discussion with this film is the decidedly adult nature it takes on. Not only is it darker than the comics it adapts from, but it is the darkest DC Animated film released yet. There are tons of violent deaths, and nobody is off-limits. It’s like I was watching The Wire. While some might see this as unnecessary, I feel that the violence and tragedy add to the gravity of the film. It’s not for the faint of heart, and definitely not a family-friendly movie, but the anime-style brutality made me feel more in touch with the characters and the stakes they were fighting for. The animation is complemented by nuanced changes in the storyline to make things fit more cohesively. Die-hard fans can tell, but there are several events that allude to several of the spin-off stories that come from Flashpoint, chronicling the stories of the Justice League in this alternate timeline from hell. On the other hand, though, some of the subtleties may fall off the deaf ears of many of the casual fans that look to these movies to learn more about comic books.
Overall, this is one of my favorite graphic novel movie adaptations that DC Animated has done. It has a solid storyline and a great voice acting cast to carry it throughout the amazing action scenes and large-scale thrills. Its mature content and subtle hints may turn off some casual fans, but do pay homage to the grave nature of the source material. If you want to broaden your horizons in the comic book world and aren’t afraid of graphic violence, this is the DC Animated film you have been waiting for.
One of the best alternate universe stories I’ve ever read, there are a few points in the film you can’t really understand unless you’ve read the source material.
An All-Star cast creates believable characters that carry themselves.
Representation of Source Material
Flashpoint does a solid job of taking the source material and bringing it to life, keeping some of the most memorable moments intact.
The hardcore and anime-like feel of the film fit the dark storyline. They also do a great job of making the Flash’s animations clean.
Sound Effects and Music
Hero-certified music and cool time-warping sound effects fit the ambiance
Flashpoint is broken up into enough segments that it never feels like it’s as far along as it really is.
There is nothing about this film that does not kick total ass.
Even though it’s a remake of a graphic novel, the genius that is Geoff Johns crafted an amazing story that explores an alternate universe with no reservations.
I’ve seen the Flashpoint Paradox three times already, and there are more details to catch everytime
A feature on the Rogues Gallery, a scientific breakdown of the Speedforce and some great DC Vault episodes make this an excellent showcase of The Flash
IF YOU LIKED THIS, CHECK THESE OUT:
Justice League: Doom (film)
All the Flashpoint books!
NEXT FOR DC ANIMATED:Justice League: War will be DC Animated’s first New 52 movie and will reprise the first storyline of Jim Lee and Geoff John’s Justice League. All that I have on my wish list is that it’s animated by Jim Lee (I’m kind of obsessed with his art) and that I get to see the animated version of this. It’s already been released that Whedon alum Alan Tudyk is voicing Superman and DC Animated veteran Jay Oliva will be directing. Check out the teaser trailer at the link below.