Comic Book Reviews 01-21-15

Review Scale:

The mythical A+: Classic comic book material. Belongs next to your copy of The Notebook and 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:

Moon Knight 11 POTW 1.21
Moon Knight #11

 

Moon Knight #11 – A

Marc Spector is in it now! Following the events of last issue, we find that Marc is being detained in a mysterious and very peculiar looney-bin. While his asylum scrubs are nowhere near as cool as his magic Egyptian armor, Marc still wears his confident and tough-guy attitude well. I’m really in love with this story. I was just as entertained with this issue as I had with all the others and there wasn’t even a single “Moon Knight” appearance. I’m really starting to enjoy Greg Smallwood’s panel work as well. I love the rigid and boxy comic squares. The lack of overlapping panels is unique and forces readers to really take their time on each image. This structure lends itself extremely well to the captivating events of the story. It’s a new year, but my love for Moon Knight is only growing! – Taylor

Other Reviews: 

Dark Horse Comics:

Groo: Friends & Foes #1 – C+

The renowned Sergio Aragones brings us a new Groo story, Groo – Friends & Foes. Now this is the first time I’ve read a Groo book, and I don’t really see the appeal, maybe I’m the wrong audience though. For those who do don’t know, like I didn’t, Groo is a wandering buffoonish swordsman, a parody of characters like Conan the Barbarian. So the story follows his misadventures and misunderstandings. The bottom line is Groo will eventually wreck everything. This issue is essentially about insurance fraud. The art is unique in the way that it’s very much a traditional Sunday funny pages type of art. It’s definitely not what most readers are used to with today’s comics. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its own appeal. The writing is a little off-putting at times; some of the dialogue is very unnatural. Groo isn’t without its charm though. – Scott

 

DC/Vertigo Comics: 

Batman and Robin #38 – A

There is no pain like a child whose dad won’t let me him his brand new super-powers. Personally, I love that the powers that be at DC have allowed Damian Wayne to come back from the dead, and it’s even more interesting that he is now virtually indestructible (I got my fingers crossed for a Damian-Superman showdown!). Writer Peter Tomasi keeps things light-hearted at the beginning when Damian begs his dad to go patrolling with him. What ensues is exactly what you’d expect from a newly-resurrected 10 year old with new super-powers… whatever your standards for that may be. However, the issue takes a deep, reflective route towards the end that are beautifully (and frighteningly) captured by artist Patrick Gleason. One of the best issues of the new year thus far! – Sherif

Batman Eternal #42 – A-

Ladies and gentlemen, Harper Row. Or Bluebird. Either way, Batman’s newest intern is tearing it up! This issue focuses exclusively on the battle to take down Mad Hatter after he brain-washed a large collective of citizens, along with Batgirl, Red Robin and Red Hood. Harper is one smart cookie in terms of tech, and so the way she disposes of the bad guys is impressive – not just for rookie standards, but even for Batman. This book has been the biggest cluster*** of a story I have ever read, but it’s stand-alone issues like this that keep me coming back for more. We still have no idea who the Big Bad is here, and so we keep marching on. – Sherif

Wonder Woman #38 – B+

Things are really heating up in Themyscira as Wonder Woman continues to lose both her people and their confidence in her as a leader. I mean, she did just save everybody from the First Born a few issues ago, but what has she done for them lately? Creatively, I love the direction this book is going in. Artist David Finch continues to bring it with beautiful full-page spreads, and his wife, writer Meredith Finch, is going a great job of keeping the story flowing at a perfect pace. Even though the issue ended on pretty much the exact same note as before, I enjoyed the read throughout. Wonder Woman is going to need to really embrace the power of being a God is she is gonna make any headway as an Amazonian leader. – Sherif

The Kitchen #3 – B-

Thanks to The Kitchen, I now know that you need to puncture the lungs and the stomach before dumping a body in the river, otherwise they will float and there will be bodies everywhere!  Also, telling someone that you will cut out their eyeballs and pour bleach in the holes is an empty threat. Did I mention this isn’t a kids comic? Or good to read while you eat (if you have a weak tummy, like me)? While The Kitchen is delightfully brutal (yikes, I think it is delightful? I’m sick), it didn’t move the story along very much other than the three girls now are known to be killers and kind of bad ass. They could also be in a lot of trouble. No one knows. – Adrian

Teen Titans #6 – C+

The new Power Girl just Rick James’d all over the Teen Titans’ couch! I pretty much stopped reading the new Teen Titans after a couple issues because of the excessive bravado and lack of dynamic characters. I had never been so disappointed in Red Robin, and was annoyed that, as cool as Raven looked, she was pretty much just used to get the team places. Enter the new Power Girl, whose emergence came from the pages of World’s Finest a year ago. She tells them straight up that they need to do better as a team, and it was almost a subliminal nob from DC that they have been messing this book up. Teen Titans is not out of the doghouse yet with me, but they’re on the right track. – Sherif

IDW Comics:

Millennium #1 – A

This took me back to my childhood, when I would sit cross-legged on the floor in front of the TV every Friday night watching X-Files and then Millennium and be completely in awe. I loved it then and I love it now. This book made an extremely strong leap back into its storyline and I’m already hooked. Millennium is based on the TV show from the late 90’s that shared the same name. I know not a lot of other people watched it, otherwise it would have stuck around for longer, and without the pre-existing knowledge from that series new readers to this book may be a little lost. My point in all this is that there is a back story to this book that is not covered in the first issue, but don’t rule it out just because of that. The artwork is great, its extremely well-written, creepy, intriguing and will probably have some great scares and twists along the way. I’m very pleased with this book and I can’t wait to read the next one. As a fan of the show, I felt like the story should have kept going, and now the comic is giving it that chance. I predict this will be a complicated series, and missing one issue may completely screw readers, so if you’re a fan of science fiction, conspiracies and you trust no one you should go pick up this book before you miss your chance. – Keriann

TMNT #42 – A-

Finally! We are getting to the point of Shredder vs Krang. The set up is just plain beautiful thanks to the guy who does machines, Donatello. We see the mutanimals, the Foot, and Krang and his army all getting ready for battle… and the issue ends right as the battle starts, which will lead into what is sure to be a great third part for this arc next month. Cory Smith does the art this month and I think he is actually my favorite artist of the series so far. He has a style that is very reminiscent of Santalouco and his usual style for the series, while also harkening back to a lot of other past artists of the series while adding his own flair. The story for this series been consistently been outstanding, and this issue is right there with the rest, showing us all why we have celebrated Turtle Power for over 30 years. This series is one of the best being released now, and I’m not even being biased when I say that. – Jacob

October Faction #4 – B+

This was a good month for October Faction. The story picks straight up in the middle of the living room with the Allen family standing over the body of Cope, the man the father has just shot in front of his children. I have never read a funnier approach to getting rid of a dead body, with such gems as the body smacking into the sides of the hearse upon an attempt to launch it inwards, the father telling his daughter not to be dramatic and then hitting the man over the head with a shovel to ensure he’s actually dead, and a completely emotionless response to justifying murder with an “it was easier to kill him now as opposed to later” approach. Comic relief aside, we finally found out more about Robot Face and his incredibly cool looking family of other part child-part robot people that are kind of reminiscent of the toys Sid got ahold of in Toy Story. Overall, this has been my favorite issue of the series so far because it is really starting to feel like a Steve Niles gem. There’s horror, comedy, monsters and intrigue. I finally feel like this series is taking off in the way I hoped it would. – Keriann

Galaxy Quest: The Journey Continues #1 – B

I like all good people, I love the Galaxy Quest movie. Did I think it needed a story continuation, not really, but I’m happy to read one. Erik Burnham is best known for writing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Ghostbusters. So we know he does action comedy pretty well already. The first issue jumps right in from literally the end of the movie. It turns out the Omega 13 affects more than just people on ship and this causes problems on other worlds. Who knew how important 13 seconds could be? There is a quick character reestablishment which is good if anyone is picking Galaxy Quest up without having already seen the movie, but honestly that probably isn’t many people. I would have liked to see the characters look more like their real life counter parts though. I think it’s a good adaptation and as a fan of the movie I’m looking forward to more issues. – Scott

Star Trek/Planet of the Apes #2 – C+

I have got to be honest here and say as ridiculous as this series sounds, and as bad as “The Primate Directive” title sounds, this series holds its own and gives us an interesting look into these two franchises, showing us exactly why they should meet, but sadly also why they never should at times. So far, we know Klingons are selling Apes advanced weapons (but we don’t know why…yet) and then the Star Trek crew found the humans of this Earth and teamed up with them. I am hoping in the next issue things will start to pick up and get better, I just tend to find it a bit hard to get connected to a story when it starts with a whimper and ends with a bang, which I feel is exactly what this series will do. Unless you know the lore of these two worlds, this may not be the book for you.  Its sole purpose is to please the fans. But if you like either franchise give it a read for the nostalgia and the hope to see Captain Kirk say, “Get your hands off me, you damn, dirty ape!” – Jacob

Zombies vs. Robots #1 – C

Zombies are so hyped.  And robots are getting that way. Combining the two seems brilliant.  And it sort of was.  But in general this book was very composition heavy — which isn’t really my deal.  The writer, Chris Ryall, does explain that this book starts at the end of the story, but makes it unclear if we will be working backwards or not.  Personally, I found the story slightly confusing, but intriguing enough that a read of issue 2 will be necessary.  I have a feeling that once this story is told, it will be brilliant, but broken up into separate issues, it could be tedious to get through. – Adrian

Creeple People #1 – D-

Creeple People #1 left me with one mind-boggling question: why do I do these things to myself? Why did I take a chance on a book that seemed like Weird Science meet Ghoulies? Well, actually because that sounds kind of awesome, but this book was in fact not. The dialogue was so bad and the three main characters whose names are, I shit you not, Spigs, Peabo and T-Ray, are so incredibly annoying I can only hope the ghoulies they are bound to create eat their faces. These three are the most unbelievable science geniuses I have ever seen, case in point, “let’s science up” is a direct quote from one of them. This book feels like it couldn’t have been written by someone who knows any less about science. It basically felt like the writers Googled biological regeneration and 3D printing and copy and pasted excerpts from the Wikipedia page straight into the speech bubbles. Oh, and apparently there’s some weird evil spiritual voodoo going on in the bell tower with 666 bells built on top of the remains of a cult massacre on the world’s most unbelievable college campus that has ONLY 3 STUDENTS IN THE ENTIRE SCHOOL WHO ARE SCIENCE MAJORS. Seriously, this book is the worst and you’d be best off avoiding it at all costs. If you have any interest in Creeple People whatsoever I leave you with this snapshot, a direct quote from page 2 “Not another mummified bog person!” Ha. Ha ha. Ha ha ha ha ha…what? – Keriann

Image Comics:

Tooth and Claw #3 – A-

The third issue of Tooth and Claw keeps up its interesting world of furry magic and political intrigue with what might be the most beautiful art in any current monthly book. It loses some of its urgency with the appearance if the mythical hero, and the revelation of what he is is maybe a little underwhelming, but this along with Ody-C remains one of the most intriguing books from the most intriguing company. – J.H.

Rise of the Magi #5 – B

This is a first time, in a long time, I feel compelled to contact the people working on this comic just to tell them how much I love it. I am always drawn in and entertained, the art is amazing, and the characters from both Earth and Rune are developing into characters that I care about. Not to mention, I feel it’s messing with fantasy tropes and clichés and I really love them for that. I find myself laughing at my original reaction to the first book. In issue #5, you see how Rune, more than Earth, is feeling the effects of the stolen piece of the orb. Chaos and fighting are breaking out and Asa is barely holding onto his life as goblins slip into man-suits and wage war while the trolls attack in Rune. Also, it seems April has developed a power and I don’t think it’s because of the magical frog. Seems like magic is slipping back into Earth. Looking forward to the next book. This was way too long of a wait. – Jené

Reyn #1 – B-

Reyn is pulled right out of some D&D module from the 90’s. A fantasy realm called Fate that suffered a “Great Cataclysm” was once looked over by a group of warriors called Wardens, now thought to all be dead. SURPRISE! One is still alive and he is constantly having arguments with the deity that only he can hear in his head. There are tyrannical lizard kings, over abundant and zealous town guards and the Followers of Tek a not too favored religion. So far it’s basic fantasy faire with some humor thrown in for good measure. Reyn is a decent pick up for most fantasy fans. Also…..GIANT SPIDERS! – Scott

Marvel/Icon Comics:

Superior Iron Man #4 – A-

While I admit it is pretty difficult to see Tony Stark as a baddie, he is quite the entertaining villain.  Tom Taylor does a bang-up job showing how seamlessly one of our favorite superheroes can go from chaotic-good to chaotic-evil (Pardon the D&D lingo but I’ve been playing a lot lately).  What I have found to be the most interesting aspect of this series so far is the fact that very few people have even picked up on the sudden personality change of Tony Stark.  This is what makes the series so believable to me.  Tony is rarely seen as the selfless type, and with a little mind adjustment, we see how easily he can go from helping others to big brother thanks to his likable demeanor and insane gadgets and gizmos.  Though it hurts to cheer against Iron Man, I am excited to see where this series goes and how long it takes for the citizens of San Francisco to finally see Tony Stark as the villain.  On a side-note, I am delighted to get to know Daredevil over the last four issues.  He’s an often overlooked character and it’s always refreshing to get a new face in there. – Jake

Powers #1 – B+

(A) I’ll be honest: I had never heard of Powers before this week. I had no idea the history behind it (see Sherif’s review below), either.  However, this book was amazing! It was so good, I plan on going back and catching up from the beginning (since the year 2000!)  I was genuinely laughing throughout, even though the story is pretty macabre.  Bendis does an amazing job of showing the horror of death and blending it with humor.  Powers follows detectives and their investigations into the deaths of people caused by people with “powers.”  The latest is by a very wealthy man who killed everyone on his boat. It’s a pretty crazy story. The artwork really sold me, too; it is reminiscent of late 90’s Saturday morning cartoons. However, this is NOT made for children.  But adults can rejoice, because there is blood, murder, mayhem, and naked strippers.  Whoo! – Adrian

(B-) Let’s start off by assuming I have no idea what this book was about before I picked it up. Then, we’ll say that’s not an assumption, because I really did have no idea. I knew that Brian Michael Bendis (Ultimate Spider-Man) was writing it, and I knew that Playstation was picking up an order for a live-action series of Powers, but that was about it. “Powers” is the term that the world has given to anybody discovered to have… well, powers. The main antagonist is a cop, making this a really interesting detective story. Freedom to write also allows for some really funny cross-publisher references to various well-known super-heroes. I enjoyed this book enough to keep reading, but there wasn’t a whole lot to keep me on the edge of my seat. To be fair, there have been seven volumes of Powers, so suffice to say I am really far behind. – Sherif

Deadpool’s Art of War #4 – B+

In this final issue of Deadpool’s Art of War, we see the most influence from Sun Tzu’s Art of War than any previous issue. The majority of it is covered by lessons of war and has less dialogue and humor from Deadpool. Ultimately, the story was very clever but lacked something I cant really put my finger on. It may be because the source material has been manipulated in every single way possible. Most of my enjoyment from the series was from the cover art because each one is just begging to become a poster to hang on my wall. I would definitely check this series out if you have any idea about Sun Tzu’s Art of War, but a lot of Deadpool fans will find it weak because he is not featured as much as you would think, especially in this last issue. – Jacob

Black Widow #14 – B+

This month’s Black Widow finally picked up the pace!  It also happened to be a good place to pick up if you are interested.  Natasha has been going after Chaos for a bit, but now has a list.  It’s kinda like Kill Bill, but not funny.  That isn’t a downfall, Black Widow is not known for it’s wit.  The fight scenes were incredible – I would not want to be on Natasha’s “kill list.”  Per usual, the art was amazing, and still remains the main reason to read this book. – Adrian

Rocket Raccoon #7 – B+

This series has turned out to be way better than anyone anticipated and it is all because of the creative team. Skottie Young traded in his usual artist credit to become the writer of this issue, while Filipe Andrade does the art. Despite these changes, the book holds up just as well and gives a great story and a new arc for our pint-sized hero and his tree companion. The story puts Groot in a situation he has never been in, and Rocket is trying to bear the freezing cold alone. Definitely pick this issue up if you are a new fan or old of Rocket as this new arc is guaranteed blow you away as much as Rocket would himself. – Jacob

All-New X-Men #35 – B

Aha! Now it’s all starting to make sense. Kinda. Not at all, really. When Marvel announced earlier this week that they would be doing away with separate universes, I had no idea if would be the ripple caused by an unknown mutant girl in All-New X-Men. Nobody is really in their proper place in time or space, and explaining it to non-readers is an exhausting endeavor. However, the story itself is a lot of fun! For the time being, the original X-Men are so cute when paired up with their Ultimate selves. I’m just along for the ride at this point, and have no idea where it is going, but that makes it all the more fun to read. – Sherif

Scarlet Spiders #3 – B

Wow! A lot just happened. The final issue of the Scarlet Spiders mini-series wrapped up with a bang (literally)! The Spider-team has struck a critical blow to the Inheritors, but not without their own loses. The events of the issue were exciting and Jessica Drew’s Ultimate Black Widow spandex suit is still unnecessarily tight (this is not a complaint), but the most appreciable aspect of this issue comes from Mike Costa’s story telling. More so in this issue than the previous two, I felt that the events were very well told. The third person narration and the little insights we get from the thoughts of our cloned heroes make this issue a lot more captivating. By the end of the issue one of the more major Spider-Persons is (seemingly) permanently down for the count. I won’t spoil anything, but I will say that the good guys in this Spider-Verse took event took a big, surprising hit. It’s a crazy way to wrap up a well done mini-series! – Taylor

Amazing Spider-Man #13 – B-

(A) “It’s not the power of the Spider that makes any of us who we are! It’s the will of the man!” Preach Doc Oc, PREACH!! This line from the Superior Spider-Man’s motivational speech really captures the attitude of this issue. The Spider-Verse event has built up to its max. The motivation behind the Inheritor’s plot is revealed and they currently have the lead on the scoreboard. The anticipation for the conclusion is going to drive me mad. I think the worst (best?) part about it is that I can’t predict how all this is going to end. I know it will be epic in scale, there will more death and shocking moments, and all versions of Peter Parker will definitely be cracking jokes. This adventure hasn’t lost any of its allure and I’m definitely not ready for it to end in just one short month. – Taylor

(D) I am so ready for this event to end next month. Events, in general, are not really my thing. Usually, it involves weekly buying multiple books just to get an inch closer to some lame and un-assuming ending that could have taken five-ten issues to explain. Spider-Verse, contrary to my initial excitement, has become no different. I love Spider-Man, and all the subsequent Spider-Mens and Spider-Womens and Spider-anthropomorphic animals, but this story just isn’t doing it for me. Instead, can we Edge of Spider-Verse back to explore mini-stories with each minor character since, ya know, they all get mercilessly slaughtered as a plot point in this cockamamy story. – Sherif


Funniest Panel:

Powers #1
Powers #1

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

Wonder Woman 38 Awesome 1.21
Wonder Woman #38

 

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, Oni Press, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.

Best of 2014: Movies – Best Straight-to-Video Movie

Another year is in the books, and we here at Hush Comics couldn’t pass at the chance to rank our favorites of this year’s releases in all types of mediums. Some of the winners will surprise you; heck, some of the results surprised  us. The results are completely subjective, and therefore were chosen with infallible logic. We would love to hear your opinions on what we have chosen, or if you thought we missed anything. This should be a fun review before we gear up for 2015.

hush best of 2014
Click on the link to take you to the “Best of 2014” homepage.

Best Straight to Home Video Movie

  • Justice League: War
  • Son of Batman
  • Batman: Assault on Arkham
  • Mudbloods
  • Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher

WINNER – Justice League: War

Everybody loves a good origin story, am I right? Well, you’re in luck, because Justice League: War is the first movie based in the New 52 continuity. Originally named after the first volume story arc, Origin, in the Justice League comics, War follows the core Leaguers in their first encounter with one another. This was a very interesting story to read the first time, as the characters that have decades of lineage are now relatively complete strangers. So, while you’re getting a brand new story, you’re also getting the first story in the New 52 canon. There are enough variations to the book to keep new and old fans satisfied, and it gives relatively equal play time to each character, an alluring selling point for those who may feel Batmanned out for the year (I call those people “not my friends”). – Sherif

Second Place – Son of Batman

son of batman straight to dvd best of 2014

There’s nothing more Batman than a swordfight with Ra’s al Ghul, word to Neal Adams. Grant Morrison has done a great service for the Batman lore by introducing (and then maliciously murdering last February) Damian Wayne, the genetically-bred superbaby of Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul. Half master detective, half socio-pathic assassin, all cuddles, Damian bridges Batman to the bad guys and makes for the worst one-night stand in comic book history. This iteration of Morrison’s Batman and Son works well for an animated adaptation, and Deathstroke was a fine addition to this hard-hitting film. What really makes the film memorable is the slobber-knocker between an onery Damian and Nightwing. – Sherif 

Third Place – Batman: Assault on Arkham

batman assault on arkham straight to dvd best of 2014

If you need any more evidence that Batmania has taken over this year, look no further than Batman: Assault on Arkham, the story ripped straight from the pages of the New52 Suicide Squad, now with Batman for added marketing! I must say, adding Batman to the story widened the scope and made it more interesting. The whole story plays out like an episode of 24, giving off a sense of urgency and suspense that I didn’t really experience with the other DC Animated films this year. – Sherif

RUNNER UP – Mudbloods

mudbloods straight to dvd best of 2014

As a Quidditch player, I absolutely love this film. Watching the games that UCLA played during the Fifth Annual Quidditch World Cup had my heart racing the entire time. Not only is Mudbloods genuinely a great narrative about the little guy, it’s really informative and explains the game extremely well. I used to play for the Denver Dementors and I’m about to start coaching my own team, so having something to show new team members that really understands Quidditch and the culture behind it is extremely valuable to me. One moment of the film that really stuck with me, and was a major theme in the film, was when the coordinator of the World Cup talked about a time that he was sitting on the grass with a friend and two upperclassmen sneered at them. “I can’t wait for those freaks to play Quidditch again so we can laugh at them,” he remembers them saying. “Now, I used to hate that guy, but now I love him because whenever someone tells me that this is not possible, that we can’t play real life Quidditch… I just remember that douchebag’s face and I know that I’m never going to stop!” he said and then asked that people who had ever been made fun of for playing Quidditch to put their fist up in the air and scream the name of the game. Let’s just say my voice was hoarse after the movie. – Charlotte

RUNNER UP – Avengers Confidential: Black Widow and Punisher

avengers confidential straight to dvd best of 2014

Marvel doesn’t really dabble in the animated movies like DC does. Sure, there are the occasional Marvel Knights motion comic adaptations and various anime, but Avengers: Confidential was really the only true animated feature that left an impression on me. Here, Black Widow and Punisher team up to break a bunch of faces. At least, that is my synopsis. The animation is an American attempt at anime, falling somewhere between Afro Samurai and Rise of the Technovore. While the movies are confined to age-appropriate material, it’s nice to see two of Marvel’s deadliest cut loose in the animated world. – Sherif

Next Category: Best Film of the Year

Comic Book Reviews 12-24-14 and 12-31-14

Review Scale:

The mythical A+: Classic comic book material. Belongs next to your copy of The Notebook and 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:

Superman #37
Superman #37

Superman #37 – A

Dear sweet baby Jesus… This issue of Superman could be the best one I have EVER read. Neil/Ulysses has revealed that he is not all he was cracked up to be, but I’ll be damned, we had no idea just the kind of horror that he was up to. The amount of crazy here had me running around the house, screaming. I cannot believe that this character who we have only known for six issues could create that much reaction in a book that I had no prior interest in before the creative team switched. John Romita Jr. is a major part of the reason I have been so into this arc, and his full-page panels have been beautiful. I can’t wait to see how the heck Superman reacts to the end of this issue. – Sherif

 

Other Reviews: 

DC/Vertigo: 

Batman Annual #3 – A

For a Batman story not written by Scott Snyder, I was chilled to the bone in this year’s Batman Annual.  James Tynion IV wrote this terrifying story of Joker, who has been taking apart the life of a journalist named Tommy piece by piece for years.  I was strongly reminded of the Buffy storyline about Angel driving Drusilla mad and then turning her into a vampire.  It is horrifying to think of The Joker ever having a friend, but even worse that he would care enough about one person to drive them absolutely crazy.  This story relates to the current Endgame arc, but will likely have no effect on the main story.  However, I highly recommend this issue just for the scare factor. – Adrian

Deathstroke #3 – B

This new Slade Wilson is really good. Tony Daniel is killing it on the art, and the story is interesting enough to keep me engaged. After narrowly escaping the hoard of bad guys, Slade has found his son Jericho. More than anything, I love Daniels’ character designs for Black Tiger and Red Fury. I’m not entirely sold on the story yet, but there’s so much eye candy in the book, I can wait for more of a solid plot to develop. – Sherif

Batman Eternal #39 – B-

I don’t think I’ve ever read such a long weekly series before as it was happening. Let just just say that Eternal has been very straining. I feel like it’s been going on forever. So it’s really nice to see the story turn a corner and make some progress. One of the best and most under-used characters in the New52 is Bane, and to see him in a rematch with Killer Croc was by far the best part of this week’s issue. Who knew that Waylan Jones (Croc) was into French lit? This is a fun and action-filled issue that doesn’t have a ton of substance, but sets a lot in motion for the tail end of the story. – Sherif

Robin Rises: Alpha #1 – C

The only reason this issue is getting a “C” is because of how Damian’s resurrection will effect the DCU.  Not only is he alive (crazy!) but he is a 10 year old with superpowers.  We don’t know how that happened, and neither does his daddy-o, but it will definitely alter the story in the Batman & Robin series.  You may want to read this issue if you want to know the details of the first night back to life for Damian, but over all, it felt a little slap-sticky and silly. – Adrian

Arkham Manor #3 – C

I was instantly sold on the idea of Batman going undercover as an Arkham prisoner to uncover a conspiracy – in his own home, no less. Arkham Manor has all the makings of a great horror book, but with this last issue, it seems to have fallen a bit short by playing it safe. The big reveal at the end of the issue is a bit disappointing, honestly. With everything going on in the other Bat-books, to just piggy-back off the other books seems like a cop out. That being said, I still very much enjoy the dark nature of the book brought by Gerry Duggan, and reinforced by Shawn Crystal’s art. If I were less patient, and not the Batman fanatic I am, this would be the issue I stopped reading it. – Sherif

Gotham by Midnight #2 – D+

What the hell just happened?  I have no clue.  None.  Between the art (Ben Templesmith is perhaps better fit for something else) and the lack of story telling, this book was so confusing.  I know there are creepy nuns and priests out there.  That’s about it.  The ending was enough of a morsel that I will come back next month, but unless there is cleaner story-telling, I’m not sure how much longer this book will last. – Adrian

 

IDW Comics:

Star Trek/Planet of the Apes #1 – A-

Hell yeah! This is a crossover I can get behind. This new book, a collaboration between IDW (Star Trek) and Boom! Studios (Planet of the Apes), is one of the best pairings I have seen thus far. I will say that there is a LOT of exposition in this issue, but most of it is just banter between the crew as they attempt to escape Klingon ships. The original crew is all there, and they are a delight to read about. We haven’t seen much of the Apes, but that will come in time. Don’t expect this to knock you out of your seat, but it sets up a very promising book. – Sherif

Image Comics:

Graveyard Shift #1 – B+

What can I say?  I’m a sucker for vampire stories (and puns).  Graveyard Shift is a mini-series about a cop, his cop buddies, his girlfriend, and vampires.  The first issue didn’t hook me as far as writing goes, mostly because I didn’t find any one character compelling.  But the art was absolutely exceptional.  The use of colors and small details (like graffiti in a public restroom) was its own form of story telling.  I am hoping next month’s issue allows for more character development from our main character.  However, if you like vampire stories (and not that Twilight crap), then Graveyard Shift might be the mini-series for you. – Adrian

They’re Not Like Us #1 – B

I’m intrigued!  They’re Not Like Us begins with a girl jumping off a hospital roof-top in attempt to kill herself.  Needless to say, it doesn’t work.  She is then kidnapped by a group of super-humans/mutants with different abilities, all a kind of mash-up of DC and Marvel characters, but without the costumes. Turns out the suicide attempter is a telepath who couldn’t take the voices anymore. The man in charge is like a really messed up Charles Xavier, with Magneto’s philosophies. The premise is interesting, the characters have a lot of potential, and the cliffhanger definitely made me want to read next month’s issue. – Adrian

 

Marvel:

Superior Iron Man #3 – A

Tony Stark is better than you, and he wants you to know it. you “speck.” The evolution of Iron Man as a character has been brilliant. He’s not playing God, he’s playing human. As bad as I feel for Daredevil for trying to stop Tony from getting the world hooked on the Extremis app, I also can’t help but think that this will be the best Iron Man story I’ve read when things are all said and done. It’s definitely one of the funniest, and Injustice: Gods Among Us writer Tom Taylor is hitting all the high notes with this new title. – Sherif

Hawkeye vs. Deadpool #3 – A-

Katie Bishop and Deadpool are the best tag team in Marvel right now. These two are so adorable together, even more so than Hawkguy and Deadpool. Toning down his murderous ways has really made Deadpool more accessible as a character in the Marvel books, so this book is much more fun and adventure than shoot em up, and it really fits Deadpool’s style. I hope that when they continue making Deadpool mini-series, and you know they will, that they will caryr on the whimsical nature of this one. – Sherif

S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 – B

One issue in and I’m already more excited about the next issue of this than I am for the return of the TV series. Marvel capitalizes on the momentum of the show to bring about a sort of “what if” scenario for the same team that has made the show a pleasure to watch. Writer Mark Waid (Daredevil) has the luxury of unlimited guest stars and special effects, but there’s still substance in his story from the get-go. From what it seems, this book will assemble fantasy teams of S.H.I.E.L.D. resources, resulting in some great panels to come. I am still very interested in how Quicksilver could kill the Hulk. – Sherif

 

Funniest Panel:

 

They're Not Like Us #1
They’re Not Like Us #1

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

S.H.I.E.L.D. #1
S.H.I.E.L.D. #1

 

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, Oni Press, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.

Batman Day – Best Batsuits

DC Comics has dubbed today Batman Day. The Dark Knight has been fighting crime and serving justice for his 75th year since the 1939 debut of Detective Comics #27. Batman has been a big part of our lives, and was responsible for making us into the comic book fanatics we are today, whether it be through comic books and toys or television and movies. To show our appreciation for the man, the myth and the legend, we have compiled a plethora of Bat-themed lists. We hope that we can inspire you to read more about Batman and his legacy, or even give us some feedback if you agree or disagree with the lists. Sound off below! And click on the picture below to take you to all of our Batman Day articles. 

batman day logo

 

 

Top 35 Batsuits

Batman’s duds are one of the most iconic in comic books, and yet his appearance changes over and over. The Batsuit protects not only his internal organs, but his secret identity. Giving so much as Batman, it’s a common psychological evaluation to say that Batman is his main personality, who he really is, and not the reckless playboy that he gives himself off as being. The Batsuit, like everything else in fashion, has been changed many times to fit the times and the different circumstances that Batman has found himself in. Not all of them are suited for frequent use; some are great for a special occasion, and others defined a generation. Let us know what some of your favorite Batsuits are in the comments!

 

35.) Rainbow and Zebra-Striped Batman

Batman may be a hardcore vigilante hell-bent on serving foolish villains with a steaming plate of justice, but there is no denying that this man is fancy as fuck. Years ahead of his time, Batman was donning zebra print years before it would make its way to the discount section of Walmart’s snazzy lingerie section. Like most fashion revelations, this was completely by accident. While Batman and Robin tangle with Zebra-Man (Detective Comics #275 in 1960), a magnetically-powered villain, Batman accidentally triggers Zebra-Man’s device, becoming Zebra-Batman and gaining powers he cannot control. A few years earlier, Batman stupefied criminals in Detective Comics #241 (1957) by wearing a brightly colored Batsuit every night he was on patrol. That’s a diva attitude if I’ve ever seen one. The story goes that he was trying to distract crooks from knowing that Robin had a broken arm, but we know the truth – Batman just can’t stand not being in the spotlight.

zebra batsuit

Rainbow-Batman

 

34.) Zur-En-Arrh

Batman has enough back-up plans to fill the Chinese alphabet. He always has an answer for every tough situation he finds himself in, whether it be an expected betrayal or outsmarting his most cerebral villains. What happens when the hard drive is wiped clean? What happens when Bruce Wayne has been injured so badly that he has no idea who he is? There’s a plan for that! In Grant Morrison’s Batman R.I.P., Bruce finds himself in that exact situation. He calls on his inner psyche to bring out Zur-En-Arrh, a chaotically-colored outfit of a brutally-insane version of Batman. Those familiar with Morrison’s arc may not know that Zur-En-Arrh was inspired by a visit from the alien Tlano of planet Zur-En-Arrh in Batman #113 (1958). I guess you never know what you’ll pick up along the way.

Zurenarrh

 

33.) Two-Face Batman

When Batman “died” at the end of Final Crisis in 2008, it shook the comic book world. While the Bat-family grieved, Dick was begrudgingly convinced that Gotham needed a Batman, and that he was the right man for the job. However, allies and villains alike noticed something amiss with Dick in charge. The interim Batman was a decent substitute for them, but he was decidedly not the original. This led Two-Face to do some reconnaissance (Batman #690) to find out just who this impostor Batman was. Dent infiltrated the Batcave, following Dick home from a night of patrol, and beat the ever-living crap out of Batman. The Two-Face Batsuit Dick saw was nothing more than a hallucination, thanks to needles laced with Scarecrow’s fear toxin, but it was a rude wake-up call that Dick needed to be more than Nightwing in a Batsuit, and commit to becoming The Batman.

two face batman

 

32.) Batman One Million

Batman is not a man, but a symbol. It should come to know surprise that the Dark Knight’s legacy lives on in the future – and not just Batman Beyond future; we’re talking about over 80,000 years away here. As you can assume, any future in need of a Batman probably isn’t a great place to be. A mass kidnapping and massacre of thousands of families led to one of those children making the choice to become the Batman. It was kind of a crappy time period, but at least in that future, Pluto was still a planet. This minor Batman from the much too distant future, where Hero Worship is more literal than figurative. Check out 1998’s JLA #23 for more on this mysterious Batman of the future.

Batman-One-Million

 

31.) Gotham by Gaslight

I’m a sucker for historically-involved books, so this 1800’s adaptation of Batman hit the spot. The story focuses on Jack the Ripper, and is just as much horror as it is mystery. I love the high-tech gadgets he uses now, but there’s something refreshing about just a guy with no armor running around catching dangerous criminals with just his mind and fists at his disposal. The suit itself isn’t anything special – just a petticoat and a homemade utility belt, but there is a noticeable steampunk vibe to the costume.

Batman_Gotham_by_Gaslight_001

 

30.) Batman Inc.

To take a page out of Jay-Z’s book, Bruce way is not a businessman; he is a business, man. When Bruce returns to life, he decides to spill the beans that he has been privately funding Batman for years. Nobody seems to care about this, or worry about the millions of embezzled funds, or look into the fact that he has privatized military protection with no sanction or permission because he’s the GD Batman. The suit isn’t too much different from the New 52 look or the classic look, but it effectively bridged the past and present together. To boot, the emblem design in the middle looks like something a car company would put on their luxury lines.

Batman Inc

 

29.) Adam West

Back before a six-pack was mandatory for an actor to play Batman, there was Adam West. Don’t get me wrong, thanks to some onomatopoeic wordplay, I still believed Adam West to be a highly capable crime fighter. This classic Batman TV series was the first place people really got to see Batman as a real live person – and don’t even talk about the 1940’s serial; that “costume” was an insult to mothers who sew everywhere. No, this high-budgeted series defined what Batman looked like in real life at an early age, influencing comic books and future Batsuits to come. Pay homage to the Bright Knight.

adam west batman

 

28.) First Appearance

When Bob Kane and Bill Finger first thought up The Bat Man, he had no idea the colossal movement of fans he would start. The playboy-by-day, vigilante-by-night was just as terrifying 75 years ago as he is today. The original design had a ridiculously-shaped head with long, pointy ears, and PURPLE GLOVES! They don’t make any sense, but they have become canon all the same. Legend has it that DC was in a rush to publish and had meant to come back to re-color the gloves blue, but it never happened. Regardless, the purple gloves command fans’ respect, as they were the gloves that started it all. You can find the purple gloves adorning action figures, reprints and currently in Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman: Zero Year.

Batman First

 

27.) Batzarro

Could you imagine an anti-Batman who is literally the opposite of Batman? Wayne Bruce, the World’s Worst Detective from Superman/Batman #20, is from the same world as Bizarro (Superman’s er… twin). He is easily recognized by the upside-down Bat symbol on the front of his chest. While he tries to help Batman and Superman, his backwards strategy always seems to get in the way… like the way he guns down married couples in Crime Alley, or the fact that he can’t make a complete sentence. Batzarro is cut from the same cloth as Batman and Bizarro, and watching him try to do good is adorable when he fails at it. His costume, albeit just a simple twist from the original, is rare enough that few people know it exists and knowing about it adds a feather to your Batman nerd cap now.

Batzarro

 

26.) Kingdom Come

Everybody ages; there’s no secret there. So how does the Dark Knight continue to instill fear in his enemies when he’s barely strong enough to open a jar of pickles, let alone put the smack down on some rowdy punks in Kingdom Come? Well, some high-tech gadgets (duh?), a group of punk superheroes called The Outsiders and a rehabilitation suit. Even underneath the actual Batsuit, Bruce needs mechanical assistance to stay mobile; years of taking damage have left him with the face and body of Clint Eastwood. Batman stays through most of the battle as a general, making moves from the inside, but thanks to this armored Batsuit, he’s able to kick ass some whipper-snapper booty off his proverbial lawn.

kingdom_come_batman_0

 

25.) Justice Lord Batman

Batman is all about his business, but Justice Lord Batman really don’t play. In an alternate timeline, the Justice League (Episode 37-38 of Justice League “A Better World”) of a parallel universe stopped being so lenient when the most warm-hearted member of the team, Flash, is murdered by Lex Luthor. An enraged Superman kills the President and the Justice League Lords become overseers of the Earth. All the personality is sucked from the Batsuit, making it solid black with a shiny silver emblem on the front. The change was meant to symbolize a more regal Batman, and it looked dope.

batman justice lord

 

24.) Alex Ross’ Justice

If you’re a middle-aged Batman, and you want your enemies know you’ve been thoroughly pissed off, then Justice #9’s armor is the outfit for you. After being brain-washed to fight against the home team, Batman comes to filled with guilt, embarrassment and rage. This futuristic suit is inspired from the Adam West Batmobile, which I’m not sure whether it is a compliment to the suit or the car. This baby can shoot rockets and fly, which makes it a shame that it’s only used for one attack; most of its display involved just being aesthetically appealing.

Justice Batsuit

 

23.) Blackest Night & Brightest Day

Batman has gone through a lot of costume changes, but few come with the aid of an intergalactic Lantern ring. In Blackest Night, following the death of Batman, he was resurrected by the Black Hand as an agent of death. For fans still mourning from the death of Bruce Wayne, this was unspeakably cruel… but incredibly cool! Zombie Batman was the closest thing we had to the real thing. The whole Blackest Night arc was a nightmare for the entire DC Universe, so imagine our delight when DC announces that Batman will be The White Lantern, the key to ending the war on the Black Lanterns. Things become a bit more complicated than that, as Batman isn’t the chosen one, but you never really doubted that we could be. Batman would play with with other rings in his time, but the significance of serving as guardian of Life (White) and Death (Black) is not overlooked.

White_Lantern_Batman_002

 

22.) Tim Burton movies

Michael Keaton was my introduction to Batman. All black suit, glowing yellow symbol on the chest, this is what I imagined Batman looked like for the first years of my life. I would later learn that the suit’s head and neck was one complete piece, which made turning Keaton’s head nearly impossible. This led to the inadvertent creation of “The Hero Turn,” where a hero will turn her/his entire body instead of just craning the neck. Prosthetic issues aside, there’s no denying that this Batsuit is classic. Burton’s final product was basically a blacked out, metallic version of the comic books at the time. The suit has served as a cornerstone of Batsuit innovation, and served the film perfectly.

michael-keaton-as-batman-in-batman-returns

 

21.) Knightfall‘s Mask of Tengu

When Bane broke Batman’s back in Knightfall: Volume 1, he took away more than his mobility. Bruce’s confidence was completely shattered. Following a miraculously-short rehab stint, Batman set out to find Lady Shiva to help train him to be at his peak. Shiva, being one of the world’s deadliest assassins, puts Batman through multiple tests, including killing a man, which he does to her satisfaction (…or does he??). To inspire Batman, she makes him wear the Mask of Tengu in the form of the Bat. Tengu masks are of Japanese folklore, representing legendary animals, and often referred to in Buddhist lore as demons, harbingers of war. It’s not the prettiest thing in the world, but the Mask of Tengu marked the moment when Batman got his groove back.

Mask_of_Tengu_002

 

20.) Dark Knight of the Round Table

According to history, Batman isn’t exactly the most chivalrous superhero. He does not mind striking a lady and he will not be there in the morning when you wake up, but that doesn’t mean he won’t stomp a mudhole in your ass and walk it dry. In this Elseworld mini-series, Bruce Waynesmoor takes up the sword to protect his house. Batman is one of the few heroes to really make his story work in the Dark Ages, and the Batsuit chosen in the story is easily one of the most creative costumes to date. Renaissance Festival patrons, eat your heart out.

knight-of-the-round-table

 

19.) The New52 Batman

The New52 relaunch was a scary, scary time in the comic book world. Batman had just started an incredible new journey with Batman Inc., and Superman had just renounced his American citizenship. The reboot came swiftly, and most notable in the debut issue of Justice League #1 was a group of classic heroes with NO UNDERWEAR on the outside. Say what you want about the excessive line work, which was applicably toned down in Capullo’s Batman version, but after 70+ years, it was time for these heroes to grow up and wear their briefs on the inside.

New52 Batman

 

18.) Neal Adams’ 1970’s Batsuit

If you’re searching for a time to mark the modernized Batman design, look at Neal Adams’ design. Known popularly as the “1970’s Batman design,” Adams, along with writer Denny O’Neil, created some great moments with Batman. The blue and grey outfit might be considered old now, but it has still universally inspired the designs that are still used today. Adams also gave Bruce Wayne some much-needed chest hair, which was the picture of manliness as can be when he is swashbuckling shirtless with Ra’s al Ghul in the desert. It’s time we bring back the rugged Batman and the classic suit that symbolized one of the best eras Batman has had in the past 50 years.

nealadamsbatman

 

17.) Jason Todd as Batman

Batman’s disappearance had left quite a void in the Bat-family, and Dick Grayson stepped up to fill the void. While the immediate family supported him taking over, Jason Todd felt entitled to part of the inheritance. This led to the Battle for the Cowl arc, in which everybody lost their damn minds vying for the mantle of the Batman. Jason, who had been the Red Hood to that point, fanciest himself a new Batsuit, a frightening costume equipped with several guns and a mouthguard that looked much more like a muzzle for a rabid dog. And that’s exactly what he was at that point. Thankfully, Dick Grayson prevailed and Gotham wasn’t protected by a sociopath who murdered thugs, leaving behind passive aggressive sticky notes that just said “I AM BATMAN.”

BattleForTheCowl1_-_jasontoddisbatman

 

16.) The Dark Knight Returns

While the slightly-armored Batman is a popular choice in comic book lore, there’s something innately appealing about an insane, bulking old man who is willing to risk getting shot and stabbed just to get close enough to sock you in the face. The Batman in Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns was just that man. His suit is sewn, not bolted. There is no insane tech to pull out and save the day with. It may not be realistic, but it made it that much cooler to be the Dark Knight. Miller’s signature giant bat emblem was also on display, which has become the flag for old-man strength, and looks to be the inspiration for the upcoming Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice film.

DC Comics Batman Superman The Dark Knight Strikes Back you work for me

 

15.) High Seas Batman

Pirate Batman may have only lasted one glorious issue, but by golly, it was awesome. When Bruce Wayne travels through time in the highly-illogical-but-what-the-hell-he’s-back The Return of Bruce Wayne, he takes the role of several time-stamped characters, including a caveman, a pilgrim and a cowboy. None of them can touch the grace of High Seas Batman and his glorious beard, which translates surprisingly well to an action figure. The Return of Bruce Wayne is one of the zaniest canon stories in the last decade. It’s an adaptation that would work if given his own series, but with DC taking their franchise titles so seriously, I don’t expect anything this outrageous will ever happen, so enjoy Pirate Batman for the national treasure that it is.

high-seas-batman

 

14.) Flashpoint Batman

Flashpoint was a Flash-centric storyline, but that doesn’t mean he has to the only one getting a cool makeover. The Batman in this story is not the Wayne we know. Instead, Bruce’s father Thomas has taken over duties, and he is one frightening S.O.B. Using torture techniques and war tactics to interrogate his enemies, this Batman is always angry, highlighted by his red-tinted suit and unseemly facial hair. He doesn’t have nearly the amount of gadgetry Bruce does, but that doesn’t make him any less dangerous and those glowing red eyes support the opinion that Bruce’s dad is ten times scarier than he is.

500px-Thomas-Wayne-Flashpoint

 

13.) The Suit of Sorrows

Speaking of an angry Batman, the mystical Suit of Sorrows was created during the Crusades, given to a knight deemed Pure of Heart. Well, not so much it turns out, as the suit drives him crazy, causing him to slaughter hundreds of people. So, what better present to bestow upon your baby daddy than the genocide-inducing Suit of Sorrows in Detective Comics #842? This wretched garb with chain mail and a flowing, ragged scarf makes Batman stronger, and faster, but also gives him quite the temper. The suit wasn’t around for more than one issue, since it was stolen from the Batcave and wound up on Azrael.

suit of sorrows

 

12.) Batman Inc. partners

Batman has gone global! After announcing his plan for global protection in Batman Inc., Bruce travels the world, recruiting Agents of the Bat. Some of them are more prominently featured than others, with Africa’s Batwing (whose mantle is now being carried by Lucius Fox’s son), England’s Knight and Squire, and Argentina’s Gaucho taking up most of the spotlight. There’s also the Native American Man of Bats, France’s Nightrunner and Japan’s Mr. Unknown. All of the characters have outfits inspired by their native lands, and they’re all really cool. Even if most of them haven’t gotten their due in a story, they all added flavor and diversity to the Bat-team.

batman-inc-special-cropped

 

11.) Nolan’s Batsuit

The Dark Knight trilogy gave Batman the justice on screen he deserved, and it started with this highly advanced Batsuit. It’s as close to Iron Man’s suit as Bruce can get, spending a fortune in the Wayne Enterprises R&D department to optimize it for kicking bad guys in the face. It’s too bad it couldn’t buy Christian Bale a better Bat-voice, but the suit was a work of art. Batman looked truly invincible in it (except for that time he got stabbed, but who’s counting). It took the armored, blacked out Burton version and took it up a notch, with only the utility belt having any color to it at all. It wasn’t just for looks, either. The suit and cape also served many practical purposes throughout the trilogy. I dare the BVS Batsuit to hold up to this masterpiece.

Nolan Batsuit

 

10.) Greg Capullo’s Zero Year Batsuit

The current artist of Batman is rewriting history. The Zero Year arc is telling the story of the year Bruce Wayne became Batman, and the makeshift costume that Bruce puts together is an instant classic. It’s inherently realistic and easily cosplayable, with a survivalist twist. At his best, Batman can improvise vital supplies and gadgets with whatever he can fashion. He was MacGyver before MacGyver was MacGyver. Plus, I have to mention the purple gloves, a callback to the first appearance of Batman in Detective Comics #27, 75 years ago – a personal touch we found out from an interview with Greg Capullo himself was Snyder’s idea

original

 

9.) The Animated Series

Thanks to the insanely talented Bruce Timm, TAS had one of the most iconic Batsuits in history. Simple, sleek, and easily replicated, there wasn’t a lot of detail visually: black cape and cowl, grey suit, and shining yellow emblem on the chest with a black Bat symbol. The beauty was in the eyes, where pure white lenses covered his baby blue eyes, yet still managed to capture all of Batman’s expressions. TAS is also famous for using the full repertoire of bells and whistles that the utility belt can handle, making for some resourceful and entertaining moments.

BTAS batsuit

 

8.) Insider Suit

Leave it to Bruce Wayne to make a dramatic entrance. After returning from the dead in The Return of Bruce Wayne, you would think he would come home, and that his cohorts would put together an intimate Welcome Home party upon his arrival. Not this guy! In Bruce Wayne: The Road Home #1, Batman dons this super secret spy suit, likened to one from Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell, hacks into the JLA Watchtower, spies on the city and inexplicably beats the crap out of Batgirl. There was an upside to the fact that Bruce is a complete jerk. The suit’s powers included abilities inspired by the entire Justice League: Martian Manhunter’s camoflauge, a synthetic Green Lantern Ring, the ability to tap into the speed force, a built-in polygraph and a ninja setting. The only thing left to wonder is why the hell he never incorporated these abilities into any of the Batsuits that came later.

Batman Insider Suit

 

7.) Batman Hush Batsuit

The actual Batsuit in Jim Lee‘s Hush model gets a high mark no matter how you put it. DC Comics frequently uses his rendition in almost any large-scale graphic of the Batman. The detail and shading of the suit makes it a shoe-in for the top ten. Lee’s idea to show ears on Batman’s head was one that, in hindsight, missing from almost everybody else’s version. Bottom line, when I think of Batman, I think of Jim Lee’s Hush, down to the coloring, short pointy ears and perfectly-shaped Bat symbol. The Batsuit in Hush also stays perpetually dry, even though there are several rainstorms throughout the book. So there’s that.

JimLeeHush_mini

 

6.) Azrael Batsuit

When Bane put the Batman an indefinite time out, he sought out a successor to temporarily take over while he left to rehabilitate himself. At the time, the two logical options were Dick Grayson and Jean-Paul Valley, who had spent years as Azrael, the Angel of Death for a religious group of nuts before rejecting them and training under Batman. Valley was chosen as the fill-in, which seemed an adequate replacement – until he began alienating himself from known allies. Soon, Azrael, adorned in a newly designed suit of death, was murdering villains and allowing collateral damage. Before Batman came back to reclaim his title, Azrael had managed to put Bane down – and decidedly left him alive.

azrael

 

5.) Damian as Batman

At the current point in time, Damian is dead (ish?), but he once the heir to Batman’s empire. In the flash-forward issue Batman #666, Damian is featured as a future Batman. The years have grown the son of Batman into a jaded, yet concise and highly intelligent crime-fighter. His signature look was capped by a large grey trench coat with a popped collar sporting the bottom of the Bat symbol, in essence giving his whole head and shoulders the appearance of a curled up bat. To boot, the trench coat he sported contains a variety of pockets for weapons to use in addition to the utility belt. The thought of Damian taking over the family business is a tantalizing one. Who wouldn’t want to see this former League of Assassins trainee put the hurt on some of his dad’s enemies?

tumblr_mxi6n0ztWk1qzky0mo1_1280

 

4.) Batman Beyond

Kids these days have no idea how much work we had to put in to solve crimes. Nowadays they have the whole world at their fingertips. Terry McGinnis reaped the benefits of Bruce Wayne’s hard work by having the Batman Beyond suit bestowed upon him. This baby had everything a person could want in an outfit: chameleon-style camouflage, rocket boosters, and a list worthy of its own Wikia page. Terry was indeed worthy of the suit, but he had a heck of a lot easier of a time with his vigilante-style justice than Bruce did initially.

batman-beyond-from-batman-new-52-issue-20

 

3.) Batman’s Heavy-Duty Armor Suit

What does Batman do when the foe he’s up against just simply can’t be taken down by normal means? He builds himself a giant suit of armor – ya know, just in case. In Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, Batman prepares himself for a one on one battle with Superman by hopping into a giant suit of armor. Even recently, in the Court of Owls arc, Batman prepares for the slew of Talons by jumping in his Thrasher suit. The best part about him being in these gigantic wrecking balls is that it is only a distraction while another part of his plan formulates, cementing the brains to go with the brawn. Although, part of me just wishes he would smash things from time to time.

batman-armor-batman-v-superman-a-very-different-batsuit-teasedthrasher

 

2.) Red Son Batman

You can take Batman out of the freest country in the world, but you can’t take the freedom out of Batman. In the Elseworld story Superman: Red Son, which begs the question, “What if Superman had landed in Soviet Russia instead of Smallville?,” we find a very patriotic Superman drinking the Kool-Aid of Soviet Russia, following her every command, not realizing the oppression he is leading. Leave it to Batman to take on Soviet Superman and Wonder Woman all by himself, and holds his own for a fair amount of time. He does this all while wearing an Ushanka and heavy coat. No matter where he lives or who he is, Batman is defined by his actions.

red son batman

 

1.) Green Lantern Batman

We mentioned earlier that Batman had been the hand of both life and death when he wore the White and Black Lantern rings, respectively, but the greatest power in the universe, crafted by the Guardians of Oa, was once at his mercy. When Hal Jordan returned from his hiatus, he practically begged Batman to have a go at using the Green Lantern ring in 2006’s Green Lantern #9. The result was a flurry of power that actually took Batman aback. He turned down any further use of the ring, which was disappointing because just the taste of seeing Batman holding one of the galaxy’s most powerful weapons was enough to secure a top spot in the list of Batsuits.

GL Batman

“Respect My Craft” – Peter Tomasi

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.

 

dcc font

Click on the link to take you to all of our Denver Comic Con 2014 “Respect My Craft” articles

 

Name: Peter Tomasi

Profession: Writer/Editor

Notable WorkBatman and Robin (2011-present), The Mighty (2009-2010), The Light Brigade (2006)

“It’s crazy to think that Damian first hit the books over 7 years ago when I was still an editor of the Bat-line. I can still remember that day when Grant [Morrison] said he wanted to bring this wacko kid into the picture and make him a real pain in the ass for Bruce.” – Peter Tomasi

 

Peter Tomasi is a name that should ring in a lot of fan-boys ears for being the writer to The New52 Batman and Robin, who along with penciller Patrick Gleason have created one of the few comic books out of the relaunch to keep the same creative team – which is amazing considering that Robin has been dead in the DCU for almost half of the series. The death of Damian would not have carried nearly as much weight if it weren’t for the development in Batman and Robin that both Damian and Bruce went through together. The murder of Damian was capped off with issue #18, called Requiem (a title Tomasi also gave to a tribute issue to a certain character after his death in Final Crisis), which was his first silent issue. The emotionally charged issue was a great send-off for the character that Tomasi had sort of adopted through his run as an editor, and then writer, of the Bat-books. There was a deeper connection than just the creative side; this had been the result of years of grooming.

requiem

As a kid, Tomasi’s father introduced him to comic books. Growing up watching Adam West scaling walls on the Batman television show, and reading the exploits of Batman through the legendary comic book tag team of Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams, Tomasi was a Batman lifer. It eventually led him to start his career at DC Comics as an Assistant Editor at DC Comics over 20 years ago, where he has since remained. Ten years later, he earned a promotion to become Senior Editor at DC Comics, while moonlighting as a writer for random books that likely needed help keeping deadlines. Along the way, he also created The Light Brigade –  which Tomasi described as one part Saving Private Ryan, one part Paradise Lost – in 2004. The series has quite the following, and was recently re-released in hardcover edition a few months ago. Wanting more writing responsibilities, Tomasi left his fifteen-year long position to take on Black Adam: The Dark Age in 2007.

black adam choc egg cream

Black Adam had been thrown into the DC spotlight after kicking everybody’s butt in 52, a weekly installment set in one year of DC without the Trinity (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman), so it seemed only natural that he should be given his own mini-series. Tomasi’s run was fascinating, blurring the lines of hero and villain, making me root for Adam throughout the story.  Being Egyptian, I was naturally drawn to identity with Black Adam – although I’d like to think I’m not nearly the evil bastard that this guy is. After receiving a lot of acclaim for The Dark Age, Vice President and current co-Publisher Dan DiDio asked Tomasi to jump on to his first full-time book, Nightwing. The train didn’t stop there, though. Tomasi wrote for The OutsidersGreen Lantern Corps, and even co-wrote Brightest Day with Geoff Johns. He also worked on side projects, like writing screenplay for the video-game, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, a game that I wore out to the point of breaking it in high school, and Green Lantern: Emerald Knights, a compilation of stories about the Green Lanterns (Tomasi’s writing was for Kilowog’s short).

Writing books with an ensemble is something that naturally fits for Tomasi, whose experience as an editor has made him an Amazo of a writer, able to channel different personalities without sounding like a single writer’s voice. This was most impressively portrayed on the recent mini-series, Forever Evil: Arkham War. What I initially took for a cash grab, capitalizing off the Crime Syndicate story that Geoff Johns was writing, I ended up falling in love with. The story picks up with the Justice League absent in a world now controlled by the rime Syndicate, Gotham City left with nothing but Batman’s rogues gallery to fight over the empire of dirt left behind. The two front-runners in the battle are Scarecrow and Bane; Scarecrow thinks he can outsmart Bane, but Bane proves to be more cunning than Scarecrow thinks, and definitely the stronger-willed. Once again, I find myself cheering for the “bad guy” in one of Tomasi’s books.

Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 6.53.40 AM

The complex relationships that Tomasi builds in his books are a cornerstone of his writing. When he came on to writing the Bat-books, it was right before The New52 relaunch, when things had gotten quite complicated in Gotham City. We had been introduced to Damian Wayne and Stephanie Brown, Batman had freaking died and now Dick Grayson had become the new Batman. It was a very confusing time for me, but the understanding that these were people underneath the masks helped me dissociate the standard roles each of them played. While Bruce had a sternly parent role with Damian and Tim, Dick was more of a big brother – which was evidenced by his difficulty in getting Robin to follow in suit.

Damian has earned his place in the Bat family legacy. From when he started out in Batman and Son to when he was killed in Batman Inc #8, the character had grown from intolerable shit to prodigal son. A lot of the interactions in Batman and Robin were influenced by Peter’s own son, and how he thinks a wily, spitfire of a boy would act. And while the other Bat-books featured Damian’s progression, it was really Tomasi that raised him. Tomasi has been the cool step-dad that never gets the credit for raising a child that was, in essence, left on his front porch. The first volume of the New52 Batman and RobinBorn to Kill, is a prime example of why Damian really belongs to Peter Tomasi. Through rage and instinct, Damian decides to defeat crime by taking it out permanently, crossing the line that Batman holds dear when a third-party, named Nobody, convinces him to take a life. The heart-wrenching arc is one of the best in the New52 and really showcases the internal struggle Damian goes through – things are really messed up when your mom is the son of the Demon’s Head and leader of the League of Assassins. With so many Batman-led titles, the interpersonal take on Bruce and Damian’s relationship with each other set Tomasi’s book apart from the others. This must have been especially hard when you realize that, as Senior Editor, Tomasi knew Damian’s fate from his very inception.

titus

Since Damian’s death over a year ago, the series has been following Batman’s quest for closure, culminating in a battle with Ra’s Al Ghul, who has defiled Damian’s grave and using him to create more super-soldiers – featured in a disturbing Batman and Aquaman #29. You can feel the feels slide off the page, as we’re not sure where Batman’s mental state is – that’s not only scary, but a testament to the earnestness of Tomasi’s writing. The news has broken that Batman will indeed be getting a new Robin when Robin Rises: Omega comes out on Batman Day (July 23rd). Speculation remains as to whether or not this is a new Robin, or the return of Damian, but one thing is sure: Batman needs a Robin just as much as he needs a writer like Peter Tomasi.

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 as we put on our spandex and onomatopoeic fighting words with the classic Batman, Adam West.

Graphic Novel Review – Batman and Son

Collecting: Batman (vol 1) #655-658, follow-up on #663-666

Original Release Date: 2006

Publisher: DC Comics

Character: Batman, Talia al Ghul, Damian Wayne, Robin (Tim Drake)

Writer: Grant Morrison (All-Star Superman, Final CrisisArkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth)

Art: Andy Kubert (Flashpoint, Origin, Marvel 1602)

SCORECARD (each category ranked on a 10-point scale):

Storyline – 7
Art – 9
Captivity and Length – 6
Identity – 7
Use of Medium – 8
Depth – 7
Fluidity – 7
Intrigue/Originality – 10
The Little Things – 8
Overall awesomeness – 8

Note: Be on the look-out for our film review of Son of Batman, which is loosely based off this book, soon.

Since the first issue of Batman in 1940, the Dark Knight has always had a Boy Wonder. Of course, the flamboyancy with which the character of Robin has been portrayed over seventy years ago has no place in the current era of comic books – especially in a Batman book. The Batman that we see in Batman and Son has lost one Robin to another team (Nightwing to the New Teen Titans) and buried another (Jason Todd), only to see him return from the dead (check our Batman: Hush review to catch up) as the sociopath Red Hood. So, suffice to say that even though he has let in a new ward, Tim Drake, into Bat-family, he’s had a fair amount of hesitation when allowing another child into the fold. What if he didn’t have a choice? What if this next recruit was his son – and not just any son, but the grandson of the Demon’s Head, Ra’s al Ghul? Enter Damian Wayne, son of Talia al Ghul.

talia kiss

Many avid readers know who Damian Wayne is. He’s the smart-ass, strategic and combative genius, groomed from his birth as a test tube baby to rule the world. Oddly enough, the character of Batman’s son was first brought up in an Elseworld (non-canon) title, Son of the Demon, in 1987. Here, though, he makes his first appearance in DC Universe canon. For those of us that followed his entire character development, up to and including his death in Batman Incorporated (which also came at the hand of the Cruel Grant Morrison), Batman and Son is a loud, annoying reminder is just what a little shit Damian can be. He is spoiled and disrespectful, and unfortunately has the skills to back up a lot of his bravado.

batman's son

 

The fact that he’s a pain in the ass isn’t all his fault. He has been bred to believe that he is the perfect genetic specimen and heir to taking over the world, so I guess a little precociousness is in order. Talia more or less dumps her own son in the lap of Batman because she can’t control him. In the most fiendish plot yet, she drops this little WMD in Wayne Manor to distract Batman while she causes all sorts of havoc on the side. It’s a pretty clever plot twist that really has no consequence on her end. A bulk of the focus is on Damian’s assimilation to the Bat-family. Spoiler – he does a very poor job at fitting in. Being trained by the League of Assassins doesn’t exactly prepare you for life with a benevolent father and pseudo family that Gotham offers Damian. Damian immediately spits on everything that Bruce stands for as a defender of the night. As endless as the Wayne’s wealth is, it is still nothing compared to being heir to the Demon Head.

handshake

Batman and Son is only four issues long, and its length really shows. We get to see the reason that the League has Man-Bats at their disposal, a legion that they still use. Yeah, Man-Bat ninjas are a little far-fetched, but these are Man-Bats we’re talking about in the first place. The set-up to the big reveal that Batman is the father was taken at face value; no DNA test, no genetics scanning, not even an episode of Maury was thought of to determine the truth. I find that hard to believe from the world’s greatest detective. By the time Damian and Batman are introduced to each other, we are half-way through the story. I also thought a lot of the internal monolog and the quips by Batman felt totally out-of-character, like lines that were supposed to go to Dick Grayson. Maybe the familiarity Batman has with Talia gives him loose lips, but it feels wrong throughout the book.

man bat ninjas

 

Damian’s character often give off mixed symbols throughout the story. He obviously wants his father’s approval, he rags on how lame everything about his father is. Kicking Tim Drake’s ass and taking up the mantle of Robin is a sweet yet super creepy way to try to gain Batman’s affection. When Damian takes the law into his own hands to thwart an enemy, he definitely goes too far. I know that Bats has to play by a different set of rules when dealing with the League of Assassins, but everybody seems to handle Damian’s extreme measures with much more grace than I expected. The ending seems like the typical cop-out ending where we experience the ambiguous deaths of the bad guys. This is far from the end of Damian, but this arc didn’t leave us wanting more of him (again, hindsight is 20/20).

he quit

At the crux of it, Batman and Son has a lot more shock value if you don’t know who Damian Wayne is, but for the majority of us that have watched him grow as a Robin and a person (my personal recommendation for Damian’s character growth is the New 52 story Batman & Robin Vol 1: Born to Kill arc), Batman and Son is a painful reminder of what an insufferable d-bag Damian started out as. After reading this, I often wonder if Dan Slott used Damian’s character as inspiration for the pompous Otto Octavius Spidey in Superior Spider-Man. Even with the great panels that Andy Kubert has crafted, Batman and Son can be summed up in a few pages. The fact that Batman has a biological son after all the decades of questionable relationships with young men is enough to warrant picking this up, but don’t expect to be blown away by Prince Wayne’s debut.

All media credited to DC Comics

Written by Sherif Elkhatib

 

Comic Book Reviews 01-29-14

Review Scale:

The mythical A+: Classic comic book material. Belongs next to your copy of The Notebook and 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:

serenity 1 soar

Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #1 – A

Oh, Whedonverse, be-still my heart.  It’s always a good day when I can get a dose of anything Firefly or Serenity and today was one of those days.  Serenity: Leaves on the Wind is the first new content in about a year from the ‘verse (an oft used term in the book itself, too).  Written by Joss’ little brother, Zack Whedon, and penciled by Georges Jeanty of Buffy fame, Serenity: Leaves on the Wind takes places shortly after where the film ended.  We get a good taste of what different media outlets feel about the discovery of Miranda and the Reavers.  We also get a small glimpse at a group of bounty hunters looking to take out River, a small group of Browncoats looking to find Mal and follow his direction, Jayne is back on his planet, and then is what is left of our crew.  Kaylee and Simon are finally together, River is the new pilot, Zoe is very pregnant, and Mal and Inara…well.  They finally are doing what fans vied for (and its NSFW).  It was great to see so many different story lines going on in one small book; enough for a true fan to want to continue to find out what comes of it all.  Because this is the first issue of 6, it gets a little leniency for not being as thorough with any one person’s storyline.  It also gets slack for not having the full arsenal of dialogue the series is known for.  But because I have missed my crew so much and now we are finally reunited, Serenity: Leaves on the Wind gets our Pick of the Week. – A

Other Reviews:

Dark Horse Comics

Furious #1 – B-

If you like strong women, relatable superheroes, and crazy twists the Furious #1 may be the comic for you this week!  A fairly interesting theme is introduced in this new Dark Horse series.  As the story starts we learn that the very first superhero (ever) has made an appearance.  She calls herself “The Beacon,” but due to a most brutal rescue of a few college students in distress in the presence of the paparazzi, the locals have taken to calling her “Furious.”  The issue is somewhat bland in the beginning.  I was expecting a dazzling, super powered spectacle when I picked up this comic.  It wasn’t until the last few pages that I realized this series will be focused on internal struggle and overcoming self-imposed challenges.  The ending twist is especially alluring and holds massive potential to make this seemingly run of the mill superhero series a cerebral thriller. – T

DC/Vertigo:

Batman and Robin Annual #2 – A-

The Batman and Robin series has been spinning its tires in the mud for the better part of a year since Damian met his demise in Batman, Incorporated #8. As Annuel #2 shows, trying to find the perfect partner to complement the Batman isn’t as hard as it sounds. Dick Grayson’s Robin was where it all began. This issue beautifully illustrates the relationship between the two as Dick was just beginning to put on the cape. They even manage to fit in a sentimental moment for Damian. I wouldn’t expect the same level of writing on sub-sequent issues, but this one can still be enjoyed while it lasts. – S

Earth 2 Annual #2 – B+

For those who haven’t had quite enough of the origin story/year one tales of Bruce Wayne, look no further. This is a little after Earth-2 Batman has begun his career, but in an odd twist; it isn’t an origin for the original Earth-2 Batman – it’s an origin for his Earth-2 successor. There are multiple points in time spanning from before Bruce’s birth to after his Earth-2 death. The main takeaway from this book is that Earth-2 Jarvis Pennyworth, Alfred’s father, is a major badass. There unfortunately isn’t more that I can say about this book without spoiling the plot but for anyone that is a fan of Batman, you owe it to yourself to check this annual out. The art is really good and with the fresh take on an old concept that has gotten a lot of mileage, particularly recently, it has somehow managed to keep things feeling new. Read this book!! – R

Batman: The Dark Knight #1 – C

Just like the issue before it, Dark Knight continues the Voiceless story arc by putting out an issue with absolutely no dialogue. We join our hero as he is escaping a trap set by the Penguin. The use of gadgets is pretty cool, and there is some fine visual work from the artist, but save for a heart-felt reunion at the end, this arc is almost looking like a holiday special and not the new arc I had been expecting. As Batman tries to dismantle Penguin’s ring of slave labor, I can’t help but think that maybe some dialog wouldn’t be a bad thing. I’ll play along for now, but I’m thinking this silent thing may be more gimmicky than I can handle. – S

Damian: Son of Batman #4 – D+

Damian: Son of Batman has been a mini-series that attempted to delve deeper into the set piece of Andy Kubert’s Batman #666, but unfortunately failed to do so because of it’s abrupt ending in issue #4.  From issue #3, we know that the man who wears The Joker’s face is just an impostor, and that could have been an amazing side story within itself. The mini-series also gave us Alfred-Cat, and really, who wouldn’t want more of that?  But this series introduced not only a murderous non-impostor Joker, but a murderous Damian Wayne, a reformed and not-so-murderous Damian Wayne, an impostor Joker, and of course Alfred-Cat, and then ended it all with no real moral, much less rhyme or reason. If you have made it this far in Damian, then you owe it to yourself to finish it out with this issue; however, don’t be too surprised if that ending leaves you with an empty feeling. – R

IDW Comics:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #30 – A-

This issue was one big, collective hug in paper format. The past few issues have been really difficult on the turtles, and on readers. The whole gang is out in the Northampton farm that belongs to April’s parents, trying to recover from the events of City Fall. Starting issue #29 and going through #32, we get the pleasure of some of the series most beautiful art. Russ Campbell and his beautiful color work make this a beauty. Alopex and Raph finally have an exchange of words, and Donnie gives some reassurance to Leonardo. All seems right in the world; that is, until a new villain is revealed at the end of the issue. The honeymoon is almost over, and danger is looming. How could TMNT get any better?? – S

 

Image Comics:

Saga #18 – A

This issue was not amazing. Lyyinggg. Saga is like reading a romance novel wrapped in bacon – in a good way. It’s still a romance book about two love birds trying to find a safe haven for their inter-species child, but there are layers upon layers of sophisticated context. The fallout from Prince Robot IV’s arrival in Quietus has resulted in quite the mess, with everybody strewn in different directions, Prince Robot IV quite literally. We also finally get a satisfying confrontation between Marko and Gwendolyn. All these side-stories are collectively keeping Saga one of the best books in the industry. Do yourself a favor and pick up this once-in-a-generation title. – S

Black Science #3 – B+

What a ride Black Science has been! We’ve been spoon-fed the story inch by inch for three issues now, and I’m just now beginning to put the pieces together. Our main character, Grant, has discovered unlimited parallel universe – and it seems that he’s going to explore every one, whether he wants to or not. While the group battles high-tech Native Americans and what seems to be Nazis, some spicy details come to the surface about Grant’s life. There are so many aspects that make reading Black Science so enjoyable.  Inner monologues and thoughts are so well written and placed in panel context and transitions from backstory to real time are flawless. Best of all – the images and artwork are glorious. My hat goes off to Matteo Scalera, Dean White and all the other contributing artists involved in this series. The only criticism I have for Black Science #3 is that the story was slightly slower in pace and plot development was light.  Still, the story continues to intrigue me and I can’t wait for next month to find out what’s next for the Dimensionaughts! – T

 

Marvel:

Superior Spider-Man #26 – B+

Spider-Man is finally becoming cool again. Doc Ock’s welcome has definitely worm out, and everybody is catching wind of it. With the re-release of Amazing Spider-Man in April, I can only assume that Octavius’ tenure as the un-friendly neighborhood Spider-Man is coming to an end. While Spidey deals with a suspicious Avengers team, New York is at war to decide who will become the Goblin King. Things are going to get much worse before they get better, but I’m finally enthusiastic enough about this book to say you should jump on board now! – S

Night of the Living Deadpool #2 – C+

The apocalypse is here, and the only one that can stop the hoards of the undead is the Merc With the Mouth. Playing out somewhat like Shaun of the Dead – eighty percent parody and twenty perfect vague plot. Fans of the Walking Dead can appreciate the scene in which Deadpool and friends search for a place to set up camp. The fact that the zombies are semi-conscious is also interesting, and kind of creepy, a clear nod to George Romero’s recent books. Artistically, it’s really cool to see Deadpool as the only thing that is colored throughout the book. It’s a sad nod to the idea that he will always be the center of attention, yet he will always be alone. This is good material to get you through the week, but it’s nothing to really write home about. – S

 

GPA by Publisher:

DC Comics: 1 A, 1 B, 1 C and 1 D, averaging out to a 2.25

Marvel Comics: 1 B and 1 C, averaging out to a 2.50

Independents: 3 A’s and  2 B’s averaging out to a 3.60

Funniest Panel of the Week:

black science 3

Epic Panel of the Week:

batman robin annual 2

Cover Art of the Week:

nov130318

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.

Written by Sherif ElkhatibTaylor LoweAdrian Puryear and Robert Michael

Comic Book Reviews 12-31-13

Review Scale:

The mythical A+: Classic comic book material. Belongs next to your copy of The Notebook and 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:

Injustice: Gods Among Us (DC Comics) #12 – A

All of those who have been reading the series digitally, ahead of times, now you can pat yourself on the back and say “I told you so.” Gods Among Us has been much more than a video-game adaptation, and this issue is the best one yet. Superman has completely lost his marbles, and Batman seems to be the only one who has the gall to deal with it. We’ve reached the end of “season one,” but it’s only the beginning of the end for this world under the iron rule of Superman. The Batman-Superman bromance comes to in end in a BAD way. I can’t recommend this series enough! – S

Other Reviews:

Boom! Studios:

Revelations #1 – B

Image ushers in the New Year with the brand new mystery-thrillers series, Revelations.  The series opens in Vatican City, Rome one stormy night.  A potential successor to the Pope is dead – impaled on iron fence spokes after taking a long fall from a cathedral window, dropping a mysterious object on the way down.  Enter Charlie Northern, a long-time atheist, fan of hardcore sucker for conspiracy theories and London detective.  Charlie is asked by an old friend and member of the Catholic Church to investigate the mysterious death of the would-be Pope.  By the end of the issue it’s obvious that the circumstances surrounding the death are sure to keep Charlie busy for a while.  For any fans of the Da Vinci Code or National Treasure stories – this series is for you.  While I’m not a crazy fan for the religious themed plots, I’m never bored by murder mysteries.  Paul Jenkins (writer) peppers in just the right amount of intrigue and teasers to keep this series on my radar.  That and Charlie’s hilarious inner monologues.  The real seller for Revelations though – the art work.  Humberto Ramos (art), Leonardo Olea (colors) and Edgar Delgado (colors) present jaw dropping panels.  The detail and contrast is worked in very nicely in environments that are inherently dark and dreary.  I’m looking forward to experiencing Charlie’s unraveling of the mystery and soaking in more gorgeous panels in future issues. – T

DC/Vertigo:

Superman Unchained #5 – B+

Superman Unchained has had the honor of having the best creative team in comic books, with writing by Scott Synder (BatmanAmerican Vampire) and art by Jim Lee and Scott Williams (Batman: Hush, New 52 Justice League). This series has suffered from being under-developed, but that stops in issue five. This issue has finally picked up steam, and there is phenomenal dialogue between Wraith and Superman before things get real. This isn’t your father’s Superman. No longer the Blue Boy Scout, Superman has no blind allegiance to the U.S. government. Wonder what it would be like if Superman fought somebody just as strong was. Oh, and a huge nod to Jim Lee playing with watercolor on flashback scenes, as they are simplistically beautiful, as well as the first appearance of Jim Lee’s Batman in over a year. Every comic book fan should hop on board with Superman Unchained. – S

Batman: The Dark Knight #26 – C

The entire issue had no dialogue, but it still says a lot. Chronicling the story of a family torn by tragedy, a girl is taken from the safety of what little family she has left and forced into child labor. The ring leader is none other than the heartless Penguin. Batman catches wind of the scene and investigates, only to be trapped by Cobblepot and Co. The story tells itself with subtle imagery and great inflection. I’m not sure who the Voiceless are, but I’m intrigued enough to find out – something I haven’t been able to say for another Batman title since the New 52 launch. – S

Damian: Son of Batman #3 – C

Andy Kubert has regained a bit of momentum in this third issue, but there’s still not enough going on here to really sell it home – and with one issue left, I really don’t know where this is going. Damian is struggling with being a non-lethal Batman, and one of our Bat-family members kicks the bucket. I love the outfit and the thought of Damian trying to bring Gotham back under Bats protection, but I’m kinda over it. Even the re-appearance of “The Joker” couldn’t pique my interest. I will finish out the mini-series because there is only one issue left, out of respect for Damian, but I’m not expecting much else to come from this series that should have been buried along with Damian Wayne. – S

Dead Boy Detectives #1 – C-

Based off Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series, the two ghost detectives Edwin and Charles are back at it in their own series, Dead Boy Detectives. The debut issue has our duo following a young girl at a art show robbery. They narrowly save her from death and, as a result from her near-death experience, she is able to see them. It’s not a very engaging book thus far, and I’m struggling to see how much more in depth this mini-series can get when there have already been two adaptations of Dead Boy Detectives. Here’s to hopng that we’re not beating a dead horse or dragging Neil Gaiman’s name around for exposure. – S

Justice League Dark #26 – D

In this issue of Justice League Dark (Forever Evil tie-in), the Dark team (Pandora, Swamp Thing, Nightmare Nurse, Phantom Stranger, and Constantine) are confronted face to face, or rather consciousness to consciousness, with Blight. The dialogue within this issues is corny to say the least; the art however, was a semi-redeeming quality, especially within the first few opening panels. Most of the dialogue wasn’t intriguing or fascinating, and the story itself was moving at a fairly slow pace. With very little action happening within the story until the end, I wouldn’t recommend continuing this story over others. – E

Dark Horse:

Bad Blood #1 – D-

Bad Blood is the story (sort of) of cancer patient/college student/former footballer Trick.  He sulks around and his best friend Kyle tries to cheer him up. Trick gets bit by a vampire who proclaims that Trick has poisoned blood.  But then the vamp immediately bites and kills Kyle.  Trick feels bad, tells the police what happened, and then tries to find the vampire on his own when that doesn’t work.  In theory, this comic seems pretty cool.  In reality, it didn’t take a bite out of me (trust me, that pun has more personality than this comic).  The main character doesn’t evoke sympathy for his bad health.  We don’t know what kind of cancer he has; at least a nod to maybe leukemia would have made the title ironic in the first issue.  Also this vampire, he comes out of nowhere and claims to have been eating rodents underground for centuries and that he fears the living world?  That just doesn’t make much sense.  And after his killing spree, he is never to be seen again.  The only redeeming factor about this issue was the nod to the modern age.  Trick tries to find the vampire and wonders whether he should check Facebook or Craigslist.  It seems that would be where one would start in today’s times.  Otherwise, there was no connection to plot or characters in this first issue.  The 2nd issue will really have to step up to keep me interested. – A

Dynamite Entertainment:

Twilight Zone #1 – C

Nee-nuu-nee-nuu-nee-nuu-nee-nuu…bong!!  The Twilight Zone was brought to us via comics this week.  Issue number one explores the life and times of Trevor Richmond, a successful and savvy businessman that’s grown bored with the routine he’s worked himself into.  Looking for a change, Trevor seeks out one Mr. Wylde who heads an enterprise that specializes in giving people “new lives.”   Lives that guarantee full and thorough dissociation from the previous – even in a person’s physical appearance.  The plot thickens when we learn that Trevor is not just bored with his life; he’s in fact seeking an escape.  With all the wealth he’s been earning for his company, he couldn’t help but skim some of the lucrative profit for just himself.  Trevor and Wylde strike a deal that will sever all ties Trevor has to his current life and send him back out into the world scot-free and with no risk of repercussions of crimes previously committed.  In good Twilight Zone fashion, there is a twist.  We’re left with an intriguing cliffhanger on the very last panel that’s got me anxious for the next issue.  Other than the allure of the Twilight legacy, there’s nothing outstanding with the issue itself.  The artwork is fairly basic, characters are archetypical and the story is heading down a fairly predictable path.  The comic book medium may not be the ideal place for a franchise like The Twilight Zone, as I flip back through #1.  I’ll pick up the next issue, but if I’m not blown away by pages end I’ll likely opt to continue to get my Twilight Zone fix from the good ol’ black & white series that’s been blowing minds for over 50 years now. – T

Image:

Todd, the Ugliest Kid on Earth #8 –B

Ok, I’ll admit, this is the first issue of Todd, the Ugliest Kid on Earth that I have read.  But I think it says a lot that because of this one issue, I want to go back and read the first seven issues.  It is well drawn and colored and hilariously funny.  The inside cover alone had me rolling, with explanations of who different characters were, including Mohagany Davis Jr., possibly the daughter of Sammy Davis Jr.  The jokes are off-color and not appropriate at all, despite the main character being a little boy, who, because he is ugly, constantly wears a bag over his head.  It reminded The story got a little confusing for me, especially because it was a Christmas issue, and I felt I was missing a lot of background, but overall I laughed throughout the entire read. – A

Marvel:

New Avengers #13 – C

Issue 13 of New Avengers Inhumanity arc continues the story of the Illuminati (Black Panther, Black Bolt, Mr. Fantastic, Tony Stake, and Doctor Strange) and the eventual collisions of universes – referred to as The Incursion. Personally, I enjoy how grim this story is. It’s clear that everyone is willing to sacrifice almost everything for one reason or another- the Illuminati to ensure their survival, and Doctor Strange to restore his power to the level it once was. This book brings a dark and somber element to the comic book world, which makes it very easy to get sucked into the story. I can see big things getting ready to happen in the Inhumanity arc, yet I struggle a little bit with how quickly they switch between universes and which group belongs to which Earth, at times it can be a bit overwhelming. I would recommend sticking with this story, though, especially because it is the beginning of a brand new arc where things are beginning to reach their climax. – E

The Superior Foes of Spider-Man #7 – C+

Women make the best super villains.  That’s not a slight at the female gender.  On the contrary – it’s a compliment.  A successful super villain has to have drive, ambition and a ruthless passion to be the best at what they do.  Janice of the evil Beatle-team exemplifies these traits in issue #7 of The Superior Foes of Spiderman.  From the first panels, readers venture back in time to the humble beginnings of Janice and her “job.”  She pulls a sweet rope-a-dope as a pre-teen at a “friend’s” birthday party all the while being encouraged by her mobster father, Tombstone.  We skip ahead in time and continue to witness the makings of a superior villain in Janice as she graduates from college (head of her class) and quickly makes a name for herself at a reputable law firm – all a means to an end to becoming the super-villain leader of her own crime syndicate.  The comic as a whole is light hearted and fun to read.  Janice is a dynamic character and one that’s easy to root for; mostly due to the humorous nature of the issue.  The downside to all this is the obscurity of the characters.  Granted, I’m not a die-hard Spidey fan.  Even so, I was left wanting more insight and background on the supporting cast.  The banter was entertaining at least.  This origin story issue is a good read, but I’m going to need some conflict in the next issue if Nick Spencer (writer) wants to keep this fan onboard. – T

GPA by Publisher:

DC Comics: 1 A, 1 B, 3 C’s and 1 D, averaging out to a 2.33

Marvel Comics: 2 C’s, averaging out to a 2.00

Independents: 2 B’s, 1 C and 1 D, averaging out to a 2.25

Funniest Panel of the Week:

Todd, The Ugliest Kid on Earth #8
Todd, The Ugliest Kid on Earth #8

Epic Panel of the Week:

Injustice: Gods Among Us #12
Injustice: Gods Among Us #12

Cover Art of the Week:

The Superior Foes of Spiderman #7
The Superior Foes of Spiderman #7

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.

Written by Sherif Elkhatib, Adrian Puryear, Taylor Lowe and Evan Lowe

Comic Book Reviews 11-27-13

Pick of the Week:

Black Science #1 (image Comics) – A

It’s only been one issue, but I’m already invested in this sci-fi thriller. I have no idea what the hell is going on, but I don’t think our main character, Grant, does either. The Black Science, I correlate to be like Black Magic, but it pays more. The art is very fitting and the monologue is amazing. In an attempt to escape from the weird toad and fish people, Grant sends his team to some inter-species galactic war. I don’t know what’s going on and I love it. I’m super excited to see what happens next.

Other Reviews:

All New X-Men #19 (Marvel Comics) – D

In this issue, the original X-Men fight off a group of crazy religious zealots who are dedicated to killing mutants in the name of God. With brand new uniforms, a new art team (technically they did #18, but it still feels new) and a new villain, this issue carries almost zero momentum that has made this such an enjoyable book. Also, seemingly for no reason, Illyana AKA Magik is back together with the rest of the X Team after a huge falling out when she joined Cyclops’ team. There was a pretty crazy end scene where a feral (and bald) X-23 bears her teeth to Kitty Pryde, so we’ll see if this is somehow connected to the Murder World that takes place in Avengers Arena. All in all, though, a pretty bland book considering the caliber of the series thus far.

Aquaman #25 (DC Comics) – B-

If you’re not a fan of Aquaman, this issue probably will not sell it. Geoff Johns, in true Geoff Johns fashion, wraps up his tenure with Aquaman taking his place as King of Atlantis. The Dead King has been defeated for now. It might not seem like a big deal, but Johns took Aquaman from being the laughing stock of comic book fans to an almost-respected character in just two years. While I’m skeptical of anything that happens after this, the story immediately points to a new threat, carried into another Geoff Johns penned book, Justice League. I’d say this book is worth checking out if you’re at all curious about Aquaman or the end of Johns’ saga.

Avengers Arena #18 (Marvel Comics) – D

Murder World is finally closed. After seventeen issues full of mushy “let’s be friends” speeches, one of the characters sacrifices himself to save the rest of the characters. However, the biggest worry is what happens after they leave. Arcade, the madman behind the whole debacle, has uploaded the events of the superhero Hunger Games onto the web. What happens now? The issue, and series as a whole, wasn’t stellar in story or art, but the aftermath of the events that unfolded will be pretty interesting to see.

Damian: Son of Batman #2 (DC Comics) – C

When issue one ended, I was thoroughly confused as to how Bruce Wayne was waiting for Damian in the Bat Cave. Issue two clears that up, then expands on it a bit. It’s just done a bit too quickly. The oddest part of the series is that Damian, the grown man, sounds just like Damian, the ten year-old child. I was really hoping for some character development here. On the plus side, it seems that this story is fitting in nicely to explain the events of Batman #666 where Damian faces off with Professor Pyg. As an avid Batfan, I would recommend reading this book, as the art by Andy Kubert is amazing.

The Flash #25 (DC Comics) – C+

The Flash has been one of the best drawn books in DC’s catalog, and usually has held my interest through the storyline. So I figured that when they introduced a Batman: Zero Year crossover, it might be worth checking out. In some ways I was right, and in some I was wrong. While it was awesome to show what a good investigator he was, clashing with the hardened detectives of Gotham City, and meeting (and saving) Iris West to form a romantic relationship, I am just sick of DC changing origin stories for the sake of changing them. All of the changes feel bastardized and not the original stories they should be.

Hawkeye #14 (Marvel Comics) – B+

When Kate went her own separate way at the end of Hawkeye Annual #1, I was a bit confused on how the series would continue after that. This episode shows us that it would continue straight through to Kate’s personal life. As it has been the whole series, Hawkeye does a stupendous job of humanizing the characters, having fun the whole way there. It does get a little deeper at the end, when it is revealed that Madame Masque is the villain behind the whole ordeal. Hawkeye is a guaranteed good read, and this issue is no different – no matter your opinion on Hawkeye, the character.

Injustice: Gods Among Us #11 (DC Comics) – B+

Based on the awesome video game that released earlier in the year, Injustice has become more than a cash-grab “based off” series; it is one of the best alternate universe storylines in recent history. After Batman decides that Superman is too far off his rocker, he and a small group distract Superman and sneak into the Fortress of Solitude to steal a super-serum that Lex Luthor developed to even the playing field. Along the way, we lose two beloved characters. It’s a tragic, yet exciting take on the DC lore. NoteInjustice was actually released as a “Digital Only” series, with each printed issue consisting of three digital ones. So if you really liked this one, the finale issue is comprised of #34-36 and you can find them for $1 each on Comixology.

Kick Ass 3 #5 (Marvel Comics) – B

If you’ve ever seen Kick Ass, the movie, then you know what you’re getting yourself into. Believe me, the comics are way better. There’s less censorship as far as what the characters say and do, the costumes don’t look as ridiculous and there are tons of namedrops; it takes us less than four pages to get somebody to compare the 21st Century Robin Hoods to Omar from The Wire. With Dave finally getting a normal girlfriend, he seems to have abandoned his superhero team. They have bigger troubles, however, as Rocco puts a hit out on every single masked character, ending the issue in sad, disturbing fashion with the death of one of my favorite characters.

Saga #16 (image Comics) – B+

It seems like we’re finally picking back up steam here! Equipped with murder, lies and naked unicorn women, issue sixteen is a thoroughly fun ride the whole way through. We’re finally brought back to the events in #13, where Prince Robot IV is closing in on our favorite pair of space fugitives. There’s quite a bit of story going on here, especially the new development of the war correspondents that seem to have trouble coming their way soon. It’s hard not to recommend a book that kicks this much ass, month after month.

Superior Spiderman #22 (Marvel Comics) – C+

Since (SPOILER!) Otto Octavius has taken over Peter Parker’s body and carried the mantle of Spiderman… Wait! Don’t leave! It’s not as bad as it seems, I promise. Anyway, since Superior Spiderman has begun, all the quips and sarcasm that made Peter Parker our Spiderman have been replaced with techo-babble infused cold-hearted insults. More than twenty issues in, Otto finally begins to develop a personality, even falling in love, a storyline which is starting to make me like him again. But just when things get cozy again, his arrogance frustrates me even further, making a Flash Thompson-Spiderman confrontation way more annoying than epic.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #28 (IDW Comics) – A-

Last we left our turtles, the Foot had just unleashed Bebop & Rocksteady. While the rocker duo don’t really get the homecoming I had hoped for, there are plenty of other characters to help bring this issue to a close. The turtles manage to save Leonardo and break him from the brain-washing that the Foot had put him through, but by all means, he is still broken in every other way. One of my favorite conflicted villains also switches her attitude and saves their lives during the fight. And you can’t forget about Old Hob, Splash, April and Casey Jones. It was an entertaining and meaningful issue, albeit with no real conclusion to the threat at hand, that reminds me why I’m still in love with the heroes in a half-shell.

The Walking Dead #117 (IDW Comics) – A

When Negan and Lucille burst onto the scenes in The Walking Dead #100, he immediately become our enemy, killing off a beloved character in the most disturbing fashion of the entire series (which is sayin’ something). However, as time goes on, we realize that maybe Negan isn’t quite the Governor that we initially painted him to be. Through this episode, we find that Negan does indeed have a very strong moral compass, as does he want to be the leader of a strong community. It’s really shocking to learn this about one of Rick’s enemies, and it will serve to make Negan more complex of an adversary than we’ve ever seen in The Walking Dead. Bravo, Kirkman.

Funniest Panel of the Week:

D. Oswald Heist shares his deepest fears with us in Saga: Chapter 16
D. Oswald Heist shares his deepest fears with us in Saga: Chapter 16. I’m sure Fiona Staples had fun drawing this.

Epic Panel of the Week:

Our girl Alopex finally snaps on Shredder in TMNT #28
Our girl Alopex finally snaps on Shredder in TMNT #28

Cover of the Week:

TMNT #28 cover by the master, Kevin Eastman
TMNT #28 cover by the master, Kevin Eastman

That about wraps it up for our reviews this week. We hope you had fun stuffing yourself on Thanksgiving! 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, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.

Written by Sherif Elkhatib