Bruce Timm just loves making fans happy. During the premiere of Justice League: Gods and Monsters at San Diego Comic-Con, Timm, in response to a fan’s question, said that Alan Moore & Brian Bolland’s The Killing Joke would be the next animated adaptation for the DCU.
For those not familiar with The Killing Joke, it’s one of the darkest and most profound stories ever written about Batman… or anyone, really. The story is about how one REEEEALLY bad day can turn even the sanest person crazy. Some of Batman’s most popular lore is portrayed in The Killing Joke – even though it isn’t part of the Batman monthly series. Joker’s origin story, Barbara’s paralysis, and the intimate relationship between the Joker and Batman are all explored here.
DC Animated has gotten more and more brazen with their animated films, which have increased in violence and adult content since 2008’s Justice League: The New Frontier. If DC wants to stay true to the source material, and so help them they better, they’re going to have to break a lot of the unspoken rules about their animated movies; nudity, torture, and nude torture are all apparent in The Killing Joke.
Also announced were:
“Batman: Bad Blood” — An original Batman story that features the introduction of Batwoman to the new line of animated films.
“Justice League vs. Titans” — Another original story and the first of the DC Universe Original Movies to feature the Teen Titans.
Mark Hamill (who has “retired” the Joker… then lied about it and returned to Arkham Knight) has taken it upon himself to campaign to play the Joker in this adaptation via Twitter. Who wouldn’t want to see he and Conroy team up for this classic tale?
The film won’t be released until sometime in 2016. While you’re wiping the drool off your chin, remember that DCUA’s next film, Justice League: Gods and Monsters, will be released in just a few short weeks (July 28th).
Notable Voice Actors or Writers: Troy Baker (The Joker in Arkham Origins, Delsin Rowe in inFamous: Second Son), Travis Willingham (Reggie Rowe in inFamous: Second Son), Nolan North (Deadpool in Deadpool, Cole McGrath in inFamous, Pagan Min in Far Cry 4), tons of celebrity guest spots like: Kevin Smith (Clerks), Adam West, Conan O’Brien, Gilbert Gottfried, Geoff Johns and Stephen Amell (DLC coming soon)
Alluring Element: The winning formula of a LEGO game, this time expanded to include the scope of the entire DCU
Check it out if you liked: LEGO Batman, LEGO anything
When it comes to games that the whole family can enjoy, there’s nothing quite on the level of LEGO games. From Star Wars, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings to the recently-released Marvel title, there isn’t any fandom that Telltate won’t touch. Where the franchise has succeeded is in its ability to bridge adults and children together. While the games and their mechanics are fairly simple – two attack buttons, a jump button and two character/costume changes, there is an undeniable level of complexity to the completion of the highly detailed levels. There are tons of characters to unlock, and with a ludicrous amount of goodies to uncover, you’ll find yourself smushing your child in the face to push them out of the way and complete the game 100%. Unlike traditional kids game, there is an added effort in trying to appease to the hardcore fan-base. If you are trying to brainwash your kid into getting into comic books, or you yourself enjoys a thorough Easter Egg hunt, this is the game for you. If you don’t git into either category, though, you might be hard-pressed to find a reason to drop cash on this game. It’s the type of game that really depends on who you play with, or the type of gamer you are altogether. LEGO games are ideal for the treasure-hunting, methodical players who take their time and enjoy unearthing all the well-thought secrets that go into the game. If replaying a game five times over doesn’t appeal to you, then the price of admission isn’t really justifiable. Luckily, as somebody who is still just levels into Diablo III with his loving wife, I am all about 100% completion on my games.
All that in mind, I still want to enjoy the game as I endogenously play through it, and LEGO Batman 3 is noticeably less entertaining than the game that came before it. LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes was great in the sense that the story (stopping Lex and Joker from taking over the world) was so dynamic that WB actually re-purposed the cut scenes into a full-length animated movie that was released separately on DVD. LEGO Batman 3, however, did not impress me – and my standards are pretty low as far as LEGO-inspired entertainment goes. The plot, which was some kind of convoluted version of Geoff John’s Brainiac and Green Lantern: Blackest Night, took Batman and Co. around the galaxy to… actually, I have no idea what the purpose was, I just knew that early on, I figured out that I had to travel to each Lantern planet and do stuff before defeating Brainiac with feelings. Yes, the thing that Batman hates more than Robin’s Superman pajamas. It’s a large scope to tackle, and this being a next-gen game, it was expected that we would see an expanded DCU, but I can’t help but feel like time would have been better spent coming up with a more creative way to incorporate different characters into the game. Instead of just boasting a cast of over 150 characters (it will take a WHILE to unlock them all), it would have been nice to actually give each of them a little more attention instead of just skin swaps. Really, only the core cast of Batman, Robin, Cyborg, Lex Luthor and The Joker have multiple uses.
That being said, the fine-tuned attention to detail is as impressive as it is heartwarming. The Danny Elfman-inspired Bat-tunes are still there, and the custom sound bytes add a bit of flavor to each character’s situation. For example, when entering the character selection screen, hovering over certain characters spawn their very own Batman theme song – Na na na na na na na na, CYBORG! Can you guess which hero this one belongs to: Na na na na na na na na, MEEE! Also, along with Superman’s John Williams theme during flight, Wonder Woman also has her classic Linda Carter theme play while she flies. All the way to down to the most obscure characters in the DC Universe , the sheer amount of geek packed into one game is extraordinary, and will keep dedicated fans combing through each level with increased vigor to unlock all their secrets. You can even mix and match parts and powers to create your own weird-looking LEGO superhero. On the other side of the coin, the allure of having Conan O’Brien, the friendly janitor, tour you around the Justice League Watchtower or saving a pleading Adam West is really fun the first time, but can get severely grating after they repeatedly chime in with the same monologue until you run away screaming or mute the television.
With all the high performance games out there, expectations for a LEGO game can be a little skewed. Make no mistake, LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham is just as much fun as Call of Duty or Assassin’s Creed, but just like those games, need to be enjoyed by the right person. You can choose to spend hours teaching your kids about each hero’s powers (or learning them yourself), or you can go all Orange Lantern on this bad boy and reap all the buried treasure within the levels. The gameplay won’t blow you away, but it’s as complex as it needs to be, and makes the game accessible for all ages of gamers. The story isn’t all that spectacular, but at the very least, it is a love letter to DC fans; you can really tell that Traveller’s Tales put a lot of thought and research into this game, making it one of the most thoughtful Batman experiences I’ve had in a video game.
All media credited to Sony Entertainment and Sucker Punch Productions
J. August Richards’ (Angel) Deathlok suit has been revealed for Agents of Shield. He looks like one bad mamma-jamma! It will be interesting to see him play the villain, after such a brilliant performance in Arrow.
Street Fighter fans gear up; the final new character for Ultra Street Fighter 4 has been announced as Decapre, a clone of Cammy
Star Wars: Episode VII will be set 30 years after the original trilogy. What a coincidence, since Return of the Jedi was originally released just over thirty years ago.
With Amazing Spider-Man 2 coming out in a month and a half, the last trailer has been released. Drool.
Word has it that Pikachu will be the official mascot of Japan at the World Cup. Pika-Pika!
Aaron McGruder is producing a new show on Adult Swim, “Black Jesus”.
Tom Hardy will be starring in a Splinter Cell movie. Women might finally find out what Splinter Cell is.
The second issue of Ms. Marvel dropped today. Learn more about how writer G. Willow Wilson blends humor, Islam and super-powers in one fell swoop.
The Suicide Squad made its debut on Arrow tonight! Find out how it came to be here.
PS4 debuted a Virtual Reality Headset. When you wear it, you look super cool.
The Giver officially has a trailer. Every kid should have read this book. If you haven’t, go do that right now. Eek!
Street Fighter is getting its own TV Series called Assassin’s Fist. Hope you get the channel it airs on.
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. Hush Comics’ weekly article “Respect My Craft” will dive into the history of these comic book 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 comic books, or at least give you a reason to invest in their work.
Name: Jim Lee
Profession: Artist, DC Co-Publisher
NotableWork: X-Men: Mutant Genesis, WildC.A.T.S., Batman: Hush, Superman: For Tomorrow, Justice League
Jim Lee is one of the most revered comic book artists in the industry. From his unlikely start in independent books to his rise to the top of the ranks as Co-Publisher of DC Comics, Jim Lee’s story is one of as much absolute detail as his work. Lee has a Korean heritage, but grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. Always a comic book fan growing up, Lee gravitated towards the X-Men, reason being that they were marginalized for their differences – something many can relate to. It was even a dream of his to create his own comic book company after graduating high school, an accomplishment he was voted most likely to achieve by his peers. As money crushed dreams and grown-up responsibilities set in, Lee was pressured by his parents to enroll at Princeton University with the goal of becoming a medical doctor.
After obtaining his BS in Psychology, Lee made a deal with his strict, but loving, parents to take a hiatus from med school to try it on his own for one year as a comic book artist. This was during the mid 1980’s, when such iconic books like The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen were leading a renaissance in the industry. After putting his foot in the door and submitting portfolios to publishes all over the country, Jim Lee got his start in the comic book business in 1986 by lending his artistic talents as an inker to Samurai Santa #1 (no, seriously). Without much else to go off of, Marvel Comics hired Lee to pencil Alpha Flight, a mid-tier comic, in 1987 that started with Alpha Flight #51.
After several issues of Alpha Flight and then moving on to Punisher: War Journal (which Lee started illustrating in 1989), Lee got his wish to draw his favorite childhood characters in Uncanny X-Men #248. He was asked to come back for subsequent issues until Marvel asked Lee to draw a twelve-issue run simply titled X-Men with writer Chris Claremont, widely regarded as one of the best X-Men writers. Together, the two created Omega Red and the fan-favorite character, Gambit. He also redesigned many of the characters’ costumes – most of which are still used! To this very day, the first issue of X-Men (Vol. 2) is the highest selling issue of any comic book in history.
The success of X-Men meant that Lee could pretty much write his ticket wherever he wanted to go. It just so happened that what he wanted was more creative control over his work. Along with several powerhouse writers and artist, including Hush Comics’ favorite, Todd McFarlane, Lee helped found Image Comics. This is the same Image Comics that has been the birthing grounds of: The Walking Dead, Saga, Black Science and Deadly Class. Taking more interest in writing and producing, Lee branded himself as Wildstorm Productions and created WildC.A.T.S., a team of aliens caught in an intergalactic war, and Gen13, which follows a group of teenage super-heroes as they find their powers while running away from government testing. Both were very intriguing books that lasted far beyond Jim Lee’s involvement, showing that Lee has substantial writing capabilities to back up his artwork.
In an effort to focus more on art, Jim Lee sold Wildstorm to DC Comics and, shortly thereafter, began illustrating some of the most beautiful panels I’ve ever seen. In 2003, Lee joined acclaimed writer Jeph Loeb on Batman: Hush. This is the arc that got me into comic books, and it was largely due to the full-page panels, detailed background and unique use of medium by using watercolors (a first for Jim Lee). If you want to know how much we love Hush, look no further our very first graphic novel review. The iconic “Kissing the Knight” panel impacted me so much that I decided to get it tattooed on my arm. A year later, he joined Brian Azzarello (current Wonder Woman and 100 Bullets) for Superman: For Tomorrow, a very unique book about the Man of Tomorrow. Lee followed For Tomorrow up with a darker, more brutal All Star Batman and Robin The Boy Wonder, written by Frank Miller, which is the first comic to use the legendary “Goddamn Batman” line. It was a bit of a departure from Lee’s tone, but the art keeps up with Miller’s rough and grimy story perfectly.
As he was finishing All-Star, Lee was also waist-deep into the DC Universe Online. Released for Playstation and PC, Lee spent years creating character models for the game as its Executive Producer. Seeing these renders as fully-functional video-game characters is a sight to behold. Along the way, he earned the title of Co-Publisher for DC Comics and spear-headed The New 52, a complete reintroduction of the DC Comics’ catalog. He and Geoff Johns became the creative team behind the Justice League relaunch (review of Volume One: Originhere). Since then, Lee has headed numerous design projects for DC, including: a partnership with Kia to design Justice Legue themed cars (the Batman Optima is the best, by far), promotion for the We Can Be Heroes charity (donations usually lead to goodies), design work for Scorpion’s costume in the Injustice video-game DLC, and he still makes time to attend various comic book conventions around the country.
As amazing as Jim Lee is, it’s important to remember that a lot of work is done between the last pencil stroke and the time the issue hits the shelves. Most artists use a team, composed of an inker and a colorist. The inker is in charge of turning dark pencil marks into appropriate shadows or accents, while the colorist brings the appropriate shading and tone to the story. Dating back to his run with Uncanny X-Men, Lee has used Scott Williams and Alex Sinclair for inking and coloring, respectively. They deserve just as much credit for his quality work.
Checked out his bibliography and still want more? Check these books out:
Batman: Hush – Unwrapped is drawn entirely in pencils, with no inking or coloring. The amount of detail is stunning, showing why Jim Lee is one of the best in the business.
ICONS: The DC Comics & Wildstorm Art of Jim Lee offers a lot of background about Jim Lee – history and anecdotes, as well as some great spreads of his best work.
Image Comics: The Road to Independence gives an in-depth look at how a group of brave men disbanded from the largest comic book company to create the third-largest comic book company.
Just Imagine If… Stan Lee Created Wonder Woman is written by Stan Lee, drawn by Jim Lee, and kicks harder than Bruce Lee
Wizard: Jim Lee, Millennium Edition is like ICONS but gives a better look at his pre-Wildstorm days.
How Much Does Hush Comics Love Jim Lee?
I wanted to point out that none of this art is mine; it is all credited to the original publishers (Solson, Marvel and DC). Check back next week as we kick off Black History Month by honoring all Black writers and artists, as well as graphic novel reviews with cultural significance. Peace and much love to ya!
Writer: Geoff Johns (Blackest Night & Brightest Day, Flashpoint)
Artist: Jim Lee (Batman: Hush, X-Men: Mutant Genesis, Superman: For Tomorrow)
SCORECARD (each category ranked on a 10-point scale):
Storyline – 8
Art – 10
Captivity and Length – 9
Identity – 7
Use of Medium – 9
Depth – 7
Fluidity – 9
Intrigue/Originality – 8
The Little Things – 9
Overall awesomeness – 8
With the way that DC Comics is rolling out exciting stories with strong, developed characters, it’s easy to forget that less than three years ago, DC relaunched its entire catalog in a brazen attempt to gain more readers. The New 52 term was named after the fifty-two (no, seriously) new series that were launched in September of 2011. The first released and most heavily promoted book in the relaunch was Justice League, and it had a creative team comprised of the two biggest ballers in the entire corporation: Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns and Co-Publisher Jim Lee. DC really rolled out the red carpet for our flagship characters in this first volume, Origins.
Have they got a name? Of course they do, you can call them the SUPER SEVEN!!! This is still very early in the Justice League’s career, so early in fact, that only Flash and Green Lantern have actually met before and people actually believe Batman is still a myth. While the story starts off with a bang, it is very mild compared to the type of major events one would think would have to take place to bring seven of the DC Universe’s greatest heroes together. That is actually a point of contention with me because I would have really liked to see Green Arrow in the league to begin with. While he was at least mentioned by the very end along with Zatanna, one of the most important intial members is completely left out of the picture. Martian Manhunter is nowhere to be seen or heard from in these first six issues, although he does make his debut in Justice League of America as a weaponized response to Superman. I get that they try to have one of each hero archetype involved from the start is more than enough, ignoring an original is a bit ridiculous, especially considering they included Shazam! in the animated adaptation.
Where the book does get it right, however, is in the way they slowly yet awesomely introduce characters one at a time. Each character feels like they were treated fairly with equal time which is no small task considering how few issues they had to work with and the ambitiousness of this particular story. The art by Jim Lee – which really needs no further explanation, but just in case you didn’t already know – is absolutely stunning in every detail. Every page is drawn and colored beautifully; many pages left me staring well after I had read the dialogue. The attention to detail is that immaculate. My only complaint about the art is that Aquaman seems to be the only character that doesn’t match his New 52 reboot design. If people wonder why Aquaman is always getting made fun of, they only need to look at the costume he was given here. It is very hard to take him serious when he has mutton chops and a pearl necklace (like Gangstalicious said, “it’s all about pearl necklaces”) with his trident chained to him with a ridiculously long chain. He basically looks like a frat-boy looking for an S&M party at Red Lobster.
Its not only the art that got this kind of detail either, there are little nods throughout that make it something special for longtime fans of these characters. A little girl calling them the Super Friends or the ever so slight nod towards the Legion of Doom, along with the humor that almost comes effortlessly between the characters. Even though they are meeting for the first time in this book, it feels like they have been fighting evil together for a lifetime.
All this isn’t to say that the book didn’t have its faults, though. While there was an overall cohesiveness that worked really well for the story, it felt at times like there was almost too much going on at once. Since this story was self-contained and didn’t bleed over into any of the main characters solo storys, it felt like a missed opportunity to further explore pieces of the story that were otherwise left out. My main gripe with the story was how we as readers were just thrown directly into the middle of a story with the first panel and never really given much explanation other than Darkseid was coming. Leading up to and even after his arrival, more time is spent on introducing the characters and making sure they get their just due, when it would have been nice to extend the story a few more books and give a more fleshed out story to the reader. The end makes it seem like this is something that may be revisited, but not anytime soon.
Outside of the initial reveals for the characters, there wasn’t very much in the way of character progression. This can be forgiven in this particular instance because it goes along with the major reboot of all the series (which is where most of the character development should go), it just felt like the writers could have used the opportunity as more of a bonding experience then they actually did. I expect from this point forward for the series to build these relationships further and make them a more cohesive unit (We already know Wonder Woman and Supes get busy 😉 ). One of the biggest changes in the characters’ personality is Superman’s disregard for authority. Blue Boy Scout no more, Superman has readily embodied the ethos of the current generation, and a nice touch that has defined his character in the New 52.
Overall, this is an experience that can’t be missed. Even with the minor story and character hiccups, the potential this book has going forward is amazing. With the hint at the Legion of Doom being on the horizon there is the potential to have all sorts of encounters, because not only is this a fresh start for the Justice League, it is also a reboot of their greatest foes. There is also a great opportunity to cultivate relationships that can also be worked into the characters main books as well (Superman/Wonder Woman and Batman/Superman being prime examples but let’s branch out!!). Going forward, I would suggest grabbing Volume Two: The Villain’s Journey, if not for the story, at least for the amazing Jim Lee art. Any fan, casual or long-time will be able to appreciate Origin.
General Reception: It may not have been the reinvention that the Justice League merited, but fans definitely bought into it. While the Geoff Johns/Jim Lee arcs only spanned two volumes, it gave readers like us a whole new universe to go off of. Jim Lee’s art and Alex Sinclair’s coloring are top notch, and you’d be hard-pressed to find anybody who didn’t have nice things to say about this book. It’s a great representation of what the relaunch was supposed to be.
Related Books: Flashpoint offers the same familiar feelings with a new origin twist, albeit much more drastic alterations are made. The new Justice League series is still going strong, as well. The current Forever Evil storyline shows the Justice League putting up with the Crime Syndicate. Final Crisis, also written by Geoff Johns, is a great DC epic with Darkseid as the main villain.
More by the writer: Geoff Johns has had quite the run in the past ten years. Notably, his work on Green Lantern books, everything from The Sinestro Wars leading up to Blackest Night and going all the way to Trinity War, Johns has had the rare pleasure of creating a saga. Before the New 52 reboot, Johns also wrote The Flash’s Rebirth (the return of Barry Allen) and Flashpoint. Recently, he had just left the New 52 Aquaman series after building up some credibility for the character. He is also still writing Justice League as it enters the thick of the Forever Evil arc.
More by the artist: Wanna know more about Jim Lee? Check out our new “Respect My Craft!” article, spotlighting the iconic artist, debuting tomorrow!
*Screenshots taken directly from comic book using Comixology app. Credit to DC Comics for the images.
At Hush Comics, we will be starting a new monthly piece reflecting on Diamond Comics Distributors’ monthly PREVIEWS issue. For those not in the know, PREVIEWS is a monthly magazine (almanac-sized each month) that shows you all the ways that you could lose your money through comics, collectibles and games. With the thousands of items to throw money at, we figure we’d make it a little simpler and suggest five comics and five collectibles that will definitely be on our shelves when they are released.
Comics & Books
1.) Bounty Hunter Code: From the Files of Boba Fett is one of the coolest piece of Star Wars memorabilia I’ve seen in a while. At only $60 and releasing October 29th, Bounty Hunter Code is part collectible, part book, but all awesome. To unlock the goodies inside, you actually have to insert your bounty hunter data card into the slot, ensuing some sweet lighting and sound effects – I wish more books that I read gave me this level of presentation when I opened them. There are plenty of removable documents loaded with easter eggs and fun facts. Each book encased in the Files holds some significance to something in the Star Wars universe; for example, the Death Watch booklet inside, given to Boba by his father, features hand-written notes from Jango himself. I tell ya, when Star Wars does a specialty book like this, they never half-ass it, and I’m sure we can expect the same quality of thoroughness with Bounty Hunter Code.
The case includes:
The Bounty Hunter Code
The 48-page memoirs of Cradossk, former head of the Bounty Hunters Guild, with an inscription from the author to Boba Fett
A Kamino saberdart
Boba Fett’s captain’s license
Boba Fett’s arms permit
Slave I’s official operating license
An Imperial wanted poster for Han Solo
An inventory slip from the Rebel Alliance forces who discovered and seized Boba’s property
2.) Batgirl #26 written by Gail Simone and drawn by Fernando Parasin and Johnathan Glapion is going to be a fun one. Although comics, DC specifically, have been trending towards a lot of crazy covers that don’t exactly depict what happens inside of them, Simone’s Batgirl has been a cut above the rest and I’m sure it will be epic either way. After recent events have led Commissioner Gordon vowing to personally take down Batgirl for committing murder (Yeah, you need to read that story, Batgirl #20), Barbara Gordon has retired as Batgirl, but she keeps finding a way to don the cowl when her dad is in trouble. Is this the moment we’ve been waiting for? Does Babs finally reveal herself as the Batgirl to her dad? I may have to wait until December 11, but I’m psyched to find out.
3.) The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Kevin Eastman Cover Gallery collects some amazing work from the legendary TMNT creator, Kevin Eastman. In a single-issue priced book, you can ogle at the turtles in all their glory. This is a no brainer for any fan of the TMNT and, at only $3.99, you don’t need to be a baller to get it. You can find all Kevin Eastman’s cover art for the new series here. Hopefully this will suffice for you until the December 4th release date.
4.) Wolverine: Origin II #1, written by Kieron Gillen and drawn by Andy Kubert, looks to pick up right where the original Origin left off, which I’m not going to tell you about because it’s an amazing book (and now a Marvel Knights DVD). It visits more of Wolverine’s primal back-story, and teases to even highlight another character’s secret origin. The main bad guy in the story seems to be Sinister as of now. I hate that asshole, but he makes for some interesting stories. I’m a sucker for Kubert art, and this looks to be visually striking, regardless of storyline. Look for Origin II #1 to be in stores this Christmas Eve.
5.) Justice League 3000 could be something special. Written by Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMattels , with art by Howard Porter, Justice League 3000 looks to be a pretty sweet futuristic look at the Justice League. With no connection to the Legion of Super-Heroes, a series that takes place in the time period, nor any connections to the current Justice Leaguers, it’s difficult to say what to expect with book. DC Comics has made a habit of putting out new series and themes for more of a cash grab than substance (ala “Villains Month” this month or even the new Batman “Zero Year set to drop next month). For now though, we can revel in the awesomeness that is Green Lantern and Flash’s character design. Expect mixed responses when 3000 hits stores on December 4, 2013.
1.) Revoltech Yamaguchi Metal Gear Solid Snake and Raiden action figures
You may think you’re too old to play with action figures, but that is a bold-faced lie! At $55 a pop though, these beauties are not for children. They are some pretty nice collectibles, if you can allow yourself to keep it in the box. Unlike the norm for this kind of figure, this Reevoltech Yamaguchi figure is completely poseable, making for some really cool shots like the one below. It’s nice to know that sometimes you don’t need to keep everything in the box to get value out of it. With both Snake and Raiden having a release date of 11/15, this will make some nerd very happy come this holiday season.
2.) Square Enix DC Comics Variant Batman Statue – Red costume
On the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with admiring a well-sculpted statue still in the box. The Square Enix DC Variant line, the first pieces of which just recently released, are a sort of exaggerated Japanese superhero twist on the Justice League characters. While, of the original releases, Green Lantern was my favorite, the new red costume variant of Batman takes the cake. He has some weird kinda gun thing, he has this weird flowing cape with harpoons at the end… it’s like Flashpoint Batman had a love-child with Megazord. This bad boy won’t be out til February 2014, but its a pretty cool exclusive to add to the closet of other things you never take out of the box… Hard sell lol.
3.) Batman Arkham Origins Firefly action figure
The Batman villain Firefly has been very seldom used throughout video games, television and movies, despite having been created over sixty years ago. That all changed when Firefly made an appearance on the live-action Arrow series earlier this year. The character was now a demented pyromaniac with a revenge plan, instead of some guy with a flamethrower. In the new Batman videogame, Batman: Arkham Origins, the Dark Knight is set to take on Firefly head-to-head. Although Firefly is a more obscure villain, I have no doubt that comic book rookies will know his name after battling him in the game. He looks like he belongs in Killzone or Mass Effect, a testament to just how bad-ass this figure looks. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to get your hands on it until next March, when the game is but a distant memory as a PS3/360 swan song.
4.) The Walking Dead socks
Don’t judge me! Socks are awesome. A lot of women don’t understand what socks mean to a man. Socks are to men what lingerie is to women. You don’t wear cool socks with the intention of showing it off, but you need to be prepared for that moment that somebody special might get a glance at your feet. “Why yes,” you’ll croon. “These are officially licensed socks from AMC’s The Walking Dead. Yes, I suppose I can let you touch them.” Anyway, my imagination got away from me. Releasing near the start of the mid-season premiere in January 2014 and at $8 per pair, which is pretty decent compared to any other pop-culture branded socks (yes, I’m an expert in that field), you won’t have to break the bank for some of the coolest designs they could choose from in both men’s and women’s sizes. You can find the other designs here. Just a bit of advice to everybody: don’t let your feet smell as bad as the dead things on them.
5.) Firefly Captain Malcolm pistol replica
Bang, Bang! Ok… It’s been out for a while, but who doesn’t want one of these?! For one its cool. For two, its Captain Mal’s freaking gun! If the world goes the way that Joss envisions it in Firefly and Serenity then don’t you want to be prepared for that? You won’t get very far without this beauty. It should go on you coffee table. It is the perfect art piece to discuss. This does mean however, that I will need to get a coffee table to match my new pistol.
Characters: Alana, Marko, Hazel, Prince Robot IV, The Will, Izabel, The Stalk
Writer: Brian K. Vaughn
Artist: Fiona Staples
SCORECARD (each category ranked on a 10-point scale):
Storyline – 8
Art – 10
Captivity and Length – 10
Identity – 10
Use of Medium – 8
Depth – 7
Fluidity – 9
Intrigue/Originality – 9
The Little Things – 10
Overall awesomeness – 10
Imagine if The Hobbit, Firefly and Star Wars had monkey sex and left a wet spot in the form of a comic. Saga is one of those rare gems that comes once a generation. Writer extraordinaire Brian Vaughn, of TV’s Lost, and comics, Y: The Last Man is paired with Fiona Staples, total hottie and penciler of books like North 40 and Jonah Hex. The result is a space opera like none you have seen before. If you can envision what all of your 5th grade, overly sexualized pictures would look like if they had space ships and laser pistols, you’d have Saga.
Volume one is the trade version of issues 1-6, originally published in 2012. Once again, Image Comics pushes the boundaries, almost as often as they push back release dates, and gives us a comic worthy of fan-boy argument and minimum orders at your local comic shop.
The story follows two lovebirds born on opposite sides of a galactic war. Take away the horns and wings and Marko and Alana are Kirk Cobain and Courtney Love, or a less violent hipster version of Mickey and Mallory.
Our heroine, Alana is from a planet called Landfall and Marko is from a planet called
Wreath. The two planets have been at war longer than anyone can remember. They fell in love and had a mixed species baby. This baby is the reason why they are being hunted by both species.
Our interstellar lovers begin their adventure with the birth of their daughter and our narrator, Hazel. Its probably the most kick-ass birth ever in a comic. Immediately, they are confronted by an army of angry elk dudes and another group of guys that look like the cops from Demolition Man with wings.
If I sound a little gushy, it’s probably because Fiona Staples single handedly kept my faith in comics alive last year with this title. Hell, she damn near created a whole new religion, fully equipped with sister-wives, Kool-aid flavored arsenic, and snake charming. So pardon me if I sound a little fanboy while reading my signed copy. This comic doesn’t answer the question, did Greedo shoot first? But it does stir a pot of middle school giddiness once you read a page or two.
There is a post war, atomic era feel to Staples work. Saga is reminiscent of Dan Stevens Rocketeer epic. Vaughn’s humor compliments her sarcastic facial expressions and the book reads like a still frame sitcom.
Magic is a common weapon and spells are often cast to thwart enemies in this universe. But there is also a healthy dose of light-saber’esk swordplay.
The Will, a freelance bounty hunter hired to find our couple, looks like what Han Solo would have if he’d been played by Bruce Willis.
Our thrift-shop, Gluten-free heroes find themselves in more trouble than they can handle and end up befriending the half torso ghost of a dead emmo-girl named Izabel. Zoinks!
I can only empathize with Mr. and Mrs. Staples having to explain to little Fiona why her art wasn’t suitable for the fridge. The opening scene in chapter four with Will walking through Sextillion is disturbing, but you won’t stop smiling all while trying not to feel guilty about it. There are plenty enough dicks and tits to make you feel like your comic should have come sealed in a plastic bag and sold behind a black curtain.
Overall the story is simple, but the humor is hard to deny. This book is vulgar, sardonic and voguish and I bet George Carlin would have loved it. Volume one has more than enough to keep the reader interested and in anticipation of more Superbad inspired notebook doodles of dicks and spaceships. Bravo for Saga.
Related Books:Saga Volume Two, and all comic Issues #1-13
More by the writer: Brian Vaughn is an official Bad-Ass. He has written for everything you like. The list is too long to do justice. It includes Captain America, X-Men and Spider-Man. He has even crossed universes and written for the guy with the cape and cowl and the other dude with the green bling. Not to mention Y: The Last Man is one of the best titles of this decade and has won numerous awards. Oh, and then there is ABC’s Lost.
More by the artist: Fiona Staples is pretty much the best thing in comics right now. She has worked her way through the industry and is co-creator of one of the most popular titles on the market, Saga. She has done a ton of cover art for multiple titles, including, The Walking Dead, Red Sonja and Superman/Batman. Watch out comic-book heads! This inkstress is already making a big impact on the industry, and this is only the beginning! Cue spooky villain sound track.