Comic Book Reviews 08-06-14

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:

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Kick-Ass 3 #8 A+

That’s right – the finale to Kick-Ass is the first A+ ever given at Hush. It was the best send-off I could have asked for. Dave Lizewski is calling it quits, but before he quits, Hit-Girl has talked him into one last night of beating some mobster and crooked cop ASS. As per usual, the story is flooded with murder and mayhem, but there are so many great moments with no action at all in them. It was a greatly crafted end that just screams Hollywood adaptation. The pages are also littered with Easter Eggs and even an after-credits scene that keeps the story alive. Kick-Ass has shown us that not only do comic books kick ass, but normal people can, too. This is one of the best endings to a beloved franchise I’ve read since Locke & Key wrapped up last December. Kick-Ass has carved out a niche in the comic book world and has enough shelf life to make it a classic. – Sherif

 

Other Reviews: 

DC/Vertigo:

Grayson #2B-

It would seem that although there is a lot of change in the Batverse since Dick Grayson’s “death,” not much has changed. The former Nightwing has been sent in to spy on … Spyral, who is working on systematically discovering the identity of the Justice League. The tricky thing about being a double agent is that, most of the time, nobody has any idea what is going on and where alliances lie. Unfortunately, we as readers are victim to some of that as well. I like the overall schtick the book has, and writer Tim Seeley does a good job of portraying the whimsical Dick Grayson, but there’s not enough here to really make me want to sell Grayson to you. – Sherif

 

Marvel:

Rocket Raccoon #2 – A

The second issue in Rocket’s solo series starts out with a hilarious True Detective reference that, while slightly confusing, made me laugh out loud and the laughs kept coming from there. It’s rare that a comic book will have me laughing so much, but, Rocket manages to do just that. Rocket is just as foul-mouthed as he’s always been in the books but it’s great to see Rocket have to take care of himself, he can really kick some ass when he needs to, even without a gun. The art has taken some getting used to for me, but, I think I’m finally on board with it. It’s very reminiscent of old Earthworm Jim stuff, there’s even a Rat Fink style vehicle in it that I absolutely loved. I’m very excited with where this series is going and I suggest getting started on it, especially if you enjoyed the Guardians film. – Cody

Moon Knight #7A

Wow. The first six issues of Moon Knight have been so awesome, and just like that – it’s over. Writer Warren Ellis and penciller Declan Shalvey are moving on after dropping one of the most impressive new books out. Their last issue, and the one that wraps up the first arc, focuses on NYPD detective Ryan Trent who has a real problem with a superhero doing their jobs for them. Trent decides to take the most logical action – falsify his identification as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and become a murderous anti-hero to take his place. Ellis and Shalvey have laid the groundwork for the new team of Brian Wood (writer) and Greg Smallwood (artist) to take over. If nothing else, this six-issue run has been an applaudable ode to the character of Moon Knight. – Sherif

Superior Spider-Man #32A-

Okay, I have to admit it – I really missed the a-hole Spider-Man. Otto Octavius is still alive, kind of. There was a certain charm that Doc Ock carried as the Superior Spider-Man that Peter Parker just can’t. I will say that I highly prefer having our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man back in business, but if there’s anything this book proved, it’s that there is still a place in the world for a narcissistic, genius Spider-Man. It seems Otto will be jump-starting this Spider-verse event, gathering a team of Spider-Men from all universes, saving them from a universe-hopping Spider hunter (and not saving a few more, like: House of M Spider-Man, Fantastic Four Spider-Man and the Iron Spider). This is shaping up to be a thoroughly entertaining story. – Sherif

Legendary Star-Lord #2 – B-

Peter Quill’s solo adventure has been a lot of fun so far. Star-Lord has been captured by his half sister and is being taken to face his fate. This issue has a couple really great moments of Star-Lord just being Star-Lord which is always good for a laugh. I love seeing all the weird creatures out there in these Guardians solo books and there’s a great “that’s no moon” moment in this issue. This one had a rather odd end, but, I’m still excited to see where this is going. – Cody

Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spider-Man #4 C+

Ultimate Spider-Man has always been a bit difficult for me to follow. However, what always drew me in, even if for just a few issues at a time, was the emergence of Miles Morales and the “Death of Spider-Man.” This new series has been more or less pedestrian, but this issue definitely kicks it up a few notches. Miles finds himself all alone after spilling the beans about his secret identity to his girlfriend Katie has effectively pushed her away. Miles has more pressing matters to attend to, as Norman Osborn is tearing apart the Parker’s neighborhood. Somehow, Peter freakin’ Parker shows up to save the day. Following Marvel’s newsfeed, we know that there is some massive Spider-verse event coming up – we just hope that Peter’s appearance isn’t a gimmick. – Sherif

 

Funniest Panel:

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Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

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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.

 

Comic Book Reviews 05-28-14

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:

Deadly Class #5 – A

Just go to your local comic book store and give all your money to Rick Remender, who is also writing the wildly successful Black Science. This book is so unique; from the art and panel layout to the subject matter, I feel like I’m experiencing something new every issue I read. The story is coming as it pleases, and that suits it just fine. We’re getting an in-depth look into the psyche of Marcus, this time as he comes down from his high. While the psychedelic color scheme is beautiful, it doesn’t make me want to ever drop aid. Deadly Class remains one of my favorite books, and it’s in no rush to get where it wants to go, so just sit back and enjoy the ride. – Sherif

Man this issue was absolutely crazy! From opening to close I was hooked and I didn’t want it to end. It has been a long time since I have seen a comic so creative in design and with every panel I had a big smile on my face! I just enjoy everything Deadly Class has to offer and the character development that happens with its characters every week, especially Marcus. When issue 6 comes out I must read it day one especially due to the way they ended this issue. It has been a while since a comic has done to me what Deadly Class continually does to me. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. So if you are looking for a great comic, with great art, great story, and amazing creativity, Deadly Class is calling your name. – Evan

Other Reviews:

Dark Horse Comics:

Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #5 – C+

This series is very entertaining but man is it hard to imagine the crew after the events of Serenity. Although we get to see Mal being a bad ass in this issue, the ultimate story seems slow and there is only one issue left in this mini series. Hopefully we will see more of Captain Mal, Zoe, Jayne, Kaylee, Simon, and River but up to now this series is entertaining to huge fans of this previous TV series and film but ultimately will be lost among those just browsing for a new series to read. – Jacob

 

DC Comics:

Batman #31 – A-

These two guys (artist Greg Capullo and writer Scott Snyder) are the best creative team in comic books. It’s ben a total pleasure reading Zero Year, which feels like a true origin story. As Gotham lay in ruin, Batman must find a way to free the city from Nygma’s rule. After getting knocked off his horse a few times, it looks like Bats is ready to kick some ASS. From dirt bike stunts to lighting a freaking lion on fire, Batman is back in full effect. Deeper still, we get into some embarrassing high school moments, which don’t make a lot of sense… but it’s a small setback in an otherwise superb book. – Sherif

The Flash #31 – B-

This new arc that started one issue ago is really intriguing. Barry Allen has traveled back in time to correct all his mistakes, and plans to cap it all off by murdering himself. It much be a much darker future that Barry comes from. We’re given a deep look into Barry’s relationship with a young Wally West, who has lost his mother in Forever Evil and Iris has looked to Barry to provide some male role model influence, to no avail. There isn’t a whole lot that happens, but future Flash’s run-in with Mirror Master is worth the price of admission – especially when you consider the outcome. – Sherif

Batman Eternal #8 – C+

This weekly series is doing a great job of trying to fit everything into this love letter to the Dark Knight. This week, the GCPD take a definitive stance on Batman, but our new Lt. Bard looks to be following in the footsteps on Jim Gordon. He seems like a good guy, but his timely appearance in Gotham can’t be a coincidence. I’m not a huge fan of the hulkish way Batman is drawn in this issue, but the variety between issues is a better thing than it is worse. Considering we’re eight issues in, nothing has really happened since the second issue, something I can’t really get behind if I’m paying $3 per week to read it. – Sherif

Suicide Squad #30 – C

Don’t cry, folks! Issue #30 might be the “final issue,” but a little teaser tells us that the series will be rebooted soon. Most of the characters in Task Force X have grown in the past year: Manta helped save the world, Harley got her own series (who knows how long that will last), and Amanda Waller turned from full authority to no authority in no time. I lost favor with this book early on, but with the right creative team, Suicide Squad could be a must-read book next time around. – Sherif

Nightwing #30 – D

If this feels like a terrible way to wrap up the Nightwing saga, that’s because it is terrible. From the clunky looking art style to the ridiculously long fight scene, this issue felt like a total after-thought – a way to rope fans into reading Grayson without having to explain any of the crazy shit that has happened in Forever Evil when the series debuts in July. Everything about #30 was supposed to be heavy on emotion. Dick Grayson is faking his death to investigate an underground conspiracy to annihilate super-heroes, and Batman is testing his mettle to see if he can still hang. I found it really awkward since they have full discussions while they beat the crap out of each other, especially when those conversations contain terribly placed quotes ripped straight from Nolan’s trilogy. If you’re looking for a true sendoff for Nightwing, check out Nightwing #29, written by Kyle Higgins, because you aren’t going to find it here. – Sherif

 

IDW Comics:

Samurai Jack #8 – B+

As a Samurai Jack and overall Genndy Tartakovsky fan this issue is wonderful to me and fully deserving of an A but because this issue actually does not feature any dialogue. I give it a B, because unless you are a fan of the show, an issue with no dialogue could seem a bit off putting. This is definitely something the show would do often and carry an entire episode off of no dialogue and I feel this issue does that wonderfully. The art, intensity and great fighting from the series is all there as well which make it a absolute must have comic for fans but maybe could be one skipped along the paths of issues as it seems to be a one off story and there will likely be dialogue back in the next issue. – Jacob

X-Files Season 10 #12- B-

Although this series has been great, there sure are a lot of dead people involved. Well, at least people we thought were dead… So this series has been odd that way almost like it is trying to fix everything wrong with season 9 of the TV series. Even though this is the case, Season 10 has been very enjoyable. It is great to see these characters, as always, but if you were just coming into this series as a former fan or a new one, it would be pretty confusing. – Jacob

 

Image Comics:

C.O.W.L. #1– B

This comic is pretty dope! And it’s not like the typical comic dopeness in my opinion. Yes it’s about superheroes, fighting crime, and protecting the city. However, this comic feels more “real” if that makes sense. It kind of reminds me of the Watchmen. With these superheroes being hired by a government entity to combat the crime in Chicago it has more of an authentic feel to it and I find that pretty interesting. Also, I saw something in this comic that I’ve never seen, nor ever thought I would see in a comic book. A superhero peeing on a person in the street. Yeah, that happened. – Evan

Trees #1– B

Okay, this is going to sound weird, but don’t let the fact that Trees doesn’t make sense keep you from reading it. It’s written by Warren Ellis, who has a huge cult following for writing unique stuff (NextwaveMinistry of SpaceFreakAngels, also the current Moon Knight series), so don’t let the obscurity turn you off. Titanic-scale other-world life have decided to make Earth their home, planting themselves in our civilization like… well, trees. The beings aren’t really aware of our presence, but their slightest movements result in massacres. It’s a clear parallel to how we treat the environment around us, but that doesn’t mean the weird sci-fi book won’t blow me away. – Sherif

 

Marvel:

Ms. Marvel #4 – A-

It’s no secret that Hush Comics loves Ms. Marvel. The series has been the perfect blend of teenage angst and cultural commentary, but this month’s issue kicks it into high gear. There’s a subtle discussion about how Ms. Marvel doesn’t have to be the blonde-haired “real hero” people expect. We discover more about Kamala’s powers, and finally give Ms. Marvel her first villain. She’s a far cry from the superhero she will undoubtedly one day become, so to mix it up with a villain who looks pretty capable will be scary. The progression of the story into a deeper conspiracy is totally natural, and I can’t wait to see her fight crime in her burkini. “Die! Spooky Robot Thingy!” – Sherif

Oh snap! Looks like the average every day blonde-haired Ms. Marvel is out and Kamala is in! I love to see this story continue to progress and it is exciting to see the character of Kamala develop in such a real way. Her caution and courage play well together and now that she is stepping out and no longer relying on her shape shifting I think the audience is in for a real treat. We don’t know who this villain is but I’m willing to bet that in this next issue we are going to see some pretty crazy stuff between Ms. Marvel (in Kamala form) and The Inventor. – Evan

Guardians of the Galaxy #15 – B-

Filthy Earthers. The Guardians of the Galaxy have been captured. One by one, they were sold off. We don’t find out who did this, but the whole thing smells like a conspiracy. Speaking of conspiracy, how do you put Captain Marvel on the cover and not include her in the issue at all? It will be interesting to see how they each individually deal with their own personal hell – and see how Venom fits into all of this. There is enough momentum and action to carry what is a very vague storyline thus far. – Sherif

Deadpool #29 – C-

I gotta give some credit to the writers for attempting a deeper story here, but at the end of the day, Deadpool needs slapstick humor and violence to get by. No matter how intriguing the story may be, if one of those elements is missing, it’s likely to disappoint. With this being an Original Sin tie-in – like practically every other Marvel book right now is – I expected more of a punch with the reveal, but instead we get a big, fat filler. Sadly, it reminds me of DC’s Harley Quinn series, which is not a compliment. – Sherif

 

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 and Evan Lowe and Jacob Robinson

“Respect My Craft” – George Pérez

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.

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Name: George Pérez

Profession: Comic book artist

Notable WorkWonder Woman V2 (1987-1992), The New Teen Titans (1980-1984), The Avengers (1975-1980)

“While I have enjoyed considerable professional and personal success with both Marvel and DC, it was becoming all too evident that many of the books being produced by both companies seem to be getting more and more corporate driven. Many of the characters I grew up with were turning into strangers whose adventures were determined by factors that had less and less to do with what made a good comic story and more to do with how these properties can be exploited for other purposes.” – George Pérez

 

The term legend is thrown around a lot in comic books, but trust me when I say that this gentleman, George Pérez, is in that club. A career spanning over forty-years, Pérez has had his hand in just about every corner of DC and Marvel. This forefather’s road to fame wasn’t an overnight one, though. George Pérez comes from humble beginnings; he was born in the Bronx as a second generation (mainland) American, born of blue collar Puerto Ricans, George knew he was going to be an artist from an early age, drawing his own characters and stories since he was five years old.

Pérez is a self-taught student of art, helping him get a position with Marvel Comics as an assistant to Fantastic Four artist Rich Buckler after networking at a convention. At the time of Buckler’s call, Pérez was working as a bank teller (I know how that feels…). He wasn’t handed great projects right away; Pérez had to work his way up to the big titles. He began his career writing a few pages for various small books, and ended up gaining experience from pencilling hand-me-down titles and books that were expected to die soon. Back in the mid-70’s, team books weren’t all the rage like they are today. This stemmed from the fact that artists were not being paid royalties yet (that wouldn’t begin until the early 80’s), so the appeal of making the same amount of money for drawing ten characters just wasn’t there.

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Enter George Pérez, the man with the unmatched work ethic. In 1975, he started drawing Avengers and Fantastic Four, both of which he would draw in stints until his departure to DC Comics in 1980. Team books became not just a way to keep work, but turned into a trademark of his. He gained a reputation for doing great group panels, with an unprecedented level of detail – much before the digital age made it a less strenuous process. Pérez insists that he does not have a favorite superhero, which really has drawn him to do more team-oriented books. His ability to fit so much into a panel, and not distract readers’ attention from the story, is a quality that can get lost at times today – thanks to the use of over-scripted scenes.

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The role of the penciller isn’t just to draw out the writer’s instructions. Both are on the cover and both are credited as creators because the comic book medium calls for a written story that is built upon the illustrated world the penciller creates – and the colorist and inker accentuate. When Pérez drew Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds with Geoff Johns, who was a huge fan of Pérez, he showed Pérez the amount of scripting that has to go into a “George Pérez panel,” which was a thick stack. Pérez refuted that a script gives him nothing to do, and that the relationship between writer and artist should be a symbiotic one, where they build off each others’ ideas.

Pérez has been the penciller for some of the industry’s most iconic book stories. Among his most renowned work is: Crisis on Infinite EarthsInfinity Gauntlet, War of the Gods and the Wonder Woman reboot. He was also the penciller for the crossover event, JLA/Avengers – which took almost fifteen years to see the light of day. The iconic JLA/Avengers #3 cover is home to a ridiculous amount of DC and Marvel characters in a Who’s Who of superheroes. Pérez’s best working relationship was with Marv Wolfman, with whom he created the Teen Titans, an idea that Pérez was certain would fail. While they struggled to dissociate team from the X-Men, the book was a huge success. The New Teen Titans isn’t the only contribution Pérez has made to comics; he’s also attributed to creating (or co-creating): Cheetah, Deathstroke, Ravager, Cyborg, Raven, Starfire, Nightwing (not Dick Grayson), and a LOT more.

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In the New52, Pérez gave his hand at writing Superman after he has promised creative freedom. Unbeknownst to him, his book was slaved to Grant Morrison’s Action Comics. As amazing as Morrison is, he is very vague and not forthcoming when it comes to his approach to writing. Frustrated, Perez was glad to get off the series after the first arc. After leaving his last DC Comics book, World’s Finest, Pérez joined BOOM! Studios, a smaller company, as an exclusive writer and penciller, given actual creative control over his own books. Left on bad terms but harbors no ill will, just didn’t like direction DC & Marvel were going. He is currently happy writing his own creation, Sirens, and touring the country for various cons, where he has a great rapport with fans.

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Outside of the comic book work, Pérez has been known to work for organized charities such as: The Charlotte Firefighter’s Burned Children Fund, The Muscular Dystrophy Association, Make-A-Wish, as well as the Florida Hospital Diabetes Association and The Juvenile Diabetes Association. He is a founding member of The Hero Initiative, a non-profit designed to help comic book creators in need.

For charity, The Hero Initiative sells "100 Project" books, a collection of artist covers
For charity, The Hero Initiative sells “100 Project” books, a collection of artist covers

None of the media in this article belongs to Hush Comics; it all belongs to their respective properties (DC Comics). Join us tomorrow as we continue our countdown to Denver Comic Con with Arrow star, Stephen Amell.

Shut Up and Take My Money: Greg Capullo Court of Owls Action Figures

The money in our bank account is limited, so how unfair is it that there are endless gadgets, collectibles and toys out there that demand to be purchased? Let us help you sift through the crap, so you don’t can save that hard-earned cash for the things that deserve it. In other words, we give you the power to go to the counter and say, “Shut Up and Take My Money!”

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Item:

DC Comic Designer Series: Greg Capullo Series 1 Figures

What it is:

Today, the first four figures from the new Designer Series are released. The first to get the treatment is Greg Capullo’s Batman (written by Scott Snyder, and really just the best DC Comics book out for the last three years. The first set of four to be released are: Batman, Nightwing, Talon and Nygma (Riddler), the latter of which appearing in the Zero Year storyline (happening right now!), while Nightwing and Talon are brought to life from earlier storylines (Death of the Family and the already legendary Court of Owls). Each figure comes with appropriate props: Batman with Batarangs, Nightwing with escrima sticks, Nygma with his staff and Talon with daggers and a Court of Owls mask. I know these are supposed to be collectibles, but there’s nothing that can convince me that I’m not supposed to take Talon and Batman out of the box to make them duel each other. The design is pays homage to Capullo’s craft just as much as it does to the progress DC Collectibles has made over the years.

How Much it Costs:

These figures are a little pricier than normal, netting about $25 per figure – give or take a few depending on where you get it. Right now, you can find the figures at most any outlet, but with this being the first edition of the new Designer Series, I expect that these will become highly coveted collectibles in no time.

Is It Worth It?:

Collectors will not hesitate to pick these beauties up and fans of the comic book will instantly have a unique souvenir to remind them of this superb book that inspired them. That being said, they are on the expensive side – it seems to be the way figures are getting now. It will be hard to justify buying the whole series, especially with a second series on the way in October. That being said, the Talon figure is just so detailed, it would be hard to pass up getting, as there are no other DC Collectibles for The Court of Owls. I expect these will sell out soon, and prying them form the fingers of greedy fanboys could be much costlier.

 

Bottom Line:

Buy these. Buy two. One to play with and one to keep in the box to brag about to your friends. The Nightwing and Nygma figures are dope, but let’s be real; Batman and Talon are the real show-stoppers here. How cool would it be to buy a bunch of Talons and descend upon Gotham with only one Batman to stop them? …This is bad news for my wallet, guys.

Shut Up and Take My Money: Batman Arkham City Nightwing Arsenal

The money in our bank account is limited, so how unfair is it that there are endless gadgets, collectibles and toys out there that demand to be purchased? Let us help you sift through the crap, so you don’t can save that hard-earned cash for the things that deserve it. In other words, we give you the power to go to the counter and say, “Shut Up and Take My Money!”

shut-up-and-take-my-money

Item: Batman Arkham City Nightwing Arsenal

What it is: If you ever wanted to have an amazing replica of Nightwings sticks to help you fight crime with, then look no further. The replica creators at Triforce have managed to meticulously create the arsenal that Nightwing uses in the Arkham City game. It comes complete with a full-scale replica of Nightwings escrima sticks that actually light up to simulate the electricity running through them. The collection also comes with a collection of darts, posters and gimmicks and a really nice stand to display everything. The sticks and darts are hand- finished and hand painted out of polystone that has a solid feel and weight to it. Polystone is a very high quality material that allows for the sculptor to be very detailed in the design of replicas. This replica spares no expense to be the most accurate replica on the market.

How Much it Costs: This item is only for the serious collectors and will set you back around a thousand dollars. On the plus side however, the shipping is free so you have that to look forward to. There isn’t anywhere that seems to be offering any discounts, but it wouldn’t hurt to keep an eye for possible price drops if you are seriously considering purchasing.

Is It Worth It?: With a price tag over a thousand dollars, this is really only going to be considered worth it to people who are serious Nightwing fans or collectors with some money burning a hole in their pockets. There is no doubt that this is an amazing replica and for the money, you can’t get something of higher quality. With high-end materials and the meticulous hand crafted nature of this replica, you really can’t go wrong if you did decide to spend the money.

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Bottom Line: This is definitely not for your average collector. Big money and an affinity for Nightwing are prerequisites for purchase here. If both of those requirements are met though, I would have to highly recommend getting this. It is almost too awesome to pass up.

Written by Robert Michael

Comic Book Reviews 02-12-14

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:

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The Bunker #1 (Oni Press) – A

If you were one of the lucky few to order this book in print form, give yourself a pat on the back! The Bunker tells the story of a group of friends in the process of creating and burying time capsules in the woods. Instead, though, they stumble upon a military bunker, and self-addressed letter from their future selves. If that’s not trippy enough, the letters explain how each of them have a part in ending the world. No pressure. The Bunker did a really good job of pacing the story, and giving it enough detail that each character gets their own voice and personality. This could easily be made into a television show or movie. I highly recommend you pick this up digitally, or try to find a coveted physical copy. – S

Other Reviews:

DC/Vertigo:

Batman #28 – B+

After the crazy cliff-hanger from issue #27, Batman picks up in a completely different time, with a completely different cast. If you remember Harper, she’s the rambunctious orphan that has followed Batman around, and even saved his life when he was reeling from the unfortunate death of Damian. The break in action from Zero Year was a little bit annoying, especially when you realize that this issue was just a promotion for the weekly Batman: Eternal series out in April. All is forgiven immediately, as we finally see Harper, or Bluebird as she is called, knocking around the bad guys. There’s also a very awkward stand-off between Batman and Catwoman, who is very much a woman scorned. Bonus points for the underground club called The Egyptian. And a huuuge Spoiler at the end of the issue (get it?). Although issue #28 was a fun ride, and did make me want to read Eternal, it was an unneeded distraction from the superb Batman issues that preceded it. – S

Superman/ Wonder Woman #5 – B+

It is said that behind every strong man is an even stronger woman, but in what world is Wonder Woman significantly stronger than Superman? So strong, in fact, that she is able to handle two Kryptonians with little issue while Clark gets his ass kicked all over the forest. This time around, Wonder Womans resolve seems to be shaky as to the future of her and Clarks relationship. While it is way too early for them to break up, relationship issues have the potential to effect up to four different publications, depending on how writers portray things. Not to mention that after three issues of Zod, we still don’t really know why he is here or what he was locked in the Phantom Zone for. Despite all of that, this was still a great issue and I am convinced that this is just setup for something big. – R

Injustice: Year Two #2 – B

Injustice has easily become one of the most enjoyable books out. I love how original the story is, and the fact that I really don’t know what comes next is very appealing to me. With Batman out of commission, the people of Earth must look to others to try to stop Superman’s regime. There’s a lot going on in this issue, which hurts it a bit. The last few issue runs felt very focused and I think that helped guide the story much better than skipping around like a television series. I was in no way disappointed in the issue, it just felt like a big lull amidst the incredible action-packed issues preceding it. – S

The Royals: Masters of War #1 – B

In the mood for a spot of tea and a jolly good read?  Why my good lad, you should take romp down to your local comic book shop.  Cheeio!!  Pip-Pip!! God Save the Queen!!  Sorry… I’ll go back to American text now.  The Royals: Masters of War #1 is now on comic shelves.  The setting is London, 1940’s, WWII.  The focus – A royal and lavish British family, the House of Windsor.  Only this royal family is way more exciting than even Prince William, wife Kate and their little bundle of royal joy.  They have superpowers.  Superman with a charming accent?  Swoon m’ladies.  And what’s a better use of kingly superpowers than to stick it to Hitler and his evil regime?  However, the head of House Windsor, Albert, has his children under strict order to never demonstrate the greatness of their unique gifts.  Turns out super powered nobles don’t have the happiest of histories – you know that usual bit about not everyone being welcoming and accepting of those that are “different.”  Thankfully for the citizen of London, not everyone in the House of Windsor agrees with father’s orders.  As the fight is taken to the invading Germans we learn that the Windsor family is not the only “gifted” royal family on the block and it’s likely to spell trouble for both the Windsor family and London.  I’ve got a good feeling about this six part series and it’s unique twist on pivotal events in recent history. – T

Nightwing #28 – B-

I’ve been really impressed with the way writer Kyle Higgins has managed to build a new world for Dick Grayson without using Gotham to lean on; Nightwing has a real home in Chicago, and it’s not just about Tony Zucco (the man who killed his parents). Unfortunately, some of the art seems a little awkward when showing Dick Grayson outside of being Nightwing. This issue pushes things along, as a little girl in his life is thrust into the same situation he was in when his parents died. It’s a really interesting angle, but it was entirely too rushed – for multiple reasons. I wish Higgins would have taken this over the span of an entire six-issue arc, but I can understand where this is going. All while reading this issue, I had a gut-wrenching feeling. After the events that opened up Forever Evil, you know we are building up to a major tragedy in Grayson’s life, but it just won’t come. – S

Justice League 3000 #3 – B-

Takron-Galtos!  The prison planet that has three of the five cloned Justice League members trapped and searching for a way off.  After a nasty encounter with Locus, the reality bending blue-alien tween, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman experience  “Hell” in the year 3000.  The images and artwork showcasing the expanses of Takron-Galtos are awesome.  Porter (artist) has consistently delivered gorgeous landscapes and cityscapes every issue.  It’s one of the most alluring elements of the series.  Whereas the last issue of JL 3000 was a little disjointed, I felt a strong refocusing back on the big picture plot even though the story is being told from various angles.  Bit by bit the mysterious villains are being to reveal themselves. The ever developing and at time hilarious dynamic of the genetically engineered superheroes carries the story well.  There are lots of pieces working in the background and it’s all going to come to a head very soon.  Oh… and Superman is still an ass-hat. – T

Batgirl #28 – C

I finished this issue more confused than when I started reading it. After an enticing Gothtopia issue, it seems as though they’ve completely abandoned the Detective Comics-centric storyline. That wasn’t explained very well and then to snap into the current story with zero mention of the last issue was disappointing to say the least. Barb is back to fighting form and wearing her yellow bat after her self-imposed exile. This new story arc introduces a vampire hunter who is given no real introduction or back story. We also get to experience a nice tag team duo with Barb and Strix that has the potential for some cool moments. I continue to enjoy Batgirl, as usual, and this story arc seems to be like filler until the next major plot line or the next cross over event. I’m personally hoping for the latter. – R

Dark Horse:

Star Wars #14 – C-

As Ensign Nanda continues to tow Vader across the galaxy in what I call an “epiphany quest,” I continue to be underwhelmed by this story arch in the revitalized Star Wars comic series.  Brian Wood’s attempt to highlight the brutal and ruthless nature that so perfectly describes Darth Vader falls far short in my opinion.  On top of that, the last few issues of Star Wars have failed to move the plot along.  No major revelations, twists or epic moments were to be had.  The most redeeming aspect of this 14th installment was getting to see Vader and his super-elite, black-ops Storm Troopers in action.  Even at that, those sequences left more to be desired.  At the conclusion of this issue it appears as though the story is preparing to steer back on track to a likeness similar to the first five or six issues.  There seems to be a ton of Vader focus in Dark Horse comics these recent months.  I hope the oversaturation slows down so that new characters and stories can be shared with all the hungering fans out there!  It is the Will of The Force! – T

Image:

The Walking Dead #121 – B-

Another issue goes by, and a whole lot of nothing happens. I’m not even sure that this will read better in the trade format. Negan has a few inappropriate lines that just make me laugh out loud. He’s the nastiest one in the bunch, and I find myself rooting for him more than I do The Survivors. Meanwhile, Rick has become a caricature of himself, the self-righteous leader. Honestly, it’s like a soap opera, because even though The Walking Dead has given me nothing notable since a main character’s gratuitous death in issue #100, I still keep reading it. Every issue, I just can’t wait to see if our heroes will be about to crawl out of whatever hole they dug themselves into. Well, sigh, this isn’t the one – better luck next time- S

The Fuse #1 – C-

Seriously, what the hell is a cabler?? In what has become tradition with new publications from Image, I left the end of the first issue not really knowing anything that was going on. Unfortunately, unlike Black Science and Deadly Class, I really am not invested in The Fuse. The debut issue takes us to a futuristic planet, not Earth, where we follow a new guy, recently transferred from Munich, and an witty older woman who has been doing this for a long time. Together, they search for the cause of death of these “cablers” around the city. It has kind of a cliche vibe – the buddy cop thing has been done before. To boot, the art looks raw, and not in a good way. It, in no way makes the cut when compared to other Image titles like Walking DeadSaga, and the aforementioned two titles. I’m not turned off yet, but it’s gonna have to take a convincing second issue to get me on-board with The Fuse – S

Marvel:

Superior Spider-Man #27 – B+

Now this is what I’ve been waiting for! Finally, a villain fit for a villain. After Green Goblin had taken control of the Goblin army, he makes his move to tighten his grip in the city. Meanwhile, Spider-Man is swallowing the pill of defeat when he learns of Goblin’s idea to cloak his army from the Spider-Bots that Spidey had created to survey the city. Peter’s consciousness also plays a part in trying to escape his own body’s sub-conscious (props for including the original Doc Ock quote from Amazing Spider-Man #3), but gets sucked even further down the rabbit hole. Everything is going to hell and all that’s left are Otto Octavius and Norman Osbourne, playing chess as the city burns to the ground around them. – S

Kick-Ass 3 #6 – B+

Kick-Ass 3 has been slowly moving along, as Hit-Girl has been imprisoned for the entire six issue run. You know what though? I love Kick-Ass. I love the brutal nature and the realistic portrayal of teens playing vigilante. Most of all, I love the story of Hit-Girl and how her dad trained her as a little girl to be a superhero – and not no “liberal asshole” like Spider-Man. The flashback takes up nearly 3/4 of the issue and I just wish it was longer. Issue #6 also ends on a Mother-F***** of a the cliff-hanger (get it?).  Anybody who can handle the crude language and content of this book written and drawn by legends Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. should pick up this awesome third installment. – S

All-New X-Men #23 – B+

The Trial of Jean Grey has added some much-needed excitement to the series, which has been waning up til recently. Jean Grey is captured by the Shi’ar, an ally race whose planet was destroyed by The Phoenix. Of course, poor Jean Grey has no idea of any of this, as she is a pre-Phoenix version of herself. The Guardians of the Galaxy come to the rescue, conveniently, and are on a rescue mission to save not only Jean, but the series along with her. The writing of Brian Michae lBendis is on point, and there are plenty of hilarious moments in the book. This story is really heating up, and the inclusion of the Guardians of the Galaxy own makes it that much more enjoyable. Throw in the inclusion of a nearly-forgotten fan-favorite, and we’ve got a heck of a family reunion. – S

Deadpool #23 – B

I don’t know how or when it happened, but somewhere between that god-awful issue with the Wakandan alien monsters and here, Deadpool has found his identity in the Marvel NOW! universe. Deadpool vs. S.H.I.E.L.D. draws to a close in this issue, and it does so in epic proportions. It’s a non-stop thrill ride, and I laughed almost the whole way through – mostly at the goons who work for U.L.T.I.M.A.T.U.M. The way particular scenes mirrored Alien (which you could have guessed from the cover) brought it back to the good old days of Merc With A Mouth, which showed Deadpool for what he truly was, a bad-ass and a psycho, but above all, a comedian. – S

All New X-Factor #3 – B

Serval Industries, the company that employs mutants and mission statement is all for the betterment of people finally starts to show a bit of its true nature.  Some questionable acts and curiously unexplained motives are revealed by CEO Harrison Snow through the panels of All New X-Factor #3.  I for one am glad to see this development begin to take shape.  Its final form is definitely going to make this series fly or flounder.  For added juiciness – there appears to be ulterior motive for some of the Serval mutants as well.  I’m anxious to see how it all plays out.  I’m in love with Giandomenico’s pencil work.  Even the small and uneventful panels are nicely detailed and do much to bring life to the page.  The issue was exciting and I’m invested in the grand plot enough to keep money stashed away for the next issue. – T

The Winter Soldier #1 – B-

The debut of Winter Soldier was not really what I was expecting. This initial story goes back to the time when the Winter Soldier was still a myth. It’s hard to tell whether or not this book will be a collection of short stories that involve the Winter Soldier or if it will be a normal story arc. We did get to see some classic Nick Fury action which is nice after all the Sam Jackson portrayals. The art is great and the depiction of the Winter Soldier is much closer to what they have setup for the upcoming Captain America movie. I knew that this book was supposed to come out to give the new Captain America movie some exposure so I can’t help but wonder if the government replacement for the Captain will be present at some time. I am excited to see where this story goes and will definitely keep my eyes on this book. – R

She-Hulk #1 – C-

Damn, I’m pretty disappointed with this book. I don’t know if it’s because I expected something different from the world’s strongest woman or that I’m just not getting the point of this book. I thought a good 90% of it was just so boring. I haven’t seen a wordier comic than this one in such a long time. I don’t think there is anything wrong with comics have tons and tons of dialog, but when there is no action to back it up, it becomes stagnant and boring. Now, I understand that they are trying to transform and introduce a new side to this hero. Rather than follow her superhero career, we follow her lawyer career. That’s all fine and dandy, and I understand it’s nice to see the human aspect to things some times. Call me a poor judge of comics or whatever, but the bottom line is that I didn’t enjoy reading this comic. For others, this will downright be a great read. However, what I read comics for and what I seek to enjoy was nowhere in this comic. The artistic side of the comic made the people look aquatic or fish-like, which was weird. Nothing really popped or stood out. I’ll stop here because I realize I’m going on a rant. Some positives about this book, however: it has the makings to make a pretty good story in the court room and there is a lot of valuable information presented within this comic. Like Hawkeye and Daredevil before it, it is nice to see the human side to our heroes. I’m sorry to say that it simply isn’t enough for me. – E

GPA by Publisher:

DC Comics: 6 B’s and 1 C, averaging out to a 2.86

Marvel Comics: 6 B’s and 1 C, averaging out to a 2.86

Independents: 1 A, 1 B and 2 C’s, averaging out to a 2.75

Funniest Panel of the Week:

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Epic Panel of the Week:

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Cover Art of the Week:

Jerome Opena's Kick-Ass 3 #6 variant
Jerome Opena’s Kick-Ass 3 #6 variant

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 ElkhatibAdrian Puryear, Taylor LoweEvan Lowe and Robert Michael

Diggin’ Through the Crates: Pharoahe Monch “Agent Orange”

Artist: Pharoahe Monch

Song: “Agent Orange”

Album: The Awakening (2003), a mixtape that preluded his second studio album (Desire). Free download here.

Before we begin, let’s just start out by introducing a lot of you to Pharoahe Monch, as not many I’ve spoken with have had the pleasure of listening to this hidden star of Hip-Hop. While not achieving a lot of commercial success, anything that comes out of Pharoahe’s mouth is lyrical gold. Starting out as half of the group Organized Konfusion, Pharoahe quickly gained the reputation of being a cerebral and entertaining emcee. Since his solo debut in 1999, Internal Affairs, Pharoahe has blown up the independent scene, tackling social and political topics with such clarity and hilarity.

Lyric: “It’s not a Game Boy, X-Box or PlayStation/It’s Resident Evil when every President’s a mason/ Robbin’ y’all fools like Dick Grayson”

Meaning/Character Reference:

Holy “Agent Orange,” Pharoahe Monch! That sure sounds scary and intense. In the mixtape leading to his second album, Desire, he reminds listeners that he is not only a wordsmith but is quite comic savvy, as well. “Agent Orange” is a song portraying the horrid war-time nature the United States government has been proved to display, referencing the US’ use of herbicidal warfare in the Vietnam War that left hundreds of thousands civilians starving and/or permanently physically deformed. When Pharoahe Monch starts listing off the game systems of our past, present, and future, he is basically throwing a brick through Congress windows with a note attached saying, “NOT TODAY, GOVERNMENT! DO I LOOK LIKE A BRAND NEW MORTAL KOMBAT VS. DC UNIVERSE GAME? BECAUSE I AM NOT TO BE PLAYED WITH” – sassy finger snapping ensues. Gloriously, Pharoahe Monch reaches out to the comic book world and pays homage to a superhero that only seek one thing – justice. Don’t lie; you said justice in your best Batman voice, didn’t you? What he is saying is that the system is robbin’ knowledge, power, and all that other good stuff from We, the People. For those of you out there who are wondering who Dick Grayson is, he is the only dude who can look badass in a red speedo, green gloves and a yellow cape, ROBIN! Boom, there is that AHA moment!  Pharoahe Monch is similar to Robin because they are both underrated and underestimated. If Dick Grayson can evolve from Robin into Nightwing, then maybe, just maybe, Pharoahe Monch can turn into Ra…sure, let’s go with that.

It's a Dick... in a box
It’s a Dick… in a box

Fun Fact: In Eminem’s “Rap God,” which we featured on last week’s “Diggin’ Through the Crates” piece, actually references Pharoahe Monch, a heralded Hip-Hop artist in the underground community. As a lifetime fan of both, it’s refreshing to hear that even a pop legend like Eminem knows who the real artists are: “I know there was a time where once I/Was king of the underground, but I still rap like I’m on my Pharoahe Monch grind.”

That does it for this week guys! Check back next week for more nerd-infused Hip-Hop. Also, if you’re interested at all in learning more about the artist or the subject matter in our posts, don’t hesitate to ask. Pharoahe Monch’s fourth solo album, entitled P.T.S.D., is slated for a release January 2014. Be sure to check us out for a comprehensive review on that! Til next time, nerds…

Written by Evan Lowe and Sherif Elkhatib