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.
Best Straight to Home Video Movie
Justice League: War
Son of Batman
Batman: Assault on Arkham
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
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
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
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
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
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 Crisis, Arkham 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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Happy Easter everybody! With everybody in Denver going absolutely bananas today over the first legal 4-20 (like that really stopped anybody before), we’re looking forward to some family time today.
A trailer for Season 2 of Orange is the New Black has been “released,” pun intended. Although Pennsatucky is noticeably missing, there’s a new inmate, Vee, played by Lorraine Toussaint (who was actually one of the students in Dangerous Minds – I guess even Michelle Pfeiffer couldn’t save her from prison). If you need a reason to watch this show, we can give you 13 of them.
Tonight’s GoT episode, “Breaker of Chains,” will reveal the fallout from the Purple Wedding. As big of a deal as this was, there are still so many other storylines happening right now. I’m so excited! Check for our review!
You say Whedon, I ask “how high?” The acclaimed writer/director will be making a new film In Your Eyes, which you can have the pleasure of seeing the first three minutes of here.
It’s kinda gotten to a point where, if you’re not watching Arrow, you’re missing out on life – or maybe it’s the other way around… Well, if you want to know what Ollie and Slade have been up to lately, here’s a link to stream the latest episode, “The Man Under the Hood.”
Dark Horse comic book Concrete Park will be returning for a mini-series, Concrete Park: R-E-S-P-E-C-T in September, with Tony Puryear and Erika Alexanders at the helm. The noir-style sci-fi action mixed with the inner-city gang activity made the original a lot of fun to read. The only question is, “Will you get down or lay down?”
Following Son of Batman, DC Animated will be released a New 52 Suicide Squad film titled Batman: Assault on Arkham. Based off a Suicide Squad arc, there are some notable changes here: Batman is in the story at all, there’s no Deathstroke (as we saw in Arkham: Origins), Joker still has a face. I’m excited to root for the bad guys, nevertheless.
Three word – Cleopatra. In. Space. Are you sold yet? Well, this original graphic novel by Mike Maihack is coming out on April 29th. You can get a good 13 pages of preview and the direction to go if you’d like to purchase it; just follow this link. I’m pretty well sold on it.
I might be crazy, but I think I want to see a movie with Robert Pattinson in it. The Rover stars Guy Pearce and Guy Twilight as two men fighting through a desolate gang-ridden Australia. Check out the trailer here.
Sadly, we were unable to attend WonderCon this year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t fill you in on the tidbits of news we found there:
Darwyn Cooke has released a Batman Beyond short commemorating Batman’s 75th Anniversary. In true Easter tradition, Yahoo! has broken down all of the Easter Eggs they found in the 90 second segment. See if you could recognize them all!
The Son of Batman has gotten great reviews since its debut at WonderCon. It will be available for digital purchase on April 22nd and BD/DVD on May 6th.
The Brian Singer debacle made for quite an interesting X-Men: Days of Future Past panel. Sidestepping those issues, the panel vowed that DOFP would try to mend all that The Last Stand ruined.
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.
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. Note: Injustice 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.
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:
Epic Panel of the Week:
Cover of the Week:
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.