Saturday, July 27, 2013

Batman: The Dark Knight #22 Review

Where's my origin story?

The Dark Knight has been a hard book to recommend.  The Mad Hatter story arc seemed to last for ages and the individual issues were hit or miss.  With a new arc promising an origin story of Clayface, the hope is things will finally start picking up.  Sadly this isn't the case...yet.
My main problem is that we are getting the same old Clayface.  Yes, there are questions about his motives and allegiances, but in the end it is still Clayface.  Someone we care about does something totally out of character and Surprise! It's Clayface.  Furthermore, the origin story is nowhere to be found.
Greg Huriwitz does show how tough an SOB James Gordon is.  The scenes with him are the highlight of the issue.  I wish we could see more of this Gordon, a man taking control of the situation without relying fully on Batman. Instead we get a moping Batman, still reeling from a recent loss.
The art style and colors fit the Dark Knight.  Alex Maleev does a fine job and I really like the gritty look that is missing from most of the other Batman books.

When all is said and done, I cannot recommend this book.  The art is good, but the slow pace the title has been criticized for is still there.  The few dangling questions about Clayface could prove interesting down the road.  Let's just hope it's a shorter road then what we just drove down.

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Flash #22 Review

Too Fast for Love

Reverse Flash (aka: The Speed Force Killer) has been murdering anyone affected by the Speed Force.  Barry Allen has been trying to track him down and figure out why he himself hasn't been a target.  Now it's just him and Iris West left and he is running out of time.
The first, second and third thing you will notice about this issue is the art and colors.  Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato have made The Flash one of the best looking books in the New 52.  From the excellent cover to the cliffhanger ending, the book looks great.
Of course, art only can only carry you so far.  Luckily, the story is good as well.  The Flash is as much about Barry and his relationships with those close to him as it is about running fast.  This issue continues that trend and even ramps up the tension between the two ladies in his life, Iris and Patty Spivot.
Speaking of Iris, when Barry figures out why Reverse Flash hasn't found him yet he uses that knowledge to protect her.  This is the highlight of the issue and an exciting prospect for the future of The Flash. The only downside of the issue is the slower pace of the overall story arc.  While I have liked the tension of the Speed Force Killer mystery,  I want to see Flash take on  Reverse Flash.  Though we do finally get to see them fight,  the issue ends mid battle.
This issue of The Flash was great.  The art is top notch and the story leaves you excited about the next issue and the future of the book.  There is also the bonus of the trilling  cosplay prospects this issue is sure to produce. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Talon #10 Review

The Butcher, the Spider and the crazy looking Talon

In an article about my favorite New 52 books I ranked Talon number one.  Why?  Because of the detailed characters I care about, the rich plot full or mystery and intrigue and the fun and often over the top action.  I loved the mythology that Scott Snyder introduced in Batman and fallen more for the story that James Tynion IV has given since.  That said, last months issue was a sub par cross over with the Birds of Prey ladies and this issue is a mediocre one co staring Bane. 

The story continues Calvin's assault on Santa Prisca to get revenge on his former mentor and Owl Grand Master Sebastian Clark.  Meanwhile, Bane is gathering the inmates to stage his own assault on Gotham City. While this is happening, The Owls are busy torturing Casey Washington and her daughter, Sarah. 

I'm looking forward to seeing Bane fight the Court of Owls, but cover notwithstanding, it doesn't happen in this issue.  The main fight between Calvin and Sebastian's venom enhanced lapdog is lackluster mainly due to the fact that Calvin can no longer die.

The best part of the story revolves around Casey's escape from the court.  She's always been a strong character, but she proves how intelligent she is as well.
The main art by Miguel Sepulveda is good.  I like what he has done since replacing the excellent Guillem March a couple of issues ago and his is his strongest effort yet.  However, Szymon Kudranski's fill in art is jarring in it's transition.  It sticks out like a sore thumb.  I really can't stress how out of place the change of art is.  To make matters worse, the dialogue and story in this part doesn't seem to make sense either.

Those people wanting to see Bane fight the Court will be disappointed.  What they will get instead is a so-so story made even worse by the craziest art transition I can remember.  I have loved Talon since the first issue, but this issue is hard to recommend.  I can only hope that Tynion gets the story back on track and that Sepulveda can finish a whole book himself.



Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Review: Batman #22

A Face Slapping Good Time

In this second issue of Batman Zero Year we continue to ride along with young Bruce Wayne trying to establish himself as Batman.  And what a ride it is.  Like other stories of the Bats origin, it is a thrill to see he crime fighter as a man and not a god.  This Batman does mess up.  He loses his temper.  He gets hurt and yes, he could even die. 

Where Scott Snyder makes this story special is how he turns convention on its ear.  While reading you are never quite sure if things or people are what they appear to be.
Bruce again faces the Red Hood Gang and it's enigmatic leader.  The dynamic between the two is great.  Whether the leader is who we think he is, we are experiencing the rise of two people destined for greatness in their own way.  Bruce may be green, but he is already showing a cunning and intelligence that even impresses his adversary.  Later when he meets another of the famous rogues gallery, he has a playful battle of wits that is both ingenious and stunning.  It is bound to be what is talked about most in the book.

Year Zero is also showing the strains that Bruce's night job are having on his personal relationships.  Being a crime fighting vigilante can lead to a lonely life and he does nothing to help that prospect.  He may come off a little too much as a whiny little arse, but the emotional impact is there.

Greg Capullo's art is stunning.  He puts so much detail in every panel that every other DC book pales in comparison.  I really can't say enough about his work here.

There is no reason I can think of why anyone should not read this book.  Batman's origin has been told countless times, but Scott Snyder makes it fresh again.  The art is second to none and if that isn't enough, it ends on a cliffhanger that has me waited for the next issue with baited breath.


DC Collectables announces Scriblenauts Unmasked figures

DC showed off the new 2.5" figures based on the upcoming Wii U, 3DS and Pc game, Scribblenauts unmasked.  The game comes out on September 24th and the figures will follow shortly after.  The main selling point to the game is the sheer amount of obscure and varied DC characters included.  Hopefully they will take the same approach with the figures.  How else can Eric finally get his Hawk and Dove action figures?  Check out the pic below to see the first wave of announced figures including Batman, Superman, Aquaman, Deadman, Bizzaro, Sinestro, Bane and Black Manta.

Eric's Shirt of the Day : Yellow Lantern

Eric fears that Tuesday has just begun.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Top Five Riddles from the 1960's Batman TV Show

Riddle Me This

The Riddler is indeed an enigma when it comes to his life of crime.  Even though he is one of the smartest men in Gotham his riddles always seem to cause his downfall.  These are my five favorite riddles from the 1960's Batman TV Show.

Which President of the United States wore the biggest hat?
    The one with the biggest head
Why is a musician’s band stand like an oven?
It is where he makes his bread
How much dirt is in a hole 3 acres square and 200 feed deep?
None because its a hole
Question, what is it that no man wants, but no man wants to lose?
A law suit!
And finally, this two part brilliance:
What has yellow skin and writes?
A ball point banana!

What people are always in a hurry?
Rushing people......Russians!
Robin: I've got it! Someone Russian is going to slip on a banana peel and break their neck!
Batman: Exactly Robin! It's the only possible answer!

Eric's Shirt of the Day: Batman Inc

Setting his sights on a new week

Review: Beware the Batman episode 2 : Signs

I was pleasantly surprised by last weeks premiere of Beware of the Batman.  So much so that I did a 180 going from uninterested to actually looking forward to Saturday morning.  After watching the second episode "Signs" I'm even more hooked.
This weeks episode featured Magpie, a jewel thief villian from the 80's.  She loves "shiny things" and appears to be more than a bit crazy.  As the story unfolds Batman figures out why Magpie is how she is and the result is a complex villain who is also a  very sympathetic character.
The subplots also shine.  We see Lt. Gordon's distrust of the Bat.  Tatsu Yamashiro's steps toward being Katana and Barara Gordon's introduction.  We also get more Alfred which is always good.
When Beware the Batman was introduced, it was stressed that the Dark Knight's detective skills would play a a major role.  They did in this episode for sure.  Batman could not beat Magpie in a straight up fight.  Only by using his intelligence and cunning is he able to best her.  Yes, the Fists of Justice take a back seat once in a while.
The animation may still be a hard sell for some, but after two episodes I'm beginning to like it.  It helps that the stories and characters have been very good, but I think it stands on it's own.
After two episodes I'm hooked.  Beware the Batman is shaping up to be one of the better portrayals of the caped crusader.   With its complex plot, great characters and interesting take on the Bat Universe I recommend it highly.  I can't wait for next week.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Usual Suspects: Top 5 "most likely" characters to become Robin

                Now lets address the elephant in the room.  Ever since Batman Inc. #8, when Damian died, everyone has been asking the same question.  "If Batman & Robin continues who will be the next Robin?"  Now the idea of this top 5 is to address the characters that have been introduced to us through the course of the Batman story lines.  But also this is my top 5, so I'll be doing it on my personal opinions on who best would fill the Robin cape, and who best would continue the story we've seen so far. 

Review: Justice League of America's Vibe #6


            This issue starts off with Vibe's handler Director Gunn of A.R.G.U.S., arguing with his husband about Vibe being "Tubed" (last issue).   When their discussion is interrupted by Vibe's brother Dante, kicking a soccer ball through their window.  Dante then very casually blackmails Gunn into helping him rescue Vibe. 

            Gunn sneaks Dante into A.R.G.U.S. HQ, using some techno-chameleon armor (no idea) making Dante look like a dog-soldier from Kammandi.  Gunn tells the soldiers that he captured a "Breacher", and not to worry he'll take him to be "Tubed".  (proper procedure I'm sure)  Gunn and Dante enter the containment room "The Circus", where they set off the alarm system.  They free Vibe, and Gunn runs off to protect his rep.  The brothers have a nice reunion when KRAK!  one of the guards shoots Dante through the chest, and the character seems to die.

            Vibe not being to happy at his and his brothers treatment, decides to open up a bunch of tubes, setting the contained "Breachers" on the guards.  Vibe and Gypsy try to make their escape as Vibe starts shaking uncontrollably.  His energy builds and he releases it, tearing a hole in the dimensional walls.  Through the breach we see a character called Rupture, who is described as a hound that seeks to end those who stand for freedom.  Amanda Waller says that Rupture is here for Darkseid's daughter, but Gypsy says he is there for her. (???)  The issue ends with Rupture recognising Vibe.  Rupture takes off his mask, and he is revealed to be Vibe's long dead brother Armando.

            This was an alright issue, but not as good as previous.  We get a lot of action, and twists, but the story just didn't seem to come together for me.   First off why does every young character anymore seem to be a techno guru?  Harper Row from Batman, NightWing's new roommate, and now out of nowhere, Vibe's brother.  Who hacked the personal data bases of A.R.G.U.S. employees, and then says how he hacked the Justice League database.  Then blackmails Gunn by stating he'll email all the information he collected around the web if he doesn't help get Vibe out.  Surprisingly, it works.  I don't care if Gunn feels guilty over what happened to Vibe I call bullshit.  Some young punk breaks your window, and then threatens you.  Being the big bad ex CIA agent, who was booted out for insubordination, I think not.  Later in the issue when Vibe lets a bunch of breachers out, I got really afraid that the series will become a 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo, where eventually Vibe is going to have to recapture the ones that got away.  But we'll wait and see.  Even with all the bitching, the issue was still fun.  I just have a hard time seeing where this timeline fits in with JLA and the Trinity War going on.  I was hoping to be able to say that this is the best title in the New 52 that no one is reading.  But maybe I'll have to wait until next month because this issue just wasn't where the previous ones seemed to be. 


Justice League of America #6 Review

Does the Question know the Answer ?  *SPOILERS*


            Part 2 of the Trinity War starts with The Question giving exposition on what he does.  Answering questions that pound in his brain.  The latest one is "Who is the evil behind the evil?"  He tells us that if he answers enough questions, he will be given the answer to his own.  "What is his true name?"  This leads into where the last issue left off with The Justice League Vs. The Justice League of America.  The fight we've wanted to see since JLA started, and it's truly beautiful.  Doug Mahnke's art just makes you want to pause and ogle the page.  The fight goes on until Superman (still covering his eyes after heat visioning Dr. Light's face off)  Causes an earthquake while screaming "Lock me up!"  makes me just think of the scene in Monster Squad where the wolf man screams the same, while firing a gun in the air.  Alright back to the book.

            The JLA and Justice League take Superman back to A.R.G.U.S. HQ to figure out what happened to him, because like all of us know even after watching Man of Steel, Superman doesn't kill people.  While there, we get more fun banter with Hawk Man, sadly Shazam still being a brat, The Atom wanting to come clean about being a spy for the JLA, and Waller asking FireStorm if he can make Kryptonite.  Outside Superman's observation room, we get a awkward conversation between Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor.  Imagine it like you still have feelings for an ex, and now your having a conversation about her new boyfriend.  Yup Awkward.  Inside, Batman is watching over Superman, who is restrained to a techno-chair with a helmet/visor covering Superman's eyes.  Wonder Woman walks in and lays down a knowledge bomb on Batman about Pandora and her box.  Batman's skeptical, but he should know the dangers of a woman's box.  Wonder Woman decides she'll have to go find answers on her own.

            Wonder Woman goes to the workshop of Hephaestus, the weapon smith of the gods, and demands to know about Pandora's Box.  Hephaestus tells her that he didn't make the box, and that it is a mystery even to the gods.  His only advise is that if Wonder Woman finds it, she should destroy it.  Her search for answers takes her to the now destroyed home of Madame Xanadu, where she meets and asks the aid of, The Justice League Dark.  The issue ends back at A.R.G.U.S. HQ where Steve Trevor goes to see Superman.  Superman tells him it isn't safe to take off his helmet/visor, and we see that this is really The Question with a false face.  He asks Superman "Do you really want to find out who killed Dr. Light?"


            As I said before the artwork in this book is superb, and Geoph Johns, and Jeff Lemire really write the hell out of this book.  It moves really fast, and makes me jones for the next issue.  I really don't have anything bad to say about this issue, except that I want more, now.  It's issues like this that keep readers reading and make new readers.  So if you haven't checked it out yet, get it.  Get another copy to give out, to turn someone else on to it.  Hopefully the rest of the story is on par with this and the first issue.


Batman '66 #1 The Riddler's Ruse Review

Holy Great Book Batman!

This is a review of the print edition of Batman '66 containing the first three digital comics in a collected volume


My introduction to Batman was through the 1960's Batman TV Show.  I loved it as a kid for it's fun action and light hearted approach and still love it today for the camp and nostalgia. I was delighted when I heard the Batman '66 comic was being made.  Now that I've read it, I'm even happier.

DC has been criticized for the New 52 books being so serious and dark.  Where's the fun?  The fun is right here and in spades.  Everything that made the original show a cult classic is represented.  Crazy riddles with zany solutions, window cameos, the Batusi and more.  If you loved the show you will laugh out loud more than a few times while reading.

The story of his first volume revolves around the Riddler's attempt to steal three pieces of precious artwork. The story is good, but this isn't a book that will ever take it's plot seriously. However, it did feature great set pieces and action (of course with the appropriate Fooms! and Pows!!).  All the characters are true to the original actors and the Dialogue between Batman and Robin is pure West and Ward.  The highest complement I can give Jeff Parker and Jonathan Case is that it feels so true to the show it could be a lost episode.  Speaking of Jonathan Case, his artwork is the highlight here.  He captures the feel and look of the show while giving it a new pseudo 3d look that even comes across on the printed page.


If it isn't obvious, I loved this book.  It has great art work, dialogue and in-jokes galore.  It is laughing with the 60's Batman show not at it and laughing is what you'll do if you pick it up.  I had a smile on my face the entire time.


Justice League: The Flashpoint Parodox Animated Movie Review

Be Careful What You Wish For

DC has had a good history with it's animated features.  Most feature Batman and or Superman, but Green Lantern and Wonder Woman have had their moment in the limelight as well.  Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox gives The Flash his time to shine.  And shine, he does.

The Story is based on the Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert miniseries that ended the old DC continuity and ushered in the New 52.  It is great that DC is finally getting the animated side up to date with this and the announcement of Justice League:War which will put things squarely in the new universe.

While the name says Justice League, this is maily a Barry Allen/Flash story.  By erasing a tragedy in his past he sets things in motion that changes the whole universe as he knows it.  In this new reality, Wonder Woman and Aquaman are on the brink of a World War, Cyborg is a government agent, Batman is a gun touting vigilante and Superman is no where to be found.  Worse yet for Barry, he is no longer the Flash.  The story is action packed and well done.

 The only disappointment is that the story feels a little rushed. It was bound to happen when you try to condense a many issue arc with various point of view issues into an hour and a half movie. The story is still great with twists and turns, it just is a bit less gripping than the source material was.

This may be DC's darkest animated feature yet, but it's also the most beautiful.  The character models are excellent and the animation shines throughout, especially in the many action scenes.  The voice acting is also great which is no surprise to DC animated movies.

This is my favorite DC animated movie yet.  It looks beautiful, tells a great story and sets the universe into the New 52.  I hope every DC animated feature follows suit continuing with Justice League:War next.


Arrow Season 2 SDCC Panel and Trailer

The Cast of the CW show Arrow gathered at Comic Con on Saturday and discussed the future of the show.  Some notes of interest:

  • Oliver Queen will finally become GREEN Arrow
  • The Teen Titans villain Brother Blood and the League of Assassin's Bronze Tiger will appear
  • The Deathstroke from last season wasn't Slade Wilson
  • John Barrowman will return as Malcolm Merlyn
They also released this trailer