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Detective Comics #954 Review

If you’ve been following this current arc, you are already well aware that there is some serious trouble in Gotham, and as of yet, the Dark Knight hasn’t been able to get a grip on the situation. In Detective Comics # 954, the situation continues to escalate, and Batman’s once firm grip on the city of Gotham continues to loosen.

What’s Detective Comics #954 about? From the publisher:

“’League Of Shadow’ part four! Ra’s al Ghul has the answers Batman needs to take down the League of Shadows…but will he lift a finger to help him? Or would he rather use the League to take care of the Dark Knight Detective once and for all?”

Fans of Ra’s al Ghul will get a lot out of this issue, but Batman fans, you know, the people who buy these comics, aren’t going to be too happy, or at least I wasn’t, and figure that those with similar tastes to my own won’t be either. In Detective Comics #954, Batman comes off as a bit of a fool…that’s right, I’m talking about Sherlock Holmes Batman, the world’s greatest detective…

While I realize that Batman can’t always know what’s going on, or be two or three or seven steps ahead of the bad guys, I think that James Tynion missed the mark here, and to put it simply, I didn’t believe that Batman was, well, Batman. And seeing as though I picked up a Detective Comic, I’m not too happy.

I’m also not too happy with Marcio Takara’s artwork throughout the issue. At times, I was confused by what was going on and wished that there was some more clarity in terms of the action that Takara was trying to depict. Visually, this chapter was quite stagnant, and unfortunately, in an issue where there is some epic information being revealed, instead of epic fights being portrayed, the art has to do some heavy lifting to keep the book entertaining. And here, that just didn’t happen.

6
Score
Detective Comics #954
The Bottom Line
While I realize that Batman can't always know what's going on, or be two or three or seven steps ahead of the bad guys, I think that James Tynion missed the mark here, and to put it simply, I didn't believe that Batman was, well, Batman.
Yes!
James Tynion is setting the stage for an epic conclusion
No...
Lifeless artwork
Wait a second, that's Batman...right?
Read Detective Comics #954 Now!

Batman #20 Review

What is there to say about a comic book that, after reading, leaves you somehow feeling more complete than you did prior to gazing at its glorious pages? Is there anything to say? Well, of course there is, it just turns out that finding what to say—what to write—can be difficult, because once a writer becomes emotionally ‘connected’ to a work, so many words come to mind that choosing a few that, really, just mean “this is great,” becomes nearly impossible. So, rather than sift through all of the words swirling around my brain right now, I’m just going to simply say that Batman #20 is stunning.

So, what’s Batman #20 about? From the publisher:

“’I am Bane’ finale! In this epic climax, there is no going back. No more tricks, no more allies. Just Batman. And Bane. When the final blood spills…nothing will ever be the same for the Dark Knight.”

Knowing that Batman #20 was the ‘I am Bane’ finale, I went into this reading hoping that Tom King would be able to end this epic arc without having to leave creative stones unturned, because in my opinion, there is nothing worse than when an arc (as great as this one) fizzle out thanks to a botched closing chapter. Thankfully, Tom King wrote an ending for the ‘I am Bane’ arc that is as epic, and as deserving of adoration, as the other chapters found throughout this amazing story.

Batman #20, just like the rest of the issues in the ‘I am Bane’ arc, is a stunning representation of what a modern comic book can be if the stars align, and every member of the creative team puts forward their best efforts. Batman #20 is the type of comic that long-time Batman fans deserve.

Throughout the issue, there were several panels that refused to allow me to move forward in my reading without first paying them the extra attention that they deserved. I look forward to moments like this—to moments that burn themselves into the brain, and the epic, full-page spread that concludes the Bane/Batman battle, has created one of those moments for me. Artist David Finch deserves one hell of a hearty handshake for his work on this issue. Hell, he deserves a hearty handshake just for his stellar Bane work.

The (enjoyable) depth that Tom King brings to Batman is unbelievable. With each and every issue that he writes, it becomes more and more clear that King is a ‘Big Picture’ kind of guy—he’s always working towards something bigger, and I love that. With Tom King sitting at the writer’s desk, I am convinced that the Dark Knight is in good hands.

Boy, do I love comics…

9.5
Score
Batman #20
The Bottom Line
Batman #20 is a highly-entertaining and fitting conclusion to amazing 'I am Bane' arc.
Yes!
Finch's Bane is amazing
Tom King brings some serious depth to Batman
No...
I am Bane is over
Read Batman #20 Now!

Wonder Woman #23 Review

So here’s the thing, I’m trying. I really am. That being said, I can barely even remember Wonder Woman #21. I kind of forgot how we got to this point. Was this the arc that started with Diana in an asylum? Either way this is the finale. And June 14th ends “Godwatch” and hopefully, my confusion too. Needless to say, even if the comic doesn’t excite me, the upcoming movie certainly does, but we’ll get to that another time. On to Wonder Woman #23.

So what’s Wonder Woman #23 about? From DC:

“The Truth” part five! The conclusion to Diana’s search for the truth takes her on a journey into darkness. But the price of understanding may be one sacrifice too many for Wonder Woman…

Maybe it’s because I have a soft spot for the god of war or I know what it’s like to feel like you live in madness and the love of a woman can calm the storm inside (see my love for King Kong), but Wonder Woman #23 spoke to me. After weeks of not caring, Greg Rucka finally caught my interest. He also didn’t give readers the happy ending I was expecting but was able to convey a sad beauty in the events as they unfolded. Dialogue heavy and action light, the conclusion of “The Truth” is surprisingly the best issue in the arc.

I was so ready to give up on this title. Now, I can’t. I’ll give Wonder Woman #24 the same chance to change my mind as this issue, but the true test will be issues #25 and #26. Will it start two different but similar arcs again or will it focus on delivering one great Wonder Woman story? If Greg Rucka and Liam Sharp are involved I’ll be far more than just willing to give Wonder Woman a second chance. Your move DC, your move.

Save

7.5
Score
Wonder Woman #23
The Bottom Line:
Best issue of the arc and good enough to want to give the next one a solid chance.
Yes!
The ending contains a sad beauty I really enjoyed.
No...
Not enough to save the arc but I'm not sure what would have been.

BATMAN #23 Review

Batman #23 is a great issue that provides readers with an entertaining break between story arcs. The pacing of this issue is somewhat faster than what has become typical for comic books with plots that span multiple issues. The issue certainly benefits from this quickened pace and ends up being a solid page-turner.

Having Batman and Swamp Thing isn’t exactly a dream matchup per se, but it is neat. I only say that it isn’t ideal because I don’t believe that either hero needs the help of the other, or at least in this particular issue they don’t. Batman’s detective skills are put to use but they are far from tested. Also, I think that it is important to keep in mind that Alec Holland (Swamp Thing) is no dummy either. Could he have solved the mystery that this issue revolves around on his own? Perhaps.

Regardless of whether or not this team-up was necessary, it happened and it was cool. Batman #23 is a good transition issue that provides fans with some room to breathe.

8
Score
Batman #23
The Bottom Line
Batman #23 teams the Dark Knight up with Swamp Thing, and while issue could have utilized their individual skills a bit better, it's entertaining. If you need to skip an issue of Batman, this is it.
Yes!
Swamp Thing swings by Gotham
Faster than normal pacing
No...
A transition issue that relies on being interesting more than being good
Read Batman #23 Now!

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #19 Review

Thanks to this, as well as the last few issues of Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps, I am feeling torn and am unsure of whether I want this new Green & Yellow lantern to pan out and be effective. Although atypical, being torn, in this case at least, is a very good thing.

So, what’s Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #19 about? From the publisher:

“’THE PRISM OF TIME’ part two! A mysterious time traveler arrives wearing a Green Lantern ring given to him by one of the Corps in the future? Locked within this ring are secrets that will either save the Green Lanterns or eradicate them.”

As more and more details are revealed about the time-traversing threat that the lanterns are currently set to face, I find myself becoming more and more excited to read about the moment when the two opposing forces finally clash. Only two issues in, this current arc is building nicely, and now that I’ve seen the face of the enemy, and have gotten a small taste of the power it wields (thanks to the final pages of this issue) I’m convinced that the final showdown is going to be quite entertaining. Writer Robert Venditti deserves some serious credit for setting up such a fresh predicament.

Right now, Rip hunter appears to be nothing more than the bearer of bad news. He hasn’t offered up any solutions. I’m hoping that Venditti allows him to play a larger part in the next few issues, and more so than that, I am hoping that Rip Hunter sticks around Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps for more than another issue or two…but I’m not holding my breath.

8
Score
Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #19
The Bottom Line
Part 2 of The Prism of Time, Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #19 is an entertaining read that leaves the reader anxious to see what comes next.
Yes!
I like the predicament that Venditti has placed both the Green and Yellow Lanterns in
Fresh enemies
No...
So, is Rip Hunter going to help or just bear the bad news?

BATMAN #22 Review

[Cautions: Potential Spoilers Ahead. Read with Caution.]

Now that you’ve been warned about reading any further…In Batman #22, Batman stands eye-to-eye with his Flashpoint counterpart. Let that sink in for a moment. Okay. For those of you that have no idea what I’m talking about, during the Flashpoint event (Flash goes back in time to try and prevent his mother’s death, but in doing so, boom, butterfly effect) there was still a Batman, but the cowl was worn by Thomas Wayne, you know, Bruce Wayne’s father. So, in Batman #22, Bruce Wayne stands eye-to-eye with his father…and it’s amazing.

So, what’s Batman #22 about? From DC Comics:

“’THE BUTTON’ part three! The cataclysmic events of DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH #1 continue here! The Dark Knight and The Fastest Man Alive, the two greatest detectives on any world, unite to explore the mystery behind a certain blood-stained smiley button embedded in the Batcave wall. What starts as a simple investigation turns deadly when the secrets of the button prove irresistible to an unwelcome third party-and it’s not who anyone suspects! It’s a mystery woven through time, and the ticking clock starts here!”

Being able to see Bruce Wayne interact with his father—albeit from an alternate dimension—is somewhat of a dream come through for us Batman fans. After reading Flashpoint—after seeing Thomas Wayne become Batman thanks to circumstances similar to Bruce’s—there was a glimmer of hope that one day, the two would somehow meet up. In Batman #22, father and son do get to meet, and that’s great, but the amount of time that they are able to spend together is cut short thanks to a small invasion of the Batcave.

While I was initially displeased that Bruce’s time with his father was cut so short because of the attack on the Batcave, I soon realized that it was this same attack that afforded me the opportunity to see Batman fight alongside his father. And in my mind, these moments, these panels, are priceless. To summarize, Batman #22 is a gift, and its pages should be cherished.

Tom King and Joshua Williamson worked on the story for Batman #22 together, but the script that you’re reading—because you will read this comic—is Joshua Williamson’s. Williamson does a fine job creating a heartfelt book that, despite the ‘wasting’ of the first few pages on reiteration and summary, remains entertaining throughout. The story at hand—The Button—is quite complex, so in my opinion, having a third chapter like this that is filled with emotion, progresses the story forward, and remains entertaining is not an easy task. So, the fact that Joshua Williamson and Tom King accomplished this speaks for itself.

Artist Jason Fabok also does an amazing job in Batman #22. Regardless of whether our heroes are standing around talking in the Batcave or fighting through space-time, Fabok’s illustrations are breathtaking. His style is as close to perfect as one can get—in my eyes—when it comes to the way that comic books should look. I especially appreciate the amazing, dual-page spread of Bruce fighting alongside his father, as well as the sequence of panels where Thomas Wayne explains to Bruce that Wayne’s never stay down, they rise.

9
Score
Batman #22
The Bottom Line
For several reasons, Batman #22 is a must-read for Batman fans. This issue is packed with emotion and energy and is an absolute gift to fans/long-time readers.
Yes!
Batman meets Batman
No...
First few pages could have been better

THE FLASH #22 Review

Well ladies and gentlemen, here it is, The Button part four! There has been a whole lot of talk about this issue, and rightfully so. Everyone is buzzing about the issue because of this, the final chapter of The Button should offer some answers to all of the questions that have been spinning around the DC Rebirth event and the pending crossover with The Watchmen. And now that Geoff Johns has teased us with the Doomsday Clock storyline that will hit this coming November…the excitement levels throughout the DC fan community are soaring.

The Flash #22So, what’s the Flash #22 about? From DC:

“THE BUTTON” part four! The cataclysmic events of DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH #1 continue here! The Dark Knight and The Fastest Man Alive, the two greatest detectives on any world, unite to explore the mystery behind a certain blood-stained smiley button embedded in the Batcave wall. What starts as a simple investigation turns deadly when the secrets of the button prove irresistible to an unwelcome third party-and it’s not who anyone suspects! It’s a mystery woven through time, and the ticking clock starts here!

Several times throughout reading this issue, I got chills and had to stop reading for a moment to collect myself, and even that wasn’t enough. The Flash #22 is a comic book that fans—including myself—are going to read over and over and over in hopes of finding clues that hide in between panels. Clearly, there are big things happening in the DC universe, and clearly, The Watchmen are involved. That much we know. Hopefully, we’ll learn more come November.

Writing this review without spoiling the book is terribly difficult, so all I will say is that this book is one that fans new and old MUST READ. I think that this crossover event was amazing and that thanks to The Button, DC’s Rebirth, and the impending Doomsday Clock storyline, we may be entering a new era of comics. God, I am happy to be alive.

Everything about this issue, in my mind, is ideal. The art is fantastic, the writing, spectacular. And the prologue…everyone is going to be talking about the prologue for a very long time.

Amazing.

10
Score
The Flash #22
The Bottom Line
Everything about this issue, in my mind, is ideal. The art is fantastic, the writing, spectacular. And the prologue…everyone is going to be talking about the prologue for a very long time.
Yes!
I'm still shaking
Read The Flash #22 Now!

The Walking Dead #164 | Review

All hell is breaking loose at Alexandria, and despite this, Robert Kirkman produces a subtle, character-driven narrative that is as emotional as it is intense. In The Walking Dead #164, Kirkman focuses the narrative lens in on Negan and Rick Grimes and their relationship, and the result of this unique framing is amazing. Amidst darkness, there is light. Amidst pandemonium, there is order. Amidst a relationship that is built upon fear and skull-crushing, somehow, there is mutual understanding.

The Walking Dead #164, “A Fallen House,” immediately follows the events of Issue #163; the book starts out with Rick barely escaping from a massive herd of walkers. If it hadn’t been for the help of an unlikely ally, Rick would have met his end…

Just seconds before Rick would have fallen into the clutches of the hungry horde, Negan (of all people) pulls Rick into a house, and in doing so, saves his life. While this shouldn’t come as a surprise, since Negan has been placed on a path that potentially leads to redemption, I was just as shocked as Rick when Negan saved his life.

Once ushered to safety, Rick is clearly uninterested in the conversation that Negan works to create, and is angry for having to rely on Negan. Negan, of course, realizes this and steps up his conversation game and tries intently to make Ricks converse with him. Ultimately, Rick does ‘open-up,’ and in doing so, he inspires Negan to offer up a genuine, heartfelt (I can’t believe that I’m using this word in the same sentence as the name Negan) explanation of why he is the way that he is.

For a moment, Negan’s defenses come down, he is vulnerable, and in this moment, Negan offers up an explanation of why he killed Glenn in such a brutal way. Negan looks to Rick and says, “I just lost all respect for the human race.” He then continues, adding, “Makes it really easy to bash a man’s brains in when you think it might actually save all his friends.” Intense.

Not only does Negan’s brain bashing come up in conversation, but his wife does as well. In speaking about the worst thing that he has ever done, Negan refers to his wife, saying, “She’s a pile of dry bones rotting on a f****** floor… My Wife… Because of me.” In a single, beautiful exchange of dialogue, the emotional torment that Negan experiences from day to day becomes clear. Excellent work Mr. Kirkman, excellent work indeed.

Outside of the home where Negan and Rick are having their heart to heart (again, heart to heart and Negan in the same sentence, I’m giving myself the creeps here), Andrea, Jesus, Maggie, and Michonne attempt to steer the herd of walkers away from Alexandria. Carl, who is forced to stay behind, rallies the Alexandrians together to kick ass and take out the already thinning herd. Way to go Carl. This is a brief but exciting moment for the son of Rick Grimes.

After reading The Walking Dead #164, I cannot wait to see how the next chapter in Rick and Negan’s relationship continues to develop. Definitely, read this issue.

GWAR: ORGASMAGEDDON #1 Review

Yet again I found myself asking, “What the f*** did I just read.” But this time, after asking the question, I immediately answered, saying “I don’t know, but I liked it…I liked it a lot.” Off the bat, I’ll say that this book will not appeal to everyone, but then again, who cares? If you picked up a copy of GWAR: ORGASMAGEDDON #1 expecting an intellectual masterpiece…let’s just say it’s not the writer’s fault that you were disappointed.

What’s GWAR: ORGASMAGEDDON #1 about? From Dynamite Entertainment:

“From the depths of outer space to the frozen wasteland of Antarctica, punk rock and heavy metal’s most shocking and blasphemous band of intergalactic blood spewing alien monsters has returned to kill everything and respect nothing in the pages of GWAR: Orgasmageddon!  Banished to the past by the cold and calculating Mr. Perfect, the heroes of GWAR trample through time like a deranged Bill and Ted on bath salts – antics ensue as they stomp and smash and shape human history to what we accept as our current reality.  Co-written by GWAR themselves and Matt Miner (Toe Tag Riot, Critical Hit), GWAR: Orgasmageddon is a love letter to comics, Grindhouse movies, and heavy metal – sure to appeal to the most die-hard fan and the comics fanboy/fangirl intrigued by the prospect of social awareness drowned in geysers of blood and alien goo.”

In the book’s description, it’s said that GWAR tramples through time like a “deranged Bill and Ted on bath salts,” and having read the comic, I must say that that is as close to a perfect description as one could come. GWAR: ORGASMAGEDDON #1 is unlike anything that I’ve read, and that’s putting it lightly.

Laden with violence and smart, fittingly distasteful writing GWAR: ORGASMAGEDDON #1 offends in all the right ways. Readers don’t need to be fans of GWAR the band to enjoy this series, in fact, I think that readers who’ve never heard of GWAR will enjoy the series more than those familiar with the band.

GWAR: ORGASMAGEDDON #1is f***ing Metal! Read it.

8.5
Score
GWAR: ORGASMAGEDDON #1
The Bottom Line
GWAR: ORGASMAGEDDON #1 is a bloody good time - totally NSFW - totally awesome.
Yes!
Great writing, great art. A wicked good time
No...
Readers will either love or hate this

SUPERMAN #25 Review

All good things come to an end. Superman #25 is the final chapter in the “BLACK DAWN” story arc. I’m sad, I’m excited, I’m scared. This has been an incredible arc and I want it to end well. As for being scared? The next issue will start a new story and I don’t want to be let down. That probably won’t happen but I’m still feeling uneasy. No time to worry about that now. Is Jon going to kick the shit out of Clark or can Superman free his son from the clutches of Black’s control?

What’s Superman #25 about? From the publisher:

“BLACK DAWN” part six! The extra-sized finale to “Black Dawn” reveals the villain tearing the Super-Family apart and destroying everything the Man of Steel holds dear!

Just to change things up a bit, let’s start with what I didn’t like. Besides for being unkillable, what good are Frankenstein and his “ex” bride? Manchester Black unraveled him like a fucking cartoon sweater, and shooting four guns at once does The Bride no better than a single pistol. Yes, that is my biggest complaint. I wish everything I disliked was so trivial.

Last time I suggested this creative team write the next Superman film. Superman #25 is a perfect example of why I said it. It’s an almost perfect (I wish Frankenstein wasn’t so useless) climax and wind down for a great story. The epilogue would even make an amazing post credit scene. Finding inner strength, the importance of family and teamwork, and a hopeful ending, Superman #25 contains everything you’d expect from a DC’s white knight.

Side Note: I finally see the connection between Clark and Lois. Half a dozen movies and three TV series failed to convey what a single page of this issue has. I’d like to give my personal thanks to the entire creative team for making my first Superman arc, one I won’t soon forget.

9
Score
Superman #25
The Bottom Line:
A great final chapter to a great arc.
Yes!
Superboy is like an american Gohan. Greater potenial than his father but will he achieve it.
No...
For the third time, Frankenstein sucks.
Read Superman #23 Now!
General-DC Comics

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SUPERMAN #25 Review

I honestly don't even know where to begin. Comics like Superman #23 are the reason I love doing what I do. I've never had a job where the work itself was a reward. My biggest reward has to be this series. I jumped in just after "Superman Reborn" and every issue since has pulled me in deeper. Each time adding a new type of creepiness. This time it's of the A Clockwork Orange variety.