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AMERICAN GODS Season 1 Episode 1 “The Bone Orchard” Review

Beginning with Vikings in the New World, we see violence and blood everywhere and see that mere mortal are only the tools of powerful creatures. If this first episode doesn’t exactly spell out what the world is really like, we get plenty of hints. First is the creepy and menacing Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane) who offers ex-con Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle) a job. Then, there is Mad Sweeney (Pablo Schreiber), who insists on fighting him. All this on his first day out of prison thanks to an early release after being told his wife died.

The problems though are only just beginning with freedom. To have a name like “Shadow Moon” is to be drawn into the supernatural. Ricky Whittle plays this charming and intense ex-con with a great mix of apprehension and hopelessness. Plagued with foreshadowing dreams and visions, of course, things get worse. Not only is his wife dead, but his best friend who was supposed to have a job waiting for him, he’s dead too. Oh, and they died in the same car accident, in flagrante delicto, in fact.

The real peril is merely hinted at, the action is superb and the dialogue is sparkling. The humans in this story are not happy and the gods aren’t there to bail them out. Quite the contrary, it appears.

“The Bone Orchard” also ends with a brutal assault. Shadow is attacked at the behest of a digital avatar with no explanation. Clearly, he’s gotten himself into the middle of something bad, and even though there is still much to be revealed, everybody knows Shadow’s situation is completely beyond his understanding or control.

American Gods is shocking and disconcerting and so very intricate and compelling. It may even be one of those cases where it exceeds the source material in every way. This is a must see for anyone interested in the suspenseful and chilling whether you are familiar with the material or not.

AMERICAN GODS Season 1 Episode 1 “The Bone Orchard” easily earns a 9 out of 10 and a promise of so much more.

Batman/The Shadow #1 Review

I refer to my age quite often here, but I assure you that I only do so for good reason…and I’m about to do it again, so…As a self-proclaimed 90’s Kid, certain films that I watched on VHS tape as a child had a lasting effect on me. One of these films was Dick Tracy The Shadow. Sure, this Alec Baldwin flick wasn’t a masterpiece of modern cinema or anything like that, but when five-year-old Charlie (me) saw it, he thought that it was freakin’ sweet. Thus, when I spotted Batman/The Shadow #1 waiting for me in my inbox, I couldn’t wait to begin reading.

Batman/The Shadow #1So, what’s Batman/The Shadow #1 about? From the publisher:

“Two of history’s greatest vigilantes are reunited at last! Murder has come to Gotham City, and Lamont Cranston appears to be the culprit…but he’s been dead for over fifty years! Batman will go to the ends of the Earth to unravel the mystery of Cranston’s life, but the mysterious Shadow will do everything in his power to stop him from learning too much…”

Batman/The ShadowAfter finding out that this potentially awesome crossover was being penned by both Scott Snyder and Steve Orlando, I knew that the result would not only be something worth reading and reviewing but also that it would be something that would make my inner child scream with joy. And after reading through this issue, five-year-old Charlie was practically doing backflips.

More so than just a clever idea, Batman/The Shadow #1 is a stunning read. With perfect pacing, and a plot that oozes allure, Batman/The Shadow #1 is the debut issue of a crossover that fans deserve. A real page-turner, this issue will surely appeal to even the most demanding of readers.

Riley Rossmo’s art fits perfectly with Orlando and Snyder’s script. Each and every panel is alive and filled with action and emotion, making the transition from page to page an effortless venture.

I cannot wait to see where this goes, and I assure you that you do not want to skip out on this one. Buy Batman/The Shadow #1.

9.5
Score
Batman/The Shadow #1
The Bottom Line
Batman/The Shadow is exactly what this 90's Kid's inner child hoped that it would be. Riley Rossmo’s art, and the writing from Steve Orlando and Scott Snyder is amazing. This is a must read.
Yes!
Steve Orlando + Scott Snyder = Comic Book Nerdgasm
Excellent artwork and writing that stuns

Comic News | Marvel Legacy Initiative

This past Saturday, at the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2), Marvel Comics announced that there were big changes coming this Fall by way of a new initiative called Marvel Legacy. So that’s great and all, but what does it mean?

The Marvel Legacy event will kick-off with a lengthy, 50-page one-shot comic book, Marvel Legacy #1, the last page of which, as promised by current Marvel Editor-in-Chief, Axel Alonso, will ‘break the internet.’ In addition to this one-shot, Marvel is renumbering their comic series in an effort to reflect their longevity. So, comics like Captain America: Steve Rogers will revert back to the original numbering, and we’ll have upcoming issues nearing #700. And despite this new renumbering, Marvel is planning on featuring what they’re calling “clean-entry points” for each series. Marvel will also focus on their long history and their most popular characters.

While I am on board with the Marvel Legacy initiative, the idea is far from original. It is clear that Marvel is hoping to duplicate the success that DC Comics is experiencing thanks to its Rebirth.

It seems as though Marvel is yet again making big changes to appeal to their fans, this time around, at least, it appears as though they are attempting to appeal to the long-time readers of their comics, not the newer, Marvel-movie-lovers.

This new Marvel Legacy initiative sounds good, and, looks even better on paper, but I am still leery. Regardless of my thoughts on Marvel’s motivations, you can bet that I, and the folks here at The Brazen Bull, will continue to weigh in on comics throughout these exciting times.

Harley Quinn #18 Review

Each week I receive an e-mail from my editor, containing my share of this week’s pull to review. Due to poor work ethic lack of time, I usually don’t finish everything I’m supposed to do, so I prioritize. How do I pick what gets done first? I pick what I like. What’s at the top of the list? Obviously, Harley Quinn #18, since this is the first to get done this week. There’s a number of stories happening at the same time and I’m excited to see how all of them go, especially our back feature.
What’s Harley Quinn #18 about? From the publisher:

“Deadly Sin” part two! How can Harley protect somebody who’s vanished into witness protection? Unfortunately, Harley Sinn has a lead that she doesn’t! And in “Harley Loves Joker” part two, Harley tries to make it up to her puddin’ after her colossal blunder—but The Joker’s wrath is not easily soothed!

Ok DC, I’m not sure we’re talking about the same issue. Is “Deadly Sin” the next arc? Because I’m still in the cannibals that eat homeless people arc and Harley Sinn isn’t even mentioned in Harley Quinn #18. “Harley Loves Joker,” on the other hand, is spot on so I’m not exactly sure. Anyway, here’s what I thought about “Red Meat” part two.

Instead of telling you that I enjoy Conner and Palmiotti’s writing for the 3rd week in a row (which I do, by the way), I have a complaint. In the last couple of issues, the voice of the iconic Arleen Sorkin has been replaced by a ridiculously heavy Staten Island accent in my head. I’m starting to think it’s the way Harley Quinn is written because the back feature that has Paul Dini co-writing it isn’t an issue. I am not happy. I know that I control the voices in my head but my editor insists I comment on the writing so I’m blaming them. I really hope it’s just because I rewatched Suicide Squad recently.

I love that Harley Quinn utilizes different artists to illustrate different stories that are happening independently of the main story following along with Quinn herself but will obviously intersect in future issues. Not only does it keep things fresh but you know exactly which year, or state, or story you’re in just by looking at the artwork.

Same as last week, I love absolutely everything about “Harley Loves Joker.” It’s like reading a new episode of The Animated Series.

Save

Save

8
Score
Harley Quinn #18
The Bottom Line
Buy it. You're going to want to own all of "Harley Loves Joker."
Yes!
Learning how Harley kills Batman seems imminent
No...
I feel like I should be caring more about the main story........but I'm not.

All Star Batman #9 Review

From time to time, an artist, regardless of medium or genre, comes along and sets the bar so high that he/she changes the way that things are done, or, at the very least, provides an example of how things should be done. Scott Snyder is one of these artists; he is a writer that has not only redefined Batman but in the process of doing so, he has also re-established what it means to write a ‘great’ comic book. All Star Batman #9 is one of these great comic books, and it serves as a testament to his writing prowess.

So what’s All Star Batman #9 about? From the publisher:

“’Ends of the Earth’ finale! It all comes down to this. After months of searching, Batman has found the mastermind behind the blight sweeping the planet, and must face off against one of his most dangerous villains in a battle of wills for the fate of the Earth.”

Scott Snyder’s writing in this issue is some of his best; you’ll be hooked from the very first page, and throughout the book, you’ll shake your head in disbelief as well as nod along in agreement. At times, All Star Batman #9 stuns, and at one moment, in particular, my heart skipped a beat.

Blurring the lines between fact and fiction, not only is All Star Batman #9 an amazing closing chapter, but it is also a fulfilling story as it stands on its own. This issue is an absolute must-read.

10
Score
All Star Batman #9
The Bottom Line
Here is an issue that you do not want to miss...Blurring the lines between fact and fiction, not only is All Star Batman #9 an amazing closing chapter, but it is also a fulfilling story as it stands on its own. This issue is an absolute must-read.
Yes!
A unique issue with incredible depth
Amazing writing all-around

Archer Season 8 Episode 1 Review: No Good Deed

I couldn’t have picked a better time to start re-reading The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler’s 1939 detective novel that details a hardboiled, detached private investigator discovering the seedy criminal underbelly of LA while investigating a murder. Archer Dreamland premiers and honestly feels like a small screen size retelling of The Big Sleep…if only Chandler dropped a tab of acid before dropping his pen to paper and decided to star suave spy Sterling Archer in lieu of Marlowe. Or at least, that’s what I hope it will be. No Good Deed kicks off the new season with a funeral and a fake-out after last season ended floating in murky waters with Archer’s face down in a swimming pool courtesy of his cougar crush, Veronica Deane. Though we all knew (or at least, hoped the creators wouldn’t pull a final season of the Office and omit the focal point of the series) that Archer wouldn’t be gone for good, it was really nice to see the passing of Woodhouse addressed and really set the plot in motion in a big way, as the original real-life voice actor, George Coe, recently passed away.

After this brief intro, we find Malory and Lana in a hospital to address just what exactly happened after those events closed the season. They are next to Archer in a coma and although they don’t know when he will wake, they take comfort in the solace that hopefully, Archer doesn’t know about the passing of the man who practically raised him. Except, he does. Dreamland is a coma series taking place in Archer’s literal dream that sees our old characters placed into totally new scenarios and roles. The avenue that the creators of Archer chose to pursue Dreamland has so much promise; although this premise is executed better in theory than in practice during the first episode of this new direction, as No Good Deed was an episode that unfolds a little too slow at points but still excels on intrigue and writing quality.

The direction reinvigorates the series in a way both refreshing yet familiar; our old pals that we knew since ISIS have the same personality as back then but entirely different lives and social roles.

Overall, the animation, the writing, and the thought process behind certain devices remain truly top-notch, and as expected from Archer, the verbal interplay between characters was beyond sharp and witty. The scene is set for an amplified version of Season 7, allowing Adam Reed and the other writers of the series to totally immerse themselves deeper in whatever whimsies crossed their mind while dipping their toes into the private investigator business back with the Phygis agency in real life LA. Archer’s own warped, dreamy version of noir remains at the top of must-see television throughout the remainder of Dreamland.

8
Score
Archer Season 8 Episode 1: No Good Dead
The Bottom Line
Archer’s own warped, dreamy version of noir remains at the top of must-see television throughout the remainder of Dreamland.
Top-notch writing and animation
The episode unfolds a bit slow

Harley Quinn #17 Review

I probably have an unhealthy love for Harley. I love her dopiness and her intelligence. I love her compassion and her brutality. I love her loyalty and her independence. And since most people would tell you I’m “one bad day” away from becoming the Joker anyway, it’s fitting that I’m crazy for her. So what could be better than two Harley stories in one issue? Luckily, that’s what Harley Quinn #17 delivers and the best part is Paul Dini co-wrote the second one.

Harley Quinn #16What’s Harley Quinn #17 about? From the publisher:

“‘Deadly Sin’ part one! The twisted Harley Sinn’s been released from prison, and she’s looking to hurt Harley in a whole new way…by going after somebody she loved and lost! And to make this issue extra-unmissable, a brand-new backup story begins, set in Harley’s earliest days with the Joker—and co-written by one of Harley’s original creators, Paul Dini! “Harley Loves Joker” kicks off as Harley makes the biggest mistake of her burgeoning criminal career…accidentally revealing the location of Mistah J’s hideout!”

While “Nether Regions” gave us the fun, flirty, talk-too-much Harley, “Deadly Sin” (or “Red Meat” as the cover says) gives us a smart, tough, kick-ass Harley. Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti continue to tap all of the intricacies of Harley’s personality. I would never have expected her to school Red Tool in the cause, tragedy, and importance of understanding the homeless problem in the city, but there she goes impressing me again. Add in a little ass kicking and you have a decent start to a new arc that promises to be darker than the last.

I’m literally giddy after reading the first part of “Harley Loves Joker.” Palmiotti and Paul Dini are writing a story that could have been pulled right from Batman: The Animated Series and I love it. Bret Blevins, Jay Bone, and Alex Sinclair’s artwork nails the style of the cartoon without being identical. The end result feels both familiar and new.

Save

9
Score
Harley Quinn #17
The Bottom Line
"Harley Loves Joker" alone makes this a must buy.
Yes!
The seriousness of this issue is a nice change of pace from the previous arc.
I can't say enough about how much I love the back feature.
No...
Felt like the main story stopped as soon as it started
Read Harley Quinn #17 Now

Justice League (2017) Official Trailer

The official Justice League (2017) trailer is here!

Today, March 25th, Warner Bros. Pictures released the official trailer for the upcoming Justice League film, and boy does it look awesome. This two and a half minute trailer is packed with action and has me stoked for the film. And from just this brief look, I am already looking forward to the Batman/Aquaman dynamic.

Justice League hits theaters November 2017.

What do you think about the Justice League trailer?

X-O Manowar #1 Review

X-O Manowar #1

After reading just the first issue, I am convinced that current rendition of X-O Manowar will be celebrated by casual fans and comic book enthusiasts alike for years to come. In every way, X-O Manowar #1 is a living, breathing, stunning work of modern fiction which takes hold of its reader and refuses to let go until it’s finished. And once it is fished, I assure you that you will not look at comic books the same way ever again.

X-O Manowar #1So, what’s X-O Manowar about? From the publisher:

“Born under the oppressive thumb of the Roman Empire, Aric of Dacia learned warfare at an early age. It was amid such violence that he was abducted by an alien race. Forced into slavery, he survived where others perished. His escape would come from bonding with a weapon of immeasurable power: the X-O Manowar armor. With it, he returned to Earth…only to find himself stranded in the modern day.

“But that was a lifetime ago.

“Now, far from home on a strange and primitive new world, Aric has begun a new life. Liberated from his past, he tends to his crops. Free from war. Free from violence. Free from the armor.

“But the machinery of death marches his way once again. Conscripted into an alien army and thrown into an unforgiving conflict, the fury inside him finds voice as he is forced to embrace the armor once more. With it, he will decimate armies, topple empires and incite interplanetary warfare as he rises from SOLDIER to GENERAL to EMPEROR to VISIGOTH. They wanted a weapon. He will give them war!”

X-O Manowar #1Okay, so I know that that ‘about’ section is significantly longer than the publisher produced descriptions that I normally share, but if you’re unfamiliar with X-O Manowar, I think that it is imperative to have some idea of what you’re getting yourself into before you start reading. That, and frankly, I didn’t really feel like explaining it on my own—this way, we both win. Anyway…

One of the first elements that readers will notice is Tomas Giorello’s pencil-heavy artwork which makes this book not only visually appealing but also causes it to stand out from the crowd of thick-lined, ink soaked comics. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against a well-inked comic book, but Tomas Giorello produces some amazing panels without the heavy ink or thick outlines, and for me, this softer, less-polished approach comes as a welcomed change.

Tomas Giorello’s landscapes captivate the senses while his dynamic character work—both in and out of action scenes—leave the reader believing that the people they see on the pages before them are living, breathing creatures with hearts and histories to match.

X-O Manowar #1And much like Tomas Giorello’s artwork, Mat Kindt’s writing is worthy of great praise. This NYT best-selling author knows a thing or two about a great story, and from the looks of things, as they stand now, X-O Manowar is going to turn out to be another award-winning work of his.

Mat Kindt’s pacing is utterly impeccable, and at times throughout my read, I was completely engulfed in this issue, and when it was over, I was terribly sad that there wasn’t more. Thankfully, we will all get more in a few weeks, and seeing as though the entire first year of issues is already planned, I have a feeling that I am going to relatively pleased for the next twelve-or-so months.

At this point, all the team behind X-O Manowar has to do is keep up the good work. X-O Manowar #1 is an amazing comic book that you NEED to read.

 

10
Score
X-O Manowar #1
The Bottom Line
X-O Manowar #1 is an absolutely amazing comic book that elevates the medium. Do not miss the opportunity to be a part of something great, Read this comic.
Yes!
Amazing Artwork
Amazing Writing
Read X-O Manowar #1 Now!

Batman #19 Review

Packed with non-stop, skull-cracking, back-breaking action, Tom King and David Finch’s Batman #19 is an onslaught of entertainment. This, the fourth chapter of the ‘I Am Bane’ arc hits incredibly hard and is the perfect follow-up to the amazing Batman #18. And while I believe that it lacks the overall depth of its predecessor, Batman #19 is still a brilliant work that will leave Bane fans begging for more.

So what’s Batman #19 about? From the publisher:

“’I AM BANE’ part four! Batman is losing…Bane is going to break him for good this time. The Dark Knight must turn to a very unlikely weapon to beat Bane once and for all!”

This, the fourth part of the ‘I Am Bane’ arc, picks up with Bane passing through the doors of Arkham Asylum in search of the Dark knight. As Bane makes his way deeper and deeper into the asylum, I am, as I am sure it was Tom King’s intention, reminded of Dante’s hellish descent. Hell, if it wasn’t King’s intent, would he have started the issue out with a quote from Dante Alighieri’s Inferno? I think not. King also ends the issue with some rather fitting lines taken from William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. Spotting these references made my heart beat faster and more intensely than it normally does while I read comics, and for that I am thankful.

While I was very impressed with King’s smart, classically inspired writing, I was more so impressed by David Finch’s stellar artwork. I love nothing more, as far as my comic book villains go, than seeing Bane, all pumped up with Venom, kicking ass and taking names. And thus far in this arc, Finch has delivered some utterly amazing artwork, and in Batman #19, the ass-kickery is off the charts thanks to Finch’s illustrations.

I could sit and write about this book for hours, and go on and on about how great it is, but unfortunately, there are other issues calling my name. The bottom line here is that I absolutely enjoyed my time spent with this issue, I am looking forward to Issue #20, and I recommend buying this one even if you haven’t read any of the current Batman issues leading up to this.

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.