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Batman #18 Review

Batman #18 Review

Brutally entertaining and deceptively thought-provoking, Tom King’s Batman #18 is a triumph of modern ‘superhero’ fiction—a comic book tour de force reminiscent of the great Victorian tale of human duality: Robert Louis Stevenson’s, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and while the Batman/Bane foil may not be perfect—it’s damn near close.

Aside from the fact that Batman and Bane aren’t one in the same (like Jekyll and Hyde) the similarities are there—the depth is there; these two men are essentially cut from the same cloth, but since their paths were riddled with challenges unique to their individual situations Batman and Bane ended up in wildly different places, as wildly different men…or so it may appear at first look. In reality, Bane and Batman aren’t all that different, in fact, Batman isn’t all that different from any of his villains and that’s why Batman’s villains are some of the most compelling villains in the business.

But I’m going to stop there, because I have a feeling that this ‘review’ is slowly turning into a thesis paper that will eventually end with me saying something like, “Comics ARE Literature Goddamn it!”

Issues like this are the reason that I am passionate about comics, so thank you, Tom King, David Finch, Danny Miki, Jordie Ballaire, and John Workman, thank you very much.

Back to the review…

So what’s Batman #18 about?

“’I AM BANE’ part three! Bane broke the bat before, but it wasn’t enough—now he’s going to break everyone else! Bane is coming, and no one is safe!”

From that opening, I am sure that you’re already aware that I very much enjoyed reading Batman #18 and will absolutely be recommending it to you, but I’ll say it again anyway, this book was amazing, and you need to read it. Throughout the issue, King does a wonderful job creating a side-by-side telling/re-telling of Bane and Batman’s unique—yet surprisingly similar—back stories. The emphasis placed on properly foiling hero and villain here pays off.

David Finch’s art in Batman #18  is some of his best to date. Finch’s Bane, is now my Bane. The amount of gritty detail that Finch incorporates into Bane is astounding, and there is nothing that I like more than seeing a ripped, Venom-fuelled Bane kicking the living hell out of Batman. Just take a look at the detail in the preview page below—look at Bane’s hand—it’s absolutely amazing.

Batman #18 is everything that I want in a Bane-centric Batman comic and more. Please read this comic.

Rat Queens Vol. 2 Issue #1 Review

What better way to start the newest volume of an adventure story than with a massacre scene showing dozens of bodies strewn across a field. A closer look, however, reveals ubiquitous red cups (among other things) and a banner reading “Party Party Party.” The girls are back in town and we’ve missed them, for sure!

So, what’s Rat Queens Vol.2 Issue #1 about?

“‘CAT KINGS AND OTHER GARYS,’ Part One. The Rat Queens are back! Betty, Violet, Dee, Braga, and Hannah return! Palisade is still a rat-infested troll’s ass, and everyone still hates Gary. It’s been a while since the Queens have done a good slaughter, so join them as they get back to the basics of killing monsters and drinking away the profits.”

This opening image is and has been what Rat Queens is all about. On the surface, we are given the expected crew of adventurers hewing foes and derring-their-doing. A magic user, a thief, a fighter, a healer make of the usual fantasy races to fill out the party. Composed of the near demonic, very small, dwarflike and human and maybe something monster-ish, all the components for a successful campaign are in place. But in addition to the fictional representations, these are also the familiar personalities of our gamer friends. It just so happens that on these pages they are all beautiful and powerful women. “Blindly to the bloodletting, my Queens!” shouts Violet, the ginger dwarven warrior as they burst into the abandoned structure drawn by the sound of combat.

This issue has our Queens find a group of so-called “Cat Kings” infringing on their turf led by Vi’s brother Barrie and looking like quite a poor copy, cowardly and not very bright. The final boss a goose dragon that hurls beams and sonic bolts and spews gas of some kind.

With artwork of excruciating detail and manic energy, Gieni captures the spirit and personality of the Queen with a beauty and simplicity that is easy to enjoy. Wiebe gives us sharp dialogue and expertly turns our expectations upside down.

All fun and games until somebody gets hurt, but mostly all fun.

Alien: Covenant Review

In 1979 Ridley Scott warned us: “In space, no one can hear you scream.” He introduced us to a creature whose entire life cycle is horrifying and became one of the most iconic monsters in movie history. Now, almost 40 years later, his warning is far simpler and just as anxiety-inducing: “RUN.” While the Alien franchise has since parted from its pure horror roots into a much more action driven narrative, Alien: Covenant promises to go back to its original fear inducing ways. After Prometheus’s less than stellar reception, does the newest installment revitalize a waning franchise or is it “game over, man” for the terrifying xenomorph?

The Story:

After prematurely waking up, the crew of a colonization ship receive a transmission of a human voice. The transmission is coming from a planet significantly closer and far more suitable for sustaining life than the one they were headed for. While searching for the source of the signal and exploring the planet, the crew unleashes and gets attacked by a pair of vicious, unknown lifeforms. The android David, Michael Fassbender (X-Men: Apocalypse), the last survivor of the Prometheus Expedition, saves them and takes them to where he’s been living for the past decade. From there on, the remaining crew members must figure out the truth behind the fate of the planet, the origin of these monster, and most importantly try to survive long enough to be rescued.

The Good:

This is what a horror movie is supposed to be. For many years now, I have said that I am not a fan of horror films. That isn’t 100% accurate. Saying I am not a fan of what Horror has become is much more truthful. I love movies like Alien, Jaws, Terminator, Predator, films that actually instill fear. I don’t like gore (just because it’s too gross for me to watch doesn’t make it scary) and jump-scares are a one-trick-pony (if your method of fear is only as complex as a jack-in-the-box, I’m not sure why I should care). Alien: Covenant plays on the nature of fear and what it truly is to be a monster. Tapping into the deepest darkest places in your mind, Ridley Scott fills the audience with anxiety, suspense, trust issues, survival instinct, and fear of the unknown to create a true sense of horror. Add in an extremely talented cast (Michael Fassbender is great in everything and Danny McBride (East Bound and Down) impresses in a roll far more serious than any other movie I’ve seen him in) and you have the makings of a great horror film.

The Bad:

Unfortunately some of the “twists” are a bit predictable, particularly if you’ve seen the rest of the films in the franchise. Although this does add a sense of “NO!!! DON’T OPEN THAT DOOR,” I prefer to be blindsided by a startling revelation or a “HOLY SHIT” moment. Even being sold as a more direct prequel to Alien than Prometheus was, I feel like we need at least one more film to bridge the gap between Alien: Covenant and the original horror classic. I still have more questions and I demand answers.

Alien: Covenant
The Bottom Line
The best addition to the franchise since Aliens (1986). An absolute do not miss for fans of Ridley Scott, Michael Fassbender, the Alien franchise or horror films in general.
Everything a great horror movie should be.
A bit predictable at times.

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.

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.

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.
Steve Orlando + Scott Snyder = Comic Book Nerdgasm
Excellent artwork and writing that stuns

The Belfry #1 Review

The Belfry #1 | Image Comics | Review

The Belfry #1 is the kind of comic that you’re going to read, and re-read, and re-read again, and when you’re “done,” you’re going to recommend it to your friend that doesn’t get Horror comics, as well as the friend that does. It is the kind of comic that you love so much, you dock half of a point when rating it because you’re DEVASTATED that it’s only a one-shot.

So, what’s The Belfry #1 about?

“AN ALL-NEW HORROR ONE-SHOT FROM GABRIEL HARDMAN! When an airliner crashes in a remote jungle, everyone walks away unscathed only to find you can’t escape the lush, brutal world of the Belfry. From Logan storyboard artist and Hugo Award-nominated writer/artist GABRIEL HARDMAN (INVISIBLE REPUBLIC, KINSKI, Star Wars Legacy), THE BELFRY is a self-contained one-shot that may just strip you of your humanity.”

The Belfry #1The Belfry #1 is an amazing work of modern Horror. The comic book industry needs more works like this, and while I do want more and sadly won’t get any (not anytime soon at least), one-shot comics are refreshing. I would have preferred if The Belfry was a one-shot graphic novel—that way I’d get to spend some more time with Gabriel Hardman—but I am thankful to have gotten a story like this at all.

The Belfry #1is delightfully disorientating; violence is coupled perfectly with fear, and the varying panel sizes and shapes, as well as the interesting layouts, work together to pull the reader deeper and deeper into the book, until finally he/she reaches the bottom of the pit, and at that point, is at Hardman’s mercy. By the time that the comic lets go and the story is finished, the chilling concept continues to haunt the reader since there is no apparent end to the story that Hardman has crafted.

Hardman writes with an edge that aligns perfectly with his gritty artwork. At times The Belfry #1 is messy and chaotic and at others, it is beautiful. I can’t say enough positive things about this one-shot, so I am going to absolutely recommend that you read it for yourself. Comics don’t get much better than this…

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?

Red Hood and the Outlaws #7 | Review

Every now and then, one stumbles across an issue that takes them by surprise, and for me, this is one of those issues.

Although it may not come across on the first read, Red Hood and the Outlaws #7 is deep and wonderfully complex. Despite the plot of this issue being relatively stripped down, the focus that is placed not only on Bizarro, but also on Jason and his relationship with the big grey dimwit is fantastic. Clearly, writer Scott Lobdell was channeling his inner John Steinbeck when he wrote/crafted the issue’s ending, which, is practically torn directly from the pages of Of Mice and Men. And since this is the case, I am left wondering whether or not Lobdell is setting the stage for a tragic ending (for Jason and Bizarro’s relationship) that will be similar to the conclusion to Of Mice and Men. I don’t want anything to happen to Bizarro or his relationship with Jason, but a tragic ending would be fitting…

While I am not entirely sure that it was necessary for Jason and Artemis to learn from the team that created Bizarro that their creation is emotionally unstable, I did enjoy the emphasis that was placed the big guy throughout the issue. The way I see it, the more Bizarro there is, the better. (Now if I could only get a fresh serving of some of that Batzarro goodness…)

Mirko Colak takes over as artist for Red Hood and the Outlaws in Issue #7 and produces some captivating scenes towards the end of the issue. Aside from the last few pages, and some panels in the beginning, Colak left me wanting more as the artwork was a tad dull throughout the book. The good does make up for the bad though in this issue, but I feel like Mirko Colak is capable of far more than he delivered here.

Overall, Red Hood and the Outlaws #7 is definitely worth reading, so pick it up.

Super Sons #1 | Review

Super Sons #1 is fun and entertaining and is exactly the kind of comic that you want you to read when you need a break from the world-ending, super-serious books that we’ve become accustomed to as of late. Super Sons is going to be the book that you look forward to—the book that you save for last so that you can finish the day’s reading with a smile on your face.

Super Sons gets off to a great start with its first issue. Writer Peter Tomasi sets the stage for the series and really does a fine job depicting the unstable bond between Robin and Superboy. While Tomasi does spend more time on Jon Kent (Superboy) than he does Damian Wayne (Robin), it’s clear that both boys take after their fathers and will surely be butting heads throughout the entirety of their relationship.

Writing for young superheroes can be quite a task since they are typically more flawed—more innocent and less-experienced—than their adult counterparts, but Tomasi approaches writing for Superboy and Robin like he would any other hero. Neither pint-sized crime fighter comes off as whiney or annoying or even incapable of fighting the good fight. Sure, their battles are going to be less intense than their fathers’ battles (perhaps), but isn’t that the point?

Tomasi’s writing shines brightest in this issue when Robin and Superboy interact with one another. Their exchanges feel real and age-appropriate, and with each line of dialogue Tomasi not only reveals more about each character, but he also foreshadows issues that will surely arise in the duo’s relationship further down the road.

In Super Sons #1, Peter Tomasi basically says, “Hey, this is what you’re going to get if you keep reading.” And with the even balance of depth and levity that Peter Tomasi is bringing to this series, I am sure that I will want more.

Artist Jorge Jimenez’ illustrations fit perfectly with the story that Tomasi is crafting. The exaggerated, ‘cartoonish,’ style that Jimenez utilizes in Super Sons #1 simultaneously adds weight to the story while also lightening its feel. The line work is heavier than I typically prefer, but it’s clean and there is a certain fullness to each panel that adds to the overall feel-good atmosphere of the book.

More so than his character illustrations, Jimenez’ layout/panel work is flawless. As much as I enjoyed the ‘action’ scenes, my favorite panels of the Super Sons #1 are the close-up shots that appear throughout the issue. In these close-up shots, Jimenez perfectly illustrates the emotion that each boy is feeling at that time.

I’ve flipped through the issue several times looking for panels that didn’t work, and frankly, I couldn’t find any…

If you notice, I didn’t mention any of the issue’s plot in this review, and my reasoning here is that I want you to read it for yourself. The experience is worth it, trust me. I’m very much looking forward to Super Sons #2, and really hope that after reading Issue #1, you will be too.

Batman (2017) #15

Batman | Issue #15| DC| Published 01/18/17
Written by Tom King | Art by Mitch Gerards

Did Batman just say that he loves Catwoman?

Batman #15, offers a fitting and satisfying conclusion to the ‘Rooftops’ story arc. After ‘I Am Suicide,’ ‘Rooftops’ comes as a nice change of pace, and the unexpected ending that rounds out the issue whisks us off of the love-filled rooftop and drops us back onto the cold streets of Gotham.

In what is perhaps the most satisfying moment of this two-part arc, Batman turns to Catwoman and mutters, “I love you Cat.” Catwoman, of course, confesses her love first, but hearing Batman say this to Ms. Selina Kyle feels so damn good. Yes we’ve known all along, but c’mon man, seeing it on the page is magic. Better yet, once their night of kicking ass and making love is over, it’s back to business as usual. Without warning, Catwoman takes off and yet again, Batman finds himself chasing after her.

Back on the case, Batman tracks down a woman by the name of Holly Robinson who is somehow connected to Selina Kyle. Following up on the lead, Batman no only learns the truth about Catwoman’s murder spree, but he also ends up in some pretty rough shape.

Tom King is perhaps the comic king – pun intended – of minimalist writing. The story is there and in full focus despite a lack of dialogue. And in this issue especially, much like Issue #12, Mitch Gerards’ artwork shines thanks to King’s unobtrusive writing. For several panels, Gerards even mimics the style of Batman artists from days gone by, and it is absolutely brilliant.

Now with ‘Rooftops’ being over, the focus is going to shift back to Bane. Here we go…

Score: 8.5 out of 10

If you’re a long time fan of the Batman/Catwoman dynamic, or if you enjoyed Issue #14, be sure to pick this one up. Tom King does a great job crafting a worthwhile tale with minimal dialogue, and Mitch Gerards’ artwork (as usual) speaks volumes. Those who aren’t keen on the Bat & Cat lovefest, well, this is the second and final part of the ‘Rooftops’ arc, next issue we’ll be back to Bane…

General-DC Comics

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