Category: DC Comics

Chris’ Comics: Batgirl #51 & Grayson #19

STL001391Batgirl #51

Brenden Fletcher, Elenora Carlini, Minkyu Jung, Roger Robinson, Serge Lapointe

DC $3.99

I applaud what Brenden Fletcher did with this 51st issue of Batgirl. With Babs Tarr and Cameron Stewart off the title and more or less done with DC Comics for the foreseeable future, Fletcher has 2 issues of comic to write before the new creative team takes over this summer. It appears he’s using these issues to do a low key crossover, using a plot line from the third Batgirl Annual he worked on to bring together the worlds of Batgirl, Black Canary and Gotham Academy. Aside from the slight fan service, Fletcher also has Barbara Gordon dealing with her new status quo, something he helped set up, which is a fun inverse of the super hero who also has to deal with running a company trope.

Oddly enough, having 3 artists on this book didn’t take away from my enjoyment on this book as much as you’d assume it would. Elenora Carlini & Minkyu Jung’s styles blend well together, channeling the same energy Stewart and Tarr brought to the book’s visuals. Roger Robinson is the odd man out here, with a style that’s less exaggerated and more traditional in a sense. His art isn’t bad per say, but it’s comparatively plain once stacked up against the other artists on the book. Serge Lapointe‘s colors are great as per usual, continuing to do some fantastic stuff on the Bat-books his colors.

Batgirl #51 is a fun read and feels like a cool little mini-event. The lack of Tarr and Stewart is felt, but if you’re a fan of the books Brenden Fletcher worked on during his time at DC, you’ll enjoy this issue.

GRAY-Cv19-6d216-7296dGrayson #19

Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly, Roge Antonio, Jeromy Cox

DC $3.99

The highest praise I can pay Grayson #19 is that if you told me that former writers Tim Seeley and Tom King wrote this issue, I would have believed you. Writers Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly do a superb job and matching the tone set up by those 2 writers, making for an extremely fun read that sees Dick Grayson deal with a massive betrayal. It’s something that’s all too common in spy fiction, but because the creators involved are so talented, it comes off as a complete surprise.

Like the writers, artist Roge Antonio’s really steps up this issue and attempts to pay homage to the creators who came before him, His Dick Grayson may not be the prettiest, but Antonio excels at drawing some really solid action pieces, as well as getting a little trippy with the layouts at times. Having regular Grayson colorist Jeromy Cox color his art definitely helps with the experience, as his contributions really help set the mood and bring the art to life.

With next issue being the last, Grayson #19 ends with an encounter fans have been expecting/dreading. It’s a shame we already know who’s on this new Birds of Prey roster, because it definitely takes some of the suspense away from this encounter. But that’s on editorial/marketing, not the creators, so it’s hard to fault them. Regardless of quasi-spoilers, Grayson #19 is an thrilling comic, one that hopefully will be serviced by a fantastic ending next month.

 

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Chris’ Comics: Gotham Academy #17

Gotham_Academy_Vol_1-17_Cover-1_TeaserGotham Academy #17

Brenden Fletcher, Adam Archer, Sandra Hope, Annie Wu, Michael Dialynas,, David Peterson, Serge Lapointe

DC $2.99

 

One of the best things about the Yearbook arc is the variety in tone and genre the stories in each issue are. I knew nothing about the creators contributing to Gotham Academy #19, originally thinking it was the conclusion of this storyline. This month I was pleasantly surprised to see the issue kick off with a story that more or less crosses over Black Canary for example, another title that Brenden Fletcher writes.

We get a lot of content from issue #19, which see the girls set out to get their scrapbook from returning guest star Robin (Damian Wanye). It acts as the bridge between the other 3 tales, and again, not a bad bit of storytelling, I just get a little irked everything artist Adam Archer draws Olivia and company’s heads too large or too lumpy. I’m also not a fan of 2how it looks like Damian’s costume is too big for him.

The Annie Wu drawn crossover story sees the GA kids run into Heathcliff, who first showed up in this book and then started showing up as a supporting character in Black Canary. This is probably my favorite story of the bunch, as it looks great, and I really like the way Fletcher handles the reunion between Heathcliff and Pomeline. Wu is colored by Serge Lapointe, who’s washed out and neon color palette is perfect for a story involving relationships and music.

From there we get Michael Dialynas, who’s worked on The Woods for Boom Studios, telling the story of that one time Maps and Olivia ran into a demon cat on campus. This 6 page story starts off with a cool horror vibe to it, but then gets a little cuter once we find out who’s responsible for said cat. It’s the story has a Batman: The Animated series vibe to it, and I love how Dialynas can manage to pull off horror and adorable with his art.

By assembling so many different on this title the last few months,Gotham Academy has exposed me to a variety of creators I occasionally have little to no prior experience with. That statement is especially true come the end of this comic, where Mouse Guard creator David Peterson tells a story set in Gotham Academy’s past. He creates a quartet of 4 new GOTHAC_17_3characters, and the story revolves around the oft-mentioned “Sorcery & Spells” game that Maps loves so much. Aside from being absolutely gorgeous to look at, I love how it’s inspired by the 1980s Dungeon and Dragons panic, in which the game was believed to have some sort of Satanic ties. Also, the way Peterson tackled the project is super impressive, and I encourage you all to go visit his site and read up on how he approached this story.

“Yearbook” has been a incredible arc for Gotham Academy, and no issue proves that more than this one. The range of talent involved in every issue is insane, and it’s impressive how much mileage each creator can get from a book that only had a dozen or so issues under it’s belt before this arc started. Brenden Fletcher, along with Karl Keschel and Becky Cloonan have created a fantastic playground for this guest creators, and seeing the character celebrated like this month after month has been great.

 

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Val’s Toy Chest- Avengers Incoming- Happy 500!

It is a fairly light week in FP’s toy department. There are a few items on their way in to us however and I’ll tell you about them now. It’s also our 500th issue of the Weekly Planet, so I’ll talk about my all-time favorite DC Comics Anniversary Issues. If you want my thoughts on last week’s Arrow debacle, please refer to fpusadailyplanet.com where I have my final say on what they did to Black Canary.

A couple of the stragglers from the Avengers: Age of Ultron Hot Toys series will be making their appearance in-store soon. Fans of the film can look forward to figures of Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s Quicksilver and Paul Bettany’s Vision joining their growing cast of movie Avengers. The Hasbro Marvel Legends Civil War Series 2 figures should also be making their way in sometime soon. The hot figure from this assortment is sure to be the Black Panther, who makes his feature film debut in Captain America: Civil War this May, portrayed by actor Chadwick Boseman. Black Panther was also recently announced as a Hot Toys figure. There will also be a small Funko restock of various ReAction figures and Star Wars Wacky Wobblers on their way into the store shortly as well. If you still have Star Wars fever, we will be getting the Rey, Kylo Ren, Captain Phasma and other Wacky Wobblers back in.

So it’s our 500th Weekly Planet issue, I can’t believe it’s already at 500, I remember when I used to shop here(as opposed to working here) and when the newsletter had just started. It was a fun bonus to read with my comic purchases and for a while I had amassed a collection of them, I’ve moved several times since and can’t remember where any of the really early issues could be- maybe at my childhood apartment. I never dreamed that one day I would be writing for it myself.  When I think of Anniversary issues, I think of some of the ones I bought as back issues when I was a kid and since I was always a DC fan, I had a bunch of those.  Batman #400 was one I bought at the newsstand in 1986, I enjoyed the story which had pretty much everyone of importance to Batman involved (with two surprising omissions) and was drawn by several of that era’s finest comic book artists.  The cover itself was striking with the Bill Sienkiewicz artwork, the purple and yellow Batman logo and the Gold DC Bullet and Anniversary Logo. Great story about Batman’s enemies all being sprung from Arkham Asylum in a plot by Ra’s Al Ghul to corrupt the Batman. This was essentially a  done in one “Knightfall” 7 years earlier and to date has not been reprinted.

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Another particularly memorable issue for me was 1982’s Justice League of America #200, which I bought as a back issue. I am a massive JLA fan, I have every single one of the now discontinued DC Archives plus a good portion of the issues from the 70s and on. (I even have JLA #75, which is considered the first appearance of one Dinah Laurel Lance) JLA #200 was a pretty much perfect issue, although again, someone prominent was missing from the storyline for some reason. The tale was again illustrated by a bunch of DC’s finest talent of that era and featured the 7 founding  members of the JLA facing off against the new kids- so you had battles between Superman and Hawkman, Aquaman and Red Tornado, Wonder Woman and Zatanna, plus a great Brian Bolland-illustrated Batman Vs. Green Arrow and Black Canary portion amongst other tales. Why are they fighting? I’ll let you read the story. This was reprinted in a now out of print George Perez JLA Hardcover.

Next up is Action Comics #600 from 1988 which I loved as a huge Wonder Woman fan back in the day. This was the issue where the lead story finds Post-Crisis Superman and Wonder Woman trying to figure out if they should pursue a romance, but run afoul of Darkseid and his minions on Olympus during this first date. Great tale by Perez and John Byrne. Speaking of romantic Anniversary issues, Tales of the Teen Titans #50 springs to mind with the nuptials of Donna Troy and Terry Long, attended by Titans past and present as well as some other familiar faces, all mostly out of costume. The Action tale is reprinted in Man of Steel Volume 8, while the Donna Troy(HI JULIA!) story is reprinted in New Teen Titans: Who Is Donna Troy?

There’s many more Anniversary issues out there, but these are the ones that have stuck with me from childhood til today. Hope I jogged some of your nostalgia for some of these old DC tales and I hope you enjoyed this 500th issue of The Weekly Planet! Catch you next time!

 

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Chris’ Comics: Batgirl #50

BG_Cv50Batgirl #50

Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher, Babs Tarr, Roger Robinson, John Timms, Elonora Carlini, James Harvey, Serge Lapointe

DC $4.99

I’ll be blunt, Batgirl #50 is a little bit of a disappointment.

While it’s not entirely the creative team’s fault, this is a $5 comic that feels more like an annual. What was suppose to be the final issue for all 3 members of Team Batgirl (Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher & Babs Tarr,who are off to do creator owned stuff for Image), the comic actually features several additional guest artists, once again making the title feel more like a art jam project.  Babs Tarr does draw the bulk of these pages (20 aka the amount of your average DC/Marvel book), which is where the book really shines. If this was the springboard for the new Birds of Prey book, the additional pages by the guess artists would make a ton of sense. But seeing how none of those character except Batgirl & Black Canary are appearing in that title come this summer, it feels like an excuse to pad the book’s page count. I’m genuinely curious if the decision to make the comic double sized was editorial or the creative teams, because it feels incredibly disjointed.

To be fair to the guest artist, their work is certainly solid. Roger Robinson, John Timms, Elonora Carlini, and James Harvey have all pitched in on art duties before on the character, so they certainly feel familiar on the book. They all manage to ape Tarrs’ sBatgirl-50-11tyle quite well, so the book looks good all throughout the issue. And while I may complain about the presence of multiple guest artists, I really do dig the Street Fighter-influenced Vs. pages that break up the chapters. And it’s cool to see Babs working off of Cameron Stewart’s layouts again, as we can see how much she’s grown since she last worked off of them.

The book is at it’s best when it towards the ending, as you can really see where the team was trying to take Barbara. It’s where the real meat of the story is, and it does some really cool things with Babs and the cast of supporting characters the team has assembled. It’s a shame that there’s not more time spent on that sort of thing, versus the amount of time spent with the guest artists and guest stars dealing with other villains. The book ends up feeling back-loaded, which is a batgril-50-teamshame, because again, while I don’t dislike the artist, but there’s a lot of fat to chew through to get to the good stuff.

Batgirl #50 has some genuinely good moments in it, but this book will test your patience. A shame really, because the team had spent a considerable amount of time taking Babs into her this new and exciting direction. They do ultimately succeed in blazing some new paths with the character, and set things up for the next creative team to do some real interesting things with the character, but I just wish the execution could have been a little better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Chris’ Comics: All New Hawkeye #5 & Grayson #18

All-New-Hawkeye-5-2016-coverAll-New Hawkeye #5

Jeff Lemire, Ramon Perez, Ian Herring

Marvel $3.99

It’s the penultimate issue of All-New Hawkeye! Which is a surprise to me, as I have no clue if this is the last time we’re going to see Clint and Kate in an on-going for a while or not. Yay Marvel Comics stealth cancellations!

All-New Hawkeye issue 5 sees Kate discovering the truth about her father in the past, while Clint makes an attempt to save the Project Communion kids in the present. Why this was solicited as Hawkeye vs Hawkeye (which the cover seems to imply as well) is beyond me. But we’re here to discuss the comic itself, not its marketing.

Ramon Perez & Ian Herring are SO GOOD on this book. As I said last review, I really like how Kate Bishop remains the only defined character in the flashbacks. But this issue sees Herring and Perez do something neat when Clint removes his hearing aid. The book goes from colored to black and white, symbolizing how isolated Hawkeye is without aid. It’s a nice way to show how deafness works, without stating the obvious. Sadly, I’m not feeling the flashback material all that much with issue 5. While the present day stuff definitely works for me, the Kate “origin” stuff seemed to dominate more of the issue, forcing the modern day material to be rushed.

All New Hawkeye #5 isn’t worst issue issue by this creative team, no, not by a long shot. But it’s best? Sadly no again. Wrapping up the series with the next issue may be for the best, and hopefully whoever inherits the Hawkeyes next will be able to tell some stories that don’t stall out as much.

Grayson_Vol_1-18_Cover-1_TeaserGrayson #18

Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly, Roge Antonio, Geraldo Borges, Jeromy Cox

DC $3.99

So apparently 2 issues ago was the final issue of Grayson for the King/Seeley/Janin team. Which means this book is wrapping up with an entirely different creative team, because LOL DC COMICS. Granted Tim Seeley will be returning this summer to write Nightwing, it strikes me as odd to bring in an entirely new creative team to wrap us this book. I personally find it a bit insulting to readers who have become invested in the character because of the creative team, and it feels like DC Comics editorial thinks we as readers will buy the book because of the character/IP, not the talent behind it.

That being said, editors Rebecca Taylor & Mark Doyle usually does a solid enough job of finding guest creators for their books. Taking over writer duties from Seeley and King are  Jackon Lanzing &  Collin Kelly, who’s previous comics works I’m unfamiliar with. They definitely do a solid job of getting the tone of Grayson down, which is impressive given the fact that they have to juggle such a large cast. There’s not much done in terms of character development sadly, as this issue is heavy on the action and reveals. Still it could have been much worse, and the two writers manage to replicate the voices King and Seeley have established quite well.

Sadly, while the art by Roge Antonio & Geraldo Borges isn’t bad per say, it’s definitely not something to praise. I did enjoy the last few pages, which set up a cool new status quo for one of the supporting characters, but aside from that and a solid splash page, there lack of sexy and trippy we usually get from Mikel Janin is noticeable. Colorist Jeromy Cox does an admirable jobs with the colors, but he can only do so much with the art when it’s muddled and rush.

Grayson #18 is a comic that succeeds despite have the odds stacked against it. It’s just a shame I couldn’t go into this comic with the usual confidence I have when reading an issue of Grayson.

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Chris’ Comics: G.I. Joe Deviations #1

GIJoe-Deviations-coverG.I. Joe: Deviations #1

Paul Allor, Corey Lewis, Gilberto Lazcano

IDW $4.99

2015 was the year that I took some time to read some comics about Transformers, specifically Windblade, who is the best. 2016 sees me purchasing G.I. Joe: Deviations #1, a one shot done in the what if style. I assume I’ll finally be given IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle series a shot comes 2017.

G.I. Joe: Deviations probably wouldn’t have landed on my radar is it was mentioned on Comics Alliance few times, or if it wasn’t drawn by Corey Lewis, who’s Snark Knife I’ve enjoyed and upcoming Sun Bakery I’m very excited for. It also helps that the premise for this comic and its execution is right up my ally.

The plot for GIJ:D sounds pretty grimmdark at first as the few pages sees Cobra successfully conquer the world and lay waste to their enemy G.I. Joe. But then it flashes forward 5 years later, where we see Cobra Commander at odds with his role of leader of the world and his desire to be a cartoon super villain. Now that he and Cobra have succeeded, he has very little time for inane world conquering plots involving questionable gi_joe_deviations_preview_03technology. He has to focus now on being a bureaucrat, something he does not enjoy doing obviously. “Luckily” for him, 4 Joes remain, and are looking for revenge, which obviously leads to hijinks (who is NOT a existing G.I Joe character surprisingly).

Writer Paul Allor does an excellent job of telling a solid story while making sure there’s some laughs to be had. The original G.I. Joe animated series has not aged well, and Allor is well aware of what the internet has mined from this show for meme purposes. Case in point, this comic starts off with a PSA parody that goes pretty dark real fast, but is also funny in an incredibly cruel way.  This comic is very much an action comedy, as Cobra Commander’s inability to give up his love of causing a ruckus leads to some interesting decisions.

As stated above, Corey Lewis was a key reason why I bought this book, and he does not disappoint. His style is perfect for a book like this, as his stylized, Jim Mahfood-esque art successfully gives the book a animated feel. I love his character designs, which make all sorts of pop culture references, but only if you’re in on the joke, so they don’t really gi_joe_deviations_preview_05distract much. His art really shines when it comes to the book’s action scenes, as his kinetic, manga esque layouts really make for some fun visuals. I’m glad that Lewis inks and colors himself as well, because the finished art really pops, re-imagining the old animated series in the best way possible.

My only complaint is the price tag. Its 5 bucks for 36 pages, but a lot of those pages (14!) is dedicated space for extra content. Had I not been such a fan of the artist, chances are I would have skipped over it to be honest, and it may be a deal breaker for those of you who want a more serious story. That being said, I’m okay with my purchase, especially since it’s a done in one. G.I. Joe Deviations is a fun alternate universe one-shot that I can’t recommend enough if you want a different take on a beloved property. By not being the most serious of affairs, the books works for me in ways other G.I. Joe comics haven’t before. If you’re willing to drop the $5 on it, there’s a lot of fun to be had.

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Val’s Toy Chest- Odds and Ends

She’s here! Actually that phrase applies to a couple of items we have received over the past week and a half. I mentioned in last week’s article that we’d gotten our shipping notice for the Hot Toys’ Scarlet Witch from last summer’s Avengers: Age of Ultron and she has finally arrived. The likeness to Elizabeth Olson is excellent and the rooted hair doesn’t detract from the figure at all, plus the costuming is gorgeous and the accessories all make sense. A very tempting piece for sure, I know I’m going to want one.

The other “she’s here!” piece I am referring to is the breathtaking Yvonne Craig as Batgirl Tweeterhead statue. Approved by Ms. Craig before she passed away last summer, the folks at Tweeterhead definitely put their best foot forward with this release. The Batgirl Maquette features the costume as seen in the 1960’s Batman TV series as well as a base that features the secret door to access her BatgirlCycle. Definitely one of the best Yvonne Craig likenesses out there and highly recommended if you are a fan of that iteration.

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Back in stock for Star Wars fans out there are the Hasbro Star Wars 6″ Black Series figures of Captain Phasma, The Guavian Enforcer and Poe Dameron have returned to our shelves and new to the store is the 6″ Kylo Ren figure. We also have a few assorted characters from the basic 3 and 3/4″ line still in stock as well as a handful of vehicles for both scales of figures. Speaking of Star Wars, Funko and Diamond Comics have teamed up to bring out their latest exclusive POP vinyl figures. The Star Wars: Return of the Jedi Funko POP three pack features Luke Skywalker, a 6″ Rancor and fan favorite Oola in POP vinyl form. Oola and the Rancor are both first timers for the POP line and this piece should also be a hot one.

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I don’t frequently talk about comics in this column but I thought I’d mention one this week since it is a character dear to my heart written by a person that I also adore. Black Canary #9 hits the stands on Wednesday and instead of the solicited story by regular series writer Brenden Fletcher, will feature a story by former FP employee and writer of last year’s acclaimed We Can Never Go Home, Matthew Rosenberg. Black Canary(the band) is hired to play at the birthday party of a young girl named Julia(possibly named for a fellow FP employee…) and there seems to be more to the gathering than meets the eye. I definitely think this issue will be an underrated gem and highly recommend picking it up as soon as you see it.

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That’s it for me this week, catch you guys next week with more toy and comic news. See you in the store!

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Chris’ Comics: Batgirl #49

BG_Cv49_564245bb7b22c8.12314744Batgirl #49

Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher,  Babs Tarr, Horacio Domingus, Roger Robinson, James Harvey, Minge Doyle, Serge Lapointe

DC $2.99

Real talk, it is hard to make a comic work when it has multiple artists attached to it. There’s so many things that could easy throw off the flow of the book, resulting in a great comic becoming merely a good one. I’m happy to say that isn’t the case for this month’s issue of Batgirl, which sees 4 different artists join Babs Tarr on art duties and still manages to tell a killer story.

Batgirl #49 can be summed up as Batgirl gets Incepted (insert BRMMMM noise here for dramatic effect). New villain the Fugue has gone and messed up our heroine’s brain meats all bad like, so it’s up to her pals Frankie and Black Canary to save the day.  It’s a dense issue that explains the villain’s origins, while focusing on Frankie as the lead for a change. Brenden Fletcher and Cameron Stewart write a comic that’s heavy on the exposition, but is Screen-Shot-2016-03-03-at-10.58.19-AMalso extremely rewarding. It also doesn’t hurt that the art provided by the guest artists is really strong this month.

While Batgirl’s fill in artists have been pretty hit or miss with me, the team of Babs Tarr, Horacio Domingus, Roger Robinson, James Harvey, and Batgirl Annual artist Ming Doyle really knock it out of the park. Domingus and Robinson do a superb job of drawing in a style similar to Tarr, giving the the first half of the book a cohesive book, with some assistance from colorist Serge Lapointe.  And while Ming Doyle and Jame Harvey’s styles couldn’t be anymore different, they definitely work for this issue, definitely establishing the chaotic tone needed from the script. Between this and the current arc in Gotham Academy, it seems the Bat-office knows how to bring talent together for a art jam comic.

I also really like what Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher bring to this issue. While the idea of Batgirl’s brain being hijack feels incredibly similar to their first arc (which is touched upon, no worries), what they do with Fugue and team Batgirl definitely makes for a deeper and more complex story. While the Fugue reveal doesn’t hit as hard as maybe the creator’s BG-49-pg-12-073f0intended it to, he’s still a cool new villain that has some legs, so I’m hoping he can stick around after this arc. It’s also nice to see the writing team utilizing Frankie and various vigilantes who’ve been hanging around Barbara as of late as well as they do, and it makes me wonder if THIS is going to be the Birds of Prey roster hinted at by the DC Rebirth title teaser list.

Building up to what’s suppose to be a game changing 50th issue, Batgirl #49 is a solid read. It’s a pretty serious issue that doesn’t feel like a chore to get through, and the art is superb. I have no doubt that the team of Tarr, Stewart, Fletcher and Lapointe will stick the landing with the conclusion of this arc, and I’m really curious as to what the status quo of the title will be after it. Batgirl #49 not only set ups some potentially very cool things for the character and her cast, and succeeds at juggling multiple artists, a task very few cape comics have done as of late.

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Chris’ Comics: Grayson #17

tumblr_o17r1mABBV1r2kdz1o1_500Grayson #17

Tim Seeley, Tom King, Carmine Di Giandomenico, Jeromy Cox

DC, $3.99

The previous issue of Grayson teased 2 characters I was very excited to see making an appearance in this title. The homies Tom King and Tim Seeley continue to do me right, as we get to see this pair of characters fight Dick Grayson this month, making for a excited and once again, very much pleased, Chris Troy.

Even with a great premise, Grayson #17 faces the problem of not being drawn by regular series artist Mikel Janin. He’s replace by veteran penciler Carmine Di Giandomenico, which is a artistic choice I’m more than okay with. His style is much Grayson05more suited for a comic that’s heavy on the action, as this is issue is,  and Carmine absolutely delivers on an issue that’s chock full fight scenes. While he doesn’t do sexy or psychedelic as well as Mikel, he manages to capture his ability to meet the writers demand to draw some creepy as hell creatures (Cthulhu Monkeys!) while fists and plot twists are thrown about. Di Giandomenico  manages to capture the brutality one would expect from an all-out spy fight, while drawing some lush and detailed scenery. My only complain is that since it’s the first time he’s working with colorist Jeromy Cox, the art doesn’t pop as much as it did under Janin. Hopefully that will change as the pair get more experience working togther. I believe Carmine is the artist on the title until this DC Rebirth stuff goes down and this book becomes Nightwing again (insert profanity filled rant here), which again, I’m fine with if this is what the book is going to look like for the next few months.

On the narrative end of things, Seeley and King continue to mix humor and drama incredibly well, making for a fun read. The pair do spy drama really well, which is no image-151surprise given King’s history with the C.I.A., so when this month’s plot twist drops, there’s some “Oomph!” to it. And I really dig how much fun they’re having with the title character. Espionage comics often risk being too serious and dry for my liking, but with Grayson, Dick’s an incredibly charming and fun lead, who isn’t afraid to crack wise here and there. It rings incredibly true to the character and his history, which is why I love I love the book so much. It remains a new direction and situation for a decades old character, while respecting and building upon his established history. Also again Dick Grayson vs. Frankenstein’s monster, what’s not to love about that.

Even with a new artist attached to the title, Grayson #17 is another strong issue in the series. The creative team continues to tell and intriguing tale using a number of obscure and forgotten DC characters, giving older DC fans plenty of Easter eggs to appreciate, without losing newer readers by making  too many deep cuts. It’s a spy comic that invites readers to laugh along with the tropes the genre has created, while giving them a incredibly satisfying read.  King, Seeley and Di Giandomenico continue to keep us on the edge of the seat, without ever going too dark, or too slapstick. All in all it’s another great in a series that continues to impress.

 

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Val’s Toy Chest Extra- Photo Edition

Hi guys- got some more photos today at Toy Fair- here’s some of the cool DC stuff coming out sometime this year!

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Mezco’s Shazam!, Reverse Flash, Green Arrow and Flash from their One: 12 Collective Line.

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Funko’s Rock Candy line featuring Batgirl, Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn and Supergirl.

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DC Collectibles’ Batgirl of Burnside from the DC Icons line. Not depicted: the awesome Batcycle she comes packaged with. Want to know more about this version of Batgirl? I’d recommend the Batgirl of Burnside TP or the second volume, out this week: Family Business.

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Flash and Green Arrow two pack from the current season of each TV series. If you’re interested in either show, there are a couple of trades out including The Flash: Season Zero as well as Arrow Season 2.5.

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Katana statue from the forthcoming Suicide Squad film.

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DCC’s new DC Films Premium Action Figure line’s Wonder Woman as seen in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.

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Batman: The Animated Series Zatanna Action Figure- should be in stores soon!

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Batman: The Animated Series Ventriloquist and Scarface– scheduled for later this year.

I have more pictures that I will share next week with some of the cool Marvel stuff I saw and maybe some other surprises! Catch you guys next week!

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Chris’ Comics: Jonesy #1 & Gotham Academy #15

Gotham Academy 015-000Jonsey #1

Sam Humphries, Caitlin Rose Boyle, Mickey Quinn

BOOM! BOX $3.99

Sam Humphries is a creator who’s worked I’ve certainly enjoyed these last few years, but I never had him pegged as an all-ages type of creator. Oh sure The Legendary Star-Lord and the other work he’s done for Marvel are comics #TEENS could enjoy, but I can’t say the same for his very adults only Our Love is Real or his current creator owned title Citizen Jack. However, Humphries is out to prove people like me wrong with Jonesy, a BOOM BOX title aimed at young audiences.

First and foremost, I have to admit it’s kind of refreshing to have a lead teenager female character who’s kind of a jerk. In a world full of Ms. Marvels and Gotham Academys, Jonesy being bitter, selfish and self absorbed makes her a little more believable and very enjoyable, especially when compared to some of her peers. She’s very likable none the less, as Humphries does an excellent job making her very 3 dimensional real fast.

Second, I LOVE Caitlin Rose Boyle’s art. It’s very much in the vein of Bryan Lee O’ Mally (who supplied a variant cover for this book.) and is it the perfect fit for this script. It also reminds me off the art style Rebecca Sugar developed for her hit animated series Steven Universe, which makes a ton of sense for a book that’s suppose to appeal to that fan base. Her art is bold, expressive and a tad bit trippy, mixing manga influence with indie-comic sensibilities. While Humphries name got my attention, Boyle’s art, along with Mickey Quinn‘s coloring kept me interested.

Jonesy #1 is a delightful debut to a fun all ages mini-series. Readers who dig other BOOM! BOX titles like Lumberjanes and Giant Days will probably feel at home with Jonesy, as will anyone who dug Scott Pilgrim but want something a little lighter and shorter to enjoy.

Gotham Academy 015-000Gotham Academy #14

Brenden Fletcher, Adam Archer, Sandra Hope, Zac Gorman, Rafael Albuqerque and others.

DC $2.99

The evolution of Gotham Academy from Harry Potter influence Batman comic to weird alt-comics anthology is something I’ve enjoyed with this “Yearbook” arc. This month Fletcher, Archer and Hope are joined by a quartet of guest creators, including the return of Minjue Helen Chen to the titles. She draws and writes the final chapter of this issue, which is a sweet 3 page story that focuses on Ham, who is a dog. Chen plus cute animals is a good time y’all, and her art is gorgeous.

Zac Gorman‘s comic focuses on the facility of Gotham Academy, and the results are hilarious. The 4 page story wears it’s Batman ’66 influences on it’s sleeve, and the humor is a little more “mature” than what we’re use to from this comic. I loved it, and would pay $3 a month for a spin off comic from Gorman that focuses on Bookworm and Egghead.

The biggest tale of the 2 is a 10 page story co-written and drawn by . Their art styles could’t be any more different (Medeiros is the living incarnate of indie comics, Rafael is much more mainstream cape comics friendly), but the 2 collaborate on a tale that suite both of their styles. It’s a very fun story, that plays with an element of Olive and Map’s relationship in a super fun way.

Bridged together by an tale written by Brenden Fletcher with much improved art from Adam Archer and Sandra Hope is another enjoyable issue in this anthology style arc. It’s been a great job of both introducing me to talents I was completely unfamiliar with, as well as seeing creators I do enjoy work on characters I adore.

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Chris’ Comics: Batgirl #48

BG_CV48Batgirl #48

Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher, Babs Tarr, Rob Haynes, Serge Lapointe, Lee Loughridge

DC $2.99

BABS TARR!! BLACK CANARY!! CO-O-ah dang, I almost had enough things that started with “B”to warrant a “BACKGIRL” gag. ::: is fired immediately for even suggesting that. :::

 

Batgirl #48 sees Babs Tarr return to art duties, which means the book is back to firing on all cylinders. Her pencils (with Rob Haynes helping with breakdowns) are great, and her artistic vision and style help Batgirl bounce back after an issue where I wasn’t really feeling the art. Tarr is the life blood of this book, and it’s nice to see the book look as good and it reads. Also Tarr finally gets to draw Batgirl as a Luchador, which is obviously great, and long overdue in my opinion.

batgirl-48-vid-gamesBabs’ art and holographic pro wrestling aside (again, GREAT!), Batgirl #48 offer readers a lot for their $3. We finally get some answers regarding what’s going on with Babs’ (Gordon) brain,  see her team up with Batwing against the video game themed villains Co-op, said Black Canary team up, and some other things that I don’t want to spoil. My only complaint is that one reveal in this issue was something we all saw coming a mile away, which is a bit anti-climactic, unless there’s a last minute swerve next issue, which would be welcomed.

Also that fight with Co-op had some many terrible puns it felt like I was reading Kieron Gillen’s Twitter feed. Painful if you’re not down with that sort of thing, but also wonderful in a Batman ’66 sort of way.

My beef aside, I also like how the book manages to have 2 colorists work on it and come out relatively fine. Serge Lapointe is joined by Rob Haynes, and while you can tell the differences in style from first glance, the book doesn’t suffer as a result from it. Bab Tarr’s demands colors that pop and are energetic, and both colorists manage to nail that without any issue. I dug how Haynes used darker, bolder colors for his segments, stressing the action/dramatic vibe the book took, where as Lapointe’s palette was lighter. Batgirl uses color extremely well, and it’s great to see colorists not named Matt Wilson kill it in comics.

While there was some fun at their expense earlier, Brenden Fletcher and Cameron Stewart really do a superb job on the script. Cringe worthy jokes aside, there’s a healthy mix of batgirl-48-vid-games-2action and drama, resulting in a fun super hero soap opera. In addition to forwarding the plot and character relationship, the book manages to bring reader up to speed as to what Black Canary’s been up in a fun scene that doesn’t read like an forced ad for her book.

Batgirl #48 ends on a great cliffhanger,  really raising up the stakes for this arc. It’s a great read, and proves how important Babs Tarr role in this title is. If there rumored DC relaunch does go through, hopefully this creative team stay intact. They’re created an incarnation of Batgirl that’s delightful, and it’s the most fun I’ve had with the character in years.

 

 

 

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Chris’ Comics: Grayson 16

 

Grayson01Grayson #16

Tim Seeley,  Tom King, Mikel Janin, Jeromy Cox

DC $3.99

This week, Grayson reaches new heights of awesome, some of which resulted in me almost losing my composure in public several times. Please note that I am a adult (legally), and that I will still sometimes react physically to comics when they’re THIS good.

Those of you who have reading this blog for the last year and a half or so know that I’m quite fond of the title. Tom King, Tim Seeley, Mikel Janin and Jeromy Cox (as well as the occasionally guest artist) have been kicking all sort of butt on this comic since day one, making it one of the best books coming out of DC, let alone the market in my opinion. While I wasn’t that big of a fan of the book being forced into to a crossover event last month, issue 16 more than makes up for, delivering one hell of an experience.

 

WARNING FROM HERE ON OUT, THERE BE SPOILERS YO!

Team Grayson has done an excellent job of taking obscure Wildstorm  and DCU characters and reintroducing them to the new 52 universe fully fleshed out. We’ve seen them work wonders on the Midnighter, who’s gone on to start in his own wonderful spin-off comic. This issue sees the similar discarded Grifter show up, amongst several other character being introduced for the first time/were starring in a book that got cancelled. As someone who got into WildCATS as a kid and gave his quickly cancelled on-going series a shot, I’m excited to see this team give ol Cole the treatment he deserves. Oh the once-before teased 5021674-gray_16_2Maxwell Lord shows up, which I’m sure won’t result in heartbreak, betrayal or any Blue Beetles getting shot.

This is also the issue where the creative team decided to go full Bond with the references. What does that mean exactly? Well first and foremost, it means Dick taking out a James Bond homage in front of several Bond lady tributes. It also means a montage designed as tribute to the Bond intro, complete with it’s own theme song as perform by Dick Grayson himself. Aside from it being one of the BEST running gags in the book, it looks amazing, as Janin draws Dick and his fellow deflected agent Tiger fighting spies in a variety of exotic locales. Jeromy Cox really shines in this section, giving the 2 double page spread outs some really trippy colors, giving it a 60s mod vibe. The combination of word class colors and line art continue to make Grayson a gorgeous book, well worth the $4 cover price.

And man, I love the banter Tiger and Dick have between themselves in this issue. Seeley and King have been really solid with the humor these last few issues, but the jokes in this particular issue, including said song, are really strong. They’ve done an excellent job of tumblr_o1mh53FBTc1sqep2mo2_1280poking fun of some of the more sexist troupes spy-fiction, and they continue to do so twice in this issue, while balancing a pretty serious plot that advances in an interesting direction. I absolutely adore the direction this book is going, especially when you tease me with a upcoming story called SPY WARS!

Grayson continues to be a delightful read, and this issue is ridiculously good. The creative team gives the reader a comic that delivers a generous amount of action, laughs and fantastic visuals, and it’s something I look forward to reading every month. Grayson #16 isn’t the BEST issue this team has done so far in this fun, but between the humor and what’s to come, it’s damn enjoyable.

 

 

 

 

 

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Chris’ Comics: Batgirl #47

4999675-0+bg_cv47_dsBatgirl #47

Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher, Eleonora Carlini, Moritat, Serge Lapointe

DC $2.99

 I’m a reasonable critic, or I’ve lied to myself enough times to fully believe that I am. I understand that fill in artists are a thing that needs to happen when it comes to super hero comics. Babs Tarr is still relatively new to the business, and it’s hard for most artists, old and new, to hit that 12 issues a year mark. It’s something I’ve grown accustom to, and don’t mind when guys artists like Bengal swing by a draw an issue.

Batgirl #47 has 2 artists assigned to this comic, and while they’re both similar in style, neither Eleonora Carlini or Moritate really give the readers much to talk about. Carilini’s out of costume stuff looks fine enough, almost hitting those Babs Tarr level of 4999685-3+bg_47_3energy to the book, but it falls apart when character in costume show up. Moritat’s backgrounds are nice and detailed but his characters, especially the faces, are weak, and the art looks more like a children’s book than a comic at times. It’s a shame, because Serge Lapointe does some great stuff with the coloring, which does save the art work in some portions of the book, but certainly not others.

I do dig what Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher are doing on the narrative end of the title. We get to see Barbara Gordon pal around with the Spoiler, who I adore, and Bluebird, someone I not as familiar with, but dig none the less. It’s a fun team up that sees the trio working with Bab’s roommate Frankie, who also has gotten herself a code name that starts with an O, but isn’t the one that you want. It does makes for a solid running gag, hopefully editorial will let Frankie take up the name we want her to have sooner rather than later. Regardless, it’s fun to see Babs pal around with other female super heroines who are not Black Canary, and I hope to see them stick around.

The 2 writers also manage to balance a number of subplots in the span of 20 issues without things getting out of hand. I like how they manage to keep this book in line with the events of two other Bat books while having Barbara deal with her own set of problems 5010044-bg_47_5with each plot line have enough space to breathe. It’s a shame the art for this title isn’t on par with this writing, because the dialogue is a ton of fun, and the narrative is incredibly strong.

I hate to trash a book, but ultimately Batgirl #47 disappointed me. Again it’s a shame, but I really like what the writers bring to the table, and I enjoyed Batgirl running around with some of the less prominent members of the Bat-Family. On paper it sounds like a fun team up book, but the execution suffers from not so great art. A shame, as the book turns out to be a textbook example of how a weak art can ruin a good comic. It’s super unfortunate, as this issue sets up some important things up for the upcoming 50th issue, so it’s a bit a crucial issue, despite not being the most enjoyable comic.

 

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Chris’ Comics: Gotham Academy #14

GOTHAC_Cv14_PREVIEWS_R1_5616b1b7728111.33337671

Gotham Academy #14

Brenden Fletcher, Adam Archer, Sandra Hope, Steve Wands, Katie Cook, Dustin Nguygen, Derek Fridolfs, Hope Larson, Kris Mukai

DC $2.99 

So yeah, I’m still worried about the fate of this title. Karl Kerschl left 2 issues ago, and Becky Cloonan has been M.I.A. since issue that issue. Hopefully this month’s round of solicitations will answer some questions, but I’m assuming the worse for this title but the time is said and done.

That depressing intro now out of the way, let’s focus on the fact that Gotham Academy #14 is wonderful. Here, the original creator standing Brenden Fletcher and the possibly new creative team of  Adam Archer and Sandra Hope are joined by a insanely talent roster for the first part of the “Yearbook” arc. This story seems to be a guest creator jam session, which I’m very cool with, if this issue is any indication of what we’ll be getting.

GOTHAC_14_3The framing sequence by Fletcher, Archer and Hope is solid enough, but Archer is still struggling a bit with character faces. The team is limited to 4 pages, which is good, because the real meat of the story comes from the guest creators. Leading things off is Derek Fridolfs and Dustin Nguyen, 2 creators I didn’t know I wanted to tell a Gotham Academy story, but now am glad I  got one. Prank enthusiast and general troublemaker Colton Rivera is the focus of this story, which has our lead deal with one of Kirk Langstrom’s bizarre subjects. It’s fun little chase story that looks amazing thanks to Nguyen’s gorgeous water-colored art. The humor these creator inject into this story is great, really capturing the tone you would expect from Gotham Academy. The final page of this story is AMAZING, and I would definitely assault a hobo with a wiffleball bat to see Nguyen draw these characters again.

From there it’s Katie Cook drawing a Maps and Olive story, which is by far the cutest incarnation of these characters to date. Cook’s style is perfect for a tale that involves mid control via Glee Club, and I believe it’s the first we get a DC Comics story revolving around cat tumblr_o0x790kQfg1rj45a8o1_1280videos.  Cook’s style is absolutely adorable, her sense of humor is fantastic, and this story was an absolutely treat.

Wrapping up the issue is Hope Larson and Kris Mukai focusing on Gotham Academy professor Isla Macherson in her teen years. If you want to see what the 1980s looks liked because you’re a stinking youth or some such, this is the comic to look at. It’s arguably the most well rounded tale of the bunch, mixing fantastic visuals with a really sweet story. It manages to avoid teen drama cliches by embracing the fact that it takes place in a city where Batman is a thing.

An jam issue with multiple creators sounds more like a special or an annual then a proper arc, but it’s hard to hate when the creators involved are this good. Gotham Academy #14 could be accused of staling, but frankly I don’t care. It’s a fun issue that allows a number of talent folk to play in one of the best new sandboxes in the DC Universe. If this is a proper taste of what to expect from this arc, consider me excited.

 

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