Category: DC Comics

Troy’s Toys But with Comics: Late, yet again.

Belated post once again, this time due to NYCC. Con was great, and I saw many a fine folk. Last week was also a really great week for comics too, but I’m only going to highlight 2 of them today, because they are arguably the most important. I’m sure Sex Criminals will be fine.

 

586cfd30a87203654de3e206e1093d7dBatgirl #36

Brenden Fletcher/Cameron Stewart/Babs Tarr

DC $2.99

::: Cut and pastes last week’s Gotham Academy review, changes a few names, call it a day :::

So yeah, despite there being no shortage of dope comics released this year, THIS is the book I wanted more than anything after it was announced. Barbara Gordon is my number 1 with a bullet favorite DC character, and I haven’t been excited for the character in quite some time. No offense Gail Simone, you’re still rad.

But man, that Cameron Stewart/Babs Tarr new costume effect. Stewart’s drawn many a fine comic in his career, and Tarr has been one of my favorite people since I met her at Heroescon this PAST summer. And that new costume is all sorts of dope, which btw if you’re paying attention DC Collectibles, new Babs figure ASAP. A statue is fine as well.

So yeah, I went into this book a little excited. And much like Gotham Academy before it, it exceeded my expectations. Tarr, Stewart and Brenden Fletcher crafted a comic that felt like the sort of book the new 52 should have been in the first place. It’s refreshingly modern, in both tone and style. Burnisde may be a Gotham-stand in for Portland or North Brooklyn but its the plot that really make this book stand out. Not too many mainstream comics are willing to tackle revenge porn and privacy invasion, but team Batgirl 2k14 do so, and kick it straight in the face.

Batgirl is another example of DC actually getting it. Gotham Academy is a great book, but Batgirl is an A list character that non-comics people are familiar. This is the type of book that should be an entry gate to DC Comics/Comics in general, and it’s off to a damn good start.

 

WYTCHES_webWytches #1

Scott Sndyer/Jock

Image $2.99

(Somehow) it is October, which means SPOOKY comics are a plenty this month. Oh and hilariously named donuts like “Boston Screme”. Both are things that I like, but only the former involves the talents of creators Scott Snyder & Jockat least as far as I know.

The pair released Wytches last week, and the hype for that book was nearly comparable to Barbara Gordon’a new look. Snyder may be sitting on top of the comics world due to Batman ( rightfully so mind you), but Wytches serves as a reminder on how well this dude does horror. The first few pages of this book are horrific, which is something I imagine one would want from a spooky-scary comic.

And then there’s Jock. Easily one of the most interesting and talented artists working in comics today, Jock’s art is phenomenal in this debut. Paired with colorist extraordinar Matt Hollingsworth, the pair set the tone of the book perfectly. The book looks great when the characters are suffering the most, which I know makes me sound like a sociopath, but it’s true. It’s a great looking book featuring terrible things happening to questionable people.

I also really like the hook for Wytches. Said Witches are far from the black hat/cat cauldron troupe, and are hardly the worst thing in the book. I refuse to say more due to fear of spoilers, but Snyder/Jock/Hollingsworth have something special going on in this book. Wytches does for witches what The Wake did for mermaids.

Wytches is off to an impressive start, and has me rethinking my pull list in order for me to buy it monthly. It’s a stellar debut, something Image has become notorious for, and it’s great to see one of the industry’s biggest name flex his horror muscles again with a fantastic art team.

 

 

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Troy’s Toys, but with Comics: Of Spies and School

It’s a DC heavy week you guys, the first time since…well I think ever. Making history y’all.

STK652755Gotham Academy #1

Becky Cloonan/ Brenden Fletcher/Karl Kerschl/Geyser/Dave McCaig

DC $2.99

Holy cats, that’s a lot of creators.

The minute Gotham Academy was announced a few month ago, I was instantly BOUT this book. As someone who enjoys quirky books about TEENS in weird schools somehow related to Superheroes (see Wolverine and the X-men), G-Academy sounded like the type of book that I needed from DC. It’s a fun and well crafted all-ages book by a bunch of underrated talents telling the types of stories usually not associated with Batman. I went into this book with high expectations (Expect to read this description again next week when Batgirl #35 drops by the way), which were met in some of the best ways possible.

 

First and foremost, this book is gorgeous. I’ve never seen art by Karl Kerschl that I didn’t like, so the good looking visuals didn’t exactly come as a surprise. But the colors by Geyser and Dave McCaig really complete the visual experience. I’m not used to seeing this side of Gotham, given how bright and colorful this book is, but it somehow fits into the larger Batman Universe without any problems. The visuals remind me a of very stylized hand drawn Disney film, with very bright and expressive characters against detailed and gorgeous background. There’s an brief action piece at the end of the book that looks gorgeous, quickly shifting from a tight dark environment to a bright, colorful environment. I can’t even begin to describe how refreshing this book is on a artistic level.

And while I can’t desrcibe how pretty the pictures in this funny book are, I can sing the praises of the writers Becky Cloonan and Brendan Fletcher! I’ve been a fan of Cloonan for years, and really enjoyed a number of her past works, so seeing her and Fletcher (whom I only know from Twitter sadly) launch a new book in the proper DCU got me excited. And they cam through, introducing a bunch of awesome new characters, dropping some interesting mysterious and carving out a nice littler corner for themselves in Gotham.

With  female-written books like Lumberjanes and Ms Marvel becoming break out hits, it’s nice to see DC do something to appeal to the female audience and succeed for all the right reasons. Gotham Academy is a delight, and it’s the type of comic that makes me appreciate what the medium is capable of.

 

GRAY_Cv3_53bd7c6b2566a1.03372938Grayson #3

Tom King/Tim Seeley/Mikel Janin/Jeromy Cox

DC Comics $2.99

 Now that we’re done with crossovers and gimmick covers month, we’re back on track to addressing the fact that the former Nightwing is now a spy. Which means a member of the Bat-family has to get familiar with a gun, something very un-Batman like. Needless to say, drama ensues in Grayson #3.

In less capable hands, this book would have been a hot mess. Justifying gun violence in today’s society isn’t exactly the easiest job in the world, but writers Tim Seeley and  Tom King deliver a script that addresses that problem head on, and the results are great for the reader and bad for our hero.

 

This month’s “monster of the week” is also insane in the best sort of way. Grayson tends to riff/channel some Grant Morrison-type weirdness, but in the best sorts of way. I’m not sure if the insanity revolving around the villiain’s gimmick was intentionally over the top, but I certain think it is and enjoyed it. In addition to that, we actually get to see some other Spyral agent, expanding Dick’s cast a bit. Artist Mikel Janin’s art is perfect for this book, as he can adept at capturing both the sexier and weirder sides of this book incredibly well. Much like the writers, his in an important part of this comic, and the book is all the better because of his presence.

 

Grayson is a surprisingly smart and deep book that does a lot of different things right. It’s a little bit of high-octaine action mixed with some intrigue, with a dash of sexiness met with genuine human interactions. There’s even some room for debate that Dick’s constant flirting and making kissy faces with the ladies makes up for the void in his life formerly occupied by his Bat-family. Regardless if you buy into that or not, at the end of the day Grayson is an incredibly well crafted comic that shows just how well the comics coming out of the Bat-offices are these days.

 

 

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Troy’s Toys But with Comics Big Week part 2!

Here we have the more “Affordable” $3 and $4 books. Insert back in my day rant here.

53ea63633a61fLegendary Star-Lord #3

Sam Humphries, Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco, David Curiel

Marvel, $3.99

Light Spoiler Warning: Kitty Pryde appears in a banana suit in this comic. 10/10, Book of the Month.

I’m not sure how much access Sam Humphries had to James Gunn’s GOTG script before the movie and this comic launched, but I would not be surprised if you told me he knew everything about the movie’s plot before writing this book. This Star Lord feels a lot like the movie version, only with an updated taste in music.

This third issue of GOTG is a hoot. It’s a nice little done and one that expands Quill’s support cast, and undoubtedly plans a seed or 2 for future stories. Paco Diaz, Juan Vlasco and David Curiel still continue to deliver month after month, making this book look as good as it deserves to. Legendary Star Lord is a ton of fun, and I’m glad the success of the Guardians movie allowed this book to happen.

GalleryFuturesEnd_1900x900_GRAYFE_Cv1_A_53763827398858.73816675Grayson: Future’s End #1

Tom King/Tim Seeley/Stephen Mooney

DC, $2.99/$3.99

On paper I should hate this comic. The art is barely serviceable, it’s a tie-in to an event book/weekly series I’m not reading, and it’s starts on a major downer. In a way, it comes off as the type of comics that’s kept me away from DC in that past.

Despite a lot working against it, I ended up LOVING Grayson: Future’s End. It’s Batman meets Momento, where the book continuously flashing back to the past, ending at a beginning. Tim Seeley and Tom King take a risk with the plot of this comic, and despite all odds, pull it off with some incredible results.

It’s just a shame that this book doesn’t look as good as it has in the past. I’m not sure why regular series artist Mikel Janin isn’t present, but  guest artist Stephen Mooney doesn’t posses the same talent. It also worries  me that we’re having guest artists only 3 issues in.

Ultimately this book is saved by the story and dialogue. King’s own spy experience comes into play here, and you’ll want to re-read this issue once you figure out a certain plot element.  Im also curious as to see if a few of the plot points introduced in this book are going to play out in the future of this book or not.

I encourage anyone who’s enjoyed the first 2 issues of Grayson to pick up this issue. Despite the dip in the quality of art, it’s still a good book that’s worth the $3.

 

backgroundSuperior Foes of Spider-Man #15

Nick Spencer, Steve Lieber, Rachelle Rosenberg

Marvel $3.99

Anyone who’s been reading SUP FOES for the last year could tell you the formula of this book. The previous ending is address in the first few pages, the Sinister  6 5 get out of one jam and into another, things look up for the team and the final page blows that to hell, setting up the next issue.

With the book wrapping up at #17, this issue turns the dial up to 11. The Sinister 5 4,  chalk up several wins this time around, which only means things are going to get real bad for them real quick. This arc is called “Gang War” for a few reasons and readers will know why by the time they hit page 20.

Creators Nick Spencer, Steve Lieber and Rachelle Rosenberg are doing some career defining stuff with this book. We finally get to set the Sinister ( insert number here) work together as a team, but the creators have been on same page since day one, making this one of the most constantly great book on the stands.

Superior Foes of Spider-Man continues to be everything I want from a comic: humor, action and fully fleshed out characters. Issue 15 is all of that, and as sad as I am to see this book wrapping up, I have no doubt it will absolutely stick it’s landing.

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Troy’s Toys But with Comics: Lovable Scamps Edition

Quick Movie Review: I saw Guardians of the Galaxy last week. It was very fun. You should see it too. Unless you hate fun. Then don’t I guess.

::: counts up word total and is upset that doesn’t count up 500 words :::

 

Dammit, I guess I should review some comics then.

3792239-starlord-#2-cover-finalLegendary Star-Lord #2

Sam Humphries/Paco Medina/ Juan Vlasco/ David Curiel

Marvel $3.99

Hey look a book starring on the characters from GOTG, check out my synergy! #toyetic

This second issue finds Star Lord pitted against a nasty bounty hunter, with a nasty pet, as well as the commander of the Spartax Royal guard. With Marvel announcing 3 new Star War titles at SDCC, the lack of a Han Solo project makes more sense with the release of Star Lord #2. There’s a monster who’s very much a Sarlacc Pit homage in this issue, although the twist to it is very cool.

And now that we’re living in a post-James Gunn GOTG movie world, we can see that  this Peter Quill is very much a Chris Pratt  (aka Burt Macklin) influenced version of the character.  Sam Humphries drops the word “man” into Star-Lord’s vocabulary a lot, there’s a bit involving his rocket boots and this version of seems a little more sneaky and underhanded than the more heroic version we’ve seen in the DnA and Bendis runs of Guardians of the Galaxy. This is not a complaint by the way, as comics starring dashing space rogues are my jam.

Paco Medina continues to do a solid job of drawing the hell out of this book, and the character designs he’s using are really solid. My only complaint is that the coloring in the print edition pales greatly to the digital version of LSL #2. I’m not sure if it’s a printing error in my copy or just something that’s lost when made a physical copy. Either way, if you don’t mind reading comics digitally, redeem that code ASAP. It does wonders to the work done by  Juan Vlasco & David Curiel.

Overall, Legendary Star Lord #2 is a fun read that will scratch your Peter Quill itch if you’re looking for more of the character after the movie.

portrait_incredibleThe Superior Foes of Spider-Man #14

Nick Spencer/ Steve Lieber/ Rich Ellis/ Rachelle Rosenberg

Marvel $3.99

And the best use of a corgi in the Marvel Universe goes to the Superior Foes of Spider-Man! Before we dive into the interior, let me start off by talking about the front of this book. Kris Anka‘s cover may come off as simplistic, but it does an excellent job of capturing the cast’s attitude and the overall Sinister 6 group dynamic. Also the coloring is insane.

Artist Rich Ellis returns to help Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber flesh out the back story of one of the Superior Sinister Six’s member, something this book has excelled at doing. Not all of the villains in the book had established backgrounds coming into this book, and the origins Spencer and friends have been providing them with have been clever, super entertaining, and very satisfying. In addition, the fate of Speed Demon’s corgi puppy is revealed in a heart warming story that consists of 3 wordless pages. It’s a testament to Ellis’ skills, as he manages to blend humorous and heart warming moments perfectly. Rachelle Rosenberg’s color help of course, and she does an amazing job with the crazy last 2 pages.

So yeah, even with adding another artist to the mix for an issue, The Superior Foes of Spider-Man remains flawless. I’m also glad we’re getting more comics where Marvel Hero’s masks are used as censor bars.

 

4008079-grayson01Grayson #2

Tom King/Tim Seeley/Mikel Janin/Jeremy Cox

DC $2.99

Yes good, more of this please.

As apprehensive as I was with Grayson when it was first announced, this book continues to impress. 2 months in and King and Seeley have taken several obscure elements from Grant Morrison’s run on Batman Inc, retooled a fan-favorite character, and most importantly focused on what make Dick Grayson one of the BEST characters to grace the page of DC Comics.

I don’t want to discuss the plot of issue two much, mostly because the hook is kinda cool in an incredibly gross sort of way, but it does make for a great read. There’s also some amazing interactions with Dick Grayson and the Batman, and a mention of a certain red head that gives me the Tumblr-type-feels.

And I think that’s why I’m digging Grayson so much. It’s a beautiful looking and smart book that actually strives to get an emotion response from the readers. It takes a lot of stuff from the Bat books from the last few years, add some cool elements together and blends everything together for a great read.  The cast in engaging and intriguing, and the big mystery to this title is super interesting.  The end result spy book than channels some weird 60s Marvel comics, with a lot of heart and pretty pictures. Grayson has done an excellent job of getting me back into buying a DC Comic on a monthly basis, something that hasnt been done since Snyder/Capullo’s Batman started up.

 

 

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Batman Day at Forbidden Planet NYC

The Caped Crusader is celebrating his 75th birthday this year, and DC Comics has officially declared Wednesday July 23rd 2014 Batman Day!

Batman_75th_Anniversary

 

On  7/23/14, starting at 8am, Forbidden Planet NYC will be giving away complimentary (ie FREE!) copies of DC’s new Detective Comics #27 Special Edition, and FREE Batman anniversary bags. We’ll also have commemorative masks (99 cents per. These are extremely limited and will be sold on a strictly first come, first served basis) and capes for sale ($5.99).

detective_27_special_edition

 

batman75mask

 

batman75thCape

What’s more, we’ll be running a sale(!) throughout the day- 20% OFF all Batman related comics, books, and graphic novels.

Come by Forbidden Planet to celebrate Batman’s 75th on Wednesday the 23rd and save some Bat-dough!

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Troy’s Toys: Actually about Toys this time!

Hey look, I’m taking a break from screaming about comics books to scream about comic book toys! How fortunate for all of you, right?

1395362963_HAS23670Marvel Universe Infinite Figures

Wave 1 & 2

Hasbro, $11.99 each

I’d make a snarky comment that a infinite series of figures contains 5 reissues, but I’d like to think that I’m better than that. I’m not, but I enjoy lying to myself.

I’m not exactly sure why the MU  toyline has been rebranded, but I’m okay with this. Since the Legends line is hella expensive/focused on movie-related properties and character for the most part, I need a toy line decided to 616 stuffs. Which despite the numerous and outdated reissues ( Heroic Age Iron Man and  Steve Rogers haven’t appeared in those uniforms for over 2 years at this point in), the NEWER releases are really cool. The Marvel NOW! Hulk is arguably the best Hulk figure to be released in the 3.75″ scale, and it’s cool to see more female figures with good sculpts with the release of Red She Hulk and the Wasp. And if you want obscure comics-only character, Infinite Waves 1 and 2 give up Hyperion, Grim Reaper, Whirlwind and friggin Death’s Head! Kieron Gillen is a far more powerful mage than I thought. There’s also a  Eric Materson version of Thor, which is a cool little throwback to 80s/90s Marvel Comics.

marvel-avengers-universe-infinite-3-75-inch-action-figure-series-2-set-of-7-pre-order-ships-tbd-2014-6The reissues are as following: the aforementioned Cap and Iron Man, another classic Captain America, Beta Ray Bill, and Yellowjacket. 2 Caps being re-released makes sense in this, the year of the Winter Solider, but it’s nice to see Hasbro go a little more obscure with Bill and Yellowjacket. I’m also just happy that it’s just not another Wolverine figure. And most importantly we have Hank Pym and Janet available in the same scale for the first time in FOREVER.

In terms of quality, these 2 waves are really good looking and as possible as you’d expect MU figures to be. The important thing is that the female faces don’t look like total butt, because that’s what I care about when it comes to action figures apparently. And at least half of the figures come with an accessory of some sort, which is neat. Overall, I’m pleased with this selection, and eagerly await for wave 3, because Cyclops.

San-Diego-Comic-Con-2013-First-Look-DC-Comics-Greg-Capullo-Batman-Designer-Series-Action-Figures-Batman-Nightwing-TalonDC Comics Designer Figures Greg Capullo

Wave 1

DC Collectibles, $24.99

 

I’ll be honest, I could not even begin to tell you how many Batman figures are out there on the shelves today. DC, as well as Mattel, Square Enix, Lego and a few Japanese companies all have the rights to make Bat-merch. So as a result, I’ve lost count of what the fresh hell has been going on with these figures sometime back in early 2013.

That being said, I’m WELL aware of Greg Capullo‘s art on the ongoing Batman comic, and know that it is very much the business. So DC Collectibles making toys based on his work is a smart-ass move, because Capullo’s art translates into toy form quite well.

dc-comics-designer-series-1-greg-capullo-riddler-action-figure-pre-order-4The first wave (I believe 3 waves in total have been announced so far) consists of Batman, The Riddler, Talon and Nightwing. While the articulation is SLIGHTLY better than post DCC figures, they look a ton better than anything Mattel or Square’s released recently. Capullo’s a fantastic veteran artist, and this figures looked like they popped up from the pages of the comic. And I REALLY like the choice of packaging, as it looks super sharp and clean.

This is easily the best debut for a new line of DC Collectibles in some time. I’m eager to see more of the Capullo stuff get the plastic treatment, as well as other artists getting the spotlight. Hopefully it will expand past Batman titles at some point too.

 

 

 

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Troy’s Toys, but with Comics: All New, Superior Review Spread (also something about Dick Grayson)

What I want to do this week: Dedicate 500 words on how rad that new Batgirl design is.

What I’m going to do this week: Dedicate those words to reviewing comics. Consider yourselves lucky. :/

tumblr_inline_n7pxrxoy321qbujoxGrayson #1

Time Seeley/Tom King/Mikel Janin

DC Comics $2.99

I’ll be honest, 2/3rd of that final issue of Nightwing really had me worried about Grayson. The last chapter of that comic was promising, and luckily, that quality carried over to the first issue of this new series, which was an excellent debut.

Dick Grayson’s got a new gig as a spy for Spyral, whom you may remember from Grant Morrison‘s Batman Incorporated run. And if you don’t hey no worries, the organization gets a good introduction, so you really don’t need to read that (which you should) or Forever Evil (Thank God) to get the full story. He’s partnered with Helena Bertinelli (she was the Huntress pre new 52 kids!) and is set to retrieve a Meta Human Bio Weapon from another shady organization because that’s the type of thing you do when you’re a super hero spy I guess.

Like I said above, it’s a great book. Tim Seeley and Tom King‘s script is fun and clever, which is the type of thing you want from a spy book. And Mikel Janin has come a long way from when I last saw him on Justice League Dark, providing some really good looking pencils and ink for the book (colored nicely by Jeromy Cox). It’s a bright, clean and colorful book, which seems to be the polar opposite of most DC titles and their Jim Lee-inspired house style. With my concerns put to bed, I’m quite pleased with this issue and am excited for a DC ongoing for the first time in forever.

3886216-all-new_x-men_29_coverAll New X-men #29

Brian Micahel Bendis/Stuart Immonen/ Wade Von Grawbadger/ Marte Gracia

Marvel $3.99

80% of this book is really good. It’s fun, good looking, and a nice little ending to this current arc of All New X-men. But man, there’s some things involving time travel and mind control that are a tad hazy, and I’m not sure if it’s on Bendis or Immonen. It’s unfortunate, because there are plenty of cool moments from this comic, and it’s rare to see this creative team not synch up 100% all of time. Overall a great, read, it’s a shame it stumbles a bit towards the end.

Spread-01-cover-kyle-strahm-felipe-sobriero-530x815Spread #1

Justin Jordan/Kyle Strahm/Felipe Sobeiro

Image $3.50

The first issue of Spread does not shy away from it’s influences. Writer Justin Jordan name drops Mad Max on the letter’s page, and you can tell the team also drew influence from the legendary manga Lone Wolf and Cub, fellow Image mega-hit the Walking Dead, and maybe not intentionally, Marvel’s last Cable solo series. That being said it’s a great read that proudly wears it’s influences on it’s sleeve.

Kyle Strahm reminds me a lot of mangaka Tsutomu Nihei (Blame! and the new Netflix anime Knight of Sidonia) in terms of style. The world of blame is disgusting and brutal, and Strahm’s art hammers that point across quite efficiently. The Spread monsters are made of pure nightmares, and there’s several panels/pages that really made me do a double take at what I was looking at.

The Spread isn’t the most original comic on the stands this week, but if you’re in the mood for something fun and horror-related, you could do a lot worst. That may sound like faint praise, but I assure you, I dug the hell out of the book, and this may end up being Justin Jordan’s equivalent to Fear Agent in a few issue.

SMFOES2013013-cov-8ab5aThe Superior Foes of Spider-Man #13

Nick Spencer/Steve Lieber/Rachelle Rosenberg

Marvel $3.99

So by now everyone knows that I like my super hero books to have some humor in them. Grimmdark too-serious comics are not my thing, which is why I favor things like Hawkeye to the bulk of the DC Comics library. So it should go without saying that I loved this issue of SUP FOES.

That’s not to say that Superior Foes of Spider-Man #13 doesn’t have some more serious moments to it. There’s a cool action piece featuring the Shocker, and this issue’s cliffhanger is fairly dramatic. But said action piece is also chocked full of little one liners, ans there’s a bull in chinashop bit earlier in the issue that’s also great.

So yeah, another funny and exceptionally well crafted  issue by Spencer, Lieber, Rosenberg. Also look at that cover, it’s super villains cosplaying other super villains. If that’s not your jam, I don’t even want to know you.

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Review: Batman Volume 4: Zero Year-Secret City

9781401245085_p0_v2_s260x420Batman Volume 4: Zero Year-Secret City

Scott Snyder/Greg Capullo/Danny Miki/FCO Plascencia

DC Comics/$24.99

Ah yes, the revamped origin story. :: adjusts monocle, clears throat :: A risky venture, especially when a character like Batman already has a good one in “Year One” and an extremely terrible one in “Earth One”. And dedicating an entire year to tell said origin risks decompression/being drawn out.

That being said, the homies Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo aren’t in the business of telling bad Batman stories. Arguably the best book to come out of the New 52, Snyder and Capullo have been on a hot streak with this title, telling new types of stories that appeal to old and new readers alike, which incredible visuals and spectacular set pieces. What Synder and Capullo set out to do is bold -revamp Batman for a new generation of readers, while celebrating the character’s rich history.

GalleryComics_1900x900_20140507_BM_v4-zero-yearCv_533ddde98ab981.56092043I’m not kidding when I say this book covers the characters 75 years of existence. There’s nods from everything from the Bill Finger and real life super villain (shout out to Chris Sims) Bob Kane golden age material, to things like Batman ’66, Batman ’89 and The Killing Joke. Some of the references are only visual Easter eggs, while some other elements are woven into the narrative. But it’s done insanely well, which is the important thing.

3106400-5The Secret City arc (aka Volume 1) covers young Bruce Wayne, fresh from his training all around the world/Liam Neelson, and his one man war with the Red Hood Gang. It’s a different Bruce we’re used to, as this Bruce is a brash jerk what yells at Alfred, and gets a John Cena-style haircut.  We’re also introduced to Bruce’s Uncle Philip and his assistant, who may or may not end up being a major Bat-Villain (spoilers: He totally does). And most importantly, this whole thing starts off which Batman with a crossbow on a dirt bike, which is easily in the top 5 coolest things I’ve seen in comics this year.

batman24_4By now you can probably tell I’m a fan of this story. Which in my defense, anyone who reads it should be, because it’s great. While it definitely pays some respect to the Chris Nolan “Batman Begins” film, it’s very much the opposite as well: loud, vibrant and explosive. With the aforementioned cameos, along with some incredibly well crafted action pieces, Synder, Capullo, inker Danny Miki and colorist FCO Plascencia take full advantage of the genre. The story fully embraces the fact that it’s a comic book and doesn’t have to worry about things like budget and what not.

bat-zero-yearAnd again, the coloring. I’ve been a fan of FCO Plascencia‘s work when I first discovered his work on Invincible and it’s nice to see him working on such a popular and beloved character like Batman. Unlike Year One, Year Zero uses brighter colors like yellow, orange, red and purple. The introduction pages use some really sharp green and blue for the environments and it’s really breathtaking.

It’s also worth noting that Greg Capullo and Scott Synder aren’t the only artist/writer team attached to this collection. Working with Synder, writer James Tynion IV and artist Rafael Albuquerque (Snyder’s collaborator on American Vampire) tell stories set in young Bruce’s training days, as well as the set up for the next arc. They’re all solid stories, and Albuquerque’s art is perfect for Batman.

climbAs someone’s who’s not the biggest Batman fan, I really liked this opening arc. It’s a fun over the top Batman story that actually does a lot of things different for a Batman Origin story. It’s not afraid to try something new, which is more or less the point of the New 52 (At least in my opinion). If you have any interest in Batman or DC Comics, I can’t recommend it enough.

 

 

 

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What we do is secret… unless you watch the Tuesday Transmission.

Javier of Mini-Mate Minute fame joins me for a full episode.

“Can you see it? No wait, can you see it?”

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Troy’s Toys, But with Comics: End O’ May edition

NTW-Cv30-01ba5Nightwing #30

Tim Seeley/Tom King/Javier Garron/Jorge Lucas/Mikel Janin

DC Comics/$3.99

Read this issue to learn the final fate of Dick Grayson (which was revealed like 2 months ago)! Stay for the debut of Helena Bertinelli’s questionable new costume design.

If there was anyone who’s suffered the most from Forever Evil (aside from the people who actually paid for it), it’s been Nightwing. The homie Dick Grayson got the bejesus beat out of him by an evil Justice League and his secret identity exposed to the world, much like Peter Parker did during Civil War several years ago. However, unlike Spidey, Dick has no wife to offer up to Satan to magically retcon away his problems, so now he has to deal with being outed. BUT WAIT, the world thinks he’s dead (well everyone but Batman, Cyborg and several villains), problem solved!

Nightwing 30 is the “final”issue of the series, setting up July’s new Grayson series. In that series’ defense, the regular creative team of Tom King, Tim Seeley and Mikel Janin get to tell a fun prelude in the final chapter of the book  that sets the upcoming series up nicely. What stinks is that it’s that the two other stories leading up to it are not so good.

The first story, featuring art by Javier Garron, shows Dr Leslie Thompson being attacked by a crazy cult of serial killers. Fear not, the good doctor is saved by Helena Bertinelli  in her new Skullgirls cosplay. While the writing in this chapter is relatively solid, the art is kinda ugly, and not in the stylish sort of way. We also get another stereotypical multi-color hair Japanese assassin cliche, which ughhh, tired troupe is tired. The 2nd story deals with Dick and Batman throwing down because of reasons? It’s an ugly and violent story drawn by Jorge Lucas that makes little to no sense with the rest of the book. Batman comes off as a jerk, it’s super-bloody for no apparent reason and there’s some swiped Chris Nolan dialogue which doesn’t fit the scene and is ultimately several shades of dumb. Needless to say, I am not a fan, despite there being a panel where Batman kicks a motorcycle in half.

That being said, that final chapter is great. Once the book is freed of Batman and Forever Evil nonsense, we get our first taste of what’s to come from the Grayson series. It looks greats and feels really fun, even if Dick Grayson is running around in Clint Barton’s hoodie for some reason. And the Helena Bertinelli we get here is a major  visual improvement, looking like a rad Jamie McKelvie redesign opposed to a titillating fighting game character.

It’s kinda hard to recommend Nightwing #30 given the overall quality of the book. Some readers may find some enjoyment in it, but honestly, you can wait for Grayson #1 and see the proper creative shine.

trees1Trees #1

Warren Ellis/Jason Howard

Image $2.99

Warren Ellis doing weird Warren Ellis things is a good way to get me to buy your comic most of the time. I’m generally a fan of Ellis and the bulk  of his creator owned work, and even with some really strong art from Jason Howard, the Trees debut issue didn’t do much for it.

Great visuals aside,  Ellis spends too much time jumping from location to location in this issue, giving us brief glimpses of the cast. I’d be fine with this if these characters were actually interesting, but since we spend so little time with them, it’s hard to actually get attached to any of them.

My issues aside, there’s a chance that this book may read better collected once more issues are out. There’s a ton of potential, and the argument that the world of Tree is a political allegory for modern America can definitely be made. I’m just a little disappointed with this debut issue.

ms-marvel-4Ms. Marvel #4

G Willow Wilson/Adrian Alphona/Ian Herring

Marvel $2.99

Ms. Marvel is becoming a book that’s approaching Saga-levels of difficult to review. I say this, because much like the previous 3 issues, it’s comics done right.

Wilson and Alphona are approaching Lee/Dikto levels of perfection when it comes to writing Kamala’s adventures. There’s some action, boy drama, and issues with her family and to an extent, her faith. And it all works, looks great and ultimately makes for a delightful read. Adrian Alphona‘s art (masterfully colored by Ian Herring, who literally makes parts of this book shine) somehow manages to improve with every issue, cramming his pages full of fantastic levels of detail and even some Chip Zdarsky-level sight gags, be it background jokes, facial expressions or a villain wearing a shirt that straight up says his a bad guy.

G. Willow Wilson‘s dialogue, while always good, gives Brain K. Vaughn a run for his money with issue 4. Our new Ms Marvel’s interactions with her mother and BFF Bruno take up most of the book, and really capture what a modern teenager would sound like. It’s great stuff.

With all I mentioned above, as well as another striking cover by Jamie McKelvie, Ms. Marvel remains the break out Marvel comic of 2014. There’s no fear of this book getting cancelled early it seems, and you really owe it to yourself to read it if you’re not already.

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Late to the Party: Chris reads “The Wake: Volume 1″

WKE_Cv1_SOLICIT_DThe Wake Volume 1

Scott Snyder/Sean Murphy/Matt Hollingsworth

Vertigo/DC, Collects issue 1-5

Hey look, I’m starting the year off looking at a DC book not called Sandman, this really is a brave new world!

In my defense, look at this creative team, for it is shiny and very talented!  Back when I was buying New 52 DC, Scott Snyder’s Batman was the only DC  book I bought for over a year on a monthly basis. He’s an insanely talented writer, and seems like a good dude judging by the quality of his tweets (obviously a very important tool in measuring one’s worth). On the art side of things, Sean Murphy is another creator I really dig, being a fan of his since his Hellblazer fill-in days, and following him onto Joe the Barbarian and Punk Rock Jesus. And with Hawkeye’s Matt Hollingsworth coloring the book, even I had to cave in, despite my heavy Marvel/Image bias.

The Wake is arguably one of the best sci-fi-horror comic I’ve read in quite some time. The creators really did their research when it came to this building this world, because a lot of the science involved seems plausible, or at least to my undereducated ass. The plot, which I’ll do my best to avoid spoilers, us marine biologist Lee Archer is offered a once in a lifetime job to go out to the Arctic to do some research on some odd noises the government has stumbled upon….or so she thinks! ( Gasp here please)  Then the HORRIBLE AND SPOOKY truth is revealed, and the more stuff happen and ultimately it leads to into some world altering stuff. Actual world altering, not the for 6 months then everything is back to normal world altering you seen in Marvel event. Also there may be some wackiness that goes down in mankind’s earliest days, and the far future. No more details, but yeah, this books is nuts in the best kind of ways.

The-Wake-001-Interior-Art-01-600x344Snyder and Murphy have a working relationship going back to Snyder’s American Vampire series, and The Wake is a testament of how in-sync these 2 are. There’s some REALLY brutal stuff that goes down in this first volume, and some real nightmare inducing imagery as well. And like I said earlier it’s also incredibly smart, and you can tell Snyder did his research, who I believe does some teaching in addition to comics. The best type of horror is the believeable type, and Snyder does a nice job of tying marine biology and various culture’s folklores together in this story.

Sean Murphy remains one of the best artists out there. His style is rough, sketchy, and heavy on the dark inks, and that’s fine with me. I’m not sure if The Wake would have worked as well with photo realistic art, but it definitely does with Snyder’s rough, jagged art. It’s always super detailed, and characters all look great without looking like super heroes or super models. And again, with Snyder’s help, they’re all very believable, fleshed out, and rarely, if ever a cliche.  And with Hollingsworth’s colors, Snyder scenes look amazing. I prefer black and white Murphy art most of the time, but Hollingsworth’s one of the best colorists in the biz, so his stuff only makes Murphy’s art better in the end.

The first act of this series ends on great cliffhanger, and I’m eager to see what volume 2 brings. The lead for the next volume and their world look super interesting, and I like what I’m reading and hearing from Snyder and Murphy. With Image currently owning the creator owned crowd, it’s nice to see a Vertigo book bring it, especially with the future of the imprint in question these days.

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New Comic Book Day Ain’t Wednesday for the Next Two Weeks

Heads up- this week New Comic Book Day will be Christmas Eve (we’ll be open from 9am-8pm). It’ll also be Tuesday next week (New Year’s Eve, when we’ll be open 9am-8pm as well).

Wolverine Origin II

Here’s this week’s new comics. The two biggies are Forever Evil #4 and Origin 2 #1. Hope to see you around the shop!

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Holy Holiday! It’s a Batman Gift Idea List!

If I had to make a list of the most recognizable figures in the entire world I think that Batman would be in the top 10. Maybe even the top 5. That brooding big eared bad boy probably lies somewhere on the list below Jesus Christ, but above Norman Reedus. So… chances are, someone on your Christmas shopping list is a Bat-Fan! Now I know I just said Batman is one of the most well known figures, yes… but… that doesn’t mean I expect you to know what to get the Boy Wonder of your Dynamic Duo for this holiday season. Those are references to Batman, stick with me kid and you’ll be dancing with the devil by the pale moonlight in no time!

Batman The Killing Joke – The super duper deluxe re-colored hardcover edition of the definitive Joker story written by that Watchmen guy. Quote me on that when handing this bad boy over to your gift recipient and they will be wowed by your knowledge!

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Batman is Brave! – It’s never too early to get the tykes into vigilante crime fighting. This is one of those old school kids books with the thick cardboard pages, the kind that sops up baby drool real good!

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Batman and Joker Salt and Pepper Shakers – Just a dash of the right spices from out of one of these magnetic shakers will add a little BIFF BANG and POW to your super supper. Just don’t ask me how the magnets work.

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Batman 1966 1/4 scale Figure – Fans of the classic Batman television series will just love to get their grip on all 18 inches of Adam West in those iconic grey tights!

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Batman The Court of Owls TPB – The first collection of the newest ongoing Batman run now available in a sleek affordable softcover edition. Issues one through seven of Scott Snyder’s take on the cape for only 16.99. Now that’s a lot of Bats on the cheap!

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Big Batman Logo Button – Lets take a ride down memory lane… It’s the summer of 89 and the Tim Burton Batman movie is the biggest thing to happen to pop culture since the Moonwalk. No not that fake moon landing stuff, I mean Jack-o dancing back-o… wards? Anyway… what I’m trying to say is, Batman was huge and you know what else was huge in the 80′s – buttons. I blame it on Bobby McFerrin’s Be Happy BS and those smiley faces, but I digress. So we see the flick and as my family exits the theater I remember people selling all types of bootleg bat-stuff including these gigantic Batman logo buttons! I’m talking real big, like hubcap big, but maybe my memory has been fogged by years of fogging my brain, maybe they were just kinda big like this one and they just seemed big cause I was small… needless to say my parents didn’t buy me one of those buttons and I now have to write x-mas shopping list guides as a way to work out my mommy issues.

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Heroclix Batman Booster Pack – In a world where underground crime rings and table top gaming collide! Heroclix is one of the most accessible and down right fun collectible games on the market, so grab up some of these booster packs and get a game going! Don’t worry, house rules are acceptable.

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Batman Animated Series Logo Shirt – Batman the Animated series was another huge factor in securing Batman’s image firmly in the consciousness of the modern world. If you know someone who was coming to age in the mid 90′s chances are this “cartoon” was their daily dose of the Dark Knight. This grey shirt with that iconic angular logo will be a fitting gift for that special Bat-Maniac in your life.

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Well there you have it Bat Boys and Bat Girls, just a few of the many Bat related goodies we have in stock and ready to be gifted by you! I’m pretty proud of myself, a full holiday shopping guide and only one Insane Clown Posse reference. Bloop!

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I have bought some comics, also eaten wayyy too much candy.

Halloween is a hell of a thing y’all, and this year’s beer and candy diet was not the best plan. Probably should have thought that one out a bit. :: snorts a crushed-up Kit-Kat bar , because YOLO ::: Woo, comics talk time.

Saga #15, Saga Bryan K. Vaughan, Fiona StaplesSaga #15

Brian K Vaughan. Fiona Staples

Image Comics, $2.99, 20 pages

Remember last week when I was complaining about how it’s hard to critique flawless comics. Here were are again, this time with the newest issue of Saga, which I’m sure surprises no one.  Also damn, that cover is hot, despite also being sort of ridiculous if you’re at all familiar with the book’s leads.

Without diving into spoilers, in this issue Staples and BKV introduce a new character, catch us up with several other characters, answer some questions about an alien planet, and end it all with a killer cliffhanger. The later comes as no surprise, because the book ends on a cliffhanger 90% of the time, which results in me cursing 100% of the time. Other norms for this title seen in this issue include Staples’ fantastic art and colors, and BKV’s hilarious and heartful dialogue. Also vulgar at times, which we all know I’m okay with because I love Sex Criminals. Also damn, that ending, really makes one long for the next issue (less than 30 days away, ha ha crap). So yeah, Saga‘s still perfect in case you were wondering.

SANDMAN-OVERTURE-MCKEAN-600x924Sandman Overture #1

Neil Gaiman/ JH Williams III

DC Comics, $4.99, 20 pages

Speaking of incredibly difficult comics to review…..

Let me say something. If you think Overture is going to be your introduction to the Sandman universe, you’re wrong. So wrong even. This book is fan-service in a way, and if you’ve yet to read arguably one of the BEST comics series of all time, this is not for you. You will be lost, even if you wiki it like a sucker-punk.

But let’s say you’re like me and LOVED the original series. Is this book worth $5? I’ll say YES, it most certainly is, but don’t expect a game changer. This is an incredibly DENSE read, because that’s how Neil Gaiman rolls, and it’s kind of slow paced, because again, Neil Gaiman. WHICH IS FINE, BECAUSE HOLY HELL, J.H. WILLIAMS IS REALLY GOOD AT THIS ART THING EVERYONE. It’s been a while since I’ve read a book William’s drawn (yeah I dropped Batwoman 8 issues in, sorry not sorry), and his skill meets Gaiman’s wonderfully trippy script makes for an fantastical end result.

Now is this book worth buying now, or worth holding out for the eventual deluxe hardcover may be a question you have if you’re a hardcore Sandman fan. That’s entirely up to you. Chances are I’ll double dip on this, assuming it’s a good read. Again I REALLY liked issue #1, BUT your mileage may vary. And again, it’s kinda fan service-y, not in a pandering way, but more of a you need to be up on your Sandman lore to get this book way like I said earlier. And who knows,  it may end up not be completely necessary at all by this all said and done, not unlike Before Watchmen (only you know, not scummy). But it’s hard to imagine that will be the case, especially with the quality of the debut issue.

 

X-Men_Battle_of_the_Atom_Vol_1_2_TextlessX-Men Battle of the Atom #2

Jason Aaron, Esad Ribic, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Andrew Currie and like 6 or 7 other dudes.

Marvel, $3.99, 30 pages

You had one job X-team. One job.

Looks like I’m repeating myself again when it comes to reviewing an X-book. Jason Aaron, as well as Brian Wood and Brian Michael Bendis for the epilogues, wrap up a fairly fun X-event. But once again, the art on this event falls apart.

I don’t mind Kris Anka, Chris Bachalo and Stuart Immonen swinging by to draw some of the epilogues, because they all are great artists who make the ending of this book look really good. But the main story by Esad Ribic, and 2 or 3 others dudes? Not so great. It’s sloppy, looks rushed, the characters are extremely off model-looking at times and you couldn’t have chosen artists whose styles clash any more it seems. It once again ruins Aaron’s solid script, which to be honest, could have toned down the snark in some parts.

But yeah, this event is kind of a mixed bag now that it’s all is said and done. Some really cool stuff happens,  including some fun fan servicey stuff for X-readers, and some new plots to work with going into the 2nd year of the Aaron/Bendis/Wood era of X-books. I just wish some of the questions raised were answered now opposed to down the line (if at all!), and that the art delivered in the last 2 chapters.

 

Up next, an advance look at Vaillant’s Comics Unity #1, the end of Captain Marvel volume 1 and LONGSHOT, SAVING THE UNIVERSE!

 

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Troy’s Toys: The one where I realise it’s been awhile

FACT: I HAVE NOT BEEN DOING A GREAT JOB OF KEEPING UP ON THIS PART OF THE BLOG, A DOZEN APOLOGIES! NYCC prep has been crazier than usual.

MTY9633BlgMTY9633AAlgIT HAS BEGUN! Revealed back at San Diego Comic Con this past summer, the first 2 waves of Batman ’66 figures have finally hit our shelves. FINALLY MORE BATMAN FIGURES JOKE GOES HERE! I imagine there’s actually some hype around these toys, as the long beloved TV show still has a huge fanbase, despite the fact that you can’t watch the show in any format due to legal problems. At least in a manner that Fox or Warner profits from. You can however give us cash money for action figures though. Series 1 has Batman, the Riddler and Penguin, and series 2 adds the Jokers and Surf’s Up Batman, complete with Bat-trunks and Bat-surf board. Which is pretty great, at least in my opinion you guys. Mattel, forced to not being able to recycle parts, has done a great job with these sculpts, going as far as to sculpt on a tiny mustache on the Joker’s upper lip and putting slippers over the Riddler’s leotard, both nice nods to the show. And the paint jobs are super sharp, only matching the figures up to their on-screen counterparts even more. At $24 a pop, this probably only appeals to older collectors/ fans of the show, but at least you’re getting your money’s worth. And it’s only beginning, as we’ll be getting a button more Batman ’66 related products in.

STK616768 Play-Arts-Kai-DC-Comics-Variant-Green-Lantern-1 Play-Arts-Kai-DC-Comics-Variant-Batman-1

Maybe you’re saying to yourself “Chris, maybe I want some DC toys, but I want them with some questionable designs!” ARE YOU EVER IN LUCK MYSTERIOUS INTERNET PERSON. The first line of the DC Variant Play Art Kai figures are out and man. Just..man.

LOOK AT HOW FRIKKIN HUGE THEIR LEGS ARE!

As someone who’s played his fair share of Japanese video game and  watched a decent amount of the animes, I really don’t get what’s going on here. These are like Amei-Con statues gone rogue, only articulate and packing variant pieces and weapons. LIKE A KATANA, WHY WOULD BATMAN BE PACKING A KATANA, THAT IS A FINE WAY TO KILL PEOPLE, SOMETHING BATS DOES NOT DO. And don’t be fooled by these preview shots, the shoulders on these things are actually awful and bulky on both Wonder Woman and Green Lantern. I’m not sure who’d want to spend $80+ on these, but we have them in stock if you’re someone who is.

DMC11961 TheWolverineMMgroup1

Going to stop talking DC for the day to point out that we also have some new Minimates in stock. There’s a Tomb Raider series, which is pretty great and diverse as hell IMO, a The Wolverine set which is kinda bland, and a new Marvel set featuring Marvel NOW character like Superior Spider-Man and the new Nova. It’s hard to judge these things, as they’re pretty much perfect. Standard figures with fun accessories, some cool, minimal sculpts and a good price point. I’m a big fan of the Tomb Raider game, and these minimates are a nice alternative to the solo Tomb Raider Play Arts we got earlier this year, although the Wolverine set remains a cruel tease to that Legends set we’ve yet to get. BOO URNS!

That’s all for this week! I’ll probably get another bunch of new toy preview/reviews up after NYCC, where I’ll be drunk on news/booze.

 

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