Category: DC Comics

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Graphic Spotlight – BATGIRL VOL. 1: BEYOND BURNSIDE

Batgirl’s world tour starts here!

No corner of the DC Universe hasn’t been touched by the events of Rebirth. For most all of DC’s titles it’s been an incredible fresh slate, not a reboot, but a new point to jump on and take the characters towards stories that feel earned, logical, self-contained without being disconnected, and delivering some the strongest stories from the publisher in a long time and on time. DC’s promise of a new direction for its characters in a way that doesn’t discount the last five years while still providing a new jumping on point for new or casual fans continues in the first collection of Batgirl’s newest adventures, Batgirl Vol. 1: Beyond Burnside.

Barbara Gordon’s return to the cape and cowl was met with great trepidation back in the old days (you know, 2011). Gail Simone wrote a three year story of healing, both physically and emotionally, grounding Barbara in overcoming the trauma that put her in a wheelchair for years of her life. It was a tricky line to walk and Simone began with a good jumping off point that grew into one of the best books DC was publishing. Then came the pop-tastic makeover by Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher, and artist Babs Tarr.

Barbara was given a neighborhood of Gotham to call her own, the eponymous Burnside. It was a fresh new take on Babs and her world, where she was a brilliant student and a superhero establishing her own independence from the Bat-family.

Now, New York Times best-selling creators Hope Larson (A Wrinkle in Time) and Rafael Albuquerque (American Vampire) will take Batgirl on a journey to elevate her skills. The trek will include stops in hotspots like Okinawa, Singapore, Seoul, and even Shanghai. Everywhere she goes, Batgirl’s life will be threatened by lethal warriors who all bear a mysterious mark indicating “The Student.” Which, of course, baits the question that if there are students, Batgirl will need to track down their teacher…

As Batgirl goes on her own international hunt for the leader of this mysterious group of fighters, she’ll improve her own skills and cross paths with legendary heroes. If you’ve been waiting for Barbara Gordon to ascend into the grander scale of the superhero community then the wait is over.

Collects Batgirl #1-6

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Val’s Toy Chest Extra- Who’s Who in the DC Universe- Hawkgirl

This week’s print issue of the Weekly Planet has another Who’s Who entry to commemorate the release of DC Collectibles’ brand new Hawkgirl/Kendra Saunders action figure from the CW’s DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. For the previous entry, go here.

Template based on the 1985 DC Comics series: Who’s Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe.

Layout: Justin Bacolo

Text: Valentine Chhann

Note: Height and Weight info was researched online for both this entry and the previous one.

HGWhosWho

 

 

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Graphic Spotlight – Deathstroke Vol. 1: The Professional

Deathstroke‘s rebirth will be his most personal and deadliest yet!

Deathstroke has been a character whose stock has risen in the last few years with exposure on the Arrowverse of shows on television. However, while his profile has spiked that hasn’t always been the case for the quality of his comic book adventures. Fortunately, amidst the plethora of improvements to DC Comics’ line in its Rebirth phase, you can be sure to count Deathstroke as one of those who has benefitted from this breath of creative fresh air.

Finally, the first collection will allow those who’ve trade waited, for whatever reason, to dive in and devour some of the best Deathstroke in too long of a time. Deathstroke the Terminator returns and this time his assassin’s eye is set on saving his daughter Rose a.k.a Ravager.

Slade Wilson will need all of the genetically enhanced strength, reflexes, healing, and intellect after a long thought dead ally resurfaces while on a mission in a war-torn African country. Why is this ally still alive? Why, to provide our anti-hero/ruthless villain/contract killer with a code with the news that his greatest vulnerability, his daughter, is in danger. Now, one of the most feared man on the entire planet will have to break his self-imposed rules of killing, betray those he’s considered trustworthy, piss off his most powerful enemy, and battle against his addiction to violence.

Will Deathstroke be able to conquer the most challenging gauntlet of his life and come through the other side with his daughter and honor having avoided being shattered?

Find out in Deathstroke Vol. 1: The Professional! This new thrilling chapter of DC’s greatest assassin comes to us from the legendary writer Christopher Priest and artist Carlo Pagulayan. This collections includes issues #1-5 of the well reviewed new series plus the Deathstroke: Rebirth one-shot.

 

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Prepare To Witness Savage Things #1

They trained him to be a monster. Now, they need him to protect them from monsters.

Savage Things #1 is a heart-stopping ride! If you want gripping action and intriguing characters with a greater threat to tease you back for the next issue then look no further. Savage Things comes from the pen of Justin Jordan (The Legacy of Luther Strode, Shadowman) and the pencils of Ibrahim Moustafa (High Crimes). For fans of Sheriff of Babylon, Nailbiter, Velvet, or Greg Rucka’s Queen & Country series, congratulations you just found your next must-read series.

The story is centered around a secret government organization who kidnaps and trains children they believe have the markings to become serial killers. Instead of just ignoring these potential threats to society, they decide to train them to be chaos agents. As agents of chaos they were sent in to certain hotspots to engage and execute enemies of the state with extreme prejudice. When the monsters they created became too tough to control, the organization decided to eliminate their kill squad. The result: Epic fail.

Now a rogue group of these savage killers has begun to cut a swath of terror all over the United States threatening to expose secrets the organization will do anything to keep from being revealed. Their solution? His code name is Abel and he’s perfectly happy with getting his hands bloody. Put it this way, Jason Bourne ain’t got $@&% on Abel.

Don’t miss this exciting first chapter of an eight-issue limited series that has all the potential to be at the top of your pull-list.

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Kate Kane Begins in BATWOMAN REBIRTH #1

A new era of Batwoman starts here!

Her time is now! Kate Kane has been kicking all kinds of butt over in Detective Comics since DC Comics began it’s Rebirth initiative. The time’s arrived for Batwoman to strike off on her own, hot off the heels of the recent two-parter setup story “Batwoman Begins” in Detective Comics #948 AND #949 (which we might still have a few copies left if you’re quick about it).

Kate Kane’s been through a lot. She lost her sister and mother as a child. She served in the military to follow in her father’s footsteps. She got kicked out of the army because she refused to betray herself. Then, she returned and took up the mantle of the bat, a symbol to serve a greater cause than one’s own survival made infamous by her cousin, Bruce Wayne AKA Batman! A soldier hardened by war, recovering from experiences fighting a Batman-inspired armed unit known as the Colony that her father created, she made the hardest choice of her life: Locking up the person she counted on the most to support her. Now, her mission is leading Kate away from Gotham but possibly back into the hands of her own demons.

The next era of Batwoman’s adventures start here in this one-shot that’ll get you primed and pumped for her ongoing series. We recently learned that Monster Venom is the hottest new bioweapon on the black market. An organization called “The Many Arms Of Death” is planning to take it global. Batwoman must return to the place where she spent some her (and Kate Kane’s for that matter) darkest hours. Learn where Batwoman comes from and learn where she’s going next as the stage is set for the must-read series you’ll be adding to your pull list.

Marguerite Bennett (DC Comics Bombshells, Angela: Queen of Hel) and Steve Epting (Captain America, American Monster) usher in Batwoman’s next chapter. Don’t get left behind, this is one ride you want to be on.

 

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Batman Assembles The JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA: REBIRTH #1

This New Comic Book Day welcome back one of DC’s premiere superhero teams!

A new dawn is rising on the Justice League of America. Spinning out of the events chronicled in Justice League Vs. Suicide Squad comes a team under the Justice League banner unlike any other. Don’t think so? Try these names on for size: Batman (makes sense), Black Canary (okay, been on the team before, sure), Killer Frost (what?), the Ray, (What?), Vixen (phew), the Atom (now you’re talking), and…Lobo?!?!?! You thought Lex Luthor put a few wrinkles into the team dynamic during the New 52, see what happens when the Main Man has to play nice with others. Who’s causing all this? Apparently, Batman. What’s he thinking? Find out in this issue as the Dark Knight assembles what DC is proclaiming to be the roughest and toughest Justice League of all-time.

After the events of Justice League Vs. Suicide Squad and four one-shots in January bringing you up to speed on the Atom, the Ray, Vixen, and Killer Frost, Steve Orlando (Midnighter & Apollo) and Ivan Reis (Justice League, Aquaman, Green Lantern) set the stage for this sensational roster. What does the future for this team hold? I have no idea but it’s likely to be anything but boring.

If you’ve been waiting for the next big thing when it comes to DC’s team books, you might have just found it. And you’ll find it on the shelves at Forbidden Planet for just $2.99 this Wednesday. Justice For All! But seriously, Lobo?!?!?

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“The Truth” Shall Set Her Free in WONDER WOMAN #15

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This week we put the spotlight on DC Comics’ reigning and defending Amazonian Princess!

WONDER WOMAN has been an unstoppably great series since Greg Rucka, Nicola Scott, and Liam Sharp took over the direction of the character for her Rebirth. This week in WONDER WOMAN #15 the next arc and best jumping on point for new readers hits our shelves with “THE TRUTH” part one.

After the events of  “THE LIES” Diana has finally seen the full scope of how her life and history have been transformed…unfortunately, the knowledge has fractured her mentally and emotionally, leaving the character ripe for rebuilding to be more badass than ever. Like Frank Miller executed with Daredevil in “BORN AGAIN” and Jeff Lemire with Green Arrow in “THE KILL MACHINE”, sometimes the best way to take your hero to new heights is to bring them to their lowest point first. Diana certainly seems like she’s at rock bottom.

All of us at Forbidden Planet cannot wait to see how she climbs her way out as Rucka’s long-game takes a grander and more epic shape this week. If for some reason you haven’t fallen down the Amazonian rabbit hole, then by the goddess now’s the perfect time to jump in for only $2.99!

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DC Rebirth Paperbacks are Here

It’s the second New Comic Book Day of 2017 and the first four trade paperbacks featuring DC Comics’ 2016 Rebirth event are now available.

Here’s a quick rundown of what’s currently on Forbidden Planet’s shelves:

Batman Rebirth Gotham I am Gotham Scott Snyder Tom King

Batman Rebirth TP Vol 01 – I am Gotham … “The Caped Crusader has never been stopped. Not by the Joker. Not by Two-Face. Not even by the Justice League. But now, in the wake of DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH, Batman faces his most challenging foe ever-the idealistic hero known as Gotham, who wants to save the city from Batman himself! Collects the pages of BATMAN: REBIRTH #1 and issues #1-6 of the new, hit BATMAN series! This collection features a new cover by superstar artist David Finch!” Written by Scott Snyder and Tom King, with David Finch providing interior art as well.

Superman Rebirth TP Son of Superman Peter TomasiSuperman Rebirth TP Vol 01 – Son of Superman … “After the stunning events of DC REBIRTH, the world is left without Superman! Luckily, there is another Man of Steel to fill his shoes: the pre-Flashpoint Kal-El! However, can this new Superman protect the world while raising a super-son with his wife, Lois Lane? And should they help their boy use his new and rapidly increasing abilities, or hide them from the world? Don’t miss these stories from SUPERMAN: REBIRTH #1 and SUPERMAN #1-6!” Written by Peter Tomasi, with interior art by Doug Mahnke.

 

 

Auaman Rebirth The Drowning TP

Aquaman Rebirth TP Vol 01 – The Drowning … “Aquaman, the King of Atlantis, has never found a true home in either of the worlds that he was born of. In these tales from AQUAMAN: REBIRTH #1 and issues #1-6 of the new series, the King of Atlantis attempts to broker a peace between Atlantis and the surface, but this noble quest might force Aquaman to choose whether to live his life above the waves, or below them. Plus, Black Manta makes his bloody return and seeks to destroy everything and everyone Aquaman loves!” Written by Dan Abnett with interior art by Scot Eaton.

 

 

Green Arrow Rebirth TP Vol 01 Life and Death of Oliver Queen

Green Arrow Rebirth TP Vol 01 – The Life and Death of Oliver Queen … “Green Arrow’s life will be forever changed as he is betrayed by those closest to him! A budding relationship with Black Canary forces Ollie to confront the fact that he can’t fight “the man” if he is “the man.” And one by one, his friends desert him-and all the money in the world won’t bring them back when he needs them most. Collects GREEN ARROW: REBIRTH #1 and GREEN ARROW #1-5.” Written by Ben Percy with art by Ben Schmidt.

 

Next week we get Justice League and Flash.

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Val’s Toy Chest- New Year, New Toys!

I’d like to wish you guys a belated Happy New Year with this week’s column. Since it is a new year, there are new toys coming. Not a lot of information is out yet, but expect tons of toy news from the worlds of DC Comics, Marvel, and more when I attend Toy Fair next month. Definitely watch this space.

As far as this week goes, we got some new stuff from NECA the last couple of days. Firstly, the Batman Returns Mayor Penguin 1/4 scale action figure has arrived. Based on Danny Devito’s portrayal of the classic Batman villain, the Penguin features several points of articulation, a cloth coat and several movie accurate accessories. The Michelle Pfeiffer Catwoman is the next figure due from the Batman Returns line and she should hopefully ship sometime this year. As her arrival gets closer I’ll let you know. The other neat item we got in is the Star Trek: The Next Generation Bat’leth Prop Replica from NECA. If the Klingons were your favorite aliens in the Trek universe, this awesome replica is for you. Whether you use it to spice up your Worf costume or hang it on your wall, NECA definitely hit a home run with this Trek piece.

Keeping in line with NECA, the toy company announced this week that they have acquired the rights to make merchandise and figures from the forthcoming Blade Runner 2049 film. NECA seems excited about it and will debut new figures next month at Toy Fair.  On the DC front, DC Collectibles finally announced that they are making Batgirl as she appeared on the original run of Batman: the Animated Series. While she mostly looks good, there are some issues with the length of her neck as well as her hair placement. DC has said they are at least working with the neck, we’ll see what happens when she finally comes out later this year.

Continuing on with DC Media representation, statue company Tweeterhead, which recently released an awesome Elvira coffee table book, just announced the first in a line of Wonder Woman maquettes. First up is a gorgeous representation of Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman as seen in the classic 1970s series. Only the unpainted sculpt has been shown off, so we’ll just have to wait and see what the final painted version looks like. I expect this piece to be popular with this year being a massive year for the Amazing Amazon.  If you remember the Yvonne Craig Batgirl piece, this was sculpted by the same artist.

Not much else going on this week, but there’s some cool books coming out including a Justice League of America special centered around Vixen, volume 7 of Mike Grell’s run of Green Arrowand Rebirth trades of Batman and AquamanThat’s about it for me this week. Catch you all next time!

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Val’s Toy Chest- Holiday Gift Ideas Part 2

Continuing with last week’s theme- I’ve got more gift ideas to share as we get closer to the holidays. I have a few books and toys to discuss this week including some of the newest stuff to hit our shelves. Newly arrived on our shelves are the following POP vinyl figures:

Batman: The Animated Series figures are now all in stock including the Joker, Batman, Harley Quinn and Batgirl. Each figure stands approximately 3 3/4″ tall and comes in window box packaging.  These join the Poison Ivy and Robin POPs we received last week.  Any of these figures would make an excellent gift for the Batman fan in your life, especially those that grew up with the classic animated series.

889698117326Funko’s Specialty Series continues with the latest release of everyone’s favorite sports nut/masked vigilante and Team Green ally: Casey Jones. The classic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles character comes dressed in his sweats, mask and wielding his hockey stick. Casey is a limited release figure, so once he’s gone, he’s gone. As of right now, the Casey figure is only available in store and may be made available online if quantities remain. Limit 2 per customer, please.

DC Collectibles has a few neat items due out this Wednesday that would also be sweet gifts for the DC fan in your life. One of these is the Batman: The Animated Series Clayface deluxe figure featuring multiple parts to recreate a few of Matt Hagen’s looks from the TV show. 761941337876

Batgirl fans have gotten several treats these last few weeks, what with the POP, the Icons Batgirl and Batcycle and now the Arkham Knight Batgirl/Oracle two-pack is out this week. Batgirl comes with a batarang and several interchangeable hands and features multiple points of articulation. Her famous Oracle persona comes complete with wheelchair and a backpack. Both figures are based on the recent video game. 761941337296

If you seek Marvel figures, what better figure than everyone’s favorite mercenary, Wade Wilson? The recent movie star has returned to our toy shelves with a restock of the best-selling Deadpool Marvel Select action figure. Deadpool features a dedicated character base, accessories and several points of articulation and comes in the trademark oversized Select packaging. Definitely an excellent gift choice for some of the Marvel fans in your life.

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Switching gears to books, there are some notable releases from the past few weeks that I never got to talk about, but they’d be awesome treats for the fan in your life, especially those that love DC’s media adaptations.

First of all, I’ve made no secret what a huge fan of the 1960’s Batman TV series I am. Just released last week was the Batman: Celebration of the Classic TV Series oversized book. Chockful of beautiful sharp stills, conceptual drawings and never before seen behind the scenes shots, this book comes highly recommended by yours truly. There is also an episode guide at the end of the book with brief synopses and shots of some of the title cards used throughout the show. If you’re a fan of the TV show and want a lighter, fluffier Batbook, the recent Batman Facts and Stats from the Classic TV Show is also out. The content is different in this one and is more of a trivia book with brief info but not as in-depth behind the scenes stuff as the former book. 1781167885

Switching gears to modern superhero TV comes the Art and Making of the Flash, featuring behind-the-scenes info and plenty of photos from the current CW series starring Grant Gustin. The book is current up to the recently ended second season and includes characters from all of the CW series. 9781785651267

Finally, the recently ended Black Canary series had its second trade released. Collecting issues 8-12, as well as an issue of Gotham Academy and the one-shot Rebirth: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey, this second volume comes highly recommended by me, especially since it features issue #9 which features characters based on a couple of Forbidden Planet employees, including myself. If you like awesome heroines, as well as rock and roll type characters, Black Canary is for you.  1401265278

Catch you next time!

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Chris’ Comics: The Top 4 (and a Hawkguy) Finale

At last, it’s time for my final article for the Daily Planet. Instead of reviews, I’m going to recommend 4 series to you (plus Hawkeye, because we all know that’s coming) that are some of my favorite comics. There’s a few “well duh” choices on the list, but hopefully someone will find a new favorite on this list, or at least think I have excellent tastes in comics.

DCD5297571) Batgirl: Year One (Chuck Dixon, Scott Beatty, Marcos Martin) The only way you can buy Batgirl: Year One these days is in a trade packaged with the also great Robin: Year One. But Batgirl: Year One is arguably my favorite story featuring my favorite DC character. It’s a nice re-imagining of her origin from pre New 52 times, from a writer who wrote a good portion of the best Babs Gordon stories in the 90s. Marcos Martin later blew up on books like Spider-Man and Dr. Strange: The Oath, but this is where the Martin hype train officially began. A gorgeous story that does wonders for one of the most iconic superheroes out there, Batgirl: Year One is the one DC story I can’t recommend enough.

DCD4061942) Phonogram: The Singles Club  (Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matthew Wilson). While I absolutely adore this team’s work on The Wicked + The Divine and Young Avengers, P:TSC is my next pick, which was the first time Wilson joined Gillen and McKelvie on a creator owned joint. Set over the course of a single night, each issue in this trade tells a different story, focusing on a different character, and occasionally crossing over. My personal favorite of the various stories is the finale, a relatively silent story that focuses on Kid-With-a-Knife, one of the more simplistic but exciting characters in the series. While it’s technically the second part of the Phonogram trilogy, it’s by far the most accessible, and an excellent entry point for Gillen/McKelvie/Wilson’s indie work.

15958246263) The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys (Gerard Way, Shaun Simon, Becky Cloonan). I really wanted to throw a Grant Morrison penned story on this list, but honestly, there’s enough best of/recommendation lists out there featuring his work on All Star Superman, JLA, Doom Patrol, etc. Instead I’ve opted for a comic featuring a character played by Morrison in the My Chemical Romance music videos this comic series is based on/a sequel to. While being familiar with said music videos/album helps. Killjoys is good enough to enjoy on it’s own, thanks to Cloonan’s gorgeous art, and Way’s sensational and kinda out there scripts. While you can make an argument that both creators have stronger work on the market, this is a favorite of mine, and it’s definitely worth your time if you’re a fan of either creators.

07851983934) NEXTWAVE: Agents of H.A.T.E. (Warren Ellis, Stuart Immonen) Also known as my favorite comic series before Hawkguy was a thing. Warren Ellis’ funniest book to date, in which his team of super hero pirates fight an evil corporation profiting from a war they’ve created. A cult favorite that’s influenced so many books, NEXTWAVE was at one point the weirdest but also one of the best looking books Marvel had ever published thanks to Stuart Immonen’s art. Assuming you haven’t read it, you should, unless you hate nuclear puppies, flesh eating koalas and dragons that wear shorts.

 

 

0785192190Hawkguy) Hawkeye (Matt Fraction, David Aja, Annie Wu, Matt Hollingsworth, and various) And here it is, my obvious favorite that I’ve never shut up while writing for Forbidden Planet NYC. Hawkeye was a game changer for Marvel, and is easily the best for-hire work Fraction and Aja have done, possibly ever. The creative team makes walking dumpster fire Clint Barton one of the most relatable characters in comics, while making Hawkeye Kate Bishop a break out star. From the Pizza Dog issue to the Sandy relief issue, there’s some many amazing, genre defining comics that show that you can do big 2 comics with an indie comics sensibility. No comic series has affected as much as this book has, and there’s never going to be a time where I won’t recommend it.

And with that, I take my leave. I’d like to thank everyone who’s read my work, my fellow contributors, and the fine folk at Forbidden Planet for giving me a stage over these last years to talk about comics, and toys. I’ve had a blast, and if you care to see what I’m doing post Forbidden Planet, give me a follow on twitter (@theanarchris). Thanks for the memories FPNYC faithful!

 

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Chris’ Comics: Batgirl #2 & Snotgirl #2

Batgirl_002_2016_2_covers_Digital_Zone_EmBatgirl #2

Hope Larson, Rafael Albuquerque, Dave McCraig

DC, $2.99 

Batgirl #2 takes Babs to Singapore this month, where she attempts to up her hero game by learning mixed martial arts, while also trying to discover what kind of secrets her friend Kai is keeping, plus a dabbing of some romance. It’s a dense, but fun issue that offers very little time for Batgirl in costume, but a ton of focus on Barbara Gordon.

Hope Larson and Rafael Albuquerque‘s 2nd issue is a delight, as their take on Batgirl is a lot of fun. Larson’s voice for Barbara reads like someone in their early 20s, and captures the intelligence and spunk you’d expect from the character. She’s also genuinely funny in a way that she hasn’t before, almost in a classic Peter Parker way. And I like how the plot manages to weaves between multiples threads, without ever getting too overwhelming.  It’s a nice blend of romance, mystery and action that should appeal to old and new fans of the character.

While Rafael Albuquerque doesn’t have a breakout scene this month, is art is gorgeous none the less. I love, LOVE his facial expressions, and how he draws Babs’ MMA sequences. She looks like a legit brawler, never too sexy or frail, and the composition of the pages with the fight scenes are insanely good. Dave McCaig‘s colors are stunning as well, as he plays some bright colors off of white space.

Batgirl #2 is a another good comic from a team who’s doing some great work. It’s been awhile since I’m seen new creators excel so much after following a fan favorite run, and I’m glad to see Larson, Albuquerque and company hit the floor running.

Snotgirl_02-1Snotgirl #2

Bryan Lee O’Malley, Leslie Hung

Image Comics, $2.99

The cool thing about Snotgirl so far is that it’s the type of book that will keep you guessing. From the solicits and early previews, it was safe to assume Snotgirl was a comic about a fashion blogger with a nasty allergy, while also being a discussion about identity on the internet. Then the ending hit, and well, the only thing that was safe to say there’s more going on then I had initially imagined.

Issue two deals with the fall out of the previous issue’s ending, while raising a few more questions. We’re also introduced to a pair of intriguing new characters, and reminded that our lead and her friends are still some of the most shallow characters in comics.

Despite some more intentional confusion and leads that are hard to rally behind, Snotgirl remains one of the best new books on the stands. Bryan O’ Malley‘s script and dialogue ooze of the type of creativity that he can only bring to a comic. Oh sure you may not like Lottie, but you’ll be drawn into her world all too easily. As for the art by Leslie Hung, the best way to describe it is like a Korean drama with L.A. sensibilities. It’s bright, gorgeous, loose and expressive, perfect for a book that in some ways is about fashion and a vapid existence.

Snotgirl #2 is a treat for anyone who enjoys the comic medium and isn’t afraid of trying new things. Buy on sight.

 

 

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Chris’ Comics: Batgirl & The Birds of Prey #1

Nightwing #3 also shipped this week, and it’s a pretty good comic that features Barbara Gordon. However, so did B&BOP #1, which offers me MUCH more to talk about.

B013-Batgirl-and-the-Birds-of-Prey-1-Cover-214dcBatgirl & the Birds of Prey #1

Julie and Shawna Benson, Claire Row, Allen Passalaqua, Steven Wands

DC $2.99

It’s rare that I get to say that I have a guilty pleasure comic. Most of the comics I pull are critical darlings, or massive fan favorites. Then we have Batgirl and the Birds of Prey, which not only has a trio of character I like, but also a trio of female creators attached to the book. Should be a slam dunk for me right? No, the art is often ugly, and the dialogue is still WAY too over dramatic. Yet I can’t stop reading this book.

Birds of Prey #1 is the every cliche first meeting turn fight turn team up we’ve all come to expect from super hero books (Nightwing even chimes in on in, turning it into a running gag). Batgirl and Black Canary don’t trust Huntress, who Babs finally pieces together is Dick Grayson’s old spy partner/boss, but they come to terms with her so they can figure out who this new Oracle is. Unfortunately for our heroes, this new Oracle has a Batgirl-and-the-Birds-of-Prey-1-3plan, and this plan is SNAKE THEMED VILLAINS. Between this and the aforementioned Nightwing, it seems DC Rebirth is actually editorial ways of forcing BIG SNAKE onto the populace, and  I am okay with this.

I don’t want to crap on Claire Row‘s art, but there are some really questionable panels in this book. Barbara Gordon looks fine without her cowl on, but once it’s on, the shape of her head can only be described as “potato-esque”. Also there’s several instances where it looks like character’s teeth are trying to escape their mouths. With Roe as the inker and the pencilier, it leaves very little room for colorists Allen Passalaqua to make any improvements in this book. Their contributions are excellent, and its a shame that the line art he’s coloring isn’t better.

And like I said above, a lot of the dialogue from is bad, Julie and Shawna Benson as there’s a few instances where the characters argue with each other via screaming their motivations. Black Canary is often the voice of reasons and the only character who sounds remotely human. They do a fine job of showing that this new Oracle has gotten under Bab’s skin, so her acting slightly out of character at times is fine. But their Huntress spits Batgirl-and-the-Birds-of-Prey-1-7out cliche tough guy line after line to the point where it’s hilarious more than anything.

But that being said, I can’t stop buying and reading this book. It’s heavily flawed, but also crazy fun. While the art isn’t so hot in some areas, it’s more than serviceable in others, especially when it comes to the Babs and Canary versus Helena fight. And while the dialogue is so bad it’s good, the script itself and plot are pretty solid. So while there’s arguable better cape books on the stands, this is THE MOST CW DC book on the market, which means I MUST READ IT, despite my constant avoidance of Arrow.

 

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Chris’ Comics: Supergirl Rebirth

supergirlrebirthSupergirl Rebirth

Steve Orlando, Emanuela Lupaccino, Ray Mccarthy, Michael Atiyeh

DC $2.99

Supergirl is one of those DC characters I’m a fan of in theory, but rarely actually read any of the comics she appears in. While I’m a fan of how she’s been handled when it comes to animation and live action incarnations (the current CBS/CW Supergirl series, not the movie mind you), the comics Supergirl starred a character that was either too angry or sexed up, or in the case of the Peter David penned series, too weird. As fate would have it, DC editorial got their stuff together for Rebirth/the CW re-airing of the first season of Supergirl to make a comic that’s the perfect gateway book.

Supergirl Rebirth sees Kara Zor-El get shot into the sun, fight a Kryptonian werewolf,  and start high school. On paper that may sound weird (and also awesome), but keep in mind this book is written by Steve Orlando, who’s run on Midnighter was anything but conventional. Much like Supergirl, Orlando is a someone I wish I was more familiar with, as a PDF of his acclaimed graphic novel Virgil remains unread on my iPad. Orlando is great on his Supergirl debut, making his Supergirl a powerful and skilled fighter, but also Supergirl-Rebirth-Preview-Page-2-1-420x300someone who’s very compassionate. Marvel has done a excellent job of producing comics where the heroes want to see their villains rehabilitated, rather than just punched and punished, and it’s nice to see Orlando bring that sort of thing to DC, and make it feel natural. Speaking of feeling natural, I’m unsure how much of the elements popularized by the live action show were influenced by the comics and vice versa, but Orlando manages to make a book that incorporates elements like the Danvers and the D.E.O. work without ignoring work done by previous creators.

On the art side of things, we get the team of Emanuela Lupaccino, Ray McCarthy, & Michael Atiyeh, fresh from their run on the recently concluded Starfire series. I can’t think of a better trio of artists for a Supergirl book, as Lupancchino’s pencils inject the type of life and energy you’d expect when you think of a Superman comic. There’s a double 5384914-sgreb_1_5spread of Kara flying out of the sun that just screams iconic, and it’s nice to see a  Supergirl comic where she’s smiling again. McCarthy’s inks are clean, ensuring everything that Lupacciono puts down on paper ends up in the final art, and Atiyeh’s colors are gorgeous.

Supergirl Rebirth is probably not a book I’ll be reviewing every month, but it’s definitely good enough for me to catch up via trade. That being said, if you have more of an investment in the title character or any element of the creative team, it’s an extremely fun book with a ton of promise. It’s the type of start you want from a new creative team, and something DC needed to do with the IP. If Orlando, Lupacchino and co can continue the moment they established here, we should be in store for a pretty good run for a character who needs more of them.

 

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Chris’ Comics: All-Star Batman #1

asbatman1cvrAll-Star Batman #1

Scott Snyder, John Romita Jr, Danny Miki, Dean White, Declan Shalvey, Jordie Bellaire

DC, $4.99

Bruce Wayne is having one of those days. You know the ones, where everything is #$%ed and everybody sucks. The type of days that have you packing a chainsaw, to skin some dudes raw. And if Bruce’s day keeps going this wa- okay I’ll stop.

All-Star Batman #1 is the double sized return of Scott Snyder to Batman, paring one of the most acclaimed Batman writers of our time with modern legend John Romita Jr, and current artistic tour-de-force Declan Shalvey. While I’ve stated that I REALLY REALLY REALLY don’t like paying $5 for single issues, it’s hard to say no to a creative team like this, also my ability to not spend money is questionable at best.

The debut of this new, villain focused All-Star Batman sees Batman and ol Harvey Dent taking a little road trip to try solve Harvey’s Two-Face problem. Two-Face, reimagined as All-Star-Batman-1-pagesome sort of crime boss Snowden, has put quite the bounty on the Bat which means everyone from Firefly to common folk are gunning for Batman. The Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire colored back up has Batman working with former We Are Robin lead/Snyder created character Duke Thomas to investigate a murder that appear to be unrelated to the Two-Face arc. Both tales have some incredible twists to them, ensuring that readers/suckers like me come back to spend $5 again next month.

John Romita Jr is an artist whose work I’ve been exposed to a lot, as I grew up reading hella Spider-Man comics. It does feel odd to see him draw Batman, but that does not at all mean his work on this book is bad, far from it. He’s an excellent fit for the title and this universe, bringing the right amount of bombastic action to a story that’s heavy on fight scenes. His take on Two-Face is terrific, and the last page of his story is possibly the greatest collection of panels assembled in 2016. Inking JRJR is Danny Miki, who is superb, with Dean White providing the book with some gorgeous colors. The Declan All-Star-Batman-1-DC-Comics-Rebirth-Spoilers-1Shalvey & Jordi Bellaire story is a little more contained, slower paced and something you’d expect from a Scott Snyder Batman comic. It’s gorgeous in its own right, offering sleek visuals to a more psycho-analytical story.

I’ve dug a number of past Scott Snyder-penned Batman stories, and All-Star Batman is no different. But this larger page count and multiple artist project allows Snyder to flex his creative muscles and tell the type of cerebral detective story we’re use to with the back-up, with the main story being an over the top action story.  Year Zero certainly hinted at that sort of thing with crossbow wielding dirt bike Batman, but here we get the next level of that with CHAINSAW TRUCKER Batman. It’s a nice counter offer to the more traditional super heroics seen in the Tom King Batman series, as well the more X-Men influenced Detective Comics.

All Star Batman is my favorite thing to come out of Rebirth so far. Given a murder’s row of artists and his own little corner of the Bat universe to play in, Snyder is now allowed to tell his own stories, free of worry of the current status quo, and with some of the most iconic villains in the industry. As much as I’m against five dollars comics, this is definitely the rare exception that is worth every penny.

 

 

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