Category: DC Comics

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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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Chris’ Comics: Nightwing #2

NTW_Cv2_57326865387b69.18795802Nightwing #2

Tim Seeley, Javier Fernandez, Chris Sotomayor, Carlos M. Mangual

DC $2.99

 

When we last left that Dick Grayson (all of a week ago, double shipping!), he was currently getting his well chiseled butt handed to him by his new Court of Owls appointed chum Raptor. Nightwing #2 deals with the fallout of that issue, as the duo go on their first mission together, and is a pretty solid improvement over last week’s (in my opinion) slightly disappointing installment.

Writer Tim Seeley doesn’t mess around this issue, which drops the flashbacks and focuses solely on Dick and Raptor’s new relationship. This issue does wonders for the new character, who’s very much being developed as a broken mirror image of Dick. Considering Grayson is in desperate need of a rogue gallery of his own, he’s a welcomed addition, and I like how the character manages to be fun, but also a violent murder-man NTW-2-2-b05d0with some bad intentions. Raptor’s interactions with Dick are not unlike the Wally West  and Grayson friendship, with Dick in the straight man role, something we rarely see him in.  In addition to fun times with Raptor and his bird bros, we get more Dick and Barbara interactions, and any appearance of Kobra. I’m a full believer that any comic can be improved with the appearance of Batgirl and or Death Cults that dress as giant snakes.

Last review I voiced my concerns about Nightwing re-trending ground already covered by Seeley in Grayson. Issue 2 does away with that, but ramping things up to 11, and raising the question of who’s playing who. Unlike Spyral, Seeley lets us know that Dick’s in over his head in no time, constantly keeping him off of his game and having both the character and the reader questioning his methods and motives. So yes there’s definitely some familiarity if you’ve read Grayson, but there’s also a lot of new elements to ensure that the comic feels fresh. Also Seeley manages to end this book on several gut punches that hurt, but that are also very very good.

Javier’s Fernandez’s art is much tights this much. Granted he’s still struggling with mask/emblem thickness, he gets to channel Sean Murphy and get some action-horror stuff this issue, and it looks great. His art really shines when it comes to scenery chewing action scenes, as well as the spooky snake-monsters he creates, and I’m glad to see the book’s 15visuals improved this dramatically. I do wish Fernandez did has someone else inking him though, because there’s a panel or two that feel a bit rushed. Chris Sotomayor’s colors are still superb, and I really like how his choice in blue and orange ensure that our eyes are drawn to Raptor and Nightwing immediately. It’s proof that a good colorist is extremely important to the creative process.

The Second Chapter of Better than Batman is a step in the right direction. I have a few qualms with the art, but the coloring and the writing do an excellent job of making this book a compelling read. It’s a fun and weird blend of genres, despite it’s initial super hero appearance. But most importantly it makes Dick Grayson feel like a unique character, not just an interchangeable member of the Bat-Family. We’re just a slight art improvement away from this book being a great title, not just a good one.

Christopher Troy is a freelance writer/editor/snarky jerk on the internet. He can be found here weekly, on Twitter@TheAnarCHris, and is the co-creator/writer the webcomic “In The Name of Thy Mother”. He’s also not really a fan of Death Cults, aside from the several he leads.

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CHris’ Cinema: Suicide Squad

Suicide_Squad_(film)_PosterSuicide Squad (2016)

Will Smith, Viola Davis, Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, Jared Leto

Warner Bros, PG-13

Hey there FPNYC Faithful! I’m going to switch things up this week and review an actual movie you can go out and see in theaters RIGHT NOW, instead of some comics. If you don’t care for that, don’t worry, I have a pair of reviews dropping in a few days as well (Nightwing and Paper Girls), so you can look forward to that. Additionally, if your jonesing for some fresh new Suicide Squad comics, both Suicide Squad Rebirth and Harley Quinn #1 dropped this past week. SS Rebirth is very much a Rebirth comic made for people who just saw the new movie, and Harley Quinn is a nice jumping on point for the bestselling run commandeered by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti. And with that, here comes some #SQUADTAKES.

I had a chance to see Suicide Squad last week at press screening in Manhattan. As nice as it was to see a comic book movie before the internet ruined it for me with spoilers and takes, and I wish the product I watched was better. I went into the film excited to see David Ayer’s spin on one of my favorite, lesser known DC properties, but walked away a little disappointed. That’s not to say there’s not some fun to be had with Suicide Squad, but the film is not a proper response to Marvel Comics-based offerings like Civil War or Deadpool.

First and foremost, much like the rest of the critics/internet at large, I was not impressed by Jared Leto’s Joker. I’m not a fan of the character in general, but Leto fails to do the ceba46ed7c7cd79ac9d8670ea86cb41b6644604b95aac7927cde7e2655f97c19clown any justice, especially when compared to other live action Joker performance. While the Joker/Harley relationship in this movie isn’t the problematic mess it has been in animation and comics, Leto’s Joker is so underwhelming it lessens Robbie Margot’s performance like some sort of talent black hole. Also the plot is a bit of a mess, which can be blamed on the alleged claims of reshoots and alternate cuts. And while I see what they were trying for with the soundtrack of this film, it was more of a deterrent than helpful. Filmdrunk Editor in Chief Vince Mancini made several comparisons of the movie to early 2000s rap-metal, which is a fairly accurate claims, for better or worse.  Said claims is ironic, because the actors tried so hard and got so far with the material they were given, but in the end, it doesn’t even matter looking at the numbers on Rotten Tomatoes. Also please give me a fake internet award for that last sentence.

That being said, there is some fun to be had with Suicide Squad. Viola Davis as Amanda Waller is a sight to see, as she’s most spot on live action incarnation of the Wall to date. Will Smith’s Deadshot is fun in his own way, but it was a little off putting for me to hear Big Willie Style drop profanity throughout the film. Despite Killer Croc and El Diabo maxresdefault (1)falling victim to some slightly racist clichés, both Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje and Jay Hernandez have some great characters moments. Jai Courtney’s Captain Boomerang steals every scene he’s in, Joel Kinnaman‘s Rick Flagg is fine enough, and the Justice Leaguers that show up are pretty neat as well. Sadly not every character is given a chance to shine, and honestly the less said about their various portrayals, the better.

Suicide Squad is a mediocre film that at the very least takes a step in the right direction for the DC Cinematic Universe. With any luck, Wonder Woman will be the first GOOD DC movie in some time come 2017, and this movie will do well enough that it’s cast can be redeemed in a sequel or the heavily rumored Harley Quinn spin-off film.

Christopher Troy is a freelance writer/editor/snarky jerk on the internet. He can be found here weekly, on Twitter @TheAnarCHris, and is the co-creator/writer the webcomic “In The Name of Thy Mother”. His favorite Linkin Park song is none of your business.

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Chris’ Comics: Batgirl #1

BG_Cv1_57082d25dc1793.92171144Batgirl #1

Hope Larson, Rafeal Albuquerque, Dave McCaig

DC $2.99

I’ll be honest; going into Batgirl #1, I was worried about the character and the direction they were taking her post Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher, & Babs Tarr. There were multiple quotes from writer Hope Larson saying how this run was going to be darker, and while I like Rafeal Albuquerque‘s art, the last time he drew this incarnation of Batgirl there was bit of a thing. Also the white person walking around Asia to learn kung-fu is a trope that at best is cliche, and at worst a bit racist. That being said, reading this first issue has vanquished my fear and we instead get a pretty solid comic that’s mindful of my concerns.

The new Rebirth debut issue sees Babs Gordon in Japan, in search of an old-timey Japanese super hero named Fruit Bat, in order to up her own heroic game. While doing so, batgirl-1-preview-675x1024she runs across her never previously mentioned but apparently old friend Kai, as well as a Fuku-wearing assassin. While long-lost friends and school girl looking assassins were something covered extensively in the previous run, Hope Larson and Rafeal Albuquerque are talented enough creators to make this whole thing seem fresh.

Larson’s voice for Barbara Gordon is sharp enough to keep left over readers from the previous run pleased, but also comforting for lapsed reader who are coming back. Her Batgirl reads a little more focused and mature, but also fun and playful. It’s the best sort of compromise. While not all of the jokes in this issue land, Larson does a great job of building a new setting and status quo for Barbara, setting up the future of this title quite nicely. And granted Kai nor the nameless assassin we get in this issue do very little for me, the introduction of the Fruit Bat definitely makes for fun stuff.

Artist Rafael Albuquerque is definitely a more traditional super hero comics artist than Babs Tarr is, but with that being said, the book still maintains a youthful and fun visual tone. He does some excellent work with the body language and facial expressions in this book, and I love the energy he puts into his fight scenes. I also love the way Albuquerque portrays motion in a medium full of static imagery, as he’s  not afraid to experiment with BG01_03panel layouts and it leads to some great results. Dave McCaig’s colors are also a great fit for this book, as he sticks with bright colors that play off of Barbara’s costume and hair quite well.

Batgirl #1 is a fun first issue that doesn’t change the title character too much, and does a find job to appealing to several different types of audiences. It does an excellent job of showing the fun side of super heroics, with some dialogue that a little more polish and way less dramatic than the Babs we saw in Batgirl and the Birds of Prey. Old and new readers have plenty to like with this new creative team, making it arguably one of the more accessibly DC super hero comics to come out of Rebirth so far.

 

 

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Chris’ Comics: Nightwing #1

Nightwing-1Nightwing #1

Tim Seeley, Javier Fernandez, Chris Sotomayor, Carlos M. Mangual

DC $2.99

Nightwing is back this week, as we see writer Tim Seeley and artists Javier Fernandez and Chris Sotomayor start the “Better than Batman” arc. This arc appears to be a nice blend of the espionage elements introduced by Seeley in Grayson, mixed with some super heroics. It’s not as strong as the Rebirth one-shot, but there’s some enjoyable stuff in this issue.

Where this book really shines is in the writing. After barely allowing Dick to interact with the Bat-family for 2 years in Grayson, Seeley fully embraces it here, using characters like Damian and Batgirl for Dick to bounce off of. As someone who loves both those relationships, and is a known Dick X Barbara shipper, I dig it, as Seeley does a great job writing these characters talking to each other. And I really like Dick’s open defiance while working with the Court of Owls, keeping him a heroic character while working with/for the NTW_1_1enemy. As for Raptor, Dick’s new partner/ “mentor”, the potential for some cool stuff to be done with the character is there. But the writing is not without its share of flaws. The pacing feels off with this issue, as Seeley trips up a bit during the constant switching scenes between Gotham and Europe/Russia. And while Seeley uses Batgirl to voice that there are some weird similarities between Spyral and the Court of Owls, I hope he can steer clear of re-trending the same ground with the whole double agent thing as the book progresses.

With the twice shipping schedule Javier Fernandez, who isn’t bad, but isn’t as strong of an illustrator as Yanick Paquette was in the previous one-shot. While there’s nothing wrong with the bulk of his work (especially when it comes to drawing establishing shots and backgrounds), he seems to struggle with the title character. There were too many instances where Dick’s mask or Nightwing emblem on the costume is drawn too thin or small. It’s an odd complaint sure, but seeing it vary in size and thickness from page to page really took  me out of the story. Also Dick ends up with a Peyton Manning forehead way too many times in this issue. A shame, because Chris Sotomayor’s color are great in image-82this issue, and I love the design that letterer  Carlos M. Mangual has come up with for the Nightwing narration box.

Nightwing #1 isn’t a bad comic, but it’s disappointing, especially when compared to the Rebirth one shot that leads into it. That being said, there’s plenty of potential and time for the team to step up their game and tell a solid story. Seeley already has worked on a dozen or so GREAT Dick Grayson stories, and now that we’ve been introduced to the main players, he can go forth and tell a good story. And all Fernandez has to do is tweak his Nightwing and we’re good on the art. Again it’s a bit of a bummer that this comic isn’t the best, but it does enough things to be a interesting read and give readers hope for the future.

 

 

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