After being delayed one week (not bad when you consider the track record for DC Comics and Marvel’s bigger arcs that stretch across several issues) the, hopefully, grand finale of “The Button” is going to hit the shelves running this week. We’ll have one final lenticular cover that will leave fans of the JSA and legacy characters from the DC Universe salivating. Plus we’ll get to see if DC’s two greatest detectives can solve this timey-wimey murder mystery. And of course we’ll have to figure out if the resolution was worth creating the problem in the first place.
After seeing father and son Batmen unite in Batman #22, the Flash and our Batman are back running through the Speed Force as the Flashpoint timeline is wiped out in there wake, something we’d all thought had already happened but it turns out some powerful entity (paging Dr. Manhattan?) has been keeping together. As they race through the Speed Force still seeking answers to the murder of Eobard Thawne, the Reverse-Flash, they encounter…Eobard Thawne, the Reverse-Flash! The not quite dead yet speedster villain provided some tantalizing clues and is surely onto the scene at the end of Batman #21that kicked off this whole storyline but where are we being led to?
Hopes are high as this has been a damn good jolt for Batman and Flash, if not thus far the be-all end-all storyline full of reveals a lot of readers have been clamoring for since DC Universe: Rebirth #1. Expect at least one big reveal and possibly in this week’s final chapter. At least, that’s what I’m expecting!
A Bat-family reunion across continuity in Batman #22
We’re halfway there. “The Button” has kicked into the next gear after the events of Flash #21 last week. What began in one Batcave has traveled to another’s via cosmic treadmill. The murder of Eobard Thawne, the Reverse-Flash, is taking the two greatest detectives in the DC Universe back to the timeline that kicked off the New 52 in the first place. Yup, it’s not Groundhog’s Day, it’s just Flashpoint. You’d think Barry Allen would have learned to quit tempting fate by traveling through time. You’d be have thought WRONG. Now, with Batman and Batman and Flash coming face to face to face, what secrets will be unveiled after the tantalizing final line of last week’s Flash #21?
The endgame isn’t anywhere close to clear yet. However, the journey’s been entertaining so far and we’re definitely on pace for a well executed next step as the world of Watchmen inches closer to the DC Universe. There’s no question that fans’ expectations have been high and rightfully so. There’s also little doubt that this story still has a lot in store for us, dear readers. The idea’s always been a fun one to play with since the possibilities of tying the two worlds together were inextricably linked back in DC Universe: Rebirth #1. The question is: What will Batman #22 have in store for us to keep the faith that DC’s grand plan is one we can continue to trust in? There’re no shortages of stories that promise consequences across shared universes but are we truly on the edge of such a tale? There’s really only one right way to find out: Keep reading.
Last week, DC’s follow up to their DC Universe: Rebirth #1 special kicked off in Batman #21 with the first installment of the four-parter titled, “The Button.” The titular button came out of the speed force and lodged itself into a Batcave wall. You might recognize this button as belonging to the Comedian from Alan Moore’s seminal Watchmen. It’s rather fitting, and in no way coincidental, that it’s the murder of the Comedian that kicked off the Hugo Award-winning series decades ago and another murder is what sets this adventure by DC’s two greatest detective in motion.
Yes, they killed SPOILER. After a flash of blue lightning, SPOILER, made a final claim that could have fallen deaf on the Dark Knight’s unconscious bat-ears or perhaps it will be the “Rosebud” of this entire tale. We’ll see soon enough. Of course, SPOILER wasn’t the only pre-New 52 character that showed up last week, SPOILER also made a brief cameo and you can bet SPOILER will end up being a major player in this plot as it kicks into the next gear.
One chapter and epic lenticular cover is in the books, this week we’re going to be treated to another. Will Batman and Flash be able to figure out the multiple mysteries before them? Is SPOILER dead for keeps? Will we ever get more answers than questions in a damn comic book? Jump right in, the rumoring waters are white hot.
Yeah, I’m avoiding the names, sue me. You want to know what happened? Get the comic!
DC’s two greatest detectives come together in Batman #21 as the mystery of “The Button” begins!
A good slow build is something we comic book readers don’t always appreciate nowadays. We’re becoming a culture of bingers who want the whole story on demand. It has to be on our time and oftentimes that means publishers rush through the journey. With “The Button” storyline that will take place across Batman and Flash over the next four weeks, DC Comics is looking to prove that sometimes the best things are ones we can endure waiting for.
At last, the next major step forward from the revelations of DC Universe: Rebirth #1 about the iconic smiley face button that appears in the Batcave will be explored! Will it bring the DCU that much closer to confronting the world of Alan Moore’s Watchmen? Well, we’ve been marching there all along haven’t we?
Rooted from last FCBD’s DC Rebirth story, then continuing with continuity-threatening revelations from DC Universe: Rebirth #1, this story has been building across several titles in DC for a year. Think about it, Mr. Oz and the events of the recent Superman Reborn storyline, the implications about Eobawd Thawne and Flashpoint-Batman, Thomas Wayne in Flash #19, the importance of Psycho-Pirate’s ability to remember all previous DC continuities throughout Tom King’s current run on Batman, it’s all building to this next major turning point.
Thawne, Thomas Wayne, and Psycho Pirate will be part of the mystery that Batman and Flash will be investigating. Time altering implications have been promised. This is the next major step forward in the two year epic that DC’s said will carry on across their entire publishing line. It’s no secret that after this story, Batman will realize that war is imminent. But war with who or what?
A kudos to DC, it’s not easy anymore to make us wait for all the answers but based on the quality of the breadcrumbs they’ve been leaving us, it definitely feels like the answers we’re about to get could be very satisfying. Of course, everything won’t be revealed over the next four weeks. After all, where’s the fun in that? Hey, maybe I’m wrong though, maybe what a Comedian once said is true, “This is a joke. This is all a joke.” If it is, will we be laughing or cringing when it’s done?
The DC Rebirth trade paperbacks continue to come out at a surprisingly consistent pace. While there are some once-monthly titles that we’re awaiting their first collections of, the twice monthlies are beginning to release their second waves. Why not start that second wave with the first of the first? The birth of the Super Sons in the post-New 52 era of DC Comics begins here! Superboy! Robin! Teaming up and leading into one of DC’s best current titles on the shelves.
Truly, one of the great core books since the DC Rebirth publishing initiative began has been Superman. No, that’s not a typo. Superman is good again. Heck, a lot of the time, Superman is great again. It’s the best Supes stories fans have had, arguably, since Geoff Johns’ run a decade ago (but who argues about such things about comics?). As crazy as it sounds what has made Superman relevant hasn’t been epic clashes with Doomsday or Lex Luthor. It hasn’t been depressive episodes about the responsibilities of his powers to the greater world. It hasn’t been about hiding his identity from Lois Lane or worrying about saving her every issue. No, it’s Jon Kent, Superboy, the first son of the Last Son of Krypton.
Superman has grown into Pa Kent and that has allowed the team of Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, Doug Mahnke, and now additions in Jorge Jiminez, Jaime Mendoza, Trevor Scott, Mark Morales, Christian Alamy, Keith Champagne, and Norm Rapmund, to explore what feels like fresh character-driven territory for the Man of Tomorrow. Tomorrow isn’t just about what his legacy might be anymore, his and Lois’ legacy will be Jon Kent and everything he does must have him as a consideration. As Damian Wayne has led to discovering incredible depths to his pointy-eared father, so too has Jon tugged on Kal El’s cape in a new way. Think I’m exaggerating? Pick up this read and prove, me, wrong!
“FINALLY, DK III #8has come back, to Forbidden Planet!”
Or at least that’s what I imagine The Rock would say if he came into the shop this New Comic Book Day (Mr. Johnson, if you somehow are reading this and will be in downtown NYC on March 29th, please do stop by we’d love to smark out in front of you).
The main thrust of it is that Frank Millerand Brian Azzarello‘s latest installment in the seemingly never-ending Dark Knight saga is here. At last. Thank Rao. After the crazy cliffhanger of the last issue there’s a lot we readers need answers to. One thing’s for certain, Baal’s Kryptonian army is planning to bring the pain to the Amazons. Themsyscira is squarely in the Kryptonians’ sights and all Hades is busting to break loose at the smackdown of mythic proportions coming our way.
Okay, now that we in-the-know folks have a little bit of privacy let’s discuss that major cliffhanger for a second. Bruce Wayne’s back to the prime of his youth! Remember how Frank Miller originally crafted a story about an aging Batman with a death wish? Yeah, this series isn’t about that anymore. Plus, with Mr. Miller’s statements about wanting to write further Dark Knight series and spin-offs, this appears (and I cannot stress that word enough) to be the new status quo moving forward. But Bruce just took a dunk in a Lazarus Pit. We all know that means a small piece of a person’s left behind as a price to pay for renewed youth. What part of Bruce is gone? How bat-crazy is he right now? What are he and Superman going to do in the face of the battle on Themyscira?
We all thought this was the end but clearly with a crazy massive climax coming, it’s no wonder we’re going to get an extra issue to this mini-series that’s taking it to the max. All together now: Duh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh, Batman!
Welcome to a Creative Conversation with creator Ibrahim Moustafa. Here we give you a chance to get inside the mind, learn some in depth background, and discuss the creative process of some of comics’ best writers and artists. In our first Creative Conversation I had the opportunity to speak with the artist behind Vertigo’s smashingly good new series, “Savage Things.” If the Bourne franchise went down the horror route, you have an inkling of what’s in store for you with this book. Ibrahim gives a better sum up a little further down. We talked about first comics, must reads, stories that stick with us as young comic fans, how this new series came about and who would be on Ibrahim’s own personal Mount Rushmore of comic book artists. Agree? Disagree? Find out!
MK: So let’s start with a little background because in all our conversations I’m not sure I know this: How did your journey lead you to working in comics?
IM: I was always drawing as a kid, and some of my earliest memories are of watching the Christopher Reeve “Superman” movies. Not long after that I discovered the Ninja Turtlesand Batman 66 TV shows, and was obsessed with them all. I had and read a few comics as a kid and was always drawing the aforementioned. I got much more into collecting and reading comics when I discovered the X-Men cartoon in the early 90s, and I would hoard those Fleer Ultra 93 and 94 X-Men cards sets as a kid.
I fell out of comics for a long time as I got into sports a bit. And then in high school I was heavily into drawing graffiti art and breakdancing. When I was a Junior, “Smallville” had come out and rekindled my love of Superman. Someone gave me a book called “The Complete History Of Superman” and it had a few Alex Ross paintings in it, which completely blew my mind. I had no idea you could do *that* with superheroes.
That sent me down the rabbit hole of “Who is this guy? How is he doing this? What is he painting with? What else has he done?” From there I found “Kingdome Come” and started going to the comic shop, and that ignited my interest in drawing superheroes again. After a short while I realized that people were drawing comics for a living, and I began a very disciplined, regimented plan to make that my reality as well.
It worked (laughs)!
MK: That’s epic! What was your local comic shop when you were getting heavily into it?
IM:The first one I wandered into was a small one-off called Hidden Treasures or something to that effect, but they closed down shortly after. Then a friend that I worked with told me that there was a place called Things From Another World that was literally blocks away from our job. And they became my regular supplier in the formative era of my comics addiction, haha.
MK:They’re a great operation out in the Portland area. Other than Alex Ross, who were some other artists that got you jazzed into drawing superheroes and comics again?
IM: There have been SO many, but the ones that have stayed an influence/inspiration regardless of my changing interests are probably Stuart Immonen, David Mazzucchelli, and Lee Bermejo. As I’ve burrowed deeper into comics and it’s artistic masters, I’d say my Mount Rushmore consists Alex Ross, Stuart Immonen, Alex Toth, and Jorge Zaffino.
MK: That’s an eclectic looking Mount Rushmore.
IM: It is!
MK:I dig it. Before we go too far off topic: Favorite X-Men character?
IM: Cyclops (I know), Wolverine is a close second, though. You?
MK: I feel like Wolverine is everybody’s top one or two but personally, especially since Grant Morrison brought her into the mix I’m an Emma Frost man. Which doesn’t make me a “real” X-Men fan in most folks’ eyes but it is what it is. What is it about Cyclops for you?
IM: 1) You can like whichever X-Person you want and damn anyone who tells you otherwise!
MK: Thank you!
IM: 2) Honestly, I think Cyclops was the most like Superman, aesthetically, and that really appealed to seven year-old me when I discovered the show; he was the do-good leader, he had red blasts from his eyes, and he wore all blue with yellow and red (laughs).
But there was something about the idea that he was encumbered by his power that really hit me as a kid. The fact that this thing he could do made him an outcast and made his life difficult, but he used it to help people anyway…That always got me.
Also, his mutation didn’t cause him to have a drastically different outward appearance, but it was enough to make him an other. And growing up half-Egyptian, I experienced a lot of cultural differences from the kids around me. Questions like, “Why can’t you eat pork?” are a lot like, “Why are you always wearing sunglasses?” So, I think that appealed to me about Cyclops as well.
MK: Take that Cyclops haters! That’s really inspiring how you were able to have that relation to Cyclops. For you, do you think comics has a special place as far as storytelling in a way that movies, TV, theatre, or other mediums don’t quite?
IM: I do, absolutely. I think that there are more opportunities to play with the passage of time visually on a comics page than with other mediums. In comics, for example, you can have a splash page of a scene that is split into four different panels across a single image of say, a park. And each panel can represent the four seasons in a year.
Comics also allow for opportunities to echo imagery from one page or one sequence to another. So let’s say you have a page where a character is a child, and they’re playing, and they fall down and scrape up their knee. Then, you cut to them as an adult in a few chapters and they’re in a completely different scenario, but they go through a similar accident, and you’re establishing that they’re prone to this kind of thing in their life.
In comics, seeing all of those panels in one page as a whole creates a different experience than film or TV where you would see that happen one shot at a time. You’re taking in the gestalt of the moment on a page rather than the disparate parts that make the whole. Symbolism, the efficiency afforded by narration paired with a parallel image to the text, the pacing of a page-turn into a splash. There are tons of cool ways to deliver a moment in a comics page that are unique to the medium, and that’s probably what I love about it the most.
MK: That’s an amazing answer. Thank you for that. To switch gears a little, let’s talk about your new series out which I think definitely displays some of those elements you’ve so eloquently discussed. “Savage Things” which you draw, and is written by the one and only Justin Jordan, hit shelves on March 1st. Did you and Justin know each other much prior to working on the book? Was it an arranged marriage by Vertigo? How did your collaboration come about?
IM: Justin and I had met here in Portland back in 2012 or so at a great indy comics show we used to have here called Stumptown. We’ve bumped into each other a few times since then on Twitter, and I’ve been a fan of his work since I first read “Luthor Strode” but when our editor Jamie S. Rich reached out to me to draw the book he facilitated a wonderful reunion for the two of us. So, pretty much an arranged marriage and the dowry was a super-dope book that I get to draw
MK: I love it when an arranged marriage blossoms into true love and kick ass action sequences.
MK: If someone asks you to describe “Savage Things,” what’s been your favorite answer to give?
IM: “Savage Things” is what you get when a bunch of Dexters are kidnapped and raised by the government to be Jason Bourne.
MK: That’s maybe the most badass way of summing up a book I’ve ever heard. Here’s a two-parter: What’s been one of the most challenging and what’s been your favorite thing to draw so far for the series?
IM: The book is full of excellent opportunities to create cool action sequences, and I think that’s been my favorite part so far. There have also been a few types of locations I’ve never never drawn before (a hospital, a power plant, a few others) so that’s been a fun challenge.
The most difficult thing has been figuring out how to draw expressive faces on sociopaths (laughs).
MK: That seems like a challenge on several levels (laughs). Can you perhaps tease us about something readers should be super excited to discover in issue two and beyond?
IM: Yes! The next few issues pitt our lead character, Abel, against six of the other sociopathic, trained murderers that he grew up with. So as you can imagine, issue one was just a tease at some of the brutality that these guys are capable of, especially toward each other. By the end of issue three, we pull back the lens and broaden the scope of the battle quite a bit. I’m very excited!
MK: Man, I can’t wait to see how you and Justin up the ante! Final two questions before our time’s up:
1) For someone new to comics, what are five essential must reads you’d recommend?
2) For all things Ibrahim Moustafa, “Savage Things,” and your ridiculously amazing James Bond posters, where can fans keep up with you on social media and the web? (Seriously, his James Bond posters kind of cray cray. Don’t believe me, click here!)
IM: 1) This is a tough one! These are certainly slanted toward things that I love, so your mileage may certainly vary.
“Scalped” is my favorite book of all-time. It’s a crime drama a la “Breaking Bad” or “The Wire.” Anyone can dive right into it.
“Kingdom Come”: I read this pretty early on and loved it. There are a ton of references and characters in it, but as long as you know who Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Shazaam are, the rest falls into place.
“The Losers” is a great book if you love action movies with fun characters, a cool story/lots of intrigue.
“Old Man Logan” is almost a companion piece to “Kingdom Come” in that it’s a look at a possible future, full of cool stuff and references but mainly if you know the X-Men and the Avengers, you’re solid.
“Batman: Year One.” One of the greatest comics ever made and a perfect primer for Batman fans looking to give the comics a try.
MK: Ibrahim, you’re a class act, thank you for being so generous and gracious with your time in joining me in our first Creative Conversation.
Check out “Savage Things #1” now and get ready for “Savage Things #2,” on shelves Wednesday, April 5th, 2017. Stay tuned for our next…Creative Conversation.
Please send love/hate messages to Matthew via Twitter @matthewklein316 and on Instagram. Matthew loves all things Batman, Valiant, and pro-wrestling related. He’s also pretty sure that it’s not recommended to spend more waking hours watching reruns of “Chuck” than sleeping but hasn’t been able to prove this theory.
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.
We’re giving away THREE sets of bags, t-shirts, toys and tickets to see the Lego Batman Movie on our Twitter feed! Just head over and RT to enter. Simple as that.
Here’s the synopsis of the flick:
In the irreverent spirit of fun that made “The LEGO® Movie” a worldwide phenomenon, the self-described leading man of that ensemble – LEGOBatman – stars in his own big-screen adventure. But there are big changes brewing in Gotham, and if he wants to save the city from The Joker’s hostile takeover, Batman may have to drop the lone vigilante thing, try to work with others and maybe, just maybe, learn to lighten up.
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 LeagueVs. 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?!?!?
Deals with the devil rarely go right. See how the web of terror and intrigue ends in one of 2016’s best received series.
Chris came to Iraq after the 2003 American invasion to recruit and train a new generation of post-Saddam police. The murder of a recruit forced the Florida cop turned military consultant into an investigation that tangled the old government, new government, the jihadist network, the criminal underground, and American military machine together in a surefire suicide mission. Fortunately, Chris wasn’t alone chasing down the killer amidst the layers of lies and hidden agendas.
Aided by a Baghdad cop, Nassir, and the politically savvy Sofia, Chris thought he’d found the people responsible for the crime. Now, with Nassir captured, the stakes are ramping up as one man’s murder has dug Chris and everyone around him into a much deeper hole. In the violence’s aftermath, everybody’s lost something and now a debt must be paid even if it’s in blood. They say never trust a deal with the devil. In Baghdad, those kinds of deals can be explosive.
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 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 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.
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 – 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.
Scott Snyder, John Romita Jr, Danny Miki, Dean White, Declan Shalvey, Jordie Bellaire
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 some 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 Shalvey & 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.
Tim Seeley, Javier Fernandez, Chris Sotomayor, Carlos M. Mangual
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 Seeleydoesn’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 with 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 visuals 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’scolors 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.
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, she 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 panel 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.