Tag Archives: DC Comics

The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: May 10 – 16, 2017


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.
Then I read them.
Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

COMICS I READ LAST WEEK

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The best comic I read last week was

All Star Batman #10.

Writer: Scott Snyder

Artist: Rafael Albuquerque

 

Scott Snyder is not only the master of the modern Batman story, he is also the master of the twist ending. He has a brilliant way of setting up expectation and then changing course at the last possible moment (often the last panel of a book) to alter the readers’ perceptions of his story in often uncomfortable and usually uncompromising ways. Both of these skills are on display in this initial issue of the new arc called “The First Ally.”

This story deals with the relationship (strained in recent issues) between Bruce Wayne and his faithful butler, Alfred Pennyworth. While it is clearly a “if you think you know the whole story, think again” kind of scenario, what Snyder is doing works. His brings the reader into the story of his young protagonist through deft, first person narration and a couple of time shifts that keep the reader guessing.

Snyder seems to be looking for a way to underscore and, perhaps, understand the bond between Batman and Alfred. He seems to be going for a definitive look at the relationship.

He’s off to a great start here.

Snyder is joined by his frequent collaborator Rafael Albuquerque and the artwork is excellent. The characters have real emotion, the action is well staged and the atmosphere Albuquerque creates is perfect for the story. I did not follow the artist’s American Vampire work and it is obvious I missed something. He nails Batman and Bruce, for sure, but, critically, he has a take on Alfred that is special.

This book, recently announced to be winding down, has been special. I will be sad to see it go.

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The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: April 19 – 25, 2017


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.
Then I read them.
Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

COMICS I READ LAST WEEK

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The best comic I read last week was

Batman #21.

Writer: Tom King

Artist: Jason Fabok

 

If jaw dropping in surprise is a desirable reaction to a comic book, color my favorite book of of last week Batman #21.

This issue, superbly illustrated by Jason Fabok who has become something of a superstar with DC comics based on his incredible detail, his panel composition and his clear love of the characters, finally takes on the mystery that started DC Rebirth: namely what is the Comedian’s button doing in the Batcave?

Billed, a bit misleadingly, as a team up of DC’s two greatest detectives (Batman and the Flash), the issue had just enough twists and turns to keep me racing through to the conclusion of the issue in an attempt to find out what the heck was going on. There are genuine surprises and developments I did not anticipate, including the return of a forgotten villain and an emotional destruction of a treasured artifact.

I am really enjoying King’s Batman and having this title take on the mysteries of the Rebirth universe makes a lot of sense. This is a great first chapter to what promises to be a great event.

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Filed under Batman, Comic Book Pick of the Week, Comic Book Review, Comic Books, DC Comics, Marvel Comics

The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: March 29 – April 4, 2017


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.
Then I read them.
Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

COMICS I READ LAST WEEK

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The best comic I read last week was

Infamous Iron Man #6.

 

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist: Alex Maleev 

 

This is my second week in a row selecting a Brian Michael Bendis penned book and that’s a good thing. Perhaps Bendis is back on his stride after hitting a recent slow patch.

His frequent contributor, Alex Maleev, has never missed a step. Though I wondered if his intricate and realistic line work would be suited for an Iron Man title, I was foolish to be concerned: he’s been a terrific match for this book and his Vincent Cassell based Victor Von Doom is pretty cool.

Yes, Dr. Doom is all new, all different and is wearing a version of the Iron Man armor trying to redeem himself after a life of terrible acts. That’s a compelling set up that Bendis is paying off in this issue.

Given the rumor that the stalwarts of the Marvel Universe are about to return to the comics they used to headline, it’s likely this is all going to wrap up soon, and that’s too bad. Marvel has taken a few risks the last few months and what they’ve done with Iron Man has been my favorite of those risks. I’ll be sorry to see it all end.

If you’re a comic reader, do yourself a favor: buy this book in trade paperback. You won’t regret it, I promise!

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Filed under Comic Book Pick of the Week, Comic Book Review, Comic Books, DC Comics, Iron Man, Marvel Comics, Weekly Comic Book Review

The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: March 22 – 28, 2017


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.
Then I read them.
Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

COMICS I READ LAST WEEK

The best comic I read last week was Invincible Iron Man #5.

 

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Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist: Stefano Casselli

Stefano Casselli is a great artist for this new (and who knows how long this “new” version will last?) Iron Man, who really isn’t a man at all. Iron Man is really Iron Heart – 15-year-old Riri Williams, who built her own armor and has taken the place of Tony Stark. Casselli is a terrific artist overall, but he is really firing on all cylinders with this title. I respect artists whose teenagers and children look like teenagers and children. And Casselli’s do. His Riri Williams looks appropriately youthful while his adults look like adults. One wouldn’t think this would be hard for professional artists to accomplish, but it sure seems to be. Casselli is a good fit for this book – perhaps not quite as good as Sara Pichelli, but close.

Bendis remains one of the best writers in comics today and, while there is not as much heat around this book as I thought there might be, it’s more than a good read. It is a great one. Bendis has an ability to balance superheroics with taking on issues of import, topical and timely ones, and he does so organically. While topical, the issues Bendis takes on spring from character and that is good writing.

Riri Williams is a great lead character and the pairing of her with a tremendous supporting cast including Riri’s mom, Tony Stark’s A.I. consciousness, his birth mother, Mary Jane Watson and Pepper Potts (pitting them against a female antagonist I might add) tells you something important about this book: it’s not comic writing as usual by any means.

I like Riri Williams and I like where this story is going. While the two coming Marvel events (Secret Empire and Generations) seem to suggest the return of Tony Stark, Steve Rogers and the tall, blonde Thor, I hope Riri is still around when the dust settles. Comics needs more characters like her.

 

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Filed under Comic Book Pick of the Week, Comic Book Review, Comic Books, DC Comics, Iron Man, Marvel Comics, Weekly Comic Book Review

The LEGO Batman Movie – A Movie Review


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lego-batman-movieRemember when someone said to you “you’ve got to go see the LEGO Movie…it’s so crazy … it’s so funny” and you thought “LEGO Movie? Are you kidding?”

And then you saw it and couldn’t stop laughing.

The LEGO Batman Movie is the follow up to the whacked out LEGO adventure and, while it is not as breathtakingly fresh nor as side-splittingly funny as its predecessor, it is a worthy successor and a must see for any Batman fan with a sense of humor.

Will Arnett has created this singular version of Batman – an egotistical loner who believes that only alone can he do what he is meant to do and that is to save Gotham City. If, along the way, he can write and perform a few death metal songs, eat some Lobster Thermidore and kick some villains’ bricks, so much the better. Arnett is hilarious as Batman and, if you take kids to see this movie, get ready for them to imitate his over-the-top cadence and delivery (based on the ridiculous Christian Bale Batman voice) for days to come. In fact, try to keep yourself from doing imitating it. That is quite a challenge.

The story hinges on a the idea that Batman is such a loner, he will not recognize any relationship in his life, not with faithful Alfred (a wonderful Ralph Finnes), not with new ward Dick Grayson (the ageless John Cera) and not with his longtime enemy the Joker (an uproarious Zach Galifianakas). When the Joker realizes that Batman does not view the Clown Prince of Crime as his arch enemy, he concocts a plan no one could ever have seen coming: he bands together with villains from… well, I will not spoil the fun, let us say he bands together with villains never before seen in a Batman movie. The results are stunningly funny.

There are hilarious detours along the way: all filmed incarnations of Batman have a moment, Superman: The Movie is surprisingly and lovingly homaged, Tom Hardy’s Bane voice is parodied, Billy Dee Williams returns as Two Face, we discover Batman is a rom-com fan (and thanks so much to the Jerry Maguire folks!), we have two terrific musical numbers and more and more.

The movie is psychotic. The movie is loud and colorful. The movie is inspired.

Do not expect it to make much sense and do not look for complex through lines. Do look for fun and explosive visuals. Do look for excitement. Do look for fun.

Though it misses the boat on not having Ralph Finnes voice a very familiar villain (and what a miss that was!) and the second act gets a little bogged down and loses its way for a few moments, the overall movie is well worth your time. Lighthearted and fun, The LEGO Batman Movie is truly enjoyable.

 

THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE receives FOUR AND A HALF LEGO BRICKS out of a possible FIVE. 

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Filed under Batman, Comic Book Movies, DC Movies, Movie Review, Movie Trailer, Movies

The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: December 14 – 20, 2016


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

I read 6 comics last week: Wonder Woman #12, Poe Dameron #9, Spider-Man #10, Star Trek Boldly Go #3, Action Comics #969 and Detective Comics #946.

The best comic I read last week was Wonder Woman #12.

wonder-woman-12

 

 

Wonder Woman has been a consistently great read since the DC Rebirth initiative unfolded this past summer. It has cleverly told stories on two separate tracks: one taking place in the present and one playing out in the past. They are related stories, most notably tied together by a strong and familiar supporting cast including Steve Trevor, Barbara Minerva (the Cheetah) and a nicely redesigned Etta Candy. They are also linked by a very well written Wonder Woman – a character that writer Greg Rucka knows well from a celebrated run he had on the title years ago.

He has returned to re-define Wonder Woman in this new DC continuity and he was the absolute perfect choice to handle the title.

I’ve been more partial to the “origin” story playing out in the even numbered issues of this book. Told with a definite sweetness and, well, wonder, this origin arc is both updated and familiar. Using the well worn framework and plot points, Rucka recounts Diana’s first contact with “Man’s World” in a compelling and wide-eyed fashion. Wonder Woman is perfectly portrayed. She’s awestruck by all she encounters. She’s loving and friendly. And she tries to avoid violence at every turn which is a core element of her character (take that, United Nations). She is readily connected to her supporting cast and the reveal of the “big bad” at the end of the issue – a big bad which ties this story to the one taking place in the present – was very well delivered.

Rucka knows what he is doing and DC would be wise to avoid interference in his work and tie him to the title for a very long time.

Unfortunately, I read that artist Nicola Scott is leaving the title after this first arc and that is truly as shame. Her work is really incredible and she seems perfectly suited to draw Wonder Woman. Her Diana is striking and commanding while still approachable and compassionate. Scott draws Wonder Woman with a restrained power and a definite grace. Losing her will be significant for the book. There are not many who approach this level of mastery of and connection to a character.

Wonder Woman is a terrific book. Hopefully it can maintain this quality into next year, Wonder Woman’s 76th and, perhaps, biggest yet as the Gal Gadot film opens in the summer. If the film makers can come to striking the tone set in this book, they will be well on their way to delivering a great movie.

 

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Filed under Action Comics, Comic Book Pick of the Week, Comic Book Review, Comic Books, DC Comics, Detective Comics, Marvel Comics, Spider-Man, Star Trek, Weekly Comic Book Review, Wonder Woman

The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: December 7 – 13, 2016


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

I read 7 comics last week: Avengers #2, Champions #3, Spider-Man Clone Conspiracy #3, Batman #12, Superman #12, Justice League #10 and Nightwing #10.

The best comic I read last week was Batman #12.

batman-12

 

It’s hard to not like a comic book that takes a significant risk. Batman #12 does this. It toys with the backstory of Batman’s origins in a very risky manner and the alteration not only pays off, it significantly changes the character.

It is also shockingly depressing. Without revealing too much, I’ll say that the revelation relates to the “I Am Suicide” title of this arc and does not only relate to Batman.

Mikel Janin is some kind of artist. His line work in this issue is simply tremendous. The action sequences are deftly and excitingly staged and his character work is solid, too. There are moments where no words are needed to convey what’s occurring in the characters’ heads, and that’s a testament to Janin. I loved his Nightwing. His Batman is even better. Paired with David Finch in alternating arcs, Janin has proven himself to be a worthy counterpart to his more well known partner.

Tom King had an almost impossible task following up Scott Snyder’s run on Batman and, though I have enjoyed what he’s been doing, this issue may well mark something of a turning point. This issue is so engrossing and drive by deep character work that it is the defining issue of his run. While it remains to be seen what he is able to from here, this issue clearly illustrates why DC felt comfortable putting him on the book.

Beyond the origin twisting revelation of the issue, Batman #12 also features a probing look at the “Bat” and “Cat” relationship between Batman and Catwoman. I am not familiar with the events that have been referenced here – that Catwoman has killed some 237 people – but my lack of familiarity with that plot point doesn’t hinder my enjoyment of the manner in which King handles their relationship. This look into them is very well done.

The entire issue is. It’s the pick of the week in what was a strong week of books (Champions #3 almost took the award this week and, if you’re not reading this book, do yourself a favor and pick it up!).

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Filed under Avengers, Batman, Comic Book Pick of the Week, Comic Book Review, Comic Books, DC Comics, Justice League, Marvel Comics, Nightwing, Spider-Man, Superman, Weekly Comic Book Review