Tag Archives: dc comics

Review: Batgirl Annual #3

batgirlannual003When reading the modern medium of comics, it is easy to forget that comic stories did not always have the same format.  As opposed to the modern day where one-shots are an absolute rarity, they used to exist more or less in this format across the entire medium.  Long story arcs were rare, and heroes usually met a villain and dealt with them in a short amount of time.  These stories which can be more easily located in the silver age, had a fairly common format of hero encounters villain, is beaten at first but then quickly recovers and wins.  This format is interesting because it is still occasionally used, but also because it is used in this most recent Batgirl Annual, and used quite cleverly.

Facing off against a mysterious villain and organization tied to the name Gladius, Barbara is forced to make some unlikely alliances which take her around the bat-family.  The cover alludes to the one that fans would be the most excited about, with an encounter with Dick Grayson, but there are also some clever other interactions as Barbara follows the trail of Gladius.  She encounters two other former Batgirls from previous years (Stephanie Brown and Helena Bertinelli) as well as Batwoman, a decent collection of Bat-ladies that is only missing Cassandra Cain.  The story diverges in an unexpected direction as well, crossing over what might be DC’s two best titles at the moment, as Batgirl and the residents of Gotham Academy get to meet for the first time.

What is most interesting about this story, is that while it is told in a series of separate vignettes, each with their own style, it also still manages to be a fluid story that makes sense, without the cameos seeming too forced.  Barbara is still the star but she cedes that status easily to those that she teams up with, making this issue more than the sum of its parts.  While the main series occasionally gets tied down in its own plots, this annual seems to represent a desire by the main creative team to cut loose a bit and have some fun with the character, and they succeeded.

Story: Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher Art: Bengal, David LaFuente, Ming Doyle, Mingjue Helen Chen, Gabe Eltaeb, Ivan Plascensia
Story: 9.4 Art: 9.4 Overall: 9.4 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Batgirl #42

batgirl042The new Batman is back and Batgirl still can’t quite figure out what to do about him.  In the previous issue this series, which works pretty well as a standalone series, was brought back into the bigger picture of Gotham City as James Gordon’s Batman made his first appearance.  The James Gordon Batman is a bit of an anomaly, because while readers are still not sure what to believe with the new Superman, there is still a Bruce Wayne in the universe, and this therefore feels very temporary (especially as the regular is as normal elsewhere.)  That this other Batman had to show up here was maybe a necessity, especially considering that he is Batgirl’s father, but the series works so well that it doesn’t really need any outside interference, especially that which is of a lesser quality.

The previous issue did give a bit of better setup though.  Although the Batman was there, so was fan favorite Livewire, an underutilized villain in the DC Universe, and hopefully one that might see some more exposure if her appearance here is anything to base itself on.  After a brief showdown with her father in Bat-suits, the two find an uneasy balance as he is able to tell her to stay away from trouble but also that he is tasked with taking her down if she makes herself too visible.  There is some clever use of the past here as Batman and Batgirl are juxtaposed alongside James and Barbara, with the two having father-daughter moments without one half of the duo realizing it.

The end result is an issue that is not as bad as it probably should have been.  The novelty of the James Gordon Batman is already rubbing off, especially as DC is doing bigger things with Bruce Wayne elsewhere.  The strange direction started off well enough but seems already to have stalled.  While there was enough to hold this issue back, it still worked on a couple of different levels, both with the choice of villain and in the novel way that they chose to tell the story.  It wasn’t as good as what has been seen recently in this title, but still wasn’t a bad effort.

Story: Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher Art: Babs Tarr
Story: 8.4 Art: 8.4 Overall: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy

 

Pop! Heroes: Batman Arkham Knight in September

Funko‘s Arkham Knight edition Batman is the most technologically advanced yet!

He has to be in order to face the lethal strike of Scarecrow and the deliriously violent Harley Quinn!

The mysterious Arkham Knight seems to be calling the shots! Take him out and Batman will be handling the unmasking for once!

Pop! Heroes: Batman Arkham Knight are out in September from Funko.

Loot Crate’s August’s theme is Villains 2!

Loot Crate took a hero’s journey in July, but this August, we’re turning up the heat! Get ready for the strike back, the revenge, the evil electric boogaloo! This month, join us as we cower in fear at the return of the VILLAINS! Whether they’re terrifying or tragic, something about bad guys and gals is just plain fun. Probably the snazzy outfits, army of henchmen and totally relatable “treat yo’ self to some sweet loot” attitude.

Anyway, Loot Crate is celebrating its darker side with EPIC items from Marvel, an EXCLUSIVE DC figure and more (including a unique wearable they’ve never put in a crate before)! It’s good to be bad.

You can subscribe now!

Loot Crate Villains 2

 

 

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site.

Review: He-Man Eternity War #8

ew008Eternity War, the latest He-Man story arc, has had some ups and downs during its series.  This is to be somewhat expected, as for every big moment, there is some time required to set it up and to build the characters into pertinent actors for the script.  The previous issue of Eternity War could be said to be one which had some big moments, although these were more like big character developments which focused around She-Ra’s and Skeletor’s past.  With these big developments right behind it, it probably left many wondering what was immediately ahead for the series.

The story is related in parts to the previous issue, but also throws in a bit of extra unexpected developments.  Adam has chosen to become depowered, and is keen on returning Eternos to his control.  Such is done by a costly victory over the forces of Hordak, the villain who clearly has bigger plans to follow as opposed to immediately stopping Adam.  This leads to the strongest dramatic point for the issue, although it is mirrored in the travels of Skeletor and She-Ra.  Skeletor has led her to the dark dimension, but he has plans of his own, not exactly in line with what he had told her in the previous issue.

While the series is still running at its best, it still feels like this issue is a bit of an intermission.  With so many new developments it is necessary to reposition the players so that they can be put into places where their true heroism can shine through.  That is what is happening here, and it feels a bit more sedate than other issues in this series, mostly because it cannot rely on any of these big moments, but instead has to get by on some other plot developments which while fun, are also a bit ordinary.  The same format has been used before in this series to set up its big moments, as for instance the mostly action second issue showed that there was still a lot of other great moments to follow.  Such would most likely be the moment here, as there are no big moments, but there promises to be in issues to come.

Story: Rob David and Dan Abnett Art: Pop Mhan
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Kidrobot Expands Phunny with Alien, DC Comics, Terminator, Elf & A Christmas Story

Kidrobot introduces additional characters to their Phunny line. Full of creeps, monsters, and classic characters softened to huggable absurdity, Phunny plushes use Kidrobot’s legendary quality and warped worldview to shake-up the plush category!

Following the previously announced Gremlins, Kidrobot will release additional series of Phunny including characters from: Alien, DC Comics, Terminator, Elf and A Christmas Story. These series will release throughout the fall and winter of 2015 and into spring 2016.

Kidrobot Phunny

Review: Superman #42

superman042Truth and Justice have thus far been somewhat bizarre story arcs for Superman.  They have focused on the loss of his powers and the outing of his Clark Kent persona, but they have done so in a haphazard way.  The problem with the approach to this new Superman is the that the story is being told in four different ways in four different series by four different creative teams.  While Action Comics and the pair-up titles with Batman and Wonder Woman have looked at how Superman is going to deal with the changes in his life, the main Superman title has mostly looked at what happened to make him into the weakened version of his former self, and is thus filling in the blanks that most of the readers are wondering about how this happened and why Lois revealed his identity.

The story here follows on the previous issue, and tells the background story of the changes in Superman’s life.  After a confrontation between Lois and Clark near the beginning of the issue where Lois confirms that Clark and Superman are one and the same, the mysterious figure known as Condesa tells the assembled group that there is a lot more going on here that what it seems.  She is part of an organization called Hordr which a group of hacker like people who live in a high-tech pocket dimension, and who try to obtain as much information as they can about everyone.  It is through them that Clark’s identity has become known, at least in part.

This issue kind of works and kind of doesn’t.  The story is lacking in parts, and specifically in that Lois’ character is so off in terms of her characterization over the years.  So too is there is a bit of a problem with Hordr.  If Superman’s identity is to become public knowledge, it would be more impressive with a big story, not just a group of high-tech hackers.  More so, Hordr is a bit of a miss, just as police brutality was treated in a superficial way in the last Action Comics, so too are modern questions about the likes of Snowden and Anonymous treated superficially here.  That being said though, the story is better here than it has been elsewhere in this odd new angle for Superman, but it seems like those making the decisions about this new direction for the character need a lot more coherence in their decisions.

Story:  Gene Yang Art: John Romita Jr.
Story: 6.8 Art: 6.8 Overall: 6.8 Recommendation: Pass

Review: Justice League: Gods and Monsters

Justice-League-Gods-and-Monsters-2015-movie-posterAnimation legend Bruce Timm returns to the popular DC Universe Original Movies with his unique new vision of a Justice League you’ve never seen before. Justice League: Gods & Monsters features a Superman born of General Zod’s blood, a Batman with a healthy dose of bat in the man, and a Wonder Woman rising from the ranks of the New Gods. This ain’t your daddy’s Justice League. They are as likely the world’s saviors as Earth’s despotic rulers. When a group of famed scientists experience untimely “accidents,” a government task force follows the trail of clues to the Justice League — and into a high stakes game of intrigue, mystery and action that asks the question: How do you serve justice to those above the law?

This newest animated movie based on DC Comic characters is a fascinating one in that it really puts a lot of interesting new takes on characters, and while it goes far in some points, it also doesn’t go far enough and explore others. The concept of a Superman not only of Zod’s blood, but raised by immigrant parents is potentially amazing, and worthy of a film all to itself. However to socio and political impact of such a change is only handled by a few sentences or some words in Spanish.

jlgm-group06jpg-806cceChanges for Wonder Woman and Batman too are interesting, and while they get a bit more of a focus on their past, more so than Superman, that is more to really show us what is different in their origin, or provide the reasoning behind something that matters in the film.

The movie reminds me of the classic DC Elseworlds line of comics, spinning out different versions of characters we know. The movie is entertaining, it’s also not super deep other than different versions of characters we know. The murder mystery story is interesting, and gives us a threat that isn’t just another super villain to punch.

The voice acting is solid, I liked the cast, featuring Michael C. Hall as Batman, Benjamin Bratt as Superman, Tamara Taylor as Wonder Woman, and many more who you’d recognize. It’s rare that I’ve had issues with Warner Bros.’ voice casting for their films, and this is no exception there.

I think overall, the movie screams potential for me. There’s tons here to mine and dive deeper in to, I want to see more of it. What we get is very entertaining, but shallow in some ways. I will say, the spin on classic characters, with so many nods for long time fans, will keep DC Comic fans entertained throughout.

Overall rating: 8

Warner Bros./DC Comics provided a FREE copy for review

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Rasputin07_CoverWednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Brett

Southern Bastards #10 (Image Comics) – One of the, if not the, best comic out there right now. It’s usually a slow burn, but each issue has more character insights than many comics have in a year. This Southern noir is fantastic on every level.

Captain Canuck #3 (Chapter House Publishing) – Some times you want your heroes to lose the gritty aspect, and just be heroes. This series gets back to that courtesy of some talented Canadian creators. Fun action, that’s entertaining and loses the cynicism of today’s superhero comics.

Invisible Republic #5 (Image Comics) – An amazing series that definitely doesn’t get the attention it deserves. It involves a reporter digging into the revolutionaries that took over a planet, and digs up a bit of dirt. An amazing focus on history being used as propaganda.

Princeless: Be Yourself #2 (Action Lab Entertainment) – The new series hasn’t missed a beat and continues the fun fantasy adventure with a bit of girl power mixed in.

Rasputin #7 (Image Comics) – The first arc focusing on the historical figure was interesting. Flash forward 100 years, and not only is he alive, he’s also advising a Presidential candidate. Now you have my undivided attention.

 

Edward

Top Pick: Hacktivist Vol. 2 #1 (BOOM! Studios) –  The second series dealing with the group of hackers follows on the plot from the first series, and tries to answer some unresolved questions.

Batgirl Annual #3 (DC Comics) – Kind of a catch-all for Batgirl, as she faces off against Helena Bertinelli, a former Batgirl (from No Man’s Land) and Dick Grayson (her pre-new 52 romantic interest).  Throw in a visit to Gotham Academy and this sounds pretty fun.

He-Man: Eternity War #8 (DC Comics) – There has been no missteps in this entire series as the creative team has pushed the envelope of what defines the core group of characters.  This is not your childhood’s He-Man.

Jem and the Holograms #5 (IDW Publishing) – This series has been nothing but fun since its launch.  It doesn’t look likely to stop any time soon either.  One can only hope that the suggested food fight from the cover gets realized inside.

Lazarus #18 (Image Comics) – Lazarus goes to Duluth to win the war, as different plot lines begin to intersect.

 

Elana

Top Pick: Grindhouse: Doors Open at Midnight: Trade Paperback Vol 3: Slay Ride and Blood Lagoon (Dark Horse) – “Books like ‘Grindhouse’ were the reason the Comics Code was invented.” – creator Alex De Campi.

That’s a promise and a warning. De Campi absolutely delivers on grindhouse cinema gratification in comic book form– even better, it comes from a frankly female perspective on the genre. This series is messed up in all the RIGHT ways.

Each trade contains self-contained story arcs so you can pick up volume 3 even if you’ve never read the series before. In Volume 3 my entirely fictional girlfriend, Deputy Garcia is back with her motorcycle and eyepatch. I can’t wait!

Series creator Alex de Campi is our podcast guest next week!

Batgirl Annual #3 (DC Comics) – Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher art by Bengal, David Lafuente, Mingjue Helen Chen, Ming Doyle…. Look at that list of awesome writers and artists! Not only do we get Babs catching up with Dick Grayson but we also see her meet with Batwoman and the Gotham Academy kids! These are all of my favorite things in one place! It is a standalone story you can read even if you aren’t reading the new Batgirl series. But after reading this I’m sure you’ll want to.

Phoebe Gloeckner: Diary of a Teenage Girl (North Atlantic Books) – Considered one of the best graphic novels of last decade it’s probably time that you (and I) finally read it! Plus there’s a movie of it coming out soon and you don’t want to be called a “poser”, right? The book is a combination of prose and illustration reads like autobiography. The press release calls it “a dark story of sex and drugs in the life of a 1970s teenage girl.” You should read Sean T Collins review because I can’t do it justice till I read the book.

1602 Witch Hunter Angela #2 (Marvel) – This is the funniest series in Secret Wars and the prettiest too. Last issue we met Shakespeare, Marlowe and King James (Logan Howlett aka Wolverine) and other Faustians (aka people with superpowers). This issue Angela and Sera will meet “Ye Olde Guardians of the Galaxy.”

 

Mr. H

Top Pick: Thors #2 (Marvel Comics) – The case is heating up as the murder mystery of the Gods continues. Blood, Hammers, and Justice shalt be served!

Daredevil #17 (Marvel Comics) – The last days of The Man Without Fear? Could be. This creative team has been white hot so I know Matt is in good hands, but I want to see the payoff.

Red Sonja Vol.2 #17 (Dynamite Entertainment) – Red hot chick swinging a sword, as usual all over this one. The 1973 one shot gave me a rejuvenation for this title. Hope the momentum doesn’t wane.

Superman #42 (DC Comics) – I am actually enjoying the prelude to the “Truth” storyline a lot more than the actual crossover. I’m interested to see just what it was that made Lois out Clark’s ID to the world? This intrepid reporter needs some answers. By Rao, I need them now!

TMNT Ongoing #48 (IDW Publishing) – The Stockman Swarm, The Shredder and Karai all move in for the kill. How could this not be good?

 

Paul

Top Pick: Thors #2 (Marvel) – the first issue of this story was fantastic; a crime story following the ‘police’ of Battleworld, the Thors.  Law and Order meets Asgardian officers, working on the orders of Lord Doom to keep the peace, and the foundation of Battleworld, in one piece.  Excited for what happens next.

Top Pick: X-Men ’92 #2 (Marvel) – the first issue totally brought me back to Saturday mornings, watching Marvel’s merry mutants as most of us remember them, complete with colourful costumes and Wolverine and Cyclops sniping at each other.  I am looking forward to see more from Cassandra Nova and what her rehabilitation facility for mutants is really all about.

1602 Witch Hunter Angela #2 (Marvel) – This was a very interesting first issue, following Angela hunting ‘witchbreed’, which turns out to be mutants.  The second issue puts Angela on the path to see dire omens not come to pass, and also introduces use to “Ye olde Guardians of the Galaxy”.  Looking forward to this.

S.H.I.E.L.D. #8 (Marvel) – I am a huge fan of the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. tv show, and just as big a fan of the comic book treatment of the show.  It’s fun to see the tv agents paired up with various heroes from the Marvel universe an work together to solve the problem of the issue.  This issue has Agent May and Mockingbird setting out to kick some ass….sign me up!

 

Steven Attewell

Batgirl #42 (DC Comics) – despite not being remotely in the target demographic for this book, I’ve been enjoying the hell out of this series’ exploration of fame and identity.

Conan the Avenger #16 (Dark Horse) – Dark Horse’s Conan run has been one of the most consistently enjoyable comics for me in recent years (with the exception of that odd bit where Belit went to Cimmeria), so if given an option I’ll always pick one up.

Copperhead #9 (Image Comics) – Read the first trade of this unusual space-western/single-mom comic and really enjoyed the strange little world that Jay Faerber and Scott Godlewski have thrown together, so I’ll keep following this story.

Rasputin #7 (Image Comics) – A really strange little gem, this series posits a revisionist history of the infamous Russian mystic in which Grigori Rasputin’s powers not only are quite real and extend to genuine resurrection and clairvoyancy, but he’s also secretly a prince in communion with the forces of Russian folklore.

Southern Bastards #10 (Image Comics) – having really enjoyed Scalped, I eagerly anticipated Jason Aaron’s new series. Took me a while to get into the first trade – something about the way Jason Latour draws mouths threw me off until I got used to it – but the second trade’s revelation of Coach Boss’ backstory was mesmerizing and made this a must-read for me.

Sideshow Collectibles Has New Art Prints from Marvel and DC

Sideshow Collectibles has launched new art prints featuring the Avengers and Power Girl. Released today, the Avenger’s Trinity Premium Art Print is a 18×24″ hand-numbered, limited edition art print featuring an authorized pencilied artist signature by pinup artist Stanley “Artgerm” Lau. Limited to 500, the print retails for $89.99.

Not to be outdone, Power Girl also gets her own print, also by Lau. The limited edition print is the same size with same signature, but an edition size of 600. It retails for $239.99. Endowed with the powers of Krypton, this strong and sassy superheroine is sure to knock your socks off!

Check out the art below!

« Older Entries