Tag Archives: dc comics

Review: He-Man Eternity War #9

heman009There was a telling moment earlier on in this series when Skeletor described his futility to She-Ra.  In every incarnation of his existence he had tried to vanquish his foes, gain control of Eternia and gain power of the mystical forces that permeate the planet.  He realized that the problem of his approach was that it was too ordinary, that everything always proceeded as expected because he never tried an alternate approach to his schemes or tried to do something out of character.  While he used this to enlist the help of She-Ra, it is a telling moment not only for Skeletor but also for the franchise itself.  Based on simpler concepts from the animated series which required fairly basic plots that followed a similar pattern from episode to episode, He-Man has never really escaped the same pattern of story telling.  There have been some better attempts in recent years in comics, but never has anyone ever really tried to break through the pattern to get to something different.

Such has evidently been the case here, with a style of storytelling which is far more epic than He-Man ever imagined to be before.  With Hordak already having seized the control of the two crystals, he is now in absolute control of the Universe, and it would seem as though none could stop him.  It would even seem that his nearly infinite power is to the point of making his rule unending and unquestionable except for a small hitch in his plan.  Both Skeletor and He–Man, although working separately, are still trying to rid the world of his presence.  What unfolds here is a bit surprising, but once again, not at all in the way that one would assume.

If this series is attempting to push the boundaries of what it means to be the heroes and villains inside this particular world, then it is succeeding.  The creative team is playing out an epic story that would really be epic under any circumstances, only that this one is acted out by He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.  What will be perhaps most interesting is the buildup to the conclusion of this series, because of all the big characters that have been re-examined, it is the titular hero who has been mostly ignored thus far in the incorporation into this epic story.  Of course the resolution of that will likely mean the end of this series, but the creative team has not yet failed to impress or to surprise, and the setting for the finale is being well established with issues such as this one.

Story: Rob David and Dan Abnett Art: Pop Mhan
Story: 8.8 Art: 8.8 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Cyborg #2

Cyborg #2 CoverThe most advanced tech known to humans has been used to turn Vic Stone in to Cyborg, making him one of the most powerful beings on the planet. Now he’s been targeted by alien invaders that want his technology—even if they have to kill Cyborg and everyone he knows to get it!

I loved the first issue of David Walker‘s Cyborg, a new series which finally shines a light on a character who deserves the spotlight. Walker impressively balanced the past, while pointing us towards the future.

But to me, some of the greatest strength of Cyborg’s first two issues is the fact that Walker has addressed that Vic Stone as Cyborg has been as much a science experiment as he’s also been a hero. As a person with a disability, the idea of being looked at as something to be poked and prodded is something I can personally relate to. I’ve been there, and have had similar experiences with doctors seeing me as stats and a medical anomaly than a person who’s suffering. And Walker brings an all too real experience to it all too. There’s a scene where Vic goes over some of the crazy questions he’s gotten, and I can say, I’ve gotten some similar questions too (and all of that is for another post later). In short, Walker nails this aspect, and uses it to ask a solid question. The series has also poised the interesting question that with so much technology, why isn’t it being used for something better?

Add in on top of this is an action aspect involving alternate dimensions and aliens. We’re still finding out all about that, but it’s intriguing to me.

And those aliens are helped out by Ivan Reis’ art. His pencils are fantastic mixing in the human, the robot, the alien, and all of it seamlessly working together. The fact that Vic can go from an arm that looks completely normal to a mechanical… thing… with it all flowing together and looking like it fits is impressive. Add in the awesome style of the aliens, and I’m in for it. The technology looks futuristic, but familiar, it all just works and works well.

Cyborg is one of the strongest debuts in the DCYou line-up. It blends superhero sensibility with a real world we can relate to. Walker achieves that with the addition of small details, small thoughts, and fantastic responses to simple questions or moments. Can’t wait to see where the series goes, but with just two issues, I’m completely on board.

Story: David F. Walker Art: Ivan Reis
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Superman #43

SM_Cv43“The secret’s out and we’re all friends here”

This issue does finally what we’ve waited for since this “DC You” revamp, and that’s answer just what the hell happened to Superman’s powers? We start the issue off with Lois and Clark in bed. (not to worry, nothing happened, Superman just burned up all his clothes with his new Solar Flare power and Lois put his cape in the wash) Clark realizes he’s back at Lois’s apartment in her bed and she replies “Couldn’t put Superman on the floor, could we?” (Classic Lois, gotta love her) As Clark gets his bearings he sees that more company is there, his best pal Jimmy Olson (Though he likes to be called Jim. Good luck bud, you’ve been Jimmy for over 75 years so deal with it.) and fellow Daily Planet colleague, Condessa.

Jimmy is all sorts of distraught as he thinks he may have inadvertently spilled the beans on Clark’s big secret. Everyone assures him this is not the case, but how can they be sure? Someone knows. One thing is for certain it’s not good. While Condessa consoles Jimmy, Lois gets real with Clark over a microwave meal of Lean Cuisine. (Lois is not the happy homemaker type clearly) She then tells him even though she has reported on him for most of his career, there is still so much she does not know. So she hits him with some hard questions: “Why did he settle in Metropolis?” “Does he have some sort of master plan?” “What if he goes rogue one day?” “Can he control this new Flare power?” (Good questions, that one would expect from the most intrepid reporter on the planet) She tells him that the public deserves the right to know these answers. Clark tries to change the subject but Lois brings up back when Superman was in his early days, she saw her father and Lex Luthor torture him to get answers. Lois tells Clark she is not like them, she will not brutalize him even for the sake of a great story in print. With that being said Lois said she’s decided to keep his secret. He’s always been Clark Kent to her first, and she’s even fell in love with him. Clark puts the brakes on and tells her that he belongs to someone else. (Wonder Woman, duh she sees the news Clark!) Lois in true Lois fashion responds saying she’s got someone too and besides she knows she’s not “mythological” enough for his taste. (Ha! best line of the book) When someone gets Lois and writes her so well, it’s hard not to make a case for these two not to be together. They are just iconically eternal. The name just rings. Lois and Clark. There was even a show about it with the super talented Teri Hatcher and Dean Cain in the 90’s too. I digress, we can’t get what we want in fandom all the time. Sigh.

Just as the two finish up their heart to heart, they realize they are being watched. Lois’s phone has been transformed with robotic tri pod legs and a villain name Hordr (lame name I must admit), is using it to blackmail Superman. Lois instinctively smashes the phone before the demands can be explained and Clark admonishes her. She says he can’t be serious but tells her, he has to play along. At least for now. Then Clark gets ready to rush off to save the day and Lois tells him she’s coming with him. He explains it’s too dangerous, bla, bla, bla and she says she is a part of both his lives. (Good for you Lois, he may wear the cape but you have the backbone)

The remainder of the issue is Lois and Clark setting out to confront Hordr (maybe if I keep saying it, nope the name still sucks) which they do with some surprising results. I won’t ruin the revelations here, but I will say Lois’s reason for what she did with Clark’s secret made me sympathize with her greatly. As for how Superman’s powers are depleted, it was serviceable enough.

Overall: I wanted answers, and this issue (and writer Gene Luen Yang) gave them to me. What it also did is remind me that Lois and Clark should be together. Sure the Wonder Woman thing is cool, but he belongs with Lois. Aside from the complications of a possible human/ Kryptonian pregnancy, I don’t see any reason to keep them apart. I’m not a fan of the new villain either but it is better than writers rehashing old storylines and getting overused villains out of the sandbox all the time. This was definitely the best chapter of this story yet. I even thought Romita Jr’s, art was above what it’s been the past year. (Truth be told, I am a life time fan of the Romitas and both John Sr. and John Jr. are my favorite all time Spider-Man artists.) Now that the genie is out, it’s going to be hard to get the cape back on it. I sure know they will try their best though, and after this month I can’t wait to follow along. Remember kids to beware your phone because once something is in cyberspace it never dies. Also it could secretly be a super villain’s robotic booby trap to blackmail you too. Till next month, if you need me I will be watching Lois and Clark reruns remembering what was.

Story: Gene Luen Yang Art: John Romita Jr.
Story: 9 Art: 8 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Batgirl #42

batgirl043The recent run on Batgirl has been one that could be considered to be transformative for the medium.  It has taken female characters that have all too often been written as having the ultimate combination of stereotypical behaviors, and instead given them a different outlook, one in which their voices are more accurate to what might be said by a real person in their conditions, and to give their characters far more depth than they have been previously allowed.  Despite the fact that Batgirl was not even really the first of the modern wave to do so (credit for that belongs to Ms. Marvel) something about the way in which Batgirl has done it has made it the trendsetter for this new outlook.  There is an inherent problem to this though, that when something is expected to be great that being only good feels like a relative disappointment.

Such would be the case with Batgirl #43.  There are of course not always going to be successes after successes for any series, and there are bound to be a few bumps in the road for any series.  One could look to the most recent issue as evidence of that.  As Babs runs around the issue trying to balance her superhero life with her regular life, the reader is left to do the same.  While this helps to highlight the chaotic level of her day-to-day life, it also leaves the reader a bit wanting for the character which has come to define this series and beyond it into other parts of the medium.  At the same time the new threat to Burnside is not really on the same scale as what we have seen before.  Although some of the villains under this new run have been either throaways, comical or both, the villains here are instead a bit more typical of an old fashioned comic, or in some ways, even one of the old Hostess superhero advertisements, as someone is letting loose tigers onto unsuspecting members of the tech firm that helped stop Batgirl’s last main foe.

The result is one that is fun, but is much more along the lines of good than great.  There are redeeming aspects to this series as always, namely the healthy and accurate way in which it depicts its female characters, but it is also not quite up to par with the run that has come thus far.  The situation is just a bit too silly, even if the stakes are as high for the victims of the villain.   Those reading for what has come before will be pleased, but those with a deeper exposure to comics might see a bit of the ordinary here, as opposed to the exceptional.

Story: Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher Art: Babs Tarr
Story: 8.3 Art: 8.3 Overall: 8.3 Recommendation: Read

Review: Justice League of America #3

jla003There is a decent amount of exposure for the Justice League at DC Comics at the moment.  Not even counting the Justice League United outlier which contains none of the core group of heroes, there are presently three series containing the stories of the Justice League in Justice League, Justice League of America and Justice League 3001.  With three different series, the level of quality seems to vacillate between the great, the average and the not-so-good.  While Darkseid War is elevating the principal series to a pretty high level, and while Justice League 3001 is dragging it down somewhat, Justice League of America continues unabated to tell its standard Justice League story, only with a few twists.

It could actually be said that the story for Justice League of America is still somewhat in its infancy.  After all there is not a lot of cohesion between the separate plot points except in that they all involve Superman to some degree.  Green Lantern and the Flash are stranded on a faraway planet which seems to be Krypton.  The god Rao has come to Earth to provide salvation for its inhabitants, and the team of scientists dealing with temporal energies is trying to find clues as to how Superman continues to show up through their portals on the wrong side of a battle.  Aside from the first issue which included the majority of the heroes together, they are now mostly fragmented into their smaller groups which are dealing with their own smaller problems, not usually one of the hallmarks of a team based series.

While the presentation of the story is sometimes lacking in direction, it is not necessarily to the detriment of the story.  Instead the story here feels like one of the late days of the Silver Age of the Justice League of America.  It hols together pretty well, but it equally seems to be somewhat of the serialized concept of telling the story and then forgetting about it.  For those who are fans of superheroes, this might hit the mark, but compared to some other stories involving modern heroes, it also might seem a bit commonplace, not really trying to be much more than what it is.  For better or worse that is the defining characteristic of this series so far, at least until the creative team decides that it is time to prove otherwise.

Story: Bryan Hitch Art: Daniel Henriques
Story: 7.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Review: Justice League 3001 #3

jl3001-003There is some controversy brewing with this title.  It acts as little more than a rehash of Keith Giffen’s heyday on the Justice League in the 1980s and 1990s, but it is said as well that the treatment of the re-imagined male heroes now in female bodies (the Flash and Guy Gardner, though particularly Guy) is offensive to the transgendered community.  While this may be the case, such an approach to this title is perhaps a little off the mark in terms of its overall theme, that is to say, that the presentation of characters is not only offensive to transgendered women, but probably to most people overall.

Conversely thus far the story has followed a pretty decent concept as the heroes of the JL 3001 world have had to deal with a strange Starro infested world.  They come to grips with that here as the heroes have to deal with the fallout of their intervention to the Starro planet and it is not what it seems (and in fact probably could have been a pretty engaging story under different circumstances.)  Instead the story once again focuses too much on the multitude of problems associated with this series.  For some reason, Giffen just cannot stay away from Booster and Beetle, and they make a return appearance here alongside Fire and Ice.  To some degree one can see this as the evolution of the old Justice League series, just 25 years down the line after a fairly progressive evolution of comics left it behind.  The problem with this series, especially in respect to the transgendered question is that it is offensive, but not only to transgendered.  The presentation of the female Flash character is sterotypical of what men think of teenage girls, without a thought in their heads beyond having a slumber party.  The males of the series, and particularly Superman, are so devoid of real emotion either that they are also caricatures of themselves, especially as Superman is made into a womanizer.

The underlying concept behind this series is inherently fun, as it gives the creative team a wider scope in which to tell their stories, but it proves that Giffen, while successful in some ways, is also a bit of a one-hit wonder with his collection of Super Buddies.  The story here is even serviceable or better, but it ends up being derailed with too much comic relief, which in turn is based too much on gender stereotypes.  There will undoubtedly be fans of the older Giffen works that look to this one with some fondness, but as modern stories in the medium go, this one is off the mark.

Story: Keith Giffen Art: J.M. DeMatteis
Story: 6.0 Art: 6.0 Overall: 6.0 Recommendation: Pass

Review: Aquaman #43

am043car Aquaman has been by tradition a hard hero to handle.  Although he has his fans, the character is one that has been marginalized and even ridiculed because of his appearance, his adventures and even his powers.  Of course, those that do so are usually just looking for an easy punchline and not actually invested in his stories, or even fans of comics for that matter.  All of this changed with the new 52 as Aquaman was given a new spin, a new respectability that made him far more mainstream than he had ever been.  Gone were most of the jokes at his expense, and the diehard Aquaman fans finally got a chance for a few “I told you so” moments as their favorite hero gained the spotlight under Geoff Johns.  The problem with Geoff Johns approach is that it was a step above and beyond recognizing the hero as something more than what he was, and separating him from all of the same problems that defined him as a niche hero for so long.

Under the new direction of writer Cullen Bunn it would seem as though the same missteps are being revisited.  Gone are the solo adventures of Arthur, and returned seems to be the same old script.  Arthur is king of Atlantis but cannot rule it.  Mera loves him, but is forced to hate him as well for reasons beyond her control.  Arthur is off on his own adventures without the support of any help … and so on.  This issue contains much of the same, and for those who are not diehard fans of the character it is easy to see why many would not be interested much in the series anymore.  There is a temporary alliance with his enemies, and a decent battle but not much else, save for the twist at the end.

It is the ending which actually gives this some hope.  Although this is told in a somewhat confusing manner at times between the “Then” and “Now” it still manages to give a glimpse of what Cullen Bunn might be capable of here.  After it should not be expected that he write exactly like Johns, and there are glimpses of him doing right by this series, even if his introduction to it is a lot of what has been seen before.  For the moment, it is worth a chance and worth a look, although it could still really go either way.

Story: Cullen Bunn Art: Trevor McCarthy
Story: 7.6 Art: 7.6 Overall: 7.6 Recommendation: Read

 

Review: The Flash #43

theflash043Part of the challenges set forth with the new 52 relaunch was how to tell the story of its most famous heroes.  Parts of the heroes identities were so well known and so well established that it would be hard to put a modern spin on what is essentially comic book mythology by this point.  Thus Batman’s history was no different as the hero was born on that night in Crime Alley, just as Superman hurtled to Earth in a spaceship from dying Krypton.  In fact the origins of most of DC’s major heroes has not been changed at all save for one, the Flash.  Some commonalities still remain, but many are different.  In a way it makes sense, as Barry Allen had about twenty years of down time before he came back into mainstream continuity, and the lessons learned from the last days of the silver age taught that there were certain things important about the Flash’s history, but some that needed a touch-up.  In particular is the end of the silver age, the somewhat confusing trial of Barry Allen that helped lead to his death in Crisis on Infinite Earths.

The importance of Eobad Thawne to Barry Allen is a relationship that needed to be maintained though, as important to Barry as the Joker is to Batman or Lex Luthor is to Superman.  Although other villains have more visibility, it is Thawne who is the true arch-nemesis of Barry, plaguing him throughout his existence in one way or another.  As a modern and updated telling of Barry’s nemesis, this is the story that demanded to be told in the new 52, and it is the one which is being told now.  It should be said that the Flash is often one of the heroes that tends to be a bit below the surface in terms of popularity, and it can be easy to see why.  The nature of his stories are a bit more lighthearted than some others, but when it comes to Thawne it doesn’t matter.  Drama must prevail.  The story of Thawne is one that has been teased at for a while now, but one that is still in its infancy in this story arc.  Barry has to deal with his father, has to be there for Wally, and shows signs of reigniting the traditional relationship with Iris, but this is all about the setup for the showdown with Thawne.

In so doing this issue shows that the story line is still in its early stages, with Thawne’s group of villains playing a larger role here than Thawne himself.  What is supposed to be a big story is therefore somewhat diluted by the slower rollout as well as not really changing much from the regular script of this series.  It is fun and does well for the hero, but the the dramatic payoff still seems to be far enough away as Barry deals with the mundane (mundane for a superhero that is) before the bigger fireworks start.  This issue will probably become necessary reading after we see whatever finale is ahead for hero and villain, but for now stays true to the performance of the series, good but not great, with a decent amount of fun.

Story: Robert Venditti and Van Jensen Art: Brett Booth
Story: 8.6 Art: 8.6 Overall: 8.6 Recommendation: Buy

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Cyborg #2 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

Top Pick: Cyborg #2 (DC Comics) – The first issue of the series was a fantastic start, and I’ve been eagerly awaiting the second. Writer David Walker seems to have addresses a lot of past issues with the character in the first issue, while also setting him on an interesting course too. This is a comic I keep checking the release schedule to see if it’s out, that’s how much I want to read it.

Prez #3 (DC Comics) – The first two issues have had me laughing, and they’re turning out to be really prescient when it comes to the future of politics and elections. Not sure if I should keep laughing or be really scared.

Princeless: Be Yourself #3 (Action Lab Entertainment) – Writer Jeremy Whitley nails it issue after issue, in this series which is so far ahead the rest of the comic industry as far as characters and themes. Girl power!

Snowden (Seven Stories Press) – Ted Rall chronicles the history of Edward Snowden and the NSA leak.

Zodiac Starforce #1 (Dark Horse Comics) – A new girl power comic that feels like a mix of Sailor Moon, Jem, and a lot of other series that are just awesome. This was an indie comic, and got picked up by Dark Horse, so it’s fun to see it also go from a small press comic to a full blown one. The first issue is all set-up and pretty entertaining.

 

Alex

Hank Johnson: Agent Of Hydra #1 (Marvel) – The preview pages j have seen of this comic looks absolutely fantastic. The idea of the behind the scenes look at the regular lives of some of henchmen in the worlds premier villainous organisation is really intriguing, and I’m sure there’ll be some interesting. Guest stars.

Old Man Logan #4 (Marvel) – I hadn’t realized just how much I missed reading about Wolverine until this series came out. Whilst I’m glad he hasn’t been resurrected for no reason, it’s nice to get some more time with one of the more interesting incarnations of Wolverine, too.

 

Edward

Top Pick: Hacktivist Vol 2 #2 (Archaia/BOOM! Studios) – The sequel series opened on a high note, and it looks like it will maintain the same tempo.

Batgirl #43 (DC Comics) – A new story arc for this standout series. Not much seems capable of stopping the momentum of this series.

He-Man: Eternity War #9 (DC Comics) – Every issue leads to a bigger turn of the plot. No idea what is coming this time, but it will be big again.

Mulan Revelations #3 (Dark Horse) – The first two issues have been heavy on style and a bit lighter on substance, but the concept is so cool that it deserves a chance to get settled.

Star Wars: Lando #3 (Marvel) – This series has been non-stop fun, proving that Lando should never have been a secondary character.

 

Elana

Top Pick: NEXT Wave: Collected Edition (Marvel) – The hilarious, highly political superhero team satire series featuring Monica Rambeau (formerly Photon or Capt Marvel) is out in a nice complete collection. The biting commentary and creativity of this series is renowned. From dream team Warren Ellis and Stuart Immonen.

Cyborg #2 (DC Comics) – This series is already a standout for having unusually astute analysis of blackness and also about disability. It develops Victor Stone aka Cyborg as a fascinating hero in his own right and as far as I can see it even resolved some of the previously problematic aspects of the character: (read about those problems in Robert Jones Jr’s essential essay “Humanity Not a Included“). I’m ecstatic to have an African-American writer on this title. David Walker’s story is potent scifi that works on metaphorical level and well as on a narrative level. He references Invisible Man– which has needed to happen in a Cyborg story for decades. It’s a can’t-miss series.

Grayson #11 (DC Comics) – In this issue Grayson fights himself. Or someone pretending to be him. I love Huntress in this series acting as his spy master. I totally respect this comic’s dedication to a female and queer male readership that too many series ignore.

Lumberjanes #17 (BOOM! Box/BOOM! Studios) – New story arc featuring our favorite feminist summer camp adventurers. Please get your kids reading this book. It’s groundbreaking and fun and fabulous. And read it yourself for swells of nostalgia for a relatable yet fantastical children’s story that I wish I’d had when I was little.

Review: Batman Arkham Knight Pre Order Story Packs (Red Hood and Harley Quinn)

Batman Pre-Order DLC packsOne of the things I was looking forward to most with Batman: Arkham Knight was the huge load of DLC that was planned to come out with it. Being that I’m a huge fan of both Batman and the Rocksteady Trilogy, the thought of having more to do in these titles besides the main story was downright exciting. So when I heard that there was going to be a Season Pass for the final title in the Arkham Trilogy, $40 didn’t seem like a bad idea for 6 months worth of extra content. Well, I was as wrong about that as I was about the new Godzilla film, as I was sure it was going to be fantastic. Both were still pretty entertaining though.

When I heard there were going to be pre-order bonuses for the game that featured extra chapters, I had high hopes that they were going to be wonderful additions to the game, especially since I’m a huge Red Hood fan, and this would be the first time playing as both him and Harley Quinn. Well needless to say, I was disappointed in both story packs as they had little to actually add to the game besides 45 minutes of combined gameplay. Yeah, you heard me. Combined. Seeing as how the Pre-order DLC packs are incredibly short, I decided to lump them together in a dual review.

So the Harley Quinn portion of the DLC starts out with you playing as everyone’s favorite sex symbol henchman. Yeah… Henchman. You’re ordered to help break Poison Ivy out of prison and are required to beat up guards along the way. This isn’t a bad setup as the prison is a decent size, with a few rooms to go through. Harley gets her own version of a “detective mode” that is quite hilarious to see, since everyone knows she absolutely nuts.

Batman Arkham Knight Cover ArtThe gameplay mechanics are similar to Batman’s, as you’re forced to eliminate every enemy on the map to progress to the next room. While Harley isn’t a steathy ninja like B-man, she still gets to go into vents and jump up walls. She plays a lot like Catwoman in Arkham City, minus the sweet whip. It makes sense, because from what we’ve seen, Harley is a pretty incredible gymnast, doing all kinds of flips everywhere in the cartoon. She makes it well known to the player that stealth isn’t her “thing,” so the silent takedown is gone and she’s just given a loud beat down with her trusty bat. While I’m a little sad that players weren’t given her giant mallet like in the cartoons, it’s still pretty entertaining to watch her clobber enemies into submission. The downside about this is that despite her lack of stealth, it’s somewhat needed to get past the enemies who all have guns, while you don’t.

There are a couple problems I have with the direction DC is currently taking our beloved Harlequin-based villain. The first is the need to add sex appeal, with the second being the split personality Harley has now. Why DC felt the need to give Harley Quinn all this sex appeal is beyond me. Harley doesn’t need pigtails, cleavage and a thong. She just needs comedy! Her whole appeal, and why she complimented the Joker so well, was the fact that she was a funny character. She used a mallet for crying out loud! The addition of her having a split personality was also unnecessary. It not only destroyed the story of Mad Love, but it cheapened the Joker’s influence, as he wasn’t completely behind Harley’s insanity anymore.

The reason I bring these issues up is because they were added into the game. Harley has a corset, cleavage, pigtails and an inner dialogue as she progresses through her story and it drives me nuts. Why DC felt the need to give depth to Harley Quinn is beyond me, and it wasn’t needed at all.

Overall, while enjoyable, this story pack wasn’t as amazing as I was hoping it would be. If it wasn’t free, I’d definitely regret getting it altogether.

The Red Hood story pack was the DLC I was looking forward to the most. While hearing it was only a Gamestop preorder exclusive, I was a little disappointed that I wouldn’t get it immediately like the Harley Quinn DLC. I was pleased to hear that Season Pass holders would get it eventually, because I really hate going to Gamestop. So when this DLC went live, I had to play it immediately, as Red Hood is easily one of my favorite characters in the Batman Universe.

*Spoilers ahead*

Seeing as how Jason Todd plays a huge role in Arkham Knight, I was excited to see that he would get his own form of DLC, since he’s a very interesting character that would definitely add a lot more depth to the Batman games. A vigilante that kills to save Gotham and using crime to control crime was an absolute brilliant concept that Judd Winick came up with, and using revenge as a means to try and break Batman was absolutely fantastic. Under The Red Hood is my all time favorite Batman movie, yes it’s a cartoon, but the story is amazing!

So after much waiting by the PS4, and avoiding anything on Youtube, the DLC finally came out last week, and I played it right away. You can imagine my surprise when I got through the content in about 15 minutes. The story itself has you, as the Red Hood, proceed to stop Black Mask and his thugs. The downside to all of this is that it’s episodic, so once you complete the objective, you immediately go to the next area. While I think it makes for a better story this way, I would have preferred to go through a larger area, similar to the Harley Quinn story, as it would give players a better chance to see what the Red Hood was capable of.

Being that the Red Hood is every bit as capable at the Dark Knight in apprehending villains, yet crosses that line of resorting to murder, the character always fascinated me as a foil to Batman, which gives the Red Hood so much potential. I would love for DC to dive more into this, giving fans more insight on the darker vigilante that Winick has crafted so carefully.

While Red Hood does kill enemies with his trusty pistols, I feel like they don’t utilize this function enough, as it merely works like the batarang. There are enemies you apprehend that are wearing bulletproof armor, who need to be beaten down instead of simply shot. Why a simple headshot wouldn’t work is beyond me. With his limited arsenal as well, only having a grapple gun and his pistols, your choices are extremely limited. With the Red Hood being trained by Batman himself, one would at least expect the use of more gadgets at his disposal. I guess Rocksteady forgot those elements…

The boss mechanics of both DLCs are pretty standard, with the objective just being to beat up the boss and take down the horde of minor enemies that come to intervene. The mechanics don’t introduce anything new and the battles are pretty easy to get through, offering no real challenge to people who are already used to playing the game. I made the mistake of beating the main scenario first, so the extra chapters didn’t prove to be much of a challenge since Batman’s portions were much harder.

All in all I am pretty disappointed with the DLC tidbits that are offered with the game. The whole experience really makes me regret spending $40. If anything, the amount of content customers are getting is really only worth half as much, as so far all we’ve gotten is a few short DLC chapters, a bunch of costumes and VR missions, and nothing really added to the main scenario. I know Rocksteady is working on some extra Gotham chapters for later DLCs, and I’m sincerely hoping they can redeem my purchase, as I would love nothing more than to feel like my money has gone to good use. So far it’s just felt like highway robbery. Isn’t Batman supposed to prevent that…?

Harley Quinn Story Pack

Story: 3 Gameplay: 7 Side quests: 0 Re-playability: 2 Overall Score: 3

Red Hood Story Pack

Story: 5 Gameplay: 7 Side quests: 0 Re-playability: 2 Overall Score: 4

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