Category Archives: Reviews

Review: Decelerate Blue

Outsiders in literature usually are some of the best characters for a reader to follow.  As they usually feel like voyeurs to the story, assuming certain perceptions while experiencing others.  This is something all teenagers deal with at some point, where no one understands them. This is even more prevalent in young adult fiction, where teen angst dances in the pale moonlight of the apocalypse.

This is what makes the Mortal Instruments books so fascinating to both teenagers and adults, as the story is written with such clarity that the believability is easy for most readers. Another good example is Warm Bodies which the film doesn’t do justice to the writer’s inner monologue of the main character. Growing up in a dystopian future, is never easy one that would break most adults but makes teenage lives thrive. In Adam Rapp and Mike Cavallaro’s fascinating story Decelerate Blue , we get to see the Armageddon through the eyes of one such teenager.

We meet Angela a teenager who notices how certain things are not normal, such as everyone being implanted with a chip to track their every move, an unhealthy obsession with the use of language and real food has been replaced by cement like material which has yielded some fatal incidents. As she struggles her awareness of the shadowy organization known as the Guarantee Committee, it is only spurred by a book written by a famous theorist who predicted the reality Angela lives in. Through a series of mishaps, she finds an underground movement where mostly teenagers live, and they can eat real food and even take in oxygen from a can. This is also where she meets kindred soul in Gladys, someone who finally sees Angela for who she is, at the same time, she envelopes herself in what the world was before Guarantee Committee took over the world. Eventually she meets the author of the book, who her favorite teacher, just so happens to take care of, as everything comes full circle for our heroine. By book’s end, the underground falls apart, and Angela becomes part of GC society once again until she finds liberation in all its glory.

Overall, an excellent graphic novel that is a mirror portrait of society’s obsession with technology and order. The story by Rapp is bleak, engaging,and commanding. The art by Cavallaro is luminous and vivacious. Altogether, a story that will have readers assessing their own obsession with “staying connected”.

Story: Adam Rapp Art: Mike Cavallaro
Story: 9.7 Art: 9.1 Overall: 9.4 Recommendation: Buy

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 5/26

Sometimes, the staff at Graphic Policy read more comics than we’re able to get reviewed. When that happens you’ll see a weekly feature compiling short reviews from the staff of the comics, or graphic novels, we just didn’t get a chance to write a full review for.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Mr. H

Iron-Man-600-variantInvincible Iron Man #600 (Marvel Comics) This is the big Bendis swan song from Marvel before he takes on big blue from that other company. As a huge fan of Iron Man the character albeit a casual reader of his core title I had to view this one. So this has Brian Michael Bendis on writing chores and Daniel Acuna, Stefano Casselli, David Marquez and Mark Bagley and more on the art chores. Fitting for a swan song on a Tony Stark book that there would be so many moving pieces. Now the deal is we get told the story through Tony’s uber pretentious self AI. We get the resurrection of the one and only Tony Stark and the showdown between his biological mom and dad as well as a few big surprises and a really cool end. Now though I’ve been out of the loop a bit on these goings, Bendis does a great job of keeping me up to speed with all that matters. Oh and did I mention that it has Doom in it?? Not impeding doom, Dr. Victor Von Doom! (One of my all time faves) so immediately this issue gets a bit of a boost for me. The writing was good, not BMB best for me. That honor still goes to his Daredevil run imo. The art was great, even though switching between so many pencil “engineers” they keep the story moving brisk. All in all I thought it was a great job for an oversized anniversary issue which I’m a sucker for. I am excited to see where the next chapter goes with Tony under the pen of Dan “the man” Slott, but BMB did really well here. Also like the Marvel movies stay for the epilogue. Very cool stuff. Overall: 8.2 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

 

black panther 1Black Panther #1 (Marvel)** – Thank goodness for Daniel Acuna, because Ta-Nehisi Coates’ script for this debut issue is a discombobulated mess. “T’Challa In Space” probably isn’t the most well-considered idea coming on the back of a hugely successful film — “now that we’ve got a slew of potential new fans, let’s confuse the shit out of them!” not being what most would consider a sound strategy for building sales — but at least this muddled would-be “cosmic epic” looks good. Unfortunately, it doesn’t read well at all. Oh well, at least one issue is all I needed to convince me that this book isn’t for me. Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass

Days Of Hate #5 (Image)** – While we’re on the subject of “thank goodness for artists,” Danijel Zezelj carries pretty much all the weight of this installment, with Ales Kot more or less coasting through what could (hell, should) be a tense, climactic issue, but that instead just falls flat. We’ll see what happens story-wise now that the writer has essentially taken a month off to gear up for the back half of the series, but this comic was really just pretty to look at, and not much else. Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass

Black Hammer: Age Of Doom #2 (Dark Horse)** – Franchising the world of “Black Hammer” out “Mignolaverse”-style doesn’t seem to have hurt the main title in the least, as Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston continue to deliver the goods with this brisk, pacy issue that sees good forward narrative momentum paired with stunning artwork of nasty-looking hellscapes. As always, this book is more fun than just about anything else out there. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Incognegro: Renaissance #4 (Dark Horse/Berger Books)** – Mat Johnson and Warren Pleece do some pretty good stage-setting in this penultimate chapter of their “Harlem Murder Mystery,” but maybe it’s a little too good — or too much, at any rate, since the identity of the murderer is essentially given away here with one issue to go.Maybe they’ve got one more big surprise up their sleeves, but even if they don’t, provided they manage to avoid flubbing the landing, this should end up going down as a pretty compelling period piece, and the black-and-white art has been nothing short of sensational. Overall : 7.5. Recommendation : Buy

Shean

you are deadpoolYou Are Deadpool #3 (Marvel) I will keep this one sweet and short, this has got to be the best Deadpool book going on right now, as it encompasses everything everyone loves about Deadpool and puts him in the craziest situations that only he knows how to get into to and make worse, the hardest I have laugh in awhile on a Deadpool book. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Old Man Hawkeye #5 (Marvel) We finally meet President Red Skull as Bullseye’s exploits has reached the White House, which causes him to send more assassins. Clint also finds himself in a standoff with the Venoms inside a bar, one that only brings death and destruction. Clint finally finds a way out as he realizes he needs sanctuary now. By issue’s end, solace comes in the former of an ex-partner, one that is weary of Clint’s intentions. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

 Invincible Iron Man #600 (Marvel) Brian Michael Bendis’ last comic for Marvel has a lot of fun moments and also a lot of convoluted, not so fun ones. Some highlights include Dr. Doom (As drawn by Alex Maleev.) making a self-sacrificing play to cap offhis arc in Infamous Iron Man, which will go down as Bendis’ last great Marvel run, Rhodey coming back from the dead and kicking ass and joking with Tony again, and of course, Bendis’ final artist jam. However, Invincible Iron Man #600 also cops out on a lot of things like Leonardo Da Vinci, Tony’s dad, and decides to end on a relatively obscure scene connected to Bendis’ X-Men run. Hopefully, Bendis learns how to write endings when he comes to DC… Overall: 6.0 Verdict: Pass

mystery in madripoorHunt For Wolverine: Mystery in Madripoor #1 (Marvel) A team of female X-Men, including Kitty Pryde, Psylocke, Rogue, Storm, Jubilee, and Domino, head to Madripoor to investigate Magneto’s connection to Wolverine’s missing body. They end up in the middle of a gang war, and along the way, get to ponder their relationship to Wolverine by looking through the items in his old room. Jim Zub expertly weaves past and present together and crafts an argument for another all female X-Book through the banter that the characters share. Unfortunately, Thony Silas’ figures are stiffly posed and is more suited for superhero costumes than the high fashion outfits that the teams wears to blend in. This mini is another case of solid story, unspectacular art, but Felipe Sobreiro’s Glynis Wein/late Bronze Age inspired color palette is delightful. Overall: 7.3 Verdict: Read

Mother Panic Gotham AD #3 (DC/Young Animal) The war between Mother Panic, her uberviolent sidekick Fennec Fox, and the evil Gotham PR firm The Collective reaches new heights, and Ibrahim Moustafa gets to draw some exhilarating, bloody action scenes. Jody Houser and Moustafa craft some wonderful scenes of reunion between Mother Panic and her mom and continue to put an almost meta-fictional twist on the Joker even if it doesn’t feel as connected to the main narrative. This series is shaping up to be a chaotic, punk rock take on Elseworld stories, and the backup story by Houser and the wonderful Paulina Ganucheau is a beautiful, tragic take on the Harley/Ivy romance. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy

Deadly Class #34 (Image)– This arc where Marcus, a band of rebellious freshmen, and their enemies get caught in Yakuza crossfire has been super intense, and issue 34 is no exception. Writer Rick Remender and artist Wes Craig has been channeling their inner Frank Millers recently, and this issue has its own version of the “mudhole” scene from Dark Knight Returns. But it’s Marcus’ girlfriend Maria doing the ass kicking and helping him get revenge against the murderer of his best friend, who also disrupted his peaceful life in Mexico away from King’s Dominion school.Moral murkiness is really what rules the day, and it goes great with Jordan Boyd’s muddy color palette. Overall: 9 Verdict: Buy



Well, there you have it, folks. The reviews we didn’t quite get a chance to write. See you next week!

Please note that with some of the above comics, Graphic Policy was provided FREE copies for review. Where we purchased the comics, you’ll see an asterisk (*). If you don’t see that, you can infer the comic was a review copy. In cases where we were provided a review copy and we also purchased the comic you’ll see two asterisks (**).

Review: Black Panther #1

In Black Panther #1, writer Ta-Nehisi Coates and new series artist Daniel Acuña leave the political intrigue and labyrinthine plotting of Wakanda for the the space operatic world of the Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda. The basic backstory is that a small space colony of Wakanda grew into a powerful empire complete with a caste system, mindwiped slaves called Nameless, and a resistance movement called the Maroons featuring freed Nameless, who take the names of Wakandan heroes from the past, like Nakia, M’Baku, and even T’challa. However, Coates doesn’t bog down this first issue in exposition and turns in one of his least talk-y issues of Black Panther and leans on Acuna’s skill with gestures, body language, and choreography to do the work. The final result is a book that feels like a “Fresh Start” and is primal and pulpy like Star Wars or Conan the Barbarian.

Daniel Acuña is truly a gifted artist, who has a refined, almost Euro Comic approach to architecture, setting, and color palette and also crafts acrobatic set pieces that pop off the page using classic cartooning techniques. Acuña’s art is beautiful, but not stiff. When T’challa is in battle, he uses a blend of horizontal and diagonal panels to show his quick reflexes and finds the most interesting part of each blow he lands thanks to a fantastic use of motion lines. The first eight pages are all action and set the pace for the rest of Black Panther #1, which is an archetypical story of a man with no name and a faint memory of the woman he loves trying to get home at all costs possible. The increasingly blurry flashbacks to Storm connects the narrative to the previous volume of Black Panther and add an extra layer of emotion and mystery that doesn’t seem to be resolved any time soon.

There is a little bit of realpolitik and some worldbuilding in Black Panther #1, but Ta-Nehisi Coates’ plotting is more Star Wars original trilogy than the prequels in tone with fights, escapes, connection to past legacies, and a crack group of resistance fighters battling an autocratic, overextended, and definitely evil empire. Although he is a badass and almost leads a one man slave revolt (Almost being the key word.), Coates and Acuña probe T’challa’s vulnerabilities throughout the book, and sometimes, it seems that anger is all that he has left as he fights one of his fellow prisoners while Acuña turns on the reds. These skills, rage, and faint memories of home are able to be channeled and weaponized by the Maroons, who through their costumes and ideology of freedom, act more like real Wakanda than the Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda. Even though there aren’t many of them, the Maroons enter in a blaze of glory and raise the mood of Black Panther #1 as T’challa finally has some backup. (And his name back.)

Whereas his first two years of writing Black Panther focused on T’challa as monarch, Ta-Nehisi Coates uses the new space operatic setting of Black Panther #1 to narrow in on T’challa as hero and legend. Daniel Acuña’s art and colors are virtuosic from the gorgeous spacescapes to T’challa getting beaten within an inch of his life. He has mastery over both cinematic and intimate moments, and the book is worth picking up for his visuals alone.

Story: Ta-Nehisi Coates Art: Daniel Acuña Letters: Joe Sabino
Story: 7.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Delegates #5

When a story makes an unexpected turning point, the reader is often left flabbergasted.  The initial shock comes because usually when the twist happens, it is right when the reader gets invested in the characters.  It is especially interesting when the writer subverts the tropes that would be employed in the plot that occurs. This takes a lot of leaving “breadcrumbs” throughout the story, clueing the reader in as you get closer to where the story needs to go.

As absurd as it sounds now, the movie, Sixth Sense, did this in spades when it first came out as it drew viewers in, with the story about this little boy, but the story really was about the therapist Bruce Willis played. The classic misdirection is what I am eluding to, and it is surprising, unbelievable, and ultimately satisfying. The comics world was recently surprised, when they learned that Captain America was always an agent of HYDRA. In the fifth issue of Delegates, our heroes unleash their newly kept secret into he public as it both shocks and dismay those who find out.

We catch up with Aminah and the rest of our heroes during her revealing what she really is to the people of Kayatimabe where they are currently stranded and on the run from bandits. What follows is a standoff between our heroes and the bandits, as the bandits see an opportunity to make money off Aminah and Marla must do everything she can to protect her. Aminah eventually reaches out to the bandits and the rest of the village to plead for a chance to prove her worth. By issue’s end, Aminah more than proves her worth but the company that created her is getting closer to where she is and looks to use her for their own purposes once again.

Overall, probably the most cerebral issue of the series, one that challenges notions about the advancement of technology and what it means to be human. The story by Tina Cesa Ward is fun, action packed and astounding. The art by the creative team is gorgeous. Altogether, a great issue that looks to push the book to new heights.

Story: Tina Cesa Ward
Art: Felipe Cunha, Rodrigo Urbano, Anwar Hanano,
and Taylor Esposito
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.3 Overall: 9.7 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Becoming Unbecoming

The power of #MeToo movement cannot be fully comprehended as with the Black Lives Matter movement, as both represents a long history of being maligned, as old as time. People of color have struggled to deal with the constant discrimination, as famed psychologist, Kevin Nadal, along with some other therapists have coined it as “microaggressions”. This dismissal of the psychological trauma as well as s the constant pressure of society, has made people of color feel invisible, therefore it must be said, “Black Lives Matter”.

The # MeToo movement, has also suffered many indignations, as women, time after time, has to suffer sexual harassment and sexual assault, quiet evils where people rather divert their eyes, than confront the problem. This is where those who hold privilege usually will normally say, “Don’t allow yourself to be offended” or “why did she not come out sooner” or even the tired adage of “pull yourself by your bootstraps”, which are all truculent and lacks the empathy needed to understand the situations they are talking about.  In Una’s Becoming Unbecoming Una we follow a young lady as she faces open gender violence and misery over a choice to have birth control pills.

We meet Una, as she introduces the reader how she grew up and how her high school years started normally, as her interests in boys starts to blossom.  At the same time, a serial killer targeting prostitutes have gripped Yorkshire, the town she grows up in and has everyone scared to leave their homes. Soon Una becomes even more interested in the “birds and the bees”, as she experiments with her curiosity like how does kissing feel, which leads to unwanted attention and slut shaming as his came to be known, which also leads to her missing school and needing therapy. By book’s end, the culmination of the abuse she undertakes, permanently scars her and her family but through therapy and her family’s bond, she comes out stronger.

Overall, a strong indictment that not only confronts slut shaming, but also misogyny, and society’s disregard to women. The stories by Una is both heartfelt, distressing and resonating. The art by Una drives home the powerful messages seen throughout the book. Altogether, a book which pushes the reader to no longer accept these pugnacious attitudes and treat everyone as human.

Story: Una Art: Una
Story: 10 Art: 8.0 Overall: 9.3 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Paradox Girl #5

As someone who loves comedies, some of the best ones are parodies. As these movies both challenge the perception of the material’s audience and makes them aware of the common devices writers use in such a genre. These stories become even more resonant, when it can both make the audience laugh and appreciate the subtleties of the type of story. Some of the best parodies ever made, were movies about spies, as they sully are taken so seriously but rarely if not successfully made fun of.

One movie that usually never gets brought up is Undercover Brother, the hilarious feature which showcases Eddie Griffin as the apropos named titular character. It used just about every trope used in these movies and then some, introducing some absurdist elements. This movie though not loved by some, still is an example of the perfect parody of a genre. In the fifth issue of Paradox Girl, our favorite character dips her feet and then some into he genre in a “Bond-esque” story.

We catch up with Paradox Girl, as she deep into a story where she a spy, the evil genius and the damsel in distress, and just about everyone onboard a train leading to Somewhere. Paradox as Agent Double O Clock starts a conversation with Paradox as Minuet Waltz fighting Paradox as Aunt Agonist who has created time bomb in front of the train they are on to erase the whole timeline. What follows is battle of wits and brawn between Agonist and Double O Clock. By issue’s end, Double O’Clock and Minuet embrace their situation in more ways than one.

Overall, another fun installment in this brilliantly comedic story that pushes boundaries and now genres. The story by Cayti Elle Bourquin is hilarious front to back and shows that Bourquin is a master storyteller. The art by Yishan Li is equally brilliant and gorgeous as sequential art should always be. Altogether, a great storyline which will have laugh at each panel while witnessing one of the best books ever written.

Story: Cayti Elle Bourquin Art: Yishan Li
Story: 9.6 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.8 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Shadowman #3

SM2018_003_COVER-B_GUEDES“After years of purgatorial exile, Jack Boniface – the newly returned Shadowman – is back in the one place he thought he’d left behind for good: the damned dimension known as Deadside! His mission? To recover a lost relic of the Shadowman legacy that could redefine the eternal balance of power between the living and the dead. If he fails, the vengeful voodoo god called Baron Samedi will exact a terrible toll on the souls of humanity… But – back among the monsters, back among the cursed – can Jack stand resolutely against evil incarnate without succumbing to the call of the literal demons within himself?”

I’ve been really enjoying this series thus far, which I’m somewhat surprised at seeing as how I’ve had minimal exposure to the character over the past few years. Despite owning the entire 2012 relaunch, I’ve never actually read all of it (the downside to obsessive collecting, I suppose). Shadowman #3 finds our hero full of impotent rage as he discovers that, once again, he is trapped within the Deadside with only one option to return to the land of the living; stealing the Shadow Scythe back from Baron Samedi.

What follows is a fairly standard, albeit well presented, distract and steal story as Shadowman’s ally in our world offers him a chance to steal back the Scythe that will return him to full power. The dialogue between Alyssa and the newly arrived Abettors, the group/cult/whatever that assist the Shadowman, is a particular highlight and balances the Deadside sequences remarkably well as we dip back and forth between the two in a fluidly orchestrated dance through the comic’s music (incidentally, I was listening to Ghost’s BC album while reading this comic. It was an interesting combination, to say the least).

Although I wouldn’t suggest avoiding the previous two issues in the series and starting to read Shadowman with the third issue, it is possible for you to pick up the gist of what’s going on with the events depicted here in conjunction with the recap page. The creative team have produced a comic where musical tones permeate every facet of the art and dialogue, often in very subtle ways, and the song carries you along through the pages to the conclusion in a way that doesn’t allow for any external distractions. Shadowman #3 is a creepy and atmospheric issue with colourful musical undertones that swirl together into a cacophony of emotional brilliance (forgive the constant musical references; the album I’ve been listening to along with the 90’s era Shadowman I read as part of the Unity crossover left me with an impression).

Although it’s not a perfect comic, it is still very enjoyable.

Story: Andy Diggle Art: Stephen Segovia with Adam Polina
Colours: Ulises Arreola and David Baron Letters: Simon Bowland
Story: 8.3 Art: 8.8 Overall: 8.6 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: X-O Manowar #15

xo manowar 15As Harbinger Wars 2 besieges the Valiant Universe – and X-O Manowar along with it – Aric of Dacia cannot escape the flames that now threaten his future…or the shadows that cloud his past. Before space… Before the armor… Return to the apex of the Visigoth conquest as a younger, brasher Aric and a sword-wielding grifter set off on a continent-spanning quest for fortune, glory, and power! From the bloodstained sands of the gladiatorial arena to the dunes of the Arabian Desert, meet the man who would become the warrior-king of an alien civilization – and our own world’s most powerful hero – as he sets out to seize his destiny once upon a time in a land of faraway kings and unrepentant conquerors!

In space, no one can hear you think, but still Aric of Dacia is faced with distraction. As he tries to make a decision (presumably in relation to his position in Harbinger Wars 2) the armour takes him on a trip through human history circa 393 AD, with Trevor Hairsine getting to illustrate a battle scene in four different parts of the globe, which becomes an interesting visual device. Personally I’d have loved to see a cameo of the Eternal Warrior in one of those panels, but that’s because I can’t get enough of that character, and is an utterly irrelevant point for this review.

As Aric takes a trip through memory lane, complete with nods to the first few issues of the original X-O Manowar run from Valiant‘s 2012 relaunch, Matt Kindt forgoes a traditional flashback story where the focus remains solely in the flashback, and instead never lets you forget that this is a man remembering his youth and seeking guidance from the past with the help of a sentient armour. But it’s not just his past he is seeking guidance from, as we’re taken to Zambia for a sequence that introduces a somewhat naive new character who will doubtless play a bigger role in the near future.

The remainder of the issue follows a young Aric as he and his companions travel toward Rome to retrieve a hostage in a mission that may not be explicitly sanctioned by anybody but Aric. How this spontaneous decision will impact the present day, and whether Aric will learn from the lessons of the past remains to be seen, but it’s a discovery that readers will be happy to follow along with as the creative team deliver a high quality experience that takes us away from the Harbinger Wars 2 build up with a more introspective look at our hero. It doesn’t hurt that the series is remarkably pretty to look at, and Simon Bowland‘s way of inserting the more mechanically orientated dialogue of the sentient armour is an effective way of reminding you that Aric and Shanhara may be bonded, but they have their own distinct voices.

A comic that is worth reading for new and established fans alike, this is an example of Valiant having so much to offer.

Story: Matt Kindt Art: Trevor Hairsine
Inks: Brian Thies with Stephen Guidino Letterer: Simon Bowland
Story: 8.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.7 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Detective Comics #981

James Tynion concludes his run on Detective Comics with smiling, hugs, and the simple refrain that maybe one should take things one day at a time instead of coming up with complex algorithms and plans for the future. His first artistic collaborators on the series, Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira, and Adriano Lucas, return for Detective #981 and provide chilling double page spreads of possible futures and more solid ones of the present of the Bat-family. The Brother Eye/Ulysses Armstrong/future Tim Drake plot is resolved fairly quickly so that Tynion, Barrows, and Ferreira can dig deeper into the characters’ emotions and relationships and tease out the different paths that the members of Batman and Batwoman’s hero training squad follows.

Probably the most unexpected hug is the first one between Tim Drake, who has been possessed by Brother Eye technology, and Batwoman as they realize that finding a perfect algorithm to fight crime involves pushing away friends and family and giving into one’s darker nature. It’s not punching or gadgets that brings Tim back to his real self (I love how Sal Cipriano gradually “de-Brothers” his word balloons.), but Stephanie Brown’s voice on the other end telling him she loves him no matter if he’s Red Robin, a future autocratic Batman, or just Tim Drake the college student. The split screens between her and ruthlessly manipulative and pragmatic Ulysses Armstrong represents the warring side of his psyche as Tim wants to efficiently prevent crime in Gotham City and elsewhere, but the human cost is too great. Batwoman experiences almost the same thing in a potent vision of the future where she is hunting down Batman for the government and is content to let him go, but because Bruce is dying of radiation from Brother Eye, she executes a mercy killing. Even if it’s a potential future timeline, Lucas uses a full color palette and Barrows uses tighter knit panels to show the tears on Kate’s face as she puts down an aging Bruce, who has realized that Bat-symbol is a powerful force for good, but it’s not one that needs to be eternal. It’s a direct refutation to the machine set up by Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy back in 2014’s Detective Comics #27 where Batman set up a way for a Batman (and Alfred) to exist in every era perpetually.

Detective Comics #981 is all about being able to love your family members, but also knowing when they need to go down their own path. Especially in the early part of Tynion’s run, Batman, Batwoman, and Red Robin have all been about control with strict training protocols and focus on efficiency and results at the expense of emotions, which caused Stephanie Brown to leave the team, poor Cassandra Cain to be estranged, and Clayface to die. The second half of this comic sets this all to rights with honest conversations, smiling, hugs, and yes, breaking up the proverbial band. Kate and Bruce share drinks at a fancy restaurant where their parents used to “parley”, and Bruce admits that the fact that she’s one of his only living relatives is why their relationship is so frustrating. Also, Kate talks about starting to figure out where she fits in this world of vigilantes and high tech paramilitarism as more of a solo act like she was back when J.H. Williams was writing her comics. But everything isn’t all sunshine and rainbows because this is a book predominantly set in Gotham City so, of course, Jake Kane is listening on their entire conversation. Kate might wear the Batman symbol and have respect for Batman and her other cousin Bruce, but she doesn’t answer to him.

Even if she isn’t technically the “star” of Detective Comics #981, the short scene with Cassandra Cain and Barbara Gordon is definitely the most heartfelt as Cass moves from Wayne Manor to a room in Leslie Thompkins’ clinic where she can be a student and young woman and not just a crime fighter. In contrast with her completely face and form obscuring Orphan costume, Eddy Barrows and Eber Ferreira draw Cass and her surroundings as open and dynamic before slowly pivoting to this issue’s saddest moment. At the clinic, she isn’t her codename, and Barbara Gordon is “Babs”, not Batgirl. Even though the glimpse of Cassandra picking up her pre-Flashpoint mantle as Batgirl in the previous issue was glorious, it is good to see her learning how to speak and function in society as a human being and not just as a human weapon and nicely caps off the arc that James Tynion has set up for her throughout Batman and Robin Eternal and Detective Comics.

Although it features alternate timelines, crazy future tech, and of course, masked vigilantes who wear a flying rodent on their costumes, Detective Comics #981, and by extension James Tynion’s whole 47 issue run on Detective Comics, has been a family drama with Batwoman playing the badass aunt and Tim Drake as the son, who wants to please his father and also wants to do his own thing. It ends with Batman going into action alone while his surrogate family members forge a path of their own. Sure, Tim and Stephanie are investigating alternate timelines and not going to college, but Batman trusts and loves them enough to let them strike out on their own. Batman fighting crime in Gotham City is a constant, but there is room for change in that constant.

Story: James Tynion IV Pencils: Eddy Barrows
Inks: Eber Ferreira Colors: Adriano Lucas Letters: Sal Cipriano
Story: 9.5 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: The Flash #47

It’s Wednesday which means it’s new comic book day with new releases hitting shelves, both physical and digital, all across the world. This week we’ve got the beginning of Flash War!

The Flash #47 is by Joshua Williamson, Howard Porter, Hi-Fi, Steve Wands, Francesco Mattina, Andrew Marino, Rebecca Taylor, and Marie Javins.

Get your copy in comic shops today. To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon/Kindle/comiXology or TFAW

 

 

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
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