Tag Archives: brennan wagner

Review: Batman #54

Dick Grayson-the original Robin-gets to spend some quality time fighting crime with his mentor for the first time since Batman popped the question to Catwoman. It’s a walk down memory lane as Bruce Wayne helps Dick get over the loss of his high-flying acrobat parents, which in turn led to his crime-fighting career.

Have you ever read a comic that you know was a filler issue? The quality of the story an the art just didn’t match what had come before. Something was off? Batman #54 is the filler issue of writer Tom King‘s impressive run. For the first time I got a sense of a comic which was thrown into the mix to create a breather and some padding.

The issue explores the relationship between Dick Grayson and Bruce Wayne as both father and adopted son and as Batman and Nightwing. There’s some aspects that are great, including a running joke about Batman’s D-List villains. But, there’s an emotional disconnect that creates a distance between the reader and the subjects. Where Batman should be emotional, really cold and uptight, he instead comes off as a douche. This isn’t someone we want to help, this is an asshole we want to let stew in his misery.

King attempts to slide the emotions throughout the issue. In the beginning Bruce is the caring one, helping Dick cope with his loss. Dick acts like you’d expect a child to act in numerous ways. We can have empathy for him and his reactions seem natural. As Dick grows up, Bruce feels like he’s more detached. This could be his war as Batman is weighing on him but you’d expect some distance in the beginning as well. Instead at the middle point he’s already cold and uncaring. It’s odd and due to it, it’s kind of surprising Dick is helping him post being stood up at the alter. He’s a jerk at this point and emotionally distant. He’s the cold, uncaring parent.

Later in the story, things are switched with Dick attempting to help Bruce but unlike the emotional child reactions of a young Dick Grayson, we’re presented again with the cold lack of feeling that we experience in the middle of their relationship. Dick is expecting him to show emotion when it’s clear he hasn’t for some time. Dick is expecting a reaction we are shown shouldn’t be expected.

There’s a disconnect there and also with the more affable Bruce we’ve seen over these years. It’s hard to care for his well-being after reading this.

Then there’s Matt Wanger‘s art. The cover, where he’s joined by Brennan Wagner is fantastic. The interiors, where he’s joined by colorist Tomeu Morey, are lacking. The style just doesn’t quite work though Wagner does do a solid job of juxtaposing the time frames. Detail feels like it’s lacking. Poses are awkward. Perspectives don’t look right. And the coloring doesn’t work either beyond one panel where you can’t tell if a line on Batman’s cheek is lighting or a tear.

Awkwardness abounds in this issue which just stumbles at every opportunity. A story which relies on emotional connection doesn’t give us any reason to care for a character’s well-being and connect with them. They’re cold and leaves the reader much the same.

Story: Tom King Art: Matt Wagner
Color: Tomeu Morey Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Cover: Matt Wagner, Brennan Wagner
Story: 5.0 Art: 5.0 Overall: 5.0 Recommendation: Pass

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: The Shadow: Death of Margo Lane TP

The Shadow: Death of Margo Lane TP

writer: Matt Wagner
artist | cover: Matt Wagner (art), Brennan Wagner (colors)
FC | 144 pages | $19.99 | Teen +

Legendary creator Matt Wagner returns to both write and draw an all-new tale for the first and most famous of all pulp heroes, The Shadow! Following his critically-acclaimed work on The Shadow: Year One and Grendel vs. The Shadow, Wagner once again lends his masterful talents to unveil “what evil lurks in the hearts of men”, joined by talented colorist Brennan Wagner.

For years, Margo Lane has served as The Shadow’s faithful friend and companion, the closest and most intimate of all his many agents. But when will that proximity to The Shadow’s dark and violent world take its ultimate toll on her? And what effect will his lover’s loss have on the driven and brooding Master of Darkness? A powerful and resonant tale in the sort of pulse-pounding pulp style that only Matt Wagner could deliver!

Review: Batman/The Flash: The Button

First I’m truly surprised at how good the Batman/The Flash: The Button collection is and this is not a slight to the skill and talent of the creative teams. It’s just I’ve been BURNED these last few mega crossover events and this being a tie-in to one of these, I came in with low expectations. And that’s not the only reason I passed over these books initially.

As a fan of The Watchmen, I haven’t been the biggest supporter of rehashing this universe. Despite the lineup of talent, I’m not big on the idea of that universe intersecting with the DCU proper.

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The deluxe edition of The Button collects Batman #21-22 and The Flash #21-22, with all of the variant covers for you to eyegasam. And without spoiling too much here’s why you should give it a read.

The feel of the book takes me back to Batman’s Brave and the Bold days, where each month he would team up with a different character of the DCU. Picking up the story from DC Universe: Rebirth #1, Batman and the Flash continue to investigate the mysterious Button that appeared in the Batcave when Wally West returned to the DCU. This investigation gives the heroes a few more clues to who has been influencing their world for the past few years, setting the stage for the next event Doomsday Clock.

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Writers Tom King and Joshua Willamson bring to the table an ability to highlight unique traits in characters, and this is one of several reasons why I really enjoyed this book. The way they connect Batman and the Flash with forensic science is so simple and basic, that it makes them work as friends on such a higher level. I haven’t been reading King’s run on Batman, I’ve heard good things, but this makes me curious about it. And these guys work on pulling your heartstrings with some interesting story beats.

The art team for these books also bring their “A game.” Jason Fabok‘s art is as clean and sharp as ever, but it’s his subtle nod to the art and style of Dave Gibbons’ original Watchmen, using a grid pattern for the storytelling. That helps enhance his beautiful line work with the visual brutality that fills most of this chapter.

And I’ve missed Howard Porter’s art, I’ve been a fan of his stuff since his run on JLA with all the dynamic, over the top, hyper-kinetic energy, which is perfect for The Flash, even when he’s not running Porter has energy crackling off of the Flash giving you the sense that he is Speed.

Putting the cherries on top, the colors by Brad Anderson on Bats and Hi-Fi for the Flash bring a rich depth to these books that play off of Batman’s dark tones and the Flashes intense vibrant flare. Assists also go to Deron Bennett and Steve Wands on the lettering, bringing the words to the page might seem easy but there is an art to using it to help guide the reader and not distract from the art.

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Please note if you’re looking for a Christmas gift for someone who likes Batman or the Flash, but don’t regularly read the comics, this might not be the right gift as it’s a stepping stone from a previous one-shot to a bigger event coming up. If they like a good story with amazing art for under $20 this makes a great stocking stuffer or Secret Santa gift.

If you want a second opinion about The Button, check out another opinion from the GP team here.

Story: Tom King and Joshua Williamson
Art: Jason Fabok and Howard Porter
Color: Brad Anderson and Hi-Fi
Letters: Deron Bennett and Steve Wands
Variant Covers: Tim Sale & Brennan Wagner, Mikel Janin

 

George Carmona 3rd is an Artist/Writer, former Milestone Media Intern, former DC Comics paper pusher, current book lover, and lifelong comic geek. You can find his work at FistFullofArt.com or follow him on twitter at GCarmona3.

Wildstorm: A Celebration of 25 Years this August

This August, DC Comics will release Wildstorm: A Celebration of 25 Years—an oversized hardcover collection to celebrate the lines’ legacy with reprints of WildStorm’s greatest stories, behind-the-scenes material and BRAND-NEW art and stories from some of the greatest writers and artists in the industry. At this year’s WonderCon, DC released a first look at the cover drawn by WildStorm Studios founder and DC Publisher Jim Lee, as well as some awesome pinups from Lee Bermejo, Fiona Staples, Carlos D’Anda, Sean Phillips, Tom Raney, and Gina Going-Raney. DC has released more of what to expect from this vast compilation.

Included you’ll find:

  • THE AUTHORITY story preview from Warren Ellis, Bryan Hitch, Paul Neary and Laura Martin
  • BACKLASH short story preview from Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund and Andrew Dalhouse
  • DEATHBLOW pinup from Tim Sale and Brennan Wagner
  • WILDCATS pinup from Ryan Benjamin

Stay tuned for more stories and pinups from Jim Lee, J. Scott Campbell, Adam Hughes and more!

Wildstorm: A Celebration of 25 Years will be on final order cutoff next Monday, June 5, and on sale August 23. Feel free to share these previews of exclusive new stories and pinups at anytime.

Preview: The Shadow: Death of Margo Lane HC

The Shadow: Death of Margo Lane HC

writer: Matt Wagner
artist: Matt Wagner (art), Brennan Wagner (colors)
cover: Matt Wagner (art), Brennan Wagner (colors)
FC • 136+ pages • $24.99 • Teen+
COLLECTS ISSUES 1-5

Legendary creator Matt Wagner returns to both write and draw an all-new tale for the first and most famous of all pulp heroes, The Shadow! Following his critically-acclaimed work on The Shadow: Year One and Grendel vs. The Shadow, Wagner once again lends his masterful talents to unveil “what evil lurks in the hearts of men,” joined by talented colorist Brennan Wagner.  For years, Margo Lane has served as The Shadow’s faithful friend and companion, the closest and most intimate of all his many agents. But when will that proximity to The Shadow’s dark and violent world take its ultimate toll on her? And what effect will his lover’s loss have on the driven and brooding Master of Darkness? A powerful and resonant tale in the sort of pulse-pounding pulp style that only Matt Wagner could deliver!

Also Included, Matt Wagner’s 8-page story from The Shadow #100

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Preview: The Shadow: Death of Margo Lane #5

The Shadow: Death of Margo Lane #5

writer: Matt Wagner
artist: Matt Wagner (art), Brennan Wagner (colors)
cover: Matt Wagner (art), Brennan Wagner (colors)
incentive cover: Matt Wagner (B/W art)
FC • 40 pages • $4.99 • Teen+

The stunning conclusion to the first Dynamite series both written and drawn by Matt Wagner.  The Shadow faces off with an unexpected threat in the dangerous lair of the Tong overlord, the Red Empress.  An epic battle pits the Master of Darkness in a struggle for his very life…one which he dare not win!  Eisner Award-winner Matt Wagner returns to both write and draw one of his favorite characters with pulp-inspired coloring by Brennan Wagner.

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Preview: The Shadow: Death of Margo Lane #4

The Shadow: Death of Margo Lane #4

writer: Matt Wagner
artist: Matt Wagner (art), Brennan Wagner (colors)
cover: Matt Wagner (art), Brennan Wagner (colors)
incentive cover: Matt Wagner (B/W art)
FC • 32 pages • $3.99 • Teen+

Frustrated by his loss and his inability to bring down the Red Empress, The Shadow fears he might be losing control of himself.  He seeks out the advice of a friend, lest he slip further and become an agent of vengeance, not justice.  Finally, The Master of Darkness finds his enemy’s palatial lair.  Will The Shadow be able to infiltrate the sanctum of the Red Empress?  And what dark secrets await him there?

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Preview: Shadow: Death of Margo Lane #3

Shadow: Death of Margo Lane #3

writer: Matt Wagner
artist: Matt Wagner (art), Brennan Wagner (colors)
cover: Matt Wagner
incentive cover: Matt Wagner (B/W art)
FC • 32 pages • $3.99 • Teen+

Months after the tragic loss of his companion Margo Lane, The Shadow grows frustrated in his efforts to find those responsible for her demise, the mysterious Red Empress and her Tong gang. Growing increasingly grim and merciless in his pursuit, the Master of Darkness finally uncovers a clue that points to a certain Chinatown nightclub. Our hero leads a strike team of his most trusted agents in a raid on the lair of the Red Empress. Will The Shadow’s quest for vengeance ultimately push him over the edge, into a path of madness and homicide? This compelling storyline is brought to life by Eisner Award-winner Matt Wagner, as both writer and artist, and colored by Brennan Wagner.

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Preview: The Shadow: Death of Margo Lane #2

The Shadow: Death of Margo Lane #2

writer: Matt Wagner
artist: Matt Wagner, Brennan Wagner (colorist)
cover: Matt Wagner
incentive cover: Matt Wagner (B/W art)
FC • 32 pages • $3.99 • Teen+

While hot on the trail of the deadly and elusive Red Empress, The Shadow attempts to rescue a missing heiress he is convinced was kidnapped by the Tong crime leader. Falling into the Chinese gang’s elaborate trap, The Master of Darkness must find a way to escape certain death. All the while, Margo Lane and Moe Shrevnitz stand watch for any sign of trouble. Will Margo be able to assist her friend and companion? Or will the Tong death scenario claim her life as well? From the pen and talents of Eisner Award-winner, Matt Wagner, comes a tale of adventure and romance that will shake The Shadow’s world to its very core. With colors by rising talent Brennan Wagner, this five-issue series delivers the sort of pulp action that Shadow fans have loved for decades.

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Preview: Will Eisner’s The Spirit #12

Will Eisner’s The Spirit #12

writer: Matt Wagner
artist: Dan Schkade, Brennan Wagner (colorist)
cover: Eric Powell
incentive cover: Eric Powell (“virgin art”)
FC • 40 pages • $4.99 • Teen+

This exciting and action-packed climactic issue of Dynamite’s critically acclaimed series, finally finds The Sprit in the merciless clutches of the criminal warlord, Mikado Vaas! At last, this mysterious villain has stepped forward to save his daughter, Sachet Spice, and to wreck his ultimate vengeance on one of Comicdom’s most famous and iconic heroes. Beaten and bloody, The Spirit fights on with the help of his beloved and familiar supporting cast… but will this finally prove to be the time that our hero can’t escape death? With thirty pages of inspired story by Wagner and dynamic visuals from the art team of Dan Schkade and colorist Brennan Wagner, this highly acclaimed series that was launched to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Will Eisner’s influential character at last reaches its dramatic conclusion.

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