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Review: Batman #53

The jury in the Mr. Freeze trial is hopelessly deadlocked because one man won’t vote guilty-and that man is Bruce Wayne. Freeze’s defense is that Batman used excessive force, making his arrest illegal, and Bruce is the one man who actually knows for sure what went down between Batman and his ice-cold nemesis. And if Bruce is right, that means everything he’s devoted himself to as the Caped Crusader is a lie; he is hurting more than helping. With Dick Grayson putting the Batsuit back on to keep Gotham City safe while Bruce is sequestered, could this be the out Bruce needs to discard the cape and cowl forever?

There is something that few will discuss that have been on a jury, the fact you get to play god with someone’s life. Whether it’s letting them walk free, be behind bars for a time period, or decide on taking their life through the death penalty, as a juror, you have to make a decision that will make or break the future of the accused. I’ve sat on a jury for a murder trial, I was the foreman, and I can’t deny this concept crossed my mind on a few occasions during the few weeks of my experience.

Writer Tom King takes this head on but expands it to Batman as a whole who we are reminded is just a man, a fallible man. He’s not the god-like being that so many in Gotham has made him out to be since he has saved so many of their lives. And this case is made through the words of Bruce Wayne. Batman #53 is the conclusion of the story arc focusing on the arrest of Mr. Freeze and whether Batman made a mistake in doing so. But, there’s a bigger picture. It’s Bruce Wayne coming to grips with Batman, what he means in his life, and the recent event of being left at the altar. This is the closest we’ve gotten Bruce to confess to his reality in a while and it’s a heartbreaking one that’s worthy of a confession to a Priest. King has been deconstructing Wayne and Batman and by issue’s end we’re at square one going back to basics.

King is helped by artist Lee Weeks and colorist Elizabeth Breitweiser whose art gives us an arc that feels like a classic play in look. Taking place in the jury room, everyone discusses the case and their thoughts with panels focused on each character and their every movement. It’s the details here that stand out, like a cross around the neck. The coloring is limited with a style that reminds me of some of the classic Batman stories like “The Long Halloween.” Lettering by Clayton Cowles emphasizes keywords as if noting to the actor were to deliver the emotional punch.

This entire arc feels like a play with actors taking on roles and delivering an emotional punch. It’s a story that helps define Batman not as a god who is always right, but as a man who makes mistakes. It’s a realization of reality by Bruce. This is one hell of an arc and a story that I can go back to over and over to pick out the tiny details. A fantastic ending that launches both Batman and Bruce Wayne in a new direction and a dose of reality.

Story: Tom King Art: Lee Weeks
Color: Elizabeth Breitweiser Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Batman Vol. 6 Bride or Burglar?

It’s Tuesday which means trade paperbacks and graphic novels are hitting book stores today! Out from DC Comics is Batman Vol. 6 Bride or Burglar? collecting issues #38-44.

Batman Vol. 6 Bride or Burglar? is by Tom King, Mikel Janin, Joelle Jones, Travis Moore, Hugo Petrus, June Chung, Jordie Bellaire, Giulua Brusco, and Clayton Cowles.

Get your copy in comic shops and book stores 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

 

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
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: The New World #1

In their new series The New World #1, Ales Kot, Tradd Moore, and Heather Moore craft a post-nuclear apocalypse United States that has been carved into many small countries, chief among them, New California. It’s a reality not far from our own with surveillance technology, brutal police officers, partying, music, and slightly smarter home A.I’s. The most popular past time is watching a reality show called Guardians where super cops subdue criminals and the audience votes real time for them to either execute them on the spot or let them have a fair trial. Through this program, Kot crafts the logical progression of Americans’ obsessions with police procedurals, reality television (Especially with an interactive element.), and most of all, unrelenting violence.

In conjunction with cameras or a handler watching Stella Maris, New World’s protagonist and a cop who doesn’t like to kill even when the audience wants her to, Tradd Moore uses lots of full page and double page splashes and big panels to give the book a televised feel. Even his scene-to-scene transitions have a pretty big scope like a full page of a satellite in silhouette on one page zooming in back to Earth to the West Hollywood home of Kirby Miyazaki, an atheist anarchist vegan hacker, who sabotages an airing of Guardians and thanks to loads of hormones and probably moly, ends up hooking up with Stella. He’s doing just fine with his revolutionary activities and putting his war vet dad to bed after a long night of drinking, but comes off as insufferable. But weren’t we all insufferable in our early twenties? (Aka me currently). His anime protagonist good looks don’t help either and act as one big visual joke along with Kot giving the same middle name as one of the monsters in Naruto.

Like the majority of Ales Kot’s comics, New World #1 has a real activist streak, but it reads more like a coming of age romance than the chronicles of the revolution although there is a harrowing flashback showing Stella’s rebel parents being beaten down by border guards drawn by Moore from the POV of her in the back seat. New World is a YA dystopia shorn of its twee-ness and pandering to Hollywood suits. There’s banter with dads and robotic assistants about cats, and Kot and Moore soak up the daily lives of Stella and Kirby between being an action cop or subversive hacker using the extra-sized first issue to run through a literal day in their shoes. There are plenty of full face close-ups along the way to show exactly how characters are feeling with colorist Heather Moore adding intriguing touches, like a ghostly white to the features of Stella’s grandfather Herod, the governor of New California, who wants Stella to be more ruthless on TV like bulky killing machine Logan Maximus.

Even though it’s thrilling to see Kirby do his hacker thing and tell the slightly creepy person who is interviewing him for the job at Guardians how he is going to disrupt the show, New World #1 hits its peak when Kot and Moore give Kirby and Stella an opportunity to let their proverbial hair down and enjoy a rave party in Long Beach. And it’s the coolest, most energetic rave in comics since Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s Dionysian one in The Wicked + the Divine #8. There’s a cascade of colors as Kirby hits the dance floor because he’s straight edge and doesn’t need booze or drugs to have a good time, and Tradd Moore draws the hell out of a crowded dance floor until two young people meet, the (not) talking leads to touching and the touching leads to sex, and you know that Rilo Kiley song. Moore’s panels flow together in a beautiful symphony of lust, and he and Kot also stick the landing when they wake up back at there separate places, but are filled with life and Janelle Monae and Billy Bragg songs. Kirby and Stella have real chemistry, and it’s all in the magic of Tradd Moore’s fluid layouts and use of body language and Heather Moore’s energetic colors.

The New World #1 is the socially responsible young people falling in love story that we deserve in summer of 2018 featuring smart world building and tongue in cheek humor from Ales Kot and jaw dropping visuals from Tradd Moore and Heather Moore. Don’t forget “ACAB” though.

Story: Ales Kot Art: Tradd Moore
Colors: Heather Moore Letters: Clayton Cowles

Story: 8.2 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.6 Recommendation: Buy 

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: DC’s Beach Blanket Bad Guys Summer Special

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 a summer special!

DC’s Beach Blanket Bad Guys Summer Special is by:

“WORST FINEST“
A JOKER/BIZARRO STORY
Lee Bermejo – Writer
Francesco Mattina – Artist
Tom Napolitano – Letters

“HELP“
A LEX LUTHOR STORY
Jeff Loveness – Writer
David Williams – Artist
Steve Buccellato – Colors
Carlos Mangual – Letters

“CLOSE SHAVE“
A MR. FREEZE STORY
Paul Dini – Writer
John Paul Leon – Artist
Deron Bennett – Letters

“FALSE IDOLS“
A CHEETAH STORY
Vita Ayala – Writer
Amancay Nahuelpan – Artist
June Chung – Colors
Clayton Cowles – Letters

“ICY EMBRACE“
A BLACK MANTA STORY
Gabriel Hardman & Corinna Bechko – Writers
Gabriel Hardman – Artist
Matthew Wilson – Colors
Deron Bennett – Letters

“GIGANTA STRONG“
A GIGANTA STORY
Michael Moreci – Writer
Max Raynor – Artist
Paul Mounts – Colors
Dave Sharpe – Letters

“CRUEL SUMMER“
A GORILLA GRODD STORY
Tim Seeley – Writer
Minkyu Jung – Artist
John Kalisz – Colors
Tom Napolitano – Letters

“DOG DAYS OF SUMMER“
A DEATHSTROKE STORY
Shea Fontana – Writer
Carlos D’Anda – Artist
Luis Guerrero – Colors
Carlos Mangual – Letters

“PERFECT GENTLEMAN“
A PENGUIN STORY
Daniel Kibblesmith – Writer
Laura Braga – Artist
Arif Prianto – Colors
Dave Sharpe – Letters

“INDEPENDENCE“
A CRIME SYNDICATE STORY
Collin Kelly & Jackson Lanzing – Writers
Giuseppe Camuncoli – Pencils
Cam Smith – Inks
Tomeu Morey – Colors
Clayton Cowles – Letters

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

 

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
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: The Life of Captain Marvel #1

This week’s new comic book day sees a new beginning for Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel!

The Life of Captain Marvel #1 is by Margaret Stohl, Carlos Pacheco, Rafael Fonteriz, Marcio Menyz, Marguerite Sauvage, Clayton Cowles, Julian Totino Tedesco, Joe Quesada, Richard Isanove, Sana Takeda, Fiona Staples, Artgerm, Jay Bowen, Nick Russell, Sarah Brunstad, and Sana Amanat.

Get your copy in comic shops starting July 18. 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 – https://amzn.to/2LptMut https://amzn.to/2NmNGqE https://amzn.to/2Jwyk0p
TFAW – http://shrsl.com/127f2

 

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
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: Batman #50 is a Beautiful, Tragic Romance

If you thought that Batman and Catwoman were going to have a happy wedding with the usual supervillain attack to keep things interesting, then you’re pretty naive. On that confrontational, Batman #50 is a climactic moment in Tom King’s run on Batman, and Mikel Janin and June Chung are onboard as well to show all the romance, heartbreak, and kicking Kite-Man on the face. But the real highlight of this issue is the unleashing of some of the best living Batman and Catwoman artists to tell the love story of Bat and Cat all framed in love letters to each other. Beginning with the great Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez showing them swaddled together in a loving embrace and concluding in a pure negative space, movie poster style page from upcoming Batman artist Lee weeks, this is a wonderful encapsulation of Batman and Catwoman’s relationship done in Tom King’s signature tone poem way.

The letters that Batman and Catwoman write to each other in Batman #50 are a form of psychological probing, which makes sense because Batman is the World’s Greatest Detective and Catwoman is a skilled thief and con woman. They read people basically for a living, but are vulnerable and have huge blind spots. Especially Batman. King writes some beautiful lines where Batman and Catwoman both say that each other’s eyes is what led to their initial attraction. Batman was struck by how complex Catwoman’s eyes were, and that she could be more than a one-off animal themed villain while Catwoman realized how simple and childlike Batman’s were: pure blue. These thoughts come during Tim Sale and Paul Pope’s pages showing Catwoman in her 1990s purple costume pursuing and aggressively flirting with Batman like he’s an innocent boy and not a skilled crime fighter drawn in heroic, stealthy poses by Neal Adams and Lee Bermejo. He’s lost control and maybe has a chance to find happiness like the totally adorable page drawn by Amanda Conner of Catwoman and Batman enjoying a date at the zoo, or this issue’s sexiest moment where Mister Miracle’s Mitch Gerads shows them under a cape blanket with all the accoutrements of crime and crime fighting strewn about. Batman and Catwoman have serious chemistry, which has been boosted by King, Gerads, and Janin’s work on the current series, but are they really marriage material?

One person who shares the idea that getting married would make Batman less miserable and lose his edge is Holly Robinson, Catwoman’s long time friend, who she springs out of Arkham for one night to be her maid of honor/witness. This is a bit of a crazy plot point because the last time she appeared, Holly was fleeing the country as Batman was trying to apprehend her for 237 murders that Catwoman tried to take the fall for. The inclusion of Holly in Batman #50 makes the story a little more twist-filled than a simple case of cold feet (Eat your heart out, X-Men Gold #30), especially the final page that puts a new spin on a famous 1990s Batman storyline. As Selina’s friend, who she saved from child prostitution, Holly has been around Batman since Year One when she stabbed a less than intimidating, fake scar sporting Bruce Wayne partially leading him to choose a costume to strike fear in the heart of criminals. (As a sidenote, it’s pretty epic to see Frank Miller’s lumbering Batman on the page when Catwoman talks about how angry and graceful he was during his early crime fighting days.) But is she a pawn or a mastermind in a larger scheme?

Batman #50 seems to be an inciting incident in a larger Tom King story centered around the breaking of Batman’s heart and not his body. Batman is always surrounded by Gothic elements, like secret passages, large empty mansions, and gargoyles, so adding a doomed romance to the mix makes sense. King and Mikel Janin are working in a larger tradition of Batman getting in the way of Bruce’s happiness, and a couple of DOA romances from other mediums come to my mind. (Vicki Vale from 1989’s Batman, Andrea Beaumont in Mask of the Phantasm, Rachel Dawes in the Nolan trilogy) However, this relationship is different because King has consistently written Batman and Catwoman as equal crime fighting partners and shows this through the symmetry in the composition of their letters (Clayton Cowles’ word bubble placement is impeccable. and even similar poses in the final pinups from Greg Capullo and Weeks. Those two crazy kids had some great, but unfortunately it didn’t work out.

Batman #50 definitely will be a fanbase breaking comic book, and the spoiler-y New York Times article didn’t help matters. However, throughout his run and in homage to Batman and Catwoman’s relationship, Tom King has seeded doubts that the Bat and Cat could settle into a quiet marriage. Bruce is as comfortable with as he is in the tuxedo that Alfred said reminds him of his father. Speaking of Alfred, Mikel Janin crushes a silent sequence where Bruce asks him to be his witness, and all dialogue and narration stops for a four panel hug that segues into aforementioned dreamy page from Mitch Gerads. King and Janin pinpoint these little emotional stingers into the narrative, like Holly complimenting Catwoman’s dress or a symmetrical double page spread where Bat and Cat embrace and kiss one, unfortunately last time. The use of symmetry and formalism in the way Batman #50 is constructed hint at a couple that’s on the same page, but that’s sadly not the reality.

In Batman #50, Tom King, Mikel Janin, June Chung, and a talent group of guest artists craft the ultimate, tragic Batman love story and show the chemistry between Bat and Cat while also showing how their marriage ultimately wouldn’t work out. This definitely isn’t a big, guest star heavy special, but an intimate story of a man, who decides to work out his pain and sorrow dressed as a bat instead of finding love and peace with an enigmatic woman, who dresses like a cat.

Story: Tom King Art: Mikel Janín
Guest  Art: David Finch, Joëlle Jones, Mitch Gerads, Rafael Albuquerque, Neal Adams, Andy Kubert, Becky Cloonan, Ty Templeton, José Luis Garcia-Lopez, Frank Miller, Lee Bermejo, Trish Mulvihill, Jason Fabok, Brad Anderson, Alex Sinclair, Hi-Fi, Tony S. Daniel, Tomeu Morey, Amanda Conner, Paul Mounts, Tim Sale, José Villarrubia, Paul Pope, Clay Mann, Jordie Bellaire, Jim Lee, Scott Williams, Greg Capullo, FCO Plascencia, Lee Weeks
Colors: June Chung Letters: Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.0 Art: 10 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Cosmic Ghost Rider #1

This week’s new comic book day sees a road trip for the Cosmic Ghost Rider.

Cosmic Ghost Rider #1 is by Donny Cates, Dylan Burnett, Antonio Fabela, Clayton Cowles, Geoff Shaw, Carlos Lao, Annalise Bissa, and Jordan D. White.

Get your copy in comic shops starting July 4. 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

 

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
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: Batman #50

It’s the wedding you never thought you’d see! The Batrimony is real as Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle are set to tie the knot in a can’t-miss, extra-length milestone issue that will reshape Gotham City. All their friends (and a few enemies?) will be party to a comic book coupling for the ages.

The build up has been coming for a while now and with Batman #50 writer Tom King answers the question as to whether Batman and Catwoman tie the knot.

The issue is done in an interesting way with what amounts to two page spreads with generally half dedicated to Batman’s preparation for the day and the other half for Catwoman’s. In between these normal panel pages, there’s full page images by some top art talent on top of which we’re presented the two’s thoughts about their meeting and what they’re about to do.

While the “will they or won’t they” has been spoiled the comic is interesting as it delves into the thought process of two individuals who are clearly nervous about tying the knot and if they do what it means.

Catwoman isn’t a hero, she’s a criminal.

Batman is a hero. He’s a hero driven by his pain.

If they were to get married, what does that mean for each of them? Can Batman be happy? These are the types of thoughts that run throughout the comic as the two characters explore their love for each other. And that’s the impressive thing, Tom King convinces you that these two love each other. By the end, you’re convinced there’s no one else for these two.

And that spoiling? Well, not quite. There’s a twist but you’ll have to read the comic yourself and go elsewhere.

The issues with the comic is the hype and a build up that doesn’t pay off. The quality of the narrative is excellent, it all just doesn’t quite live up to the lead up and the end result is rather predictable. A single panel does not make a comic and this one relies heavily on that final panel.

The art duties are mainly handled by Mikel Janin with colors by June Chung and lettering by Clayton Cowles. The art is solid and there’s some fantastic page layouts. The way some of these pages are laid out is impressive with very creative visual storytelling. What’s also interesting is the use of pin-ups to tell the story as well. There was a similar thing done in Action Comics #1000 and here it sort of works. The artwork is fantastic, there’s some talent. But, it breaks up the story a bit and after a while becomes a little tedious. When the big picture comes in to focus, the choice is an interesting one and adds a poetic aspect, somewhat appropriate considering what’s happening.

This is a chapter in King’s larger story. There’s much more to come as things weave together and that final panel indicates we’ve got a hell of a lot of excitement to come. As a single issue, this one has its good and its bad but as a piece of the larger puzzle it fits like a perfectly crafted piece of the larger picture.

Story: Tom King Art: Mikel Janín
Pin-up Art: David Finch, Joëlle Jones, Mitch Gerads, Rafael Albuquerque, Neal Adams, Andy Kubert, Becky Cloonan, Ty Templeton, José Luis Garcia-Lopez, Frank Miller, Lee Bermejo, trish Mulvihill, Jason Fabok, Brad Anderson, Alex Sinclair, Hi-Fi, Tony S. Daniel, Tomeu Morey, Amanda Conner, Paul Mounts, Tim Sale, José Villarrubia, Paul Pope, Clay Mann, Jordie Bellaire, Jim Lee, Scott Williams, Greg Capullo, FCO Plascencia, Lee Weeks
Color: June Chung Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 7.5 Art: 9.0 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Cosmic Ghost Rider #1

This week’s new comic book day sees a road trip for the Cosmic Ghost Rider.

Cosmic Ghost Rider #1 is by Donny Cates, Dylan Burnett, Antonio Fabela, Clayton Cowles, Geoff Shaw, Carlos Lao, Annalise Bissa, and Jordan D. White.

Get your copy in comic shops starting July 4. 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

 

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
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: Death of the Inhumans #1

This week’s new comic book day sees the possible end for the Inhumans!

Death of the Inhumans #1 is by Donny Cates, Ariel Olivetti, Jordie Bellaire, Clayton Cowles, Kaare Andrews, Sarah Brunstad, and Wil Moss.

Get your copy in comic shops starting July 4. 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

 

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
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

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