Tag Archives: Comics

President Luthor and President Trump are More Similar Than You Think

lex-luthor-for-presidentThe most controversial election of all time!” That was a marketing line for the storyline run by DC Comics that saw Lex Luthor elected President of the United States in the DC Universe. Collected in the “President Lex” trade paperback, the story ran through the various series of the time from an impressive collection of creators. Having recently reread the collection, it’s a frighteningly prescient story far ahead of its time, primarily because it could have easily been talking about the recent election of Donald Trump.

Opening up with “The Why” by writer Greg Rucka and artist Matthew Clark, we get the motivations of Lex Luthor’s run as he makes an announcement about his decision to run. Surrounded by the Superman logo, we’re presented with a Lex Luthor whose ego has clearly been hurt and driven by a need to be in the spotlight. In a mostly wordless six pages we get a sense that Luthor is driven for his competition with the Man of Steel and needing to be in the spotlight and in charge. That sound familiar?

In 2012 it was reported that Trump’s decision to run was made partially due to his humiliation at a White House Correspondent’s dinner. According to Republican trickster Roger Stone, Trump’s motivation was partially an “I’ll show him” attitude to President Obama and the shade thrown Trump’s way at the event. It’s ego to him, and we’ve seen from his outbursts and Twitter tirades, the man is all ego. But that simple coincidence isn’t all when it comes to the Presidential run, and win, for the two celebrity businessmen turned politicians.

One of the biggest decisions a Presidential nominee can make is their Vice Presidential choice. In Trump’s case, it was Indiana Governor Mike Pence. In Luthor’s it is former Kansas Senator Pete Ross. In a weird coincidence, a real life Pete Ross ran for Shadow Senator for Washinton, DC. So, in both cases we have a “big city” businessman choosing a mid-west politician as their running mate.

As part of the story Luthor is accused of harming Atlantis with some technology and after “going to trial” he talks his way out of it with a settlement and offers to pay reparations for the damage done. Trump has at least 75 lawsuits against him and his businesses and infamously settled the Trump University case during his Presidential run.

While lots of empty talk continues, action hasn’t been taken to help the people of Flint, Michigan and the water crisis occurring there. Due to neglect and outright criminal action, the water is poisoned for the people and damage done to those who have already ingested so much of it. The people of Suicide Slum in Metropolis too have been hurt with water poisoned from Luthor’s upgrading of the city with alien technology. While some areas benefit, Suicide Slum is left behind by those in charge, the people left to rot.

Luthor’s business is much like Trump’s as well. Lex Luthor has Lex Tower, Trump has Trump Tower, both ruling out of it. Luthor turns over his company to Talia Head (actually Talia Al Ghul), but he doesn’t really give up control instead dealing with Talia directly.

The election itself has many parallels. The outcome isn’t a blowout, resulting in a close election going on well into the night, a reality of the Trump/Clinton race. Luthor, like Trump, plays the media to not just make over his persona but deliver his message to the people with free air time. Perry White on the other hand, ponders if there was more they could have done as the fourth estate during the election itself, a similar introspection that existed within the media after Trump’s election.

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That hand-wringing extends to Superman and Batman. Both at a point debate if they should intervene to dig up dirt on Luthor. Superman is the the one who doesn’t want to, believing in the process and letting it play out, an attitude reflected by many who say we need to “stand with the President” and “give him a chance.”

aquaman-head-of-statePost election there are similarities. Luthor’s election is met with protests and he threatens to out Batman and his allies’ identities by using the NSA, FBI, CIA, and more. While we haven’t seen Trump directly do that, there’s some oddness concerning the current issues between the Trump administration and the intelligence community.

But, there’s a foreign policy move that’s odd. In one issue as part of the collection, Aquaman tells Superman that Luthor is the first world leader to reach out to Atlantis and take it seriously as a nation. The extended hand is something reminiscent of current talks with Russia and Trump’s willingness to praise the country so many see as an adversary. It’s a break in the previous foreign policy and one might argue, the right policy. Today, it would be easy to see the parallels, but this was originally published in 2000 and 2001.

What does the story tell us about President Trump’s future? President Luthor was impeached due to his going insane and trying to kill Superman. This was after a fairly competent run though. We haven’t seen that same competence out of President Trump, but talks of impeachment swirl about a month into his Presidency.

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Steve Orlando Discusses DC Comics’ New Series Justice League of America this Monday

justice-league-of-america-1Batman. Vixen. The Ray. The Atom. Black Canary. Killer Frost. Lobo. They’re the Justice League of America. The brand new superhero group launching on shelves February 22. Before the first issue is released, Graphic Policy Radio is talking to writer Steve Orlando about the new DC Comics series and what he has in store for us.

The show airs LIVE this Monday at 10pm ET.

Meet the Extremists-self-proclaimed saviors from another Earth, they thirst for peace, prosperity and total submission to the will of their leader, Lord Havok! How can the newly assembled JLA stop this group of misguided maniacs before the Extremists unleash their own unique-not to mention dangerous!-brand of law and order on our chaotic world?

Orlando is the talented writer behind series such as Midnighter/Midnighter & Apollo, Supergirl, Namesake, Undertow, Virgil, and the upcoming Batman/The Shadow.

Find out about this latest Justice League of America and tweet us your questions @graphicpolicy.

The show airs LIVE this Monday.

Review: Batwoman: Rebirth 

batwomanrebirthcoverBatwoman: Rebirth starts off sweetly enough, Kate Kane headed out for birthday waffles and chocolate with her mother and twin sister. That’s where the sweetness ends.

James T. Tynion IV and Marguerite Bennett serve up a story that brings the pain, the struggle, the strength and, the fire. We are treated to a back story for the ages complete with a rescue mission, a lesbian love affair, a fall from grace and, a triumphant return from the ashes to turn her into the hero that Batwoman becomes. There is passion in the pages that draws the reader into the fire behind Kane’s fight, telling the story of a woman who loses her family, finds herself, loses herself and, becomes reborn. We get to see first hand the struggles, the pain, the heartache and, the love that drives her.

Bennett and Tynion serve up Kane’s past on a silver platter, we watch the moment that made her want to fight, the love affair that sent her into exile, the year out of sight that showed her the demons that haunted her and, how Batman came into her life and trained her to be his equal in every way. This story focused on Kate Kane and nothing more, she retained her agency, her goals and, her dreams. Everything that made her an equal to the man in black and,  everything that made her unique is laid out in the pages of this issue. Because of the source material, this could have easily turned into the story of how Batwoman was lost and found by Batman and made her everything she was. The writers could have made this just another Batman spin-off but, luckily for us, they chose to go another way.

Bennett, known for being an out queer writer, handles Kane’s sexuality flawlessly carrying over her talented portrayal of the character from Bombshells. She showcases her sexuality with great care making it part of who she is without making it all that she is. There is never a feeling that she is only a lesbian for shock value which is refreshing and makes her a multifaceted character in her own story instead of a sideshow. The reveal of her sexuality so early on in issue one helps in the character development and informs the reader about the things that drive her, by the discrimination and slick side comments she’s faced.

Steve Epting and Ben Oliver‘s artwork is sleek and stylized without being overly sexual or adding a male gaze to the character. You can tell she is a woman and you can tell she has relationships with other women, without it feeling cheap or unnecessary. Each panel is detailed and well thought out drawing you into the story and there’s a genuine feeling of involvement in Batwoman’s life. The art makes you feel like a fly on the wall in a good way.

Overall between the storytelling and the art, this issue felt sincere, smart, well thought out, and engaging. There wasn’t a lot of action but, there didn’t need to be, it was about human connection, the things that drive us and, make us into what we become.

Story: James T. Tynion IV & Marguerite Bennett Art: Steve Epting & Ben Oliver
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.4 Overall: 9.4 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a free copy for review

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 2/18

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.


Alex

godcountry_01-1God Country #1 & 2 (Image) I missed the first issue when it came out last month, but when I found out that Donny Cates was the series writer I made a point to go back and find the first issue – and bot am I ever glad I did. God Country  has got to be one of the most well narrated stories I’ve read in some time, with such an interesting idea behind it; a man suffering from Alzheimer’s disease is cured when holding a giant sword. The two issues I’ve read have both been fantastic in every way a comic should be. Overall: 9.25 Recommendation: Buy

Kill Or Be Killed #6 (Image) After reading the first issue of this series on the recommendation of a fellow member of the Graphic Policy team, I’ve been constantly surprised at how gripping this series has been. The creative team have been producing such a fantastic story that evokes the feeling of the old pulp vigilante novel with a distinctly modern reinvention. Highly recommended. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Old Man Logan #18 (Marvel) You’re probably going to want to read this twice just so you can take in the phenomenal art work courtesy of Andrea Sorrentino and Marcelo Maiolo. Jeff Lemire is also on top form here, too, making this a fantastic comic to sit down with. Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

Venom #4 (Marvel) While I love the relationship between the symbiote and host, I care less for the rest of the comic. It’ okay, but only worth reading if you’re into the series already. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

The Wild Storm #1 (DC) Having never read any Wildstorm before I had no idea what to expect going it to this comic, but I enjoyed it quite a bit. Ben has a bit more detail below, so I’ll let you read his review now. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Ben

The Wildstorm #1 (DC): Despite never having read the Wildstorm imprint, I was excited the-wild-storm-1about this comic because the idea of Warren Ellis world-building an entire superhero universe makes me squeal with joy. The result is an audacious beginning for what could be one of the most impressive imprints in DC since Gerard Way launched Young Animal.

Jon-Davis Hunt is on art duty here. I love his work with Gail Simone on Clean Room, modern and polished yet with an unnerving supernatural horror atmosphere. The Wildstorm is geared to science fiction, however that doesn’t stop Hunt from excelling, particularly when it comes to scene decompression and panel layout.

I didn’t know what to expect from Ellis’ writing as I’m more familiar with his blatantly political and brutally mean-spirited indie work. However, his approach here seems to be inspired by cyberpunk, particularly Ghost In The Shell and The Matrix. It may be a superhero story, but Ellis is much more centered on powerful corporations, conspiracies, and the continually dysphoric nature between man and machine in the modern world.

There’s a lot of audacious, big-idea concepts going into this book, best of all without the sacrifice of character development. Each character comes in with their own personalities, goals, and complex morality. I have no idea what’s in store next, but I’m excited to find out. Story: 9 Art: 10 Overall: 9.5

Patrick

killorbekiled_06-1Kill or be Killed #6 (Image)** – Not sure how I feel about the abrupt switch of focus away from Dylan and his demonic vigilante spree. Much as I like NYPD detective Lily Sharpe, the sheer hard-driving intensity of this series gets diluted here. For me, this is just too much setup and a bit of a placeholder. Hopefully next issue will return to the suffocating, sweltering atmosphere I’ve gotten to love from this series. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Buy if you’re following, but this isn’t a good point to jump on.

Sex Criminals #16 (Image)** – Oh hey, this series is still going on! It’s been so long since last issue that Fraction & Zdarsky have to give us 8 PAGES of recap. I will stand by what I’ve been saying lately about Sexcrims: the plot is boring and getting in the way of my enjoying the hell out of two characters just trying to figure out how to be in the world together. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Pass.

Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turles Adventures #4 (IDW/DC)** – Picking up right where we left off, with the Scarecrow giving New York a dose of fear gas, and the Joker and Harley giving the hyenas (I’d forgotten they were called Bud and Lou!) a dose of mutagen. Pity this series will only go 6 issues, both my inner 5-year-old and my actual 5-year-old are loving it (even if this ish is a bit of a 4th-issue placeholder). Whatever Matthew K. Manning and Jon Sommariva have cooked up next, I’m down. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy.

Freelance #1 (Chapterhouse) – I’m not really sure what’s going on in this series – I’m not sure who Lance/Freelance is, what he’s about, what he wants, what his plans and goals are, who his friends are, and there is absolutely nothing in this comic to help me want to know more. What we’re really given is a continuation of the Aurora Dawn cult from the other Chapterhouse comics, which I guess is supposed to be the glue that holds the Chapterverse (nice name!) together. But feels more like a narrative sunk cost fallacy – does anyone really care about these guys? Jim Zub & Andrew Wheeler are pro writers and Vaneda Vireak’s art is OK enough, but it just doesn’t have a beating heart all its own. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Pass.

Agents of PACT (Chapterhouse) – One more time for the people in the back: if you don’t know Quebec French, get somebody who does to check it! This may seem like a quibble coming from a fluently bilingual Montrealer, but it’s a flaw that shows the other flaws in Kalman Andrasofsky and Blake Northcott’s characterizations. As for the plot, you really have to be invested in what’s been going on in Captain Canuck and Northguard to get who’s who and what’s what. And while it’s kind of nice to see the North given such focus, would it kill these guys to show us more of Canada than ice and snow? Anyway, Federica Manfredi does a good job on the art, but this is nothing to write home about. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Pass.

Ryan C

Kill Or Be Killed # 6 (Image)** – A bit of a curious issue, as Ed Brubaker’s script abruptly switches perspective to a new character, whose actions are related via semi-omniscient narration provided by — our usual protagonist, who doesn’t even know who this woman is yet? Sean Phillips’ art is uncharacteristically askew as well, with people drawn in bizarre and almost miniaturized proportions. I don’t get it, but events do, at least, still move forward in various and interesting ways. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Read if you’re following this series, pass if you aren’t.

bm_cv17_open_order_varBatman #17 (DC)** – After an issue that marked something of an uptick last time out, Tom King reverts to his now-customary disappointing form with this one, as a lackluster forthcoming confrontation with Bane is set up in lackluster and obvious ways. Alfred once again comes off as much more confidently-written than his boss, which is likewise becoming the norm, and David Finch’s art is — well, what it is. If you like it, you still will — if you don’t, you won’t. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass.

Dead Inside #3 (Dark Horse)** – John Arcudi and Toni Fejzula ramp their superb prison-murder-themed noir toward its conclusion with some truly surprising plot twists, painfully human character interactions, and the kind of quietly-omnipresent tension that makes for truly memorable reading. This series isn’t even done yet and I’m kinda missing it already. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Mother Panic #3 (DC/Young Animal)** – Jody Houser’s storyline is really gathering steam, with effective action scenes delivered with an economy of words deftly balanced against solid plot progression that shows Violet Paige/Mother Panic’s long-range plans coming into place while dropping more revealing hints about her tragic backstory at the same time. Tommy Lee Edwards’ sketchy art style serves the material on offer incredibly well, and one really gets the sense that this creative team is on the verge of hitting a serious — and potentially memorable — stride. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Shean

Black Panther: World Of Wakanda#4 (Marvel)– The team behind this book have brought issues to the forefront that rarely get dealt with in this medium.In this issue, the nations is steal dealing with the fallout of the death of Queen Shuri , this leads to a splinter groups of those who still oppose TChalla. Anneka and Ayo get sent to sea with Village Chieftain super-sons-1who is imposing sex slavery on the village women. By issue’s end, an unexpected death occurs while a long hidden secret is revealed. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Odyssey Of The Amazons#2 (DC)-The Giants our heroines were fighting at the end of their last chapter have turned out to be Trolls. After a successful fight, they find refuge in a village full of Vikings. Their commander soon find dissent amongst the ranks and even starts his question her own decisions. Before the end, we find out the Trolls’ intention for the Amazons they kidnapped. Overall: 9.3 Recommendation: Buy

Doctor Strange Monsters Unleashed #1 (Marvel)– Marvel’s most recent silly universe event, Monsters Unleashed feels more like a filler than anything canon changing, with no real death toll to even be seen. In this one-shot, we catch-up with the Sorcerer Supreme in the middle of a fire fight. Strange is less powerful and actually more cunning as his magic seems to be waning at this point. By issue’s end, an unusual team up occurs that shifts the edge on the side of the good guys. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Read

Super Sons#1 (DC) Robin and Superboy have always been footnotes in a very crowded hero universe , serving more as gimmicks than actual heroes with stakes. This all changed when DC decided to introduce Damien, as he not the typical Suitor to the Robin mantle, as he isn’t only Bruce Wayne’s actual son but he brings a whole new attitude and set of the skills to the job. So when Damien’s Robin seeks help from Jon’s Superboy , not only teen angst sets in , but their unusual circumstances pervade their assemblance of a life. By issue’s end, their famous fathers intervene in what seems like a hair brain plan.
Overall: 9 Recommendation: Read


 


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 (**).

Gotham Weekly Discusses Two Weeks of Batman Comics

This week on Gotham Weekly, our hosts battle some slight sound issues to talk about the past two weeks of Batman family comics.

Included in this episode is:

Batman #16 by Tom King and David Finch
Nightwing #14 by Tim Seeley and Marcus To
Batgirl #7 by Hope Larson and Chris Wildgoose
All-Star Batman #7 by Scott Snyder, Tula Lotay
Detective Comics #950 by James Tynon IV, Marco Takara, Alvaro Martinez, Eddy Barrows
Batgirl And The Birds Of Prey #7 by Julie and Shawna Benson, Chloe Roe
Red Hood And The Outlaws #7 by Scott Lobdell and Miko Colik

Review : Super Sons #1

459428-_sx1280_ql80_ttd_After originally being solicited for release back in September, one of the most-eagerly-anticipated DC Rebirth titles is finally here — Peter J. TomasiJorge Jimenez and Alejandro Sanchez‘ “kid-friendly” Super Sons #1. Methinks the delay, while admittedly somewhat aggravating, makes sense — after all, Jon “Superboy” Kent and Damian “Robin” Wayne needed to be teamed up elsewhere first to establish some sort of prior relationship, and a recently-concluded two-parter over in the pages of Superman managed that task of “groundwork-laying” quite successfully indeed. With all pretext and preamble out of the way, then, now is as good a time as any to strike while the iron is hot and turn things over to the next generation of heroes who are about to embark on what promises to be a decade or more of being stuck at right around 12 years old. Sigh, if only the real world worked like comics, lemme tell ya —

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Light-hearted action and adventure — a Tomasi specialty — are clearly the order of the day here, or rather, they will be, but the debut issue issue of this series is more concerned with establishing the particulars of these youngsters’ character interaction, and I can’t fault that decision in the least : Jon is the bright, perhaps naive, eternally optimistic one, while Damian is the overly-serious, “all-business,” self-appointed “leader” of the duo, and simple as that may be, it really does work — they play off each others’ strengths and foibles in equal measure, and both clearly like each other far more than either (especially Damian) is willing to admit. Jon’s powers are still developing, and are far from a consistent presence in his life, so that gives Damian the chance to play, at least in his mind, both mentor and protector, and during a snowball fight with school bullies, this actually does come in handy — during a bus ride where a disguised Damian inserts himself as driver, though, his presence is a potentially dangerous one.

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It all works out in the end, though, and that’s probably going to be the usual order of business for this series — and why not? “Outreach” titles aimed at cultivating a more youthful readership are a standard fixture over at Marvel these days, but DC is just sort of starting to get in on the act; fortunately for us all, they’ve chosen a pitch-perfect creative team to begin their efforts. Tomasi writes children extremely well — something we knew already — and Jimenez has a high-energy, easy-on-the-eyes art style that conveys both character expression and action equally nicely. Nothing about Sanchez’ colors especially stands out, per se, but they’re vibrant and smartly-chosen, so they do what they need to do. The kids are in good hands, and should be placed in exciting situations (as they are in this issue’s cliffhanger, when their first “case” leads them directly into the lion’s den facing the ultimate “baddie”) that fall short of being directly life-threatening a la too many Spielberg productions to mention.This is wholesome entertainment minus any unpleasant and ethically/morally questionable undertones, which isn’t exactly the easiest thing to pull off when you’re talking about something that screams “call child protective services!” as loudly and clearly as the idea of children going into battle against super-powered villains.

All in all, I have no problem putting my cynicism — and $2.99 of my money every month (for the record, I purchased this issue) — aside to enjoy material this lovingly-crafted. Super Sons is hardly revolutionary stuff by any stretch, but that’s not its intention. It’s a comic you can read with your kids that you’ll enjoy every bit as much as they do. Not only is there “nothing wrong with that,” there’s a whole heck of a lot right with it.

Story: Peter J. Tomasi  Art: Jorge Jimenez
Story: 8  Art: 7  Overall: 7.5  Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics Has Teased a Looney Tunes Smash-up

Jonah Hex. Yosemite Sam.

Martian Manhunter. Marvin the Martian.

Lobo. The Road Runner.

Batman. Elmer Fudd.

Yes please!

Around the Tubes

the kitchen #1 coverThe weekend is almost here. Some of the GP crew have a long weekend, which is good, because at least one of us has to write a review for a certain Canadian Mutant who has a movie coming out soon… Snikt.

While you wait for work to end and the weekend begins, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Around the Tubes

BoardGameGeek News – Codenames to Get Disney/Pixar and Marvel Comics Editions in Q4 2017 – Very Cool. The Marvel edition could be really fun.

JoBlo – Kevin Smith set to develop Todd McFarlane’s Sam & Twitch for BBC America – Yes please!

The Outhousers – DC Announces New Wonder Woman Day – Woo hoo!

Newsarama – Report: Movie Adaptation of Vertigo’s’ The Kitchen Gets Female Director – Such a good series.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

Talking Comics – Super Sons #1

Preview: Superman #17

Superman #17

(W) Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason (A/CA) Sebastian Fiumara
RATED T
In Shops: Feb 15, 2017
SRP: $2.99

“DARK HARVEST”! Jon and Cathy go deep into the woods of Hamilton to find a horror that hungers for the new Superboy!

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Preview: Batman #17

Batman #17

(W) Tom King (A/CA) David Finch
RATED T
In Shops: Feb 15, 2017
SRP: $2.99

“I Am Bane” part two! Barricading himself within the walls of Arkham Asylum still might not keep Batman and his allies safe from Bane’s assault. Which one of Bruce’s loved ones will be torn from him next?

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