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Review: Generations Shattered #1

Generations Shattered #1

Generations Shattered #1 is an interesting comic. As a standalone miniseries, the story would be quite compelling and engaging. But, with its release of “Future State”, the comic isn’t released in a vacuum. Spinning out of Dark Nights: Death Metal, the story involves a villain using the messed up time and history to shape their own. A group of heroes throughout time are gathered to save the day.

The concept of Generations Shattered #1 and where it goes would be an event miniseries I’d take a lot of interest in normally. But, it’s a bit of an oddity with the release of all of the other “Future State” comics. While they focus on possible future events, this one features a villain attempting to shape a new reality and history. Where it fits into this reshaping of the DC Universe and history is a bit of a headscratcher. While time seems to have mended as per other comics, maybe not? It’s a little unclear how this fits into what’s going on.

Written by Dan Jurgens, Andy Schmidt, and Robert Venditti, Generations Shattered #1 brings the heroes together in an oversized first issue. Dragged out feels like a better way to describe it. The issue is mostly the heroes being gathered as time is erased as it’s being rewritten. Over 45 pages are dedicated to this creating a slow build and long way to get to the point. Other comics have done the “gathering of characters” and their introduction quicker and in a much more entertaining way.

What this does though is give a massive amount of artists to stretch their legs. Each segment is handled by a different team giving the comic a jam-session sort of feel. That could be interesting as well if any of the art really popped. There’s not bad but there’s little that’s exciting either. Still, it’s fun to see the different styles and takes on the characters from so many artists.

Generations Shattered #1 is an oddity of a comic. It’s hampered by its release along “Future State” making its story a bit confusing. The concept is quite good and entertaining, especially where it leaves things. But, it takes forever to get to the interesting part. It’s a comic I both felt like a chore to read but at the same time I want to see where it goes.

Story: Dan Jurgens, Andy Schmidt, Robert Venditti
Art: Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Scott Hanna, Fernando Pasarin, Oclair Albert, Aaron Lopresti, Matt Ryan, Emanuela Lupacchino, Wade Von Grawbadger, Bernard Chang, Yanick Paquette, Kevin Nowlan, Dan Jurgens, Klaus Janson, Paul Pelletier, Sandra Hope, John Romita, Jr., Danny Miki, Doug Braithwaite, Rags Morales, Klaus Janson, Mike Perkins
Color: Hi-Fi Letterer: Tom Napolitano
Story: 6.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 6.0 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: Batman #105

Batman #105

James Tynion IV‘s run on Batman, so far, has been a lot of ups and downs. Arcs overall have been good but none are instant classics. It’s all entertaining but not a lot is memorable. Everything is just a setup to something else with very little feeling like real conclusions. Batman #105 continues that pattern as the “Ghost Stories” arc wraps up.

Batman, Harley Quinn, and Clownhunter are still captured by Ghost-Maker with Clownhunter being tempted to enact revenge against Harley with only Batman there to stop him. It’s a test by Ghost-Maker in hopes of making a point to Bruce/Batman that his ways are a failure. It all leads into another battle between Batman and Ghost-Maker as Bruce attempts to make a point his way is better to his long-time friend and rival.

Tynion uses the arc to introduce this new rival/friend but also continues to set up the new status-quo for Batman. That’s not necessarily a bad thing as layers are added to his vision for the character. But, while some themes are touched upon, each new layer seems to forget there was a layer underneath ignoring what has been set up before. In this case, Gotham is still dealing with the after effects of “The Joker War” but that is barely touched upon. Instead we get a bit of a continuation that Bruce/Batman has been a failure.

The forgetting of layers also seems to happen within Batman #105. The first half of the comic focuses on the dynamic between Clownhunter and Harley. As soon as that’s over, Clownhunter stomps off and Harley just disappears. While Bruce fights it out, she’s nowhere to be seen though could have stuck around to help. You’d also think Clownhunter, so focused on revenge, might want to stick around to get some against the person who kidnapped him.

The art of the comic is handled by Carlo Pagulayan, Danny Miki, Alvaro Martinez, Christian Duce. Unlike the previous issue, this one feels much more consistent in art. The different creators aren’t as noticeable and not the detriment like the previous issue. Joined by David Baron on color and Clayton Cowles on lettering, the issue has an almost “classic” design about it. Batman looks much more like Neal Adams’ version, the blue cowl and grey suit. There’s some inconsistency in Batman’s body but overall, everything flows well and there’s a good view of the action. Nothing is confusing or too much of a “quick cut”.

Batman #105 sets up an interesting dynamic by the end of the issue but like the arcs before doesn’t quite satisfy. It again feels like a piece of a bigger puzzle. And due to that, it’s not all that satisfying. These aren’t the classic days where Batman’s adventures were confined to some issues that you could enjoy on their own. Instead, this is just part of a bigger story whose arcs don’t feel like they quite stand on their own.

Story: James Tynion IV Art: Carlo Pagulayan, Danny Miki, Alvaro Martinez, Christian Duce
Color: David Baron Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 7.25 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.35 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Preview: Batman #105

Batman #105

Written by: James Tynion IV
Art by: Carlo Pagulayan, Danny Miki, Alvaro Martinez, Christian Duce

Batman battles Ghost-Maker in the no-holds-barred, bloody conclusion of this epic tale…winner take Gotham City! And the outcome is not what you’re expecting! The future of Gotham City and the fate of Clownhunter hang in the balance!

Batman #105

Review: Batman #104

Batman #104

Mixing Batman with Saw sounds like an awesome concept. Batman #104 dances around diving into that combination as Batman, Harley Quinn, and Clownhunter have been captured by Ghost-Maker. The first story arc after “The Joker War” continues to stumble as the series fails to excite.

Batman #104 has the group capture by Ghost-Maker bouncing between that and Nightwing and Oracle discussing Bruce’s history with Ghost-Maker. Writer James Tynion IV dips his toes in what could be a very interesting concept and direction. Ghost-Maker forcing Batman to make a tough decision with Clownhunter and Harley Quin while trapped within a room. But, the issue focuses mostly on Bruce’s past with the mysterious Ghost-Maker. By the end, we have learned only a little more than we knew before.

Almost half of the comic is dedicated to the past of Bruce and the anti-hero, about six times as is needed. We already knew they trained together, so adding in a little more is fine but much of the issue sets up the relationship between the two to once again emphasize that Bruce/Batman cares. The focus feels like filler to some extent presenting a sequence extended far more than it needs to be.

Where things would get interesting is presenting Batman with an actual dilemma, one where he needs to make a difficult choice. We get that tease in what looks like the set of Saw. Pitting Batman, Clownhunter, and Harley Quinn together in the situation really emphasizes Ghost-Maker’s point. And while the basics are there, it never really gets to the interesting aspects. That’s teased for the next issue.

Things aren’t helped with the art on the issue which is inconsistent. Ryan Benjamin, Danny Miki, Bengal, and Guillem March all contribute to the issue and it’s noticeable that there’s so many hands in it. There’s a dip in details from segment to segment and at times page to page that’s distracting. While DC has gotten away with multiple artists where things aren’t an issue, Batman #104 features such a variation that it’s jarring at times. Not even the art can really save the issue.

Much like much of the Ghost-Maker arc so far, Batman #104 continues a story which has potential but never quite nails the interesting meat of it. The issues feel like a build-up to what will be a packed final issue that really lays things out. This seems to be Tynion’s pattern with his multiple arcs so far. The initial issues lay out some interesting concepts, dances around them, and the final issue lays out the theme and “conclusion” of the arc. It creates for issues where things don’t feel satisfying and as a reader we’re left with potential with little payoff.

Story: James Tynion IV Art: Ryan Benjamin, Danny Miki, Bengal, Guillem March
Color: David Baron Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation:
Read

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Review: Batman #103

Batman #103

Batman #103 continues a rather middling new arc for the series after the mixed “Joker War”. The issue features Batman battling Ghost-Maker as we learn a little more about the two’s history. Nothing is too surprising or exciting but at the same time, there’s also nothing particularly bad about the issue. It’s a fine, somewhat forgettable read.

Writer James Tynion IV continues his Batman run with a “fight issue”. It’s interspersed with cliché and things we’ve seen so many times before. All it was missing was Ghost-Maker uttering “you have failed this city”. That’s just some of the frustration of the comic. With Ghost-Maker uttering “Bruce” every other page, you wonder who at this point doesn’t know Batman is Bruce Wayne. With Clownhunter standing there… does everyone have to know his identity?

There’s nothing particularly bad about the issue. If you enjoy fights and battles, that’s about it. Whether it’s Batman vs. Ghost-Maker or Clownhunter vs. Harley Quinn, Batman #103 delivers visuals and action over substance. There’s a bit more depth as to the history between Batman and Ghost-Maker but overall you leave the issue with little more than you began the issue with.

Where things do get a bit more fun and interesting is the mentioned Clownhunter vs. Harley Quinn. Harley is attempting to right her ship and do the hero thing again. Clownhunter though, wants his revenge. Watching the two battle it out is actually interesting as Harley mostly plays defense, laying out her vision of going legit. She also has some fun with it all analyzing Clownhunter a bit during their dance. That’s the most interesting aspect of the comic and hints at what Tynion might have been going for presenting the issue as is. We’re supposed to get a little juxtaposition between the two sets of adversaries. But, that never clicks. We generally get some nice visuals and tired cliché where Batman explains how Ghost-Maker’s actions actually hurts things.

Visually, the comic features a trio of creators, Carlo Pagulayan, Danny Miki, and Guillem March. Along with David Baron on color and Clayton Cowles lettering, the art flows between the three with little notice of changing things up. Visually, the comic looks crisp and nice and beyond a weird positioning of Batman at the end the action as presented is interesting. Harley and Clownhunter’s dance especially stands out with its close quarters and humorous tone to it.

As I stated, Batman #103 isn’t a bad comic at all. It’s just rather boring. Much of it feels like things we’ve already seen. That can work if it’s presented in a new or interesting way. As is, we have another “anti-hero” thinking Batman’s actions haven’t worked while Batman explains he sees a bigger picture. It’s an attempt to extend some of the themes from “Joker War” but it never quite works or clicks. Instead, the comic feels like it putters about a bit never getting to the point and extended things out much longer than they should.

Story: James Tynion IV Art: Carlo Pagulayan, Danny Miki, Guillem March
Color: David Baron Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.85 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

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Preview: Superman #27

Superman #27

Written by: Brian Michael Bendis
Art by: Ivan Reis, Danny Miki

A cosmic-level threat has come to Metropolis! Synmar has traveled across the galaxy to unleash hell on Superman, and our hero must learn that this creature is so alien that he will have to reinvent how he’s going to fight! To that end, Superman goes to the source to learn where this new nemesis came from, only to find himself in a corner of the galaxy he’s never seen before, way off the map—and he may find the return journey even harder than getting there! Featuring an appearance by the Justice League and a new foe unlike anything the Man of Steel has ever faced, this epic slugfest is brought to you by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Ivan Reis and Danny Miki!

Superman #27

Review: Batman #102

Batman #102

With “Joker War” over, I’ve been intrigued to see where Batman would be taken. In the event, we saw how Batman’s plans have failed Gotham. The city isn’t better off and in many ways, it’s as broken as when he started his battle. Bruce and Batman have also pushed away his allies and relied a bit too much on his toys in his war on crime. Batman #102 takes the first real steps as to Batman putting things back together.

Writer James Tynion IV delivers a reflection in Batman’s current state with Ghost-Maker, a character from Bruce’s past. Like the Joker, Ghost-Maker feels Batman has failed in his role of protecting the city. But, his take is a more brutal justice. Criminals should be executed, not taken to jail, and Ghost-Maker’s first real target is Clownhunter, the new hero of the Narrows.

The issue is an interesting one with a clear focus on reminding us of Batman’s new status-quo. Barbara is back as Oracle and without his unlimited funds, he needs to handle issues differently. We’ll clearly see a Batman whose battle is hindered by failing gimmicks. That’s been foreshadowed a lot. We’re also going to get a new Bat-team for Batman to rely on if this issue’s hints are a bit more than just that. This is the arc to get us… somewhere.

And that’s the good and bad of the issue. Like much of Tynion’s run so far, the issue feels like it has a specific job of take us to some other point in the story arc. That the point of the issue isn’t Ghost-Maker, it’s to set up what happens next in the following arc. This is much like the previous arcs of Batman that had Tynion leading to Joker War. His Batman feels more like a three-act play that a self-contained story or arc. That each issue and story is built to drive you towards something down the road, not so much focused on the here and now. In that way it feels a little forgettable. While there’s some solid action and interesting concepts, the issue itself feels a little thin.]

The art by Carlo Pagulayan and Carlos D’Anda is solid. Along with ink by Danny Miki and lettering by Clayton Cowles Batman #102 is crisp in style and really gives a visual sense of where things are. That “status quo check” is not just for Batman but also Gotham as a whole. We can see it’s a city still under construction attempting to rebuild itself from its ashes. With Batman, there’s a low-fi feel about him. Gone are the cool vehicles and tools, instead things feel a bit back to basics visually. But, it’s Ghost-Maker that really stands out. Compared to Batman and Gotham, the character feels like the future. It’s a sleek design that looks modern and advanced compared to the more rusty/under construction Gotham and lacking toys Batman.

Batman #102 feels a bit like a reminder of much of what the previous issue laid out. The difference is, this issue has Batman in the field. There’s a bit too much set-up and foreshadowing making the issue feel not so much as something that stands on its own but a bit focused on what comes down the road. Unlike Batman, who’s attempting to focus on the now, the issue is focused on its endpoint down the road.

Batman #102 is a rather thin issue that gets to the conflict between Ghost-Maker and Batman too quickly and doesn’t build enough tension. In other words, it’s just another person for Batman to fight not some difficult obstacle for him to overcome. Batman #102 rushes to its end fight without giving us much of a reason to care or much of a reason to think that this will be a tough battle. It needed to focus on setting up the issue itself not issues down the road.

Story: James Tynion IV Art: Carlo Pagulayan, Carlos D’Anda
Ink: Danny Miki Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 7.5 Art: 7.8 Overall: 7.6 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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October’s Batman and Detective Comics’ Covers are Revealed. Joker War Ends as Grifter Comes to Gotham

This October, there’s more trials and tribulations than tricks and treats in store for Batman and Gotham City! As his ferocious battle with the Clown Prince of Crime comes to an end, there are more questions than answers ahead for Gotham’s guardian (including a completely unexpected guest star)!

Here’s an early reveal of covers and art from some must-have Bat-books coming your way in October!

BATMAN #100

Written by JAMES TYNION IV
Art and wraparound cover by JORGE JIMENEZ, GUILLEM MARCH, CARLO PAGULAYAN and DANNY MIKI
Card stock variant cover by FRANCESCO MATTINA
1:25 card stock variant cover by JORGE JIMENEZ
On sale OCTOBER 6, 2020

In this extra-sized finale issue, “The Joker War” comes to a city-shattering conclusion as Batman battles The Joker in a brutal, no-holds-barred final duel! This is a fight 80 years in the making, and its outcome won’t just change Batman’s life—it will change Gotham City for years to come!

BATMAN #100

DETECTIVE COMICS #1028

Written by PETER J. TOMASI
Art by NICOLA SCOTT
Cover by KENNETH ROCAFORT
Card stock variant cover by LEE BERMEJO
On sale OCTOBER 13, 2020

Spinning out of the events of “The Joker War” and Detective Comics #1027 comes a tale of the beginning of the end for Gotham City’s status quo. With tensions flaring and a new mayoral candidate making his anti-masked hero agenda known to the city, Batman and his allies are stretched thin to keep the peace. But just as things couldn’t look any worse, a string of gruesome murders has left a trail of the most corrupt in Gotham City losing their heads…literally. If Batman doesn’t quickly find the killer— the Dark Knight will be next.

DETECTIVE COMICS #1028

BATMAN #101

Written by JAMES TYNION IV
Art and cover by GUILLEM MARCH
Batman/Grifter card stock variant cover by FRANCESCO MATTINA
1:25 Grifter card stock variant cover by JORGE JIMENEZ
On sale OCTOBER 20, 2020

A new day dawns in Gotham City, and the horrific aftermath of “The Joker War” is only starting to unfold…how has The Joker’s rampage affected the citizens of the city? What legacy did the Clown Prince of Crime leave, and how it will hit the Dark Knight? And why does Cole Cash—a.k.a.—Grifter, now work for Lucius Fox?!

Preview: Wonder Woman #757

Wonder Woman #757

(W) Steve Orlando (A) Jesus Merino, Vicente Cifuentes (CA) Danny Miki, Robson Rocha
In Shops: Jun 17, 2020
SRP: $3.99

Warmaster’s plot to destroy Wonder Woman’s family is nearly complete… but Diana has reunited with her former protégé Donna Troy! Are the two of them enough to face the might of the Four Horsewomen? Or is the Age of the Amazons at an end?

Wonder Woman #757

Preview: Wonder Woman #756

Wonder Woman #756

(W) Steve Orlando (A) Jesus Merino, Vicente Cifuentes, Danny Miki (CA) Robson Rocha
In Shops: Jun 03, 2020
SRP: $3.99

With Wonder Woman down, the Four Horsewomen are victorious-and now they set their sights on the rest of the Amazons! Can anyone stop Warmaster from delivering ultimate vengeance upon Wonder Woman’s family?

Wonder Woman #756
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