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Review: Tales from the Dark Multiverse: Blackest Night #1

Tales from the Dark Multiverse: Blackest Night #1

Blackest Night was one of my first major events reading DC Comics. I was a diehard fan of Green Lantern and the idea of the Black rings and new Corps was something that got me excited to see what would happen. It was a big deal bringing back long-dead characters and delivering some major ones into various Lantern Corps. It was also about hope in many ways. Tales from the Dark Multiverse: Blackest Night #1 takes that ionic story and delivers a much bleaker take.

Writer Tim Seeley delivers an interesting story that expands upon events and has Sinestro keeping the power of the White Lantern to himself. It’s his selfishness that causes the heroes to lose and Nekron’s undead army to spread. With just a few heroes left, things don’t look good.

Seeley does a solid job of delivering a story that isn’t just a twist on something we’ve seen but instead expands upon it. Where he takes it has ups and downs and an ending I didn’t see coming. He mixes hope and despair and leaves us an ending that feels very Planet of the Apes.

The art by Kyle Hotz is where I think the comic lacks. There’s something about the style that doesn’t click for me. Dexter Vines, Walden Wong, and Danny Miki provide ink. David Baron and Allen Passalqua provide color. Tom Napolitano handles the lettering. While some might like the visual style of the comic, it’s just not my cup of tea. At times what’s presented is too much and not clear. At its heart, this is a zombie tale and you need to mix scares with gore and this doesn’t deliver that because at times it’s hard to tell what’s going on. Add in familiar characters who look like boardwalk caricatures of themselves and the final result just doesn’t work.

Tales from the Dark Multiverse: Blackest Night #1 is the weakest of the line of comics released so far. It’s not bad in any way but it also has enough flaws and yawns the comic is a bit forgettable. There was a lot of potential here and while there’s some original concepts the final result is a bit of a letdown.

It does its best to not fall into the zombie tropes but the comic could have used more of it. There’s also some good in Sinestro’s failures. But add in Lobo, Dove, and Mister Miracle and you’ve got a comic that’s not quite sure what it wants to be.

Story: Tim Seeley Art: Kyle Hotz
Ink: Dexter Vines, Walden Wong, Danny Miki
Color: David Baron, Allen Passalqua Letterer: Tom Napolitano
Story: 7.0 Art: 6.0 Overall: 6.75 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

A First Look at Tales From the Dark Multiverse: Blackest Night #1


Written by Tim Seeley
Pencils by Kyle Hotz
Inks by Dexter Vines, Danny Miki, Walden Wong
Colors by David Baron and Allen Passaelaqua
Cover by Lee Weeks
On Sale November 13

Blackest Night is the Next DC Event to Feel the Corruption of the Dark Multiverse!

Tales of the Dark Multiverse: Blackest Night retells the tale of the Green Lantern event that changed the DC Universe forever, only this time the Black Lanterns emerge triumphant! Twenty-three days after the cataclysm, Sinestro, trapped between life and death as a White and a Black Lantern, emerges as the world’s last hope—the Limbo Lantern – against the threat of not only a horde of Black Lantern-infected New Gods, but Darkseid himself, also infested with the Black Lantern’s evil power.

In order to save the universe or end his life, Sinestro will need the help of some unlikely survivors—Dove, Lobo, and Mister Miracle—all of whom will put their lives on the line to give their world one final chance!


Review: The Batman Who Laughs HC

The Batman Who Laughs is collected in this hardcover which includes the Grimm Knight one-shot. The evil Batman has a plan and it’s terrifying! This is a key chapter in the bigger story that began in Dark Knights: Metal!

Story: Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV
Art: Jock, Eduardo Risso
Color: David Baron, Dave Stewart
Letterer: Sal Cipriano

Get your copy in comic shops now and book stores on September 3! To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.


DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
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Underrated: The Death Defying Doctor Mirage

Another rerun for you this week of a series that I enjoyed just as much when I reread it this week.

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: The Death Defying Doctor Mirage

dddm.jpgDoctor Mirage real name Hwen Mirage, first appeared in Shadowman #16 during Valiant’s first run at publishing comics, eventually getting an eighteen issue series in the form of The Second Life Of Doctor Mirage that ran from 1993-1995. The character was a parapsychologist along with his wife Carmen Ruiz who ran afoul of Master Darque a few times.   After the relaunch in 2012, Doctor Mirage reappeared, quite fittingly, in Shadowman #5 as Shan Fong, a scientist and paranormal investigator searching for the spirit of her deceased husband Hwen.

All of that is more than I knew going into The Death Defying Doctor Mirage, a trade that I got in a buy one get one deal at my LCS (the one I intended to buy was Bloodshot Reborn: Colorado). I was on the fence with this one as I had tried reading an issue of The Death Defying Doctor Mirage: Second Lives but struggled to get into the story (probably because it was the second issue of the sequel story, if I had to make a guess). With a TV series recently commissioned, I figured I’d best give the series another shot.

So what’s the story about?

Doctor Mirage talks to the dead… but the only spirit Shan Fong can’t find is that of her late husband, Hwen. Instead, America’s favorite semi-retired paranormal investigator is haunted and raw, using her gift to solve homicides and bring peace to the recently bereaved. But when a big-time occultist with a classified military past hires her for a special job, Shan discovers a lead that might close the greatest mystery she’s ever tackled – how to get Hwen back! Now, Doctor Mirage must enter the undiscovered country and cross all the realms of the underworld if she has any hope of rescuing the man she loves…or be forever lost beyond the earthly plane.

I was hesitant when going into this book, but I needn’t have been. The Death Defying Doctor Mirage is perfectly suited to  new readers, whether you’re familiar with Valiant or not, and for those of you who  enjoy reading a complete story in one go, you’ll be super happy with this. Although there is room for a sequel, there isn’t one of those obnoxious cliff hanger endings that drive you bonkers in a miniseries.

No, what you get with The Death Defying Doctor Mirage is a really engaging story with a lot of supernatural elements that shouldn’t deter you if that isn’t your cup of tea because they end up allowing Roberto De La Torre and David Baron the opportunity to run absolutely wild with some fantastical colours and environs to bring Jan Van Meter‘s story to life. Shan Fong is a brilliant character, and the glimpses I had seen of her in other issues as she made cameo appearances didn’t prepare me for how much I enjoyed her snark, her heart and an innate sense of Indiana Jones style of gambling and reckless sense of abandon that brings the story together into a crazy mix of the supernatural adventures, a gentle horror element all set against the underlying love story between Hwen and Shan.

I really enjoyed this book – far more than I expected to. So why is it today’s subject? Because I hear very few people talk about Doctor Mirage with the enthusiasm the character deserves – that’s why the book is Underrated.

Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

Review: The Batman Who Laughs #7

The Batman Who Laughs #7

The Batman Who Laughs #7 leads into the much anticipated Batman/Superman #1 and beyond that… is an extended giant fight scene. It’s the final showdown between Batman and the Batman Who Laughs. How do you defeat a foe who knows your every instinct and every move? Bruce Wayne will have to outsmart Bruce Wayne in this ultimate test of good versus evil.

Writer Scott Snyder wraps up the latest chapter in The Batman Who Laughs saga. Unfortunately, it’s in an issue that feels a bit stretched out. The Batman Who Laughs #7 features two main storylines. The first is Batman vs. The Batman Who Laughs and the second being the Gordons and their battle with the Grim Knight. Both are extended fight scenes. While they’re entertaining, they feel a bit dragged out. With a bit of editing, a tighter pace and shorter page count could have given us an extended sixth issue. That would have resulted in a better finale.

The issue is entertaining but there’s just something disappointing about it. The two Batman square off and a lot is said but unless you’re invested in the nature of Batman, it really is a fight scene. Gordon’s battle revolves around the relationship with his son and unless you’re invested in that, it too falls a little short and emotionless.

The issue is really a showcase for the art of Jock who easily moves between the nightmare of Batman’s vision and reality. The coloring by David Baron helps deliver that nightmare. But, it’s Sal Cipriano‘s lettering which really stands out. The voice and chill is all in the lettering in this issue.

While the issue wraps up the uneven miniseries, beyond the final page, it’s an issue that you can skip. There’s a lack of emotional punch to it and overall feels like a few extra pages stretched out to a full issue. It’s a clunker of an ending for a miniseries that went on a bit too long. But, as a piece of the whole, it’s fine. This is a series which will be much better read in one sitting as a trade. This issue is a prime example of why. The issue feels not like a chapter but a continuation after a commercial break wrapping up the last ten minutes of a show. It’s vital but doesn’t stand on its own.

Story: Scott Snyder Art: Jock
Color: David Baron Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Story: 6.0 Art: 8.65 Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Pass

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: The Batman Who Laughs #6

The Batman Who Laughs #6,

Intense. That’s the word that best describes The Batman Who Laughs #6, the penultimate issue of this solid miniseries.

Writer Scott Snyder has been building to this moment in this series. The Batman Who Laughs #6 features the confrontation of Batman and The Batman Who Laughs for a hell of a cathartic battle.

There’s an intensity about the comic. It builds as you move along to those final moments which feature a bit of release. This is a perfect example of building the emotional moment and leaving the reader want more.

That emotional ride is helped by Jock whose art with colorist David Baron is amazing. There’s a horror aspect to the design and look of the issue. It goes back and forth between reality and the nightmare vision Bruce/Batman is experiencing as the toxin courses through his veins. As he devolves into his own version of the Batman Who Laughs, we see a distorted world whose horrors would break anyone.

The negative of the comic is the lettering. I’ll admit I read this digitally so have no idea if this is an issue in the print version of the comic. The narrative boxes with red lettering on gray are hard to read at times. I had to blow up the pdf to be able to full read the text and even then I struggled. But, at the same time, Sal Cipriano‘s lettering also captures the madness. It adds character to both Batman and the Batman Who Laughs.

The issue is a solid one leaving me excited to see where the finale takes us and wondering how Batman will win in the end. It’s a prime example of both Snyder and Jock being at the top of their game.

Story: Scott Snyder Art: Jock
Color: David Baron Letters: Sal Cipriano
Story: 9.0 Art: 10 Overall: 9.25 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Underrated: Bloodshot Reborn: Colorado (Redux)

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Bloodshot Reborn: Colorado

bs colorado.jpg

I wanted to revisit this book, because I’ve recently reread and still don’t think it gets the attention it deserves. This originally ran in July of 2018.

Jeff Lemire has been writing Bloodshot across various series for a long time. Longer, even, than I have been reading. Two days ago, I picked up the first volume of Bloodshot Reborn as despite reading from around the eighth issue of the series on, I had never actually read the opening to the series. The blurb on the back of this book gives you a pretty good idea of the book’s plot, but what it doesn’t do is tell you that this book is so much more than your typical superhero story.

Bloodshot’s nanites made him a nearly unstoppable killing machine. His enhanced strength, speed, endurance, and healing made him the perfect weapon, and he served his masters at Project Rising Spirit — a private contractor trafficking in violence — very well. Now, Bloodshot is a shadow of his former self. He lives in self-imposed exile, reeling from the consequences of his past life and the recent events that nearly drove him mad. But when a rash of shootings by gunmen who appear to look just like Bloodshot begin, his guilt will send him on a mission to stop the killers, even if it means diving head-long into the violence that nearly destroyed him.

Picking up after the events of The Valiant (expect spoilers for that book if you haven’t read it), Colorado opens with a monologue telling you who Bloodshot was juxtaposed against images in stark contrast to who he is now. Lemire wastes no tie in showing you that a  man who was forced to kill for others has, seemingly, wasted his opportunity at a second chance for a normal life. Within a page or two, you’re hitting rock bottom with the man formerly known as Bloodshot. You can feel his guilt and shame emanating  from the paper as you turn the page, and not once do you blame him for what he’s going through.

This is a man who was broken, and who doesn’t know how to move past what he was. Who woke up from a nightmare only to understand that he was the monster, and now wears the question of whether he deserves to move on as an armour.

Bloodshot Reborn: Colorado is an origin story, of sorts, for Ray Garrison. Which means you don’t need to have read Bloodshot prior to picking up this comic (and, really, although the first series post Valiant relaunch is good, it pales in comparison to the more psychological horror take on the character that Lemire presents us with). This first volume in the series is a brilliant read; I devoured it in one sitting and immediately wanted to read more. I am a huge fan of Jeff Lemire, and think his take on the character is a vastly underrated one when looked at in the grand scheme of the comics read world.

Lemire’s take on Bloodshot is my favourite version of the character, but the opening of his story takes more from the horror genre than one would initially expect. The character’s inner turmoil is obvious and very clear to the reader as Ray Garrison struggles to discover who he is now that he’s no longer a monster; and his biggest fear, and one he must confront as the volume progresses, is that he’s nobody. Without the monster, he is a shell of a man.

Bloodshot Reborn: Colorado is a book I can’t speak highly enough of (were this a review I’d be giving it a solid 10; the art is every bit as impressive as the story), and it genuinely surprised me that I hadn’t heard much about it prior to reading it myself. Maybe that was part of the magic, that unexpected kick in the teeth, but this first volume of Bloodshot Reborn needs to find its place on your shelf – whether physical or digital.

Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

Preview: The Batman Who Laughs #5

The Batman Who Laughs #5

Batman was in a bad position when we last left him as he was surrounded by Arkham guards firing at him as the Batman Who Laughs taunted his every move. This issue has Bruce further falling in to the deep of the toxin in his veins as Gordon must deal with his situation and a decision is made whether to activate the Last Laugh.

The Batman Who Laughs #5 is an interesting issue in that it makes little sense on its own and even as a slice of the bigger picture it still takes a few reads to totally get.

Writer Scott Snyder is clearly not just weaving a miniseries here but has a bigger picture in mind as well. This shouldn’t be too surprising as he has done this before leaving his mark on Batman and the DC Universe as a whole. Revelations here are interesting hinting at some things laid out long ago but where things go from here is the big question. The issue is the revelation one showing us, sort of, what the Batman Who Laughs wants. Whether our Batman will give it to him is another question as Snyder leaves it very nebulous as to what the correct direction to go is.

The art by Jock continues to be great with a mix of action and horror and flowing from one to another. The issue definitely falls more into the horror end of things with this issue as each panel seems to bring a bit more madness to the page. Jock is helped with that by David Baron but it’s Sal Cipriano‘s lettering that really stands out. Not only does he deliver a style that’s so befits the Batman Who Laughs, he also dips into that with our Batman showing the struggle within. The lettering in this case tells a a lot of the story beyond the written word.

The issue doesn’t quite stand on its own but has me intrigued as to where things are going next. As part of a miniseries this far in it’s the reveal to some extent and even with that it still leaves a lot out there. At this point it’ll be interesting to see where the team takes it especially wit the announcement this series would be leading into more to come in the next year.

Story: Scott Snyder Art: Jock
Color: David Baron Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Story: 7.5 Art: 8.05 Overall: 7.55 Recommendation:

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Scott Snyder and Jock’s The Batman Who Laughs is Extended to Seven Issues

Today, DC Comics announced the upcoming Batman/Superman from writer Joshua Williamson and artist David Marquez making his DC debut.

In that announcement was another, The Batman Who Laughs from writer Scott Snyder and artist Jock is being extended to a seventh issue.

The issue highlights the final showdown between Batman and the Jokerized version of himself who originated from the Dark Multiverse in Dark Nights: Metal. Bruce Wayne will have to outsmart Bruce Wayne in this ultimate test of good vs. evil, so don’t miss the finale to the epic miniseries that will tear up the very foundations of Gotham City!

The final issue of The Batman Who Laughs, written by Scott Snyder and illustrated by Jock with color by David Baron, will hit shelves July 31, 2019 with a new cover by Jock.

cover to THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS #7 by Jock - art not final
cover to THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS #7 by Jock – art not final

Review: The Batman Who Laughs #4


Batman is on a desperate hunt through Gotham City, tracking down the dark version of himself known as the Grim Knight. But the serum Batman’s been self administering has started to transform his mind, making him into something much darker…something amoral…something like the Batman Who Laughs-and he’s starting to lose his grip on reality. Toeing the line between vengeance and justice, Batman must struggle to keep his moral code as the Grim Knight gains control of the Batcave, sending all of his vehicles and weapons on a collision course with Gotham City. The Grim Knight, the Batman Who Laughs, even allies like Jim Gordon and his son force Batman to pull the trigger…and activate the Last Laugh. Will Batman be the savior of Gotham City once more? Or is he the kill shot?

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