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Review: Dark Knights of Steel #6

Dark Knights of Steel #6

I’ve been a pretty big fan of this series. Its mix of the familiar with new has been perfectly balanced. As opposed to just taking characters and putting them in a new setting, the series keeps things slightly different at times so just when you expect one thing, it turns out to be something else. Dark Knights of Steel #6 is an example of that as the various kingdoms prepare for war and moves are made to prevent it.

Three kingdoms are preparing for war as assassinations have been going on all over and a prophecy seems to be driving a lot of the decisions. Written by Tom Taylor, Dark Knights of Steel #6 keeps things interesting with great pacing and some tension as characters are put into place for the latter half of the story.

What’s really solid is what Taylor dances around. There’s hints that there’s more going on here, another force or character behind the events. I’m sure this is the reality of it all and we’ll see the kingdoms team up to take on this threat. But, Taylor keeps readers on their toes so you never know if this is how it’s going to shake out. I could be wrong and we’ll see!

The art by Yasmine Putri continues to look beautiful. The comic has always looked great with some solid designs that take inspiration from their main comic versions but is far more than just strapping armor on things. The colors by Arif Prianto pops and lettering by Wes Abbott emphasizes the moment. The art perfectly nails the story as key moments pop and really stand out. A stabbing, a person wrapped up in the lasso of truth, reveals, they all really stand out and nail it creating a read that’s visually fun to look at and also fun to read.

Dark Knights of Steel #6 kicks off the second half of the story and keeps things moving and up in the air. Can war be prevented? Will the prophecy be fulfilled? It delivers just enough unexpected to keep the readers guessing what will happen next and most importantly, it’s a hell of a lot of fun. Another fantastic issue for a series and world I hope we get more of.

Story: Tom Taylor Art: Yasmine Putri
Color: Arif Prianto Letterer: Wes Abbott
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.4 Overall: 8.1 Recommendation: Buy

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Review: Dark Knights of Steel #5

Dark Knights of Steel #5

Can we just crown Tom Taylor the ruler of “Elseworlds” stories? Taylor has proven again and again a mastery of taking familiar characters, throwing them in new situations, and twisting them just enough. Dark Knights of Steel #5 is a prime example of that as we get near the midpoint of the series and get a hell of a few twists.

Dark Knights of Steel is a swords and sorcery spin on DC’s heroes with the Kingdom of El on a crash course of war against the Kingdom of Storms. Alliances have been formed. Shocking deaths have happened. As a reader, I’ve been kept on my toes with every issue. This one is a perfect example with the rug pulled out from under the reader.

We’ve learned that Bruce is the son of Jor-El and half-brother of Kal-El. Wonder Woman is on a mission to find Zala Kal-El who murdered King Pierce’s son… or did she? There’s a lot in this issue as lies and betrayals are thrown around and an ending I wasn’t expecting at all. Taylor has kept the comic fun and entertaining and unexpected!

Yasmine Putri‘s art is beautiful. Along with Arif Prianto‘s colors that pop and Wes Abbott‘s lettering, the comic is fantastic to look at. Everything looks amazing and there’s nothing to knock at all as far as the art. It all works and works so well. There’s a mastery of the panels with Putri closing in or pulling back on scenes nailing the impact for the reader.

Dark Knights of Steel #5 is just a fantastic issue. It has a bunch of “holy shit” moments that leaves the reader not knowing what’s next.

Story: Tom Taylor Art: Yasmine Putri
Color: Arif Prianto Letterer: Wes Abbot
Story: 8.75 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

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Review: Dark Knights of Steel #4

Dark Knights of Steel #4

Dark Knights of Steel has a been a solid “Elseworlds” storyline taking the characters we know and throwing them into a fantasy setting. The series, more importantly, hasn’t been simple the characters we know in a new setting. Instead, there’s been some slight tweaks and additions and enough to keep readers guessing. Add in political machinations and it’s been an entertaining read. Dark Knights of Steel #4 continues the success with an issue that pulls back the curtain telling the story of the Els’ coming to Earth and how Bruce came to be.

Alfred spills the details. All of the details. After Bruce’s discovery in the previous issue, Alfred has decided to sit him down and tell him the truth (I’m assuming it is). Written by Tom Taylor, Dark Knights of Steel #4 takes us through the Els’ early years on the planet and we find out how they came to rule their kingdom. It’s a much more grounded and benevolent story hinting at what’s to come.

What I like about Taylor’s storytelling is that it makes sense in many ways. It’s a gradual takeover by the Els and not some quick power grab or worship by the people. It very much fits the “benevolent’ character of Superman. But, it also shows a slow corruption over time to where things are at.

Taylor also delivers some twists finally revealing who the “Green Man” is. It’s definitely not who I expected, showing the series can still surprise.

Bengal handles the art duty for this issue with Arif Prianto on color and Wes Abbott on lettering. The art is good. There’s some fantastic panels and pages but generally the characters lack a certain detail of previous issues. Bengal’s art style is good and consistent but it’s nothing that really jumps out to me. It’s a step back from the previous issues and is noticeable, partially because the first three issues were so good visually.

Dark Knights of Steel #4 fills in some interesting gaps to the story. We get to learn a bit of the world’s history through Alfred. While the issue is mainly devoted to the past it’s very much about the present and by the end, has set the series up for its next arc and direction.

Story: Tom Taylor Art: Bengal
Color: Arif Prianto Letterer: Wes Abbott
Story: 8.25 Art: 7.4 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

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Review: Dark Knights of Steel #3

Dark Knights of Steel #3

Dark Knights of Steel has delivered a hell of a rollercoaster ride so far. The series follows a fantasy take on familiar superheroes with Black Lightning’s family ruling one kingdom and Superman’s family ruling another. Jor-El is murdered by King Jefferson leading to Zala Jor-El to attack Jefferson’s kingdom killing his son. A war is brewing and Dark Knights of Steel #3 sees the various factions jockeying and preparing for what’s to come.

Written by Tom Taylor, the first three issues have very much been the setup of the clash to come. There’s lots of mystery brewing, like why Zala is just out killing folks now, but it’s the machinations and planning by the rulers that’s most interesting.

Dark Knights of Steel #3 has Jefferson attempt to woo the Amazons to his side. But, is that really his goal overall? There’s an intelligence as to what Taylor is brewing that has the reader questioning what might behind everyone’s actions. Things can’t just be straightforward, can they?

Taylor also does a fantastic job of using DC’s characters without just having them in different costumes. There’s hints and teases in some cases where just a name or color of armor let you know what their main DC Universe equivalent is. It’s fun in that way that has you partially playing “who’s that character?”.

The art by Yasmine Putri has been fantastic. With color by Arif Prianto and lettering by Wes Abbott, each issue looks stunning and Dark Knights of Steel #3 is no exception. As said above, the characters look like they fit in this world without just slightly tweaking their normal costumes. Normal knight armor might just be colored in a way to tip off readers. There’s also a great use of events off page. With Zala on the warpath, some of her actions happen off the page with the reader only seeing the beginning and then the destruction. That leaves the imagination to run wild and fill in the blanks, which is far worse than what Putri would be able to show.

Dark Knights of Steel #3 is another solid issue of the series. It’s slowly building the intrigue and action to come instead of just rushing into things. It also has no problem piling up the bodies and destruction. In other words, it’s using its disconnect from continuity to full advantage and delivering a reading experience that’s familiar but also keeps readers on their toes.

Story: Tom Taylor Art: Yasmine Putri
Color: Arif Prianto Letterer: Wes Abbott
Story: 8.75 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

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Review: Nightwing #87

A brilliant issue, Nightwing #87 is told in one continuous issue. If you love comics and comic art, this is a must get.

Story: Tom Taylor
Art: Bruno Redondo
Color: Adriano Lucas
Letterer: Wes Abbott

Get your copy now! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

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Review: Dark Knights of Steel #2

Dark Knights of Steel #2

Time and time again, writer Tom Taylor has show he can do an “Elseworlds” story taking the familiar heroes we know and putting them in new and interesting situations. He often delivers the basics but packs in enough enough different aspects that it feels far more than same heroes in a different setting. In the first issue of Dark Knights of Steel we’re introduced to a fantasy take of our heroes with some twists and turns and Dark Knights of Steel #2 does much of the same, upping the action and tension.

Taylor has delivered a world where the heroes we knew now rule Kingdoms with the land of Jor-El imprisoning “wizards and magic” leaving its rivals to see them as a threat to the people. With a prophecy hinted at, the debut issue saw Jor-El killed by an arrow and the revelation that Bruce was his son as well. It was a hell of an ending that threw a lot into question and added a layer of possible friction for later.

Dark Knights of Steel #2 picks up on that as two kingdoms look to inch towards war and we see how evil the House of El is. The second issue delivers twists in multiple ways, including an unexpected character and that prison. Is Superman’s family actually evil? For characters that have stood for good for so long, just casting a shadow like this on them leaves the reader questioning if this is the side we should be cheering for or not. Something is very off and two issues in, I’m not sure who’s good and who is bad. Hell, they all might be bad in the end and it’s just a matter of how evil they are.

The art by Yasmine Putri continues to be fantastic. With color by Arif Prianto and lettering by Wes Abbott, the world and characters feel familiar but are distinctive. The designs take inspiration from their DC counterparts but aren’t a straight riff. They have elements inspired by. There’s also just some great visual moments and a lot of emotion in the characters as they deal with the fallout of the debut issue. You get the sense of the highs and lows in the issue. But, it’s the small details that stand out and say a lot. There’s an entire bit with Green Arrow and his capture where the visuals are so much more impactful than the dialogue about them.

Dark Knights of Steel #2 is a solid issue that leaves us with a holy shit moment. It leaves us questioning who are the real heroes and if there are any in this story. Taylor has taken the expected heroes versus impossible odds in new setting formula we were expecting and is delivering us another shakeup to the genre he’s mastered so well. This is a hell of a series that looks to keep its readers on their toes.

Story: Tom Taylor Art: Yasmine Putri
Color: Arif Prianto Letterer: Wes Abbott
Story: 8.4 Art: 8.6 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

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Review: Suicide Squad: King Shark #2

Suicide Squad: King Shark #2

Suicide Squad: King Shark #2 continues to be a funny, gory, and occasionally sexy good time from Tim Seeley, Scott Kolins, and John Kalisz. This book feels a lot like a quirky late-1980s DC comic thanks to appearances of supporting cast members from Animal Man, Swamp Thing, and of course, the titular Suicide Squad, but Seeley brings a modern sense of humor with one of the most annoying songs in recent memory acting as both a running gag and something driving the plot. The same philosophy extends to Kolins’ sturdy, almost deadpan figures that are an inch away from erupting into total violence. Kalisz also eschews the fancy digital effects and goes for bold, trippy tones especially any time mystical power or energy is involved. King Shark is a silly book, but it’s well-crafted and has some great world-building too.

Like in many of his previous DC efforts, like Nightwing and Grayson, Seeley excels at both excavating old concepts and characters from previous DC Comics as well as fleshing his own additions to this vast multiverse. The entire plot of Suicide Squad: King Shark revolves around a tournament of representatives of different species from cockroaches and sea worms to sharks and humans to see which one is the prime evolutionary force on the planet. It’s also connected to the idea of the Red and Parliament of Limbs from Jeff Lemire’s run on Animal Man, but Tim Seeley and Kolins give it a reality TV/shonen manga/pro wrestling flair. It’s fun to watch anthropomorphic animals beat the shit out of each other while King Shark and our POV character, Shawn Tsang (Aka my favorite character from Seeley’s Nightwing run.) work out their anger issues and try to stay one step ahead of Amanda Waller, who wants King Shark to kill for her not his species.

Tim Seeley, Scott Kolins, and Kalisz are quite creative with the fight scenes in Suicide Squad: King Shark #2 and make them weirder, and in many cases, grosser than your usual superhero fisticuffs. John Kalisz colors the hell out of some oozing fluids, and Seeley doesn’t make King Shark’s matchups a cake walk even if he isn’t fighting any recognizable DC characters. However, the highly problematic B’wana Beast is the host and in full sleazy drama-stirring mode. (The fact that Mr. Beast is problematic is commented on by the characters in a quick witted line from Shawn.) This combination of struggles at the tournament plus Shawn (And by extension, the reader) rooting for Man King to ensure that humanity isn’t shark or cockroach bait increases the tension as well as Amanda Waller and a team of seriously cool characters ready to retrieve King Shark from what she perceives as nonsense. Her interactions with King Shark’s divine father are seriously chilling as she doesn’t back down from a character who gets special big lettering font from Wes Abbott because he’s so powerful.

Suicide Squad: King Shark #2 is truly a delight. It’s a deep dive into some seriously underappreciated DC characters, both past and present, with a sense of humor and a brutal approach to fight scenes. Tim Seeley and Scott Kolins also find the gentle humanity in King Shark, and most of the time you’re laughing with and not at him and feeling bad at how he’s manipulated by so many forces, including his father, Amanda Waller, and Shawn Tsang. Maybe, one day he’ll find a human that he can actually trust, but it probably won’t be in this miniseries among the Real Housewives, er, Furries of the DC Multiverse.

Story: Tim Seeley  Art: Scott Kolins
Colors: John Kalisz Letters: Wes Abbott
Story: 8.4 Art: 7.9 Overall: 8.1 Recommendation: Buy

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Review: Suicide Squad #5

Suicide Squad #5

With his spotlight in the upcoming The Suicide Squad, it was only a matter of time before we saw Bloodsport join the series. Suicide Squad #5 brings the character into the fold as he takes on a mission for Amanda Waller, one that involves the multiverse.

Bloodsport is on a mission. After a quick “origin” recap for those that don’t know the character we get into the thick of things. Hopping around the multiverse on his own, Bloodsport is looking for new recruits for Waller to join her Suicide Squad. Now on Earth-3 he has to deal with a world where all of the “heroes” are actually villains. There’s a lot of recruitment opportunities there.

Robbie Thompson does a fantastic job of taking us through Bloodsport’s thought-process as he explores a new world and explains his mission. We get a little more about his background and history and Thompson adds some small touches that add some depth to the character. What’s great is the character delivers what feels like a mix of danger, expertise, and a little off. The results are some deadpan humor that keeps the comic from being too serious.

A team delivers the art which isn’t too noticeable. Other than an opening sequence, the comic is smooth in its look and it looks good. Dexter Soy, Eduardo Pansica, Julio Ferreira, and Joe Prado all provide the art. Suicide Squad #5 features some nice layouts that make Bloodsport look amazing with dynamic poses that you want to recreate with toys. Alex Sinclair‘s colors make the blues, reds, and greens pop on the page. Wes Abbott handles the surprising amount of dialogue and really makes Bloodsport’s journal unique and in his “voice”.

Suicide Squad #5 is a fantastic entry in a series that’s been entertaining the entire time. It almost stands on its own and can likely be picked up by new readers with few issues. What’s better for long-time readers is that there’s some major moments when it comes to the team’s dynamics that’ll have major implications going forward. At the end though, it left me wanting more Bloodsport.

Story: Robbie Thompson Art: Dexter Soy, Eduardo Pansica, Julio Ferreira, Joe Prado
Color: Alex Sinclair Letterer: Wes Abbott
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

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Robins Reunite in Nightwing #80, and a Heartless New Blüdhaven Villain Arrives!

Longtime Nightwing readers will know that Dick Grayson’s always had a big heart. From protecting those persecuted by bullies in his youth, to combating evil alongside Batman as Robin, to pledging his newly inherited wealth to enriching Blüdhaven as Nightwing—his kindness and generosity have always guided his life. But looking ahead to Nightwing #80’s “Leaping into the Light” part 3 on May 18, a new villain stalks the back alleys of Blüdhaven, removing the hearts of the city’s most vulnerable. Who is this terrifying new menace named Heartless, and will he be able to resist plucking out the biggest heart in all of Blüdhaven? You’ll need to read this (literally) heart-wrenching issue to find out!

On top of all that, creators Tom Taylor, Bruno Redondo, Adriano Lucas, and Wes Abbott are delivering the heart and soul of the DC Universe in every issue! Check out a Robins reunion in Nightwing #80, due to hit shelves on May 18! What is Tim Drake doing in Blüdhaven?

Then in Nightwing #81 on Jun 15, Dick Grayson trades out his escrima sticks for a magnifying glass and a sleuth hat to investigate Blüdhaven’s new mayor, Melinda Zucco, and find out how the daughter of the man who murdered Dick’s parents came to power in Nightwing’s city. But his investigative adventure is cut short when he comes face to face with the most horrendous villain in the history of Blüdhaven—HEARTLESS.

And in Nightwing #82 on July 20, Melinda Zucco’s connection to the man who killed Dick Grayson’s parents wasn’t a surprise to the Blüdhaven hero, but what the former Robin discovers about Melinda’s ties to the Flying Graysons leaves the usually upbeat detective speechless!

Every issue of Nightwing, written by Tom Taylor with art and covers by Bruno Redondo, color by Adriano Lucas, lettering by Wes Abbott, edited by Jessica Chen, has Nightwing “Leaping into the Light!”

Review: Suicide Squad #2

Suicide Squad #2

I loved the debut of this latest volume of Suicide Squad. The issue did a great job of doing its own thing but also tying into what else was going on in the DC Universe. The debut issue involved Peacemaker leading a team to break out William Cobb, aka Talon, from Arkham Asylum. For those who read Batman, you’ll know there was an attack that killed most of Arkham’s inhabitants. Peacemaker and the team found themselves caught in that attack. Suicide Squad #2 keeps things moving as Peacemaker is determined to complete his mission.

Robbie Thompson keeps readers on their toes with Peacemaker focused and overwhelmed. He’s dealing with inmates and guards as he attempts to get his target back to base. There’s a solid action aspect to it but Thompson also does something interesting, you have no idea if Peacemaker will succeed. In the first issue, much of the team were killed. That opening now keeps readers on their toes not knowing who might be offed next. This is a first, I really feel like this is a team that might not make it. Beyond Peacemaker and Superboy, who knows who might die. Thompson keeps things rolling as a new team is sent to help Peacemaker in his mission.

Suicide Squad #2 is solid in that it begins the steps towards the team we see in its Future State issues. It also throws in characters both known and obscure and any can die. But, what it really does is gives us a team where there’s more than team vs. Waller. With the inclusions of Peacemaker and Superboy we have two powerhouses who are going to clash. Peacemaker sees Waller as a method to achieve his goals. Superboy is the reluctant member who wants to do things his way and keep the death toll low. Then there’s a whole bunch of other varied personalities. It’s a solid team and dynamic that’s really entertaining.

Eduardo Pansica‘s art is fantastic. There’s just fantastic action that delivers on every page and looks great. The characters are so varied yet it still looks like they belong together. Julio Ferreira‘s ink, Marcelo Maiolo‘s color and Wes Abbott‘s lettering just adds to the experience. The color and inks make the images pop at times and really takes what easily could be a dark comic but lightens it up in a way. The lettering too just adds to each character’s personality.

Suicide Squad #2 is a solid issue. It’s full of action and sets up the team dynamic well. There’s also the fact that bodies keep piling up. This is a series that you shouldn’t get too attached to characters. They’re going to die. Beyond a few specifics, everyone is on the table as far as that. This is a comic that’s just full of action and personalities with some dynamic art that brings it all together. A fantastic second issue that builds on the excitement of the first.

Story: Robbie Thompson Art: Eduardo Pansica
Ink: Julio Ferreira Color: Marcelo Maiolo Letterer: Wes Abbott
Story: 8.1 Art: 8.1 Overall: 8.1 Recommendation: Buy

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