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The Wake#1

Reviewed By: Emma Coverdale

Publisher: Vertigo (DC Comics)
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Sean Murphy
Colorist: Matt Hollingsworth
Inker: Sean Murphy
Genre: Comic Book
MSRP: $2.99 USA
Rating: M (Mature)
Release Date: Available Now
I’m a real sucker for the Discover Channel and, most especially, the specials they have on the mysteries that both space and the depths of the ocean might hold. One special in specific caught my interest since it blended fantasy with possibility in a way that one might believe in the existence of mermaids because – let’s face it – what do we really know what lurks in the deep?

With the first issue of a ten-part mini-series, talented scribe Scott Snyder and the equally gifted Sean Murphy spins a yarn that plays to the mysteries of the ocean. We are introduced to an agile young woman who hang glides into a city nearly submerged in water to meet up with a rather curious dolphin when she realizes that a giant wave is headed her way.

Fast-forward 200 years earlier in a Washington harbor as we meet a very different woman by the name of Doctor Lee Archer who is not only tracking a whale but also chatting with her son via Skype. It isn’t until a chopper lands nearby that Dr. Archer finds – to her disappointment – Agent Astor Cruz of the Department of Homeland Security. It is clear from her reaction that the two had met before and that it wasn’t a very favorable meeting as far as Archer is concerned.

No matter what words had been exchanged in the past, Agent Cruz comes with a mystery that Archer just cannot ignore and it comes in the form of a recording of a most unusual sound that would intrigue any cetologist. It’s clear to her that the sound didn’t come from a whale or any other inhabitant of the sea she has heard before but the sound is somewhat familiar to her nonetheless and Agent Cruz knows it.

Archer accepts Cruz’ offer to come with him to a base where she will help the Department of Homeland Security in deciphering the sound but only because he promises her to remedy to problems in her life. She quickly discovers that she was not the only one dragged into this mystery as we also meet Doctor Marin who is professor of folklore and mythology at Brown University as well as the author of a book on mysteries of the ocean. There’s also an unusual man named Meeks and Bob Wainwright from the very organization that fired her a while back.

It also becomes clear that each member of this team has been convinced to accept this job under different circumstances. Not given a chance to protest because they board a new kind of submarine able to make a quick descent into the deep, the team of specialists find themselves on an underwater oil rig just in time to witness an attack on a crew worker. Archer also comes face-to-face with something she did not expect whatsoever.

Scott Snyder opens up a mystery that is already shaping out to be intriguing enough that you will find yourself wanting more by the end of this issue. While the idea doesn’t seem completely original, Snyder has yet to disappoint when it comes to telling a story that is both deep and filled with rich characters you actually care about.

Then there’s the artwork from Sean Murphy who continues to bring us his own eye-catching style that has made his work on American Vampire or his own book, Punk Rock Jesus, such a visually appealing body of work. We just can’t wait to see what he has in store for us in this series.

The Wake #1 is the type of book that will grab a hold of you immediately and keep your attention until the very last panel. While the premise, from what we can see from this first issue, isn’t completely original, as a fan of both Snyder and Murphy, I can only imagine that these two creative forces have plenty of surprises up their sleeve. Guess what, folks? The Wake is one series you will not want to miss and neither will we.

 

COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN

STORY: A-
While out in the ocean tracking a whale, a brilliant cetologist named Doctor Lee Archer is approached by an agent straight from the Department of Homeland Security who requires her skills to identify a most unusual sound that came from the depths of the sea. Reluctantly accepting the offer, Dr. Archer finds herself in a submarine heading towards an underwater base and an ancient mystery.

ART: A
Sean Murphy’s body of work has been an impressive one that makes every graphic novel or comic book really stand out and if this sounds like too high a praise to give an artist then you really haven’t been acquainted with his work. The Wake will be one good-looking series.

OVERALL: A-
Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy offer an intriguing beginning to a story that is slowly unraveling before our eyes and, so far, it does not disappoint in the very least. The credit, of course, goes to Snyder who is a master storyteller and Murphy whose visuals manage to say more with one panel than a word balloon filled with text. Where the story will take us is a mystery but one we would happily follow.

Review copy provided by DC Comics

BatmanandRobin#18

Reviewed By: Eden Zacarias

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Artist: Patrick Gleason
Colorist: John Kalisz
Inker: Mick Gray
Genre: Comic Book
MSRP: $3.99 USA
Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: Available Now

CR Editor's Choice Award

Grumpy, cocky and undeniably talented, Damian Wayne was a lot of things but the role that helped shape him into something other than a failed instrument of destruction that Talia al Ghul meant him to be was as Robin. So it was fitting that the Bruce Wayne’s offspring met his fate by the hand of the terror group led by his mother as the Boy Wonder in the pages of Batman Incorporated.

The loss of not one but two Robins (see the “Death in the Family” story arc) is painful, indeed, but this is different. This is the loss of a child that Bruce Wayne had taken under his wing to become a better man that would inherit the Wayne name and do it justice. Together, both men began to change as Batman’s family expanded for the better.

What would have become of Bruce Wayne with more time spent with Damian? Well, we’ll never know now but it becomes clear in Batman and Robin #18 that the impact of the loss of Damian Wayne suddenly hits Bruce hard enough that it is felt by anyone who picks up this unforgettable and touching issue.

Before I begin to describe the story, I must mention that there is not one caption or word balloon to be found in this issue. The only real words found throughout the pages of this issue come in the end in the form of a letter that Damian left behind for his father to find. However, words aren’t really needed to convey the emotional impact and this is thanks to artist Patrick Gleason who – along with Mick Gray and John Kalisz – manages to display more than enough emotion to make you pick up a box of Kleenex.

In the darkness of his mansion, Bruce Wayne finds himself numb and obviously not still mentally taking in the absence of a youthful presence that has become a big part of his life. In another room in the mansion, Alfred breaks down at the sight of an unfinished portrait of the Bat Family. Meanwhile, Bruce encounters Damian’s sketchbook showcasing a talent he kept to himself.

Then the shock that comes with the realization that a loved one is no longer among the living sets in as Bruce sees Damian everywhere whether it’s zipping down the pole that leads straight down to the Bat Cave or inside the Batmobile. The only way to quiet this ghost is to go out at the Dark Knight and he does exactly that as he hits the streets of Gotham.

And Batman hits the streets of Gotham in a way that truly brings terror into the eyes of the criminal element that also includes familiar Bat foes. He strikes hard and without mercy and as the night comes to an end we can see that the rage building up inside him exploded in an unusually violent manner.

In the end, back in the Bat Cave, that rage is replaced by something else as Bruce finds a letter that Damian had written before he set out that fateful day to meet his end at the hands of Leviathan. The words are so beautiful and touching that – I swear – it will have you shedding tears again. This is the moment that will change Bruce Wayne forever.

Whatever your opinion of Damian Wayne was you have to admit that he made a very interesting Robin and, in this reviewer’s opinion, was one of the better Boy Wonders whether he was fighting crime alongside Dick Grayson or his own father. He will be missed and it is already showing in the pages of other Bat titles but how it will affect this particular title remains to be seen.

Batman and Robin #18 is a brilliant and emotional issue that, without even a word of dialogue, displays the psychological impact of the loss of a family member. Bruce Wayne goes through a number of emotions in one night whether it’s disbelief, rage and finally acceptance in a way that makes this such a powerful issue. Tomasi and Gleason have given us a masterpiece and an issue of Batman and Robin you need to pick up right away.
COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN

STORY: A+
In the wake of the violent death of his son, Damian Wayne, Bruce finds himself dealing with the loss the only way he knows how … assuming the role of the Dark Knight and taking out Gotham’s trash in the most brutal way possible.

ART: A
In an issue that is told entirely through visual means, Patrick Gleason’s pencils masterfully convey emotion in a way that will utterly break your heart with nearly every panel. With the help of John Kalisz and Mick Gray, you will not help but find yourself pleased by the artwork.

OVERALL: A+
No words are uttered in Batman and Robin #18 and none is needed as it so easily speaks volumes of what Damian Wayne really meant to the man the Boy Wonder had come to call Father. Without a doubt, this issue should have come with tissue paper because it is guaranteed to break your heart and make you shed a tear or two. Damian Wayne, you will be missed.
Review copy provided by DC Comics

Batman #17

Reviewed By: Eden Zacarias

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Greg Capullo
Colorist: FCO Plascencia
Inker: Jonathan Glapion
Genre: Comic Book
MSRP: $3.99 USA
Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: Available Now

Without spoiling the surprises or the “big reveal” that the conclusion of a decent story arc helmed, of course, by the brilliant Scott Snyder and talented artist Greg Capullo, I’ll go into the reasons why the Death in the Family is an enjoyable albeit not a game-changing story arc. With Batman #17, the story closes in a deliciously twisted and entertaining manner that only a villain like the Joker could bring to table in the Death of the Family storyline.

Even before The New 52 event, Batman and the Joker have had a long history that has seen these two opponents clashing in a battle that is both physical and psychological. The relationship between them runs deeper than any wound inflicted by their confrontations. However, this time might seem a little different as the Joker has turned his attention on the ones that the Dark Knight has come to see as his “family.” We all know that when the Clown Prince of Crime sets his sights on his latest victims he goes to great lengths to make sure the punchline of his twisted joke kills.

So what happens in Batman #17 is the outcome of the Joker’s killer joke as he unveils to Batman his psychotic version of a family dinner. Tied back in their seats with bloody bandages covering their faces are Bruce‘s extended Bat-family who had fallen prey to the Joker who tells Batman that if he got out of his seat it would trigger an incendiary trap that would prove fatal to the dinner guests who have been doused with gasoline.

Oh yeah, there’s also a diabolically twisted version of Alfred Pennyworth who was affected by a new kind of toxin the Joker has discovered and – to his maniacal glee – has used to transform the Wayne Estate’s butler into a freaky man-servant for the Joker. Leave it to Greg Capullo to turn Alfred into a demented-looking and menacing version of the kindly father-figure.

As I said in the beginning of the review, I will not spoil what happens but I will say that Batman manages to break free and chase the Joker in the confines of the Bat Cave only to come face-to-face with his old foe. Yes, physical blows are given and taken but the real damage comes in a psychological manner that finds the Joker facing the truth about not only himself but Batman as well.

The result is a fascinating verbal exchange that Scott Snyder conceives that makes this issue worth picking up alone. Sure, it doesn’t reveal anything too shocking and those expecting Batman to expose the Joker’s true identity will be disappointed. The words spoken here does reveal something even more important, which leads up to an even more intriguing final bit that Bruce mentions to Alfred.

I should also say that Snyder’s Joker is absolutely sick and twisted and we get that with this story as well as this final issue.

As a fan of Scott Snyder’s work, I found the last issue of this story arc to simply entertain without doing anything that will leave Batman fans completely surprised. I didn’t expect anyone to die, of course, but I wish there was more to the ending than what the epilogue exposes. How could it all lead up to a confrontation we have seen many times before in other Batman titles?

Of course, it’s hard to complain when the best parts of the story are complimented by Greg Capullo’s pencils. Without a doubt, he easily makes every page a visual delight that will have you staring at each panel, especially the scenes during the dinner that involve a freaky kitten and the Joker’s new toxin. Even the Joker’s gruesome face-mask is awesome. We tend to praise Capullo’s work often on this site and if you pick up this book you will see exactly why he’s such a fan favorite.

Batman #17 is a truly entertaining and the verbal sparring by Batman and the Joker is worth the price of admission alone. Will the finale of this story blow you away with a game-changing event or even end with a horrific death? No, but what it will do is give Batman fans yet another story arc that has Batman and the Joker redefining the relationship between them and why the Caped Crusader can’t come to kill his foe. It’s a good story well worth picking up.


COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN

STORY: B+
In this final chapter of a most interesting saga, the Joker reveals his utterly twisted final plan in the form of a not-so-inviting family dinner with all the players in great danger. However, it is Batman who turns the tables on the Clown Prince of Crime in an unforgettable confrontation that speaks volumes of their relationship.

ART: A+
Batman fans rejoiced the fact that Greg Capullo is working on this title and the result is a Batman book that is easily the most spectacular-looking visuals. With flawless coloring by Plascencia and perfect inking by Glapion and we have a book you won’t stop staring at from start to finish.

OVERALL: B+
An engaging conclusion to the Death of the Family event, Batman #17 says a lot about the relationship between a hero and his family as well as the villain whose connection to said hero is a deep one. While a part of me wishes the story ended differently, it’s hard to complain when the rest of the story is this compelling and way too much fun despite not doing anything too dramatic. Batman fans, you do not want to miss this story arc.

Review copy provided by DC Comics

GreenArrow #17

Reviewed By: Emma Coverdale

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Andrea Sorrentino
Colorist: Andrea Sorrentino and Hi-Fi
Inker: Andrea Sorrentino
Genre: Comic Book
MSRP: $2.99 USA
Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: Available Now

Admittedly, I have been looking forward to The New 52 version of Green Arrow. In fact, I was optimistic that he would finally get a series that showcases his strengths and weaknesses in a way that would breathe new life to this familiar hero. We’re talking a series with a fresh new start worthy of DC Comic’s crime fighting archer and member of the Justice League.

Sadly, Green Arrow’s new beginning fell short in many ways but devoted fans (like myself) held on in hopes that the series would eventually get better. Then came the announcement that the series would get a new creative team that would finally turn things around for the better and this was good news indeed. With  “Sweet Tooth” author Jeff Lemire penning the story and Andrea Sorrentino handling the art, this new team takes aim but does it hit the target?

Before I answer that question, let’s get to Green Arrow #17’s actual story that begins in a scorching wasteland. A lone figure comes into frame and it is clear it is none other than Oliver Queen who informs us that he has lost everything. We fast-forward three weeks earlier as Oliver pushes his way into Queen Industries’ main offices looking for Emerson … than man who currently runs Queen’s family business.

As it turns out, Queen Industries has been sold to a rival corporation and Ollie is obviously angry with Emerson who allowed this to happen. Emerson has been expecting Oliver to show up and points to the fact that Ollie is nothing more than a man-child who needs to realize his true potential. In fact, he seems to know something else … something that points to Oliver Queen’s real destiny.

However, before Emerson can go into details, he is brought down by an arrow that seems to be familiar to Oliver. Suddenly, Emerson goes flinging out the window as security officers enter to find Oliver Queen standing over said window. This looks suspicious and Oliver knows it as he has no choice but to fight his way out of the building. His only real choice is to get to Q-Core to get to his gear and costume only for the unthinkable to happen to the only two friends he has left.

Thankfully, he is able to turn to a safe house where he not only manages to get to his gear but is also confronted by a mystery attacker who seems to know who he is as well as his secret identity. As a twist of fate, the attacker also happens to be a talented archer who happens to possess all of the Green Arrow’s various arrow attachments and his bow.

Introduced as Komodo, the villain archer is a worthy adversary who is a step ahead of the Green Arrow and is far more skilled in combat than Ollie. The battle quickly turns one-sided but when things are about to go really sour for our hero a mystery man jumps into the battle. This newcomer also seems to know the Green Arrow as well as the truth of Oliver Queen’s real destiny.

Jeff Lemire opens up new possibilities that point to a new direction that actually works despite the hero-loses-all-to-discover-his-true-potential-to-regain-what-he-lost theme. It’s been done before and in the pages of a Green Arrow book to boot but Lemire has always been the kind of writer who never fails to surprise his readers. His talents clearly make this issue an interesting read that gives Green Arrow fans hope that things can only get better with Lemire at the helm.

As far as the artwork is concerned, Andrea Sorrentino (whose work in “I, Vampire” gave it its exceptional visual style) finally makes Oliver Queen and his alter ego look natural. Sure, I miss the moustache but at least he doesn’t look like a macho version of Justin Beiber like in the first issue. Sorrentino’s artistic style is both unique and gorgeous with perfect coloring and realistic expressions on the faces of the characters. Whatever happens, Sorrentino should officially stay on as Green Arrow’s main artist.

In my opinion, Green Arrow #17 is the series’ actual new beginning as the new team of Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino aim high and hits the target just right. While the theme has been done before, knowing Jeff Lemire we can come to expect exciting developments with each new issue and adding Sorrentino’s artwork we have ourselves a Green Arrow book we should have gotten in the first place. This is a real Must Have for any Green Arrow fans.


COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN

STORY: B+
Without a moment’s notice, Oliver Queen’s life is about to take a most interesting yet disastrous turn as a mysterious attacker targets Queen and his alter ego, the Green Arrow. As he loses everything and those he had called allies, the Green Arrow comes face-to-face with a new foe who seems to know all about him.

ART: A
Andrea Sorrentino’s art is expressive, unique and brings us a Green Arrow who is fit for the modern age  and whose physical presence feels far more real than past versions. Without a doubt, Sorrentino’s talents will not go unnoticed by Green Arrow fans and comic book collectors everywhere.

OVERALL: B+
With Jeff Lemire handling the story and Andrea Sorrentino bringing his distinctive visuals to this book, Green Arrow is just starting to get  interesting and – as we can see from this 17th issue – push our hero into familiar if not promising territory. For those who lost faith in this series, rejoice, this new direction is shaping out to be exactly what the Green Arrow deserves.

Review copy provided by DC Comics

JusticeLeague Vol2

Reviewed By: Evelyn Finch

Publisher
: DC Comics
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Jim Lee, Carlos D’Anda, Gene Ha, Ivan Reis, David Fich & Ethan Van Sciver, Scott Williams
Colorist: Alex Sinclair, Gabe Eltaeb, Tony Avina, Sonia Oback, Art Lyon, Pete Pantazis & Hi-FI
Genre: Graphic Novel (Hardcover)
MSRP: $24.99 USA
Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: Available Now

Leave it to Geoff Johns and Jim Lee to jump at a chance to take a familiar cast of characters and breathe new life into this legendary team. What we have now is The New 52 take on the Justice League and judging by the overwhelmingly positive reaction to Volume 1 you can bet that Johns and Lee have outdone themselves. So you can imagine how much I have been anticipating the arrival of the second volume and I should say that Volume 2 The Villain’s Journey of the Justice League does not disappoint in the very least.

That’s no surprise, really, seeing as the talent involved managed to show us – with a mere six issues – that this new team of heroes offer a number of possibilities that could only spell a compelling tale that can only get more interesting.

Covering issues 7-12, Volume 2’s story takes place a year after the seven heroes that make up the Justice League went up against the threat that was Darkseid and his invading minions. Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman, Batman, Cyborg and the Green Lantern quickly become seen as saviors by the entire world as well as Gods thanks to a book written by a best-selling author named David Graves. On top of that, they have A.R.G.U.S. backing them up with Colonel Steve Trevor as their official liaison.

Much has happened in one year as the Justice League has taken on a number of foes … many of them very familiar whether it’s going up against the menace that is the Talon or a villain known as Spore. With the tactical genius of Batman, the group has learned how to fight as a team and play off each another’s strengths. Some things still remain the same such as The Flash and the Green Lantern still pissing Batman off but now the Dark Knight has gained a close friend and ally in Superman.

Despite being seen as close friends, however, the truth is that each member of the League have much to learn about their personal lives. The Flash and Green Lantern are surprised to learn that Superman has an alter ego who happens to be a journalist or that The Flash has a girlfriend or even that Cyborg knows everyone’s credit score among other private details.

Meanwhile, we learn that Colonel Trevor has problems of his own with the press hounding him about his relationship with Wonder Woman as members of Congress put pressure on him to not only allow them to see what is inside the League’s home base known as the Watchtower but also have the team be open to the idea of adding a new teammate. Trevor believes that Congress is trying to plant a spy with this supposed new teammate and knows the Justice League is definitely not open to a new member after an unfortunate incident with the Martian Manhunter.

Speaking of a new teammate, the hero who sees himself as the prime candidate to join the League is none other than the Green Arrow. He manages to show up in time to lend an intrusive hand as the Justice League takes on their enemies but neither one really wants a man like him on the team. The Green Arrow is a stubborn fellow who will stop at nothing to join the team but his persistence leads to an offer from Colonel Trevor himself.

However, the real trouble arises when famed author David Graves – who is dying from an unusual illness – takes the life of his acting physician. It’s clear that he blames the Justice League for his illness as well as the death of his family. So he turns to a power that changes everything for him and with this new power he sets out to use it to show the world that the Justice League aren’t as Godly as he first thought.

The best part is that Graves doesn’t turn out to be a random villain that came out of some cookie-cutter. He has a legitimate reason for hating and attacking the Justice League thus making him a compelling and tragic figure. His first target is none other than Colonel Trevor who he sees as one of many of the League’s weaknesses. Trevor, who is nursing the wound that Wonder Woman left behind, find himself in danger as Graves uses him as something of a hostage.

Meanwhile, the Justice League sets out to rescue him but not before Wonder Woman – in a massive emotional meltdown – manages to give the public a glimpse that they can fell apart just like regular humans. In fact, Wonder Woman is caught smacking the Green Lantern around. Things go sour when they finally do confront Graves who shows them all their Achilles ’ heel.

Without a doubt, David Graves as a villain has proven to the very man who will end up changing the Justice League for good. Whether this means the addition of new members or a fight for leadership (Aquaman has so been looking to take charge), we have yet to see but trust me when I say that Geoff Johns continues to keep us wanting more. On top of that there’s the famous and very surprising kiss between Wonder Woman and somebody that isn’t Steve Trevor.

On the visual side, Jim Lee still makes the Justice League look good and just about every panel seems to leap off the pages. Unlike the first volume, however, there’s a prologue drawn by Gene Ha and a chapter with the art of Carlos D’Anda with Ivan Reis and Joe Prado that isn’t bad at all.

In the end, Volume 2 The Villain’s Journey is a collection that makes up an epic story that doesn’t fail to keep Justice League fans new and old on the edge of their seats. Geoff Johns and Jim Lee continue to be the team that makes this series such a treat to pick up and if you managed to miss these key issues then this hardcover collection definitely should be among your collection.


COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN

STORY: A
A year has passed since the formation of the Justice League and their battle with Darkseid and Colonel Steve Trevor finds himself answering to a congressional hearing regarding the team’s God-like status among the public. However, a new threat rears its ugly face in the form of a man who knows much about the Justice League … including their weaknesses. Meanwhile, a hotshot hero calling himself the Green Arrow will stop at nothing to become a member of the team.

ART: A+
A collection of artists lends a hand in making Volume 2 a visually-pleasing hardcover volume whether it’s Gene Ha’s pencils or that of the talented Carlos D’Anda. Jim Lee fans will have nothing to complain about, though, because he continues to make Justice League an artistic treat for the eyes.

OVERALL: A
Thanks to the brilliant writing by Geoff Johns as well as the talents of a great cast of artists led by the always amazing Jim Lee, Volume 2 of the Justice League continues to impress and make this series one that never ceases to surprise. Add a new kind of villain and the promise of a change in the team’s roster and you have a story and series that is just too good to pass up.

Review copy provided by DC Comics

Reviewed By: Faith McAdams

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Gary Frank
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Genre: Graphic Novel (Hardcover)
MSRP: $22.99 USA
Rating: Teen
Release Date: Available Now

 

Ah, yet another Earth One take on a familiar hero again, that’s what I thought to myself when I received a copy of Batman: Earth One.

I disagreed with Eden Zacarias’ review of Superman: Earth One, a graphic novel that began very promising but ended up being a major disappointment on so many levels that I was instantly put off by the Earth One label. However, leave it to Geoff Johns and Gary Frank to prove that an Earth One re-imagining could be impressive and compelling enough to make you see a familiar hero in an exciting new light. Yes, Batman: Earth One is a graphic novel worthy of the Dark Knight and one you will not want to put down once you open it.

Welcome to a slightly different Gotham City that is still plagued by violence, corruption and a rich history soaked in the blood of its sons and daughters. It is a place that a man named Thomas Wayne calls his home and when you love your home you would do anything to protect it and that he will try to do as a candidate for the position of Mayor. So, on a particularly dark night, a taxicab pulls into the Wayne estate and the man who gets out is a crippled man whose eyes and grizzled appearance that makes it clear that this man has gone through hell many a time. This man is Alfred Pennyworth who has come to work for his old friend, Thomas Wayne during the thick of the election.

However, on the same night, Mister Wayne, his wife and their rather spoiled son, Bruce, head out to the movies, the boy’s life changes forever thanks to a man and his gun. With Martha and Thomas dead, Alfred Pennyworth discovers that they had named him sole guardian to Bruce who is clearly traumatized by the murder of his mother and father right before his eyes. Alfred, a man who clearly does not want to be a parent again, suddenly finds himself the sole custodian of the boy. When asked who he was by said boy, Alfred introduces himself as his butler.

Fast-forward several years later and we find Batman on the rooftop of a building chasing a man the Dark Knight has been hunting. When he attempts to use his familiar grappling gun, it totally fails on him and he even takes a nasty tumble off the roof. Oh yeah, he’s not exactly the highly-trained acrobat we know him to be and its clear by Alfred’s reaction that Bruce isn’t ready to take on Gotham. However, Bruce is convinced that the current Mayor had his parents killed that night and the man he is chasing – one Jacob Weaver – was the cop on the scene that night who conveniently quit the force to work for the Mayor.

It is this determination that makes Bruce Wayne turns to Lucius Fox who works in the Design and Engineering department of the Wayne Medical facility to fix a few of his gadgets such as his grappling gun in exchange for keeping him on a development project that could benefit one Fox’s loved ones. Meanwhile, we meet Jim Gordon who is not Commissioner but rather just a detective who is not thrilled about being partnered with Harvey Bullock, a TV celebrity cop who was the star of a reality show called Hollywood Detectives.

Oh but there’s something different about this Jim Gordon who still has the love of his daughter, Barbara, but not his wife who is deceased. This Jim Gordon isn’t the crusader for justice we know him to be either as he shows us while on patrol with Bullock who is eager to make a bust. In fact, he even apologizes to a local hood named Ax when Bullock tries to arrest him for beating up on another person right in front of them. It’s clear that Gordon has been threatened by Gotham’s underworld and lacks the drive that Bullock possesses. He doesn’t even take an interest in the savage killing of young girls by a serial killer who is being called The Birthday Boy.

In the meantime, Bruce Wayne attends a party celebrating the Wayne and Arkham contribution to Gotham as he shows his face out in public before a crowd that includes the Mayor who just so happens to be a very familiar face and a most obvious suspect to Bruce’s allegations that the Mayor had his parents killed. It is during the party that Bruce, as Batman, tries to grab Jacob Weaver only to crash his own party and make Batman public. He nearly escapes an encounter with the police and does what we never thought Batman would do … punch out Jim Gordon!

There’s another first for Batman fans as Bruce and Alfred has an encounter that will leave you with your jaw dropped open while Gordon is punished by having his daughter, Barbara, kidnapped and taken to the Birthday Boy. It is here that the Jim Gordon we know finally surfaces as he tries to find his daughter and Batman follows a lead that will take him to a place that is connected to his past, particularly his mother’s side of the family that will lead him to a surprising finale.

Batman Earth One is filled with interesting moments in Bruce Wayne’s life including a childhood rivalry with Harvey Dent. Also, the relationship between this Bruce and Alfred is even more intense as both men try to come to terms with what led them to form this almost father-son bond between them. This Bruce isn’t an easy person to be around and the fact that Alfred sticks around speaks volumes of their relationship. On top of that, there’s Jim Gordon who is just trying to survive Gotham.

As I mentioned in the beginning, Geoff Johns changed my mind about the Earth One label and that is thanks to his writing that continues to impress and even more so when he is given the chance to start a legend from the beginning as we can see from his work on The New 52 Justice League. Add Gary Frank’s expressive artwork and you have something even more unique. Frank’s vision of Batman is realistic and the fact that we can see Batman’s eyes captures the emotions he is going through. This really is one gorgeous-looking graphic novel.

Batman: Earth One is a refreshing, compelling and absolutely riveting take on the Dark Knight thanks to Geoff John‘s great storytelling, Gary Frank’s impressive artwork and a unique vision that reinvents a classic hero in a way that doesn’t disappoint long-time fans. This Batman/Bruce Wayne has more demons than the hero we know and it is reflected in his eyes. Whatever you do, Batman fans, do not miss this graphic novel.

COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN

STORY: A+
A rough-around-the-edges Alfred discovers that Bruce Wayne has taken up a new cause to discover the murder of his parents when he was a child but he does so as Batman. Although in need of better training, this Batman finds himself uncovering the truth behind Thomas and Martha Wayne’s murder. Meanwhile, a completely defeated Jim Gordon is partnered with a celebrity lawman who inspires

ART: A+
Gary Frank is a master artist who continuously surprises anyone who has seen his work and the same can be said about his work here that is complimented by Brad Anderson’s coloring and Jonathan Sibal’s inking. Batman has eyes in the movies so why not in the comics?

OVERALL: A+
A fascinating and refreshing new vision of the Dark Knight, Batman: Earth One is exactly how you do a reinvention of a Batman story. Both Geoff Johns and Gary Frank offers a Batman tale that makes us realize that there’s room for a fresh take on a classic hero. Now this is what I call an Earth One story and a Batman graphic novel that deserves to be among your library.

Review copy provided by DC Comics

Reviewed By: Faith McAdams

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Greg Capullo
Colorist: FCO
Genre: Graphic Novel (Hardcover)
MSRP: $24.99 USA
Rating: Teen
Release Date: Available Now

When The New 52 was announced, just the idea of giving each DC favorite a fresh new start sent a shockwave throughout the comic book community. Without a doubt, it was one of the most anticipated events for comic book fans and it did not disappoint in the very least. As it did for other DC titles, the Batman series also sees a new beginning this time under the care of the brilliant team-up of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. Volume 1: The Court of Owls covers the first seven issues of Batman … a series that will not fail to keep you on the edge of your seat from the very start.

Gotham City is not only home to a number of flashy and eccentric characters but it is has a rich history filled with mysteries that are older than the city itself. One of these mysteries are the urban legends involving a mysterious group called the Court of Owls that has eyes everywhere and nests scattered throughout and if you’re not careful they will send the Talon for your head.

Sounds scary, doesn’t it? However, for Bruce Wayne, the Court of Owls is nothing just an urban myth that is but one part of Gotham’s “charm”. Still, Batman has his hands occupied with a real threat and that is the inmates of Arkham Asylum where all the familiar faces are facing off against the Bat … and the Joker? Well, that’s what it seems like to Commissioner Gordon as yet another case is closed for Dark Knight.

Meanwhile, as his alter ego, Bruce introduces his new project that will change the face of Gotham in a major way. With all of Gotham’s wealthy citizens as well as some very important figures like Lincoln March, Gotham’s current mayoral candidate. Even Dick Grayson, Tim Drake and Damian Wayne are present to show their support. However, it is March that Bruce wants on his side since he seems to stand for all the things that are good about the city. He even agrees to meet with March in private, but duty calls and Bruce sneaks away to see to a gruesome murder scene.

It seems that a complete mystery man with no real prints or a true identity is found strapped and used like a human dartboard with antique throwing knives stuck to all the right vital organs. The killer also left behind a message in oil that says Bruce Wayne will die tomorrow. Investigating the murder, two things show up that are quite surprising. One is that the body of the victim carries the unusual signature of the Court of Owls and the other being that DNA found on the body also points to somebody very close to Batman.

Despite having a new mystery to unravel, Bruce meets with Lincoln March on the top floor of the original Wayne Tower when they are both attacked by a man in an unusual costume that brings to mind Night Owl from The Watchmen. Armed with antique throwing knives, the assailant injures March and throws Bruce out the window but the only one that goes splat is the killer who gets up again. Thus, begins Batman’s frantic search to find the Court of Owls. He’s like a man possessed as he investigates as he tells Dick Grayson about an incident in his past that became something of an obsession.

When he does find evidence of the Court of Owl’s existence, Batman falls prey to a trap that will test his survival skills and his very own sanity. Locked in a labyrinth with various clues about the group, Batman becomes disheveled and pushed to the edge of sanity. Several days in the darkness, Batman ventures out only to see that the Court had dealt with Waynes before such as Alan Wayne who was thought to have died when he fell down a manhole. Suddenly, the Court’s assassin called Talon attacks and injures Batman so badly that he suddenly tastes death by the hands of the Court itself.

In a desperate battle to stay alive, Batman manages to get the upper hand on his enemy and also finds a way to escape only to pass out and wake up in a van where he was brought back to life by none other than a girl that Batman knows well. It is back in the Batcave that the Dark Knight discovers that Alfred had picked up the body of the Talon. It is there and then that Batman makes a very grim discovery as well as a shocking link between the man who wore the Talon outfit and Dick Grayson himself.

I said it once and I’ll say it again, Scott Snyder is one of the best comic book writers to come along in a long time and this Batman series is better with him behind the story. He weaves an interesting tale with enemies that give the Dark Knight something to worry about and, by the end of this volume; you will want to see where The Court of Owls storyline will take our hero who is a Batman with more personality and flaws. This is a Batman who can get hurt and knows his own limits.

Then there is the artwork by Greg Capullo that is absolutely gorgeous and beautifully detailed to the point that you will be flipping back the pages to admire the artwork again. Since the story contains gruesome scenes, there’s blood aplenty and Capullo pulls it off brilliantly.

An astonishing new Batman title that marks the perfect beginning for fans new or returning, Volume 1 of this hardcover collection is a Must Have for any comic book fan who has been waiting for a great Batman book. Snyder and Capullo are a pitch-perfect duo that make this series and its storyline worth reading and trust me when I say that you will be wanting more by the end. The New 52 is a hit and it’s because of titles like this one.

COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN

STORY: A+
Investigating a gruesome murder, the Dark Knight uncovers a threat to the life of his own alter ego, Bruce Wayne, by the Court of Owls. What he thought was simply a fabricated urban legend becomes truth as Batman is targeted by this group and its dangerous knife-throwing assassins. Suddenly, Batman finds himself a prisoner of the Court as he fights for his own survival or die trying.

ART: A+
Greg Capullo’s artwork is absolutely stunning and fits the story perfectly as Capullo captures Batman at his most vulnerable and pulls it off beautifully. He is certainly the best choice for handling the art in this series and the coloring by FCO and the inking by Jonathan Glapion make this a team made in comic book heaven.

OVERALL: A+
Snyder and Capullo not only bring us one of the strongest entries in The New 52 but also a Batman series long-time and new fans of the Caped Crusaders will enjoy sinking their teeth into from the very beginning. Without a doubt, Volume 1: Court of Owls is a collection that really should be sitting in your shelf with other classic Batman hardcover editions.

Review copy provided by DC Comics

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