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Archive for May, 2011

Reviewed By: Eden Zacarias

Publisher: Vertigo (DC Comics)
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Artists: Pia Guerra, Gordon Sudzuka, Massimo Carnevale (cover art and original covers)
Colorist: Zylonol
Genre: Graphic Novel (Hardcover)
MSRP: $29.99 USA
Rating: Mature
Release Date: Available Now

Alas, poor Yorick, we knew you well but in knowing you we have come to find ourselves realizing we have been in the presence of something special and that – of course – is thanks to Brian K. Vaughan and the talents who helped him carry out a story as remarkable as Y: The Last Man. It was no surprise that Vertigo would reprint this incredible series in hardcover format and now we find ourselves finishing off this amazing tale with Book Five of The Deluxe Edition of Y: The Last Man. This is one edition comic book fans should not be without, especially those who missed out on it the first time around.

Covering the last 12 issues of the series, Book Five finds the last man on Earth, Yorick Brown and Agent 355 of the Culper Sphere are still in Beijing, China with Doctor Allison Mann and her lover, Rose. While their stay in Beijing is an important one, Yorick is determined to be reunited with Beth who he found out may very well be in France. Of course, they run into trouble again as Yorick, Agent 355 and Doctor Mann are taken down by the female ninja, Toyota.

Oh, but it is where Toyota takes them that the story takes an interesting and revealing turn as they not only find themselves in medical facilities of Doctor Mann’s mother but also somebody else quite shocking. You see, it is this person who helped a fellow scientist push the cloning process forward. It is this person who tells Yorick a most startling truth about the outbreak that wiped out all men … well, with some exceptions. Trust me when I say that it’s a true shocker.

Another surprising development occurs nearby as Agent 355 manages to escape to face off against Toyota in a final battle that ends in a very interesting and tragic way. As they all manage to escape from their captor, Rose forces 355 to recognize something we’ve been suspecting for a long time. This little detail actually makes Yorick and 355’s continued journey a bit heartbreaking seeing as he is on his way to meet with a woman he’s been pining for since they started traveling together.

On the move as well is Yorick’s sister who is traveling with Other Beth and her baby as well as the Russian cosmonaut and her baby boy as well as her Russian bodyguard. They find themselves in a gun battle against women who want the male baby … a fact that is not surprising seeing as there have been battles to obtain semen samples from fertility labs all over the world. Hero is determined to get Other Beth and her brother together again for the sake of their daughter so they too are headed for France.

In the middle of all of this we catch a glimpse of what Victoria, the once leader of the Daughters of the Amazon who is still hired to dispose of all the dead male bodies still found scattered around the United States even four years later. Victoria and a male-impersonator she saves from a group of angry Amazons are taken to the White House where we see what happened to Yorick’s mother. It is Victoria and her new lover that come up with a plan to honor the woman who had served the country in its most darkest moment.

Unfortunately, Lieutenant General Alter and her Israeli command team are on their way to France as well to find Yorick. Alter has convinced most of the women that it is in Israel’s best interest to secure the last man for them in order to protect the Jewish state against those who want to see Israel wiped off the face of the world now that all their men are dead. This mission leads Alter to take drastic measures that begins to seem insane to her other officers.

When Yorick finally reaches Paris, France, he manages to find the woman he has been looking for and dreaming about since the plague. It’s a reunion that forces Yorick to realize the truth about his feeling for Beth and somebody else even more dear to him. There are other reunions in Paris too but the more tragic being one that will change everything for Yorick.

I would be doing readers a great disservice by describing what happens after this but it isn’t surprising that Brian K. Vaughan still manages to keep surprising us even down to the last panel. The fate of each of the characters is handled beautifully as we learn of the measures it takes to keep humanity alive thanks to Doctor Mann’s work and Yorick’s help. The series says a lot about humanity and our innate nature to preserve it and to keep marching on even when things are at its worst.

Then there’s the artwork that made us here at the office huge fans of Pia Guerra who made the characters, backgrounds and action look amazing. With Gordon Sudzuka and great coloring, the series always looked very impressive and definitely easy on the eyes.

Book Five of The Deluxe Edition of Y: The Last Man is, simply put, Required Reading for anyone who considers himself a comic book fan. It’s one of the more monumental works to come along in a long time and this reason alone warrants the hardcover treatment. Believe me when I say that you will not forget this story anytime soon.

COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN

STORY: A+
Yorick and Agent 355 finally come face-to-face with the truth behind the plague and the person that might actually be behind the whole thing. However, the pair continues on to France to reunite Yorick with his Beth as the Israeli commandos led by Alter close in on him. Meanwhile, Yorick’s sister and her traveling companions also find their way to Paris as their destinies are finally revealed.

ART: A
Pia Guerra and Gordon Sudzuka have made Y: The Last Man a visual feast with unforgettable scenes and great character designs. On top of that, the original covers by Massimo Carnevale are simply stunning and – thankfully – are included in this deluxe edition.

OVERALL: A+
An epic, spectacular and outright brilliant piece of literature, Y: The Last Man is an unforgettable reading experience and this fifth and final Deluxe Edition version is a fitting finale for a series that never failed to impress or surprise us. This is a Must Have edition that deserves a place in your library.

Review copy provided by Vertigo (DC Comics)

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Reviewed By: Ian Mintz

Publisher: DC Comics
Writers: Scott Snyder, Kyle Higgins
Artist: Trevor McCarthy
Colorist: Guy Major
Genre: Comic Book
MSRP: $2.99 USA
Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: Available Now

Much of what we know of Gotham City’s past has been covered before in stories revolving the Wayne family’s involving in its construction. However, there’s more to the city’s history as we can see from the first issue of Batman: Gates of Gotham – a five-part miniseries that has a different Batman and Robin looking into the past to solve a riddle in the present that save the lives of the people of Gotham.

In 1881, Gotham City is taking its first real steps into becoming the city it is now and it is thanks to men of wealth and power like Alan Wayne. It is this Wayne who envisions a city that is much bigger and more advanced to the point that he entrusted the construction of the new Gotham as well as the three bridges that carry the name of Wayne and his two other associates to a young man named Nicholas Anders. It is Anders who drew up the scheme that will change Gotham City.

Fast forward several years later, Gotham City’s new Caped Crusader is on the hunt in search of three hundred pounds of missing Semtex – a powerful explosive compound – that disappeared from the harbor. Working alongside Commissioner Gordon as well as both Robin and Red Robin, Dick Grayson finds himself putting on the pressure on a man who might know who might be responsible. The man gives Batman a name … a very familiar one who is very capable of stealing explosives and putting them to good use.

Unfortunately, just as Batman gets his first lead, three explosions destroy all three bridges once called the “Gates of Gotham.” With a number of people dead, Commissioner Gordon tells Batman to put the pressure on and bring to justice the person or people responsible of all those deaths and the destruction of Gotham City’s oldest bridges that hold the name of the men responsible for their construction.

Batman follows the lead to a familiar foe who tells him that he has nothing to do with this act of terrorism for a key reason that is actually surprising. With this foe scratched off the suspect list, Dick Grayson as well as Tim, Damian and Cassandra (one of Batman’s international Batman Inc. representative), begin their search for the prime suspect by digging into Gotham City’s past.

While it’s too early to tell what interesting paths this investigation will take us through, we can safely say that with the talented Scott Snyder and Kyle Higgins handling the story, we can come to expect something quite surprising. Then there’s Trevor McCarthy who does a great job making old and new Gotham come to life. His artwork is appropriately dark as well, which works well for this story.

Batman: Gates of Gotham #1 is a great setup to a mystery that has ties to Gotham City’s past and the men involved in creating its future. It’s good to see this Batman working closely with new allies from Batman Incorporated as well as a Batman villain who sheds some light on his connection with the building of Gotham City. In other words, Batman fans will find a lot to like about this series.

COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN

STORY: B+
Batman and his allies are on the trail of some missing explosive compounds when the Gotham’s bridges are suddenly brought down by explosions. With only a name to go on, Dick Grayson and his fellow crime fighters try to make sense of why the suspect targeted these bridges. In order to understand the reasons, we look into Gotham’s past and the men involved in its construction.

ART: B+
Trevor McCarthy’s art and Guy Major’s coloring work fit right at home with this mini-series and you better believe they make old Gotham look really good by gaslight.

OVERALL: B+
Gotham’s past takes central stage in this five-part series as Batman begins his search for the one responsible for destroying three important bridges that kills a number of Gotham citizens. Batman: Gates of Gotham #1 is an intriguing first issue and with Scott Snyder and Kyle Higgins at the helm, you know this series is going to get better.

Review copy provided by DC Comics

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Reviewed By: Frosty McKenzie

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Artists: Dan Jurgens, Norm Rapmund
Colorist: Hi-Fi Designs
Genre: Comic Book (Flashpoint)
MSRP: $2.99 USA
Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: Available Now

Having followed the Booster Gold series since its first issue, I find myself liking Michael Jon Carter more with each issue and who wouldn’t with Dan Jurgens penning the script and adding his artistic touch to the series? So it was more than a pleasant surprise to find Booster Gold #44 as the second story in DC’s biggest summer event, Flashpoint. As it turns out, this is an even better introduction to Flashpoint as well as Booster Gold as well.

The man who has come from the future to redeem himself from his past failures thanks to his arrogant nature that held him back as a hero has really come a long way. In the past, he wasn’t even taken seriously by anyone including the Justice League of America, although he‘s glad that Batman is the only one who understands him mission. However, when he hooked up with Rip Hunter, Michael Jon Carter AKA Booster Gold becomes the hero he was meant to be as he protects time and space along with his security droid, Skeets.

That brings us to Booster Gold #44 as our hero and Skeets return to Coast City only to be shot at by military hardware. Not too far away, a Colonel Conner issues the command to bring down the intruder they believe to be an Atlantean scout. Meanwhile, Booster Gold tries to escape the bombardment while wondering why the city is under military command and why they are targeting him. The military even hit him with a missile from a nearby submarine and then a strategic satellite strike.

It’ll take more than that to destroy Booster, though, and he manages to escape the area. His first stop is Doctor Hunter’s Arizona time lab. He finds it but the place looks like it has been abandoned for years now and the only clue that Hunter was there is a blackboard filled with strange random messages that point to a big war with Wonder Woman and Aquaman being the chief aggressors in a battle to rule the world. The situation is so critical that even villains have become heroes all united by Cyborg.

Then an unusual occurrence takes place as Booster Gold opens the fridge. It makes him wonder if maybe he flew into a parallel universe through a rip in time and space. He tests that theory out only to come to a very frightening and surreal conclusion. As it turns out, this is not what he thought so the mystery behind why Wonder Woman is known as the Princess of War and why Aquaman is the terror leading his Atlantean army is still unknown to us.

Suddenly, the man who was not taken seriously as a hero becomes yet another hero who joins the Flash in being the only ones who remember how things were before all of this happened. He is even stopped by a familiar foe so you can bet that things are going to get very interesting in issue #45 of this series. Leave it to Dan Jurgens to keep us in suspense.

The Flashpoint event is just getting started and while Flashpoint #1 did a good job setting up said event it is Booster Gold #44 that sheds more light on what is really going on without revealing the true mystery behind Wonder Woman and Aquaman or why Superman doesn’t even seem to exist.

Booster Gold #44 is not only a great starting point for the Flashpoint event but also the perfect introduction to this series and its hero. With a recap of who Booster Gold, we learn more about this superhero but, at the same time, we find a hero who is caught in the middle of a disturbing nightmare where two heroes are the central villains that threaten the entire world. We definitely cannot wait for the next issue.

COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN

STORY: A-
Returning to Coast City, Booster Gold and Skeets find themselves suddenly bombarded by the might of the military force guarding the coastal city. Stunned and confused by the assault, Booster finds out that the city isn’t exactly how he had last seen it but it isn’t until he discovers his friends are gone and a blackboard filled with strange revelations, Booster Gold comes to a shocking conclusion about his situation.

ART: A
The series has looked really good since the first issue and the same can be said with this one as the vibrant colors and overall design are as flashy as the character itself.

OVERALL: A-
If Flashpoint #1 didn’t sell you on the Flashpoint event then Booster Gold #44 will definitely do the trick. On top of that, this is a great way to introduce Michael Jon Carter to new readers who have wanted to jump in on this great series. Without a doubt, this is an issue you seriously do not want to miss if you’re considering giving Booster Gold a try or following the Flashpoint event.

Review copy provided by DC Comics

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Reviewed By: Faith McAdams

Publisher: Vertigo (DC Comics)
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artists: Rafael Albuquerque, Mateus Santolouco
Colorist: Dave McCaig
Genre: Graphic Novel (Hardcover)
MSRP: $24.99 USA
Rating: Mature
Release Date: May 25, 2011

If the first volume of American Vampire grabbed you by the throat and quickly sank its razor-sharp teeth into you then you’re already infected by this compelling and hard-to-put-down vampire series and trust me when I say that that is a very good thing. Volume 2 of American Vampire continues this amazing tale as Skinner Sweet and Pearl Jones find themselves face-to-face with ghosts from their pasts as well as a group determined to end their existence.

Volume 1 introduced us to Skinner Sweet, a new breed of vampire reborn in the American West, as well as Peal Jones who was transformed into the same type of vampire by Sweet himself. While the beautiful Miss Jones finds comfort in the man she loves, the vicious Sweet now has to worry about two foes who have a personal vendetta against him. So, in Volume 2, the story takes a very interesting turn as the past catches up to these two characters.

It’s 1936 and the city of Las Vegas is quickly evolving into a town that police chief Cashel McCogan just isn’t ready to give up on even though its reputation has earned it the label “Sin City.” Never mind the prostitution and gin-soaked nights; the situation in Vegas is getting out of hand thanks to the building of one of Nevada’s biggest feats of engineering … the dam. On top of that, the criminal element in town led to the murder of McCogan’s lawman father.

When one of the four wealthy members of the project’s consortium is found dead in his hotel room, drained of all is blood, McCogan gets some help from two Federal agents who came to town. They are agents Jack Straw and Felicia Book and they seem to know a lot more than they let on as they follow McCogan on the trail of the murderer. The first stop is a man that McCogan blames for the murder of his father and while this dangerous-looking man goes by the name of Jim Smoke, we all know him by his real name … Skinner Sweet.

It doesn’t take McCogan long to find out the truth about Straw and Book and their real mission in Las Vegas and Skinner Sweet certainly knows all about Felicia Book. As it turns out, they are both part of a secret society known as The Vassals of the Morning Star that have been hunting vampires for years and they are here to but a stop to the vampire killings. For reasons we have yet to find out, it seems that Skinner Sweet has struck a deal with them.

As they race to save the last remaining members of the dam-building consortium, they come to find out that there’s more than a few vampires in town and Cash McCogan finds himself facing off against the killer whose identity will not fail to surprise. The aftermath is equally shocking as Skinner Sweet does the unthinkable to McCogan in the end. Oh yeah, Sweet is one dastardly bastard.

In the meantime, we find Pearl Jones and her man Henry living in seclusion in beautiful Arrowhead, California when they are paid a visit by two members of the same society of vampire hunters with one of them being a very familiar face. They have come looking for information that would help them destroy her kind and, while Pearl doesn’t offer much in terms of help, they get the information via another source.

While Pearl is just as powerful and as dangerous as the one who made her, she is fearful of the future and what it might mean for her and Henry who is still a mortal. Sure, they enjoy all the things a loving couple enjoys but she cannot imagine life without the man she loves. Meanwhile, we find out that Pearl’s old roommate, Hattie Hargrove, isn’t exactly quite dead … again. She returns in a bad moment as Pearl and Henry find themselves going up against a man bootlegging blood for a coven of vampires.

With the introduction of a secret society of vampire slayers, the return of another character hell-bent on getting her revenge on Pearl and Skinner Sweet being pursued by two women who have sworn to put an end to him, the story has become even more exhilarating. Leave it to Scott Snyder to keep us hooked and wanting more. He certainly knows how to tell an intriguing story but also a compelling and emotional tale as well. Cash’s relationship to his father isn’t just brushed aside; it becomes a big part of Cash McCogan’s part of the story and fleshes him out perfectly. Add Rafael Albuquerque and Mateus Santolouco’s art and you have a graphic novel whose visuals do justice to the writing.

Volume 2 of American Vampire will remind you that great storytelling and stunning artwork like this make for an unforgettable reading experience that deserves to be picked up by anyone who considers themselves a comic book fan. The story in this second volume just shows us that Snyder and Albuquerque will not fail to impress again in a story we will gladly keep following. Do not miss this one no matter what.

COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN

STORY: A
The city of Las Vegas is changing right before the eyes of chief of police Cash McCogan who investigates the unusual murder of one of four big shots connected to the building of one of Nevada’s biggest projects – the dam. Joined by two agents working for an old and mysterious order of vampire hunters, McCogan finds himself in new and dangerous territory. Meanwhile, Pearl Jones and the man she loves finds themselves meeting two members of this vampire hunting organization as well as facing off against a different kind of bootlegger.

ART: A+
I said this once and I’ll say it again: Rafael Albuquerque’s art will chill you to the bone as his vision of vampires will haunt you even after you put this book down. Joined by Mateus Santolouco as well as Dave McCaig‘s great use of colors, this volume looks downright remarkable.

OVERALL: A
If the first volume of this series didn’t hook you into its extraordinary new look at vampires then Volume 2 of American Vampire will seal your fate because Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque continue to be masters of their craft. It’s good to see Skinner Sweet again and things are certainly going to get more interesting for Pearl and Henry.

Review copy provided by Vertigo (DC Comics)

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Reviewed By: Ian Mintz

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Andy Kubert
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Genre: Comic Book
MSRP: $3.99 USA
Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: Available Now

Ah, summer, a time when comic book junkies much like ourselves will find our wallets hurting thanks to the major comic book events that offer crossovers we don’t want to miss and mini-series that connect the dots to flesh out a story that might very well change things in a big way. This summer, though, DC Comics gives us Flashpoint – an even that begins with Flashpoint #1 … a five-part series that is but the beginning of a Must Not Miss even.

Flashpoint #1 begins with Barry Allen, or as we better know him as, the Flash, as we are offered a peek at him as a boy who already shows the noble side of this future hero. He wakes up suddenly, having fallen asleep in the lab where he works and hears that there’s trouble in the big city. Leaping to his feet, Barry races down the hall and falls flat on his face … right in front of his mother.

Wait a second, isn’t his mother dead? Embracing his mother, who is aged but still very much alive, Barry Allen realizes that something is very wrong with this picture. Almost immediately, he comes to learn that nobody has ever heard of The Flash or even Superman for that matter. Just about the only hero his mother knows about is Batman in Gotham City. On top of that, the woman he knows as his wife isn’t even married to him and is dating her boss.

So, seeing no other choice but to turn to the only hero the world still knows well, Barry Allen sets off to Gotham City to talk to Batman. As it turns out, though, another hero comes to speak to the Dark Knight as well as a somewhat older Batman is on the hunt as he takes on one of the Joker’s henchwomen. However, this Batman lets his prey fall from the roof of the building. Could it be that Batman has finally changed his mind about taking a life?

Fortunately, for the henchwoman, Cyborg saves her and turns his attention to Batman to recruit him to his army that is going up against two incredibly powerful opponents who have already slaughtered thousands as they took over key areas around the world. I won’t spoil the surprise but these two powerhouses are known to us as heroes and now will fight each another for control of the world. Their identity will definitely surprise readers.

Batman can see that Cyborg’s group of allies consisting of various heroes as well as a mix of villains such as Captain Cold and the Outsider. It’s interesting to find Elemental Woman along with Enchantress and the Pied Piper together to join Cyborg to fight a threat that’s bigger than them all. They all seem to be eager to join if Batman does but the trouble is that the Dark Knight is not interested in saving the world. As I said, this Batman is very different … as Barry Allen is about to find out.

While it’s too early to tell how this storyline will go, Geoff Johns does manage to grab our attention with this first issue that is written well. Batman will not fail to surprise and the fact that Cyborg takes center stage to begin the battle to save Earth is also a plus. On top of the great storytelling elements, there’s the art by Andy Kubert who gives us an eye-catching comic series with an awesome-looking cover as well.

Flashpoint #1 might not start with a bang as we expected but – as we can tell from this first issue – it’s still an interesting beginning that looks like it will build up into something much bigger. In fact, the first issue will make you look forward to the next issue in this series just to see what direction this event will take the entire DC universe.

COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN

STORY: B+
Barry Allen wakes up only to find out that the world around him has changed dramatically as things about his life just aren’t right. He also comes to realize that nobody has ever hear of the Flash or even Superman so he turns to the only hero people still know … Batman. However, Barry isn’t the only one seeking the help of the Dark Knight as Cyborg is looking to recruit him in a group that also includes a few villains as we find out that the two biggest threats to the world were once respected superheroes.

ART: A
Andy Kubert is one of those talented artists that makes each panel drool-worthy and if that seems like high praise all you have to do is open this issue. Along with Alex Sinclair and Sandra Hope, the issue and its cover will not fail to impress.

OVERALL: B+
An intriguing beginning to a major comic book event, Flashpoint #1 is but the start of something big and you can feel it in the first few pages of this part this series. How this story will echo throughout the entire DC universe is a mystery we will gladly love to look into as heroes and villains alike will clash in the most interesting of ways. We are so definitely there, DC.

Review copy provided by DC Comics

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Reviewed By: Frosty McKenzie

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Paul Dini
Artist: Carlos D’Anda
Colorist: Gabe Eltaeb
Genre: Comic Book
MSRP: $2.99 USA
Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: Available Now

Arkham Asylum is not only the best Batman video game available so far but it was one that told a dynamic story thanks to the involvement of talented Batman scribe, Paul Dini. With the much-anticipated sequel to the best-selling Batman game, this time called Arkham City, Paul Dini and the always-amazing Carlos D’Anda bring us a five-part prequel story that will fill in the gap between the two games. Batman: Arkham City #1 is an excellent start to what will be a very intriguing prequel story to a video game Batman fans cannot wait to play.

Then again, if you’ve never played Arkham Asylum, don’t worry, Arkham City #1 manages to tell a story that stands on its own. If you have played the game, though, you will find that the story does bridge the gap nicely enough so far. You see, we witness the aftermath of the final confrontation from the game when Batman defeated a Titan-enhanced Joker. It was an epic battle with the Joker finally able to give Batman a real fight using incredible strength.

Unfortunately for the Joker, though, the after effects of Titan have paid its toll on his body in ways that you almost feel sorry for the lunatic. Despite his ailing health, the Joker is able to laugh a little and this gives his crazed girl, Harley Quinn some comfort knowing that her love is still healthy enough to laugh a little. For the Joker, though, his current predicament is like a joke that blew up in his face. Yes, it’s tragic but yes he can still laugh at it.

With the Joker back in a straightjacket and the construction of Arkham City on the top of every Gotham City residents’ minds, things seem to have cooled off a year after the events of Arkham Asylum. There’s Major Quincy Sharp, a man who played absolutely no role in saving Gotham during the Arkham riots and he knows it as he’s about to give an interview on television. However, his psychiatrist seems to be coaching Sharp and even telling him what to say on the air. Just who is this psychiatrist?

Oh, but Arkham City has a problem even bigger than a politician trying to make himself look big despite video evidence that he was far from the savior that Gotham needed. There is a crazy brother-sister twin duo on the loose and causing mayhem. They’re exactly the type that Two-Face likes to have in his gang so Batman decides to pay the two-faced criminal a visit in his old stomping grounds.

Two-Face tells Batman that the twins were a perfect fit for his gang but they had plans of their own and, after juicing up with Titan, they’ve become an unstoppable force that turned on Harvey “Two-Face” Dent. Titan has certainly turned the pair into hulking beasts and now they are targeting Sharp as well as a few other important people in an event that will have all their targets in the open all at once.

It is the Dark Knight who sets out to stop them and using the familiar tools, he used to stop the Joker during the Arkham riots. The outcome of this battle, however, is surprising and this is just the beginning of the story. Once again, Paul Dini shows us that he knows how to tell a good story and he does so again here. I’m usually very wary of comics connected to video games but Batman: Arkham City is great story that doesn’t waste time going over the events seen in the first game.

Then there’s the artwork, which is handled wonderfully throughout by Carlos D’Anda whose work never fails to impress. Here, however, the artwork looks even better thanks to the coloring and inking that makes it all work.

Batman: Arkham City #1 is an excellent start to a mini-series that will tie into a game that all Batman and devoted gamers are looking forward to but this series able to stand on its own two feet to give us a great Batman tale that only Paul Dini can provide. If the next four issues is anything like the first then you will find some very satisfied Batman fans.

COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN

STORY: A-
One year after the events of Arkham Asylum, the Joker finds himself in bad shape after having used the Titan infusion but even with the Clown Prince of Crime out of the way, there’s still another threat. With the construction of Arkham City come problems such as a pair of twins who are set on destroying the city thanks to the use of Titan.

ART: A
Carlos D’Anda’s artwork and Gabe Eltaeb’s coloring compliment each another perfectly as you can tell from the fantastic cover and the art throughout the book. These two talents should definitely keep working together.

OVERALL: A-
Arkham Asylum and Paul Dini fans will be more than pleasantly satisfied by the first issue of Batman: Arkham City as Dini not only weaves a great beginning to this Batman tale but also does a great job continuing the great storytelling of an amazing Batman video game. If you don’t have to play the first game to get into this story but if you did you will find yourself looking forward to the game’s sequel thanks to this mini-series.

Review copy provided by DC Comics

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Reviewed By: Eden Zacarias

Publisher: Vertigo (DC Comics)
Writers: Jamie Delano, Rick Veitch
Artists: John Ridgway, Alfredo Alcala, Rick Veitch, Tom Mandrake, Brett Ewins, Jim McCarthy, Jim Lee (cover art), Dave McKeane (original series cover), John Totleben (original series cover)
Colorists: Lovern Kindzierski, Tatjana Wood
Genre: Graphic Novel (Softcover)
MSRP: $19.99 USA
Rating: Mature
Release Date: Available Now

As a fan of horror and supernatural-themed literature and comics, the Hellblazer series has proven to be an original work with an iconic character who doesn’t fail to fascinate throughout the many years the series has been running. So it was about time that Vertigo brings us the collected first nine issues of the series plus the two Swamp Thing tie-in stories in John Constantine, Hellblazer: Original Sin … a graphic novel Constantine fans new or old should not miss.

Original Sin takes us through the first nine Hellblazer issues while leaving the Swamp Thing #76 and #77 issues for last. In other words, this is the perfect introduction for those new to the Hellblazer series or for already loyal fans who might have missed out on the first issues of Constantine’s own series since his introduction in the Swamp Thing series. John Constantine, you might say, is a dabbler in the dark arts and something of an exorcist/conjurer. He’s a chain-smoking chap from Liverpool who has had run-ins with demons and other supernatural elements.

He’s also something of a jerk, as we can see from these stories but a loveable one. Sure, he’s a flawed soul but there’s also a charming and caring side that makes him all the more human. In the first issue, we find Constantine looking into the release of a hunger spirit known as Mnemoth who is released into New York City by way of a junkie who how happens to be a friend of Constantine’s. The demon jumps from person to person and literally devours the people who also develop an insatiable hunger of their own. Turning to Papa Midnight – a man whose magic is even stronger – Constantine rids the world of Mnemoth in the most surprising and shocking manner.

Original Sin takes us through a story that has Constantine going up against a group of demons that live in our world as yuppies who have their finger on the pulse of the British economy. We would have figured that yuppies come from hell anyway as Constantine puts a wrench in the demons’ business and thus making yet another enemy out of another powerful demon. It is in this series that we also meet Zed, a woman who plays an important part of John Constantine’s life. Zed not only becomes his lover but she helps him save Constantine’s niece, Gemma, from being a “bride” to a sadistic Satanist.

In “When Johnny Comes Marching Home,” Constantine makes another trip to the States where he looks into a town that has trusted in a mysterious religious group known as the Resurrection Crusade to bring their loved ones who haven’t come home from the Vietnam War. Meanwhile, the town’s prayers turn a surviving Vietnam vet into a delusional killing machine as he and the ghosts of his company take the town hostage as if they were VC enemies.

The Resurrection Crusade becomes a target for Constantine seeing as they are after Zed and, on top of that problem, there’s the Damnation Army that comes straight out of hell looking for John. With one group thinking of Christ’s resurrection by way of Zed and the Damnation Army sending everything from the reanimated corpses of three rowdy skinhead punks down to a demon man made out of newspapers. As the Resurrection Crusade kidnaps Zed, Constantine goes through his own personal hell that eventually leads to a meeting with Zed for the final time.

This also leads to the two-part Swamp Thing tie-in as the Swamp Thing uses John Constantine’s body to consummate his relationship with Abby to carry out his ultimate plan to impregnate her. As the Phantom Stranger and the demon known as Entrigan keep a close tabs on them. Afterwards, however, Abbey wonders how she really feels about what they did as John Constantine emerges to watch over her and put things in perspective.

Overall, this first volume new edition of Original Sin is everything a Hellblazer fan can ask for in a collection. It even includes the original covers, which is great seeing as I absolutely love Dave McKeane’s art. Speaking of artwork, the Hellblazer series had great art from the very beginning and that’s a very good thing indeed.

There’s a reason that John Constantine Hellblazer is a series that is still going strong today and that reason is clearly evident in Original Sins. From the very beginning, the series was not only able to captivate but also terrify in the most brilliant way possible. Thank you, Vertigo, for releasing this collection of early John Constantine stories and hope we continue to see more like it in the time to come. No Hellblazer fan or comic book collector should be without this one.

COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN

STORY: A+
Meet John Constantine, a chain-smoking lad from Liverpool who also happens to be a paranormal investigator, a dabbler in the black arts and something of an exorcist. We follow Constantine through a series of his early cases that involve demonic yuppies, ghosts, the kidnapping of his niece and an assortment of demons … one of which kills its victims with an insatiable hunger. There’s even the two-part Swamp Thing tie-in as well.

ART: A
The collection of artists and colorist really clashes well with Constantine’s world whether it’s John Ridgway or Alfredo Alcala conjuring up demons and other supernatural monsters. It’s also good to see all the original covers as well included in the back of the collection.

OVERALL: A+
If you don’t know the name John Constantine then this is by far one of the best introductions to a character that will win you over faster than you can say “demon yuppies from hell.” If you’re already familiar with the world of Hellblazer, then Original Sin is still a collection you definitely need to buy right away. Fans of supernatural horror, the graphic novel you’ve been waiting for is finally here and it’s worth every dollar.

Review copy provided by Vertigo (DC Comics)

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