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Archive for September, 2011

Reviewed By: Frosty McKenzie

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Tony Salvador Daniel
Artist: Tony Salvador Daniel
Colorist: Tomeu Morey
Inker: Ryan Winn
Genre: Comic Book
MSRP: $2.99 USA
Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: Available Now

The New 52 titles will certainly have no shortage of Batman titles and for fans of the Dark Knight this is actually very good news but all eyes are on Detective Comics #1 where our favorite Caped Crusader was first introduced to us in Detective Comics #27 so many years back. Now, the DC Universe has experienced something akin to a new beginning where things have changed in major ways. As we can see from Detective Comics #1, some things have definitely changed while others – well – they never do.

What hasn’t changed is the fact that Batman is still waging a one-on-one war against the Joker who continues to be that one stain in the Dark Knight’s record. He’s tangled with this murdering lunatic many times and the Clown Prince of Crime continues to elude him as he leaves a trail of corpses along the way. So, in Detective Comics #1, Batman is in hot pursuit of his deadliest nemesis.

Something has changed, though, as Batman is more than just determined to stop the Joker. There’s a sense of urgency in Batman’s need to catch up to him … more so than in past instances. Meanwhile, the Joker is in the middle of strangling a most unusual man in surgeon scrubs who just so happens to be wearing a mask made out of human skin. The Joker is clearly not happy to see this man as he not only rips the man’s throat open but he stabs him repeatedly despite the fact that his victim made it clear that he was a fan of his.

Batman does manage to reach the Joker but not after the fiend detonates a bomb that slows Batman down. Unfortunately, he’s not able to pursue his foe thanks to a little girl who happened to be in the room. On top of that, Gotham’s finest arrive as well but there’s no warm welcome for the hero. In fact, taking a page from up upcoming Dark Knight movie, the police are determined to stop Batman. In fact, they try to shoot him down to the point that Batman has to escape before he is forced to really hurt them.

It becomes clear that the Mayor is the one who wants Batman gone and will stop at nothing to put an end to the vigilante. Just about the only friend Batman does have is a younger Jim Gordon who is still Commissioner and the only one who sees Batman’s presence in a city that is falling apart as a blessing, although the issue seems to point that Gordon is still not sure what to really make of a man in a bat suit.

Still, when Gordon mentions that the little girl he rescued overheard the Joker mention the location of his hideout in his conversation with his latest victim, Batman smells a trap. After all, he knows the Joker better than anyone so he shows … along with Gotham PD only to find that it was a trap. However, Batman sees the Joker rush into a train where he finally confronts his old enemy in a vicious fight.

Oh, but the outcome of the battle leads up to something actually quite surprising as we realize that somebody has been waiting for the Joker. A person with a scalpel who carries out the Joker’s most heinous plan yet and believe me when I say that this cliffhanger ending is shocking to the point that you will not want to turn the page. It’s definitely gruesome stuff for a comic rated T.

Tony Salvador Daniel tells a good story and gets back to a darker Batman tale that feels like a nod to Frank Miller’s work on the Dark Knight. In fact, even his artwork is a reflection of Miller’s influence. It’s great to see Joker at his most homicidal and crazy in the scene where he murders a mystery man and then attacks Batman in the end of the book. However, the dialogue is simply too amateurish at times such as the “I am Gotham” line. Then again, he does a good job setting up memorable scenes such as Batman’s conversation with Commissioner Gordon and then Bruce’s chat with Alfred who mentions that he should start dating normal girls instead of a certain sexy feline.

The artwork is also quite stunning at times, which is only amplified by great coloring and inking but also making the action look awesome. As I mentioned, Daniel tips his hat to Miller in the way this Batman looks and it works beautifully.

Detective Comics #1 pushes an even darker Dark Knight into the spotlight and this makes for a great start to a series that certainly lives up to the Detective Comics label. It’s also great to see Batman and the Joker get into a vicious fight and an ending that will have Batman fans talking about it until the next issue arrives. Oh yeah, you will be looking forward to the next issue and if Daniel keeps it up we will have ourselves a Batman title that is a welcome addition.

COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN

STORY: B+
Batman is hot on the trail of his most dangerous adversary, the Joker, who is killing his known associates that includes a most unusual man. Meanwhile, the Dark Knight of Gotham isn’t exactly embraced by the city’s law enforcement or the Mayor who wants Batman stopped. Then a tip leads Batman and Commissioner Gordon’s men to a trap set by the Joker that will lead to a shocking conclusion.

ART: A
We’ve always admired Tony S. Daniel’s artwork in the past and this issue isn’t any different except for the visual nods to Frank Miller’s style when he did amazing work for his Batman stories. His artwork comes together beautifully with Tomeu Morey’s coloring and Ryan Winn’s flawless inking. This Gotham City looks amazing but the cover choice could have been better considering this is a first issue of Detective Comics.

OVERALL: B+
A few weak spots aside, Detective Comics #1 is an appropriately dark, gritty and doesn’t waste any time jumping into a story where the Joker is back in the streets of Gotham with a plan that is going to turn out to be surprising. While the dialogue is far from perfect, Daniel tells a solid story with a cliffhanger ending that not fail to drop some jaws. This is one series you will definitely want to keep both eyes on.

Review copy provided by DC Comics

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Reviewed By: Emma Coverdale

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Rags Morales
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Inker: Rick Bryant
Genre: Comic Book
MSRP: $3.99 USA
Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: Available Now

It was Action Comics that introduced the world to a very unique hero who has become an iconic figure throughout the years. A lot has happened to Superman and much of it has dropped some jaws but it was the Flashpoint event that helped pave the way for new Superman titles that will change the way we look at the Man of Steel. Action Comics #1 is groundbreaking, epic and one of the best Superman stories you will read this year.

Forget about everything you know about Superman because Grant Morrison and Rags Morales give us a more youthful, slightly angrier yet still heroic Superman in a Metropolis that still so badly needs a hero. When we see our favorite Kryptonian, he leaps into the top of skyscraper that just so happens to belong to a man named Glenmorgan. As we can see, he still has his red cape but this Superman is the kind who sports a blue t-shirt with the S-emblem as well as blue jeans and work boots.

As it turns out, Superman has come for Glenmorgan, tossing the businessman’s henchmen around as if they were rag dolls. It is Glenmorgan’s crooked partner that leaves in time to point Metropolis PD to Superman who is standing on the edge of the building with Glenmorgan dangling above the Man of Steel. Oh yeah, it’s clear that the police don’t see Superman as a hero and more so when he hits the ground after leaping off said building. Clearly, this Superman hasn’t tried flying yet … or maybe he doesn’t know he could.

What is clear is that Superman’s sense of justice is still intact as he gives the big shot businessman a warning that he is watching Metropolis and that his type of corruption will no longer be tolerated in this city. He then takes off, not wanting to hurt Detective Blake’s trigger-happy officers. Meanwhile, in a command center, General Lane – Lois Lane’s father – has secured one Lex Luthor as a consultant. Lex, much like the military, believe that Superman is akin to a creature taken from one environment and placed in another only to cause that ecosystem to be destroyed. In short, Superman’s presence on Earth is a danger to humanity in Luthor’s opinion and must be dealt with immediately.

However, Superman does what he does best and that is save lives as he does when he helps the residents of an apartment building being bulldozed. That’s nothing new, of course, but what is new is Superman’s alter ego, Clark Kent. This Clark is nothing like the one we’ve known. In fact, he’s the perfect secret identity that nobody would even link to Superman.

Oh, there’s another big change as we realize, through a conversation with Jimmy Olsen, that this Clark Kent is still a journalist but not what who we think. Through Jimmy we also learn that he and Lois Lane are trailing Gus Grundig who is connected to Glenmorgan aboard a train. It suddenly dawns on Clark that that is not a good thing for them so he heads out to their rescue.

The result of stopping the train is something we don’t see coming but it goes to show that this Lex Luthor is just as cunning as the Lex we’ve always known. It’s also great to see Lois Lane is still the same as well, which brings us to just about the only character who didn’t return the same. This Superman doesn’t sound like a 1950’s hero, rather, he talks just like a Kansas farm boy. Sure, Superman comes from another planet but he was raised in Smallville, Kansas so wouldn’t it make sense if both he and his alter ego spoke like a Kansas native?

Then there’s the artwork by Rags Morales who, not surprisingly, makes Superman look hot as well as downright cool. His visuals are nothing short of stunning, as you can see from the cover, and surprising as well as he makes Clark Kent look like he’s could get beat up by a little girl. Along with great coloring by Brad Anderson and inking by Rick Bryant, this comic is absolute eye candy.

Action Comics #1 will change the way you look at Superman to the point that this book will be on your mind way after you put it down. The New 52 is about changing the game and this one does it so easily that it will remind you why Grant Morrison is still a fan favorite. This is, by far, one of my favorite Superman books and if it keeps it up it will remain that way for a long time to come. Whatever you do, DC Comics fans, do not miss this issue.

COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN

STORY: A+
Taken on one of Metropolis’ richest as well as most corrupt businessmen, a newer and rougher Man of Steel appears in the city as a self-appointed guardian of Metropolis. However, the military – aided by one Lex Luthor – sees this new alien menace as a threat to the world and together they set out to capture this being by setting up a trap that will put the lives of Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen in danger in the process.

ART: A
Rags Morales is one of our favorite artists and with good reason so it makes perfect sense to have him work on the first issue of this iconic comic and hero. His art, along with Brad Anderson and Rick Bryant make this book look good. On an interesting side note, if you’ve been following the Flashpoint series, a certain hooded character makes an appearance in the background (as well as showing up in other titles of The New 52 books).

OVERALL: A+
Without a doubt, Action Comics #1 definitely deserves a place in your collection and will certainly make you see the Man of Steel in a new light that makes this one of the best Superman titles yet. The words “game-changer” certainly applies to this book and believe me when I say that it’s definitely one of the reasons the New 52 titles keep selling out.

Review copy provided by DC Comics

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Reviewed By: Eden Zacarias

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Yanick Paquette
Colorist: Nathan Fairbairn
Genre: Comic Book
MSRP: $2.99 USA
Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: Available Now

When DC Comics announced that Swamp Thing would be joining their list of “New 52” titles that will get a major reboot I was excited to see how the big green monster would change in a new DC Universe. Then the talented writer behind American Vampire was tapped to write the story and – if that wasn’t enough – Yanick Paquette is handling the artwork making Swamp Thing #1 the best thing to happen to our favorite swamp hero.

The DC Universe as we know it has gone through a dramatic change that started out with a major event where the heroes we once knew became something different. Now the ripples of said event changed the universe as familiar characters’ lives have taken a alternate turn into new territory. One of these heroes is Superman who, as Clark Kent, witnesses a freak occurrence as thousands of dead birds simply fall from the sky. This phenomenon isn’t just happening in Metropolis as we witness the same thing happening to the aquatic life and, in Gotham City, Batman is witness to the gruesome demise of bats.

Meanwhile, in Louisiana, a man is overlooking a construction site as foreman when a worker thanks him for his advice using cabbage for therapeutic purposes. It’s clear that this man isn’t your average construction worker since he waxes philosophically to himself about plant life seeing as he was a botanist. This man, it turns out, is Doctor Alec Holland. Yes, the same Doctor Holland who was transformed into the monster we know as the Swamp Thing. Yet here he stands as a human with fragmented memories of having once been the creature.

Suddenly, Superman appears before the good Doctor and Holland knows exactly why he’s here looking for him. It’s clear that the Man of Steel is worried about the unusual phenomenon and there’s no other man more qualified to give his opinion about the occurrence. Holland has a very interesting theory that speaks volumes of the warning signs we are experiencing in real life as well as how violent plant life can really be within the ecosystem.

Doctor Holland is also quick to point out that he’s obviously not in tune with nature since he’s no longer tied to the monster. Superman, on the other hand, still thinks Alec Holland can still play a big role in helping since he is the man who conceived the very formula that transformed him and – in a surprising twist – we learn that the Doctor has not completely left the formula alone either.

Meanwhile, in a paleontology dig site in northwestern Arizona where the exposed remains of what looked like a wooly mammoth is suddenly ripped out of the earth. When the men in charge of the dig site return and find the remains gone, they quickly come to the conclusion that their rivals have swiped their find. Unfortunately for them, this would have been a better alternative since a strange force of nature involving bees turns ugly really fast as the men start dying in horrific ways that introduce us to a terrifying earth-bound entity.

Speaking of earth-bound entities, another one shows up in the end that will pretty much leave you wishing the second issue were already available. It’s clear that the world of the Swamp Thing has changed and things are even more interesting now that the mystery has yet to be unraveled. Best yet is that the memory of the past haunts Alex Holland and Superman himself makes a comment about the disoriented feeling of “coming back.”

Scott Snyder definitely has us intrigued as he pens a story still so full of mystery that you can’t help but want to keep following it. Alec’s thoughts on the violent world of plants are actually fascinating and the threat introduced shows a lot of promise. Then there’s Yanick Paquette whose artwork has always been stellar just makes this series look really good.

Swamp Thing #1 is a compelling and fascinating first step in a direction that is already starting to look even better than the original series. If that sounds like too bold a statement then all you have to do is pick this one up and see just how good this story begins. Whether you’re new to the series or a fan from way back, this is a new beginning that you seriously should not miss. Once again, Scott Snyder proves that he’s one of the best things to happen to comics in a long time.

COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN

STORY: A+
An unusual phenomenon is occurring throughout the world and the Man of Steel himself is worried what it might mean to the planet. He turns to the only man capable of truly understanding nature – Doctor Alec Holland. However, just as the universe of superheroes has changed so has the good Doctor as Superman finds out. Meanwhile, an unusual force attacks a group of paleontologists at a dig site.

ART: A
The art in this issue is simply spectacular but if you know Yanick Paquette’s art then you probably already know that from his impressive body of work. Also, Paquette makes Superman – in his new suit, no less – look really good.

OVERALL: A+
Without a doubt one of the strongest entries in the “The New 52” lineup, Swamp Thing #1 is a deeply absorbing and meaningful first issue that will not fail to grab your attention from beginning to shocking end. Scott Snyder and Yanick Paquette will not only wow you but also make you a fan of the Swamp Thing all over again. This is definite a Must Have comic book.

Review copy provided by DC Comics

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Reviewed By: Frosty McKenzie

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Ardian Syaf, Adam Hughes (Cover)
Colorist: Ulises Arreola
Inker: Vicente Cifuentes
Genre: Comic Book
MSRP: $2.99 USA
Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: Available Now

Everything we knew about the DC Universe changed in the comic book summer affair of the year as the Flashback event took familiar characters and elements and turned them upside down. Now, DC Comics pushes things in a new direction that gives just about every character a fresh new start as things in this universe changed in a big way. So imagine a world where Barbara Gordon is standing tall on her own two legs and fighting crime again wearing the Batgirl costume. Oh yeah, welcome to Batgirl #1 where it’s a new beginning for a familiar hero.

In the old universe, Barbara Gordon, daughter of Gotham City’s own Commissioner Jim Gordon, became Batman’s apprentice and donned her own Bat outfit to fight crime as Batgirl. She made Batman and Gotham proud until she answered the door one night and was staring into the barrel of a gun held by the Clown Prince of Crime. The result of this unfortunate and terrifying encounter left Barbara in a wheelchair as Batgirl was no more and the Oracle was born.

Oh, how things have changed, my friends.

When we first see Babs again, she is in her Batgirl costume looking through binoculars as she assesses a very dangerous situation. On top of seeing Barbara Gordon in her costume again, the shocking image is that of Barbara in motion as she jumps into action. You see, inside a home are a band of murders that have become famous for committing home invasion robbery and murder wearing cheap Halloween costumes. They’re about to do their worst when Batgirl smashes through the window and goes to work.

Of course, her reaction time leads us to believe the obvious … Barbara hasn’t been back as Batgirl very long but she makes good use of her training and manages to save the family the band of psychos were terrorizing. It’s great to see her in action again as well as see her back with her father who is just so happy to see his daughter up and walking again that their scene together is actually quite touching.

However, Barbara is still haunted by the Joker’s visit and what he did to her to the point that she feels she can’t stay in the same house as her father in fear of something happening again that would put her dad in danger. Instead, she finds a place of her own where we meet her new landlord that is a something of an activist. It’s going to be interesting to see how these two women’s ideals will clash.

Meanwhile, a costumed enemy makes his appearance early in the issue as he turns his attention on a man who just so happened to have survived the sinking of a transport ship. This mysterious figure makes sure that his victim suffers a fate just as horrible. As it turns out, though, this mystery figure who calls himself the Mirror has a list of victims, one of them being a man under police custody in a Gotham hospital.

As the Mirror makes an attempt to take out this killer, Barbara hears about it and heads off with her Batcycle to reach the target on time. However, the masked foe uses guns and he points one at Batgirl who freezes at the sight of it. The trauma, we can see, is deep enough that the moment’s hesitation leads to a surprising twist. Things are definitely not the same for this Batgirl.

Gail Simone certainly has a grasp on Barbara Gordon’s return as Batgirl in a new DC Universe that is all about change. Sure, we’ll miss Oracle or Stephanie but Barbara was a great Batgirl and, from the looks of things, she’s still just as good if not more interesting now. Unfortunately, I wasn’t too crazy about Simone’s dialogue that tried to sound natural but just doesn’t at many points throughout the comic.

Thankfully, Ardian Syaf’s artwork works wonderfully for the series and he makes Batgirl look good in action. I got a thrill seeing Barbara in the Batgirl suit again and even more so seeing her kicking the hell out of bad guys. Add a stunningly gorgeous cover and you have yourself a comic with great visual presence so here’s hoping it continues that way.

Batgirl #1 definitely shows more than enough potential as a favorite character returns to the role we are more familiar with since she was first introduced to us. DC Comic’s “The New 52” line is a brilliant idea as we can see from this new start for Barbara Gordon that just makes this new series enticing enough that we will happily keep our eye on this series.

COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN

STORY: B
Barbara Gordon’s life changed when the Joker showed up at her door with a loaded revolver but her life bound to a wheelchair for the rest of her life never occurs as gets back on her feet to don the Batgirl outfit again. Meanwhile, a most unusual costumed foe is targeting a group of people that cheated their fate.

ART: A
Ardian Syaf’s art works beautifully for this series and topped off with Ulises Arreola’s coloring and Vicente Cifuentes’ inking and you have a series that is visually appealing. On top of that, Adam Hughes’ cover is the stuff that lithographs and posters are made of and baby would it look good hanging on a wall.

OVERALL: B
It’s great to see Barbara Gordon back in the Batgirl costume and Batgirl #1 is off to a good start with more than enough possibilities to make this a series worth following. Gail Simone’s dialogue isn’t the strongest but she does a great job creating a different reality that sets up this story perfectly as Batgirl is out of the wheelchair and back doing what she does best.

Review copy provided by DC Comics

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Reviewed By: Emma Coverdale

Publisher: DC Comics
Writers: Geoff Johns
Artist: Jim Lee
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Genre: Comic Book
MSRP: $4.99 USA
Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: Available Now

DC Comics has certainly kept comic book fans on their toes all summer long (as well as keep wallets empty) with the Flashpoint event and it wasn’t that long that an announcement was made that would change everything we know about the DC Universe. The New 52 begins now with an epic first step in a new direction for our favorite legendary superhero team with Justice League #1. Consider this the beginning of something extraordinary, Justice League fans.

Justice League #1 begins, interestingly enough, in Gotham City where the hero we call Batman is not only in hot pursuit of a most unusual culprit but he himself is being pursued by Gotham’s police department. Gone is the Caped Crusader who was considered a savoir of this city. Instead, the police department sends helicopters and snipers that are ready to take him down as if he were a threat rather than a hero.

Still, Batman maintains his pursuit and realizes the person he was chasing isn’t of this world but, before he can even question him, the police start shooting to kill. It doesn’t look good for both hunter and prey when the Green Lantern appears to lend Batman a hand. This might not sound like something out of the ordinary until we learn that this Green Lantern has never met even met Batman. In fact, he didn’t even think he was real until now.

The banter between Batman and the Green Lantern is one of this issue’s best highlights as the Dark Knight tries to make heads or tails of a powerhouse who knows he’s a powerhouse. Smugness aside, however, the Green Lantern’s curiosity of Batman is actually comical. Still, both heroes realize that the extraterrestrial manages to set off an explosive and screams a name that is all too familiar to the DC Universe. Since this is an alien matter, Green Lantern believes they should turn to another alien for input. As it turns out, this powerful “alien” happens to call the city of Metropolis home so their next stop is to see the being Batman thinks is dangerous.

Meanwhile, in Metropolis, a young football sensation is catching the eye of every college scout at a very important game. He’s none other than Vic Stone and while he knows the importance of this particular game, he’s more worried about that vacant seat that was reserved for someone he wanted so badly to cheer for him. Something else catches Vic’s attention as he witnesses the Green Lantern and Batman speeding past the stadium. Judging by everyone’s reaction to this sight, it’s clear that superheroes are still undiscovered.

It is in Metropolis that we witness another surprise when they meet the Man of Steel who doesn’t exactly welcome the two heroes with open arms. As a matter of fact, he shows them just how powerful he really is and this leads to us only wishing that the second issue would arrive really soon.

Geoff Johns never fails to surprise his readers nor does he disappoint when it comes to telling a good story … especially a good story that’s a part of a big event like, say, the Flashpoint event. The task is certainly a big one but Geoff Johns is off to a good start as he leaves us not only wanting more but wondering how the rest of the team will come to form the Justice League.

Then there’s the artwork by Jim Lee that is just the right talent for a project as big as this one and, yes, I even love the little touches he made to the Green Lantern and Batman’s costumes. Then there’s the visual touches that Scott Williams and Alex Sinclair adds to Jim Lee’s pencils and you have yourself a comic that’s pure eye candy.

Without a doubt, Justice League #1 is the first step in an epic and bold new direction that takes iconic heroes to intriguing new heights. If you ever wanted to check out the Justice League series, now is definitely the time jump on in and believe me when I say that you will definitely not be disappointed. If the other “New 52” titles are this good then DC has won a new generation of comic book readers.

COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN

STORY: A
Gotham City is much as we remember it but as Batman is chasing a powerful alien foe, Gotham’s finest are trying to bring down the Dark Knight as well. However, a hero we know as the Green Lantern steps in to aid the Caped Crusader in taking down the alien. Together, both men destined to become heroes turn to Earth’s resident alien to find out what is going on.

ART: A+
Anyone who has ever picked up a comic book knows that Jim Lee is a master of his craft and is responsible for some truly amazing artwork. Justice League #1, simply put, is a visual feast thanks to Alex Sinclair’s coloring and Scott Williams inking that compliment Lee’s artwork. Also, the altered costumes look really awesome.

OVERALL: A
Since its announcement, The New 52 sounded like an ambitious project that could either be a raving success or go down as a disaster. As it turned out, Justice League #1 more than meets every expectation and takes what we knew about our favorite team and heroes and takes them to interesting new heights worth exploring. This is the beginning of something spectacular and we cannot wait to see how this story unfolds.

Review copy provided by DC Comics

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