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Archive for the ‘Graphic Novel Review’ Category

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

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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

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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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Reviewed By: Evelyn Finch

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Jim Lee, Carlos D’Anda (Epilogue Artist)
Colorist: Alex Sinclair, Gabe Eltaeb, Tony Avina & Hi-FI
Genre: Graphic Novel (Hardcover)
MSRP: $24.99 USA
Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: Available Now

I like to think that I’ve seen it all when it comes to comics but there’s always a graphic novel or a comic book event that pulls the rug from right under my feet leaving me flat on my back very surprised but with a smile on my face, nonetheless. The New 52 was one of those events that took comic book fans everywhere by surprise and did not disappoint in the very least and even more so for fans of the DC Universe’s most impressive superhero team called the Justice League. Volume 1 Origin covers the first six issues of this epic reboot and believe me when I say that if you weren’t a fan of the Justice League then you most definitely will be after picking up this hardcover collection.

The Flashpoint event has changed the world in ways that have made heroes like Batman and Superman something of a myth rather than a reality. In fact, you will find that the cast is somewhat younger than when we last saw them. In the opening of the book, the city of Gotham and its law enforcement know that Batman is real and there is no place for a costumed vigilante like him, which is why they are hunting him. Meanwhile, Batman is doing some hunting of his own as he chases after a being that certainly doesn’t look like he belongs to this planet let alone his city.

It is then that he meets another hero who Batman has heard about and who people in his own city know as The Green Lantern. It’s something of a surprise to Hal Jordan that Batman does exist and the pair team up to try to stop the alien who utters a single name before he is vaporized by an alien artifact … Darkseid. Since their opponent was clearly from another planet, the pair turn to the only extraterrestrial our planet is aware of that that being is none other than Superman in Metropolis.

Unfortunately for both heroes, Superman isn’t very welcoming and especially after seeing Batman carrying the alien cube. It seems that the Man of Steel was attacked by a similar foe and he is not in the best of moods. Oh yeah, this Superman means business and gives Batman and the Green Lantern a fight they’ll remember. In fact, the Green Lantern has to call a friend of his from Central City named Barry Allen or, as that city knows him, The Flash. It takes a few seconds for the Flash to arrive and slightly give Superman something of a challenge.

However, when more alien invaders arrive, Superman realizes that the trio really doesn’t have anything to do with this and takes them to his hideout, which certainly does not resemble his Fortress of Solitude. Meanwhile, a young man football phenom named Victor Stone who happens to be the son of Doctor Silas Stone who is making a breakthrough study. Upset that his father wasn’t there in the biggest game of his life, Vic goes to S.T.A.R. Labs when the alien cube they were studying opens a portal that lets in more of the same alien invaders. One even shoots Vic Stone, changing the young man’s life in a bizarre way.

Not too far away, a military liaison is searching his charge, the Amazon princess known as Wonder Woman who wandered outside with sword in hand looking to fight one of the aliens reported in the area. She finds a battle, all right, and joins the other heroes in battle. Fighting near the ocean, another familiar face shows up as we meet Aquaman. Back in S.T.A.R. Labs, Doctor Stone is determined to save his son whose injuries are extreme. He injects his son with nanites as well as fits him with armored limbs turning him into a Cyborg who is successfully activated and online. Vic, in his new state, comes to a realization about the enemy and sets off to stop them only to find himself fighting alongside the very super humans his father studies.

Suddenly, this band of heroes are fighting as a team despite the fact that Aquaman is trying to push his way into a leader role and the Green Lantern is not a team player. Still, thanks to Batman’s direction, they begin to fight as a group. Then the leader of the alien invaders arrives and it is none other than Darkseid who turns out to be a formidable foe.

Geoff Johns certainly had quite a task in re-introducing the world to a team of familiar faces that are younger, brasher and totally entertaining to watch. He spins a good story with memorable scenes between each character whether it’s Green Lantern calling Batman a tool or Flash calling dibs on Wonder Woman. This is a younger team with a different kind of energy that makes even Aquaman badass.

Then there’s Jim Lee’s artwork that pretty much makes this series not only look amazing but is the perfect choice to handle a series this big. The new costumes really work, although I agree with Green Lantern that Aquaman’s necklace has got to go but other than that everyone looks good in action and you will not be disappointed by Jim Lee’s pencils, perfect coloring and inking that make up the overall art.

Justice League, Volume 1 Origins is everything you can ask for in a new beginning and it is – without a doubt – an unforgettable comic book reading experience. Geoff Johns and Jim Lee are the perfect team to bring us this new re-introduction to a league of heroes that are refreshingly younger and way too much fun that you won’t be able to take your eyes off of them. If you missed it the first time around, this hardcover collection NEEDS to be in your library.

COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN

STORY: A+
In the middle of chasing a mysterious foe on the rooftops of Gotham, Batman encounters another hero who is known as the Green Lantern. Joined by The Flash, Batman and Green Lantern find themselves trying to unravel the mystery of these invaders with the aid of the one called Superman. Suddenly, the are joined by other heroes they’ve never met including Wonder Woman, Aquaman and a young man trying to make sense of his new cyborg body.

ART: A+
Without a doubt, Jim Lee is a brilliant choice to usher in a new beginning for the Justice League as we can see from everything from the great covers to his amazing-looking action scenes. Backed up by talented colorists like Alex Sinclair and inking by Scott Williams, Jim Lee makes the younger cast of superheroes look damn good.

OVERALL: A+
The New 52 is one of the best things to happen to comics in a long time and Justice League is proof of that as it reintroduces us to familiar heroes in a way that will not fail to take your breath away. It’s no easy feat crafting a new legend but Geoff Johns and Jim Lee pull it off flawlessly and in a way that if you weren’t a Justice League fan before you certainly will be after picking up this hardcover collection. No comic book fans should be without this one, believe me.

Review copy provided by DC Comics

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Reviewed By: Faith McAdams

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Andy Kubert
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Genre: Graphic Novel (Hardcover)
MSRP: $22.99 USA
Rating: Teen
Release Date: Available Now

When it comes to big summer comic book events, DC Comics certainly knows that bigger is definitely better but this year they manage to outshine every past events by taking everything we know about the entire DC Universe and mixing it up in a way that was too good to pass up. We’re talking about Flashpoint – an event that has led up to a new change in a number of DC Comics. Brought to us in a hardcover graphic novel, all five issues of the series make for a book every comic book collector should own.

Barry Allen’s life has been an interesting one that changed one evening when he was struck by lightening in the crime lab and thus giving birth to The Flash. He had everything except for his mother who was taken from him a long time ago. Then, all that he knew about his life suddenly takes a most startling twist when he wakes up from a quick snooze in the crime lab. What he quickly discovers is that the world is not the same and it hits home the second he comes across his mother who is still alive.

Oh, but that’s not all. The world, it seems, is in turmoil as a massive war between Wonder Woman and Aquaman is tearing the globe apart. Barry also discovers that the world knows nothing of Superman or even the Justice League. Has he somehow crossed over to a parallel universe or some other kind of mirror world? When he learns that his mother knows about Batman, Barry Allen heads to Gotham where he makes another interesting discovery about this Caped Crusader’s real identity.

Barry starts revealing things about his own reality to this Batman and it becomes clear to The Flash that this world is real. Somehow, he realizes that someone had changed things and the only one capable of doing such a thing is a foe very familiar to him … Reverse Flash.

Of course, this doesn’t really convince a very different Batman who takes no prisoners and doesn’t care about the world around him and the fact that he has the gun that Joe Chill used that fateful night speaks volumes of how Batman deals with criminals. This Batman doesn’t even care about the state of Wayne Manor or the fact that his name adorns casinos he owns across Gotham. However, uncaring as he is, Cyborg knows Batman’s legacy is strong among heroes and villains and tries to recruit him in order to stop Wonder Woman and Aquaman. You know things are serious when Cyborg’s team consists of Citizen Cold (who we know as Captain Cold), the Sandman, Element Woman and the Shazam kids.

While he turned Cyborg down, he does not do the same for Barry who convinces him that his reality is the true one. So Batman helps Barry regain his lost powers and he does so be recreating the accident using similar chemical compounds and an electric chair hooked up to a lightning rod. It’s a dangerous plan but one that pays off enough that has Batman convinced to follow him into finding another hero … Superman.

They manage to find the Man of Steel but things are not what The Flash or Batman expects when they storm a secret military installation with the help of Cyborg. What they find isn’t the Superman Barry knows but actually something completely unexpected who flies away leaving the others to fend off a wave of security officers. If it wasn’t for the Element Woman – who is so delightfully offbeat that she’s one of the most refreshing characters in Flaspoint – they would all be captured but instead they manage to escape in order to regroup and take the fight to Wonder Woman and Aquaman once and for all.

Speaking of Wonder Woman, we find her to be so menacing that she’s almost unrecognizable. She and her Amazonian warriors have taken the United Kingdom and made it New Themyscira after having slaughtered thousands in the process. She even slays a familiar character who has come to find Lois Lane who is looking for a band of heroes who call themselves The Resistance.

There’s a final confrontation that is no only exciting but jaw dropping as The Flash and a band of heroes take the fight to Aquaman and Wonder Woman who are locked in battle. If the beginning of the series was shocking then wait until the last chapter as this single action will change the entire DC Universe in ways that comic book fans are now experiencing with The New 52.

Flashpoint wasn’t without its weak moments but that doesn’t stop Geoff Johns from telling a story that shocks and awes with a force that you can’t help be drawn into from start to finish. Adding the talents of Andy Kubert backed by Alex Sinclair’s perfect coloring and Sandra Hope’s finishing touches, this is simply a gorgeous-looking book.

A perfect blend of masterful storytelling and attention-grabbing artwork, Flashpoint is one of those rare treats that go from surprising to unforgettable. This is the one that comic book fans will be talking about for years to come and its aftereffects continue to ripple across the DC Universe now with The New 52. A Must-Not-Miss if ever there was one, Flashpoint deserves to be in your growing library.

COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN

STORY: A+
Barry Allen, The Flash, wakes up only to find that nothing is as it seems since his mother is still alive and nobody has even heard of The Flash. Unfortunately, there’s more bad news as Barry discovers that Wonder Woman and Aquaman have waged a war that is destroying the world. With the help of a very different Batman, the Flash regains the powers he lost but first he must solve the mystery behind this new reality.

ART: A+
There are artists whose work simply jumps off the pages when it comes to making action look mouthwatering good and there are those artists who convey emotion so easily that you feel every emotion. Andy Kubert does both and does it so well that you will often find yourself flipping back a page just to make sure you saw what you saw. Along with Sandra Hope and Alex Sinclair, this graphic novel

OVERALL: A+
Simply put, Flashpoint is not only this year’s best comic book offering but it’s also a game changing experience that will renew your faith in comic books period. There are very few comic book events that will leave such a lasting impression on you but this collection does it easily enough that you will find yourself engrossed from shocking start to explosive end. It really is just that good.

Review copy provided by DC Comics

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Reviewed By: Ian Mintz

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Lee Bermejo
Artist: Lee Bermejo
Colorist: Barbara Ciardo
Genre: Graphic Novel (Hardcover)
MSRP: $22.99 USA
Rating: Teen
Release Date: Available Now

Let’s face it, when you think of Gotham City’s Dark Knight you don’t exactly picture the cheery Christmas holidays and even more so when the murderous Clown Prince of Crime is involved. However, the talented Lee Bermejo – who is pulling double duty as both artist and writer – has envisioned a Christmas story that parallels another familiar Christmas tale by the great Charles Dickens. Batman: Noel is a surprisingly brilliant ode to a classic with a Caped Crusader spin.

To Batman’s eyes, the man sweating bullets as he makes an exchange behind the door of an old-fashioned toy store is nothing more than just another bagman working for the Joker. The truth is that the man – who is the Bob Cratchet of this story – did not want to work for a homicidal maniac but saw no other opportunities to make a fast buck seeing that he hated his job working for Wayne Industries where he was going nowhere. After all, he had a son to take care of and bills to pay.

Still, Batman sees nothing else but just another weak scumbag and he catches up to “Bob” and tries to find out what he knows about the Joker or the package filled with cash. The Dark Knight decides to use the man as live bait knowing that the Joker will come looking for him and the money. Placing a tracking device on him, Batman follows Bob to his rundown apartment where his young son excitedly greets his father with a broken plant he decorated as their Christmas tree.

Oh, but the sight that would pull on anyone else’s heartstrings does nothing for Batman who just sees another criminal and a son who will most likely follow in his father’s footsteps when he grows up. As his sickness begins to turn feverish, he finds himself waiting out in the snowy cold of Gotham’s winter. He touches bases with Commissioner Gordon who tells him that he was tipped off that the Catwoman not only will be pulling of a heist but she also might have information concerning the Joker.

As it turns out, Catwoman did manage to make a score and she is in the mood to play. Unfortunately for her, Batman is in no mood to play but in chasing her across the roof, he begins to remember the old days of chasing her with a lively zeal that is clearly gone. Catwoman begins to represent the ghost of the past … a past that included a partner that is no longer among the living. Even the Catwoman can see that he has changed over the years.

Like Scrooge, Batman is visited by a second visitor, and it just so happens to be Superman (the Superman before the New 52) who has come to Gotham. Representing Batman’s present, Superman shows his friend the things he does not see and the way people such as Commissioner Gordon and the police see Batman. Sure, it’s easy to see the darkness in people’s hearts but there’s also good and it’s the good the Superman believes Batman cannot see.

When Superman leaves, a surprise knocks Batman out as a familiar maniac drags the Caped Crusader into an open grave to be buried alive. In essence, this burial serves as an eye-opener for Batman as he sees a future without him in it. A future where Gotham City will tear itself apart thanks, in part, to the legacy he leaves behind because of Batman’s influence on the city and its people. Oh, and nothing goes well for our Commissioner Gordon whose fate makes a lot of sense.

Like the old miser in Dickens’ tale, however, there’s a turning point that makes Batman come to a realization. It leads to a good climax that is actually quite touching and, in the end, makes it a holiday story that never tries to too hard to drive home the Christmas aspects of the story. In other words, it doesn’t have any cheesy Christmas sentimentality that has been used before in other comics covering a holiday theme.

I always cringe at the thought of a talented artist penning the story as well but Lee Bermejo succeeds where others have failed in spectacular ways. Bermejo does a great job with the writing and making the dialogue sound natural and the interactions between each character works well. Of course, Bermejo is best know for his artwork and he does not disappoint in the very least with his amazing visual style that makes everything from Catwoman to the Batmobile look hot.

Batman: Noel is everything you can ask for in a holiday-themed story starring Batman but, more importantly, it’s a brilliant story that pays homage to a literary classic in its own style that just works. Bermejo clearly has what it takes to tell a story visually as well as with his writing and it shows in this story that makes this graphic novel one Batman fans should not skip out on this holiday season.

COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN

STORY: A
Mirroring the Scrooge character in A Christmas Carol, a sick Batman finds himself chasing the Joker by way of a down-on-his luck bagman who the Caped Crusader is using as live bait. However, as his illness begins to become severe, he finds himself meeting up with three visitors that makes Batman reflect on his past, present and future.

ART: A+
Visually speaking, Bermejo’s work has always been original and downright impressive so it is not a surprise that Batman: Noel looks so visually-striking with Gotham City in winter being quite a sight to see. It’s also good to see Superman in his pre-New 52 costume. On top of that, Barbara Ciardo’s coloring is sublime.

OVERALL: A
A brilliant take on Dickens’ classic Christmas tale, Batman: Noel is simply a perfectly crafted holiday story with a Dark Knight twist that makes it all work. Lee Bermejo proves that he’s not only a talented artist but he can also spin a good yarn. Whether you’re a true Batman fan or are interested in a different kind of holiday story, Batman: Noel is a graphic novel you should not miss.

Review copy provided by DC Comics

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Reviewed By: Evelyn Finch

Publisher: DC Comics
Writers: J. Michael Straczynski, Phil Hester
Artists: Don Kramer, Eduardo Pansica, Allan Goldman, Daniel HDR, Alex Garner (collection cover art)
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Genre: Graphic Novel (Hardcover)
MSRP: $22.99 USA
Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: Available Now

J. Michael Straczynski imagined a different kind of Superman in his outstanding re-telling of the Man of Steel’s story with Superman One Earth and having heard that he had set his sights on Wonder Woman we can only imagine what he had in store for the heroic Amazon. As it turned out, Volume One of Wonder Woman: Odyssey gives us a familiar yet different kind of Wonder Woman whose life has taken a very interesting alternate path.

Something is most definitely off as the hero we have come to know as Wonder Woman has her hands full with something other than her battle against injustice. You see, she is on the run from a group of armed troopers looking to end her life as well as every other Amazon. Younger and more rebellious, Princess Diana only knows that they are a persistent bunch that will not rest until every Amazon is dead … just like her mother. The remaining Amazons left to watch over her have taken to the sewers and found safe houses to keep her safe.

Unfortunately, for the other Amazons, their Princess will not sit still and hide from the world. She means to head out and face the threat since the Princess is also a powerful force to be reckoned with despite the fact that her full powers have yet to surface. She is told that in another alternate reality she could even take to the skies and fly. This is part of the reason why she is so determined to go out and find out exactly what happened to Paradise, its people and her mother.

The Princess turns to the woman under the bridge known as the Oracle who tells her the truth about what happened the day a military squad found its way to the beautiful world without men. They had come with machine guns, explosives and vehicles, slaughtering Amazon warriors. Their leader, a man who looks as if he was burnt from head to toe then brought back to life, faces off against the Queen who sent her trusted warriors to lead her only child out to safety. This monster holds a very familiar item … one that we have always known Wonder Woman to have with her. In the end, the Queen makes the ultimate sacrifice to protect what is dear to her.

Now, the remaining Amazons have scattered while others have followed their fallen Queen’s last orders to protect the Princess. This, as it turns out, wasn’t an easy feat since Diana – even as a child – would run away and looks for adventure on her own. We can see that even in this alternate history she still stands up for injustice to defend those who cannot fight back. These are the signs that she is still destined to be a hero either way.

Having learned the truth about her people as well as herself, the Princess sets out to trail the men that wish to slaughter each and everyone of them. She hitches a ride on a plane that would take her to Turkey where this organization finally found the location of a group of Amazons that were hiding out in a hidden temple. The Princess arrives in time to dish out some hurt and the help her sisters evacuate the temple. Armed with a shield with the likeness of her mother, the warrior Princess fights back and helps her sisters out into the desert where Diana finds death and the mythological creatures of her world.

Diana also faces off against the burnt man who was responsible for her mother’s death and reclaims what was originally an artifact that belonged to her world. It is back in her home that Diana looks for the real culprits behind the burnt man and his men. As it turns out, the threat is familiar to the Amazons and their involvement might very well explain the reason behind this alternate history. The clues all fit but Diana does not know what to make of a few dolls made out in her likeness that point to the Wonder Woman we all know.

The enemy sends mythological creatures to hunt Princess Diana down as she turns to her trusted circle of Amazons to help her. There’s more to the villains than meets the eye as they sent forth female warriors that could only be former Amazon warriors. This fight is far from over and Princess Diana’s quest to put right all that is wrong about her world.

I have to say that I really like Jim Lee’s modernized take on her outfit that is more grittier to fit her slightly darker personality. There’s still a sexiness to this young Wonder Woman and the artists involved in this graphic novel make it work. Straczynski does a brilliant job of weaving a story that takes everything we’ve ever known about Wonder Woman and changes it just enough to make her fascinating and still just as iconic.

Volume 2 of Wonder Woman: Odyssey is a brave step in a different direction and it works just perfectly in a story that will certainly please Wonder Woman fans. With an alternate history comes a unique twist in a familiar story and a character who is still a hero of mythological proportions. It’s also one hell of an entertaining story that will certainly make you look forward to Volume 2.

COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN

STORY: A+
The world is not what it seems as the Amazons of Paradise find themselves in hiding after a brutal attack has left their home in ruins and their Queen burned in the fires of war. It is the young and rebellious Princess Diana who sets out to find the truth behind who wants all the Amazons wiped out and how to stop them. Meanwhile, she discovers that something is wrong and that there is the life of a superhero that should have been but wasn’t.

ART: A+
With Jim Lee behind this Wonder Woman’s new redesigned costume and Don Kramer, Eduardo Pansica, Allan Goldman and Daniel HDR handling the artwork, you are in for a visual treat. This is a younger and grittier Princess Diana and it shows.

OVERALL: A+
A bold new direction for a powerful iconic figure, Volume 1 of Wonder Woman: Odyssey is nothing short of impressive and unique. Before the Flashpoint event made us see the woman of wonder in a different way, J. Michael Straczynski and crew gave us a unique Wonder Woman that gives this hero a refreshingly modern and interesting twist. If you’re a fan of Wonder Woman you do not want to miss this first volume.

Review copy provided by DC Comics

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