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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

Being fans of anything that DC Comic’s Vertigo line puts out, we are excited to find ourselves not only enjoying the current titles available this 2012 but also the new titles that are headed our way this coming March. In fact, those lucky enough to have picked up the free Vertigo Preview 2012 issue will find that Vertigo has four new titles that – in our opinion – has what it takes to become fan favorites.

Hitting the shelves this March are Dominique Laveau: Voodoo Child, The New Deadwardians, Saucer Country and FABLES spin-off, Fairest. Each title, judging by the preview issue, fits right in with Vertigo’s line of titles perfectly and yes, FABLES fans, Fairest definitely sounds like a big hit already. Here’s what you can come to expect from the four titles:

THE NEW DEADWARDIANS

With art by “At The Mountain of Madness” artist I. N. J. Culbard and written by “Resurrection Man” author Dan Abnett, The New Deadwardians in an intriguing eight-part vampires versus zombies tale told in an alternate version of London, England during the post-Victorian era. In the story, the upper class have volunteered to become vampires while the lower class citizens become flesh-eating zombies.

The preview introduces us to Chief Inspector George Suttle who wakes up in his home to a disturbing home invasion that sets the tone perfectly for a title with a zombie and vampire twist. Just by the preview alone we can tell the storytelling and the fantastic artwork will make this a rewarding reading experience for those who have a taste for a different kind of supernatural tale.

We come to expect The New Deadwardians #1 on sale on March 28.

DOMINIQUE LAVEAU: VOODOO CHILD

Written by Selwyn Seyfu Hinds with artwork by Denys Cowan (of “The Question” fame), Dominique Laveau: Voodoo Child is a new series that is soaked in that deliciously mysterious New Orleans flavor that makes this series such an intriguing one. One taste of the preview and we were already asking for the whole meal as we are thrown into the Big Easy in its most interesting and tragic times.

The story finds college student Dominique Laveau in a New Orleans that has been crippled by Katrina. She finds herself looking for answers in the tomb of an ancestor that carries her same name when suddenly she is transported to the aftermath of a slaughter. The newly deceased are all members of the court of the Voodoo Queen but there’s a single survivor and he turns his attention to Dominique!

This New Orleans bourbon-flavored supernatural tale will become available on March 21 as Dominique Laveau: Voodoo Child #1 hits store shelves.

FAIREST

“Mirror, Mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?” This is a question that will be answered in Fairest, a sort of spin-off from the FABLES series. FABLES fans will recognize the characters as writer Bill Willingham and the amazing artistic talents of Phil Jimenz, Andy Lanning and Adam Hughes.

Fairest finds FABLES characters Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, The Snow Queen, Rapunzel, Snow White, Rose Red and Thumbelina together as the FABLES women take center stage. In the preview we read we find a familiar “prince of thieves” and his small genie companion who promised him a different kind of riches. As it turns out, it is more than our young prince imagines.

Fairest #1 is expected to go on sale on March 7.

SAUCER COUNTRY

Those who know Paul Cornell’s body of work whether it be “Demon Knights” or “Doctor Who” know that this talented writer is certainly more than capable of bringing us a story worth sinking our teeth into and even more so when he’s backed up by our favorite “The New York Five” artist, Ryan Kelly. What we get is Saucer Country, a tale of politics and alien abductions.

Meet Arcadia Alvarado, the Mexican-American Governor of the State of New Mexico, who has her eyes set on the White House as the first female President of the United States. On the road, however, she is suddenly flooded by memories of a nightmarish encounter of the third kind. Are there aliens from another planet? What does the government know about alien abductions like her case? The only way to find out is to become President and so she sets out to win with a vengeance.

Space aliens and politics make strange but interesting bedfellows as Saucer Country #1 on March 14.

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

 

Reviewed By: Emma Coverdale

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Jim Lee
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Inker: Scott Williams
Genre: Comic Book
MSRP: $3.99 USA
Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: Available Now

Leave it to Geoff Johns to keep us intrigued as he slowly peels off the layers of a mystery foe while even more slowly bringing a band of heroes closer together to become the legendary team known as the Justice League. As we can see from Justice League #3, more members of the team meet for the first time and another is finally born as the real story has yet to begin. All we know right now is that The New 52 is really looking to be the best thing to happen to the Justice League in a long time.

As it was hinted in the last issue, the United States government and its military has become aware of another superhuman only this one has come from a mysterious island the government would like to find. Instead, what the world gets is a young and spirited young woman named Diana whose comes from the mythical race known as the Amazons. Not knowing quite what to make of her, the military has kept her in a base trying to understand why this young woman eagerly wants to fight for justice with a swing of her sword and her magical lasso.

We find out that the rest of the world knows about her now thanks to her attacks on criminals out in public. She has gotten so much exposure that the media has dubbed her Wonder Woman. Unfortunately, not everyone has embraced Wonder Woman’s existence since everyone from concerned citizens to religious fanatics sees her as something of a threat.

Still, this does not stop Wonder Woman from leaving the compound to fight evil as her liaison of this world, Colonel Trevor, finds out that she smashed her way out of the building to look for the creature reported to be attacking innocent civilians. Out in the street, people fear and loathe her … except for a child whose innocent wonder in the Amazonian reveals Wonder Woman’s own astonishment of this world. Everything from ice cream to rock and roll seem delightful and new to her.

As fate would have it, though, Wonder Woman does encounter the winged creature she head about in the news back in the military compound. It doesn’t turn out to be what she thought but judging by the sight of it we can see that it is actually another of the alien invaders showing up throughout the world.

Meanwhile, the Green Lantern, Batman, Superman and The Flash find themselves fighting off the wave of enemy invaders that suddenly appeared. It is The Flash who hears that similar attacks are going on around the world and there are reports that the invaders are taking humans with them. The four do a great job of fighting off the invaders together as we catch a glimpse of their future using teamwork in battle.

Not too far away, Doctor Stone is cradling the badly injured body of his son who has suffered a direct blast that has left his son incredibly disfigured. Realizing that the blast is eating away the flesh, the Doctor convinces his only surviving staff to help carry his son into a room with untested experimental nanite technology. While everyone else protests using said untested technology, the good doctor does not want to lose his only son and begins the procedure that would transform a young high school student into something else. What happens next is something you really must see for yourself.

While watching Victor Stone’s transformation is nail-bitingly intense, the biggest fan moment just so happens to be Wonder Woman joining in the fray involving the other heroes. Better yet is The Flash and The Green Lantern’s reaction to Wonder Woman. Just seeing the five heroes fighting side-by-side simply makes up for the slightly slower and less action-packed pace. We are also given a tease of the next hero that will cross their paths as well.

As I said before, Geoff Johns just keeps us intrigued and wanting more and this is no different. Add the continued brilliant visuals brought to us by Jim Lee as well as colorist Alex Sinclair and inker Scott Williams as we continue to have a great looking series. This Wonder Woman, by the way, looks absolutely stunning.

Justice League #3 wins big points for an interesting re-introduction to Wonder Woman to a world where heroes are not embraced as automatic saviors. Again, the pacing is slow but hardly a turn off seeing as Geoff Johns excels in keeping us intrigued and – let’s face it – excited by the potential of his story and what we could expect from future issues. This one still has us just as jazzed as the monumental first issue.

COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN

STORY: B+
As reports come from all around the world about invaders attacking major cities, a younger and more powerful Amazonian warrior the public calls Wonder Woman sets out to defend her new home. Eager for a fight, Wonder Woman happens to come across another band of familiar heroes fighting nearby. Meanwhile, Doctor Stone turns to an untested technology to save Victor’s life.

ART: A+
Jim Lee keeps outdoing himself with every issue of Justice League as we can clearly see from this third issue. Once again, the action looks hot but it’s Lee’s version of a younger and feistier Wonder Woman that steals the show. Well, that and the surprise at the end of the story.

OVERALL: B+
While Green Lantern and Batman’s new companions continue to take on the alien invaders, Justice League #3 will be best remembered as the best re-introduction of Wonder Woman to the Justice League roster. While the introduction slows the action down, it is the new Wonder Woman and the procedure that will transform Vic Stone into Cyborg that makes this issue a Must Have.

Review copy provided by DC Comics

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

Reviewed By: Emma Coverdale

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Jim Lee
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Inker: Scott Williams
Genre: Comic Book
MSRP: $4.99 USA (Digital Copy included)
Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: Available Now

It’s official … The New 52 was not only a success in terms of sales but also as a major turning point for the entire DC Universe and its iconic list of characters. Among all of the impressive titles that were given a reboot, it is the Justice League series that must assemble the big guns that include Superman and Wonder Woman in a new beginning that started off interesting enough. Justice League #2 re-introduces us to a familiar hero who is not very happy to meet the Dark Knight and his new friend called the Green Lantern.

The entire DC Universe has changed in a dramatic way that in the first issue of Justice League, the Green Lantern wasn’t even sure if Batman was real. As the Green Lantern finds Batman, he’s in the middle of pursing an alien intruder while evading the bullets of Gotham City’s finest who do not see him as a hero. Banding together to face off against the alien in the sewers, it perishes during the confrontation leaving only a mystery in the form of a strange cube and a name … Darkseid.

Figuring the only person who might know anything about alien business is an alien who made the city of Metropolis his home, the Green Lantern and Batman head to the City of Tomorrow only to find that the Man of Steel is in no mood for visitors. In fact, he attacks them the minute they step foot in Metropolis. Meanwhile, not too far away, a rising football star named Vic Stone is disappointed that his father didn’t make it to one of the biggest games of his life.

As we can see from Justice League #2, though, Batman and the Green Lantern have their hands full with an enraged Superman who will not even listen to reason. Batman has already used just about every device on his utility belt to calm him down while the Green Lantern was sent flying after being hit by Superman. It seems that Superman was attacked by a similar alien. On top of that, both heroes are carrying around a similar cube so the Man of Steel assumes they are with the aliens.

Seeing no other choice, Hal Jordan dials a very familiar face from Central City to lend a hand. It’s very clear – judging by their lively banter – that both Hal and Barry Allen (better know to us as The Flash) having not just met in person but has developed a friendship. Barry still works in the crime lab and is good at what he does but – with the entire crime lab unit focusing its attention on The Flash – he feels that the department is losing track of what is actually more important. Since super humans are still considered a threat, the Green Lantern made Central City aware of The Flash’s existence.

The Flash’s arrival on the scene turns the tables on the one-sided fight as he zips around Superman but it’s certainly not enough. However, they finally manage to calm Superman down enough that the Man of Steel is comfortable enough to take them to his base of operation that isn’t what it seems. As they wonder what to do about the alien cube it activates.

Meanwhile, Vic Stone, having visited his father in his lab, is given a not so warm reception from his father who purposely did not show up at his son’s game. Despite the fact that he knows his father thinks football is a waste of time, he wanted his father there for obvious reasons but Doctor Stone is not one to win Father of the Year. Then, something happens that will change everything for Vic Stone. For those who have been wondering how he will be transformed into our favorite Cyborg, baby, this is but the beginning.

Geoff Johns and Jim Lee continues to make the story flow flawlessly whether it’s Lee’s gorgeous artwork of Johns’ great storytelling style. I love the friendly camaraderie between Hal Jordan and Barry Allen … both who recognize that Bruce Wayne is a tool and Superman is actually something of a jerk who has yet to know his true role.

Justice League #2 takes its time building up the formation of a team of heroes but that doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy a great story that just keeps getting better. With Superman and The Flash finally joining Batman and The Green Lantern, this story is just getting started and you can bet we will definitely keep an eye on even more so when this issue hints at the existence of Wonder Woman.

COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN

STORY: A-
The Green Lantern and Batman finally find Superman but the Man of Steel is enraged after a visit from the alien invaders and attacks both heroes. Seeing no other choice but to call for back-up, the Green Lantern calls none other than The Flash to help them out. Meanwhile, Vic Stone visits his father in the lab when the alien cubes Doctor Stone was studying changes his son’s life forever.

ART: A+
Once again, Jim Lee does not fail to make his work stand out and – thanks to Alex Sinclair and Scott Williams – each panel look awesome. The cover for this second issue is definitive proof of that. The Sketchbook section at the end is also a wonderful addition, especially since this is a new beginning with updated costumes.

OVERALL: A-
While the series has yet to kick into high gear, Justice League #2 still continues to make the introduction and formation of the Justice League just as enticing as the first issue. So Superman and Batman don’t come off as too likeable, Geoff Johns does make them interesting enough to gives us a very different beginning to what will surely be a Justice League worth watching.

Review copy provided by DC Comics

Reviewed By: Emma Coverdale

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Gregg Hurwitz
Artist: Szymon Kudranski
Colorist: John Kalisz
Genre: Comic Book
MSRP: $2.99 USA
Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: Available Now

Gotham City … you just have to love a city so far from grace that it needs a man dressed up like a bat to save it from a collection of freaks and criminally insane foes. Among the number of Gotham’s Most Wanted is the Penguin yet what do we really know about him or his past? Penguin: Pain and Prejudice #1 is a character study of a very dangerous man who – up until now – reveals a troubled childhood that is but the tip of the iceberg.

Born into the world as Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot to a mother who so affectionately calls him a beautiful boy despite the fact that the physicians that helped deliver the infant see the obvious physical abnormalities, the only real warmth came from the infant’s mother. While the mother only sees the beauty in her child, the father is another story altogether as one look at his son has him dropping the baby! Oswald’s father doesn’t even want his infant son on his bed, coldly pushing the baby aside to be intimate with his wife.

Unfortunately, after that, Oswald’s early childhood is something of a nightmare for a boy born with an unusual beak-like nose and short stature. He was isolated by his “normal” brothers who did not want to play with him and all his classmates seem to consider him a disgusting freak. Naturally, he was bullied in the most awful of ways as he eventually grew angry and vengeful. How could he not when friends and family would do unpleasant things to him?

It is through these quick peeks into his early childhood that we come to understand how Oswald Cobblepot grew up to become the Penguin. When we see him, it is the Penguin we all know as he has put together a party for an unknown investor. The Penguin immediately recognizes that people respect him out of fear. He is indeed a mean-looking man who is now use to getting what he wants with the snap of a finger or simply just a glance in the right direction.

He’s the type of man who lives in both his business worlds at the same time. Sure, he sets up cool events, one of which will feature a certain Irish rock band. However, the way he gets this famous rock band to attend is dirty. During the party, he takes care of his criminal endeavors.

Oh, he is indeed a man to fear as we can see when a young man bumps into him and quickly insults Oswald without even turning around to see who he bumped into. When the young man realizes who he had offended, the Penguin very calmly and casually has said young man come back up to his office just so he could tell him all the nasty things he had his thugs do to the young man’s family. Oh yeah, money brings the power to do things like this as the Penguin thinks.

On top of that, we get a glance at the Penguin’s relationship with his mother now as he has a group of thugs violently take a rare necklace from an heiress just so he could give it to his mother. He’s clearly very affectionate towards his mother, taking care of her himself in such a delicate that should have been endearing but is just creepy. In the end, the Penguin gets a visit from the Dark Knight himself.

Gregg Hurwitz pens an excellent first issue to this short series and keeps our interest as he paints a picture of painful memories that haunt a man who has turned to wealth and power to create a person you must fear and respect. Then there’s Szymon Kudranski’s art that stands out beautifully just like the cover itself.

Penguin: Pain and Prejudice #1 is a revealing and intriguing look at a character we thought we knew well through all the Batman titles. While this is but the first issue in this five-part series, it already reveals a troubled past that has led Oswald Cobblepot down a criminal road. We just can’t wait to see more of his past in the next issues of this well-told story.

COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN

STORY: B+
A glance into the birth and childhood of Oswald Cobblepot shows us that life dealt him a very bad hand since his appearance has alienated him from friends and family. It is because of this that he has become the Penguin, a man with money who is vicious enough to ruin a man’s life just for giving him the wrong glance. He is a man who cares for his elderly mother and willing to give her an heirloom taken from the corpse of a known Gotham socialite.

ART: A
Szymon Kudranski’s artwork and John Kalisz’ coloring compliment each another to the point of making this a comic that looks really damn good and the cover is simply stunning. The Penguin never looked this good or menacing.

OVERALL: B+
Penguin: Pain and Prejudice #1 is the start of a fascinating and beautifully crafted character study and this is just the first issue of this five-part series. As we get a deeper look at Oswald Cobblepot’s birth and upbringing, we come to understand what led him to become one of Batman’s most interesting foes. We wish all the other Batman villains got the same treatment in the near future.

Review copy provided by DC Comics