Batman: Detective Comics, Volume 1: Faces of Death by Tony S. Daniel

Batman: Detective Comics, Volume 1: Faces of DeathBatman: Detective Comics, Volume 1: Faces of Death by Tony S. Daniel

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ahem.

There are two kinds of people in the world: the ones who believe Batman is the real personality and the ones that believe Batman is the persona.

Ok, the latter camp is something I made up, but it was a cool way to open the review.

Anyway, I belong to the third faction (population: 1) that believes that neither Batman nor Bruce Wayne is the real person, but something in between, a mixed personality that we never get to see.
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Review: Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller

Batman: The Dark Knight ReturnsBatman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

 

 


It is 1960s “Batman” vs. 1980s “Batman!” Guess which one will win!

BatmanBatman


Introduction:

For many years, I have actually grown up with the darker version of Batman when I was little, thanks to the animated TV series that came out of the 90s. But a few years back, I have realized that there was a 1960s TV series where Batman seems a bit campy, but I had enjoyed it for what it was. Now, I had heard of a particular “Batman” story that was the one that really changed Batman’s character over the years and that story happened to be “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns” written by Frank Miller along with artwork by Klaus Janson and Lynn Varley. This is easily one of the most influential stories I have ever read from the “Batman” comics!


What is this story about?

Basically, this story is broken up into four different books detailing Batman’s adventures in Gotham City:

Book 1: The Dark Knight Returns: When Batman (who is now much older) retires, he then realizes that after all of the years he had retired, there is still crime rampaging in Gotham City. So, Batman decides to come out of retirement and save Gotham City, surprising the citizens of Gotham City.

Book 2: The Dark Knight Triumphant: When the mutant gang threatens Gotham City, it is up to Batman to stop the leader of the mutant gang, putting an end to their terror.

Book 3: Hunt the Dark Knight: When the citizens of Gotham City saw Batman as more of a threat then as a hero, they send out the new Commissioner, Commissioner Yindel, and she decides to go out of her way to arrest Batman.

Book 4: The Dark Knight Falls: When the Soviets start attacking Corto Maltese and Superman takes the job to stop them, this leads to a huge showdown between Superman and Batman to decide about their ideologies about protecting the world.


What I loved about this story:

Frank Miller’s writing: Frank Miller has once again proven that he is definitely a force to be reckoned with whenever he was writing for Batman! After reading his work in “Batman: Year One,” I just had to read more of his work on “Batman” and behold, this story was beyond anything fantastic I have read about Batman! I loved the way that Frank Miller portrayed Batman in this story as Batman seems darker and grittier than ever before and this really helped revolutionized the dark character that Batman would soon become in the future “Batman” stories. At first glance, there does seem to be so many events going on in this book (Batman’s return, Batman fighting the Mutant Gang, Batman’s battle with Superman) so, it was a bit hard to keep up with all of the events going on in this book (I was even confused at the beginning when I found out that Batman was much older than he was early on, only to realize this story takes place several years in the future). But the best thing about all of these events taking place in this book was that we were able to get so many amazing stories centered on Batman and his struggles in coming back out of retirement to fight the bad guys. I also loved the dark and gritty feel of this book as the Batman in this book is not afraid of hurting enemies to get what he wants and even recruits a young girl named Carrie Kelley, who is dressed up like Robin, to be his sidekick. Now there is one thing that I wanted to get out of my chest and it is this:


I DO NOT LIKE POLITICAL TIE INS IN THE STORIES I WANT TO READ!

I am getting this off my chest because of the Cold War themed story in “The Dark Knight Falls” and most of the time, I do not like reading about any kind of political wars in these stories because it is either the “us against them” mentality in these stories or sometimes they tend to interrupt the flow of the story. However, this is the one case that I did accept the political themed story in “The Dark Knight Falls” because it was using the Cold War theme to bring out a message about how Superman and Batman have different views on how to handle the situation in saving people’s lives as Batman seems to be anti-government while Superman seems to support the government and I loved the way that their views on the government was brought out through their actions and ultimately their showdown with each other.

Batman

I also loved the way that Frank Miller presented some news media segments in this story as we are able to gain a great insight on how the people of Gotham view Batman and how he is affecting the American society as a whole as it brought great depth to the story.

Klaus Janson and Lynn Varley’s artwork: Klaus Janson and Lynn Varley’s artwork is very well done in this story as the artwork has a dark and gritty feel to them. I loved the images of Batman being large and muscular and how he usually looks threatening to all the criminals. The colorings may seem a bit washed out and some of the artwork was a bit sloppy, but the artwork has that 80s feel that I really enjoyed and so, I really enjoyed the dark artwork being portrayed in this story.


What made me feel uncomfortable about this story:

Some of the problems that some “Batman” fans might have with this story are that it is a bit too lengthy. There are a total of four volumes contained into one book and since so much is happening in this book, it might be a bit too much for some fans to take in. Also, this is probably one of the darkest “Batman” books I have ever read since Batman is shown to actually torture some of his enemies and there is some gore in this story as characters are punched and several scenes of characters being cut up.


Final Thoughts:

Overall, “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns” is a fantastic take on everyone’s favorite dark knight vigilante and with its many running themes about taking the law into your own hands, it will remain a classic in many “Batman” fans’ eyes!

5 pows

Sunstone Vol.1 by Stjepan Šejić

Sunstone Vol. 1Sunstone Vol. 1 by Stjepan Šejić

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

For some reason, I’ve decided this is the cat gif review. (shrugs)

Sunstone deals with what some people might call uncomfortable topics, but which will surprise no one who is acquainted with:
(a) fanfiction
(b) M/M romances
(c) anime fan-girls

I happen to be one of those people.
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Review: Ms. Marvel: No Normal Volume 1 by G. Willow Wilson

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No NormalMs. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Kamala


Introduction:

Now I must admit. I have heard about Ms. Marvel or Captain Marvel a couple of times from fellow comic book readers, but I had never really read a comic book about Captain Marvel before and therefore, I do not know much about her character (other than the fact that she had a rivalry with Rogue from the X-Men, due to Rogue stealing her powers and putting her in a coma). So, when I heard that Marvel was making a “Ms. Marvel” series that would have a protagonist who was of Muslim background, I was seriously excited at the prospect of having a diverse superhero in the Marvel Universe!


What is this story about?

Kamala Khan was your average teenage girl who happens to live in Jersey City and comes from a Muslim family. One day however, a mysterious mist overcomes Jersey City and Kamala soon finds herself obtaining powers such as stretching her limbs out to unbelievable lengths and shapeshifting into different forms. Unfortunately, not only does Kamala have a hard time controlling her newfound powers, but she suffers from an identity crisis as she tries to figure out what kind of superhero she wants to be: a superhero that is exactly like Captain Marvel or a superhero where she can express her true personality and beliefs through her newfound powers?


What I loved about this story:

G. Willow Wilson’s writing: I will admit that this is the first time that I had ever read a comic book by G. Willow Wilson (or this could possibly be her first comic book), so I was interested to see what kind of new storylines G. Willow Wilson could bring to the Marvel Universe. Lo and behold, I was pleasantly surprised by G. Willow Wilson’s witty and emotional writing of Kamala Khan, the new Ms. Marvel! I loved the way that G. Willow Wilson wrote Kamala Khan’s character as Kamala is shown as being a spunky girl who wants to be a superhero, but she is not sure of what kind of superhero she should be and I loved the fact that this issue is explored and how it affects Kamala throughout the story. I also loved the fact that this story is extremely lighthearted with some intense moments here and there as it gives the story so much depth regarding the characters and it is nice to have a superhero series that has a light tone that could resonate with the readers. I also think that G. Willow Wilson did an excellent job at not making Kamala’s Muslim background into something stereotypical, but into something that makes Kamala unique in her own way and it was great seeing what Muslim culture is like within a superhero community as it gives more diversity to the story since it is rare that we see Middle Eastern superheroes being portrayed in superhero comic books.

Adrian Alphona’s artwork: Adrian Alphona’s artwork is both gorgeous and hilarious to look at as the characters are drawn realistically and there are some panels where the characters’ skins glow against sunlight and moonlight and gives their appearances a mesmerizing feel. I also loved the way that Adrian Alphona drew the humorous expressions on the characters whenever they are shocked or scared as it made the artwork into something unique as you have both comedic and dramatic artwork within the same story.

Kamala


What made me feel uncomfortable about this story:

For anyone who does not like language in comic books, this graphic novel does have some language such as the constant use of the “p” word, but other than that, this graphic novel is pretty tame compared to some of the darker and grittier superhero comic books.


Final Thoughts:

Overall, “Ms. Marvel Volume One: No Normal” is truly one of the most creative and inspiring stories I had ever read from Marvel NOW and I am definitely looking forward to reading more adventures from the new and different “Ms. Marvel!”

5 pows

Power Girl: Power Trip by Jimmy Palmiotti

Power Girl: Power TripPower Girl: Power Trip by Jimmy Palmiotti

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So…I dived into the latest Shallow buddy-read.

No one better than Power Girl to fulfil the criterion of an embarrassing amount of cleavage on display, am I right? I mean, she’s on the banner and all.
Though at this point it’s gone beyond the event horizon of cleavage…
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Justice League, Vol. 7: The Darkseid War, Part 1 by Geoff Johns

Justice League, Vol. 7: The Darkseid War, Part 1Justice League, Vol. 7: The Darkseid War, Part 1 by Geoff Johns

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

What in the world is this story?

On paper, I agree it seems like a great idea…Darkseid vs another evil titan and this conflict taking place on Earth.

But the reality was more like…
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Lucifer, vol. 1

Lucifer, Vol. 1Lucifer, Vol. 1 by Holly Black
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

(Received from Netgalley for review.)

I requested this on a whim, mostly because I really liked the cover. It’s such an unusual style for a Big Two cover. And I was at least somewhat familiar with this version of Lucifer, from Sandman. As it turns out, not nearly familiar enough. It seems to continue directly after the end of the previous Lucifer series, and I do mean directly. I never read that series, so the book keeps going back to things that happened before. I wasn’t necessarily lost (maybe a bit confused at times), because Black did a fairly good job of trying to explain what she’d brought in from previous books. Even so, it’s like hearing something third hand, so I can’t be sure I really understand all the nuances that she may or may not be playing off of. I can imagine that having read the previous incarnation of the series would be enormously helpful, especially early in the book.

The story itself is a bit meandering at times. When Lucifer and Gabriel go to Dreaming, it felt almost like a digression (though maybe that was intentional) and not an integral part of the story. I’m not sure if Black felt obligated to enter Dream’s realm, or just really wanted to, but either way it felt more like a time out from the story than a continuation of it. Things get really interesting in the last couple of issues, enough so that I’ll probably read the next volume, when it comes out. And interspersing the story with scenes of humans kind of puzzled me at first, but I ended up becoming really attached to them. Overall, there’s some rough spots here, and I think I probably wasn’t quite prepared for the book, but it is good.

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Injustice: Gods Among Us, Year 4, vol. 2

Injustice Gods Among Us Year Four Vol. 2Injustice Gods Among Us Year Four Vol. 2 by Brian Buccellato
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Greek pantheon was probably a poor choice of theme. The DC versions simply aren’t very interesting, especially since Buccellato seems to only remember that a handful of them exist. He didn’t even touch on all twelve of the Olympians, much less the plethora of more minor gods and demigods that Zeus should have been able to use. But I guess Apollo, Artemis, Nike, Eris, and Phobos are all on vacation or something. I’m not saying they all needed speaking parts or even panel time, just… maybe mention they exist? Of course, DC’s version of the Greek pantheon can’t sustain an entire year of Injustice, so the New Gods are brought in to actually make a story. That’s when things finally get interesting. On the bright side, it looks like the next year will be villains, and the issue that sets that up is really good, probably the best issue of the year. This year was just a misstep in theme. I think the book would have been much better served if it had been entirely New Gods

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Review: Batman: The Court of Owls Volume 1 by Scott Snyder

Batman, Vol. 1: The Court of OwlsBatman, Vol. 1: The Court of Owls by Scott Snyder
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Batman



“Beware the Court of Owls,

That watches all the time.

Ruling Gotham from a shadowed perch,

Behind granite and lime.

They watch you at your hearth,

They watch you in your bed,

Speak not a whispered word of them,

Or they’ll send the Talon for your head!”


Introduction:

So, when I heard that DC Comics was doing a reboot on all of their comics, I will admit that I was pretty hesitant about trying out any of the rebooted comics, especially after I heard so many bad things about DC’s New 52 series (and it turns out that the backlash was understandable, especially with how some of the later titles in the New 52 turned out to be horrible, according to some of the fans). But, there was one series in the New 52 that fans felt was always consistently good and that was Scott Snyder’s run on “Batman!” So, when my fellow Batman comic buddies recommended me this title, I will admit that I was pretty interested with this volume and I ended up being quite impressed with how this volume turned out!


What is this story about?

Gotham is Batman’s city and he will not let any criminal ruin his town…until the Court of Owls came in. The Court of Owls is a mysterious organization that has been around Gotham ever since it was first built and their plan is to retake Gotham City for their own. The only obstacle in their way is none other than Bruce Wayne and they plan on killing Bruce Wayne to reclaim Gotham City.


Is the Court of Owls connected to Bruce Wayne’s ancestors in some way and will they break Batman in order to obtain their goals of claiming Gotham City?

Read this volume to find out!


What I loved about this story:

Scott Snyder’s writing: I have read Scott Snyder’s previous works on “Batman: The Black Mirror” and the “American Vampire” series and I have always loved his unique and intense writing style. His writing of this “Batman” story is no different and I just loved the way that Scott Snyder made this “Batman” story even more intense than the last! I really loved the fact that since this is a reboot of the “Batman” comics, we actually get to see new villains in the form of the Court of Owls and it was interesting trying to figure out what their true goals for Gotham are and how they knew about Bruce Wayne himself. It really made the Court of Owls such interesting villains and the fact that they were one of the few villains to give Batman a hard time was really different and intriguing for me as a “Batman” fan. But what really made me squeal with true fangirl anticipation was seeing Dick Grayson appear in this comic along with Damian Wayne and Tim Drake! When I saw all the former Robins together on one page, I was seriously excited at this moment since I enjoy seeing all the Robins come together to be with Bruce Wayne, their mentor! I also loved the way that Scott Snyder wrote Bruce Wayne’s relationship with Dick Grayson and Alfred as this reboot shows that Batman still has a close relationship with Dick Grayson and Alfred and I really enjoyed their moments together.

Greg Capullo’s artwork: Greg Capullo’s artwork perfectly captures the dark and gritty nature of this series and I loved how scratchy the ink work is as it gives the story an intense feeling. I also loved the fact that Greg Capullo’s artwork reminds me a bit of the artwork in Frank Miller’s “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns” comic book, which slightly gave this volume a retro feel, especially if you are an old school “Batman” fan!

Batman


What made me feel uncomfortable about this story:

The reason why I took off half a star from the rating was because the story tended to be a bit slow in some parts and there were times where I was wishing that the story would have moved at a faster pace to keep me interested all the way through. Also, for anyone who does not like bloody violence in comics, there are some moments in this volume where the violence can get pretty bloody, especially whenever the characters get stabbed by knives.


Final Thoughts:

Overall, “Batman: The Court of Owls Volume One” was a pleasant surprise for me as it made me really enjoy what was being done with this reboot of “Batman” and I hope that the series continues to get better with each volume!

Rating ?

4.5 pows