Review: Batman: Under the Hood Vol. 1

Batman: Under the Hood Vol. 1Batman: Under the Hood Vol. 1 by Judd Winick

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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I own both volumes of the original collections of this story. Vol. 1 includes Batman 635 to 641 and there is a new edition of this title that collects both Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 (Batman 645 to 650 and Batman Annual #1) in one book. I will be reviewing both of these volumes separately. Just cuz.

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Be warned, some spoilery stuff in this one folks. Judd Winick proved with Under the Hood Vol. 1 that he can not only can write a great story, but one of the greatest Batman stories ever told. I couldn’t help but think of Brubaker’s epic run on Captain America and the birth of the Winter Soldier (equally epic) when re-reading this one for Red week. Judd introduces us to the new and improved Red Hood in this kick-ass Bat-tale.

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Review: Aquaman, Vol. 1: The Trench by Geoff Johns

Aquaman, Vol. 1: The TrenchAquaman, Vol. 1: The Trench by Geoff Johns

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yes!
Aquaman is finally cool.

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Aquaman has been a punchline for years. And why wouldn’t he be?
I mean, he wears a green and orange sparkly outfit and talks to fish!

Instead of trying to do a cosmetic change, Johns addresses the issues that have been plaguing this character for years. In fact, he centers the story around it.
He’s got major power, but everyone thinks he’s a joke. It’s a running theme throughout the entire book. However, somewhere in the middle of it all you stop seeing Aquaman and start seeing Arthur. At that point, he becomes real to the reader.

Raised as a human, and therefore originally rejected by Atlanteans, Arthur is stuck between two different worlds. And neither one really wants him.
Unlike DC’s Namor, Arthur wants to help the surface world. Land is just as much his home as the sea…maybe more so.
Unfortunately, no one takes him seriously. Even beat cops ridicule his efforts to help.
That doesn’t stop him from saving their asses, but it does give you a glimpse into what a thankless job he has been doing.

Which brings us to Mera.
Psst. Don’t call her Aquawoman.
Unlike Arthur, she isn’t one to grin and bear it.
No. She’s more of a Break-Your-Ass-In-Half kinda girl. Sure, she tones it down for Arthur’s sake, but her killer instinct is right there…lurking close to the surface.
And it’s a beautiful thing when she lets it out.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this one may end up being required reading some day. It rivals Morrison’s excellent re-imagining of Clark Kent in Action Comics, Vol. 1: Superman and the Men of Steel. In other words, if you only get around to trying a few of DC’s new titles, make sure The Trench is on your list.

Unless, of course, you just rabidly hate Geoff Johns for no apparent reason.
Mike, I’m talking to you….

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