Gotham Academy, Vol. 1: Welcome to Gotham Academy

Gotham Academy, Vol. 1: Welcome to Gotham AcademyGotham Academy, Vol. 1: Welcome to Gotham Academy by Becky Cloonan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was really, really looking forward to this book. It sounded and looked like something I’d enjoy. Boarding school! Vaguely gothicy stuff! Manga-esque art! And I liked that it was so different from the sorts of things that have been coming out of DC since Flashpoint. Unfortunately, this just didn’t quite deliver what I wanted it to.

It’s not bad, and I did like it. It does indeed have all those elements that I was looking forward to seeing in a DC book. But it’s also lacking in truly interesting characters, and the underlying story felt hollow to me. The characters were a big miss, because I can forgive a lot in a book if I love the characters. They just didn’t feel fully developed, especially main character Olive. She actually felt quite distant. I know that was intentional, because of her Mysterious Past. But it did make her a less than engaging lead.

The book, at least this volume, is very episodic. But there is some kind of Mysterious underlying story. I wish I was interested in seeing where it was all going, but I’m just not. It’s too vague, and I don’t have enough interest in the characters. Which kind of makes me sad, because I want this book to be great. And maybe it will be, on balance. But right now, it’s just pretty good, as long as you like this sort of thing. And I do.

View all my reviews

Batman: Earth One, Vol. 2

Batman: Earth One, Vol. 2 (Batman Earth One, #2)Batman: Earth One, Vol. 2 by Geoff Johns
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

(Received from Netgalley for review.)

I had really, really liked the first volume of Batman: Earth One. This volume wasn’t quite as big of a hit for me. This may be because I’m kind of bored by this version of Bruce, and I don’t even really like this version of Alfred. So the leads do nothing for me. It may have also been because I just read a much better Riddler story (Snyder’s Zero Year) which made this one seem relatively run of the mill. And Earth One should be anything but run of the mill, right?

That isn’t to say that it’s all bad, or that there aren’t clever touches. It was interesting to see Croc as a basically benign character (sort of reminds me of Grundy in Robinson’s Starman, and more comics should remind me of Starman). Sure, he’s a character that often has shades of grey, pun not intended, but it’s even more pointed here. Also, there are huge changes to Two Face’s origin, and I’m honestly excited to see how that will play out.

I have to think that I might have gotten more out of this book if I had read it before Zero Year. That version of Riddler made this one look positively small time. Then again, I still don’t really like this Bruce, so maybe I would have been underwhelmed in any event. But will I still read more Earth One? I actually think I will.

View all my reviews

Review: Southern Bastards Vol. 2 – Gridiron; by Jason Aaron & Jason Latour

Southern Bastards, Vol. 2: GridironSouthern Bastards, Vol. 2: Gridiron by Jason Aaron
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Firstly, thanks to NetGalley for the free ARC! I’m happy to give my review in exchange for the chance to have read this.

Following up on the events of Vol. 1, this story focuses on Coach Boss, and how he got to where he is. Cue about every terrible thing that could happen to a kid, and that happened to him as a kid. Deadbeat Dad would be mildly putting it…he only wanted to play football, and through the determination and help of an older Black man, of course, he turns into a demon. But he injures himself badly, and the coach does everything he can to make sure that Euless Boss won’t go to College to play ball.

This need for football in his life leads Boss to a fateful decision, which ends up having repercussions in the modern day as well.

Again, the last few pages set up the return of Tubb’s daughter, which I hope we finally get around to next issue.

I think I finally figured it out though; this series is about how growing up in the South, and with a complex Father-figure, most of the characters are Bastards in some way, in that they’re without the guidance of the father or the father is dead. Just so happens they’re also bastards in the other way too.

I think I liked the first Volume better, but it speaks to Aaron’s skills as a writer that we nearly forget just how gruesome Boss’ crimes were and he’s almost a sympathetic figure.

Still, it’s a solid series, and I’ll definitely be continuing to read.

Thanks again NetGalley & Jason(s)!


Image and video hosting by TinyPic

View all my reviews

Velvet, vol. 2: The Secret Lives of Dead Men

Velvet, Vol. 2: The Secret Lives of Dead MenVelvet, Vol. 2: The Secret Lives of Dead Men by Ed Brubaker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The first volume of Velvet was a winner on every level, so it’s far from surprising that the second volume is every bit as good. The art remains stellar and perfectly matched to the subject and tone of the book. The espionage is exciting and convincing. And the overarching story just gets more and more compelling. There are a few answers thrown out here, but also new questions. Deeper down the rabbit hole, so to speak.

I loved the first volume for being a pitch perfect spy book, with a fantastic female lead. Volume two delivers everything that I liked about volume one, and it adds layers without giving me the sense that Brubaker is making this up as he goes along. More, please.

View all my reviews

Review: Velvet, Vol. 2: The Secret Lives of Dead Men, by Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting

Velvet, Vol. 2: The Secret Lives of Dead MenVelvet, Vol. 2: The Secret Lives of Dead Men by Ed Brubaker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Finally. I’ve been waiting for something great to sink my teeth into, and who should become available on NetGalley? Why my old friend Ed…Brubaker that is. Alongside for the ride is his other frequent collaborator, Steve Epting. (Winter Soldier arc of Cap).

I read and loved Volume 1 of Velvet, who’s like Ms. Moneypenny if she’d been an even more lethal machine than Bond.

In the last volume, Velvet found herself framed for murders she didn’t commit…unfortunately for ARC-7 (The Agency) she retained all of her field training and experience as an asset from before her 10+ yrs as the secretary to the Director.

This time around, they’ve caught on and they’re coming at her hard, but tons of questions arise, and Velvet turns the tables on them. She finds someone who might be able to help her, but with her desire to work alongside someone else, has she lost sight of the most important rule? Trust No One.

It’s great to have a female hero who kicks serious ass and is still sexy, even in her 40s…We don’t have nearly enough characters like that, and when leading writers like Brubaker do it, you know there’s going to be copycats soon. It won’t be the same as Ed’s work, but it’s great that they don’t all have to be young men.

The twists and turns sometimes can be ridiculous and forced in many spy/thriller books, but here it feels natural and legit.

I’m so very pleased to have got a chance to read this, and a thank you to Net Galley for making the ARC available. This is my honest review I give in exchange for getting to read this fantastic book.

Go out and grab this now! If you haven’t, start with Vol. 1!


Image and video hosting by TinyPic

View all my reviews

Review: Injustice: Gods Among Us Year Two: Volume 2

Injustice: Gods Among Us Year Two, Vol. 2Injustice: Gods Among Us Year Two, Vol. 2 by Tom Taylor

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I just heard that Tom Taylor is due to come off of this title in the near future…

description

I get it, but man does that SUCK. Injustice has got to be one of the best, if not the best title DC is putting out right now. And thats coming from a guy that typically isn’t a fan of alternate universes or video game tie-ins. Usually hate the shit. (Cuz it usually sucks). Injustice continues to be the exception(for me at least).

description

Year 2 Vol. 2 picks up right where Vol. 1 left off. Still something of the Green Lantern show in this one, but that’s ok. Haven’t enjoyed Lantern stories like this since the Sinestro Corps War and some of Johns other Lantern epics. Sinestro continues to be great in this one. I was all over the place with loving and hating the guy. Still hate Supes. And Hal….what a dick. Taylor has gotten me to feel passionate about characters I rarely, if ever, felt anything about. Black Canary also shines. Loved her toe to toe with Superdouche. Lots of great moments that make this a must read title. Even if some of it has been done before, Taylor does it well.
Continue reading

Review: Polar Volume 2: Eye for an Eye

Polar Volume 2 Eye for an EyePolar Volume 2 Eye for an Eye by Víctor Santos

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

description
Like Genndy Tartakovsky on a fuckton’a molly, Victor Santos serves up another short, but violently sweet little ditty about a girl that’s out for a little revengeance. Just like in Santos’s “Polar: Came From The Cold”, the artwork takes center stage. Amazing black, white, and red layouts from cover to cover. Victor pushes this trimmed down color palate to the limit and is able to create some uniquely amazing stuff reminiscent of Frank Miller’s early (and superior) Sin City work.

description

The story is a not so original “girl done wrong and wants some get back” tale that’s been played out before. Although, when it’s done right, I never really get tired of it. And while Lady Snowblood, Kill Bill, Hanna, and Le Femme Nikita have done all this sorta thing previously, Santos still managed to suck me in. I liked the way he included his original protagonist, The Black Kaiser (From “Came From The Cold”), in this one too. The one-eyed old man was well suited to the role he played.

description

Little bonus track at the end for all you Black Kaiser fans too. Wonder how he lost that eye? You’re gonna find out. Victor also added a few more colors to the mix with his artwork in this one and it’s just as stunning as his other stuff. Nice little surprise him adding this story at the end.

description

I’m recommending this one to anyone that appreciated Santos’s first book, is a fan of revenge fiction, or likes any of the above artwork. I wasn’t disappointed by Victor’s follow up one bit. Keep’em coming sir.

Get this review and more at:

View all my reviews

Review: Batman: Earth One, Vol. 2 by Geoff Johns, Gary Frank (Illustrator)

Batman: Earth One, Vol. 2 (Batman Earth One, #2)Batman: Earth One, Vol. 2 by Geoff Johns

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5 stars

It’s been a few years since the first volume of Batman: Earth One came out, so I was pretty excited when I saw this sucker. Finally!

description

For those of you who don’t know, Earth One titles are re-imaginings of DC characters that do not take place in regular continuity. In other words, this is not our Batman. It’s just a neat way for writers to take iconic characters and their origin stories, and put a different spin on things.
Sometimes the stories are very cool…sometimes they suck.
My opinion? This one was awesome!
It’s not perfect, but I had a lot of fun reading it.

The main villain for volume two is the Riddler.
He’s riddling away while blowing up various locations. Not the best re-imagining I’ve ever seen, but Johns does a decent job with the storyline.

description

Killer Croc was briefly introduced, as well. His story is pretty different considering he’s just a misunderstood guy with a skin condition.
This isn’t the first time I’ve seen Waylon portrayed as decent, but usually he’s just more of a bad guy with a heart, not a blameless victim.
Without spoiling the story, I’ll just say that the ending surprised me…
description
Two-Face’s origin has been completely re-vamped.
Harvey & Jessica Dent are twins. Since their childhood, Harvey has always hated Bruce Wayne because of his family’s ties with Arkham (Bruce’s mother was an Arkham). He believes that insanity runs in Wayne’s blood. The fact that Bruce and Jessica were something of an item when they were younger probably exacerbated his feelings. Flash forward to the present: Harvey is the District Attorney, and Jessica is now the mayor of Gotham City. When the Riddler starts mucking things up, she goes to her old friend Bruce for help in rebuilding the people’s faith in the city. Harvey still doesn’t like Bruce, but he defers to her wishes…
Spoilery shit goes very wrong.
And you see the beginnings of Two-Face start to emerge.
This was the best twist that I’ve seen in one of these Earth One titles, so far.

description

On a side note, Catwoman makes a cool cameo, but I don’t want to spoil anything by telling where she shows up, or what she does.

description

Batman is still struggling to figure out how to be Batman, and he doesn’t quite have all the cool moves down yet. But he’s getting there.
And he’s a hell of a lot better at it than he was in the first volume…

description

Alfred, Gordon, Bullock…they’re all different from our guys, but I’m totally on board with the way they’re being re-written. I really love that Bullock was the incorruptible cop when this started out!

If you’re not open to What If stories, then cross this off your list, but if you usually like that sort of thing, I think you’ll enjoy this one.
Also, I love this title, but I’m really hoping it doesn’t take another 3 years for the next volume to come out!

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for giving me a digital copy to review.

View all my reviews

Review: Cyclops, Vol. 1: Starstruck by Greg Rucka

Cyclops, Vol. 1: StarstruckCyclops, Vol. 1: Starstruck by Greg Rucka

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s a touching Father/Son Road Trip story!
Except, it’s in space. And the father is a cosmic pirate using illegal drugs to keep himself alive. Oh, and the son was brought out of the past, so there’s actually another older more jaded version of himself running around trying to start a Revolution.
But besides that stuff, it’s your regular old road trip story.
Yep.

In all seriousness, I thought this was pretty good. I’ve never read much about the Starjammers, so I had no idea who they are or what they do.


In my mind, I sort of envisioned this:

description

Shockingly, I was wrong.
Apparently, the Starjammers do NOT play instruments.


Not a guitar or eye-patch in sight:

description

The Starjammers are part of Marvel’s cosmic family, led by Scott & Alex Summers dad, Corsair.
Remember when Scott’s parents shoved him and his little brother out of that plane (with the only parachute) to save their lives?
Ok. So, it turns out they weren’t killed in the crash, they were actually abducted by aliens (I swear). After they (the Shi’ar) killed his wife, Corsair escaped and decided to…join the Starjammers & fight ’em, I guess.
What? I said I didn’t know much about the origins of this team!

Anyway, Corsair has already met Old Bitter Cyclops, but this is the first time Kid Cyclops.
Time to start fresh!

description

Alrighty, I don’t want to spoil the story, so I’ll just give the bare bones version of the plot.
Baby Cyclops + Corsair + Bonding Time + Bounty Hunters + Spaceship Crash + Deserted Planet + No Medicine + Hard Talk + Gotta Grow Up Fast + Suck It Up For Your Kid + Desperate Plan = Volume 1 of Cyclops

description

In the end, I really enjoyed this one. I wasn’t expecting much of anything when I cracked it open, so it was a pleasant surprise. It was kinda awesome to see a version of Cyclops that isn’t huffing and puffing and trying to blow S.H.I.L.E.D. down.
Not sure if everyone is going to love this, but I’ll definitely read the next volume.

View all my reviews

Review: Superman Unchained by Scott Snyder, Jim Lee (Illustrations)

Superman UnchainedSuperman Unchained by Scott Snyder

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This one worked for me, but it may be because I’m already a huge fan of the character. I genuinely like Superman. I think that it’s awesome for a superhero to be a reallyreallyreally decent person who is always striving to do the right thing.
And, yeah, that makes him pretty vanilla to a lot of readers.
Superman Unchained is supposed to (I’m guessing from the title) show off his badass side.
UNCHAINED! Rowr!

description

My favorite part of this wasn’t Superman going nuclear on bad guys, though.
In no small part, that’s due to the fact that I didn’t really think he was anymore ‘unchained’ in this thing than in his regular titles. I mean, he’s a freakin’ BEAST! Unless he goes off the reservation, there’s not much more he can show off power-wise, you know?
No, the part of the storyline I loved was the friendship stuff between him and Batman. The dialogue between the two of them reminds me why I loved the old Superman/Batman comics so much. Nicely done, Snyder!
And it doesn’t hurt that Jim Lee is fantastic at bringing out Clark’s inner cool guy with his artwork.


Growr! Kansas FTW!

description

The plot?
Well, shit falls from the sky, nuclear weapons go off, alien technology is misused, General Ross Lane wants to destroy Hulk Superman, and there’s a Secret Weapon called Wraith being wielded by the military that follows directions too well.
Oh, and Lois saves Superman’s ass again.

I also enjoyed flipping through the collected covers in the back of this one.
For some reason, this was my favorite.

description

View all my reviews