Secret Origins Vol.2 by Brian Azzarello

Secret Origins Vol. 2 (The New 52)Secret Origins Vol. 2 by Brian Azzarello
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

It took me several days to read this tombstone. I am just going to do one line impressions of each story, ’cause I’ve had a long day and this is not worth it.

Chapter 1: In which the Stone family is introduced through some lame dialogue and DC screws up their own timeline while Victor deals with anger management issues.

Chapter 2: In which Bruce Wayne has a George Clooney chin but not the vinyl suit and Jason goes for ninja training to deal with anger management issues.
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*sigh* Review: The Joker: Endgame by James Tynion IV

The Joker: EndgameThe Joker: Endgame by James Tynion IV
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

 

 

 

Thanks, DC!
So nice of you to reprint Batman: Endgame, plus in a few tie-in issues, and sell it as a completely different book.
Way to be classy!

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The tie-in stories aren’t bad, but they’re mostly about random characters…and then Batgirl.
Considering how much I disliked the New Batgirl, I was shocked that it was my favorite out of the bunch. It was told without dialogue, which worked really well for me, because I absolutely LOVE the art from that title.

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The rest of the tie-ins deal with what’s going on for different characters during the Endgame crisis. There’s one nutty set of stories that are all connected, dealing with a doctor at Arkham and some of her loony patients. The Big Reveal at the end of that one left me cold, because I already knew who Eric Border was, and (bonus!) I don’t tend to like tales told through the eyes of arbitrary characters.
I was actually hoping for the Joker’s point of view, because…well, the title says something to that effect. Sadly, no.
I’ve got a better title – The Joke’s on You: We Got Yer Money!

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If you haven’t read Endgame, maybe this would be the way to go? Especially if you’re interesting in purchasing. However, if you have read it (or own it), then this probably isn’t going to impress you all that much. Of course, lots of people loved this arc, so…

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For me, this was a struggle to get through. I was so annoyed that they expected me to re-read the same shit over again that it took me forever to finish it. And, yes, I read the entire thing.
I kept hoping reading Snyder’s Endgame for a second time might help me see it with fresh eyes (or some other nonsense), and maybe I’d find something I missed that would make me enjoy it a bit more.
NOPE. Still thought it was a turd.

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I received a digital copy from NetGalley and the publisher.

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Review: Batman: Eternal, Vol. 2 by Scott Snyder

Batman: Eternal, Vol. 2Batman: Eternal, Vol. 2 by Scott Snyder

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

For pure high octane fun Batman Eternal packs a pretty good punch. Plenty of crazy storylines weaving in and out, plenty of insane villains wreaking havoc, and plenty of the Bat-family heroes taking a stand against evil.

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It wasn’t until the very last page of this volume that I sort of took a step back and went..
The FUCK is this shit!?

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I’m not saying that this was bad, or that I didn’t enjoy it, but I was pretty annoyed with the ending of this one. And, yeah, I know it’s not The End, but…
Hmmm. I don’t think I’m saying this right. I guess what’s bothering me is that I just felt like I’d already read this story somewhere before. Did this feel regurgitated to anyone else? Anyone?
I mean, first of all, Hush is the Secret Villain behind a far-reaching conspiracy…
I know that’s been done before.
Is concocting needlessly elaborate schemes now considered Tommy Elliot’s superpower? Is it?!

Shhhh. Hush.
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And, second…

WARNING: SPOILER ALERT!

Ok. And, second…
I’m not sure if Bruce has ever lost control of Wayne Enterprises before, but plenty of other superheroes have lost their companies, so (combined with Hush’s wash-rinse-repeat storyline) it didn’t feel like it was anything new or fresh.
After I finished, I felt a bit like a deflated balloon.
That’s it?

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BUT.
Before I got to the end, I was really entertained with all of the different threads of this volume.

Stephanie Brown’s Spoiler comeback was quite a lot of fun to read about. I’m not saying that there weren’t holes in this plot, but it was entertaining, nonetheless.

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And Catwoman! There can never be enough Catwoman in a Batman title, as far as I’m concerned. I love to watch these two do their little dance…

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Most of you already know that what happens –> here Crime lord? Am I saying that right? It sounds so cheesy…
Anyway, bad stuff happens to an innocent ‘someone‘ in this volume, and Selina decides that instead of trying to take the bad guys out, she should just take them over. There was a preview of her new title in the back of my copy, and it looks kinda cool.

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Alfred & his daughter both play a big role here.
Al gets jacked up by Hush, and his daughter finds out that he was keeping a few secrets from her…

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After a meet-cute with Batman, she reluctantly takes over as Penny-Two and becomes Bruce’s eyes and ears in the Batcave.
Also, Alfred gets to kick some undead ass with Bane in Arkham Asylum!
Shhh. Go with it…

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Lots of other stuff happening, as well. Batwing & Spectre get dibs on the paranormal angle, Batgirl & Red Hood do a little angry team-up, and Harper & Red Robin are getting closer to finding {insert random evil dude}.
It’s a Bat-family reunion!

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Well, not everyone shows up, of course.
Grayson is still playing dead/James Bonding it up over at Spyral, and Jim Gordon is still rotting in jail. Speaking of Gordon, his former protege, Bard, is still running around fucking up Gotham’s infrastructure as per Eliot’s instructions.
I was actually kinda hoping Barbara would have dropped him off that roof.

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Ok. I think overall this was fun, even if it was a bit unwieldy. Sure, some of it feels like old food that was scraped off and re-plated, but certain foods re-heat well enough. Volume 2 wasn’t as good as next day pizza, but it’s also not a total loss…like leftover nachos.
It seems like some important things are happening in this title that are going to affect the Batverse, so if you’re interested in keeping up with the current goings-on, this is probably a must-read. However, it’s super readable, especially if you’re willing to overlook a few of the nuttier aspects.

Thanks to NetGalley & the publisher for a digital review copy.

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Review: Detective Comics, Vol. 5: Gothtopia by John Layman, Jason Fabok (Illustrations)

Detective Comics, Vol. 5: GothtopiaDetective Comics, Vol. 5: Gothtopia by John Layman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

Not all of the stories were stellar, but overall I liked Gothtopia.
Gordon gets his turn to tell his Zero Year story, and it’s one of the better issues in this thing. If you don’t feel like reading the whole volume, I’d still say check that one issue out. Very nicely done!

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The Man-Bat story is utterly forgettable. Kurt Langstrom has gone off the rails this time around to chase down his crazy ex-wife…Bat-Queen
*bangs head on desk*

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Moving on…
The Gothopia storyline finally gave me the answers to all of the questions I had about Batgirl’s alter ego Bluebell. I know I wasn’t the only one curious to find out why Babs was wearing white and living in Mayberry!

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For that alone I was excited to read those issues. Both Batgirl & Birds of Prey had crossovers with this…mysterious event, but you never really found out what exactly was going on.
Well, the bulk of the story happens here, people! And it’s not just Barbara Gordon who’s living an entirely different life…

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Review: Batgirl Vol. 1: The Batgirl of Burnside by Cameron Stewart , Brenden Fletcher, Babs Tarr (Illustrator)

Batgirl Vol. 1: The Batgirl of Burnside (The New 52)Batgirl Vol. 1: The Batgirl of Burnside by Cameron Stewart

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Ouch. That was awkward.

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I was crazy excited to read this, and Barbara Gordon is one of my favorite DC characters, so to say I’m massively disappointed right now would be an understatement. What. A. Letdown.
I’m not sure what Fletcher was going for here?
It’s got too many adult situations in it to be a comic for kids. In the first issue alone, Babs gets drunk, can’t remember that she was all over some guy the night before, and pukes some hangover juice into a trash can after taking out a thief. The language isn’t suitable for the younger set either. Well, it’s not like she’s calling other chicks cunts, but words like asshole & damn are peppered into the dialogue.

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So, not for the little kiddies. Big Deal.
Except the the story itself felt like it was geared towards tiny people.
The villains were so lame. So, so lame. Like, Moral of the Story lame.
Don’t bite your friends, kids! Hyuck, Hyuck!

Everyone who just got the Yo Gabba Gabba reference is entitled to a nap and some animal crackers.
Everyone else? Count your blessings, and remember your birth control.

Here’s a rundown of the baddies Babs fights over the course of this volume.
A guy that blackmails people using social media.

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Cosplayers who are waaay too into an old anime cartoon.

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An insane artist who wants to ‘impersonate’ Batgirl.

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A reality tv star who gets drunk and goes drag racing on the street.

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And my personal favorite:
A computer algorithm that Batgirl defeats by channeling Matthew Broderick.

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The worst part? All of those untrained dorks gave her a run for her money.
What the actual fuck, Mr. Fletcher?!
That losers like that could get the jump on Barbara Gordon can only mean one thing. She’s starring in a children’s comic book, and you need to keep the bad guys toned down to a level that isn’t frightening.

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Black Canary is in this as the ‘adult’ figure. Well, to keep with the WhatTheFuckAreYouThinking theme, Dinah is an unlikable bitch.
Because adults are unapproachable, mean-spirited, unforgiving, and judgmental. Duh.

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Oh, and she’s in a band now. Because all of her stuff caught on fire, and between the album & the tour this will be a great way for the kick-ass crime fighter to get back on her feet!
Josie? Are all of the Pussycats going on tour with you?!

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The art is fantastic, and the high point of the whole thing. Honestly, I’d buy this just to look at the pictures. I just wish there’d been a better story to go them. I don’t like this new inept, pouting Batgirl, but maybe she’ll be a huge hit with everyone else.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for a digital arc.

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Review: Detective Comics Vol. 4 – The Wrath, by John Layman

Batman Detective Comics, Volume 4: The WrathBatman Detective Comics, Volume 4: The Wrath by John Layman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


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I’d give this 3 and a 1/4 stars.

It’s called the Wrath, but that character isn’t really featured for most of the book. This is a very patchy collection of numerous stories.

There’s more about the Man-Bat, Kirk Langstrom, which is confusing, since Vol. 4 of The Dark Knight has a story arc about Abraham Langstrom (Kirk’s father) also Man-Bat! Hmm…turns out even Langstrom’s wife gets in on the act, as She-Man-Bat…though they don’t actually call her that.

Wrath is actually a super rich industrialist who comes back to Gotham and wants to change things for the better…Alfred makes some sly observations about this. Of course he wants to buy Wayne Enterprises, and Bruce doesn’t like him at all…in about 5 seconds, anyone with half a brain knows who he is…yup. It ain’t a spoiler unless you’re legally brain-dead. There’s a showdown, and Batman saves the day, but also lets the GCPD do things, and it repairs some of the bad feelings between the two (AWWW!!! Meh.)

There’s a story about Jane Doe, a psycho who has no skin, and can become anyone (sorta looks like a less weird Red Skull if she were a DC Girl) anyhoo, she’s killing tons of people and there’s a storyline with her and Harvey Bullock (nice to see Harvey finally getting used again!)

We see that Dick and Barbara are still not speaking to Bruce after the events of Death of the Family (though, having read it all, I’m still not entirely sure why…maybe someone would like to walk me through it? I have ideas, but…) though Batwoman shows up, but only to help the Langstroms try and stop all the Man-Bats who have been unleashed in the 900 Block by some bad serum (900 block story coincides with issue 900 of Detective Comics, or what would have been – clever eh?) given to everyone by Zsasz, who was given it by another uber baddy…the Emperor Penguin of Vol. 3…

It’s all to set something else up, and Batman has a showdown with him, which is actually a lot more taxing than the one with Wrath. I feel like Emperor Penguin got ripped off here, with the title going to Wrath…Not cool dude.
Batman gets help in the unlikeliest of places.

There’s a lot of Evil here, mostly from the uber baddies like Emperor Penguin and Wrath, and to some extent with Man-Bat, but he’s like the Curt Connors/Lizard of Gotham…trying to cure something with animals and fucking shit up along the way…sad storyline, but a bit confusing after how things end earlier in the book, and also no mention at all of his father’s actions as Man-Bat in TDK Vol. 4…hmmm…

Anyhoo, John Layman does the best he can, and there’s a bit more explanation of things that need it, and it is in no way bad, but it’s just very herky jerky, all over, and doesn’t flow much at all, it’s just a patchwork of interconnected Bat-Drama.

A decent read, but non-essential. Then there’s a story at the end about Bane, but not by Layman, and I barely read that…There’s also some very cool artwork by the 1000 artist who drew this volume…no joke, like 1000.

It’s good, and I’ll keep reading it, but Scott Snyder is on a whole other plain than everyone else in terms of Batman.


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Review: Batman/Superman, Vol. 2: Game Over by Greg Pak, Brett Booth (Illustrator), Jae Lee (Illustrator)

Batman/Superman, Vol. 2: Game OverBatman/Superman, Vol. 2: Game Over by Greg Pak

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was weird.
The first two (or three?) issues are sideways.

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I found it sort of off-putting because it’s an awkward way to hold a hardcover comic book. I mean, it’s not like it’s all that difficult to turn something to the side, but it got on my nerves after a few issues.
Or maybe I’m just a big whiner-baby?
Anyway, the gist is that Toymaker accidentally invents the World’s Deadliest Virtual Reality game.
I enjoyed the banter between the boys, but the story itself was just ok.

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In a (sorta) continuation of the gamer story, Batgirl, Supergirl, Red Hood, Krypto, and John Steel show up and help our guys kick some alien butt.
Again, it was an ok story. There were a few memorable moments between Barbara and Steel that made me laugh, and I enjoyed seeing Jason Todd show up and kick a little ass.

Next up was a crossover with the World’s Finest aka Power Girl and Huntress. In the last volume I’d read, PG was having some problems controlling her powers, and this seems to be a continuation of that storyline.
They also throw in a character from Earth 2, Vol. 4: The Dark Age. You don’t strictly need to read those to understand what’s going on…but it wouldn’t hurt.

The art is distracting, because Jae Lee isn’t the artist for the whole volume. His art sort of pops up in the middle and slaps you around a bit, disappears, comes back for one more kick in the junk, and then leaves.
If you’ve seen Lee’s stuff, you know it doesn’t play well with others.
He should have either drawn the whole thing..or nothing. I know that sounds awful, but it gave the book a really odd feel. One minute you’re looking at normal characters, and the next you’re eyeballing stuff from fairyland.
And, again, I have mixed feeling on how well like his stuff for a superhero comic.

There are stunning moments like this one:
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And then stuff like this:
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The fuck is that?!
Is he smiling?
Is the yellow alien planning to hug them to death?
I mean, it looks like he’s found his Happy Place to me!
And then there’s that oddly placed plane, that makes it look like he just farted out a jet.
Nothing about that panel looks like it belongs in a comic book. Nothing.

I like the Batman/Superman stuff, so I hope they don’t give up on this title. I’d just like to see something more cohesive and maybe more…fun?

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Review: Nightwing, Vol. 5: Setting Son by Kyle Higgins (Goodreads Author), Will Conrad (Illustrations)

Nightwing, Vol. 5: Setting SonNightwing, Vol. 5: Setting Son by Kyle Higgins

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

Quite a few tie-ins in this volume, if you like that sort of thing.
It starts off with the Zero Year tie-in. Don’t get excited, it’s not like Batman shows up.
It’s about Dick in the pre-Dead Family stage. It just so happens that Haley’s Circus is in town during the Riddler’s takeover of Gotham City. Basically, a stick-by-your-friends-don’t-be-a-cocky-ass kind of story.
Then we fast-forward back to Nightwing and Barbara during her I-don’t-wanna-be-Batgirl crisis.
And there’s a whole Will They? Won’t They? thing, as Dick tries to get Babs to remember the Good Old Days and move with him to Chicago.
Of course, Reasons happen, and Nightwing ends up unpacking his boxes by himself.
Once he’s back, there are a couple of random (but not awful) stories that seem a bit like filler.
As in, Let’s tidy up any loose ends in this thing, guys!
Once the annoying roommates, ex girlfriends, random b-list villain, and Kid-With-Similarly-Tragic-Backstory are all taken care of, we can move on to the final chapter of Setting son.

*Here Be Forever Evil Spoilers*

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The Sinister Six unmasked and then (supposedly) killed Nightwing. Obviously not, but that’s what everyone thinks.
Anyway, I’m guessing this is the transition issue where we see Bruce send Dick off to fight as an undercover agent or whatever.
I really like the idea of Grayson as a spy, but this last issue was LAME.
There’s this dumbass fight scene between Bruce and Dick, as Batman tries to see whether or not Nightwing is Too Broken To Do What Needs To Be Done!
Or some such nonsense.
It drags on and on and on, the two of them screaming dorky stuff at each other, blood spurting, masks breaking, fisticuffs flying…

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But the main thing is that Nightwing stays ‘dead’, and Dick is off to infiltrate a new Secret Society of Evildoers. They’re a group of Cape-Killers, that no one has ever heard of before now.
First the Court of Owls, and now these guys? Way to shit the bed, Batman!

Overall, this was decent. If you aren’t a huge fan of the character, I don’t see any reason to put this on your must-read list. However, if you are interested in what’s happening/going to happen with Nightwing, then by all means grab Higgins’ run on him. This was a good (enough) ending to make me glad I stayed with it.

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Review: Batman and Robin Vol. 4 Reqiuem for Damian, by Peter J. Tomasi

Batman and Robin, Vol. 4: Requiem for DamianBatman and Robin, Vol. 4: Requiem for Damian by Peter J. Tomasi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The first issue is entirely wordless, all done with artwork, and a stand-out job by Patrick Gleason. It’s true, picture is worth a thousand words, and these pictures say it all. There’s no way you could write what needs to be communicated…The use of the art form is at some of it’s best work here…the last page, where you see Bruce find a note Damian left for him…utterly heartbreaking; his reaction is spot on. I was also glad to see they focused on Alfred as well.

The rest of the book is Robin and (well the other Robins actually) Red Robin goes to stop Batman from making a terrible mistake and perverting the memory of his son (and features an appearance by a certain monster).
Batgirl tries to stop Batman from being overly violent with criminals, and it’s kind of odd what transpires…(view spoiler)
The next features Batman and Red Hood teaming up to stop assassins, but it actually ends up being for an entirely different reason, which rightfully angers Jason, and though understandable, it is sad to see.
There’s also a few appearances by Carrie Kelley (who was Robin in Frank Miller’s DARK KNIGHT RETURNS) who was actually tutoring Damian in theatre and other cultural forms. It’s an interesting development, as she may be playing a larger role in the future…

Of course, the final issue of the collection features the other Batman to Damian’s Robin: Nightwing. Dick is written perfectly here. He doesn’t try to stop Bruce or change his mind, or get in his way, he simply lets him do what he has to, and instead of telling him not to, he goes along for the ride. I’m not ashamed to admit, the way Dick handles the situation left me a little misty eyed. I love how he’s turned out here, and I think maybe we’re meant to realize that, and balance it against Bruce never getting to see Damian get to grow the same way.

This is probably Tomasi’s best work on the title so far. I was more than impressed, and while some of the things didn’t ring entirely true, the motivation/emotion behind them made perfect sense.

I’m considering buying #18 as a single issue just to have the textless masterpiece by Gleason.

STRONGLY RECOMMENDED for people who liked Damian and miss him, and for people who like to see an emotionally damaged Dark Knight in his darkest days.

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