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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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: The Dark Knight Vol. 4 – Clay; by Gregg Hurwitz (end of series)

Batman: The Dark Knight, Vol. 4: ClayBatman: The Dark Knight, Vol. 4: Clay by Gregg Hurwitz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


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This book is choc-full of evil villains. (It’s BATMAN! Duh…)

So anyhow, The Dark Knight has been one of the 4 main Batman titles, (Batman, Detective Comics, Batman and Robin) yet it’s probably the least known one. It made the mistake of having Gregg Hurwitz not write the first volume, he just drew it. Once he took over, things got better. Most of the Dark Knight seems to focus on villains and their origins (Scarecrow, Mad Hatter, and this one…Clayface) and that’s a cool thing to do when Joker and Riddler (and Penguin to a lesser extent) dominate the rest of the Bat world.

I’m happy to see they’ve decided to go with the “original” Clayface, Basil Karlo, a very plain man who wanted to be an actor, but just didn’t have “it” to get noticed. Eventually he goes to Penguin to get help, and Penguin gives him some native thingy that turns his face to clay like malleability, so he can be a great facial actor. He in turn ends up doing things for Penguin, but things go wrong and he soon becomes all clay, but can become anyone he touches.

We see here that he’s taken as a very dangerous, almost invulnerable force. Arkham needs a special containment unit for him. We also see that he needs people to like him, as he stays calm in Arkham because his neighbour in the cells is a fan and they talk…only when he dies does Clayface go nuts. He takes it to another level, going after Penguin and taking him out, then seeks out the Joker to give him some Joker Gas/Serum. He then rampages thru town and takes people hostage to get an audience who he pumps full of Joker toxin so they laugh at his work non-stop.

What’s different here, is that Batman is written with just the slightest sense of humour…he and Alfred trade wits and barbs, and he even jokes around with Gordon (announces his arrival before he scares the shit out of Gordon in the dark.) The best part is when Clayface impersonates Gordon at the start of the book and kills a bunch of people…then later on, Gordon uses the Bat Signal, Batman appears and bitchslaps him…(sorry Jim, just had to make sure it was you)….HAHAHA effective but funny.

In addition, Batman actually listens to Alfred who tells him to get some help, and we get brief appearances of Black Canary and Condor (who? ya, no, this guy looks like a twat). Eventually Clayface is secured, and the sad chapter closes.

The next 2 books arc is called Voiceless, and is done entirely without dialogue. Alberto Ponticelli takes over the art here from Alex Maleev (who did a very good job with the Clayface arc, very dark muted tones and great use of browns). Alberto does different work, with good facial and body language artwork, but his is even more important in a wordless story.
The story is about a family of Mexicans, the mother works in a sweatshop, and when she accidentally breaks one of the angel figures she’s making, she is fired on the spot. She goes home and her young son is quite ill, she runs to the drugstore, which is closed, offers all her money to the pharmacist, who just drives off…you can figure out what happens next, since this is Batman…
They see advertisments for Gotham, and get into trucks to go there, but are separated. (Granny and young daughter in one, mom in the other) The Daughter and Granny are working in a Gotham sweatshop making Christmas ornaments, when Granny sees that granddaughter is alive, she decides to break out…but one of the captors sees her sneaking out a window, and well…that’s that.
Batman comes upon Granny’s body, and the art on this page is superb.

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It gets down to the very essence of what Batman is all about, and even now, looking at it for like the 10th time in the last 18hrs, the raw emotions just hit me very hard.

Well, long story short, Batman kicks the everloving shit out of the sweatshop folks, who of course, report to the Penguin…he rescues mom, has her reunite with the daughter in the hospital (cue more tears, Anne, you better take a box of hankies) and then throws down furious vengeance. Because this is still Batman, we see the Penguin get out of jail due to his many lawyers. Wayne Enterprises attempts to employ many of the workers, and we see the mother has a job there, as Bruce Wayne walks by and smiles at her in one panel.

The last page has Batman checking in on the family, and he smiles and waves to the little girl who waves back to him, then we see the final image…the broken angel on top of the Christmas tree, made up to look like Batman.

The final story is about the evilest villain of all: Abraham Langstrom, father of Kirk Langstrom, and new Man-Bat. Langstrom Senior is a corporate raider, who buys up companies and strips them for parts in a very ruthless manner, we also see that he owns pharmaceuticals and has no problem sending defective medicine to Africa to be used there because “It’s Africa.”. Yup, easy to dislike him. We also see he’s bullied his son, and is obsessed with being the Man-Bat and feasting on Flesh…well there’s a showdown with Batman of course, and the manner in which Batman takes him out eventually is draining…
(And thankfully, even in the midst of this, there’s a couple of jokes! Alfred makes fun of Bruce for saying Ouch while getting stitched up, and Gordon tells Batman people need to stop “Vigilante-ING” to which Bats replies “I don’t think that’s a verb”).

So all in all, a strong collection of 3 different stories, all relating to Batman, and giving us a nice connection to him and deeper understanding, all without extremely long and drawn out storylines. The Dark Knight is a great title to read if you like Batman but only want to dabble, or you want to jump in somewhere.

Sadly, this last volume marks the end of the series…I suppose it wasn’t feasible to carry this many Bat-titles, so we should be glad that this was around while it was. It’s also easy enough to read through separate from the major storylines, and good for filling your Bat-diction.


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Review: Black Canary and Zatanna: Bloodspell, by Paul Dini

Black Canary/Zatanna: BloodspellBlack Canary/Zatanna: Bloodspell by Paul Dini
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I agree with both Anne and Sam on this one.

Pros: they both look like ’em. Streetwalkers I mean…Hookers, Super-skanks. Prostitutes, ladies of the night, escorts, Lono? Help me out here with more slutty synonyms…

Fishnets abound. That’s usually lovely, but a bit tiresome here.
The artwork is cartoon-y, like Anne said. I feel like this is perfectly suited to 9-12 yr olds looking to get into comics, maybe even girls? It’s definitely a silly one, but it provides a doorway for kids who have no imagination and this helps. (Sadly, this is imaginative to someone under 15).

Too bad, as Sam and I agree, Paul Dini is a great Batman writer, and usually more dependable than this. Also, he did the Zatanna mini-series’ which are the most attention she ever gets…(Anne go read these, and let us both hope she gets a bigger role post-Trinity War).

All in all, it’s Okay…I guess…but nothing memorable, just not utter shite like other 2 star books.

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