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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.
Ugh. Seriously, I see what Image did…they showed you the flashy stuff (Saga, Walking Dead, Sex Criminals) the big writers (Fraction, BKV, Aaron) and they got you to pay for that, while also unloading on you a ton of mediocre stuff and some downright turds. But…I’ll still buy the next Humble Bundle, just for the value alone of the great stuff. I’m willing to suffer the shit to get to the gooey nougat centre.
Between successful/popular Matt Fraction writing, and old dog/well-known/respected Howard Chaykin doing the art, you figure Satellite Sam would be a winner.
Well, you’d be wrong.
I’m also starting to think that Matt Fraction is becoming a little obsessed with sex in comics. Sex Criminals had humour and a balance of lightness and more serious stuff, a mixture that goes down easy. This is just the seedy sex of the depraved behind closed doors 1950s.
I never watched Mad Men, but this seems like Mad Men the comic, in a TV producing environment instead of an Ad Agency.
I also have to admit a secret…while I respect Howard Chaykin, and can tolerate his stuff, I don’t really LOVE his style of art. In black and white, it’s hard to tell some of his characters apart, and frankly, between that and the storyline, I didn’t make much effort to.
Satellite Sam is a TV show, and the star is found dead in a flophouse with tons of dildos and lingerie all over the floor. His son discovers that he’s also got boxes and boxes of photos he’s taken of all the floozies he’s fucked over the years…including the Female Co-Star of the show (who’s a born again Christian!). SCANDAL!
But this book goes for titilation over substance, and fails. Yes there’s a kind of lurid, dirty appeal to the forbidden sex acts that we all now take mostly for granted (I mean most people are going to see 50 Shades of Grey for Valentine’s Day FFS), but at the same time, it’s kind of tired.
I don’t really care much for the head of the studio trying to expand his network, or his appeals to the FCC to get a bigger audience share, or the technology of early TV. It is interesting material for a proper history/biography book for sure, but it falls nearly as flat as the Superhero Union Contract Negotiations of COWL.
The son, Michael is a raging alcoholic, yet somehow, the murder of his father seems to spur him on to discover who he really was (other than a raging horndog). There’s lots of sex here, but no connections, just the equivalent of sad handjobs from homeless hookers. (Lono’s fave!)
No one is happy, everyone has vices, and there’s always positioning for power. Yawn. It’s obvious Fraction finds the early age of TV fascinating, and in this digital edition, we also get a conversation between Fraction and Chaykin about the 50s and early TV, which is more interesting that the whole of the first Volume.
Sex, booze, broads, TV, lies, scandal, coverups, somehow this all just falls pretty flat for me as a reader. I’m not really emotionally connecting to any character, they all seem pretty useless. Then as a reason to continue the series, or prolong it at least, they throw in the angle that it wasn’t a random crime of passion, but a murder that killed Michael’s father….DAA DUHHH DAAHHH!
I’m sorry, I would have liked to enjoy this, but it just feels like it’s pandering to a teenage audience who hasn’t figured out how to use PornHub yet. This would have totally worked on me at 14, for sure, but now it just comes across as cheap and makes you feel like taking a shower.
I think that might even be the aim, so ya, we get it, the 50s were just as depraved as today, but people felt the shame of keeping things under wraps and to themselves. I guess it’s up to you to decide if that’s better than nude celebrity selfies going viral or not.
I’ll be missing the rest of this on purpose, and I think maybe if Matt Fraction is so interested, he a Howard should just have a nice long sit down chat, and put out a podcast or something…
Sadly disappointing, again, like a sad handjob…2 in 2 days…not a good start to the week…at this rate I’ll have to start reading FF.
OK I’m still on indies…yup.
So, Scott Snyder, pretty darn good writer, never embarrasses himself, always seems to have things thought out 5 steps ahead, much like his Batman…well I am here to tell you amigos…Mr. Scott done gone and fell upon his ass here.
Something can be great, really interesting, suspenseful, and have you wanting more…The Wake did that. It was like the best parts of The Abyss and Alien mashed up. I loved that the strong main character was female, kudos for that for sure. I liked the idea, ya OK, why not? I even liked the execution of the first half.
The second half was a departure, moving forward 200yrs in time from the end of the events at the first half. There’s still a strong female character, but it’s not like the Abyss, it’s like Waterworld and Mad Max (which Waterworld without water would be…except awesome). I don’t really understand the motivation for the villain here (another female character, good job Mr. Snyder!) she never gets explained much to me, and that’s mildly problematic.
The male characters are all well done too, though some very easy cliches they all fit into, but that’s OK, because this book is like a summer action blockbuster, it needs to move forward at a good pace.
Unfortunately, it all comes apart in the end, much like my Shallow friends who’ve read this have already pointed out (and the comparisons to Abyss and Waterworld I see as well, so obviously that was a blatant similarity). The idea was kooky but I was willing to invest, especially for the explanation of Humanity itself, but the last little bits? Nope. I had more willingness to believe the Fonz could jump his motorcycle over a shark.
So what are we left with here? A very well drawn and coloured book (nice shades of blue, green, super dark shades of water (blues, blacks, greens) and some pretty good writing for the first part. We’re left with a fun setup that gives an unsatisfactory ending…
I suppose it would be like getting turned on, getting into it, and ending up with a sad handjob. It has the end result the same, but you just cannot enjoy it when you were expecting something else, y’know?
So thanks for the great Foreplay Mr. Synder, but next time, realize most of us don’t enjoy the sad handjobs…
Not entirely sure what they were trying to accomplish here..also, I’m not sure if this series has already been going on for a while (this was issues 51-56?) so confused there.
Jack Farrell is a PI investigating a double murder or a murder suicide…he can’t tell…he’s accompanied by what we discover and assume to be the ghost of his dead girlfriend, Scarlet. Ya…
In addition, we have Flask, a gigantic Hippopotamus/Human Hybrid, one of the titular “Elephantmen”. I am guessing I’ve missed a lot, and I think Flask is actually the main character in the regular series, but this is sorta a spin off?
Anyhow, they’re both detectives, oddly matched, then they go all Lethal Weapon/48 HRS/Buddy Cop while investigating things…
Flask is attacked by a robot, controlled by a woman who’s working for badguys…
Jack is still trying to figure out what Scarlet being around means, though he’s having trouble remembering details of what happened, but it appears he might be guilty of something to do with her death…
There’s a big conspiracy uncovered, and we see that there’s a whole lab of Women being used as rent-a-wombs for the evil corporation making more Animal Human Hybrids…illegally of course.
That’s when shit gets REALLY weird, and takes on a sort of Blade Runner feel, like who’s real, who’s not, is someone dreaming, who can I trust? Not even myself? All that sorta jazz vibe…It’s hard to keep track of, but there’s a big reveal near the end, and a secondary one that just confuses me a lot.
I think the oddball pairing of detectives was mildly entertaining, and the weirdness of dream/asleep/hallucinating was kind of interesting but hard to follow, or maybe I just didn’t want to really concentrate THAT hard…
Suffice it to say, it was interesting potentially, in this future Earth, but not interesting enough to warrant a return visit or Elephantmen most likely…
Just plain odd…
Another from the IMAGE Humble Bundle…I honestly can’t get over how much of a great deal this was.
OK so Alex + Ada is a very simple story, nothing crazy or wild in the concept. Alex is a depressed 27 year old guy who’s been pining over his breakup for 7 months. On his birthday, his grandmother sees how down he is, and since she’s super happy with her robot paramour, she decides to send him one of his own for his birthday.
He gets it, and wants to send it back, but when he discovers that it will be wiped of all memory, he feels like it would be just as bad as killing a puppy or something like that.
So he decides to keep her, even though she’s woefully without personality or anything, just a pleasant hello, nice to see you Alex, I like what you like, yes that’s very nice if you say so.
She’s boring. He’s not impressed. His friends seem to accept this fairly easily, and all comment on how hot she is…
But she’s like a moving walking talking blowup doll with no personality, and Alex doesn’t want that.
Problem is, a year ago, the leading AI/Robot company had produced sentient robots, and they went nuts and killed 35 humans in the lab. Since then, all robot sentience has been banned, and that company has gone bankrupt.
The competitor company is the one who supplies Alex’s top of the line robot model, with no sentience.
Alex sees a news story about a robot that seemed to gain sentience, and attend a concert, only to be discovered as a robot and torn to pieces by terrified humans in a riot.
Instead of freaking him out, this makes him investigate what he can do to help his robot (now named Ada) to become more sentient.
It involves him going into the Virtual Reality customer support website, and into the forums (oh the forums! saviour of us all) where he discovers a secret place where there are human supporters of sentient robots and robots who have been “unlocked” from their sentience blocks. (This is explained rather practically, that the company had billions of dollars of inventory, when the robots killed everyone, so instead of scrapping them, they just blocked the sentient brain.)
Of course there’s then a sentient robot hacker, who “hacks” and reboots Ada, and of course, she’s now fully sentient…the end.
It’s got some very interesting questions about the rights of sentient life, and denying sentience to beings, as well as how to regulate robots and AI, which is science fiction-y, but also something in the scope of our lifetime which may be reality.
The big problem I had is that there’s no conflict, there’s no real problem here, just a bored, depressed dude who’s grandma gives him retail therapy. The world is so clean, perfect, sanitized, everything just looks clean and shiny. It’s boring. Yes, it’s nice to see a positive future instead of the post-apocalyptic wastelands we see as some futures, but still, it feels very shallow, where everyone is so pacified by their wonderfully easy and comfortable lives that there’s no issues.
Have they solved all problems? War, Famine, Homelessness, Disease? If so, well then super. I’m not sure because there’s no discussion of anything like that.
Alex is just a boring average dude. Yes, he’s thoughtful and sweet, and doesn’t try to stick it in her or anything, and he wants her to have sentience, which is great, but otherwise, I’m not very invested in him as a protagonist. He’s just too I dunno, milquetoast.
I’m interested to see if Ada’s gaining of sentience will lead to the usual robot on the run from the evil authorities, or if it will be a more micro-examination of the growth of her sentience.
I think the second would be more interesting, but you never know…Jonathan Luna was also the author of Girls, that abysmally misogynist piece of garbage I had the misfortune of reading a few weeks ago. So there’s part of that knowledge that bleeds into reading this, which actually makes Alex into a creepier character than I think he’s meant to be, but for all the people who say how sweet he is, he actually seems slightly creepy, and I don’t quite like the fact that Ada starts her existence as an intended sex toy present from his his Granny.
I think Mr. Luna probably has some strange ideas about how girls work, and this is one of those cases where I don’t think a man should be writing about women, because he seems clueless. I hope his co-creator, Sarah Vaughn, is going to be taking a bigger role in the writing, because I have this nagging feeling that he’s going to write it with Ada becoming protected by Alex and getting all attached to him. Seems kinda like ugh…I wonder if he would have written the story the same if the robot was a male? I think it would take away some of the creepiness for me.
That being said, it’s pleasant to look at, very bright, clean, and not violent, so there’s that. I also like the more philosophical parts about the rights of the AI/Robots versus humans, and that, but not so much the creepy blossoming “love” story. There’s plenty of real women out there dude, it’s pretty creepy for you to have a robot woman. Yes, I realize that you never took advantage, and you were a gentleman, and you made sure to lead her to sentience, but you’re kinda setting yourself up as her saviour, which makes for some odd relationship issues I’m sure.
I guess it depends for me on what happens in the next volume…I’m really on the fence here, but I didn’t DIS-Like it, so 2 stars seems a little harsh. 2.5-3 seems about right.
I want some of my female Shallow Readers to take this on and get their feedback, to see what they think, because for me it’s got creepy undertones which take away the potential sweetness of the story.
Anyhoo, that’s just me.
***Dark Horse reprinting of EC Comics, so very Indy!***
This is a gorgeous collection of EC Comics from the early 1950s, published and written by one Bill Gaines…aka Mr. MAD Magazine!
Along with some great other writers, Weird Fantasy is actually a Science Fiction book. 1950s Science Ficton from before the Witch hunt against comics leading to juvenile delinquency…a golden age in many ways.
There’s a number of issues collected here (even though their numbering is off, they are chronologically the first 6 issues) with a great range of stories.
Time Travel, Space Exploration, Atomic War, Aliens, Life and Death, lots of great stuff that’s been made into movies, some of the coolest ideas that sustained SciFi for the next 65 years.
Discussions of String Theory, 4th Dimensions, Gamma, Infrared, Atomic Energy, this isn’t just dumb pulp, it’s a blast.
From the man who builds a time machine (only with the help of his younger self, and the paradox loop that leads to), to the team that flies through space to a different solar system, only to loop back on themselves, a la Planet of the Apes (but this was written long before the Damn Dirty Apes), to the fears of Atomic Nuclear War and the aftermath: mutants, robots, uninhabitable wastelands.
This is such fun. This book is the kind of thing you used to love to find, just a bit older than you were supposed to be reading, it felt like some kind of secret they let you in on, and you always wanted more, reading it under the blankets at night by flashlight. (Or at least, I did…)
The art is colourful in this reproduction, bright, enjoyable, yet the subject matter is still the kind of questions we wrestle with today…
Thank you to Dark Horse for publishing the reprints of this great company, I cannot WAIT to get my hands on more of this. Without this, we wouldn’t have the dreamers of comics like Morrison, Hickman, Ellis, others. Heck we might not even have the normal comics we do today. I love the intelligence that goes into something that was throw-away for so many, yet over half a century later, look how relevant the subject matter is. Great writing never ages.
I strongly recommend this to all the Shallows Gang, and anyone else looking for a fun read, that you could also share with kids worry free (Anne!)
***NOTE: This was a re-reading in prep for reading DK2 (The Dark Knight Strikes Again)…I’ve already read it, and I’m going to stick with the 5 star rating, but more for what it means than if I just read it today and was born any time AFTER Michael Keaton’s Batman.***
1) There is no doubt in my mind, Frank Miller saved Batman. Between this and Year One, he’s got 2 of the Top 5, if not THE top 2 Batman books ever written, essential, and even essential for comics in general.
– Without Miller, there’s no Tim Burton/Michael Keaton Batman in 1989 (a movie, and event, which literally awed my 8-9yr old self in such a way that Batman will always be my #1, even more than 25 years later.)
– Without Miller, there’s no Christian Bale/Christopher Nolan Batman Trilogy. (Year One)
Without Miller’s inspiration of Burton and later Nolan, does the Superhero Movie Franchise business take off like it does? I’m not sure, and if it does, is it the same? Does it carry the same gravitas? Or do these movies end up more like Superman? (No knock on the early Superman, but I can barely tell you a thing about Superman IV, which also came out when I was a kid, other than there was an Atomic Powered dude in a cape who looked like He-Man, and everyone else in the world thinks it might be the worst comic movie ever.
Without Miller, does Scott Snyder develop into the same writer he is? Maybe, still strong, but the same? No. Does he become one of the great Batman writers ever? No. Read Snyder’s current run on Batman (especially Zero Year) and tell me he’s not supremely indebted to Miller’s work (and this particular book).
I would then tell you that Miller plans to write DK3, which might be a great idea, or a horrible one, but then I’ll tell you that Scott Snyder is going to co-write it with him…and you’ll definitely check it out at some point.
It’s hard for anyone under a certain age (and I think I just qualify as old enough, because I remember the Adam West Batman, and the comics being ho-hum until Jason Todd died and the Tim Burton movie) to realize just how useless Batman was before this. Miller also opened the door for everyone else to make him the DARK Knight, and to add their work to the canon.
That is huge, and for that alone, this book deserves 5 stars. When it came out, I think if I were old enough to have read it then, I would have given it 10 stars. So that’s that. It’s untouchable….in THAT way.
However…there is a lot of stuff about it that just doesn’t do it for me, and for others as well. I can see younger readers just thinking, who cares? Why bother, this isn’t original. I can see why too.
– The art…is 50% terrible…there’s some great stuff, but there’s also stuff so bad it wouldn’t be published today.
– It’s extremely verbose and wordy. If a comic is nothing but reading text and long winded internal monologues, at some point it becomes extremely tedious; Show me, don’t tell me! Otherwise I’d read a book. I want to see some wow splash pages too, not just words. Does that make me sound like a troglodyte? No I don’t think so. I understand some degree is allowed, and in many ways, at the time less speech bubbles was a new(ish) idea.
– The Politics of the Cold War and Reagan-era USA aren’t relevant to the readers of today…well…Russia does have a powerful military and single leader…and the US doesn’t like ’em much…but…no.
It can be dated at times, but that’s not a huge complaint for me (I like history and contextualizing oneself in the period) but I see why others won’t like/care/understand.
– TOO MANY TV screen talking heads. But again I think that’s just a commentary on the new-ish 24 hour news channels on cable that sprang up in the 80s (yes kids, there was a time when CNN and MSNBC weren’t a thing, and before the interwebs and cellular telluphones. We played with sticks and rocks and rode dinosaurs in black and white…). I think they’re meant to annoy the shit out of you.
What I do like, is that not only is Batman examined, but this gets into some of the stuff that would pop up later on in Marvel’s Civil War and other books: Superman is a government agent in exchange for freedom, Wonder Woman has left for home, Green Lantern is in space, and Green Arrow is some kinda survivalist nutjob (who hates the big blue boyscout). There’s examination of the legality/criminality of heroes within society and if they help fight evil, or encourage it’s growth. Even if Miller didn’t devote the whole book to the idea, the idea itself was latched onto by many readers who grew into the writers of today, and we see those concepts debated all over the Marvel and DC Universes.
It also gets to the core of Batman himself. Bruce Wayne is the disguise, Batman is the reality. Even if he deluded himself otherwise in retirement for a decade, the hunger, the drive, the spirit of the bat, it is inside of him, and finally comes out, just pushing everything and everyone else to the side. I love the way Miller gets that across, that he cannot escape it; he knows it in his soul, because the Bat IS his soul. The very essence of what Batman is is what keeps Bruce Wayne alive, and without it, there’s no point. The 55 year old man is able to do things a man 20 years younger would have trouble with, and it’s all thanks to, and because of the Bat. Bruce Wayne is irrelevant, Batman and the power of what he represents is key. And surprisingly, what Miller thinks Batman represents, or at least how I see it, is that Batman, for everything that he is, represents HOPE. If not hope, Batman is Gotham. The 2 are tied together, one cannot rise without the other, and both suffer in the absence of the other.
OK now it feels like I’m writing an English essay on a book report…That’s another thing, Miller’s work here was a huge help to the entire industry of comics, and graphic novels. There’s no Sin City without TDKR; I don’t think DC and Marvel become powerhouses, I think the comic industry takes an even bigger hit; Comicon, does that still thrive? I honestly don’t know, but interestingly enough, much like Gotham without Batman, Batman without Miller and this book, could not/would not have thrived or even survived. It would have been a shell of itself.
So there’s my 200 cents on the matter.
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
I was absolutely in love with volume one of Demon Knights. I gushed, I cooed, I yammered on…like I do.
Yeah. This bullshit was pretty disappointing.
And maybe I’m just being a pissy little bitch because I’m bloated from all the turkey I ate, but I don’t think so.
I don’t even know what the fuck this was about…
What the hell is that?!
Is the sea dragon wearing a box of pirates on his head?
Why, yes. Apparently it is.
And that is just the tip of the stupidity!
Nothing about how this story was told made sense. It just kind of rambled around, never really going anywhere.
I’m not sure why this group was still together, I’m not sure what they were hoping to accomplish, and I’m still not sure about who half of them are.
I don’t care!
I mean, how could they cancel a title with amazing characters such as:
As in, a woman…who must LIVE on her horse!
Question: What does she so when she needs to pee?
Or what about the Shining Knight? Or Random Amazon (can’t remember her name)? Or Inventor Dude (again…can’t remember his name)?
None of these guys played any kind of an important role in the story. And I’m not really sure there was a real story that happened here anyway.
Ugh. Not worth it.
OK, so I recalled reading this, but I think I got it confused with Last Son of Krypton…because there’s no WAY I wouldn’t have gushed about how awesome this book is.
Superman: Red So(u)n (You’ll get it.) is, quite possibly, Mark Millar’s finest work.
This book is so full of little teasers and links to the original DCU that it’s like a Where’s Waldo game to find them all…I only read once, and I saw a few that were AWESOME.
I could literally gush about this non-stop. It was one of those few books you read the panels over and over again just because it’s so F’n awesome. It’s also one where you cover the next page with your hand because you don’t want to get ahead of things at all, you want to inhabit this story in real time.
Millar has also done the impossible, and made a major character even better than I thought possible. (hint: I’m not talking about the main character.) Millar has taken the essence of what makes each character we encounter important, and twisted it around just enough to remain interesting, while still, importantly enough, remaining true to each character’s roots.
I don’t want to give away too much, because reading this without any spoilers or clues other than the title and the obvious fact that Superman was going to be a Soviet Comrade instead of an American Citizen.
If I was to sum up in words how much I loved this book…I think it would be:
To the Power of
Oh…then there’s the ending. Mind. Blown. BOOM.
I was so jazzed I said out loud “Holy S**t!” My wife came in to ask me what was wrong…then she saw the comic book, and started crying for some reason…anyhow. YAY! COMIC BOOK AWESOME!
So so so so sooo good. I might not be able to be friends with you if you don’t really enjoy this.