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: Grayson Vol. 1: Agents of Spyral

Grayson, Vol. 1: Agents of SpyralGrayson, Vol. 1: Agents of Spyral by Tim Seeley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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A D-List character buddy read with my Shallow Comic Reading pals!

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Ok, I’m really gonna try and not go wall to wall with “Dick” jokes in this one. I promise.

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FUUUNNN STUFF! With so many mixed reviews for this book, I had no clue where I would land on this one. Well I like Dick….Grayson….Nightwing…..Agent 37….Whatever. Following Forever Evil, Nightwing takes on a new role as Batman’s spy in the clandestine organization known as Spyral. I won’t get into how this all comes to pass, just in case you missed it, but it made some sense. I’m not really up to date on all the New 52 stuff (including the New 52 Nightwing series) and it really didn’t matter. The beginning of this volume brings you up to speed from the gate.

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This volume’s a pretty short and sweet “lay the foundation” kinda book. It introduces the key characters with a cool guest appearance by the Midnighter. Helena Bertinelli (previously the Huntress) takes on a new role in this series as well. So far I’m cool with it. Minimal Batman in this one if that’s a problem for you. Not for me. I prefer my Dick solo. Figuratively speaking. Saw some gripes about the fact that Grayson is using a gun and is a secret agent that doesn’t kill. I totally get it, but it really didn’t bother me. Got the impression they might be working that into the story a little later.

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I thought Tim Seeley and Tom King have Grayson’s “voice” down pretty good. He’s a playa and puts that acrobat’s body to good use almost right from the start. Ladies love Dick. The writers kept it lite for the most part with a couple of darker moments. True to form, Grayson bounced back from the grim stuff pretty quick. Loved the “Man-ty Raid” and the resulting cover that Minos (he’s Spyral’s Dr.Evil) comes up with for Grayson as a result. Minos is peaking my interest so far as well. Some potential there. I wasn’t as crazy about the Future’s End issue included at the ass end of this one, but it didn’t suck.

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Mikel Janin’s art simply rocks. Love it. Clean lines that I thought were similar to Frank Cho’s with less cheesecake. This one actually seems to be geared a little more towards the ladies with Grayson’s abs oozing out all over the place. The sexy bastard. The other artists that contributed were ok. Nothing special.

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I liked this new take on Dick and would recommend it to anybody that isn’t stuck on Grayson as Nightwing or enjoys a more light-hearted kinda hero book. If you’re not into new interpretations of old characters or prefer your spies be more of the “Bond” variety, you might wanna skip it. It’s a completely different direction for the character that I’m on board with for now.

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Review: Nightwing Vol. 2: Rough Justice

Nightwing Vol. 2: Rough JusticeNightwing Vol. 2: Rough Justice by Chuck Dixon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Chuck Dixon continues what could be the best Nightwing comics run ever with this second collection, Rough Justice. For me, this is Richard Grayson. Only Batman the Animated Series came as close to defining the character with Nightwing’s handful of appearances in The New Batman Adventures. Dixon continues to bring a youthful exuberance to Dick (heh…had to get that out of the way) that reminded me of a young Spider-Man at times. That type of upbeat attitude is a nice change of pace from the grim and uncompromising characters that I’m typically drawn to. That’s not to say there isn’t some darkness to city of Bludhaven in this book, just a little less in the way that Nightwing views himself and his mission there.

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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: 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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