Review: Batman: The Court of Owls Volume 1 by Scott Snyder

Batman, Vol. 1: The Court of OwlsBatman, Vol. 1: The Court of Owls by Scott Snyder
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Batman



“Beware the Court of Owls,

That watches all the time.

Ruling Gotham from a shadowed perch,

Behind granite and lime.

They watch you at your hearth,

They watch you in your bed,

Speak not a whispered word of them,

Or they’ll send the Talon for your head!”


Introduction:

So, when I heard that DC Comics was doing a reboot on all of their comics, I will admit that I was pretty hesitant about trying out any of the rebooted comics, especially after I heard so many bad things about DC’s New 52 series (and it turns out that the backlash was understandable, especially with how some of the later titles in the New 52 turned out to be horrible, according to some of the fans). But, there was one series in the New 52 that fans felt was always consistently good and that was Scott Snyder’s run on “Batman!” So, when my fellow Batman comic buddies recommended me this title, I will admit that I was pretty interested with this volume and I ended up being quite impressed with how this volume turned out!


What is this story about?

Gotham is Batman’s city and he will not let any criminal ruin his town…until the Court of Owls came in. The Court of Owls is a mysterious organization that has been around Gotham ever since it was first built and their plan is to retake Gotham City for their own. The only obstacle in their way is none other than Bruce Wayne and they plan on killing Bruce Wayne to reclaim Gotham City.


Is the Court of Owls connected to Bruce Wayne’s ancestors in some way and will they break Batman in order to obtain their goals of claiming Gotham City?

Read this volume to find out!


What I loved about this story:

Scott Snyder’s writing: I have read Scott Snyder’s previous works on “Batman: The Black Mirror” and the “American Vampire” series and I have always loved his unique and intense writing style. His writing of this “Batman” story is no different and I just loved the way that Scott Snyder made this “Batman” story even more intense than the last! I really loved the fact that since this is a reboot of the “Batman” comics, we actually get to see new villains in the form of the Court of Owls and it was interesting trying to figure out what their true goals for Gotham are and how they knew about Bruce Wayne himself. It really made the Court of Owls such interesting villains and the fact that they were one of the few villains to give Batman a hard time was really different and intriguing for me as a “Batman” fan. But what really made me squeal with true fangirl anticipation was seeing Dick Grayson appear in this comic along with Damian Wayne and Tim Drake! When I saw all the former Robins together on one page, I was seriously excited at this moment since I enjoy seeing all the Robins come together to be with Bruce Wayne, their mentor! I also loved the way that Scott Snyder wrote Bruce Wayne’s relationship with Dick Grayson and Alfred as this reboot shows that Batman still has a close relationship with Dick Grayson and Alfred and I really enjoyed their moments together.

Greg Capullo’s artwork: Greg Capullo’s artwork perfectly captures the dark and gritty nature of this series and I loved how scratchy the ink work is as it gives the story an intense feeling. I also loved the fact that Greg Capullo’s artwork reminds me a bit of the artwork in Frank Miller’s “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns” comic book, which slightly gave this volume a retro feel, especially if you are an old school “Batman” fan!

Batman


What made me feel uncomfortable about this story:

The reason why I took off half a star from the rating was because the story tended to be a bit slow in some parts and there were times where I was wishing that the story would have moved at a faster pace to keep me interested all the way through. Also, for anyone who does not like bloody violence in comics, there are some moments in this volume where the violence can get pretty bloody, especially whenever the characters get stabbed by knives.


Final Thoughts:

Overall, “Batman: The Court of Owls Volume One” was a pleasant surprise for me as it made me really enjoy what was being done with this reboot of “Batman” and I hope that the series continues to get better with each volume!

Rating ?

4.5 pows

Batman: The Black Mirror by Scott Snyder

Batman: The Black MirrorBatman: The Black Mirror by Scott Snyder

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Eh. Meh.

I feel like there’s a theme in Snyder’s books about secret underground organisations existing for ages in Gotham, which just shock the hell out of whoever is Batman at the moment. Maybe it’s less impressive because I read Court of Owls first?

There are three stories in this one, and I’m not sure which one I liked the best, since they all had their pros and cons.

I seem to be incapable of writing coherently today. so quick impressions.
Continue reading

Superman Unchained by Scott Snyder

Superman UnchainedSuperman Unchained by Scott Snyder

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

You should know, if there was a scale of ranking for heroes, I’d put Superman in the sub-zeroes. That’s how much I don’t like the character. He’s so damned boring and everything is super (heh) convenient for him. Yeah, no.

BUT.
This is Snyder. So he manages to make me give a 4 star. Because Supey is sort of interesting in this one.
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Batman, Vol.1: The Court of Owls by Scott Snyder

Batman, Vol. 1: The Court of OwlsBatman, Vol. 1: The Court of Owls by Scott Snyder
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


In keeping with our buddyread theme, I’d say this one is like pancakes…the first two are really great, but by the fifth one you’re just wondering what you saw in it…

You know, for a long time, I never understood why Bats was called the greatest detective, because I’ve never actually seen him…detecting.
Never fear, Snyder is here to fix that problem! 
Continue reading

Angry Review: Batman, Vol. 7: Endgame by Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo (Illustrator)

Batman, Vol. 7: EndgameBatman, Vol. 7: Endgame by Scott Snyder
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

What the fuck just happened here?!
Wow. I officially loathe one of Snyder’s Batman stories.
Alright. I’m well aware that I’m going to be standing out here by myself, but I fucking HATED this. Like, I can’t even describe the rage I feel right now. Just pure fury mingled with crushing disappointment.
Well, what do you know? I guess could describe it!
Maybe Snyder has been the king of the Batverse for so long now, that he’s started believing his own hype? I mean,
really
?!
You may want to have those looked at, buddy.

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*deep breath*
I did really like parts of it. So there’s that.
Capullo’s art is amazing. Just spot-on, wonderful, and haunting.

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The facial expressions are perfect. Loved the way he drew…everything.

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Warning: Spoilers! Lots of ’em.
I’m not going to be able to properly bitch (or have a full-on tantrum), unless I can talk about what happened. If you haven’t read this yet, you may want to stop reading and come back later.

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Alrighty, the first part of the volume had me all aflutter!
Batman was fighting the leftover effects of Crane’s fear toxin, and he kept having these vivid dreams about his death. Julia was still helping Alfred with everything while he recovered, and it looked like their relationship was vastly improved.
I don’t know what happened in Volume 3 of Batman Eternal yet, but it appears they are living in some building previously owned by the Court of Owls. I hate the Owls, and I thought we were done with that whole hokey storyline, but I’m willing to let it slide.
Anyway, I loved Bruce’s interactions with Alfred.

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Ok, then Wonder Woman popped up outta nowhere and started beating the shit out of Bruce. She wasn’t making a whole lot of sense, and I thought it might be another dream. Apparently not…

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He managed to take her down, but, by that point, Aquaman & Flash were also both after him.
Boom! He pulled on his Justice-League-Taker-Downer suit, and incapacitated both of them. Nicely done! But he still didn’t know what was causing them to go nuts.

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And then Superman showed up, and everything became clear (ish).

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The Joker’s back!
And he’d managed to infect the Justice League with a special Joker Toxin. Batman narrowly escaped Superman, and (somehow) managed to get him, and the rest of the League, confined at A.R.G.U.S..
I’m assuming Alfred and Julia did this off-page, because when Bruce woke up (Clark hits hard!), the JL had already been hooked up to IVs.
Up next? Synthesize an antidote.
The bad news was that Joker let his toxin loose in Gotham, and it was spreading fast. The reallyreally bad news was that there seemed to be no way to make a working antidote.
I was on the edge of my seat by then, baby!
Why can’t they find an antidote?

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Ok, sounds pretty awesome so far, right?
Well, it was!
And then it all stared going downhill for me. At first, it was just little things (how did Joker managed to dose the entire Justice League?), but I brushed them aside, because I’ve been trained to blindly trust Snyder.
But also because of cool jump scares like this:

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But within that panel lies the problem.
I AM NOT FUCKING KIDDING ABOUT THE SPOILERS!
TURN YOUR ASS AROUND, RIGHT THE FUCK NOW!

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First, the fact that Joker was masquerading as the helpful doctor/intern from Arkham (Eric Border) that Batman has been working with, wasn’t a shocker to me. I’d been wondering when they were going to ‘spring’ that one on us. I mean, come on, he’s been shady from the start, but Arkham Manor pretty much confirmed it for me.
I can’t be the only one who was thinking that…

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The next step is a doozy.
The Big Twist is that the Joker can’t be killed. He’s immortal like Vandal Savage, Ra’s al Ghul, or Shovel Face from Twilight.
And he’s been around since (at least) the beginning of Gotham.

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DUM. DUM. DUUUUUM.
So…now we have some new convoluted Joker origin story? And he has powers? Has always had powers?
This explains why the skin on his face has healed itself.
Oh my God, I never thought I’d actually miss the fact that his face wasn’t attached anymore, but I’d rather have a totally human Joker without his fucking face, than WhatEverTheFuck Snyder was trying to sell me here.

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Still, I trusted him.
He’s the Goddamn Batman Snyder!
In my mind, I had full faith that he was going to iron out the kinks in this storyline.
It was an elaborate ruse! Or Bruce was in some Crane induced delusion!
The possibilities were whirling through my mind, even as I watched each corny plot thread unfold.

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Oh my! Joe Chill (exposed to the toxin) is waiting to kill a family. It’s been set up by Joker to look just like Crime Alley! Oh! Batman saves the family, but the toxin spreads to the adults, so he can only rescue the boy.
I’ll bet the boy is somehow part of Joker’s plan!

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Um…nope. Evidently it was just an excuse for Batman to save a kid.
Whuuuut?
Did we really need yet another reminder of the gunshot, the pearls falling, the sad little boy crying in the rain?

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Let me go ahead and answer that for you. No, we did not.
Whatever! In Snyder We Trust!
So when Joker broke into the Batcave and chopped off Alfred’s hand?

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I trusted him.
And when he stole the giant Dinosaur to use in a parade because that’s such an original fucking idea?

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I trusted him.
And when he had to go to the stupid-ass Court of Owls to find out if the Joker was truly immortal?

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I still trusted him.
Then have the world’s lamest fight with one of their Talons?

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I trustehhhh…well, if I’m being honest, I was starting to get pretty worried at this point. And, it turns out, I had every right to be.
Joker isn’t immortal, he’s just found some sort of a Lazarus pit to heal himself. Of course, the key to saving everyone in Gotham (from the toxin) is whatever’s in that Pit Juice.
*rolls eyes*

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The showdown culminates with Batman & Joker in a cave full of explosives.
They proceed to simultaneously stab and psychoanalyze each other to death.
Dr. Phil, what do you think it means when Joker lodges a playing card in Batman’s eye?
Well, Anne, I think it shows that they are definitely two sides of the same coin. They can’t live without each other, and so they will probably die in this cave together.
WhatTheFuck are you talking about, Phil?! Oprah lied to us! Self-help guru, my ass! You’re nothing but an obnoxious bully with a receding hairline, and smarmy grin.

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But it turns out Dr Phil was right.
Yep. They killed Batman…again.
I swear to God, I just now finally feel like I’m caught up on all of the shit from the last time he died, and they’re doing it again?
I guess Nubby Alfred could always step up as the next Dark Knight, if they wanna shake things up for a year or so.

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The final nail in the coffin though?
Batman left a note.

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Luckily, Alfred was able to translate the one word note that said Ha.
Blah, blah, balh…Batman’s story will always be a tragedy, because that’s the way he wanted it.
Live bravely, smile at the void, and eat cake…

Or something like that.
*vomits*
I can’t believe this shit. I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS SHIT!
You just did this, you idiots! Why don’t you kill off someone who hasn’t been dead in the past few years?
Green Arrow and Superman haven’t been dead in a while. Or how ’bout Hal? Maybe Spectre could come back and take him over again?
But no. Let’s kill Batman. Marvel got rid of Wolverine, so we need to off our flagship character, as well.
Great idea!

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*sigh*
Ok, the beginning of the story was great, and Capullo’s art deserves 5 stars all by itself, so this was not a total loss.
Again, I know most of you will love this, think it’s an ass-kicking story, and continue to worship this run. And I don’t want to argue with you, or try to change your mind. This is simply my (fairly worthless) opinion.

Ugh. I’m exhausted from hating Endgame so much. I’m going to bed.

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Initial thoughts:
Wow. I gotta think about this one for a bit…
My knee-jerk reaction is a hearty fuck you to Snyder.

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I received a digital copy from NetGalley & DC.

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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: Batman, Vol. 6: Graveyard Shift by Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo (Illustrations)

Batman, Vol. 6: Graveyard ShiftBatman, Vol. 6: Graveyard Shift by Scott Snyder

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

I would have preferred a long story arc, but dreams don’t always come true. This is a bunch of leftover stories from random times and places.
Yeah, I know Suck it up, Buttercup!
I will say that they were all consistently good, even if the timelines were all over the map.

It starts off with a prequel to Zero Year that was maybe not necessary, but interesting anyway. It showed Bruce trying to clean up the city before he put on the mask.

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Also included was a look at Tim, Jason, Dick, & Barbara’s first peek at the Batsymbol in the sky, which coincided with (varying degrees of) turning points in their lives.

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Harper (Bluebird) and her brother Cullen feature in this one twice. The first time Harper is determined to help Batman deal with his rage after Damien’s death.

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I’m not sure how much I’m actually enjoying this Death of Damien storyline. It rankles my nerves a bit, and I wish they’d just dip his ass in a Lazarus pit already and be done with it. It’s a personal preference, but I just don’t like watching the writers try to decide how Batman should act while in the throes of grief over his dead child.
There was this story on the news the other day about this woman who lost everything because she started smoking crack. Turns out, her kid had died a few years beforehand. Now, I don’t think smoking crack is a good idea under any circumstances, but she gets a pass in my book. If there was ever one excuse to be a crackhead, that’s the one.
My point is, I just don’t enjoy the dead kid angle. I believe the writers are trying to convey Bruce’s deep emotions, but (to me) it feels hollow and cheap.
And the longer it drags out, the more annoyed I get.

Love this piece of art, though.
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In the issue called Ghost Lights, Superman pops in to check on Bruce, and they end up taking on an evil spirit who has been summoned by some stupid kids.

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I enjoyed the Superman/Batman team-up. Always nice to see those two together!

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Clayface shows up in this sucker and makes quite an impression. Snyder played up how dangerous a villain he could be if he totally went off the rails.
I thoroughly enjoyed this story!

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The story set in Arkham with the character
Anchoress
was a bit of an iffy one for me. It was different enough to keep me interested, though.
It’s basically a tale about a not-bad-but-bad-anyway nutter in the loony bin.

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Creepy serial killer tale ahead! Unless it somehow plays into the Joker mythos, this one is a throwaway. Again, not bad storytelling, but I’m burned out on the subject matter. I simply prefer Batman to take on ‘villains’ and not real-life psychos.
*shrugs*

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The last one is a tie-in with the Batman Eternal stuff.
Spoiler below!

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Get it?! Spoiler?
{insert knee-slapping here}
Hyuck, hyuck!

*cough*
Yes, so…anyway. It’s a random collection of stories, but it’s a solid random collection of stories. I think this volume is a nice addition to Snyder’s Batman run.

Big thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for giving me a digital copy to read and review.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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Review: Severed

SeveredSevered by Scott Snyder

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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Gotta give a shout-out to Kat for providing these friggin’ awesome banners for our shallow comic buddy-reads. You just keep killin’it home-girl.

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Well, not my favorite Scott Snyder book. I’m sure not being a “horror” guy didn’t help. Just not my bag. But it was still a decent read and overall I enjoyed it. Scott Snyder and Scott Tuft put their own spin on the serial killer genre with this one. Severed did have some genuine tension in a scene involving a bear trap and, like Mike, the beginning of chapter 5 had me going. Sam beat me to the punch pointing out the similarities to Road to Perdition (which I liked). Both the early 1900’s scenery and the trip young Jack takes throughout the story reminded me of that book as well. And Sam, thanks for the Albert Fish reference. That’s one Wikipedia page I could have gone to my grave having never read. What a sick fuck. I can certainly see the similarities though. Actually, maybe had I read about Albert Fish first, I would have been a little more freaked out by the killer in this story.

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The art was really nice. Attila Futaki (great name) does a good job and obviously did his research. Everything about his art really feels 1916. I would certainly pick up something by him again.

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I guess I just wasn’t really all that afraid of the killer in this one and it reminded me of a couple of other “bogeymen” stories I read when I was younger and more into the horror stuff. Still, it was good. I liked the ending and some of the twists the story took while getting there. I would definitely recommend it to those interested in serial killer fiction or horror stories. You might want to read up on Albert Fish first, then give it a swing. If not, you may wanna skip that Albert Fish wiki page altogether. He defines twisted son of a bitch.

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