Though technically not a Rebirth title, DC is trying to fix the damage they did to Captain Atom during the disastrous New 52 era. It's a step in the right direction. This definitely isn't the pre-Flashpoint Captain, but it's as close as we're going to get.
The Fall And Rise Of Captain Atom
Writer: Cary Bates, Greg Weisman
Artist: Will Conrad
I was a big Roy Thomas fan back in the day. But reading this, either my tastes have changed or his stuff was crap. This is not a great series. Maybe the cards were stacked against him going into this series, or maybe his work just does not hold up. Either way, I'm so glad he didn't get an on-going Shazam series like he was supposed to. It would have been quarter box stuff all the way.
Shazam!: The New Beginning 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition
Writer: Roy Thomas, Dann Thomas
Artist: Tom Mandrake, Rick Stasi, Rick Magyar, Jan Duursema
Still my favorite of the Blue & Gold X-Men books. Cullen Bunn seems like he's having a ton of fun with this. I wasn't happy with the direction he was taking the Beast, but it appears to be resolved and hopefully he can get him back on track.
X-Men Blue Vol 2: Toil And Trouble
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Cory Smith, Joey Vazquez, Thony Silas, Terry Pallot, Giovanni Valletta, Scott Hanna, Douglas Franchin
This is a fun, if uneven, collection of John Byrne stories that were not part of the regular series he did for DC. It's a nice overview of some of the stuff he did and highly enjoyable. If you're a Byrne fan, that is.
The DC Universe By John Byrne
Writer: John Byrne, Marv Wolfman, Mike W Barr, Paul Kupperberg, Roger Stern, Paul Dini, Josh Siegal, Cary Bates, Keith Champagne
Artist: John Byrne, Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, Kurt Schaffenberger, Keith Wilson, Andy Kubert, Rick Burchett, Lary Stucker, Keith Champagne
One of my favorite characters, especially when he's written correctly. This book was mostly fun, but then we came to the Keith Giffen era. His stories were fine, but they were NOT Midnighter stories. He doesn't get the character and it shows. Garth Ennis GETS the character and that's why his stories more than make up for the Giffen stuff.
Midnighter: The Complete Wildstorm Series
Writer: Garth Ennis, Keith Giffen, Christos Gage, Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti, Brian K Vaughan
Artist: Chris Sprouse, Lee Garrett, Karl Story, Rick Burchett, others
This felt more like a collection of inventory stories than anything. Not sure what's going on with this series. Hopefully it was just a stop gap so they can settle the schedules of whomever is taking over the series.
Justice League Vol 4: Endless
Writer: Bryan Hitch, Shea Fontana, Tom DeFalco, Dan Abnett
Artist: Bryan Hitch, Tom Derenick, Philippe Briones, Ian Churchill, Daniel Henriques, Andy Owens, Scott Hanna, Trevor Scott, Andrew Currie, Paul Neary, Tony Kordos, Batt
I was slightly disappointed by the beginning of this story. I expect more out of Paul Cornell. But then he pulled the rug out from under me. I should NEVER doubt Paul Cornell. What he did early in the story he did on purpose and it paid off. How's that for no spoilers?
Also, I could hear the voices of the actors in my head while reading this. He nailed it. I want more Paul Cornell Third Doctor stories!!
Not a fan of the new version of the character, but this book is soooo full of classic Joker's Daughter appearances, it's well worth the price. Honest. Those awful old stories are awesome!!
Batman Arkham: Joker's Daughter
Writer: Bob Rozakis, Geoff Johns, Ben Raab, J Torres, Ann Nocenti, Marguerite Bennett
Artist: Irv Novick, Frank McLaughlin, Jose Delbo, Vince Colletta, Don Heck, John Celardo, Juan Ortiz, Bruce Patterson, Dave Hunt, Kurt Schaffenberger, Drew Johnson, Rich Faber, Paco Medina, Wayne Faucher, Georges Jeanty, Dexter Vines, Meghan Hetrick
Another instance of Marvel putting a hold on the regular series of a title while their big event of the month runs. We're stuck with filler until TPTB let the creative team get back to telling stories. Meh.
Reading this book was a labor of love. I have such a fondness in my heart for these early stories of the Legion. Sure, they're hokey and cheesy, but they're just a pure, innocent joy.
This massive book collects what I believe were the stories in the first three Legion Archives books. I have those books and now I have this, too, and it was so much fun re-reading them for the first time in years.
I did look at this with a different, maybe more critical eye. The issue to issue continuity is just plain weird to me. What I'm talking about is this. In one issue, we have a new member join. Let's say it's Lightning Lass. Then she doesn't appear again for a few issues. Same with Element Lad. You'd think that upon introduction, you'd get to see more of the new characters, but that's not how it worked back then. I don't know if a bunch of stories were commissioned and then published in a random order or what.
There really isn't a ton I can say about these stories that hasn't been said before. But these are highly enjoyable stories.
Legion Of Super-Heroes: The Silver Age Omnibus Vol 1
Writer: Otto Binder, Jerry Siegel, Edmond Hamilton, Robert Bernstein
Artist: George Papp, Jim Mooney, Curt Swan, John Forte, Sheldon Moldoff, George Klein
Sequels rarely live up to the original. It's a fact. Sometimes they excel, but more often than not, they fall short. Batman: Year Two is a sequel to Batman: Year One. Different creative team, different approach. And it's a damn fine story.
I'm not the biggest fan of Mike Barr. He's a fine writer, but I don't often take him seriously. He writes fun stuff, but it's mostly fluff to me. However, it's been years since I've read this, so I tried to go in with fresh eyes. And he surprised me. The book isn't the cutesy fluff I'm used to from him. It's straightforward, decent writing. And I enjoyed every bit of it. I guess I didn't realize Alan Davis only drew the first chapter of the story before quitting the book (detailed in the forward). Todd McFarlane stepped in and finished the book off. Alan Davis came back for the sequel to this sequel and both men gave us top notch stuff.
This book collects the original Year Two and the follow up story, Full Circle. Full Circle had a lot of holes in it, but it suspend your disbelief just a little more than normal, it's not a problem.
I don't know how much of this book is still in continuity. My memory gets worse with age, but I don't think much of any of it is canon anymore. It features a lot of Joe Chill and his family. That's the part that I'm not sure fits in with current (or even later pre-New 52) continuity. Things like this change from time to time and I wouldn't be surprised to learn this continuity went out the window two decades ago.
This is a really good and satisfying read. If you haven't read it recently, it's worth picking up.
Batman: Year Two *The 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition*
Writer: Mike W. Barr
Artist: Alan Davis, Todd McFarlane, Paul Neary, Mark Farmer, Alfredo Alcala, Pablo Marcos
Here's another airplane read from last weekend. Although it collects ten issues, this book has always been a quick and decent read. This volume doesn't change that course at all.
It's kind of amazing to me to see this book is up to issue #72 and it's still being written by Mike Grell. You rarely see anything like that anymore. I miss seeing people plant themselves on a book for any length of time and continually turn out good stuff.
While in the hotel, the tv was on and Ken decided to watch a horrible Hallmark Channel Christmas movie. It was while watching that that I realized what Grell's dialog reminds me of. TV movies. The way he writes scenes rings true to the kind of chat and conversation I witnessed in that movie. The movie was awful, but this book isn't. It continues the quality (for me at least) that Mike Grell started the series with and it's high quality. I really enjoy reading THIS Oliver Queen. I know he's a thing of the past now, but this era of his career really appeals to me.
I can't remember how much longer this series goes for before Ollie dies, but I'm going to enjoy every last page of it until then.
Green Arrow Vol 8: The Hunt For The Red Dragon
Writer: Mike Grell
Artist: Rick Hoberg, Frank Springer, John Nyberg, Pablo Marcos
I love this Deluxe Edition series DC has been doing. I love that the books are just slightly oversized (because grandpa here doesn't always have to wear his glasses to read them!). The artwork seems to pop better on the slightly bigger pages.
I haven't read this since it was first published. I'll admit I remember none of it. A lot of books I haven't read in years come back to me upon a re-read, but not this. So, for all intents and purposes, it was brand new to me. I was torn about how excited I was to read it. I was excited to reacquaint myself with the back story of Atlantis, but I was dreading it because it was written by Peter David. I don't care much for his writing style. Quite frankly, he's obnoxious and he's his biggest fan and it comes out in his writing.
But not here. Here he shows that he can actually write if he strips away his asshole veneer. I really enjoyed what I read. Sure, the book still has some issues, but they're issues I can deal with. The part that I find the most glaring is how lop sided the book feels. It's a seven part series. He spent the first five parts telling the story of Orin and Shalako and their extended, multi generational family. Then we fast forward for the last two issues into other eras. It's almost like it was supposed to be a 12 issue series that got cut back after he already had most of the first arc written.
He does a great job explaining things that needed explaining. We now know why some Atlanteans look like normal humans and why some look like mermen and mermaids. We know how they survived the sinking of Atlantis. We know how they learned how to breathe underwater. And where the telepathy with sealife came from.
All in all, it's a great series. I highly recommend this book
I wish they would just call this book what it really is. Batman Family. But Detective Comics needs to be around, so that's the title (by default, imho).
I think this is my favorite Batman book right now. Batman isn't the main star. There really isn't one. It's the whole family instead. This volume showcases Batgirl, er, um, Orphan more than any of the other characters. It's nice to see more of the Rebirth version of her. She's not too different from the Batgirl version, but all the history has been washed away and we're still figuring out what is still canon and what is new.
This volume is my favorite of the three so far. The story feels so big that it couldn't possibly fit in this one book, but it does and it's all quality, no filler. I don't think James Tynion gets enough recognition for what he does. He's fantastic in what he writes and he's at the top of his game right now. He makes me want more.
Batman Detective Comics Vol 3: League Of Shadows
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Marcio Takara, Christian Duce, Fernando Blanco, Alvaro Martinez, Raul Fernandez, Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira
I've gone on record before stating I'm not a Kirby fan. I did read his Mister Miracle recently and actually enjoyed it. Mister Miracle is probably my favorite Kirby creation ever. The Demon has always been another Kirby creation that I've always liked. I figured that if I enjoyed Mister Miracle as much as I did, the same could be said for the Demon.
I was wrong. I really didn't like very much of this. It was just way too Kirby for my tastes. Maybe it's because, according to the forward, he created the book, planned to do a little bit with it and pass it off to other creators. DC didn't let that happen, though, so maybe he didn't put the right kind of energy in the book? I don't know. I do know that I only ever recall reading the first issue of this before, so this was all new to me. I see the base he tried to lay down for the series, but he mostly neglected it. Other writers took the seeds he planted and worked with them the way they needed to be worked.
I still love the Demon. I think just about everyone who has touched him since Kirby did a great job with him. I need to look into more post-Kirby Demon.
Last weekend I flew to Dallas for a wedding. I brought four books on the plane hoping to read two of them. This is one I brought. I wasn't sure how much of it I was going to get through considering it's about a dozen issues and I'm not the quickest reader. Needless to say, I got through ten of the twelve issues reprinted in here before the plane landed. The other two I read the night after.
I've forgotten how much I loved this era of BoP. It's still pretty early in the series, but this is the part where the BoP universe really starts expanding. The previous volumes set up the series and got us used to the characters. This book we really spread our wings. Catwoman shows up. Nightwing shows up (and his book crosses over with this one.) We learn about Power Girl being a former BoP. Babs and Ted Kord start up their thing. Jason Bard reappears on the scene. Dinah and Babs finally meet face to face. There is a lot going on besides the main story plots and that's what really makes this a fun book to read.
I just love everything about this book. It's been sitting on my shelf for longer than it should and for that I apologize to myself. LOL.
Birds Of Prey Vol 3
Writer: Chuck Dixon
Artist: Greg Land, Dick Giordano, Patrick Zircher, Butch Guice, Drew Geraci, Jordi Ensign, Jose Marzan Jr
I have always loved John Constantine. The Vertigo series is top notch (though if you read a few posts back, I didn't love ALL of it) and I've been enjoying reading through it again. A few years back DC decided to end John's Vertigo life and replanted him firmly in the proper DC Universe. In effect, they took everything awesome about the Hellblazer series and cut it off at the balls. It's been a few years now and they seem to finally be ready to give John his balls back again, or at least one of them.
This book was kinda, sorta great. It's still not quite where John should be, but it's the closest we've seen from the proper John Constantine in years. He sounds like John again, he acts like John again, he's a bastard again. I like. My only real quibble with this book is the art. The art is just not right. It looks like a lighter, more kid friendly style that doesn't jibe with the happenings in the book. To me, at least. The art is lovely, but it just doesn't fit. I want Simon Oliver to stay with this book for a good long time. DC finally has found a decent writer for this series.
The Hellblazer Vol 2: The Smokeless Fire
Writer: Simon Oliver
Artist: Davide Fabbri, Philip Tan, Jose Marzan Jr, Karl Kesel
This book is pure, unadulterated joy. Plain and simple. The original Teen Titans stories. Nick Cardy artwork. Everything good in the world all wrapped up in a beautiful package.
The book collects about 900 pages of Teen Titans comics. The Brave & The Bold appearances, the Showcase books, the first 24 issues, a Brave & Bold Batman team up and the whole run of the first Hawk & Dove book.
It so much fun revisiting these cheesy as hell stories. The first half (or more) are just so god awful, they're good. The book was clearly a victim of it's era, but it was also written to appeal to 8 year olds, who I'm sure looked down on these scripts as being too juvenile. LOL. About half way through the book, the stories start taking a more serious vibe, written less for 8 year old and more for a general comics audience. These are the stories I loved the best. The Bronze Age Omnibus will have more of this type of story in it, which I'm so looking forward to revisiting.
Teen Titans has been my favorite series ever since the first issue I bought. It was #44, the revival issue. I was living in Bethel, CT at the time and that is my strongest memory of the entire time I lived there. Discovering this book. I was probably 8 or 9 at the time (wait, I just googled it. I was 10.) It left a lasting impression in my head, 41 years later.
The Silver Age Teen Titans Omnibus
Writer: Bob Haney, Steve Skeates, Neal Adams, Steve Ditko, Mike Friedrich, Gil Kane, Len Wein, Marv Wolfman
Artist: Nick Cardy, Gil Kane, Irv Novick, Neal Adams, Steve Ditko, Bruno Premiani, Bill Molno, Lee Elias, Bill Draut, Sal Trapani, Jack Abel, John Celardo, Wally Wood
Here we go again. Another volume one. Jesus, Marvel, stop it already. How many Iron Fist Volume 1s do you need to publish?
Anyway, Iron Fist is back with a new creative team, a new vision, a new series. I highly enjoyed this look into the life of Danny Rand. It's the first time since Ed Brubaker brought the character to A List status that I've felt he's getting an A List creative team. This story could very easily have been the natural continuation of what Brubaker was doing. It's a shame it took us this long to right the sail of Iron Fist.
The story itself is quite simple. Danny's chi is fading. He's looking to prove he's still worthy of being Iron Fist. He ends up on a mysterious island with ties to K'un-Lun and battles the Seven Masters of the Island in a plot that's not exactly what he thinks it is (because what comic story ever is?) Danny is kick ass and so is this tale. I'm now anxiously awaiting volume 2.
I was really looking forward to this. This is an epic crossover I could only ever dream about happening. Two of the strongest genre characters on tv in the 70s meeting each other. And for the most part, it accomplished what it set out to conquer. The story makes sense, for the most part. I could see this as happening on 70s tv (with budget restrictions paring some of it down.) It was a decent read. However.....
It wasn't perfect. While the story was enjoyable, it read no better than competent fan fiction. You could tell it was written by a fanboy who tried to cram every single character and reference from both shows into the story. And by doing that, it really did bring it down to fanfic level. There are too many things going on. The plot is way too dense. There are waaaaaaaay too many characters. Clearly the editor on this book had no power to say PARE THIS MESS DOWN. Okay, maybe mess is the wrong word, because it was decent enough, but it was not nearly as good as it could have been.
I love this whole series of books DC has been doing by itself and with other publishers. It's fun fluff to read. Lord knows we can all use an escape.
While I liked the first volume of this series, I didn't love it. It felt like there was too far a sharp turn taken from the New 52 Supergirl into the Rebirth Supergirl. These two characters are very different from each other. Add to that the editorial edict to make this more similar to the tv series, it just felt like it was too much, too soon. This volume, however, is much better. The backstory is in place and we can focus on the story. I love that Batgirl is in this. We're establishing the Rebirth relationship between the two and I couldn't be happier. They gel!! I like that a lot.
What I don't particularly care for is the Rebirth version of the Phantom Zone. It's now basically another dimension where there are buildings, electricity, communities, etc. That's not the Phantom Zone to me. The Phantom Zone is an ether dimension where everyone is incorporeal and that's that. This is almost like they are living on their own planet. It really does not work for me.
But the rest of this really did. I was worried after the first volume, but I'm less worried now. We'll see how this goes.
Supergirl Vol 2: Escape From The Phantom Zone
Writer: Steve Orlando, Hope Larson
Artist: Brian Ching, Matias Bergara, Inaki Miranda
You know how excited you get when you find out one of your favorite writers is about to take over writing one of your favorite characters? All that giddiness, all the expectations? I was so excited for this volume because Paul Jenkins meets John Constantine. What could be bad about that?
Well..... this is probably my least favorite volume of this series so far. For some reason, this just didn't click with me. It didn't ring true. The volume starts off with an Eddie Campbell tale. That just didn't do it for me at all. I know of Eddie Campbell, but I can't say that I've read much by him. So I don't know if this is typical of him or not. The story didn't feel right. John didn't feel right. The circumstances didn't seem right. But I was willing to overlook it. I can't like everything, right? Paul Jenkins arrives and starts his story right where Eddie left off. I appreciate things like that. More than I can express. But at the same time, this just didn't feel like John Constantine to me. I really can't put my finger on it. Maybe say that this character was Jack Cunningham or something like that and I might like it more, but as a Constantine story, it just didn't work for me.
On the plus side, Sean Phillips' art is amazingly beautiful. I could just stare at the pages all day long. I just would rather not read them again. LOL.
I'm very much backlogged on this series. Volume 17 or 18 just came out, so I need to catch up on Constantine's adventures.
John Constantine, Hellblazer Vol 9: Critical Mass
Writer: Paul Jenkins, Eddie Campbell, Jamie Delano
I did not read these stories the first time around. I was on a Bat-hiatus at the time. Reading them now makes me regret that. I don't know why I wasn't reading any of the Batman titles. I think I was probably tired of Batman. I don't know. But I missed out.
The stories in this volume take place during the Bruce Wayne: Murderer or Bruce Wayne: Fugitive storylines. Bruce was framed for killing his girlfriend Vesper Fairchild. He was taken into custody, but soon escaped. He became Batman full-time. These are the stories written by Ed Brubaker, rather than this collection being all the stories published at the time in all the Bat-books dealing with this story. It's a damn fine read, too. Ed Brubaker tends to know what he's doing and he does it well. Scott McDaniel's art really shined in this book, too. What's also nice about this collection is that although the various members of the BatFam appear, they don't over crowd the stories. They show up when they're needed and go away when they're not.
I'm not sure when Brubaker's run ended on this, but there may be enough material for one more collection. I'm looking forward to that. I think the Hush storyline started not long after these stories.
Batman By Ed Brubaker Vol 2
Writer: Ed Brubaker, Geoff Johns
Artist: Scott McDaniel, Andy Owens, Sean Phillips, James Tucker, Stefano Gaudiano, Eric Shanower
I'll be honest. I don't Kickstart nearly enough. I tend to settle into the tried and true stuff. If you read this blog, you see what I read. Your basic generic superhero slop. And I like it. I used to read a lot more independent books back in the day, but the older I've gotten, the fewer risks I tend to take.
This book is written and drawn by my buddy Howie Noel. It's an autobiographical book about his struggles with anxiety. That's a subject near and dear to my heart. I suffer from anxiety, but I tend to think of it as fairly mild anxiety compared to others. But I know what it does to you, I know how it can make you feel helpless, lost, alone. I know how crippling it can be. So I was very anxious to pick this up.
First things first, this is one of the most visually stunning books I've read in a really long time. Howie's art is a thing of beauty. His storytelling in this book it top notch. There's nothing complex about his layouts or finished art, but that's what makes it fit so perfectly here. Some of the best pages are the splash pages throughout the book. Very uncomplicated, very clean, very beautiful.
The story itself was not what I was expecting. I think I was looking for a very talking head kind of book, but instead, as I read this, I realized it's less the story I was expecting and more like a day in the head of the storyteller, dealing with the anxiety. Some of the cuts in the book feel a little quick and the more I thought about it, when you're having a panic attack or an anxiety attack, that's exactly what your brain is doing. Going from one thought to the next in the beat of a heart. I think it's a really effective storytelling technique, one that I didn't totally get at first, but the more I thought about what I just read, the more it gelled in my head.
The Nightwing book is a shitload of fun. This is the Dick Grayson I love to read. Actually, the Dick Grayson I love to read hasn't gone away. He's here, he was front and center in the Grayson series. He's one of the brightest lights in the DCU and he's generally been treated well and fairly.
This series got off to a rocky start, I think. Clearly the first volume of this was intended to be the sixth volume of Grayson, but Rebirth happened and it had to be retooled. It's clear just from reading it. The second volume was more what the first volume should have been. New city, new supporting cast, new outlook. This volume picks up from where the last volume left off, though I do think things are a little rushed here. Dick has a new girlfriend and she may be pregnant. Their relationship seems to have progressed too far too soon in my opinion. But otherwise, the rest of this book rings true.
We've got Dick and Damian back together again. I love reading the two of them together. They are brilliant together. We have Professor Pyg back again. We have Dick's girlfriend, a former adversary, teaming up with him. This book is a giant win to me. I never want Tim Seeley to stop writing Dick Grayson. Ever.
Nightwing Vol 3: Nightwing Must Die!
Writer: Tim Seeley, Michael McMillian
Artist: Javier Fernandez, Minkyu Jung, Christian Duce
The good: Power Man and Iron Fist back together again, in the buddy book I was hoping for. David Walker has spent a lot of time in this book building up a big supporting cast.
The bad: Power Man and Iron Fist feel more like the supporting cast and the supporting cast is the lead. There's just too much going on here that Luke and Danny feel like they get fit in where there's room.
I've complained before about the current way Marvel likes to do series. Hire a creative team, give them a year to a year and a half to tell a story, cancel the book. Many Marvel books seem to produce about three trades before cancellation and reboot. I wish they'd just publish books like the good old days. Start a book, when that team leaves, bring on another to pick up the story where it left off. Just as you get yourself invested in a series, it's over, it starts fresh with a new objective, a new cast, a new purpose. There are some of us who do enjoy a little continuity here.
Overall, this series was a great deal of fun. Even though this was my least favorite volume, I still highly recommend it. This is the Luke and Danny I could read until the end of time.
Titans is my team. Ever since I first discovered them as a (probably) ten year old when they revived the book, Titans has been my team. This book, while not the greatest book ever published, is one of my favorites right now. The reason being is that these are new versions of my favorite characters (okay, I'm not thrilled about that) coming back together realizing something has happened to reality and trying to figure things out as they go. This is the book that lead directly into Rebirth. I'm anxious to see how they peel back the layers of this onion.
This volume (re)introduces Bumblebee. I'm happy about that, but I'm still slightly annoyed how Mal and Karen have been handled. There's something not quite right, but I'm still happy they're here.
This was the last book I was reading monthly from any publisher, but when DC started jacking up prices on their floppies, I dropped this book in favor of the trade. I'm not 100% collected edition! First time ever!
Titans Vol 2: Made In Manhattan
Writer: Dan Abnett, James Asmus
Artist: Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund, Minkyu Jung, Lee Weeks, Reilly Brown, Scott Hanna
I'll be honest. I loved Jeff Lemire's first volume of Moon Knight. The second volume kind of lost me. He was getting too heady for his own good. But for some reason, it all paid off for me in volume three. This is good shit. I feel bad for doubting Jeff Lemire. He does NOT fail. Ever.
Moon Knight is one of the most complex and complicated heroes around. He's insane. Or is he. How much of what you're reading is actually happening in the real world and how much is happening in his head? It's next to impossible to say, but Jeff gets it. He fucking gets it and it is such a great thing when you realize it.
This is much different from Cullen Bunn's run, which I adored. I was hoping for more of that from Jeff, but what Jeff gives is on such a different level, I cannot complain.
I highly recommend Jeff's run. Three volumes, all one story. While I kind of hate this concept that Marvel is gung ho for, something like this makes it work and work well.
DC should really be ashamed of itself. Justice League should be the company's flagship title. A book featuring the biggest and the brightest heroes banded together. By this point in the company's history, Justice League was a group of D-List, at best, characters. And not just one book of D-Listers, but three full series full of the worst of the worst. I understand how this happened. When the JLA was revamped into Justice League International, it had a solid creative team that took a lot of B-Listers and turned them into the premiere DC Superteam. As time went on, the creative teams got worse and worse and the roster reflected that. Luckily this is getting to the end of that era.
This book collects a big crossover between all the Justice League books. It's an awful crossover that culminates with the death of Ice. Booster Gold also dies, but only kind of dies. But his Tony Stark Iron Man suit keeps him alive until a new creative team can fix the disaster they made of him.
This book is just not good. It's everything that was wrong with the 90s all collected into one handy volume.
Wonder Woman And Justice League America Vol 2
Writer: Dan Vado, Mark Waid, Gerard Jones
Artist: Marc Campos, Chuck Wojtkiewicz, Sal Velluto, Ken Branch, Kevin Conrad, Bob Dvorak, Robert Jones, Rich Rankin, Jeff Albrecht
I love Supergirl. I was stoked that she got her own series back again with this book. I really do remember liking it a little more than I do right now. Looking at it with fresh eyes, I realize what a total fucking disaster this book was. I don't know if DC even cared very much when they decided to give her her own series again. To me, this is what I imagine the pitch was. Let's give her a book, let's try to write it for women, but put no effort into it whatsoever. Because it really feels like it was written to try to appeal to a female audience. Let me correct that. Written poorly to appeal to a female audience. Nothing against Paul Kupperberg, but this was not the way to do it.
I was never keen on Carmine Infantino, especially at this stage in his career. He was not fit for the book. The plots were terrible. The art was terrible. And the book got cancelled in time for the Supergirl movie, a movie I loved, but a movie that was terrible.
I'm so happy DC decided to collect this series. As bad as it is, it really does hold a special place in my heart.
Daring New Adventures Of Supergirl Vol 2
Writer: Paul Kupperberg
Artist: Carmine Infantino, Eduardo Barreto, Bob Oksner
I just realized it's been nearly a month since I've posted anything. Time has been at a premium lately and I really haven't read much. This will be the first of six or seven posts. That's all I've managed to read this month. It's kind of sad because I have such a big backlog of books. My October shipment was only four books, which meant I could delve into my backlog. Or not, as it happens.
Anyway, the first of the six books I'm going to briefly talk about is JLA: A Midsummer's Nightmare. Originally a three issue mini series back in the 90's, it set the stage for Grant Morrison reviving the JLA. By this point in time, the JLA was a giant joke (see the next post). This mini-series served to bring the big guns back together, something that was sorely needed.
I remember loving this series when it first came out. This time around, however, I just found it to be okay. Maybe I loved it so much because it was the first time in years that the REAL JLA got together again? Maybe it was just in that time this book was top notch. Styles and trends change over the years. Reading it this time, I thought it was a solid story, definitely rooted in it's era, but that era kind of tainted it just a touch for me. I thought the art was good, but somewhat generic. Nothing stand out for a series that served a bigger purpose.
I do love these Deluxe Editions DC is putting out. The pages are just a little bit bigger, the art is just a little clearer than originally published. It's a really nice way to reprint these books.
JLA: A Midsummer's Nightmare - The Deluxe Edition
Writer: Mark Waid, Fabian Nicieze
Artist: Jeff Johnson, Darick Robertson, Jon Holdredge, Hanibal Rodriguez
When giant crossovers are done right, and infrequently, they can be amazing. I thought the entire War Games crossover was pure gold. There was one, focused story, it ran through the entire Batman Family of books, none of it felt forced, none of it felt padded out. It was on point and a great read.
Basically, for a year, we got a story that took place over the course of a few days. Batman had fired Stephanie Brown as Robin. She still wanted to prove her worth to Batman and it backfired in her face. Batman has contingency plans for everything. EVERYTHING. Stephanie took one of those plans and unintentionally turned it into a reality, sparking the biggest mob war in Gotham's history. It took all of Batman's associates to end it, but it did so much damage to Batman's standing in Gotham, his allies standing in Gotham, and his own relationship with his allies that it took years to fix.
It really is a great story with amazing consequences that laid the groundwork for more stories. That's the sign of a great "event story."
Batman: War Games Book Two
Writer: Anderson Gabrych, A.J. Lieberman, Devin Grayson, Bill Willingham, Dylan Horrocks, Ed Brubaker, Bruce Jones, Russell Lissan
Artist: Pete Woods, Cam Smith, Brad Walker, Troy Nixey, Mike Lilly, Andy Owens, Al Barrionuevo, Francis Portella, Jon Proctor, Robert Campanella, Rodney Ramos, Mike Huddleston, Jesse Delperdang, Paul Gulacy, Jimmy Palmiotti, Kinsun, Aaron Sowd, Sean Phillips, Thomas Derenick, Adam DeKraker, Drew Geraci, Paul Lee, Brian Horton, Eddy Barrows, Jay Leisten, Chris Marrinan, Andrew Pepoy, BIT, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Sandre Hope
When I think of Gerry Conway, I don't necessarily think of Batman, but as it turns out, he's written his fair share of Batman stories. Everything in this book I've read before. Most everything I've read I read when it was brand new. There are a couple exceptions, but very few. This book has a nice mix of stories from Batman, Detective Comics, Batman Family, Brave & The Bold, World's Finest and Man-Bat.
A couple of the stories in here I have very strong, fond memories of, though I had no idea they were Gerry Conway stories. The first being the story from Batman Family #17. And it's not even the story itself that I have really fond memories of, but the entire issue. I remember all the stories kind of blending into one another. The story reprinted in this volume has one of my favorite BatFam sequences ever. Huntress breaks into the Wayne Foundation building and is quickly "discovered" by Batman and Robin. It's the first meeting between Batman and Huntress and I love it. Batman brings Huntress to meet Kathy Kane, who in turn takes Huntress to meet Batgirl. That story isn't in this volume, though.
Another story I have very fond memories of is from World's Finest #250. I don't think the story is nearly as good as I remember it, but I'm a sucker for anniversary stories with lots of guest stars. This tale isn't just the Superman/Batman story you'd normally get in World's Finest. It also stars Green Arrow and Black Canary and the WWII Earth 2 Wonder Woman, all who also had features in World's Finest. I do love these kinds of stories, whether they are successful or not.
This book also has a fair amount of Brave & The Bold stories. I love those tales. LOVE THEM!!! Especially the ones that are the more impossible ones, like Batman teaming up with Scalphunter.
I wouldn't say there's anything in this book that's outstanding, but it's a great read cover to cover nonetheless.
If DC is going to reprint more Gerry Conway stuff, I hope their next project is the Fury of Firestorm series. That, to me, is classic Gerry Conway.
Tales Of The Batman: Gerry Conway Vol 1
Writer: Gerry Conway
Artist: Steve Ditko, Ernie Chan, Michael Golden, George Tuska, John Calnan, Jim Aparo, Don Newton, Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, Carmine Infantino, Rich Buckler, Al Milgrom, Frank McLaughlin, Vince Colletta, Dave Hunt, Dan Adkins, Steve Mitchell
DC has finally collected both Alan Davis mini-series into one beautiful deluxe edition. What an amazing book to sit and soak in.
Alan Davis wrote and drew a love letter to DC's Silver Age. It doesn't quite get the love that something like Darwyn Cooke's New Frontier does, but it should.
Quite simply, Ma & Pa Kent get a nail in their tire the night they were supposed to find baby Kal-El. They never leave the house and Kal-El gets adopted elsewhere. He never becomes Superman. So the story follows the DC Silver Age with that one alteration. And what it turns into is a scene that is very reminiscent of what's happening today in America. Except replace minorities with meta humans. Meta humans are no longer trusted and they're feared. There's a giant conspiracy against them, but the heroes do get their shit together and take care of matters. It's a very compelling story. It grabs your attention and doesn't let it go.
A follow up story was done called Another Nail. This one I struggled a bit with. It starts off going further into detail an event that happened in the first book, which leads to the new story. Or so I guess it does. The second book felt like it was a lot of plot points, but I was waiting to figure out what the actual plot was. If that makes sense.
Both series are some of the best work Alan Davis has ever done. He's amazing. I could look at this book for the rest of my life and never get tired of it.
Justice League Of America: The Nail - The Complete Deluxe Edition
Okay, so I've read a lot of Doctor Who this week while being cooped up at home. This is the third book (and the last on my backlog shelf of books to read) one. What I love about the Doctor Who comic series is it takes a page from the tv show and stages out seasons of storytelling. Like on the tv show, there's a big, over-arcing story being told at the same time as single, smaller stories are unfolding. But the catch with that is if you don't care for the big story, all the rest of the smaller stories don't do it for you.
This volume deals with two big over-arcing plots, neither of which I care much for. There's this storyline with the Nocturnes that has been unfolding since the fourth volume of this book and another storyline dealing with Anubis which is been going on since maybe the third? I really don't care for either and that's distracting from any enjoyment I might find in this book. I'm anxious for all these arcs to reach their conclusions so that I can get back to really liking the Tenth Doctors' adventures.
On a happier note, the art is as gorgeous as ever. There's that, at least.
Doctor Who - The Tenth Doctor Vol 6: Sins Of The Father
Writer: Nick Abadzis
Artist: Giorgia Sposito, Eleonora Carlini, Leandro Casco, Simon Fraser, Walter Geovanni
I'm sure I've mentioned on the blog my love of Deadman. He's a character who always always always appeals to me. And this collection is a great one. It collects together three separate series drawn by Kelley Jones. And this is why when I think the name Kelley Jones, the first thing that springs to my mind of Deadman. His stylized version of the character is amazing.
What we have here is an 8 part story that originally ran in Action Comics Weekly. It involves zombies and possession and all that good ol' New Orleans voodoo nonsense. Mike Baron wrote the tale, as he did the other stories in this book. It's followed up by the two part mini series Love After Death. Deadman meets, well, for lack of a better term, Deadwoman and instantly falls in love. It's a great tale of the supernatural, love and betrayal. And finally, the mini series Exorcism, which follows up both of the previous stories in this volume. Deadman is distraught after the events of the Love After Death series and his basically lost his mind. Madame Waxahachie, a character first introduced in the Action Comics Weekly series is brought in to help fix what's happened. It's a great, but disturbing tale (and it also features the Phantom Stranger, another of my favorites!)
If you're a Deadman fan, this book is for you. It's such a great read, cover to cover
Deadman By Kelley Jones: The Complete Collection
Writer: Mike Baron
Artist: Kelley Jones, Tony DeZuniga, Pablo Marcos, Vince Giarrano
I'm going to say something very controversial. I don't like Jack Kirby. I don't think he's the shit like everyone else does. I'm not a huge fan of his writing. I'm not a huge fan of his art. I appreciate that he's a creative behemoth and he's responsible for some of the most well loved and most enduring properties in comics, but I'm just not a fan.
However, Mister Miracle may be my absolute favorite Kirby creation. Everything about his sings to me. His costume is simple, yet complex. It's bright and shiny and happy. His back story is tragic but his current story is positive. He's a fun character and he has great adventures.
Sure, most of the stories in here are kind of awful, but they're fun awful. And we get all 18 fun but awful action packed issues of Kirby's run. We get a lot of Kirby's Fourth World characters showing up for different stories, which is neat. He was writing, drawing and editing the whole Fourth World set of books for a number of years. I don't know how he did it. Granted, they weren't monthly books. Bi-monthly at best, but that's a lot of pages to be putting out on a regular basis.
Anyway, if I was going to pick on Kirby book to love on for his 100th anniversary celebration, it would be this book.
I suppose there was a need for this book. Crisis On Infinite Earths had made the JLA's origin obsolete. Things needed to be shuffled around to make it still work. And this book put it all down on paper for us. I remember enjoying the book when it first came out all those years ago. But reading it with a fresh set of eyes, all these years later, I kind of feel like this story is a big waste of time. In the years since it was published, this story, too, has become obsolete. Events have made changes in history and this doesn't hold up anymore. And maybe that's why I feel like it was a waste? I don't know.
There were a lot of things that bothered me about this book. I love an Easter egg, but it felt like this book when above and beyond the call of duty to shove as many of them in here as possible. It's distracting. Some of the characterizations also annoyed me. Black Canary especially. She was insufferable to me.
I heard a lot of behind the scenes stuff about the production of this book back when it was being published. There was a lot of talk about Mark Waid being furious with Brian Augustyn's scripting and that he had to rescript an awful lot of this book. It may be true. I've never been a big Augustyn fan. I don't feel he's a very good writer. It may be his presence here that brings the book down for me. Because it's not Waid. He's still got a million ideas and they're all good.
It was nice to revisit this book, but I don't know if it was necessary.
JLA Year One: The Deluxe Edition
Writer: Mark Waid, Brian Augustyn
Artist: Barry Kitson, Michael Bair, Mark Propst, John Stokes
I read the Batman '66 series when it first came out and while it was fun at first, it got old quick. At least for me. However, these occasional mini-series have more than redeemed the book for me. This one was particularly fun.
Here we have Batman and Robin teaming up with Steed and Mrs. Peel. I have to admit I never watched the Avengers and have read very little Steed and Peel, but knowing a lot about them isn't necessary.
This adventure starts in Gotham City and spans all the way to England, covering both teams' home bases. I'm not familiar with the Steed & Peel villain, so I don't know if they're brand new or canon, but they mesh well with the choice of Bat Villains used in this tale.
There are two highlights of this book for me. The first is the tone of the book. It's not as campy as the Batman '66 books can be, but it doesn't lose the camp, either. It's a controlled camp and it makes the book extra enjoyable. The other highlight is the art of Matt Smith. I think he's incredible every day of the week, but this was really beautiful to look at. I don't know if it's all free hand art or if he used video stills for some of the panels. I can't tell. Either way, it's gorgeous art that fits the book like a glove.
I didn't care for the 4th volume in this series, but volume 5 was significantly better.
Two tales in this book. The first picks up where the last volume ends. There's a group of travelers consisting of Captain Jack and Cindy (among others) who are wandering the earth. They really have no idea of who they really are or what they're doing. They eventually cross paths with the Doctor, who is in the same situation. And that's when memories begin to return. A fun adventure to kind of undo the boringness of volume 4.
But the better story is the second one in this book. The Doctor, Gabby and Cindy try to take a vacation but end up in the middle of an adventure featuring a witch. Sounds boring, but it was actually quite good. And this being Doctor Who, you know there wasn't really a witch. But what was it? Hmmmmmmm.....
Doctor Who - Tenth Doctor Vol. 5: Arena Of Fear
Writer: Nick Abadzis
Artist: Eleonora Carlini, Elena Casagrande, Iolanda Zanfardino, Simone De Meo, Luca Maresca
I have to say I'm rather surprised that DC has published this book. At this time, I mean. They just started collecting the Legionnaires and Legion Of Super-Heroes books earlier this year. This book shouldn't be out already. I thought it would all get collected chronologically. But I'm wrong. And I'm happy. I particularly loved this run on the book.
According to the afterword in the book, both series were losing readers and Abnett & Lanning were brought in to spark new interest with a new direction. Now, if you've read any of my mini-reviews, you know one thing I hate is when a new team is brought in to give a book a "bold new direction" and they start things off by discarding what's come before them. Well, Dan and Andy did just the opposite. They had a big idea, but they lead into it. Quickly, but without throwing anything away. Their first story introduces the Blight, their second story sets characters in place for the Blight storyline and then BAM, we're smack in the middle of the story. And it's a good one. And from there they start making the changes they want to make in the book. All the changes are plot dictated and very organic. And that, my friends, is how you change the direction of a book.
I remember being kind of upset when this book first came out. Olivier Coipel's art was so ugly to me. But as the story progressed, I realized he was the perfect artist to draw the whole Blight storyline. It works incredibly well. It holds up to this day.
I love the Legion. I love this book. I'm so glad DC is showing the Legion some love right now.
The Legion By Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning Vol 1
Writer: Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning
Artist: Olivier Coipel, Adam Dekraker, Jeffrey Moy, Angel Unzueta, Chuck Wojtkiewicz, Andy Lanning, W.C. Carani, Jaime Mendoza, Dexter Vines