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Flash

Rating: *** 1/2*

The Flash is back! “The Flash: Rebirth” mini-series begins the story of Barry Allen’s return to the DC universe. This is a new experience for me because the lead Flash for me has always been Wally West. In the 200 plus issues of Wally’s Flash book, Barry Allen has popped up in several storylines. He would be pulled from the time stream before he made his Crisis run so he could come and help Wally. Now as a result of the events of “Final Crisis,” Barry has been pulled from the Speed Force where he has existed since the end of “Crisis on Infinite Earths” and he’s now alive and well ready to continue to live his life. But the question remains why was he pulled and how?

In this issue, writer Geoff Johns paints an almost dark Batman type of Barry Allen. All he seems to care about now that he’s back is getting back into the game and fighting whatever threat there is out there. He doesn’t want to go to the parties or parades that are in his honor. He feels that since he’s been away for so long, the world has passed him by and he needs to catch up immediately and start fighting. He seems almost obsessed with it.

From the few stories I have read that contained of the character of Barry Allen, he seems like a much different person here in this issue. Has his time within the Speed Force changed him? I don’t know.


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Batman-Robin

According to IGN.com there are some big changes in store for the Batman titles post-Battle for the Cowl. In June we will see some new series premiere and the traditional Bat-titles get new creative teams. Here is the list: “Detective Comics,” “Batman,” “Batman and Robin,” “Red Robin,” “Gotham City Sirens,” “Batman: Streets of Gotham,” and the “Outsiders.” I also saw on a message board over at CBR that Batgirl will be getting her own series again. The CBR message board also posts who are the creative teams behind each book.

The good news for me is that Grant Morrison is off “Batman”. The bad news is that he’s being replaced by Judd Winick. I’ve enjoyed stuff that Judd has written in the past. His work on “Exiles” and “The Outsiders” was good - particularly the “Exiles” that book rocked and hasn’t been good since he left. However, I was not all impressed with his previous work on Batman. Why DC didn’t just give the “Batman” title completely to Tony Daniel as he’s staying as artist I don’t know. Maybe it would be too much to handle? I love what Daniel is doing on “Battle for the Cowl”. “Detective Comics” will be written by Greg Rucka and will feature Batwoman - I’ll check out the first issue, but I’m not a big fan of Greg Rucka so I may end up dropping it. I also could care less about Batwoman.

Although Grant Morrison will be leaving the “Batman” title, he will be staying in the Bat-universe and will be launching a new monthly series entitled “Batman and Robin” along with his usual artist collaborator Frank Quitley. According to IGN, this title will be the “flagship” of the Batman titles. I’m not happy with that statement as I feel the original title of any group of comic books should be the flagship title. The flagship title for Batman should be and always be “Detective Comics”.


BatCon

Rating: ***

This months issue of “Batman: Confidential” is a continuation of the first appearance in comic book form of the 60s television show Bat-Villain King Tut.  As I mentioned in my post on part one of this storyline, this King Tut is different in appearance than the one on television show.  Which is fine, since today’s Batman doesn’t really need to fight a big fat guy.  He’s got the Penguin for that.

To recap, employees of the Gotham City museum are being targeted by Tut. He’s speaking in riddles as he commits the crimes, which results in the Riddler wanting to take him down just as much as Batman.  So much so that the Riddler escapes from Arkham to take Tut out .

The artwork provided for this storyline is done by veteran artist Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez.  I wasn’t reading DC back when Garcia-Lopez was at his peak, but it’s nice to see him get some work at his age (He’s 60).  It’s too bad veterans like Jose aren’t getting more work.  His work reminds me of when I first started reading Batman when Jim Aparo was the main Bat-artist. 


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Battle

Rating: *** 1/2*

When I first heard that artist Tony Daniel would be doing the writing chores for the DC mega miniseries “Batman: Battle for the Cowl,” I groaned. I groaned because I felt that a inexperienced writer like Daniel should not be given the task of writing this major miniseries. I already had it in my head that this series was going to be a let down - boy was I wrong. The first issue of “Batman: Battle for the Cowl” is an absolute winner. I know its cliche, but from the first page to the last, this issue delivered in a big way for me.

As any reader of my previous blogs on Batman, you know that I have not been happy with what Grant Morrison has been doing on “Batman” - particularly the recent “RIP” storyline. I felt the story was a big let down and by no means lived up to the hype DC was giving it. After reading this issue, I wish DC would give the job of writing “Batman” to Daniel, but unfortunately Morrison will be returning to the title after this series is over.

Since Batman’s “death” in “Final Crisis,” we have seen Gotham City slip deeper and deeper into chaos. This issue reveals that Nightwing has now become the leader of The Network which brings together all of the heroes who are allies of Batman or who have operated in Gotham in the past. Daniel also brings in Knight and Squire from Morrison’s Batmen of all Nations storyline. The reintroduction of the Batmen of all Nations is one of the few things that I’ve liked about Morrison’s run. I particularly like Knight and Squire and I would love to see a miniseries focusing on them set in the UK.

Daniel continues what Denny O’Neil started in his recent storyline of Nightwing refusing to take on the mantle of the Batman and being insecure about even thinking about doing so as he feels he’s not worthy to even step in his shoes. I’m assuming that’s something the editors of Batman want as a theme in the Bat-books right now. I’m not crazy with that direction as I feel Dick should be a hell of a lot more confident and sure of himself and want to take on the roll to honor his surrogate father.


Silk Spectre

Since its trailer debuted with “The Dark Knight” we have all been waiting patiently for the big screen adaptation of the greatest graphic novel of all time. So, does it live up to its hype? When I first read Watchmen over the summer before my junior year of high school, I thought it was very cinematic and would translate well into a film. Obviously edits would have to be made, but still in the right hands it would be good. Zack Snyder is the right hand. Snyder’s adaptation is extremely faithful to the source material, some might say too faithful at times. Some scenes are lifted directly from the comic book, while others, though faithful, have some modifications. But I’ll get to those later.

 


BatCon26

In my previous reviews for “Batman: Confidential”, I’ve talked about how much I’ve enjoyed the previous storyline. The previous storyline dealt with Batman’s first effort to bring the Joker in for booking and it was great. I read the advanced solicitations for this issue a while back and how DC would be introducing the 1960s Batman television show villain King Tut into comic book continuity and I decided I had to check out how they would do it. Well, although the character is much different from the television show, I really enjoyed this first issue of the King Tut storyline.

In the television show, King Tut was a Egyptologist named Professor William Omaha McElroy who worked for Yale University. After hitting his head, the professor developed amnesia and began to believe that he was King Tut reincarnated. I think the reason DC didn’t go with a character similar to the television show was not because the character was so campy, but because DC kind of already has a character who acts like this in Maxie Zeus.

In this issue, King Tut is going around and killing people and he’s doing it while saying some riddles. This causes Batman to go visit The Riddler in Arkham Asylum to see if he is somehow connected or even behind these murders. The Riddler denies that he’s involved and he offers Batman is help to catch him. Batman of course turns him down as he doesn’t trust the Riddler.

Tut has killed two people already and the Riddler provides Batman with a clue to the next victim. Batman is too late and the victim is dead. Batman heads back to Arkham to confront the Riddler again about his possible involvement in these crimes, but he finds him missing from his cell.

This story is being written by Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir - the writers who wrote for Marvel Comics’ “New Mutants” and “New X-Men”. This team is very underrated and they write some good stuff. The art is provided by veterans Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez and Kevin Nowlan. It’s nice them getting some work. I don’t even remember the last book Garcia-Lopez worked on.

If you’re big a big Batman fan like I am, pick this up and have some fun.


Bat686

This month’s issue of “Batman” is a big one.  It’s part one of the two-part storyline, “Whatever Happened to Caped Crusader” which is written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Andy Kubert.  This story is an homage to classic Alan Moore Superman story “Whatever Happend to the Man of Tomrrow?”  Does Gaiman live up to the story?  In my opinion no, but it’s still a pretty good story with fantastic artwork by Andy Kubert.  DC has really dropped the ball in regards to the Kubert brothers.  Both of them have not had long runs on books and have been regulated to short stints or covers.  I hope this changes in 2009.

As for this story, it’s kind of like the stories that Grant Morrison has been telling over the past few months with “RIP” where it’s not your normal run of the mill Batman story and everything feels abstract or like a dream.  The only difference here is I didn’t like what Grant Morrison was doing with his Batman stories, but I do like what Gaiman is doing here in the beginning of this story.


Adventure

I’ve mentioned in past blogs that I’ve been reading comics for about twenty-four years. I began as a big Marvel Zombie and my knowledge of the DC universe was only from old episodes of the “Super Friends”. It’s really only in the past few years that I’ve been reading more DC Comics.

This issue of “Adventure Comics” #0 (at the bargain price of $1) is a preliminary issue for the relaunch of this classic series. In this issue, we have two different stories: one is a reprint of the classic story that introduced the Legion of Super Heroes in the pages of the first Adventure series #247 and the second is an original story that is a part of the “Origins and Omens” series that DC has going through all of their books right now.  The story stars Lex Luthor and Brainiac.

The original “Adventure Comics” which ran from 1935-1983 was a series which focused on second tier DC characters. The book focused on a variety of different heroes over the years such as Superboy, Supergirl, The Spectre, Aquaman, and the Legion of Superheroes. According to DC publisher Dan Dido, the new series begins in June and will be the home of the Legion of Superheroes.


Whoever would have thought that slipping on the ice would cause a compound fracture in my right wrist? Going to make posting real fun for six weeks.

I am really liking Haunted Tank. The writing seems very realistic, a little hardcore, but always entertaining. The Mighty A is a reasonably good first issue but I think they could have advanced the story a little better than they did. Still, I hope they keep this out of the DC Universe. So far, the only part in Secret Six that I have really liked is the Get Out of Hell Free Card.
 
Sentry is just goofy enough to be a lot of fun. They sure put enough regular characters in the story to flesh out the Sentry universe. Agents of Atlas has jumped right into the Dark Reign storyline. They certainly are an eclectic mix of characters and, yet, it seems to work. But if every team had a Venus, they could certainly accomplish a lot more with fewer battles. A corrected Mighty Avengers arrived and the question is whether or not you want to waste the time finding the differences. Not me. Be careful, Marvel Universe is always good for a few chuckles. I Am Legion is I Am Whaaa?
 
See you when the pain meds kick in again.


Well, the comic groundhog has risen from its hole and determined six more weeks of not so exciting comics. Still, we persevere.

The only toys of note are the New Gods. Paraphrasing The Who, here’s the New Gods, same as the old Gods. Plus the 4th printing of Amazing Spider-Man 583. Some guy in New York advertised the third printing at $3.99 with an ad in which he said the comic might become a collector’s item. So what are my Diamond bills listing that book’s worth? See you on E-bay.

Secret Warriors has in it… well, it’s a secret, so I can’t tell you. Haunted Tank 3 continues a cool and relevant storyline. War of the Kings, Darkhawk, gets us back into space in this highly well-received series. Final Crisis, Legion concludes and I am sure it will continue in the final figuring out of why the Skrulls replaced Grant Morrison and where is the original? So far, none of my customers have enjoyed Final Crisis and I don’t think you can blame them. And for the few, the proud, we have the next Buffy. Hopefully, next week we have a huge shipment of Essentials coming in at bargain prices.

Stay tooned.


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