Saturday, December 18, 2010

Blackest Night (Review)

Citizen's Grade: Awesome.

The mega-event of comics in 2010, Blackest Night shocked the world and has changed the DC Universe forever! There has always been the green light of willpower, channeled into rings and distributed to those with the ability to overcome great fear by the Guardians of the Universe. These individuals who received rings are known as the Green Lantern Corps, and are the police force of the Universe.

But none of the Green Lantern Corps were aware that other colors in the light spectrum were capable of doing the same as their green light of willpower.....until Sinestro; the long-time nemesis of Green Lantern Hal Jordan, discovered Parallax and became the leader of the Sinestro Corps, whose yellow light of fear sought to maintain order in the universe. (see: Green Lantern by Geoff Johns review for details on the Sinestro Corps war and other volumes leading up to Blackest Night...)

Now there are eight corps of the light spectrum.....Green (willpower), Yellow (fear), Blue (hope), Red (rage), Violet (love), Orange (avarice), Purple (compassion), and Black (death). As the different Lantern Corps fight one another over which light is more powerful and pure, the Black Lanterns move secretly....watching, waiting, for the most opportune time to rid the universe of light altogether!

Elephantmen: Fatal Diseases (Review)

Citizen's Grade: Awesome.

Fatal Diseases is the 2nd volume of the Elephantmen monthly series. Richard Starkings continues his genius writing skills with the help of such current greats as Jeph Loeb, & Kurt Busiek. The great artwork of Moritat is complimented by other great artists such as Ian Churchill, Boo Cook, Tim Sale, & Ladronn. My original review of Fatal Diseases was more a vague exposition on the greatness of the series and hero-worship of Richard This review is far more in depth.

The volume starts off as we meet Trench; the one-eyed zebra-human hybrid, as he and other law enforcement officers seek to put a stop to Serengheti's underground & illegal activities. Hip Flask & Ebony Hide are there as well, and we hear Trench's favorite expression for the first time...."Blood & Sand".....which he yells at Hip & Ebony as they discuss the women in their lives while bullets fly around them. Trench gives Ebony a gun to help in the firefight, which brings flashbacks to Ebony as we learn how Trench lost his eye. We also see "Joe" for the last time (you'll recall him from the first couple of pages of Volume 1: Wounded Animals),

Friday, December 17, 2010

Elephantmen: Wounded Animals (Review)

Citizen's Grade: Awesome!

The Elephantmen monthly comic book series is the best in the industry today! Richard Starkings's creation stands in a class of it's own....and is definitely the best creator-owned comic, period. As much publicity as Kick-Ass (the Marc Millar owned title) has received in the last couple of years, it did not have the characters or plot to be an ongoing series like the Elephantmen. My previous review of Wounded Animals was a vague overview, this review is more in-depth.

This first volume of the Elephantmen series introduces us to the main characters and the overall theme and plot of the series....Hip Flask, Ebony Hide, Obadiah Horn, Sahara, Miki, & Savannah. Starkings' great strength as a writer is his ability to take seemingly unconnected events and short stories and weave them together into long, winding masterpieces.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Superman/Batman: Night and Day (Review)

Citizen's Grade: Impressive.

Night and Day is the 9th volume of the Superman/Batman ongoing series, written by Michael Green & Mike Johnson, Scott Kolins, & Peter Johnson. Artwork by Francis Manapul (also does artwork on Flash), Scott Kolins, & Rafael Albuquerque.

Batman finds himself in a Gotham City he isn't familiar with, while Superman experiences the same in Metropolis.....but wait, they are both in the same city! Gothamopolis; a composite city of Gotham & Metropolis, is filled with strange apparitions of heroes and villains that Superman & Batman are unfamiliar with. These strange heroes don't know the Man of Steel or the Dark Knight either! See how Superman & Batman must work with these new heroes

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Superman/Batman: Finest Worlds (Review)

Citizen's Grade: O.K.

In this eighth volume of the ongoing Superman/Batman series, Finest Worlds is just friends and foes alike drag The Dark Knight & The Man of Steel into other worlds and bring others into theirs.

In the aftermath of Superman's battle with the All-American Boy (see: Superman/Batman The Search for Kyptonite), the entire Justice League shows up in Smallville to rebuild the town. They find an artifact that looks Kryptonian in design, and it "activates" when Superman touches it. Unknown to Batman & Superman, it has triggered a Kryptonian artifact secretly hidden in the Batcave by Batman's deceased father.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Superman/Batman: The Search for Kryptonite (Review)

Citizen's Grade: Impressive.

"He's faster than a bolt of Lightning. He can stop a missile with two fingers. He can mold titanium between his molars like gum. But there is one substance that can tear him apart from the inside out. One substance that can kill him." What is that substance that can kill Superman? Kryptonite.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Superman/Batman: Torment (Review)

Citizen's Grade: O.K.

What seems to start out as a simple burglary of a Lex Corp facility by Killer Croc, turns into a universe-spanning mystery for the Man of Steel & the Dark Knight.

As Batman investigates Killer Croc, and the item stolen from Lex Luther, Superman begins having dreams & visions that he can't control. Unable to tell fiction from reality, Superman falls prey to an unexpected villain....Scarecrow. Just as Batman figures this out, he realizes that he may be too late, the item stolen from Luther is made to control even Kryptonian minds. A mysterious benefactor is behind the scenes directing Scarecrow and others, and Superman is their target.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Superman/Batman: Apocalypse (Review)

Citizen's Grade: Impressive.

Maybe I'm just liking animated movies more, or DC Comics is doing a better job translating their great Graphic Novels into movies. Superman/Batman: Apocalypse; just like Batman: Under the Red Hood, does a wonderful job taking Jeph Loeb & Michael Turner's Superman/Batman: Supergirl and turning it into a good animated movie. I think they did a better job with this than Superman/Batman: Public Enemies.

After a mysterious spaceship splashes down in Gotham Bay, Batman & Superman discover the ship was inhabited by a mysterious girl.....

Friday, October 1, 2010

Superman/Batman: Enemies Among Us (Review)

Citizen's Grade: O.K.

The fifth volume in the Superman/Batman series, and the first that was written by someone other than Jeph Loeb. Written by Mark Verheiden (Executive Producer of Battlestar Galactica), with artwork done by Ethan Van Sciver (Green Lantern: Rebirth & Flash: Rebirth)and others.

Most of the story is narrated by Bruce Wayne's Butler; Alfred, who's first-hand knowledge and relationship with the Dark Knight gives him a unique perspective. When the Martian Manhunter attacks Batman for no reason, he contacts Superman for help. They come away confused that an old friend would attack Batman, and other sudden ambushes from other alien friends & foes only confuse them more.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Batman Streets of Gotham: Hush Money (Review)

Citizen's Grade: O.K.

After Bruce Wayne died saving the Universe from Darkseid in Final Crisis, a new Batman stepped up....Richard Grayson, the former Robin and Nightwing. With a new Batman came new Batman Titles, including Batman: Streets of Gotham. Written by Paul Dini with artwork by Dustin Nguyen.

Hush; unaware of Batman's demise, on the run after being beaten in the Batcave by Batman & friends, & having had his vast fortune stolen by Catwoman in retribution for almost killing her....decides to end it all on the bridge in Gotham where his parents were murdered (by him) so long ago. Plunging off the bridge into the depths below, he is content to seek their approval by following them to their watery graves. Destiny; however, has other plans.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Flash: Rebirth (Review)

Citizen's Grade: Impressive.

Barry Allen has returned....but he's unsure why. The "Silver Age" Hero sacrificed his life in the Crisis on Infinite Earths event several years ago, and had been just a memory up until the 2006 Infinite Crisis event. As the Flashes pushed the evil "Earth Prime" Superboy into the Speed Force at full speed, they still needed help and no one could give it...except Barry Allen as he appeared from within the Speed Force, to aid in saving earth once again from beyond the grave.

The events of Final Crisis and Blackest Night serving as his launching pad, Barry Allen's return ushered in one of DC Comic's greatest heroes (Green Lantern Hal Jordan being the other), just as he is needed most....but he doesn't know why.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Superman: New Krypton (Review)

Citizen's Grade: Impressive.

Geoff Johns, James Robinson, Sterling Gates, & Greg Rucka weave a masterful tale of the lost, "bottle" city of Kandor and the new civilization of Krypton. After Superman had saved both Metropolis and Kandor from the clutches of Brainiac, Kandor had "re-grown" to original size in the antarctic (at the site of Superman's Fortress of Solitude), Supergirl had destroyed Brainiac's missile fired at the Sun (which would have sent it Supernova), and Superman had beat down Brainiac. But all that came at a Pa Kent was killed because of a second Brainiac missile fired at the home of Pa & Ma Kent (See: Superman: Brainiac for the whole story).

As Clark Kent comes to grips with the death of his adopted Father, Superman must come to grips with the resurgence of Krypton...New Krypton.

Superman: The Coming of Atlas (Review)

Citizen's Grade: O.K..

Atlas, ruler of a world through the power of his might. After conquering all, he is tricked by the magic of a servant.....and transported through space and time, caught and brought into the world of "now" by a secret and dangerous organization. This secret group; ran by a shadowy General, is bent on studying and ultimately destroying Superman.

Atlas is "brought up to speed", and is recruited through his vain pride to help this organization in bringing down the Man of Steel. Let loose in the city of Metropolis, Atlas wreaks havoc upon the citizens of Metropolis, calling out a challenge to Superman!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Yvette's NOT dead!!!!!

For fans of the Elephantmen series; created by Richard Starkings, the death of Yvette in the War Toys:No Surrender storyline was always somewhat of a letdown. I always imagined that Starkings didn't realize that Yvette would become so popular to the readers of the series, but there was another reason.......

....Yvette's NOT dead!!! I'm not sure how yet (until I read the issue!), but according to an interview with Marian Churchland @ Newsarama, Yvette will be co-starring in a new War Toys one-shot, Agathe! After starring in a War Toys one-shot of her own, Yvette is the object of curiosity and obsession in War Toys: Agathe, which focuses on Yvette's rescuers.

For more information on the background story of Yvette, read the Scavenger Review of Elephantmen: War Toys.

Batman: Under the Red Hood (Review)

Citizen's Grade: Impressive.

This animated movie; based on Judd Winick's Batman: Under the Hood Graphic Novel, is probably the best animated movie I've seen DC Comics/Warner Bros. put out yet! The script; written by Winick, is very good and "adult-themed", the action is fantastic....and for someone not familiar with the story (of either Jason Todd's death or the Under the Hood storyline), as was the friend who watched the movie with explains all the background you need to enjoy the plot and get into the movie.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

District Court Judge Crabb for Supreme Court!!!

That's right! Federal District Court Judge Barbara B. Crabb ruled on Thursday (7/29/10) that "Dark Ages" Spawn, Domina and Tiffany, characters from Todd McFarlane’s Spawn comics, are derivatives of "Medieval" Spawn and Angela, two characters created by Neil Gaiman for Spawn #9 in 1992. Here is an excerpt from her ruling:

“According to the rules of the Spawn universe, only one Hellspawn could be on Earth at the same time and the Al Simmons Hellspawn was already around....

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Pax Romana (Review)

Citizen's Grade: O.K.

In 2045, as Islam has overrun Europe and the West openly shuns monotheism, the Vatican funded CERN Laboratories 'discover' that time travel is possible. The Pope orders the creation of a private army, and led by a few handpicked Cardinals and the finest graduates of selected war colleges, they travel back in time to 312AD....the reign of the first Christian Emperor, Constantine. Upon arrival, conflicting agendas, ideological differences, and personal greed see grand plans unravel. Pax Romana is the tale of 5,000 men sent on an impossible mission to change the past and save the future. At the end of the world, will they succeed, or will they fail?

Space Ghost (Review)

Citizen's Grade: Impressive.

The sold-out 6 issue mini-series collected in Graphic Novel form as Space Ghost is wonderfully written (by Joe Kelly) and drawn (by Ariel Olivetti), and does justice to the mythos of one of television's first cartoon heroes. Unlike most Comic Book characters, Space Ghost wasn't created by a comic book writer, but by a media conglomerate...Hanna Barbera Productions. Created in 1966, most (at least most my age) would recognize him from the Cartoon Network's Late-Night Talk Show "Space Ghost Coast to Coast", starring Space Ghost & other characters from the TV series (just like Jay Leno or David Letterman). He disappeared after that, his rights were bought by DC Comics.....

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Constantine (Review)

Citizen's Grade: Impressive.

"Hell wants him, Heaven won't take him, Earth needs him." That is the byline of Constantine, a film following John of the Graphic Novel series from Vertigo/DC Comics called Hellblazer. Keanu Reeves stars as Constantine, an exorcist with an he begins to realize that something is going on in the supernatural that he must face and defeat, something involving a "spear of destiny".

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Batman & Robin: Batman Returns (Review)

Citizen's Grade: Impressive.

Bruce Wayne is dead or gone, or both....Batman has been gone as well, leading many of Gotham City's criminal masterminds, mob leaders, & thugs to come out of hiding to take over Batman's city! What they are unaware of though is....Batman is NOT dead! Richard Grayson; the first Robin and later Nightwing, has taken up the mantle of the bat with the sometimes violently stubborn help of the NEW Robin....Damian Wayne (Bruce Wayne's son with Talia Al Ghul).

The two set out to clean Gotham City up,

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Top 10 things Comic Books do Better than any other Book...period!

Comic Books are for everyone....A simple sentence that would have jocks, the "cool" crowd, academics, and "arm-chair" philosophers with delusions of grandeur snuffing and snorting their disapproval. But it's true...why else would Hollywood keep making films based on Superheroes? Because people want to be entertained.

Most people have a picture in their mind of some comic book cover from the 50's whenever someone talks on the subject, but the comic book genre of today is some of the best writing, artwork, and vision of anything anywhere. They are now written and drawn for an adult if you haven't been in a comic shop since you were 8, check one out and peruse through some of the books.....

Alan Moore's Films.....(Review)

Citizen's Grade: Impressive.

Alan Moore is disturbed, and his works show a psyche much like Stephen King's. His writing is legendary, spanning works with characters from DC Comics and Marvel Comics, as well as several independent collections. It's the independent stuff that has made him a legend, and arguably the most influential comic-book writer in mainstream media (Frank Miller being the only one close to him). Books like From Hell, Tom Strong, V for Vendetta, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, & Watchmen have made him famous in both written and cinematic form. The Watchmen Graphic Novel is the all-time best-selling graphic novel, and the only comic-book to appear in Time Magazine's top 100 Novels. The following are the Alan Moore film collection:

Monday, June 7, 2010

Tsai Chih Chung's "....Speaks" Books (Review)

Citizen's Grade: Impressive.

Much in the same mold as Larry Gonick's "Cartoon History" series, Tsai Chih Chung's "...Speaks" series is entertaining, informative, and fun to read. Written and drawn by Chung, with Brian Bruya translating the text to English. The six books I own include (in order by publication date):

Top 5 Comic Book Artists

This list comprises the best artists in the Comic Book Industry. Although I could make this list very long, these are the ones that when I see their work....I salivate.

Superman/Batman by Jeph Loeb (Review)

Citizen's Grade: Awesome.

The Superman/Batman series is AWESOME!! How; if you are a fan of either character...or even more if a fan of both, can you not love and collect this great series? I find myself asking that question more and more as I see sales dwindling every month to the point that the "cancellation" whispers have begun....the only answer I can come up with is that Jeph Loeb is no longer writing the series. He IS that good!!

Loeb wrote the first four Volumes of the Superman/Batman series that generally sold around 80,000-100,000 issues per month (compared to the 30,000-40,000 that it is selling now under different writers).....making it one of DC's best sellers. The "out-of-continuity" series was in a universe all it's own, with Loeb as mastermind of this universe, and include the following volumes:

Hawkman by Geoff Johns (Review)

Citizen's Grade: Impressive.

Geoff Johns created another masterpiece with his run as writer of the Hawkman series. He penned the first three volumes of Hawkman, which after he left faltered, was re-titled Hawkgirl, then cancelled after sales dwindled even lower.....but I loved this series and what Johns did with it. Saturated with Egyptian myth & history, delving into past lives and an undying love between a man and a woman, this series delivered great stories, enough action to keep you interested, and a different twist on some of DC Comic's most historic characters.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Superman by Geoff Johns (Review)

Citizen's Grade: Impressive.

Geoff Johns is my favorite Writer, so when he began tackling the most difficult DC Comic's character to write; the iconic Superman, I had complete confidence that it would be great! I have not been disappointed. After years of average Superman stories (see: "O.K." Superman (Review)...), and a horrible movie (see: Conspiracy Theory.....How Marvel Comics tried to kill Superman)....I was just about ready to give up on Truth, Justice, and The American Way, but Geoff Johns has saved my love for The Man of Steel!

The following Volumes are in chronological order following the "O.K." Superman Volumes:

Batman by Paul Dini (Review)

Citizen's Grade: O.K.

I love Batman comics, and generally enjoy whomever is writing and doing artwork for Batman comics. Paul Dini (Emmy & Eisner Award winning writer, and TV producer-writer for Batman: The Animated Series & Lost) has been "hit or miss" with me. He is currently writing the Batman comic "Batman: Streets of Gotham", and I've been on the fence about whether to continue collecting volumes he writes. When he is involved in deeper plots like "Heart of Hush", or "The Resurrection of Ra's Al Ghul" I really enjoy him....when he does "stand-alone" stories, he frustrates me.

Batman by Matt Wagner (Review)

Citizen's Grade: O.K.

The Dark Moon Rising series of Batman, written and drawn by Matt Wagner, is "old-school" Batman! Matt Wagner's art always gives me that feel of "times past", and these two volumes tell stories from early on in Batman's crime-fighting career. Well-written as well, you get drawn into the detective stories trying to unlock clues to stop crime in it's tracks. Even if you aren't an avid Batman fan or collector, you can still enjoy these "stand alone" volumes, since they don't connect (i.e. out-of-continuity) to the current storylines in the other Batman books.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Trinity (Review)

I must admit; as a Catholic, that I sometimes feel guilty refering to Superman, Batman, & Wonder Woman as the "Trinity". I understand DC Comic's reasons, and that they are not trying to turn the three into gods for us to worship, but you just have to wonder who really might be behind that name (if I may be cryptic for a There have been two collections titled "Trinity" released in Graphic Novels (that I am aware of), Matt Wagner's and Kurt Busiek's. They couldn't be more opposite....

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Elephantmen: Fatal Diseases (Review)

Citizen's Grade: Awesome.

Volume Two of this incredible series isn't quite as great as Volume One, only because the first volume (Wounded Animals) was so great that nothing could possibly equal it! Elephantmen: Fatal Diseases details the continuing, complicated lives of Hip Flask, Ebony Hide, Obadiah Horn, and the rest of the survivors of MAPPO's genetic experiments in Los Angeles, 2259, as a meteor falls in Santa Monica Bay and a new epidemic must be contained! The characters converge in cataclysmic fashion, showing the deeper elements within the Elephantmen's lives.

Elephantmen: Wounded Animals (Review)

Citizen's Grade: Awesome.

The first seven issues of the Elephantmen on-going series are collected in this deluxe volume. In the year 2224, a mad scientist named Dr. Kazushi Nikken creates giant human-animal hybrids....elephants, rhinos, camels, zebras, crocodiles, etc. After brainwashing them into an army of fearless killers, he sends them off to kill. But the United Nations liberates the elephantmen and integrates them into society.

That's the basis of the series, which offers an original look into racism, xenophobia and globalism.

Elephantmen: War Toys (Review)

Citizen's Grade: Awesome.

The story of the war to end all wars now in one volume! The prequel to Image's hit series, Elephantmen! Africa and China are at war. The battlefield: Europe, recently devastated by a lethal virus. Enter: MAPPO's soldiers, The Elephantmen. Even in the face of blistering resistance, it seems that nothing can stop MAPPO's advance across France to the North. But as Hip Flask comes face to face with the last vestiges of humanity in the frozen Scandinavian wastes, he discovers that only the dead see the end of warfare.

Hip Flask: Concrete Jungle (Review)

Citizen's Grade: Awesome.

This volume, The Big Here & The Long Now, is fabulous! I can't over-state the beauty of the story and the artwork!

The story takes place in 2162....They are the survivors of genetic engineering experiments and indoctrination by Doctor Kazushi Nikken and MAPPO, a sinister organization which sought to create superhuman weapons of mass destruction. Now, freed and rehabilitated by the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce, the "Unhumans" now live amongst men. Legitimized by the Elephantmen Act, they are nevertheless denied the right to bear arms and must survive on their wits alone... Collecting Hip Flask: Elephantmen and Hip Flask: Mystery City into one handsome volume.

Written by Richard Starkings, with artwork by Casey & Ladronn....this is the second volume in the growing Elephantmen series.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Hip Flask: Unnatural Selection (Review)

Citizen's Grade: Awesome.

The Elephantmen Series from Image Comics, created & written by Richard Starkings is arguably the best on-going comic series in the industry right now! Hip Flask: Unnatural Selection was the beginning....setting up the future volumes, and showing the futuristic world of Hip Flask, Ebony Hide, & Obadiah Horn...among others.

Duck Dodger's Green Lantern Oath

just because......

Green Lantern Corps monthly series (Review)

Citizen's Grade: Impressive.

The Green Lantern Corps Volumes tell the stories and events taking place in the lives of the Green Lanterns, excluding Hal Jordan (the main character of the Green Lantern series). Based mostly around a few major characters, the book reads like a soap opera, sci-fi, action flick! I love this series so far, and so do a lot of other readers as well, making this the best-selling "spin-off" series in DC Comics. The plots often play off of what is going on in the main Green Lantern books, but from the perspectives of the thousands of other Lanterns. This makes for multiple stories and plots taking place simultaneously, as detailed in the Scavenger Review for Emerald Eclipse (there's not enough space here to detail all the multiple angles and plots going on in every volume).

Batman by Grant Morrison....(Review)

Grant Morrison is a great writer; one of my Top 5, and these volumes prove his worth. I fell in love with his writing during his JLA run, which portrayed Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, & Green Lantern Kyle Rayner as Iconic figures saving the time, space, the world, and the universe on countless occasions.

In his Batman run so far, these following volumes have taken The Dark Knight into uncharted territory with Morrison's unique way of thinking and writing.

Batman: Under The Hood (Review)

Citizen's Grade: Impressive.

Before the Animated Movie "Under the Red Hood" (the same story, but with a slightly different title) is released in a couple months, I thought I'd give a review of the book. Originally released in two volumes, Batman: Under the Hood is dynamite!

A figure from the Caped Crusader's past unexpectedly returns, forcing him to revisit the most tragic event of his crime-fighting career. The psychotic, disfigured Black Mask has seized control of Gotham City's criminal underworld, but his rule is challenged by the mysterious Red Hood, who has hijacked a crate full of 100 pounds of Kryptonite.

Monday, May 31, 2010

"O.K." Superman..... (Review)

Citizen's Grade: O.K.

Let me start off by saying that the following Superman Graphic Novels are not bad! They are just not as "Impressive" as the others, so I've grouped them all together here....some of the artwork is stellar, the best being Talent Caldwell's in Superman: Godfall (it looks so much like Michael Turner's artwork, it's hard to tell the difference!). The best writing would be Brian Azzarello's in Superman: For Tomorrow.

Batman: Hush Trilogy (Review)

Citizen's Grade: Awesome.

Hush is the best new villain of The Batman's Rogues in a long time. He's intelligent, diabolical, a master surgeon, and jealous to the point of murder. Plus, He knows who Batman is! This review covers the three Hush Volumes to date....Hush, Hush Returns, & Heart of Hush.

Only Hush receives the "Awesome" grade individually, but as a whole they do deserve the highest acclaim! They were written at different times, and are NOT part of an event (like No Man's Land, Bruce Wayne: Fugitive, or War Games). I included them all so the avid Batman fan can see the whole of Batman's newest and possibly most dangerous enemy....Hush!

Batman: War Games (Review)

Citizen's Grade: Impressive.

This is another awesome Batman event, which spans 5 volumes, and never has a dull moment. A team of writers (including Ed Brubaker, Bill Willingham, A.J. Lieberman, & Anderson Gabrych) and artists took part in this crossover which spanned all the Batman monthly comics at the time. Ed Brubaker is an especially good detective writer, which makes all his writing with "detective-type" characters great (Batman, Daredevil, & currently Captain America).

Batman: War Drums. War has hit Gotham City...but the stage was set in the issues collected in this action-packed trade paperback! The startling prelude to "War Games"! A talented pop star goes missing and Leslie Thompkins, the most important woman in Bruce Wayne's life, vanishes. Batman is drawn into an all-out battle for the section of Gotham City known as The Hill, but is taxed to the limit by new threats and trouble within his circle of allies. And when Tim Drake gives up his Robin identity after his father discovers his secret, Batman gets an unexpected — and unwelcome — replacement in the form of Spoiler!

Batman: War Games (3 Volumes). The plot revolves around a gang war involving all the major criminal groups in Gotham. It starts with one of Batman's most ambitious contingency plans involving one of his aliases, Matches Malone. In preparation for a possible outbreak of uncontrollable gang violence, Batman developed an elaborate scenario that would unite all of Gotham's underworld under a single crime boss: Matches Malone.

Unfortunately, this plan was discovered by Stephanie Brown, aka Spoiler, who was serving as Robin at the time and who was unaware that Malone and her boss were one and the same; she simply believed that Malone was an "employee" of Batman. When Brown was fired from the Robin position, she attempted to regain Batman's trust and confidence by implementing the contingency plan without Batman's knowledge or participation. Thus, Matches Malone was not present when Spoiler assembled the leaders of all of the gangs into one place. The meeting ended disastrously, with all of the gangs in Gotham going to war with one another.

In the chaos of the city-wide gang war, The Black Mask prepared to seize control of all the gangs. To do this, he kidnapped Stephanie and tortured her for the information she possessed. With that knowledge, his plans succeeded, making him the ultimate crime lord of Gotham City. Stephanie would later die from her torture at Black Mask's hands, a tragedy that Batman holds himself responsible for.

Batman: War Crimes. In the wake of Gotham's recent, and brutal, gang war, Batman is blamed by the city for the recent chaos, and heavily criticized for endangering children. (This latter follows the death of Stephanie Brown, as well as having been photographed carrying a young girl, shot during the War Games arc, from a school. The girl died soon after.)

As Batman attempted to deal with his guilt for the death of his friends Spoiler and Orpheus, he discovered another betrayal that fundamentally altered his relationship with one of his oldest, and most respected, friends. Staunch pacifist Dr. Leslie Thompkins had allowed the Spoiler (Stephanie Brown) to die from her wounds, in order to punish the Batman for his use of children in his war on crime.

These Volumes are a gritty, down-to-earth story involving the worst sins of humanity played out in Batman's Gotham City....the death of Spoiler casts a shadow over The Batman that would last for years to come.

Superman: Our World's at War (Review)

Citizen's Grade: Impressive.

Anytime you can get Darkseid, Brainiac, Lex Luthor, & Superman in the same is going to be awesome!! Just about every character in the DC Universe is involved in this story, and includes great writers (including Jeph Loeb, Peter David, & Phil Jimenez...who also did some artwork) and artists (including Ed McGuinness, Doug Mahnke, Kano, Ron Garney, & Mike Wieringo).

This mega-event; which occurred mainly through the monthly Superman titles

Superman: Emperor Joker (Review)

Citizen's Grade: Impressive.

In Emperor Joker, a multipart story throughout the Superman titles, the Joker steals Mister Mxyzptlk's (a Superman Character from the 5th Dimension) reality altering power, remaking the entire world into a twisted caricature, with everyone in it stuck in a loop, repeating the same patterns over and over. The conflict focuses on the fate of Batman in this world, with the Joker torturing and killing his adversary every day, only to bring him back to life and do it over and over again.

Superman "new era" volumes 1-6 (Review)

Citizen's Grade: Impressive.

I am a huge Superman Fan! That said, I will admit that a lot of times (to my great frustration) Superman comics are hit or miss. That is because the Superman character is so hard to write. Superman: Exile and SM: Strange Attractors literally put me to sleep, Superman: Red Son and Emperor Joker had me begging for more.....I suppose you have to put up with some of the lesser stories to get the great ones, but in my extensive comic book collecting, Superman is the only character like this. These six volumes; however, are definitely worth buying, and are some of Superman's best!

These six volumes collect the "new era" throughout Superman comics following his death and rebirth (and Dan Jurgens, Louise Simonson, & Roger Stern leaving the Superman titles). I loved this series, with great writers (including Jeph Loeb, Geoff Johns, Mark Millar, Greg Rucka, Joe Kelly, Joe Casey, & Mark Shultz) and artists (including Ed McGuinness, Doug Mahnke, Ian Churchill, Kano, Dale Eaglesham, & Tom Nguyen).

The Trial of Superman (Review)

Citizen's Grade: O.K.

What I love about reading Superman comics isn't his fights, or his awesome powers (He is arguably DC Comic's most "powerful" character), it's the moral dilemmas that he must face. I suppose that makes Superman one of the hardest characters to know that he is capable of beating down just about anyone or anything that stands in his his stories must have other elements to entertain the reader and challenge the character. The volume entitled The Trial of Superman does just that.

The Death of Superman Trilogy (Review)

Citizen's Grade: Impressive.

If you wish to start collecting Superman, than this is where to start. This trilogy review covers volumes The Death of Superman, World without a Superman, and The Return of Superman. I absolutely loved this series, and will admit to being teary-eyed as Superman dies and pretty much the whole way through World without a Superman.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Batman "Bruce Wayne: Fugitive" (Review)

Citizen's Grade: Impressive.

What is so interesting about these volumes (Bruce Wayne: Murderer? and the 3 volumes of Bruce Wayne: Fugitive) is that the story is based around Bruce Wayne, not Batman. A lot of twists and turns in what is basically a down-to-earth detective story.

Batman: The Long Halloween Trilogy (Review)

Citizen's Grade: Impressive.

Although I could do individual reviews for Batman's Haunted Knight, The Long Halloween, & Dark Victory....I decided to include them all together because they are all written by Jeph Loeb, with artwork done by legendary Tim Sale.