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.

Batman: No Man's Land (Review)

Citizen's Grade: Impressive.

Batman: No Man's Land and Batman: Cataclysm were the volumes that brought me back to collecting Batman Comics! N.M.L. is 5 volumes and Cataclysm is 1, and these 6 volumes are "primo". A host of writers (including Greg Rucka, Paul Dini, & Chuck Dixon) and artists (including Dale Eaglesham & Dan Jurgens) worked on this project as well, making for great stories and different views of the events taking place.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Batman: Knightfall (Review)

Citizen's Grade: O.K.

This is one of the defining events in the mythos of The Batman (the other being Frank Miller's Dark Knight series). Before Knightfall, everything is old. After Knightfall, you enter the modern age for Batman.

The story takes place over approximately six months. Bruce Wayne (Batman) suffers burnout and is systematically assaulted and crippled by a "super steroid"-enhanced genius named Bane. After Bane breaks Batman's back, Wayne is replaced as Batman by an apprentice named Jean-Paul Valley (also known as Azrael), who becomes increasingly violent and unstable, tarnishing Batman's reputation. Eventually, Wayne is healed through paranormal means, and reclaims his role as Batman.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Green Lantern by Geoff Johns (Review)

Citizen's Grade: Awesome.

I was never really interested in Green Lantern until Hal Jordan returned in Rebirth. Since then I am a huge GL fan, often left mindboggled by the jaw-dropping storylines and awesome artwork. Geoff Johns is a master storyteller, and his work often builds into mega-events (The Sinestro Corps War, Blackest Night, & Brightest day to name just the Green Lantern events). He has taken the Green Lantern character into never before seen directions (hard to do with Comic Book "Icon" Characters), and I wait with great anticipation for every volume as it becomes available.

Johns has worked with some of the best artists in the industry, my favorite being Ethan Van Sciver who implemented the idea that each Green Lantern's ring energy would manifest itself differently based on their personalities. Other Artists include Carlos Pacheco, Ivan Reis, Daniel Acuna, Patrick Gleason, & Philip Tan.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Amazing Spider-Man by JMS (Review)

Citizen's Grade: Impressive.

Have I ever mentioned how much I love J. Michael Straczynski? Although I haven't given him an "Awesome" grade yet, he is consistently one of the best Comic Book Writers in the business today....and I buy anything with his name on it!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Green Arrow Series (Review)

Citizen's Grade: Impressive.

Some of you not familiar with comics, or the Green Arrow character, may ask yourselves....what is so appealing about an angry liberal running around rooftops in Robin Hood tights shooting arrows at villains? Well, Oliver Queen (a.k.a., Green Arrow) is like most men in the world today. Really? Yes! He is an expert at one thing, and a complete failure at almost everything else. Pessimistic? No, just "keeping it real".

Oliver Queen was a billionaire playboy, hopping from yacht to yacht, and woman to woman when the ship he was on crashed on a deserted island (or so he thought). To survive, he had to become an expert using the only hunting weapon available to him, a makeshift bow. Honing his skills on the island, after being rescued he returned to Star City and became the Green Arrow (read Green Arrow: Year One for the entire story).

The Flash by Geoff Johns (Review)

Citizen's Grade: Impressive.

With the release of Flash: Rebirth, and the restart of the The Flash monthly comic...I thought I'd sum up the past run of The Flash by Geoff Johns. Johns wrote The Flash for years, and brought him back into the spotlight of the DC Universe. With great artists assisting John's great writing skills, these books were well worth the money! The review sums up the following Graphic Novels:

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Punisher (Review)

Citizen's Grade: O.K.

I liked this movie a lot.....until I saw Punisher War Zone. Ray Stevenson makes a better Punisher than Thomas Jane, though Jane does a good job.

Frank Castle (Jane) is a FBI agent that "stings" an arms deal of mobster Howard Saint(John Travolta). During the deal, Howard's son is killed. After retiring, Frank and his family travel to Puerto Rico to attend a family reunion. Saint sends his hired guns and kills the entire family, believing that Castle is dead as well.