Batman: The Killing Joke (2016)
Starring: Mark Hamill, Kevin Conroy, Tara Strong, Ray Wise
Directed By: Sam Liu
Reuniting Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy as Joker and Batman, The Killing Joke is one of the most hyped up DC releases of the year. However, it’s also one of the most controversial releases as well, and not because of what you’d expect (okay, it’s also partially because of that too). Bringing back Hamill and Conroy (as well as Tara Strong as Batgirl), Killing Joke is a faithful adaptation of the Batman/Joker story, but the additional material added to pad out the run time sticks out like a sore thumb. It’s so disjointed that I’m actually going to split up the review score. It’s that jarring. Read the rest of this entry
Another San Diego Comic Con has come and gone, and even though I wasn’t there, I sure felt like I was, though that’s probably due to the insurmountable amount of time I spent scouring sites for any bit of information I could. From WB’s upcoming DC movies to Marvel announcing the actress that’s bringing Captain Marvel to life, there was a lot of cool news that came out of this year’s massive convention. So, let’s take a look at some of my favorite announcements! Read the rest of this entry
Black Widow #5 (Marvel Comics)
It’s no secret by now that Mark Waid and Chris Samnee have the magic touch. From Daredevil to The Rocketeer to now Black Widow, the two have now earned their place in the halls of “great writer and artist pairings” in the Comic Book Hall of Fame. Waid and Samnee’s Black Widow has been a very different book than the one that Nathan Edmondson and Phil Noto presented to us before Secret Wars, but in a lot of ways, it’s just as good as that series.
Like in previous issues of Black Widow, we’re still being given little pieces of what exactly Natasha Romanoff has done to get her into so much hot water with S.H.I.E.L.D. If this were any writer other than Mark Waid, I’d start to become very annoyed by this point. However, Waid is able to use this bit of giving out small bits of information masterfully. We get just enough information to help the issue, but not so much that the central mystery is ruined. For example, this issue the only real insight we gain is that whatever Black Widow has done that her enemies are keeping over her is going to piss off her Avengers teammates a lot. And now that they’ve leaked some of the information to Tony Stark, he’s on his way to get some answers from Natasha.
As good as Waid’s script is, this issue is, once again, Chris Samnee’s artistic playground. Samnee does a phenomenal job with this issue, much like every other issue of Black Widow, Daredevil, or literally anything else he draws. Samnee’s panels and layouts are filled with tons of dynamic action. It’s so good that Samnee even pulls off a thrilling car chase in a comic, something that’s practically unheard of.
Marvel’s current output for comics isn’t great (to put it mildly), but Waid and Samnee’s Black Widow is one of the few truly stellar titles that the publisher puts out. It’s a tense, smart spy thriller in the Marvel Universe, and demands all of your time and money. Buy it!
Hellblazer Rebirth #1 (DC Comics)
While John Constantine’s previous DC series was a major step in the right direction for the character, moving him out of London and into New York City always felt off. Now with DC’s Rebirth initiative, new creative team Simon Oliver and Moritat have the perfect excuse to return to deeply troubled sometimes Magician to his native London, and possibly even make him act more in line with the character’s early Vertigo days.
Well, the Vertigo days may still be behind him, but the John Constantine in Hellblazer Rebirth is just as much of a conniving charismatic a-hole as he’s ever been. Simon Oliver’s script reveals what sent Constantine packing to New York City, and just how bad it is: the longer John stays in London, the bigger the chance that he’ll die as his soul leaves his body. Returning home with a plan, Constantine is able to conjure a spell that removes the curse, but has it infect the entire population of London. But John’s not going to let the demon kill millions of people, is he?
Simon Oliver’s script does a great job of keeping you guessing, even when it comes to whether or not John Constantine is willing to let a city full of people die to save his hide. Oliver’s Constantine has a lot in common with the classic Vertigo interpretation of the character, but it is a little bit of a bummer to see John’s language get covered up by skulls and crossbones.
Moritat handles the artwork for this issue, and while it’s not very detailed, he does a fantastic job of showing off the various emotions of our main characters. John goes from being the smarmy cad we love to showing some actual regret at certain times in this issue, and Moritat’s depiction of the demon that cursed John is a really cool and visually striking design as well.
Even though he’s not as “mature” as the Vertigo Hellblazer, there’s still a lot to like with this take on John Constantine. More so than the previous run, it seems like this version has more in common with Matt Ryan’s awesome take on the character from the underrated Constantine show. Fans of that show, or even Hellblazer fans who were turned off by moving John Constantine into the DC universe should give this a try. There’s a lot to like here.
When Disney bought Lucasfilm and began planning the future of the Star Wars franchise on film, it was all but certain that the Expanded Universe of novels (some twenty years worth) was going to be jettisoned for the “new canon”. While I was completely fine with this decision (let’s be real, how many good stories came out of the EU?), there were two character that I wished made the cut: Mara Jade and Grand Admiral Thrawn, from Timothy Zhan’s Heir To The Empire trilogy. Read the rest of this entry
Nightwing Rebirth #1 (DC Comics)
At long last, Dick Grayson is back as Nightwing. After two years (give or take) as a secret agent, the first Robin is back in his Nightwing guise, and even rocking the classic blue and black uniform. Of the second wave of DC Rebirth titles, Nightwing Rebirth was easily my most anticipated book, and now that the Tim Seeley and Yanick Paquette issue has been released, does it live up to the hype?
Kind of. Read the rest of this entry
As expected, Marvel has started announcing a slew of titles for their upcoming “Divided We Stand” publishing initiative, which will see another batch of renumbered series and new titles coming our way. So far we’ve got U.S. Avengers, The Champions, the Great Lakes Avengers, and not one, but TWO Iron Man series: The Infamous Iron Man, in which Victor Von Doom (presumably) takes over for Tony Stark, and Invincible Iron Man, which stars new character Riri Williams as the next person to take up the mantle of the Armored Avenger.
If you can imagine, the Internet reacted accordingly. Read the rest of this entry
Civil War II: Kingpin #1 (of 4) (Marvel Comics)
Already there are tons (some might say too many) Civil War II tie-ins, and while a lot of them have been okay to bad, Civil War II: Kingpin sounded like it could be one of the better ones. With We Can Never Go Home co-writer Matthew Rosenberg writing, at the very least it would be interesting to see him take on one of Marvel’s biggest bad guys. And for the most part, it is really good, even if Kingpin has some flaws that hold it back from the being awesome. Read the rest of this entry
Well, we finally have it. The first preview image for Marvel’s next publishing phase: Divided We Stand. IF you guessed that Marvel was going to copy the fallout of the first Civil War with Civil War II, then you win today’s no prize! Yes, the end of Civil War II is going to place the characters in the Marvel Universe in different places and against one another. Again. Read the rest of this entry
Spider-Man/Deadpool #6 (Marvel Comics)
Of all of Marvel’s recent output, Spider-Man/Deadpool is easily the best. Like a buddy cop movie bitten by an irradiated spider and then given a ton of caffeine, the combination of the web-slinger and the Merc With A Mouth has lead to an extremely entertaining series, much in part to the work of writer Joe Kelly and artist Ed McGuinness. However, they’re not on this issue. BUT, the fill in team of Scott Aukerman and artist Reilly Brown are here with a premise that’s just as good one from Kelly and McGuinness: Deadpool takes his “buddy” Spider-Man to visit the set of his movie. Read the rest of this entry
Last week dozens of comic and movie websites got the chance to visit the set of Justice League. Many, myself included, viewed this as a sort of “damage control” on Warner Bros.’ part. After the less than expected final total for Batman V Superman, an executive shake up at Warner Bros, and rumors of director Zack Snyder having more pressure put onto him after the “failure” of BvS, it’s not hard to imagine that this set visit would be designed to try and turn the tide of the public perception of the film. Read the rest of this entry