Doctor Doom #1 (Marvel Comics)
Villain led comics are typically pretty hard to pull off, but that doesn’t mean that Marvel isn’t going to try with Doctor Doom. From Halt and Catch Fire creator Christopher Cantwell and artist Salvador Larocca, the new series focusing on Victor Von Doom is both intriguing and a little confusing, mainly due to the characterization of Doom himself. Read the rest of this entry
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Zazie Beets, Robert De Niro, Francis Conroy
Directed By: Todd Phillips
Being a big Batman fan, I’ve seen a lot of takes on the Dark Knight. That also means I’ve seen a lot of takes on his arch nemesis, the Joker. From Heath Ledger’s scarred anarchist to Jared Leto’s tattooed thug, The Joker has had arguably the most interpretations of any comic book character in history, and since he’s my all-time favorite villain in fiction, I’m pretty protective of him. Which is why I was going into Todd Phillips’ Joker with some pretty heavy skepticism. On the one hand, you have Joaquin Phoenix, arguably the best actor of our generation, in the lead. On the other hand, this is a Joker origin movie (strike one) that doesn’t feature Batman (strike two), and is from the director of The Hangover and Due Date (movies that I find funny, but strike three). Add in the fact that it seems to be more influenced by early Martin Scorsese films like Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy than anything from the Clown Prince of Crime’s myriad comic book appearances, and I was starting to get a feeling of confusion over what the point of even calling this film “Joker” was . With the storm of controversy and furor surrounding the film’s release, including winning the Golden Lion at Cannes and increased police presence at showings (plus Todd Phillips’ increasingly stupid comments on the state of comedy), and it was getting to a point where I was looking forward to seeing the film less out excitement and curiosity, and more out of a feeling of “let’s just get this over with”. The end result has me falling somewhere squarely in the middle on Joker, a film that has many flaws, but an undeniably great lead performance in Joaquin Phoenix. Read the rest of this entry
Harleen #1 (DC Comics)
The DC Black Label keeps powering on with a new miniseries that has ties to the history of writer/artist Stjepan Sejic work as an indie publisher. Telling a new spin on the origin of Harley Quinn, you’d be forgiven for wondering why this was a story that needed to be retold. Well, surprisingly Harleen is not only a worthy installment of the history of the character, but also serves as one of the most impressive comics of the year. Read the rest of this entry
Flash Forward #1 (of 6) (DC Comics)
Wally West has been put through the wringer as of late, and with Flash Forward, it’s not stopping anytime soon. Sure, the character got a new lease on life thanks to the DC Rebirth special, but since then he’s bounced around with the Titans, fought with The Flash, and became the culprit of a series of murders in Heroes In Crisis. Needless to say, Wally’s been through A LOT, and that’s left him in a weird position in the current DC universe, and it seems like Scott Lobdell and Brett Booth’s Flash Forward may not be the best course of action for the character. Read the rest of this entry
Gotham City Monsters #1 (DC Comics)
It’s not quite October yet, but DC is getting their spooky on with Gotham City Monsters, a new series from Steve Orlando and Amancay Nahuelpan that brings together some of the weirdest monsters and misfits in the DC universe to battle an ancient evil that’s been resurrected to wreak havoc on the multiverse. With a cast that ranges from Killer Croc to Frankenstein’s Monster to the vampire Andrew Bennet, Gotham City Monsters is definitely one of the biggest reaches for the publisher, but it’s not without it’s own charms.
Vampire Andrew Bennet and Frankenstein’s Monster are both hunting the same foe: Melmoth. Believing that forces are working behind the scenes to resurrect the ancient demonic entity, the two supernatural saviors eventually find themselves reluctantly working together to hunt him down. Or that would be the case if Frankenstein hadn’t just cut Bennett in half.
The interplay between Bennet and Frankenstein makes up a large majority of Steve Orlando’s script, and it’s pretty entertaining. What’s less entertaining is the random sections of the issue that deal with the other members of this monster team. While they’re fine snippets into what each character is currently doing, there’s little to no connective tissue for how these characters are going to fit into the team, or the current plot of the first issue. And by the issue’s end, they’re no closer to joining Frank and Bennett, so it doesn’t make me very confident that they’ll be joining those characters any time soon.
Amancay Nahuelpan made a big splash with Black Mask Comics, and it’s really neat to see his art on a big two book like Gotham City Monsters. His style is both cartoony but expressive, and this series should do wonders to increase his visibility in the industry. He can handle the dark visuals needed for this series, but also the super cool action sequences as well. If you’ve never experienced his art before, you’re in for a real treat.
Gotham City Monsters may not live up to it’s title yet, but it could get there in a few issues. For fans of New 52 series Frankenstein: Agent of SHADE and I,Vampire, this is a must get, as those two lead characters feature very prominently in this opening issue. Fans of characters like Killer Croc and….Orca, I guess? Well, you might be disappointed.
Trees: Three Fates #1 (Image Comics)
Warren Ellis and Jason Howard’s Trees has been running for a while now, and with the third installment in the series, Three Fates, arriving, I decided to finally give it a shot….which may have been a mistake. As a continuation of the Trees series, I’m sure it was great. But as a introduction to the Trees universe, it leaves a lot to be desired.
The basic plot of this new series revolves around the investigation of a dead body by local investigator Klara. After a bunch of giant pillars called “Trees” arrive on Earth, Humans needed to learn how to live with these new strange visitors. Eleven years later, humanity has accepted this as a new way of life, and the world keeps going, albeit now there’s a strange murder that may have ties to a deeper conspiracy.
That “lived in Sci-Fi” feeling is always welcome in my book, and while you can jump into this series with the basic information provided, I really do feel like I’m missing some larger revelations that probably arrived in one of the previous Trees series. Of course, this is partially on me for picking this up sight unseen, but at the same time, if Ellis wants people to come back to this series, or pick up the older series, then maybe he should have considered giving readers a little more tantalizing reasons behind the Trees to pique our interest.
Jason Howard’s art is an interesting mix of Ryan Ottley and Mike Avon Oeming, and it suits the series really well. Three Fates seems to be a much smaller event than the previous series, but that suits Howard’s style really well, as he gives the pages a nice sense of mood and pacing throughout the book. This wouldn’t be that far out of the realm of an HBO procedural drama, and it shows throughout the issue in Howard’s art.
Will I go back and check out the rest of Trees? I’m not so sure. But I do appreciate the fact that Ellis and Howard are using the backdrop they’ve set up to tell an interesting spin on the tried and true murder mystery, and it is neat to see this little indie book slowly set up it’s own universe, I can’t deny that I wish I was given a little more background information in this world to make it more interesting.
Batman/Superman #1 (DC Comics)
Every few years DC restarts a team up book for Batman and Superman, and it seems we’re about due for a new one. Unlike previous Superman and Batman series, Batman/Superman #1 is deeply rooted in the main continuity of the DC universe, and directly follows the events of the Batman Who Laughs miniseries that just wrapped up. However, those that didn’t follow that series won’t be completely lost, as the Joshua Williamson and David Marquez debut issue does a pretty good job of serving as an entry point into the modern day DC universe and it’s happenings. Read the rest of this entry
Superman Year One #2 (DC Comics)
Frank Miller’s weird take on the early years of the Man of Steel continue on in Superman Year One #2, which focuses more on Miller’s version of Clark Kent and his adventures with the Navy. Yes, the Navy. It’s something that’s really hard to wrap your head around, and like the first issue, this John Romita Jr drawn second issue still struggles to come up with a solid reason to exist. Read the rest of this entry
Batman: Curse of the White Knight #1 (DC Comics)
Batman: White Knight was a critical and commercial smash for DC and Sean Gordon Murphy, so it’s no surprise that a sequel has come along to expand this corner of the DC universe that I’ll coin the “Murphy-verse”. Unlike the original series, which put a new dynamic on the Joker/Batman relationship, Curse of the White Knight looks back into the past of the Waynes and their ties to Gotham, creating a much different story than the previous one. Read the rest of this entry
Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #1 (DC Comics)
For being around for more than 80 years, Superman has sure been through a lot of different takes and interpretations. Throughout the decades he’s had numerous titles, and even his side characters like Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen have received their own series, both of whom are currently starring in their own miniseries events right now. While Lois Lane has Greg Rucka and Michael Lark, Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen has an even higher pedigree on the title, as none other than Hawkeye‘s Matt Fraction and The Fix‘s Steve Lieber are bringing their own very unique spin on the Man of Steel’s best pal. Read the rest of this entry
Superman: Year One #1 (DC Comics)
It seems like every few years we get another take on the Man of Steel’s origin. Sometimes it’s a part of an ongoing story line, other times it’s a passion project. But I can’t think of a Superman origin story this high a pedigree on the creative side: Frank Miller and John Romita Jr. A new spin on the early days of Superman, Superman: Year One is a brand new installment of DC’s Black Label line of titles. For a tale that’s been told hundreds of thousands of times, every time a new Superman origin is told it has to have a new twist on the story of Kal-El’s arrival on Earth. It’s just too bad that Miller and Romita’s isn’t that interesting. Read the rest of this entry