Restarting The DC Universe was something everyone knew was coming. The New 52 Universe as a whole was classed as an absolute failure. Most of the 52 original series’s were cancelled early on with only the big hitters staying strong.
Arguably the strongest of The New 52’s Universe was Batman. Reason? Two names: Snyder and Capullo.
The end of that duo has come to a close however. Snyder still writes Batman but instead of the main series, he is writing All-Star Batman with the highly competent and infamous artist John Romita Jr.
That left people wondering who would write for the new main series? Who could possibly take over from where Snyder left off? Tom King.
Tom King may not be a comic book house hold name, his latest work before Batman included The Omega Men and Grayson. But now he has been given the honor of writing Batman and if he succeeds well, then he may end up joining Snyder in becoming a quintessential Batman writer.
No pressure right?
The story much like Snyder’s first New 52 Batman story introduced new characters.
On the verge of a heroic death, Batman is ‘saved’ by two new superheroes: Gotham and Gotham Girl. At first we know very little about these characters except that they can fly, they are stupidly strong, in fact they seem to mirror a lot of Superman’s abilities.
Batman is faced with a dilemma, it’s Batman’s usual dilemma; can they be trusted?
Batman knows the limits of being just a man, the walls that come up with having no powers, the ease of pain and death. He does contemplate the idea that these two ‘heroes’; Gotham and Gotham Girl could succeed in ways he feels he was ever able to.
Things are made complicated (of course) when famous villains come out to play.
You have to give King some credit, it’s his first story arc with Batman and for all intent and purposes, he knocks it out of the park.
It’s not perfect of course with a few little things holding the story back from being amazing. In the third arc there are a few things that happen off panel, we are meant to assume certain things have happened because that’s what has been told to us, but actually seeing these confrontations take place would have led to more empathy and understanding of where and why the characters are the way they are.
Now, a comic book writer is nothing without a good artist to express his vision and King is blessed to have somebody as good as David Finch to bring his story to life.
Finch has had a history of drawing Batman with his previous work being the Batman: Dark Knight series and it’s clear this man knows what he is doing. Gotham is just as much a character as Batman and some of the art here is top notch. Each characters psych is well presented in each panel, whether it be a panicked Gordon or a distressed Alfred, we feel what they feel because the art is so well done.
Everyone is naturally going to compare King’s work with Snyder’s and King is obviously aware of that. Tom King is not Scott Snyder so if you’re expecting that then maybe just read All-Star Batman. Tom King is however the man responsible for Batman Vol 1: I Am Gotham. A good, sometimes great story that shows clear confidence in the future narrative to come.
It’s a worthy read for anyone calling themselves a Bat Fan.
Written by: Landry Q. Walker
Art by: Chad Thomas
By James Kochalka
Zine-Age Mutant Ninja Turtle:
By: Caleb Goellner, Chad Thomas, and Noah Sciver
The Meeting of the Mutant Animals:
Written by: Matthew K. Manning
Art by: Chad Thomas
Freaks and Frogs:
By Ben Costa
Donnie Finds a Relic:
By Sina Grace
Reviewed by: Tyrone Burns
It’s thirty years this year since the pilot episode of TMNT aired across the world and through those years it has experienced a lot of ups and downs and surprisingly it wasn’t until 2012 that TMNT really hit big again with all ages when Nickelodeon aired a brand new series of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
For years people had been begging for a TMNT series that had in its soul the same magic that made the original show such a hit. Of course if you watch the 80’s series now it’s hard not to find that it has aged like most 80’s cartoons have: Badly. So the challenge everyone involved had with the show was to make it feel like a worthy successor to the original but with enough modern freshness to bring in a brand new audience.
It became a big hit, not just to children but to adults too and it is this series that has sparked off the comic book series “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Amazing Adventures.
It would be hard for me to talk about this comic book and not mention the art by Chad Thomas. It perfectly complements the television series in much the same way Dean Rankine’s Simpsons comic book does the TV series. Each character is exactly as you know them with only Splinter being the exception. He looks great but not exactly like his TV counterpart. The Turtles personality comes off brilliantly in each panel even down to the exaggerated “chibi”features often seen in the animated series.
The volume is split into six stories with the first issue being the highlight. The Fab Four with master Splinter must team up with their archenemy Shredder to take on an old Ninja and friend of both Shredder and Splinter who calls himself Zodiac. I found the story gripping as it delved more into the history of ninja’s before the Turtles in a half shell were born. That made each moment exciting!It felt just like the TV show which is all any fan could want.
It was sad then that the other stories bar “The meeting of the Mutant Animals” didn’t succeed in the same manner. They were all enjoyable but lacked the same stakes and character growth. “Volcano Time”was fun, with a good look into the type of comic book stories Mikey himself would make.
These characters have existed for so long because of how relatable they are. Four turtles with four distinct personalities, we all know a “Michaelangelo” in our lives or a “Raphael” type. Sadly the lack of many strong female characters has held the series back from appealing to a larger audience but even still, this is a series strong in people’s hearts and for good reason; the series showed you can kick ass as a ninja but still be a walking fail button like Mikey or a nerd like Donny. They are not perfect, but we love them for that.
If the 2012 series (still ongoing) appeals to you and you just can’t get enough, than I would recommend this comic series to you. However if you are looking for deep, rich stories that extent the universe in more ways than just ‘filler’ type content than this might not be the TMNT series for you.
Booyakasha turtle fans! What a time to be living in. There is so much TMNT content out there now and I can’t get enough of it.
Though this series is Silk’s first solo comic, it expects you to know a little bit about who she is. So here is a small rundown.
Young teenager Cindy Moon was bitten by the same radioactive spider that had bitten Peter Parker. When her powers started to manifest, she was taken from her family and trained by a man named Ezekiel Sims. It’s soon after, the totemic predator “Morlun” tracks down Cindy for reasons not yet understood. In order to protect Cindy from his machinations, Ezekiel hides her in a bunker at the bottom of his tower. Free to go when ever she pleases, out of fear of Morlun, Cindy realising there is enough food and magazines to keep her busy for a long time, chooses to live alone in this bunker for good.
A decade later, Peter Parker learns of Cindy Moon and goes to free her. When hesitant to leave in fear of Morlun, Peter reveals to her that that Morlun is dead. After leaving the bunker, Cindy’s first quest was to find her parents. It would be failed attempt-after-failed attempt as Cindy’s parents are no- where to be found.
Working at the “Facts Channel” for JJJ (Jay Jonah Jameson) Cindy hopes her job and her new secret identity “Silk” will help her on her quest to find her parents.
I know what your thinking, “another spider-person!” Don’t we have too many already? Peter’s Spider-Man, Mile’s Spider-Man, Spider Woman, Spider-Gwen and the million Spider-Man clones from different universes.
What were Marvel thinking making another wall crawler?
The truth is, in the last few years Marvel have been making some amazing new characters and it’s not really been their powers that has made them so relatable, but the brilliant writing behind them.
It’s clear in his writing of Silk, Robbie Thompson used the recent Ms. Marvel as inspiration. The story is neither complicated nor convoluted. The art is simple yet expressionistic. We get to see in the mind of Cindy Moon, her inner monologue is expressed on every page allowing for humour and greater insight.
As mentioned the story is fairly straightforward. Cindy’s brother got mixed up in the wrong crowd; The Goblin Nation. It has left his mind ill and sick. Cindy wants answers and she is willing to fight any Goblin King-wannabe to get some.
Meanwhile, Black Cat is up to something. Cat and her gang are stealing tech from all over the city. Cindy has been hired by Shield’s Mocking Bird to infiltrate Black Cat’s gang and find out what her motives really are.
The key to making these types of comics enjoyable seems to be in the tone. Keeping things lighthearted without it coming off too childish or young in theme.
Cindy is a great new character. Thankfully it isn’t her powers that make her a welcome addition to Marvel but her attitude, her personality, and drive. Being locked up for over a decade has left her a little naive with how to handle situations. It’s not that she acts stupid or foolish, but is always the optimist. She seems to have a thing for smells as much as everyone she encounters leaves her holding her breath in disgust. She is funny but in a different way to Peter. Where Peter shows the stupidity in his opponents and often their attire, Cindy makes fun of herself and her predicaments. Though implied to be a young adult, her absence from society for over a decade has left within her a drive often lost in adulthood.
The supporting characters even appearing regularly never really left any imprint. Black Cat was her normal self, though now appearing in more of a gang leader role, and Peter appears in the third quarter to basically tell Cindy she is doing everything wrong. The only possible exception is JJJ who showed Cindy his rarely seen softer side when he worries about her absence at work.
The Goblin Nation are an interesting group of villains, with each new member being someone either an outcast or a rebel. Like any cult, they target the feeling of belonging. It’s quite dark when you think about it, but the comic manages to handle it in a light manner.
The art by all three artists is good with Stacey’s Lee’s contribution being my favourite. It really set the tone for the rest of the comic. The expressions are exaggerated and the colours are beautiful and vibrant. Sadly, it made Tana Fords art dull by comparison, which is sad because as a stand-alone her art is brilliant, but as a follow up to Stacey it just didn’t have the same life. Veronica Fish did the last two issues, it’s not quite as stylised as Lee’s however, it does bring back the tone I liked so much at the beginning.
Marvel seem to be on a roll with their new characters lately, especially with their female ones. This first volume of Silk is proof that Cindy Moon has a place in Marvels pantheon of heroes. It’s fun, engaging with a touch of heart.
Though I’m not bold enough to say she is my new favourite Marvel character, I will say this: “She is my new favourite “webhead” next to Parker and a hero I will be reading more of!”
When I first heard they were doing a Chewbacca Comic Book, I was joyfully surprised. I assumed Han would get a solo comic before Chewbacca, but with his ‘solo’ movie coming in a few years, Marvel have chosen to give his best friend Chewy a comic book all of his own.
The story is this: Chewy crash lands on the planet Andelm IV while on his way to a secret personal mission. Here he meets “Zarro”, a young girl who wants nothing more than to free herself and her father from working the mines as slaves. The two quickly become friends and Chewy puts his personal mission on hold to rescue Zarro and her father from their evil master.
What quickly becomes impressive with Zarro is how strong she is. She is definitely no pushover. Zarro maintains a strength and a mental drive long gone from her father. While he is no more comfortable with being a slave, his strength to resist is a thing of the past, his main concern now is surviving each day at a time with his daughter.
The main antagonist of this story is the slave trader/gangster “Jaum”. In a way he is just a two bit thug who happens to be in control of a group of slaves, but never does his presence encourage fear in the heart of the reader. He is just a slave trader out for one thing: money, and it might of been an intentional act by writer Gerry to just have him maintain that single mindset and goal but I can’t help wishing he was written a little bit more engaging or ominous.
It was amusing seeing how Chewy interacts with different characters in the comic, especially Zarro. Though only ever hearing from Chewy different versions of “Whhhrrrrurrraaagh”, Zarro would always just assume Chewy was agreeing with her and ready to go along with her plans. The art by Noto is appropriate here as we see what each character is thinking even when they are not saying anything at all. I loved some of the expressions Zarro would pull. Some times it was excitement, fear, determination or all of the above.
It really is the perfect story for Chewy. It’s mostly light with cuteness throughout. One of my favorite drawings within has Chewy laying back on bed of flowers. It sums up what some may see in him. On the outside he is this 7 foot hairy monster with super strength but on the inside he is all flowers of loyalty and love.
Having him team up with a young girl only exemplifies that.
The last thing I want to touch on is what we see of Chewy’s backstory. Though only hinted at, (probably because of the future film on Han Solo) we see that what ever he had been through has sadly left him with some PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and even the simple act of climbing down a hole in the ground is made difficult for him.
But it’s in these moments we see his true strength. It isn’t from his long hairy arms but from his big heart.
Though the story isn’t, I would say for young children, it’s theme is light and positive. It’s story is exactly what any fan of Chewbacca could want and even if your fairly new to Star Wars, the story here is self contained and doesn’t really rely on any prior movie knowledge.
As Chewy would say whrraaaauuurraaghh which I translate as “pick this comic up, it’s awesome!”
Lando is a five issue Star Wars story focusing mainly on board a special stolen Imperial ship.
Lando, as to be expected has got himself in a pickle. He owes powerful people money and the only way to pay off them is to steal from other powerful people.
I came away from this story surprisingly impressed. Though straightforward, in its simplicity lied an opportunity for character growth and exploration.
What we already know of Lando’s character does not change in this story. He is the charming gambler who bets his life in hope of a better one. So in this adventure, it’s really the secondary characters that shine and bring a complexity to the story.
Lobot may well have become a fan favourite after this comic book was released. If you have seen “TESB” (The Empire Strikes Back) then you may remember him. He was the bald man with the head implants covering his ears who seemed to be a faithful companion of Lando’s. He was also a key factor to the heroes escaping off Cloud city. Our impression in the movie is that he is just a humanoid robot with a loyalty to Lando, however, in this comic book we see there is much more to his character.
In many ways Lobot is Lando’s conscience. Always weary of the questionable choices he seems to make on the fly. He is Lando’s business parter and plays a vital part in helping him learn who he really is and to accept an unselfish path of good.
Lando is tasked with stealing a ship from the Empire. What at first seems like an easy job is made complicated when it is revealed who the ship belongs to.
To make sure there are no complications, Lando and Lobot bring along a three person crew. Two of which become extremely interesting characters. Aleksin and Pavol, highly trained fighters rivaling the best guards in the Empire. They seem to be two male characters in love with each other which is a Star Wars comic book first (if I am not mistaken.) They are made more interesting by their attire. Both of them literally look like Marvel’s Black Panther or a tribal member of Wakanda. It’s a look I’ve not seen before in Star Wars but I was much in favor of it.
The last character I want to talk about is Chanath Cha. I won’t reveal much as to who this is but wow!, Chanath is awesome! It literally felt like I was reading about a Marvel Avenger in a Star Wars story. Chanath kicks butt; fly’s and even has a striking cape. I hope to see more of this character as, if I’m honest, they were my favorite part of the story.
What I am enjoying so far about Marvel’s Star Wars comic book’s is that they are more than just stories taking existing characters from A to B. Rather, the stories are designed to show us who they are and why they are the way they are in the movies. Lando is a two-bit gambler for sure. But deeper, he is just someone wanting to leave a mark before he dies and that is why Marvel’s Lando the comic book is a really good read.
The art by Alex Maleev is well presented. Lando looks just like the Billy Dee Williams we know and love. The only complaint I have is the lack of emotion shown on each character. They all look great but in some way’s they always look static, with a lack of soul or heart.
Sadly, we do not see the game in which Lando lost the Millennium Falcon to Han. Instead however, we gain a deeper look into his motivations and his treasure and that should be reason enough to pick this comic up.
When describing this comic, I feel like the old grandpa in “The Princess Bride” expressing the book to his grandson. While asked if the book “The Princess Bride” has any sports, the Grandpa replies: “are you kidding? Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, True Love, miracles…. ”
The first volume of Marvel’s Star Wars has all that too. Doesn’t sound too bad does it?
Set between the events of “A New Hope” and ” The Empire Strikes Back”, volume one’s story is split into two halves. The first is an undercover mission led by a group of Rebels on a Correlian industrial cluster called Cymoon 1. Their objective is to destroy one of the biggest weapons factory’s in the galaxy. The second half swaps action for adventure. Luke while soul-searching is also on a quest for clues Obi-Wan may have left him in his quest to become a Jedi.
With the covert mission, it starts with a welcome surprise. Han Solo reveals himself to the Empire unit in charge of the weapons factory. He is pretending to be part of a envoy still working for Jabba the Hutt. This checks out as no one other than the Rebels would know that Han had a part in bringing down the Death Star. The Empire has planned a meeting with Han to ‘negotiate’ terms involving weapon materials in exchange for pay. However, the real reason for the Rebels presence is to destroy the factory’s energy core and thus destroying one of the biggest weapon supplies used by the Empire.
Along for the ride with Han is the whole gang. Luke, Leia, Chewbacca, C3PO and R2D2. The comic does a wonderful job of giving each of them purpose and a notable presence. Its impressive how just in this first volume, each member is given good page time.
What we start to see even early on is character growth. There are moments where Han and Leia’s famous love/hate relationship is on clear display. Where (like the movies) they go from dismissing each others skills and talents to then fearing for the others life. Each drawing perfectly reflects the contradiction of emotions the both of them are feeling. It works fantastic because “The Empire Strikes Back” is so etched into our brains that everything in it makes sense because our mind tells us it must. Perfect example is how Han and Leia’s romance was barely touched on in “A New Hope.’ Yet at the beginning of “The Empire Strikes Back” they already seem to have strong feelings for each other (even if they were not ready to admit it). So now because of this comic book, there is more context to their eventual romance.
It’s not just Han and Leia’s relationship that is given more colour. Vader learns that the boy who destroyed the Death Star is none other than a Skywalker. You have to give this comic some credit. It’s just volume 1 and yet it’s clear Marvel are not holding anything back. Being the big Star Wars fan that I am, I can’t express how much of a relief that is.
A lot more could be said about the first half, but I want to leave you with some surprises.
What makes the second half of “Skywalker Strikes” so intriguing is seeing how Luke’s coping with the death of Ben.
Luke currently lacks any real Jedi skill, so he starts to question why Ben would die for him. Surely Ben would have left something for him, something that could help Luke continue his training. It’s here Luke goes on a mission to look for what ever it is Obi-Wan would of wanted him to find. Of course, things do not go smoothly on this journey and a fan favorite character ends up appearing whose story coincidentally interlaces with Luke’s mission. Without giving away the character’s name, bringing this player in shows what the comic is doing great. It’s bringing more life into the Star Wars universe! Especially on characters that many of us would have loved to seen more of in the movies.
I never read Dark Horse’s Star Wars run. So unlike some, I have nothing to compare this to. Even so, I still think this was marvelous. The fear is that with Star Wars movies coming out every year, the comic series would be afraid to delve deep into existing stories just in case they bring out a movie that contradicts the comic. But it looks like Marvel is smarter than I give them credit for and that’s awesome.
Remember, everything now is cannon. Do you want to see characters you have grown to love in more fun, exciting stories that are just as cannon as the movies themselves? Check out Star Wars Volume 1: Skywalker Strikes
Frank Cho and Mike Choi
The quickest distinction between Amadeus’s Hulk and Bruce’s Hulk is the mindset. Where Banner’s Hulk is mainly an aggressive weapon that needs to be aimed, Cho’s Hulk for the most part is just a larger representation of Amadeus himself; albeit a funny, relaxed and cocky Hulk.
For those who know me, I am “a little bit” of a Hulk fan. I have heaps of Hulk merchandise from a sideshow statue to some awesomely cuddly Hulk plush toys. So when I saw that they took Bruce out of the Hulk equation and replaced him with Amadeus, I was a little skeptical, but also excited.
For the uninitiated, Amadeus isn’t a new character. He has been in and out of Marvel for the last 30 something years. Though his character never reached the popularity of other Marvel heroes, he is known for something pretty special. According to the Pym-Von Doom raw calc scale, Amadeus is ranked 8th smartest person on earth.
Now where most of Marvel’s geniuses intellect is often only shown on scribbly giant white boards or in metal suits, Cho’s intelligence is displayed often over the years in his ability to quickly think of every solution to a problem in just a fraction of the time it would take us dumdum’s to think of one. This has enabled Amadeus to get out of some rough situations in Marvel’s history. So when I saw that it would be him that would become the Hulk it seemed rather fitting, as Bruce has also one of the smartest minds on earth. However, that is where the similarities between the two stop.
The first volume of The Totally Awesome Hulk tells a simple story that involves Lady Hellbender hell bent (cough) on acquiring the strongest being from earth to become her mighty prize. Naturally then, the Hulk is brought into the equation. Being a fairly generic story offers Greg Pak the opportunity to flesh out the “New Hulk”. We see the Hulk in situations we could never imagine before. Like quipping, not just quipping but flirting, not just flirting but accidentally flirting while naked. Obviously then, this comic is a lighter read for us Hulk fans. But the funnier/lighter tale does not make it bad. No, in fact this is one of the best Hulk reads I’ve had in a long time and it’s Amadeus’s quirky personality that really does it for me.
Helping him along the way is She-Hulk, Miles Morales’s Spider-man and Amadeus’s own sister Madame Currie “Maddy” Cho who so happens to be a genius herself. The interplay between Maddy and Amadeus is fantastic and is a big factor to making the comic so enjoyable to read. She is doing everything she can in helping her brother be the best Hulk he can be, meanwhile Amadeus is finding it hard taking things seriously. Their chemistry seems genuine and you really get the idea they mean everything to each other, which makes sense considering they are each other’s only family.
The new Hulk isn’t one dimensional though, as each issue in the Volume concludes, we see there is something looming in the Hulk’s subconscious, something darker and full of rage. Things become clearer as eventually we see more and more into the back story on how Amadeus gains the power of the Hulk and the current status of Bruce. I won’t spoil anything here but I will say that while the origin of the new Hulk makes sense, I wish it was told a little bit more extensively. It’s only ever teased throughout the volume and though we do get some closure towards the end, it just felt a little short on detail.
It’s possible that many of the audiences current negative view on origin stories is hitting the writers and they themselves are looking for less generic means of introducing new characters.
I am a huge fan of the art here, especially Frank Cho’s portion. Say what you will about the man, his art is exceptional! The new Hulk looks fun and chilled while still remaining the look of ‘incredible’. Being that Amadeus Cho is Korean, I was nervous that Frank would overdo it on the whole Asian stereotype and thankfully, I came away relieved. Each panel is beautifully drawn.
I loved the humor in The Totally Awesome Hulk and the art brought everything up to 11.
If you have found Hulk in the past to be a little one dimensional, or if you’re like me and have been a Hulk fan for years, pick this comic up. It guarantees a good time!
Written by Jason Aaron and illustrated by Chris Bachalo
This was my first taste into Doctor Strange’s lore. (About time right!)
Luckily then, what I had was the perfect introduction to Doctor Strange. This isn’t exactly an origin story, however some of his earlier time as a magician and his training under the Ancient One is displayed, but only to help us readers understand Doctor Strange’s revelations and the story itself.
Normally I get straight into the story, but I feel I should first comment on the art. It’s fantastic! I can only imagine how fun though frustrating it would of been for Aaron (the writer) to convey his mind’s eye to Bachalo (the illustrator).
The title for this volume is called “Way of the Weird” and if you skim through almost any page in the book you are bound to find some highly unusual imagery.
We see characters with mouths and eyes protruding out of their heads, and Strange himself isn’t just an observer to the weird.. he is often at times the one doing it.
One page has him eating what is described by another character as ‘culinary afterbirth’. The book isn’t afraid to go strange (no pun intended) and I have to give both the writer and illustrator the thumbs up for that.
The story was highly enjoyable. We are introduced to Zelma Stanton, a librarian who comes to Strange for reasons she can’t well explain. After an unusual first meeting, Doctor Strange offers her the job to be his librarian.. of sorts. He shows her and us as readers the side effects of being earth’s Sorcerer Supreme and the outright crazy world he has to contend with on a daily basis. We see glimpses into magical horrors that lurk in some of his hidden rooms and it becomes clear how much Doctor Strange is sacrificing to keep the world we know from being destroyed from the face of existence. The weird he has to deal with face on would drive almost anyone mad. He even warns Zelma at one point not to think too much about it all otherwise it could turn her mind crazy.
Though we are not shown too much of the main villain in this first volume, it seems his mission is this: To rid every dimension of magic. It isn’t long into the story that we learn whoever this antagonist is, he means business and is well on the way to his dream becoming a reality. His reasons and motives so far are unknown, but in order to stop him Doctor Strange has had to assemble every magician and every Sorcerer Supreme he can to help stop this destroyer before magic is taken forever. No magic means every existence would just collapse in itself. Thus ending many if not all universes.
The story isn’t all doom and gloom, there are parts that had me smiling and parts that had me squirming.
I genuinely could not have picked up a better first read of Doctor Strange. Almost 100 percent of what he does in the marvel universe is unseen by others. He really is in some ways Marvel’s biggest unsung hero. The weird isn’t just something he faces, it’s something that has taken its toll on him and yet, there he is doing all he can to keep the earth from being destroyed. The book does a wonderful job of explaining Strange’s personality without giving us a history lesson.
If your new to Doctor Strange, do what I did.. pick up this comic and delve deep into the weird.
Reviewed by Tyrone Burns.
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