Tag: Staff-Picks (Page 4 of 5)

What’s Dan Reading? Locke & Key

lkThe Locke family move into a new house to try and start again after their father/husband is murdered. The house itself has a series of keys hidden in it that open fantastic doors that transform all who dare to walk through them. The house also has a hate-filled creature within it that will stop at nothing until it forces open the most terrible door of them all.
Written by Joe Hill (Stephen King’s son). A story that spans over generations that delivers horror at its best. Each time a new key is introduced its power is so mind boggling that you can’t even imagine how Hill is going to write it into the story, but he does beautifully.
Gabriel Rodriguez’s art fits this story very well. His thick outlines really makes his style distinctive. Characters are very easy to tell apart and you always know what happening in high action scenes.
This is a 6 volume series that has finished so if you love it you can binge read the whole thing.
-Dan. The Best Dude Out.



Created by Archie Goodwin (writer) and John Romita Sr. (artist)


Also Known As:

Power Man, Mark Lucas, Hero for Hire, Ace of Spades.

Real Name:

Carl Lucas – Changed legally to Luke Cage

First Appearance:

Hero For Hire (1972)



Steel-hard skin that cannot be cut by the sharpest of blades.
Super Strength that allows him to lift up to 25 tons.
Recovery time caused by Injury or trauma is one-third that of a normal human.

from Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes


Competent hand to hand combatant.
Superb Athlete.
Self Educated in Law and can speak several languages.

Rogues Gallery:

Chemistro – former chemist who uses the ‘alchemy gun’ capable of transforming matter.
Shades-  a clever criminal who knows how to play ‘the game’ to get what he wants.
Cheshire Cat- scout who has the ability to go invisible, become tangible and teleport.
The Purple Man- Mind Controller, can get people to do anything he says.
Cockroach Hamilton- Mob enforcer who has a powerful shotgun he calls Josh.
Cold Fire- Luke’s Brother James who becomes a protoplasmic being who can compose white-hot flames.
Tombstone- Hitman for the mob.
Moses Magnum- Terrorist capable of generating earthquakes and shockwaves.
Mr Fish- radioactive half man, half fish, gang leader.

Group Affiliation:

Secret Defenders.
Heroes for Hire.
Fantastic Four.

1972- The first black superhero to receive a solo series in Marvel Comics.
1978-  Iron Fist joins his series as its renamed Power Man and Iron Fist.
1992- New solo series call titled Cage
2005- Joined The Avengers
2006- Married Jessica Jones
2016- Netflix Series


First comic story: Hero for Hire

Luke Cage (then named Carl Lucas) is seen as a prisoner. We see him just leaving Solitary confinement. It’s clear even early on that though Lucas joins teams later in his crime fighting career he has always been comfortable alone. So when some prisoners pressure him into creating a riot, he refuses.. expressing that he is nobody’s puppet.
A similar event happens when the prison guard/temporary warden named Rackham orders Lucas to act as a snitch and report on everything involving the prisoners. When Lucas refuses, the warden throws him back into solitary confinement and gives one of the guards authority to assault Carl. However given his respect for authority, Carl refuses to fight back which only taunts both the guard and Rackham even more.
It’s at this time that the New Warden appears. He had purposes arrived at the prison unannounced to see how the prison ran. Now seeing the disgusting way in which Carl was treated, the new warden fires the prison guard on the spot. Rather than firing Rackham though, the new Warden puts him back to work as a prison guard and orders him to obey the rules accordingly.

Lucas gets his wounds healed by a Doctor named Burstein, who tells Carl that he would like to work with him. Burstein has a science project and needs Lucas’s help to bring it to fruition.

Its now we get a flashback and a good look at Lucas’s origin story.

Carl Lucas was born and raised in Harlem. Spending most of his youth in a gang called the Bloods he made good friend’s with a boy named Willis Stryker. In and out of Juvenile Homes through his teens, it wasn’t until he saw how much his actions were hurting his family that he decided to better himself. While Carl was working in a legitimate job, his Friend Stryker was going up the criminal ranks. At one point Stryker was badly beaten by a mob and it was only thanks to Lucas that he was saved. Willis’s girlfriend now afraid of the life Willis was involved in decided to break up. Considering her closeness to Carl, Willis was convinced Lucas had stolen his girlfriend and out of jealousy and rage he planted heroin in Carl’s apartment. Falsely convicted Carl was thrown in Seagate prison.

Fast forward now to Doctor Burstein’s science proposition to Lucas.
The request was that Carl volunteer to have experimental cell regeneration. It was based on Super-Soldier serum Doctor Burstein had previously used on Warhawk.
Lukas agreed and the process began.
Lucas was placed in a electrical field conducted by an organic chemical compound. Just before the procedure, Doctor Burstein left the area unattended.  former warden Rackham noticed what was going on and messed with the experiment control’s to try and to kill Lucas. However the process was instead exaggerated and granted Carl with a range of enhancements including Super Strength and durability.
Trying to grasp his new abilities, with his new found powers Lucas was able to escape Seagate and made his way to New York.
It doesn’t take Lucas that long to realise that his enhanced abilities could be used to bring in profit.
Changing his name to Luke Cage he begins his career as the Hero for Hire.

Written by Tyrone Burns

Staff Pick: Black Science

Nick-bigWritten by Rick Remender with art from Italian artist Matteo Scalera Black Science perfectly pairs deep personal and familial drama with bonkers science fiction. At the head of the series’ large cast is Grant McKay, an anarchistic scientific genius who has just completed the creation of the crowning achievement of his career: the pillar. With the ability to jump between the infinite quantum realities of the onion Grant plans to plunder the eververse for the betterment of mankind. However as one would expect, things go horribly wrong from the get-go. After the pillar is sabotaged and jumps Grant, his two young children, his two lab assistants (one of whom he is having an affair with), his financial backer, and his Black Science, Vol. 1: How to Fall Forever TPsecurity guard completely unprepared into a weird and wacky parallel universe, all hell breaks loose.
With the Pillar jumping randomly between dimensions one stranger and more dangerous than the last (did somebody say giant millipede death-cult or giant frog people?) Remender imbues the story with a sense of tension and extreme pace that pulls the reader deeper into a mystery that slowly and secretly reveals itself. As a reader, interest in the series will be cemented by a fantastic scene in which an alternate version of McKay appears and attempts to steal the protagonists children claiming that if they remain with their real father the kids are sure to die.

The level of imagination at play here, from the beautifully imagined parallel worlds to the complex implications of multiple versions of the same person creating multiple versions of the same deeply dangerous machine, is truly impressive. Each of the characters journeying with Grant come complete with fully fleshed out back stories and complex motivations.

With four volumes of Black Science available at the moment this is a perfect series to jump in to, smart and very cool it is a seriously enjoyable read.

Top 5 Batman Graphic Novels   

By Tyrone Burns
(The thought’s below are Tyrone’s and may not represent Greenlight Comics)
5. Batman: The Cult 
Written by Jim Starlin and Illustrated by Bernie Wrightson
To be honest when I first picked up Batman: The Cult, I didn’t know what to expect. I had just started to get into comics and Batman was my comfort zone.
That place of refuge disappears the minute you start reading this novel.

Deacon Blackfire is introduced as the main villain of this story and it’s easy to take this guy for granted. At first he seems just like a crazy nutjob with visions of grandeur. But he is dangerous as he is clever, easily able to manipulate and brainwash the vulnerable.

What makes this comic one of my favorites is that it takes Batman to a place I never thought his comics would. After his parents died Bruce trained his mind and body to deal with any circumstance that may arise… Or so he thought.
As you dive into this novel you will see a Batman so broken it is startling. I started to question whether Batman/Bruce would ever come out of this… or if it was even possible. Deacon Blackfire Destroys Bruce’s mind way beyond a point any other villain has been able to. Even The Court of Owls psychological fight on Batman’s mind is tame compared to this.
It’s uncomfortable, disturbing, alarming and I love it.

The fact it has famous horror artist Bernie Wrightson doing the illustrating helps bring each page more to life.
If you like psychological horror, I highly recommend this.


4. Batman: Arkham Asylum 
Written by Grant Morrison and Illustrated by Dave McKean 

It’s one of the most successful graphic novels of all time and that makes me think of one thing… wow us humans love reading disturbing material!

Batman is called in to stop a riot at Arkham Asylum, a mental hospital designed to hold and ‘help’ the most dangerous criminals of Gotham. Within each of the walls holds a story, a past that will forever leave its mark on those who enter.
Batman: Arkham Asylum takes us through the origins of the hospital and its owner Amadeus Arkham. What motivated him to want to help the most violent of Gotham?
As we delve deeper into the story one thing is clear… Gotham has a whole different breed of criminals.. one’s that have done things so sick and distressing that after reading about them… you may want to leave your light on as you sleep.

I know I did.

In a way Amadeus has the same dilemma as Batman. They both want to stop criminals. Amadeus believes any Criminal can (with proper help) be rehabilitated. With Batman though, he just wants these people looked up and by the end of this novel, you may want to side with Batman.

Each pages art shows such talent. You feel like your in a dream.. a nightmare, trying to grasp what everything means and how everything pieces together.
By the end you may have a new found respect for Batman. He doesn’t give up, no matter how disturbing things get and in Arkham Asylum things do get very very disturbing.


3.Batman: The Long Halloween 
Written by Jeph Loeb and Illustrated by Tim Sale 

If you are a big fan of The Dark Knight movie, you may be surprised to learn that Batman: The Long Halloween was one of the biggest inspirations for that story. Namely the Dent/Batman/Gordon Trinity and Dent’s/Two Face’s origin story.

Batman has always been known as ‘The World’s Greatest Detective’ and no Batman story exemplifies that more than Batman: The Long Halloween. It’s based early in Batman’s career and thus we get to see how many relationships started between Batman and some of his rogues gallery.

It is a who did it mystery that is focused on a serial killer named Holiday. He kills once a month, on… you guessed it Holidays and his target seems to be Gotham’s mobsters and corrupt officials. Batman must work with Gordon and Dent to try and catch Holiday before he murders again.

What engaged me so much with the story was how well everything was put together. It is smooth, witty and brilliant. You may end up suspecting everyone of being the killer. Like any good mystery, the clues are all there, it lets you ask all the right questions and yet by the time you get to the last page you’re in shock of the answer. I remember thinking “no it can’t be true” as the name of Holiday was revealed.
Jeph Loeb has a history of writing good mysteries and to me, Batman: The Long Halloween is his best.
If you are left wanting more after, never fear.. the book got a sequel of equal excellence: Dark Victory.
2.Batman: Year One
Written by Frank Miller and Illustrated by David Mazzucchelli 

If there is one Batman comic everyone needs in their collection it is Batman: Year One.

Year One shows us the first year of two careers. Bruce Wayne’s first year as Batman and Jim Gordon’s first year in GCPD.

This is just as much Jim’s story as Bruce’s, if not more so. It doesn’t take Jim long to realise that Gotham’s crime problems start from the top including the Mayor and GCPD’s own Commissioner Gillian. B. Loeb.
Both Jim and Bruce/Batman start their careers as hopefuls, but it doesn’t take them more than a couple of days to realise they underestimated how easy it would be to ‘fix’ the city. It seem’s everyone benefits from the corruption in Gotham except the true and honest which Gotham is very few of.

What makes the comic stand so high is it’s brilliant storytelling. Jim is the Batman within the law and we see his thinking evolve so that by the end of the novel even he starts to see that Gotham needs a myth.. someone who criminals can’t bargain with, can’t manipulate and can’t understand.

Bruce is by no means the confident, unstoppable Batman we know. He has a lot of learning to do and that is what makes his arc so good. We see him fail and make mistakes. But it is his conviction not to give up and his realisation that fear is a weapon to not be undervalued, that helps us as readers understand why a man would fight crime dressed up at a bat.

When I first finished the book and it came to a close I wanted to clap. it set everything in motion, no time before Batman: Year One was the Batman Universe so well understood. We get it now.

Batman: Year One is one of those comics that gets better with every read and it won’t be long before I give it another look through.

1. Batman: The Black Mirror
Written by Scott Snyder and Illustrated by Francesco Francavilla

This book stands out for a number of reasons compared to the others in my top 5.
First it was only written in the last 5 years.
Secondly Bruce isn’t Batman in the story… nope, it’s Dick Grayson (Nightwing). Bruce is busy setting up other things.

If you have read any new Batman comics in the last five years than it is likely you have read and/or heard of Scott Snyder. His respect, knowledge and understanding of Batman to me is unparalleled. Scott knows how to change Batman, how to challenge Batman and ultimately Scott knows how to beat Batman.
It is why I enjoy every time a new Batman Story by Snyder comes out. I get some quiet time.. find a place to sit and I just read.

What makes The Black Mirror stand out as my favorite Scott Snyder comic however is that it contains many genres and yet it doesn’t fail in any. It is to me a jack of all trades and a master of all.
A mystery, a horror, a story of family and a story of redemption.

James Gordon Jr is back in Gotham and his sister is not at all happy about it.
Barbara remembers James and her as children and she remembers James having some serious problems. She believes James is a Killer.
Can James redeem himself? Can Barbara forgive him?
As you read through you will be questioning James too, is he different? Is he a killer?
His Father hopes the best, Jim remembers a few things too but he hopes things have changed and the things that had happened he prays were just a coincidence.
There is something big happening in Gotham but it is unclear at first exactly what’s going on.

Dick Grayson finds it tough being Batman. He can’t seem to make it his own and its made worse by the fact he is living in The Wayne Tower.
I liked Grayson in this though, he was the perfect one for this story, no doubt.

I don’t want to reveal to much of the story so I will just conclude with a little love letter.

I was on the edge of my seat more with Batman: The Black Mirror than with any other comic book I have read. The story is personal to every character in it.  It is a psychological thriller, one that makes you think long after you put the book down. Micheal Cane’s Alfred famously said “Some people just want to watch the world burn” and that is no more true than it is in Batman: The Black Mirror

Batman Vol 8: Superheavy Review

By Tyrone Burns.batman-volume-8-superheavy

After the events of Jokers End Game, Batman is presumed dead and the criminals who are usually in hiding have now come out to play. A new Super-villain has come forth whose deadly plans involve giving hard criminals superpowers. It is as clear as it was to Bruce the day he lost his parents that Gotham needs a Batman. Powers International has bought out Wayne Enterprises, with all its resources now available to them they ask a certain someone to take up the mantle of Batman.

“Commissioner Gordon is the new Batman” is said in bold letters on the back of Vol 8. Yes the one good cop in Gotham has (at first begrudgingly) accepted the responsibility and commitment of being Batman.

But is it over his head?

It seems the Mayor and the GCPD want to prove something to civilians of Gotham. That not only can Batman work within the confines of the law but that he can work better.

To some having Jim Gordon be Batman is ridiculous, to me though… I actually kinda like it. It isn’t like when Dick Grayson took up the mantle, he was still kinda the same Batman but with a bit more social skills. With Jim, from the suit itself to the Mech-suit to the way he handles each encounter, this is a very very different Batman and I found that quiet exciting.

As touched on above. It’s not just Jim going into a fight wearing a Bat mask and a smoke in his mouth, no for one this Batman uses a gun………. of sorts. it shoots out batarangs which helps Jim make up for his lack of throwing skills. As mentioned above, yes Jim even has a mech-suit. Its agile and quiet strong, comes in different colours and has bunny ears. It has a few surprises and features we learn about more as the story goes along. It’s like a Bond Car with all its special secrets. On top of all the new gadgets and suit’s, Jim has a team of ‘professionals’ in his ear giving him advice through every battle and conflict. There are also a few more gadgets I’ve not mentioned. But I don’t want to spoil it all for you.
The main villain is a interesting fellow. We get the impression early on that he is just a dealer of sorts to criminals in need of an extra kick over their rivals. However as the story concludes we learn there is more to this guy than earlier assumed.

The thing that I loved, was seeing a refreshing take on how ‘Batman’ finds all the clues to who and how the Villain operates. Normally with Bruce’s Batman, it was bad cop through n through but Jim spices up things with a little bit of empathy on some of the thugs.
I found myself at the beginning underestimating Jim’s Detective skills and knowledge of the city and all its residents. But don’t be mistaken, Jim is a smart cop and the skills that earned him the rank of commissioner are (more so than almost ever before) on show.
Scott Snyder is one of my favorite writers and it had been awhile since I read any of his work. Its clear even early on in Volume 8 that this guy knows how to write and he knows how to write Batman.
If him and artist Greg Capullo joined forces for the rest of their careers I would be a happy man.

Fantasizing aside, Batman Vol 8 is a good starting point to anyone looking to get into Batman. Jim shows us that a Batman can work within the law and still kick ass. I gotta keep reading to find out if Jim can not only be a Batman… But become the Batman.

Fables Vol 1 – Reviewed by Tyrone Burns


Fables Vol 1.

Are you an old school Disney fan? Did Beauty and the Beast both terrify and enchant you as it did me? Does Snow White’s relationship with the Seven Dwarfs confuse you?  Did Maleficent’s harrowing death in Sleeping Beauty haunt your dreams? Do you remember being a child acting as the giant in Jack and the Beanstalk yelling FEE-FI-FO-FUM or was that just me? These classic Fairy Tales were made famous in the last century thanks to family friendly Disney films that were written well before their movie adaptations, and were originally much darker and full of mature themes.

The Fables series continues that dark tone but with a modern twist. The time period is near present day and most of the Fairy Tale creatures we know and love are now living in New York. These famous characters have to live among us non magical folk (Mundanes) in disguise. Pushed out of their magical worlds by an enemy only known as the Adversary and his army. The remaining magical beings were forced into hiding in the only place the Adversary doesn’t seem bothered with; the Mundane world.


Being a video game fan at heart I remember playing Telltales The Wolf Among Us (based in the Fables Universe) a year ago and loving it. I had been introduced to the world and these famous characters in a new and surprisingly logical light I wasn’t expecting. The game was cleverly done and I remember promising myself I would read the comic series to see if it matches the games intelligent story and fresh approach to old faces.

Who Killed Rose Red? That is the question that starts the comic series off. The who did it, detective/crime vibe I get from the story reminds me of old TV classics like Columbo and Quinsy.

In Vol 1 you closely follow Sheriff Bigby Wolf (the Big Bad Wolf) as he goes on an interesting journey to find out who killed Rose Red (Snow White’s sister).
We meet new and old faces along the way and I can guarantee that there are a couple that are shown in new ways that will totally surprise you. Sometimes I was In shock with how they treated old classic characters to then think and realise …. the new interpretations actually make perfect sense and stay very much true to the original characters personalities.

Fables Vol 1 collects issue 1 to 5 and is a great read if you love old school fantasy or not.


Planetes Volume 1 – Review by Tyrone Burns

Screen Shot 2016-09-04 at 12.08.10 pm
Planetes Volume 1

Holy Smackaronies! I just could not put this book down. While in Greenlight Comics I remember picking this book up and reading the synopsis, right below that there are some high praise quotes from well respected websites and people including Archie vs Predator! writer Alex De Campi who said Planetes is “My favourite sci-fi comics series of all time”. It was then I thought to myself “well this book should be worth a read” and thank goodness I picked it up. It wasn’t just worth the read, it is now my top read so far this year!

“I respect the selfish dreamers. Without them, space would still be a mystery.”

That is a line from about half way in this epic manga series written and drawn by Makoto Yukimura and it really sets up the tone of Volume 1’s story. Each chapter beautifully opens with a few full colour pages; It just blows my mind this book was written and drawn by the same person. So much talent and thankfully it is all on show on every page.

The journey within is set over the course of 3 years and though based around a team of Astronauts, the story mainly focuses on Hachiroto (Hachi) and his quest/obsession to own his own spaceship. The rest of the team include Yuri: A wise man with a tragic past. He is sort of the ‘Grown up of the group’. Fee: The comedy of the crew. If she isn’t piloting the DS-12 (their Garbage Truck Ship) she is smoking… hell sometimes she is doing both. Tanabe: The heart of the Bunch. Her importance comes more into play as Volume 1 concludes.

Screen Shot 2016-09-04 at 12.06.47 pm

I said to a friend that Planetes is like the movie Gravity except with a deeper story and a stronger heart.
The Japanese are geniuses when it comes to putting multiple themes in one story without it losing focus and direction.
There are moments that are funny, silly, terrifying, heartfelt and sad.
I won’t forget the story I read. It touched me and left me with so much to think about.
Why do “the selfish dreamers dream? Why is it when we are living our dream we then dream of home?
Those are just some of the questions the book asks and I am so thrilled there is more to the story than shown thus far.

If you’re a fan of sci-fi or human exploration and contemplation you need to read Planetes.

This is now my favourite read this year and it is gonna have to take something mighty good to knock this off my number 1 spot.



Nick-bigIf the name Paul Dini isn’t familiar to you then the man’s body of work certainly will be. He is one of the driving forces behind Batman: The Animated Series, considered by many to be the greatest animated adaptation of a comic character that we have had to date. He is also credited alongside Bruce Timm with creating Harley Quinn, arguably one of the most popular characters of the modern era.

This is Dini’s autobiographical story detailing his desperate emotional and physical journey following a vicious mugging in late 1993. From the start he pulls no punches: with surprising honesty, he establishes his younger self as a troubled workaholic. He finds himself in yet another clichéd Hollywood relationship with a wannabe
starlet who thinks nothing of him beyond his passing celebrity and proximity to men like Steven Spielberg. After a truly depressing pseudo-date he decides to walk home alone and is accosted by two thugs. What follows is a brutal retelling of the night Paul Dini thought he was going to die.

It is the poignant account of his harrowing recovery that make this book a real must-read. The truth is, creative geniuses like Dini carry their creations with them everywhere. Consequently, Batman follows him through his recovery like a dark shadow, alternating between judgemental and aloof, and punching Joker’s lights out as he pulls Dini further into malaise. In Dini’s own words, Batman is ‘a voice I heard in darkness, commanding me to stand up’.

Eduardo Risso’s (of 100 Bullets fame) creative talents and noir aesthetic make him the perfect artist for this story. He alternates between the deeply realistic panels in which Dini directly addresses the reader, and the dark, pulp-filled pages detailing the events of the fateful evening. Risso brings stunning versions of Poison Ivy, Mr Freeze, the Joker and many more to the page as Batman’s Rogu
es Gallery come to torment Dini in his darkest hour.
As an autobiographical piece this book is difficult to define, but hard to put down. Expertly written and illustrated, it is very much a tale of overcoming adversary and how the things we carry with us can both tear us down and lift us back up.


Dan-bigI’m reading IN REAL LIFE by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang. Published by First Second Books.

Graphic novels about people playing video games have always attracted me. This is the story of a young girl named Anda who gets into a multiplayer online game called Coarsegold (similar to Warcraft). She finds she is quite good at the game and quickly joins a clan of other players. Her clan’s goal is to kill gold farmers. Gold f13781731_1172974502745233_7777812715736387755_narms are like a sweatshop of people mining in-game gold and selling it for money in the real world and are usually run out of poor countries. Gold farming is not allowed in many online games as it unbalances the system.
Anda learns even though she is just killing video game characters that there is someone
on the other side of the world whose whole life is affected.
The art is awesome and beautifully coloured. I felt the character’s emotions and feelings through the great facial expressions. I smashed this book in one sit down and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes video games and slice of life stories.

Staff Review – Vinland Saga, Volume 1

Mark-bigThe best thing about working in a comic shop is our customers and I have to thank one of them for recommending the awesome Vinland Saga. Thanks JJ!

For some reason I’m going through a vikings phase, bingeing on Vikings, reading books about them, wearing furry underwear and horned hats. So Vinland Saga came at the right time.

You get thrown into the middle of a battle and introduced to the two main characters; the charmingly cunning Askeladd and the young but deadly Thorfinn. You can tell that these characters have a depth and history but starting with the story with a grand battle lets the story unfold and characters build instead of flopping it all out at once.

vinland-saga-6407221The creator, Makoto Yukimura was also responsible for one of my favourite series Planetes. It doesn’t have the angst or wonder that Planetes had, but its more visceral, its about hate, revenge, redemption and power.

The art is good, it veers from realistic to caricature but I don’t mind that, it’s a good story device. The storytelling and aesthetic is flawless. And the writing is deliberate and well paced, by the end of the first volume you get a good understanding of the basic themes and characters but you have no idea where the story is going which is intriguing.
If you haven’t read much manga, this is a good one to start with. 5 out of 5 meads!


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