Tag Archives: Barbara Gordon

Batgirl #21: Review!

12 May

You know, it’s surprising to think that I’ve followed this series for nearly two years.  For that long, it has been going strongly.  And this issue keeps up the pace.

Now, the series has never been phenomenal, but it’s never been really bad either.  It coasts at a nice even pace that is light-hearted and fun.  There is a bright spot in the Batman universe and that is Stephanie Brown.

In this issue, Bryan Q. Miller puts Batgirl up against another college student member of The Scythe.  The endgame is rather unclear on what The Scythe will do, but we know that they are not out to kill Batgirl.  Instead, they are pursuing their own means for some sort of benefactor.  I find this rather interesting because the goal isn’t necessarily to kill the hero or even hurt them, it’s instead to go about their business and hope for no further interruptions.  But, interruptions they get in the plentiful as Stephanie kicks some ass.

There is also the side plot of Wendy Harris and she makes a decision that will take her out of the immediate picture (I’m sure the side quest will be shown in further issues) which effectively leads Stephanie out on her own.  Overall, there is tight plotting.

However, I can’t help but to think that this series will work so much better as a trade.  I tend to forget exactly what is going on from month to month and it leads me a little confused right at the beginning.  So, this will definitely lead to more re-reads.The inker also has some fun on a couple of panels making things a little muddier and impressionistic.

Overall, interesting story that’s compelling but doesn’t necessarily wow.

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Detective Comics #873: Review!

26 Jan

Scott Snyder and Jock have made Detective Comics a must-read series.  What’s even more impressive?  He did it in three issues.  Hell, I was hooked even after the first issue (#871).

Sure, my one criticism from the first issue was that the story was moving too fast, and it does.  But, somehow, there is so much frenetic energy crammed into the first part and the third part of the arc that it makes up for being a little jumpy.  Some other commentator’s criticism of the second part of the arc was that it actually went too slow and that it was all just lead up to 873 which I can understand, but I thought that was probably the best issue of the three.

Nevertheless, let’s just focus on this one.

Dick Grayson, now Batman (of Gotham City), discovers that there’s an underground cadre of Gotham elite who like to go to auctions for super villain stuff.  Dick interrupted this process last issue as they were selling off the crowbar that beat Jason Todd to death.  Sure, he was in disguise, but they figured it out.  So, in the end, Dick got poisoned and had to escape quickly.  We find out through pieces that he was saved by Tim Drake and that Barbara Gordon nursed him as he recovered from the toxic gas.  Dick fights through his fragile state and goes after The Dealer (the one in charge of the auctions).

What will probably be an underrated part of the comic is Snyder’s ability to nail the relationship between Barbara and Dick even through a freaky dream sequence.  It’s this humanism that really grounds the story even when it gets all sorts of crazy.  And boy, does it get awesome-crazy (as opposed to crazy-awesome which just isn’t good enough).

Who better to capture that “frenetic energy” mentioned earlier than Jock?  He makes it such a lively book full of action and expression.  Truly, words cannot fully capture the wonderful impact he makes on the book.  It’s phenomenal.

This is a series that is definitely worth checking out, and it gets back to the basics of being an action, adventure, and detective comic.  How appropriate.

Batman: The Return – Review

19 Nov

This comic started out really neat.  I mean, you get to see bats fighting! Bats!  That’s right, bats in a Batman comic!  Hurrah!  This lovely lead-in to the main feature balanced pretty well.  And then, onto the main feature, we get Bruce Wayne back at his old tricks BUT BIGGER.

Now, this section seemed a bit rushed especially since I figured Bruce’s briefing of the Bat Family would last a bit longer with Red Robin at least getting a few good lines.  Nevertheless, this was about Bruce.  Except, then it went to Bruce and Damian in ridiculous robot costumes.  I couldn’t tell if they were inside the robot or outside or whatever until a decent amount into the scene.  A nearly forgettable character is introduced along with the criminal organization that will face off against Batman Inc.  I’m intrigued but not overly excited.

I suppose my biggest complaint was all of the unnecessary extra content.  It basically goes “oooh… here’s the original pencils!  Now, here are the inked pencils!  Oh, new designs!  Golly gee this is fantastic!  Let’s throw in some of the finalized scripts!  Yipee!”  Now, I’m not going to complain and be like “hey, you should have offered me more pages of art!”  But, at the very least, they could have offered some of the bonus material on their The Source website, cut it out of the comic, and raised the price down a dollar.  That would have made me much more pleased.

Nevertheless, the comic itself was decent, and it functions as a good kickoff to the new era of Batman.

Tiny Titans #33: Review

3 Nov

Okay, so, I’ve occasionally flirted with Tiny Titans.  Each time, I’ve come away with a great experience.  It’s adorable.  It’s genius.  Plus, it has so many easter eggs that it will fulfill every diehard fan’s needs while still being easily accessible to the general public.

This comic is perfect for kids and adults (and everything in between).

This particular issue follows a special love of mine: Robin(s).  As in, the second half to Batman.  My second favorite comic book character of all time is Tim Drake.  So, imagine my love upon seeing him on the cover.  Sure, his iconic costume (and the one costume that actually looks like a Robin) was short lived, but I love it.  Nevertheless, this issue focuses on the first Robin: Dick.  Or, as the other titans (and Alfred) like to call him: “Robbie”.

It begins with the new Robins being dropped off at the daycare and follows them giving out a Robin costume to everyone: including Stephanie and Carrie.  Also another spoiler is Cassandra Cain and a certain real son of Bruce Wayne.  Now, keep this in mind, you do not need to know about these people in order to enjoy the comic!  It just helps.

Much of the humor derives from everyone wearing a Robin costume and “Robbie” feeling left out.  So, he dons the godawful 80s Nightwing costume, and it is HILARIOUS.

This comic is great and accessible.  Sure, it helps to know some of the inside jokes, but it nonetheless delights!

A whole new slew of comic reevus

9 Jun

Well, I didn’t get comics for a month or so… There was a lot waiting for me.

Unfortunately, I forgot to pick up Grizzly Shark and Sea Bear, Return of Bruce Wayne #2, and my LCS still hasn’t received Tales of the TMNT #69.

Overall, I was fairly pleased with my pulls, and I even went out on a limb and bought some Marvel which was, surprisingly, really good.

So, let’s start it off with the bad and move towards the awesome:

Green Lantern #54:

It’s really unfortunate that most of these scenes in this book were sort of seen in others (mostly Brightest Day), and I’m a little tired of Green Lantern.  Honestly, this book is testing my patience.  It looks pretty and Doug Mahnke does his best with trying to make the Star Sapphire costume look not so slutty, but I feel like Geoff Johns is just trying to outdo himself with the next big, cosmic event.  Therefore, character studies are shot down for a rather boring plot.  And Lobo, seriously?  I’m giving this comic three more tries.  If it fails twice in those three times, then it’s out.

The best part of this comic, though, was Dex-Star (the Red Lantern Cat) kicking some ass.

Batgirl #11:

I’ll begin this by mentioning that there isn’t anything inherently wrong with this issue.  I feel like Bryan Q. Miller is doing a knockout job developing a voice for Stephanie.  Sure, Lee Garbett & Pere Perez’s pencils sort of make Stephanie’s boobs fluctuate size on a nearly frame by frame basis, but the art’s overall good.  Everyone’s doing a good job.  My problem is that the comic is doing things that have been done before.  Sure, these are all sort of training exercises for Stephanie, but the stakes are obvious and I don’t feel like there’s any real big threat.  The Calculator is nice, but that’s more so Barbara’s villain.  Is Stephanie going to get any of her own.

As far as dream sequences go, this was one of the more interesting ones out of the thousands out there in comic land.

Girl Comics #2:

I feel like this comic should be longer than it is.  I feel like there should be more stories in it.  Hell, I’m being charged $5 goddamn dollars for it, I might as well get some more stories.  Plus, what’s up with the shipping delay?

Alright, refocus on what’s actually here in the comic.  Unfortunately, it was hit and miss.  I enjoyed the intro again even if it felt like I was rereading the intro from before (I really liked the variation of She-Hulk’s costume).  The Inhumans was kinda bleh.  However, I really liked the hairdressing story because it didn’t really feel like it was shoving the issue of “hey, girls like to get their hair done!” but more so a thing that they do that shows a different aspect of their lives.  I liked the art and coloring on the “Do You Ever?” story even if the script was a bit lacking.  The two page spread of MJ searching for another superhero boyfriend was delightfully taking stabs at the machismo behind many male superheroes which made me pretty giddy.  The Dr. Strange story was a major disappointment.  I just did not understand what was going on.

So, overall, okay, but nothing major.

Batman #700(!):

Alright, I had to dish out the $5 on this landmark issue.  I figured it would probably not be that great, but, strangely, I found it to be pretty gosh darn good.  Now, let me preface it with me walking home 3 and a half miles in the rain worrying about my comics getting wet.  Then, it began pouring – like Puget Sound every day in February pouring – and I sought refuge.  Enter coffee shop and a warm chai.

I opened it up, and found this time-spanning narrative not confusing but, despite being defined by time periods, timeless.  Grant Morrison hit the mark on portraying that, no matter what, there will always be a need for a Batman in comics/the comic world.  Naturally, Frank Quitely’s frenetic energy in his section made a major impression.  It was unfortunate that he couldn’t finish the whole “Today” section.  I feel like they could have simply put a “Tonight” label after the switch to slightly differentiate between the artists and acknowledge the change up.

Now, I’m not a fan of Damien becoming Batman in the future.  Particularly because I think the transition would be too easy for the character… and I don’t like his batsuit.  So, that part was kinda “hmm meh” for me.  However, 2-Face-2 was hilarious as was the final joke.

The “And Tomorrow” section was genius showing off all the different Batmen that have come, gone, or will pass.  I really like the Full masked, silver-emblazoned one.

Overall, this is a pretty good story for a Batman fan with a little bit for everyone.  Sometimes, it didn’t hit the mark.  When it did, though, it was lovely.

Heralds #s 1 & 2:

After reading Kelly Thompson’s review of Her-alds, I decided to give it a try.  And, honestly, I am so glad I did.

Some Superheroes who just all happen to be women get together through an interesting means, and then, all of a sudden, a clones (of scientists and historical figures creating some funny moments with Einstein and later Hitler), Dinosaur, chaotic thing happens.  They bond together over fighting and then come together in the second issue over Frankie Raye and how she plays in the overall importance of recent events.

The art on these issues is amazing.  Some commentators (anonymous comments on other people’s reviews) have said that the art style is too indie or doesn’t differentiate between the women.  I would have to counter this by stating that I am not familiar in any depth with the majority of these characters, and I could tell them apart through facial differences.  Plus, I really like the slim, short-haired She-Hulk.  I mean, she’s lean but with lots of muscle.  Who’s to say the Gamma radiation has to make her bulky just to give her immense strength?

At times, the plot can be a little overwhelming and the dialogue quick, but another read through brings along more enjoyment.  Trust me, the first read is still just as good as you’re briskly trying to read what’s next.  This got me to chuckle aloud, which, as said numerous times before, is a hard thing to do.  Check out the Thompson review to see some pages from the actual book to see the interior art.

Red Robin #13:

Tim Drake-Wayne.  Marriage fake.  Identity.  New duds.  Checklists.  Hard Decisions.  Worth it?

I know that this comic is worth it.  You barely have to be knowledgeable about Tim Drake or this series to still really enjoy it, and the twist is wonderful.  God, I love this comic (and the writer switch – Fabian Nicieza who’s written Tim Drake before – hardly altered anything; a nice transition).

Invincible #72:

Within the Invincible Universe, I feel like Kirkman is at his best with writing violence.  I believe this also probably gives Ryan Ottley much more to play around with.  Anyone noticed the similar attacks Conquest utilizes?  Come on, the frames are nearly the same.

This issue completely surprised me in a good way.  The melodrama’s out of the way, and now it’s just super hard hitting and awesome.  I never knew breathing could be so great!

The Walking Dead #72:

God, does Kirkman know how to nail that final page for every issue.  I mean, it also works really fluidly during the trades, too.  Still, I just love it.

This issue focuses pretty heavy on the adjustment process with emphasis on Michonne, Andrea, and Glenn.  Um, yeah… mostly my favorite characters.  It’s nice to not see any zombies for a bit; although, I’m sure that will change next issue.  This is just such a consistently great comic.

Wait… what happened? New comics…

18 Apr

I just spent a considerable amount of thought power writing my review of Kick-Ass, and now I just feel like bitching about something.  What better way to get my need for bitching about something than the slew of goddamn awful comics that came out in the last two weeks!?

Brightest Day #0:

Wow… I’m pretty sure DC just lost me as a customer of Brightest Day (excluding the first issue to get the last promotional ring) with this trite shit.  Honestly, I felt like I was looking at the solicitations for the next three months in comic form.  This was purely a promotional stunt and it made me feel pretty fucked over, honestly.

First up, the art is mediocre.  I can’t completely blame this on Fernando Pasarin because he also happened to have six (SIX!!!!) inkers on his work.  Way to piss all over making the art look continuous and flowing.  Nevertheless, Pasarin still had pretty bad facial expressions and ruined the refreshing portrayal of Mera (along with the writers… which is a little weird since Johns penned both) by Ivan Reis in Blackest Night.

Despite not actually knowing why Deadman’s still wearing his costume but just wearing a trench coat to cover it, the first 6 pages of the comic are the best because I like slow pacing to comics… and birds… Anyway, it’s all downhill from there as we cut instantly to the typical “hot naked woman waking up from bed to find that the husband is gone and she goes out to find him for some more nookie” scene.  How many times have I seen this?  Oh, I don’t know, somewhere up there in the couple hundreds.  Mera is no longer the strong, badass character, and now she relies fully on the man in the relationship.  She has gone from D-line to A/B-line back to about roughly C-line.  Seriously, covering up her naked, smiling body with bubbles as she dives into the ocean and still somehow manages to have an extraordinary amount of cleavage!? How the fuck is that possible?

A couple of not interesting things, then Maxwell Lord’s thing which was actually pretty badass.  Then we go to mars and see basically the most times J’onn J’onzz has ever smiled in about 4 pages.  Some more shit.  Some shitty shit.

THEN STAR CITY’S DESTRUCTION BEING IN THE SHAPE OF A STAR AND TURNING INTO A FUCKING FOREST.  Fucking dumb.  Fuck!  Ooh, and some even more Sinestro on top of that.  Then some more T & A and posed pictures for little boys to jack off to in the previews section.

Honestly, this hurt really bad.

I like how Boston Brand is the main character.  I don’t like how out of 3600 sectors the only ones revived were from 2814 (earth, basically) after so much death in Blackest Night.  I don’t like what’s happening.  Blackest Night was decent.  This is shit.

Invincible Returns:

How about we call this: A bunch of reasons why Invincible shouldn’t kill any more and why Cecil is a manipulating bastard and Atom Eve is still pregnant (surprise!) and let’s change back into an older costume!

Invincible is usually fairly reliable to land in the 3-5 star range, but this little reason gathering before Invincible enters the long-awaited Viltrumite War with a really bad recap back up was pretty damn awful.  There was just soooooo much text, and the action sequence thrown in was completely stilted and awkward.  There really was no furthering of the plot here and it just gave us more of what we already knew as regular readers.  In that sense, this would probably be considered a jumping on point for the series.  However, I would definitely not start reading Invincible based after this book.  It’s terrible and pretty, “hey, remember how awesome that was!?… well, something else awesome and surprising is going to happen… buy our book!”

Egh.  At least it had better, more original art than Brightest Day.

The Flash #1:

I bought this so I could get the Flash Ring which actually fit way better than any of the Corps rings.  Anyway, I won’t be being the second issue.  This comic, along with Flash Rebirth, still does not make a very convincing argument for the need to bring Barry Allen back.  Nevertheless, I’ve accepted the fact and moved on.  The problem with this issue is that the writing is really, really, really fucking bad.  I think Geoff Johns was probably sleeping and his drool wrote out this and he decided it would be great and thanks drool.  The only thing holding this issue up is Francis Manapul’s art.  Even then, though, I have some problems.  All of his faces sort of look the same after awhile unless they’re a main, main character or are of a different age range.  I like the clean, refreshing, and younger appeal of the new Barry Allen and what not, but there are some problems.  Nevertheless, Manapul brings a light to this comic that is missing in the writing and really knows how to portray speed in an interesting way.  I’m quite a big fan of the single page spread directly before the silent pacing page then the 2 page reveal of time-travel.  He’s running through traffic and has to jump up in order to miss getting hit by a car and I love his facial expression afterward.  It’s a really well designed page.

What really made me upset, though?  It was the two page teaser for next year’s Flash-event that Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert are doing.  Frankly, it looks really dumb, and the only reason I might read it is because of the White Lantern involved.  Otherwise, it just looks like a time-travel clusterfuck and nothing really fresh or new.

Batgirl #9:

A decent set-up issue for another storyline with good work on writing and pencilling duties.  Some really good work on characterization.  Nothing special, though, and that was my main problem with it.  Once again, Barbara Gordon’s hair as the strange capacity to change length and style on a whim.  They are creating a nice niche for Stephanie in Gotham that I’m appreciating.  However, a flood?  Hasn’t Gotham had enough natural disasters?  Why are people still living there?

Red Robin #11:

You know? Ra’s Al Ghul is such a badass.  This comic continues Ra’s targeting everyone who ever mattered to Bruce Wayne and Tim Drake-Wayne to get back at Tim for his betrayal.  Things continue to build in this issue (I actually thought this was the conclusion to the storyline, but I’m actually pretty glad for another issue) and my only problems were some coloring errors and Vicki Vale somehow being able to take out some League of Assassin trained ninjas.  So, some uncharacteristic things.  I enjoyed the quick face off between Tim and Damien which was lovely illustration.  Once again, torture comes up as an issue in this one, and it’s very interesting.  I really believe Marcus To is going to be great and I’m glad he’s on this book.  Like Batgirl, though, nothing extraordinary.  The comic is still a little messy, but with some cleaning up on both sides of the spectrum, it really could be great.

Batman and Robin #11:

I couldn’t find the awful Frank Quitely cover that the main comic was printed with because it’s bad.  You know? I’m glad this comic is only $2.99.  Otherwise, I wouldn’t buy it.  Morrison does provide a strong amount of twists and turns in this comic, but a dollar more just wouldn’t be worth it.  I really enjoy Andy Clarke’s visual style because it’s so distinctive within comics (despite it resembling a modern take on the many block prints of the early 20th and late 19th century).  Nevertheless, I really don’t like his design of Talia Al Ghul.  Morrison’s brief description countering claims of the even more expansive cavework underneath the mansion after the earthquake a couple years before is a little frustrating.  Well, his work with batman is a little frustrating.  Yet, he somehow manages to make it entertaining.  So, kudos for that.

Nothing extraordinary… and a lot of bad… and I need to go and eat.

Bat Family Comics: Early March

15 Mar

A short crossover between two titles and the thrilling beginning to the RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE (ugh…).  This was an interesting week for the Bat-verse.

Batman and Robin #10:

What a massive sword for such tiny arms

Well, this was a fairly more text-heavy issue of the comic.  It had some bright moments like Alfred adjusting the temperature to the Batmobile or Damien actually showing some positive emotion.  I’m intrigued by Oberton Sexton.  I like watching Dick get all detective-y and try to inspire Damien to do it too.  I’m a little disappointed that Damien has been brainwashed.  I love the inks and the shading by Andy Clarke even if he draws Damien a little too old and some of the angles are a little awkward (see Talia sitting on her throne).

Overall, I guess I’m along for the ride… even if the Library is too massive.  Even if I find it to be a little dumb that Bruce Wayne couldn’t even recognize himself in some of the portraits of his family.  Even if the Wayne Mansion was basically destroyed and now all of a sudden there are hidden rooms being found (especially when you would think that Bruce Wayne as a contingency plan for everything making it seem likely that he’d have the entire mansion sonar-ly mapped out).

Overall:

Batgirl #8:

Motorcycle race: GO!

You know what’s strange?  Batgirl was more badass in Red Robin #10 while Red Robin was more of a badass in Batgirl.

I at times either love or hate the art in this issue.  It just seems like the scratchiness really serves it while noses can come off too pointy.  Plus, I’m pretty sure Stephanie’s boobs change sizes probably 8 times.  The reveal of her in a strapless dress has some nice inking, but her boobs are suddenly gigantic when, for the most part, before they were well contained in her costume.  Does her costume just serve as a massive sports bra? I don’t understand.  The inks really vary in this issue which throws me off.

The best part is really the writing.  Bryan Q. Miller has captured Stephanie Brown’s voice that I think no other writer really has before.  It’s both funny, emotional, and strong.  Where the art fluctuates in its quality, the writing stays consistently great.

Red Robin #10:

Oh, Memories...

I like how the cover actually shows that characters grow up in comics.  Anyway, like I said before, Tim may be all super smart and figure out Ra’s Al Ghul’s plan in this comic, but it is Stephanie who truly shines.

The first scene is completely badass and got me to chuckle a bit with pure excitement at seeing Stephanie finally outclass Tim.

Ra’s Al Ghul is at his best in this issue, but I don’t really see why he actually meets Tommy Elliott/Hush/Bruce Wayne stand-in in person.  This is totally against his style of being in the shadows.  Nevertheless, he is a menacing badass, and I love it.

On one hand, I’m really sad to see Chris Yost go because his run on this book has been great with 3-4 issue arcs all building onto each other for a massive story and actually showing the grim Tim Drake finally coming back to his older roots of being at least partly cheerful.

I am so happy that Marcus To is on this book.  He is a really underrated artist at the moment.  Sure, some of his angles are pretty conventional, but he is on the right track to being one of the greats.  His style is simplistic, but he has great shading (congrats to Ray McCarthy for inking) and is very respectful of all characters.

Two simple artistic problems happened in this issue which is mostly the fault of an editor for not catching.  1. Stephanie’s dress is different from the party than in Batgirl (both books were probably being drawn at the same time making it hard to coordinate the designs), and, on page 5, Tim’s Robin costume is a hybrid between his original and his Post-Superboy death one.  I think this is mostly because the colorist messed up, but who knows.

Overall, it was a fun read that made me crave more pages afterward.