Reviews You Can(not) Use!

Batman and Hawkeye and Krang, Oh My!

Every once in a while (by which I mean all the time) I reference comic books or comic book characters in my blog posts.  I used to just watch comic book movies and play comic book based video games, but then my wife made the mistake of buying me Batman: Cacophony #1, written by Kevin Smith with art by Walt Flanagan.  After that, I was hooked.  I went into a comic book store to buy issue #2 and while I was there I picked up a bunch of other stuff.  If memory serves, I bought a bunch of Marvel books that day.  So if anyone at Marvel is reading this, you can thank Batman and DC Comics for my business (and maybe even more importantly, my wife).

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 I thought that I would honour the medium I love so much by writing reviews of the comics I read recently.  One word of warning:  SPOILERS!!!!  There.  You’ve been warned.

So here we go, off to the funny books!

Detective Comics #19

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Writers:  John Layman (main story and two backups), James Tynion IV (Bane backup story)

Art:  Jason Fabok (main story) and Andy Clarke, Mikel Janin, Henrik Jonsson, Sandu Florea and Jason Masters (backups)

Detective Comics #900 (er, I mean #19) is a giant-sized edition of one of the comic book industry’s longest running titles. Being the 900th edition, the book even has a tagline:  What is the 900?  The answer is simple:  It’s what they call the block in Gotham wear a gas was unleashed that turned everyone into the Man-Bat.  Of course, Batman goes around and smashes some faces in, but ultimately it’s the creator of the Man-Bat virus that sacrifices himself to save the city.  The Man-Bat situation is part of a larger plan being implemented by the Emperor Penguin (different than the regular Penguin) who is being built up as the big bad in Detective Comics.  Also, in one of the backup stories we get introduced to Lady Man-Bat!  Awesome, right?

Overall, my enjoyment of Detective Comics has increased since Layman and Fabok took over this book, but it still isn’t my favourite ongoing Batman title.

My favourite part of this particular issue may be the Bane backup story by James Tynion the 4th (what a great name) and Janin.  It tells the story of how Bane ended up having a run in with the Court of Owls that ruined his plans to take over Gotham.  This story acts as a prelude to the next issue of the Talon ongoing series (also written by the 4th James Tynion).  I was going to stop reading that book, but now that I know that Bane is going to show up, I may give it another chance.  Congratulations Mr. The Fourth, you’ve convinced me to continue reading your book.  Same to you Mr. Layman… but I was probably going to read the next issue of Detective Comics anyway.

Hawkeye #9

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Writer:  Matt Fraction

Artist:  David Aja

What I dig most about this series is that you can pick up any issue and you get a complete story.  You don’t need to read an entire six-issue arc to get a beginning, middle and end, like you have to do with a lot of other books.  I also really appreciate the art, with Aja using a very unique style.  You don’t see any ripped abs like in most superhero books, but you still get a fair bit of detail.  I even dig the colour scheme they use for this title.  I imagine the colourist, Matt Hollingsworth, has something to do with that.

This issue isn’t my favourite of the run, but you get to see some of the women in the Marvel Universe investigate what another woman is doing in Mr. Clint Barton’s life.  Spoilers:  It is not all happy fun times.  Hawkeye has some serious lady problems (and not in a good way).  Anyway, he gets slapped around a couple times by Spider-Woman (I think) and he’s pretty bummed out about it.  He chats to his rooftop buddy and leaves to write a letter or something.  Then things don’t work out for his roof top buddy, but it looks like “Hawkguy” will have an interesting villain to deal with in the future.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Micro-Series #1: Krang

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Writer:  Joshua Williamson

Artist:  Mike Henderson

Finally!  A book dedicated solely to Krang!  My life has been leading up to this moment.  Ok.  Maybe not.  But this book is pretty good (especially for a book that is about a brain alien).

It goes into Krang’s back story and it turns out he has daddy issues, which in itself is interesting.  Did you know that Krang has a dad?  And how exactly do brain aliens breed, anyway?  What I dig about the new TMNT comic series is that they make all sorts of references to the old TMNT cartoons.  If memory serves, in one of the previous books they show human versions Beebop and Rocksteady, and in this one they show the Krang-alien-army wearing suits that look like the Krang suit in the old cartoon.

In the end, Krang impresses his hard to impress father and we get to see how Krang got the suit he wears in the monthly title.  It’s… creepy… to say the least.  I look forward to reading the next villain-themed TMNT micro-series.  Bring on Baxter Stockman!

Batman #19

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Writer:  Scott Snyder (main), James Tynion IV (backup)

Artist:  Greg Capullo (main), Alex Maleev (backup)

In another blog post I wrote about how much I love this series.  This issue continues a long line of great comics.  The first few pages feature Bruce Wayne robbing a bank, taking a hostage and then shooting Jim Gordon in the chest.  Then he (accidently?) reveals himself as Batman to Gordon and proceeds to run him over with a motorcycle.  Crazy, right?  Anyway, you figures out pretty quickly that it probably isn’t the real Bruce Wayne when you learn that Clayface is out and about and making the kind of trouble that only a shape-shifting ball of man-clay can make.  Great writing? Check.  Great art?  Check.  This book (and this series in general) is all win.

What was really a nice surprise was the backup story written by James Tynion IV (that guy is everywhere!) with art by Alex Maleev.  I’m a huge Alex Maleev fan.  My personal favourites are his work on Spider-Woman and Moon Knight (both of which were written by Brian Michael Bendis).  After Maleev’s great work on those books, it’s nice to see him draw the greatest character ever.  What is even better is that he drew a Batman/Superman team-up where Superman gets all weirded-out and sick to his stomach.  Take that Man-of-Weak-Stomach.  Oh, and there is a bright light and a demon or something.  Awesome stuff.

Ok.  That wasn’t too bad.  It was fun, right?  I got to write about comics… you got to read about comics… that’s a win-win I’d say.  Cool.  I’m going to go read some more comics now.  You should do the same.  Go read a comic.  If you’re in Ottawa (or Toronto), you should go to the Silver Snail.  That’s where I go.  Do it!  Do it, I say!

Comics BAMPF!

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3 thoughts on “Reviews You Can(not) Use!

  1. Hawkeye has all the things I love most in comics: urban setting, dark atmosphere, street level and non super-powered leading character, action packed scenes, clever plot, great stage tricks… a 5 stars series, that’s for sure.
    The problem is, it leaves you a bit ruined for other comics. I’ve been searching for other books that reach the same heights but there aren’t many out there.
    One of them is Witchblade. It faced a sort of reboot from issue # 151, and it’s been pure awesomeness each month since then.
    2 other series that can stand comparison with Hawkeye are Green Arrow and Vibe. Green Arrow has a very similar narrative pattern, now that I think about it: it focuses on a street level and non superpowered superhero, and both Green Arrow and Hawkeye have a self-deprecation humor I absolutely adore.

    • I haven’t read Witchblade or Vibe, and I just started reading Green Arrow again once Jeff Lemire started writing it. I wasn’t a fan of the JT Krul stuff (or whoever wrote Green Arrow after him). I’m also a big fan of street level, non superpowered heroes, hence why I love Batman so much.

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