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Justice League #27 Review

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Writer:James Tynion IV

Pencils:Javier Fernandez & Bruno Redondo

Colors:Hi-Fi

Confronted, captured, and forced to relive his worst memories, Martian Manhunter struggles to see what’s truly at play here. That is until a trusted friend and former spy makes a dramatic entrance to rescue her leader and stop a mad scientist from building an army of Apex Predators.

Meanwhile as the Martian and the Thanagarian fight to stop the rise of the machines we see the Justice League team up with the World Forger to find one of his brothers in hopes that together they will be enough to battle Prepetua and redeem our Multiverse, before the arrival of the Judges of The Source. If that isn’t enough to entice you I don’t know what it. Well I guess there’s also the surprise offer made from the most unlikely of people, but what does this mean and will it lead us to Justice or Doom?

Justice League 27 is just like the previous issue being handled by the more than capable writing of James Tynion the fourth. If you didn’t know that going into this read than I wouldn’t blame you, especially since a lot of what is discussed in this story links in several elements from Scott Snyder’s last big epic story Dark Nights Metal. It even brings back a character who appeared in Metal but we really weren’t told why he was in Metal and I think his appearance here is that very reason. Which shows us just how much long term planning must be going on behind the scenes with James and Scott, something I truly appreciate as a reader.

Dark Nights Metal isn’t the only post Crisis event that’s mentioned in this story as we also get a very quick and pretty cool recap of several Crisis events from DC Comic’s long and rich history told to us by some of the players who were integral to those stories just as they are likely to play a big role in this grand tale to come. My favorite part about this moment is seeing the reaction of the Justice League who don’t all fully remember these events due to the tempering of the timeline that has been messed with from these Crisis’s, Barry’s Flashpoint and Dr Manhattan’s meddling of time and even if they are just small details in this story, I was very glad to see them here.

My only issue with this book is the inconsistency of the artwork which is being handled by two artists and I’m not sure if that is the reason we see so much change throughout the pages on how the characters are drawn, and how little focus and detail is here. I can say that sadly this took away from my overall view of this book which is unfortunate because I know both artists are great and are capable of delivering so much more. I would like to point out that there were several pieces of art that I did really enjoy and I thought that there was still plenty of good panels here especially the action scenes that felt like they had more time to be worked on and it showed.

Ultimately I really enjoyed the brief story we were giving here as it had plenty of big and small moments that all pieced together what is becoming another all time great in the making and I for one cannot wait to see what this creative team has planned for us and to see what this offer could mean going forward for the Justice League.

Heroes in Crisis #7

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Writer: Tom King

Art: Clay Mann (p.1-6,11,17-19,23-24)

      Travis Moore (p. 8-10,13,14-16,20-21)

      Jorge Fornes (p.7,12,22)

Cover: Mitch Gerads

Color: Tomeu Morey

Letters: Clayton Cowles

This is the issue I feel like most people have been waiting for. Heroes In Crisis covers a lot of ground at a fast pace. I look at it as a play with 2 acts and an intermission, whose acts just happen to coincide

ACT 1: Wally

The issue opens with Wally standing in a field of flowers reminiscing on his wedding with Linda. He starts by saying “I go back sometimes and watch her. Us. Up there. More than sometimes. She’s so beautiful.” King does an excellent job this issue of really exploring how “not ok” Wally is. We see more of his Sanctuary interviews, four to be exact, With each one, we see that Wally is moving closer to edge of snapping. On day one he is open and willing to work through his problems like any Flash would, Fast. One week in and we see Wally reciting the names of those who he lost due to Flashpoint and Rebirth. His wife Linda, and his kids Iris and Jai. In his second week Wally explains what he has learned so far. I found a few of the things Wally said to be very damning for his uncle and mentor Barry Allen. “We learned that I modeled my life on my beloved uncle Barry. “…Who died when he ran too fast to save the world. Leaving me alone.” “And as soon I accepted I was alone and could go on alone, he came back” “Oh, and I had this whole family and love and stuff. I keep talking about that. And they got crushed by a time crisis multi something. Which was caused by Barry.” Everything that Wally is currently experiencing in his mind can be traced back to the choice Barry made to alter the time-stream. Clearly Dr. Manhattan played a role in that as well, but this isn’t a review for Doomsday Clock. Wally is still standing in the field of flowers and he is planting the rose that Harley threw off the bridge in issue #2, which was her tribute to her lost friend Poison Ivy. He plants the rose while reciting a poem that Linda read at their wedding that is now lost to time. He snaps his fingers and lightning strikes the flower. He explains that Gnarrk explained the poem as meaning “Out of love, everything grows.” The flower grows and bursts open and we see a healthy Poison Ivy emerge. Wally apologizes to Ivy who is confused and thanking him for saving her. He then explains he’s sorry for what she is about to see. Lightning strikes and a second Wally West appears. Wally says “Death. You’ll see my Death.” King isn’t revealing all his cards yet, but we are getting much closer to finding out what happened that day at Sanctuary. The one thing we know for sure is that Wally has been time traveling…A lot. The issue ends with a final Wally Sanctuary interview. His head is buried in his hands and he exclaims “I can’t wait for week four”.

Intermission: The Batcave

Barry Allen wakes up after being knocked unconscious surprise attack by Booster Gold in issue #5. He rushes to the Batcave and explains what happened to Batman. Batman is already monitoring the situation (because of course he is). Throughout the issue Barry is running and checking other continents for the super fugitives. Batman explains that thanks to some help from Rip Hunter he already has some systems in place for tracking Booster. “They’re who they are. They’ll make a mistake”. All of Batman’s alarms go off and they get ready to confront the heroes. I love that DC is having Batman and The Flash team up more. Their dynamic is one I want to see more of.

ACT 2: Blue and Gold and The Dynamicker Duo!

Harley is swinging away at Booster Gold while Blue Beetle and Batgirl look on as watchful parents. They are both willing to let their “kids” play rough but will intervene before it goes too far. Both Harley and Booster think the other is the killer. We have seen both descriptions of their sequence of events at sanctuary. Beetle explains that Booster will be fine because he fixed his shield. The shield is tied to Beetles ship “The Bug”. This means that the shield will operate as long as he is conscious. Batgirl promptly knocks him out with ONE PUNCH. (The J.L.I. fans out there will understand that one) Batgirl tells Harley that Booster’s shield is down and to remember not to kill him. Harley picks up a sharp piece of her shattered hammer and get ready to end Booster. Booster then does something that I honestly didn’t expect him to do, He accepts his fate. He explains that Harley should kill him and that “I failed the future, I failed the past, I failed and failed and failed and failed!”. He tells her again to do it and that he’s ready. Harley lets out a yell and doesn’t kill Booster. They both share a nice moment where they explain that they both “aren’t very good at superheroeing.” The four heroes decide to work together to try and find Wally and help him. They know that time is running out and they need to move quickly. King really understands these characters and it shows in this issue. Booster explains that all the other heroes think their group is a bunch of nothings. That’s why they think Booster and Harley are guilty. Watch out evil because “Blue and Gold and The Dynamicker Duo” are on the case!

Final Thoughts:

Tom King is taking his time and telling the story he wants to tell. This issue provides a lot of insight into where his story is headed. He’s taking heroes that are underappreciated and putting them in the spotlight. Booster and Harley have both been through a lot and I truly feel like King will have both of them coming out of this the better for it. Trauma and loss are difficult subjects for a comic to cover and King is doing an excellent job. Superheroes need help too. For now Wally West lives and I sure hope he stays that way.

Detective Comics #1014

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Peter J. Tomasi, writer

Doug Mahnke, pencils

Keith Champagne & Christain Alamy, inks

David Baron, colors

Rob Leigh, letters

Recap

In the previous issue, Batman confronts Mr. Freeze, attacks, which leads to an action-packed high-speed chase over a frozen lake bed. Mr. Freeze gets away; however, Batman rescues three women from Freeze’s hideout who were previously captured and frozen. This issue, Batman continues to assess and investigate the evidence he gathered during his previous encounter with Freeze. Meanwhile, Mr. Freeze helps his wife Nora make the transition back to full consciousness. She is shocked thinking that she was dead due to cancer. Mr. Freeze instructs her that he made a great sacrifice to keep her alive. 

This story hinges on the dynamic between Nora and Mr. Freeze and the audience connecting with Mr. Freeze’s motives for keeping Nora alive. This part of the story is grounded in Mr. Freeze’s reality; that he couldn’t envision life without Nora and that’s why he went to the extreme of freezing her. The connection between the pair feels real but rushed.  At the end of the issue Freeze and Nora are pictured breaking into Wayne enterprises together. It’s a hard sell for me. How could Nora be able to make an adjustment from being frozen and living in a tube to participating in an attack on a building? 

The investigation work in the Batcave and later at Wayne enterprises is very interesting in it’s analysis of Freeze’s technology and builds heavily on the lore that Batman is DC’s greatest detective. The strength of this sequence to the methodical and careful approach Batman employs. It’s very interesting to see Batman uncover and peace together the evidence. 

The art in this issue is solid. Visually, the half panel that pictures Nora and Freeze embracing once she’s fully awake, is the highlight of the issue. I struggled to differentiate Alred while he was wearing The Flash’ mask but it was funny and potentially layered, as The Flash is a good detective, as well.  

Overall 8/10

Final Impressions

This issue is another classic Batman investigation story. The twist involving Freeze, his advanced use of technology, and his connection to the larger Year of the Villain storyline is interesting. The connections to Nora’s past and her battle with cancer give the issue emotional depth. I recommend this book to fans of the classic Batman stories. 

Justice League #22 Review

Writer: James Tynion The Fourth

Art and Cover: Francis Manapul

Letters: Tom Napolitano

Release date: 04/17/19

 Let’s be honest, we all love a great villain. They make the story exciting and give us a reason to question whether or not our favorite heroes will make it out alive. Quite frankly, the Legion of Doom could easily be considered one of the most fearsome villain team ups in all of pop culture. This latest run of Justice League has shown them gaining the upper hand on more than one occasion over the League. So, whenever James Tynion takes the reigns for a special Legion of Doom takeover issue, I know we’re in for a devilish treat. This issue just might possibly be the best yet.

  Anybody familiar with DC lore knows just how extensive and complex it can be and well, this issue gives us our first look at quiet literally the beginning of it all. Tynion gives us a brief history lesson of the first three beings to exist in the DC Multiverse; the World Forger, Monitor, and Anti-Monitor, and how their mother Perpetua fits into it all. One series of panels I particularly enjoyed was the callback to the previous DC event Metal’s main antagonist, Barbatos, and how his initial function was to consume the universes that would not rise to their full potential. Jumping forward billions of years numerous times throughout the book, we ultimately get a look at the rise and fall of Perpetua and just how she came to be sealed within the Source Wall.

  Manapul is able to give us such a vivid idea of just how grand these cosmic beings are. Its not often today an artist will do both pencil work and coloring, yet Manapul seems to be a master of both. During the series of panels in which Perpetua was imprisoned, he and Napolitano do a beautiful job in showing you just how mighty the powers at play are. Seeing Perpetua in her full form makes you wonder just how the League will be able to match her. And how could we forget the special guest who was inside Luthor’s 5th Dimensional mystery box, Bat-mite! That’s right, Batman’s number 1 fan was Lex Luthor’s contingency plan to counter Mr. Mxyzptlk running rampant and unimagining things out of existence, and I’m eager to see how things play out.

In the end, this was not only just an amazing book to read, but an important chapter in the DC history books. Not only do we see the birth of the multiverse itself, but we get to see the embers spark of what many would call the first major comic book event, “Crisis on Infinite Earths”. Tynion wraps things up by chaining all the previous events into todays battle against the Justice League and the Legion of Doom and giving us an idea of how things with Perpetua might play out, but there’s only one way to know for sure.

History of the Marvel Universe #2 Review

Written by: Mark Waid

Pencils & Colors by: Javier Rodríguez

Inks by: Alvaro López

Letters by: Joe Caramagna

“History Of the Marvel Universe” is one of  my favorite things in comics. It’s a line that literally runs through the origins of everything in the Marvel Universe in order, and it explains how it all connects to each other. Mark Waid has done a phenomenal job of stringing together 80 years of history and making it all work for modern readers, familiar and unfamiliar. With the Marvel Cinematic Universe becoming the most successful franchise of all time, it’s a reasonable thought to think that there might be some new readers wandering into comic book stores and picking up Marvel books. 80 years of history though can be really intimidating for a new reader, so to put out a book like this that can catch everyone up to speed about literally everything is a great idea, and putting someone like Mark Waid at the helm is a phenomenal idea as well.

In issue 2 of the “History Of the Marvel Universe,” we get to explore one of my favorite periods in Marvel Comics’ history. We get to analyze the 40’s through the 60’s and take a look at the original incarnation of Marvel’s heroes and how they changed the world. We get to take a deep look at the original Human Torch, Namor, Captain America and Bucky, the origins of Hydra and Nick Fury, and many more things. With artwork by Javier Rodríguez that’s highly reminiscent of the late Darwyn Cooke, we get to look at this era of Marvel through a retro lens that makes you feel like you’re reading the original stories from the beginning of Marvel. This issue specifically is awesome for me because I love this time period and these characters, but this book in general is a must read for fans of Marvel Comics, old and new.

Action Comics #1009

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Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Art/Cover: Steve Epting

Colors: Brad Anderson

Letters: Rob Leigh

Bendis continues his build-up to DC’s next big event “Leviathan”. Someone is taking down all the clandestine organizations and Superman and Lois Lane are caught in the middle of it. Issue #1008 ended with Amanda Waller bursting in on Clark and revealing that she knows his secret identity. She then passes out from the injuries she sustained from the attack on her and General Lane, in the previous issue. Waller is taken to Superman’s fortress to recover from her injuries. This issue follows Superman trying to get to the bottom of the attacks that have taken place. Lois Lane confronts Amanda Waller and gives us one of the most satisfying panels in recent memory. Superman gets assistance on this case from a detective (Not the one you are thinking). After making several stops, Superman returns to the fortress without any answers. Lois suggests that the only way they will find out what is going on is by going undercover. Thanks to Kryptonian technology they are able to change their appearance. Chaz and Andi Donen agents of Spyral are born, and they are looking for answers.

Steve Epting’s art is phenomenal and it’s fun to see his take on several noteworthy DC locations. I also really enjoy how he shows Superman’s X-Ray vision.

Observations:

  • Superman and The Question is an awesome dynamic and I look forward to seeing more of it.
  • I love that Bendis included mention of The Wonder Twins in this issue. “Great Kids”
  • No one should be surprised that Amanda Waller knows heroes secret identities and it shocks me a bit that Superman was.
  • Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane are both getting their own books soon and Bendis seems to be setting that up here.
  • If we don’t get a Matches Malone and a Chaz Donen team up someone is failing.

Final Thoughts: The issue was enjoyable and provided a series of unique character interactions. It’s clear that Bendis is building to something big and I look forward to finding out more. It left me with more questions than answers but I suppose that’s the point

The Flash #76 Explored & Explained

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Video provided by
@KellyOneShot518 a CBL contributor

Flash Forward #1 Review

Writer: Scott Lobdell

Pencils: Brett Booth

Inks: Norm Rapmund

*This review may contain spoilers for Heroes In Crisis*

Even the fastest man alive is finding outrunning his past mistakes difficult. 

Following his loss of control in Heroes in Crisis resulting in the death of multiple fellow heroes, including his best friend Roy Harper, Wally West is left in Blackgate Supermax Prison awaiting trial…or death, he doesn’t really care. However, he is recruited by a cosmic being and thrown into a mission to save the multiverse and possibly find redemption.

Coming out of the Heroes in Crisis miniseries there has been a lot of bellyaching about the perceived “character assassination” of Wally West and that was only amped up with the announcement of this miniseries. Personally I loved the overall route they took with the character in Heroes in Crisis and was excited to see the next step in that arc I.E. this series. I have to say, so far so good.

There isn’t a ton that happens in this issue, but it is almost the perfect first issue to the series. It continues putting the reader into the tormented mind of Wally West and works to make you understand just how far Wally has fallen in his own mind and how it is affecting him. The art throughout the issue is very cramped and claustrophobic and for the majority of the issue it makes sense and adds to the way Wally is feeling. However, I will say there is a shift in the issue where it feels like the art should have expanded out and become less claustrophobic but it doesn’t change style and I thought that was the point where it strayed from being a choice that added to being something that kinda starts to hurt the book. 

Overall, I loved this issue as a first issue of a miniseries and am beyond excited to see where the story takes us. Based on the events of this issue it seems like we’re going to explore the inherent natural draw of a hero to always find a way to return to being a hero even when they don’t believe in themselves and I have a feeling that we are going to get to revisit some great alternate universes from throughout the DCU history and I am here for all of it. I would absolutely suggest going to pick this book up whether you are a Wally West fan or not and whether you enjoyed Heroes in Crisis or not. 

Teen Titans #32 Review

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Adam Glass, writer

Bernard Chang, art

Marcelo Maiolo, color

Rob Leigh, letters

Recap

In the previous issue, Lobo learns that he has a daughter, Crush, who’s a part of The Teen Titans. Lobo pursues Crush, which puts him in conflict with The Teen Titans. After fighting The Teen Titans, he engages in a brutal fight with the daughter he never knew. This issue begins, the Teen Titans regroup after Lobo’s attack. They make plans to ensure that the second conflict turns out different. Lobo attacks, but this time Crush has a weapon that evens the playing field. The epilogue shows and encounter between Lex Luther and Lobo setting up future conflicts with The Teen Titans.  

The last issue ends with a conflict, Lobo versus his daughter. Crush’s anger is understandable; absent, playboy for a father returns unannounced. Lobo’s reaction cements his place as a creep. I was disappointed that the daughter-father story was not explored further or in a different way. There are enough deadbeat daddy and angry daughter stories, we didn’t really need another one.

The art fits the tone of the book and supports the emotional themes around anger, fear, and revenge. However, there were not very many memorable panels. One panel, shows Lobo in the forefront pushing up with The Teen Titans behind him. The picture highlights the position Lobo was forced to take throughout this conflict: The Teen Titans found higher ground due to superior planning and Crush’s Obelus. 

What’s made clear is that Crush and The Teen Titans are resourceful and, given enough time and planning, they can face off against almost anyone in the DC Universe. An epilogue at the end of the issue makes it clear that Lobo and another major villain are coming after The Teen Titans. I am excited about this challenge and how the team will respond. 

Overall = 7.5/10

Final Impressions

If epic, bloody, and violent battles are your thing you’ll love this issue. While the year of the villain looms large, The Teen Titans have already been tested and taken to their limits. I am excited to see how this team responds to their next villain challenger.

Green Lantern #8 Review

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Writer: Grant Morrison

Artist: Liam Sharp

Colorist: Steve Oliff

Letterer: Tom Orzechowski

Editor: Brian Cunningham

When I was 13 I remember reading Hard Traveling Heroes by Dennis O’Neil and Neal Adams for the first time. I loved every page and it opened my eyes up to one of the greatest friendships comics has to offer. I’m of course talking about Hal Jordan and Oliver Queen. So I was very excited when I saw that Grant Morrison and Liam Sharpe were reuniting this pair in their already fantastic Green Lantern run. This issue did not disappoint.

Morrison and Sharp have tapped into a gold mine of creative energy. They’ve found a way to pay homage to the wacky Green Lantern comics of the 70s, while still keeping their story fresh and exciting. This issue is a delight from start to finish. Morrison fills these pages with plenty of awesome easter eggs for DC fans of every generation. Oliver and Hal’s dialogue is smart and so true to the essence of the who the characters are. This issue explores how the two heroes are different and why they work so well together. This being a Morrison book means that it’s bound to get pretty crazy at some point and it certainly does just that. Morrison is able to tell a great self contained story with this book. The pacing is fantastic and it’s impressive how much he was able to fit into one issue. This is largely due to the brilliant work of artist Liam Sharp. His work is so detailed and downright beautiful. A lot of artists make Green Lantern constructs appear see through, but Liam has them appear solid. I love the effect this has and how real it makes the constructs seem. There is a winged horse in particular that blew my mind. If Morrison and Sharp decided to do a Green Arrow/Green Lantern series for the long haul I would add it to my pull list in a heartbeat. I should also add that the last panel of this issue made me very excited for what’s to come.

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