Tag Archives: Batman

DC Future State: The Great

Introduction

Chris clued me into DC Future State. I knew nothing of their plans for…whatever it is. Immediately, we though reboot. DC assured us this wasn’t the case. Okay, must be an event, then. Upon reading the books, I confirmed that with a text to Chris. I don’t remember the exact wording, but I’m pretty sure it was along the lines of, “This isn’t a reboot. It’s not an event, either. The Batman and Aquaman books are just like regular books. I’m so confused.”

Me to Future State: Who-What are you?!

Yes, I just dated myself with yet another reference. This movie is so old and there have been so many movie jokers since that I had to use an oddly specific search term. Plus, as you see, I wrote the text under the meme like some sort of plebian. Living in the future isn’t always the utopia they make it out to be in the movies.

And so, faced with my own mortality and bitter that I spent over 100 dollars on what feels ultimately like a failed reboot that they tried to repackage as an event, I read only the writers I like. Okay, that’s not entire true. I eventually finished the other books for the first round, but I haven’t made it there on the second round of books. And, now, before they move on and act like nothing happened, let’s look at the great from DC Future State.

Catwoman (Ram V and Otto Schmidt)

Joelle Jones and Tom King got me to start collecting Catwoman. I almost bailed after Joelle left and they cycled through writers. Then, Ram V came onto the title and I started collecting and reading voraciously again to support one of my favorite comic writers.

He took up the mantel of Future State Catwoman writer, as well. Ram loves him a heist story. Sure, it fits the character, but the same storyline over and over gets old. Well, guess what? Cats and friends board a train with heist intentions. I admit to liking this story very much. I mention that only because very few of the main title Catwoman titles kept my interest like this one. Hopefully Ram V can keep the inspiration and momentum going and bring back Cats in the main.

Dark Detective (Mariko Tamaki and Dan Mora)

I’ve made no secret of my fan boy love for Mariko Tamaki’s writing. I don’t remember where I discovered her, but her work on X-23 was top notch. Come to think of it, that might have been the first book of hers I read. I watched Logan, loved the portrayal of our favorite Wolverine clone in that and picked up the book based only on that. Hey, cross promotion works! She brought her talents to DC as writer on Wonder Woman and now Dark Detective in Future State. Surprise! Bruce Wayne is dead. Now, from here, I can go one of two ways with an inside joke. I can either use an overused line that one of the Simpsons Facebook groups I frequent and say, “That’s right! Dead serious about going to Itchy and Scratchy Land!” But, I think I’ll go with family favorite, Voldemort.

Spoiler Alert: Bruce Wayne isn’t really dead. Nevertheless, a sinister and possibly evil (aren’t they always!) police force took over Gotham and rule with an iron fist. Tired storyline to be sure, but Ms. Tamaki gives us a compelling storyline in spite of the limited environment. If DC went ahead with Future State instead of making it a tepid collection of one shots, I’d definitely like to see where this book went.

Justice League (Joshua Williamson and Robson Rocha)

Justice League Dark (Ram V and Marcio Takara)

If I’m being honest, I only got this title because of Justice League Dark. You already knew that, though. Imagine my surprise, then, when I saw Joshua Williamson wrote it. I enjoyed his Flash very much and have kept an eye out for his name ever since. This book follows the pattern of the others. We introduce the new Justice League. Some familiar faces in the group, but ultimately it goes nowhere because both DC and Marvel are afraid to take a leap and try something new.

As I wrote to Chris, I get that the market is different, but this whole Future State thing now just feels like the latest 2099 trip, which were simply half assed as a series of one shots. As with that “experiment”, some failed spectacularly. This is supposed to be about the ones that succeeded. This one mostly succeeded. And, Justice League Dark made it worth the price of admission.

Legion of Super Heroes (BMB and Riley Rossmo)

At this point, I only include this one because of BMB’s legacy. After his, let’s say “inconsistent”, runs on Superman and Action comics, I need a break from Bendis. I knew almost nothing about the Legion before this book. I still know very little. I definitely need a break from Bendis.

Swamp Thing (Ram V and Mike Perkins)

I saved this read for last. Chris and I both love the character of Swamp Thing. Honestly, his guest spot in Batman at the beginning of Rebirth cemented my decision to keep collecting DC Comics. You all know that I’m not much of a DC fan, but I always try to give them a chance and the benefit of the doubt.

This title represents all the potential of Future State. It features a lesser utilized character in a bigger role. It gives us a glimpse into a possible future that is both a hopeless post-apocalypse and a hopeful pre-rebirth (pun sort of intended). This is the best title of the lot and it isn’t even close. I can’t wait for the main title.

Wonder Woman (Joelle Jones)

I already said above that the Catwoman ongoing after Rebirth introduced me to Joelle Jones. She wrote the character in such a unique way that it kept me coming back in spite of the fact that I’ve never been a fan of Cats other than maybe Michelle Pfieffer’s portrayal in Batman Returns.

She brings that unique voice and storytelling to a new Wonder Woman. Having little history with the character other than the movie and collecting since Rebirth, I don’t know if this particular Wonder Woman has any history in the series. However, I like the character and wish we got more of her. Oh well, Future State, we barely knew ye.

The Verdict

Overall, DC Future State: The Great delivered. Each writer gave us a compelling story that I wish would be followed up in some form or fashion. You might ask why I only reviewed these books. If you remember, I ordered all of the books. However, other than these and one or two surprises, the books were underwhelming.

I think once I realized that Future State fell into this weird limbo it took some of the luster off of the books. As we all know, don’t count anything as ever completely over in the world of comic books. If DC ever grows a set and decides to follow this thread at some point in the future, it can be great.

DC Comics January 2021: Great, Good, Decent

Introduction

We finally finish out comics week and a half for this month with DC Comics January 2021. I planned on posting this article last week on Friday. I had a busy weekend of playing Minecraft, Lego, and board games with my family. Plus the NFL unveiled their Super Duper Mega Wild Card Weekend. Finally, college football played their national championship game. There’s only so much I can be expected to do in a weekend.

Sure, I should have already had the article written before the weekend, but what is time if not for procrastinating?

And so, it is how I have arrived at nearly a half a week past my self imposed deadline to review DC Comics January 2021. I know you won’t believe me, but I swear it’s not because DC has been a let down these last couple of months. I always go into a new month of comics with an open mind and hope for the best. More often than not, that faith is rewarded. Let’s see if that’s true this time.

The Great

Batman 104 and 105 (James Tynion IV et al): I always feel bad when there are numerous artists on a book because I use the et al tag for them all. They all work hard on these books and they should get credit. By the same token, I mostly read comic books for the writing. However, I don’t want my byline to be two or three text lines, either. None of that is relevant to this review. I just want to be as open and honest as possible.

Now, for the review. As I’ve mentioned several times in the past, James Tynion IV on Batman excited me when I first heard the news. Either high expectations or the reality of the situation or both brought me crashing back to earth. Slowly, but surely, the book got better until Joker War. Since then, the book lived up to that promise. Now, comes Future State. I, again, hope that the book survives the hiatus.

Wonder Woman 768 and 769 (Mariko Tamaki, Rafa Sandoval, and Steve Pugh): Similar to Tynion on Batman, Tamaki on Wonder Woman excited me. Honestly, I enjoyed Wonder Woman for most of the last 2 or 3 years since Rebirth. They hooked me with Rucka and then it stayed just above water enough that I don’t think it ever dipped into “Decent” territory for more than a month or two. Now that Tamaki is on the book, she makes even secondary storylines fun to read.

The Good

Aquaman 66 (Andy Lanning, Ron Marz, and Miguel Mendonca): Like Wonder Woman (is the theme of this article going to be call backs to the previous books?), I started collecting Aquaman because of the movie. Also, I wanted to get in on the ground floor of Rebirth with as many titles as possible. This book hasn’t been as consistently good as Wonder Woman and I considered dropping it a few times. My favorite writer is Deconnick, but Lanning is a good stop gap on these titles, too.

Action Comics 1028 (BMB and JRJR): I make no secret of my distaste for the unholy union of Brian Michael Bendis and the Superman titles. At least this book shows promise every so often. I saw the news recently that he’s moving to Justice League after Future State. So, I will spare you the same old story going forward. Maybe, for old time’s sake, we can resurrect it when he writes Justice League.

Catwoman 28 (Ram V and Fernando Blanco): I texted Chris about this title last week. I saw that Ram V will be writing for Swamp Thing after Future State. We both agreed that his work on JLD has been solid. I then surmised that perhaps Catwoman isn’t a strong enough character for a solo title because his work on the book is solid, but I just don’t like the stories. How many different “heist” issues can you do? I liked this one, though. More of these types of stories, please.

Justice League 58 (Andy Lanning, Ron Marz, and Xermanico): I suppose that Lanning was not a stop gap on Aquaman. He and Marz are cowriting the Endless Winter story. I admit to being skeptical when I saw yet another event in DC Comics with Future State so close. However, I enjoyed this story even if it is just a rip off of Frozen. Which, of course, is a ripoff itself. Aiden even liked it. He asked where the missing issues were. So, maybe I’ll have to find them at the LCS.

Justice League Dark 29 (Andy Lanning, Ron Marz, Amancay Nahuelpan): I will be honest. It wasn’t until I saw that Ram V wasn’t the writer on this title that I realized that Lanning and Marz were cowriting all of the titles in Endless Winter. Not sure why they included this title in the event other than as a send off. Which, by the way, I do not approve. The JLD will still be with us, but only as a bonus story on the main title. What are you doing to me, DC?

The Decent

Detective Comics 1032 and 1033 (Peter J. Tomasi and Brad Walker): When Tynion wrote this title, I loved it. As soon as Tomasi took over, it dropped to the “Good” category. More and more, my enjoyment of the title eroded over time. Some people might like Tomasi. I just don’t Other than the Joker War issues, this book has been forgettable during his tenure. Williamson is taking over after Future State, though, so that’s something to look forward to.

Superman 28 (BMB and Ivan Reis): Action may have had some redeeming stories during it’s run. I did not enjoy this title after the rebrand from Man of Steel. I simply kept collecting for collecting’s sake. Now I can say I have the entire BMB run of Superman. For whatever that’s worth.

The Verdict

As we head into Future State, I’m tentatively optimistic about DC Comics. They are mixing up creative teams, dropping some books, and folding others into bonus stories on more popular titles. The only decision I’m currently angry about is their decision to make JLD a bonus title. I feel like it has been the only consistently good book for them over the last year and a half. As always, thanks for reading my DC Comics January 2021 review and we’ll see you next week for Future State.

MOBILE LOOK AHEAD: A Year of Gaming

Introduction

I started this month of reminiscing about my year of gaming with a mobile look back. (Note: I’m so far ahead of my schedule right now that I can’t link that phrase yet. I’m writing this on Thursday and Friday December 3rd and 4th.) In this article (and for the next three Wednesdays), I’m going to take a look forward in each genre of gaming. Honestly, though, I’m not sure how this mobile look ahead will go.

My phone isn’t quite this bad, but give it time

Seeing as how I’ve finally paid (yet another) price for my Hearthstone tantrums with a broken phone, I haven’t played a single mobile game in at least two months. I think I mentioned in the previous article that I also just ordered a new laptop and I’m eyeing a PS4 bundle for after Christmas. I don’t think a new phone is in my future any time soon. We will see if I end up getting a check for my stipend work. In any case, let’s start this mobile look ahead with the possibilities I’m considering if I can ever afford one.

New Phone Possibilities

Samsung Galaxy S8 – Funny story about my current phone. While it is true that several pieces of electronics have ended because I didn’t properly take care of them (including my current S10), my previous phone was not one of them. I was at a friends house and I left my S8 in my car because I was visiting with a friend.

Well, it was summer and the phone got very hot. As I drove home, I took the phone out of the case and held it out of the window so that the breeze would help cool it. As I was doing so, the phone fell out of my hand and skittered along the ground. I drove back to look for it with no success. I immediately ordered an S10 to replace it. Because, we all need phones these days, right? Right?!

Perhaps before Covid, you could make that argument. Now, maybe not so much. Long story short, I got an email from someone who found my S8 lying on the side of the road. I went to get it from the local police department. Here’s the ridiculous part. Other than some cracking on the back, the phone was fine and worked perfect. So, I could downgrade for a few months. If only I could find the dang gone phone.

Samsung Galaxy S10 – I could just buy another version of the phone I already have. Not very exciting, but money efficient at least. Plus, I really like the phone and have been playing Hearthstone exclusively on my PC, so no danger of it being thrown into my bedpost this time.

Google Pixel 4a – When I was looking at phones before I got a crazy deal on a new laptop, this one was on the list. We’ve already all sold our souls to Google for convenient search results, so why not give them back the cash that they didn’t pay me for that soul. It is about a third of what the Samsung phones cost and seems to have the same game functionality. This will probably be the phone I get when I finally relent.

BlueStacks – This is the most likely interim solution. Aiden discovered this little trick a couple of months ago when his phone started doing funny things due to cracked screen. I used it a bit a few years ago. I’m sure there have been improvements since then.

Mobile Look Ahead at Games I Might Play

Plants vs Zombies 3 – I mentioned the first one in the previous article. I also said that I never played the second one or any of the console versions. I just got bored with the same set up each time basically beating every single level. According to the preview I found, the 3rd game is supposed to offer more “complex strategy and game play”. Okay.

Batman: Arkham Underworld: When I first saw that it was a Batman Arkham game, I put it in the definitely play category. Then I saw it was basically a mafia game with a Batman wrapping. So, I might give it a chance. But, it’s not likely to last very long.

League of Legends: Wild Rift – I have a short and checkered history with League of Legends. I tried playing the game for 5 matches. In one of them I got a player on a smurf account who was willing to work with us noobs and help us win the match. The other four were the entire team fighting among themselves while the other team steamrolled us. It was a similar experience in Blizzards Heroes of the Storm. At least in that game, you can queue bots.

I do like Teamfight Tactics and will probably download it on my new laptop. So, I’m not sure if I will play this game very much. I’m sure to try it and see if simplifying the game for mobile makes it more user (and specific to me, noob) friendly. If so, it might make it into the rotation.

Marvel Super War – If I’m going to play a mobile MOBA (that’s silly to say), then it will be this one. The likelihood of that even happening is quite low actually. Granted, I’ve never played a MOBA on mobile, but I don’t understand how the mechanics are supposed to work. Besides, there are just too many other games out there that I definitely want to play.

Mobile Look Ahead at Games I Will Probably Play

Pokemon Unite: Another MOBA game? I know I said I would most likely play the Marvel MOBA just mentioned. This one is Pokemon, though. I feel like they will provide more variety in their play styles than the Marvel Heroes. At least, that’s what I’ve found in Pokemon games vs. games based on Marvel. They’re both fun, but Pokemon are more interesting in my opinion.

Crash Bandicoot: On the Run! – I have to be honest. I’m surprised it took so long for this game to happen. The old third person “behind” levels are identical to many of these run style games. I do enjoy these types of games as quick diversion. So, if this one is any good at all, I will probably end up playing it.

Warhammer Odyssey and Total War Battles: I already own a few Warhammer games through my Steam account that I’ve only played a little bit. I like the idea of Warhammer and would love to play the miniature game. I don’t have the time or money for that, so the next logical step is playing the video games. Maybe some day.

Fallout Shelter Online – Well, I guess I got an answer to why support for Fallout Shelter fell off at the end there. They’re developing an online version of the game. I enjoyed the gameplay of the original. If they make the online capabilities decent and support it for longer than a year, it will be worth it to try.

Mobile Look Ahead at Games I Will Definitely Play

Lego Star Wars Battles: Tower defense game set in Lego Star Wars. I’m not sure about it being a tower defense games. I mean, they can be fun on mobile. But, Lego Star Wars is a fun setting, so I will definitely find time to play this game and convince myself that I enjoy it.

Diablo Immortal – As they do, fans crapped all over this game as soon as it was announced. What was the whole issue that people had? I remember that there was an issue. Started playing Diablo 3 on the XBox One again this year. I will be sure to play the hell (no pun intended) out of this one, I’m sure.

Minecraft Earth – This one has been in Beta for at least a year and probably longer. Some of my students last year were playing it during free time in class. I think Aiden might have downloaded it, too. I loved (and rediscovered that love this summer) Pokemon Go as an augmented reality game. This one offers so much more variety than Pokemon. I will lose months of my life to this game.

The Verdict

The games announced so far for mobile next year look great. There are a ton of games that I will at least try. Whether I buy a new phone or simply use an emulator, I will be busy with these games plus catching up on what I’ve missed over the last month in my already established games. Minecraft Earth will definitely push me to get a phone, though. Also, think of all the Pokecoins I’ve missed.

DC Comics December 2020: Great, Good, Decent

Introduction

Unfortunately, DC Comics December 2020 is not as good as Marvel Comics this month. I put 4 Marvel books in the great column and I think for the first time ever, not a single book in the decent column. Sure, there are 3 titles in the great column for DC this month. However, there are just as many in the decent and I might have been being generous with a couple of the good books this month.

It’s just that Christmas spirit I kept talking about in the previous article.

Granted, I’ve always been more of a Marvel fan than a DC fan. Chris got me into DC when he kept telling me how great Batman was with Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. Then, I started collecting Aquaman and Wonder Woman because they starred in the first DC movies that weren’t absolute train wrecks. I mean, you have to collect Superman, right? Right?! Please tell me no. That way I can stop the charade that I believe the Bendis experiment will finally pay dividends.

I feel bad. There are things that I genuinely like about DC Comics. But, I tired quickly of the source wall nonsense. I started reading Metal and then stopped. I haven’t collected any of the Death Metal series. I saw an advertisement in several books for “Endless Winter”. There’s another limited series coming in January and February. I just feel like their core books have been ignored in favor of big, splashy events that never pan out. But, it is almost Christmas, so let’s focus on the positive. What’s “Great, Good, and Decent” about DC Comics December 2020?

The Great

Justice League 56 and 57 (Josh Williamson, Robson Rocha, and Xermanico): I’ve already established that I don’t care all that much about Death Metal. It might be (and possibly is) a fine event. So, this isn’t like Detective during Joker War. They just got Josh Williamson writing this book and that’s all I need.

Justice League Dark 28 (Ram V and Amancy Nahuelpan): I will spare you my man crush on Ram V. Actually, no I won’t. He is a superb craftsman at the height of his game with this book. Zatanna is probably my favorite character in the book, so it doesn’t hurt that she’s been featured in many of the stories.

Wonder Woman 766 and 767 (Mariko Tamaki, Steve Pugh, and Rafa Sandoval): I fawned all over Mariko last month, so I will spare you my girl crush on her. Nope, I won’t do that, either. I’m a bit slow on the uptake, so I didn’t discover Ms. Tamaki until her run on X-23, which was funny and heartwarming. She brings those same qualities to everyone’s favorite Amazon. This is the most the book has felt like the movie probably since Greg Rucka wrote at the beginning of Rebirth.

The Good

Action Comics 1027 (BMB and JRJR): You’d think that comic written and drawn by men known only by their initials would be better than this. House of Kent had such promise at the beginning. I wonder if Future State has messed with the mojo some. Now that I see it written, it’s as likely as anything. I really hope it’s worth it.

Aquaman 65 (Kelly Sue Deconnick and Miguel Mendonca): I think I might have mentioned in my article last month that no book had suffered from the Covid hiatus than Aquaman. Kelly Sue Deconnick was building up quite a bit of momentum with the War of Atlantis story and then they had some stop gaps fill in that killed the momentum. Well, she’s back to finish the story with a bang.

Batman 102 and 103 (James Tynion IV, Carlo Pagulayan, Danny Miki, and Guillem March): 103 was better than 102. With that being said, neither of these issues blew me away. I feel like Tynion is falling into the Bendis trap of trying to introduce too many new or different characters instead of sticking with the old faithfuls. Especially after the masterpiece that was Joker War, I’m disappointed with the direction of Bats.

The Decent

Catwoman 27 (Ram V and Fernando Blanco): Looking at it again, I might have been a bit harsh on this book. It very well could be in the good category. It’s just that I have such high hopes for a Ram V book at this point and this one doesn’t live up. I get that Catwoman is a thief, but it feels like they’re going to this heist storyline a bit too much in this title. Mix it up a bit!

Detective Comics 1030 and 1031 (Peter J. Tomasi and Bilquis Evely): Broken record time again. I just don’t like Tomasi’s take on this book. I will say that I liked these books more than before Joker War. Isn’t it weird how expectations are a large percentage of the outcome of these reviews? Oops, maybe I just gave away a trade secret.

Superman 27 (BMB and Ivan Reis): I will admit that I didn’t even read this book. I just can’t do it anymore. As I’ve said more than once, I’m not a fan of Superman to begin with. I’ve given the Brian Michael Bendis experiment a year and a half. I’ve threatened it before, but I think this book goes after Future State.

The Verdict

Marvel Comics delivered this month. DC Comics December 2020 provided just more of the same. Under normal circumstances, that would be fine. However, with it being Christmas, DC pausing everything for Future State, and the awesome month that Marvel gave us, I’m disappointed. I mentioned above that Future State might be the reason for the lackluster effort this month. I’ll never know, but like I say, it’s as likely as anything. I just hope it’s worth it at this point. I also hope it’s worth my investment in every title. Guess we will see soon enough.

Great, Good, Decent: Dc november 2020

Introduction

I finally got around to DC November 2020 review. Though, to be fair, this is actually a quicker turnaround that I’ve been accomplishing recently. I’m not quite back to the point where I can write before multiple deadlines. However, the articles are being written within a week of the deadline at least.

Gotta walk before you can run.

Speaking of running (Actually, this doesn’t have anything to do with running, but I wanted a smooth transition. Nailed it.), Chris and I were texting earlier in the week. He texted to warn me that it looked as if DC Comics might be on the precipice of another reboot. Granted, it’s been about 4 or 5 years since the last one.

But, still, I felt that familiar old irritation. Why do they keep doing this to us? Why can’t they just let the comics evolve for a decade and then maybe decide that it’s time to sell to a new audience? I have to say that I love what both Marvel and DC are doing right now for the most part and don’t think there needs to be a massive overhaul. Thankfully, Future State appears to be simply and “event” right now. Our conversation ended with us both in agreement that it was most likely to test the waters for an eventual reboot. *sigh* Well, while we can, let’s enjoy DC November 2020.

The Great

Batman 100 and 101 (James Tynion, Jorge Jimenez, and Guillem March): This issue has been hyped for months. Ever since Tom King was on the title and he promised something completely unexpected. Many assumed that meant that Batman might finally kill the Joker. That’s the ending I hoped for, but it wasn’t quite that. Nevertheless, this encounter has forced Bruce to rethink the way he’s doing things. I’m excited to see what that means. 101 promised to be a letdown after the excitement of 100, but that ending was magnificent.

Justice League Dark 27 (Ram V and Amancy Nahuelpan): Like Hulk, I’m running out of superlatives to use for this title. It stumbled slightly when Tynion left, but as I’ve said numerous times, Ram V has proven to be a worthy successor. Also, like Hulk, this is the title that I’d miss the most if they rebooted and it isn’t in the lineup like it looked like might happen.

Wonder Woman #763-765 (Mariko Tamaki and Steve Pugh): I started collecting WW for a few reasons. One, when it started after Rebirth, Greg Rucka wrote it. Two, I loved the movie version. Three, and not insignificant, it is a core title. For a bit there, it wavered. But, Mariko Tamaki has firmly taken the reigns and made it hers. Good choice, DC.

The Good

Aquaman 64 (Kelly Sue Deconnick and Miguel Mendonca): I started collecting Aquaman for one of the same reasons as Wonder Woman. I enjoyed the movie. The first story arc was interesting. Ever since Arthur returned and there’s only been hinting at a showdown with Manta, the book has bounced between Good and Decent with a few issues close to great. Those issues have been written by Ms. Deconnick who is back after a (covid related?) hiatus. So, the future looks good.

Action Comics 1026 (Brian Michael Bendis and John Romita, Jr.): Either Bendis or Romita or both of them together figured out how to make a BMB patented “talkie” more interesting. The panel configuration in this book is all over the place. Backwards, upside down, sideways, sometimes all three at the same time. Overall, I’ve enjoyed this title more than Superman, but neither is giving me reason to believe that the BMB hire was anything more than a PR stunt.

Catwoman 26 (Ram V and Fernando Blanco): This had the “Joker War Collateral Damage” and it involved fallout from the last issue with the Joker. However, it served as little more than a set up for the next arc. I had to look up Father Valley. I thought he was a new character, but he’s not. I’m interested to see where V goes with this.

Justice League 54 and 55 (Joshua Williamson and Xermanico): Maybe Death Metal focused the title similar to how Joker War did with Batman and Detective. Perhaps it is Josh Williamson’s touch. Whatever the reason, this title is starting to recapture some of the fun at the beginning of Venditti’s run as writer. They probably just took my advice and read Avengers to see how to write a team title.

The Decent

Detective Comics 1028 and 1029 (Peter J. Tomasi et al): These issues are better than the title was before Joker War. It’s not as good as it was during the tie in issues. I realized that I think I just don’t like Tomasi’s writing style. Here’s hoping that he and I can find a compromise soon.

Superman 26 (Brian Michael Bendis and Ivan Reis): At this point, I’m only collecting the book for the artwork. This title might not survive on my pull list after Future State.

The Verdict

Other than Detective–and I’m realizing that probably won’t change unless I come to terms with Tomasi or they replace him–and Superman–which is subject matter and not even BMB has been able to make Superman interesting to me, the DC November 2020 books are very good. I’m still upset that they’re choosing now to take a hiatus and push Future State, but who knows. Maybe that will end up being awesome and I won’t even miss the regular titles. It remains to be seen in a couple of months.

Great, Good, Decent: DC Comics October 2020

Introduction

DC Comics 2020 is a bit of a misnomer just as Marvel Comics October 2020. First, it is now technically November. Second, I got behind in my reading and reviewing. These are the comics that I received from DCBS in both September and October.

Sue me. Things have been a bit busy at work this year.

However, as I wrote in the Marvel Comics review this (technically last) month, I’m committed to getting back on track by the end of the year. While I committed to that last year as well, I learned some tricks during the quarantine that will help this time. The only weird thing is that you will now be treated (?) to two straight weeks of comics. Think of it as a proper reboot of the page. Comics fans love reboots. Right? Right?!

The Great

Action Comics 1024 and 1025 (Brian Michael Bendis and John Romita Jr.): I’ve made no secret of my severe distaste for Superman. If my younger brother Tim ever reads the page, he might disown me for the amount of times I’ve said it. However, BMB has been doing his best to reverse that opinion. Right now, he is succeeding with Action. This story is fun and focused. That was missing from the Leviathan story.

Batman 96-99 (James Tynion IV and Jorge Jimenez): After reading issue 96, I texted Chris and said, “I’m really enjoying Joker War.” He agreed that it has been really good. This is the story that I’ve been waiting for from Tynion since he took over the title. I hope it continues.

Justice League Dark 25 and 26 (Ram V and Amancy Nahuelpan): I wept when they took Tynion off of this title. It was probably my favorite DC book since Rebirth. It took a few issues, but they found a worthy successor. Ram V is great on this book and I want this to be long term.

Wonder Woman 759-762 (Mariko Tamaki and Mikel Janin): I’ve been looking forward to this since I saw the announcement in the previous issue. Then, she wrote one of the vignettes in the Detective Comics 1027 anniversary issue. Now, I finally get to experience Mariko Tamaki on Wonder Woman. It’s worth the wait and hype. Love it.

The Good

Catwoman 24 and 25 (Sean Murphy, Blake Northcutt, et al): Catwoman has been iffy ever since Joelle Jones left. Ram V filled in nicely for a few issues, but then it went a bit off the rails. It was just inconsistent. I’m not ready to declare Sean Murphy the savior, but these two issues were fun.

Detective Comics 1025 and 1026 ( Peter J. Tomasi and Kenneth Rocafort): Detective Comics disappointed me more than the main title. I knew that Tynion would eventually find his footing. Not so for Tomasi. However, Joker War has focused him and this book. It might be great if not for the main title, which is absolutely killing it.

The Decent

Aquaman 62 and 63 (Jordan Clark and Marco Santucci): As I’ve been looking at the books on Previews World (also where I grab my cover shots), I’ve noticed that many of the creative teams have been reshuffled because of the Covid break. It might explain why it has been so inconsistent. This book is a fine War for Atlantis, but it’s not what I hoped from this story.

Justice League 50-53 (Various, but it looks like they might have settled on Joshua Williamson and Xermanico for the DM tie ins?): Perhaps no title has suffered more this year than good old Justice League. Scott Snyder seemed to have put it at the bottom of his priorities. After they took him off the title, it became a fun team title again. Then, it wandered in the darkness for a couple of months. Death Metal might serve to focus it similar to how Joker War did for the Batman books.

Superman 24 and 25 (Brian Michael Bendis and Ivan Reis): BMB has not successfully changed my mind about Supes in the main title. He keeps introducing new characters that should add to the mythos and make the character more appealing. None of them have. I just don’t care. If I get rid of a book (and I have no plans to do so because I get so few books lately), this is the first to go.

The Verdict

DC Comics October 2020 is much stronger than Marvel this month. There were a couple of good books that I considered making great and the only decent book that I truly did not enjoy was Supes. Join us next week as we do back to back comics in an attempt to get the page back on some sort of predictable schedule. See you in a couple of days for Spawn 310 and 311.

We Love Detective Comics 1027: Another Amazing Milestone

Introduction

As I was looking through my comics to organize them for review purposes, I saw that Detective Comics 1027 was a super-sized anniversary issue. I thought, “What a weird number for an anniversary issue. What anniversary could they possibly be celebrating?” I should have known that it was 1000 issues since the introduction of Batman to the title. Of course, that made me make the mistake of looking for the first Detective Comics.

I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was. I guess I am naive when it comes to these things. This looks racist AF.

The typical 1930s racist America displayed in comics form notwithstanding, Detective Comics has been one of the comics that I’ve collected since the beginning of Rebirth and my introduction back into comics. At first, it was James Tynion IV that kept me reading the book. When he left for the main Batman title, there was a bit of a learning curve for the new writer. But, I think that Joker War has focused him and the last two issues I read were great.

As far as Detective Comics 1027, it is a series of vignettes similar to the 1000th issue. Therefore, I will treat this review similar to that one. I will forgo my usual “Great, Good, and Decent” format and simply give a sentence or two review for each of the stories.

Blowback by Peter J. Tomasi and Brad Walker

This was a fun way to show off some of the most prominent members of his rogue’s gallery. The pay off was kind of lame, though I missed “The End” and thought they were doing a heroes reunion, too.

The Master Class by Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez

Instead, it was this story that started with the sidekick reunion. This is a typical BMB “talkie” with a decent ending. Batman even gets “sentimental” with his former sidekicks.

Many Happy Returns by Matt Fraction and Chip Zadarsky

I thought this was Dini. It wasn’t, obviously, but it definitely had his art style and sense of humor. Told the story of the tradition of Joker giving Bats a “birthday” present once a month since the beginning. I have to admit that I like these additions to the mythos.

Rookie by Greg Rucka and Eduardo Risso

True to form, Rucka tells the story of a female protagonist. This one is a rookie cop on the Gotham force who ends up quickly making her mark and catching Batman’s eye. This was a good, even if only ancillary Batman story.

Ghost Story by James Tynion IV and Riley Rossmo

A really cool story about ghosts that ties in with Batman’s parents and 2 characters that I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. I don’t think I’ve said this before (*wink wink*), but I miss Tynion on this series. Sure, his main title run is getting better with Joker War, but I wish he was still here.

Fore by Kelly Sue Deconnick and John Romita Jr.

Typical middle of the issue lull. Not a great story. No real recognizable characters. Especially after the Tynion story, this one rings hollow.

Odyssey by Marv Wolfman and Emanuela Lupacchino

Interesting filler story about Bruce’s grandfather and a ship that his company sailed. It ended up sinking and taking many priceless heirlooms with it. Ever since, Wayne Enterprises has been looking for it. Similar to the Fraction story, I liked the extension to the Bats mythos.

Detective #26 by Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham

Not sure I 100% get this story. Seems to be an alternate history (or maybe an alternate introduction of Batman) where an aspiring hero gives up the ghost (pun intended) because Bats comes in to steal his thunder.

Legacy by Tom King and Walter Simonson

I was excited to have TK writing Bats again. I should have known better. He always uses this format to write experimental stories. This one felt arbitrary and disjointed but maybe I just don’t know enough about the character featured.

As Always by Scott Snyder and Ivan Reis

This is more like it. Sort of. This is a dream team and Snyder gives us a glimpse of his both his time on Bats and also the Justice League title. The story, overall, is weak but I did enjoy the little Easter eggs that he included.

Generations: Fractured by Dan Jurgens and Kevin Nowlan

This was an elaborate set up for another comic with the title Generations. That reminded me of the Marvel comics before Legacy. Sure enough, the end of the story showcased an older style art. It’s not quite the same as the Marvel generations, but I’m still intrigued by the idea.

A Gift by Mariko Tamaki and Dan Mora

DC introduced their new Wonder Woman writer in the pages of this book. This is also an introduction to another story, this one continuing in the very pages of this book. Ms. Tamaki knocks this one out of the park. I can’t wait to see her Wonder Woman.

The Verdict

Overall, Detective Comics 1027 is a fun read. There are some lulls, but that’s to be expected with so many writers and artists involved in the book. I didn’t like this one as much as Detective Comics 1000 or even Action Comics 1000, but it was still full of fun stories. It serves as a fitting tribute to the Dark Knight and his 1000 issues of Detective.

DC Comics August 2020

Introduction

Welcome to DC Comics August 2020 review! I mentioned in my last article that we are doing some “retro” content this month and next to celebrate the anniversary of the page. Can you believe that it’s been live for 6 years? Me neither, but here we are. So, how are new comics retro? Well, they’re not. But, comics and Dungeons and Dragons both helped to start me on my journey to geekdom.

So, today we’ll take a look at the latest batch of DC Comics. Then, on Friday, I’m going to give my thoughts about the new season of Umbrella Academy. How’s that for retro content! I promise, it’s coming. Next week, I’m going to revisit DOOM and then I’m going to take a look back at another of the influential companies from my childhood, Nintendo. So, stay tuned for all of that! For now, let’s talk about these DC Comics August 2020 that I enjoyed so much.

The Great

Batman 94 and 95 (James Tynion IV and Jorge Jimenez): Initially, I wasn’t impressed with the great Tynion on Bats experiment. In fact, I dropped the book from Great to Good a couple months in a row. However, that all changed with issue 93. I really enjoyed King’s take on the Joker, but Tynion looks like he’s going to do the Joker War justice. The Bat seems truly broken this time.

Justice League Dark 24 (James Tynion IV, Ram V, and Kyle Hotz): I think that part of the reason that the great Tynion on Batman experiment was floundering was due to the fact that he was also still writing Justice League Dark. It felt like much of his focus was on this title. Now that they have Ram V cowriting, it hasn’t missed a beat. He did great on Cats and now this title. Versatile writer!

The Good

Aquaman 61 ( Kelly Sue Deconnick and Miguel Mendonca): Aquaman was good and then it was great for a couple of issues and then it was good. I might have even put it in the decent category a couple of times. I just wasn’t feeling the story. However, it is getting good again. Mera took a DNA test, and she is 100% that “B”.

Action Comics 1023 (Brian Michael Bendis and John Romita Jr.): If I was not impressed with the Tynion run on Batman, I absolutely hated the Bendis experiment with Action and Superman. I nearly took both titles off my list. I’m glad that I didn’t. It appears as if old BMB is hitting his stride with both books. This one wasn’t as much fun as the last one, but it’s still almost there.

Detective Comics 1024 (Peter J. Tomasi and Brad Walker): I was actually more impressed with how Tomasi took over Detective Comics and made it his own than with Tynion and Batman initially. I’m sad that this story is ending. I very much enjoyed Two Face and will miss him. However, maybe Joker War is the unifying force these books need. I’m excited.

Superman 23 (Brian Michael Bendis and Kevin Maguire): Went back and forth on this one from Good to Decent. Probably just my Superman bias and my bias against Bendis on this title to this point. But, I loved the JLD crossover and want to see more.

The Decent

Catwoman 23 (Sean Murphy, Blake Northcutt, and Cian Tormey): All I wrote was “Bring back Joelle”. The book has been in steady decline since she left, with a brief respite by Ram V. I usually like Sean Murphy, but this story was just weird.

Justice League 48 and 49 (Robert Vendittie, Eddy Barrows, and Eber Ferreira): The book is fine. I wrote that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Not sure what I meant by that, but Justice League is probably my least favorite book right now.

Wonder Woman 758 (Steve Orlando and Emanuela Lupacchino): They sucked me back into Wonder Woman with a surprisingly entertaining movie and Greg Rucka as writer. I’ve stuck with the title because I genuinely like the character. This issue is fittingly a fine conclusion to a fine story. However, I’m glad that I stuck around because next month Mariko Tamaki is taking over. Can’t wait for that!

The Verdict

DC Comics August 2020 weren’t as much fun as Marvel. However, they were still very good. I’m excited for Joker War, Mariko, and to see if BMB can continue to improve Action and Supes. I said last time that I wasn’t sure if comics were getting better or I just missed them. Chris insisted that it was because he missed them, but I’m going to err on the side of optimism and say that they’re very good right now. Go out and buy comics!

DC Comics July 2020

Introduction

DC Comics July 2020 was not a disappointment. Well, that’s not entirely true. While there were more books in the shipment than Marvel this month, the books were less than stellar. I will just chalk that up to the mid summer lull that the entertainment industry goes through to give movies a chance to have their blockbusters.

Covid-19 doesn’t care about your blockbusters.

I’m not saying that the books were bad. I’m just not saying that they were good, either. They were, in the immortal words of Magic the Gathering players everywhere, medium. So, I guess without further delay, let’s talk about medium DC Comics July 2020 books! Are you psyched?! Get psyched!

The Great

Justice League Dark #22 and 23 (Ram V, James Tynion IV, Alvaro Eduardo Martinez Bueno): There’s only one book in the great section this month. Anyone who’s been paying attention won’t be surprised at the selection. Of course, it’s Justice League Dark. I will say, though, that the book had been falling off a bit before quarantine. I think that Tynion splitting his time between this and Batman wasn’t getting his best for either book. With Ram V coming in to help, the book is great again. Plus, Swamp Thing is back!

The Good

Action Comics 1022 (Brian Michael Bendis and John Romita Jr.): I have made no secret of my disappointment in the BMB experiment on Superman and Action Comics. However, I can admit when I’m wrong. I mean, it’s my opinion, so it’s not like I can be wrong. Okay, I’m getting away from the point. This issue made it into the “almost great” category. I like this story so far and I hope that the book is finally realizing the potential that DC saw when bringing in Bendis.

Batman 92 and 93 (James Tynion IV and Guilleme March): I have also made no secret of my disappointment with Tynion’s run on Batman so far. However, these two issues were really good. It seems that all he needed was an event to get him started. Joker War is next and I am so ready for the “final showdown”.

Detective Comics 1022 (Peter J. Tomasi and Brad Walker): I very much like this version of Two Face in this story. The Joker, not so much. Hopefully Tynion can do a better job in the Joker War.

Wonder Woman 756 and 757 (Steve Orlando et al): Wonder Woman is facing a war on several fronts. That’s all I wrote for this one. I’m too lazy to go upstairs to get the books and flip through them, either. Seems like this one is close to the Decent pile.

The Decent

Aquaman 60 (Kelly Sue Decconnick and Migueal Mendonca): Once upon a time, I was close to putting this book in the great category. The quality has eroded gradually over time. However, this issue looks like a decent filler/set up issue for whatever is coming next.

Catwoman 22 ( Paula Sevenbergen and Aneke): This issue had a neat campy retro art style. I wrote that the story was only meh, but in light of the art style, it actually makes sense. I could be persuaded to move this into the Good category. Either way, it seems as if they are just biding their time until the 80th anniversary issue.

Justice League 46 and 47 (Robert Venditti and Xermanico): This has become a good ensemble book since Venditti took over from Snyder. However, I’m not at all enjoying this Spectre story. I can’t wait for them to move on.

Superman 22 (Brian Michael Bendis and Joe Prado): I have no notes for this book. While it would seem that Action Comics is realizing some potential, this one is still floundering under the BMB banner.

The Verdict

See, I always give you the TLDR at the beginning of the article. This month wasn’t great for DC and it wasn’t terrible, either. The books, overall, were just medium. Even so, they seem to be setting up for big things and I don’t just mean their Super Summer Crossover Spectacular, Dark Metal. Each book looks to have some good stories to run parallel to that one. Can’t wait for next month!

DC Comics April 2020 Review

Introduction

We keep on keepin on here at 2 Generations Gaming. Welcome to my DC Comics April 2020 review. It’s been a while since we’ve checked in with the good folks at DC Comics and quite a few things have changed. Tom King is no longer writing Batman. It’s now James Tynion. More on that in a bit. As a result, Tynion is working with Ram V on Justice League Dark. Heck, even Scott Snyder is not on the main JL title anymore.

And, yet, Bendis remains stubbornly on both Superman titles.

Some of these changes have been good. Some have been not so good. I don’t say this to be Captain Obvious. I was just surprised that one change I was actually looking forward to ended up not working out as well as I hoped. Be careful what you wish for, I suppose. In any case, let’s take a look at the books.

The Decent (The Usual Suspects)

Action Comics 1021 (Brian Michael Bendis and John Romita Jr.) – I already touched upon this in the introduction and I’m not going to say what I haven’t already said in numerous previous reviews. I guess I’ll just wonder why I’m even reading this book anymore. This particular issue was the culmination of a story line, but it felt too quick and clean to reach it’s conclusion.

Justice League 42 and 43 (Robert Venditti et al) – I also mentioned that Snyder isn’t doing Justice League anymore. That’s good because there’s no more Source Wall nonsense. But, every single issue is a fight where someone says they need to “win or lose everything”. When the stakes are always that high, it loses some of the gravitas.

Superman 21 (Brian Michael Bendis and Ivan Reis) – See above. At least Reis is doing the art for this one, so it is pretty and dumb.

Wonder Woman 753 (Steve Orlando and Max Raynor) – Maybe I just picked a bad time to get back into comics. Seems like all of the books are wrapping up arcs right now. Even so, in the past, that’s made me want to go back to read the stories. None of these issues are making me want to do that.

The Good (Batman makes an appearance here for the firs time in a while)

Aquaman 57 and 58 (Kelly Sue Deconnick and Robson Rocha) – I was very much enjoying Aquaman when we last left off on Noob’s comic reviews. I still like the book and this story is interesting. Maybe it has been too long and I just have to warm to the books again.

Batman 90 and 91 (James Tynion IV and Jorge Jimenez) – This is the one that I found really surprising. After I learned that Tom King was being taken off the Batman title, I asked Chris who was taking over. He informed me that it would be James Tynion IV. I love everything that Tynion does, but I don’t love this. I just can’t figure out this nonsense with the Designer. Is this a retcon? Or, is a retelling of an old story? I could look it up, but I just don’t care that much.

Wonder Woman 754 (Steve Orlando and Kenneth Marion) – This one was good. I almost put it in the great section, but it wasn’t that good. It’s just one of those good old fashioned one shot (?) stories they put in between arcs. Good story and good set up for what comes next.

The Great (Thank goodness for Justice League Dark)

Catwoman 21 (Joelle Jones and Fernando Blanco) – When Joelle is writing this book, it’s fantastic. I love her take on the character and am always excited when I see her name on the marquee. This issue was no different. Cover to cover entertainment.

Detective Comics 1021 (Peter J Tomasi and Brad Walker) – It took me a while to warm to Tomasi’s take on the book. I think part of that was just following Tynion IV. But, I very much enjoyed this issue. It is a well told Two Face story that actually had me sympathizing with the character.

Justice League Dark 21 (James Tynion IV, Ram V, and Kyle Hotz) – Tynion is listed as a cowriter on this one, but I wonder if he is focusing more on this title than Batman right now. Because, all of the things that have been true about this in the past are still true. This is just a solid and fun title.

The Verdict (DC Comics April 2020 are surprisingly weak)

Other than the old standards of Joelle’s Catwoman and Tynions Justice League Dark and the surprise appearance of Tomasi’s Detective comics, this batch of books wasn’t very good. Perhaps that’s to be expected because it’s still early in the year. Still, it is disappointing. It’s even more so due to the fact that the virus lockdown or quarantine or whatever we’re calling this has halted production and maybe even shipping until who knows when. DC Comics April 2020 might be the last time we get to read them until the summer.