Tag Archives: DC Comics

DC COmics Week of 7/21/19 Review

Introduction

I think I said in one of my previous articles that it would be the last time that I would include older comics in the review. So this isn’t technically DC Comics Week of 7/21/19. There might be some older books in here, but I am at the point where I’m caught up on the books that I read and it is the most recent books as of last month. Progress! If I’m going to get any more current, I have to get famous and have the companies send me preview books.

Superman #9, 11, 12 (“Unity Saga” by Brian Michael Bendis, Joe Prado and Ivan Reis)

My heavens, what has the House of El ever done to deserve all this hate?

The Good (This book is better than Action Comics right now)

As you probably know since you are all fans of comic books, DC Comics handed control of their most famous hero to Brian Michael Bendis last year. What you may not know if you aren’t a fan of this page is that I’m not a huge fan of Bendis. I’m not against him necessarily, I just don’t like his propensity for long exposition and the standard that he set for serializing comics into 6 part stories. With that being said, I have liked this book more than Action Comics lately.

The Bad (Why the Retcon?)

I’m not much of a fan of Superman, either. Again, I don’t actively dislike the character. I mean, how can you? He’s a boy scout who champions the virtues of America. However, the character is kind of lame and Zack Snyder kind of ruined Superman and DC for me and it is taking some time to purge myself of those very painful memories. Granted, I was always a bit biased against DC, but they have been doing good things with their comic books the past few years, so I was missing out.

The Ugly (Everyone Hates the House of El)

Now, I know I just spend a couple of paragraphs talking about the negatives of this book in the good and the bad section. I’m not a hater, though. I did enjoy this story as I read it. So, you can’t count me in the headline for this section. However, the Evil Justice League, Rogol, and Zod most definitely do not like Superman’s family and they will stop at nothing to destroy them.

Wonder Woman #73 (“Prisoner of a Dark Dimension” by Various)

Why is Wonder Woman always tied up? Uh, don’t Google that unless you want your preconceived notions about comics and kids utterly destroyed.

The Good (This is an interesting story)

I’m pretty sure this is a rehash of a story that has been told over and over in Wonder Woman. However, not being a DC fan as much as a Marvel fan, I haven’t read many of these stories in the past. With that being said, this was a good story that I enjoyed reading, even it it wasn’t Greg Rucka writing it. There’s your obligatory Rucka reference for 2GG Bingo.

The Bad (This is only a one shot)

This issue was obviously filler for some reason or another. That’s why I say that it is most likely a story that has already been told. Even so, I’d have liked to have explored this story more. Oh well, maybe in the future.

The Ugly (I like this creative team)

What, what? You liked the story. You liked the creative team. How is that ugly? Well, this team filled in for this one shot. Therefore, chances are they won’t be back next issue. I wish they were. Hear that, DC? If these guys don’t have a regular book, give them one!

Catwoman 11 and 12 (Joelle Jones and Fernando Blanco)

I think I like Catwoman more than either Batman title now. That’s saying a bit.

The Good (Joelle is Back!)

The last time I reviewed Catwoman, there was a one shot fill in issue not involving Joelle. That made me sad. Joelle is back writing for Catwoman again. That makes me happy. I like her writing style for this book and if she leaves, it will almost be a Rucka-like adjustment for me to get used to a new writer.

The Bad (Not Quite Deus Ex Machina)

One problem I have with the book is that while there is an ongoing story, each book has it’s own specific narrative. It’s not quite Deus ex Machina that she utilizes to accomplish these feats of daring and do-baddery, but it’s close. Things just wrap up entirely too quickly for my tastes. I wouldn’t mind a cliffhanger or two.

The Ugly (Movie Premiere)

Part of the narrative of issue 11 was a movie premiere. I’m sure that it has some bearing on the book or the character, but damned if I was able to find it. Just felt completely random and not related to the story one bit. Maybe those pages could have been used for more set up for the eventual heist.

Justice League Dark #11 and 12 (James Tynion IV and Alvaro Martinez)

This might be my favorite DC book right now.

The Good (This is better than Justice League)

I’m not a fan of whatever Scott Snyder is doing with Justice League right now. It’s a fine title, but it just doesn’t feel cohesive or well executed. I will keep reading in hopes that things change. I would much rather be reading this book, though.

The Bad (Nothing)

That’s not an exaggeration. I love everything about this book. As I wrote in my caption, it might be my favorite DC book right now.

The Ugly (Justice League Dark Chaos?)

Is that a double negative? Are they now the real Justice League and the other Justice League is what then? Yes, this is a reach. But, as I said, this book is very good and you should be reading it.

The Verdict (DC Comics Week of 7/21/19)

Overall, the comics that I read for this week are strong. DC is having a bit of a wobble since it is mostly a comics venture at this point and it can’t quite figure out how to make movies. That being said, I did like Aquaman and Shazam was quite a bit of fun. But, I digress.

Back to DC Comics Week of 7/21/19, it isn’t as strong as some previous weeks. But, it wasn’t bad, either. At this point, I’m not sure who I like more, DC or Marvel. Maybe neither, and I’m just becoming a fan of individual books instead of either company.

DC Giant (Batman 1-6)

Introduction

This review is for the DC Giant (Batman 1-6) books. Yes, I realize that I am somewhat behind on my reviews. These books came out last year. However, I am getting caught up and my reviews next week should be of current books. So, that’s something for all of us to look forward to. For now, enjoy another blast from the past as we gear up for more modern content.

I don’t remember how I learned about the Wal*Mart exclusive DC Giant Batman books. Either Chris mentioned them to me or I saw a post on social media. While it doesn’t matter either way, I do like to give Chris credit when due. I do remember that when they first released, Chris wasn’t able to find them for the first few months. That was a mixed bag. I got to feel superior but I also couldn’t discuss the books. Overall, a net negative.

The Good (“Hush” by Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee)

Somehow I missed this entire story the first time around. It’s not because I didn’t know about it. It was a very popular story at the time and I remember hearing about it and seeing the books on the shelves at the store. Jeph Loeb is one of my favorite writers and Jim Lee might be my favorite artist. It just doesn’t add up.

Nevertheless, I did miss it at the time and I’m sort of glad that I did. Being able to read such an engaging story for the first time is a treat. I am enjoying the intrigue and issue 5 introduced The Joker. I don’t like all Joker iterations, so I’m hoping that this is one of the better ones. FWIW, I really liked Tom King’s interpretation during the run up to the “wedding issue”. I look forward to finding out in the next issues.

The Good? (“Universe” by Brian Michael Bendis and Nick Derington)

I’m usually a fan of Brian Michael Bendis. I enjoyed his run on Ultimate Spider-Man. I have also more or less liked what he’s done with Action Comics and Superman. It feels like the move from Marvel to DC was a good one for him creatively. So, when I heard that he and Tom King were switching things up for the Giant books so that he would write Batman and Tom King would write Superman,it got me excited.

You may think that I’m setting this up for one of my old switcheroos. And, you’re correct. But, only partially correct. I’m not going to completely shred the story. It’s a decent story. It’s just that the pacing feels uneven, for lack of a better way to put it. The story bogged down especially in issue 5. Maybe it will get better going forward.

The Bad (“Nightwing” by Kyle Higgins, Eddy Barrows, and Eduardo Panscica )

I’ve never been a fan of Nightwing. Having grown up as a Marvel zombie, I didn’t have a particular affinity for any one Robin character. In fact, other than the old campy Batman TV show, I never liked Robin at all. I prefer my Batman to be alone. That’s weird, then, that I was all in for the Catwoman wedding. But, as ever, I digress.

This story hasn’t made me want to learn more about the character. I plug through the story because it’s in the book and I paid 5 dollars for it, so I might as well get my money’s worth. I just don’t see a scenario where I become a Nightwing fan from this particular story.

The Ugly (“Harley Quinn” by Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Chad Hardin)

Unlike Nightwing, I actually like Harley Quinn as a character. However, like Joker, she can either be written really well or not so well. That’s not the problem with this particular story. The story is actually interesting. It’s just that in addition, Harley suffers from the Deadpool disease.

What do I mean by that? Well, in small doses, both characters are fine. They are enjoyable even. However, larger sample sizes such as entire books dedicated to the characters quickly become tiresome. They become parodies of themselves. Look, I understand that’s what they’re supposed to be. I just don’t like it.

The Verdict – DC Giant (Batman 1-6)

Overall, DC Giant (Batman 1-6) is solid and well worth the 5 dollars. There are two good Batman stories and the Nighthawk and Harley Quinn stories aren’t even that bad. It’s just that I’m not a fan of either of those characters, so I don’t pay as much attention to the stories. I just read without much enjoyment or comprehension.

I don’t know, other than eBay or another reseller, how you can obtain a copy of the books. Given the popularity of them, I assume that DC will figure out a way to compile them into a collection of some sort. You could always buy the trades for the stories. I will put a list at the end of this article. The only problem with that is that it could be cost prohibitive. Nevertheless, if they do reprint the books or collect them, I highly recommend picking them up as the value can’t be beat.

DC Comics Week of 6/16/19 Review

Introduction (DC Comics Week of 6/16/19)

Note: These aren’t actually DC Comics from the week of 6/16/19. This is just when I finally got around to reading them and writing up my review.

I haven’t been as good as I had hoped about updating the page again, but that is to be expected. Still, I’ve been better than in the past, so that’s progress. And, please, bear with me. I actually do have a plan to get things rolling and keep this page relevant (or at least not dead) for the foreseeable future. Now, without any more delay, my DC Comics review for the week of 6/16/19.

Aquaman #48 (“Mother Shark”)

The Good (The King Returns?)

I enjoyed the beginning of the Rebirth Aquaman series. They went with a “the king is dead, long live the king” story that gave Arthur amnesia. I’m sure that they’ve done it before. I haven’t read Aquaman regularly, so it was new to me. But, it was handled well and got me to be a regular reader of the series. Even now that they are giving him back some memories, I’m still in on the character and would like to see where this all ends up.

The Bad (Did they rip off the movie?)

The whole Mother Shark angle is pretty fresh in my mind since we just watched the movie a few weeks ago. It wasn’t great, but by DC standards, it was one of the better movies. Nevertheless, this isn’t a movie review. Still, is this Mother Shark thing a part of the Aquaman mythos or are they trying to piggy back off the success of the film?

The Ugly (Do Do Do Do Do)

I got the song stuck in my head. What song, you ask?

Action Comics 1009 and 1011 (“Leviathan”)

The Good (This isn’t Doomsday Part 2)

I was a bit worried that Leviathan was going to end up being some big, dumb super powered villain on a mission to kill Superman, a la Doomsday. I should have known that BMB would try his hardest not to be that hacky, but he is pretty busy right now. It was a pleasant surprise that Leviathan was not just your run of the mill idiot.

The Bad (This story is a bit confusing)

I mean, there is at least one issue missing and I haven’t read any of the lead in issues, either. So, this is probably my fault. I say that a lot in these reviews, which isn’t exactly awe inspiring. However, I am reading the books more regularly for the reviews, so this is one of the last times.

The Ugly (I kind of wish this was Doomsday Part 2)

It’s not that the story is bad. It’s just a bit convoluted right now. I will probably go back to reread it and see if I can’t a better handle on what exactly is going on. Admittedly, I wasn’t fully invested in the book as I read it. Therefore, it’s kind of ugly that I wanted this to just be a big, dumb ugly and not the nuanced story that BMB is offering.

Justice League #19-24 (6th Dimension)

The Good (This Story is Compelling)

This is going to sound weird along with the bad and the ugly for this book, but this story is compelling. I found myself enjoying it in spite of the warts. Scott Snyder has always been one of my favorite comic book writers. I was a little worried about how he’d do on a multi character title, but he has performed well so far on Justice League.

The Bad (Source Wall? Meh…)

Chris has been a bit down on DC Comics lately. He was one of the first ones I heard say that maybe Tom King’s handling of Batman was losing some steam. More on that in the next section. He also was not impressed with all of the source wall stuff as he called it. I might have been a bit poisoned by that comment, but I agree that it is all a bit too much at this point.

The Ugly (Another Reboot?)

I don’t think they are planning another reboot so soon. It’s not out of the question. Marvel rebooted 3 or 4 times in about that many years a few years ago. But, I feel like the companies have learned from that lesson and wouldn’t be doing so again so soon after what has been a pretty successful one. Still, this feels like a reboot.

Batman #70 and 71 (Bane)

The Good (This Story starts awesome)

So, Tom King is off of the Batman title as of 85 if I remember correctly. As I said earlier, Chris has been a bit out on King for a few months, but I didn’t think it had gotten that bad. I do remember texting him when this book first got announced that it looked like King might be redeeming himself some and he has. This story is good so far.

The Bad (The Narrative Structure is Wonky)

I found myself having to reread issue 71 a few times over and I’m still not entirely sure what is going on. I’m usually a fan of that type of back and forth narrative, but this time it was just strained. I’m saying that a lot of these stories are confusing. Maybe I just have summer brain.

The Ugly (Things got Ugly between King and DC)

Even with people (including Chris) piling on Tom King, it still came as a rather abrupt surprise that he’s not going to be writing the comic anymore. It has been over 70 issues and companies tend to rotate talent sooner than that, but still, things seemed to be humming. The most likely scenario that I saw is that he was going to have Batman kill someone and someone higher up got squeamish about it.

The Verdict (As of 6/16/19, DC Comics are still in good shape)

In my previous reviews (here, here, and here), I had very good things to say about DC Comics. I come here today not to bury them, but to praise them still. They can’t stay on top forever and it is the nature of the comics business for the two big companies to leap frog one another as the big boy. But, for now, I’d still rather read most of the DC books than most of the Marvel books. The gap is closing and my favorite book is a Marvel book. Immortal Hulk for those scoring at home. Look for more on Friday when I post my Marvel review for the week. See you then!

Detective Comics 1000 Review

Introduction

Okay, this is more like it. Detective Comics 1000. Surely after reading and enjoying Action Comics so much, I am going to love Detective Comics 1000. After all, Batman has always been one of my favorite comic book characters. Plus, there is a lot of crossover as far as writers between the two issues. Well, not so fast.

After reading it, I texted Chris that surprisingly I didn’t like it as much. I will get more into it with the individual story reviews. Overall, though, it just wasn’t as enjoyable experience as reading Action Comics 1000. Read on to find out why.

“Batman’s Longest Case” by Scott Snyder

Wait, they are starting with Snyder? That feels like a bold choice. I mean, I know you want to start strong, but one of the best and longest tenured Batman writers in recent history? This book is going to be great. (Narrator: The book wasn’t great. It was good. But, not great.) The big deal about this story was that the twist actually surprised me. That doesn’t happen often. A good start.

“Manufacture for Use” by Kevin Smith

I wrote “puns” and should have known. I’m not sure if this means that I should have expected puns from Kevin Smith or I should have expected some plot device because of the puns. I suspect that it is the former. This was a great story and the ending gave me goosebumps. Nice. 2 for 2.

“The Legend of Knute Brody” by Paul Dini

I actually liked this story from Paul Dini more than his Action Comics story. That’s not a surprise since he is known for writing Batman. Still, this was a funny story. I liked the idea of the family masquerading as an inept henchman to foil the plans of the villains. Clever.

“The Batman’s Design” by Warren Ellis

This story wasn’t vintage Ellis, but it was a good story. I enjoyed the way Batman psyched out the enemy. It was vintage for the character and one of the things that I most enjoy about Batman.

“Return to Crime Alley” by Denny O’Neill

This is Batman’s defining story, but it is told in a very different way. It was cool to see the bat judged for what he does and has been doing. He doesn’t kill people, but he is still very dark and welcomes others into that darkness.

“Heretic” by Christopher Priest

All I wrote here was “Meh. Tibet.” This is perhaps my least favorite part of the Batman mythos. I know it explains much and fills in some of the details of the character, but it is just tedious at times.

“I Know” by Brian Michael Bendis

A “last” meeting between Penguin and “Bats” (well, an older and supposedly invalid Bruce Wayne. Penguin tells Bruce that he always knew and could have ended it at any time. Bruce pulls one last one over on the old man by showing that he isn’t invalid. This was a cool concept and well done.

“The Last Crime in Gotham” by Geoff Johns

Bat’s birthday seems like a much more solemn occasion than was Superman’s. His wish is all our wish. Well, my wish for him. That he gets to stop being Batman and live his life.

“The Precedent” by James Tynion IV

This is a cool origin of Robin story. Very well done. I’m going to miss Tynion on this title. I enjoyed his run. At least I still have him on Justice League Dark.

“Batman’s Greatest Case” by Tom King

This isn’t his best effort. I can see what Chris means when he says that maybe King needs a break from the main title. DC agrees. Not that Chris gave them his input, but they’ve taken King off of the title. Still, it was okay and there was a great spread of the whole family.

“Medieval” by Peter Tomasi

I’m not a huge fan of Tomasi. I texted Chris when he mentioned something about the story that I wasn’t sure how Tomasi would do. He said that he’s liked it. I enjoyed this intro of him on the title similar to how I liked Bendis getting introduced in Action Comics. I’m definitely sold and I will read the main story now.

The Verdict (Detective Comics is good but not fun)

I talked in the opening paragraph about how Detective Comics 1000 wasn’t as enjoyable as Action Comics 1000. Then I spent 11 paragraphs talking about how good the stories were. Isn’t it enjoyable to have good stories? Well, technically, yes. That part of the book was enjoyable.

However, I feel like the dark and brooding Batman has been done. Maybe I’m just getting older and I want more fun from my stories. I can’t do the dark as much as anymore. Heck, even The Lego Movie made fun of Batman being emo. There’s room for fun and laughs in the Batman universe. Or, maybe not. Comic book nerds can be an unyielding group. Oh well, I think a little less grumpiness could go a long way.

Action Comics 1000 Review

Introduction

I was never a fan of Superman. Okay, that’s not true. I liked the Christopher Reeves movies, but you’d have to not be human to not enjoy those movies. They are just good fun. But, I never read the comics other than Death of Superman and a couple months of the Reign of Supermen. If ever there was a candidate to miss the epic issue of Action Comics 1000, it would have been me.

I hated the Zack Snyder interpretation of Superman. Could not stand a single one of those movies. Okay, that’s sort of a lie. Did Snyder do Batman vs. Superman? Because I sort of hate like that movie. What’s my point? I’m not sure at this point. Maybe I’m reiterating that Action Comics 1000 wasn’t on my radar and I could have easily missed it.

I didn’t. Not only am I a collector in addition to reader, but I had heard that Bendis was moving from Marvel to write for Superman and was curious to see his take on the character. I did enjoy Man of Steel, but I haven’t read any of his more recent stuff. And, catching up on comics and the web page, I figured now was as good as any to read Action Comics 1000. Continue for my review.

Note: I will forego the good, bad, and ugly for this particular review. This issue is a who’s who of comic book writers and all of the stories are good.

“From the City Who Has Everything” by Dan Jurgens

This is a good old fashioned feel good Superman story framed in a different light. It is set up as an “Appreciation Day” for Superman. There is both the suspicion that something larger is at play and also the event turns out to be an elaborate stage for a former henchman to tell how Superman helped him turn his life around. A solid start.

“Never Ending Battle” by Peter J. Tomasi

This story was fine. The ending was good with a nod to Krypto at the very end. Otherwise, it was some time travel (?) nonsense that was an interesting way to look back at the history of the character. Definitely not one of my favorites.

“An Enemy Within” by Marv Wolfman

This one tells the story of a school held hostage by a principal who is being mind controlled. Underlying is another classic Superman motif. We are all heroes. This was a good story, but the school hostage situation hit a bit too close to home for me.

“The Car” by Geoff Johns and Richard Donner

Not to toot my own horn or mention myself in the company of such great writers, but this one is like one of my “what if” or “beyond the scenes” stories that I like to write. An example that I’ve published on the page is Tales from Marvel Civil War: I Am Spider-Man.

“The Fifth Season” by Scott Snyder

All right, here we go. One of my favorite writers tackling one of my least favorite characters. Snyder does a superb job. The interaction between Lex and Superman has always been one of my favorite things from the book and he does a great job of capturing that. I think this might have been my favorite story.

“Of Tomorrow” by Tom King

I’m not sure if it still fashionable to like Tom King, but I absolutely do. I haven’t read some of his recent stuff and Chris says it isn’t as good, so maybe I will change my mind. But, he is a thoughtful and thought-provoking writer who isn’t afraid to take chances. He does so with Superman facing down the end of Earth to say good-bye to his parents. Solid concept and good execution.

“Five Minutes” by Louise Simonson

I have only written fine here in my notes. I guess it was. The story was fine. Superman is Clark Kent and he’s fast.

“Actionland!” by Paul Dini

Paul Dini is better known for Batman and The Animated Series. I’m not sure if he introduced Harley or reinvented her. If only someone would invent that repository of information so that I could be able to research these topics. Regardless, the story was fun, but I got definite Harley/Joker vibes from the story. I guess you write what you know.

“Faster than a Speeding Bullet” by Brad Meltzer

That’s literally what the story is about. That’s what I wrote here in my notes. “Faster than a Speeding Bullet”. It’s an okay story to illustrate that and gives a little bit of suspense, but ultimately it’s just that.

“The Truth” by Brian Michael Bendis

Here we have the introduction of Brian Michael Bendis and his retconning of the destruction of Krypton. I’ll give the guy one thing. He has some balls to come in and rewrite Superman’s history first thing. And, sure, the story is interesting, but I’ve already read it, so I didn’t exactly catch the hype train from this one.

The Verdict

I’m still not a huge fan of Superman. I’ve been reading the DC Giants and Brian Michael Bendis books, but the character is just too much for me. As a teen, I was more into the anti-hero like Spawn or the weird book like The Maxx. As I’ve grown, I want my heroes to be a bit more complex. Spawn gets to be too anti for me and Superman is too wholesome. But, I did enjoy the stories in this book for the most part and if, like me, you avoided it for months, now is a good time to head out and get the book.

DC Comics Review (Week of 5/19/19)

Introduction

You will notice that the date is over a week ago. I meant to upload this article last week, but things got busy and then it was Memorial Day weekend, so things got lazy. So, I’m playing a bit of catch up this week. I wanted to drop in to Minecraft again this week to check out a couple of the mods that I used to use. However, some research shows that they might both be discontinued. So, there’s no rush there. On to my review of DC Comics for the week of 5/19/19. As mentioned in my other articles, I’m a bit behind. So, I will be reviewing Wonder Woman #66, Catwoman 7-9, and Justice League Dark #9. They are all close to the beginning of a new storyline in each book, so it should serve as a good place to pick them up.

Wonder Woman #66

The Good (Funny, Thoughtful Introduction to the storyline)

The story opens with a funny conversation between three mythical creatures that I get the impression I should know. Having not kept up with my comics reading, I don’t. Still, it gets things going pretty quickly. Titans are involved, which means that Wonder Woman has to get Giganta involved. This leads to a touching moment between the two women. Uh, yeah, get your minds out of the gutter, perverts. They talk out their feelings, nothing gets resolved, so I guess that will be a recurring issue in the coming, um, issues.

The Bad (I Miss Greg Rucka)

Having not grown up with DC Comics in my life very much, the only Wonder Woman I really know is Greg Rucka. I enjoy his version of the character very much. Sure, this one might be good and I might eventually even grow to like it. But, it won’t be Greg Rucka. Guess I can look forward to his story in Wonder Woman 1000, whenever that’s going to happen.

The Ugly (Um, That Pegasus Wants to What?!)

Now, perverts, you are free to let your mind wander back to the gutter. I’m pretty sure you’ll arrive at the same place I did. Yeah, that’s a bit weird, even for a comic that got it’s start because the creator had a tie up fetish.

Catwoman 7-9

First, a Note: Issues 7 and 8 were written by Joelle Jones. Issue 9 was written by Ram V. Therefore, I got the hair brained scheme to split the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly and give one for each writer.

The Good (Great Voice and Is Selina auditioning for the next Ocean’s movie?)

Joelle Jones writes very well for Catwoman. She is a strong independent woman who don’t need no man, as evidenced by her leaving Bruce at the alter. *spoiler alert* It comes through in her interactions without going too over the top. Though, I’m sure Incels will find her a bit too much for their delicate sensibilities.

I’m not sure if Ram V is male or female. I’m not even sure if the V is supposed to be a “Vee” or a “5”. If only we had access to technology to figure these things out. Oh well, I may never know. In either case, Cats didn’t quite have the same bite in this issue. Still, it was a great homage to the Ocean’s movies. It might have been the Italian job, but I’ve never seen that one.

The Bad (Too much punchy in Issue 8 and “Cha Cha Cha” isn’t quite “Darkseid is”)

I think I might have complained about not enough punchy in X-23. For me, there was a bit too much in issue 8. Honestly, I’m just quibbling for the sake of quibbling, but if I had to change anything about the two Joelle issues, it would be this.

Issue 9 was called something Cha Cha, so while Cats was laying out the plan, every third panel was “Cha Cha Cha”. If you read Miracle Man, you know that Tom King sprinkled “Darkseid is” throughout the book, at least as far as I read. “Cha Cha Cha” doesn’t quite have the same gravitas.

The Ugly (Come Back Joelle and This story could have gone on longer)

Is Joelle off Catwoman? Did she just take a break? I don’t know, but I want more. I started reading Catwoman issue one after I learned that they were doing a solo series. Heck, I started to like it more than Bats at the time and that’s saying something. Well, hopefully there’s more to come.

While I’ve not always been a fan of the “Bendisization” of comics, this one issue arc felt like it could have at least been 2. The conclusion felt a little rushed. That makes me believe that the Joelle break was only for a few issues. Again, without access to that earlier discussed technology, we may never know.

Justice League Dark 9

The Good (Better than Justice League?)

My interest in justice League came as the result of a recommendation, I think. i do remember liking the book better than the Justice League book at the time. I can’t make that comparison now. Justice League review will probably come next month and I can make the comparison there. This book is still very good. James Tynion IV is one of my favorite writers and i was bummed when he left Detective.

The Bad (Missed the previous issue)

This happened with X-23, too. The reason I had to start with part 2 of this story is because I couldn’t find issue 8. Must have been part of the DCBS order that I missed payment on and it never got shipped. That made it a bit difficult to follow the story, but filling in that issue will hopefully help.

The Ugly (Bobo Messed Things Up Big Time)

One of the things I certainly missed by missing issue 8 is that it seems that Bobo really screwed things up. This is causing a sort of Armageddon of epic proportions across many realms. Oops.

The Verdict (DC Comics is still doing good things)

Having not been a fan of DC Comics growing up, there has been a bit of a learning curve with the characters. I’m glad that I got into them again during the Rebirth so that learning curve was a bit less steep. You may notice that my review for DC Comics for the week of 5/19/19 only contains 3 comics instead of the 5 I included in my Marvel review. That’s because I was also going to do Action Comics 1000 and Detective Comics 1000.

When I started to read Action 1000, I got the idea to do a review of each of the mini stories included in the book. I figured I would do the same for Detective 1000. So, those books are getting their own article separate from this DC Comics for the week of 5/19/19 article. Look for those later in the week in between my planned Minecraft content.

The three books that I read were all good. There aren’t any that I would consider cutting like I thought of doing with Doctor Strange I think? I won’t because Strange is one of my favorite characters. But, this is a DC Comics review, so stick to the subject. I will keep up with these three books as long as they keep producing them and look for more reviews in the future.

DC Comics in 2018

Introduction

I’ve done articles for Spawn (the only Image title I currently collect and read) and Marvel in 2018. The natural progression is to do DC Comics in 2018. Well, forget it! Ha! The old bait and switch! I’m actually going to write my thesis on non Newtonian fluids and now you all are going to have to read it. There is literally no other way. Nope. Once you click on a web page, you are bound by ancient internet laws to have to read it the entire way through.

Okay, I think we got rid of the nerds with the word Newtonian and the squares who don’t like comics with talk of ancient internet laws. We are free to talk to our hearts’ content about Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Swamp Thing, Harley Quinn, Booster Gold, and I guess even Superman. Please don’t take offense at that comment. It’s just that traditionally Superman has been my least favorite hero. More on that later. Enough silliness. Let’s dive in to DC’s 2018.

Bendis, as he tends to do, has breathed life into an old and beloved character. More on that later!

DC is killing the competition. I don’t mean that literally. There are more comics and comic companies than at any time in history. Therefore, I might not even mean that universally. I don’t have a lot of time to read comics, so I probably missed 99% of what was released last year. However, they were able to convert a lifelong Marvel zombie such as myself to collect more than just Batman comics. In fact, for the first time, I’m collecting all of their major characters (think movies) and related titles.

The Good (DC Comics in 2018 killed the competition)

Speaking of Batman, Tom King’s Batman is probably my favorite version of the character. His writing has inspired me to reach out to him on Twitter more than once. He’s even liked and retweeted me once or twice! Okay, okay, nobody wants to hear about my Twitter nerdgasms. I’ll get back to the comics. I know that many didn’t enjoy the Batman “wedding” issue, but the whole construction of that book blew me away. Seriously, go back and read it with an open mind. I got chills more than once. It is incredibly moving.

I’m getting chills now just writing about it…

Bendis jumped ship from Marvel Comics to DC. It appears that one stipulation in his contract is that he got to steer the Superman ship. It started with the aforementioned Man of Steel comic. That single book got me interested in Superman in a way that I don’t think I’ve ever been, not even during the All-Star book in the 90s (2000s?) and I absolutely adored that book. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for BMB and Supes.

DC comics released their Giants series in partnership with Wal*Mart. I want to say that I was skeptical of the “partnership with Wal*Mart” tag, but who are we kidding. Let the millenials have their war on box stores. I love the fact that I can walk into one store and buy a car battery, some peanut butter cups, and rash cream all in one trip. Plus, the books are great and great value. There is one new story and three reprints for only 4.99. The Batman book is reprinting Hush. For a cheap ass nerd like me, these books are gold.

The Bad (DC Comics in 2018 is actually pretty great)

Ha! Gotcha! More good!

Honestly there’s not much bad that I can say about DC Comics. And, yes, that is said even with my perpetual warning that I find it difficult to completely condemn almost any creative project. Honestly, though, there’s not a single DC comic book that I’ve read recently that I have not completely enjoyed. They are all just solidly good.

I don’t enjoy the character as much as I do when Greg Rucka writes her, but Wonder Woman is decent. The Flash has been fun enough to keep me interested. That is Aiden’s favorite character and he voraciously reads every new issue that I get each month. Justice League is awesome, even if I like the companion JL Dark title better, but that’s just personal writer preference. Scott Snyder is fine, but I like Tynion better. Speaking of Tynion, I wish he was still writing Detective Comics. I enjoyed that book almost as much as the main Batman title and that’s saying something.

There’s simply not anything bad that I can say about DC Comics right now. What can I say? I’m just a positive person. Maybe that makes me a terrible critic. Seriously, though, what can you say about them? Unlike their main rival, Marvel, they’ve ironed out many of the wrinkles and they are just doing quality work.

The Ugly (DC Comics in 2018 struggles to make a good film)

Huge asterisk on this one and it remains to be seen for Aquaman.

Years ago, this would not have even been a consideration. Comic book movies were, by and large, crimes against humanity. Then, along came Sam Raimi to make a decent Spider-Man movie. Marvel went on to perfect the craft of comic book movies, got sold out to the undisputed leaders of entertainment and Disney took comic book movies to a whole other level.

DC Comics is struggling to keep up in this particular arms race. While I’m not as down on them for some of the movies (I enjoyed Batman vs. Superman, sort of), the only one that I can say I really liked so far is Wonder Woman. The rest I tolerate and make rationalizations for why they maybe weren’t as bad as they seemed. I still haven’t seen Aquaman yet, but I’ve heard the expected mixed reviews from people.

I don’t understand why DC movies are such a mixed bag. As I said, Marvel has given them the blueprint. Their television series are supposed to be good. I’ve only seen parts of Flash episodes, but it seems to capture the comics pretty well. Maybe because they’ve put so much into their comic talent, they don’t have the resources to dedicate to big budget action movies. Maybe they’re just cursed. For whatever reason, Marvel and Disney rule this space and look to do so for at least the next year.

The Verdict (DC Comics in 2018 makes me excited)

I am an unashamed, avowed, and lifelong Marvel zombie. Marvel got me into comics, kept me in comics, and brought me back to comics several times. With that being said, DC Comics are without a doubt my favorite books to read, by and large, every month when my pull list order comes. There are a couple of Marvel titles on the immediate read list, but the rest are all DC books.

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s me actually caring about Superman for once in my life.

Heck, they’ve even got me excited about Superman. Not simply tolerating the character, but actively liking and looking forward to the book every month. I never thought I’d say that. Sure, their movies leave much to be desired, but they’re not in the movie making business. They’re in the comics business and their business right now is very good. I can’t wait to see what 2019 has in store.

DC in the 1990s

Introduction

In my previous article, I mentioned that Chris and I are going to talk about our affection for a forgotten decade in comics, the 1990s. Some of you out there might argue that they were forgotten for good reasons. Both Marvel and DC lost a lot of their most promising talent to independent books due to their archaic rules and sometimes draconian treatment of talent. Comics, like sports cards, were overproduced. This reduced potential future value and upset speculators. Personally, I don’t care much about that. If I can get my hands on a book, I don’t care about your future value.

I also mentioned in that article that we would not be able to travel to That’s Entertainment, but we would be able to record. Plans changed yet again. Chris’s schedule opened up so that we could go to the store, but mine was more restrictive, so we haven’t recorded yet. Fear not! We will be sure to get together over the weekend and scratch that comics discussion itch for you next week.

I promise you. It will feel this good.

DC on Television

Like Marvel, I was introduced to DC comic book heroes through television. Of course there was the live action Wonder Woman starring Lynda Carter. Like The Incredible Hulk, if you were alive in that time period, you watched those shows. It wasn’t like today where almost everything is on demand and you can consume entertainment at your leisure. There was this thing called appointment viewing where everyone watched the show at the same time and then talked about it the next day around the water cooler. At least I imagine that there was a water cooler as I often hear that as a saying, too.

What might be surprising is that I originally discovered Batman through television, too. Well, you might think, that’s not so bad. I loved (Batman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, *insert your favorite Batman series here*) too. DC might not be able to make a decent movie, but their TV series are pretty good. Ah, youth, so innocent and sometimes naive.

You never forget your first.

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. As a child of the 70s, who came of age in the 90s, my first and defining Batman was Adam West. But, I have an excuse. My father loved the show. He wanted to share that love with his sons. I took that love very much to heart. When the Tim Burton Batman movies came out, my father warned me, “This isn’t anything like the TV show. Historically, Batman can be a bit dark.” I responded by not seeing the movie until it was on cable. Boy, did I show them! They responded by killing the series by making a decent sequel and then two terrible follow ups that seemed to try to split the difference. It did not work.

DC Comics in the 90s

Eventually, I loved the Tim Burton films and heaped the proper scorn on the other two movies in the franchise. My Batman was no longer the blue and grey suited “dad bod” of Adam West. Joker wasn’t a benign practical joker with hand buzzers and squirty flowers. It was a black suited solitary Dark Knight fighting against a sociopathic murderer in spotty clown makeup who still wears a squirty flower, but with acid.

Can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.

This shift in attitude and my status as a casual collector meant I only collected Batman and one other DC book. Luckily, it was during the Knightfall story and I collected them all. Unluckily, during one of my moves I didn’t want to move the comic book collection. I also erroneously assumed that I’d never collect comics again. Well, you win some and you lose some.

The second DC hero that I paid attention to at the time was Superman. DC decided to radically alter both of their most popular heroes. Killing Superman (spoiler alert) was such a big deal that they talked about it on the nightly news. That doesn’t seem like much in this era of the 24/7/365 news. Then it meant more. Stations only had three hours dedicated to news. Time was precious. Everyone wanted to see how they would kill the Superman.

I remember the story being good up to the actual death. DC followed it up with “Rise of the Supermen”. I collected those books, too, but the only one I enjoyed was Steel. If you didn’t get a chance to read the story, I recommend picking up the trade. Sure, they redid the story in Batman vs. Superman, but it was a shadow of itself in that movie.

The Verdict

I think that I was more into DC comics back then. The Death of Superman was enough to get me and Kevin to convince his dad to drive us to the local comic book store so that we could get the books on the day that they released. This is while we were both on vacation visiting him in Maryland. The Batman story was less interesting to me, but I did prefer that over almost everything that Marvel was doing at the time other than their 2099 books.

Sure, both stories that got me into collecting DC books in the 1990s were gimmicks meant to sell comics. Well, I never said that I was above falling for gimmicks. Next week, when I talk about my history with comics in the 2000s, you’ll see that both companies got me again with gimmicks. But, heck, the stories were good and I’m glad to have been able to experience them as they unfolded.

 

Comic Hunters 001 – Our Comic Book CV

Introduction

We start the series by talking about what got us into comic book collecting. There is also a surprise reunion at one of our favorite comic book and gaming stores!

We love 90s Comic Books (15:50)

We continue to reminisce by taking about one of our favorite decades in comics, the 1990s. Spawn, 2099, and X-Cutioner’s song, oh my! Look for a deep dive on this topic in a future episode.

Comic Books as Therapy (22:50)

We talk about what comic books mean to us as a social hobby and an escape from reality.

Comic Books as Collectors (26:22)

A visit to a local comic book show inspires us to organize and inventory our collections, which then inspires us to go to Midtown and eBay to buy more comic books. We talk about which books we’re looking for and why.

Nerd Rage? (36:33)

A brief memorial to 2099 leads to both of us trying to figure out where all of the nerd rage and hate comes from. Why didn’t you like the new Marvel heroes? What is wrong with rebooting the numbering every few years? We have some theories.

More Comic Books as Collectors (46:45)

Another brief discussion of books that we’d like to collect. X-Men Volume 1 and Marvel Team Up are prominently featured.

Diversifying Nerddom (51:00)

A chance meeting during Free Comic Book Day leads us to consider why nerds aren’t as welcoming as they could be and a way to possibly remedy that situation. (Spoiler Alert: Just be nice!)

Comics Hunter

Introduction (My Brief History in Comics)

Over the weekend, I realized that I never edited nor posted the comics themed podcast that Chris and I recorded a couple of weeks ago. The realization came as my computer was out of commission during our scheduled recording time for the main title podcast. It works out for this week. I can just release it this week and we can record for next week. The only issue is that I did both of my “state of” articles last week. I might be able to do them monthly, but it will more likely be every other month. I certainly wouldn’t do them weekly. As a result, I had to come up with two different comic themed articles for this week to stay current with the podcast.

I’m not sure, other than the articles last week, if I’ve mentioned Chris and my newly discovered love of comic books. Mine is more newly discovered than his as he generally has a smaller reading list than me and thus doesn’t have to spend as much. I did find a cheaper way to read the comics digitally, but I found myself missing the hunt, so to speak. I’m a collector at heart, so it just didn’t feel right not having those issues.

To set the scene for new readers, I have been collecting comic books since I was in high school. I’ve been collecting Magic the Gathering cards for almost as long. Sounds impressive, no? Imagine all of the profits from those books and cards that I sold. I should be retired on some tropical island surrounded by beautiful people and sipping on a never ending line of drinks with umbrellas in them, right?

Alas the closest I have come is I drank way too many free mai tais on a sunset cruise during our honeymoon in Hawai’i.

Granite State Comics Fest (April 22, 2018)

Why am I not? The short version of the story is that I haven’t been collecting comic books the whole time. I do take breaks every now and then, one time for almost a decade. Another tiny problem is that I threw away all of my comics from when I was a teenager. My wife (then my fiancee) and I moved a bunch before we found our house. During one of those moves, I decided I didn’t want to move the comics anymore. If I had anything worth anything it was either poached by a dumpster diver or recycled into printer paper.

During this most recent break, Chris has been in constant contact. He’s told me about all of the cool stuff in DC’s Metal event. He’s tried to convince me, more than once, that Midtown’s discount is worth it. As a quick aside, he finally got me on board with that one. I’m quite stubborn sometimes, but eventually make the right choice.  I wasn’t ever completely out this time.

The true turning point came during our visit to the Granite State Comic Fest. Both he and I went to the larger convention several years ago. I saw that they were doing a smaller show and suggested that we go. He agreed and both Liam and Aiden expressed interest in joining us. It is one of the most fun days I’ve had in the last few months. More than that, it gave me additional reasons to want to collect comics books.

What’s Next? (Comics on my List)

Our trip to the comic fest and a costly trip to a local store inspired to update my inventory.  I’m a bit jealous of the set up that Chris has for comics now and I want one, too. With renewed purpose and focus, I can do that.

My first idea was to fill out my Spawn run as much as I could. That’s not entirely true. I said to Chris, “I want a full run of Spawn. Shouldn’t be too hard.” Spawn is the first comic not named Spider-Man that made a strong connection. Unfortunately, it has been much harder than I anticipated to pick up the missing books. I guess I still have a 1990s over production mindset and one of the times that I took off collecting must have been lean for Spawn. As Chris tells me, we’ll find them eventually.

After I fill in all of my interested titles from the Rebirth relaunch, I want to start working backwards to the “Final Crisis”. I have some New 52 titles and I have most of the Countdown books. Filling in the New 52 will be an impressive accomplishment. Chris told me this one might be difficult, too. I can fill in with trades. Not as interesting, collector wise, but I’m not going to be an issue snob in the face of overwhelming prices.

I have a few ideas for my Marvel collection. I’m only a couple of issues short of completing Totally Awesome Hulk. I also have most of the (She-)Hulk series that was just cancelled. Other than that, I went crazy on eBay and bought a whole bunch of Marvel Team Up issues and am going to work on finishing that whole run as I’m less than a dozen missing.

Conclusion

I enjoy reading comics. Especially now, the stories and art are great in almost every book that you get. I should know, I had a 50 dollar a week habit for a while. Like Magic the Gathering, which I enjoy playing, I am more of a collector. I love opening packs and seeing what cards I have and need to finish a set. With comics, I enjoy the books. There’s also something to be said for scratching that itch that you get when you realize there’s a book missing from your collection. I’ve been scratching that itch quite a bit recently. Stay tuned to see if I can keep the momentum.