Tag Archives: DC Rebirth

Wonder Woman

You’ll excuse us from being overly enthusiastic about this Wonder Woman week. Not only is one of the most iconic superheroes in western civilization finally getting her own big-screen Hollywood blockbuster, but early returns have Patty Jenkins’s film standing apart from virtually every other DC flick in recent years: it sounds like a hit! And for New Comic Book Day, the team that brought you one of our favorite books of the Rebirth initiative delivers the Wonder Woman: Rebirth Annual #1, a beautiful oversized issue with four vignettes centered on the original Princess Diana.

Unlike boxing fight nights or seasons of Game of Thrones, comic book collections like this always lead with the heavy hitter. The first story is what makes this book worth picking up. Writer Greg Rucka and artist Nicola Scott pull a precious moment from Wonder Woman’s “Year One” storyline, and imagine that first meeting between a young Amazonian warrior and the other two members of DC’s superheroic trinity.

Continue reading Wonder Woman

Batman #21

It’s been a year since DC Rebirth #1 and the reveal of The Comedian’s button and the revelation of The Watchman universe now bleeding into the DC universe. There hasn’t been much since that issue explaining how this happened. Batman #21 kicks off a four-part crossover with The Flash where hopefully questions are answered. This issue goes by quickly – so quick it only takes a minute to read….

1:00 – That’s Saturn Girl from the Legion of Superheroes watching a hockey game inside Arkham Asylum.

0:59 – Saturn Girl is from the future. But what future?

0:58 – Obviously she’s from the future where this hockey player dies in a fight.

0:57 – Saturn girl realizes what “timeline” she is in by watching this hockey game and freaks out!

0:56 – Saturn Girl is figuratively looking down and screaming “save us!” and the answer she receives is a gravelly, whispered voice saying, “No.”

0:55 – Batman has a lot of monitors.

Continue reading Batman #21

Justice League of America: Rebirth

Back when my daughter Maggie was about 5 years old, we use to play this game called “The Test.” I would pick up a copy of JLA. We would sit together on the couch, and I would point at the superheroes on the cover.

“Ok, who’s this?”

“Superman.”

“Correct. What about her? Who is she?”

“Wonder Woman.”

“You got it. How about this guy?”

“The… umm… The Flash!”

“Yes! Nice job!”

Maggie would always get a perfect score on The Test.

Cut to five years later….

Maggie and I decided to hit the comic shop before dinner tonight and see what’s new. As we looked over the books I saw Justice League of America: Rebirth #1. Cool, I picked it up.

“Hey Maggie, wanna do The Test? Who’s this?”

“Uhhhh…” Continue reading Justice League of America: Rebirth

Image Comics Day

Twenty-five years ago, a group of talented comic book rebels took a bold stand for creators’ rights, turning their back on the major publishers to start their own independent publishing company. They had big ideas and bold plans, but I doubt they realized just how influential and successful Image Comics would be.

Today is Image Comics Day, and we celebrate some of the best creator-owned comic books being published today. Two of our favorite titles have new issues out this week, and a number of others have had new storylines debut recently. Today you can also pick up the new The Walking Dead for only a quarter, an issue that promises a good jumping-on point for new (or lapsed) readers. And, as always, Image offers first volumes of many of their collected trade paperbacks for only ten bucks!

For decades, Image comics has created opportunities for veteran artists and writers to flex their creative muscles, but they’ve also provided an outlet for aspiring new cartoonists to grow in the industry, taking chances on projects like Ken Garing’s Planetoid, the story of a space smuggler who crash-lands on a planet overrun by menacing robots. In the original 2012 series, Silas, with the help of a stolen energy weapon, rallies the human nomads struggling to survive on the planetoid, and stages an uprising against the malevolent A.I. and its alien progenitors.

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This week, Image debuts Garing’s long-awaited follow-up with Planetoid Praxis #1. This time the fate of the settlement is in the hands of Onica, and she faces a difficult decision when the planetoid is visited by a solitary Ono Mao traveler. While Garing’s artwork continues to improve, and the scrapheap civilization seemingly comes to life both under the direction of the characters as well the development of his skills, the storyline takes on a much more prescient theme. What happens when fear and distrust are the foremost emotions fueling the populace? Where is the voice of reason and, more importantly, how do these reactions serve to inform the younger generation?

file_002-11East of West
East of West hooked me from the first pages. Several colossal spires tower ominously over a stone altar, accompanied by the words “the dream is over.” The four horsemen of the apocalypse rise from a primordial ooze, War, Famine, Conquest, but where is Death? Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta have crafted one of the most unique and interesting reimaginings of America in comic book history in this series. If you love westerns, science fiction, or the bizarre horror of the Book of Revelations, look no further. – IP Continue reading Image Comics Day

DC Rebirth – Week 36

The Justice league makeover in the aftermath of their latest mini-event continues as more B-list characters who have rarely been in the spotlight get prologue stories. DC fans may be familiar with the villain Killer Frost, having seen her go up against Firestorm and other members of the Justice League, but current JLA architect Steve Orlando and Jody Houser aim to reinvent and reintroduce Frost, as they did with Vixen.

Frost’s reinvention has stretched over several books. She first reappeared in Suicide Squad, then she became a power player when writer Joshua Williamson reevaluated Frost’s vampiric need to feed. During a pivotal moment of Justice League vs. Suicide Squad, Frost absorbs and utilizes the powers of the JLA to battle the demonic Eclipso, demonstrating the utility of her power, but also making her character more sympathetic. Frost nearly kills herself in the fight, but her willingness to sacrifice herself is part of a tidy redemption plot that carries her into the new Justice League.

Killer Frost Rebirth finds Dr. Caitlin Snow in her final days at Belle Reve before being released into Batman’s custody. Amanda Waller doesn’t want Snow released and aggressively tries to manipulate Snow into acting like Killer Frost, tempting her to suck the life out of fellow inmates, thus proving that she is unfit for release. Orlando and Houser rely on Frost’s inner monologue to move the story, but for a character that’s just undergone a reinvention, her POV helps build a connection to the character. The “prison drama” tropes, like confrontations in the yard and late-night ambushes, are handled really well, though nothing ends too unexpectedly. The writing team builds a great sense of tension when Frost is most tempted to lash out, and the prisoners she encounters are cool to look at.

Continue reading DC Rebirth – Week 36

DC Rebirth – Week 34

Part of DC’s Rebirth has been dedicated to expanding and reintroducing second-tier characters from DC’s extended universe. Sometimes, like with the Blue Beetle and Harley Quinn Rebirth books, the results are less than exciting, but there are successes where an obscure (and seemingly excessive) character has a good story fashioned around that’s them worth following for a few issues.

After one Rebirth issue, I’d say Vixen is somewhere in between.

Steve Orlando and Jody Houser’s prologue to Vixen’s introduction within the new Justice League of America, rehashes old super hero tropes, particularly the origin of Mari McCabe, the alter-ego of the titular hero, whose mission of justice stems once again from childhood trauma and loss. Her not-so-secret identity as a celebrity model and activist distinguishes her only slightly from other millionaire heroes, but unlike Bruce Wayne or Oliver Queen, Mari McCabe is obviously a woman, and a woman of color to boot. Orlando and Houser spin a kidnapping yarn around the central premise that as a female of color in the world of super heroics, Vixen has not had much of a presence. This opening issue doesn’t have a lot of meat, but it does a good job of reintroducing Vixen to new and old fans of the DC universe. The writing team is obviously trying to contribute to the increase of representation within comics, but whether or not Vixen can stand out in a JLA team book is another story.

What’s definitely helping the cause is the fantastic art work of Jamal Campbell. The character designs in this book feel modern, and the tropical color palette adds a lot of personality. My favorite thing about this book is how Campbell draws the manifestation of Vixen’s powers. Animal spirits that look like they’re made of a ghostly liquid wrap themselves around Vixen, emerging from her form. There are a lot of cool panels with Vixen posing, and even one juxtaposing her powers to The Red, the source of Animal Man’s power, which is a cool reference. So, though I wouldn’t call this book amazing, there is plenty to like about it, and I think the potential art definitely justifies putting Vixen within one of DC’s biggest titles.
Continue reading DC Rebirth – Week 34

The Best of DC Rebirth #1: Trinity

The triangle is a mystical shape. It lies between the circle, representing woman, and the square, representing man. It is the shape of mages, wizards, and cults. It can be found hiding in the periphery of U.S. dollars, where it surrounds the Eye of the Beholder, containing its scopeless view. For ages man has used the triangle to advance science, from the theorem of Pythagoras to the inventions of Hipparchus, whose Trigonometry persists today as an essential mathematical study, triangles are a shape consistently at the forefront of discovery.

The triangle is also the strongest geometric shape. Stacked together, it forms diamonds. It is the shape of suspension bridges; the shape of towers, pyramids, and ziggurats. The triangle is also holy, it represents a coalition of benevolence, the father, the son, and the holy ghost.

A trinity though, is a triangle composed of people.

DC recognizes the timeless power of this shape, and wisely recognizes the timelessness of their three most prominent heroes. Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman are comics, their iconography synonymous with the artform, but they are more than symbols.
Continue reading The Best of DC Rebirth #1: Trinity

The Best of DC Rebirth #2: Wonder Woman

One of the principal goals of any comic book publishing initiative, particularly one entitled “Rebirth,” is to offer the audience a fresh starting point: for new readers, casual fans, and even the devotees excited for original storylines. This can be a daunting task, particularly when trying to balance character and origin introductions with engaging plot directions that adhere to decades of continuity. No other fanbase is as devoted to the sanctity of said continuity than that of DC comics, so if you’re going to muddy up the timestream, or reorient the multiversal topography, make damn sure you know what you’re doing. Lucky for us, the creative team of Greg Rucka, Liam Sharp, and Nicola Scott know exactly what they’re doing and, with Wonder Woman, have crafted not just one of the best comics in DC’s Rebirth, but one of the best monthly books of 2016.

Dealing with DC’s publication schedule for the Rebirth initiative was another tall order for many creative teams. DC pared down its slate of books to a more focused number (29 new series through the first half-year), but many of those books were scheduled to ship twice a month. Unlike Marvel, whose recent history suggests a company policy of never letting a schedule get in the way of a good story, DC has done an admirable job keeping up with its biweekly comic book blitz. Admirable, if not for the glut of rushed or half-assed scripts, layouts, and artwork. The Wonder Woman team, better than any other group of writers and artists on the Rebirth books, seemed to have appreciated these challenges from the very beginning, and structured a series that actually embraced the publication schedule, using the two books per month to its advantage. Wonder Woman, with its twelfth issue due this week, has woven together two distinct storylines that, while narratively independent of one another, work together to offer both a welcome perspective on the character’s past, as well as an exciting new chapter in the revitalized DC universe. Continue reading The Best of DC Rebirth #2: Wonder Woman

The Best of DC Rebirth #3: All Star Batman

Hold onto your seats boys and girls, because Scott Snyder is about to put Batman through his paces. So far, Rebirth has been filled with lots of highs (See Trinity) and even more lows (Blue Beetle and Suicide Squad); this book stands with the former much more than the latter. All Star Batman is a journey that departs from the three other simultaneous Batman stories happening in Rebirth, but may actually be the most important going forward due to the potential ramifications.

This is a story of Batman at, arguably, his most heroic. He’s appointed with the task of bringing Harvey Dent, aka Two-Face, to justice with the whole world against him. Like really against him, with a threat/wager by Two-Face that he has so much dirt on EVERYONE in Gotham that he’ll release it all if he goes to jail. So he has to deal with the psychological warfare against his friend-turned-villain as well as random villains popping up to take their shot at The Bat. This plot reminds me a lot of the movie The Dark Knight when Joker tries to get the whole city to kill one guy. So while not entirely original, it makes for a great plot point allowing old villains to emerge, not to mention juicy plot twists when we discover that those close to Batman may have secrets they don’t want revealed either. The best thing in this story so far is the subplot of villains trying to one-up each other in all the chaos. At one point Dent is dressed down by the likes of the Penguin for being a second-rate villain, which is great because the villain hierarchy is something that isn’t often addressed, especially not in such an entertaining way.file_000-1 Continue reading The Best of DC Rebirth #3: All Star Batman

The Best of DC Rebirth #4: Nightwing

As a kid, Batman was always someone I enjoyed more on his own. I never really got the appeal of a Robin. I didn’t like the New Adventures of Batman and Robin as much I did the original animated series. It never really clicked for me until Grant Morrison had Dick Grayson (the original Robin) become Batman in order to fill the shoes of a supposedly dead Bruce Wayne.

From there, I learned that I really liked Dick (going to be said at least once) because he was everything that Bruce wasn’t. He was a circus kid, one who grew up loving the danger and being able to laugh in its face. He wants to believe the best of people. The tragedy that created Dick wasn’t one that would haunt him like Bruce; he would use it to inspire hope not fear.

This sense of hope and fun amidst the Bat-books is part of the reason why Nightwing by Tim Seeley, Javier Fernández, and Chris Sotomayor is so great. Writer Tim Seeley understands the character and was half of the writing team on Dick’s previous book Grayson. While that book was more of the 60’s spy book, this one is firmly rooted in Dick cementing his role in the Bat-family. It’s an examination of everything that makes Dick Grayson  so damn special.

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Continue reading The Best of DC Rebirth #4: Nightwing